Chicken Weaving – not with real chickens!

My crafty friend, Lorie, and I like to go and have a bash at new crafts now and again and this time Lorie found a willow weaving course so we could weave our own chicken.

Well why wouldn’t you?

The course was run at Farnham Maltings by Judith Needham, who teaches basket making and willow weaving in Surrey and Hampshire.  She was a very knowledgeable and encouraging teacher with a structured but relaxed teaching style.  Most of the time she just left us to get on with it, which both Lorie and I appreciated.

Judith had models on display for inspiration; pecking chickens and a cockerel.  You could also choose a design or other animal if chickens weren’t your bag.  We chose cockerels!

After a brief explanation on the types on willow we could use, we were presented with our metal hoops (to become chicken legs later) and a big wooden block to support our creation.

We started off by making a rugby ball type shape as the building block for the body of the chicken which had to be woven onto the metal hoop. Apparently this is massively structurally important and you can’t skimp on it.

The next stage was to extend the ball to add on the chest area of the cockerel.  Judith produced some photos of cockerels so we could get an idea of the form we were aiming for.  The long lengths that were woven in started off as the tail feathers, were woven through the body and then bent and woven back into the body again to secure.  This was repeated until the chest was full enough. We also did the legs at this point with a different type of willow, the red coloured one, by wrapping the willow tightly around the metal and then weaving it into the body to secure.

The final part was to make the comb and beak, add an eye and more tail feathers if required. By this stage, mine had grown quite large and I felt he’d developed quite a character so rather than just having a beak, I decided to have him crowing, probably loudly!

And this is him, Roger The Rooster, back in the garden.  It was my intention to have him guard the veg patch from marauding pigeons but I haven’t yet found a block of wood big enough to support him!

Tone-on-Tone Dandelion Wishes

If you are new to card making, it can be overwhelming, not to mention expensive, choosing which items of kit to buy as there are so many things which people deem to be indispensable.  It doesn’t have to be like that though.  Choose one or maybe two stamp sets that you love and can immediately imagine what you’d make with them, add a couple of ink pads in your favourite colours plus a black one, some white card stock and you’re off to a good start.  You can easily build on this foundation purchase once you develop your style and preferred mediums and colours.

So, my first card project to share with you is a tone-on-tone card using the Stampin’ Up! Dandelion Wishes stamp set – an absolute favourite of mine, I can’t ever imagine getting bored of it!  It involves a bit of sponging, some stamping and a single colour of ink and cardstock.  The great thing about Stampin’ Up! is that there is matching cardstock for each ink colour, with the addition of coordinating embellishments like ribbon, twine and rhinestones.  It takes away the guesswork and ensures your projects have a coordinated look.

For this card, I used:

  • White card base: 11.5” x 4⅛”, scored at 5¾”
  • Rich Razzleberry mat layer: 5½” x 3⅞”
  • White inner layer: 5½” x 3⅞”
  • White topper layer: 5¼” x 3⅝”
  • Two 5” x 3” post-it notes
  • Stampin’ Up! Dandelion Wishes stamp set
  • Stampin’ Up! Rich Razzleberry Ink Pad
  •  A piece of sponge or a sponge dauber
  • Scratch paper for working on – it can get a bit messy
  • Stampin’ Up! Basic Rhinestones (optional)

Using small pencil marks, mark on your white topper layer where you want your coloured panel to be.  I did 1” and 2½” from the left-hand side.  Tear a narrow piece from the sticky edge of the post-it note, ensuring there’s still some sticky area left.  Or alternatively you can leave the edge straight if you prefer that look.

Apply the post-it masks to the topper, roughly in line with your pencil marks and press down well.  Erase the pencil marks if you can still see them.  Put this onto a piece of scratch paper as you’ll be sponging off the edge of the card.

Dab the sponge onto the ink pad and apply the ink using small circular movements starting on the post-it note at the top of the card and working onto the card.  Slowly work the sponge down the card as the amount of ink reduces so that you get a graduated effect with the top of the card being darker than the bottom.  Once you’re happy with the effect, carefully remove the masks and leave to dry a little.

Using Rich Razzleberry ink, stamp the triple dandelion image so that the stalks are just off the bottom of the page.  Position it centrally in the lighter section of the inked panel. (A stamp positioner like the Stampin’ Up! Stamparatus is really handy and I found it improved the quality of my stamping no end.  But it’s not essential; you may well be a championship stamper using blocks or woodmount stamps.   I wasn’t!)  Stamp your sentiment in the same colour.

Holding the inner liner (make sure your fingers are clean!) lightly go over the edges of the liner with your sponge without inking it up again.  Stamp the other dandelion image in the bottom left corner, going off the edge and stamp the seed in the top right corner.

Stamp some images onto your envelope too.

Layer up the card.  Adhere the topper to the coloured mat layer and then adhere to the card base.  Add the liner to the inside.

Optional: Add one of each size of rhinestones to the centre of the dandelions for a bit of extra zing!

You’re all done!

Variations

If you use a stamp positioner, like the Stamparatus, you could emboss the dandelions after you’ve stamped them using Versamark ink and clear embossing powder to add a little extra shine.

Change up the look by using coloured card for the topper and emboss the image and sentiment using Versamark ink and silver embossing powder.  I also added some second generation stamping along the bottom edge, lightly sponged the edges with the matching ink and stamped the seed images around the edge of the mat layer.

Another option, if you have more ink pads, is to create an ombre effect by blending one colour into the next to make a seamless transition – another post to follow with this technique.

Whichever method you try, you’re sure to produce a stylist result!

Images ©Stampin’ Up!

Hello and welcome!

Hello and welcome to my craft blog!  I’m completely new at this lark and so out of my depth as I’m not the least bit computer savvy…..but I’m learning.   Every day’s a school day, as they say.  I had been reticent to do a blog as I thought it would impinge on my crafting time, allowing me to do less.  In fact, it inspires me to do more and gives me a kick up the bum to get on with it rather than surfing around the internet looking at things I could be doing.

So, I thought I’d write my first blog post about my craft room.  Now I wouldn’t say that I’m the messiest person in the world but there are times when I could give him/her a good run for their money!  After walking into my craft room this morning and it looked like a whirlwind had been through there, I decided to have a big tidy up, which then also turned into a bit of a clear out. It got worse before it got better but very cathartic, if you’re in that kind of mood.

I found 2 quilts in various stages of completeness, some half-finished Christmas cards from last year and off cuts of curtain fabric from a house I bought about 23 years ago!  I hate throwing stuff out but enough’s enough!  Along with the curtain off cuts went small random sized bits of curtain heading tape, unfinished clothing projects from years ago that probably wouldn’t fit me now even if I wanted to finish them and a myriad of miscellaneous fabric and craft stuff that I’d been holding on to ‘just in case’.

IT FELT GOOD!

I then put everything away again and made the place nice and neat.  Now all I have to do is keep it that way!  Easier said than done.  I am rather a messy worker and I also get quite easily distracted and will start another project without finishing, or even putting away, the first.  (It’s become apparent why my Mum used to call me ‘Lorraine The Unfinished’ when I was young!)  Hence why there were pieces for a dress pattern, zips, various fabrics and a load of card making stuff all over my desk this morning.

Must.  Try.  Harder.

Anyway, that’s probably too many words already.  I hope you enjoy my posts and they inspire you to get out and get crafting…..or at least have a good tidy up!