Thursday, 15 May 2014

The green - eyed monster.

My owl made it to the exhibition. I did mean to have a perch for him, and I meant to write a poem about him too, but I couldn't get motivated.
I love the look in his eye, he's a bit 'put out' by the presence of 'Gary the Gargoyle'!

The Harmony Hill Craft Group Exhibition is on in the Island Arts Centre, Lisburn, until Saturday 24th May.
We are open 10am - 9pm weekdays and 10am - 4pm Saturdays, closed Sundays.

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Finishing off the owl.

The owl is finished.
There was a pattern for a little head piece along with the other pieces of the owl pattern.
I cut it out from a scrap left over from the furnishing fabric I'd made his body with.  I tacked a piece of the feathery chiffon to it, frayed the edges, and then couched on some of the cut-off threads I'd kept during the process of making him.
Then I stitched the head piece on to the owl.

I trimmed his claws and painted them black.

Today I took him outside in the sunshine for the photo call.  His claws do look a bit big!

My husband likes the back better than the front.

I'm just glad to see the back of him!

Friday, 4 April 2014

Stuffing and Wings.

            I found the owl's feet had hardened up more than I wanted when the glue had dried.
                     So I've stitched on some mohair wool to soften the look of them.
          I had a job pushing the needle through. I think the claws might be a bit big, I'm not sure.

                   I wrapped some stuffing round the wire before I pushed the claws up in to the legs.

                                                     Then I had a wrestle with the owl!

 Stuffing an owl is awkward. I gathered round the bottom of his legs and stitched it as tight as I could.

And the wires have to be snipped shorter. 

He's waiting for his wings... and a bit of tidying up.

 Then he'll fly away.  I decided I've finished with making creative stuff.
I want to do proper sewing.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

A little bit more.

Moved on a little bit more with the claws.
I've padded out the wire with some foam rubber and wound around the whole lot with old crochet thread.


Ripped some chiffon in to narrow strips....

...... moistened the strips with PVA glue ....

........the PVA makes it easier to mould the strips as you wind around the claws.

The wire tips will be shortened and painted.

               And I'll probably add some stitching to soften them up and hold it all together.

              Oh, I'm hoping these claws work and I don't have trouble getting him to stand up.

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Getting on with it.

Well, I had my mind focused on getting on with the owl this weekend but I've been given this book for Mother's Day and it's very tempting to start reading it.

It's written by Liz Trenow and the story revolves around a patchwork quilt.

I've been getting on with this piece of felt. It's going to be part of the group project for my craft group exhibition in May.
This is how it looked at the start.

The theme is 'Under the Water.'  


A week or so ago I was making a small set of wings.
Now I'm getting on with the owl again and I'm making a set of larger wings.
I had this piece of fabric in my stash.
It's like chiffon and it looks a bit feathery.

I cut out the wing pieces from tweed.  Each pair I'm making has a different finish.

For this pair I tacked the chiffon to one side then
I machine embroidered lines down the wing,

then slashed between the rows of stitching and frayed the edges.

For this pair below I machine embroidered then used the embellisher.

I've added some feathers and I'm assembling the wings.
 Not sure yet how I will attach them to the owl's body.

Now I've shortened the owl's legs.

Starting on the feet now ... using the wire that was holding together all my spare rolls of wire.

And I've wired on long legs to go up inside the owl, hoping that will make him more stable.
I don't know yet if these will work, or if the proportions are right.

And I'm holding off on reading my new book until I finish the owl.  It's forcing me to get on with it!

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Macaroons or Macarons?

"I saved you two macarons," my friend said when I called round.
"They came from Harrods."
"Ooh, lovely," I said.
"I had to eat them," she said, "You went off to England."
"I saved you the paper though," she said!

So I drooled over the piece of paper and thought about what might have been.

In Paris, the Laduree chain of pastry shops is famous for its macarons.

Then, last week, when I was in Sainsbury's I saw a macaroon kit.  
It got me thinking of the macaroons my mum used to make - they were almond with a cherry on the top - and the most exciting bit was eating the rice paper they were baked on.

I bought the kit.  As well as the kit I used two egg whites, 50gm butter and one tbsp milk.
I beat two egg whites until stiff then folded in the macaroon mix.
There was a paper piping bag supplied. It was all quite easy.
Put them into a cold oven then turn it up to 50C and leave 20 mins, then turn the oven up to 150C  and bake for another 15 mins.

When is a macaroon a macaron, and when did they get posh?
Here they are in the oven after the warming. 

And here they are after the baking.

Then I beat 50gm of butter and one tbsp milk with the icing mix.

                                               Sandwich them together. Then refrigerate .
Well, pleased to say they looked like the picture on the box.

             The macarons I've made are raspberry flavoured but look at the choice from Laduree.

Tonight's dessert.

I think my Sainsbury's kit is a macaron - not a macaroon as labelled.
Whatever!  They were really nice.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Wingin' it.

March already, where did February go?
Another trip to England and my mother in to a Care Home, that's what.
When I went back to craft group last week I was reminded our exhibition is in just a few weeks.

So now I'm winging' it.. hoping to have my owl finished in time.  Before the next trip over to my mum is required.
I'm using my friend Sharon's pattern, but instead of cutting out the whole piece I've divided the wing shape and cut out individual pieces, two layers of fabric for each wing.

I'm  using some furnishing fabric samples from M&S. Remember when they used to be laid out on a table that had little individual compartments?  They don't do that anymore.  I wonder why?!
I was at college then and we would go and almost strip it bare.
As well as the gorgeous furnishing fabrics there were lovely little pieces of leather and velvet.
I've got quite a collection!

I've been couching on some threads and did a rough feather stitch with mohair wool.
I wanted to go over it with my embellisher but found it was too thick, and I broke yet another needle, so I machine embroidered instead.  It's been so long since I used my sewing machine that I'd actually forgotten how to thread it and wind the bobbin.
That's the back of the wing on the left of the photo below.
I think the back needs to look good too as it will be on show.

Then I machine embroidered a few real feathers on, using the zig-zag setting over the spiny bit.


  Just trying to get the colours to match in with the bird as I go along.

Now I'm doing a chain stitch on this tweedy fabric sample.

That's it so far, and on looking at the pattern I think after this set of six there's a larger set to do.
I always give myself work!

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Another day, another beak.

                                                 Well that last beak was pretty messy.
                                       I sent a text to the owl expert hoping for some advice!

Well I'd already tried shaping a beak out of wire and I wasn't happy with the shape, so I had another go with a rawl plug. I liked the idea of wrapping with threads to give me a nice smooth surface.   I stuck a piece of double-sided tape on to hold the threads in place.

 I wrapped the threads round the grooves first and tried to make it a bit neater this time.

I cut a shape from a piece of silky fabric and glued it around the threads to cover.

                                         Then I painted on some highlights with acrylic paint.
                                                 The owl's beak is quite long and sharp.

I  snipped a hole in the fabric and slipped the back of the rawl plug through and glued it in place.

                                               I 've used my heat tool to burn in the nostrils.
                  Well, trying to get this beak to look right tried my patience, but at least I had a go!
                                                                 That's what I think.

 On to the claws.

  Only now,  just when I thought I was getting somewhere, I have to abandon Mr Owl once again to go and help sort out my mother!