Sunday, 26 March 2017

Handmade Monday #18

Hello, it's Handmade Monday time! Welcome to our weekly craft linky.
Come and join us, share your makes, bakes and other handmade craft ideas or just find some new inspiration.

I'm SO sorry that Handmade Monday is a little late going up today. It's Mothers Day here in the Uk and I was sitting with a cuppa enjoying a film with the family when I suddenly remembered I'd not got our linky ready in advance this week! Ops! 

Here are last weeks features: 

Macrame has made such a come back recently, I really love this wall hanging from My French Twist.

Easter is not far away now, these paper treat bags are such a sweet idea from Pillar Box Blue.


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We have a Handmade Monday Facebook Group where we share tips and ideas. If you like to link up here regularly you are welcome to join us, just send a request. Every entry to Handmade Monday gets pinned onto our Handmade Monday pinterest board too, send a request to join this group board if you love to pin.

The rules for Handmade Monday are simple:
  • Did you make it? Yes - hooray, we'd love to see it!
  • Add the link to a specific blog post, not your main site URL.
  • Link up to 3 posts each week.
  • Mingle - visit some of the other links - comment - sharelet's support one another and grow our craft community.
If you're not sure on anything, more information can be found here.



Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Easter Decoupage Book Bunny

I've had so much fun creating this Easter decoupaged bunny, repurposing an old book.
Easter Decoupage Book Bunny
I received a large polystyrene bunny from Hobbycraft, part of their Easter decorating range. 

She (I think it's a she, I'm not sure why) has been so much fun to decorate. I wasn't sure initially what I was going to do with her, but thinking about rabbits reminded me of a battered copy of Alice in Wonderland that I picked up in a charity shops ages ago. I had a plan to do some art work (still on my 'to do' list) but I knew that wouldn't take the whole book. I dug it out and on flicking through discovered that at the end is "An Easter greeting to every child that loves Alice".
I assume every copy has this but I don't know for sure. Still, it was like it was mean't to be!

I realise that batter copies of Alice in Wonderland might be hard to come by, if you can't find one don't worry. You can use any book, not enough really shows to matter and then just photocopy a page with an illustration from a copy of the actual book if you want to make a tag like I have. 

To make your own Alice in Wonderland inspired Decoupaged Book Bunny you will need:
Easter Decoupage Book Bunny
A polystyrene bunny - mine is this one from Hobbycraft
An old book - As I said, I had a copy of Alice in Wonderland but you could manage with any old book.
Mod Podge - mine was the sparkly kind, I love it but you can use regular if you prefer.
Ribbon
A scrap of card, scissors, brush

Start by ripping a few pages of the book into small pieces. I put the ones with the illustrations I wanted to save to one side and ripped up about 10 pages in all for this.
Brush Mod Podge over a section of the rabbit and start glueing the book scraps on.
Easter Decoupage Book Bunny
Cover the paper completely over the top with glue too. You'll find it softens and has a little 'give' once it's all saturated with the glue but for curved sections it's also helpful to do little rips in the sides of the paper scraps too.
I did my rabbit all over save for the bottom inch and allowed it to dry throughly overnight.
Easter Decoupage Book Bunny
In the morning I decoupaged over the last bit going round onto the base.
Easter Decoupage Book Bunny
I thought the ears were a little bit fiddly, that was until I did the tail! For these extra curvy bits I just used much smaller pieces of paper, this made it easier. 

Whilst she dried I made her a tag.
Easter Decoupage Book Bunny
I ripped round one of the rabbit illustrations that I'd saved earlier and cut a simple tag shape from scrap card. I simple glued the illustration on and then added the happy easter greeting I ripped from the letter at the back of the book.

To finish her off I just tied a blue check ribbon from my stash round her neck and added the tag with a tiny length of embroidery thread. 
Easter Decoupage Book Bunny
The sparkle Mod Podge I used is awesome, no where near as messy as using glitter and the sparkly is amazing once it's dry.
Easter Decoupage Book Bunny
Just to check that this could work using a photocopy too I make another tag. I wouldn't recommend using photocopies for all the decoupage, the ink tends to smudge a little if you rub it too much with the glue brush, but for a single illustration it was fine. I just made sure I didn't fuss it too much with the brush and it didn't really smudge at all. 
Alice in wonderland Decoupage bunny
Alice in Wonderland decoupage rabbit
Made like this without the Easter reference this could work for any time of the year. It would be fabulous for an Alice in Wonderland themed party, are they a thing? If not they should be! Although having studied it as I ripped it up I have to conclude it is a slightly weird book! 

Hobbycraft have more ideas of how you can decorate these large polystyrene rabbits if you don't fancy book decoupage. I'm loving it, and now I'm looking for more things I can cover in scraps of old books! 
Easter Decoupage Book Bunny
When I was really little apparently I would spend a lot of time doing what I called 'cutting and sticking'. Some things never change! 

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Handmade Monday #17

Hello, it's Handmade Monday time! Welcome to our weekly craft linky.
Come and join us, share your makes, bakes and other handmade craft ideas or just find some new inspiration.

How's your week been? It's been a busy one for me but I did manage to find some time to start a decoupage project, that I hope to have finished and ready to share soon.
I've also been multitasking in the evenings combining catching up with some tv and the knitting that I started last week. 

Now onto the features from last week's Handmade Monday. And can I just say thank's a lot - you are not making it easy to pick features, so many lovely ideas linked up last week! I've gone for yarn based features this week and there are 3 because I just couldn't choose!

Jo from Three Stories High shared a child's jumper she made from her left over stash. She even added some little crochet flowers which I love. 

Lina from Sew Historically was so clever and creative with this jumper refashion. She took apart the polo neck (turtle neck) of an old jumper (sweater) and then used the wool (yarn) she had just undone to crochet a new pretty lacy collar.
Sometimes I find it funny that we think we speak the same language in the UK as the US!

Over the Apple Tree was also on the recycle vibe with this great idea to take apart a jumper (sweater) carefully to source some lovely new materials for making new stuff.

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We have a Handmade Monday Facebook Group where we share tips and ideas. If you like to link up here regularly you are welcome to join us, just send a request. Every entry to Handmade Monday gets pinned onto our Handmade Monday pinterest board too, send a request to join this group board if you love to pin.

The rules for Handmade Monday are simple:
  • Did you make it? Yes - hooray, we'd love to see it!
  • Add the link to a specific blog post, not your main site URL.
  • Link up to 3 posts each week.
  • Mingle - visit some of the other links - comment - sharelet's support one another and grow our craft community.
If you're not sure on anything, more information can be found here.



Saturday, 18 March 2017

Upcycled Spring Vase & Pen Pot

Spring has definitely sprung in our part of the world so here's a simple upcycling idea for bringing a little spring prettiness into your home.
Upcycled Spring vase and pen pot
If you are in the southern hemisphere and heading into Autumn, maybe just pin for now and come back to this in 6 months! 


In order to bring you this craft project I was provided with some products by Hobbycraft.

Perfect for an Easter Table centerpiece or just as a fun way to brighten your indoor space, this vase started it's life as a jam jar. I don't know why we call them all jam jar's here in the UK when this jar didn't contain jam at all! It actually contained mincemeat that we used for mincepies last Christmas, it's a good size jar, 13cm/5" tall - perfect for a vase. 

To make this vase or the pen pot you will need:
  • Faux grass - mine was this one from Hobbycraft
  • Artificial daisy heads - I used these also from Hobbycraft
  • A clean old jam jar for the vase
  • A clean old food tub of some sort for the pen pot
  • Scissors
  • A hot glue gun - mine is one of these
This is a super quick project, it took longer to clean up afterwards that it did to make the vase and pen pot! 

Simple cut the faux grass to fit in a band around your jam jar. I made my band about 7cm/3" wide as I wanted a little glass and therefore stems showing top and bottom, yours can be as wide or narrow as you wish.
It's really easy to cut with regular scissors, but it is a little messy as you can see. Just rub your hands over the grass after you've cut it to remove all the loose bits and to fluff it up a bit. 
Now hot glue it to the jam jar. No photos of this bit I'm afraid as I can't hot glue and take photos simultaneously but I'm sure you can work it out! 
Just be careful of your fingers with that hot glue. Once it's attached, just press firmly to the glass for a few seconds until the glue cools down and hardens.

Next take the artificial daisy heads and glue them to the grass. I did a fairly regular pattern but you could dot them randomly all over or place them in a line, whatever takes your fancy.
That's it! Simple as that. Fill your jar with water and pop in some spring flowers. I went for daffodils as they scream Spring and Easter to me.
Upcycled Spring vase and pen pot
This would make a great Mother's Day gift too, maybe not for small children to do with the hot glue but anyone else could rustle this up easily. 
Jam Jar upcycled to a Spring vase
You could even just add a grass wrap around an existing vase and just tie it on firmly with twine if you wanted a large bunch of flowers for an Easter celebration, that way once you were finished with it you could easily remove it and stash it away for next year. Some sort of rustic twine could look great with the grass and daisies, tied in a bow, maybe with an Easter tag. 

Making the pen pot uses exactly the same method. 
Upcycled Spring diasy pen pot
This time I covered a coffee tin but covered it completely in the faux grass. It was just a case of cutting the faux grass to size, hot gluing it on and then adding the daisies. This time I just used white daisies - just mixing things up a bit!
The tin gets surprisingly warm inside as the glue is cooling, I guess the metal holds the heat but it was never dangerously hot.  
Once it had cooled I popped my prettiest pens in and added it to the desk. 
Coffee tub upcycled into a daisy pen pot
This tin could be a planter too of course, as long as your recycled container is water tight you could add a potted plant in there instead - now that really would be ideal for Mother's day. 
Just bear in mind that metal tins used as planters will rust at the bottom eventually. You can read my cautionary tale about that here.

I've got a few more Easter and Spring crafting ideas in the pipeline made from the products Hobbycraft provided, plus they have loads more ideas here if you are in an Easter decorating mood now!
You might also be interested in:
Carrot Treat Bag
Carrot Treat bag
Tassel Button key Ring
Tassel Button Key Ring
Washi Tape Berry Boxes
Washi Tape Berry Boxes
Wedding Day Emergency Kit
Wedding Day Emergency Kit
I'll be linking up this project at some of these lovely link parties

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Meet Elspeth from Ragged Life

Now for something completely different!
Meet Elspeth Jackson from Ragged Life, self confess fabric hoarder, colour lover and expert rag rugger.
Meet Elspeth from Ragged Life
A few weeks ago at the CHSI stitches show I had the pleasure of meeting Elspeth, the talented rag rug making teacher, designer and founder of Ragged Life. I've asked Elspeth to share a little more about her creative journey and plans for world rag rug making domination. (ok - I added that bit, but wouldn't that be fun, a rag rug in every home on the planet!)
Meet Elspeth from Ragged Life
How did you first get into rag rug making?
Every year my school used to put on a “Recycled Fashion Show” where the students had to make costumes out of recycled materials. My mum had been making beautiful rag rugs out of old clothing for years and I thought it would be a great medium for my outfit. My masterpiece took hours to make, weighed a tonne and was baking hot under the catwalk spotlights but won me a prize. By then I had caught the rag rug bug! Afterwards I began making rag rugs for myself and eventually for other people. My core rag rug pieces are for sale on my website (www.raggedlife.com) but I also undertake commissions for custom-made pieces. My mother is the original rag rug guru. I’ve learned new techniques, tips and tricks over the years but without my mum’s patience when I was learning as a youngster, Ragged Life would not exist today.

What made you decide to start Ragged life?
I decided to launch Ragged Life after noticing how many people were interested in learning how to rag rug. There were very few rag rug “experts” out there to teach and lots of crafty people looking to learn. I’d been looking for a creative outlet for a while so it was the perfect opportunity and timing.
Meet Elspeth from Ragged Life
What is your background? What did you do before starting Ragged Life?
Although I’ve always made rag rugs, it wasn’t until 2014 that I took the leap of faith to make my passion, my work. In fact, most people are very surprised when they learn that I did Geography at university, not an art or textile degree. After university, I went straight to work for Unilever in London. I worked in Marketing for three years, working on incredible brands, including Persil, Flora and Lynx. Although I don’t regret working for a big company, I knew deep down that working for a company that large just wasn’t for me.

Are there any other crafts you enjoy?
Like most crafty people, I just love making things. I flit from one craft to another and have tried everything from modern calligraphy and pottery to cross stitch and lampshade making over the years. Aside from rag rugging, I love to crochet - I'm not the most competent at it but I do love hoarding wool and making snoods. 

What's your favourite thing about what you do now?
I love meeting so many happy, creative people. The craft world is such a nice industry to be in - people are friendly, inspiring and never fail to surprise me. 
Meet Elspeth from Ragged Life
Where do you get your design inspiration from? 
Inspiration can come from anywhere so getting out there and seeing different things is key. Last year, while on holiday, I went to the Spello Infiorati (Spello Flower Festival) which was incredible for design and colour inspiration. Closer to home, exhibitions such as the “Henri Matisse - The Cut-Outs” show at the Tate Modern or the Alexander McQueen “Savage Beauty” exhibition at the V&A were great for helping me to think outside the box. Of course, there’s also Pinterest which is the place for inspiration. I have plenty of boards chock-full of ideas here.
Meet Elspeth from Ragged Life
What are you most proud of in your rag rug journey so far?
In October, 2016 I had my first ever book, "Rag Rugs, Pillows & More", published globally. I'd never even imagined that I would become a published author so I couldn't believe it when CICO Books hunted me down. There are few things more satisfying than that moment when you receive the first copy of the book you've slaved over for months. 

Do you have a favourite piece that you've made?
I don't necessarily have a favourite piece but I do really love the boucherouite-inspired stool I upholstered in rag rug. It never fails to bring a smile to my face. 
Meet Elspeth from Ragged Life
What does the future hold for Ragged life?
At the moment, I'm working on quite an ambitious project to create a rag rug piece to submit to the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition next year. I'm incorporating ragged clothing from 1900-2000 which has been a lot of fun to track down. My ultimate aim is get as many people interested in rag rugging as possible so keep your eyes peeled for Ragged Life popping up in shops over the next few years. 
Meet Elspeth from Ragged Life
Where do you suggest a beginner should start if they are interested in rag rug making? 
One of the most daunting thoughts for a rag rug beginner is the thought that they've got to make an actual rug when they first start out but actually rag rugging can be applied to so many small projects. I would recommend starting with something like a shopping bag or cushion to get used to the techniques then work your way up to an actual rug.
Meet Elspeth from Ragged Life
My second piece of advice would be to do a simple design to start with. Even basic patterns like stripes, spots and check look extremely effective when rag rugged because of the texture. As long as you're happy with the colour scheme, you can't really go wrong. 

What social media are you on?
www.youtube.com/ragged

A massive thank you to Elspeth for sharing her rag rugging story so far, I don't know about you but I'm itching to have a go now. I've been watching Elspeth's brilliant You Tube tutorial on how to make a rag rugged letter.

Making a rag rug has been on my "to do" list for years, I've had a pinterest board where I've collected a variety of tutorials but I've never actually taken the plunge. But it turns out there must have been rag rugs around in my grandparent's house because look what I found in the depths of my sewing box.
rag rug making tools
These were my nan's, and although they are a little bit marked they seem in good working order. Maybe subliminally that's why I like rag rugs so much, that and the fact they are a great recycling/upcycling project. I'm going to take Elspeth's advice and start small. I'm thinking a cushion or bag, or maybe coasters if that's not too small, using my nan's old tools. I think she would have liked that.
You might also be interested in:
Lace Cut Off Jeans
Lace Cut off jeans
Embroidered shirt refashion
Embroidered shirt refashion
Star Sweatshirt Refashion
Star Sweatshirt Refashion
Simple Embroidered Bag
Simple Embroidered Bag
I'll be linking up at these great link parties