Sunday, 30 September 2012

Easy Swap

Today I Made ...

A friend has been busy felting gifts just in time for Christmas and promised to show me an easy method of making basic flat felt. We had a great day, (with lots of tea and cakes), and managed to make a fairly passable gift. Thank you J.x.  Here is what she taught me ...

First things you will need ...

A table.
A waterproof covering.
Some bubble wrap - two pieces.
Two towels - one large one smaller.
A bar of soap.
A spray bottle.
Wool for felting - I used a mixture of two shades of pink and blue Merino wool.
I also used a few silky threads and delicate ribbons mostly in shades of pink and blue.

The main wool plus other fibres

Things you will need





Cover the table with the waterproof cloth.
Add a layer of bubble wrap (flat side uppermost).
Lay out a towel - as large as possible.
Place the smaller towel on top.
Start to add the small pieces of fibres in a criss cross design.
Stretch them out and pull them apart as much as possible to give a better finish.
At this point I also swirled some colourful threads and skinny silk ribbons in a chaotic design on the top of the wools.
Now add a second layer of criss cross threads.
The work area was approximately four feet square and the thread area approximately ten inches by five inches overall.
Make sure that the thread area is dense with no holes visible by the time you have finished.

Grate the soap bar into some boiling water and put the mix into a spray bottle.
Gently spray the fibres until all are thoroughly wetted.
A second layer of bubble wrap can be placed carefully on top now - bubble side down - and pressed down to spread the soapy water evenly around.
Use a gentle massage movement to make all the threads and silks become entangled.


Now roll up the pre-felt in the smaller towel and take it to the sink.
Gently wring out the excess water.
Now fill the sink with very hot water and immerse the whole bundle in it.

Taking the bundle to the sink

The texture


After five minutes remove the bundle and drain and wring gently and then take back to the table.
Now roll the bundle in the small towel back and forwards over the larger towel for five minutes as the water is squeezed out.
Undo the bundle and turn the pre-felt in the opposite direction and then re-roll and do the same again for a further five minutes.

Now inspect the fibres.
They should be well entangled and evenly shrunk and appear well matted.
If they appear less strong than needed then repeat the process with wetting and re-soaping.
You can also add another layer of fibres if you think they are necessary.
If the texture seems strong enough you can push and pull it into the desired shape.
Now rinse thoroughly in first hot and then cold water.
Repeat this hot and cold process until the water runs clear of suds.
When it is rinsed, shaped and flattened, lay on a dry towel and leave to thoroughly dry out (I put mine over a bathroom towel radiator overnight).
When thoroughly dry move onto the next stage.

Pulling into shape


I pulled my felt into an uneven rectangle approximately four inches by nine inches in readiness to make a wrist cuff for my 'Stitched Cuff Swap' partner  Kirsty.

Blue beads and pink and blue buttons

Work in progress

Silks and beads and buttons

More beads and silks and buttons

I then set about decorating it with stitching and buttons, beads and simple embroidery and added a snap fastener.

Threads and embroidery

More threads and embroidery

This is my finished piece - not bad for a first try!


Sadly I missed a few photos due to wetness and water problems, (and possibly too much concentration on tea and cakes), but I hope that I explained all the steps needed to make some very simple felt.

I am not too artistic and find that by copying others work (or using their pieces as a sort of tutorial) I can usually get something that looks passably good. This cuff is really a poor copy of something I saw recently at a craft market although not as professional and embellished in my own particular eccentric way. I intend to try and perfect this particular craft!

Meanwhile this cuff and a few small goodies are off to Kirsty in Australia x


This to be posted tomorrow - as you know I leave everything until the deadline ( must be posted by first of October) - and yes I really am sending a Christmas card!

Friday, 28 September 2012

Pay It Forward

This is how  Pay It Forward works :-

I will make a handmade gift for three bloggers who comment on this post. They, in turn, will blog a similar post and agree to make a  handmade gift for three of their commenters. These gifts can be sent anytime within the year. Remember to leave an email address if your comment cannot be linked to.

 Do join in and lets all craft together.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Harrods Day Out

Day Out In London

Harrods London
The wonderfully extravagant Harrods

Inside Harrods, Egyptian display inside the famous store - London, Greater London, England
Harrods - a sight to delight the eyes

I have always been a fan of  Harrods  and over the years have made many trips there with the family and friends. Because it is such a long while since my last visit I was very excited and so looking forward to this outing. A friend and I decided we should do a little shopping and then have a good lunch - so instead of driving we went by train and taxi.

I was surprised at the changes - instead of being classy and expensive with just a little less expensive things thrown in for the plebs - it has become 'designer heaven' with grossly inflated prices to match. It is still a sight to behold but not one from which I feel able to buy anymore. We gasped at the evening clutches with a starting price of around £4,000 - we gaped at the dressing gowns priced at £3,000 plus and drooled over the handbags and accessories, which we really were quite unable to afford.

I was extremely disappointed with the changes to the food hall - this has always been a 'foodies mecca' and I have spent many hours and much money in this department.  It is now awash with small food outlets, cafes and restaurants, catering to all manner of foodstuffs and the actual space left for selling produce is much depleted. There is still a fish, meat and vegetable space, a small delicattesen and lots of tinned and packet goods but this area is now small and much less inspiring. I took a few pics of the sweets and goodies on offer but was disappointed not to find the huge array of goods on offer on my last visit.

After this rather disappointing visit we went to  Rigby and Peller, where my extravagant friend bought two beautiful bras and I drank coffee and admired the view.

Via Rigby and Peller

We then went for a long walk in the mid-day sun (aka Noel Coward) right along Knightsbridge to The Kings Road in Chelsea. Here we stopped at  The Saatchi Gallery.

The Saatchi Gallery

There is an exhibition here of photography and art, which is called Korean Eye 2012, which runs until the 23rd September. This wonderful picture of Mother Theresa by Hyung Koo Kang (2011), an oil on aluminium, is particularly eye catching.

Via The Satchi Gallery

 Here we drank overpriced wine and water in the sunshine outside the Gallery Mess Restaurant And Cafe. And here we also had a very unsatisfactory lunch (a platter of cured meat antipasti for two costing £22 and consisting of almost nothing and with extremely overpriced wine and water too).

A pretty spot in the sun

Afternoon tea at Le Pain Quotidien in Chelsea was much more successful and after stuffing our faces with afternoon tea with carrot cake and chocolate tarte we arrived back at Waterloo just in time for the rush hour!

When I got home I constructed my own quick and easy platter for two, which was far superior and much cheaper too! This we ate in the garden with some wonderful wine costing much less than the £24 Muscadet we drank at The Mess and with free iced water too!

Simple antipasti platter

Overall a good day out if a little disappointing in the shopping department.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

What Makes You Happy?

Happiness Solved?

Well - I could do without the violin!  So my list would be somewhat different ...

A comfy chair
A bowl of fruit - must have cherries!
A cup of tea / glass of wine (depending upon the time of day)
A good book

I must add to this list my children and grandchildren - sadly this weekend they returned to NZ (been her  year or more) and I will sadly miss them all.

What is on your list?

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Video Game Crafts

Geeks Are Us

Have I told you that The Devil Child and Mr Whizz Kid are both computer geeks? My youngest son, in particular, is addicted to video games and is an accomplished gamer and Mr Whizz Kid earns a very good living with his expert computer skills. Me ... I have never played a game and find most of the 'geeky stuff' very boring and never get involved.

Looking for Christmas present inspiration I have been searching the Internet (yes ... this part of computers I really do get) and have found some things that could very well be used to make some Christmas craft gifts for some of our geeky family and friends. I also discovered Lana Del Ray singing 'Video Games' and loved it (posted at the bottom of this post).

Game Fabric
Via Tumblr
Geeky Cushions
Via Pinterest

Bio Shock Stencil
Via Gamervision

Cool Gamer Shoes

Via Tumblr
Game Fabric
Via Tumblr

Geeky Phone Cover
Via Pinterest

Image of Red Ghost Video Game Fabric Covered Bobby Pins
Bobby Pins
Via Big Cartel

Space Ace Video Game Fabric Wall Scroll Poster (16"x21") Inches
Space Ace video poster
Via Amazon

Pac Man  Fabric  Coin Purse-Handmade Vintage Video Game
Pac Man coin purse
Via Etsy

Retro Video Game Key Fob
Video Key Fob
Via Etsy
Pacman Memories
Pac Man Cushion
Via Etsy

Pac Man Hot Pads / Quilted Potholders / Retro Kitchen Decor / Set of 2 / Video Game Fabric / Geek
Pac Man Hot Pads
Via Etsy

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Welcome To Positano

The Pearl Of The Amalfi Coast
Positano, Italy

This is my first 'real' holiday since my illness (apart from a break at our apartment in France) and so I was REALLY looking forward to it - if finding the thought of being so far away from The Royal Marsden  a little scary. We decided on Positano, (that is I decided on Positano), as it was the most beautiful spot in the world that I had ever been too. It is along the Amalfi Coast, south of Naples in Italy and breathtakingly built into the hillside and overlooking the sea. Wow! Last time we went I was fit and well - this time not so fit and well and a little wobbly on my feet - but so what - I was determined to have a brilliant holiday.

We settled on 'Buca di Bacco' overlooking the wonderful beach, which although rather stony is covered with the most marvellous detritus from a previous tile mill - each stone is a different bright colour washed smooth by the sea, however, now much of the beach has been 'sanded' and is a much more comfortable place. The hotel amazed us on our last visit and this time we opted for the most expensive and opulent suite with  a big balcony with sun-beds and eating areas suspended out over the bay. Scary, (if you are not keen on heights or water), but simply stunning to behold.

Here are a few photo's of our visit ... hope that you enjoy them as much as we did!

This was our balcony overlooking the bay of Positano ...

Balcony at the Buca di Bacco camera de-luxe with sea view

I spent many happy hours here while Mr Whizz Kid swam in the sea and I read my books. This was actually the 'honeymoon suite' of this little hotel and the best in the hotel - though we were definitely not on honeymoon after twenty plus years (still I can dream can't I?)

Balcony at Buca di Bacco
View from balcony

View from balcony

View from balcony

View from balcony

View from balcony

View from balcony

Now I should love to show you some of the amazing seafood dishes we ate - lots of lobster, crayfish, prawns, shrimp, crab, calamari, anchovies and many of the local fishes caught daily in the bay - sadly Mr Whizz Kid objected this time so you will just have to imagine them!

We also travelled by boat along the Amalfi coast and visited beautiful spots along the way - Sorrento, Amalfi, Capri and Salerno - all of them stunning. The ferry stops were on the beach below our window so we had to walk just a few steps to reach the boarding stage.

Positano from the Amalfi road - Positano, Naples

Umbrella cascade - Positano, Naples

Do take a look at this  uTube video, which gives much more info than my photos ever could.