Monday, 8 June 2009


Yes, it's true. It's my new favourite thing. Purely in the interest of diversifying the materials and styles of my brooches you understand.

I've been investigating other fabric flower techniques and taking full advantage of the opportunity afforded by my DH & DD trotting off to the swimming pool on Sunday morning I managed to get round to having a a private play with some organza and a candle (ooo Mrs!).

Here's my lovely pile of shrinkly meltage.

(what a rubbish photo this is)

For an intelligent tool using animal, it took me a surprisingly long time to work out I would burn my fingers less frequently if I held the little bits of flimsy of fabric with a pair of tweezers (I have the same problem when using a hot glue gun - wow, that stuff is really really hot!)

The technique is simplicity itself - ensure you choose fabrics with some synthetic content as the idea is to melt the fibres causing it to shrink and distort and become stiff and hard
in places (as previously mentioned, OOO Mrs!). You end up with effects not unlike those you get from Tyvek only its much more delicate. Cut the fabric into various sized circles (or other shapes if you want experiment), then light your candle and melt away!
Different fabrics distort at different rates, so you need to go steady to start with and find each fabrics optimum distance - hold it above the candle and bring it down into the heat - (the idea is to use the heat not the flame itself), though a couple of the bits I used were prone to going up like fireworks at the drop of a hat, hence the tweezers/tongs/asbestos suit & bucket of water being useful tools to have about your person when doing this (if you happen to know a rufty tufty fireman, it may be a good idea to invite him round before you start). Aim to do the edges of the fabric first - this will give a nice edge and stop any fraying, then make a couple of passes to the centre of the cirlcle to give the suggestion of flower petals.

Once you have a bag full of shrinkly stuff, its up to you what you do with it. You can use it to embellish other pieces, add to collages to give 3d-ness to your work, combine several pieces to make an attractive brooch or hair ornament - The first picture below shows a couple of different colours of organza coupled with some synthetic satin (the kind that's shiny on one side and matt on the back), some stretch crushed velvet and a needlefelted ball studded with some seed beads - a brooch back stitched to the back, hot glue to stick the layers together and voila, my first fabric only brooch. Yes I know they've been done before by many different people in many different ways, but this was MY first one, so bum to you. Next time I shall experiment with my hot air gun, though I suspect the ferocity and broad spectrum of the air current will be less successful than the more focussed heat of a small candle flame.

So then I experimented a little using the shrinklies as an extra layer in my crochet brooches and it worked very nicely adding an intensity of colour rather than an extra colour hit - I like the slightly foamy effect you get.

I have another idea for some earrings I'd like to try - making a stack of shrinklies about the size of a 5 pence piece, then combining with beads on a headpin, but making shrinklies that small means I need to concentrate really hard and have that rufty tufty fireman to hand (mainly to rub aloe vera onto my poor burnt fingers or any other body part that may get injured in the pursuit of art - NB it is extremely inadvisable to do this naked - however, if you can persuade the fireman to get his kit off, then GO FOR IT)

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

A very good question

If it is true that every action has an equal and opposite reaction, why does a task expand to fill the time allotted to it, but time does not expand to accommodate the tasks you wish to fill it with?

I have not done anything with a crochet needle, beads or yarn for three days straight. It's wrong. Just plain wrong.

Monday, 4 May 2009


Something good! For the first time in I don't know how long, I actually picked up a paintbrush and this was the result. Something bad! I don't have enough hours in the day to start painting again. I'm like a dog between twenty seven lamposts - where do I start? where do I stop? Eeny meeny........cup of tea, yes, that will help.

Damn - we've run out of teabags.

Friday, 24 April 2009

A list of things

Ok, so I am doing a lot of thinking and looking at the moment, and having marvellous, but fleeting ideas about things I want to try (depending on which website I'm currently viewing), so I'm making a list, so that the possibility of things actually happening in reality rather than being interesting mind experiments are increased. Well, maybe not, but we shall see. This is by no means an exhaustive list, and I think I shall do some follow up posts with links & interesting stuff as I get to things.

[BTW, talking of mind experiments, does anyone else get excited about ideas when viewing other artists sites, immediately investigate the techniques involved by going on a little web ramble, rehearse said techniques mentally while doing so (assuming you don't go off on a tangential sub-ramble) and then come away feeling like you have actually acquired the technique, bought the materials needed (for a very good price on ebay, naturally), received your parcel from your favourite postman - (you know, the one that always wears shorts, whatever the season or weather), opened said parcel and investigated your new booty, having sent your family out on some time consuming errand that will give you some undisturbed booty time - (do I mean that, or is booty time something different?!), created some fabulous objet
, had an itinerant gallery owner knock on your door to enquire whether by chance you have any fabulous objets for sale, sold the fabulous objet for an obscene amount of money, resigned from your day job, and moved to Patagonia to spend the rest of your days in a palace with a room for every craft you can imagine and no one to tell you to tidy up. Anyone? Maybe it's just me then. ;-)]

1. Find out more about glue.

I regularly use PVA, gluesticks with my hot glue gun (stick 'em up, haha!), Pritt & superglue. (ooooo - ever had one of those moments when the word you've just written is correct, but just looks weird? Having one now a propos of glue - glue - glue - glue - just doesn't look right!) Anyway, where was I? In looking at sites and blogs involving altered books (more of which later) I realise that there's a whole world of adhesive out there that I really don't know much about. Some are attractive to me simply because of their name - eg; ModPodge - I don't know what it does, but I simply MUST have something on my shelf that goes by that name (it won't always be on the shelf, sometimes I shall hold it up against my cheek and whisper "aaah, modpoge, lovely, lovely modpodge). Others may offer answers to ideas I've had previously about hardening pieces of crochet, yarn and fabric for use in jewellery and sculptural pieces. Anyhow, I did come across a great blog yesterday while I was webrambling (wambling? no?) that was all about glue, but I forgot to bookmark it, or blog by mail or write it down or do anything sensible like that, so I may have to try to retrace my steps.

2. Create some ATC's both in textile and watercolour/mixed media, for trading with friends here AND getting involved in online swaps and challenges in general.

Nothing more to say on this one really, though I have some ideas to use the shrunken clingfilm parcels technique I played with a couple of years ago (see pics) to produce these, as well as needlefelted & painted versions.

I very much like the idea of swapping, and receiving all sorts of exciting packages through my letter box,a nd I also like the idea of involving myself with some of the myriad daily/weekly/monthly challenges going on out there - not just for ATC's but needlfelting, watercolour - anything really - I just need to get myself a bit more organised and discover an extra 22 hours per day.

3. Start commenting on other peoples blogs, because you're allowed to have an opinion and express it, Amanda.

Yeah - a tricky one for me - not being a natural party girl, I always feel a bit awkward butting into other people's conversations (that's how commenting on other folk's blogs tends to feel to me), BUT I must be brave and just do it - it must be such a comfort to see other folk out there just doing their stuff, "bloggin it" mostly for no reason other than they just want to share it. Having other people comment on your ideas and work must be like having someone knock on your front door just to say how much they like your daffs, or wanting to know exactly how you manage to get the best from your brassicas. Any way my April resolution is to comment freely when moved to do so and to try to be moved to do so at leat once a day.

4. Investigate Altered Books further and do some experimenting.
I've known about altered books for sometime, but I've never really investigated them to any extent and so haven't really understood what they're about. I've done a little bit of research now and have more of a handle on it, but have yet to "hear" the tune I want to play on them. It seems to me that altered books really should have something to do with the actual content of the book you are using, and not just have the book be a convenient prebound carrier for completely unrelated ideas that completely obliterate the original page content. [before I get hate mail from altered bookologists, I'm not saying that ALL altered books are necessarily like that].

Thursday, 16 April 2009

New ways to avoid getting on with what I' supposed to be doing!

As if I needed any more, I have now found a NEW way of prevaricating - I thought I was being SOOOO busy and efficient, taking pictures of bracelets and brooches to upload on to the Etsy shop, when all of a sudden I noticed how interesting they are in their own right - pornographic closeups of beads and textiles - vereh sexeh - just look!

So then, I started thinking about showing the bracelets in action - since I mention in their description that not only can you wear them, but you can use them to decorate your home, and I thought I ought to show some pictures of that.

And then, I started thinking about how to convey a sense of scale in the pictures, specially in the brooch photos - I don't want to have to measure each one as they're all pretty much the same size, but it's sometimes difficult to gauge the scale of items on Etsy, so I've been round the house looking for ineresting objects to include that will impart this, and tomorrow will experiment a little.

Monday, 13 April 2009

Etsy :: HouseworkCanWait :: HOUSEWORKCANWAIT

Etsy :: HouseworkCanWait :: HOUSEWORKCANWAIT

My finger has officially been pulled out and at last I have put some stuff on Etsy to sell!!!! How smug am I? Don't answer that, it's a rhetorical question. I've thought really hard about the whole image of the shop and how you get personality & memorability into an online store. I may have over egged things and just sound a bit bonkers though.

Also, joy of joys I have sold a card on RedBubble - to someone I DON'T EVEN KNOW! My cup runneth so over that I'm going to need a bigger mop.

Sunday, 12 April 2009

MOO | Design and print Business Cards, MiniCards and More |

MOO | Design and print Business Cards, MiniCards and More |

This is a really nifty site, that you can very easily link to your Etsy shop or your Flickr stream and import your images direct. Prices are very reasonable too

Wednesday, 1 April 2009


Needlefelted landscapes by me, myself, moi.

I'm very frustrated at not having enough time to sit down and do some more. The table is piled high with bracelet material at the moment and I'm not allowing myself to go back to the landscapes until I've finished at least 50, so that I have stock available on the shelf for upcoming craft fairs etc. Maybe the frustration will work in my favour when I do actually get to sit down and get busy with the felting needle....or maybe I'll just produce some very cross. wool

Saturday, 28 March 2009


It is a truth universally acknowledged, that an artist in posession of a blog must be in want of a post containing arty pictures of their work space.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009


WINTER TREES 1, originally uploaded by Manda Ward.

This is quite an old sketch, but I'm excited to see whether I can translate the looseness into felt.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Forest tales IV

Forest tales IV, originally uploaded by Polly Donnellan.

A very minimal rendering of the "trees against the skyline" totem from Polly Donnellan.

Tracks to where?

Tracks to where?, originally uploaded by Snowy Hoobinoo.

A new set of photos from Snowy on flickr has confirmed an idea I have been drawn to for a long while - the verticals made by a thick wood or clump of trees against a skyline - it's featured often in my paintings, it's about time I explored it in felt.

Monday, 23 March 2009

Hello, good evening and welcome

So, finally I have removed my finger, and have somewhere to think out loud for a bit. I'm hoping this blog will remember things, so I don't have to. Now, if it could just put the kettle on and put jam on my toast, do the washing, ironing, shopping ....