A Day With MollieMakes

On the 11th June I went down to London as a finalist of the MollieMakes Handmade Awards 2015.

Such a surreal day. The day before I was doing the normal, school run, big Aldi shop, bathing the children, then after getting up at 4am (oh yer!) and travelling down on the train, I found myself in London surrounded by some of the most talented and successful creative women in Britain.

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                      Photograph taken from MollieMakes Instagram feed #handmadeawards 

                      Photograph taken from MollieMakes Instagram feed #handmadeawards 

A photo walk with Xanthe Berkley, followed by a talk from Pavilion Books and a Q&A from Pinterest. I came away with a head full of new information, a new zest to create a push myself a little bit further.

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I didn't win, but it made me realise just how far I've come in a relatively short space of time. I'm hoping from here it will be onwards and upwards.

Thank you to all the amazing women I met for making it a very memorable day.

 

Into the Woods

& Over the Meadow

This time of year our local woods and meadows are abundant with wildflowers. I couldn't resist a little visit this week to fill myself with Spring sunshine and full-on colour.

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Deep blues of the bluebells followed by intense yellow of bog marigolds.

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Followed by some tiny, but pretty white flowers. Some incredible unfurling ferns, the of across the meadows.

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The meadows are an incredible place too. A the moment there are pockets of cowslips, but later on they will be full of other wildflowers even the occasional wild orchid.

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Our local Worcester Woods are a frequent haunt of my family, but a place I hardly go on my own without children. It was great to get up there and really take in the beauty of somewhere which is right on my door step.

Look out for new work. I'm thinking those flowers may have to feature in amongst the animals.

Or even a little meadow of my own.


Making Memories

Part Two

A while ago I wrote a post about memories and different creative ways in which we can keep them. I had been thinking for a while about making some jewellery which centered around my two boys. A lot of "keepsake" type jewellery is very expensive, so with an image of my boys, a mini embroidery hoop and some Dylon Image Maker in hand I set about making a pendant for myself.

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OK, so my first attempt didn't exactly turn out as I had imagined and I decided to read the instructions in more depth. Always a good plan.

I chose another image and this time printed it of from the computer using just normal everyday printer paper.... it worked!

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The image came out much better the second time. The instructions said that it would have a distressed look and I was happy with that. It gave the whole pendant a vintage feel and suited the mini embroidery hoop that I had found. Next I cleaned up the fabric and wrote a small reminder on the back of just how teanie tiny they were.

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I'm very happy with my "Boy" pendant. Now they will always be with me and as they grow I can remember them with their big mops of hair. My eldest son has already requested "Captain America" short hair, there are only a few years away until my littlest will want the same. 

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The sun came out this week and the Boy pendant got it's first outing.

What else can I make with this Dylon stuff, I love it.

Favourite Things

Well you all know the song "bright copper kettles, warm woolen mittens, brown paper packages tide up with string". Well if I'd written that song I would have also included a "hammer" some "wonderful watercolour half pans in tins" and "a lovely collection of finest handmade papers".

So here are a "few of my favourite things".

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These three tools are very important and I couldn't make the work I do without them. A simple, very old hammer, a very normal everyday scalpel, a manual hole punch and a very worn cutting mat. Nothing fancy here, but it is amazing what can be created with them.

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My collection of half pan tins. I have two very old ones and one new. The red one was actually my Aunt's, so I'm guessing it originates from the 1950's. I had replaced some of the half pans, but most are original and the paint is very gritty. Also the collection of colours are a much brighter palette than the one I now work with. The middle Winsor and Newton tin, I brought with me when I left work, so again the mixture of colours is not exactly what I would choose.

The open one is my current favourite and given to me by CassArt when they did a blog post about my work last year. The colours are just perfect and the enamel is completely intact. I have to confess my other tins have been through the dish washer a few times. Oops!

My favourite brushes at the moment are some sable brushes picked up from the CassArt sale. They have restored my faith in sable brushes and don't shed bristles all over my work.

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I also love paper. Mainly rough St.Cuthberts Mill watercolour paper. My all time favourite is Somerset, but as I'm finding that increasingly difficult to get hold of, I'm currently using a combination of Bockingford and Saunders Waterford. I love the fact that the paper is made in a pretty traditional way and made in Britain too.

Also the team at St.Cuthberts Mill have been very supportive of my work. Thanks.

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So there are just a few of my favourite things which help me create the beautiful work that I do. I have the odd moment when I think of using something different, but then I remember the reason why I use the things I do.

They are pretty darn perfect.

Making Memories

*Part One*

With Mothers' Day nearly upon us, it got me thinking of memories and all the different ways which we keep them.

For instance in my bottom draw, hidden under my clothes are all the Valentines Day cards my husband has ever bought me, along with a steadily increasing pile of Mothers' Day cards my sons have made or scrawled upon.

There really so many ways we can keep those memories alive, rather than hidding them deep in a draw.

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Make and frame a child's handprint. This was made using white air dry clay.

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Fill a photo cube. My mum has always had one and still sits on the bookcase with those same old fading 1970's photos of us. She bought ours when our first son was born.

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Create a photo wall on the stairs. Great for little ones to get to know everyone as overtime they get carried downstairs all the people are identified.

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Make a memory wall with everything you and your little ones do. We started ours when our first son was about 18months. It is full of pictures the have made, masks, tickets of days out, photos and special work they have done at school.

Every week it gets added to and it grows and grows.

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There are so many ways to keep our memories.

If your interested to see what happens with the above, be sure to come back to find out in Part Two.

I would love to hear your ways of recording those special moments.

Mothers Day

*GIVEAWAY*

My Blog is still in its infancy and it is very little, but I would love more people to come by, have a read to find out what I am up to and watch it grow. So I thought I'd have a little Giveaway, so more people get to know that I'm here.

Mini Floral Papercut

Mini Floral Papercut

If you didn't already know Mother's Day is coming up very soon, so I'm giving away a Mini Floral Papercut, a paper cut Birdie Brooch and a Mother's Day card.

All handmade and designed by me.

Papercut Birdie Brooch

Papercut Birdie Brooch

"Love" Mothers Day Card

"Love" Mothers Day Card

All you have to do to enter is:

1: Either subscribe to my Blog or follow on Bloglovin (click on the Bloglovin link or enter your email address to subscribe at the bottom of this Post).

2: Leave a comment on the Post and say Hi.

The winner will be selected at random by one of my ever so wonderful little helpers and will win 1: Mini Floral Papercut, 1: Papercut Birdie Brooch and 1: "Love" Mother's Day card.

The Giveaway will run from Sunday 1st March until Monday 9th March, when the winner will be announced. The items will be sent out next day in time to give to that special person.

The Giveaway is open worldwide.

Face Time

February half term and what do you do. Watch your two small boys scream and run amock around the house? Drown under large amounts of the tiny plastic stuff that is Lego?

Well I did those things, but we also did this. We made some funny faces for them to wear for Comic Relief.

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Firstly, I bought some blank masks from the local craft supplies and covered them with white paper, so my boys could decorate them easily.

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They then were able to decorate the masks, the table and themselves easily. Making something they could both wear and be proud of. We managed to waste a whole morning.

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Now they are super ready to dress up for Comic Relief on 13th March. Glue their noses on and we have got two real funny faces.

Getting Knotted

I enjoyed doing my fist embroidery hoop piece so much that I decided almost immediately to make another piece. The embroidery hoop that I got was a much more substantial vintage hoop that would take a much larger image, so I was quite excited to get going.

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I loved the frills which naturally occurred from stretching the paper, it already looked good, even without anything in it. I decided to keep the outside fairly plain otherwise as the image inside was going to be quite fancy.

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I had done an initial sketch of a sleeping fox, but unlike normal I hadn't completely work out exactly how the pattern would work on each layer. Sometimes it's good to let pieces evolve.

Adding French Knots

Adding French Knots

The French Knots that I added around the frame were possibly the most difficult bit of making the piece. I tended to try and do these in the evening when my little ones were in bed. I needed total concentration and with them on half term break, jumping around the house, having fun      ( how dare they) I could just not do this. The light at night in our kitchen isn't great and we have Eco bulbs, so seeing to even thread the needle wasn't great, but I got there..... in the end.

Finished...she's a "Sleeping Beauty"

Finished...she's a "Sleeping Beauty"

I'm pretty happy with the way she turned out.

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I'm really loving using embroidery hoops to put my work on. It makes me think of working in different ways and it is so nice to get away from always working rectangular or square.

I've got an oval next, lets see where that takes me.

What do I put on it ?

For Ella

I had made good progress this week with my orders, so I decided to make good use of my MollyMakes magazine to make a birthday present for my friends daughter Ella. There were some especially pretty papers inside as well as some other bits and pieces which were just perfect for a little girl.

MollyMakes magazine takes over the work space.

MollyMakes magazine takes over the work space.

It was really lovely to have a couple of hours to make something completely fun, without the pressure of it having to be absolutely perfect.

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Pieces collected together.

Pieces collected together.

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I eventually put all the pieces together to make a garland for Ella's bedroom. Wonderful what you can make with a bit of an imagination and a MollyMakes magazine to provide you with all the bits. A couple of hours and you can make something pretty, unusual and unique.

Happy Birthday Ella


All Yellow

After the bright, sunny, frosty days of the week before, last week turned out to be so grey and dull. Luckily I received a request for a Badger paper cut, so I sank myself into an All Yellow mood.

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So good to be able to work with some happy colours. I can't wait until spring when these grey, dull days will finally come to an end. 

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He's a happy Badger.

Hoop La

Ever stretched paper on an embroidery hoop? Well I thought I'd give it a go.

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Thought I'd add some French Knots too, well it is an embroidery hoop.

The fox image built up nicely and really looked fantastic within the frame area.

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Peeking out!

I will be definitely be making more embroidery hoop art, as it received some amazing feedback. Keep a look out for when they become available.