Monday, 28 May 2012

'Sugar Skulls' keyrings

I was watching a program on the travel channel a few weeks ago on Mexico and there was a section on the central and sourthern Mexico festival of dia de los muertos. It showed people decorating skulls and having gatherings or even parties round loved ones graves. It explained about how and why this festival was celebrated, and I just loved the idea.

Of course I'd seen these skull designs as tattoos, as they seem to be popular at the moment, and I am a fan of tattoos, but I decided I wanted to know more about the background of these skulls and what they represent.

I did some searching on the internet and came across a variety of sites, all explaining dia de los muertos. It's a central and southern Mexico festival, translated, means the day of the dead. Indigenous people believe that at midnight on 31 October the ghost of child past return to there families for 24 hours when the gates of heaven are opened. Festivities go on until 02 November when adult ghosts come to join the festivities before take the children back.  The families decorate for their arrival with beautiful altars, using candles, flowers and brightly decorated skulls. Plenty of drink and food suck as fruit, peanuts, tortillas and bread are also used in the decorating for weary spirits.  Toys and candies are also offered for the spirits of children, then on 02 November cigarettes and shot of mezcal are offered for the adult spirits.  On 02 November in the afternoon the festivities are taken to the cemetery where tombs are cleaned, people play cards, listen to music and reminisce about loved ones.

I just loved the idea of this, celebrating people who have passed, so I have made these embroidered sugar skull keyrings.

On analysis I think the green one I've made is a bit too busy. The orange one I think has a good balance but the black one us my favorite.

 I'd love to know other peoples views, not only on the keyrings I've made, but on the festival itself.
I am going to be selling these keyrings for £2 plus p&p, on a first come first serve so if your interested in one please message me.
If its not something that interests you, but you know someone who might like them please pass on and share the link.
So until the next time, happy crafting peoples xxx

References for this article:

Monday, 7 May 2012

Handmade and hand binded sketch book

This is a sketch book I recently made for one of my friends birthdays.  It took me about 6 hours in total to make but she is well worth the time spent.  It is the very first time I had made a felted picture, or even a book for that matter, so considering that I really don't think its turned out bad at all.  Yet again I am proud of myself!

Its made out of felt, card board (cereal box), cartridge sketch paper and thread.

I started off making the felted picture first, using my faithful felting needles and some wool tops.

It took a little getting used to using the needles with the wool, and essentially 'paint' with the wool threads, but towards the end I think I really got the hang of it.  Enough control to write with it anyway.
Can't wait to try another felted picture now......

Next I put the book together.  I got 24 pieces of A4 cartridge paper, folded them in half in sets of 6, making 12 pages.  The pages needed trimming down due the inner pages of the fold protruding.  But I ended up with 4 sets of 12 pages (6 pieces of paper folded).
I then had to make a template for where I was going to thread the pages, and for where they were going to sit within the spine.  My spine ended up being 12mm wide ,with the pages threaded onto the cardboard I'd cut for the spine equally.

I then started putting the cover together, hand sewing pieces of felt to my felt picture for the front cover and the same colour pieces of felt for the back cover.  I cut 4 pieces of card board to the size I wanted the front and back cover.  I glued the sewn felted pieces I'd made on a piece of cardboard, one for the front and back, and the other 2 pieces of card board I glued onto the inside of the spine of the book.  The pieces of felt on the card board were then glued onto the cardboard glued on the spine, and the overlapping pieces of felt were trimmed, turned over, glued and then sewn on to the inside of the cover.
I then took a thin piece of felt for the spine to sew it onto the the front and back felt covers.  The book was completed by gluing patterned paper onto the inside of each cover.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Felted Creations

As I have been awaiting the arrival of my oven thermometer I thought Id try my hand at some needle felting.
I have already done a needle felted 'picture' for a present I am making for my friends birthday, but I am going to keep that little project a surprise until I have given it to them, just in the interest that they might read this and then my surprise will be spoilt :-(
However, I have made some little needle felted animals from the wool tops I had left.

I have two types of needle, a single, 25 Gauge triangular needle, and a 7 needled needle felting tool.

For these animals though I have mainly used the single needle as the tool didn't allow for details, though was handy for felting the balls for the body/head.

So first off I tried my hand at what started out as a cat.  Unfortunately though, it didn't quite go how I wanted it to go in my head and ended up looking like, what I think, is a dog.........

Although this technically did go wrong I was quite happy with it for a first attempt.

Next I tried my hand at an owl.

I felted 2 balls first, one in white and one in blue ( I picked these colours on the request of my Dad who is a Sheffield Wednesday fan, and these are their colours). 
On the blue ball, the head, I used my needle and a little more wool to create little ears on the top of the head.  I then felted these 2 balls together.
Next I felted the two wings separately before adding them to the body.
I then added the eyes, though I think these are a little bit off.

Over all though I am quite pleased with what I have done, and after all it is meant to be a learning experience.

Until next time <3 <3 <3