Normal Service Is Resumed

Just a quick post to apologise for the lack of posts at the end of 2014. I know, I’m sure you have been devastated by the lost. Bereft of craft tips. This was due to too many writing deadlines, running a café and lots of market stalls with Crème Anglaise (actually having some stock up and decent pictures is also on the 2015 to do list). Oh yeah, and I had two children to look after. Always forget about that.

Anyway, I’m back. I know, amazing, right? A Beautiful Mess, must be quaking in their stylish boots. So, before my next post (and it’s a tutorial to boot) to try and make amends, here’s a picture of a cat poking its head through a slice of bread. After all, nothing says sorry on the internet like a cat looking miffed while doing something slightly silly (I suspect this will break the internet just like Kim Kardashian did)…

Cat Sandwich

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Spring Felt Birds – Tutorial

Spring is here. I know it doesn’t particularly look like it but I saw daffodils today, so that makes it an actual fact. This also means it was time for new shop decorations – and a lovely tutorial to match. Don’t say I don’t spoil you.

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I decided to go with some cute little felt birds perched on embroidery hoops this spring. I love making things from felt firstly because it’s easy – you put a template on some felt and cut it. It doesn’t move about and drive you a little bit mental like cotton can. Also I can buy a metre of the stuff for £4 down Walthamstow market. Now I grant you a metre is rather excessive for some tiny little felt birds, but come on. It’s a bargain. Screw you Hobbycraft.

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Anyway I digress. Here’s what you actually need…

  • Blue, yellow and white felt (or whatever colours you fancy) One square of each will be enough.
  • Blue, yellow and black embroidery thread
  • Fabric glue
  • Scissors
  • Embroidery needle
  • Stuffing
  • This lovely pattern, which you can download HERE
  • Pencil to draw around the patterns with

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So first up let’s do the Tweet Bird.

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Get the two body pieces and your black embroidery thread (you only need to use two strands at a time for any embroidery thread used in these patterns) and sew it through, leaving it a little loose to create a semi circle. I sew this down in the middle to keep it in place, but you don’t have to.

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Next, starting at the beak, sew all the way down the back with two strands of the blue embroidery thread. When you reach the tail, line it up the white bottom of the bird and, starting at the middle of the tail, keep on sewing round holding the edges together.

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When you get to the end of the body piece at the start of the beak sew the two blue sides together and then pass the needle under the stitches and back to the start of the white felt and sew down the other side of the body. About two thirds of the way down, pause sewing, stuff the body full of stuffing then sew up to the end. Now all you have to do is stick on the wings (you could sew these on two, but I decided life was too short) and there you have it. Your cute birdie is complete.

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Now we’re on a roll let’s do the Little Chick. Which is, in no way, an angry bird. It has a sweet nature. First thing to do is sew two eyes. I went for simple little crosses, but you could do loops the same as the Tweet Bird, if you so wished. Next sew the two tiny beak triangles together then sew this to the bird between the middle stitches.

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Next pick a corner and start sewing to the top. When you get there pick another side and sew back down to the bottom again. Then with the last side start at the top again so there are no gaps and then, when you get half way down, stop sewing, stuff it full with stuffing, then sew it up.  Stick on the wings, then finally take the tail piece and sew it on the birdie’s bum and you’re done.

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To attach them to an embroidery hoop take it apart so you just have an inner hoop. Sew through the bottom of the bird, round the hoop twice, then sew through the bird again to where you would like the second leg to go (make sure they’re a decent amount apart or the bird will wobble about) then go back through the bird wrap it round a few times and tie it tight.

There you have it, two lovely little birds. Just one tiny thing, these are only to be made by you for fun, not for financial gain, so please do not sell any items made from these patterns as that’s just not cricket and it will make me sad (and possibly a touch stabby) and no one wants that now do they?

One last thing! Here are the rainbow rain clouds I made for the window display. Nice, eh?

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And in case you missed them these were the hearts for Valentine’s day. Feel the love.

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Crafty Like A Fox

Craft markets are dangerous places. No matter how much I try and restrain myself I always end up coveting items on other people’s stalls and making a rather presumptuous list of items my partner can buy me for Christmas. Well if it’s good enough for my five-year-old daughter, it’s good enough for me.

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I’ve done some great craft markets in my time (and some shockingly rubbish ones too, naming no names, for now anyway), but Crafty Fox in Brixton has to be one of the best I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of. Brilliantly organised, lots of customers and damn fine tunes playing in the background.

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Not only were some of my favourite other crafty seller there including JimBobArt (who currently owes me three lighters, just in case you’re reading James) and Kate Rowland (although I missed her as she was on the Saturday, boo.), but I got to discover a whole range of other makers who will be seriously testing my bank manager’s patience in the coming months.

While it’s a near impossible to pick, I’ve tried my best and here are my five favourite sellers from the Sunday market

Sandra Dieckmann‘s beautiful prints

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Floss and Mischief’s quirky cross-stitch

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Oh My Clumsy Heart’s lovely jewellery

ImageJill’s lush purses

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Pygmy Cloud’s super cute critters

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Plus a special shout out to the lovely Paper Moon, Mister Peebles and Terri Leahy. Damn it, there wasn’t one bad egg there.

I also got to show off a couple of my new items including this new cape / coat…

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And my new Peter Pan collar dress…

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… which I still need to take proper pictures of and put on my Folksy site. I even got a chance to stitch my new fox to go on the shoulders of T Shirts to take the place of the hand-drawn one I was doing. Although I may pop him on some zip tops too or even a dress for me. A crafty fox for Crafty Fox. Lovely stuff!

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Fantastic Mr Fox

I am very excited. I’m going to be selling my wares at the next Crafty Fox Market in Brixton and it’s an absolute corker

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If you don’t know about Crafty Fox markets I can only assume you have been hiding under a stone, or in prison, or Hull. Either way, they are one of the best markets in London, nay the world. So I suggest you get yourselves down there to buy some beautiful presents for friends or yourself (let’s be honest the ones for yourself are the best ones, yeah?)

Check some of the gorgeous treats from some of the super talented makers (and me)…

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Want more? Of course you do, here are some of the other makers on Sunday 6th October (the day I’m there) and see what treats are in store including the fantastic Mr Wingate teaching screen printing. He taught me so I know first hand that he’s ace. 

I am about to enter crazy making time to try and make sure I have enough stock together. Wish me luck!

Cocktail Umbrella Balls – Tutorial

Cocktail Umbrella Balls! - TutorialOK, so the name Umbrella Balls is pretty awful, but you have to admit these bright decorations make you think of sipping a cocktail in the sun. In fact the entire time I was making them I had Club Tropicana by Wham on repeat in my head. This was not so good. Anyhow, these are really simple to make and great for summer garden party decorations. You will need:

  • Polystyrene craft balls in two hollow halves – I got mine from Craft Mill
  • Floristry wire
  • Selotape
  • Lots and lots of cocktail umbrellas!

Cut about 50cm of floristry wire and wrap it around your finger to make two loops at either end . keep one straight and fold the other end at an angle. Place this end inbetween the two halves and close the ball so it can’t come out and leaves the other hoop to hang it from when you’re finished. Cocktail Umbrella Balls! - Tutorial Seal the ball up and then simply start sticking in the cocktail umbrellas making sure they all overlap and there are none of the same colours next to each other. That’s it! Easy peasy. All that’s left is to grab your Pina Colada (or three) sit back and enjoy.

Rainbow Tissue Paper Pom Poms – Tutorial

Summer is here. Allegedly. So to try and get the sun shining it was time to make some super bright summer themed decorations for my shop.

Tissue paper pom poms are always great for window displays as they are easy to do and look great (even if I do say so myself!).

Tissue Paper Poms Poms Tutorial

What you will need:

  • 10 or 12 sheets of large tissue paper (I used 10 for these, but you could easily use more)
  • Floristry wire
  • Cotton
  • Scissors

Tissue Paper Poms Poms Tutorial

First of all make sure all the sheets of paper are lined up together. Then fold the paper over about 1 inch. Flip all the tissue paper over and fold again making a concertina.

Tissue Paper Poms Poms Tutorial

When you’ve folded it all, cut a piece of floristry wire about the same length as the width of the paper and wrap it around the middle with the left over piece of wire pointing upwards on the side of the colour you want at the top. Bend the wire around your finger a few times to make a loop so you can hang it when you’re finished.

Round off the ends by cutting a semi circle. This also nicely tidies up the ends as often the tissue paper moves a little bit as you fold.

Tissue Paper Poms Poms Tutorial

Fan the folded paper out and very carefully start pulling the first layer up. Be careful not to rip the paper (although this is easier said than done). When you’ve done the first colour move on to the next layer and so on. When you get half way through flip the pom pom over and do the other side.

To make the smaller pom poms I simply cut five sheets in half to make 10 smaller sheets then cut the ends into points rather than rounding them off.

When they’re complete, thread some cotton through the hoop you made with the wire and pin it to the ceiling. Et voila, pretty paper pom poms!

Tissue Paper Pom Poms

Flying South For The Summer

2013 is all about taxidermy so I’m told. And Birds. And Foxes, although that’s not really relevant. Anyway, what better way than to celebrate that, than with the collaboration between designer Polka Dot Sundays and photographer Luke Albert which shows what birds really get up to on their travels. My particular favourite is the yellow bellied chap going skiing…

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Jaina Minton [otherwise known as Polka Dot Sundays] has always had a skill for making pretty birds, doing not only workshops for Kirstie Allsopp on the telly, but also doing a kid’s one for me in my cafe Creative Biscuit, which clearly is much better! Here’s one of her lovely little Robin Christmas Baubles, although obviously pretty enough for any season…

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