August Cliff 2016

DSC_1077For some reason I always associated quilling with “old fashioned” crafting – kind of like the dried flower arranging that my grandmother used to do. I’m not dissing it as a craft but I kind of always thought that it wasn’t for me – until I actually tried it! I need to stop letting my crafting misconceptions get in the way of just having a go! Which is kind of the beauty of the whole Cliff Craft Challenge. I also did an internet image search of quilling and there are some incredibly talented people out there making beautiful quilled fish, birds, hearts and so much more.
I bought myself a very cheap and cheerful set of quilling tools from Fred Aldous a while back (while on a total crafty shopping spree). Three little plastics thingies – I’m sure they have proper technical names which I have no clue about – and a set of 5mm by 300mm paper strips. I cut this month’s calendar into 5mm by 200mm strips and I was ready to go. I picked up a little wooden box from The Works (an absolute goldmine for crafty bargains) with a view to using this as the base for quilling onto. A lot of quilling seems to be decorative pictures but sticking with the functional and beautiful mantra for the year, I decided a box would be more practical and stand more of a chance of getting used! And having said all that about quilling being seemingly old fashioned I went with a totally traditional floral design!
I based my design on one from Anyone Can Papercraft by Elizabeth Moad (I’ve used this book before, I’m sure I will use it again before this year is through!). I started off making the springs of foliage using one of my tools to curls strips of varying shades of green into loose circles before pinching each side to form the leaf shapes. I then attached the leaves in pairs to a single strip. The background swirls were made by twisting up one end of a strip then twisting the other end the other way to make a kind of S-shape. The flowers are all made of pieces of calendar – more specifically Cliff’s face. I wrapped strips of paper around a 9mm knitting needle and secured the end with a little bit of glue, then pinched the sides to make the petals. The centre of the flowers were made by twisting yellow and orange strips really tightly and gluing them so they couldn’t unfurl. I finally attached all the components to the top of the box with PVA glue.
I also had loads of spare strips of calendar and rather than let them go to waste I decided to decorate the bottom half of the box. Simple but rather effective design, strips glued on then varnished with PVA.
I’m really pleased with the end result and now I’ve seen how easy quilling is to do and how impressive the results can be (not including my efforts!) I’ll definitely be having another try at it soon.
Materials: Pack of three plastic quilling tools and 5mm quilling paper pack of 100 both from Fred Aldous (www.fredaldous.co.uk)
Pattern: Anyone Can Papercraft – Elizabeth Moad
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Woolly Bobble Hat – January 2016

Firstly, apologies for the lack of posts recently. My laptop finally called it a day after many years of faithful service and unfortunately all of my photos were saved on it. They are backed up but I haven’t got a replacement laptop yet so I’m having to use my work computer to post as and when I can. Also it’s school holidays so childcare commitments mean that I don’t have quite as much time as usual to craft or blog. Normal service will resume soon I promise but you may have to bear with me (and my ridiculous sideways pictures) for a couple more weeks!

2016 crafting continues apace. I made a new hat for my Son using a tiny baby hat pattern. I made the largest size and used chunky wool instead of DK. I made a similar one for my daughter maybe 3 years ago which kind of still fits! This hat is on the large side at the moment but is bright and colourful so should last him a while. It was fun and quick to knit and I’m pleased with the result. I shortened the recommended turn back bit which makes it mushroom out a little. I also added a bobble (using my trusty bobble maker!) It’s possibly an unconventional fashion choice but when you’re 2, anything goes!

The hat took almost the whole ball of yarn but with the remainder, I made a string of rainbow bobble baubles – gotta love a bit of rainbow action!

Yarn: James C. Brett Party Time Chunky in shade 4

Pattern: James C. Brett JB011

Crafty Round Up – December 2015

Bit of weirdness with the photos – I can’t turn some of them round, I don’t know why…

My final projects for 2015, once the blanket was out of the way, were a crochet headband with tinsel yarn trim from 30 Minute Crochet plus a mini basket – both in Peacock Bamboo Cotton as it was the only yarn I took away with me when we went on our Christmas travels across the country! I was working on Christmas Eve so managed to whip up the bow while I was manning the incredibly quiet phone lines. I tried to crochet the whole bow in tinsel yarn but it is far too difficult to work out where the stitches are – definitely a yarn better suited for knitting.

I also did the £2.00 work Christmas present challenge in style (the idea is that you have a maximum budget of £2 so you have to get creative!). Up-cycled tea light holders made from baby food jars decorated with glass paint – one each of holly, stars and spots, crocheted baubles which were completed on a train coming back from Bristol with my sleeping son in my arms, baked Christmas shortbread plus other edibles and stationery bits all presented in hand stitched stockings made from a felted jumper that I’ve been meaning to do something with for ages. The jumper had been shrunk by my brother in law’s girlfriend, she was gutted and couldn’t face throwing it away so passed it on to my daughter – it did pretty much fit her but as with all accidentally shrunken clothing was a bit of a funny shape so I acquired it! I really enjoyed doing the tea light holders, I need to spend more time with the glass paint markers, apparently they can all be used on ceramics too – maybe a mug decorating project beckons?

A very productive end to 2015 all in all and 2016 began in a similar vein with the first new baby crochet bunny completed by 5th January, this time in Maypole Baby Crofter with a purple felt face and lime stitching and by chance I managed to find a matching vest to parcel up and send off – smiles all round!

Yarns: King Cole Bamboo Cotton DK in Peacock (shade 531) and Sirdar Snuggly Baby Crofter DK in Maypole (shade 173), oddments of the Bamboo Cotton used for the baubles (see previous posts for details)

Glass paints: Marabu GlasPainter in Reseda (shade 61) and Petrol (shade 92) and Edding 751 Gloss Paint Markers in Metallic Gold (shade 53), Green (shade 74) and Pink (shade 79)

Patterns Used: 30 Minute Crochet by Carol Meldrum – bow and basket, Crochet Guide from Homemaker Magazine Issue 38 – baubles.