Posts Tagged ‘hand crafted’

Well, The temperature has fallen…….. and so has my Mum! Thankfully, she’s managed to come away fairly unscathed with just a few bruises and a swollen knee but it’s a worry to say the least – and even more so when a reprimand for deciding to brave the severe elements alone rather than ask for help seemingly goes unheeded. What do we do with her? And when will she slow down? I fret about her more than the kids!

Anyway, snow, ice and tumbling elderly parents aside, I have been fairly busy once more. No more tapestry stitching for the moment but a nice little batch of my stacked felt hearts is currently underway……

Stacked Felt Hearts - Rich, Deep Colours To Raise The Temperature And Inflame Your Passion ;)......

Stacked Felt Hearts – Rich, Deep Colours To Raise The Temperature And Inflame Your Passion ;)……

The ones pictured above have all been made into little brooches with the simple addition of a pin back to them; The next batch will be made into keyrings –  just in time for Valentine’s Day.

I could make these ALL day!

I could make these ALL day!

And there’s been more time spent at the whizzy new sewing machine honing my skills with free motion embroidery……

The bare bones of a flower corsage.

The bare bones of a flower corsage.

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I can’t decide which of these flowers I like the most. These particular ones are destined to end up as corsage brooches but I’ve already come up with ideas to use them for a few Mother’s Day Gifts too………… more of that in future posts no doubt 😉

Here’s a sneaky peek at a finished brooch………

Spring has Sprung!

Spring has Sprung!

Do you recognise the basic flower shape? It’s the same one I used last year in my hand stitched keyring tutorial – Just a different use of fabrics and the basic methods of putting them together, a tweek on the actual finishing  and the addition of some embellishments; It gives a completely different look to the finished work.

Wonky lines AND frayed edges; I’m adapting rather nicely to this way of doing things 😉

Right! Time to make a quick phonecall to check on that errant mother of mine and see if she needs anything before I get back to the machine and finish those flowers. Busy, busy, BUSY – Must dash!

It’s 2013!!!!!! Hope that you had a fabulous Christmas and managed to stay fit and healthy; Thankfully everyone at Bully Bus HQ did 😉

I’m glad to report that my little chat to Santa just before the big day really did pay dividends as the good natured elf managed to squeeze a brand new sewing machine down the chimney – a whizzy one that does way more stitches than my trusty old Brother machine ever could and is much easier to use when creating free motion embroidery….. theoretically…… 🙂

In truth I’m a bit of a neat freak and everything has to be just so; It’s hard to allow wonky lines and frayed edges to exist in my work but I’m trying really hard! And I do like the whimsical, slightly naive look it creates……

My first bit of free motion embroidery using my new machine.

My first bit of free motion embroidery using my new machine.

So! A little zippered coin purse was the first project to be completed whilst also cooking the Christmas dinner for six (How’s that for multitasking?); Occasional breaks in the proceedings to check on things in the kitchen, a few sneaky trips to the tea trolley turned into a mobile drinks bar (aka the Jolly Trolley) and highly delighted squeals from me and a round of applause from the crew upon completion.

And Mr Other Half now wants a ‘manly’ version to keep his pennies safe 🙂

My little zippered purse holds all my treasures - I love it!!!!!!

My little zippered purse holds all my treasures – I love it!!!!!!

I’m thinking that 2013 may shape up to be the year when the sewing machine rules!!!!!! We shall see………………….. 😉

Last week I said I planned to make something nice to show off the new stitches I’ve been practising – but I’m so completely enamoured with feather stitch that I haven’t had time to attempt anything else!

My aim for this week was to replicate the heart featured in this great tutorial from A Simple Quilter:

http://asimplequilter.blogspot.co.uk/2008/11/christmas-ornament.html

But once I’d sat down and started I decided that I had to make a few changes to my original plan as the very first line of turquoise feather stitch immediately reminded me of Sally in a Nightmare Before Christmas……

Sally Finkelstein – Seamstress extraordinaire.

I think it’s the patchwork that did it. At any rate I decided not to opt for additional stitches or seed bead details but instead plumped for feather stitch to delineate the patchwork sections and blanket stitch to edge the outline of the heart. To finish, I chose to use a die cut pleatherette flower, assorted loops of ribbon and a flower shaped mother of pearl button. I’ve also included a ribbon loop for hanging and filled it with micro aroma beads which I’ve fragranced with ‘Baby Powder’. Here’s the results:

‘Sally’ heart by Big Blue Bully Bus 🙂

So, it’s another week of me feeling very pleased with myself; It’s also been a very productive process as it’s given me lots of inspiration for how I could adapt the idea further to incorporate different fabrics other than felt to create the newest addition to my repetoire – ‘The Sally Heart’.

I think that both her and my Gran would heartily approve of my efforts 😉

Officially, it was a 100 days until Christmas 2012 yesterday – So let the nightmare begin!!!!!

I’ve not been very good at keeping up to my weekly blog posts recently; in fact I’ve been quite bad 😦

Many apologies for my recent lengthy absence – I’ve been sat mooning around, banned from attempting any type of crafting due to chronic carpal tunnel syndrome and a strapped up wrist. I’m going stir crazy!

Hopefully a visit to the doctors later this week should reveal if I’m fit enough to take up the creative baton once more. Fingers crossed that all goes well…… 😉

Stitched and beaded floral plush heart detail – Fingers crossed that I can get back to making little treasures like this VERY, VERY soon!

It’s been a better week; No more bad news at any rate!

Recent events mean that I’ve been put back a little bit with projects that I’ve been working on, so over the last couple of days I’ve had to get my head down and do some serious catching up.

And with the weather continuing to be fairly vile I’ve also decided that it’s probably not a good idea to take myself off somewhere in the camper van. So, for the moment, I’ve put my gastronomic travel plans on hold until the torrential rain decides to stop – apparently the weather forecast predicts at least another week before the sun puts in an appearance and we finally start to dry out! What a pain 😦

I have still been busy cooking up my own little storm though – so I thought I’d share some of my recent makes for this week’s blog….

Cute, crocheted, calorie-free cupcakes.

I’ve been making these delightful little treats for a while now – They’re very easy to make if you can crochet, and I like the fact that you can let your imagination run riot when it comes to the myriad ways of ‘decorating’ them.

Easier than it looks!

Here’s a very basic pattern to get you started (please note that it does not include details for creating the toppings, fluted edging etc):

Round 1: Use the magic ring method to form a loop, working 6 dc into the centre of the ring (6 sts). Join with a sl st to the first dc. Make 1 ch.

Round 2: 2 dc in every stitch (12 sts), join, 1 ch.

Round 3: (1 dc, 2dc in next st) six times (18 sts), join, 1 ch.

Round 4: (1 dc, 1 dc, 2 dc in next st) six times (24 sts), join, 1 ch.

Round 5: (1 dc, 1 dc, 1 dc, 2 dc in next st six times (30 sts), join, 1 ch.

Rounds 6-7: 1 dc in every st (30 sts), join, 1 c.

Round 8: (1 dc, 1 dc, 1 dc, 1 dc, 2 dc in next st) six times (36 sts), join, 1 ch.

Rounds 9-11: 1 dc in every st (36 sts), join with a sl st to first dc, 1 ch.

Round 12: (1 dc, 1 dc, 1 dc, 1 dc, dc2tog) six times (30 sts), join, 1 ch.

Round 13: 1 dc in every st (30 sts), join, 1 ch.

Round 14: (1 dc, 1 dc, 1 dc, dc2tog) six times (24 sts), join, 1 ch.

Round 15-18: 1 dc in every st (24 sts), join, 1 ch.

Round 19: Work in back loops only – (1 dc, 1 dc, dc2tog) six times (18 sts), join, 1 ch.

Before continuing, trim off and tie in any loose ends. Stuff with a BS standard toy filling.

Round 20: (1 dc, dc2tog) six times (12 sts), join, 1 ch.

Round 21: (dc 2tog) six times (6 sts), join, 1 ch.

Cut the yarn leaving a 15 cm tail and pull the end through the stitch on the hook. Pull tight to fasten off. Thread the yarn end through a darning needle and gather up the final six stitches to close up the hole. Weave in loose ends.

Add toppings, beads sequins etc as desired…….

The finished item looking good enough to eat – Perfect to offer to the Vicar when he next comes for tea 😉

They look great when arranged together on a vintage cake plate!

Crocheted cupcakes and knitted Battenburg – Yummy!

Next week sees the start of another month and a new theme – Sewing! I’ll be starting off with a simple, hand sewn item that you can use as either a keyring or bag charm. Until then, Happy Crafting!

Continuing with my retro crafts theme, this week I thought I’d introduce you to a few more cool crafting gizmos and show you how to make quick and easy Suffolk puffs.

Classic Puff Patchwork Cushion

Sometimes referred to as ‘yo-yos’, a Suffolk puff is a little gathered circle made from a scrap of fabric and as such can be a brilliant stash buster when you need to use up excess resources. Traditionally, they were used in patchwork and quilting where they were joined together, edge to edge, and were incredibly popular in the thirties, forties and fifties, when out of thrift and the necessity brought about by hard times, people would use up every last scrap of fabric and recycle all their clothing in the ‘make do and mend’ culture.

Patchwork and puff perfection.

These days, with a resurgence in the popularity of all things patchwork, Suffolk puffs are once again in vogue and are often used  as embellishments, but also feature strongly as decorative elements in homewares, soft furnishings and even clothing.

Bjork sporting a coat made entirely of Suffolk Puffs.

They’re incredibly easy to make – particularly with a yo-yo maker or two to hand, and are also fairly portable which is why I often end up taking a stash of fabric circles, needle and thread on the road with me during the summer.

This week’s collection of gizmos and gadgets.

So let’s get down to the knitty gritty of how to make some…

We’ll start by using a couple of yo-yo makers which are basically circular discs with sewing guidelines. I’m using two different sizes with diameters of 45 and 60 millimetres and my fabric of choice is a selection of lightweight cottons.

7. Repeat the whole process again, using contrasting fabric and a smaller yo-yo maker.

Now it’s time to make a covered button before finally assembling each element.

9. Stack the two puffs and use a few stitches to join them together; add the fabric covered button as a finishing touch before stitching on a brooch back and Voila! A lovely brooch that would make a pretty gift for Mother’s Day 🙂

A really pretty, hand crafted gift for Mum!

Suffolk Puffs are great to use as embellishments. Why not invest in a couple of yo-yo makers and have a go at making some yourself? You’ll soon become hooked!

Puffs a’plenty on bags and purses – great little gifts to give to family and friends 😉

If you want to join in with my crafting adventures next week it might be wise to start sorting through your wool stash now. Until then, Happy Crafting!

Wow! It’s already February and this week see’s the move into the second month’s theme of  ‘Jewellery’. And a very busy start to the month at Bully Bus HQ it has been what with early Spring cleaning and all; I was fearful that at one point I might not be able to squeeze this week’s offering in at all, but here it is – my adventures in beaded felt jewellery….

I love playing with embroidery silks and beads!

First of all, I have to say that I LOVE making little felt beads! The resulting treasures look great when incorporated into jewellery designs and are always a really big talking point when people spot me wearing them. They’re incredibly easy to make and there’s also a brilliant little book bursting with all the inspiration and instructions you’ll need to get producing them for yourself.

Beaded Felt Jewellery – Helen Birmingham

If  you haven’t got a copy of this inexpensive little book, and you feel after reading this blog that you’d like to include beaded felt jewellery in your own crafting repetoire, I would highly recommend popping along to your local bookshop, craft store or online at Amazon and make sure that you pick one up – ISBN-13: 978-1844483150.

Make sure you gather everything you need!

So…….. How to make some felt beads of your own. Hopefully you’ve gathered together some scraps of felt (the thin crafting type is easier to work with), some embroidery silks (although normal sewing thread is fine), a selection of seed and bugle beads, a sewing needle, some scissors and a bamboo skewer – make sure that you either cut the sharp end off, or cover it with a blob of  Blutack or piece of cork though; From painful experience I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve impaled myself with the air turning blue as a result 😉

Step 1: Cut yourself some strips of felt roughly 2.5 cms wide by about 8 cms long. Select some thread to match the colour of your felt – it doesn’t matter too much if it’s not exact.

Step 2: Take the bamboo skewer and wrap the felt strip tightly around it. Use a few stitches to secure the edges in place. I’ve used a contrasting colour to demonstrate – And don’t worry about being too precious at this stage as you won’t actually see this join when you’ve finished.

Wrap tightly then stitch to secure.

Step 3: This is where the fun begins! Choose some contrasting thread and using your needle, sew into the felt tube at one end to secure in place. Carefully wrap around the tube with the thread, making sure that both ends are tightly bound – otherwise the ends will flare out over time and the beads may look mis-shapen. Finish off with a little knot and bury this, along with the tail of you thread, inside the bead.

Bind well at each end to stop ‘flaring’.

Step 4: Securing fresh thread in your felt tube bead (back to the same colour you used in Step 1) you can now add your embellishments. I tend to start at one end and work randomly, stitching through from one side to the other each time to secure your seed or bugle beads in place. This will add strength to the structure of your bead and ensures maximum life expectancy when incorporated into jewellery pieces that are sure to be worn again, and again, and again….

To make life easy I’ve used size 8/0 beads; Size 11/0 will require more patience as not all will slip over the eye of the needle!

I like to add the beads in a random pattern – but neat freaks may differ in approach 😉

Step 5: Believe it or not that’s pretty much it! Repeat each step until you’ve got yourself a nice little selection of beads which you can then use in your own jewellery making projects. I tend to keep the beads on the skewer until I’m ready to use them and you’ll find that you can easily fit about six or seven beads to a skewer – just the right number to use for a bracelet!

So easy! And gorgeous when incorporated into your own designs 🙂

Yay! The finished product; Very nice – even if I do say so myself 😉

Next week I’m going to be having a go at more bead making – but this time with Polymer Clay. Wish me luck!

The VW show season has officially started with Campermart last weekend! Bit early in the year for me to be bothering, and to be fair I don’t know of a single soul that actually went, but I’m sure it was very lovely for those who did attend 🙂 Fingers crossed that it wasn’t a case of more traders than customers at any rate!

Today I received flyers for my absolute fave show – Volkspower at Redcar. If you haven’t been before – WHY NOT ?????? You can’t possibly imagine what you’re missing. Time to get your diaries out and pencil in the date, set up a little savings tin for petrol money, the bar and some fish and chips and start polishing your dancing shoes for the cracking entertainment on offer – I defy anyone to tell me that there’s better at ANY other show in the UK!

Paul and Mandy, the organisers, work so incredibly hard to bring us an outstanding weekend – And it’s northern and fairly local(ish) which is also an added bonus. Even if it was at the other end of the country I would make the effort to attend though; I’ve been there since day 1 and will forever sing it’s praises 🙂

Volkspower – Be There or Be Fed Up You Missed It!

Ooooooh! And did I mention that it’s by the sea and quite a good surf spot too? Just a five minute walk to the beach with your wetsuit or a quick drive along the coast road to the local Saltburn scene. How cool is that?

I’m off to start shining my dancing shoes NOW! It’s time to come out and PLAY!

 

It’s the third week of my challenge and this time it’s all about origami.

Skull & Crossbones by Quentin Origami

Deriving from the words ‘ori’, meaning ‘folding’, and ‘kami’ meaning ‘paper’, origami originated at some time during the seventeenth century in Japan. It’s the art of transforming a flat sheet of paper into a three dimensional art form by the use of various folding and sculpting techniques – no glueing or cutting is involved; That would be ‘kirigami’. Then, of course, there’s ‘kokigami’ which I suppose is best described as ‘packaging’ – but more of that later… 😉

Paper Cranes – A Symbol of Peace

In truth, I’m no stranger to the gentle art of paper folding – In the past I’ve folded many a crane in the name of Peace and taught countless classes of Primary school children how to turn a paper square into something amazing. But you don’t really need me to show you how to do this in person as there’s oodles of fantastic websites, books, video tutorials etc out there that’ll take you through everything step-by-step.

This site’s great – video tutorials, lots to make and you can even print your own paper!

http://en.origami-club.com/

Anyway… I chose to have a go at some VW themed origami for this week’s challenge (of course!!!!!) , based on the classic Charles Esseltine VW Beetle design:

Origami VW Beetle Design by Charles Esseltine

Really, it’s not for beginners at all, so if you want to try this one out I’d definitely have a go at getting the more basic stuff under your belt first – There’s a rather lengthy tutorial on YouTube that you can have a go at following if you desperately feel you need to have a go – it’s in two parts so you’ll have to make sure you view both bits):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mu4mXNNXzWA

The fruits of my labour – a bit rusty as I haven’t indulged in a few years…

Pink VW Beetle by Big Blue Bully Bus

A tad tricky when an over enthusiastic bull terrier wants to help! 🙂

And Kokigami… I said I’d get back to it didn’t I?

First of all – it really does EXIST!!!!! It’s not a spoof. It would probably be wisest to do a Google search on this – or look it up in the Urban Dictionary. I can’t fully explain it without blushing!

Basically (and this is the story I would tell my Mother), many moons ago (the early nineties to be precise), I bought a lovely little book about this particular art form that had the most amazing pre-printed templates and easy to follow instructions, advice on taking accurate measurements and even scripts for role play etc. I believe that even now it’s long since gone out of print, that it’s still available to buy from the likes of Amazon; A tome I’d heartily recommend for your craft reference shelf if nothing else…..

All I can say is…….  if you found any of my links at all useful, and you’ve had a little go at a few folds etc……… and you’ve got access to a little bit of PVA glue, some scissors and a tape measure…… you’ll possibly LOVE this little book and it’s amazing projects; I’ll say no more 😉

The Kokigami Horse – Stuff of Nightmares?

Well maybe a little bit……

The best online reference I can find to the art itself and the particular book in question is here (it’s in Spanish but there’s an optional button to translate – hilarious in itself):

http://www.blogodisea.com/2011/que-es-el-kokigami/preguntas-respuestas/

Have fun! Speak to you next week about something much more sedate, Debby xxx 🙂

OK. It’s week one of my take on the ’52 crafts in 52 weeks’ project and I’ve chosen to start with something I’m fairly familiar with; albeit a bit rusty at the moment.

This month’s theme is of course ‘Paper’, so I’m setting the ball rolling with a spot of decoupage. For those of you who may never have heard of this before, it’s basically centred around the creative art of cutting out, assembling, pasting and (sometimes) varnishing paper to make decorative objects. With it, you can give furniture a new boost of life, create fabulous greetings cards, 3D pictures etc and generally make all sorts of wonderful stuff for your home .

Fantastic results can be obtained fairly easily and it’s also a great activity to carry out with children when the weather’s vile outside and they’re climbing the walls inside 😉

Here’s a few examples of it in it’s simplest form, but you can make it as complex as you wish.

Bangles courtesy of Becky Decoupage 

Mickey Mouse Side Table by Bombus

In the past, when I’ve had a go at decoupage, I’ve tended to use it to make 3D pictures and greetings cards. This involves using multiple repeat images to build up layers which are then stuck one on top of the other. In each layer, you focus on different elements of the image and cut them out to build up the final piece – Silicone glue, or foam sticky pads also help to give depth to the image and this really helps to make it ‘pop out’ from the page once everything is stuck in place.

Sound difficult? Opt for a technique such as pyramage and it’s simplicity itself!

Here I’ve cut a series of graded rectangular pieces from repeat images of a gorgeous flower powered bug and used sticky pads to hold everything in place and give a raised pyramid effect.

Flower Power Beetle by Big Blue Bully Bus

And here, I’ve used graded squares which gently twist round to create a slightly different effect.

Twisted Pyramage VW Beetle by Big Blue Bully Bus

Here’s an example of a more traditional piece of decoupage that I’ve just created – you can buy ready printed, pre-cut sheets if you want but I prefer to make my own. Only thing is I still need to find time to cut the pieces out and stick it all together!

Email me at bigbluebullybus@yahoo.co.uk and I’ll mail the full PDF to you if you’d like to have a go at making it too 😉

VW Bug PDF by The Big Blue Bully Bus

Phew! Blog post and first craft nearly over – just another 51 to go!!!!

Finally, here’s a little list of things that I’ve copied from Wikipedia that you might find useful if you want to have a go at decoupage for yourself:

  • Something to decoupage onto. Examples include: furniturephotograph albums, plates, ceramics, shelving, frames, mirrors.
  • Pictures to decoupage with. These can come from myriad sources: newspapersmagazinescatalogues, books, printed clip art, wrapping paper, greeting cardsfabrictissue paperlace.
  • Cutting utensil. Scissors, craft knife (X-Acto) or razor blades can be used.
  • Glue. Standard white glue works best if it is diluted with a little water. Specialty glues can be found in most crafting stores.
  • Smoother. Popsicle sticks work well. A brayer is a specialized tool like a miniature rolling pin designed to help remove wrinkles, remove excess glue and smooth pictures.
  • Glue spreader. Many things around the house can be use for this: cotton swabspaint brushes, sponges.
  • Rags, sponges, tissue paper to help wipe up glue and other clean up.
  • Sealer. Glue or other decoupage medium can be used as a sealer. Alternatively, polyurethane, spray acrylic or other lacquers are usually used.

Why not have a go yourself? It’s fairly inexpensive and great fun!