The Cornershop. Lucy Sparrow

The lucky residents of Bethnal Green are about to have a wonderful new cornershop open up on a busy street corner. But this isn’t yet another Tesco’s Metro, although it looks just as well stocked – everything on sale in this shop has been handmade, by Lucy, out of felt. The project has been 7 months in the making and throws open its doors to the public today at 6pm.

To see Lucy Sparrow’s Cornershop blog click here.

This is exactly what a rainy day like today calls for, I could spend hours scrutinizing the photos, writing a mental shopping list of things to fill my cupboards with from this crafty corner shop. But not only is Lucy’s imaginative, immersive installation open for business daily until the end of the month, it will also be host to 12 workshops aimed at bringing together various local groups. In her blog Lucy tells us that the workshops will provide an opportunity for a shared making experience and discussion around the steady disappearance of cornershops all over the country.

I was interested to read that Lucy had secured part of her funding using Kickstarter. Now, I know I have spoken to a couple of people about Kickstarter recently, I have totally forgotten who exactly but you know who you are! The link to her Kickstarter proposal is here.

The time for fundraising is over now, but it is still an interesting read and explains a lot about her motivation for starting the project in the first place.

If you haven’t heard of Kickstarter then today is a good time to have a look at that too.There are loads of innovative people out there who would be doing such interesting things if only they had a bit of cash to help them get started. As you will see Lucy Sparrow far exceeded her £2,000 target, as did the guy looking for $10 to make a potato salad (which I notice is closing in two hours). I’m still slightly kicking myself that we didn’t pledge for this one

 

But hey, while I’ve been writing this post the sun has come out so it’s not all bad!

Hope the sun is shining where you are, if it isn’t I hope you’ve got everything you need for a blanket fort.

 

{How to} Make a felted rose

Video

So in the same week that I wrote my first guest post I find myself posting my first video tutorial. It’s not perfect but I’m really pleased with it.  I couldn’t wait to finish typing up the instructions to go alongside these photos before posting my video but they are on their way very soon.

Click here to go to youtube:

Rose tutorial24

Now THAT’S how you make felt.

Video

Once again thanks to the internet I find myself saying “OK, this wasn’t exactly what I was looking for but…”  I don’t think I can ever have claimed to make felt until I have a go at this!

Eggs!

I’ve been spinning and spinning the time turner I was given for my birthday but IFaulty time turner can’t manage to create even one extra  hour in my day. Back to elbow grease and self discipline I guess! I’ve been feeling a little flat about all the felt making and social media madness recently, I’ve been working hard and don’t seem to have much to show for it. So today I am focusing on the successes.image

I finished my first round of eggs this morning and I’m pretty pleased with them. These eggs have taken a little longer to hatch than I had hoped but I now have a clutch of about 40 done. Some of these sets will be gifts for family and friends, but I hope to get some on etsy and maybe find one or two fairs to take them to before Easter.

Usually I get all of my tops from World of Wool. Their roving is just gorgeous, lush wingham wool workscolours and great to work with. This time though I used a bag of Merino tops from Wingham Wool Works. A friend recommended them to me as she had used them on a felt making course and I have to agree that they are equally as lovely to felt with and good value too.  I love these pastel shades (not a phrase you can expect from me often), pics of the vivid brighter shades to come when I have finished the next batch.

While we are on the subject of Easter gifts I am also in the process of making thislittle guy as an Easter hunt jackpot prize. Depending how long he takes I might make a few.

unfinished Easter Bunny

A good productive day all round….and that’s not all I’ve done today but you’ll get to see the rest in good time…..

{How to} Care for your felted lantern.

crumpled lanterns

Whether your lantern has just started to soften and sag, or your cat has mistaken it for a comfy sleeping spot, the following steps will restore your lantern to its former glory.

You will need:

your lantern
a balloon
soap
hand hot water
a tea towel/ drying rack

  • Sit your lantern on a flat surface.
  • Inflate the balloon inside the lantern. The idea is that when you have inflated the balloon and tied a knot in the end, the knot will be roughly in the middle of the lantern opening. The curved top of the balloon gives the curved shape to the base of the lantern. When inflating the balloon it is important that the walls of that lantern should be taut over the balloon to avoid too many wrinkles, but not so tight that it puts pressure on the neck of the lantern. But there is no need to be overly precious.
  • Now we need to wet the wool. I always use hand hot water to wet the wool first and  just a touch of olive oil soap. (You can use a little of whatever hand/ dish soap you have by the sink.)  Agitate the wool gently, make gentle circular movements across the surface of the felt for 1 or 2 minutes. Trial and error has taught me that if you apply too much pressure you can end up forcing the balloon to bulge on the opposite side to the one you are rubbing and because the wool is wet, it can stretch the shape.
  • Rinse all of the soap out of the wool. This one needs to be done with cold water. Turn the cold tap on to a slow steady flow and holding the lantern close to the spout of the tap allow the fresh water to gently displace all of the soapy water.
  • Leave your lantern to dry. Apply some gentle pressure to press some excess water out or pat with a clean, dry tea towel and then it’s up to you. You can leave your lantern on a windowsill, on the radiator ( if you have the sort of radiator that has two raised lines across the top you will get lines in the bottom of you lantern, but there are worse things that can happen!) or you could also dry them upside down by resting them in a bowl. How long they take to dry will depend on so many things – how much you patted them dry, how thick they are, how warm the room is. I guess the best advice I could give you is don’t dry them with a hair dryer but don’t let them stay wet for so long that they start to smell like a damp sheep.
  • Pop the balloon and your lantern will be as proudly upstanding as the first day it was made.

If I haven’t made the process clear, or you’ve tried this and think I’ve missed something out please let me know, I’m only to happy to help and am always on the look out for new hints and tips!

Pictures coming soon!