Thursday, 23 August 2012

Driftwood Mobile

So I decided that the driftwood from my Crafty Creatives Box 2 would be perfect for making a mobile, here's how I got on.
craftypainter: Crafty Creatives - Driftwood
As well as the driftwood I wanted to incorporate some of the other bits from the box and knew that the boat wheel pendant would make a brilliant central piece, I also used the fish beads and starfish charms as well as lots of the gold glass pearl beads.

craftypainter: Crafty Creatives - #CCbox2 Contents
In addition to the ingredients from the box I added shells from my collection (I always come back from the beach weighed down with pockets full of shells and pebbles) and some turquoise and silver beads from a necklace.
craftypainter: Shells
I used my tiny screw driver for my glasses to 'drill' three holes into each piece of wood and then got stringing.

craftypainter: Crafty Creatives - Driftwood

I had planned to use the paper string from the box too but found that it didn't work so well so as it wasn't quite dainty enough for the delicate pieces that I was hanging so I switched to gold thread instead which was perfect.

craftypainter: Crafty Creatives - Driftwood Mobile

Each set of beads is held in position by threading through the bottom bead a second time so they stay in place but can be adjusted. The beads at the very ends are knotted on with the ends threaded inside.I love the cheeky face on the yellow fish bead!

craftypainter: Crafty Creatives - Driftwood Mobile
I'm so happy with the finished mobile and I love that I was able to incorporate so many elements from the box in to one piece, plus I still have two of the starfish charms left for that bracelet.

craftypainter: Crafty Creatives - Driftwood Mobile
I'll definitely be looking out for driftwood on my next beach trip!! What did you make with yours?

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Crafty Creatives - Box 2

The second Crafty Creatives box arrived on our doormats this week and there was a lot to live up to after the stunning Box 1. The theme of the box was again top secret and as the first few blog posts went up I did my best to stay away from them. While I couldn't wait to find out what was in the box I didn't want to spoil the surprise this time.

The gingham paper was a bit of red herring because inside was a fabulous box filled with all things nautical. I'm so glad I waited for my own box because it was a real treat to discover all the treasures for myself.

The art card had a beautiful lighthouse print by Anthony Peters and on the back the usual contents list;
  • The CC kit - this month a nautical bracelet
  • driftwood - for a crafty challenge
  • 2 coconut shell fish buttons
  • 1 boat wheel pendant
  • 3 large wooden bunting flags
  • 3 porcelain fish beads
  • 10m of coloured paper string
  • large square of hessian
  • small bag of red, white and blue buttons
  • 1 string of glass pearls
  • 3 sheets of nautical paper - taken from a sailors dictionary
  • 5 little starfish pendants
  • 2m of flag ribbon with 3 blank tags
There were so many exciting and unusual things, on the contents card the Crafty Creatives ladies said they wanted to give us a challenge...

craftypainter: Crafty Creatives Box 2 Contents

So hard to choose a favourite but I love the coco shell fish buttons...
craftypainter: Crafty Creatives Box 2 Contents

And the tiny star fish pendants which I think might become a charm bracelet. 
craftypainter: Crafty Creatives Box 2 Contents

The kit this month was brilliant, a rope bracelet with an anchor fastener. I made it straight away so that I could include a picture of the finished article.
craftypainter: Crafty Creatives Box 2 Kit - Rope Bracelet

I found that the rope provided was very generous and I wanted to have a snug fitting bracelet so I trimmed it back before adding the waxed cotton to bind the ends. On the first attempt however, I did make it a little too short and I could only just do it up. So I unwound one of the ends and made a longer loop.

craftypainter: Crafty Creatives Box 2 - Rope Bracelet
I wasn't sure at first if the bracelet was really 'me' but after I tried it on I didn't want to take it off again.

And that's one of the best things about the Crafty Creative box, it opens your eyes to new things that you might not consider trying normally. The driftwood pieces did stump me a little at first but I decided to unwrap them and have a play, I think the three mini pieces that I have will be a great basis for a mobile but if that doesn't work maybe some Christmas decorations.

As for the hessian there are lots of ideas over on the Crafty Creatives blog, I'm thinking maybe some lavender bags with some stitching into the hessian with embroidery thread.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012


Many months ago (January 2011) I signed up to evening classes in upholstery. My first project was a simple drop-in stool bought for a bargain £7 from Emmaus. After only a few weeks it was finished so with half a term left I needed to find another project.

craftypainter: Re-upholstered Stool

After posting on Cambridge Freecycle with a request for a suitable chair for re-upholstery I was offered two Parker Knoll arm chairs. One of my course mates had spent a year re-upholstering one of two wing-backed Parker Knoll arm chairs so I knew they would be a massive undertaking but couldn't resist. At least mine were of a simpler design in that they had no wings or padded arms; although they were in pretty bad shape.

craftypainter: 1960's Parker Knoll Arm Chairs
Somehow I managed to fit both chairs into the back of my little car and once I had them home it was time to start stripping them back. When I first signed up to the course I was under the impression that upholstery just meant re-covering. However, if you intend to do it properly (and these chairs needed it because they were pretty manky) the piece must be stripped back to the frame which is then cleaned and repaired before starting to rebuild.

craftypainter: Parker Knoll Re-upholstery

I soon found out that my two chairs had already been recovered as underneath the rust coloured velvet was another layer of green attached even more firmly. It was a really grotty job because the original stuffing had deteriorated to dust and fluff and the fabric was really dirty underneath from years of use.  A label on the frame told me that the chairs dated from 1964.

With the frames cleaned I made a hessian mattress stuffed with coco fibre and used cotton wadding to fill in the dents. To everything in place calico was stretched over the top and secured.

craftypainter: Parker Knoll Re-upholstery
Skin wadding was added on top to smooth everything over and to stop any of the spiky fibres from making their way through to the outside.  Finally it was time to add the cover fabric.

I signed up for my forth term on the class in January of this year and gave myself a deadline of finishing by the Easter holidays. Somehow I managed it, although the chairs were not technically finished I had got them to a point where I only needed to make the seat cushions which I could do at home on my own.
craftypainter: Parker Knoll Re-upholstery
The cushions took some time as kept putting it off in favour of other crafty tasks, I finished the first one in June and then last weekend I finished off the second one!!

One for us and one for the cat!

When you add up all the course fees, materials and tools, upholstery classes don't come cheap, the course fees alone amounted to around £300. One of benefits of taking so long to finish was that the expense was spread out over more than a year and I also got the cover fabric for a bargain £10/metre from the brilliant Anglia Furnishing Fabrics in Norwich. I couldn't be happier with the results and the course has given me the skills and confidence to try a different project in the future. 

Perhaps a dining chair or two next time...

Monday, 6 August 2012

Popular Crafts Polka Dot Swap

A few weeks ago I signed up to my first craft swap with Popular Crafts.  As a relative newbie to the on-line crafting community this was an exciting concept I had not previously come across.  Every couple of months there is a different theme, you sign up by email and are sent details of your swap partner. You then make something for your partner, relevant to the theme, and send it to them along with a £3 treat.

The theme for June/July was Polka Dot and I was partnered with @bebebunting. I received an email with Barbara's contact details and some info about interests and then went shopping for some polka dotty fabrics in colours that she would like. I made a corsage and a lavender heart and bought a slab of dark chocolate from Hotel Chocolat (after several failed attempts to find some spotty socks).

craftypainter: Popular Crafts Polka Dot Swap

I wrapped everything up in pink polka dot paper and I also found a spotty jiffy bag to package it all up in!

I was delighted with the package that I received which contained some beautiful bunting, two lavender hearts and spotty socks!! Bunting is Barbara's speciality and she has an Ebay shop full of lovely designs, well worth a visit.

craftypainter: Popular Crafts Polka Dot Swap

For the August/September swap the theme is Strawberries and you can sign up until the 6th of September via the Popular Crafts website.

Happy swapping!

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