Monday, 31 October 2011

BE AFRAID BE VERY AFRAID!

I may look scary
but don't worry
when I'd put me teeth in and me specs on all was back to normal.
Vampire dork.

Happy Halloween every one.
Love Nora xx

Thursday, 27 October 2011

HALF TERM SUPER SAVER RETURN TO THE NORTH.
OR ANTHONY GORMLEY AND STEAM TRAINS.
Last night the boys and I returned from our trip to see Grandma.
A journey that involved a train, a tube, a big train and a tram, and then the same again in reverse on the way home.
We arrived and left in blazing sunshine, but the days in between, well...
Lets just say it thankfully didn't rain.
For years now I have wanted to see "Another place".

The exhibit of Anthony Gormley statues on Corby beach just above Liverpool.
In fact I've wanted to go since it was first put up.
But somehow every time we go a visiting to the north it hasn't worked out.
Until now.

I was not disappointed.

And somehow I managed to persuade the boys interacting with a work of art
was more fun than the playground.

The rest of the holiday went in a blur of spectacular sunsets,

steam trains,

goose impersonations

and finding easy ways for a 3 yr old to carve a pumpkin.

Hope you are enjoying a few days off too.
Love Nora xx

Thursday, 20 October 2011

TALES FROM THE SCRAP HEAP #3


So here I am back again, still going on about the flaming scrap fabric.
But this time some thing to do with your fabrics.
I have got some scrap bags left, so if you missed out in the mad scramble for them over the weekend you will have another chance.
I will list them in my Folksy shop after the half term holiday.

A day late, but as promised here is the how to on making scrap bag roses.

* First things first, choose your fabrics. You don't need huge scraps for this project, but you do need to be able to cut Bias strips at least 10" long for your roses.
The background fabric should be of a sturdier weight that the flowers. I used a piece of the same silk dupion in a different colour and then ironed a rectangle of interfacing on to the back of it. If your fabric is too flimsy it will just pucker up when you are sewing the flowers on.


* Cut you bias strips.
They should be at least 10" long.
I cut them at different widths. Some were 3/4", some were 1" and some were 1 1/4".
The wider flowers will need a slightly longer length, but not much just an inch or two.
If you don't understand what the bias means then here is a quick explanation.
Bias is cutting diagonally across the grain of the fabric. See the picture.
We do this because the weave of the fabric is what gives it its stability, so if you cut diagonally across the weave you are reducing this stability and making the fabric easier to stretch and mould in to new shapes.
(Sally I hope this makes you happy!)


* It is up to you how many flowers to make.
I did 6.
Fold your fabric not quite in half along the length.
As you can see in the picture one side is about 1/8" longer than the other.
I do this because it helps to give the edge of the flowers more definition.
You will be stitching on the folded edge.










*Then press your strips in to a slight curve.
Do this as you are ironing the strip.
Using lots of steam helps!
Just keep curving the fabric round as you move the iron over it.














* Cut the end of your bias strip to a point sloping in towards the fabric.
This is so you don't have an ugly blunt end of fabric to start you flower with.
Start sewing your flower.
I do it by eye, but you may want to lightly chalk a spiral on to the fabric where you wish the flower to go.
I have never managed to make a flower with more than 3 swirls in it, so keep it simple!
The spiral should be about 1 1/2" - 2" wide.
Because you have already pressed the bias strip in to a curve it should start to naturally follow the spiral.
I use a dressmaking awl to help hold the fabric in place. But a long pin works just as well.


* Keep following your spiral round.
Always finish with your needle in the fabric.
You will need to lift the foot, move the fabric round, put it down, stitch a couple of stitches, lift the foot, move the fabric rounds, etc. This is where having that long pin or awl becomes indispensable, to tease the fabric in to position and push other parts of the spiral out of the way.
When you finally feel you can stitch no further do a couple of back stitches and cut your threads.
Then cut the remains of the bias strip off at an angle sloping back in towards the flower.






* And there you have it a finished flower.
As you can see the raw edges are starting to fray a little.
Because they are cut on the bias this means they won't fray away, but will give a pleasing organic edge to the rose.
If you have shot fabric you can achieve some amazing results with this technique.











* Start stitching your next flower.
Try to start as close as possible to your first one. This will give the impression of the flowers being clustered together.















* Here it is with all six flowers sewn on.
It still looks a little spartan but panic not we haven't yet finished.












* And so on to the leaves.
I use two colours of scraps to make the leaves.
Cut out a shape that you like in the lighter fabric.
Make a paper template if you are not confident in doing it freehand.
Pin the lighter leaf to the darker fabric and then cut out making the second leaf about 1/8" larger all the way round.
I made 4 sets of leaves. Its up to you how many you want and how large they are.








* Stitch on the leaves.
As with the flowers I like the effect of them being nestled up close to each other.
You only need to do a single line of stitching down the centre of each leaf I like to make it slightly curved or with a little wiggle, as I find straight lines quite harsh.












* Nearly nearly finished now.
You may like your bunch of roses looking like this.
In which case, you have finished!
Read no further!
However I like to flatten mine out a little.








* Take your beautiful floral display back to the ironing board.
Turn the iron up high (though be careful if you are using synthetic fabrics) and use lots of steam.
You are not actually pressing the flowers, just steaming them.
Hold to iron so it is almost touching the flowers and steam them for a few seconds.
You can then if you want poke about with a pin and arrange the flowers in to the shapes you want and steam again.



Phew!
Well I hope that all made sense.
If you feel brave enough to have a go at some roses then you can upload the results here so every one can admire your efforts.
Good luck!
I am joining in today with My creative space.
Check out what every one else out there has been up to.
Love Nora xx

Monday, 17 October 2011

MORE TALES FROM THE SCRAP HEAP.
To say I am stunned by the response to my scrap bag giveaway would probably be an understatement.


I guess the whiff of free fabric is one that travels far, in fact it travels to places so far flung from where I live that much further and you are on your way home again.
Really I should have known this would happen
I should have planned it better
I should have been prepared.
But...
I was so sick of this idea knocking around in my head,
so sick of the complicated filing system for scraps
(ones to send back, ones to keep, ones to give away, ones to recycle)
that I just had to do it.
Nothing like throwing yourself in at the deep end is there!
So many of you wonderful people commented on my last post that
I have now had to get a new note book on the go.
I am a woman who likes a new notebook, so this part really isn't a chore.
I very quickly exceeded the amount I could afford to spend on free postage and packing.
So...
After a bit of nifty thinking, and a coming to the conclusion that yes I don't like Etsy any more I listed the scrap bags on Folksy.
The charge only covers the p&p.
There was a point today when the orders were coming in so thick and fast I didn't think I could keep up.
However I'm sort of nearly there now.
Though this picture is by no means all of them.

So now for some fun and a new scrappy tale.
I have a friend, if you can call some one you have never met and don't really know very well a friend, but hey that's blogging for you!
Her name is Colette.
Some of you may know her.
In the summer I sent her some fabrics from the scrap heap.
She has made some amazing things.
What I love is that she has done things that I would never have dreamed of doing.
To me these fabrics are all about embellishment not practicality.
How wrong am I?
Go over to her place and check it out.
She even tells you how to make them and how to deal with some of the trickier fabrics.
In the mean time this is my favourite of all the things she made.


When your parcel arrives you can continue your own tale from the scrap heap here.

If you ordered fabrics via Folksy before 3 today they will be posted tomorrow afternoon, all the freebies are also being posted tomorrow.
Any one who I know who lives locally and has ordered one will I'm afraid just have to give me a day or so to catch my breath, sorry.
Any one who ordered after 3 will get theirs posted on Wednesday.
If you try to buy some and they are out of stock, don't worry
I am restocking a couple of times a day.
Right well that is the really boring bit over.

I will be back on Wednesday with that how to on the roses.
Thank you to every one who has joined in I really can't wait to see what you have all been up to!

Love Nora xxx

Friday, 14 October 2011

ARE YOU SITTING COMFORTABLY?
GOOD.
THEN I SHALL BEGIN.

I am really quite excited about this post.
I've been planning it for really quite a while now.
But the day job just kept getting in the way.
But now I would like to introduce you to my new and quite frankly generous project.
TALES FROM THE SCRAP HEAP
As you probably know Flaming Nora is not my day job.
By day I make costumes for theatre and film.
So I get through a fairly huge amount of fabric.
Often quite odd, weird and interesting fabrics.
I try and recycle as much waste as I possibly can, the thought of adding to landfill always fills me with dread.
But there are some bits that are too small or just plain odd shaped to be reused.
They live in an ever growing series of checkie bags taking up room and getting under my feet.
Now some may say I'm a hoarder.
Some may say I have a problem with throwing things away.
Some may say in 20 yrs time I may be one of those mad old ladies who only have a 2 ft square area left in my house where I can eat, sleep and drink.
I say Phah! to all these doubters.
See look I'm giving the whole thundering lot away.
Yes thats right folks I'm giving it all away.
All this fabric is fab for small scale projects and children's crafts.
A very large amount of it is brightly coloured silk dupion.
I will be bagging it up and giving it all away as of now.
(well may be that is an exaggeration, its 9.45 on the friday evening of a weekend when the Hippy has gone a galavanting, lets say Monday)
I can't say exactly what you will be getting, every bag will be different.
The only thing I ask is that you take photos of your finished works of beauty
and send them to the flicker group.
I am happy to send the first 15 or so bags out for free to any where, then I will be putting them on etsy.
There will be no charge for the fabrics, just a small and fair charge to cover the postage and paypall fees.
Interested?
Leave me a comment at the end of this post leaving me a way of contacting you and I'll get on with it.
In the mean time I thought I would share some pictures of things I have made from the scrap heap.
You saw a hint of this yesterday.
A machine embroidered and appliqué picture for my Kiwi friend Sally.
You can see it here with the stamp I took the design from.

Thankfully Sally recognised it at once as a Kowhai and not just the jumble of threads and fabrics that it really is!
An embarrassingly late birthday present.
And this one you may have seen earlier in the summer as it was part of a swap and I blogged about it here.
I am really taken with making these roses and am going to do a how to later in the week.

Well that was quite a long post!
Hope you are all felling inspired!

OK FOLKS THE RESPONSE TO THIS HAS BEEN SOME WHAT OVER WHELMING!
I AM AMAZED AND DELIGHTED AT HOW MANY OF YOU WANT TO SAVE THESE FABRICS FROM LAND FILL!
BUT I HAVE NOW REACHED BEYOND THE LIMIT OF WHAT I CAN AFFORD TO SEND OUT FOR FREE.
SO PLEASE FOLLOW THE LINK TO MY FOLKSY SHOP ON THE SIDE BAR WHERE YOU CAN BUY THEM.
THE COST IN THE UK IS £2.50
FOR EVERY WHERE ELSE IT IS £4.00
THIS LITERALLY JUST COVERS THE COST OF SENDING IT, NOTHING ELSE.

Love Nora xxx