Friday, 30 May 2014

Briswool and Shopping

I'm just back from another jaunt to Ireland for family visiting and Hen Party Shenanigans. I went from Thursday to Sunday but had the added pleasure of a Bank Holiday Monday the following day and as I hadn't seen him for a few days the hubby was "happy to do whatever I wanted" on our bonus day off- YAY!
Top of my list was head over to Bedminster in Bristol to see "Briswool", this is an incredible (and ongoing) effort by a group of Bristol folk to recreate the whole of the city out of wool, mainly knitted or crocheted with a little nod to needle felting. To say the least it's impressive, when you first lay eyes on it you think it looks pretty neat but it's when you start to spot all the little details you really start to appreciate how wonderful it is.
I think anyone can appreciate the amount of work involved and enjoy the overall look but if you know Bristol at all you realise how amazing all the little details are.

You may recognise this street from The Antiques Roadshow
It's located in a lovely little craft shop, The Paper Village-, at the moment so can't be displayed in it's full glory until they find somewhere to exhibit it properly and like any real city it's still growing and transforming. We chose the perfect day to visit as it was quiet, I think a lot of people may have thought it would be closed for the Bank Holiday. The very friendly owner, Vicky, was super enthusiastic and told us they had had a couple of days where there were queues stretching down the street and she couldn't actually sell anything due to the volume of people in the shop. Thankfully I was able to purchase a few items, well it seemed only right to support the shop after it made such an effort (any excuse huh?)
We then went for a wander and stumbled across another lovely shop selling lots of handmade items created by local artists- Dadswell Glass, full of lovely stuff and I was delighted to pick up a couple of treats for up-coming birthdays
We then headed to the city centre to one of my favourite shops in Bristol, Made in Bristol.
As soon as I step in I'm always in awe, I walk around and everything I see makes me think "I want, I want, I want"! When we saw Alice Shields' ceramics we couldn't resist, I treated the hubby to an slightly early anniversary present and he did the same for me. We're both suckers for bumblebees...
Always good to support local makers. Craft in earnest, Craftin' Ernest x

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Washi Tape Embellished Necklace

I'm really loving all the statement necklaces that are so popular at the moment, there are some really bold ones available. I recently bought a silver coloured necklace very cheaply (from Primark, well actually Penney's as I bought it in Ireland) with the sole purpose of jazzing it up a bit and thought washi tape would be perfect to do just that.
The necklace consists of three crescent-shaped pieces attached to a single section on each side, these in turn are attached to a length of chunky chain. The front sides are smooth with a slightly beaten look while the reverse side has a ridged lip around the edge and textured surface.
I decided to add some colour to each of the crescents which graduate in size, getting slightly bigger as you go down, and decided to do this to the reverse side so I could easily apply a resin coat thanks to the lip.
The first step was to use flat-nose pliers to open the jump rings attaching each crescent and removing them but keeping them safe.
I then used some paper and a pencil to create a template for each of the crescents by tracing them as best as possible, cutting them just short of the hole on each side. 
This is what I stuck the washi tape to, I attached short sections of tape completely covering the paper surface, I then trimmed off the excess. Repeating the process 3 times, once for each section.
I used three different tapes which I liked the look of together. You could do complimentary patterns/colours, contrasting patterns/colours, all the same- what ever takes your fancy!
I then glued each one in place to the corresponding section using epoxy glue. After this I coated each crescent in clear resin (here's a link to a previous resin post of mine:
Once this was thoroughly dry I used the original jump rings to reattach each crescent but the reverse side out, creating a totally unique accessory. 
All that was left was to wear it with a big smile on my face :-D 
Hope you like the result? Keep crafting in earnest, Craftin' Ernest!

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Key Keeper

Today's post involves an extremely simple tutorial for a handy little item if, like me, you are prone to losing things, I'm calling it a Key Keeper and it's inspired by a nifty little thing the local police gave out a few years ago. I'm terrible for losing things, in fact, the more I try not to the quicker I seem to lose an item.
Keys are a good example, so this handy crafted solution not helps prevent their loss but also makes it much quicker to find them in a large handbag (my favourite kind of handbag as you can pack it full of "stuff"). You can also use it for certain purses to help against pickpockets, if you can attach it to part of the purse - a zip pull for example.

All that's needed is a shoelace, 2 clasps, a needle and thread, scissors and a way of sealing the end of the shoelace again- I find either a lighter for a nylon shoelace or clear nail varnish/glue works well.
I've bought particularly snazzy laces especially but any old ones would do.
Cut off the aglet from each end, i.e. the coated ends (thanks to an episode of Disney's Phineas and Ferb for teaching me the actual name) and seal the ends. If using the lighter make sure you do it safely, it only takes a few seconds for the ends to melt and you don't want it to smoke. With the nail varnish, coat the ends with a thick layer and leave it to dry completely.
Thread one end through a clasp and sew it in place (I actually used a sewing machine but it can be done by hand instead).
Repeat for the other end.
Then you just attach one clasp to your keys (or purse if possible or even both) and the other to your bag! Easy peasy.
Here's an alternative using a split ring at one end instead...

Friday, 2 May 2014

Zip-Up Pouch Tutorial

I think this is quite a simple make but with really effective results. They make great presents for girls to use as make-up bags or for guys as wash bags. They’re always handy for people with children/babies and you can knock them up in no time.
All you need is two pieces of fabric the same size- one for the outside and one for the lining, a zip (which is at least as wide as the width of fabric), pins, thread and a sewing machine.
The pieces of fabric needs to be twice as long as you'd like the finished length to be plus approx 1.5cm for seam allowance. The width needs to be the same as desired finished width plus 1.5cm seam allowance again.
So for a finished pouch 20 x 15cm, you will need two pieces of fabric 41.5 x 16.5cm.

Line up the edge of the zip with the edge of the outer fabric along one end, with the top of zip facing the right side of the fabric. Place the lining fabric on top of the zip and outer fabric so the right sides of the fabric face each other, pin in place.
Sew all three layers together along the edge.
Repeat with the other ends of the fabrics, attaching them to the opposite side of the zip.
This will result in a sort of figure of “8” shape with the zip in the middle joining the two pieces of fabric.

Fold the outer fabric layer back on itself over the lining fabric so the top of the zip and the right side of the outer fabric is on the outside. The next step is to pin the layers and top stitch along the zip. Open the zip and sew along each side of the zip, through the outer layer, zip and inner lining.
Refasten the zip and unfold the outer fabric so that you have the figure of “8” again. 
Flatten the two loops with the zip sandwiched between. You can have the zip in the middle but I personally prefer it towards one end so sandwich it off centre (for example with the zip 5cm from the fold).
Sew the layers together all the way along one side. On the other side sew almost together but leave a gap of about 6-7cm. I find it easier to leave the gap towards the centre to help with the finishing step, so I sew from one end inwards and then the other end inwards leaving the gap. If you have placed your zip in the centre I would definitely advise you leave the gap to one side of the zip rather than in the middle.
It’s then time to turn it out the right way through the gap and if necessary press everything flat (I'm normally too lazy for this step so it has to really need it for me to do it).
All that’s left is to sew the gap up by hand, firstly the lining through the gap in the outer fabric. Then sew closed the gap in the outer fabric using a hidden running stitch.
Admire your finished zip-up pouch! I would say a button or two as an embellishment never goes a miss ;-)

If you do make one, I’d love to see it.
Craft in earnest, Craftin’ Ernest x