Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Slipper update

Great news! Gary loves the slippers! They fit perfectly & he says they are very comfy & warm. I`m very pleased with them too :o) will definately be making more in the future :o)
Wouldnt let me take a photo of him in them for my blog though...

Monday, 29 March 2010

Felted Slippers

Well I hit the ginger nut biscuits hard & am feeling much better now :o)
I joined the fun with the `join in & Make` on Working with Felt for these slippers, & followed the tutorial on there. Its the first time Ive felted slippers, and really enjoyed making them (hard work though - they took the best part of 7 hours). I decided to use Norwegian wool fibre as Ive heard that it is harder wearing than merino, its certainly coarser. I did my usual thing of jumping straight in, and allowed for the same rate of shrinkage as merino... This did not shrink anywhere near as fast as merino! So I really had to work them to get them to the right size. I thinks thats a good thing though; I really love the texture of the felt & it is very dense and hard - feels perfect for footwear.

I used mostly grey fibre, but for the 7th & final layer I used white for humbug stripes. So now they are dark and light grey stripes.

I have just finished sewing the leather soles on. I can imagine a viking wearing these for some reason. Cant wait for Gary to get home & try them on...

Rocky-Doodle-Doos new home

Well my little chickadee has gone to his new home! We were lucky really that we had 3 people offer him a home, I think & hope we`ve picked the best option.
The local farm offered to take him - but neighbours have told me he would end up as a Sunday dinner as soon as he is fat enough there... not what I want for him, might aswell of left him for the foxes as send him somewhere for the pot! Then a lady that my over-the-road neighbour knows offered, she lives about a mile as the crow flies across the fields, but she has her house for sale... its lovely cottage & smallholding - wish I could afford it! Fortunately before I spoke to her, I spoke to the chap who cares for chickens & ducks at the farm shop where we do most of our shopping. Turns out none of their birds ever end up on a plate. They brought the liberated ex-battery hens, but all of the rest of the birds are rescues or brought in by people who cant keep them for whatever reason... and their old owners come back & visit them regularly... which of course is what we shall be doing every time we go shopping :o)
I drove him there this morning - bless him he was so scared & shaking when I put him in a box the whole box was vibrating! When we got there the man confirmed what I had been thinking - he isnt much more than a baby; maybe half grown, he still has his fluffy chick feathers under his wings & round his bum! I knew he was growing (growing nails too)! Thats probably why he was so trusting and easy to pick up in the woods. He was in a big pen in the middle of the ckicken run getting used to his surroundings when I left... hope the big boys dont pick on him too much.
I`ll try & get a nice photo of him in his new home over the Easter holidays.
Probably seems odd to be so bothered when we only had him for a week and a half, but Ive wanted chickens since I was 8 & used to help my aunty in her chicken run. I finally got me a chicken & HE FOUND ME - it was wonderful! Unfortunately, in this house, Im not able to keep him...so today Im feeling very sad. At least now my hubby (whos only experience with chickens upto now was on his plate) has realised how much character they have got, and it looks like I have a better chance of liberating some battery hens in the future :o) so thats a positive thing - and it was lovely having him to stay.
Anyway, enough feeling sorry for myself - next post will be about FELT I promise :o)

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Sunny Saturday

Good morning! Its a beautiful sunny spring morning here & Rocky-Doodle is having a good shout as I start typing :o)
Ive been rather neglectful of my poor little blog this week; had work related stuff Mon-Wed, catchup Thursday & yesterday a FELTING day YAY :o) I felted a pair of slippers for Gary, my lovely hubby. Im planning to post more about them seperately, theyre still wet & I havent taken any photos yet.

I have got something to show you though :o)

This is my Sunshine banner. I dyed the fibres using my new acid dyes... I love the colours, theyre really strong & rich. Its about 3ft long & goes from a deep terracotta orange at the top to a lovely golden glow at the bottom of the dangles. Its mostly merino, but I dyed some tussah silk with the gold & used that for the sun. Its a bit of fun & a nice splash of summery sunshine for my wall :o)
Well looking out of the patio doors next to me the suns gone behind a cloud (oh well) and Rocky-Doodle has his beady eye on me...I think he is sending me psychic `feed me` messages :o) he does love his food.

He`s about about 10ft away from where Im sitting, its so funny to look out he see him watching

We are off to check out a potential new home for him this afternoon. He has grown since he came to stay a week & a half ago, I think that somebody must of had him as a chick not realising he was a dude & booted him out when he started to crow. Such a shame, he is a lovely boy.

Have a wonderful weekend - whatever you are doing

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Treasures from the Reenactors Market

I had a lovely day yesterday! Dropped the kids off in the morning and drove over to Clares house for a coffee & nose through her crafty stuff :o) and then off to the Reenactors Market. This 3 day market is on twice a year, during the spring & autumn - this is the first spring market Ive been to & it was a very busy first day. I LOVE going here, you can find so many unusual & interesting bits n pieces - you can get anything from swords & armour to candles & cooking pots, dark ages to 1940s and there are people in costume from pretty much any & all periods. My mission for the day was to buy some knitted stockings for when Im working at Oak House; I accidentally felted my last pair & have regularly developed chillblanes from working there ever since. Plus, of course, interesting doodats to use with my felt.

My treasure trove - sexy mustard colour stockings :o)

A silk cap & silk thread

Pewter skull buttons & fish, brass bell & eyelets (to go on the end of laces)

Gorgeous little pewter buttons - very heavy for their size

The silk cap & thread are from my friend Debbie The Mulberry Dyer. They are naturally dyed, the cap is woad & nettle - giving lovely soft & slightly variegated greens, and the thread is fustic - a fabulous deep, rich mustard (ok so the colour fetish is definately mustard this week :o)
I love the pewter buttons and the fish charm, and the bell is very sweet - must find something specialy for that. The eyelets are for some lacing Im planning to incorporate into a felted jacket? or bodice?
I also met an old friend that Id lost touch with a few years ago - which was a lovely suprise & got her new contact details to stay in touch :o) Met some managers from work & managed to spend some of their money to lol.
All in all a very good, if very tiring day - I was out for about 11 hours in total.
We still have our visiting cockerel :o) who is a very nice chap! So far he hasnt crowed in the morning until I have brought him out into the run - guess it helps that the garage is rather dark. No news on where he came from so far... Im wondering if someone had maybe dumped him? At least Ive lined a nice home up for him if I dont find his old one... my lovely husband really doesnt want a cockerel added to our menagery :o) Looks like his name is going to be Rocky-Doodle-doo while he is with us (sounds like Scooby-doo speak); Matthew insists on calling him Rocky & Rachael is sticking to Doodle - so in the name of peace its Rocky-Doodle-doo & they both get their way; shorten it however you please kids!
Right Im off to put said cockerel to bed and start the dinner. Have a good weekend folks

Thursday, 18 March 2010

An unexpected guest

Well, what an exciting day! This morning while making the kids sandwiches I heard a cock-a-doodle-dooing very close by... went out into the gardeen to investigate & it really did sound VERY closeby. I peered over the back fence & there he was in the woods. So I grabed a fistfull of wild birdseed and went out, started throwing it nearby & bless him; he started gobbling it up, came right over to me pecking around by my feet. So I picked him up and brought him in :o)

We have a very big unused guinea pig cage in the garage where he can spend the night, but I popped him into the guinea pig run on the grass for the day... not ideal, but the dogs are just getting used to him - and I dont really want him to hop over the fence back into the woods to get gobbled up by foxey-loxey.
Spent the morning visiting our local farms trying to find his home, but the closest one doesnt keep chickens at all - and the other one (which is a gorgeous idylic place) have had all their chickens taken by foxes a couple of weeks ago. I did wonder if maybe he was one of theirs who had escaped the fox & been living wild - but theyve never had one like him. I think he is a bantam... but not really sure. The nice farm have said they will happily have him if we dont find his home & are unable to keep him (?just how much will this cock crow?!) but we agreed it`ll be best to give it a few weeks anyway so the foxes have stopped looking for chickens there. The farmer & his wife are busy lambing & calfing at the moment, but plan to buy some chickens in a month or 2, so he can always go & live there with a little harem... theyre free rangers, so I think that would be nice for him.
So, there you go, another string to my bow - chicken wrangler :o) I hadn`t held a chicken since I was about 10...glad I used to help my aunty with hers when I was a little un so I at least knew how to pick him up.
As long as he is here he will need a name, so far we`ve considered Doodle (cos he `doodledoo` s) or Rocky after the one on Chicken Run... I think he will probably be Rocky :o)

Monday, 15 March 2010

More makes

Just a quicky today... I wanted to show you the felted flowers that I made for our mums for mothers day yesterday. Ive felted flowers in quite a few ways, but I have to say that these were really good fun to make, and probably the quickest! I followed a tutorial on one of my favourite felters blogs; DailyFelt by Ingermaiike, this link will take you to the tutorial. Give them a go they`re great! While you are over there have a mooch around, its a great blog.

I didnt use a sander (never do, I tried it once but didnt like it)... but followed the rest. I wrapped wire around the stems and base of the flowers, finishing `em off with a tendril like spiral each. My mom got the 3 yellow, yellow/white flowers & Garys mum got the pinks & white. The also got pot plants, but they`ve both commented how much they like these ;o)

Also I want to show you this lovely picture of my `baby` modelling the hood that I made on Friday. I know Im biased but doesnt she look sweet?! I felted this on Friday morning, straight away it went into the mordant & dye pots. I planned to sew it to the tunic I am making... Unfortunately when I did sew it on I realised that it was far to heavy (too well felted I think) so Ive taken it back off.

Rachael rather likes this, but the wind kept trying to blow it off... I think I might sew a button either side and make a removable chin strap to keep it on. Or maybe at some point felt a short cape that it can attach to via the buttons? Ideas anyone?
You can see the colours so much better in this outdoor photograph. This is a really good representation of the colour of the whole tunic. Which is sewn together now and has a nice little collar to replace the hood. It needs a little tweeking & then I shall get a photo up.
Today I felted the body of a bag & its strap... its going to be a two-tone Feelin` Sheepish bag - havent done one of those in quite a while. Wednesday Im working (playing Tudor dress-up more like :o) and then on Friday I have a girly fun day planned with my friend Clare. We`re going to a Reenactors market, I cant wait - I KNOW there will be lots of interesting & unusual odds n ends that you just cant find elsewhere. I really need a girly day out...
Anyway, have a good & productive week - Im off for a cuppa tea & to try out some new dyes I just received ;o)

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Freshly dyed tunic

Hey this is pretty good for me... yesterday I promised to post photos of the dyed tunic fabric - and here it is :o)

I dyed it with Red Lac. The felt is merino, with tussah silk fibre, BFL curly locks and a very bumpy yarn that my daughter Rachael spun last summer (10 years old). The idea being that all the different fibres would take up the dye differently and it would give a variegated effect. It certainly did that! I think I might of taken it off the stove & rinsed it a little too quickly; the lovely deep mulled wine coloured dye had gone clear, and the felt was now that colour... but when I rinsed it loads of colour came out. Its very mottled and variegated - which is the look I wanted. It goes from quite a dark rich red to a nice pinky red. Some of the locks are very vivid & the silk looks gorgeous. Its quite hard to get a good representation of the colour.

The colours show best on this photo

The spiral is on the back. For the front I laid out the left half bringing the fibres about 10cm past the mid line, put a piece of bubblewrap over the whole left side and then laid out the right, again extending the fibre 10cm past the midline, this gave me the front opening. Ive cut along the top of that opening & extended it a little each way for the neck hole.

All pinned together

It fits pretty well sitting just on the hip. Tomorow Im going to felt a hood, dye it to match & sew it on :o)
This is a pretty big learning curve for me; its my first tunic (Ive got allsorts of plans for jackets, coats, skirts etc :o) and Im certainly a novice when it comes to dyeing. Next time I will make the felt longer; it shrunk some more while I was dyeing it. I should of guessed really, I did boil & stew it for about 2 hours with the mordanting & dyeing!
Having a tailors dummy or being double jointed would be useful too! Its not so easy trying to pin & fit something on your own body!

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

My first sunset

OK time to share the fruits of another playday ;o)
Friday last week I finally got around to felting a sunset! Our garden backs on to fields & woods, right behind our back fence there is a HUGE beautiful old beech tree. In the winter the sun sets right behind the woods & some nights the sky is just so breathtaking that all you want to do is stand and watch the colours changing. Unfortunately I havent had much joy taking photographs of this... the sun is just too bright even as its going down, and I don't have filters etc. I have managed to take a couple of nice ones though... I decided quite a while ago that I really needed to felt a wallhanging with our sunset beech tree...

Needs to be mounted now

I didnt want to clutter up the bottom of the picture too much with undergrowth etc, so I felted in strips of silk fabric & curly locks to add texture...its enough to hint there theres stuff there without being too busy.

My inspiration photo

I shall probably mount it onto linen stretched over a board, thats how I mounted the seascape I made for my nan a year or so back. I did a fair bit of surface embroidery onto the seascape though and dont want to embroider this sunset, so I shall have to see how that works out. Ive also got a dilema about what colour to mount it on...creamy white? or dark?

Yesterday I worked on a big piece of felt that Im planning to make a tunic or maybe a jacket from. Today I am dyeing the felt; I mordanted it this morning with alum & creme of tartar - got to say it smelled much more than when doing a smaller amount...which makes perfect sense I supose ;o) Now Im dyeing it with Tinctoria Red Lac, which smells nicer than the mordant - hope it takes well and that I like the colour... In the cauldron it looks like mulled wine!

Hopefully pics tomorow...

Thursday, 4 March 2010

My new bag

Ive had a great week experimenting & playing with felt! Yesterday I felted a hip bag for myself, Its got a definate sea theme going on; gorgeous blue shades of merino, with curly locks, silk filament fibre, sari silk ribbon, homespun fancy bobbly yarn that I plied with a metalic thread and a couple of tiny bright green silk chiffon scraps. Im planning to use it a lot through the summer.



Its seamless, well felted & hardened (it neads to be tough). Ive felted a really long cord (probably about 10 foot) with all the yummy extras that are in the body of the bag; sari silk ribbon, yarn, silk fibres. The cord threads through the back of the bag and wraps around my hips. I thought it was going to be too long, but I really like the way it goes one & a half times around, knots then dangles.

Ive sewn the zip in with herringbone stitch, I love the irregular edge of the finished felt.
On Wednesday I nuno felted a floral panel. Its the first time Ive done anything like that... so I was trying out different ideas. Im planning to use it as a banner / flag in the garden, the base is cotton gauze so its pretty floaty - I can just imagine it fluttering in the breeze. Just need to figure out exactly how / where to hang it :o) It`ll probably end up looking like a battle standard hehe
So this weeks been good & productive for me - hope it has for you too

Wednesday, 3 March 2010


I like this award! Its been passed to me by Louisa of Felted House :o) And its all about what makes you happy! Im going with things that always give me a swoop of joy in the pit of my stomach - you know the feeling... Here`s my top 10 :o) not in any order:

The sea!
Every sense of it; touch, smell, sound, sight, even taste (not too much tasting though thanks).

My kids smiles.

Catching a really good wave on my bodyboard & riding it all the way in.

Looking out at beautiful scenery from a high place with the wind in my face.

Watching the sunset, with my husbands strong, warm arms wrapped around me - feeling like its the best/safest place in the world.

Boat rides! At sea - up and OVER waves.

The start of a day given over to a new felting project.

Tucking into a meal that everyone at table likes.

Setting out really early in the morning to go on holiday.

The sound of waves crashing, lulling me to sleep in my sleeping bag on our favourite campsite in Polzeath, Cornwall.

Well those are the things that get me every time... Im not going to just send this on to anyone - if you would like this award I`ll happily send it on just let me know.


Monday, 1 March 2010

Playing catchup

Wow, that week kindof went by in a blur! It was a good one, busy... but good!

We had a really good night out for my sister-in-laws 40th and boy were we glad that we didnt go with the birthday cake fireball idea! My sister-in-laws IN-laws suprised her with an extreemly posh & lovely, proper birthday cake... We couldnt help laughing at our close call... can you imagine; the in-laws present you with a sophisticated cake & your own family offer a fun iced cake with 40 candles stuck in willy-nilly thats promising to turn into a raging inferno at any moment :o) Too funny! (Im kindof warped, personally Id like the fireball for the giggle factor).

I can post a photo of the gorgeous necklace that we gave her now. It was 'specially handmade by keiara - it is one of Keiaras Desert Tree focals (which I love, they are so atmospheric) with a handsewn ribbon & beaten sterling silver ring both crafted by friends of Keiaras.

For once I wasnt the designated driver - I rarely drink alcohol so dont mind staying tea-total & driving. Im such a lightweight these days - I didnt drink at all while having the children & breastfeeding... that was a fair few years ago, now I have a glass of wine very occasionally with a meal. We had a very nice bottle of merlo on the tablet... a glass & a bit later (it really WAS very nice) I was feeling distinctly mellow.

The children were back to school on the Monday - little rascals tried very hard to convince me that it was infact a teacher training day & they didnt have to go to school. Unfortunately for them - I can vividly remember being young & at school myself, so Im not the easiest person to get one over on :o)

This meant I had Monday to play with my felt. I experimented with texture & colours, and felting a cape seamlessly. The cape experiment was less than successfull, but it was a good learning curve. Plus the felt itself is lovely & shall be used elsewhere. By the way, Im definately obsessing over purple & green... the colour/texture experiment was inspired by a photograph of lavender, grass & poppies in France... rather predictably its mostly purple & green - but I LIKE it! :o)

Merino, tussah silk, BFL locks (I love the bubbly texture) & eyelash yarn (which you cant see in the photo)

Tue, Wed & Thu were given over to work & waiting in a garage while my car was tested - passed easily thank goodness.

Friday my lovely husband suprised me with a day off, we mooched around Ikea - I got some very cool hangers that I think will be great for displaying scarves at craft fayres (will take pics soon), had lunch & big messy cream cakes - it was nice.

This week is pretty much open for me to do as I wish (I think) apart from Friday, when my son has his first appointment to see an Orthodontist. So Im hopeing to do lots of fun felt/fibre stuff. I cant get onto my bigger projects for a while yet though - I must order more fibre... I hate waiting.

ooo yes, I was awarded a Sunshine Blog award by www.woollylakes.blogspot.com . Thank you so much for that! I enjoyed looking at the other blogs that she gave the award to & have started following a couple of them myself. I started making a list of my 12 favourite blogs this morning... my problem is that most of them have already received one of these awards & I dont want to send something theyve already done - it may not be welcome. Anyway, well worth having a peek at the Woollylakes blog (sorry, I dont know her name) & also checking out the other blogs she listed (especially the felt blogs)... think the post was on the 26/2 if you are checking back

Ah well, my tummy is telling me its lunch time so I shall love & leave you - have a wonderfull week whatever you are doing :o) xxx