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New home wreath

My brother and his wife have just bought their first home, and I wanted to make a wreath as a house warming gift.

I had a strong idea about colours and the charity shop gods were smiling on me, in that I found three shirts in exactly the right colours.

I used the shirts to make the main elements of the piece, really very simple shapes but effective when the colours and textures fit the theme.

Then I added some hand embroidered elements, a mini cross stitch and three little birds.

All together, lots of texture, lots of cuddly surfaces, something which is homely but also modern enough for an urban setting.

And they loved it too!

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Pom-Pom tin can luminere


We eat a lot of tomatoes in our house, and so we buy big tins of tomatoes. Ok, the real reason we buy them is you can make cool things from big tins, 

Once it’s washed out, filled with water and frozen, the fun can begin. I start off by using a hammer and nail on the frozen tin to punch a ring of holes around the top and bottom edges, and in the bottom of the can. The bit of masking tape is a guide to help me get the holes roughly equal distance round the edges.

Once I’d finished the rows of holes, I punched out star shaped patterns, big and small, including one in the base. I then painted it, wanting to create an ombre effect, starting at turquoise and moving towards pale green by adding yellow. The paint I used is acrylic paint mixed with PVA to make it more durable.

 

Here’s the base with it’s star shape punched out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I then sprayed the inside with copper spray paint as a contrast and to hopefully add a warm glow to the light.

 

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Now I decided to add some hanging decoration, so I used a long needle to sew yarn streamers through the holes I’d punched in the bottom edge earlier. I’ve also added a wire hanger at the top, which you can’t see in this picture. My tip is if you don’t have thick enough wire, fold a long strand of thinner wire in half and twist up, it makes it both thicker and look pretty.

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I’m using a bag of little pom-poms I made previously, in a mix of jolly colours to match and contrast with the can. You can thread them onto the yarn strings simply by threading the needle through the centre of each in turn, and they’ll pretty much stay where you put them.

Once I’d got the pom-poms on, I decided I needed some beads too, both to add a but of weight and sparkle. I couldn’t find any I liked which were cheap enough on line, but the Cat’s Protection came up trumps with some cheap as chips bead bracelets I could take apart to use.

If you thread the beads onto the yarn and then stitch back though to knot it, it should hold the beads on fine, and if not just keep stitching over the first knot until you have a big enough one to hold the beads in place. 

Some of the strands I finished with clusters of beads, others I made simple yarn tassels to add a different look and texture. Also, you get left with a lot of ends when trimming off, so waste not, want not!

I even added yarn tassels to the top of the tin as well. I would add that it would probably be safer to use battery lights rather than naked flames if you’re going to do this, as the tin may get a little warm otherwise.

I really love all the different colours and textures, by basically choosing tones of the same intensity, I find you can mix pretty much any colours together and the work – these are what I would call bright pastels, nothing too dark but light, sunny colours.

And here it is, my finished luminere. I intend to hang it in the garden when I get a moment, and will be making more. And we’ll be eating a lot of tomato pasta!

My guide to pomming!

Here are my tip for basic Pom-pom success – basically it’s all in the trim.

You can get Pom-Pom makers in loads of places, they all look like This) They come with instructions, but basically wrap the yarn round the two jointed halves, clip them together and cut the strands between the two halves. You then tie a yarn strand between the two halves and you can pop out your pompom.

My tip for tying the yarn so your pom doesn’t loose fluff, is not just to try and tie a knot round the middle, as this is often not strong enough, but to instead make a loop of yarn, wrap this round the pom-pom middle and feed the two loose ends through the loop.

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You can then pull this tight and then sort of ratchet it tighter by pulling against the loop. You can then tie the two ends together, maybe wrapping one round the pom-pom again, and that should make a tight knot. If the yarn you’re using is not strong enough and keeps breaking, use a yarn which is stronger ( usually something 100% acrylic) and then snip it off when you’re done. If you snip it off close to the middle, then it will vanish inside the pompom and won’t show whatever colour it is.

This is a Pom right off the maker, shaggy and uneven.

This is because you layer the yarn wraps, which means the last ones go over over all the others and so are longer. If you’ve ever got to this stage and given up, thinking how messy it looks, that’s because you’ve never been told to trim them afterwards.
To get a smooth, cute pompom, you need to use sharp scissors to cut the yarn back.
Imagine you’re trimming one of those posh hedges you see in stately homes, and bee ruthless.

This pale green one is half way through.

All “fresh” pom-poms tend to be oval or have long and short sections off the maker, whether you’re using a purpose made pompom maker or the old school card circles, so cut the long bits off first, then keep going.

Keep turning the pompom round and round as you cut, visualising a tennis ball or similar as you go and be brave – you’ll cut away at least a quarter of the yarn to get down to where the strands are most densely packed, which gives you the best finish.

This is a big bowl of cut off fluff, it’s best to cut over a bowl to catch it all, and keep it for toy stuffing
– waste not, want not!

Eventually you will get to a ball about two thirds the size of where you started out,but far more dense, smooth and velvety in feel.


Of course, if you want a more shaggy look, you get less off, but even then you will probably need to trim as the shape always comes out a bit wonky. But I do love me a velvety smooth Pom-Pom!

Simple pompom wreath


I'm a bit obsessed with Pom-poms and wreathed, so it makes sense to combine both and feed two fetishes at once. Although I love huge, complex ideas with lots of bits, sometimes the simplicity of colour and texture wins out and makes the best statement, and this wreath is a case in point.
I wanted to express the change of season in colour, as well as the sense of leaves falling, so I thought if I graded my colours from summer green to brown, that would create the right effect

I started with the largest size in my pompom maker kit and made 12, starting with the dark green and blending two colours together to create the transitions smoothly. As a ball of wool is a finite thing, I didn't always have enough (I bought one ball in each colour at first) to do two pale green, two green and yellow mixes and two dark and light green mixes, for example, but I found that just making as much as I could and not having two solid colours in each stage worked fine.

I decided the first row needed more fullness, and so I added in a second row of smaller balls mixing up what I had left. I did buy a second ball of pale green, orange and yellow, but I didn't use exactly the same mixes though I tried to reflect the colour changes in the main ring never the less.
I should add I built this on a simple copper wreath ring and first of all I wrapped the ring in a random layer of yarn to create a base. I have some cool vintage sail making needles –

Which are perfect for stitching the poms in place and are easy to thread, but any big eyed needle will work.

All in all, as I buy my yarn from the Saturday market and charity shops so it's pretty cheap, as you only need basic acrylic dk yarn for pom-poms, the whole thing cost me £15 to make including the wreath frame, and I think it's really affective!

Bring on the autumn!

Nemesister Sophie Jonas-Hill

for the first time, for a long time, I read a book that kept me on my toes. It kept me hooked like no other book has for years.

Source: Nemesister Sophie Jonas-Hill

#BlogTour #Review #Nemesister by @SophieJonasHill @urbanebooks

Anne bonny book reviews

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Nemesister by Sophie Jonas-Hill

Synopsis:

An American Gothic thriller of deception and obsession, slicked in sweat and set in the swamps of Louisiana.

It’s a psychological mystery where the female protagonist stumbles into a deserted shack with no memory but a gun in her hand. There she meets an apparent stranger, Red, and the two find themselves isolated and under attack from unseen assailants.

Barricaded inside for a sweltering night, cabin fever sets in and brings her flashes of insight which might be memory or vision as the swamp sighs and moans around her.

Exploring in the dark she finds hidden keys that seem to reveal her identity and that of her mysterious host, but which are the more dangerous – the lies he’s told her, or the ones she’s told herself?

My review:

Nemesister is #1 in the Crooked Little Sisters series. Chapter one opens to a chaotic scene…

View original post 374 more words

10 minute baby safe pin cushion make!

I wanted to make a pin cushion which my baby boy wouldn’t be able to get to and hurt himself with, but also one I could see the needles and pins easily when I needed to. I had an idea, and got a clean clippy lid type jar and the first bit of scrap fabric I could find.

Using the principal of guestimation, I drew a circle round a bowl I had to hand and cut it out.

I then ran a running stitch round the edge to draw it up into a….well, a….cushion? And stuffed it with wool off cuts to make it nice and……cushion-y.

 

Then you just pop your cushion into the bottom of the jar, glue it down if you want, and you can add your pins, then lock them safely away. Ok, I would imagine you could make a more complicated and prettier pin cushion by cutting a circle to the size of the base of the jar, and then cutting out segments all in a pretty fabric, but then I was in a bit of a hurry and this is a quick and easy make. But I might have a go at one when I have more time, now that I’ve somewhere safe to keep my pins!

The pumpkin wreath

To add to the pumpkins I’ve been making for my Autumn wreath, I’ve used up the spare circles of fabric to make simple spiral roses. These are dead easy, you just cut a spiral from your circle and roll them up, stitching through the bottom as you go. Sometimes I pleat as I go to make the ‘petals’ spread out more, and after its done I pull and pluck at the edges to fray them, as I like the slightly tatty feel this gives them.

Now I’ve finished all the roses and pumpkins, I thought I’d show you how I assemble the wreath. With the pumpkins, I like to sew them onto a copper wreath frame. It’s always a good idea to arrange your pieces on one wreath frame and then transfer them one by one onto the frame you’re actually going to use, as this mean you can get your arrangement right before attaching, so you don’t make a mistake and have to un-attach things.

I first wrapped the top section of the frame with twine, as I wanted a rustic feel. And yes, you can wrap the whole wreath like this first, but sometimes I find that make it harder to attach the pumpkins, as they’re firmer sewn to the copper frame rather than string wrapped over the copper frame. Oh, and I didn’t have enough twine, and I’m on a budget.

 

I sewed on the pumpkins, some sort of front on, some balancing on the others to give a feeling of a pile of produce. Then I added the roses, which I sewed onto the frame in the same way at the pumpkins.

If you do wrap the whole frame in twine, you can poke the roots of the roses through the twine and stitch, as they’re lighter this works better with them than it might the pumpkins.

 

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There we go, my pumpkin patch wreath – bring on the Autumn!

 

Got my book from the publishers!

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