Thursday, 1 December 2011

Polymer Clay Steampunk Butterfly

Cazz made this rather wonderful steampunk butterfly from polymer clay. It started off just brown and white, and was magically transformed with mica paints.

Unfortunately she left it on the sofa and Paul sat on it, so this picture is all we have left of it!

Wednesday, 30 November 2011


After using those crimp beads it struck me that although I'd bought a lot of jewellery findings and beads but I hadn't actually made anything. (Well they look so nice in the box.) So today I made a necklace. The gorgeous bird with the diamant√© chest was my starting point. It came from a pair of earrings that were never worn. I matched it with clear and blue crystal beads and Tibetan silver spacer beads. I also made a pair of earrings using the Tibetan silver spacers and a couple of pretty 'European bracelet' type beads.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Birds decoration

I found a set of little wooden birds in 'The Works' and thought they'd  make a nice decoration and be ideal for trying out my mica powders.

 I mixed the mica powder with acrylic varnish and they looked quite pretty when I'd finished, all shiny and metallic. Then came the problem of how to hang them. I wanted them to look as if they were flying. The only way I could see of doing this was with invisible thread but that is difficult to work with. Then I thought about the floating necklaces we'd made in the jewellery class which is why they are attached to the pin with jewellery eyes, beading wire and crimps. The observant among you will have noticed that I started out with more birds. There are only three loops on the pin and I couldn't figure out a way to attach the others.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Christmas Hearts Decoration

One Christmas decoration I do like making is a string of hearts, separated by crystal beads that sparkle in the light. These were made for someone with a black and white themed room. My own Christmas theme is more the 'all bar(including?) the kitchen sink' theme.The hearts were very simple to make.
 I just drew round the heart template onto the back of a piece of fabric. Placed it right sides together with a second piece and stitched just inside the drawn line, leaving an unstitched section in one straight edge for filling. Then cut the heart out about 3/8 inch(1cm) outside the drawn line. Turned it right sides out, filled it with toy filling and sewed the gap closed. To add the beads I fastened the thread onto one heart, threaded five beads onto it and then joined on the next heart and fastened off.
You can download the heart template here.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Janome embellisher

I watched Kirsty Allsop creating a needle felted robin on television and decided I really must have a go so I bought myself a felting brush and needles yesterday. They are still on my table because one of my friends has bought herself a Janome embellisher which is like a sewing machine for needle felting and I went over and played with it today. These machines are great fun, no needles to thread, you just plug in and go.We used acrylic fibre but you can use wool, silk or bits of fabric. The piece in the photo is my first attempt. Now I've watched the Myfanwy Hart video that came with it and I have loads of ideas. I loved the speed which you could create something in but I will learn to needle felt by hand as it seems to me that a combination of both techniques would be better still.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Polymer Clay Card

One of the nice things about polymer clay is that once you've made your big item you can turn all the little bits you have left over into beads and card embellishments. It is very easy to make a quick card if you have a box full of mini flowers.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Polymer Clay again!

I admit I'm a little bit hooked on this polymer clay stuff and I'm not the only one. These are just a few of the creations filling up half my work table. I particularly like this one Cazz made.

The other half of my table has been commandeered by Paul who has covered it in heaps of black straws and tells me he is making a gridded snoot. I thought it might be some sort of weird animal like this 

but he tells me it's an important piece of photographic equipment. 

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Origami Crane Decorations

Yep, more cranes. There are instructions for folding these all over the internet, these ones are probably the easiest to follow.

I folded these from stiff paper, almost like thin card. That's hard work to fold, and you do need to be careful to leave a little gap when folding towards a crease, or it all goes wrong on later folds.

Ann says:- Paul got to do today's blog as I have a cold and didn't feel like making anything. I'm going to string the cranes with clear and red crystal beads between them and hang them in the stairwell. (I'm still waiting for the red beads to be delivered so I can't do it yet).

Friday, 18 November 2011

It's BBC Children In Need Day today. So Pudsey decided to pop up and say hello. Actually I think he's trying to get a look at the teddy bears I'm knitting before he rushes off to take his part in a fund raiser. Good Luck to everyone raising money today. It's a great cause.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Polymer Clay Fantasy Bird

Today was a chance to use my birthday presents. A huge box of 32 pearl-ex mica pigments and  a book on polymer clay, 'Birds of a feather ' by Christi Friesen. It's an amazing book and I shall certainly be incorporating some of her ideas into my craft projects.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011


Monday night was the 2011 Weston-super-Mare Carnival. The Somerset carnival circuits are something really spectacular - and until we moved here we'd never even heard of them. This is crafting on a grand scale - everything here is made by local Carnival Clubs. It's way out of my league, but well worth a look. Their website is
These are just a few of the 250+ photos I took. The entire procession takes more than two hours to pass. It is overwhelming stuff.

Happy Birthday Ann!

Shhh. Don't tell her what's in the box.

It was chocolates! The significance of the crane is that we had two of them hanging between the layers of our wedding cake. I loved it so much that I got Paul to make me another crane from Japanese (origami) Washi paper.The paper is quite thick so it made a very strong decoration which will be flying on my Christmas tree.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Cut Felt Christmas Bauble

I saw a gorgeous cushion last week made from cut felt but before I tried it out myself I thought I'd make something on a smaller scale. One thing I now know is that if I do make one I need to buy some small sharp scissors first ( and keep them for fabric). I also need better quality felt. The stuff I made the bauble from was the thick fuzzy variety and quite difficult to cut through. Anyway if you want to try here's how I did it (It would make a great First Christmas Bauble). I started by drawing the design on paper making sure that all the lines linked. I ironed some fusible web onto the red felt and traced my design, in reverse onto the paper backing. Cut out design using a sharp craft knife, scissors and as little swearing as possible. Then removed the paper backing and ironed it onto the green felt. I cut round the red design about 3/8 inch(1cm) from the edge and used this to cut a second circle of  green felt. I used a running stitch to join the two circles.Just before I finished sewing I added a little toy stuffing to lightly pad the bauble. Then made a hanging loop with the end of my thread. Not perfect but the technique works and it's pretty enough to hang on my tree.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Lap tray

I loved making my necklace. So much so that I signed up for another class and ordered a load of findings from ebay. This morning I was shopping in  Poundland  ( LOVE THAT PLACE! ) when I spotted this high sided tray. I've made a box shaped beanbag and stuck the tray to it with super glue. What a good day for reducing my stash! I used up some fabric and some of the bean bag beads left over from my topping up my other bean bag (if that makes sense). Hopefully this will keep the beads on my lap rather than on the carpet.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Jewellery Class

I spent yesterday evening at a jewellery making class at Connie's the craft cafe in Weston-super-Mare. We learned to make floating necklaces and earrings. It was a lot easier than I expected. For mine I used metal beads with daisy spacers and 'floated' them on gold wire. Cazz created a long necklace on a sea theme and then made some musical earrings. It was a very enjoyable way to learn a new craft and I would recommend it to anyone as a great way to create your own individual jewellery.

Cut Paper in Action

This is a puzzle post. Can you tell what it is yet? No? Me neither.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Cut Paper - experiments

Ann is working extra hours this week, so it's my turn again! About 40 years ago I had a lot of fun making collages out of cut paper silhouettes, and after a quick rummage I found Ann's stack of coloured card and cut out the simple seaside scene above. It looks a bit flat of course (only because it is), and that got me thinking.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Polymer Clay Giraffe

Alas it's an all work and no play day today, so I thought I'd show you the super cute giraffe almost daughter made from polymer clay. The snag with polymer clay is that different thicknesses need to be baked for different amounts of time. To make the giraffe she made the body and baked that, then attached the head and neck and supported then with cooking foil (they go soft in the oven before they get hard) and baked that. Then attached the legs and tail and ,using foil as a support, baked it again. I think I shall have to stick to very thin, flat objects as I'm not sure I have the patience for this.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Knitted card ( Xmas cat)

I know I have put this up before but it's what I'm making today and when I went to get the instructions it had disappeared from my blog, so sorry about the repeat but here's the pattern if anyone wants it.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Animal Biscuits

Today I got up with the best  intentions. I even started to knead the fimo. Then everything went wrong. In the end the only things I made today were these biscuits.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Polymer clay(2)

Today I thought I'd try making canes and animals. Amazingly one of my canes worked (OK it was a tiny bit more oval than I planned.) I used it to decorate the turtle shell. If you're wondering about the eyes they're glass beads (plastic ones melt). I made the otter by starting with a ball of clay and pinching out the limbs and head. I gave both of them a coat of varnish after cooking (30 mins per 1/4 inch(6mm) thickness seems to work not just 30mins which was what  it said in my book). Before I baked yesterday's makes I brushed some(OK most) of them with bronze powder which gives a great effect.

All this making leaves lots of leftovers that are too mixed up to use. Rather than waste them I mixed them together to get a dark greenish stone color. Rolled them out to about 1/4 inch(6mm) and stamped them with celtic stamps to look like carved stone. When I have made enough I shall make a mosaic mirror surround with them.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Polymer clay(1)

This week I am trying to learn how to use polymer clay.. It is not as easy as I thought it would be. For a start you have to condition the clay to turn the extremely hard block into a nice plasticine like substance. This requires a lot of effort and as soon as you stop kneading it begins to go hard again. I have also learnt how to use the push mould to make faces and stamps to make patterns(dust them with cornstarch before you use it and remove the excess powder with a soft brush. If you fail to do this the clay will stick to it when you use it a second time.) It may not be obvious that I started out with five colours (white, blue, pink, black and brown. I tried to make a cane with the blue, white and pink which is why they ended up as grey. Now I have to bake them and see if they stay in one piece.Yes, I know, the owl got back in again.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Owl Bag Charm

 I know it's another owl but I really liked the effect of the embroidery on the denim doorstop so I thought I'd try making a bag charm from denim. I wonder how many owls I could make from a pair of my jeans? Quite a lot I suspect.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Shrink Plastic

Now Hallowe'en is over I wanted to make myself a Pudsey decoration for the Children in Need appeal (Nov 18). I I used shrink plastic and we made a couple of owl shrinkies to hang on the Christmas tree. As you can see one owl is larger than the other - the result of me getting it out too soon. I put it back in but I guess it had done all the shrinking it wanted to do. It won't show when they're on the tree. We used permanent felt tips on these but I think pencil crayons work better. If you haven't used shrink plastic before be prepared for the fact that it ends up only about 40% of it's original size so if you want to make a 4inch(10cm) tall decoration you need to start with a 10inch(25cm) tall piece of shrink plastic.If you are making a hanging hole a regular hole punch sized hole ends up just big enough to put a needle through.

Monday, 31 October 2011

Friday, 28 October 2011

Fluffy Knitted Owl Babies

I know there is only one of them but a little friend of mine has asked for some owl babies to go with her favourite book so here is the first one he's only about 4 inches (10cm) high. I shall knit the other two when I have got some more eyes. It's a really simple pattern so it won't take long. I used to love the book 'Owl Babies' by Martin Waddell and Patrick Benson.The pattern is here if you want to make one.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Crochet Amigurumi Owl

Wednesday is my crochet class day. There isn't one this week so I thought I'd experiment with shaped crochet and this little amigurumi owl is the result. He's probably heading for my Christmas tree. The beads I used for his eyes are stored in a glass chemist's vial with a cork lid. They have been there at least fifty years so these two must be quite glad to escape. I think it's just possible that this hoarding of craft stuff may have been inherited.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Owl Doorstop

Today's owl is a doorstop that I made by recycling my daughters jeans (one leg anyway!). I cut off about 12inches(30cm) of jeans leg and embroidered the owl onto it. I cut a square of denim for the base with sides half the width of the flattened jeans leg plus 3/4 inch(2cm)With the jeans leg inside out I stitched across the top of the leg, leaving a gap in the centre for turning and filling, then pinned and stitched the base to the bottom of the leg. I turned the doorstop the right way out (those pointy ears just happen when you fill it) and filled the body with rice (you could use lentils or pulses) then the face section with toy filling and used a slip stitch to close the gap. Isn't he cute?

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Owl Cards (2)

I did manage to use up a little of my card stash. There is something very appealing about owls. They come in so many shapes and sizes but as long as you give them big eyes somehow they always look right.

I made this one for a friend who is always sewing so the background paper is scissors and the owl is made with fabric effect papers. The eyes are indian shisha embroidery mirrors.
Owls always look wise so who better to bring a wise saying?
Loved these eyes. They are paper clips. The feet are made from twisted wire.
This pretty pink and green owl is made from a set of papers that were a free gift from 'Simply Homemade' magazine. It started life as a collection of printed hearts. I trimmed one to make the head and pencilled in the edge stitches. The button eyes and the ribbon bow were part of the same coordinating set.

Finally an owl for Christmas. I've had this gorgeous shiny backing paper for ages but hadn't thought of a way to use it.I cut the owl, tree and stocking from the scrap card that came from the aperture so they match the surround exactly. The sequin eyes match the backing paper and make it a very Xmassy card.