Chrimbo Deccies

There’s nothing like being seasonal, so here we are with some Christmas decorations I started 18mths ago and have finally finished.  Very simple, but with the beading (I do like beading things) they took a long time to complete.  I’ve also made one lone decoration using a Suffolk Puff.  I really enjoyed making it, took an afternoon.  I reckon with a bit of practice I could get the time down a bit. Happy to take orders, of course – they’re nice for a present as well as for your own tree.

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Quick and Easy Mobile Covers

So…what can you do when you’ve dropped yourself in it and promised to make some handcrafted goods for an up and coming fair?  Well, I’ve made a few mobile covers (most recently one with a neck strap for dad who walks with a frame), but they are too fine to make en masse.  So out came the felt and in three easy steps I had a small stash.

These fit a Samsung Galaxy, but I hope to make some to fit a dumb phone, and if anyone needs one for an iphone or some other make, please send me the measurements and I’ll make one for you.  You can have a very simple one from felt, or an all-singing, all-dancing one.

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The Famous Fairy Tree

When I was a nipper and living at home (as nippers do), our tree went up no more than two weeks before Christmas, along with what we called in our family a fairy tree.  Mum had these wonderful fairies made from glass and thick, coloured pipecleaner type stuff.  The rest of the deccies remained in their boxes, because on Christmas Eve when we had gone to bed the fairies would come to life, jump down from their tree and put up the decorations.  Then they would return to their tree and turn in to chocolates.  Such a lovely story, and we were the only family I have ever come across that had one.  It really added to the magic of Christmas.  None of this putting up of deccies in November – heaven forfend!

When I got my own house, my dad made me a tree of my own, and I still have it 20-odd years later, although its looking a bit battered now.  And I have small bears hanging on mine, so its a beary tree.  When my church decided to have a couple of craft stalls at a church Christmas Fair, I and some of my chums decided to make a selection of crafts to sell to raise money for our church.  Here was an ideal opportunity to introduce the world to the concept of the fairy tree.  I’ve made a huge one that will double up as a tree to display our crafted Chrimbo decorations, and maybe replace the one dad made.  And I’ve made 8 little tiny ones that can grace a Christmas table or window ledge.

They’re everso easy to make, but very time consuming.  When I dig my camera out, I’ll post a pic of one.  First of all you need to collect some apple tree branches.  They must be apple trees because they’re so wonderfully knobbly so they make great shapes and there’s lots of places to hang deccies from.  Cut them to the right length, and select an old plastic plant pot.  Dad always uses terracotta, but I’ve used plastic ones because I like to use my terracotta ones for my plants.  Fill the pot with plaster of paris or cement.  I use cement, but if you use plaster of paris you need to work very quickly.  Put your twigs into the cement (three works best) and leave for a few days to set.  Paint the twigs with undercoat, and then a coat of white gloss or emulsion, its up to you.  While the paint is wet, sprinkle glitter onto the branches.  Make sure you paint the cement and the outside rim of the pot too.

When your paint is dry, decorate the pot.  You can leave it plain if you want, and just wrap thick tinsel around it, which is what dad does.  But as I will be selling mine, and they are to go on the table, I will be decorating my pots.  To do this, I’ve saved all the green and red pics, adverts, etc from glossy Sunday mags and women’s mags.  Its cheap and really colourful with all the different shades.  Don’t worry about avoiding text, it just adds to the effect.  Don’t cut the pages, tear them so they have a bit of a white edge to them.  Using PVA, stick them to your pots, making sure that when you have finished, the whole lot is covered in glue – it gives a nice shine.

When that’s all dry, cut out a piece of card and a piece of felt for the underneath of your pot and stick on – you don’t want cement dust and scratches on your table.  Finally, if you’re not using it as a fairy tree, decorate the branches with to-scale deccies.  I’m using coloured cat bells and tinselly pompoms like those you get on Chrimbo cards.  And there you go, a lovely fairy tree.

The one in the  picture is a tiny one, standing about a foot high.  I thought a little one would be nice for the table.  They are for sale, but they’re too fragile to post, so you’d have to collect them.  If you’re interested, go to my ‘contact’ page.

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Harrogate Knitting and Stitching Show

I’ve just got back from the Harrogate Knitting and Stitching Show.  Its every November, the last weekend, and it runs for four days.  If you haven’t been, you really must, its really rather fabulous.  You do need a whole day to get around it all, especially if you want to take a look at the rather excellent exhibition which is always good for inspiration and wow factor.  This is the place to get stuff you can often only get on the internet, its a great opportunity to take a look (and feel) at some lovely fabrics, and pick up some excellent end-of-range bargains.  I’m in the middle of making stuff for Chrimbo at the moment, so I can’t make a start on playing with the stash I brought home.  Most frustrating!  But I guess I’ll enjoy it all the more when I finally have some time over Christmas to get stuck in (once I’ve mucked out my shed).

Some of the stuff I bought was a lovely ribbon-yarn with which I’m going to knit a dress.  I already have one that someone else knitted, so I can cross-ref that with a pattern I have for a strappy vesty, tanktoppy thing that would make a great dress if I make it long enough.  The colour is a watered silk kind of green, very pretty – and at £6 for 1500g its a right bargain!  Then I bought some yarn that looks like fair isle when you knit it up.  I’m intrigued to see what it will look like.  I’ll be using it to make a vesty, tank-toppy thing.  Of course all these will feature on the website while in progress (in case I don’t get them finished for months and months).  Fat quarters figured, of course, as did leftover bits of really pretty material, two balls of sari silk, and some wool in Bagpuss pink and Bagpuss cream with which I’m going to make a bobble hat minus bobble but with ears.  I’m going to bastardise a pattern.  This has to be knitted in the round, which I’ve never done, so I had to buy the tools for this.  Hope I will managed.  I will report back.

Finally, one of the most exciting finds was these massive needles for extreme knitting.  I’ll take a pic and post them online.  They must be 25mm at least.  The lady who was selling these was using them to knit the most fantastic rugs.  They were really chunky, and using the right kind of yarn, you could even make door mats.  I can’t wait to play with them!  I really like these knitted puffeys that are popping up everywhere, but I’m not paying the price.  With these new needles I can make my own.

So, all in all a mighty good haul.  Watch this space for some pics of my new acquisitions.