Sunday, April 29, 2012

Week #15 - Clutch

I was planning a bigger two-week project over the last week, but it has sort of snowballed into an even bigger project than I imagined (as often does with crafting) and so I'm going to have to delay the unveiling of it until I'm able to get my hands on a few more materials I need.

In the meantime I decided to do a 'follow along' and tutorial review for this fantastic gathered clutch bag tutorial I saw for on Noodle Head.

One of the things I like about the tutorial is that it is very clear, and where people have pointed out suggestions or the author has realised steps could be confusing - she has updated and amended it to make it even simpler.

I found this tutorial really easy to follow along, and found it went so quick I whipped up a second one for  a friend's birthday.

The only thing I did was amend the design slightly by adding a little strap (which I've included as a little add-on tutorial below).  What do you think of the results?

I thought adding a simple strap worked really nicely, and for this clutch I decided to use the same fabric for both the main body and the band across it, mainly due to a lack of any matching fabric - but I think it works very well.

As usual the clutch will be on auction this week for Macmillan Cancer Support. When it is listed it will appear below:

Clutch Tutorial Add On:

Follow this fantastic gathered clutch bag tutorial by with these addition steps.

1. Cut a piece of fabric (matching or contrasting - your choice) that measures 12.4 inches by 3.5 inches.

2. Press it in half lengthwise, open and then press each long raw edge into the middle towards the line you just pressed so that you only have the raw edges showing at either end.

3. The sew some finishing stitches down either side of your strap (1/4 inch from the edge or so) so that is has a nice finished edges.

4. Set your strap aside until it comes time to assemble the entire thing.  Fold the band over and pin it into the seam of which ever side you want your strap to be on, so that it sits just under the zipper.

5. Sew following the same instructions, but making sure to catch the strap so that is it nice and secure.  I also add an extra line of stitching between the seam and the raw edges to reinforce the strap.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Raffle Success!

When you take a little break from blogging, it seems to take just about forever to catch up - but this marks the last and final post on my to-blog list... so here goes!

The Lazy Crafternoons 52 Weeks:52 Crafts Raffle which was graciously hosted at the Magpie's and I
Giant Handmade and Vintage Fair at the MShed on March 25th was a huge success!

Not only did we have nearly 20 prizes donated by a range of fantastic makers and sellers, but the raffle managed to raise a whopping £87.00 for Macmillan Cancer Support.

That's certainly a nice chunk of change to add to the ever growing fundraising total of the 52 Weeks : 52 Crafts project.  While the donations I collect from e-bay auctions go straight to Macmillan via. the MissionFish auction program, the funds raised at the raffle will be donated directly to the local fundraising team of Macmillan Cancer Support in Bristol.

Just wanted to say a final thank you to all those who donated items and acknowledge them and their winners one last time!
Prize Donor Winner (first name only)
Lazy Crafternoons Helen, Lori, Vanessa, Lynn and Carly
Susan Taylor Sheelagh
Funky Wombat Designs Alex
Little Ren Grace
The Power of Flowers Michelle
The Vintage Baby Grace
Tag'e'line Taskin
Lola & Lina Vintage Mrs. Cogging
Blooming Buttons Carly
Beeline Bags Jenny
The Craft Emporium Anna
Into The Loop Lori
Necklace - PDSA Lynette
Fiona Willis Tracy
Pretty Nostaglic MagazineAlex
Sweeties BakeriesMark

All the winners have been contacted, and arrangements have been made for the prizes to be picked up or posted to the appropriate winners (all postal costs have been covered by Lazy Crafternoons, not deducted from the raffle takings). If any prizes are not claimed by their winners, they will either be given back to the donor or upon their agreements auctioned off as a bonus to the 52 week : 52 craft challenge later this year.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Week #14 - Recycled Copper I.D. Bracelet - Madam Mod Makes

It's the time you've all be waiting for - the moment where I reveal the amazing Madam Mod Makes' contribution to the 52 weeks : 52 crafts project.  Cara has been busy making her item this week, but her work isn't finished because once the lucky winner is named, she'll have a little more work ahead of her as the item will be personalised by request.

This week's item is a gorgeous recycled copper i.d. bracelet (oooooh! our first jewellery item).

... and just in case your nearest and dearest are not Anna, Jono and Liam, Cara will personalise it just you with up to two lines of nine letters or less.

Cara makes her bracelets by hand using recycled copper pipe that she hammers down and flattens into the cuff shape.  Once she has the solid piece of flattened, squashed pipe, she smooths it out and polishes up with sandpaper just enough to get a smooth and polished, but vintage and unique piece.  As the orders roll in, get gets out her letter stamps and personalises them just for you.

Cara actually submitted a complete tutorial for publishing, so once the lucky winner is announced I just might post a final follow up post to her contribution to add to the growing collection of tutorials on this blog.  But you don't have to wait, as 100% of your bid on this item will go to Macmillan Cancer Support.

If you are as enchanted by the designs of Madam Mod Makes, please take a moment to visit her website, comment on this post, and (of course) "watch" the ebay auctions so that you'll be notified as the bids and competition to be the winner progresses.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Sneak Peak: Guest Maker Madam Mod Makes

I'm doing so much catch up from my time away from crafts, that it is the perfect time to preview the project's third guest maker. Yes this week's maker is Cara Codd (also known as Madam Mod Makes) the fabulous creator of unique one off pieces of jewellery and accessories.
Cara says:
"I originally trained as a fine artist and have been working in gallery & museum education for over 18 years, but due to having children and a serious illness I turned to crafts as a source of rehabilitation and a possible new career path. I have always made things as presents for family and friends, usually pendants and cards and that grew into an obsession with working with fabrics, metals, gemstones and just about anything I can upcycle."
Cara obviously has a real passion for art and design, as you can see from her blog which often features very inspiring 'art of the day' posts. She loves creating something unexpected from throw away or discarded materials, and experimenting with mixing precious and waste materials together, such as used copper piping and leather laces, semi-precious gemstones and old tap washers. Some of her more popular items are made using vintage buttons and old photographs embedded in resin.

"Creating something aesthetically beautiful out of mundane or waste materials is what I love doing most."

Because each of her pieces are completely unique - Cara's online shop is a real treasure trove of inspiration.

Where you do you find inspiration for your work?
Everywhere. I initially was inspired by vintage brooches and turing these into more accessibly worn necklaces and bracelets. Then I used the family interest in mod and scooter culture and its music and used this to create hand stamped badges and photo resin badges and earrings. I found i loved breathing new life into discarded items, so sometimes is the materials that dictate the outcome of what I make and sometimes its a theme. However memories of growing up in the 1970s & 80s and an obsession with vintage & retro wallpapers is currently surfacing in some of my more recent resin pieces.

What made you decide to participate as a guest maker in the 52-week challenge?
I definatey believe what goes around, comes around, so its important to share skills, experience and ideas with others. I talk to so many makers through fairs and social networking ewebsites and its great to be part of such a diverse and talented arts & crafts community. Macmillan is such a great organisation, the funds they recieve make such as difference to the lives of those people and their families being treated for or recovering from Cancer. I myself was seriously ill with cancer and macmillan helped me financially when I desperately needed it. They also provide amazing care and support on a daily basis to those families that really need it. I can't do running or walking distances so in a small way this is how i can say Thank You to them.

With Madam Mod's clear creativity and passion for design, and her devotion to the cause of raising funds for Macmillan Cancer Support you can be sure that the item she is donating will be a real gem.

Check back this Sunday for the big reveal! In the meantime you can check her out on facebook or twitter

And why not check out last week's Tangrams now up for auction:

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Week #13 - Tangrams

It has come to my attention that not as many people as I assumed know what I'm on about when I talk about tangrams... For me, they are a nostalgic memory from childhood; playing with them as a puzzle game and also learning about them math class when we learned about proportions and fractions.
If you aren't familiar with them, here is a little info courtesy of wikipedia:
"The tangram (Chinese: 七巧板; pinyin: qī qiǎo bǎn; literally "seven boards of skill") is a dissection puzzle consisting of seven flat shapes, called tans, which are put together to form shapes. The objective of the puzzle is to form a specific shape (given only an outline or silhouette) using all seven pieces, which may not overlap. It was originally invented in China at some unknown point in history, and then carried over to Europe by trading ships in the early 19th century. It became very popular in Europe for a time then, and then again during World War I. It is one of the most popular dissection puzzles in the world." - Wikipedia
Although there is a serious side to tangrams, mostly they are just plain fun - you can use the shapes to make all kinds of animals, people, and more... and now with the internet there are so many printable activity sheets, books and designs that you actually stand a chance of completing all 6500 known tangram problems.

Here are just a handful.

So, instead of wooden shapes, I thought it would be fun to make some soft, chewable, throwable, pliable tangrams that would suit kids of all ages whether they are 5 years old and making cats or 55 years old and solving tangram paradoxes!

Here are my results. I made two sets; one in a bright owl fabric and another in a sweet alien fabric.

If you want to get your hands on my tangram sets and at the same time support Macmillan Cancer Support you can bid on them on ebay; auctions start Tuesday April 17th at 19:30 pm. I've also relisted a screen printed shirt from last week, which is still available.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Week #13 - all pressed up and no where to sew

This week's craft was going to be some lovely little quilted tangrams, but my home-away-from-home sewing machine decided to start playing tricks on me and its feed dogs just stopped feeding. So while the sewing machine is in for repairs, all I can do it admire my little cut out shapes and look forward to being able to sew them up soon and get them up on ebay.

I recently made some tangram-esque shapes for a friend's little girl following this tutorial but wanted to try my hand at making the 'real deal' as I thought it might be a gift that could grow with baby. (admittedly they are likely to be a chew toy for my seven month old nephew for a long while before he is solving tangram paradoxes)

I am thinking I might draw up some laminated pattern sheets to go with them, so that they come with a nice set of animals to make as well.

While you sit patiently and wait for me to resume sewing, why don't you check out the current auctions - featuring screen printed t-shirts by peep designs?

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Week #12 - Screen Print Shirts

It's a great comfort to be able to rely on family when things go awry - so when I had to travel to Canada at the last minute for a family emergency, and fell a bit behind in my crafting, I was pleased that my sister stepped up as a guest maker for week #12.
I was recently featured in the 'In The Studio' section of Crafts Business Magazine, where Zoe Monk asked my about my crafty family and do-it-yourself upbringing. Well, across the Atlantic my sister has also turned her creative hobbies into a business in the form of Peep Art & Design

In addition to doing great biscuit impressions, Liz offers graphic design services and makes a products including screenprinted apparel, bags and accessories. She sells her work at maker's markets in Hamilton, as well as at various other events and festivals around Southern Ontario including Hillside 2012.
Motivated by sustainability, peep art & design creates refurbished and upcycled apparel, accessories and bags. Combining original designs with vintage fabrics and previously-loved clothing, peep gear is sensible, affordable, and unique. Liz has generously donated two screenprinted t-shirts to the 52 weeks 52 crafts project, which feature some of her most popular designs.

Liz has donated two designs she has screenprinted onto upcycled shirts.

Auctions for both these shirts will start on Friday, April 6th and will appear below once listings are active.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Week #11 - Lino Print Cards

I've always wanted to try lino printing and have been lucky enough to have a few taster sessions here and there, but have never gotten around to finally giving it a go for myself. I felt as though I knew what to do from my taster workshops, but I wasn't quite yet confident enough to make the leap, so I visited Paper Village in Bristol where Vicky was nice enough to talk me through the equipment, materials and steps I needed to take to get block printing at home.

Really, its the kind of craft that is so fun and forgiving that its worth taking the leap and just having a go with it! It's a real simple process as long as you get the safety measures under control and develop good habits (always push the lino away from yourself, and watch that hands and fingers are not on the receiving end of the cutter.

I decided I wanted to try a few different designs - two where my design was printed and most of what was cut away would be white space, and a third where my design was made of the white space and most of the block was filled with ink.

Unsure of where to start and wanting to try something easy, I of course: put a bird on it.

So for my first attempt I drew up a rough bird silhouette and some branches and just started cutting away what wasn't within my cut lines.

For my second try I got a little more creative and tried to replicate a wolf line drawing I did a few years ago. I had to simplify the design a bit but I'm pleased with the results.

I made 50 of these cards for week #11 and instead of putting them up on ebay, I'll be selling them at various markets and events to raise more funds throughout the year. If they prove popular, I've still got the lino blocks so I'll print as many as people will buy!