Thursday, 24 September 2009

The Monkeys are taking over ...

It's amazing. You start off with one or two ...
Then before you know it ...
They start breeding ...

Rather cute though, aren't they?

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Now that's what I call Teamwork

Caitlin and I have entered a competition, where you had to draw pictures with other members of your family, on the theme of "Our Creative Family". We had SUCH fun designing it and adding various elements to the picture, plus we also spent several (peaceful) hours together just shootin' the breeze ... It was sent off this morning so wish us luck! (to view the whole picture, go here)

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Meet Cuthbert and Cynthia!

They are very good friends and do like to have a cuddle, but I suspect they just know they look good together! These are part of a commission of five, so they will have more brothers and sisters soon.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Crochet for snuggling

I'm a bit ambivalent about crochet. I love the effect, the fact that you can do 3D stuff so easily, only having one live stitch at a time (no dropping stitches), and it's so easy to pick up and put down - but I simply can't crochet without looking at what I'm doing! And being an inveterate multitasker that's very frustrating - unlike knitting, I can't crochet and read at the same time!However, I put all my frustrations aside to make this big snuggly blanket from my leftover scraps. It's very easy to do and I can almost do it without looking (I just sneak occasional glances out of the corner of my eye as I'm watching TV) and (best of all in my opinion!) it keeps my lap warm on cool evenings!

I'm about two-thirds of the way through the main blanket, after which I shall add a border to it. It's a nice cheerful project for the wet and dismal weather we are having.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Branching out

I would be the first to admit that there are few things I haven't tried in the field of crafting - however, there are two things I have never got into: jewellery, and card making.

Well that is changing! I can't imagine ever getting the "bug" with regard to these two crafty activities but I'm having a go! Here's my first attempt at a bracelet(apologies for the off-centre photos, not sure what's going on there, they look fine in preview!):

Two rows of buttons, round ones underneath, and mercerised embroidery thread to hold it together. Which looked nice when I first did it but is now looking a little raggy and is quite hard to do up!

Full of enthusiasm, I decided to have another go:

This time I used jewellery wire and a clasp. Spot the beginners errors! I don't particularly like the clasp but it's all I could find. And I have now learnt that the colour of the wire does matter - erk at putting silver and copper together! However I love the colours and I am pleased with the little seed beads which add a nice touch . (and once it's on no-one except me notices the colour clashes!

Saturday, 5 September 2009

Sunshiney loveliness

Today started off so well. The sky was blue, the sun was shining, so after making leek and potato soup for lunch we headed off for a walk on the beach, where we had great fun splashing around and skimming stones in the surf. Then the clouds started heading our way so we made our way home, and the rain started. It is now pouring down with no sign of any let-up! Ah well, at least we got out (and back) before the weather changed.

Anyway, to remind us of the nice weather earlier on, here are a couple of pics of some things I made earlier in the week (and photographed when the sun was out!):
A beach bag in lovely sunny colours (this is going in the post as a gift next week);

... and a pair of VERY bright and cheerful socks - they will definitely help to see me through the dark winter months to come!

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

As promised, the recycled rug tutorial!

Here's a run-down of how to make your own recycled rug! First of all, collect together all your old cast-offs. I used this one as a sample as it had a glaring stain in the middle; however, when I took the photo the stain miraculously disappeared!! Just so you don't think I'm mad I've added an arrow to show where the stain is. (Actually that in itself is probably a bit mad. Ah well.)
1. Ok so the first thing to do is to remove the seams. Lay the fabric out flat in a single layer; don't worry about squaring up the edges.

2. Using a guide, cut the material into strips. I made my guide from another t-shirt and wrote on it so I wouldn't lose it! My guide is 2 inches (5cm) wide, and being made of material it clings to the fabric nicely meaning I don't need to pin it on.
3. Voila - lots of strips of fabric! Carry on with the rest of your t-shirts until you have a nice satisfying pile to run your fingers through. I started off with a carrier bag full and though I cut them all up I still have quite a few left; however I got a good mix of colours that way.
4. For your starting strips, cut a triangular shape out of each piece. Make sure each strip is a different length (I will explain why in a moment).
5. Put a stitch through the end to hold them together.
6. Using a weight to hold the ends down, begin to plait your strips. You might find it easier to get a willing slave to hold it for you. However I had no slaves when I took this photo so I nicked my daughter's paperweight. Make sure you plait your strips quite tightly together, but not so tightly that they start to buckle.
7. When you have plaited to the end of your first strip, pick up the next strip and plait it in. Wrap the new strip round the end of the old one, with about an inch overlap (a little more if you are nervous). This is where having different length strips comes in; that way, you don't have lots of joins in the same place!
8. Continue adding in new strips as you run out, until you get bored/have none left/want to start sewing it together. You can add more strips later if you like, or you can make one long plait then do all the sewing in one go.
9. To begin the sewing, attach the thread to the back of the plait then, with the front uppermost, coil the end around itself with the ends tucked underneath.
10. Flip the coil over and secure it with some small stitches.
11. Continue to coil the plait around itself and sew together on the back. At this point it is easiest to continue with the rug back uppermost. It's vital to keep the rug flat whilst working so that it will lie flat when finished (if you make it on your knee then it will be full of lumps and bumps!), so it's best to do the sewing up on a table.
12. Here's a close-up of the back of another piece so you can see the stitching. This is going to be a plaited bowl, so rather than working on a table, I'm coiling this one round a mixing bowl to make the shape.
13. Here's the right side of the bowl (I'm experimenting with mixing similar shades here!
14. And there you have it. When you are satisfied that your rug is the right size for you, then add a backing fabric to cover up the stitching (can't show you a photo of that bit because I haven't done it yet!). Use a good quality hessian for the backing and it should help your rug last well.
15. And finally ... admire your handiwork!!