Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Sewing with Children

The head teacher from my school is leaving after 30 years as head. He will be very much missed by all the children and staff and as a result we have spent most of the past term getting things ready for his leaving. One of the things that we did was that each year group designed and made a present for him.

I teach Year 6 (10-11 yr olds) and we decided that we would make a quilt for him. For a number of weeks I spent all my Tuesday afternoons teaching 60 children how to sew, embroider and make a quilt square. Each child designed a square with something that they thought was important or special to our head - ideas ranged along the lines of gymnastics, trains, Red Cross, 2012 Olympics, school logos and the school itself.

The children then made a template from card, cut out the shapes they would need from coloured felt and sewed the shapes on. They then used either embroidery or fabric pens to decorate their squares and when I finally had enough I sewed them all together, backed them onto wadding and made a navy blue quilt. It is about the size of a single bed and actually looks really effective. I was so proud of what the kids managed to achieve - especially as some of them have never done any sewing whatsoever before! What really impressed me though was how much they actually enjoyed doing it - even the boys!

Monday, 22 November 2010


Moving is stressful and more than anything else, exhausting. I am absolutely shattered. Which is why I am up at 11pm writing a blog post. Doh!

We've moved in, have been to IKEA, bought shed loads of stuff and have even put all our new flat-pack furniture together. It's taken a week and we are now almost settled in the new place. I absolutely LOVE our flat - huge space spread over two floors, big sash windows etc etc. I would put up a photo... except my camera is still not uploading properly.

We did our first proper entertaining last night - 9 of us had a great roast dinner. I have never cooked for so many before and found the concept of putting 2 chickens in the oven, not having enough space for potatoes and being uncertain of whether we can actually fit the veggies in, quite disconcerting. However it all went off swimmingly, Andy made some awesome stuffing which was very festive and has put us all in the Christmas mood.

In the meantime, I now have a beautiful desk for all my artsy-craftsy projects, the kit is all arranged around and all that is lacking is the time in which to actually do something. My next project is going to be sewing together a quilt as a present for our head teacher - he's leaving at the end of this term and the kids in my year group have been busy little bees making squares for a quilt. It is all a bit unplanned and will probably look terrible when it's finished but I have high hopes. At least the kids are all managing to get the idea of sewing which is a good start. Although if I have to thread one more needle or cast on/off too many more times...

For now though, I think it may be time for bed. zzzzz

Sunday, 7 November 2010


Well it is now November and I haven't put up anything on here for a while... and with good reason.

First of all, it's dark outside and I have overwhelming urges to do absolutely nothing except sit in my dressing-gown and watch rubbish movies.

Secondly I am moving. So all my creative gear has been packed up in preparation for the new place. We go on Saturday and I am quite excited. But slightly concerned at the lack of furniture we possess and the amount of packing there is still to do.

Thirdly, we've been away - spent a week in Bulgaria enjoying the hospitality of Hostel Mostel  ( where we stayed when we were in both Sofia and Veliko Turnovo. Bulgaria was beautiful - we caught the autumn with all the leaves turning shades of gold, orange and red and it was stunning. If my camera were a) not packed  and b) working with my computer I would put up some photos. I have certainly been inspired mosaic-wise.

So, apart from being upset that my camera won't allow me to upload photos onto my computer, things are generally going well. I have a backlog of pictures to put up here and once I am in the new place I will try to sort something out.

There is one sad thing though...the next 2 mosaic courses are both fully booked and I don't know when I will next be able to do one. I haven't finished the last mosaic yet but when I do I'll want to cast it and don't actually know how to yet. So I have a problem. Anyone know where I can do a mosaic course in London on a Saturday?

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Mosaic Artists

I have just realised how narcissistic my blog is. Me, me, me and.... oh, more me. So today I think I need to remedy that a little. 

First of all, I think everyone should be checking out Mosaic Geek's work: 

Shannon Kuchera, the artist behind Mosaic Geek is an amazing person who totally inspired me to go and learn about mosaics and who I aspire to be as good as. Her mosaics are often based on retro video games which I just think is inspired and brilliant and she has recently been making mini-mosaics too. On the basis that I find it hard to cut a fairly big piece of glass into a smaller bit, my admiration is extreme. Check out her site now. And then go straight to Etsy and order one of those cute pacman mosaics or a tetris necklace. 

Other than being totally awesome, Mosaic Geek are also pretty good at introducing other mosaic artists. I don't know much about these two artists (I need to do some research!) but to see some truly amazing mosaics have a look at these: - wow. Planetary mosaics. Amazing. This photo made my jaw drop. It is astounding and I absolutely love it. Colours, textures, materials... I could look at it for hours. 

I'm sure there are lots of others that have been recommended, but at the moment I can't remember them. I shall start updating when I find new inspiring pieces. 

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Blue Ribbon Card

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I've also been making cards - this is one of my ribbon designs. I've used blue gingham ribbon with a cream paper rose. I haven't actually given one of these to anyone yet... I just made lots over the summer holidays! I should probably start doing something with them...

New Mosaic Project Fun

My new mosaic project is loosely based on peacocks and parrots... it presently looks more like parrots as the blues for the peacock feathers were just a bit too vivid for me to cope with so I changed the colour scheme. I am using SMALTI this time which I haven't ever used before. I love the bright colours and texture you get with this medium, although I am also having to mix it with vitreous tiles in order to be able to afford it! I'm presently quite upset as this is 2 whole day's work and next week is my last week at the Mosaic Course. So it looks like this won't be finished or cast this year... I guess I will just have to do another mosaic course soon.

Mosaic Drinks Coaster


I haven't posted for an age and now I am going to post a whole load in one go. Oh well. So my latest is that I am back doing a mosaic course and I finished my first attempt at a glass coaster. It was rubbish. So rubbish it doesn't warrant a photo on my blog. But then I decided to make some adjustments and voila, here is my new version of a cocktail coaster. It isn't grouted yet and I have no idea when I am going to actually get round to it as I have been meaning to do so for the past week. I am fairly pleased with it, although I would appreciate grouting hints! 

Sunday, 1 August 2010

p-p-p-pick up a penguin

I recently discovered Amigurimi. My first attempt was a blue mouse and here is my second. A penguin. He's made from black, white and orange wool with some green embroidery thread for the eyes and stuffed with the usual stuffing you can get from haberdasheries. He measures about 10cm tall and doesn't have a name yet. For a second attempt I was quite pleased, especially as I made up most of the pattern myself having discovered the one I was using just didn't seem to work out. I must be doing something wrong...

Sunday, 27 June 2010

First Commission!

A friend of mine is going to a wedding this weekend and needed a card. A very simple design using blue-ish-purple ribbon, silver borders, silver leaf papers and a blue flower on a white background. Hope you like it!

Saturday, 26 June 2010

I have spent a happy afternoon outside in the sunshine attempting to make the first of 4 drinks coasters. This is the first time I have attempted to use either millefiori or stained glass (and from the blur of the camera, you'd have thought a camera as well) To be fair I don' really like what I have produced so far: the background and the red are too dark for the subject and my glass cutting skills leave a lot to be desired. I think I should start giving people points if they can work out what I was trying to get at...

Wednesday, 23 June 2010


I have finally found my camera cord and thought I should upload a picture of my first mosaic attempts. This was taken on the last day of my introduction to mosaics course and I had literally just finished gluing the red one - hence it is not yet grouted. I also hadn't finished polishing the green one. In hindsight I should have used a darker grout for my first ever mosaic (the blue one) but overall I am quite happy with how these turned out. A lucky mistake is that by turning them, the patterns actually match so I am now thinking that to complete the 'rainbow series' I should make a yellow / orange version the same so that I can arrange them in a square. Hours of fun. I will try and find a decent photo of the three arranged differently so you can see how they fit together. My next project will be some drinks coasters and I am going to attempt to cut glass without sending myself to A&E... knowing how clumsy and accident-prone I am, it is bound to happen. Maybe I should find a designated driver?

Monday, 21 June 2010

It was Father's Day on Sunday so this was a design for my dad. I find designs for men much harder than designs for women: maybe it is stereotypical but crafts just seem to suit girls more. This was my attempt to bridge the gap, although I think my material ones are more successful for that. However, over the years my dad has received an awful lot of material cards so I thought I would do something different: paper weaving! It hasn't really come out on the photo but the grey looking card was actually matt silver. I am irritated by my computer for not being able to remember that I have cropped this photo about 6 times now. Oh well, I will just have to make do with the slightly squiffy version.

Monday, 14 June 2010


I am still in the process of grouting my third mosaic in what I am presently calling 'The Rainbow Series' (how pretentious am I?!!) so I haven't yet added a photo. The fact that I don't yet know how to stain grout effectively and have ordered too pale a grout may be the issue here. There is also the fact that I of course need to actually TAKE a photo of them in the first place, and for some reason can't find the camera cord... dammit! So in the meantime, let it be known that there are mosaics in the offing and photos will at some point be posted, but patience is required. Have I got you interested yet? Meh.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Birthday Cards

Two cards I made recently for various people's birthdays. I have only recently learnt about quilling so the card with the flowers was an early attempt at it. I quite liked the results. I have been considering about selling my cards for a while but don't really know how to go about it. I guess word of mouth and getting an etsy store front. But do Etsy even operate in the UK? Hmmm.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010


My first soft toy attempt was actually a present for Andy as a small thank you for giving me a sewing machine. It is meant to have only 5 legs. I made an alien of a different design a week or so later, but didn't feel it was as successful. I am going back to the drawing board to design some more... now that I have finished my quilt, I should have a bit more free time to do some.
A recent card I sent to my grandfather. I have been using material scraps in cards for a while now but used to use black card and paint in silver around the edges. You then obviously have the issue that it is impossible to write on black card. So I have cunningly come up with a new design: black underlay on white apertured card. Hurray!

I should point out that all my cards or other crafty things that I post on here can be made to order if you are interested in buying. You just need to contact me at:

Starting up a new blog

This blog is mainly here to promote my craft work. I am a bit of a geek who quite enjoys making cards, quilts, mosaics, toys... you name it really. Always open to ideas and inspiration, please tell me about new techniques you may have learnt recently.


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