Saturday, 31 December 2011

Last make of the year

Though it is not as if I made much during 2011 I thought I would end on a high.

It started with Secret Santa. My first thought was Cookies (said in that voice). Then, after reading Carol on UKCraftforum I had a rethink - thanks Carol.

So here I was and there was Carol, making pretty felt pictures.

So I grabbed my needle pen and some roving and started punching.

Ignore the threads, I wanted to show the shape as it came off the brush. Then I added a second colour to the middle and a couple of stamen things. I added a couple of beads, left them a little bit dangly so there would be a bit of movement, and finally added a button.

So now I have to decide what to do with it. I thought either a brooch or a hairslide!

I know I still need to tidy up the back of things, but I was focussing on not stabbing my fingers and not breaking the needles on the metal cookie cutter.

Sadly this is not upcycled or recycled, but I enjoyed it and it has given me some good ideas for easy embellishment of some soon to be crafted stuff.

I hope you like it, it was fun, quick and easy to do so I have no excuse now!

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Ah ha!

Thanks to Annie and Lyn on UKcraftsforum for this link

A free e-book on how to manage your time!

I have downloaded it....  now I just need to make time to read it :)

I shall post back later.... another good excuse for not making anything!

Sunday, 18 December 2011

How to set aside time to craft...

Oh how hard that has been for me this year!

I spent all summer investigating, googling, collecting ideas in my onenote thingy and contemplating. Not to mention spending about £100 on my start up kit. Heart breaking really as I was simply re-purchasing all the bitses and bobses I used to own and use regularly.

I began to talk to my sewing machine, to draw up designs in my thought book (a posh little book cover bought years and years ago that has been patriently waiting for a purpose). I was all fired up and excited... then September came and, what with lesson planning, marking, Open days/Evenings, parent evenings and all the rest of it, I was glad OH was home to look after the chickens, I have had so little time.

I get home utterly shattered and, what with a dodgy back and CFS linked to 14 syllables of anaemia, I just flake out. And yes I know that isn't a good idea - my day job is sport science!!!

So... I am now planning 2 new things, craftuing time and getting fit and thinner time! Hopefully the exercise stuff will be in the mornings - a benefit of having chickens is you have to get up early. Craft stuff can be evenings and bits of the weekend.

But all of that means I have to do all of the day job within daylight hours - eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeek!

But I will, I will, I will........

Back to books

I love books and I love bags, so it was quite obvious that I would eventually succumb to this one. It has been in my Wishlist for a while: 24 "rockin' DIY projects"

Well, it starts most reassuringly
Use this book without caution. You have nothing to lose but your junk
 and then it has a Tool Key that even the most terrified beginner would be reassured by. The instructions are simple, accompanied by great piccies that really do illuminate the tricksy bits.

Then they include some inspirational bag makers with a single page 'look at me' that is probably not supposed to make you smile, but I did, cos they are all so enthusiastic (and young). The thought of making bags out of metal road signs or vinyl records (!!!!!!!!!!!!!) reduced me to sniggles that return whenever I open those pages!

But the patterns themselves are a doddle and the difficulty stars seem about right. I wanted the deconstructed tuxedo bag really as I have some great mens jackets that need a new lease of life. So when the book arrived I went straight to the Tux Redux.... my husband said he lost me for just over an hour!

As for making bags out of rubber bath mats.... I am sold, but can't see how it can be recycling when you buy the mats new!!

And I now know what to do when I see an umbrella collapsed in the street - take it home, wash it and make a fold up shopping bag out of it!!!

In short I am glad it was half price. I like the ideas, I think it is a great book for a beginner and I am certain I will use it as it has some work arounds I like the look of, including a great bag of ties, and I have quite a few of them, I can't resist buying them from charity shops!

So, score....

7/10   I think it is a great starter book and has some good ideas. I would recommend it to someone who has never reccyled or sewn before (it even has one bag that is stapled together!).


Saturday, 10 December 2011

Starting up

At first I wanted to get myself organised with whole ranges of stuff I wanted to make. "Stef's Stuff" was originally a frontrunner for my business name. But I had to rethink (with lots of help from UKCraftsforum). But I did come up with some range names that mean a lot to me. I looked up the meanings of my mother and grandmothers' names and thought about their personalities:

Lucy - could be flighty and bright (she always thought it was a tart's name). Patchworky stuff, anything multi-coloured, probably the felted stuff too!
Mabel - (which she used instead) I imagine as sepia tinted, vintage, retro stuff. I think this one would be good for the obviously recycled stuff.
Jenny means white wave... I don't think I could use that for my mixed bag of junk! But you never know! She did have a white streak in her otherwise jet black hair... I definitely need to think that through!
Patricia - blue and white, maybe jewellery from broken pottery, easy to do!
Winifred - celtic and complex would be the natural name for any wirework

So that was my original thought. As you can see there was no actual making of anything involved!

My first attempt to make something (yes, I have dabbled a little) was fusing plastic. It was supposed to be a brooch, but is too big - hey presto! a bag charm

I found all sorts of information, the best was Sara Bella based in Canada link

That's what sent me to the books on plastic fusing and looking at youtube, where I found Meilris link a simple demo of how to!

Craftzine link also has a fusing section, but some of that is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay to much for me!

Other ideas for plastic bags include:
Plaiting into dog leads.
Baby bibs
Plant pot cover ups
Pen pots
Sandwich bags
Bow brooches

I could make bigger things but, having tried fusing lots of bags, I prefer smaller sections as big sheets look quite rumpled and iffy! But I may get better at it as I collect more bags and try out more options.

So that's my thoughts on plastics.... for the moment anyway.

I keep saying I am thinking...

It struck me that I use OneNote to keep all my thoughts in. Why don't I also use my blog? That way I would be able to post daily!!

So I shall.

I'm off now to organise the OneNote file and I'll pop back once I have had a proper sort out. Oh!! That's more prevarication though - "I'll just organise it all and then come back and post"! I may be a lost cause!

Sunday, 4 December 2011


Odd what happens when the real job kicks back in!

4th September was the day before term started and I haven't posted since. Nor have I crafted a thing!!

But I have found a new task... repairing colleagues jewellery! I have been inundated with broken pieces to mend and have been busily cannabilising my own junk stocks for jump rings etc.

Like an eejit I neglected to memorialise my efforts in print! But it has been eye blistering fun. I now know I need a magnifying light thingy!! I shall do a bit of research and post that here, as I get on with it. I feel a late crismas pressie looming!

I shall probably not get back here this year. But I have a corking New Year's Ressie.... make proper ME time! That will include weight loss, fitness levels and, most importantly of all, crafting time!!