Saturday, November 5, 2011

Felt Christmas Decorations

Last post I showed you a star Christmas decoration that was inspired from a keyring project from one of my japanese craft books.  Well I had so much fun making the star that I have made a few more decorations along the same style... I can see a new look for our Christmas tree this year!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Japanese craft book - keyring project

Here is another recent project from one of my japanese craft books.  I am really falling for japanese felt craft projects!   I had trouble sourcing wooden beads and quality string - I'm still working on that.  I'm not sure how well this keyring would hold up to going in and out of my handbag countless times... but it would be a lovely detail on a key that you leave in a door... or for keys you have hanging on a pretty key rack.

I enjoyed this project so much that I was inspired to create some Christmas decorations in the same style. I found this more 'rustic' string in the garden section of the hardware - it is some simple jute twine.

This project is from this book (ISBN 978-4-07-257064-7) again apologies I can't translate the author or title of the book.

The project is on page 16 and this is a picture of their keyring from the backcover

Saturday, October 22, 2011

When someone gives you lemons...

A gorgeous friend of mine gave me a bag full of fresh limes from her back garden today.

When someone gives you lemons make lemonade?  Or when someone gives you limes - make lime cordial.

Cordials are very simple & quick to make - put it in a pretty bottle and you have a lovely, simple gift - straight from your (or someone else's!) back garden.

Generally strong flavoured, tart, fruits such as citrus and berries - make great cordials.  Frozen berries are perfect for this.  Why not experiment with different fruits or combine flavours such as lime and raspberry.

For the lime cordial you need ...

130g fruit (including the rind of 3 limes) - crushed or cut into small pieces
(When using citrus include the rind (the coloured layer on the skin) - but remove as much of the white pith as possible)
300g water
Sugar (for weight see below) *

  • Bring the fruit (& rind) and water to a low boil - stir to break up the fruit.  Let simmer for a few minutes then remove from the heat. 
  • Strain the water and fruit mix through a fine sieve into a clean measuring jug - making a note of how many ml -  Or weigh the strained liquid.
  • Return the strained liquid to a clean saucepan. 
  • *Calculate 2/3 of the weight of the strained liquid and add this amount of sugar.  If you want a sweeter cordial you can add up to equal amounts of sugar to strained liquid.
  • Return the sugar and liquid to the heat and bring to a low boil, stirring to dissolve all the sugar.   (If you think you may want a sweeter cordial - taste at this point and then add the sugar accordingly.)
  • Once the sugar is dissolved let simmer for a couple of minutes
  • Pour the cordial into a clean bottle and let cool.  Keep refrigerated
If you are making a berry cordial - or other non citrus fruit - add a squeeze of lemon (to taste) to the cordial before bottling - it gives a nice 'lift' to the flavours.

Serve with ice, diluted with water to the desired strength.

This recipe is an adaptation from the 'Thermomix - everyday cooking for every family' cookbook

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

My next craft book project...

This is my current craft book project.  I still have a bit more work to do on it to finish off.  I have used a 3mm wool cream felt (the same felt I used in the Scandinavian Needle work project) with 1mm wool felt embellishments.  I had never made the four petal flowers before - but they are surprisingly simple.

I hope to have some more detailed pictures when it is finished.

The title of the book *I think* translates to 'Felt de Komono' - but I am unsure of the translation for the author or publisher.  The ISBN is 978-4-07-257064-7.  The project I am working on is from page 40.

Below is a picture of the project from the book on page 40.

I have two japanese craft books that focus on felt - although they are printed in japanese (which I don't speak or read) - between the patterns and the photos they are quite easy to follow - well at least I think they are... I may well be missing some of the finer points to this craft!!  There are some really beautiful projects - quite unlike anything I have seen in other books.  I would highly recommend having a thumb through some Japanese craft books if you can get your hands on them.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Scandinavian needlecraft bag - finished.

I found some cotton lining and have finished the bag from the Scandinavian Needlecraft book by Clare Youngs. I used some cream 3mm thick pure wool felt for the bag, some wool felt scraps (1mm thick) for the embellishments and pearl cotton for the stitching. The fabric in the cut outs is a light denim from some 'too small' children's clothing. I really enjoy stitching in felt - because it is easy to bring the needle up anywhere through the felt and you don't have to worry about the weave of the fabric.

Sewing the bag together and pulling the needle through 6mm of felt can be difficult - especially where I was criss-crossing back over stitches - so I used some small pliers to pull the needle through - it is a lot easier on your fingers!

I am am so pleased to have finished this project - it has been on my 'want to make' list for a very long time! Now... I'm not exactly sure what I will do with this bag. It's not really a going out bag - but would be lovely have on display, or keep craft projects in.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Felt Garlands

I have become rather intrigued with felt garlands. Last Christmas I sewed together a string of circles from double sided scrapbooking papers to make a lovely twirly Christmas garland - but I have never made them from felt... until now

This is my first one (and I have a few more in the planning stages)
The colours and the design are fairly unimaginative, next time I will create something a little more interesting! - however it has been a good learning experience.

I have never sewn with nylon thread before. It is very slippery - I need to check my machine settings and manual.
The spacing of each flower is a little too close - I could have spaced them out more to get a 'floatier' look.
I need to work out the best way to space them - if I run my machine a few stitches with no material to sew the nylon thread twists and catches easily - maybe if I arrange the flowers on tissue paper and use the tissue to sew through in between the felt pieces?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Jellyfish in a bottle!

I saw this great tutorial for a jellyfish in a bottle over on Bhoomplay's blog. It is made very simply using a plastic bag. Cutting the plastic bag and getting it in the bottle is a little fiddly - but it is a great project.

We have all heard how turtles, dolphins and other sea animals can choke on plastic bags when they mistake them for jellyfish - this is such a fantastic visual to explain the concept to children and adults alike.

Needless to say our 'jellyfish in a bottle' went along to school for show and tell today... I hope the other children enjoy it too

Jellyfish tutorial here