Saturday, 21 May 2011

Trialing a craft kit

A crafting friend of mine, Claire from Beautiful Things by Claire Mackaness (look her up on facebook/twitter) has decided to start making craft kits. Before selling them though she asked for volunteers to trial the kits and give her a review so I volunteered to try out her tote bag kit.

I loved coming home on Thursday to find a little pink package on the mat. I know it’s only a small thing but it was the start of feeling like I’d got something special. As soon as I opened it I thought it looked very professional in the packaging and quickly opened the kit.

I have to say that I did find 5 pages of instructions a little daunting and wondered what I’d let myself in for but started to follow them step by step, running up and down the stairs to keep ironing various pieces of fabric, then coming down to sew them together.

It was simple to follow the instructions, so I needn't have been worried, and time flew by.

I also had a little hiccup adding the felt squares that covered the handle joins when it said ‘press the square for 10-15 seconds until the glue melts’. I literally pressed it and nothing happened. As someone who’d never seen sticky backed felt I didn’t realise straight away that it meant to press with an iron, oops! I felt very 'blonde' but I reckon Claire will not amend this before the kits go on sale.

I had another little mishap when my stitching didn't quite go straight- not due to my poor sewing skills obviously, there must've been something going wrong with the machine!!!!  or perhaps I was getting distracted by this going on near my feet.....

Around 75 mins after I started I had a completed, gorgeous tote bag.

So if you were to ask if I’d buy other kits the answer would be yes, as I found it easy and fun to do.  I reckon the kits will be a top seller in no time at all.
Good work Claire :o) Feel free to add a link to your etsy shop in the comments so people can easily buy them.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

fusing workshop

A few months ago I was contacted about running a workshop for 5 friends. This quickly grew to 7 friends and then to 9!! At this point I had a minor panic wondering how on earth I was going to fit 9 people into my house to teach them at the same time. I looked up hiring the village hall and thought about hiring extra tables to have a home but however I planned it out it wasn't going to work. I was also worried about being able to teach 9 people well enough so that they had individual help with their work. The only answer was to teach in 'shifts' with a group of 5 and then of 4 which thankfully the group were more than happy with.

The day started with tea, coffee, lots of chatter and a reunion with an old friend from down under. You could tell straight away that they were going to be great fun and were here for an enjoyable day whilst learning something new.

The coaster making went pretty smoothely but by the time they were onto suncatchers the making group were being 'helped' by their friends who couldn't resist giving suggestions on their designs. I guess it should have been predicted once they all had a basic understanding of working with the glass. It was quite nice really although they often joked about being in competition with the opposite group or telling them to stop heckling them- all good jesting :o)

Some chose to chill out in the garden reading some of my glass books and we all popped out to see the impromtu air show over head. I've never seen planes doing loop the loops over my house before today! Southend have their airshow in 2 wks so perhaps we saw their practice.

Friends 'helping' each other out.

The kilnful of glass created today. 9 coasters of varying design and glass cutting.

Gill who made the beach huts very nearly bought a piece like this last week in Burnham and was chuffed to bits to be able to make her own one.

At the end of the day I felt like I'd spent the day with my friends and was feeling about as chilled as they were and then came to shock of a clap of thank that's not something you get everyday :o)