Saturday, 24 September 2011

Flower Loom Fun

The kids have been back at school for 6 weeks now, and i'm only just getting back to normality.
I discovered a flower loom at my mothers house over the summer and I've been creating lots of lovely brooches with it since. I've been using Drops Eskimo 100% pure wool so they are all lovely and soft. They come out at about 9cm diameter and are just perfect for the autumn season, despite the fact I am sitting here in glorious sunshine enjoying the last of the Scottish summer.
Please enjoy the photos. And if you wish to purchase one pop over to my Folksy shop using the link on the right.


Enjoy the last of your summer.


Thursday, 21 April 2011

Folksy and Facebook

It's been a while since my last post. I've been a little busy with something, although I'm not sure what! Perhaps life got in the way.
Loch Lomond in April
One of my best designs! Thomas is even on his way over the bridge.
Carsaig bay in March

As you know I sell a some of my crafts on Folksy. I've been struggling with the promotional side of things, where to and how to, so I have decided to set up a Facebook page to promote myself and my lovely bags, brooches and things.
I'm sure there must be some way of doing this without it taking hours and hours, but I've yet to discover how to do it quickly. I've finally managed to upload some photos and get the Folksy app to work on the Facebook page. Only took 3 hours (ish)
You can view it using this link JDArt
Now it's started I hope I can keep it updated and this blog too!

bye for now,


Monday, 7 March 2011

How to take apart & fix an X-Cut Impress Machine

Well this blog was going to be about my trip to the Hobbycrafts & Creative Stitches show at the SECC in Glasgow at the weekend, but on return I broke my X-cut Impress Machine trying out my new dies!
oops! I thought, then I was off to find the screwdrivers.

1. Under the rubber foot there are 4 screws - I took this photo after putting it all back together.
First unscrew these screws, once undone the base can be pulled off a small amount to reveal the split-pin holding the suction foot lever in place. This pin has to be removed (pliers are necessary) and then the metal bar holding the foot can be pulled out (this bar has a bend in the middle). Once removed the base will come off.
2. Your machine will now look like this from the bottom. These screws can be removed next, or left in place,  as I didn't know that at the time, I removed them.
3. The next step is to find the hidden screws under the label on the sides of the machine. They unscrew from one side only. Picture shows the nuts on reverse side. Once these screws have been removed, the sides can be pulled apart. The winding handle will stay attached.
4. Once inside I found the reason for my troubles, so many teeth had fallen off that the cogs wouldn't turn. I had always wondered why it rattled, and occasionally made a snapping noise when in use.
5. These cogs were fine, no missing teeth.
6. After a little thought, I decided that it would still work without these cogs. Only the lower bar would rotate with the handle, and the upper would be free rotating as the plates passed through. With a little help from my husband, we removed the offending cogs, and checked I was right. I was, it worked.
7. I then put it back together in reverse order, choosing not to replace the suction foot as I have never had much success with it anyway.

That fixed, I could try out my new Marianne Design dies, there were so many lovely ones I had trouble choosing. The X-Cut is quite a narrow machine, so that did help to reduce my choices.

These hearts are really lovely,  and I'm looking forward to trying out some new card designs with them soon.

The bird on a branch is really sweet, I wasn't quite sure it would fit through my X-cut, I promised my sister she could have it if it didn't, but it does so I get to keep it. I bought a Martha Stewart border punch too!
I also bought a dozen fat quarters, half blues, half greens, and some strips of material with tractors and pirates on. No doubt they'll be showing up in the blog soon.

bye for now, Julia

Monday, 28 February 2011

Flowers and things

It's been a flowery week - not just in my crafting world - i've also had a snowdrop in my garden, just the one, the others I planted back in October refused to produce flowers. Spring is finally on it's way.
Felted flower brooches.
Made using a variety of felted woolen jumpers and scarves.
Put your woolens on a hot wash and hey presto they've shrunk and felted.
Tumble drying can add to the effect, as can a second wash.

Cast on, Cast off Knitted flower brooches.
Read on for how to make them. Really easy.
I even intended to try out a ribbon one like these,
but didn't quite get there.
'I'm SEW Cheap' for how to make one yourself.

Cast on, Cast off Knitted Flower
It's really as easy at that. I've used 15mm needles and Sirdar Bigga Wool.
First cast on 10 stitches, then cast off those 10 stitches keeping the final loop on the needle.
Using that loop cast on 9 stitches so there are 10 on the needle, then cast off again.
Repeat this process 5 times, once for each petal of the flower. 
Leave a 5 inch tail for stitching up when casting off the final stitch.
You should be left with something that looks like this.
I pinned this out to make it easier to see

Tie the two tails together and then use them to tie in the petals to make a flower shape.
Add a brooch pin or alternative fastening.
If you can't be bothered with all that, take a look in my shop and buy one.

Striped Star with yellow button
Blue Rosette
Circle Star with blue beads
Striped Flower  with pink beads

Pink Star with polymer clay
pink sparkle button

Hope you've enjoyed my flowery day.

Do come again.


Friday, 18 February 2011

From skirts to bags

Own me £21.50
A selection of bags I have made this week. All these bags have been recycled from skirts. Read on for a how to on the bottom bag.
Own me £14.50

Own me £14.50

Firstly find an old Telegraph Magazine (well any magazine will do, someone just happened to leave this one lying around) and take off the cover. Cut 2 pieces of fabric the size of the cover, One for the outside of the bag, the other for the lining. 

Next, taking each piece of fabric separately,  fold in half, keeping the outside of the fabric on the inside, and sew up both sides.
This step can be a little tricky. Cut a triangle of paper to help. (take a piece of paper and measure 1.5 inches from the corner in both directions and join to make triangle). Flatten the corner you have just stitched so the the seam you have sewn is directly on top of the fold line, pin paper in place and stitch across corner.

Placement of paper triangle

Right side of fabric after stitching corner

Once you have stitched the corners, place lining and outer corners together and stitch to hold in place. See photo below.

 Next you need to think about how to finish the bag with a top handles. As this bag is from a skirt I have used the waistband. Firstly I shortened it. Then I used a strip of fabric to make the handles. As the waistband was already stitched at the top I had to unstitch a little section for each handle to slot into.

Once the handles were in place I attached the magnetic clasp.
For a good demo on fitting magnetic clasps look here.
Now time to sew up the bag.
Take time to ensure that it all lines up correctly and use plenty of pins to hold it in place whilst stitching.
I stitched the top to the bag, and then stitched around the top of the top to fix handles into place.

Now if all that is too much like hard work - take a look in my shop and buy yourself a bag.



Thursday, 3 February 2011

From 17 squares

It's amazing what can be done with seventeen 3"squares. This pattern came from a friend of my mothers and can be turned into any sized bag you like, just change the size of the squares.

Don't forget to add lining and handles, I used some more of the camouflage to make the handles and some plain lining. This one is quite small so I don't think it need a catch/clasp.

I think i'll have a bit more of a play with this design and see what sizes I can come up with. It lends itself well to becoming a reversible bag, and could have several inner and outer pockets on a slightly larger sized one.

 On a completely different note - I discovered my first snowdrop of the year today, and it was in my garden.


Friday, 28 January 2011

My new handbag

My old handbag has been falling to bits for quite a while now so this week along with one hundred and one other tasks i decided to make myself a new one.
Here is the finished article and some photos of it in the making.

Mostly i used an old pair of jeans, and yes they were not the usual blue colour. The cowgirls came from an old pair of E's pj's, the stars from a fat quarter i had lying around and the stripy cord from an old pair of E's trousers. The zip was recycled too, came from an old jacket, and the lining was made from sections of a sample booklet from a fabric shop.
I also used some really heavy interfacing, the kind that you would use for tie-backs, it was a little tricky to work with and it would have been better with something not quite so heavy, but there was no choice at the time.

Firstly I drew out a pattern on card so I could use it again another day. It started out as a rectangle and then I curved off the bottom corners, folding it in half to ensure that both sides were the same.
Then I cut out interfacing the size of the pattern pieces, one front, one back and one for the base, i didn't use any on the sides.
I then stitched the fabric directly onto the interfacing and trimmed back down to size. I overstitched the seams to add to the pattern.

Next I cut fabric for the sides, pockets for the sides and made the strap. Then i stitched it all together.

At this point i realised that i should have attached the strap sooner, so had to unstitch the sides and sew the straps on inside the side pockets! Hopefully i'll not be making that mistake again.

Lining next, with a little zipped pocket for hiding sweets in usually. Kids are always looking in my bag for them.
The zip was attached to lining using some more denim from the jeans. Broke a needle doing this! must remember to be more careful.

Next I attached the lining to the bag using a length of stripy cord trousers, machine stitched to the inside and then finished off by hand stitching it onto the outside.

All in all it took a little longer than expected, but it's exactly what I wanted from a bag, and the zip works and the strap is not held on with a safety pin as my old one was.

This bag is not for sale, but I have a selection of handbags for sale in my Folksy shop, go take a look.