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

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!

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!

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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Easter holidays are finally here!

As I am lucky enough to work in education today is the start of two weeks off for me, to say I’m excited is an understatement! I have so many ideas of projects I’d like to do, places I’d like to go and people I’d like to see during these two weeks but the main way I want to use my time is to finish some work in progress projects that have been building up. I thought it might be nice to share some of the projects I’d like to get on with during my two weeks. I’m sure I will be more motivated to get them finished if I’ve told you all about them.

These little needle felted animal portraits are actually finished, but my aim for the Easter holidays is to find cute little vintage picture frames for them. I’m very excited to see them all framed up, I think they will look great! I made these little guys much in the same way as my needle felted animal ornaments, except these were needle felted onto small pieces of pre-felt and made flat rather than 3D. The fox is wearing a needle felted suit jacket but the badger’s shirt and tie are made from shop bought craft felt, it was loads of fun experimenting with making these animal portraits and I’m definitely going to make more!

In comparison to the needle felted animal portraits, this is a project which I have literally only just started. These fabric strips will be made into a patchwork baby blanket for my cousin’s baby, due in July. I have made a few baby blankets before but in the past have kept each blanket to just one colour scheme with different patterns, this time I wanted to try a more multi-colored theme with coordinating patterned fabric. This fabric was purchased at the Craft 4 Crafters fair we went to last month in Exeter, I really love the cute woodland theme, the mushroom print is my favourite! Unlike my other baby blankets which have been hand sewn, I will be machine sewing this quilt. I’m looking forward to getting to know my new sewing machine better and increasing my quilting skills. I adore making things for babies and can’t wait to make things for my own little ones sometime in the future.

This patchwork quilt is a project I have been working on for years, that’s not even an exaggeration .. it really has been years. I am using the english paper pieces method and hand sewing the whole thing which is part of the reason it has taken me so long, the other part is that I keep running out of money to buy more fabric. However I can finally say I am nearly finished with this quilt! I am sewing a border at the moment, using a pretty floral fabric in shades of ivory, pink and blue.

I hope to have finished the border in the next week or so and can then move onto picking backing fabric and wadding, exciting! I have learnt a lot whilst making this quilt so I will definitely write a big post about it when it is finally finished. That will be a good day.

The final project I’d like to share with you today is this apron that I finished sewing this week. A couple of years ago I made aprons as Christmas gifts for lots of people and it was so successful I have decided to make a few for my Etsy shop too. This is the first one I’ve made, I love the combination of subtle heather grey fabric with the bold psychedelic paisley deer print. Although this apron is finished I need to iron and photograph it properly and then list it on Etsy. Hopefully I can get that done during my time off and maybe even make some more aprons. My mind is full of fun fabric and print combinations I’m dying to try!

I’d love to know what you all have planned for Easter? As well as these crafty goals I am hoping to spend lots of time with friends and family and of course, eat my weight in chocolate eggs!

My first Etsy custom order…

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Sorry it’s been a little quiet around here for a week or so, I’ve been pretty busy with work, quality time with friends and family and lots of making things. I must work harder on making time for blog posts!

Something pretty exciting happened the other day, I received my first ever custom order on Etsy! A lovely lady called Pamela told me she loved the seascape design felt fronted cushion I had on my site, but wanted 2 larger versions. I was more than happy to have a go at making these for her and just this morning I got them finished! You can have a look at my original seascape felt cushion in this post.

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Making two matching pieces of felt was tricky, it meant carefully measuring out pieces of each colour used so as not to include too much of one and make them look too different from each other. I had also not worked on a sheet of felt this large before, Pamela wanted her finished cushions to be 45cm squares which meant starting the wet felting process with squares of over 60cm. If I am going to continue to create felt pieces of this size I will have to find myself a new work space as none of my surfaces were big enough to roll the large felt sheets comfortably. Attempting to work out how large to start the felt sheet to allow for shrinkage during the wet felting process was another challenge that thankfully turned out ok.

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Despite these challenges making this custom order was a brilliant experience for me and one I hope to have the chance to repeat regularly. Being paid to create has always been a dream of mine and this week I got to live that dream a little bit, it felt great!

I am still new to Etsy and the world of selling handmade items but I am really enjoying learning as I go along and this custom order has definitely boosted my confidence. If you have any advice/words of wisdom/amusing anecdotes about selling your handmade items I’d love to hear them!

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