Sunday, May 27, 2012

Playing around with Hama-style beads

Months ago I bought a giant jar of Hama-style beads originally from Ikea from a charity shop for £2.50. There are hundreds, if not thousands of them. "What to do" I mused. I made a couple of bracelets, used some for teeth in some felt zombies. Mainly though the jar has just been sitting and gathering dust.

Then the other day I decided to actually see if I could use them like Hama beads. I bought a Hama board from Amazon. I arranged the beads on the board, covered them in baking paper and then ironed them. This was my first attempt:

I think I'll glue a brooch pin to the back of it.

Then I had another go and made this one:

Tee hee hee! It worked very well! This one is a little too big for a brooch so I'm currently trying to think of something to do with it.

I also bought some actual Hama branded beads which are sparkly (I have no will power). So am trying to think of a good pattern for them.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Sew Mama Sew results!!

And the winner of Fishy McFish is...........


Am e-mailing you now. Congratulations!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Sew Mama Sew Giveaway day

Fishy McFish wants to go home with you*
I know I only just finished a giveaway but I really want to participate in Sew Mama Sew's Giveaway day. I am always late aboard these trains.

I am offering one of my felt goldfish decorations to be won. Note: I handmade this fish BUT it is not from my own pattern. The pattern is by Lisa Jordan and I got the pattern from Fa La La La Felt edited by Amanda Carestio.

The Details:

The fish measures approximately 7 cm x 3cm. The string is 11cm long. He is decorated on both sides and is stuffed. He is made of felt.

This giveaway is open internationally. I will send Fishy McFish anywhere in the world to you.

This giveaway is open until the 25th of May. Make sure you leave a way for me to contact you to let you know that you've won. If you win you have 24 hours to respond with an address before I pick a new winner.

How to Win:

This one is slightly different. To enter this giveaway I want you to EITHER leave a comment telling me IF YOU WERE A FISH WHICH WOULD YOU BE? AND WHY?

OR flick through my previous posts and leave a comment here telling me which of my projects you like the most.

I will pick the best answer. My decision is final.

To enter more May giveaways go here.

Good Luck!

* Port is not included in the giveaway

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The year of the Dragon

This is what I spent today making. A new portrait of two special people. The baby isn't on fire. It's supposed to be in a dragon suit. Tee hee!

This is my friend 'Ling Yun' whose amazing and beautiful jewellery can be seen and bought here. Actually it just occurred to me that I really should have included one of her necklaces on this portrait as she always wears great ones.

Lego robots at Drink, Shop & Do

All the robots pose
Last night I made good on my promise to check out Drink, Shop & Do. Drink, Shop & Do is a design shop/cafe/bar/crafty haven. During the day you can go there to shop, have a coffee, and chill out. In the evening it's a funky bar. My favourite thing about this place is all the activities you can do there. Last night they were having a Lego robot night. With cocktails.

It was very busy so our first cocktail was had standing with no Lego (boooo) but then some people left and we nabbed their table. By this point there was little Lego left so we had a real jumble of pieces. As you can see we mainly had Duplo. 

BF's Robot
My robot rests in a cocktail glass

Oh, it was so much fun! And the cocktails were delicious! They had really interesting flavours. My favourite that I had was one called 'Oh so Pretty' that involved lychees and came with a scattering of rose petals on top. Prices for cocktails ranged from £7 to £9.50, which may seem steep but is pretty standardy for London and they were nice, so worth it.

Drink, Shop and Do is a short walk from Kings Cross. It's light and airy and full of wondrous things to look at. There were people knitting socks at one table! Amazing.

A friend's robot sits with the vast collection of tea

We all had lots of fun. I will definitely be going to more events at this place. Yay for a great find! Also - it looks like they do interesting sandwich and cake plates. This will need to be investigated later.

I recommend Drink. Shop and Do to all.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

And the winners of the first giveaway are...




Sorry this was posted later than originally advertised. Congratulations guys!  E-mail me your addresses here:

animalpsychiatry (at)

And I will post you your felt badge straight away!

Thank you everyone for entering! If you had your heart set on a flower don't despair! You can get one on my Etsy shop and the code for 20% off is still valid for readers of this blog this month! (OPENINGCELEBRATION)


Saturday, May 12, 2012

The String Empire's first Giveaway!

Two spring flowers looking for a home
In celebration of the weekend and there finally being some sun in London (also me being in a good mood due to having secured Amanda Palmer tickets) I am having my very first giveaway! I have two of my felt flower badges to give to two lucky people.

How to enter:

Mandatory - Leave a comment to this post (easy). 

Additional entries:

1. Tweet about this giveaway "I've just entered @TheStringEmpire giveaway - have you? - " Or words to this effect.
2. Follow @TheStringEmpire on Twitter
3. Follow The String Empire on a reader of your choice (and leave a comment telling me you've done so)
4. Write about and link to this giveaway on your blog (and leave a comment here with a link to it)

Winners will be chosen through a random number generator.

This giveaway is open world-wide.

Winners will be announced on Friday the 18th of May!!!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Creative swap = post and exciting item

When I was thirteen I got heavily into pen-palling. My school had set up a pen-pal exchange with a school in Sweden and we all got given random letters. Mine was from a girl called Viktoria. It was very exciting to hear about a whole different type of life. In many ways she was the same as me, a typical 13 year old girl, but her day to day life was intriguingly foreign. That was it. I was totally hooked.

For the next four years I wrote religiously to a variety of pen-pals from all over the world. Every day after school the FIRST thing I would do was check the mat by the front door for post. And every time there was a letter I was rewarded with a fuzzy warmth in my belly. Oh, those letters were magical. I still have every single one in a box in my parents attic. And I still check for post every day - hope crisp in my mouth. It's a habit I'll probably have forever. Although these days, sadly, I don't get so many letters. Everyone is busy, no-one has the time or energy quite like a thirteen year old girl for writing letters.

One of the most exciting things my pen-palling introduced me to was the concept of swaps. This is where everyone signs up to swap things with each other. In those days it was mainly pictures of bands we loved with "I love you" written all over it in pink glitter pen. Or stickers. Man we loved stickers.

So imagine my excitement at seeing a 'Swap' section in the TLC Coffeehouse! It was empty though. Bereft of swaps. Only one way to fix that! I started my very own first swap. You can see it here.

It has the theme of 'birds' and is very easy. Basically you sign up, make something (could be a drawing, a model, a story, some music, a puppet, a badge, a button, a poem, a bead, some printed fabric - anything), and then post it to where I tell you to. And you'll get something amazing, beautiful and unique in return. Brilliant?

Come join us! The more the merrier! Exciting post is guaranteed!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Free Ben Folds Five download

Things are very exciting in the music world this week. By that I mean things are very exciting to ME this week (and probably lots of other people too). I will relate this in the order I discovered it. First, I discovered through following Neil Gaiman on Twitter (@neilhimself) that Amanda Palmer (love) was releasing a new album and looking for backers starting from $1. Investigations revealed her kickstarter page. She's teamed up with the Grand Theft Orchestra to make a new album, without the support of a record label. So to raise the $100, 000 needed they started a kickstarter page. All kinds of amazing rewards for backing are on offer, from a download of the new album for $1 all the way to the entire band coming over to your house to pose for photos with you and eat Thai food for $10, 000.  There are lots of facebook groups set up to raise enough money for the 'House Party' reward ($5, 000).  At the time of writing this the amount they've raised is $619, 841. That is astounding!

Then none other than the Ben Folds Five leapt aboard the "ditching the record labels" wagon. They're releasing their first album in 12 years! Woo! Their pledge page is here. A pledge of $10 gets you a download of their new album when it's released. They've already reached 197% of their target and a lot of the 'rewards' (signed CDs, t-shirts etc.) have already all gone. What's really exciting about this is that they're turning to their fans to help advertise the album and produce artwork for it's promotion. Also, they've put up a free download of a new track. You can get it below:

2012 is shaping up to be a good year! I'm now trying to find the perfect picture of the Ben Folds Five to make into felt.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A Fairy-Tale Challenge

The other day I issued a challenge on Tre La Creativity's forum the Coffeehouse.

It was as follows: 

Hey y'all. 
I LOVE fairy tales. And also projects. And challenges. So I'm going to suggest the VERY FIRST challenge of this forum. Sorry about all the caps but I am EXCITED.
I'm not really sure what kind of challenges are in mind for this....but I will give it a go anyway. 
So.... my challenge is to make a 10 cm x 10 cm square with the theme 'FAIRY TALES'. That's it. Keeping in mind Siobhan's warning of this being a mixed media kind of place it can be made of ANYTHING. The size and theme are the only restriction. And that's a pretty wide theme. 
I am very much looking forward to what you challengers come up with. I will obviously be participating myself. No prizes for guessing my material (FELT, oh felt I heart you).

And here is my entry for this challenge (only just completed):

Is he giving her a kiss, or trying to eat her head?

Can you guess who it is?

If you want to take part (do do!) go here.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Tre La Creativity - supping lattes in the coffeehouse

Attention all! I bring news of an excellent new magazine. It's called 'Tre La Creativity'. And... it is all about using creativity to help with illness and stress. Huzah! Now I for one can attest to the wonderful benefits of doing crafty things. Nothing cheers me when ill or 'down in the dumps' quite like making something insane out of felt. In particular I believe it is important to TALK about ill health, stress, depression and all that jazz rather than hiding it behind closed doors. No more shame!  I am genuinely enthused and excited about this project.

You can see the info pack below (hopefully).

I love the front cover!

It's going to be PACKED full of inspirational articles, tutorials for making beautiful things, and all kinds of lovelies.

Tre La Creativity is also creating a wonderful fledgling online community. The Coffeehouse is a great place to kick off your shoes, enjoy a (virtual) latte and share ideas and projects with other crafty folk. I joined it just the other day and am having a whirl. I think it's going to turn out to be a goody. Come on by and have a peek!

Tre La Creativity is launching on the 6th of September. It will be stocked on-line and at independent retailers. You can pre-order now!


Monday, May 7, 2012

The rise of a felt zombie Scotty Dog


So, I have a new product in my Etsy shop. Oh yes. It's a felt zombie dog. I haven't named him yet. Any suggestions?

He's SECURELY glued to a plain white card.

 "Who would want a felt zombie dog birthday/wedding/christening/Christmas card?" you may be asking. 

Who wouldn't want one? 

He is totally awesome. And fiercesome. But don't worry - I used strong glue. There'll be no escaping from this little fellow. He's a bargain and there's only one of him so if you want his merry company be quick. 

I may also make some zombie brooches....

I Spy.... Knitted London mayoral candidates

Created by Heather Brown.

The above was featured in the Stitch London newsletter. Last Thursday (3rd May 2012) saw various elections across the U.K. including the London mayoral elections. To celebrate Heather Brown knitted four of the candidates - Boris Johnson, Brian Paddick, Ken Livingstone and Jenny Jones. The candidates for UKIP and the BNP are conspicuously absent (good on you Heather). More about the knitted wanna-be mayors and more photos can be seen over at Londonist. And more of Heather's knitted people can be seen here.


Sunday, May 6, 2012

Probably the best ribbons in the WORLD

After work one day a couple of weeks ago I was wandering around Marylebone in a zig-zag fashion when I stumbled upon the most amazing ribbon shop. It was like a fairy wonder cave of ribbons and pretties. My knees felt weak just looking in the window. I was so mesmerised I didn't notice the name at the time, but, having just googled for it I've discovered the shop is none other than V.V. Rouleaux.

V.V. Rouleaux sells hundreds of ribbons, and other bits and bobs of fabulousness. In amongst them all I found this collection of ribbons. I assume they are inspired by all the Britain-love at the moment roused by the Jubilee and the Olympics. There seem to be a lot of flags, bunting and 1940's-style slogans around. These ribbons follow this theme.

I. Love. Them.

I haven't used them for anything yet. I'm waiting for the right project.

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