Wednesday, 17 May 2017

How to Make Really Quick Tassel Earrings

This is a really quick tassel 'make' - for a new pair of tassel earrings to match an outfit, or to stand out from shop bought earrings, or if you need a quick crafty fix for a certain length or colour - or just because tassels are all the rage right now!
(Also - a great alternative to the pompom earring) :-)

Quickest of all is using ready made tassels (which come in lots of shapes and sizes,) - ready to hang from your ears! I used some silver tassels that were about 50mm long with a 35mm loop...

...but you can easily make your own tassels and there are lots of tutorials online. If you don't leave loops at the top there won't be room to wrap yarns around them and they will end up shorter. Then you can literally just pop them onto earring wires and you're done!

What you're going to need:

How to make the Tassel earrings:
  1. Wrap each tassel 'loop' with the yarn or threads of your choice. Do this by holding a long end of the yarn against the tassel loop and wrapping around it. Finish with a knot with the end that's hanging out, and add a blob of glue to keep in place.
  2. Leave enough space at the end for the bead if you're going to use one.
  3. Slip the bead in place, then open the base of the earring wire with the pliers and hook the very top of the tassel loop over it. Close again with the pliers and add another blob of glue.
  4. Make the other earring to match!
  5. Leave the glue to dry and they are ready to wear!

Monday, 15 May 2017

'Easy Stuff to Make with Fluff' : The Writing of... and Behind the Scenes

Specialising in Fluff isn't really normal is it? But it's pretty routine for me. In fact so much so that last week my husband bet me he could find a random piece of 'fluff' in our house at home. I wasn't convinced. But he was right, - he found some within 30 seconds. On the floor. In the kitchen. Not even anywhere near the tumble drier! There is literally FLUFF everywhere.

And then convincing my publisher that 'Fluff' wasn't just to be associated with belly buttons or trophy girlfriends, and was a viable and really very 'serious' word, was quite the feat too!

Another name for Wooltops - and of course part of my 'Fluff-a-torium' shop name, - once I had the name for my new book "Easy Stuff to Make with Fluff" there was no getting away from it. They weren't convinced. But in the end they had a moment of fluffy reflection, agreed/saw the soft light, and here it is!:-)

Wooltops (or "Fluff")is normally just associated with Wet Felting, Needle Felting or Spinning Yarn. But not any more :-) 
In my new book I set out to show everyone lots of other possibilities for using wooltops. The aim with this new book was to make crafting with wooltops and yarns accessible for everyone, regardless of their age, ability, or creative flair. Crafting with Fluff is great fun! My previous book "Felting Fabulous Flowers" was quite an advanced book - for serious felters! So I wanted to write something a little bit more straightforward.

There are lots of projects for everyone that are graded in difficulty and on how easy they are to complete. 
There are main chapters on:
  • Decorating & General Crafty Stuff with Fluff
  • Soaping Rubbing & Stabbing Fluff into Stuff (aka felting)
  • Weaving Fluff in and out of Stuff
  • Spinning Stuff with Fluff
  • Knitting & Crocheting Stuff with Fluff
- plus also information all about fluffy wooltops and where to get it, and also how to dye wooltops and yarn.

 Upcycled Threaded Plastic Baskets - made using hand spun wooltops and yarns. 
One of the projects in  "Easy Stuff to Make with Fluff"

From simple up-cycling projects using wooltops and also projects for children to do that are easy and fast, right through to more intricate projects that take a little bit longer.

Needle Felted Vintage Teacup Pincushion & Toadstool.
From "Easy Stuff to Make with Fluff"

If you've seen Giant / Extreme Knitting or Crochet using Wooltops or Roving (there's been a lot online recently) and have dreamt about having a go, there are also projects showing you what to do!
By knitting on giant knitting needles or crocheting with a giant crochet hook, with lengths of wooltops, you can make some great accessories for your home...

The Extreme Knitting "Cushty Cushion" from "Easy Stuff to Make with Fluff"

There are also projects for crocheted rugs, a plant pot cover, and a lovely warm stole.
The "I Fluffy Heart You" Wall Hanging" from "Easy Stuff to Make with Fluff"

Weaving is great fun and very popular at the moment. The advantage to weaving with wooltops is that the weaving grows way way faster that with using conventional yarns and smaller fibres. This is a good thing - right!? There is a weaving project for children, and also a woven stool and a lampshade too! :-)

Here's some of the yarn I was spinning whilst writing the book - I explain how to use that thing in the left photo called a drop spindle and how to use up leftover bits of wooltops. In fact there's a lot of projects suitable for busting your yarn and wooltops 'stash'!

And obviously my dog Betty Bou was very helpful whilst I was writing "Easy Stuff to Make with Fluff". She lent a hand whenever she could. Here she is in my lounge at home, keeping a watchful eye, and even helping in the baking hot sunshine! :-) And then she managed to get in on the act in the actual book too. Yes - she's in it! Wearing a felted dog necklace project of course! Called "Precious Pooch Pendant".

The book is so jam packed with fluffy projects that we ran out of space for many pictures of the "Jaw Dropper Shopper" Felted Bag whilst being made. So I've included a couple of pics here of what it looked like before it was wet felted. The finished bag picture is in the book.

If you think there's a chance that you might really like fluff - "Easy Stuff to Make with Fluff" is a great place to start. With over 25 fluff-tacular projects, there really is something for everyone. And even if you'd felted before, or had a dabble, there are still lots of projects for you too!

I LOVE a deadline. Not because I love deadlines - but because deadlines MAKE me finish things. I had been messing about with ideas for this book for simply ages. Since 2015 in fact. So knowing that I had to finish things by August 2016 was really good! And of course I was still working on things the night before. That's just the way I roll! But then I always like to over achieve as well. That's so annoying - and so ridiculous! I ended up making too many projects for the book and then some got the chop.
Here's one that didn't quite make the final cut - poor thing...

Cute. But superfluous to fluffy requirements. I have however, been writing with my fluffy pens quite a lot! :-) Maybe I'll do it as a blog post project instead!?

Before I sign off - here are some more pics of when we were shooting the book, and behind the scenes in the wonderful places we shot in...

We shot some of the photography in this amazing apartment in London. The light was great and there were lots of fabulous props and interesting pieces of furniture.

Behind those doors was the most beautiful bathroom. You can see one of the projects hanging on the door handle as we set up the shot.

On the left here we are shooting the Giant Crochet Plant Pot called "Potted & Knotted" and on the right hand side, the door curtain called "Hang the Stash".

Then some of the shots were done here in The Gilliangladrag Fluff-a-torium studio. As you can see, Rachel had to set the camera up on the studio table to shoot the Weaving Tutorial step by step shots. It was literally the hottest day of the year and I'd rolled down my dress so that my white t-shirt would reflect the light! Oh - and yes, - I think we were in hysterics about something rude. Ooh la la!

Signed copies of "Easy Stuff to Make with Fluff" are now available from our website for just £8.99 (RRP £9.99) - and we ship worldwide! I really hope you like it! x

Thursday, 27 April 2017

'Easy Stuff to Make with Fluff' : How to have a book launch party!

Not everyone lives in (Corking) Dorking, I know that! So just in case you weren't at the book launch party for 'Easy Stuff to Make with Fluff' - here's how we did it. 
Well - throwing a party has a few key elements. And we started off with one of the most important. Some very fluffy cocktails. Ours were called 'Fluffy Fever' and were made with the amazing gin from our local Dorking micro distillery The Gin Kitchen called 'Gutsy Monkey', - which is an artisan craft gin and is absolutely delicious! (And the bottle is rather pretty too...)

Here's the fluffy recipe :

'Fluffy Fever'
20ml Agave syrup
100ml lychee juice
15ml fresh lemon juice
20ml triple sec
2 stems fresh coriander
Fresh edible flower to garnish

Shake HARD with ice. Double strain and serve in suitably flamboyant cups with a silly straw and edible flower. (And optional Persian spun sugar fairy fluff and a stem of coriander!)

Then we got lots of food and laid it out over a massive piece of kitchen worktop hoisted up on some plastic cups underneath. On the studio table. With casual abandon :-) And crisps in heaps.  Like this :

There was even a white chocolate lamb in the corner. 
Then we needed balloons.But not any old balloons!I did quite over excited about these : Neon confetti balloons filled with helium and rainbow balloons with silver tassels! With equally fun pineapple party plates and watermelon napkins... You can't have a party without them ;-) Honest!


(We still have some rainbow balloons, neon confetti balloons, watermelon napkins and pineapple plates for sale in the shop and online - right here!) 

Then we needed guests. Luckily there lots of those and they were all amazing and gorgeous :-)

Easy Stuff To Make With Fluff Book Launch Party 
Easy Stuff To Make With Fluff Book Launch Party
Lots and lots of very lovely people. 
Who all very much seemed to enjoy the Fluffy Fever Cocktails!


There was even a special balloon outside The Fluff-a-torium. (Which later ended up in the pub opposite :-))


And finally - a fluffy book launch wouldn't be the same without glitter jelly and ice cream - right? So we had to have that too of course. Courtesy of Angus in Oz :

This picture below? Oh yes - that's the author swigging the sprinkles. (Maybe one too many 'Fluffy Fever's?)

Haven't got your signed copy  of Gillian's 'Easy Stuff to Make with Fluff' yet? Available here. + We ship worldwide of course :-)


Thursday, 17 March 2016

Easily Make this Lampshade with just one skein of our Hand Dyed Yarn...

Turn on the inspiration and make this easy hand-dyed lampshade + pompoms with just one skein of our new Hedgehog Fibres hand dyed Merino Singles!

 Hand Dyed Hedghog Fibres Merino Singles

I used one beautiful skein of our new Hedgehog Fibres Merino Singles (100g) in colourway : Genie (the one in the middle)

 Hedghog Fibres Merino Singles Genie

Start by balling the skein of yarn up tightly - oval or squished is fine, as it's easier to pass through the lampshade frame if it's not completely ball shaped!

You can use any lampshade frame - either upcycle one you own already or you can buy a new 20cm one from us here...

Tie off the yarn to the top of the frame (leaving 3" tail). Start to wind it tightly around and around from top to bottom. You can leave as many 'gaps' and holes as you like as this will allow the light to shine through! Keep going all the way around the whole frame. 

(I just held it with one finger whilst I poked the ball through and around each time.) 

When you get to the end tie off the yarn to the 3" tail from the beginning.

 You should be left with roughly half the 100g ball of yarn to make pompoms with, (but of course these are optional!) - you may have even more yarn left if you left more gaps :-)

I used the smallest pompom maker from our set of four (available here) and trimmed them a little once made.
 Leave a tail on  each pompom and tie them onto one piece of yarn on the inside of the frame. (Top tip : Before you do this, decide whether the lampshade will be a pendant or a table lamp, as this will affect which end to attach them to!)

And that's pretty much all there is to it. This is a colourful hand dyed yarn project you can complete in just a few hours! Easy Peasy!