Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween, then

Here is my token pumpkin - didn't even get 'round to carvin one, myself. This'll do - not mad for this occasion, anyway.

Off to various kiddie entertainment occasions now.

Happy Halloween, everyone!


Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Gumby School of Flower Arranging Strikes Again

Autumn. Darker days. A lot of rain (this is Ireland, after all). Windy season. Time to switch on the heater when I sit down at the computer at 6 am. Candle light. Soups. And lovely walks in between the showers (of rain - I don't take showers more than once a day. At least in autumn.) No wonder this season is called "fall" in American English - the falling leaves are the most descriptive characteristic. I love the colours of autumn/fall. And today I found a project to combine my degree from the Gumby School of Flower Arranging with my obsession for collecting leaves and stuff from the park.

Can you guess what I made (apart from a classic Gumby-style arrangement)? Well, I'm not sure whether you can guess it, but I made those roses from leaves. Oui, oui. I got really quite excited about this project (yeah, go on, amuse yourself by imagining this middle-aged wifey prancing around excitedly in her kitchen, brandishing leaves and twiddling with twine...). I had never seen this in craftblogland before. It actually came from a contact in an internet forum who provided me with a link to a German crafts website called Bastelelfe (sorry, no link available to tutorial). Right, a project that appealed to me - autumnal, involving a walk for gathering leaves, for free. Let me show you.

I started out with a heap of leaves from my park - plus assorted autumnal plant bits and bobs which I indiscriminately had chucked into my bag when gathering leaves. A little advice: When getting the leaves, do pick them from the tree and do not gather them from the ground. They are dirty little buggers, so to speak. I'll show you evidence later.

In order to make those roses, you need some red leaves. Mine are from a Virgina Creeper that grows on our terrace of houses. They are the most vivid shade of red, sometimes even pink. So, start off with one red leaf.

Fold the leaf in half, keeping the shiny side outside.

Roll up the leaf. It doesn't have to be particularly tight.

Now place another leaf behind your rolled one, fold the leaf backwards (shiny side out) and fold the two sides loosely around the rolled leaf.

Continue to do that until you have a "rose" in the desired size. Then secure the leaves with a bit of twine like so:

I made my roses fairly small (partly because I hadn't picked enough red leaves...) and this is what they look like:

After rolling about seven of those leaf roses, I realised it had been a bad idea to pick up the leaves from the ground. Look at my fingers:

Now, you can either just arrange your leaf roses in a bouquet or you can make a wreath - that's what I did. I found a straw wreath base that gave a bit of volume to my meagre amount of materials *grins*.

Taking leaves, roses and the other stuff in little bundles, I just placed them on the base and then secured them by wrapping florist's wire around them. I used leaves to hide the unsightly wreath base. Keep overlapping the bundles over the previous one, that way the wire is invisible.

And voila - you have a lovely autumnal wreath that can grace your door or wall or might also look nice on a table with a candle in the centre. True to Gumby style, my wreath is a bit lopsided. I like it that way!!! *ahem*.


Linking to:   The Weekend Wrap-Up @ It's So Very Cheri   ***  Get Your Craft On with Today's Creative Blog   ***   The Boardwalk Bragfest @ Bobbypin's Boardwalk   ***  Make it Yours Day @ My Backyard Eden   ***   Strut Your Stuff Thursday @ somewhat simple   ***   

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Flower Power

Yeah, I am aware it is autumn and not spring. But a little flower enhances the dullest of seasons and the greyest of baskets, ey? Making them is the easiest of things. Do you want a tutorial? Ha! Resistance futile! You're gonna get one, anyway...

Easy as 1 - 2 - 3: Cut out some petal shapes. They don't need to be regular - mother nature is pretty irregular, too.

Stitch together.

Use different colour felt for a centre of the flower - I used some grey scraps from yesterday's felt basket to coordinate, just simply stitching it on with red thread.

Or make it even easier by using a button as the centre.

Yep, you've guessed it - I couldn't resist and made another felt basket. This time in brown, with felt left over from my retro cushion.

I think I may make more felt baskets with flowers. They might come in handy as Christmas pressies for assorted family members.


I am a basket-case!

Last year, when I started my blog, I briefly had this idea of assigning a particular crafts material to every week and only make projects that involved the chosen material. The idea didn't last very long - I think I managed to do two "MoW"s before it morphed into a "MoM" and then went AWOL. Wow. Or rather not. AnyHOW, looks like I am in a "material of the month" phase again, as during the past month or so I have posted four projects that involved felt - the gingerbread hearts, two cushions, and a flag/banner. And now I am adding another felt project to the list. You've guessed it - I felt deeply about felt...

I actually had a rough day, today, exacerbated by the fact that my Methuselah of a laptop coughed up with a couple of viruses and then decided to forestall my attempts at going online *sighs*. After a brief moment of panic - what will I do if I don't get my daily fix of FB, not to mention being unable to access my cloud-based editorial systems for work - I realised that dear old Methuselah had just given me the greatest gift of all: Time to be creative without the web. And so I gathered my stuff, set up the sewing machine in the warmest room of my house and worked away. Here is the result.

A felt basket.

I had some 2m of grey felt on hand, recently bought as a bargain for about € 6.00. It is about 4mm thick.

To start with I decided how big I wanted my basket and cut 5 square pieces of it, roughly 18x18 cm.

I put two squares on top of each other, carefully aligning the sides, and simply sewed a straight line down close to one edge.

This way I sewed four squares together, ending up by closing the "circle" and sewing square 1 and square 4 together. The hardest bit was actually sewing in the bottom of the basket - fitting 8mm felt under the needle was hard.

Voila - a felt basket in less than an hour for about 50c. For extra stability I turned the rim down.

Although grey is big on trend at the mo, the finished object looked a bit bland. So out came the left-over red felt from the cushions and I quickly whipped up a little flower to adorn the basket.

These baskets are so easy to make. They don't require any fancy patterns - squares is all you need. The felt is easy to work with as it doesn't fray. Only your sewing machine may be a bit overpowered by the thickness of the felt layers. But you could actually hand-stitch the sides together - it would probably give a nice effect, too.

What will I put into my new basket??


Linking to:  Metamorphosis Monday @ Between Naps On The Porch  ***  Make it for Monday @ Cottage Instincts   ***   The DIY Showoff Project Parade   ***   I Made The World Cuter @ Making The World Cuter  ***   Boardwalk Brag-Fest @ Bobbypins Boardwalk  ***   Spotlight Yourself @ It's So Very Cheri   *** Strut Your Stuff Thursday @ Somewhat Simple   *** Show Off Your Stuff @ Fireflies & Jellybeans  *** Get Your Craft On @ Life as Lori   *** Transformation Thursdays @ Shabby Chic Cottage   ***   Thrifty Thursday @ Tales from Bloggeritaville 

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Halloween Mantle

Hello guys - I was out of the country for a few days and then busy settling back in, so didn't get anything crafty done. But this evening I finally managed to do what I had been meaning to do for quite a while. I was sick and tired of my jugs - and have at the same time updated my kitchen mantlepiece according to season.

Right, Halloween time it is! I dug out my nice ceramic pumpkin and set it up on my kitchen mantlepiece, flanked by those autumnal red apples. And I took down the darling jugs of January (check them in all their glory here ) and replaced them with a wreath heart.

All I did was really put a nice ribbon onto the heart, tie it and add some bells.

My blackboard-painted pebble is making an appearance again, too, this time with a Halloween "boo!"

Now that the days are getting dark again, I have put lots of candles on all mantles, whether it is in the kitchen or the drawing room. I love the warm light they give. And yet, the candle light draws some fittingly eery shadows from the frame. Almost gothic...

Happy pumpkin-carving, everyone!


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

My Camera Fund Gets A Home

Are you good at saving? Well, I am good at cheapskating, but the money that I save usually then gets spent on other unnecessary must-have items. But now I have this dream of upgrading my camera kit with some truly professional gear, and that doesn't come cheap :-(. Despite wanting it very, very baaaaaaaaaaaaadly, I knew I had to give myself some extra motivation to put money aside. And so I set about making myself a money box that will be nicely and proudly displayed near my workspace, reminding me day in, day out, that I am not to buy another interior design mag, the 31st white cream jug for my collection or yet another pair of shoes.

I can't resist anything but temptation nice tin boxes. This one was a filled with yummy orange flavour, dark chocolate from a classy chocolate company in my home town. Design-wise not that exciting, though, but too nice to throw out. (Hehe, in the reflection you can see me taking the picture...)

So instead I took a can of spray-paint to it, in my signature red. Gave it about four coats until the black background didn't show through anymore.

And then I set about decorating the tin. As this is a treasure box, it seemed only fitting to adorn the lid with gemstones and pearls. I stuck loads of little diamond-y stickers (from scrapbook supplies) on it to hide imperfections in the coat of paint. Centrepiece is a dome-shaped bead ball. (Read more about them here.)

I really love it when the insides of things are decorated, too - you know, wallpapered cupboards, paper-lined drawers etc. Such a nice suprise when you open it up... So I quickly threw a few photography-related images together, and cut them out.

 So grow, camera fund, grow... still a couple of grand to go.


Monday, October 11, 2010

1 is such a lonely number

I have a tendency to get obsessed. If I get interested in something, I immerse myself in it from tip to toe. Luckily my attention span is short, so it never develops into an unhealthy long obsession. This applies to crafting, too, where this week I wouldn't rest until I had made another cushion.

You can't have just one cushion on a sofa. And textured cushions are a big thing at the mo. I had in fact collected a number of ideas recently from magazines. Do you also have that habit? I cut out little snippets from my mags and then duly forget about them and design my own thing. I may still copy one of them - here are the inspirations:

And since another inlet cushion was at hand and I still had some red felt left over, I set about thinking up another cushion design. Does this come across slightly Christmas-sy? Looks like a pressie, doesn't it? Well, that is intentional, because I used some red satin ribbon for decoration. Like the Retro-Style Cushion from a few days ago, this is a really quick and easy sewing projects for beginners. Didn't take more than an hour to complete.

First of all I cut my material to size again. Then I sewed the ribbon onto the felt. I didn't even bother pinning it onto the fabric - it was much easier bunching it up as I went along. You can see in the picture on the right how I did it.

I sewed on two lengths of ribbon in a cross-shape across the fabric. Make sure you sew the ribbon no closer than 1cm to the edge.

Just for the fun of it I let the ends of the ribbon hang over the sides a bit. Hm, do they look like snake tongues?

Then it was time to make the actual cushion. Folding the material right-on-right, I pinned the two opposite open sides together. I also had to pin the snake tongues back onto the ribbon loops, just to make sure I didn't sew them into the cushion.

I sewed round three sides, leaving one side open to slide the inlet in.

Just like the retro cushion, I closed the cushion by folding in the remaining open side and then sewing across it and around the cushion edge to create a piping effect.

So there we are - another red cushion for the red sofa. Another one for cuddling up in front of the fire with.

I still have some red felt left over. Another red cushion? Or should I break the cycle and use some chocolate brown felt instead? In any case, I am hooked...


Linking to:     Metamorphosis Monday @ Between Naps on the Porch   Make it 4 Monday @ Cottage Instincts
Craft Link Party @ Polly Want a Crafter
The Girl Creative
The DIY Show Off