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!

Thursday, 20 February 2014


I made a start on the beak for my owl.  I've been putting it off.  Not knowing how to go about it.
First of all I took a look at the back of the owl. Up to now I've been concentrating on the front.
Eventually there will be wings and they will cover most of the back but I thought his back needed to look a little bit fluffy and feathery.  So I've been stitching on some shorter strands of fluffy mohair wool, overlapping them at the centre spine.

Then I went on a search round the house for things that might make a beak. Wire, pipe cleaners, modelling bandage, florists tape....

.......rawl plugs, I even looked at the tips on a pine cone. 
I tried making a beak shape with the covered wire.  Not happy with that.

Then I snipped a rawl plug. Better. 
My idea was to insert the back part of the rawl plug through the fabric where the beak sits, and glue it in place.

                                                                      I painted it black.

Then I wrapped the rawl plug with glue and threads.

So I left this to dry, but apart from the little tip of the beak I'm still not happy with the shape of this. 
As I've been working on it I feel like a fabric beak would suit my bird the best.
It's all trial and error.
Time to consult the expert on owls!

Monday, 17 February 2014

Signs of Spring.

The weather wasn't that good last Saturday in Belfast, despite that nice looking sky.
Taking advantage of our travel passes we caught the train from Lisburn.

The photo above was taken looking out from the House of Fraser. 
There's the Waterfront Hall, the Hilton and the BT building where my oldest son works.
We went up to the top floor of the House of Fraser to the Ivory.

My husband had a Singapore Sling.  For Spring!  We forgot about the wet weather.

Then on Sunday the sun was shining and it felt like Spring. We headed for the Botanic Gardens.

I always love looking in the Tropical Ravine and I like looking out through the windows at the patterns the plants make.

Nice patterns on the leaves too.

Belfast Botanic Gardens planter.

And it's Spring in the Palm House - WOW!  Look at the colours.  I never get fed up of this place.

I've got my camera on the 'Toy Camera' setting and it's giving some strange effects.

Outside again and the catkins are out....

.......and so are the snowdrops.

Signs of Spring. What do you think?

Must be.

Friday, 14 February 2014

Fabric Owl.

Well after my hit and miss baking on Wednesday I took my cakes to the Tea Party.
The flopped Brownies that I'd re- named Chocolate and Walnut Slices had under gone another name change overnight and I'd called them Chocolate and Walnut Biscotti. Clever, I thought.
It didn't work, nobody wanted them, and I had to do the walk of shame and bring them home again!

Oh well, I got to eat lots of cake.

I've been stitching my last bit of white chenille thread on to the owl, around and below where his beak will go, and I've carried it down around his tummy.  I'll probably tone it down a bit with some brown stitches. He's just about ready for the beak and I want the the talons ready too for when I stuff him!

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Fast Cakes.

I've been doing a bit of baking today because there's a Valentine's Tea Party and Cake Sale at my craft group tomorrow.
I used to always follow Delia Smith's recipes but, thanks to the Great British Bake Off,  I've been trying out Mary Berry's recipes just lately.
I own quite a few cook books but none by Mary Berry so when I saw this one for 'Fast Cakes', and only £2.99, I  bought it!
I like quick and easy recipes with not too many ingredients and this book was just right, ideal for anyone who is baking for a coffee morning or a bring-and-buy sale.

This wee book contains recipes for :

  • Tray Bakes
  • Small Cakes
  • Large Cakes
  • No-Bake Cakes and Other Goodies
  • Tea Breads and Scones
  • Things that Children can make Themselves
I made Chocolate Brownies and two Lemon Cakes.

While the lemon cakes are warm you spoon over a mix of granulated sugar and lemon juice.

I cut the Chocolate Brownies in slices, they're a bit disappointing and not as moist as I think they should be, but they still taste good.

I re - named the Brownies 'Chocolate and Walnut Slices'.  Artistic Licence.

All packaged up and ready to go!

Sunday, 9 February 2014

On and on and on and on ...with the owl!

How long ago did I start this?!  Last June I think.
Welcome back Mr Owl. The last time I had to leave him waiting here.
Well I've just been away again, and now I'm back - determined to get on and finish him.
I was vaguely following the colours of this Little Owl although I'm making my owl with ears.

I drew a wee sketch of the eye and beak placement to help me .... and although it looks like I haven't got very far with my project there has been a lot of stitching going on around those eyes!

 I'm adding some white chenille thread around the beak area before I tackle the actual beak. I haven't made up my mind how I'll make that yet. I'm thinking of wrapping some wire, and the same for the talons.

One of my friend's from  my craft group brought me in some feathers, they're trapped in a plastic bag because they fly everywhere and make me sneeze. They're a good colour match for the owl though.

I stitched one on at the top of his head!  Still think I'll add an extra piece of fabric in there to incorporate the ears.   Oh, I hate working my way through these self designed projects.