Wednesday, 31 October 2012

A Quick Hallow'een Make

 Here's a simple make for all ages, a 7 year old a 13 year old and I (58) all had fun with this one yesterday. Takes about an hour/hour and a half to do, so can be made in time to use tonight.

You will need:
Large (A2 or thereabouts) sheet of thick paper/thin card for backing the Pumpkin head- stuff from the recycling is the best, you don't need fancy paper!

Old newspaper.

White/black coloured paper and some tissue paper if you have it- again, use up some of those scraps.

Optional Glitter ( I just know you will have some of this lurking about the place).

Brush for spreading glue- a nice big hog hair paintbrush or small house painting brush is great for this job.

Glue- PVA craft glue is best, use it thinned down with water ( like double cream) so it will soak through the paper and stick it really easily.

What to do:
1) On your backing sheet draw the largest pumpkin shape you can fit on, with a stalk.
2) Tear up lots of bits of random newsprint- try to get some contrasts of light and dark so you can create the 'stripy' look of a pumpkin surface. 
3) Work your pumpkin bit by bit- spread glue on the backing sheet, slap on the torn out newsprint to make a random layer of overlapping bits and brush them over ( gently) with glue to make them stick down- like making just one layer of papier mache. Fill in the whole pumpkin this way. Just keep sticking until you are happy with the result!
4) Decide just what sort of of mouth/nose/eyes you want and what colours you want to use. Cut from your black/white/tissue/coloured paper. Stick down as before.

5) while the glue is wet sprinkle on your optional glitter for added spook appeal.

6) With scissors cut out your finished pumpkin shape. Leave to dry, then use to scare people- could be a mask, a hanging decoration, a tablemat...the choice is yours.

Happy spooking!

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Autumn Sunshine

Last day of 'official' Autumn before we go into winter time in the wee small hours tomorrow. What a glorious day it is too- very chill, a very strong wind but lovely bright sunshine for the first time in days. Sunshine makes a huge difference. A pleasant start to the day, some stitching- I  was rather taken with the way embroidery is used on 'crazy' patchwork and I'm doing more embroidery on the sludge version of the tree runner- which will become a wall hanging, watch this space for developments- some Chrysanthemums from the garden and a cuppa or three in one of my favourite Poole cups.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012


Once I've worked out a design, the instructions and the templates it is sometimes fun to play around with it. I try to design projects that are fairly easy, forgiving ( i.e. you don't have to be the most accurate person in the universe to get a decent result)  and can be worked in any fabrics you fancy, including scraps. 

 So this week I'm having a play with the Funky Tree Runner, turning it into a wall hanging ready for the Christmas Quilt Show at Lady Sew and Sew. I'm using the same foundation pieced units of tree, star and zig zag border, plus some added mistletoe, just arranging them slightly differently. I'm also using different fabrics, more sludgetastic designs.  I love the bright graphic Stof fabrics and they will look great in my studio and kitchen come Christmas, but I think something a bit less in your face for the this afternoon I made a start.

Friday, 19 October 2012

The wettest dry day

 Today was supposed to be dry. The weather forecast said no rain. All day long we have had persistent drizzle/light rain, which, after the ridiculous quantity of water that fell from the sky earlier this week,  has made it pretty vile outside. But inside it has been festive as I have been working on some photos of my Christmas Table Runner, which will be in Popular Patchwork later this year. More light to take the photos would be helpful...but I think there is little chance of that today!

Sunday, 14 October 2012

New Felt Leaf Brooches

Now in the Finkstuff etsy shop ( link to the right), some new felt leaf brooches- two styles of Oak Leaf, one with a brooch clasp on the back,

 the other held in place with a small beaded pin, which can be worn separately as a lapel pin.

 Two styles of layered leaves- one with two layers of colour,

 the other with three. 

All hand made and designed by Finkstuff.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Shop Stock up time!

 This weekend I am re-stocking my Etsy Shop-Christmas decorations and new Felt Leaf Brooches galore will be making an appearance.

The decorations have arrived already and here they are- if interested, follow the link to my etsy shop to your right!

 If you would like some custom-made decorations, some shown below, just get in touch through my website and I can sort something out for you.

Friday, 12 October 2012

One of life's hiccups

 It is so very annoying when the best laid plans go awry. I organised a flu jab for Tuesday this week, gave myself a few days with nothing much happening so if it made me feel pants it wouldn't matter and was looking forward to the treat of a trip to the Knit and Stitch Show at Ally Pally today. Remind me this time next year  that it is day three after a flu jab when it hits you and you feel absolutely rubbish. Congratulating yourself on day two that it hasn't affected you at all is premature. Been asleep most of the day- which pleased the cats no end, warm body in bed all day long? Perfect!
 To console myself for not going to the show I did get out some fabrics to stroke this afternoon- I know better than to sew anything when feeling bad, it only has to be re-sewn once normal service has been resumed. I have a few (!) projects in mind and sorting through the fabrics  in the sunshine with the cats beside me was list of things  to seek out at the show will just have to wait... though searching online is really not as good as seeing and feeling fabrics and haberdashery in the flesh.
 Yesterday, before falling asleep, I did finish the hand stitching on the last of the Christmas runners-photos to follow later- when I design something I make a prototype, which sometimes becomes the final design, sometimes gets adjusted: then I write instructions and re-make it, checking the instructions and measurements are correct. This means usually I end up with ( at least) two of everything, so I put the second runner together differently to ring the changes, added more ric rac and some luscious Swedish woven braid and tried out some new thread for the quilting.

 I've used Shashiko thread for hand embroidering and quilting in the past, which I love, and it works particularly well with softer fabrics- brushed cotton or homespun- as it has a soft, light twist to it which softens further with time. I also use perle, which is great with strong patterns. It has a nice sheen and a robust twist, but I've been looking for something in between to work with, a thread of the right thickness, cotton, a light twist and a sharp, not too shiny, finish. When I was down in Bridport a few weeks back I found a crochet thread at the expanded-into-a-back-room-with-added-home-made -CAKE Yarn Shop in South Street ( well worth a visit) that looked pretty good. Coats 'puppets' Eldorado No 10 - tried it out this week, loved it for quilting. Not too thick to go readily through the layers,  easy on the aged fingers, really smooth and sharp, held its twist to the end, no unravelling or fraying - a really nice thread to work with. The drawback to using crochet threads for quilting is the quantity it comes in- I'll need to do a LOT of embroidering/quilting to get through a whole ball- but the range of colours is great, it includes space-dyed threads ( my favourite) and I can see myself using this thread for all sorts of projects. It is a useful 'mid way' between the Shashiko and the perle- me, a thread nerd? If you think that, just wait until you hear me on the subject of pins... disappointingly, the Coats website doesn't have details of it. If you have visited their website, it is nice enough, with some lovely projects, but not very up-to-date on some of their products!
 Back to sofa, cats, blanket and 'Strictly' for me now.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

What happened to the Flock?

All but one of my chickens have flown away... 

... the flock have landed at Popular Patchwork and the pattern and instructions for you to make your own are in the November issue, out now!

Monday, 8 October 2012

Hat Pins

This week I have been making Hat Pins to send to the wonderful Hat Shop in Bridport run by Mr Snook. I was very thrilled that he asked me to make him some pins after the Hat Festival this year and I have thoroughly enjoyed making 48 unique pins. Here they are - I don't think a hat is properly dressed without a pin!

Thursday, 4 October 2012


Orchids are the most obliging house plants- as long as they are kept warm and in gentle light, watered- not too often-  with rain/boiled water and given an occasional gentle feed they just keep on blooming. The blooms last for weeks- sometimes months. This week I have several in bloom, two particular delights- a friend gave me this one over a year ago and it has produced a new flower shoot this Autumn, I have it on the desk beside me and in the evening it gives off a beautiful perfume. The other was given to us eight years ago when we moved into this house.


It had a baby about four years ago and both of them produce multi-stemmed flower shoots of gorgeous pink veined flowers that last for around three months- fantastic and so enjoyable on a gloomy evening when the rain is lashing down outside!