Friday, 29 July 2011

More books

Well, I still have 2 books that I ordered from The Book Depository to review. So here goes.

Jewelry Upcycled! This one is a definite keeper (despite the American spelling). I doubt I'll use it soon but it certainly gave me some food for thought. It starts with the usual tools etc and then goes on with chapters on metal things, nice forks; then plastic, more uses for cut up loyalty cards; then glass and ceramics, I'd forgotten about filing bits of broken pottery. Then it got a bit samey, fabric and leather, all seen before, e.g. T-shirt roses and felting sweaters. The last chapter was working with found stuff, like chopping up tins.

7/10 Great pictures, nice gallery at the end of each chapter. Best of all the combination of pictures and instructions ensure I want to make most of it, and believe I can!

Button Jewellery I knew I'd like this one. A small book with simple projects, each of which can be easily adapted. She shows just enough to make you believe it is all possible. The variety of findings and clear explanations of what each are and what difference they make to the piece are well worth reading.

8/10 Possibly not for someone who wants lots of reference material, but great for reminding an old lag about the possibilities and introducing me to new findings. I'd recommend this to anyone who loves buttons.

I spent an hour in Waterstones yesterday and decided to have a look at some of their books. Couldn't find the ones I was looking for (machine applique) but did find some interesting handmade/craft ones, one in particular caught my eye. So much so I brought it home with me.

Lovely things to make for girls of slender means Halfway through an almond croissant and I opened this one! OK, by the time I got to the last part (Winter) I was a little less enamoured, but the sheer enthusiasm of the woman is catching! There are few full patterns, then again she does tell you how to make them yourself and she gives suggestions for the very few you might want to buy! This book includes dresses, skirts, bags, necklaces, hats, repairs, headbands and a whole heap of other things that just make you go "Oooh!" I brought it home and spent a couple of hours matching projects to materials.

9/10 A bit more detail would have been good. Though I doubt the book would be as small and beautiful if she had added more! A definite must if you are new to making do or are, like me, a rusty returner.

Now..... how do I fit everything into a working day?? Problems, problems :)

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Scarf to Bag

Scarf (preferably lined)
Ball of string
Cottons: matching + contrasting
Sewing machine
Makes 2 - 3

1. Cut off one end of the scarf, to the depth required for the bag plus c.8cm for flaps.
2. Fold depth required plus 3cm.
3. Iron the 3cm extra down as inside flap (this shows the lining when opened but is hidden by outside flap when closed).
4. Iron top flap down.
5. Sew up each side of the bag, right way out, with matching cotton. Body of bag only, not the top flap.

1. Take 3 lengths of string, as long as you want the handle to be. I used the matching cotton.
2. Select zig zag stitch that is wide enough to pass over the width of one piece of string. I found that the button hole feature on my machine worked perfectly. Place one piece of string under the foot and sew. You will need to guide the string and it is possible to pull back a bit of you miss a bit!
3. Repeat for the other two pieces of string.
4. Change to a contrasting colour thread and select a wider zig zag stitch, I used an overhem stitch because it looked more random on the finished handle.
4. Sew the handle into the body of the bag. I chose to sew through both sides of the bag as I wanted to be sure it didn't pull the material. I put in 3 rows of matching stiches and then X'd it too!

I will need to re-think the placement of the handles and whether it needs a proper closure. The string ends up quite stiff. I may use ribbons and other odds and ends next time: sew over and twist as you go!

Jumper to Scarflet

OK, I will admit that I sewed the button holes in the wrong place, so I had to turn the scarflet round and add a third button to make it sit nicely on the neck. But I quite like it.

I felted a couple of jumpers I bought at the car boot sale. I had intended to make a matching set of a pair of wrist warmers, a hat and a scarflet from one jumper, possibly with a small bag/purse if I had enough of the neck left.

Sadly I got carried away and used the sleeve ends in the scarflet! Never mind. I'll get it right next time!

This one is 4" x 21". It is quite narrow. I might increase the size next time, 4.5" x 21" perhaps. I want it to sit inside the collar of a coat or under a jumper and just poke out keeping the neck warm. Yet more thinking, measuring and placing of patterns to make sure I get the most of a single jumper!

A Car Boot sort of day

Well, I know it will sound daft but I've only ever been to a couple of car boot sales before and never very early! I read about the Hempstead sale and emailed the markets officer asking if it would be OK to sell home crafted goods and she said yes - so this morning I went and had a look!

At 6.30 am I got into the car and drove off. It was a lovely morning and I had the top down, sunnies on and I was singing along to the summer car tape - all 80s, Bangles and similar sunny stuff.

When I got there it was a bit quiet, there are 2 other big do's on this weekend. So I had a slow wander and chatted to a couple of people. I was struck by the rudeness of a couple of blokes who were wandering round. Whenever they got to someone who was obviously having an attic clear out they said, very loudly "and that's crap"... odd I thought!

By 7.00 I was eating the nastiest bacon roll I have ever had, the coffee was OK though!

More people had arrived and I was transfixed watching the newly arrived stall holders getting mobbed. I am not going to cope with that very well!

I decided to follow the mob rather than join in. I said 'good morning' to everyone and commiserated on their mobbing. Every one of them helped me rummage through their stall for 100% wool things and one lady handed me a bowl of beads and bangles that I wasn't really looking for. She thought I could use them for decoration and sold the lot to me for a pound!

So I bought 6 woolly jumpers, a bowl of beads and bangles and a tray of seed pots (don't ask). I shall take photo's of what happened next.

When enough has happened I shall go and sell some. But I think I will need to think long and hard about how to manage being mobbed!

Bless the nice people....

... who take time to write the books that we then critique cos we could have done sooooooooooooooooo much better :)

I am such a chicken when it comes to trusting my own brain. I never used to be. But these days I seem to need to see what someone else has done before I start. So I grabbed some books that looked interesting. They turned out to be a bit of a mixed bag, here are the first two:

Upcycled Accessories: 25 projects using Repurposed Plastic
Well, it looks nice and starts with some handy tips on how to add prettiness to fused plastic - appliqueing more plastic, crayon shavings, permanent marker, tulle, collage of more plastic, plastic confetti, paint pens, acrylic paint, stamps and striping. All REALLY obvious but reassuring to read.

Then the projects!! Well, except for the use of striping (sewing together the offcuts of fused bags of different colours) and the little journal, it is all a bit disappointing. I hope my stuff looks better! The worst offender has to be the pinny made of fused plastic! Not in my kitchen or anywhere near the BBQ! No, perhaps the worst is the shower cap, or the slippers! No, the bucket hat.... oh I give in.

3/5 and only because of the first few pages and the fact that it was only a couple of quid!

Rubbish: Reuse your Refuse
Yes, very American! Apparently I may be a Refashionista!!!!

I may repurpose this book immediately. To be fair there are a couple of nice ideas, but the intro is too simplistic! Who knew you could find useful junk at jumble sales?

I loved the transistor earrings and the credit card cuff though. All those coffee shop loyalty cards will now have a new lease of life! And the small bag made out of a turtle neck jumper and a scarf was nice - very doable!

Sadly too much of this book relies on new material to complete the projects and a lot of the products are purely decorative - and I use that term very loosely!

2/5 as it wasn't as recycled as it should have been and the upcycling was limited - I don't think decorations count!

Still I have a couple of good ideas from these two and two more to read through!

My first make

So, I spent weeks looking at other people's work. Just what can you do with old plastic bags?

The answer seems to be "Just about anything you want to Stef!"

So I grabbed a bag, a button, a bit of material, a safety pin, some wire and a needle and cotton. The wire, a sample from a specialist supplier was the only new thing used, oh, and the thread!

I fused my first bag, not too hard, didn't smell much either. I cut some petally shapes and sewed the wire round the edges then sewed the button on. That was my first mistake!

I should have sewn the safety pin to the scrap material then sewed both it and the button on. It would still have covered the centre and wire ends back and front, but would have been much easier and looked neater! Hey ho! Next time!

It took 2 hours and is poorly stitched and a bit too messy, that and it is black and a bit too big for a brooch! I may use it as a bag charm and see what comments I get!

I think I will continue with jewellery and bag charms, they are quick and easy to make with ust a little bit of plastic. But I don't want to stick with that - I have other ideas that I want to explore!