Friday, 30 September 2011

Behind the Scenes + Guest Posts

Regular visitors may have noticed that things have been a bit quiet on my blog this week. I don't normally tend to talk about very personal stuff here, but this is where I share my crafty life and unfortunately at the moment life is getting in the way of the crafting.

My boyfriend of almost 7 years is now very sadly my ex-boyfriend, and I'm in the process of dealing with the heartbreak and the logistics of moving out of our shared flat and into my parents spare room.

I'm setting up a temporary new workspace in my parents study (all my supplies and stock are in a mountain of boxes at the moment waiting to be unpacked over the weekend) and will be focusing my energies over the next few weeks and months on keeping my shops running, on getting emails replied to and parcels packed and posted.

Hopefully I will get back to crafting and my normal blogging schedule sometime soon but in the meantime posts from me may be a little sporadic. Instead, I'll be hosting a series of guest posts from other bloggers, makers and other crafty types.

If you've got a tutorial, a fun crafty project, a craft-related story, any Etsy/Folksy business tips, a craft book review, or anything else you'd like to share which you think my readers would be interested in, I'd love to hear from you. If you'd like to write something specially that would be fab, but I'd also be happy to republish a favourite post from your blog.

If you would like to contribute a guest post, please get in touch! You can email me at: mail [at] lupinhandmade [dot] com or leave a comment on this post with your email address and I will get back to you as soon as I can with more information (please note that comments will be published unless you request otherwise). I will basically need either text + blog friendly small images OR a link to a post on your blog I can get text etc from... PLUS a short bio/introduction for you and any links you want me to use, e.g. to your blog or website.

Friday, 23 September 2011

How To: Vintage Felt Baubles

Time for a bit of Christmas crafting, with a tutorial for felt ornaments inspired by vintage glass baubles.


 

I designed these baubles for Sew Hip last year, but I thought they'd be perfect to share with you all as part of my Crafty Christmas series :)

To make your own baubles you will need:

- The templates at the bottom of this post
- Craft felt in white, grey and a selection of bright candy colours (or whatever colour scheme you've chosen)
- Ric rac, plus matching embroidery thread
- Matching sewing threads for all the felt & ric rac colours you're using
- Narrow ribbon
- A sewing needle, pins, sewing scissors and a large needle

 


1) First cut out your pattern pieces from the templates provided. For each ornament (a circle or a teardrop) you need to cut out two main bauble shapes in a bright colour (C1 or T1), one wide band of white felt (C2 or T2), one narrower band of a second bright colour (C3 or T3) and one small ‘cap’ piece from grey felt (TC).

 

2) Position the wide white band onto the middle of one of your bauble shapes so the edges match up. Pin the band in place and stitch around the edges with a line of simple straight stitches in white thread.

 
3) Next place the narrower coloured band of felt in the centre of the white band, pin or hold it in place and stitch around the edges with a line of straight stitches in matching thread.

 

4) Cut a length of bright ric rac at least five cms longer than the width of the ornament. Hold it in position so it overlaps the ornament by a couple of cms at each end and slowly sew it in place with matching thread, gradually curving the ric rac to match the curve of the felt band.

 

5) When you reach the end of the band, fold the spare ric rac over the edge taking care not to distort the shape of the ornament. Trim any excess ric rac and stitch the end in place with small whip stitches. Repeat this for the other end.

 

6) Thread a large needle with embroidery thread in the same colour as the ric rac and sew two decorative lines a few mms from the top and bottom of the band, following its curve. Use back stitch or, if you prefer, sew a line of straight stitches and then double back on yourself and fill in the gaps between the stitches.

 

7) Place the small grey cap piece at the top of your ornament and sew it in place using vertical stitches in white or light grey thread. Then turn the ornament over so you can see the back and all your workings.

 

8) Cut a four and a half inch length of narrow ribbon, fold it to make loop and sew the ends in place at the top of the ornament using small whip stitches.

9) Place the front and back bauble pieces together so the ribbon ends are sandwiched between them and the decorated side of the bauble is facing outwards. Sew them together with a line of straight stitches around the edge in thread the same colour as your main bauble shape. Finally, finish your stitches as neatly as possible on the back of the ornament.

 

Here are the templates - double click to view full size and print at 100%. I've included a scale so you can check if you've printed them at the right size, but you can obviously print them larger or smaller if you prefer :)

This tutorial is for non commercial use only: you can use it for as many ornaments as you like for yourself or as gifts for friends but please don't make any for sale. Please feel free to borrow photos if you want to blog about this project, but remember to credit me and link back to the original source, and do not reproduce my entire tutorial on your site. Thanks!

Want to make some of these baubles to sell at craft fairs or in your Etsy shop? A PDF version of this tutorial is now available. Easy to print, buying the PDF allows you to sell as many baubles as you like as long as you make them by hand yourself and credit me as the designer on the label or in the shop listing. You can also use the templates to teach a sewing class if you want to. The Vintage Felt Baubles PDF Pattern is now available from my main shop and as an instant download from my Etsy shop. 

Want to make more baubles? You can also try these simple felt baubles decorated with sequins.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Bits and pieces this week...

Brr! It's really starting to get chilly here.

The blankets and woolly sweaters are starting to come out of storage, I've "treated" myself to a new super-cosy faux-fur-lined hoodie (so warm) and I've already got bored with having to blowdry my hair every day (yawn) and have cut my hair short again - quite similar to last year's DIY haircut, just a teeny bit longer and more choppy (i.e. scruffy).

A few small things from this week...

... I've busy sewing in and trimming the ends from my giant granny square blanket:


... I witnessed some sort of important pigeon conference outside my flat:


(I know some people really hate pigeons but when you live in a city as full of noisy & aggressive seagulls as ours is, pigeons seem remarkably sweet and loveable by comparison)

... and yesterday I looked down at the coffee table to see a matching green mug, green knitting, and a green audiobook:


I love colour coincidences like this - I was obviously in the mood for that particular shade of green!

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Stash Happy: Felt

Just over a year ago I blogged about some "secret scraps" that were offcuts from a couple of projects I couldn't show you... well, now I can! Hurrah!

The projects I was working on were for a new craft book soon to be published by Lark Crafts - Stash Happy: Felt: 30 Fun Projects for Felt (and Fabric) Lovers.


See that coffee cosy on the cover? I made that! I'm so thrilled it was chosen as the cover project.


I also designed a headband, which will be available as one of two downloadable "bonus" projects from the book.


The book includes 30 different projects to make with felt (and fabric), including cute animals like plush owls and a sweet whale pincushion, things for the home like coasters and a wreath, plus fun accessories like a hat, a scarf and a clutch purse.


Stash Happy: Felt is due to be published in two weeks time in the USA (October 4th 2011) and about a month later in the UK.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Then and Now

I was going through some old photos and found this one of me as a baby (with my parents' old cat Skitty Kitty)...


... sitting on a duvet cover which is currently on the bed in my spare room, almost 30 years later!

(It's a bit hard to see as the photo is a bit overexposed but if you want a closer look you can click on the image to view it full size)

Sunday, 18 September 2011

On Loan

Look what I've borrowed from my sister!


I've not used a sewing machine for about 14 years - I last used one to make a cushion and a dress for my GCSE in "Textiles Technology" - so it may take me a while to get to grips with it again, but I'm looking forward to it.

You all know how much I love hand stitching, but it will be ace to be able to make things like cushions and some other bits and pieces using the fabric in my stash...

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Secret Christmas Stitching

Yesterday afternoon I spent a lovely few hours working on some embroidery, for a project in my Crafty Christmas series.


I'd love to show it to you, but you'll have to wait until it's finished :P

Friday, 16 September 2011

How To: Felt Candy Cane Ornaments

As promised, here's the first festive project for my Crafty Christmas series: sweet and simple felt candy cane ornaments.


These are a quick and easy sewing project - perfect for people just learning to sew, or for when you want a little "extra" to tie onto a gift or slip into a Christmas card.

To make the candy canes you will need:

- the template sheet at the bottom of this post
- scissors to cut out the templates
- sharp sewing scissors or embroidery scissors
- white felt
- red felt (I used "ruby red" from the felt range I sell in my shops)
- red sewing thread
- a needle and pins
- narrow red or white ribbon

1) Use the templates provided to cut out all the pieces, pinning or holding the templates against the felt as you cut round them. You will need two white candy cane shapes, and 5 red shapes A-E for each candy cane you want to make. The templates provided are for a candy cane facing to the right - to make candy canes facing left, just flip the templates over.

2) Starting with piece A, sew the red felt shapes onto one of the white candy cane shapes making sure to space them evenly. Use red sewing thread and sew a couple of small stitches along each of the "inside" straight edges as pictured. Finish your stitching at the back.

 


3) Turn the decorated candy cane over. Now cut a length of red or white ribbon, approx 4 or 5 inches (10 or 12 cms). Fold the ribbon over to form a loop and sew it onto the top of the candy cane.

If you can do this without sewing through the felt completely (i.e. without your stitches sewing through at the front of the ornament) then it's okay to use red thread, but if you prefer to stitch right the way through the felt use white thread and make sure to position the ribbon behind of the white stripes.

 


4) Place the remaining remaining plain white candy cane shape on the back of the ornament, and pin or hold the pieces together. Sew around the edge of the ornament using red thread and running stitch, sewing both layers of the ornament together and creating a decorative line around the edge. Finish your stitching as neatly as possible at the back.

 


The back of your candy canes will look like this:

 



If you prefer, you can use red felt instead of white for the backing so your stitching and finishing will be hidden.



To print the templates - right click on the image and select to view it in another window or tab, then click again (if necessary) to view full size and print at 100%. I've added a scale so you can check if your templates have printed out correctly, but you can make them larger or smaller than mine if you prefer :)


This tutorial is for non commercial use only
: you can use it for as many ornaments as you like for yourself or as gifts for friends but please don't make any for sale. Please feel free to borrow photos if you want to blog about this project, but remember to credit me and link back to the original source, and do not reproduce my entire tutorial on your site. Thanks!

Fancy sewing some more easy felt ornaments? Try these heart and star ornaments.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

A Very Crafty Christmas

Apparently, there's now 100 days left until Christmas - eek!

My Christmas crafting has already begun... I'm going to be posting a tutorial on my blog every Friday for the next 10 weeks, to help inspire your festive projects. There will be some felt ornament tutorials, some gift wrap & decorating ideas, and probably a couple of little gifts to make as well.

Here's a tiny sneak peek of some of the things I'm working on to share with you:


I wanted to start posting them nice and early to give people a chance to get things made in time for the holiday season. Apologies if you hate thinking about Christmas before December, please just ignore the posts on Fridays and bookmark them to come back to later in the year ;)

The first project will be posted tomorrow!

UPDATE: my Crafty Christmas project has unfortunately had to be put on hold, but you can check out lots of fun free projects on my tutorials pages: crafty tutorials, Christmas tutorials and gift wrapping ideas.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Busy Knitters

We had a fun photo shoot at my knitting club this week - taking some snaps of our recent charity projects before they get packaged up and posted.

Lots of teddies...


... and lots of crochet squares for blankets:


I didn't actually make any of these (tsk tsk) as I've been working on my big crochet blanket this summer, but I'm in charge of packing & posting them all so I am doing my bit - honest!

Our current project is knitting little hats for The Big Knit (we made quite a few last year). I'll definitely manage some of those :)

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Experimenting

You know when you get a sudden overwhelming urge to make something IMMEDIATELY...?

Well, I got one of those urges late last night. So instead of going to bed, I listened to a drama on the radio and did some experimental stitching.

A felt bead + some felt + speedy cutting and stitching = this flower:


I cut shapes at random and just used the first felt & thread I had to hand.


It was nice just making something from scratch without my usual steps of sketching, drafting a pattern and carefully planning colours... and I rather like how it turned out!

Monday, 12 September 2011

Felt Scrap Bags

In an attempt to tidy up my felt stash, I'm having a clear out of some felt scraps.


I've made up two big bags of scraps (each weighing approx 225g) and listed them over in my Folksy shop. They're listed with UK shipping only but if anyone outside the UK wants to buy one please get in touch and I'll add the shipping rate for your country.


The felt in the bags is mostly synthetic (not the wool blend felt I sell in my shops), and each bag contains a mix of the colours shown including a small amount of animal print felt.


The shapes and sizes of the felt scraps vary, but the largest pieces are approx 4 x 4 inches.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Books, Buttons, Squirrels and Christmas Crafting

A few bits and bobs to mention today...



I'm delighted to see it's already had one very sweet review :)

Secondly, the massive 5inch (12.5cm) wooden buttons are back in stock in all my shops after a few weeks when they were unfortunately unavailable.


Honestly I love these oversized buttons so much, the temptation to keep them all for myself and use them to make giant button-themed decor for my house is very very strong... You can find them in my Etsy shop, my Folksy shop, my website and now also in my DaWanda shop.

Thirdly, I've decided to discontinue my red squirrel brooches so I've put the last remaining ones on sale.


You can check out all my sale bargains on Etsy, DaWanda, Folksy and there's a few on my website too.

And finally... my Christmas Felt packs are now back in stock in all my shops. I know it's only September, but if you're a giver of handmade Christmas gifts, tis the season to start crafting!


The Christmas packs include lots of festive shades - greens for holly, ivy and Christmas trees, browns for Christmas puddings and reindeer, white for snow-covered rooftops and snowmen, red for stockings and berries, and ginger for gingerbread men.

You can find them with all my other wool blend felt packs, on Etsy, Folksy, DaWanda & my website.

If you want some Christmas crafting inspiration, do visit my free Christmas tutorials section here on the blog which includes a selection of cute felt ornaments.


Want ideas for handmade gifts? You'll find lots of fun things to make over in my crafty tutorials section...


...and for those final finishing touches check out my gift wrap ideas.


Thursday, 8 September 2011

Loving the DaWanda Lovebook

I got a lovely bit of post last month - a copy of DaWanda's winter 2011 Lovebook.


The Lovebook is a mini catalogue DaWanda puts together to send out to the press, featuring a small sample of products as a taster of all the great things available on the site and mini interviews with some of the shop owners. Such a great idea!

Like the website itself, there's three different versions of the Lovebook - a German, a French and an English version. I'm delighted to have my oak leaf headband included in the "nature lovers" section in the German version...


... and three designs from my shop have made it into the English version, which the postie will hopefully be bringing me sometime soon :)

If you fancy a flick through the Lovebook you can download a PDF copy of the English version here, and the German version here.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Tiny Flowers

Ah, I had such grand plans for this week. I'd get up early! and be so efficient! and tick so many tasks off my to do lists! Alas, it was not to be. Instead, I've been feeling a bit ill and my schedule has been rearranged to fit in lots of tea-drinking, sofa-sitting, tv-watching, etc.

I may not be being super-efficient, but one of the "perks" of my job is that there are always simple tasks I can do even when camped on the sofa feeling groggy.

Yesterday's crafty task? Cutting out lots and lots of teeny tiny felt flowers for my forget-me-not brooches...


... and then sewing them all in position. I cut them all out completely by hand - I don't use a template or a mechanical cutter, I just cut them by eye using a small pair of embroidery scissors.

They take a while, but they're the perfect task to do while watching TV. I cut this batch out while watching Audrey Hepburn in "Sabrina" which amazingly I'd never seen before.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Mini Squares

More knitting!


This is one of those odd projects that you start without really knowing how it's going to end up... I've got lots of little balls of yarn leftover from other projects, and I've decided to use them to knit an assortment of tiny moss stitched squares.

Then (eventually) when I've collected a whole bunch I'm going to use the squares to make something very colourful. I'm not sure what yet but I'm going to have a long time to make up my mind :)

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Bits and bobs

This week I have been...

... sorting out receipts for my tax return, and swearing that this year I won't just stick them all in a box and forget about them, but will do my best to organise them each month. Ditto doing my accounts at the end of each month instead of once a year. (Chances of this actually happening: slim to none).


... sewing some more lavender sachets, this time from an old blue & white striped pillowcase. Love those stripes.


... preparing for, hosting, and then tidying up after an "open house" we had for friends & neighbours to celebrate the launch of my book, Super-Cute Felt. It was a very lovely evening!

I didn't take many photos but I did get a couple of snaps of the pretty napkins (teacups, yum) and a rather blurry shot of a stack of copies of my book.


I've also nearly finished my giant granny square blanket - hurrah!

I took a break from crocheting the blanket over the warmer summer months as it was too hot to sit with it over my knees as I worked on it. I've just got the last few rounds left now, and then I'll sew in all the ends, and take some pictures of it to share with you all.

Because of the irregular pattern I was using for the blanket, I've used up almost all the yarn I bought in some of the colours, and much less of others. I've added the leftover yarn to my stash of random colours to be knitted into blanket squares.


My evenings this autumn will be filled with yarn!

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