Wednesday, 16 March 2016

A few felted cards

I like sending hand made cards to friends when I can. It seems more personal, and is almost like sending a mini present. Here are a few quick ones I made recently. 

I little bit of burlap tucked between the sky and the green foreground adds texture and interest. A wisp or two of silk highlights the sky, and I finished with a few french knots. 

The sky is laid horizontally, and the grasses roughly vertically. Merino and a little silk for accents. 

In each case I laid the wool onto a large Clover needle felting mat, and needle felted sufficiently to hold it together, before gently wet felting. I find if I cover the mat, after shrinkage this makes a reasonable size and proportion for an A6 blank card. 

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Another seat cover

I felted another seat pad for the second dining chair I had painted (see  previous post). I used mohair wool to draw the lines, then filled some spaces in with bright colours. A bit Mondrian style. 

Here it is with the first one I did. 

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Experimenting with colour and texture

I made this piece as a possible wall hanging. I kept the colours pale, with whites and neutrals, and added hints of pastel tones above and below the resist strips, which show where the layers are slashed open. 

The texture on the top is created with wool nepps, pieces of white scrim, curly locks, and silk hankies. 
I like the restrained touches or colour in this, so that the texture is predominant. 

This is similar to a piece I made a while ago. I might add some embroidery and beading in the slashes, in which case I'll post another picture.

Slow sloe gin

The edge of our garden is a wild hedge row, and this year there are lots of sloes on the blackthorn bushes. And there is really only one thing to do with sloes, as they are toe-curlingly bitter in their raw state. 

Apparently a superstition says the berries must be pricked with a silver needle before use. Well I used a wooden cocktail stick! 

Here they are with the addition of sugar and gin, in sterilised jars. The recipe I used calls for 450gm sloes, 225gm caster sugar, and 1ltr of gin. 

We should shake the bottles every couple of days for a fortnight, then every week. By Christmas it should be ready, and we can strain the liquid through muslin into bottles. The longer you keep it the better it gets. 
I'll post a picture of the finished product! 

Monday, 24 August 2015

Revamp for an old chair

A couple of these rather unpreposessing chairs seem to have been knocking around our house for ever, always on the verge of being thrown out, but kept "just in case" for times when we needed extra seating. As 1940s utility furniture, they are still sturdy, and had been revarnished multiple times by my mother-in-law. 

I gave them a coat of Annie Sloane chalk paint in Duck Egg Blue, softened with a bit of Old White. Then, after a touch of distressing, finished with a coat of clear wax and a good polish.  

I made a piece of thickish felt decorated with bright spots to cover the seat pad. 

And here it is, brightening a darkish corner under the stairs. A reprieve, and a reincarnation! 

(And you can see the second chair with cover here.)

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

A twiggy lampshade

I found an old children's lamp on a fleamarket in France a while ago, and after removing the original embroidered cotton shade, was left with a simple box shaped frame. I decided to make 4 panels of felt to cover it, rather than a long piece to wrap round, as I was concerned about keeping it straight. 

The panels are made of just two fairly thin layers of natural cream merino, to keep it translucent. Between the 2 layers I sandwiched some thin birch twigs from the garden. I added a few natural wool curly locks as a final decoration. I felted this gently, with just a little fulling, until the panels were firm and strong enough. 

After drying, I stitched the panels onto the frame using invisible nylon thread. Much the worst part - I hate sewing with this stuff as it constantly slips out of the needle! 

I like the delicate natural, translucent quality of the shade, and it looks particularly good when lit up. 

Sometimes I think that the best felt is in natural colours, with natural found objects incorporated. A memory perhaps of when it was on the back of a sheep, with twigs caught in it! 

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Bird Box card

 I like making my own cards, and find simple naif designs with scraps of fabric and free motion stitching quite satisfying to make. My daugter has just moved into a new flat, and this is what I've made. 

I used some blackout curtain lining fabric as the background as it is solid enough to stitch on without a hoop. I'm not very good at controlling the stitching, but I say that the imperfections just add to the charm! 
I use a Pilot Frixion pen to draw on the designs, then just use a warm iron to remove the marks. I know there is some debate about whether the marks really disappear, but it is quick and fine for a project like this.