Thursday, 7 February 2019

Clay Beetle Magnets

I was recently sorting through my craft room (a tricky but rewarding task!) which reminded me about the large tub of air dry clay I have, which I'd like to use more of. Somehow I came up with the idea to make some bug magnets, specifically beetles, as I also unearthed a few little blank magnets.
Projects where I don't have to go out and buy anything new are the best.

To make the magnets I started by shaping the clay. I rolled a piece into an oval which I cut in half to make two beetles, each with a flat side and a curved side.

I added detailed on the front, including sticking some extra bits of clay on for the head. I also pressed the magnet into the back of the clay to leave an imprint to show where I would later glue it.

I used black coated wire for the arms and legs which I pushed through the clay. This was a bit tricky as the wire didn't always come out the other side where I wanted it, so it often took a few tries.

I gave the clay a couple of days to dry and then painted it completely with black acrylic paint.

Then it was time to add colour. Using nail varnish was the perfect thing for this project as I think the metallic, shimmery colours really look like the colours of a beetle.
I got out my nail varnish stash and picked out a couple of matching colours. I used the in-built brush to paint directly on top of the black paint, starting with the darker colour and adding highlights with the lighter one.

After the nail varnish had tried I used Gorilla super glue to stick the magnet to the back of the clay.

I'm really pleased with how they turned out. I think they look great! And, aside from the time it takes for the clay dry out, this is quite a quick project which is always a bonus.

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Fish Painting

Last summer, during our holiday to Austria, we visited Schönbrunn Palace. The palace grounds are so large they even house a zoo, which is apparently the oldest zoo in the world!
(They also have a bakery which offers apple strudel demonstrations!)
We spent a long time in the zoo, starting with the aquarium. I loved all the different colours and shapes of the fish and knew I wanted to make some art based on what I'd seen once I got home. 

I created this painting in about an hour. I wasn't too concerned with getting all the details exactly right, I just wanted to play around with different materials and show all the colours.

For the background I used watercolours to make it look, well, watery! 

I painted the fish using gouache paint as I find the colours are more vibrant than watercolours and it's easier to control. I added some gold acrylic paint which shimmers in the light like the real fishes scales.

I added details and brought out the shadows and highlights using colour pencils.

I love how this turned out and I'm really happy with the slightly messier style and mix of textures.

Wednesday, 2 January 2019

Happy New Year

Happy New Year!

I hope you all had a wonderful and relaxing festive period. You can check out the highlights of my break in the video above. I've been making these Christmas video for 6 years and I love looking back at the old ones.

I thought I would take this opportunity to take a brief look back at 2018 and share some things that maybe weren't mentioned on the blog.

Andrew and I ended up taking quite a few trips this year starting with Holland in February (I highly recommend the pancake boat in Rotterdam!). We also went to the South Downs and the Peak District, where we stayed in some great Air BnBs. Then we ended the summer with a holiday to Austria, visiting Vienna and Salzburg.

August marked us being in our house for a whole year and earlier in the year we got our bathroom re-done. It involved a week of showering at our parents' houses and using a bucket to flush the toilet but it was worth it!

We got engaged this year!
There's no big proposal story here. We just started looking at venues and went from there.

This year has been fantastic for my little craft business. I set up an Instagram account for my felt dogs (and other animals!) which has really helped it grow. Check out @lisasfeltfriends to follow along.
I made at least 55 custom felt animals this year, plus all the standard felt animals I sold in my Etsy shop.

How was your 2018?

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Crochet Unicorn Ornament

It doesn't look like the unicorn trend is going away any time soon so I'm fully embracing it with my craft fair offerings. I have unicorn hairbands, unicorn pencil toppers, unicorn toys and now unicorn baubles.

When my Mum was crocheting the baubles for my Mickey Mouse ornaments I asked her to do a few white ones.

I made the horn and ears out of felt which I sewed to the wool.

I used some little fabric flowers to embellish the unicorns and added the eye lashes with black embroidery thread.

Saturday, 1 December 2018

DIY Wooden Tree Advent Calendar

For the past two years my boyfriend and I had been using this advent calendar that I made. But because it was made out of cardboard boxes that had to be glued shut, and therefore torn open, it was time to replace it.
The size of the boxes was also a bit limiting when it came to buying things for each other to fill them, which is something I took into consideration when I started thinking of a new DIY advent calendar.

This is what I came up with.
A wooden tree with hooks to hang on numbered baubles. The baubles are stuck to 24 little gifts, kept in a box alongside, and when a gift is opened it's bauble is hung on the tree. So the fuller the tree, the closer we are to Christmas!

To make this advent calendar I got some thin lengths of wood and coloured them with wood stain so they would match some of the furniture in our living room.
I cut 6 pieces of wood in decending lengths for the branches of the tree, plus one long piece which would be the trunk.

Figuring out the sizes took some planning, especially since 24 doesn't easily work in a pyramid layout. So instead of the branches having 1, 2, 3, 4 etc baubles on them, mine go 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 6.

I hammered little nails into the branches which would be the hooks for the baubles to hang on.

Then I glued the branches to the trunk using a strong epoxy glue. It wasn't until I took this photo that I realised I used two different brands of tubes, but they still worked when mixed together.

I also screwed an eye screw into the top of the trunk and attached some twine so that I could hang the tree on the wall.

I bought two packs of 20 mini baubles, ommitted the glittery ones, and numbered the rest using a white paint pen. I might re-do this at some point using number stickers to make it look a bit neater.

Then all that was left to do was wrap the 12 gifts I bought for my boyfriend, which I've been gathering for the past month, and attach the baubles. Then I gave him the other half of the baubles for him to do the same with the gifts he bought for me...yesterday. But what's good about this advent calendar is that you don't have to have all the gifts ready on December 1st as you can add them to the box at any time. So it gives people who have had a particularly busy November a bit of wiggle room.

I really love how this turned out and I hope we'll be using it for many years to come!

Saturday, 17 November 2018

Custom Felt Dogs

Today I'm sharing a few of the custom felt dogs I've made recently.
As the countdown to Christmas has begun I've been getting lots of new orders coming my way.

I was really please with how this tricolour Corgi turned out. Look at that happy face! I went on to use this pattern as the basis for a standard Corgi in my shop which I've sold twice already.

This felt dog is @chunkithefrenchie on Instagram. He wears some great slogan t-shirts that are worth checking out.

I've started making some dogs with Santa hats on ready for Christmas, but this customer asked if I could do a hat wearing a baseball hat. Sure thing!
I had to google to find out which team this dog supports. Go Astros!

Follow @lisasfeltfriends on Instagram for all of my felt creations, and check out my Etsy shop.

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Mickey Mouse Ornaments 3 Ways

Today I'm sharing 3 ways to make a Mickey, or Minnie, Mouse Christmas ornament.

When looking through my stash of various baubles I found I had a few black ones. What do you do with black baubles? Make Micky Mouse of course! I had the perfect sized ones for the project.

I took two small baubles and cut the tops off, which I was able to do with a craft knife.

Then I used my hot glue gun to stick the small baubles to a larger one in the classic Micky ear formation.

I decided to make this into a Minnie Mouse ornament by adding a little hand made bow.

For the next ornament I asked my Mum to crochet around a bauble with red wool.

Then I cut out two pairs of red felt circles for the ears. I added red sequins and then sewed the circles together.

 I sewed the felt circles to the bauble, and then added red sequins to the rest of the bauble. You could just glue these but I decided to sew them on.

For this simplified Mickey Mouse ornament I asked my Mum to crochet round another bauble; half red and half black.

I made the felt circle ears out of black this time, and sewed them on. Then I took two white buttons and sewed them to the red section of the bauble.

This one could easily be made into a Minnie ornament by sewing white sequins, or buttons, all over the red section and adding a bow to the top.

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