Sunday, 18 December 2011

Christmas Decorations (Part 2)

I've had my Christmas decorations up for over a week now and I've just realised that I never shared the rest of them with you. Whoops - I think it is all the pre-Christmas manic busyness that made it slip my mind. This year I've added to the felt decorations I made last year with some glass ornaments. (As always, I've struggled to photograph the glass - sorry if the pics are a bit blurry!)

First up the fused glass decorations for the tree. This is the "star" I made for the top:

There are more stars dotted about the tree.

I've tried to keep all the decorations in a roughly white and clear theme. The sparkly ones are made of either iridescent glass or dichroic glass.

This decoration is inspired by one I saw on flickr. Unfortunately I now can't find the original photo. If anyone knows whose it was then please let me know so I can credit the original maker:

I've also made around 10 stained glass stars using the copper foil method.

I haven't done that much copper foiling so these stars were a really good project to practice on - and brilliant for using up all the scraps of glass I have hanging around.

I haven't quite finished decorating the tree (I still need to add those crochet granny stars!) but here is my almost complete tree:

The tree is actually in my bedroom. This is partly because there isn't really enough room in my living room and partly because I have a lovely bay window in my bedroom which is perfect for a tree. When it gets dark I turn the lights off, leave the curtains open and people going past can see it sparkling in the window.

I've also added a bit of decoration in the living room to make things a bit more festive in there, mainly centred on the fireplace:

The mini baubles were a set from Paperchase which I spent ages knotting onto a ribbon this time last year! Again, I've got some fused glass decorations hanging here. Here are some closeups:

Phew - that was quite a photo heavy post! I hope you enjoyed seeing all the decorations I have made for my flat. I am now working frantically on all the Christmas presents I need to finish before next weekend. Eeek! Still, it is much nicer sitting on my sofa sewing than it is doing battle in the shops! Hopefully I should be able to show you the products of my efforts soon.

Hope all your Christmas crafting is going well and you are looking forward to Christmas. Unfortunately I got so much into the festive spirit last night that I have now pretty much lost my voice!! Whoops!

Have a good week xx

Monday, 12 December 2011

Granny Christmas Stars

Over the last few days I've become slightly addicted to making these crochet granny stars. Since I discovered the pattern on Jelly Wares blog (via this post on Paisley Jade) I've been crocheting them every spare moment!

They are really quick and satisfying to make and I am planning to hang them on the tree once I have blocked them with some PVA glue. I might even add some glitter if I'm feeling particularly festive!!

I made the smaller stars by missing out the last round of the pattern and in the second round replacing the half double crochet with a single (this will make sense if you look at the pattern).

My original plan was to make crochet snowflakes for the tree. I even bought these books for that purpose. Unfortunately it turns out I don't have the patience for the snowflakes - they take FOREVER! I don't mind all the fiddly bits on the first or even second branch of the snowflake but by the third and fourth I get grumpy!! I've started about five snowflakes and haven't managed to finish one yet! If you want to see some beautiful crochet snowflakes from the book then check out these posts from someone who has a lot more patience than me!

Maybe I'll have enough patience to attempt snowflakes next year but for the moment I'm pretty happy with my cute little granny stars!

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Christmas Decorations (Part 1)

I've been digging out my Christmas decorations from last year and realised I never did a post about them. So, before I show you the ones I have made this year, I thought I'd show you last year's ones. 2010 was the first year I had a Christmas tree in my house. I was very excited and had grand plans to decorate it with only homemade decorations. Unfortunately my eight foot tree was a bit of a challenge but I did manage to make some felt hearts:

Felt stars:

And felt Christmas trees:

I can't remember where I got the idea of this type of decoration....I think it might have been from the Hobbycraft website! (Ooooh yes - I've just checked, the inspiration for the idea was here.) I took the idea to the extreme and made loads of little hand sewn ornaments.

I spent some lovely afternoons last November sitting on the sofa making these when I really should have been being more productive. I remember having great fun choosing different buttons especially the tiny little ones.

I even managed to get some little mitten buttons which you can just about see in this picture:

In the end I didn't have enough decorations so I supplemented these with plain white baubles from John Lewis. It was all very tasteful - and I always swore I was going to have a tacky brightly coloured tree when I got my own!!

I haven't put the tree up this year yet but will post some pictures when I do. I'm not feeling that festive yet and I feel so much less organised this time around. The tree was definitely up by this time last year because I had some people round for a Christmas do on the first weekend of December! Last year I was so efficient I even screen printed my own cards and wrapping paper!! I can't find any pictures of the cards but here is an example of the wrapping paper:

I'm not doing anything that ambitious this year! Although I am making lots of presents so I'd better get to work!! Will be back in a few days to show you the decorations I've made this year and hopefully a fully decorated tree (fingers crossed).

Hope you are all getting into the festive spirit a little more than me! xxx

Monday, 28 November 2011

Fused Glass Overload!

One of my Mum's friends showed an interest in buying some of my fused glass for Christmas presents which means I had to finally get off my arse and do something about photographing some of my pieces. Having done that I thought I would share them with you here!

Fused glass is one of my favourite things to make. Its not a very practical hobby - you need a pretty big and expensive kiln for starters (I do a class) - but it is such a fun thing to do.

I have been doing a fused glass class for about a year and a half now and I love it. Playing around with light and colours is soooo much fun.

It does mean however that I now have loads of pieces of fused glass hanging around my (fairly small) flat!

This is only a very small proportion of what I have made!!

There are also lots of flat pieces which I made when I was starting out to practice. They are very pretty but not very useful so I'm not sure what to do with them!

One thing I have made quite a lot of is jewellery. Its really good for giving as presents and, luckily, it doesn't take up too much space!!

I started stockpiling fused glass pieces, in particular lots of jewellery, a while ago with the intention of opening a folksy shop. Now I'm not so sure - I already have a folksy shop selling some of my sewn pieces and I'm not sure its not more bother than its worth - any thoughts? I think I might write a separate post about this soon......!

I was thinking I might look into doing a craft fair instead........

At the moment it is just nice to have all these pretty, sparkly things around my house! Not to mention a necklace to go with every outfit!

Unfortunately I won't be doing the class again after Christmas - its an expensive class and I think I need some time off to get my inspiration back to make the most of the classes. Plus I need to find someway of getting rid of all the glass pieces I have already made!

On the off chance that anyone reading this is interested in buying any of these pieces (or even fancies doing a swap?) then please feel free to get in touch. But mainly I just hope you have enjoyed looking at some of these sparkly things I have hanging round my house!

Have a lovely week xxx

PS. Sorry for the sporadic posting recently - have been having a very busy time! But I have also been working on lots of presents and decorations for Christmas so should have lots of exciting things to share with you soon!

Thursday, 10 November 2011

100 grannies!

HURRAH! 100 granny squares with all the ends sewn in. Now for the next challenge - making them into something resembling a blanket! I'm very excited :o)

Monday, 7 November 2011

Crochet Cowl Workshop

There's not been nearly enough time for crafting in the DottyHouse recently - I am taking a psychology course and my first essay is due on Thursday (eeek!) so a lot of my spare time has been concentrated on that. I love the course but I haven't written an essay for years so its taken me a while to get my head round the whole thing! However I did manage to fit in a bit of crochet on a Saturday afternoon a couple of weeks ago.

My local craft studio, the Create Place was running an afternoon course to learn how to make a crochet cowl so I thought I'd pop along. Lisa (our teacher), the other student and I had a lovely afternoon chatting away and learning how to make Lisa's crochet cowl design (hopefully coming to a bookshop near you fairly soon!). I'm not sure there's a better way to spend an afternoon! We were using chunky wool and so the design came together pretty fast - a few hours in the class and a couple more at home and I was left with this beast:

Its HUGE and really snuggly.I really like the way it can be worn in so many ways - long like a scarf, across the shoulders, one end tucked inside the other or doubled round to keep my neck super warm. I'm a bit disappointed it hasn't been cold enough to wear it since I finished making it!!

I really like working with the chunky yarn and larger hook size (it was a size 10). It meant that the cowl came together really fast so there was a real sense of achievement plus it didn't hurt my hand and turn it into a claw like some of the smaller hooks can do!

I'm not sure if you can see from the picture but the yarn is an interesting mix of colours - from a distance it looks grey but close up there are hints of pink, turquoise and green. You might be able to see it on this picture better even though its a little blurry:

I wasn't sure about the yarn to start with but it has really grown on me. It is Wendy Serenity Super Chunky which is 10% wool, 20% alpaca and 70% acrylic. I think the colour is called thistle. I've bought another ball to make the matching wrist warmers. Which I am looking forward to starting on as soon as I finish that bloomin' essay!!

Hope you have a lovely week xx

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Crochet Toadstool

I've been getting overwhelmed by the size of my crochet blanket project so I decided to work on a couple of smaller crochet projects that I could finish quickly - sometimes you need to bask in the satisfied glow of a finished piece! First up, a crochet toadstool! I found this pattern on the lovely Annaboo's house blog and as soon as I saw it I knew I wanted to make it!

This is my first attempt at amigurumi and it wasn't as tricky as I expected! Apart from a short break because I ran out of red yarn it all went pretty smoothly. I think I lost count of my stitches a couple of times but the pattern was pretty forgiving and it all seemed to work out OK in the end!

As you can see here I used crocheted circles the spots for the toadstool top. The pattern uses beads and crochet to decorate the stem of the toadstool which looks gorgeous however I decided to put a classic amigurimi face on mine instead as I have been waiting to use the eyes I bought for ages! The smile is a bit wonky but I think my toadstool looks pretty cute! I am really pleased with him and am enjoying having him smiling down on me from the mantelpiece!

I think I must have a bit of a thing about mushrooms and toadstools. As soon as I saw the crochet toadstool pattern I knew I wanted to make it and looking round my house I have been drawn to mushrooms in the past. There were the felt mushrooms I posted about way back in 2009:

These were one of the first things I made when I started crafting again.

And then, earlier this year I decided to mosaic some mushrooms for my garden (I say garden - its more of a step!)

These were some cheap ceramic garden ornaments which I thought would be greatly improved by covering them in mirror and turning them into disco mushrooms! They haven't actually ever made it out onto the step (apart from for the photo shoot!) and are still languishing in my fireplace.

So, I think we can conclude from this that I have a slight mushroom obsession! There must be more mushroom crafts out there..... Oooooh - a quick google search suggests that yes, indeed there are....I shall have to get to work!

Happy Sunday xxxx

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Woohoo! Tapestry finally finished!!

This week something very exciting happened - I finally finished my Emily Peacock / Rob Ryan tapestry! I don't know how long I have spent on this (it must be well over 100 hours) but it was very exciting to see it all coming together at the end. Ta-dah:

I think I started this in about February and have gradually been working away on it between other projects. I must have sped up lately though as I seem to have completed about half of it in the couple of months (comparing it to how far I'd got when I wrote my WIP post).

I am really pleased with how this turned out. Although I have to admit that these don't take that much skill other than following the pattern! The finished result is all really down to the fantastic design.

This is the fourth tapestry I have completed now. I've done two other Emily Peacock designs:

And one design by granny knits:

The camper van is the only one I have made into a cushion though. I am hoping that finishing the round design will spur me on to make the others into cushions! The Hug and Kiss designs have been finished for well over a year so I have no excuse really!

I am a bit worried about turning the latest one into a cushion as I'm not sure my sewing skills are up to it!! The one in the Rob Ryan shop is made into a round cushion with piping which I would really like to try and do but I've never done piping before. Plus, I know from the camper van one that the tapestry is pretty hard to manipulate through the sewing machine. I have no idea what I am going to do with all these cushions!!

I am already really missing having a tapestry on the go. I really like to have a project that I can pick up and work on which keeps me occupied without having to do much thinking! Its brilliant for the days when I am not feeling well or am sleepy but still want something to do in front of the TV.

I have already started researching what I want to do next. I'm thinking maybe this to be framed above my bed:

(Picture taken from Emily Peacock website)

Or maybe a handbag kit from Felicity Hall or a kit from Jan Constantine. Ooooh so many options...... The big question is whether I can wait til Christmas to get my hands on one!!

I suppose the next step would be to design my own....!

Hope you are all having a lovely craft weekend xxxx

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Finished presents!

After lots of work I finally managed to finish the cross stitch I was working on for my grandmother in the nick of time. Phew! Here is the finished piece:

My original plan was to make a picture with nine butterflies but I quickly realised that it was going to be impossible in the time I had given myself so I had to settle for six butterflies instead. I'm a bit disappointed that I didn't plan better so I had more time but other than that I am actually really pleased with how this picture turned out.

My grandmother seemed super pleased with the pressie and was obviously really touched that I had made the effort to make something so that is the most important thing!

It was also my aunt's birthday celebration but luckily I had been a bit more organised for her present and started working on it a few weeks ago in my fused glass class.

I decided to make a dish made up with squares of some of my favourite glass colours - mainly blues and pinks (as usual!!). This was slumped over a mould to give a slightly curved dish shape.

I really like making these dishes and I always make things using lots of squares and in these colours - it seems to be becoming my signature style!! I love the way the glass shines like boiled sweets!

I'm still finding it really hard to take decent pictures of my glass pieces - hopefully you can kind of see the shape of the dish in this one.

This dish is roughly 20cm square. I also decided to make a smaller one to match too which is about 10cm square. Here they both are together:

I think my aunt was pretty pleased with these too - but it was more difficult to tell from her reaction! I hope so!

I really like making homemade presents but I find it so much more stressful giving them than bought ones! Does anyone else find this? I think the reaction feels so much more important when you have put so much time and effort into making something.

I definitely need to start planning my Christmas presents now. Working on that cross stitch last week has made me realise that I will need to be a lot more organised if I am going to give homemade presents - I don't want to be frantically finishing all my Christmas presents with one week to spare!

Better get to work.....!

design by