Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Eye See You (and other puns upon a pair of glass eyes)

Another purchase from the great Paris Market - Puces de Vanves, is this pair of tiny glass eyes. The stallholder had a basket full of pairs and I knew I had to have some. I would have bought more if I had the money. I had no idea (eyedea) then, and I don't now, what I am going to do with them.

I think every now and the I will get them out and look at them and maybe position them in a humorous way on objects.

You can see how small they are in this photo

I suppose that they are doll eyes.

But I love them.

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Stamping My Mark

During our Summer holidays we spent 5 glorious days in Paris.  On Sunday morning we walked from our hotel to a flea market - Le Marche aux Puces de la Porte de Vanves. Puces means flea, and the Porte de Vanves is the place where it is held every Sunday and Thursday morning.

It was pouring with rain. But we didn't let that stop us. I had so much fun rummaging at all the stuff on the stalls. My french is not very good but I had taken the trouble to learn, or remembered from my far off school days, the french for 'how much', 'thank you' etc. the common decencies of good manners.  Wryly I observed some other foreigners who did not bother to say anything other than 'how much' loudly and shrilly.  I digress.

This particular market is great for smaller things. It did have a few bits of furniture but not much. Maybe they have more on Thursdays, or maybe they read the forecast and didn't want to risk the damage to their goods.   This is the sort of flea market that I wish flea markets in England were, and alas are not any more (well, not in my part of the woods).  There were all sorts of things ancient and modern. I didn't pay more than 10 euros for anything (but there were more expensive things).  And I didn't haggle. 

The pieces I bought included two stamps.

Two stamps
 The large one, on the right, is a stamp used in bookbinding for stamping the letters on the spine of the book, so the vendor informed me. He had lots on his stall so I chose the letter B as it is the initial of my surname. He was a lovely man and told me his name was Bernard. (I cynically wonder if he changes his name to match the letter stamp each customer buys).

Bookbinding stamp

For sealing wax

This stamp I found on another stall. It was the only one there and would you believe it, the letters A B are the initials of my name!  It wasn't until I went to use it and found some of the letters clogged up with something that turned out to be red wax that I realised it is a sealing wax stamp. 

But both stamps work fine with ink.

The AB (sealing wax stamp) has a slight problem with the bottom of the B but if I smooth the paper onto the stamp it is fine. The B bookbinding stamp is rather lovely.

I love the handles of both too. The wood handles are lovely and tactile to hold.

I bought another couple of things at the flea market which I will show you another time.

Friday, 19 June 2015

A House for a Flower Fairy - Hillarys Craft Competition 2015

As you know I love a challenge and this one was no different.  This is my entry for the Hillarys Craft Competition 2015 - you can see the details of the competition here.

I chose the lovely Rayna Apple fabric and then had a good think. I had an initial idea, based on the pattern of the fabric) but then thought of other things.  Time passed. I was going to make a bag but then I went back to my first thought which was to make a useful storage box which also doubles as a play cottage for a child (or adult).  The Flower Cottage was about to be built, or sewn in this case.

Here is what I used

You can see my sketch in the top right.  That is plastic canvas you can see. If you do not have any you could use some other hard thing such as other plastic or even cardboard (but you will not be able to wash it).  I also used my trusty sewing machine and embroidery thread for the hand sewing.

I have to be honest  - I knew what I wanted and thought I knew how to do it but I did have a few false starts along the way. But ,hey, great learning experience.

The box is made up of 5 pieces, 2 for the end doors, 2 for the walls, one for the floor. And the roof is made of of 2 pieces joined together. You will need two pieces of fabric for each piece. I sewed the pieces together first, the plastic canvas went in each 'pocket' , then I sewed all these together into the floor piece.  The roof I did cut up four pieces of fabric but it would have been easier to do two pieces to make one large rectangle and then just sew down the middle to create the two pockets for the plastic canvas.

I cut out the petals from the fabric to use as roof tiles and then hand sewed them using blanket stitch. 

Loops and buttons hold it in the box shape. 

On the walls I did some embroidery, and used some charms. Here is the sewing table and above on the wall, a bookshelf.

The Welcome mat to greet visitors to Flower Cottage.

A chair with nice pink cushion for when the fairy is tired.

When the box is laid out it becomes a play mat, the roof could be the garden. 

And of course you could always use it as a handy storage box.

You can use this idea for any type of play set which also doubles as a storage box to keep the pieces (as long as they are not too small) safe.  You could also make it into a sewing box with the walls being handy pincushions and scissor compartments.
It was good fun to do. I am rather happy with The Flower Cottage.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

A Country Paper Flower Bouquet - Tutorial

I am fortunate indeed to be one of only three bloggers to participate in the Country Baskets Paper Bouquet competition. Lucky, lucky me got to shop in their online shop and choose some supplies to make into a paper bouquet.

A handmade bouquet is a wonderful idea as it can be customised to include favourite colours and flowers. I wanted a simple and fresh colour scheme of lilac, white gold and green.

This one is tissue paper and brown paper roses, and white (I think of them as daisies but they are not really) card flowers.  This rose is very simple to do and perfect for children to make too. But please be careful with the glue gun and if children are making them then craft glue would be a safer idea. It would be a great idea for a meet up with the family beforehand, bride and sisters and nieces (and groom, and brothers and nephews if they wish) all sitting round the table munching on cakes and making the roses for the bouquets and button holes.  You have to have cake.

I am going to show you several things today:
the basic rose on a stem
the rose to which you later add the stem
the white non-daisies
the jar decoration
and making it into a bouquet
The basic rose on a stem using tissue paper. I have used two sheets together and you can mix the colours up as well. This is plain tissue paper but you can also get some lovely patterned paper. I have also used green florists wire but you can use any wire and children could use pipe cleaners.

Cut a square of tissue paper and then cut the corners off so it is more of a circular shape. Starting from one corner cut a spiral into the middle. Play around with the widths and you will get different looking flowers, it is fun to play.

Bend the top of the wire into a loop which will give the glue more of a purchase. Glue to the very start of the spiral.
Then start to roll, glueing every now and again.
Using a handy tool such as this lolly stick saves your fingers from the hot glue (and is a great excuse to eat more ice lollies).

Roll and squeeze, try to keep the bottom in alignment.

You can pinch the bottom and this will open out the petals at the top.

At the bottom just glue the circle in the middle of the spiral and it will become another petal.

Finally to cover up the bottom wobbles, glue a piece of green tissue paper to the bottom of the flower and top of the wire.
You can carry on and cover the whole of the stalk if you want. Just glue, wind the length of tissue paper and squeeze as you go.

And if you want you can add a leaf. Tear a leaf shaped piece of tissue paper and wind one end round the wire, cover up with the length of tissue paper that you have been winding round the wire. 

The Brown Paper Rose is very much the same technique except we are going to add the stalk later. This means that you can use this flower in other crafts, without the wire, such as on cards, or you could add them to a hair band. I like Brown Paper, of course you can colour it but I found it picked up the ribbon and looked gold.
Instead of starting with the wire in the middle, just put a dot of glue at the start of the spiral and then start to wind.

You can make this a lot looser, just a dot of glue every now and again.

At the end I put a good amount of glue on the middle circle of the spiral and then stick it upwards which made it the base of the flower.

If you want to add a wire then you can stick one on with glue and a piece of brown paper over the top.
The middle flower is made in this way, and the two on the outside have the wire in the middle.

The White Non Daisies
Actually these were so easy as I just got the flower shapes from Country Baskets. They are supplied in a pack of three different sizes. Of course you can colour them but I like the white.

 I just glued three together, one on top of the other.

 Then I added the wire to the back. I used brown paper first because it is stronger than the tissue paper, and will hold the wire better.

 Then all you have to do is lift up some of the petals to make the flower more 3D.

If you want you can add decoration such as this gold nail polish dotted into the middle.

So here is the finished flowers. For an extra country touch I used a few Dried Tarwe (wheat).

They make a lovely display like this. The vase is a pasta jar that I have upcycled into a nice vase.
Decorate Jar
It is very simple. You can use any twine or yarn but this one is Green Oasis Bindwire and it has a wire in the middle so it bends nicely.

Glue every now and again and then just wind the yarn on. The middle bit needs less glue as it is just straight but I needed more on the curved bits.
Ta da!

So the last thing to show you is the final completed bouquet fit for a bride or a bridesmaid.

Arrange the flowers to your satisfaction. Cut the stalks so that they are the same length.

I used the bindwire, that I used to decorate the jar, twisting it down the stems of the flowers to hold them together.

It looks rather nice at this stage but for an extra special touch I wanted a ribbon. This is Gold Organza Ribbon. All I did was bring the ribbon round to the front, let it meet, twist then take it back again, twist at the back and then bring it back to the front, all the way down. Then a bow at the bottom.

One finished paper flower bouquet.

To make the bouquet I used:
Papercraft Card Shapes Daisy (Oh it is a daisy!)
Brown Paper 
Tissue Paper - Dark Green, Lilac and White
A Craft Glue Gun
Dried Tarwe
Green Wire
Oasis Bindwire in Green
Gold Organza Ribbon