My Sunday Photo

Christmas is only 8 weeks away and I’m very busy needle felting items for a couple of Christmas markets I’m planning on doing. I’m hoping this might be a good time of year for me, so I’m trying to spend every spare minute making something for my stall.

I’m making a mixture of hanging decorations,

felt-snow-family

Small 2D pictures of robins suitable for framing or cards,

2d-robin-4
And a variety of small sculptures in various styles.

needle-felted-foxes
If you want to keep an eye on what I’m up to, you can follow me on Instagram or Like me on FaceBook.

It’s hard to limit myself to making things I’ve made before. People keep asking me if I make badgers or camels or bears, but I need to focus on making a few of the same thing at the moment.

Now is not the time for experimenting, that will come later, but it’s just so much fun!

Sunday photo

My Sunday Photo

I’ve never been any good at crafts like sewing, knitting or crocheting. I can do them, but they always seemed like such an effort and I’ve never really enjoyed them.

Last Christmas, DH bought me a needle felting kit and I seemed to get on with it from the start. Most importantly, I enjoyed it.

A lot of people don’t know what needle felting is, but basically you use a specially barbed needle to stab bits of wool into shapes or patterns. It’s very therapeutic. Some felties contain wire or pipe cleaner armatures, or skeletons; wool is wound around these in layers to create the desired shape and colours.

I’ve had a go at making all sorts of different things and now I attend a local craft market every month. People ask me to make them things, usually animals or figures, and mostly seem to like what I produce.

Last week someone asked me to make her some small pictures for Christmas cards and this is the first of those.  I’m pretty pleased with it as I love robins.

If you are interested in seeing what else I make, check out my FB page and if you fancy trying a (new) craft, can I suggest needle felting? But be warned, it’s very addictive!

2d-felt-robin-in-snow

Sunday photo

My Sunday Photo

This week DD3 was invested as a cub. She’s a bit old as she’s already turned 10, but her Brownies group closed down at the end of last year and one of her friends asked if she’d like to join her cub group so they could go on a camp together!

She’s been attending the group since Easter and enjoying it very much. Last week she made her ( non religious) promise and joined the group properly.  She also attends Guides with her sisters on a different night but come September she’ll have to decide which path to follow, Scouts or Guides, as both are on the same night.

I have to admit I am hoping she will choose Guides as I haven’t worked out how I will clone myself for pick ups yet!

As you can see, our dogs had to be in the photo too. F loves to smile for the camera!

F and L cub

 

My Sunday Photo

My Sunday Photo

It’s a year ago today that we lost our lovely Lurcher, Willow. If you want to hear the full story, you can read about it here.

If you don’t have time, all you really need to know is it involved a fox, a van and specialist vet care that cost over £8K. After which she died anyhow.

We had some insurance, but not enough. At least we know we did everything we could for her.

A year on, I have dreaded the run up to this day but now it’s here, it’s not so bad.  We’ve looked at photos and told stories about her and earlier this week I spent some time making a little Lurcher feltie that is supposed to look like her.

The dog-shaped hole she left has been filled by a rescue dog who has fitted in to our family well, but of course there is never any filling the Willow-shaped hole.

We still miss her pointy nose, hairy butt and mad zoomies last thing at night.

I just can’t believe a whole year has passed since we last saw her.

Willow Feltie

My Sunday Photo

I Have The Needle Felting Bug

I first ‘discovered’ needle felting through Instagram and Pinterest. I saw some photos of some really lifelike little woollen animals and found myself wondering how they had been made. Felt was mentioned in the description which confused me as I knew felt to be a type of material.

Felt mushroom 1

Soon after I saw a stall of needle felting at a local craft market and a couple of months after that, a lady came to my older two girls’ guide group and did a needle felt activity with them.

I turned the resulting gingerbread men over and over in my hands as I asked my daughters how they were made.

‘You get some wool and poke it with a needle’, I was told. I didn’t understand how it could work but I liked the shape and the feel of the ornaments and thought I’d like a have a go ‘sometime’.

I don’t consider myself a very creative person, although I do sometimes feel an urge to make things. A couple of years I had a brief flirtation with crochet, but it took too long for my liking ( DH calls me instant gratification woman) and I found it difficult to read the patterns.

Felt Tardis 1

When I was doing a wishlist on Amazon for my birthday in July, I found a Heidifeathers felting kit and impulsively popped it on my list. I had never mentioned that I wanted one to another living soul before, so it got ignored and I forgot all about it.

feltfox 1

But then it was still there when I revisited my wishlist for Christmas, and this time Santa took pity on me and I was given one on December the 25th.

Felt bear with cupcake

By Boxing Day, I had it open and with the help of the little booklet included, I had soon made my first model; a little robin ( below right). It wasn’t very good but once I’d finished, I had the general idea and had learnt not to poke small models too enthusiastically when you are holding them with your bare fingers.

felt robin1 and penguin1

Next came a little penguin ( above left), which wasn’t much better, but then I decided I didn’t really like following patterns so started to try and recreate things from Pinterest and photos.

Felt pengy2

Like most things in life, practice makes – well not perfect, but hopefully you can see I have improved a little.

Felt pengchick
There are a lot of very helpful How-To videos on YouTube, as well as some very friendly Facebook groups devoted to Needle Felting.

Little felt cupcake

This is a really satisfying and easy craft where you don’t need a lot of kit to get started, so if you’ve ever fancied trying your hand at a form of sculpture you should give it a go. Making something recognisable doesn’t take long and isn’t hard.

Felt Kiwi

The main problem is it is a bit addictive and my wool stash has now outgrown the original box the kit came in. And what do you do with the finished products?

felt black lab

The kids tend to claim their favourites and I give away as many as I can. I still have a bunch left over though, but it’s okay- I have a plan.

Wonky donkey 1

My aim now is to make a few things every week and try to sell them at our school’s summer fair.

Felt Owl
With any luck I might make enough to buy some more wool and needles and start all over again.

Felt poop emoji

Do you have a favourite?

 

Review: Flair Plasticine

When you have kids of a certain age, there are a number of arts and crafts materials that you learn to keep in the cupboard for a rainy day.

Pens and paper, sticker books, coloured card, googly eyes, foam shapes and plasticine live in ours. These items have been incorporated into many a school project and craft session, but to be honest our plasticine had seen better days.

We no longer had blocks of different coloured modelling clay, instead we had a rather hairy lump of grey green stuff that lived in a plastic container at the back of our craft cupboard. I didn’t blame the kids for not wanting to play with it and when we were offered a selection of bright and colourful plasticine sets from Flair I  accepted gratefully on their behalf.

Plasticine by Flair
DD3 and DS were pretty happy to see these packs; I think they’d forgotten that plasticine actually came in different colours!

My two youngest had a day off school on Election Day, and spent a happy hour at our kitchen table making different models. DS has hypermobility in his hands so playing with modelling clay is especially good for the muscles around his fingers.

This was his creation. It’s a Minecraft inspired farm block- or something. DS is 7, so I’m just happy to see him away from a screen. But maybe someone needs to bring out a Minecraft themed plasticine pack to inspire him further?

Plasticine Minecraft
DD3 is 9 and she loves animals. She made these two little creatures by herself. I especially like the Penguin.

Penguin and tiger plasticine

Since these packs were opened, they have been played with pretty much every day. The two older girls have had a go too, although they wouldn’t let me photograph them or their creations, and even I have sat down and had a quick creative moment.

Flair’s packs of plasticine range in price from RRP £1.46-£6.99 and are suitable for children ( and adults) from age 3+

Flair sent us some Plasticine pack s in return for this post, but all thoughts above are my own. The models are my children’s.

Getting Crafty

I’m don’t consider myself a crafty person. I’m not a great chef or baker, although I do manage to bake the odd batch of biscuits or banana loaf, now and again.

I can’t sew, and I’ve always maintained that I don’t know how to knit. But then my oldest DD’s school asked them to all start knitting 20 cm squares for blankets for African orphans. DD didn’t know how to get started and asked me to teach her, and I found to my surprise that I could knit after all. Not very well, but I knew what to do with the needles and eventually produced a perfectly respectable woollen square. Then, even more amazing, I managed to teach both my older DDs how to knit as well.

But eventually I remembered why I didn’t like knitting; it’s boring and takes ages, but I had a vague recollection of teaching myself to crochet as an young teen, and wondered if I could teach DD to do that instead. I ordered some hooks as soon as they arrived off I went. To be honest, it  wasn’t quite like riding a bike; it took me a few tries and 30 minutes or so on YouTube but it all came back to me. I busied myself making 20 cm granny squares for the school, but soon got bored again.

DD had a go, got into a tangle and went back to knitting, but I preferred crochet. I wanted to make something but it had to be interesting, not just endless  rounds of  double crochet stitch. Google suggested this Vintage Scrap Afghan  pattern from Etsy for under £2. What did I have to lose? I bought it.

wonky Zebra afghan
For a couple of weeks I just stared at the instructions comprised of abbreviations and numbers, but once I received some wool I started.

I’ve made all the granny square motifs now. I already knew how to do these and none of them get big enough to be tedious, so it didn’t take long. Choosing the colours has been my main stumbling block but I’ve now discovered that the kids enjoy doing this. Problem solved!

Here are the 6 squares I’ve made so far.

Granny squares for Afghan

They are not perfect, but that’s the beauty of these sort of things; they don’t have to be. Now I’ve put them all together like that I can see that I need to include more red, and less green. The Granny squares are the easy ones though, I was completely bricking it over the instructions for the next group; the star motif  squares.

I started on one last night and really enjoyed it. I had to concentrate  and had to do over a few places where I hadn’t counted correctly. Top Tip: if you know you are going to have to count stitches correctly, don’t use dark wool for that round, as it’s really hard to see what you are doing!

So here’s my first Star motif square.

Star motif granny square
I’m pretty pleased with it and I’m sure the next one will look better.

I’m quite impressed with what I’ve managed to do so far, maybe I do have a crafty side after all?