Sunday, 29 May 2011

2 WIPs for the Week

I have two little projects on the go at the moment, both of which I'm hoping to finish during the half-term hols.
The first you all know well, of course, and that is my felt bag. Yesterday I went to my local fabric shop and found something that I hope is going to complete my bag perfectly; a beautiful piece of silk dupon (is this shot silk?).

 The two-tone colours within the fabric complement the felt flowers delightfully well.

It was a little extravagant at £12.99 a metre but I'm hoping it will be worth it in the end.
For the fastening I bought two large green shell buttons.

I only intend to use one, but bought two just in case I came up with another idea as I was going - I'm terrible for doing this, but at least I recognise that I do this now and so prepare myself for the inevitable changes!
Am I going to be known as the bag lady? It seems to be all I can think about at the moment. My poor colleagues, I have been analysing their bags - material, shape, details, fastenings, pockets, straps...!

So, before, I bore you all to death, I shall move on to WIP no.2. I bought this yarn recently for a small crochet project but couldn't decide what to make.

This is Patons 'Smoothie' again, the same stuff I used for my Easter basket. It looks and feels just like cotton, but is 100% acrylic and therefore incredibly good value at £1.99 for a 100g ball.
What to make? A small bag? A cushion cover? A baby blanket? A cover for a footstool?
But this project has been inspired by some of you very talented bloggers out there. Emma Lamb crochets  a huge range of wonderful things. I very recently discovered the Royal Sisters who also creates (I am presuming this is one person despite the title) beautiful crochet items. I have begun to follow Jane at Hook and Yarn who is very talented with crochet and generous with sharing her designs.There are so many of you out there in blogland that are so talented, thank you for sharing! 
Drawing on the inspiration from you all I have decided to make my first cushion cover.

I have started with some small, plain granny squares.

I spread them out on the windowsill in an attempt to get some good light as it is quite grey and dull here in Cornwall today.
I am planning to make 25 for the cushion cover, but I might keep going and make an oversized cushion of 36 or even 49. I am so pleased with the colour combinations and can't wait to start stitching them all together.
Hope you are all enjoying your extended weekend.
Becky x

Monday, 23 May 2011

Felt Flowers for the Bag!

Next week is half-term (already I hear you cry!) and I am trying to get lots of craft projects lined up for the week. One of my WIPs is my felt bag I started a few weeks ago.

The colours are more vibrant than this in real life. I have tried 3 different cameras and 3 different locations (for different light levels) and this is the best I can come up with!
I have produced a piece of felt for the flower brooch I wanted to put on the back. When I came to cutting it I couldn't decide on the size of the flower so I cut out two flowers and laid them on the bag together. They looked so nice I have decided to sew them both on.

They're just pinned on at the moment. I'm really pleased with how this piece of felt came out. I used the same colours as for the roses on the other side and laid some silk fibre on top in similar colours. It wasn't exactly what I was going for - I experimented a little but it didn't work out as I hoped (I'll explain this in another post) but I had enough without the 'experiment' around the edges to make the two flowers.

Can't wait to get this one finished. Hopefully, I will pick up some fabric next weekend for a panel above the felt, but I haven't managed to find anything I like yet.

I have a little crochet WIP that I will save for my next post.

Have a good week.
Becky x

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Mollie Makes Magazine

I found a brilliant new magazine this week. It's called 'Mollie Makes' and it's packed with super ideas for a range of crafts.

It was the crocheted apple covers that caught my eye on the shelf. Absolutely gorgeous in a pretty pointless kind of way!
The magazine came with this free gift which I am looking forward to making.

This first issue cost £4.99 but it has an offer inside for the next 3 issues for only £5!

I love these little eggs, an idea for next year's Easter tree perhaps.

But my very favourite idea in the magazine is this one. This is my absolute dream. I am desperate for a vintage bike with a wicker shopping basket, but to have this piece of crochet on it is just amazing.

What an stunning idea - a crocheted frock protector!
I LOVE it!
Guess what my next project is going to be?!

Becky x

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Why didn't I start with a purse...?

I thought we were going to have rain all weekend, so I prepared myself for a bit of baking and craft. Then mid-morning Saturday, the sun came out and plans were changed!
So instead I shall tell you about the craft activities of last weekend.

I bought this book last summer...

and ever since I have been desperate to make a handbag. Gillian Harris is the owner of GillianGladRag and has some inspiring ideas and kits. Her tutorials are clear in the book but a few more step-bystep photos would be useful.
I wanted to build up my skills in wet felting before I embarked on such a big project. I can't bear the thought of wasting beautiful materials on experimenting, are you like this? I have some lovely craft materials but don't want to ruin them, so they often sit in a drawer or suchlike for a long time until I eventually get up the confidence to simply go for it!
That's what happened last weekend, I was ready to go for the handbag!
I decided to copy the original bag for my first attempt. So I laid out my tools and materials and started.

First layer laid out on template ready to prefelt.

Prefelting first layer.

Template turned over, edges folded in ready for first layer on other side.

Second layer, opposite direction, ready to prefelt.

This was the stage where I was thinking 'Why didn't I start with something smaller like a purse?' !

As before, I turned over, folded in edges, laid out second layer on that side and prefelted. All this repeated for third layer first side, but second side had a little extra - the flowers...

Ready to felt on final layer.

Silk fibre was added to my roses to give them extra shine.

First stage of of felting - soap, water and lots of rubbing.

Next stage, lots of rolling, 100 times then rotate felt 90 degrees. I rolled 600 times in total!

Rinsing and shocking with hot and cold water.

Snipping the top open to remove the template and reveal the amazing pink lining (getting very excited at this point!)

Yes, loving those colours!

After a little rubbing and rinsing of the snipped edges, the felt is left to dry.

I love, love, LOVE how it has progressed so far! The other side is plain green and I want to make a large felt flower brooch to pin to it.
I'm thinking of changing the style of the bag a little. I fancy sewing a panel of fabric above the felt but I need to find the right fabric to complement it. I found this bag while google searching and love the shape. 

I think it could work really well with my felt as the main part. There is a free pattern for this bag here and flickr has a group of pictures of bags made from this pattern which is called 'the wasp bag'! 

Hope you too have been having some making fun like me!
Becky x

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Garden Makeover

I couldn't have asked for a more sunny, relaxing and productive Easter. I have certainly refreshed my batteries and feel ready for all the tasks this term will throw at me (annual reports being the hightlight of the term!).
So, to the garden... before - the hedge and arch I planted 12 years ago looking up the garden from the pond.
Looking a little overgrown with my husband squeezed into the gap!
This was the view from the other side...

When I planted it I wanted to create corners in my large garden. I hadn't thought about the time it would take to keep it neatly trimmed or the amount of shade it would cast.
Anyway, a day of lopping and ...

I can't believe how much it has opened it up and how much lighter everything is.

We fenced around the pond when Lulu began to walk 4 years ago. Now the hedge has gone we have continued the fence between the patio and pea gravel patch to keep the children safe. They have their own play area at the bottom of the garden.

I bought this carved man last summer and he has lived in my garage (rent free!) since then. But now he has a new home. I think he likes it!

Here's Little Mannie throwing gravel into the pond from the slate bridge. I still can't bring myself to chop off those curls! It will happen soon as my husband is fed up with people (usually old ladies) saying 'what a pretty little girl'!

Lots more plants are now flowering since my last garden post.
This peony looks beautiful resting gently on my granite seat.

The snowball bush is covered in blossom.

My husband bought me this azalea last year, I think it's called 'Percy Wiseman'. I took this Wednesday when it was just ready to burst into flower. Today it looked amazing in full bloom, I'll try and remember to take another photo of it.

erysimum - perennial wallflower

wisteria - ready to flower


lilly of the valley

gunnera mannicata



fragrant deciduous azalea

the strawberry patch!


London pride

another perennial wallflower

Of course, my girls have been enjoying the sun too!

There was a little crafting last weekend which will have to keep for next post.

Hope you have been enjoying some flowers too.
Becky x

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