Monday, 8 April 2013

Elephant Sunrise Workshop at Tatty Devine

This past Saturday, C and I were lucky enough to get tickets for Tatty Devine's second Elephant Sunrise Workshop at their Brick Lane studio. Tatty Devine produce the most incredible, unique jewellery and we have been fans of their work for many years, adoring each new season's pieces and building our collections. We had been desperate to be part of one of their workshops since they began last year, but none had been convenient for us until now. This workshop, being within the Easter break, meant that both C and I were in the same place and therefore able to go to the workshop together. 
We were so excited to make our Elephant Sunrise Necklaces as the weather is finally getting nicer and summer now doesn't seem as far off. It was a lovely sunny day in Brick Lane, when we got to the studio, which definitely helped our crafty moods! 

With just a small group of people, we had fantastic tuition from the lovely ladies at Tatty, Emily, Charlotte and Flo, who expertly guided us through all the processes, from gluing crystal eyes onto our golden elephants to masterfully manipulating jump rings and chains. We had loads of colours to choose from, including tangerello (one of the SS/13 bonus palette), which C made use of on her necklace.  We had so much fun choosing colours and designing our necklaces, I made a sunrise-style necklace in yellows and oranges, and C made a sunset-style necklace with purples and pinks. It was amazing how different everyone's necklaces were, given that we had the same instructions and same acrylic shapes. 


We loved learning new skills and had so much fun creating our masterpieces in Tatty Devine style! 

C's awesome necklace!

My 'sunrise'-inspired necklace!

After the workshop we had fun wandering around the studio, looking at the new collection which is amazing! We also enjoyed spending our 10% off (complimentary when you attend a workshop), although it was so difficult to choose between the amazing pieces. 

We had the best time at the workshop and thoroughly recommend taking part in their future workshops which sound just as exciting! Keep an eye on their events page for more information. 

Thank you Tatty Devine!

Thursday, 14 March 2013

An Adventure in Wet Felting!

Our fascination for this fantastic craft started a few years ago when A made a wonderful felt pot at school.  Never having tried wet felting, I was determined to have a go too but it took another of A’s school sessions, that resulted in a wonderful Mother’s Day present of a felted keyring, before I got around to buying the wool tops to ‘have a go’.  Unfortunately my interest that time was short lived as I just couldn’t get the felt to go right and instead of persevering I stupidly gave up.

My interest was revived this Christmas, however, by the gift of the most wonderful ‘Gillian Gladrag Bonbon Batatelle’ necklace kit.  The colours of the wool tops were amazing, the instructions clear and concise and after covering myself and half my kitchen surfaces with soap suds, managed to ‘master the art’ enough to produce a credible reproduction of the beads in the photograph on the packet!  I was very pleased with myself for having produced something that I am proud to wear.

When A came home from Uni for “Reading” week (and I use the quotation marks advisedly!) we decided on a trip up the A24 to Dorking to Gillian Gladrag’s marvellous ‘Fluffatorium’.  Oh my goodness, what a wonderful shop this is, definitely a ‘must’ to visit if you are ever in Dorking.  A and I spent a very happy time wandering through the kaleidoscope of colours, knitting wool, buttons, knitting needles, wool tops, kits, crafting accessories, deciding what to buy.  I bought the brilliant ‘Carnivalof Felting’ book and some wool tops and A invested in another of the felting kits, for herself this time, the ‘Anemone-Ome’ flower brooch kit. (The results of which can be found here)

Back home after a restorative coffee in Dorking’s Costa, A set about making her ‘Anemone’ (one thing about wet felting is that it does smell wonderful!) and I started layering up my wool tops to make ‘Simple Flat Felt’ following the instructions in ‘Carnival of Felting’.  Simple and fun to do, roughly an hour or so later, damp and sudsy with slightly prune-like hands,  I had a credible rectangle of damp, black spotty felt drying naturally on the table.  Success!

Now what to do with it??  The amount of felt I had managed to make was limited by the size of the bamboo mat I had used but it turned out to be about  9” x 11” by the time it had completely done all its shrinking, plenty to make a pencil/make-up/scissors etc case.  Once it had completely dried, I found some pretty lining fabric, bought a black zip and set about transforming my felt into something useable.  Despite the best efforts of my beloved sewing machine (which was having a fitful day), I managed to make the lining and fit the zip (after a fashion) and now have a pencil/make-up/scissors case I can be proud of (just don’t look too closely at the zip fitting!)

Friday, 15 February 2013

The Best Way to Spend Valentine's Day

It's a little late now but we thought we'd report on our Valentine's day, celebrating our greatest love, crafting!

On wednesday we visited Gillian Gladrag's incredible 'Fluff-a-torium' shop in Dorking, and bought ourselves her new book 'Carnival of Felting' and her 'Anemone-Ome' corsage kit which we spent wednesday evening and yesterday morning working on. Felting the corsage was such a therapeutic process, we are completely in love! Gillian Gladrag's kits are beautiful, with such bright colours, and the instructions are so easy to follow that it becomes impossible to drag yourself away! We can't wait to visit the Fluff-a-torium again soon!

After finishing the corsage, I (A) began working on a project I'd wanted to start for a while, an cushion cover made from a tea-towel. Tea-towels are often so pretty and cheaper than metre-fabric if you are making something small like a cushion. Recently C received a Tunnock's 'Teacake tea towel' which was just too beautiful to use for it's primary purpose, so I decided to make it into a cushion. It was so simple to make, just turning over the top and bottom then sewing the sides to make an envelope back which I fixed with two bright red buttons. The teacake design is so classic and retro, I just adore it. Yesterday was definitely the most appropriate day to make it, and I've fallen in love with my valentine's cushion which will stay on display all year round! 

Lastly we were desperate to join in the 'Sheepish Heartbombing Day' hosted by One Sheepish Girl's Meredith, after we missed the last yarnbombing day she hosted last year. We wanted to bring a little love and fun to our little village so were really excited to create our hearts and display them for the public to see. I was a little less brave than C as we quickly hung our creations, photographed them then ran away however it was so much fun! We loved sharing a little bit of love in our community this Valentine's Day! 

Did you do any Valentine's Day crafting this year? 

Friday, 1 February 2013

New Year, New Skill?

 It was a funny thing really…..when ‘A’ disappeared off to Uni to study art and textiles, she obviously took ‘ supplies’ with her, including her sewing machine, fabric, her workbox, knitting needles, crochet hooks, yarn etc and amongst the various bags and boxes of creative materials went MY embroidery threads…..without even a backwards glance…..her need for them was greater than mine…..never in a million years did I think I would MISS them!  I had had them for years, toying with them for finer gauge tapestries on occasion and a couple of projects that required a little embroidery thread for a small detail.  However, once that little package of colour disappeared into the depths of Somerset, a funny thing happened -  I had a yearning to get them back…..not possible though, ‘A’ had far more use for them than I ever had, and was having much more success with them.

Up until this New Year, the extent of my ‘embroidery’ was chain stitching my initials onto my Secondary School PE kit in a rather fetching red when I was 11 years old.  Not the most successful attempt but it certainly singled out my sports kit from everyone else’s!

However, with the arrival of this New Year, I decided I needed to embrace a new skill… was the time for embroidery…..however, the required threads were not among the car boot full of boxes and bags that came home with A from Uni for the holidays.  There was nothing for it, a New Year’s Day trip to our newly opened (Hurrah!!) Hobbycraft was called for.

Embroidery hoop and shiny package of colour in hand, I headed for home with joy in my heart!  At the earliest opportunity, I stretched some linen in my hoop, threaded my needle and away I went.  I am sorry to say that my first attempt was not earth shattering and I was a little disappointed with my finished piece, it felt a bit meek and constrained but the most important thing I learnt from it was that I had thoroughly enjoyed doing it!  Loved it, in fact.  Couldn’t wait to get started on the next one…..which I did the very next evening, with slightly better success.  I was much bolder in my design, stitching letters freehand in colours much truer to my heart.  I even taught myself French knots – something my mother had lead me to believe were impossible when I was growing up!  I make no apology for including rather a lot in my second piece!

Since then, I have spent every available evening with a needle and gloriously coloured thread in my hand… there such an organisation as Embroiderers Anonymous??  I think I am an addict.

Friday, 25 January 2013

A Notebook Makeover

Recently it has been difficult for the two of us to keep up to date with regular blogging, what with Christmas and the start of a new Uni term, so we have come up with a plan of action in order to post more often with our new and exciting crafts. In order to keep organised we have resorted to keeping little notebooks for jotting down ideas, planning posts and developing ideas for later in the year. I (A) got my notebook from Paperchase for £1.50 and it is the perfect size to keep in my bag for recording those ideas that magically appear when I am on the go. However, after a few weeks of carrying it around with me, I decided that I didn't like the navy blue binding and wanted to make it more personal to me. I had recently invested in some fabric tape from The Makery which was perfect for decorating my notebook.

I cut three strips of the tape (as it was not wide enough to cover all of the blue binding in two strips) and stuck them on. It was so quick and easy and I really love the result!

I look forward to crafting more with tapes as they are such an easy and fun medium! 

Friday, 18 January 2013

Snowed In - An Excuse For Tea and Crochet... Oh and a Granny Stripe Cowl

It's snowing! I (A) am usually a bit of a misery when it comes to snow. It seems to never be enough to close school or work, but enough to make your journey to such places an absolute pain! However, since moving from the south east to the south west, I've noticed that nothing is done by halves here, especially not the weather! Both of Bath's Universities are closed, as are most of the schools and the hills (which are pretty much the whole city) are completely impassable. However, all is not lost! I have been begging for a free day, to sit around, doing crochet and drinking as much tea as possible and I have finally been given one! I have no less than four projects that I want to continue with or begin today and I am so excited.

My view from my flat in Bath

And C's view at home in Sussex

 I have been wanting to share this project with you for a little while now but today seemed like the perfect time to do it. Over Christmas I began to make a granny stripe cowl, inspired by one I'd seen on the wonderful Coco Rose Diaries Blog. I have an obsession with burgundy and navy blue, so it seemed only natural to work my cowl in these colours. It only took me a little while to make, although I did have to work around uni work so it took a little longer than I would have liked. I love the look of granny squares but had never tried a granny stripe. Although it's the same principle, it takes a little while to get your head around the starting two or three rows but after that, it's easy and quick to make. Although tying in the ends is a bit of a chore, the final effect makes up for it.

I really enjoyed making my granny stripe cowl and am definitely making use of it today when I have to brave the snow! 

What are your crafty plans for the snow day? 

Saturday, 12 January 2013

A London Treat!

What started out as an innocent question “A, do you fancy going to the Hollywood Costume exhibition at the V&A at Christmas??” turned into a marathon day of train and tube travelling, exhibition visiting and a tiny bit of cheeky shopping…..but, oh, what a day!

After taking the first possible non-commuter train up to the Big Smoke, we arrived raring to go…..but then A got her ticket stuck in the barriers and managed to sneak through when C put her ticket in and left C on the other side of the barriers trying to explain her ticket-less state to the Ticket Inspector.  Red faces all round but we managed to convince him of our undoubted innocence and away we went, straight into a queue for topping up our Oyster cards (knew we should have done it online before we went!) but managed to inadvertently queue jump when we were asked to form a new queue for a recently opened machine – Yay! 

Finally, we were on the tube hurtling towards Ken High St and straight into another queue at the V&A for the Hollywood Costumes (no tickets had been available online before we went, one of the downsides of having to visit during holiday time)… hour later (and I am quite proud of our ‘staying power’) we were the proud possessors of two tickets for the 1.15pm slot.  Time then to pop into Chelsea for a quick spot of lunch before returning for the 

What an awesome exhibition!  So beautifully put together, even the mannequins were works of art but didn’t detract from the costumes, actually adding to the glamour. All C was bothered about was seeing Judy Garland’s Ruby Slippers from ‘The Wizard of Oz’ and she wasn’t disappointed, the fact that they were displayed next to Marilyn ‘s original white dress from ’Some Like It Hot’ was just a bonus, not to mention getting up close and personal with Daniel Craig’s 007 tux!  We were both amazed at the sheer quantity and quality of the costumes on display, some of them originals from 1930s films, right up to the present day, through every genre of Hollywood movie…definitely hours well spent.

We then caught the tube over to Somerset House for the Valentino CoutureExhibition.  Staggering isn’t the word!  I still maintain it smelled of money!  Dress upon dress was on display in the most amazing and beautiful ‘Catwalk’ arrangement.  Although not to our taste, let’s face it, when would we ever have the opportunity to even gaze upon a Valentino gown let alone wear one? We were blown away by the sheer workmanship and beauty of the dresses as works of art.  We were however, more interested in the display and step-by-step explanation of some of Valentino’s signature textile processes.  An extraordinary exhibition.

We then went on to the totally awesome and absolutely incredible exhibition of Tim Walker’sfashion photography.  Unusual, these days, it was a FREE exhibition and packed full of Walker’s brilliant, sometimes dark, and quirky fashion shoots.  Not only were there rooms full of his photographs but also numerous examples of his props, including a 12ft high skeleton, 10ft tall baby doll, swan boat and two halves of a Spitfire!

After leaving the exhibition and before leaving Somerset House, we watched the ice skaters on the rink outside before visiting the Tatty Devine pop-up shop…..well, it would have been rude not to!  After a couple of well deserved purchases (a Fishbone Necklace for C and a Fox pendant for A) we retreated to the nearest coffee shop for a caffeine shot before wending our way through the commuter traffic for a pizza before catching the train home, exhausted but exceedingly happy with our day…..and our purchases!

Thank you Hollywood, Valentino, Tim Walker and Tatty Devine!

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