Welcome to my little corner of the blogosphere to share the ups and downs of starting a craft business, with plenty of tips, mishaps and the odd glass of wine!

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Wet Felting Course

Aaarrrrrggggg! Summer Holidays!

Ahem. Sorry.... just had to get that off my chest! I have been trying to write this post for 2 weeks now, but everytime I settle down to it, some little person comes in and needs a drink, some food, an argument dispute settling, etc!

BUT.... a couple of weeks ago I went on a wet felting course at our local Art Space centre run by a fab lady called Lizzie. Now, I've been wanting to try wet felting for ages, so I was SO excited.

In the course description, along with the supplies we needed to bring (towels, plastic bags & lunch) it said we could choose between making a hat, a bag or a pair of slippers... all 3D felt items, with no sewing involved. Now we're talking. I really hadn't got a clue how the 3D shapes were made so I spent all week changing my mind what I wanted to make.

When we got there (there were 7 of us taking the class) Lizzie explained a bit about felting, the materials used, how to get started, etc. So initially we all made a single strand of felt. I wanted to turn mine into something, so I made two little ones as bracelets for Seren & Patrick. Once I understood the principles behind how the roving tops felt together I tried making some beads and then I made myself a bracelet, which I added some sparkly thread to when I got home. The sunset felt below was a practice piece, which I added some silk threads to, but I wasn't keen on the end result, so I'm going to use the side that doesn't have the silk threads.

Then we moved onto making soft felt (which is what the sunset coloured piece in the pic above is) this is roving which has been felted a small amount, so you could still pull the fibers apart. The reason for making this was to cut out some shapes from the soft felt, to be added to our final 3D piece. If you over felt the soft felt piece then it won't felt into the final piece as all the fibers will have meshed together too firmly.

The top left and bottom right pieces in the collage above show the soft felt and the other two pics, show how the soft felt is used in the final piece.

Here is my heart, cut out from the soft felt and added to my bowl (which was the 3D piece I finally settled upon)

So to add the soft felt to the bowl (mid felting) I had to place it on the side I wanted it to end up (which had to be the bottom otherwise the hole for the bowl would have been cut into the heart) and add a few bits of roving around the edges of the heart and then carry on the felting process. I think it looks rather like a tutu at that point!

And finally, after a lot of rolling, soapy water and with slightly achy arms, here is my finished bowl!

I really really really enjoyed the course and have decided that I'm going to attempt to make some felt pictures with the kids... they'll have to be fairly abstract but I think they'll love it!

Now, obviously I've not gone through the whole felting process here, but if I can get the kids ones to resemble something recognisable I will do a tutorial on it.

Thursday, 9 July 2015

How to: Apple Plushie Teacher Thank You Gift Tutorial

I know, I know... it's the end of term next week, you're racing to try and get everything done before the little darlings embark on a 6 week loooooooooong summer holiday and if you're anything like me, you've just realised you need to give half a dozen Teachers & TA's a little thank you present next week!

Well, these cute plushie Apples are just the thing... they don't take long to make, you could do 2 or 3 in an evening and they look so cute!

You will need:

- Apple coloured felts (I've used a pillarbox red, a maroon and an emerald green)
- Matching embroidery thread
- 2 brads per Apple (or you could use sequins, black beads or even small felt circles)
- Black embroidery thread for the mouth
- Brown felt & embroidery thread for the stalk
- Green (if possibly a different shade to the green of your apple) felt and a contrasting green embroidery thread
- Sparkly material (I got mine from Paper-and-String who do all sorts of lovely felts too)
- Scissors, pins and the paper pattern (available at the end of the tutorial)
- Toy stuffing or felt scraps for stuffing.


1. Cut out 2 felt apple shapes & 2 sparkly cheeks. Position your cheeks, smile and eyes. Mark in the eyes and the smile with a pencil or a disappearing ink pen.

2. Sew on the sparkly cheeks using a corresponding thread colour (I used a silver sparkly thread, but you could just use a single strand of a pale coloured cotton thread) then insert the brads for eyes, covering up your pencil marks and stitch a smiling back stitch mouth using 2 strands of black embroidery thread.

3. Cut out 2 brown felt stalks and 2 green felt leaves. Back stitch around the stalks, using 2 strands of matching embroidery thread. For the leaves, I used a running stitch up the stem and then filled in the gaps coming back down and branching out for the leaves. It doesn't really matter how the back ends up looking as you won't see it.

4. Pin the leaf and the stalk in between the 2 apple pieces, making sure enough of both the stem and the leaf are going to be caught in the stitching.

5. Using 2 strands of a matching embroidery thread, back stitch around the apple, starting from the right hand side, so you get the stalk and leaf caught in early on. stop stitching when you have about an inch gap left.

6. Stuff your apple with toy stuffing or if you don't have any you could use felt scraps and when it's reasonably plump (don't give into temptation and over stuff!) back stitch up the hole closed and you are done!

Well done! You have an Apple Plushie!

For my kids teachers I think I'll attach a ribbon to the back of the stalk so they can be hung up, but you could sew a safety pin or a brooch back onto your Apple so it could be worn on clothes, hat or a bag.

I hope you enjoyed the tutorial and as always I'd love to see any that you make. I would like to ask that you respect the copyright and only make these as gifts, not to sell for profit. Please do not reproduce this tutorial in it's entirety and please link back to this page if you reference it elsewhere.

Monday, 6 July 2015

Doing something you love

Last week I took a few days off from 'work' and created 2 things, for different people, just because.... and do you know what? I LOVE it!!

First I made a Mummy & Baby VW Campervan:

I really really enjoyed makin this for a customer who is about to have a baby... It just seemed like such a cute idea! It's kind of like a VW Campervan Russian Doll idea - I am going to try a whole rainbow of them getting bigger and bigger one day!

The second thing I made, was a bowl for my Mum for her birthday. This was a real treat for me because I didn't have to try and make it look 'like' anything. Everything else I do... The campervans, the R2D2 costumes, animal masks, etc all have to look like the thing they are supposed to be, but this bowl and it's decor could be anything  I liked.... oh the freedom!

I made the bowl from extra thick stiffened felt, which I then wrapped in the normal felt I use. Then I needle felted some decorations to the inside of each side piece and made some paisley decorations to sew onto the outsides.

Then I sewed the 4 sides to the base and to each other. And voila!

The bowl is not something I'd make to sell as it took far too long to create for the money I'd be able to charge, but I loved making it as a one off!

If there was enough interest it could appear in my patterns section of the shop.

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