Monday, 24 December 2018

Christmas Crafting

Over the past month, I have been busy making lots of different crafty Christmas things for friends, family and my home.

Pottery tree decorations

Using basic buff clay, I rolled it out to 1cm thick and used heart and star biscuit cutters to create the shapes. To add the textural decorations I used the end of a pencil, a fork, a plastic knife and a screw head. I created a hole so they could be hung on the tree. I used regular clay but if you were making these at home air-dry clay or salt-dough would work just as well.

I'm an art and technology teacher and luckily have access to a kiln so I added the decorations to a bisque firing I was doing (for students work) and when they were cooled I glazed them. The effect of the glaze you can see I achieved by painting the glaze on the clay and then wiping the surface glaze off, leaving the glaze only in the textures and in-prints of the clay.

The majority of these have been gifted to friends and family but I kept a few for myself!

Christmas crackers

I went to a fantastic workshop with the London Craft Club at their HQ in Bloomsbury Square. It was such a fun evening of crafty craziness. They provided the cracker template, amazing wrapping papers, ribbons, cracker snaps, hats and chocolates to customise your crackers. At home, I added some cheesy jokes and extra little gifts inside.

Pom pom wreath

Last Sunday I spent the morning at Drink, Shop, Do at Kings Cross with knit designer and crochet-extraordinaire, Katie Jones, who was a vision of fun and festivities! I bought the workshop tickets for a friends birthday present so we spent the morning drinking tea, eating cake and learning how to make pom poms using a pom-pom-maker (rather than two rings of cardboard).

Once we had made a decent collection of pom poms we attached them to a tinsel wrapped wreath frame. Katie also showed us how to make simple tassels to decorate the wreath with too!

A truly fab time was had and my wreath was featured on Katie's Instagram account the following day!

Christmas shortbread

On the last day of term on Friday, I made some shortbread biscuits with one of my technology classes at school. We decorated them with some icing sugar and sprinkles which made them look very kitsch and festive. I took the batch I made into the staff room at break time and they disappeared in minutes!

Festive foliage

I never get a full-size Christmas tree or want to store an artificial tree, so I add a few extra additions to my bamboo plants every year. This year, I selected branches of spruce and eucalyptus, berried ivy, red roses and cotton plants to add some gorgeous scents and festive greenery to the room. I then decorated them with fairy lights and a selection of gifted and hand-made Christmas decorations.

Whatever you are doing over the festive break I hope you have some fun spending time with the people you love and get a chance to relax and maybe sneak in some craft!

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Marbled Sketchbooks

In July I attended an amazing 6-hour workshop to learn how to marble paper. I ended up with over twenty beautiful marbled papers which have been patiently waiting for me to do something with them. I decided to make some easy machine-sewn notebooks (my first set are here) and set to work to produce a bunch that I can include in my Christmas stockings in a few weeks time!

I bundled them into pairs and taped strips of tracing paper around them printed with 'CJ Made hand-marbled notebook'. Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best ones!

Sunday, 18 November 2018

Up-cycled fabric gift bags

What do you do when a pair of your favourite PJ's get a huge rip in them? I could have patched them up, but instead, I decided to up-cycle them into six fabric gift bags to put Christmas presents in!

I simply cut the legs into four sections and then sewed along the bottom to create a fabric bag. The hem along the bottom of the legs created a casing that I threaded ribbon through to make drawstring bags. The remaining bags are simply tied with ribbons on the outside. I managed to use ribbons that I've had in my stash for a long time which makes this little project totally free!

A great stash buster and helps you use those worn out clothing items in your wardrobe into something useful that your family and friends will appreciate and hopefully use again!

Sunday, 11 November 2018

Crochet and Culture at the Fashion and Textiles Museum

I attended a fabulous workshop at the Fashion and Textiles Museum in the last week of October to learn how to crochet with the absolutely lovely knitwear designer Katie Jones. She delivered a 3-hour session with the help of her mum where she taught us the basics of crochet and by the end of the session we had all made a crochet necklace.

We used t-shirt yarn in a variety of colours which is a pretty chunky type of yarn made from recycled t-shirts. Due to the thickness of the yarn you created a decent amount of crochet in a short space of time.

Here are some photos of my progress.

Learning how to get into the rhythm of a continuous chain 
The first row was 20 stitches long

My first attempt at adding a new colour to the second row. Still too early to tell if I have done this correctly!?
The finished piece after a third grey row. This final yarn was VERY chunky which gives the illusion of extra volume but it's exactly the same stitch as before

On the first Friday of November, I attended a talk by Amber Butchart on the 'Chronicles of Fashion' her most recent book. She is an associate fashion lecturer at the London College of Fashion and also presented the BBC programme 'A Stitch in Time'. 
Amber spoke about a number of the best-dressed people from history she has selected when writing the book which covers over 100. The talk was extremely interesting and engaging and at the end of the evening, I bought her book which she kindly signed!

The ticket to the event also included entry to the current exhibition 'Night and Day; 1930's Fashion and Photographs' which has an abundance of absolutely glorious bias cut, beaded and embroidered dresses. A true feast for the eyes! I would highly recommend you pay a visit. The exhibition continues until 20th January 2019.