My boyfriend and I are big fans of the work of the Belgian illustrator and comic book artist Guy Peellaert – you may already have seen my Guy Peellaert Jeu de Massacre side table here. A couple of years ago in an amazing Dutch comic book store called Lambiek we discovered a comic book, Iris, that was kind of in the style of Guy Peellaert and we instantly fell in love with it.
Iris was created by Thé Tjong-Khing with writer Lo Hartog van Banda in 1968 and you should definitely try and find a copy of it if you like that pop-art style. There are much more striking images than the following one in Iris but, hey!, I have to work within my limitations – here is my copy of an image from Thé Tjong-Khing’s Iris, which is now hanging on the living room wall. Hope you like it:
My friend Tom is a fan of the author H.P. Lovecraft so I thought it would be nice to make him a Lovecraft badge for his birthday. I made this out of Shrinky Dinks plastic by copying someone else’s design (sorry, don’t know whose it is but it’s fabulous and I can credit your design if you contact me!) in Sharpie pen on the smooth side and then I coloured it in with pencil crayons on the rough side. I think it has come out fabulously well:
I’ve been experimenting a bit with Shrinky Dinks lately and I’ll definitely be making some more stuff with it – it’s so quick and easy to use and I’m a fan of quick results.
July is a busy month for me birthdays wise – I have to buy or make presents for 7 friends and because I am a lazy so-and-so any friends who have kids get a parcel of bits and pieces for them and their kids all in one go (I can’t remember when everybody’s birthday is, so I just remember the parent’s birthday instead and pop something in for the kiddies at the same time).
Anyway, one of my friends has 3 daughters so I made a bunny and a bear for his twin babies and a bunny brooch for the older daughter. I also made a bunny lavender bag for my friend Susan. I really like how the bunny and bear dolls came out, even though they’re not perfect. The pattern I used for this was designed by Hillary Lang (I have her Wee Wonderfuls book, which is really nice but you can download the pattern and some other freebies here).
The bunny brooch is from Mollie Makes magazine and designed by Love From Hetty & Dave:
I like the border but I think I stuffed up the heart-shaped nose a bit – never mind, you learn from your mistakes…
“Le monde entier est un cactus, il est impossible de s’asseoir”, sang Jacques Dutronc. But he obviously didn’t have one of my soft and comfy cactus cushions to sit on, did he?
Remember I said before that I was participating in some “make stuff for other people” scheme? Well, the cactus cushion is part of that. My friend Sally said she’d like to participate and so I had to make something for her. The best way to make something you think someone will like is to ask them what things they like. I already knew that Sally liked cats a lot (me too – miaow!) but she said she also liked flowering cacti. So I looked for some good images of cacti and then thought about making yet another cushion. The cushion pattern I used is from Felt Sew Good by Christine Leech, which has some great (and simple to make) stuff in it. I just appliqued the cactus on the front, added some beads and sequins and embroidered it a bit. It’s come out alright, even if I do say so myself.
But to go with the cushion I also made Sally a cactus pincushion from a pattern in Mollie Makes magazine (which I adore) designed by the Felt Mistress. If you’ve not seen the Felt Mistress’s work before, prepare to be jealous. It’s amazing – especially the Serge Gainsbourg doll she made for her partner who runs the Draw Serge! website. Head over there if you love Serge Gainsbourg.
Anyway, I am digressing now. Yes, the pattern was in Mollie Makes and I stumbled across it again whilst trying to decide what to make for Sally. I’d kind of decided on the cushion but really fancied having a go at making the pincushion too, so I decided to make both. Here’s my first attempt at a Felt Mistress style cactus pincushion, which was fairly simple and very quick to make:
And, finally, not at all cactus related but just because she loves cat very much indeed – I decided to make Sally a cat brooch. Another pattern from Mollie Makes, this time designed by Love From Hetty & Dave, but adapted by me (the original was for a bunny, so I just improvised a bit and did my own thing):
It’s hand-sewn and made out of artificial leather, felt and sequins with a bit of embroidery embellishment. I did make some bunny brooches too, but they’re not for Sally (sorry!). So, that’s creative project no. 2 done and I hope that Sally likes her bundle of stuff. I just have one more creative pledge to go now – and I still can’t remember what this creative project was that I promised to participate in…
One of the first crafty workshops I attended was at The Make Lounge in London (now closed down, sob!) – it was a lampshade making class. Making lampshades is incredibly easy to do and I enjoyed it so much that after I made this one at the class:
I decided to make another one straight away and bought some posh fabric especially for the job. It’s a Liberty art fabric designed by John Squire from The Stone Roses (no, I’m not a big fan of The Stone Roses, I prefer this kind of solo “material”, thank you!) which has a strong 50’s feel to it. I do really like the design but part of me wishes I’d bought the Edwyn Collins bird fabric instead. Anyway, the lampshade looks great:
The last lampshade I made was for my friend Tim. Remember the Hector cushion? Well, this time I made Tim something really special – a Hector lampshade complete with applique logos in 2 different colourways and 2 Hector figures, finished with embroidery and fabric painting. It was a lot of work but I bet no one else has got a Hector lampshade:
I’m thinking about doing some more custom lampshades but it’s just finding the time – I have so many projects on the go and so little time!
My friend Delia is a big fan of Lee Hazlewood. So am I but I would say that Lee Hazlewood is to Delia what Serge Gainsbourg is to me, so there is some kind of silent agreement between us that Lee is Delia’s because she loves him just a little bit more than I do. Anyway, I’ve made Delia a few Lee Hazlewood bits and pieces over the years:
First up was the little clutch bag:
This was drawn onto calico, embroidered and then stitched to red felt. I used some water soluble cross stitch canvas so I could stitch the name on the bag.
Earlier this year I made some jewellery with Shrinky Dinks – it’s really good fun but you have to experiment a lot with protective coatings and varnishes as some of them smudge the images. Here are some Lee and Nancy clip-on earrings and Lee keyring, necklace and badge:
Then last night I finally finished a Lee cushion, which has taken me ages to do – simply because I kept on getting it wrong. The first attempt made Lee look like a mustachioed version of Simon Cowell as I couldn’t get one of the eyes to look right, and the second attempt was to do an image transfer with Mod Podge which didn’t go too well either (there must be a knack to it that I haven’t yet mastered…). Finally I stuck to just drawing it on and then using a fabric paint pen and fabric paint. I think it’s come out really rather well. I kind of wanted to keep it myself (sob!) but I shall just have to make myself a Serge cushion instead:
I bought a kit to make a felt log from My Imaginary Boyfriend who make lovely stuff which you should check out. I’m not sure why My Imaginary Boyfriend decided to make logs and log-making kits but I wanted one so my real life boyfriend could have his very own Log Lady log – we’re big fans of Twin Peaks here. Anyway, this was the first time I ever did blanket stitch (what can I say, I’ve led a sheltered life…) so I learnt a new skill. My boyfriend loves this log and it’s strange but it must be like some kind of comfort blanket or something – whenever people visit us they seem to pick up the log and hold it. Luckily it hasn’t influenced anyone to tell us cryptic stories about deathly drumbeats, being angry at the fire or how there is sadness in the world…
As above, so below: