Woolly nests!

What do you do with your wool scraps? I use small balls to add stripes to my scrappy blanket and even smaller pieces to make cheery pom poms. But I wanted to use even my tiny pieces of wool for something useful. So I decided to buy a bird feeder and leave them out for birds to take to make their nests with!

Wool scraps for birds

I did a bit of research and birds like all kinds of wool and string to add to their nests. It’s best to cut your wool into pieces which are 3 to 8 inches long. If they are shorter they aren’t of much use to the birds and if they are longer they pose a hazard to chicks. Let me know what you do with your scraps of wool and keep an eye out for woolly nests near you!

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Little Hands Make … Giant Felt Tinsel!

Felt is one of my very favourite materials and it’s the perfect way to introduce children to textiles. It comes in a bright rainbow of colours, is easy to cut and holds its shape really nicely. Making a piece of giant felt tinsel will involve cutting and threading and could easily be turned into a game which involves identifying colours and shapes!

To make your very own piece of felt tinsel you will need a selection of felt, some wool, plastic sewing needles and some safety scissors if your little one is in charge of the cutting.

Little Hands Make ... Giant Felt Tinsel

First you need to prepare your felt pieces. My pieces are geometric shapes and are about the size of a 50p piece. You could turn this bit into a game by cutting the felt into squares, triangles and circles! Once you have a nice selection of shapes, fold each piece in half and cut a little slit into the middle of each one.

Little Hands Make ... Giant Felt Tinsel

Little Hands Make ... Giant Felt Tinsel

Next you need to decide how long you want to make your piece of felt tinsel. Measure out this amount of wool and then double it over. Take the two raw ends and tie them together into a loop so that you will be able to hang up your tinsel. Cut off the excess wool.

Little Hands Make ... Giant Felt Tinsel

Now you are ready to start constructing your tinsel! Thread your needle onto the end of the wool with no loop and choose your first piece of felt. Put the needle through the slit in the middle and push the felt all the way down the wool to your loop. Keep adding felt until your piece of wool is full of lovely felt!

Little Hands Make ... Giant Felt Tinsel

Little Hands Make ... Giant Felt Tinsel

You can experiment with the distance apart you space your felt and the colours too. If you are doing a rainbow you can mix the colours a bit so it blends nicely or you could keep it stripy!

Felt Tinsel

Happy Making!

If you fancy making your own felt tinsel then you can buy some useful supplies from Amazon. If you purchase anything through the links in my post you are helping to support my blog as I get a small referral fee from Amazon. Thank you!

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My pattern pad

Last time I visited my parents in Somerset I came across an interesting looking pile of notebooks in my old room. I discovered a colouring book called “Pattern Pad” and it brought back memories of hours spent carefully selecting colours and neatly filling in the shapes. Looking at it again now, years later has provided me with inspiration for new patchwork projects! Paper pieced patchwork is perfect for these intricate shapes, I think I’ve found myself another new project!

Pattern pad

Pattern Pad

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Crochet Pocket

When I was trying to decide how to have my hair for our wedding I came across an Etsy shop called Crochet Pocket. It is filled with beautiful crocheted items, including flower appliqués in lots of different sizes and colours. I decided on a set in ivory and a set in bright blue. They arrived beautifully wrapped and packaged with extra tiny little flowers. I didn’t use them for the wedding in the end but I’m sure I will find the perfect project for them soon!

Crochet PocketCrochet AppliquesCrochet Applique

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My crocheted cactus!

When having a sort out the other day I unearthed a big collection of dressmaking patterns. My friend Kendal loves to make her own clothes, particularly pretty dresses, so I thought she would make good use of them. We live on the same road and often swap things, share cake and stitch each other presents. So imagine my delight when as a thank you for the patterns, Kendal surprises me with a teeny tiny crocheted cactus! Thank you Kendal!

My crocheted cactus

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The Southsea Night Markets – a success!

Friday night was the last official Southsea Night Market. Tom and I have had such an adventure organising these markets, chatting on BBC Radio Solent, meeting talented makers, being featured in The News three times, anticipating and then battling all kinds of weather and enjoying the beautiful view across to the Isle of Wight every Friday evening! Thank you so much for all your support and encouragement, my amazing parents even came all the way from Somerset to support the markets! If the weather is kind we may spend the odd Friday night throughout September continuing the markets, check our Facebook event for details or use the hashtag #SouthseaNights for the latest information.

Watch this space for more markets coming to Portsmouth!

Southsea Night Market

Southsea Night Market

Southsea Night Market

Photos above by Matthew Cleveland.

Southsea Night Markets in The News

 

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My Estonian fabric

Last year for my birthday my parents gave me the most beautiful piece of linen that they brought back from their travels to Estonia. I wanted to use it for something really special and it has been carefully folded, waiting ever since I unwrapped it. I decided to use it for a table runner on the present table at our wedding and for the lining of our guest book bag!

Estonian FabricEstonian FabricEstonian FabricEstonian Linen Bag

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Monsters at Victorious Festival!

Sometimes I make things that I just can’t bear to part with! This little mini monster below is one of those things. Made from one of my favourite colours, with her little flower button eye and a lovely fabric for her tummy, she is a keeper.

Handmade plush toy

She is one of a big batch that I have stitched in preparation for my stall at Victorious Festival this weekend! I will have a very special offer running on both days, where you can pick up two monsters for £15. I will also be running a free felt tinsel workshop with Southsea Greenhouse, so be sure to pop by and make something!

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Tutorial : How to stiffen lace

This simple tutorial will show you how to stiffen lace, without using chemicals or expensive products. The recipe uses just sugar and water, so you won’t need to buy lots of supplies. I love that the method uses natural ingredients and if you don’t like the effect you can simply wash the sugar out and start again!

How to stiffen laceI became interested in stiffening lace when I rediscovered some beautiful lace that I thought I might use in my hair for our wedding. I think its a kind of guipure lace so it has a nice weight to it, but wasn’t stiff enough to use as it was. The photo below shows you before and after.

How to stiffen laceI started researching the best way to stiffen lace and after a bit of trial and error I have come up with this tutorial. You will need a piece of lace, water, granulated sugar, a saucepan, a small bowl or cup and a piece of card with greaseproof paper or cling film stuck to one side.

Tutorial : How to stiffen laceThe recipe is simply 1 part water to 1 part sugar. I made a solution using half a cup of each and that was more than enough. After you have measured your ingredients, place them in your saucepan and heat gently. Stir continuously and as soon as the sugar has melted, remove from the heat.

How to stiffen laceWet your piece of lace in warm water, before popping it into your slightly cooled solution. Leave to soak for a few minutes. Take your lace out and allow the excess liquid to drip off. Lie the lace down onto the greaseproof paper and allow to dry. My lace took 2 days to dry completely, try not to move it when it is drying so that it sets nicely.

How to stiffen lace

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Our Handmade Wedding : Felt Flower Buttonholes

I posted photos last week of my handmade felt flower bouquet. I also made the buttonholes to match! I used the same colour palette, arranged three buds together for each one and tied them together with brown string. Then each one was wrapped up and labelled, ready to be opened as a surprise on the day!

Felt flower buttonholes

Felt flower buttonholes

Felt flower buttonholes

 

Felt flower buttonholes

Last photo of Matt and his lovely brother Mike by Antony Turner.

 

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