Felt ornaments, beads and hair accessories

Yesterday was ladies day at the Golf Club and as I only had a couple of hours in the morning to attack a felting project I decided to convert some flat felt samples into smart and colourful Christmas ornaments.  Using this great tutorial from Betz White I slashed, manipulated and stitched a large felt ogee.  Unfortunately I couldn’t find my tailors chalk (no surprises there!) so it took me a lot longer than it should have to cut the lines.  This was a bit frustrating but I didn’t want to make any mistakes and the stitching did compensate somewhat as for once it only took a couple of minutes to get through this dreaded task! The resulting ornament is definitely pretty but until I find my chalk I am just going to string this with some large glass beads and enjoy it hanging in one of the trees in my garden.  Any more of these ornaments will just have to wait until I am properly prepared at the slashing stage although I might get inspired to cut a few out from paper as I try and destash my interiors magazines!

I did put up some images of the felt and ceramic necklace on Flickr yesterday forgetting for a minute that they would automatically link through to my Facebook profile so here is a close up for you to see the contrast of felt and ceramic. 

Close up of felt, ceramic and organza necklace

Hopefully the intended receipient won’t realise that the necklace is her Christmas present so the surprise will not be spoilt.  These large beads are strung on a copper coloured organza and this is an effect that I intend to replicate with a couple more necklaces using some gorgeous vibrant coloured lime ribbon that I brought back from Denmark. 

Felt hair bobble

Having routed out some pieces of flat felt my other project yesterday morning was this simple spiky hair bobble.  Just get a long piece of felt a couple of inches wide and using a sissors or craft knife cut lines into one long side but not right through to the other side (hope this makes sense!).  Starting from one end roll the felt up into a rosette shape stitching a couple of times as you go along.  The slashed ends form a funky anenome style design and you could add a brooch back or as I did stitch on an hair elastic to create a fun felt accessory!

Mount Lassen Volcanic Park, thrifting and heading on for Yosemite

We had an interesting 40+ miles drive on a forestry road between Lava Beds National Monument and the main road to our next port of call, Lassen Volcanic National Park.  Initally we felt pretty lucky to find accomodation nearby at Mill Creek Eco Resort but unfortunately to our minds eco was the very last thing that the resort was in actuality.  For us (as Green Party members and activists in Ireland) green encompasses energy saving, low impact on the environment, recycling, composting etc. etc. and although that was what we were led to believe when we booked our cabin the reality couldn’t have been further from the truth.  In addition to the lack of expected green facilities our ‘pillow top’ beds (space for 5 to sleep in a tiny cabin!) appeared to be mattress toppers laid on dreadfully unfcomfortable old beds and we found that the small cabin was not laid out in any fashion to encourage a comfortable stay at all.  The fridge hummed to such a degree that I got an immediate headache (for some reason certain electrical noises cause me to get a really bad sensation in my head like a vibration) and we had to unplug it before our first night’s sleep, this caused the damn thing to defrost and Alan had to plug it in again when he discovered a massive flood in the middle of the floor during the night.  I didn’t realise that he had plugged it in again and woke up with a splitting headache early in the morning, you can’t imagine how annoyed I was with poor Alan when at last in desperation I said to him ‘you haven’t plugged in that fridge again, have you?’ to discover that he had!  Many missing light bulbs in various fittings in our cabin could have been considered to contribute to energy saving measures were it not for the other lights left on in the shower and toilet areas 24/7 to which we as consumers had no access to switches in order to turn them off .  I am also not sure why the sink was in position in our TINY kitchen area as it had never been plumbed and we couldn’t use the taps or drain but luckily Alan secured a little work top space by hiding the offensive fridge under this feature and we put the microwave in the wardrobe to replace the non existant mirror, if you held your head a certain way you could see your reflection in the glass of the door!  Anyway, enough gripping about the accomodation, Lassen was brilliant.  We had some gorgeous hikes through wonderfully diverse regions in the massive park and found a great thrift store called R.A.I.N. (Rescued Animals in Need ph530-945-4152) in nearby Shingletown where I was lucky enough to pick up some fun old trimmings, a large pure wool man’s jumper, a BEAUTIFUL old button and a strange funky metal and ceramic bunch of flowers!  The one good thing about our ‘Eco’ resort was the laundry and I have already shrunk the jumper and now just need to cut it up and reassemble it as a bag, another concession to my fibre addiction as we make our way across this wild and beautiful part of the States.  We really enjoyed our time at Lassen and left on Sunday for Reno, the smallest biggest city in the world!

Felt, ceramic, cookies and frustration!

Yesterday morning I started the day by showing a friend Leonie how to make three dimensional stars using 1.5m strips of coloured paper!  These are great strung as a garland or hung individually from the tree as Christmas ornaments.  We chatted over a cup of coffee and before Leoine left she gave me a lovely present of some home make star cookies (very appropriate!) which her girls had make.  They are all eaten now, thanks Esme and Nessa! 

I  spent a happy afternoon  felting a stripy ‘man’ scarf for a friend’s Christmas present and followed this by stringing some simple necklaces with commissioned ceramic buttons as the centre piece.  Because I wanted the scarf to be very soft and warm I used both merino and a merino and silk mixture which I had carded myself in the stripes.  I laid out the fibres crossways practically the whole length of my big table and proceeded to felt.  Never having made a striped scarf before (amazing that when I think about it!) I possibly should have laid some of the fibres in the opposite direction as well.  Everything felted perfectly but the scarf got longer instead of shorter, much longer in fact!!  Anyway, Martin is tall and the scarf feels wonderful wrapped a couple of times around the neck, I hope that he likes it.

All the naturals necklace

All the naturals necklace

The buttons that I used for the necklaces (initally intended for felt necklaces and bags!) were commissioned from Hillary Jenkinson, a talented maker working from a studio in the Demanse Yard at Castlecomer, Co. Kilkenny.  It is well worth a trip to Castlecomer to visit this yard, in addition to the craftspeople’s studios and workshops there is a well stocked restaurant, a history of coal museum, beautiful parkland to walk in and a brilliant kid’s playground.  Each of the buttons is a one off and I think that they look great with the crocheted cream cotton beads that I made  ‘a la Sigrid Bannier’ and some simple wooden or glass beads.   You can check them out on my Flickr photostream and the necklace above is actually on sale through my Etsy shop.  This is where the frustration sets in …. I had intended to put loads of felted items and these new necklaces  on my shop this morning but the battery on my camera just limits how many things I can upload in one session.  I had thought that they would make lovely pressies and was pricing everything between E10 and E20 but after 4 hours I have only managed to get 4 items up,  aghhhhhhhh.  Anyway, here is a picture of one of the necklaces and it is priced at $20 which equals E14.16 if anyone is interested!