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Category Archives: Arts and Crafts

Contemporary Arts Fair in Stratford upon Avon


Today (04/11/17) we just nipped into this free Contemporary Arts Fair at the town hall, in Stratford upon Avon. It is well worth a visit if you are in the area. With free admission (which is very rare with anything nowadays), there’s jewellery, paintings, ceramics, leather, wood work and more.

Upstairs there were more vendors, but also a wonderful pop up tea shop serving yummy cakes, tea and coffee. They had the most beautiful gold tea sets and the cakes we sampled (chocolate and some Stollen) were really fresh.

My highlight was Becky Paton and her gorgeous mosaics. As well as the larger pieces to break hearts and bank accounts, there were more purse friendly items such as Christmas decorations, brooches and clips. I bought this wonderful dragonfly!

The show is open today and Sunday, with more info available HERE.

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Circus Themed Baby Bedroom


It didn’t actually start off with this theme! We had a seaside idea in mind, but I got over excited in Ikea after spotting the bed canopy and everything else seemed to fall in place! You may recognise the awesome metal suitcase shelves that we used to have in the bathroom of our previous house. They are perfect in Betsy’s room and are now adorned with vintage Ladybird books and toys! The bedding set is from Asda Living and came with a quilt, bumper and a couple of sheets. I adore the retro lion and tiger cushions, mini suitcases and melamine plates! They are from Dotcomgiftshop and tie everything in together! The elephant cushion was a recent buy from Sass & Belle. It is so funny and they do a zebra wearing a cowboy hat too!

After scouring the internet for a hot air balloon light, I decided to make my own. The ones I found were either too expensive or had teddy bears, bows and pearls everywhere. I am so pleased with how it turned out that I am now taking commissions! I even made little peg people of Richard, Betsy and I! If you would like one with your choice of theme (Imagine a steampunk version!), then message me for details.

So here it is, I hope you like it! Her room is very small, but I tried to fill it with lots of cheery things and sensory objects!

001-betsy-bedroom 002-betsy-bedroom 003-betsy-bedroom Hot Air Balloon Light 005-betsy-bedroom Circus Baby Bedroom Vintage Baby Bedroom

Corpse Bride Wedding Dress


I thought I would do this blog post quickly before packing up my computer! We are moving house and I should be hard at work, packing boxes and stuffing bags!

Although mostly known for my 1940’s singing and burlesque, one of my most popular blog posts is actually about a Corpse Bride Halloween Costume I made some years back, based on the Tim Burton film. The original wedding gown was donated to me by a good friend and I set to work re-working it and creating accessories.

A lovely bride-to-be by the name of Mira got in touch earlier this year after seeing my dress, asking whether I could do the same for her. So she sent me some images of a few wedding gowns to choose from and pounced on a sweetheart bust, lace overlay number which she sent to me to work on. Over the coming months it went through 4 hand dyes.  I added lace, vintage pearls, snipped the train, hand painted some detailing and hand stitched the slit, created a veil and headdress and even the bouquet and button hole to match!

I was not only eager to get it finish in time for her wedding, but was also rather pregnant so it was getting harder to pick up things if I dropped them on the floor! I was so proud of the dress and took pictures all the way through to show progress.

Miia’s wedding went beautifully and she sent me some pictures to show you all of her big day. Hopefully I will get to do more of these up-cycles and finger’s crossed some other themes like steampunk or Day of the Dead too!

Gothic Wedding Bouquet

I sprayed the bouquet with enamel paint, added jewels, covered wire and antique lace before adding hand painted accents.#

 

Corpse Bride Wedding Veil

Corpse Bride Wedding Veil. I made this out of natural muslin and sprayed and hand painted it.

 

Corpse Bride Wedding Gown

The gown and headdress. The headdress was handmade using covered wire and little flowers that were sprayed and painted.

 

Corpse Bride DressIMG_9426

 

tim burton corpse bride dress

Mira in the dress!


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Hook Rug Making


Although rag rugs had been around many years before (one was even found to contain pieces of uniform from the Battle of Waterloo!), there was a brief revival of rug making in WW2. It served as a useful pastime for men, women and children in war-torn Britain. There are many techniques for this wonderful hobby, but whether you poke it through or hook it up, the idea is to use up scraps of fabric, moth-eaten blankets and sheets to create floor coverings, seat pads and the like. Potato sacks (hessian can be bought from haberdashery and craft shops) were used as a base in which to pull or poke fabric strips through. Blunt pointed instruments like large knitting needles, drill bits or nails with wooden handles could be used for poking pieces of fabric through the burlap’s loose weave, creating colourful rugs to cheer up your wartime home.

Rag rug chair pad

Sun themed rag rug chair pad by Kitten von Mew


As fabric and clothing were rationed, ‘Make Do and Mend’ was high on the agenda of every household and not a scrap of either was ever waisted. If it was no longer fit for purpose, a new purpose was found to fit! Whether making slippers from hats or rugs from old coats, it was not only a necessity for the home, but also a necessity to keep one’s sanity! Crafts were the perfect way to keep hands busy, the mind focused and away from the horrors, even just for a little while.Rag rug making


After the war it became unfashionable to make these rugs as they were associated with poverty and hard times, but luckily this wonderful craft was revived and is still going strong. Why not make a small rag surface protector for putting serving dishes on and test your own creative skills?

 

Hook rug chair pad

Side view showing the different types of fabrics used and the textures they create.



I went to a quilting fair late last year (I know, how can my life get any more exciting?) and met a lady who did rag rugging and hooking. I bought a rug hook from her and decided to give it a go…but didn’t quite get round to it. Low and behold at Christmas, what should Mama and Papa surprise me with, but a parcel of hessian fabric (I bet the excitement is killing you right now). Did I throw it down in disgust and ask where my pony was? Did I cry and demand an iPad? No, I flipping well went home and started cutting up fabric.

I decided to start small and drew out a simple sunrise design on the hessian and cut up long pieces of scrap fabric in blues, reds and oranges. I can tell you now that smooth cottons and polycottons are perfect. Loose weave tapestry types will make you want to bite someone’s face (Mr Mew got off lightly, you can’t see the scars). I thought it best to do a hooked rug as I wanted the detail to be quite apparent and also liked the thought of working with longer pieces of material as opposed to short strips used in ragging. You can work on your lap or stretch it over a wooden frame (recommended) and if asthmatic like me, wear a dust mask…taking it off to pose for photos obviously…

It took me about 5 weeks to do my rocking chair seat cover and I have finished it off by putting a layer of PVA glue on the back to prevent pulling and then a cotton backing. It looks wonderful on the rocking chair!

I am now on a much larger project…a rug made out of a kid’s sack race sack. I will certainly post pictures once finished!

Yarn Bombing – The Remembering Tree, Stratford upon Avon


yarn bombing

Yarn bombing by GAGA UK, Wearing Trousers and Coat by Heyday Online

There have been many yarn bombing incidents around the world, but none have touched me as much as the one in my home town. In pitch darkness on the 1st December 2013, 10 volunteers constructed this crocheted tree snood around a big old chestnut in the Bankcroft Gardens, Stratford upon Avon. Made from 1500 crocheted squares, it is called The Remembering Tree and each square can be ‘bought’ and dedicated to a loved one who has passed away. I bought one in memory of my Grandad with the Pipe. It helps us celebrate life and loved ones in all its wonderful colours and was made by women in South Africa from poor communities.

crochet bomb tree

Crochet Bombed Tree

 

This project has helped them earn an income and has taught them new skills. It looks like this tree will be the biggest one yarn bombed in Europe!

crocheted tree

1500 crocheted squares make up the Remembering Tree

After the New Year, the team will take the yarn squares down. The synthetic wool will be washed and recycled into blankets, which will be sent to Sierra Leone or a local homeless charity. For more information visit GAGA UK.

gaga uk remembering tree

All photos owned by Kitten von Mew 2013

Stumbling upon such a wonderful and poignant statement will certainly be something I will remember for the rest of my life. Who can say that about a crocheted square?

the remembering tree

The Remembering Tree, Stratford upon Avon

Christmas Craft Fair – Warwickshire Exhibition Centre


A huge thank you for the wonderful comments and greetings received at the craft fair on Sunday. I had a wonderful time and cannot wait to be back next year!

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Kitten von Mew and Santa Claus!

alpaca

Alpaca…you paca…we all paca!

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Ssssssssanta Baby! First time holding a snake!

 

 

Festival of Quilts 2013


On 10th August I went to the Festival of Quilts with my family at the NEC in Birmingham. I have a fondness of quilts, purely through the fascination of memory quilts and for sentimental reasons; one that used to be on my bed at Grandad’s house. This is one craft I would not be any good at. Following a strict pattern and everything needing to be just-so, my techniques are more organic and I prefer to just dabble and go with the flow as opposed to be regimental with my methods.

The amount of work that went into these gorgeous pieces was astounding and the creativity truly brilliant. It wasn’t all hexagons and bowties either. People experimented greatly with different mediums, painting, embroidering words and taking modern approaches to a traditional craft.

I imagined a chocolate box image of women working at their little Singer sewing machines on an evening, listening to the radio and nibbling on biscuits whilst muttering distastefully at the sex scenes on The Archers…but oh how times have changed! I was gobsmacked to see huge embroidery machines that could work on a king size quilt and embroider swirls and feather designs with ease. This somehow put a dampener on my view of the quilts as I expected them all to be worked on differently to this, but I supposed with the size of these things it would have taken many more years to complete without such tools.

Here are some photos I snapped on my phone before the battery died. Impressive works indeed!

hexagonal quilt

Swirl quilt made from tiny hexagonal pieces

bee quilt

Bee quilt!

flower circle quilt

One of my favourites. Beautiful flower like circles with beading, buttons and great colours!

poppy quilt

Poppy quilt with a wonderful burst of sunshine.

swirl quilt

How incredible is this? Can you imagine drafting this as a pattern?!

sea life quilt

Great use of patterned fabrics in this sea life quilt.

man quilt

A modern interpretation of quilting and a very effective one too!

necktie quilt

A quilt made entirely of neckties!

landscape quilt

A stunning landscape, I cannot stop looking at this one