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Recently a good friend had her second child. Her first child was born two weeks before Ewan. At the time I was too huge to  visit her and spent most of our conversations grilling her for info about the birth! So now that her second has arrived I wanted to make something very special for them. Something that I hope will last and something gloriously cheery. The result is this cheeky puddle jumper …

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I always find deciding to make something and following through are two entirely different things. So when I started to plan a trip to see them and Vibes and Scribes offered to sponsor a craft post, it was a perfect crafting storm, a deadline was born!

 

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 Image via Thrifty Amos Instagram

I love the Vibes and Scribes craft shop and have gone on a bit about them on the blog before. Well,with three floors of crafty goodies, armchairs for knitters and all within walking distance of my house what’s not to go on about! But what I love a little bit more than the shop itself is how nice the staff are. I’m a craft novice but I get notions and like to give things a go. In some fabric or craft shops I feel uncomfortable because I’m not a seamstress nor do I have a degree in art  and I feel like I need a certain level of knowledge even to go in. On the other hand the atmosphere of Vibes and Scribes suits me down to the ground you can go in and describe a vague idea of what you’d like to do and someone there will be able to give you a guiding hand and a few tips and tricks.

Once they got in touch with me about sponsoring a craft post I got planing.

I’m still deciding if I like Pinterest but on this occasion it pulled through for me. I used it to message Colette, the Crafting Guru, some suggestions and vice versa. She is forever patient and helped me out with figuring out how to make images online and vague ideas into real life things.

We gathered around the goodie bag that Vibes and Scribes had given us and got to work. To meet without our kids is essential and so we meet under the cover of darkness away from our wee and tall men! (the photo looks like I have her trapped in a crafting cave but I let her out I swear!)

 

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When your crafting gurus first guidance is “I don’t know how you could make it but sure give it a go” I did began to panic a teeny tiny bit.

It turns out she is totally right. Telling someone how to needle felt is like telling someone how to play with Playdoh, sometimes you just have to play around with it to see what works.

In saying that if she hadn’t guided me I’d still be stabbing a needle with little results so here are a few tips I couldn’t have done without.

1)  Needle felting a free form shape

The raindrops, puddle and clouds were free form with no great plan or template. The advice is you start with less felting wool than you think you’ll need. You can always add more but it’s near impossible to take it off. Put your fluffy felting wool on the dense sponge and get stabbing with your felting needle (I used these ones mainly). When you’ve done one side turn it over.  Shape it a little by gathering it as you go. Then stab the felt at will! As I mentioned in the other felting post, stabbing really is more fun than you’d imagine! When it’s starting to come together you can ditch the dense foam and start stabbing into the shap. This really helps give it shape and a more 3-D shape.

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2)Structured shape with a bit of bulk

Making the umberalla was a task that I had no idea where to start with! But yet again Colette the Crafting guru came to the rescue. First, you make your pipe cleaner umbrella. Next you stuff it with foam. I used a cut up kitchen sponge. We were too busy nattering for me to remember to photograph each step but you can see below this how it is made. The idea of the foam is that it gives your felt something to hold on to.

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3) Making a figure

Making the little boy was the bit I dreaded most. I tried just randomly attaching pipe cleaners to themselves but that didn’t work. So after watching this 3 minute  you tube video all became clear and a Pipe cleaner boy was created…

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Once he was made it was just a matter of stabbing the felt into him. It doesn’t sound very pleasant but it’s great fun! 

WARNING

IF YOU FIND THIS PIPE CLEANER BOY ENDEARING YOU MAY FIND SOME OF THE FOLLOWING IMAGES DISTURBING! 

Viewer Discretion is Advised!

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The striped hat with a bobble and chin ties was a bit excessive but it’s the kind of thing that once you get started you start thinking, well obviously he needs tiny buttons, are cuffs too much? Because you are working with fine needles the world is your oyster in terms of tiny details but for me I have always had a problem of never knowing when enough is enough so I forced myself to quit and face the tricky job of attaching the shapes to the wire frame.

I used half of my Christmas Wreath frame (I’ll worry about that in December!). Hanging this was a NIGHTMARE. There are literally too many moving parts. I won’t go on about how difficult it was because it’s a present but if you are doing to make one I would advice paying someone who is good with knots to hang it for you. I used fishing wire to attach each piece and guided the wire through with a felting needle, the rest was patience!

Once hung it looked like this ..

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But not being able to leave well enough alone I stuffed the wire frame with foam and set to making a felt rainbow.

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And voila, here it is.

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Felting itself doesn’t take long at all and you can start to see results very quickly. I took to needle felting much more than the rolled felting I did a while ago. As an example each rain drop took 5 minute (yes, I timed it!) and the rainbow took about 15 minutes or three Peppa Pig episodes depending on the time scale you use.

The end result is something I love and I really hope it’s recipient will too.

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