Thursday, 27 November 2014

No Sew Felt Advent Calendar

Sorry everyone, don't know what happened there, but somehow I missed a Friday, but to make up for it I'm posting this Friday's blog post an hour early ;) ...

If like me you've left it too late to get that all important Lego Star Wars Advent Calendar you could do what I've just done... make your own. It doesn't take long to create an advent calendar using felt sheets and you don't have to be able to sew either!

Materials needed:
Efco Dark green 4mm felt sheet (70 x 45cm)
4 Efco Dark red 1mm felt sheets (20 x 30cm)
1 Efco White 1mm felt sheet (20 x 30cm)
Efco Wooden 6mm dowel (50cm)
Efco Felt numbers for advent calendar
2 Efco Art fur 20mm ribbon (2m)
Efco Felt snowflakes
Uhu Low melt glue gun & sticks
Decorative trim
Chalk pencil, Scissors, Knife, Ruler & Cutting mat

Step 1. Stick the wooden dowel approximately 3cm from the top edge leaving the ends sticking out evenly either side.

Step 2. Glue along the edge of the felt and fold it down, wrapping it around the dowel. Top Tip: Use a long ruler to press it firmly in place.

Step 3. Cut 24 10cm squares from the red felt sheets. Top Tip: If using a knife and ruler to cut out felt make sure the blade of your knife is new (ie. very sharp) or else it will just 'tear' the felt.

Step 4. Cut 24 4cm squares from the white felt sheet.

Step 5. Stick the red felt advent numbers in the centre of the white felt squares. Fold over one edge of the red squares to turn them into 8 x 10cm rectangles. To keep it folded add a dab of glue at both ends only. (If you glue all along the flap it will make it too stiff.) This will be the top edge of your pocket. Stick the fluffy fur trim over the top of each flap, again only gluing at each end. Run a line of glue down the centre of each white felt square to stick it in the centre of the red pocket.

Step 6. Use a chalk pencil to mark out the 24 8cm squares on the green felt sheet. You will need to leave a 2cm border at the bottom and side edges, 3cm between each column and 2.5cm between each row of pockets. (You should end up with 4 columns of 6 pockets.) (Please note the bottom edge of the sheet is at the top in the picture above.)
Top Tip: Don't worry about marking the top of each pocket as I did in the picture as you will only have to 'rub' this line out when you have finished.

Step 7. Run a line of glue down one side of a marked square and stick the edge of a pocket in position. It's up to you if you want to put the pockets in a sequential order or mix them up as I did. Then run a line of glue down the other side and stick the pocket edge down, hiding your chalk lines.

Step 8. To get the bottom edge of your pocket to lie flat, allowing room for you to fill it, you need to put 2 small pleats in the felt, in line with the edges of the white square. To do this press it down with your fingers to 'crease' the felt before lifting it up, applying a thin line of glue underneath and then sticking it down firmly.

Step 9. To finish off your pockets (and to hide any stray glue) add some decorative trim to the bottom edges.

Step 10. Add any further decoration you want such as Efco's delightful white felt snowflakes.

Step 11. To finish attach a length of trim or ribbon to either end of the dowel as a hanger.

Step 12. Fill your pockets!  I ended up buying a smallish Lego kit which I opened up and, using the instruction manual as a guide, split the pieces into 24 consecutive stages. Each pocket was filled with a small bag of pieces with a tag to say which couple of pages of instructions had to be followed. So, hopefully, by Christmas eve my nephew should end up with 3 Super hero characters and 2 small vehicles and, provided he doesn't cheat, he won't know what they are until he has completed them... it'll be interesting to see if he can bear the suspense! 

As you can see there was no sewing involved in this project but if you enjoy sewing there's nothing to stop you using a sewing machine to create this advent calendar instead of a glue gun. By using a glue gun it only takes a few hours to make and, if looked after, could be used again and again!

Friday, 7 November 2014

Free Wirework Jewellery Tutorials

Good news!... We have a warm house again - woohoo!
Bad news...The house is still not completely back to normal yet... but then I am taking the opportunity to do a little (extremely late or, as I like to think of it, very early) spring cleaning and sorting whilst everything is in disarray. At least I've just about put every room to rights except my studio (otherwise known as the dining room, lol), which admittedly is somewhat frustrating, but at the same time understandable if you could see the amount of important craft materials (or 'stuff/junk' as others call it) that I have in there. At least I should have more space in there now seeing as I spent last Friday moving the last of my brother's furniture (an armchair and dining room table) from our house to his :), hence why I didn't get a chance to blog last week. :(

So, as I still haven't quite cleared my desk to be able to photograph the latest ideas I've got for some last minute crafty Christmas pressies I thought I'd do a little more surfing the digital waves for some wirework jewellery inspiration and free tutorials for anyone interested. has a great intro to wirework eg. which wire gauges to use for which technique.
Domestic Diva has some great projects with photo step-by-steps to get you started.
Spoilt Rotten Beads retail website also has some free projects and jewellery instructions that might be of interest such as this nest ring.
Theresa's 'Flight Fancy' blog page has instructions for this wire wrap woven pendant which is rather lovely and will introduce you to wire wrapping if you've never done it before.
Last but not least, here's a spiral wire ring from Zoraide and her website Art-Z Jewelry. You'll find instructions for other projects on her blog pages too, not to mention, a whole heap of inspiration in her assorted galleries.

Jewellery Maker tv has assorted free jewellery video tutorials, including wirework ones and you'll find further inspiration on the facebook pages of some of their designers such as Alison Tarry and Laura Binding.

If you have a certain amount of experience already you may be interested in some inspiration for your own projects. In which case you may be interested in...
Abby Hook and her beautiful wirework jewellery pieces. She also has tutorials available for purchase as well as 6 free ones you can request to be emailed to you.

And of course this list would not be complete without mentioning the amazing Rachel Norris...
Not only can you find Rachel Norris on Jewellery Maker tv and Facebook but she's also in Beads & Beyond Magazine this month. Rachel's work is truly stunning and she has some Tutorial DVDs available for purchase.

And as always, don't forget to check out Pinterest...just search for wirework jewelry tutorials and you're bound to find at least one or two tutorial links of interest to you.

Happy wrapping...(and not the paper kind... at least not quite yet, eh!?)