Tag : colour

The Crafty Lass does… World Book Day!

Sometimes, I get an idea in my head – and that’s it, the idea HAS to be done. It doesn’t matter whether that is going to take me all day and all night (and then all day and all night again) to complete whatever hair brained challenge I have set myself, or whether it is something with a long-term plan – it will go on ‘the list’.

The husband does laugh, as he is aiming to be ‘paperless’ – using apps to write lists, schedule and remember tasks, whereas I HAVE to have my notebook. And it is currently an Anthropologie notebook that says ‘the best is yet to come’ and, my bright, happiness bringing, lime green Lamy fountain pen. So specific! However, writing everything down in that notebook that needs to be done that day, week, month, year – it makes me focus! I cross off what has been achieved and I remember what I need to be doing next. Heaven forbid if it ever got lost!

My ‘crazy’ crafty ideas often surface at about 2am when up resettling our little man whilst trying to stay awake in the bit once he is asleep, but I cannot leave the room. The trouble is, I then can’t stop thinking about it – so I drift off again at 3am still wondering about things like ‘but how would I make that?’ or ‘I wonder if Hobbycraft sell X, Y, and Z’ – ‘maybe I could get there tomorrow somehow…’

That is precisely what happened with World Book Day.

A simple poster spotted at nursery – a reminder to come as your favourite book character on Thursday 7th March - World Book Day!

Well, challenge accepted.

First I was thinking, what do we already have that could be worn and fit in to one of his many favourite book themes? Or, could maybe be slightly tweaked? Then, out of nowhere came the idea that I could try and replicate The Very Hungry Caterpillar Butterfly… Well, once it was in my head – there was no going back. I had set myself my own high standard challenge and I HAD to make it. I started to think about all the colourful fabrics we had in the studio and how I could incorporate lots of prints and patterns to try and match the beautiful and eclectic drawings in the Eric Carle iconic children’s book.

In the morning, I measured our little man to see if I could then make the wings to his ‘full height’, like the illustrations. I raided the remnants bin, and started to cut the shapes out. Effectively, trying to 'draw' with fabric.

It soon became apparent I had set myself quite a task to cut and applique on all the different shapes, colours and patterns, but I was enjoying myself… and isn’t that kind of the point with craft?!

As the day and then evening wore on, the first wing began to take shape – and I could see how big it was going to be! I started to wonder if the wings really could be worn by a toddler… As much as they would match his height – maybe they would be just a pain for him to carry round? (That’s if I could even get him to put them on!)

Evening 1 = 1 wing completed. One to go…

The beauty of the amazing artwork in The Very Hungry Caterpillar – is they are so unique, and the two sides of the butterfly don’t match! So, I could be creative with what fabrics to pick and choose for each side.

Evening 2 = 2nd wing. Done!

Once the wings were now initially made, the next challenge was how to make them into something that could actually be worn. I thought about ribbons to pull around the shoulders. But, they would likely slip off the shoulders. So then, maybe attaching them to an outfit could work? But as I wanted them to be worn by either toddler, or likely adult, it needed to be something flexible.

The next day, off to Hobbycraft we went... elastic! – I suddenly thought about how fairy wings are assembled – and decided I would make a central panel to attach the wings to, and some elastic loops to swiftly enable the wings to be taken on and off as and when pleased!

I also found some Vilene fabric interfacing. Normally used for things like curtain pelmets – but it was perfect! This could be attached to the fabric wings to make them stiff, and essentially make the design stick out like actual wings! I also picked up some really bright blue felt – lovely and soft, and a nice plain contrast to the rather crazy ‘front’, to put on the back behind this new interfacing.

Evening 3. I lay out the fabric wings on to the interfacing and backing felt, then sewed around the edge and then basically just trimmed to the shapes required!

Evening 4. The final evening (also note, the night before World Book Day so it had to get finished come hell or high water!) I made a small and simple rectangular panel out of some coordinating fabric, with elastic loops tucked inside to allow the arms to go through. I also used some more of the interfacing inside to make this panel nice and strong – before simply sewing the edges of the wings on to it. DONE!

It really isn’t my ‘finest’ of sewing – most of the fabrics have ‘raw’ edges, and there are places where it could be improved – but does it really matter? It hopefully looks like the book, it will hopefully bring little man some joy - and importantly, I really did enjoy making them!

I then did honestly proceed to wear them round the house for about an hour – for no reason other than because I could! Within this hour, I also tried to work out what I could do if he wouldn’t wear the wings. I mean, in all honesty – no secret about it, I would love to wear them for nursery drop off – but it would actually mean he didn’t have a costume! And, I am not sure the point of all of this, is for the Mummy and Daddy's to be dressed up, but the kiddiwinks not!!!

Aha – well, I found his green trousers, and we definitely have a green stripey top. Perfect for a little caterpillar.  AND THEN – I remembered  (and then very handily FOUND!) that we were given a Very Hungry Caterpillar hand knitted hat for when he was a baby. Would it fit?! Unlikely but I could give it a go if needed in the morning…

World Book Day.

I asked little man to try on the wings – he looked at me like I was crazy but did let me put them on him. What he actually wanted to do was take them off and look at all the colours! He looked so lovely with these huge colourful prints emerging from his beautiful tiny body. But, within 5 minutes – they were off. I put them on, and he laughed – so, if it made him smile – that I suppose was worth it in all reality – who cares who wore them. He was happy.

Into the green 'outfit' for him, and by some crazy knitted-stretchy miracle, the found Very Hungry Caterpillar baby hat did indeed (just!) fit!

So, we rocked up to nursery with him as a caterpillar, and me as the butterfly. It kind of worked! #teamwork

I left the wings at nursery for staff to use for the day if they wanted, and apparently lots of the children liked all the colours and textures on them! 🙂

So, that is it for this year, World Book Day – done! It has been crossed off 'the list'.

The trouble is, I have now set a precedent. What will I make next year?!

In the meantime, at the point of collecting him from his day at nursery, the World Book Day costume sign had come down – and a new one put up in it’s place.

'Dress as a Disney character – Friday 15th March!'

I had best get my thinking cap on…

World Book Day - The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Categories: Crafty Kids, General Craft, The Crafty Lass does...

The Crafty Lass does… ‘Paper’ 1st Anniversary Commission

Having studied Art & Design – specialising in textiles for A-Level, BTEC Foundation in Art & Design – specialising in Textiles and then going on to specialise in Printed Textile Design at University – you’d think my go to medium of choice, would always be fabric. Of course, I would never turn my back on the beautiful warps and weft of material but it is sometimes nice to try something new. 

I have made many flowers out of fabric before – making HUNDREDS of hand cut petals for our wedding. Sewing these into large ruffled flowers that adorned the tables, the chairs, the corsages – and have since held several flower corsage craft workshops teaching people how to make these. 

It was only fairly recently that I started to explore making flowers out of a new material – paper.

Paper, with all its varying weights, styles and colours provides incredible flexibility to create texture where perhaps fabric cannot to the same degree. Paper, when you fold it, it often stays where you put it – you can roll it up, cut it up – without fraying, it can be stretched to create shape (in crepe paper certainly) it can be crumpled up to create folds and definitions. It can be delicate (tissue) and strong (card). It provides a whole wealth of inspiration and ideas. Of course there are delicate silks and structured chords and denims to explore with fabric, but paper somehow feels more tactile, more instantaneous texture. I have always been more focused on the graphic design ON the fabric – colour, the pattern, the print of the fabric, not necessarily the texture.

Colours – I’ve always been inspired by nature and the amazing palletes it brings. What could be more invigorating than looking at the colours of a glorious sandy beach against cool blues of the sea? Or, the remarkable russets, greens, golds and oranges of an Autumnal tree? Or the pastels, brights of a floral summer garden?

Using real flowers as the most obvious starting point, when making paper flowers – I like to try and recreate the styles and shapes and as close to nature as possible… but equally it is quite nice to give a nod to – that the recreation IS paper. For example, peonies – I’ve been known to hand paint crepe paper to specific shades of pink to replicate the imperfect colouring in nature of real peony petals. I have been told that people didn’t realise that it was paper, they looked THAT real! (Mission accomplished!) However, with daisies – I tend to cut the paper into little straight strips. Thus giving square edged petals – they look like daisies, but just not quite. 

Flowers can of course, be built into extraordinary displays and bouquets – and what a choice! From tiny little delicate ‘baby’s breath’ to huge ruffly roses and sunny sunflowers. Often interspersed with foliage and leaves building up layer upon layer of colours and textures.

As beautiful and striking as real flowers can be – they do not – very sadly – last.

However, fabric and paper – very happily – does.

I have been honoured to be asked to make various paper flower commissions – primarily for people’s weddings – and most recently, I had a very romantic request – for a first ‘paper’ anniversary gift, to replicate his wife’s wedding bouquet, so that she could keep it! (He’s a keeper!)

Using a wedding photograph as inspiration and lots of secret messages between myself and the groom to make sure it was just right, after weeks of paper folding and making – he gave her his thoughtful gift within the last week. I’m really glad to say she loved it. (Mega brownie points for hubby, right?) Yay! 

Looking forward to 2018, I plan to launch paper flower craft workshops for people to come and learn how to make them… in the meantime, if you – or someone you know would like a paper flower commission – please do get in touch!

Enjoy!

Categories: Business, The Crafty Lass does..., Valentines, Anniversaries & Lovey-Dovey Stuff, Weddings, Workshops

Top 5… Bonfire Night Crafts!

Remember, remember the 5th of November! There is nothing quite like Bonfire Night is there? The roaring fire in sharp contrast to the cold night air, delicious treats of candy floss, toffee apples, hot chocolate… and of course the actual fireworks display! It doesn’t matter what age you are – a riot of colour across the sky, the noise, the smell, a complete assault on your senses – it doesn’t fail to bring a smile to your face! It got me thinking of various crafty ways we could celebrate the occasion – mostly in food instead of traditional ‘craft’ ! So here they are – check out my Top 5… Bonfire Night Crafts!

 

1. Bonfire Cupcakes

What fun! Totally love these cupcakes made to look like the bonfire! Certainly is up there on my wish list to make this weekend!

 

2. Firework Artwork

A great way to get the kiddiwinks creative! A simple, but effective firework painting idea – using a toilet roll as a stamp, colourful paint and some black paper! You could even add cut out stars, glitter… go mad, have fun! 🙂

 

3. Toffee Apples

As a kid – around this time of year, it was a real treat to get a toffee apple! I associate them with Saturday mornings with my Dad when he took me to gymnastics classes. Crazy where some foodie memories take you… This recipe from BBC Good Food shows us how to make them at home!

 

4. Hot Chocolate Spoons

These look seriously amazing… I can just imagine these being super delicious, warming, comforting… a naughty treat to warm you up on a cold evening! As the Kitchen Alchemist blog post says, they would be a great handmade Christmas present! Mmmm….

 

5. Parkin

This (wannabee) Yorkshire Crafty Lass couldn’t do a Bonfire Night post without the mention of Parkin! You can’t really go wrong with syrupy molasses, oatmeal and ginger… Delicious all year round but traditionally eaten on Bonfire night, get in my face… 🙂

 

Enjoy!

Categories: General Craft, Top 5

Top 5… Inspirational Days Out!

We all need to get inspired by something, whether it be the clouds across a morning sky, a flower that has blossomed in your garden, a visit to a gallery, or even day-to-day chores and activities. Whatever the inspiration behind our art, design and craft – here are my top 5 events that could inspire your next project. Think colour, think nature, think photography, think over a hundred hot-air balloons…

 

1. <a href="http://www.nhm click this.ac.uk/visit/exhibitions/sensational-butterflies.html” target=”_blank”>Sensational Butterflies

This annual event returns to the London Natural History Museum, with hundreds of free flying butterflies in their tropical butterfly house. Think of all those patterns and colours – just beautiful. On now til September 13th 2015, and at only £5.90 a ticket for adults, children and concessions – and with entry to the main museum free, you can’t go wrong!

 

2. Coral Reefs: Secret Cities of the Sea

A bit of a cop-out putting two exhibitions from the same location, but with another outstanding and inspiring exhibition at the world famous and stunningly beautiful London Natural History Museum, it explains why reefs are just so important, and what is being done to look after them. “Virtual reef dive, see live sea coral and fish in our aquarium and enjoy spectacular underwater photography.” Get inspired by “250 strange and beautiful specimens” of coral. Tickets to the exhibition are £10 per adult – children and concessions are only £4.50 – and again, as before, admission to the main museum is absolutely free.

 

3. Bristol International Balloon Fiesta

Our wedding was inspired by the film ‘Up‘, and with all those ballooons, I have always wanted to go and see this magical fiesta in Bristol, 6th-9th August 2015. An absolute riot of colour across the sky to provide unlimited colour inspiration. The best thing about this is, entrance is absolutely FREE! (You have to just pay a fee to park). I am sadly, already busy when this is on – but it is going on my bucket list, maybe next year! Why don’t you get this one into your diary?

 

4. 2015 Sony World Photography Awards 

Love photography? This exhibition at Somerset House showcases the Winners, the Shortlisters across all disciplines from the 2015 Sony World Photography Awards. You can’t help but want to pick up your camera, get out and take as many snaps of our beautiful world as you can! Full details of the competition can be found HERE at the World Photography Organisation. On display from April 24th – 10th May 2015, tickets are £8.50 for ‘Anytime Entry’, and only £6.50 for ‘Weekday Entry’. Other concessions are available.

 

5. Kew Gardens

I absolutely LOVE Kew Gardens, and I also love the chef Raymond Blanc, so the BBC programme Kew On A Plate was a match made in heaven for me. However, you can now go and view the Kew On A Plate garden! Get inspired by their bountiful produce and gardens, with their walking tours, daily until May 22nd 2015. Included in the entry price to the main gardens, tickets are £16 for an adult, and children under 16 are FREE when accompanied by an adult. Other concessions are available. While you are there this spring, make sure you take a lovely wander down the ‘Cherry Walk’ – lots of lovely pink and delightful blossoms! There is so much to see and do at Kew – take your sketchpad, your camera, and some good walking shoes!

 

All prices and dates are correct at time of this blog post.

 

Categories: Places to Go & Things to See, Top 5

An explosion of colour!

This time last year, I was knee deep in petals, and panic.

It’s coming up to our first wedding anniversary – where does time go?! Of course I can’t help reminiscing about what a wonderful craft proj… I mean, day it was! 😉

Our (who are we kidding, my) colour scheme… I couldn’t decide. So, in the end – I settled on not settling and going for a rainbow palette. A vibrant riot of royal blue, canary yellow, emerald green, cerise and bright orange. They clashed, they sang and due to the very-very-very fortunate early spring (hot!) sunshine we had in March, they absolutely shone.

Obviously every girl, gets excited about her dress, and shoes (mine were bright green!) and of course gaining a husband too – but there were so many little crafty touches to the day, that had built up over the course of the year and thought about to the nth degree. I was also just really excited to see it all finally come together in one explosion of colour. In a term used regularly by my mother-in-law, it was “Paula Planned”.IMG_0966

We made seed packets as our favours… “Let Love Grow!”, handmade all our table runners out of hessian and ribbons, napkin holders for every guest out of matching hessian, ribbons and lace, the big table plans, giant posters of our story, the d.i.y cake topper out of a clothes peg, 100 (yes 100!) metres of bunting, moustache and lips straws. Then collecting and turning hundreds of empty jars with coloured raffia into tea lights, a ‘Dan and Paula’ crossword (and prizes), kids party packs, oh – and – the marathon of flowers…

Each table had 7 flowers (there were 11 tables), the aisle had 20 flowers, then 9 corsages, there were spare…lets guess at 10, the bridesmaids had them on their shoes or on their wrist – each flower had 18 petals…that’s 2,304 little circles of fabric. Cut out, by hand.

Phew, what a mission…and boy was it FUN!

PDM-JS-IMG_0018_136You may be thinking I am crazy, or you may be thinking – that just sounds like a standard craft lovers wedding! I think I am just both – slightly crazy and definitely a craft lover. I just couldn’t BUY stuff, I KNEW I could make. It would be cheaper for one thing, but also nice, thoughtful and would be exactly as we would want, no compromises.

Once I came up with the ‘Wedding Grand Plan’ (yes, there was of course, a spreadsheet involved – multiple infact) it was easy to get stuck in…and I honestly used to think – what did I do BEFORE the wedding…Where has all this additional time come from to make stuff! To be honest, I still don’t really know or understand that part. I think I went out less, and definitely slept less!PDM-JS-IMG_9893_120

There were days where I’d do nothing – then there would be evenings where I was practically doing cartwheels as I had managed to make 6 or 7 whole flowers AND watch ‘Location, Location, Location’ (we do LOVE a good bit of Kirstie and Phil!)

Everyone said to me – ‘What will you do afterwards?!’, ‘You’ll get the post-wedding blues’… Swept up in a whirlwind of fabric and lace, Pinterest and decisions to be made – I thought, ‘Ah, no I won’t, I will be excited to have a new life as Mrs Milner, I will be fine’.

Once the big day had been and gone, the family had dispersed back to their own homes, the dress hanging back in its protective case (which, I might add is still hanging up in our room, I just can’t bring myself to put it away for good yet!) I remember very distinctly the first day I came home from work. The house still looked thPDM-JS-IMG_9865_110e same, all our wonderful cards, presents. I made a cup of (Yorkshire) tea, I sat at the table and thought… Now what?

And although I was so happy and grateful – I was also sad, no two ways about it. I missed the focus, the countdown, the opportunity to just absorb myself away into something creative and that had a wider mission and purpose. I enjoyed the fact there wasn’t a time pressure of course, and actually it was rather nice to have a rest, but I missed it all the same.

It has taken me a whole year, to realise – it doesn’t need to stop. There doesn’t have to be a reason to make stuff, plan to make stuff, PinterePDM-JS-IMG_9569_045st about what you want to make, do, what you love. I am sure both sets of parents would love there to be a new major event on the cards to plan for – and I am sure that this time around the colour scheme would be just pink or just blue (yet to be decided) – but for now there is not. And in the meantime – I am going to be throwing myself into lots of making and baking, of all sorts, for all seasons and reasons.

So, it’s really out of one major event of a wedding, and one year of feeling that something is missing to invent this blog, and The Crafty Lass.

Over the the next few weeks, I am going to be looking back at the wedding projects on this blog, and also with birthdays for myself, the husband (it’s a big birthday for him!), there is Easter coming up – and then summer, with the long evenings and bright sunshine , there really is plenty of craft and inspiration to look forward to!

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PS

After the wedding…I submitted some snippets of the-big-day to Brides Magazine – who chose us as ‘wedding of the week’… All very exciting of course! The link to which I would love to share with you – however Brides magazine have since removed that section of their website! 🙁

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: General Craft, Weddings

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