Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Being Creative

I've been really excited again by the challenge of Home, May's Being Creative subject . Just the idea got my brain pinging in many directions, so I tried to simplify and  incorporate some of my ideas into my project.
I began with 2 iconic images, one near my current home location - Selfridges in Birmingham and one from my childhood - Roseberry Topping, in the North East of England
(There are many  more images of each if you google them!)
Ideally to satisfy my chronological conventiality  Roseberry Topping should be on the left and  Selfridges on the right  - but visually they looked better the other way round - so the timeline reads from right to left.

I  filled each outline with materials associated  with those periods in my home life.

The childhood one has wallpaper from my bedroom that was used to back my English book. This was taught by my favourite ever teacher Miss Riding. The strawberry paper covers my homework book from first year at secondary school. There's pink flowery material from a dress my mum made me and the shiny peach I wore as a bridesmaid when I was three.My secondary school tie is there along with a Boro scarf...my home team. The blue represents the sea which was never far away, and I made the mouse as part of my collection of over 100 mice many from craft shops all over the country!  I recently found some decorative ribbon that took me straight back to childhood  - its brighter than the one I remember which was pastel clolours but I just had to include it as it evoked such a strong memory.

The left side panel is bordered by a roll of pink wallpaper we had in our lounge until recently, there's curtain material from our son's bedroom, fabric from our old well loved settee, a slub of silk from the dress of the bridesmaid at my wedding, and a circle of our son's school tie and trousers. The shiny circular celurian (well blue) material reminds me of all the local gloriously colourful Asian material and dress shops...and Selfridges.
A circular lego brick, a twirl of bright yarn and my wedding and engagement rings complete the scene.

Along the bottom from right to left are the shapes (from above) of all the houses I have lived in, with their numbers. (One is missing as it has been flattened!)

Each is made from a piece of paper associated with someone from the time I lived there! I am pleased to say that I am still in contact with someone from each of those locations, in addition to my family!

I have thouroughly enjoyed planning and making this 'home' collage, which has now all been put safely away again.
It contained some significant images but left out so many more, particularly from my 'middle' years - though I can link to them by association - maybe the beginnings of another creation!?!

I'm  really looking forward to seeing other creators interpretations of  home too!

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Vintage Memories!

I'm having a nostalgic week ....with the being creative project about home, and the contents of my wind swept washing line !

As my genuine mid 70s duvet cover was fluttering in the breeze, between being buffeted by the stormy gusts
I spied this label:

Its ages since I'd heard anyone mention Terylene and how fantastic to have ICI alongside it! I have many many great memories of the ICI factories of the North East of England- or One-Kuh-One as  they were known in our house. 
I LOVE the industrial heritage I grew up with, British Steel and ICI being just two names that have disappeared from the landscape....
It prompted me to get some of the other well loved and well worn wonderful seventies paraphernalia out of the airing cupboard....
I am using the groovy circle patterned towel to mop up during my brief wet felting episodes..
and in my being creative post there will be some of the wallpaper that sat alongside these 2 floral duvet covers........

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Random Pavement Jigsaws!

There's a lot of road and pavement work going on around us at the moment....plenty of dust, dirt, noise, potholes, confusion and commotion!

However these (incomplete) patchwork pavement jigsaws have given us some amusement!

We are still searching for the missing piece of this one.....

How are you feeling today? Ok I hope!!


Monday, 23 May 2011

What a surprise!!

I recently recieved a shiny purple package from Sarah at The Gingerbread Bunny.

I was really excited to have won her recent giveaway...and here it is:

...a beautiful hand made red journal  pouch

with an amazing elephant button detail!

I found Sarah's blog through the Being Creative dessert post..
she creates handmade items, cards and partcipates in art journaling too.

I keep my ideas sketch book and my pink book underneath the settee where I sit, so I can (lazily or) handily access them at anytime - otherwise I would not get round to jotting in them.
As they are so well used they are beginning to get a bit furled round the corners when they slide between the settee and the floor...not any more though, secure in their new pouch!
Thank you to Sarah for your generous and very useful giveaway.

I have been working on  May's Being Creative project on the subject of Home ...the ideas have been on paper for a couple of weeks and today I got them onto the floor!!

It includes some of this but its well hidden......!
All will be revealed later in the month!

Saturday, 21 May 2011

First Felting 2.... and 2 BIG Thank yous!

When I first expressed an interest in needlefelting I was really lucky to be shown how to do it  by Sarah Hazell. Sarah is a really creative and multi-talented wonder with wool! Not only did she give encouragement but she gave me a bundle of fluff and short ends of yarns to play with. This gave me the opportunity to experiment and work out what else I would like to try.

...an early autumn leaf...
Sarah leads varied workshops around the country including some  successful crochet sessions at Fibre and Clay, attended by  Tracey, a friend of mine...small world!
Tracey is another woolly wonder...knitting and crocheting are amongst her many talents.
She often sends me squidgy parcels of her colourful, soft and woolly short ends:

I have used some on in my mug cosies, and the case for my cup cake...
I have some more ideas up my sleeve for some of  those lovely colours and textures.

I would like to say one BIG thank you to Sarah for starting me off  
(perhaps Tracey you could pass it on when you next see her!)
and my second BIG thank you to Tracey for keeping me going...
As Tracey has commented twice now about her interest in having a stab at needlefelting herself ....
there's a parcel of fluff in the post! x

Thursday, 19 May 2011

First Felting 1 ...and one BIG Thank you!

This is the first of two posts about my early forays into felting!  I have been meaning to share some of my early pieces...most of which were 2d....and now seems to be a good time...as the second post will reveal!

Lots of my early creations were made by needlefelting multicoloured yarn onto felt, like the pinky flowers (Debbie Bliss SoHo yarn); snails (Sirdar Bigga); and the Christmas tree (onto sparkly felt). The top white flower was a silkier top. The bright pink and reddy blooms were free felted not backed onto commercial felt. There's a lot of  silk and pinky purply throwsters waste around too.
Wensleydale curls adorn the robins!

This commercially produced mat is quite thick and was fairly tricky to felt onto, but has been well used! There's a combination of yarns, tops and silks. This is placemat sized and I did a pink table runner sized one which has been used as a wall hanging.
This mat sits on a beautiful 60s ercol coffee table which recently had 2 full steaming cups of coffee splashed over it. Much to the spiller's surprise the table was virtually unharmed as the mat had soaked up the hot liquid. After a quick cold rinse the mat was as good as new!
Its been good to look back at early pieces, to be reminded of where I started and how some of my techniques have developed.
I no longer have any of these items as they have all been given away, so I must say a HUGE Thank you to my mum who valued my my initial creations and had the foresight to photograph them (and know where to find the photo a few years later) .
........to be continued......

Monday, 16 May 2011


Two of the blackbirds have begun their journey to new homes as presents. I had been pondering how they would travel as their beaks were too prominent for padded envelopes! I had a quick scout around for commercial products to no avail...... but remembered the packaging for these amazing soaps from the little bird soap company:

They smelled absolutely fantastic...but as they were a present they only briefly perfumed our dwelling!

This is how they arrived - unwrapping in reverse order!!

This box was cleverly made from a larger one... it got me thinking and rifling through our recycling box...

What better way for a bird to travel than in (half) an egg box ?!

Having wound a protective ring of tissue paper round the beak the blackbirds were wrapped in more tissue paper, the ring keeping the outer wrapping away from the beak.

So that the top didn't get squashed I added a card topping:

....and a birthday card topping on this one:

I hope they arrive safely!...I enjoyed recycling...and will do it more often...its good to hoard (a little)!

On the subject of  how things are packaged... I received a lovely letter on beautifully thick  handmade paper the other day...it smelled amazing and inside was this tiny perfumed leaf:

...I'm not sure what it is, but it is still fragrancing my mail!
Brilliant idea....thanks L x

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Name that Chick!

I'm pleased to report that all the Easter chicks now have names and 2 are happily settled  in their new homes.....

You already know Charlie the chirpy cheerful chick:

Now I'd like to re-introduce you to Chico:

...and  Chickamondo!

 Along with Charlie,  Mo-Chikan has stayed here with us.

...so called because of his Teeswater mohawk!

Hope you have had a chirpy weekend!
Ali x

Wednesday, 11 May 2011


Here are some of the black puddings..fully fledged! 

Each one is so different, though not necessarily by design, as I don't set out to make each one dissimilar to the one before...its amazing that just by a few prods of a needle a whole unique individual is created.

 There's always one that looks a bit worried.....

..a quiet one?
still worried indoors!!
Its not often you see 3 blackbirds hanging around!!
I just need to work out how they will travel to their destinations...their beaks are a bit prominent for the post!
Hope you are able to catch some beautiful birdsong while you are outside...

Monday, 9 May 2011


I have found recently that I am always admiring colours and shapes around me, all the trees, flowers and bushes are bursting into life. The bubbling clouds here today have given a rather magnificent display of many colours, sizes and shapes!
When ordering fibre or purchasing yarn I am drawn to bright colours..I love gazing at (and fondling!) all my  vibrant fluffy stuff! However when it comes down to making things, apart from spring flowers and a few other things, bright colours don't always fit the bill. I have been struck by the natural tones and hues around me and browsing blogs with creations inspired by nature, like this post from The Fuzzy Feeling.
So when purchasing some needles from Saras Texture Crafts I threw in a mixed fibre bag of natural colours. I was thrown into a quandry with the lagre squodge of black fibre, but when I felt the coarseness and curlyness I knew I had to have a stab! 
The weather has been so warm and our windows have been thrown open daily so there's always the sound of birdsong around and about - I love catching the tune of a good chirpy melody! We have robins and blue tits nesting and there's a local blackbird or 2 that can all be heard above the magpies and pigeons.
So I grabbed a handful of my black fluff and made these!

which were immediately named as black puddings by other family members!
I often work in stages so this is the first one and hopefully in a few days they will be fully fledged!
In the meantime I will leave you with a robin from about 18 months ago with his wensleydale curly red breast....(although I think I may have developed some of my techniques since then!)

Friday, 6 May 2011

Under felt!

Last years chick...based on a very early RW Jnr design
The last few weeks have been busy, 
school holidays, birthdays, bank holidays, RW Jnr poorly days, Easter.....

 .... so we have been completely out of our routine...which has been great...lie ins, family days out, in, watching dvds, reading, gardening....

The flowers everywhere are in amazing bloom - there seems to be so much  more colour, volume and green growth this year...its fantastic! 

I have missed my wonderful and completely necessary relaxing coffee breaks with my friend, 
and there's been something else missing.......                                  
                         ....the time, space and energy to make things! 
I was going to say create...but my mind has been whizzing with ideas some of which have made it onto paper in my sketchbook, so I have been creative and have completed a couple of projects that I am really pleased with.

I have been able to browse and comment on lots of lovely fellow bloggers posts...but have not made much to put on my own. 

I would like to show you something though....

This is fantastic stuff! 
Jamie Lewis stuffs his amazing animals with some of his felt waste but mentioned that off cuts from wool mattresses could be used to stuff my felted balls. I spent a while searching the net and eventually came across this......
I have cut it and used it to stuff my chicks......

....and it is amazing to felt onto, both the cupcake and nordic knitwear design had this as a base. 
I flatten the fluff a little with my clover felting tool then put a thin base colour on top and needle felt away with my single needles. It offers  much less resistance than  'felt squares'  and until I produce my own wet felted sheets or pre-felt its great to use.

So thats what's going on underneath my needle felt....
and whats going on underneath my creative streak? Well, what I have learned over the last few weeks is that I really have missed my making time, I have had a period of under felt production...which I am hoping will be short lived, and normal service will be resumed as soon as possible!
Watch this space!