Week 4, 3rd Finger Left Hand!

Well, whilst I didn’t actually manage to get anything completed this week, I’ve got 2 projects in the planning stages – I just need my wedding guests to help me complete them now!

PROJECT 4 – BUNTING

 

I’m taking my display tree along to the ceremony and leaving a selection of pretty tags of various sizes for guests to sign their names on, and maybe write a little message if they’d like to.

 

 

 

The idea is to use the completed labels as ‘flags’ on a row of bunting which I’ll probably hang on the fireplace.   I’m thinking about interspersing these wedding labels with some other bunting, possibly maps, but the jury’s still out on what the finished bunting will look like.  I think I’ll need to see the wedding tags first and take it from there.  So, watch this space for the finished project!

 

PROJECT 5 – PROGGY HEART PICTURE

The finished look of Project 5 is much clearer in my mind, although I’m still considering how to finish it off.
Over the past few years I’ve done a fair bit of ‘progging’ and really enjoy it.  For those of you unfamiliar with this traditional mat and rug making craft, the Shipley Art Gallery in Gateshead have a fabulous  introductory booklet that gives some of the history as well as instructions on how to make your own mats.

You start out by drawing your design on the back of some hemmed hessian.  The hessian is a lovely fabric to work with, but it frays quite badly so definitely needs hemming.  It’s also a good idea to wear an apron, or put a cloth over your lap whilst you’re working, or you’ll end up covered in bits of it too!

I knew that I wanted my picture to be a heart, but you can be as creative as you like with your design.  You can start drawing it out in chalk, which you can simply rub out and re-draw until you’re happy with the final version.  At that point, simply go over the chalk with a felt pen.  You’ll be progging over the felt pen line so you don’t need to worry about it being visible from the front.

Once you have your hessian prepared and your design marked on, you need a selection of fabric.  Traditionally, old clothes would have been cut up to make rugs with, and this is always a good option.  However you can use any fabric, and it’s a good idea to experiment with different thicknesses on a spare piece of hessian to see the different effects you can achieve.  Any fabric that frays can be cut on the bias and this should lesson the fraying a bit.

Prepared fabric and proggy tool

 

The pieces should be very roughly 5cm by 2cm, but it really isn’t an exact science.  Personally I really like the look of uneven pieces as they lend a certain rustic charm to the finished item.  For speed I cut a lot of my fabric using a rotary cutter and quilting ruler, but cutting it by eye using fabric scissors is just as good.  For my heart picture I’ve gone for cotton fabrics and used an old shirt of Harry’s, a top I bought from a second hand shop in Skye when we were over there last year, and a selection of Liberty fabric that I’ve collected over the last few years.

 

Okay, once your hessian is prepared and you have a selection of fabric to work with, you’re ready to start!  It really is a simple technique and quite therapeutic too.  There’s an excellent video tutorial showing exactly how to prog, but there are really just a few simple steps:
1. Have the back of the work facing you at all times.
2. Begin by making a large hole with the progger tool at any point along the outline of your design.
3. Using the progger, push one end of a piece of fabric about half way through the hole you’ve just made, from the back to the front.
4. Make another large hole about 3/4 threads away from the first, still following the line of the felt pen outline.
5. Using the progger, push the other end of the fabric through from the back to the front into this second hole.
6.  Repeat the steps above with the second piece of fabric ensuring you start the second piece in the same hole that the first piece ended in.
7. Continue to fill in all of the design outline, before completing the rest of the picture.

Front of the canvas showing outline completed

I’ve progged the outline of my heart so that our wedding guests get an idea of what the finished picture will look like.  I’ll leave the basket full of fabric, the progger tool and some instructions and will hopefully get the chance to show everyone what to do too.

I still need to decide on how to finish the picture.  At the moment I’m thinking about maybe hemming the top and bottom and sliding through a large twig, attaching some twine and hanging it up that way but, as with the bunting, I think I’ll need to see the finished picture first to get an idea of what will look best.

I’m really excited to think we’ll end up with a lovely  piece of art for our home that will be full of happy memories as all of our wedding guests will have helped to complete it 🙂

Project 3 Update

Yeah, I’ve finally got around to finishing off the jars I was decorating to go on the tables at the wedding, so that’s another thing to cross off the list 🙂

With just over a week to go to the Big Day, there are just a few little jobs left to do, but all the big things are sorted now, so I’m really enjoying the build up to the day itself.

Northside Farm, Horsley

I went along to our wedding venue (Northside Farm in Horsely) a few days ago for the final run through with Olivia, the lovely owner.  It was the day of Storm Hector, so an interesting journey, with plenty of branches on the roadside and piles of leaves everywhere.  Once I got to the venue though, the sky was bright blue and the view across the valley was incredible.  If we get a sunny day for the wedding it will be wonderful!

I’m really looking forward to going back next Sunday to set the room up ready for the ceremony on Monday.  With it just being a small do, it shouldn’t take long, but I can’t wait to put all the flowers out and make it ‘ours’.  I’m also really looking forward to bringing my jars back home afterwards and using them at home as they’ll be a lovely reminder of the Day 🙂

 

HoneyB inspecting my handiwork!

So, last week I’d got as far as decorating the jars with the tissue paper, but still needed to finish them off.  I had a good root through all my old bits of ribbon and ironed anything cream or yellow that I thought would go and that was the right thickness to cover the rim of the jars.

I tried them all out, picked my favourite bits, then used my glue gun to attach the ribbons to the jars before popping on a button or two to cover the join and add a bit of detail.  Simple!

 

 

Just waiting for some flowers …

The plan is to mix the decoupage jars that I’ve decorated with some blue ones I found in a local charity shop during one of my regular visits.

All that’s missing now is the flowers!!  I’ll post some photos after the wedding so you can see them in situ and let me know what you think 🙂

 

 

 

Week 3, Project 3, £0

Gosh, this last week has just flown by!  I had plans to get so much done but with the wedding coming up (only two weeks today!) other things have taken over.  I was determined to try and keep to my crafting schedule though, and as my 3rd project is another one for The Big Day, I just had to crack on!

My lovely yarn bowl present along with its gorgeous tissue wrapping paper

Now, during a recent crochet course, one of the lovely ladies gave me a beautiful yarn bowl as a wedding present, and it came wrapped it 2 sheets of wonderful tissue paper which I loved.  I’ve really enjoyed using the bowl, but I didn’t want to throw the paper away, so I kept the sheets out on my table in the craft room in the hope that if I saw them every day, then a use for them would spring to mind – and it did!

 

I knew I wanted to decorate some jam jars to use for flowers on the tables at the wedding, and my initial plan was to use wire and beads to make little decorative handles for them.  However, looking at the tissue paper, I decided to have a go at some decoupage instead.

 

 

Getting ready to start

If you’ve never tried decoupage before, it’s really easy and very satisfying.  The name comes from the French verb ‘to cut out’ and it’s a brilliant way of decorating all sorts of different items, as well as making use of scraps of pretty paper too.

There’s a great little beginners’ guide to decoupage which will explain exactly how to get started here .

 

About to set off!

Depending on what you’re doing, you can carefully cut the paper pieces for decoupage, or tear them to give a nice rustic look which is what I wanted for this project.  I set to work tearing up the tissue paper into smallish pieces, and got my trusty PVA/water mix out again (as you can see, I’m starting to run low so will definitely need to replenish my supply soon!)  Then it was simply a case of covering an area of the glass with glue mix, then popping a piece of tissue paper on top and covering the paper with the glue mix too. Next I placed another piece of tissue on the glass, so that it slightly overlapped the first piece on an angle, and covered that in glue mix too.  I then worked my way around all of the jar. adding one piece of tissue at a time, and ensuring that the tissue pieces overlapped as I went so that the glass was properly covered.

Glasses drying upside down in the sunlight

Once I’d layered up the tissue paper on each of the glasses, I picked each up in turn and slowly turned it round inspecting carefully to make sure there were no gaps.  I realised I’d missed two or three little bits but it was easy enough to cover them up with another piece of paper, before leaving them all to dry on the kitchen window ledge.  Once they were dry I gave them all another coat of PVA/water just to protect the tissue paper as it’s so thin and I wanted to make sure it was properly attached to the glasses.

I could have put more layers of tissue on the jars too but I really liked the delicate look that I’ve got so far so decided to leave it at that.  As you can see from the photographs, I’ve left the rim of the glasses clear (where the tops would screw on) as I’m thinking about putting some ribbon on them.   I’ll have a little experiment and post a photo of the final jars once they’re all complete 🙂

So there you have it, project number 3 finished (well, almost!)  Now, what to do next …

 

Week 2, Project 2, £0!

Well, I was wondering what to make for my second project when I walked into the wonderful Recycling Peasant on a spur of the moment trip to  Darlington.   I’d never been into the centre of Darlington before, but Mr HoneyB was attending a writing event so I decided to have a wander around the shops while he was busy.  I was just on my way back to meet him when I saw an intriguing looking alleyway, so I just had to explore and I stumbled across a quirky little studio.

The Recycling Peasant in Darlington

 

The Recycling Peasant is run by the lovely Jackie whose mission is to make use of things others no longer want.  I bought a gorgeous pair of earrings from her which she put in a pretty little paper box that she’d made.  I told her all about my ’52’ project and she suggested that I make a box for my second item.

 

After a quick demonstration from Jackie showing me how to fold a square of paper into a box, I was all fired up and began thinking of what my own box would be for, and what I would use to make it.  With my wedding looming, I decided something for The Big Day might be a good idea, and plumped for a little box to put our wedding rings in.  The next decision was what paper to use?  It had to be something I already had so I wouldn’t have to spend any of my precious budget, and I remembered the old road atlas I’d found when I was clearing out the boot of the car the previous day.  As we’re off to Skye for our honeymoon, I thought that would be the most appropriate map to choose, and there were 2 pages to work with which was great.

Completed box made from pages from an old atlas

After a bit of manoeuvring I managed to position one of the maps so that Teangue, which is where we’ll be staying, would be on the front of the box and more or less in the middle, so I was ready to cut out my square and get folding.

If you fancy having a go at making one of these little beauties yourself, there’s a fab little video tutorial here.  Once you’ve made your box base you just take a very slightly larger square of paper and fold it in exactly the same way to make a lid – easy peasy!

 

Varnishing the box with a PVA & water mixture

 

I soon realised that the thin atlas pages wouldn’t be very sturdy, so decided to give the box a few coats of varnish.  I used PVA glue that I’d mixed 50/50 with water.  In fact I have a jar of this on permanent standby in my craft room as it comes in handy for so many things!

 

Mini crocheted mat

Once the box was finished, I thought that the rings might rattle around a bit, so had a look for a smaller container I could place inside.  Now, I have to admit to having a bit of a thing for little boxes and tins, and it just so happened that I’d kept the gorgeous little tin we got from the Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh (which is where we were having afternoon tea when the lovely Mr HoneyB proposed!)  As well as the afternoon tea, they gave us lots of little goodies to take home, including a gorgeous mint in a little tin which turned out to be the perfect size to fit inside my box.  To finish it off, and to make sure the rings would sit snugly, I crocheted a little circular mat using a Mermaid’s Purse Yarn that was specially dyed for me for the wedding by the lovely Sheena.  She even named the colourway ‘I Do’!

So there you have it, one custom made box complete with mini tin just waiting for two wedding rings to make their home inside 🙂

The finished box, plus tin, all ready for the rings!

Week 1, Project 1, £0!

Well I’ve had such a lovely week starting my 52 projects in 52 weeks challenge, and been overwhelmed at the support I’ve received.  Thank you all!
As you may remember, I decided that my first project would be to make 2 little mice that I can use to decorate my fruit and cheese wedding cake when I get married in a few weeks time.  I scoured the internet hunting for a suitable free pattern and came across this little beauty from Janette at The Green Dragonfly  There are some truly fabulous free patterns available on-line (check out Ravelry if you’re not already a member), but one of the key criteria for my mice was the height, as I wanted them to be big enough to be visible, but not so big that they would swamp the display.  Janette’s pattern fitted the bill perfectly as the finished mice are about 8cm tall.

Hand-spinning Annie’s gorgeous dyed fleece all the way from Skye

I was definitely drawn to the ‘Dragonfly’ name when it came up on my pattern search, as the yarn I had in mind to use comes from the fabulous Dragonfly Studio on the island of Skye where we spent a wonderful holiday last year, and where we’ll be returning to on our honeymoon shortly.  Well, I say ‘yarn’, but it was actually hand-dyed prepared fleece that I’d bought from Annie who runs Dragonfly Studio, so it needed to be spun before I could use it.  Annie’s family have a small croft with some rare breed sheep and they prepare and dye the fleece to sell as well as making gorgeous knitted items themselves (and yes, the place really is as idyllic as it sounds!)  After an initial few attempts at hand spinning my fleece last year,  the tubs have sat on my shelf just waiting for the right project!  I can’t believe a whole year has passed since our visit to Skye, but thankfully I’ve got a spinning workshop booked with Annie when we go back as, whilst I managed to spin the fleece into a workable yarn that I could crochet with, it turned out to be more of an ‘art’ yarn than a nice, even 4 ply!  There were some definite ‘knobbly’ bits, and some extremely thin bits that almost snapped, but I’m telling myself they just add to the rustic charm of the whole thing and give the mice a bit of character!!

All that’s needed is a head!

The pattern itself was beautifully written with lots of photos and step by step instructions along the way so it was a really enjoyable project to crochet.  I particularly loved the part where Janette recommends using a stitch marker to keep tabs on how many rounds you’ve crocheted, but then writes, “I know some of you are going to go ahead and not use a marker (surely not!), so if you lose your place or end up a stitch or two out, you can always eyeball it”.  How many of us can relate to that!

The hardest part was definitely giving the little mice a face, and I think I may redo the mouths, but I’m really pleased with the finished result 🙂

Mr and Mrs Mouse

Crochet mice and After Eight cheesecake

 

The mice worked up quite quickly, but I’ve realised that if I’m going to get through 52 projects in 52 weeks, then I’m going to have to make use of every opportunity I can to craft.

 

 

 

Crochet mice and veggie flatbread

 

This was a lovely portable project, so I was able to take my crochet bag with me most places, which really helped.  I know this isn’t going to be an option for other projects, but I’ll just have to make the most of it whenever I can.  Any excuse for coffee and cake eh?!

 

 

The only thing left to do, is to find suitable names for the two little critters.  Any ideas folks? 🙂

52 Projects, 52 Weeks, £52!

Well, my little business has been going for just over two years now and lots has happened during that time!  HoneyBridge House has evolved from just making handmade books to offering workshops in book binding, then workshops in lots of other crafts too such as jewellery making and proggy mats.  Workshops are great fun, and I’ve met some truly lovely people, but it’s been difficult juggling lots of different crafts so I’ve recently decided to just focus on knitting and crochet.  This is allowing me to really hone my skills which I’m thoroughly enjoying, and I have to say it makes for a much tidier craft room too (although you’ll see from the photo that there’s still a long way to go!)

                       Things can only get better!

There are lots of wonderful things about    running your own business and working for yourself, and I really enjoy helping other people learn.  However I sometimes struggle with the lack of routine that I used to get from ‘regular’ work.  Workshops tend to be most popular at certain times of the year, and there are definite lulls early in the year and during the summer.  One of the other issues is that often I spend most of my time making items for workshops and not for myself (the danger of turning your hobby into your business I suppose).

Like many crafters out there, I have built up a rather impressive stash of fabric, buttons, wool, beads, paper etc etc, all of which I’m loathe to get rid of as you just never know when you might need them do you?!  So, I’ve decided to set myself a challenge … to make 52 projects, over 52 weeks and only spending no more than £52.  The idea is that I will finally be forced to raid my craft stash as I will try to make use of what I’ve already got rather than buying anything new, I’ll finally get to make lots of lovely things for myself, and I’ll have a bit of routine into the bargain by posting my progress every week.  What could possibly go wrong?!

And so to my first project …

Mr HoneyB and I are getting married on 25th June and I’m trying to incorporate a few handmade bits and pieces into the wedding.  I’ve made the cake myself from a recipe given to me by a wonderful friend.  It’s a lovely fruit cake (or at least I hope it’s going to be lovely!) and we’re having it plain with lots of gorgeous local cheeses as you can’t beat a nice bit of fruit cake and cheese can you?  Anyway, I was all set to buy some felted mice to display with it when I decided that 2 little crocheted mice would make the perfect first project.

I’ll post my progress on Monday and let you know how it goes … 🙂