Sunday, May 27, 2012

Week #19 - Stained Glass Bunting

As I mentioned in a previous post I've taken up a stained glass course to add more to the mix of skills I'm employing for my 52 week challenge. I thought I might make a little something now and then maybe put my skills to use again come Christmas.

So far it's been easier than I expected in some ways but harder in others. Although the more I work the more I'm seeing the endless creative possibilities.

I don't know if my mind had been taken over by quilting, or if I'm just used to thinking about making things out of fabric but so far all my projects have been sewing inspired.

Firstly I'm working on a set of nine patch traditional quilt blocks that I imagine I might one day hang in the windows of my very own craft studio. Here is a look at my first one, done with a blue and dark green running with blue (it looks much brighter held up to the light!):

Thinking along the same lines I decided I'd have a go at making satined glass bunting to hang in the window. This worked very nicely if I may say so myself and it's sadly one of those crafts that you realise you really want for yourself when you finish making it. Even worse it really brightened up my shabby looking window when I had to hang it to photograph it... But the craft challenge comes first!

So there it is - my first (of what I expect will be many) strings of stained glass bunting!  This shows the set of four triangles hung on picture wire (the chain I originally bought did not hold up) - but the set for sale will come with a sturdier chain for hanging the triangles.

This item will, as always, go up for auction for Macmillan Cancer Support. When it is listed, the live auction details will appear here:

Please note that the listings below update hourly, so there may be less time to bid than there appears!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Week #18 - Hoop Dreams

Lately I have been seeing more and more embroidery hoops popping up as clever little ways of displaying different kinds of textile work as well as just being used as a fun way to display different scraps and pieces of great fabric.

So, I've been thinking and dreaming of different ways I could put my skills to use to make a few display hoops, and I came up short as I decided that patchwork and hoops may not go together (although since then I've re-considered that decision).

In the end I thought I would give a simple embroidery stitch a try (with the knowledge that any more than a few stitches would cause me to lose all patience) as well as try my hand a free machine embroidery, another skill I've been meaning to pick up all these years.

So I attempted a little cross stitch, and although what I ended up with may not resemble any actual type of stitching (I think the canvas was too fine a weave for what I was doing), I think these little faces are pretty darn sweet.

I did my second little project on the sewing machine, after being oh so bored from cutting out triangles for actual bunting, I decided it would be much easier to do bunting this way:

I just applied my triangles with steam a seam bonding web, and then freehand stitched around them roughly. I'm pretty pleased with the results, given that the entire time I worked on it I was terrified that I'd get my fingers caught in the needle.

A darning foot is now number one on my to-buy list.

As always, these items are up for auction on ebay, to raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Support.

Please spread the word and help me raise more funds for Macmillan!

Oh and by the way, I just realised I'm official past the 1/3 way point in the year - that's 18 crafts down and 34 more to go!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

I'm crafty and I know it.

Well it looks like your potential to be a crafternooner just got a little bit higher! Just when you thought there were no chances left to attend a Lazy Crafternoon workshop this spring, I teamed up with Tenderfoot in Brislington to offer some fun and fantastic (if I may say so myself) workshops this June and July.

Both workshops will be the same, it only depends on if you want to come for an Wednesday evening or Saturday afternoon workshop!  You can book my emailing me at or you can pop over to the website's shop, where you'll find the workshops on sale!  From the website you can either book for one, or book for two and save!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Week # 17 - Seed Bombs

Continuing on a spring theme, (at least it now feels genuine as the sun has decided to come out!) I've whipped up a few little seed bombs for this week's craft.  If you don't know about guerilla gardening, you should really check it out  as it is an interesting and fun activity, whether you are a doing it as an environmental activist, or just a person who'd like to add a little colour to dull and dirty space in your neighborhood.

I've been told by a few people that making seed bombs is really fun and simple, but until I sat down to do it myself - I hadn't realised just how easy it is!

Simply mix natural clay, compost, seeds and water in the right proportions (there seems to be a really variety of recipes out there so you can't really go wrong)... shape and then let dry.

Simply mix clay and compost/potting soil

 Add seeds
 Mix well, and then press...
 or roll into shapes...
 and then remove and let dry!
My seed bombs were a little too squidgy to remove from the ice cube tray, so I set them in the freezer for about 5 minutes just so they were hard enough to remove and let dry.

You can make them in all shapes and sizes, but I thought these flower ice cube trays made a great mold.

As always, this set of 12 mini seed bombs will be auction for Macmillan Cancer Support.

Unfortunately, last week's Seed Paper didn't sell - so you can also bid on those as they will be relisted alongside the seed bombs this week!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Week #16 - Seed Paper Tutorial

I'm going to try a new tutorial look I've been seeing around the blogosphere lately, which I think might be a help to me since I tend to write tutorials which are a little word-heavy.

For weeks #16 and #17 I'm forcing myself into spring spirit, to make up for mother nature's poor job of delivering on my spring expectations.  So for this week's craft and tutorial, I'm demonstrating how to make seed paper.  For those who don't know, seed paper is one of the most fun and easy crafts you can do at this time of year - it simply involves recycling paper to make new paper embedded with seeds, flower petals, and all sorts of other good things. Once its set you can make confetti, cut shapes to send in cards, cut gift tags, and more and the end product is a paper which you can then plant and have grow in your garden or windowsill.

Pretty fantastic no? So here. We. Go!

You'll need
- some screen (wire, cloth or screen printing screen)
- a wooden frame (from an old picture frame, an old canvas frame, etc)
- staple gun
- a blender
- water
- lots of towels
- a baking tray and rack for drying
- a few sheets of news paper
- some scraps of coloured paper (I used handmade natural papers)
- seeds of any choice
- flower petals of any choice

I used a lot of newsprint to get a blue-ish grey colour and then added smaller scraps of coloured paper to get my desired effect.

At this point I turn it over onto a baking sheet wrapped in a towel, and then lay a towel on the opposite side of the screen so that it is being absorbed on both sides.

To let it dry, I turn it out onto a baking sheet and let it dry for a few hours... once its a little sturdied I turn it over again onto a cooling rack so that it dries evenly on both sides. It's ok if it dries a little uneven and curls a bit, we will press it in the next steps.

I made a set of 20 little hearts, as well as 10 gift tags like these;

As per usual, these will of course be auctioned off on e-bay to raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Support. Stay tuned to the blog for announcement of the auctions opening, and of course in the meantime you are free to bid on other auctions currently open:

What do you think of the new tutorial format? please let questions or comments below!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

always learning

This is an exciting week for me because amid lots of great teaching opportunities and workshops I have coming up, I get to be a student again.  Well that's not entirely true, since I seem to be perpetually a student, but more in the way that I've been self directing my learning for the past few years... this week I get to be a proper student and I am looking forward to getting the chance to sit back and have someone teach me for a change.

I've been teaching at the Bristol Folkhouse for a few terms now, and this time around I finally got my act together and registered myself for a few courses.  I started beginner's spanish this evening, and had a really fantastic time learning to pronounce the alphabet and conjugate verbs - and this friday I'm also starting a stained glass course. (Cue addition of stained glass project to the 52 Weeks : 52 Crafts to-do list!).

It will be a really nice change to be sitting on the learner's side of these courses and workshops as I always find that when I take a new course I learn as much about teaching as I do about whatever the new skill is I'm trying to learn.  I love seeing other educators in action, seeing different teaching styles and techniques and sometimes its just good medicine to be the one who is put on the spot and called on instead of the one doing the calling.

I'm really looking forward to the stained glass course starting this week and will no doubt be blogging about it as soon as I walk out the door... but in the meantime I'm already scouring the web for amazing pieces of inspiration and different styles... so if you know any good sites of projects, please post comments and share them with me!

Here is one piece of inspiration that certainly has got my attention is the work of Kirsten Hassenfeld, although most of this work is created with paper and mixed media - I definitely see some stained glass inspiration thrown in there.
Anyway, I'm looking forward to my foray into a new type of craft.  Although I was rubbish at geometry at school, I seem to be able to manage with patchwork and quilting so I'm hoping the same stays true for stained glass.  Any tips or helpful pieces of advice are much appreciated!