Monday, September 24, 2012

Week #34 - Bookmarks at the World's Biggest Coffee Morning

As the weeks go on and I work towards the end of my 52 week challenge, week #34's craft is one you can get involved with in person!

On Friday 28th of September, while the whole nation embarks on the World's Biggest Coffee Morning to raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Support, I will be tucked away in the Folk House Cafe and Bar, making bookmarks of all shapes and sizes and offering some coffee and craft for just  £5 suggestion donation to Macmillan Cancer.

At the event you can find out more about my year long challenge to raise funds for Macmillan, and you can also browse some of the other items I've made this year.

Please pop into the Bristol Folk House Cafe and Bar (40A Park Street) between 9:00 and 12:00 on
Friday September 28th, and join me!

Spread the word and come on down - if you live or work nearby pop down for a coffee break, or if you've got the time join me for the whole morning!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Week #33 - Bicycle Seat 'Shower Caps'

I've seen bicycle 'shower caps' or bicycle cozies popping up here and there, and I've thought I'd try a hand at making my own with some nice oilcloth cuts I've had my eye on.

It's a really simple project, which I may post a tutorial for if there is interest (please leave a comment below if you'd like one) but there are lots of tutes out there already for making a custom one to fit your own seat.

Here's what I came up with:

At this point in time, I don't actually have a bicycle seat to show it off on, so I used a cut out of cardboard which shows the stretched out 'shower cap' and the elasticated edging.

I made these as 'one size fits all' bicycle seats - so it should fit all those seats out there from sporty ones to retro ones... the covers measure roughly 11 inches from front to back and 8.5 inches from side to side.

These little waterproof beauties will keep your seat dry while you are parked up, and look a lot nicer than those tesco bags I see people tying around their bike seats.

There items will be up for auction, starting this evening - with more photos of them in situ on actual bicycle seats to come.

In the mean time why not check out the plethora of auctions ending this evening and support my fundraising for Macmillan Cancer Support.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

a crafter abroad - Buenos Aires

Crafting is so much a part of my life, that I even take it on vacation with me. Going on holiday is supposed to be about dropping your responsibilities and taking a break from what you normally do, but for me its also a chance to find new inspiration, find out what's going on in the craft world elsewhere, and also meet new people - crafting is certainly great platform for meeting others!

Normally when I go on holiday, I do a little prep work and with the help of google and the many city guides you can find on online crafting forums, I usually have a few key places in mind before my arrival. That's step one done. Step two, is working out what's nearby those crafty things so I can convince whomever my travelling companions are to come along, or at least provide them with some nearby non-crafty alternative for those moments when we 'just happen' to stumble across say a beautiful quilting shop in the middle of New York City or an incredible quirky museum that only I would ever want to go to.

Sigh. Sometimes it takes a bit of being crafty to be able to be crafty on holiday.

But when both my work and personal lives took me to Buenos Aires, I was just too darn busy to even google anything... things were so hectic in the run up to my departure that I picked up a half-started knitting project and took it with me, in fear that I might be entering some kind of unexpected craft-void in the world and have nothing else at my fingertips.

Little did I know that I was struggling to fit a few balls of polyester blend wool in my bag, just so that I could take them along with me to what was essentially woolly heaven on earth.

That's right, along my journey I stumbled into a little quarter of BA, that was lined with gorgeous yarn shops, selling some of the most beautiful yarns I have ever laid my eyes on. Only, when I first came across it - everything was closed... all I could do is peer through the windows and shutters and admire the wonderful windows displays and plot my chance to come back during opening hours.

... and when I did come back, here's just a sample of what I found...

I stopped into quite a few beautiful shops, including Moussa, Milana Hilados and a number of other gorgeous little shops which either don't have websites or I can't remember the name of due to my entering yarn induced frenzy. The shops were full of skeins and skeins of yarn, all on shelves behind a counter and using my broken spanish I was able to speak with the shop assistants, and ask to touch and feel a variety of wools. Once I'd made up my mind, I had skein after skein weighed out for me to pay for.

Yes, all the yarn is sold by the kilo, which at first seemed a little confusing and daunting, but then once I did my conversions I realised that I was paying such a fraction of the cost of what it might cost me at home... never mind the fact that I was buying wool I knew I could never even find here!

Just when I thought I'd had my fill, I discovered a bargain bin with 10 peso bags of scraps of wool roving, suitable for needle felting. Jackpot! 100 grams of roving scraps for about £1.30. Bargain.

I found Buenos Aires to be a really inspiring and wonderful place, for many reasons which I'm soon going to share on the Making Things Club blog, but spending my final morning recklessly purchasing wool was the icing on the cake.  Some of it I'll use for myself, some of it I'll use for gifts, and some I'll use for the 52 weeks : 52 crafts challenge...  but you'll have to wait to see just how far my budget stretched and find out what I got my hands on.

Oh go on then, here's a little peek at my bags at my feet in the taxi. See anything you like?

Stay tuned for what I'm going to do with all this wool, and do check out the auctions I have going this week - 7 items all being auctions for Macmillan Cancer Support as I continue my 52 weeks : 52 crafts challenge. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Week #32 - Lampshade

Hello lovely crafty followers! So for my recent absence of late, I've been off on a little South American trip and sojourn into the other part of my work-life which involved attending a conference in Buenos Aires.

There are two bits of good news for you today; one is I'm back, rested(ish) and most importantly revived and ready to take on the final 19 projects in the run up to Christmas for my 52 Week : 52 Craft Challenge, and the second is that I've got lots of wonderfully crafty things to report on from Buenos Aires including some major gushing to do about my trip to the city's yarn district.

But for now a little bit of housekeeping, an update on the 52 Week Craft Challenge and a bit of showing off this week's craft.

I bought this castle patterned fabric a few years ago out of a bargain bin in a fabric shop, and of course with it being a bargain I bought loads of it and then proceeded to hoard it and wonder what I would do with it and how I would put it to use. As a bold print, I didn't know how I would put it to use and I was never able to find fabric that both worked with the colours and matched the whimsical and fairy-tale like feel of the pattern... so I looked for projects which would let it stand on its own, and finally lampshade making came to the top of my 'tute-do' list.

Now unfortunately for you lot, I'm not going to give away other people's secrets and/or reinvent the wheel by writing up a tutorial, but it suffices to say if you are interested in making fabric lampshades:

1. it's much easier than you probably think it is...
2. there are lots of tutorials and tips out there if you just google 'fabric lampshade'

Most tutorials will require the use of a sticky back style-pvc, utility rings, and double sided tape... all of which I purchased and my favourite art shop Fred Aldous

The rest if up to you, and believe me it' so easy and wonderfully rewarding.  The hardest part is ordering your materials and selecting a fabric for the shade.

Here's what I came up with:

What do you think? Personally I love it, I think it would add a bit of whimsy to a child's room or suit a creative workspace or workshop perfectly. 

The lampshade is on a 30 cm radius utility ring, and measures about 35 cm from top to bottom so it really shows off the fabric and acts as a nice feature in the room, as well as being functional.

This lampshade will of course be auctioned for Macmillan Cancer Support, along with a few items left from before my holidays - please have a look a what's listed this week and do check back for more updates! (Auctions start tonight, Sunday September 16th and end next Sunday 23rd).