What do you get if you cross 38 balls of wool, 14 women, 12 weeks and 1 serious piece of research in a TED talk?
An art piece made of pompoms, featuring Campus Cat.
Over a year ago, I met the lovely Sarah by chance when she bought something from a classified ad I’d placed and we got talking about her crochet flower brooch. We decided, as you do, that what we really should do instead of going for coffee was start a craft club at the day job. And Crafty Coffee was born.
When the university we work at then launched an art competition to celebrate 50 years and our campus spirit, we had a mad idea that became reality – and I went to see it in the gallery last week. It was rather a lovely experience, actually – it’s been a while since I’ve seen my work in a public place, and I believe this is the first time something I’ve collaborated on has been exhibited in an art gallery.
So without further ado, let me present… Pomophily. (Because the design was based on Professor Maria Fasli’s TEDx talk on Homophily. But we made ours from pom poms.)
(not as sad as it used to be, as the Hex is now in use as a gallery. But a quirky and often unnoticed part of the uni, anyway)
The lovely people at Country Baskets sent me a box of craft ingredients and a challenge – make a Christmas decoration using at least four of them. I’m up against other bloggers and they will judge the competition this week. Eeek!
My box contained florist’s wire, satin ribbon, a frosted (faux) mistletoe spray, a wonderful garland of fluffy white pom poms, silver (faux) poinsettia with wired stems, silver bells on a chain, a pack of cream coloured wire balls and a pack of heart shaped baubles.
I had a wonderful time unpacking them and the cats had a wonderful time exploring the box and the packaging. (Thank you for the unexpected bonus gift of a cat-sized box, Country Baskets!)
But what to make?
Due to the EU VAT fiasco that is still raging, I haven’t had a lot of time for crafting, and I wasn’t sure what would best fit the challenge in the tiny pockets of time I had available. Then I remembered that a few years back I used some similar wire, plus tinsel and baubles to make an evergreen wreath. Those pom poms were crying out to be hung on my front door, so I set to work.
It is nearly impossible to craft when you have inquisitive cats who are firmly convinced they’re helping…
But eventually I had a finished wreath – and I’m chuffed with the mistletoe in the middle, as real mistletoe is poisonous to cats so I won’t have it in the house. Here it is:
And here it is adorning my front door, just in time for Christmas brunches and drinks!
*Courtesy of Country Baskets – I wasn’t paid for this post but I did receive a free box of products to use in my decoration.
Yep, my first! Though I made and sold jewellery for a few years, I’d never actually taken a formal class – or even an informal class. I was totally self-taught from the internet, books and occasionally squeaking at lovely fellow makers who would show me how to get past anything I was having a wobble with.
So I was delighted when my friend Emma suggested we go to a beginners’ jewellery class at Deborah Beads in Fingringhoe, just up the road from me.
After coaxing the kittens in from outside a little earlier than normal, we set off up the winding countryside roads to where Debbie’s shop is. It was dark by the time we got there so I didn’t get any pics of the outside, but oh, indoors was like being let loose in a sweet shop!
LOOK AT ALL THE SHINY BEADS…
There were just four of us plus our teacher Diane, which made for a really friendly, relaxed evening where we could all ask questions and get individual help when we needed it.
I found that I knew some of the techniques but not others, and it was actually lovely to sit and create and know I didn’t have to get it listed in my Etsy shop the following day, as so often when I’ve been making jewellery before. (Not that I hated it – just it was good to be away from the pressure).
And much to our surprise, we came away with five different pieces of jewellery… two necklaces, two bracelets and a pair of earrings.
I was so inspired that I proceeded to get my own long-neglected beading supplies (I’ve always been more of a stamper) out of the drawer they live in and sort them out while on Skype to Anna on Monday (that doesn’t count as multi-tasking – our Skypes are always so epic that both of us do useful stuff while we’re chatting), and then found myself inspired to create two more bracelets and a rather experimental necklace. Which I actually think turned out to be the best of the bunch!
Certainly some of my favourite pieces I’ve ever made for myself.
We’re looking forward to going back for the next level workshop – cluster jewellery. And I’m delighted I’ve rediscovered my jewellery mojo – and this time, I’m not feeling any urge to turn it into a business!
January 6th saw the very first of our annual craft swaps (though I’m not sure we can wait a whole year for the next one) – organised by Mimi, the idea was that all nine of us would make enough of whatever we chose for each participant to go home with one. It ended up in January by accident, but we think we’ll keep it there as it’s so lovely to have something to look forward to after Christmas!
The edible things were long gone before I had a chance to photograph them, teehee – wonderful alcohol-infused vegan chocs from Annastasia at Midorigreen, and yummy chocolate fridge cake from Helen. The button magnets (genius!!) from Mimi also escaped my photo shoot as they’re adorning my filing cabinet/noticeboard in the studio!
My contribution? Kilner jars decoupaged with pin up ladies (Elvgren paintings, as he’s my favourite pin up artist) and filled with cutters, a tiny pot of ginger, my favourite gingerbread recipe and glitter. Of course 🙂
It was a wonderful afternoon, full of tea and giggles and happiness, and we all went home sparkling with the joy of friendship and sharing things we’d made… a rare achievement for a grey day in January, I don’t usually sparkle much straight after Christmas!
I loved seeing how everyone interpreted “make something” differently – we had no duplicates, and I was amazed all over again at the talent within this group of women I’m so proud to be part of!
I can’t for the life of me find the PDF of the gingerbread recipe – will put it up if I locate it!
Welcome to the sixteenth stop on the Make and Craft Magazine Blog Tour Bus! In conjunction with Make and Craft Magazine & Search Press, I have a copy of the fabulous Super Pops by Tamsin Aston with Judith Fertig to give away!
Super Pops, by Tasmin Aston with Judith Fertig, ISBN 9781844488384, published by Search Press, £12.99.
Books? Yes please – what’s this one like inside?
It’s just as much fun as it looks, and shows you what you need, what you can create and how to create cake pops. Which have been on my must-try list for absolutely ages! Search Press says “this book will make it easy for anyone to try out a range of indulgences that are sure to impress at parties, events, or as presents” and having looked through, I’d have to agree!
My personal favourite projects were, predictably, the ducks (well, this blog is called Ducking Fabulous after all),
and the fabulously burlesque masks!
I have been in the process of escaping the City (quitting my day job in London for one much closer to home) and rehearsing for my first ever burlesque performance in the past week and a half, so haven’t had a chance to make any of the pops in the book, but it has very clear and precise instructions, which look easy to follow and effective.
To be in with a chance of winning a copy, register as a member on Make and Craft’s website (it’s very quick and it’s free!) and then pop back here and leave a comment on this post, including your Twitter username if you have one (and your email address anyway). I will draw the winner on Sunday 14th November and announce the winner here, and contact them directly too. Good luck!
If you don’t win, Make and Craft & Search Press are offering free P&P on this book – call Search Press on 01892 510850 and quote “Make and Craft Blog Tour”.
So – you mentioned a new magazine? Tell me more!
Make and Craft is a brilliant new magazine for the crafting community, which launches TOMORROW! (12th October 2012). All kinds of craft and making are covered so there’s something for everyone, and a kids’ craft club too – with my vast number of cousins, this is extra-fab!
Their website also has a forum and a blog, so you can keep up with the latest news, and chat to other crafters. The forum has a Book Club section, for regular chatting about books. As an ex-librarian who is a craft addict, I suspect this will be the place I haunt the most 🙂
They have a brilliant launch offer running – three issues for £3, or if you go for the digital option (fab for those of you who commute), it’s just £1 for 3 issues! Subscribe here…
Excellent. And what do you do?
Teehee, hello if you’re new to my blog! I’m Carla, I’m 26 and I do… lots of things! I have just quit the City for a job closer to home which is forming the base of my portfolio career. I blog here about craft, life, inspiration, driving and thrifting. I co-own Inkdrops Boxes, the first UK stationery subscription box company, and I’m an ex-librarian with a burlesque habit. Or perhaps, after Saturday, a burlesque dancer with a book habit?
Anyway, it’s lovely to see you and there’s usually a fair bit of crafting within these pages… so dive in, say hello in a comment and let me know where you blog or tweet – I’d love to chat!
Good stuff. So remind me of all the salient details?
Of course! The book is Super Pops, and to win it you need to register at Make and Craft and then come back here and leave a comment on this post 🙂
You can follow Make and Craft via their website, www.makeandcraft.com and on Twitter @MakeAndCraft, and Pinterest (www.pinterest.com/makeandcraft). Search Press, who publish all sorts of fabulous creative books, are at www.searchpress.com.
You can follow me here (www.duckingfabulous.co.uk), on Twitter @duckingfabulous and on Pinterest www.pinterest.com/duckingfabulous. You can also find Inkdrops at www.inkdrops.co.uk and @inkdropsbox. Come and say hi!
Make and Craft Issue 1 goes on sale tomorrow – squeeee! And the day after that, the blog baton is taken up by Hannah at Spans Studio – pop over and see her and which book she’s giving away!
Many thanks to Katharine and Freya at Make and Craft for letting me join the blog tour – I’m having a fabulous time seeing everyone else’s posts and catching up in the forum!
So I posted and scheduled this, or at least thought I did, last week. However, it has failed to materialise so I am trying again!
To date, I have done two previous swaps via Popular Crafts magazine (who featured me this week – squeee!) My first was the Union Jack swap, followed by the Polka Dot swap. I signed up for the strawberry one with much excitement and absolutely no clue how busy August and September would turn out to be – oops!
I was partnered this time with lovely Lynsey, who blogs at The Diary of a Novice Crafter and while we are both super-busy and rather stressed out, we have managed the odd email and tweet which is great – I love to meet fellow crafters and stay in touch beyond one project! (I have to say though, she’s not a novice, she’s bloody brilliant!)
Now, I have just about got there with my makes and will sneakily post them here once they are safely with Lynsey, but I couldn’t resist posting photos of what she sent me when they arrived yesterday – terrible lighting as I was out and didn’t get back till really late, but look how gorgeous it all is!!!
Here’s my parcels, prettily wrapped:
And inside, here are all my beautiful bits… hand knitted strawberry gloves (I adore these and will be wearing them to work the moment it turns colder); a beautiful cross stitched card that has pride of place on my mantelpiece; a strawberry lavender bag (destined for my clothes rails – it’s too pretty to go in a drawer!); and strawberry bunting for my bike basket! I squeaked when I saw this – so exciting! Pics of Bluebell suitably adorned asap 🙂
My treats are just as exciting – two dainty little pots of strawberry jam, Body Shop lip balm, which happens to be one of my favourites, and gorgeous strawberry stickers 🙂
Thank you so much Lynsey – I adore it all and it made my weekend! I hope you love all your pressies as well when they eventually wing their way over to you!
Aren’t I lucky? Did any of you take part? Post your links, I’d love to see what you sent and what you received!
I signed up, at the very last minute, to the Popular Crafts Union Jack swap a couple of months ago, and very naughtily, haven’t blogged yet! I was paired with the lovely Virginia of Virginia Creeper, and I must admit that when I first got her details through I just spent quite a lot of time gawping at the beautiful things she makes… 😀
It was my first swap, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but had a fab time making a needle case and cross stitching a Union Jack heart (in pink and baby blue!) for the card to go with my parcel, plus choosing treats. Was very excited when my parcels turned up – here are all my bits, aren’t I lucky?
The sock cat is now proudly sitting on my bed awaiting a name, the scooter cushion on my desk, the corsage on my favourite black velvet jacket and the ribbons and sequin shapes added to my ‘for me’ craft stash 😀 Thank you Virginia!!