Friday, 21 March 2014

Felting onto Clothes

There are times that I see something and straight away I want to have a go myself.   This time I saw this, and immediately ran out (well ok, I didn't actually run!) to the charity shops to find a suitable jumper.  50p later, I returned with an orange jumper one size too big.  Ahh well, it doesn't really matter does it?  At this point I should have taken a before photo, but I didn't.  I just wanted to get straight to the crafting I'm afraid, you'll have to imagine this as the plain orange jumper it was before I decorated it.

I didn't really know what I wanted to do, so I just played around a bit.  I didn't have much time before the school run, so I only got the top layer done (again, photos should have been taken, but weren't).  I showed my daughter the jumper as soon as we got in.  She was pretty impressed, and had some helpful ideas about what we should do next.  So I have to admit, that the colour scheme and the shapes made were really just what she said I should do.

After the last time we felted and it ended in injuries for all of us she wasn't too keen on getting involved, that was until I found one of her old tops which had got ruined with oil.  She set about decorating and designing her new top straight away too.  Luckily there were no injuries this time.

I've no idea how this will wash, I'm going to assume that it will need a low/hand washing setting and keep my fingers crossed.  In the meantime I'm really pleased with the result and I think I'll be trying it again with some other tops now I know it works.

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Crafts Fair Buys and Fun with Molds

My parents and I went to a craft fair recently.  I figured that this year I would write a list of the things I planned to buy.  Normally I'm a bit of a magpie - ooh I like that, or ooh I need that.  So the plan was to buy the following:
  • Some big sharp scissors for cutting fabric.  I will turn that duvet cover I've kept for 3 years into a crochet rug;
  • Ring blanks.  Both my daughter and I want to make some rings;
  • Clip On Earring findings;
  • Coloured paper.  I love finding pretty patterned paper, but when I come to make cards I struggle to figure out which patterns I can use with what, and besides I have a bit of a stockpile of patterned paper.  Oops.
  • pretty flower beads like these.  I saw these bracelets and fell in love immediately,  I now need some similar beads!
  • Good value yarn, lots of balls in the same colour.  I want to make something for me.
  • Little gems - because you always need these;
  • Double sided sticky tape;
  • Black/dark coloured embroidery thread
I did manage to find everything on my list, well actually the flower beads I found weren't actually beads, but they were still pretty and perfect for adding to the ring blanks.

Oh, and the earring findings.

And I'm sure they'll look beautiful on cards too, if I can bear to part with them.  I made some cards for friends with my lovely new paper and some of the gems got a look in too.  The bird stamp set is also new.

The yarn and scissors were for more long term projects, so hopefully you'll get to read about the amazing crocheted rug from an old duvet cover sometime in the not too distant future.  I have a couple of projects I have to finish before I can find the patterns I want to use for the yarn.  And yes, I know I should probably find the pattern first and buy the yarn next, but I don't seem to work that way!

I did find something to buy that wasn't on my list at all, but I am so pleased I did!  I saw some molds like these and these.  I couldn't decide which ones to buy, I wanted them all!  I ended up with 3 different packs of molds, with a variety of shapes, flowers, butterflies, owls, birds, cupcakes,strawberries and bows.  I wanted to play straight away, but sadly the air drying clay in the house belongs to my daughter, so I had to wait until she came home from school.  Luckily she loved the idea as much as I did and we had already made a whole load of shapes before tea time!

I decided to have a go with the home made air drying clay I had used before and then my son wanted a go too, so I made another batch.  It definitely does work with the home made air drying clay, but it doesn't have such a pretty finish on it afterwards - it feels quite rough whereas the clay feels lovely and smooth.

For jewellery I think you'd need the bought clay although you might get away with it for ear rings.  I want to try it with hot glue and fimo too to see if I get different finishes.  So far it has been super easy to use these molds and I'm so pleased I bought them.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Paper Bunnies

Getting ready for Easter I was thinking about what crafts we could do and what we have done in the past.  We have made some lovely bunny paper punch art a couple of years ago.  For this one I used 2 different sized circle punches and then cut out a couple of ear shapes and used some cotton wool for the tail and drew on the whiskers.  It is an easy Easter card to recreate.

Another bunny paper punch art, but this time no bottoms!  We used an egg/oval shaped hole punch and then added a couple of cut out ear shapes and a little paper punched heart.  Googly eyes and some whiskers and you're done!

Whilst looking for rabbit related crafts, I came across this on the Crafty Crow blog. Sadly when I followed the link, this particular cut out was no longer available.  So I have created my own and thought I would share.

I designed it to fit on a piece of A5 paper.  Print it out landscape onto A4, cut off the large blank expanse, fold in half and then cut out the shaded bits to create the rabbit in the frame.  I hope you like it. :o)

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Crochet Bunnies

I didn't realise, but it turns out that I like making bunnies/rabbits.

I found a couple of lovely patterns for free online.  One to make a bunny cuddly.  I really, really love this pattern.  It was the first baby toy I had ever attempted to make and it came together really quickly. I'll admit I don't use two strands of wool to crochet him, just one Double Knit Acrylic.  Oh and I extended his arms by a couple of stitches so that it was easier to knot them into hands.

I wanted to make sure that he would be washable as I know how essential that can be with baby toys! To make sure he was safe I didn't use beads for the eyes, but I've seen there are those safety eyes you can sew on too.  There are lots of projects for this little fella on Ravelry, and I looked through them all to get inspiration on how I wanted his face to look.  Then I decided on one that I felt I probably could at least have an attempt at re-creating.  There are some lovely faces for bunnies on there, it is worth a look for inspiration.  I've made a couple now, though only managed to photograph one, and I love how each one can look totally different.  I also love how you can make a mistake or two and hopefully no one will spot them!

I also love this little appliqué bunny.  I made a few for our New Year's Eve Party this year and added them to elastic and used them for napkin rings.  As I had made them out of various coloured scrap yarn, we also used them around our glasses, so we knew which glass belonged to who.  Since then my daughter has used them as hair bands and bracelets.

Now, as Easter is coming up I decided this was the year I was finally going to create some of my own chocolate egg covers.  My Mum and Mother in Law have both found/made lovely ones in the past for my kids, so I figured, how hard can it be?  Turned out not so hard at all.

I used a 2.5mm hook with normal DK acrlyic wool for this project.  The pattern is my own.  The terms are American terms

Body (Make one)

Row 1:              Magic Circle to begin and chain 1, then 5 single crochet into the circle. (5 st)
Row 2:              2 single crochet into each stitch (10st)
Row 3:             *2 single crochet into next stitch and 1 single crochet into the next stitch* - repeat until end (15st)
Row 4 - 13:       Single crochet around (15st)
Row 14:            *Single crcohet in next stitch, single crochet two together in next stitch* - repeat until end (10 st) Fasten off and weave tails in.

Ears (Make 2) - These are inspired by the ears for the bunny cuddly above)

Row 1:              Chain 2
Row 2:              3 single crochet into 2nd chain from hook
Row 3:              6 single crochet around (so 2 single crochet into each stitch)
Row 4 :             *2 single crochet in next stitch, 1 single crochet in next stitch* repeat 2 times
Row 5 - 12:      Single crochet around
Row 6:             Single crochet two together, repeat 3 more times.  Fasten off - Leave a longish tail to sew on the ears.

Finishing Off:   Sew 2 beads on for eyes, use some thread to make a mouth and whiskers (I didn't have any black embroidery thread, so mine is just thick yarn.  Sew on the ears to the top of the body and add 2 small pieces of felt to them.  Lastly, but most importantly(!) add your chocolate egg, this also fits the plastic inside of a Kinder Egg, if you want to add your own chocs/treats to it. I've also created a little lamb chocolate egg cover and I'll be back soon to share the pattern for that.  I imagine that they would both work as egg warmers if you upped the hook size to at least a 3mm hook, maybe a 3.5mm hook.

The most impressive thing about this project is not that I managed to get the size right on the first try, but the fact that over a week later, the chocolate egg is still inside the bunny and hasn't been eaten by any member of the family yet...

Thursday, 6 March 2014

If You Teach Your Kids to Craft...

It is only to be expected that they will get better than you.  My daughter's cards are looking good.  I love her lego card, Pinterest inspired, naturally:

Here is the link to where we got the idea.  My daughter was 6 years old when she made this card. I think I  punched out the spots, because they are the ones from the Stampin Up Owl Punch, so we would have had 100 owls punched out otherwise!  My daughter picked the colours and decided to have three big blocks.  The spots are slightly raised using padded double sided sticky tape from Poundland.  Honestly I don't work there, but I love the fact that you can get reasonable crafty bits from there.  It is probably the first place I go when trying to source bits for a new project.

The next year we finally discovered Harry Potter, and became fans.  Well the Husband and I had been fans for a while, but the kids got in on the act too.  As did some of their friends.  I think this card that my daughter made is pretty cool too: 

The idea for this came from here, obviously we just freehanded it and didn't use the template.  I found paper as close to Gryfindor colours as I could.  I'm sure we'd have used felt tips if I didn't have a sheet or two or the correct colours.

All this crafting is not so much of a problem when we are only sending one card, but when we're both sending to the same person its a little embarrassing when hers are better.  Here are the cards we made for my brother's wedding.


I was so pleased with this card, inspired by this one, but then my daughter created her own design, which I think is simple, but so effective:

Though it isn't all bad, at least now we're getting even more use out of my many hole punches!

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Yorkshire Puddings and Pancakes - My Kind of Recipe

I'm not very good at following recipes, in fact I rarely follow one exactly, even if I'm planning on it.  Everyone's the same, right?

I have a terrayaki Chicken recipe which I've only every used on pork and salmon for example.

But I do love Jamie Oliver's recipe for Yorkshire Puddings - I think it is because it is pretty vague anyway:

  • 1 mug of flour (Plain/All Purpose)
  • 1 mug of milk (I've used powdered, semi-skimmed and full fat)
  • 1 egg (I buy mixed sized eggs, so this will work with any size)
Put the oven on high (200 degrees) and put some oil in muffin trays (just a dribble in each).  Let it heat up while you make the batter.  I make the batter by adding the milk to the flour and whisking them together before adding the egg.  Pour into the muffin trays with hot oil and cook in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until golden and puffed up.  Delicious and no measuring.  Yay.

For pancakes I use the same recipe, but add about an extra 1/2 cup of water to the batter, until it is a slightly sloppier consistency - heading more towards double cream consistency.  I add a little oil/butter to a medium hot pan  and then enough batter to cover it.  You'll be able to see it change colour as it cooks.  One the colour has changed all over turn the pancake over - flip if you're brave,  I'm not and just use a spatula.  From one egg's worth of batter I get about 10 pancakes. This is 2 egg's worth of batter made into pancakes.

The rules in our house are that you have to have two savoury pancakes before you're allowed a sweet.  My favourite savoury is garlicky mushrooms with a little creme fraiche.  Delicious.  Sweet has to be lemon juice and sugar - yum yum!

We'll be having pancakes for tea next Tuesday (not these - they've already gone!) on Pancake Day!  They won't last long...