Sunday, 30 October 2011

A wild and windy seaside stay..

This week the children have been home from school for half-term.. and we managed to sneak away for a last, late seaside break in Dorset.  We had a great time as a family; it was very wild and windy which of course meant the waves were spectacular.. good job we weren't planning to kayak this time :)   There were a couple of days that I have no photos of - they were all out of focus 'cos the wind was buffeting me SO much, but I do have a few pics for you.. the first lot were taken at Lyme Regis.  We have never been there before, what a quirky and picturesque place.. 

Whenever I see seagulls close up I think of Pyramids by Terry Pratchet (LOVE that book)

I recon that poor chap got soaked
Lyme Regis is on the Jurasic Coast and is well known for finding fossils - Matthew found this one just lying there on the first beach we walked over.. needless to say he is thrilled to bits, Gary and Rachael tried hard to find their own fossils too.. but nothing near as good as this one.

You can clearly see 2 big critters (one on top of the other) plus 1 smaller very white & crystalised one, and what looks like quite a few much smaller ones

hello old friend.. 
on top of Glastonbury Tor
The remains of the chapel built in the 1300s 
We havent been to Glastonbury for far too long.. it is a place that has always pulled me very strongly.  Of everyplace that I have ever been Glastonbury has to be the most welcoming, accepting and inclusive... a day spent here soothes my soul.  We had an even bigger treat than expected this time..  As we were walking up the lane toward to Tor we came across the White Spring Water Temple for the first time.  For many years of visiting the Tor this place had been used for other purposes, but in recent years it has become the most amazing water temple. 

Through the doorway, we stood letting our eyes get used to the dark, down the old stone steps in to a candlelit vaulted stone cavern.. there were puddles and rivulets all over the floor and the sound of running water was SO loud,  burning incense and sweet music in the air.  I must go back and spend longer there, it was such a peaceful place.  After too short a time we had to leave.. we were off up the Tor.

.... When we got to the top there was a man playing hauntingly beautiful music on a flute...  How much do I love it here?  ... I want to go back already..

Now we are home & I made my first piece of felt for just over a week yesterday :)  Today its going to be all about pumpkins!  As a family of Harry Potter fans we have a Halloween feast every year, Rachael is planning to make a special spooky desert this year so we shall be having our feast tonight rather than on Halloween (my girl does everything at a snails pace so she will need lots of time :)


Thursday, 20 October 2011

Beeeautiful Buttons

If you have been reading this for a while.. or know me in person, you have probably picked up on my love of buttons.. I hoard them, my button tins are little treasure chests.  I have always felt that way about button tins actually, I loved my mom & nans button tins when I was a little girl and spent many happy hurs sorting through them.  Even my husband is always on the lookout for buttons for me :) bless him. 

I want to share a seller that I have found.. I have been admiring Buttonalia ceramic buttons on Etsy for about a year now.. they are always such gorgeous colours and look so plump and non-uniform.. each one is unique.  Every now and then I go look and drool and wonder what I would make with each one I fancied.. not really settling on a particular use... I just coveted them :)

A couple of weeks ago I spotted a couple of big beauties and straight away I could picture them on shawls / wraps as a closure instead of one of my usual stick pins.  So I brought them.. Sharry the talented potter behind Buttonalia, is absolutely lovely :) she got my buttons to me the very next day - which was great 'cos I was bursting to get hold of them!  I was so excited to get them I didnt even take a photo of them unattached!

First thing I did was attach one to my own shawl.. the nuno one with the Indian scarf which took forever and a day to felt in..

Perfect size to allow me to use the decorative holes as button holes :)

The button is black and green
The next one was just right for a wrap which which turned out just as I was picturing it (HUGE layout for this one) its more of a cape than a shawl..

SO, if you like buttons go take a look at Sharry's shop..  I can honestly say hers are the nicest ceramic buttons I have seen.. and as lovely as they are to look at they feel even better - you just wanna keep touching them


Thursday, 6 October 2011

Helenium Cushion - process pics

This all started with a lovely project article in FELT magazine - an Australian magazine which celebrates felt in all its forms :)  I have only been able to get hold of the one issues of this (issue 3) but really enjoyed it.

The project was for a poppy cushion and was written by Wendy Bailye.  Lovely clear instructions and lots of photos for making a seamless 3 dimensional poppy cushion with 3 petal layers (1 being the outer frill).  I very much enjoyed making this.. as you can tell from the fact that I followed Wendy's instructions :) something I rarely do.  After making my poppy cushion I decided to be daring and make one with even more petals.  I wanted to have a go at making a rose for my nans birthday.. nan has a beautiful rose bush that my grandad brought her many years ago and I decided to try and make the rose- cushion in those colours.

As you can tell from the title of this post (& the photos)  my cushion had a mind of its own and did not want to be a rose..  its more like a marigold or a helenium - and as heleniums are one of my favourite flowers thats what I'm calling it  :)

My first step was to card batts blending the colours that I wanted.. gold, bronze & pink, and turn them into roving.  (I LOVE carding batts and blending pretty colours - its so satisfying)  They actually look a little dull on the picture, in real life the pink against the gold and bronze was delicious!

Then I cut the resists; one big circle of foam underlay for the centre + 4 layers of thin plastic for the petals

The first layer of fibre was layed as rays extending out past the edge of the circular resist.. (all the fibres for this outer frill were layed going in the same direction so when they felted there was plenty of give to allow you to shape them into ruffles).

Then the centre of the circle was filled with perpendicular layers

Next came a layer of plastic with a hole in the centre where the petal layer felts into the main part of the cushion.

This was repeated 4 times..  each layer of petals I made just a little bit smaller than the last.

Flipped over and layed the back out

The next stage took AGES.  Cool wetting and rubbing till it was ALL holding together well.. and finally rolling it - again there were a fair few hours spent doing this.

When it got to this stage it was strong enough for heat and more vigorous fulling.  Making sure to stretch the petals out sideways as they shrunk so they were nice and flouncy..

(can you see all the silk? I used LOADS)
Till it looked like this.. 

 I cut button holes and healed the edges, for a button close back

It really doesnt look much like a rose to me unfortunately..  nan likes heleniums too though so I'm hopeful that she will still like it :)   I made this in early summer.. nans birthday is in November - talk about being prepared!


Sunday, 2 October 2011

Sunbathing in October.. In ENGLAND?!

Who would of thought it.. but this last week has been absolutely stunning!  Better weather than we had in August.  Most of my time during the week has been spent inside felting, but what a treat to sit out on the bench in the sunshine (wearing a sundress!) for a cup of tea or my lunch.. feels like a gift this late in the year.

I snapped this little fellow taking a stroll across the field at lunchtime yesterday.. he was only about 30ft - 40ft away, I've never seen a fox that close in bright dayight before, I think he was too hot to be bothered about being seen :)  Had him lined up sitting facing me & just as I pressed the camera button he turned round to scratch his chin!  Never mind.. you can see what a lovely sunny day it was.

Feeling hot n itchy
So, what have I been felting this week?  I got my hands on another vintage silk sari and made my first scarf from it :)  took a while for the wool to migrate through nicely but it was worth it.

super long & skinny
 I'm working on 2 pairs of slippers.. a version of the 'franken-boots' (Rachaels slippers from last year)re-christened Funky Boots.. they are about half way done.  And some mens mule slippers.. a  special request from a very good customer for her hubby.  They now have some pretty stitching around the openings and I just need to sew the soles on.  Think tomorow is going to be a sewing day.

LOVE this colour combo - chartreuse & turquoise
This weekend though has been spent in the sun and thoroughly enjoyed :)  Its been a lovely long weekend too, the kids school was closed on Firday for a training day.. with a little forethought we could of had a few nice days by the sea - ah well.

My next post is going to be the process pics of my Helenium flower cushion that I promised many months ago..