Sunday 14 April 2024

Wood Turning Experience Day


 I have wanted to have a go at wood turning for ages.  I was aiming to do a class for my 40th birthday, but then we all got locked down.

But this year 'im outdoors gave me a wood turning experience day at Hampshire Sheen for my birthday and yesterday I got to use it.


There were just 2 of us on the course and I wasn't sure what to expect.  The workshop is hidden at the back of a garden centre and we met in the cafe (amazing food) to have a chat before wandering down to the workshop to get hands on.

In the workshop we were introduced to the lathes we'd be using and the block of Ash we'd be making a bowl out of.


A bowl is a great project to start with as there is a lot of wood to cut away before you get to your actual bowl shape, so you can practice your cuts lots before you get to the point where it matters.


Martin took us through the process step by step.  We learnt how to hold the tools correctly and how to attach our block of wood before smoothing the sides of our wood to make sure it was even.  We then made a recess to use later before cutting away all the wood we didn't want to make the outside of the bowl.  The shape was up to us.

As was the colour finish.  We used his range of dyes to colour the outside of our bowls.  I used a mixture of Midnight Blue, Plum, Ruby and Sky Blue.  We then sealed the wood and finished with a wax.  I used purple.


After lunch we turned our bowls round and uses the recess from earlier to attach our bowl to the lathe before learning how to cut away the inside of the bowl.  This was very tricky as you need a nice smooth cut so you don't have a lumpy inside.

With some very good guidance from Martin, I managed to finish the inside of my bowl as nicely as the outside.  Once we were happy with the finish we also sealed the wood, bringing out the beautful pattern.


Wood turning isn't quite as easy as you'd think (things never are) but I had a really brilliant day and am soooo pleased with my finished bowl.  


It was very messy, but you don't need much strengh to make your cuts, the lathe does that for you.  Martin was a great tutor, very knowledgable and always at hand to help you out.

I won't be investing in a lathe anytime soon, but I know 'im outdoors is thinking about it, so maybe I can convince him to let me have a go if he does. 

Sunday 7 April 2024

Making A Mosaic


I recently joined my local Arts and Crafts Socity.  

One of the benefits I'm really enjoing is their monthly demonstations.  Here a local artist spends a couple of hours demonstrating their craft, and some times we even get to join in.

Last month Tamsin Norris did a demonstration of how to create a mosaic.  I'd never really considered that they had anything to do with glass, until Tamsin showed us some of her work.


Once she'd shown us some examples and talked us through how it worked we were able to have a go.

We were each given a square tile, some PVA glue and a tub full of glass tile shards.  It was suggested we'd want to draw a heart but I ended up with a star.  We covered our shape in glue then found chunks of glass to fill the space.

While this was fun, what I enjoyed most was just being able to chat with other creative types.


At the end of the session we got to take our tiles home with instructions to let them dry for at least a week before grouting them.

Inspired by some of the other things Tamsin showed us, once home I also used some of my sea glass to make a heart on a stone found on the beach at Easter.  I wasn't sure if this would work, but it did and once grouted a little rub of bead wax made the sea glass shine.

I'm not sure I'll do any more mosaic, but it was brilliant to find another application for glass, and learn a new skill.


Thursday 4 April 2024

Beaded Crochet Pouches


Before Christmas I found this pattern for beaded crochet pouches by Janie Crow.

It was a free pattern and I liked the patterns and colours and thought I could maybe make some as Christmas gifts using my stash.  But they took longer than expected and I wasn't sure how to line them and I sort of gave up on them a little.


I think part of the problem was I was using a digital pattern on my iPad, so it was very hard to keep up with where I was in the pattern (I normally use a post-it note to mark my place) and it was hard to keep track of which colours I'd swapped out to something else. 

But once I'd finished the Evendoon cardigan, I went back to the pouches and finished the crochet side of things.  Then I found some lovely rainbow star fabric and matching zips, and over the long Easter weekend made them up.


It was of course a lot simpler than my brain had been telling me.  I was helped along by a very helpful blog post about how to add a lining to a crochet pouch and then they were done.


I also made a flower, but added a safety pin to the back so it can be worn as a brooch too.

I think I prefer the pastel colours more, but like that the blue/grey one is made with leftovers from my sky blanket.


They are still going to be gifts, but not as I'd orginally planned.  I hope they enjoy them.