Felted Cards

Today I want to show you something I’ve been working on recently, a range of cards featuring wet felted pieces/pictures.

The first cards I made using this theme were some aimed at valentine’s day. Although me and Nathan don’t really celebrate valentine’s day I had been noticing a bit of a gap in the market on craft sites/etsy/facebook selling groups etc. for valentines day cards that were simple, classy and unusual. Everything I saw was either very, very mushy or cheeky/rude.

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The felt hearts were made out of a sheet of felt I made myself from shades of pink, purple and red wool. After I had wet felted the wool together I let it dry and then sewed over the felt with my sewing machine in red, pink and purple cotton thread. Lastly I added some stitching in a shiny bronze thread to add a bit of sparkle to the card. As I wrote in my Felted Moths post, I love the combination of handmade felt and machine stitches, it creates such lovely textures! Finally I cut out heart shapes from the felt and used a hot glue gun to attach them to off-white cards.

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Although these cards were aimed at valentine’s day to begin with, as there is no text on the outside or inside I think they could be suitable for Mother’s day, anniversaries, weddings, engagements or even birthdays if the recipient was particularly into hearts.

The next set of cards I made were these, sea themed ones. I used the same wet felting process, this time using a light blue colour for the sky, brown and yellow for sand and a combination of blues and greens for the sea. I added texture during the wet felting process by including curly white locks of wool to resemble sea foam and breaking waves. This time I did not add stitching as I felt there was enough texture already but I would like to experiment with machine stitching on a felt seascape at some point.

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Again these cards are simple, with no text on or inside them meaning they could be used for any occasion. I gave one of these to my dad for his birthday last week and he was pleased with it. I like the idea that these cards are completely unique and each one is like a small original artwork in itself. They could even be framed by the recipient, making them a card and a present in one!

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These cards so far have not been great sellers for me but I am still pretty happy with the way they look! I think they might go down better at craft fairs where it is good to have some lower priced items on your stall so that people who like your work but have a smaller budget can still afford to buy from you. The textures and colours of the felt are also much better in person than in photographs.

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I am considering a meadow themed series of cards next, maybe poppies in a field or daffodils, everyone likes flowers right? And it would feel so appropriate with spring just around the corner!

What would you like to see depicted in felt on a card?

If you are interested my cards can be purchased here: Heart cards and here: Seascape cards

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Felted Moths

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My boyfriend Nathan recently celebrated his 27th birthday and as he is a big fan of moths (slightly weird creature to be a fan of..?) I decided to create a giant felted moth for him. This is something I’ve been meaning to try making for Nathan for over a year now and I’m so glad I found the time to give it a try. Being completely creative and trying something new like this is so important when you sell your crafts too, It’s like a little creative holiday!

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Anyway, this moth was created with a combination of felting techniques. The wings were wet felted in shades of brown, cream, yellow, orange and red felt. I made a large sheet of the felt using the wet felting process and then cut wing shapes out and embellished them with sewing machine stitches. I love the look of sewing machine stitches on top of felt, the combination of materials and textures really stands out to me.

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The body of the moth was needle felted, I added long fur to the abdomen and head sections, adding long fur is a technique I have only recently learnt but am definitely now obsessed with!

The eyes are toy safety eyes that I glued in place and the moths antennae are feathers that I trimmed down and glued to the head. The moths legs are made from a special kind of pipe cleaner that has barbs so it’s very easy to attach wool to. I use these special pipe cleaners for my stag heads antlers and I hear they are great as an armature when beginning a needle felted animal/figure too.

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The smaller moth in these pictures was a bit of a test for the larger one and it is actually available to buy from my Etsy shop. I had so much fun making this moth I’m thinking of making more in various sizes and colours to sell but I have no idea if that is the kind of thing people might want to buy. Butterflies and dragon flies could be beautiful made out of felt too. Watch this space!

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Nathan loves moths and I don’t mind them but I know they freak a lot of people out, where do you stand on moths? Would you want a moth or butterfly felt sculpture in your home? I’d love to hear your opinions!

A little crafty update

Ok so once again it has been a while since my last blog post but I’m determined to not give up on my little corner of the internet and keep showing you the bits and pieces i’ve been making and doing, if you don’t mind?

Recently most of my spare time has been spent on making things for our Etsy shop, we have had our shop for just over a year now and sales have definitely picked up, particularly over Christmas. We have also created a Facebook page as I have been told that lots of people get many more sales through Facebook than they do Etsy, our page is only a couple of months old so I am yet to see any sales. It is fun to keep friends and family updated with what we’ve been making via our page though!

We also did our first craft fairs in November and December which were brilliant, we made money each time – I was very relieved as I’ve heard so many horror stories about poor crafters sat at fairs all day not making a penny. I really loved the crafting community aspect of the fairs, I met some really lovely people. One lady even liked our items enough to offer us some space in her beautiful shop, since then we have had a few pieces for sale there too. It really is all about making connections!

So that’s what has been happening with our little business but what have I been making?

One of our most popular items at fairs and on Etsy are these faux taxidermy needle felted animal heads. I started with making deer heads and have since branched out and have tried hares, giraffes, bears, badgers and foxes. I am super excited to continue the range and am thinking of doing a zebra next! Let me know if you can think of any other animals I should try!

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Making these needle felt animal heads is so rewarding as they don’t take as long as a whole animal but they still make quite an impact, I think people like that they can be hung on the wall too.

This week I am working on one of these needle felted woodland animal nursery garlands. They are popular on Etsy so we have decided to give a safari animal themed one a go too.

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The other thing I’ve been making a lot of is needle felted mushrooms, I love the way these look  and they are pretty fun to make too. As you can see most of what I have been doing lately is needle felting as it seems to sell quite well, I am also seeing a lot of improvement in my work as I keep practising which is really nice and very motivational.

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In amongst the needle felting I have been doing other crafts of course, at Christmas I found myself making loads of crochet hats and gingerbread men, and lots of Christmas ornaments and bunting. I was also given the supplies needed to try two new crafts for Christmas, dressmaking and traditional teddy bear making. I know I really don’t need to add any more crafts to my frankly ridiculously long list of hobbies but I just can’t help myself, I want to try it all!

I’d love to know what crafts you’ve been doing lately?

And what would you like to see more of on this blog, needle felting? tutorials? sewing? small craft business related stuff? Let me know!

Cushion covers – two ways

Hello again! It’s been a while but I’ve not stopped making things I promise!

My recent creative obsession – because that’s how it happens isn’t it?! Is making cushion covers for my Etsy shop. I finally got around to making the cherry blossom themed felt fronted cushion cover I had been planning for months and months.

Here it is! I’m really pleased with it, it’s turned out almost exactly as I’d imagined.

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The other type of cushion cover I’ve been working on is patchwork. I’ve been doing patchwork for years now, ever since my mum taught me as a child. My style has always been pretty scrappy, not worrying too much about corners meeting or fussy pattern placement. However the past two weeks I have been giving a neater, more controlled type of patchwork a go, and I’ve got to say it’s really worth taking the extra time and care.

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The patchwork panel on the front of these cushions was hand sewn using the english paper pieces method, the border, back panel and side seams were machine sewn. I used an envelope opening style on the back so that the cushion covers can be removed easily and washed.

My natural love of all things blue and green really shows through in my colour choices for these cushions. I plan to make some more in other colours next as I know that not everyone shares my love for ocean colours!

I’d love to know what you think of my cushion covers, or what your current crafting obsession happens to be. Thanks for reading!

Handmade gifts all round!

May is a crazy busy month for me every year. My job at the college becomes full of helping stressed out students prepare for deadlines and exhibitions, the warmer weather means weekends are booked up with BBQs and camping trips and we have recently started a tradition of travelling to Barcelona for Primavera Sound festival at the end of May. Not only is it my birthday in May, it is also the birthdays of lots and lots of my friends and family.

Usually I like to make my loved ones gifts as much as possible, but for the people with birthdays in May I just don’t often have the time. This year I decided that as an avid crafter and occasional Etsy seller I should be buying my friends and family handmade gifts from Etsy or craft fairs if I cannot find the time to make them myself.

I thought it might be nice to share a few of the lovely gifts I have bought on Etsy with you here. Maybe it will spark some ideas for gifts for your loved ones, but most of all I think it’s important to share the love of all things handmade with others and support other crafters!

DIY needle felting toadstool kit

I bought this kit for a friend who has never tried needle felting but loves lots of other crafts. I can’t wait to see how she gets on with it. I came across this kit when reading Leonor’s blog Felt Buddies and Co and decided to purchase her kit in order to support another UK crafter and blogger 🙂

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Black and white crystal pendant

I ordered one of these black and white crystal necklaces and it arrived a couple of days ago, it’s beautiful and I’m sure my friend will love it.

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Another crystal necklace

Two of my closest female friends have birthdays in the same week (the same week as mine too!) so I often end up buying them similar gifts, I bought one of them the black and white necklace above and the other one this purple triangle necklace. You just can’t go wrong with handmade jewellery.

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Owl watercolour print

I actually bought this print a year ago for an owl loving friend of mine, it’s a beautiful watercolour design and it arrived pretty quickly despite coming all the way from America.

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Watercolour cherry blossom prints

Another Etsy purchase from last year, this time for my mum who is a big fan of cherry blossom. She loves these prints so much! Her birthday is coming up again soon, hopefully I can find her another gift she likes just as much on Etsy.

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And now I can’t resist sharing some items that I haven’t purchased yet but would like to one day, either for myself or as a gift.

The Fox In The Attic

I just stumbled upon this Etsy shop today, their stuff is so cute. I hope a friend/family member has a baby soon so I can buy it one of these rattles.

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Papio Press

I came across Papio Press at the Bristol Etsy fair at Christmas time, I fell in love with their illustration style so much that my friend went back afterwards and bought me one of their prints.

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Last but not least is Click Picks

Click Picks is my friend Zoe’s shop, she’s a really talented photographer and sells her prints on Etsy as well as handmade notebooks, book covers and other crafty bits and bobs. She gave me one of her handmade notebooks once and it is absolutely beautiful.

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Well I hope that little round up of fun stuff I’ve found on Etsy was at least a little bit interesting for you! Small businesses really rely on people spreading the word about their fantastic products so it’s great to share brilliant makers and handmade items when you come across them!

Etsy is so full of amazing things it can be hard to know where to start sometimes, I’d love any recommendations any of you might have, either for your own handmade items or someone elses! Thanks for reading 🙂

 

 

Embroidered Song Lyrics

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Just a quick post today as I wanted to share a piece of embroidery I finished recently featuring some of my favourite song lyrics.

This hoop was mostly worked on whilst we were stuck in bank holiday Monday traffic on the way back from a long weekend in beautiful Croyde. I love crafts that I can take with me anywhere and work on when I happen to have some time to fill, embroidery is perfect for this.

I had been thinking about embroidering my favourite song lyrics for a few weeks and had always planned to print out the lyrics in a pretty script, trace them onto the fabric and then sew over them so that the letters were uniform in shape and size. However when I found myself stuck in traffic with a needle, hoop, fabric and thread I couldn’t resist giving it a go freehand.

For this piece I used a heather grey cotton and embroidered it using variegated blue and green cotton threads. I finished the hoop neatly on the back with a piece of green felt stitched to the excess fabric pulled through the wooden hoop.

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The lyrics ‘I had too much to dream last night …’ are from one of my favourite songs of all time by the Electric Prunes. I have listed the hoop on my Etsy shop so maybe someone else who loves the song as much as me would like it hanging in their house too.

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My hope is that this will be the first in a series of embroidered designs featuring song lyrics, although next time I will print and trace the lyrics in an attractive font rather than my wonky handwriting. I know I want to do a few lyrics from Radiohead songs, but I’d love to know what lyrics you think would look good made into hoop art?!

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A Project Just For Me – Bunting

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Hello! Just a quick post today to share a little project I have been working on just for me. When you make things to sell and to give as gifts all the time it is so important to find the time to do small just for fun projects for yourself every now and then.

This bunting is made from fabrics I have had in my stash for a long time, I was saving them for that perfect project that never really came along. Having recently decided I must start using my stash before buying more fabric I decided to make aprons to sell on Etsy. I couldn’t bring myself to use every last inch of these special fabrics for the aprons though, and decided to keep a small bit back to make myself some bunting. I have been making bunting for years, mostly as gifts and sometimes to sell but I had never gotten around to making myself some. It feels really great to have finally done it and the bunting definitely brightens up our spare room/craft room nicely.

As I knew I would be hanging this bunting flat against a wall I only made the flags one sided, this left more fabric spare for other projects too. I simply cut triangles of each fabric, hemmed the edges and attached them to some ribbon. A simple project but very satisfying!

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Now that I’ve used some of my fabric stash I feel it might just be ok to buy some more … I hope I’m not the only one who has to really force themselves to use their treasured fabrics rather than just squirrelling them away for that elusive perfect project?

 

Machine Sewn Baby Blanket

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A few weeks ago I wrote a post about my plans for the two weeks off work I had over Easter, in that post I mentioned hoping to finish a baby blanket I have been working on and today I have finally finished it!

This is the first baby blanket I have ever made using my sewing machine, the previous blankets have been hand sewn. It was a much quicker process but it’s safe to say I need some more practice with cutting accurately and machine sewing neatly as my blanket has turned out pretty messy looking in places.

I started by choosing some cute fabrics and cutting them into strips, I chose strips because it would be quicker and simpler than triangles for instance but slightly more visually interesting than simple squares.

The next stage was working out order and placement for my quilt.

Once I had come up with a design I liked, I methodically piled up my strips of fabric and stored them in piles labelled by row so that I knew what order to sew them together in.

Then I got started sewing the strips together, once each strip in each row were joined I ironed the fabric and joined all the rows together.

The final stage was picking a fabric to use for the border and back of the quilt, as well as some wadding. I chose 100% cotton wadding as the blanket is for a baby, it’s so soft and easy to sew with I think I will use 100% cotton for all my quilts now. The colour I chose for the border was not what I originally wanted, I was hoping to find a green cotton that matched the green background of the fabric with a mushroom pattern. Unfortunately I couldn’t find a green that was suitable so I picked a bright teal instead that picks up on the teal in a few of the other fabrics. I usually use a patterned fabric for the back of my quilts but this time the main patchwork fabrics are so bright, loud and busy with pattern I wanted to tone down the overall feel of the quilt by using a plain cotton.

So here is my finished quilt, as I said before, I am not 100% happy with it as quite a few of the corners don’t meet properly and the whole thing has a slightly messy, rushed feel. I did learn a lot though and despite the messiness I am still looking forward to giving the quilt to my cousin for her new baby when he or she arrives in the summer. A handmade gift (especially one you have put a lot of time into) is always appreciated and loved, I’d rather give a slightly messy looking quilt to a loved one than a present bought in a shop any day!

Now that this quilt is finished I am looking forward to starting a new one and working harder on accurate cutting and neat machine sewing! If any of you make quilts or any form of patchwork I’d love to see it!

Photography Lately

Todays post is another glimpse into the photographs I have been taking lately. Last weekend myself and a good friend from University decided a walk in the fresh air and some time to focus on taking pictures and catching up with each others lives might be a good thing for us both. We walked the Gorge Walk over Cheddar Gorge and it turned out to be just what we both needed.

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The gorge walk, as you may expect from a gorge, is pretty steep a lot of the time so it was an exhausting day out but the fresh spring air and chance to spend all day outdoors was bliss after a long winter. We definitely felt as though we had earned the pint we had in a cute pub garden in Cheddar after our walk.

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The gorge is a visually stunning place, as well as the lovely views we got to see a lizard and some adorable baby goats roaming the hillside.

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Having the chance to take a day out from busy modern life and just be outside, taking pictures with an old friend was so great. I hope to fill my weekends with more adventures and exploring as the weather continues to improve and I hope you won’t mind me sharing a few images of those adventures here from time to time.

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Just incase you were wondering, I used a Canon 6D for these shots – not my usual camera but so fun to play with!

Finally Framed – Needle Felted Animal Portraits

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Well my two weeks off work are over, it went too quickly as it always does but I do feel I used the time well. One thing I did not do during my time off was blogging, that is not surprising to me as I never feel like even turning on my laptop during my free time. Due to the nature of my job I get some quiet moments whilst waiting for students to turn up etc. where I can blog and edit photos at work. So apologies for the two weeks of quiet on this blog, I promise I will get around to sharing all the creative things I’ve been doing recently over the next couple of weeks.

One project I am very glad to have finished during my time off is my needle felted animal portraits. I shared them in my last post so you may have seen them before, but they were unfinished as they were waiting for the perfect little frames. I had spent a few hours roaming my local charity shops and junk shops looking for tiny old picture frames that would suit these novelty portraits of a fox and a badger wearing human clothes. Unfortunately these frames of the perfect size turned out to be another of those items that you find all the time when you don’t need them but as soon as you do, they are nowhere to be found.

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Luckily a friend came to the rescue, giving me two wooden frames of the perfect size. They didn’t have the old look I was hoping for and they seemed a little plain for my dapper looking dressed up animals so I painted them a golden colour and then rubbed gold gilding wax over the top to give the frames a kind of gold leaf effect. I am very pleased with how the frames have turned out, they work well with the texture of the felted animal portraits and best of all they cost me nothing due to the kindness of my friend.

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I have listed these two on my Etsy shop but to be honest with you, I would not mind at all if they didn’t sell and I had to keep hold of them! I’d like to try making a few more and creating a series of animal portraits, what animal do you think I should try next?

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