About SarahStar

I love making colourful things and working with textiles, especially crochet and patchwork and particularly in retro 1970s-style!  I also love being outdoors, growing things, and walking in the magical mid Wales countryside where I live.  

Cottage & Caravan pincushions!

Well, here we are in 2018!  I’ve already tidied my craft room, sorted through all my sewing patterns, and set myself some Makery Challenges for the coming year, how about you?

But before we sail forth into the NEW, I thought I’d share with you a couple of little felt fancies I made over the hols.  Both these funky little pincushions were presents for friends (obviously, my own pins live on a shabby, falling-apart thingy I bought YEARS ago) and I totally loved designing all the little details with each person in mind!  They are both made from wool felt/fabric and stuffed with 50% wool as well, which apparently is the best thing for keeping your pins sharp (yes I really MuST make one for myself!  And buy new pins!).First up is a Sue Spargo design, taken from her book Contemporary Folk (& post on Sue HERE).  I made this pretty much as per the pattern, but added a few of my own little extra touches.  The applique/embroidery is done on the individual pieces before you stitch the house together, so I wasn’t entirely sure how it would look until it was finishedAlso I was a bit pressed for time on this one, but if I make another I will definitely add some more embellishments!  That said, I’m rather pleased with the way the bead and sequin flowers turned outSo as well as doing all the applique by hand (no hot glue here!) I also stitched all my seams by hand as I wanted the whole thing to have that quirky, slightly off-kilter look.And finally I couldn’t resist adding a little needle-felted critter to the roof!So this was for a friend who’s just moved house.  But what about my friend who’s just moved into her new Dream Caravan?  I got my sketchpad out and came up with this!Yep, it’s the must-have accessory for retro-caravan-loving crafters everywhere!  I made it a bit dinkier than Pincushion Cottage and really went to town on the details.  I’m particularly pleased with the window curtains, made from some scraps of quilting fabric with iron-on interfacing on the back to stop the tiny little pieces from fraying as I sewed.The sequin flowers didn’t work so well on this one though, they look a bit triffid-like!Again, I did most of the embellishment before stitching the pieces together, except for the bunting which went on after the whole thing had been stitched and stuffed.  This is just tiny felt triangles sewed directly onto the body of the caravan.Oh I had SO MUCH FUN making this!  I even gave it a personalised number plate!I do need refine my caravan design a bit as it doesn’t quite sit flat, and I think I’d like to make the cottage a bit more like my faerie houses, but I will DEFINITELY be making more of these for my craft stall this summer!Wishing you all a Folky Felted weekend 🙂

Folk Art bird house feeder

When I moved into my new house a few months back, one of the lovely housewarming presents I received was a wooden bird-feeder shaped like a birdhouse, which came with a little set of paints to decorate it with.  However….Why stop there, I thought??  So first came one of the many tester pots I had left from decorating, to give it a nice base coat (it does say ‘for walls and ceilings’ on the pot, after all!).  Then I spent some Happy Time going through my fabric stash and cutting out various leaf and flower motifs.  I glued these on with watered down PVA glue and brushed some more over the top to seal them in placeAdd a little bit of splodgy freehand painting, then finally a coat of clear decopatch varnish, and: Ta-Dah! It’s the funkiest bird-restaurant in town!  And I am SO pleased that I finished varnishing it last night, because I woke up to about six inches of SNOW this morning!  So there was no time to admire my handiwork, it got filled with birdfood and taken out to join the other (less colourful) feeders first thing.The first patrons arrived less than five minutes later.  And then, as I was passing the window this afternoon I saw what I think was a GOLDFINCH!  The first one I’ve seen in this garden!  Very wonderful, and great to know that at least someone shares my taste in art…Wishing you all a very funky folk-arty weekend 🙂

 

Autumn & Winter in the new garden

It’s been very mild weather here this past week – up until today! – and I’ve been taking advantage of this to get on and do some clearing and planting in my new garden.  A couple of months back I made a little vid to record for posterity what it looked like ‘before’

Renovating this garden is such a BIG project that I’ve had to break it down into small chunks, so that I can get my head around it by planning and doing one little area at a time.  The first to get to the ‘Star Treatment’ were the two beds at the front of the house, which although rather weed-choked and neglected were probably the easiest place to start.

This week I’ve been planting fruit trees and getting the ‘framework’ plants in to the first of the top terraces out front.  Like much of the garden this area is covered in rather scrubby grass.  Using a no-dig approach my plan is to transform it into a mixed permaculture planting of fruit trees and bushes and flowering shrubs to provide food and forage for me, the birds, bees, butterflies and other pollinators!

I’ve spent the last few days planting more trees and shrubs and getting a good mulch of compost around them all.  Yesterday I got the first of the cardboard layer down, and just in the nick of time because I woke up to snow this morning!!  So it’s been a cosy day indoors for me today – hopefully the trees are feeling equally cosy!

Wishing you all a very warm winter’s weekend 🙂

All the New Things

Wow, it really HAS been a long time since I posted on my little blog, hasn’t it??  SO much has happened this year, it’s been a bit of whirlwind to be honest and blogging has taken quite the back seat!  My creative life has moved into whole new areas in this last year and I’ve been having a wonderful time making new things, trying new ideas and meeting lots of lovely new people too.

So first off, I have moved house AGAIN!  I now have a wonderful, permanent home (for the first time in, err, EVER) with lots of space and my very own craft room, that I like to call my Playroom!  That’s it to the left of the front door. And as you can see, I also have a WHOLE new wilderness of a garden to tame!  In fact I have three – one at the front, one to the side, and the main one here at the back.  It was a bit of a wrench leaving my old garden behind I must admit.  I’m very glad of this little video I made of it a couple of months before I left to remind me how lovely it was, and also how quickly a garden can change – who remembers what my last one looked like when I arrived??

As you’ll know from my last few posts here, starting this summer I’ve been co-hosting a craft stall with BitsaTat by Delia at our local Arts & Crafts market every month.  It’s been a wonderful social thing to do and I’ve really enjoyed meeting lots of other makers and being part of the lively creative community that we are blessed with here in the Marches.We have a great craft group in our little town too, and every Wednesday afternoon you’ll find a bunch of us surrounded by yarn, fabric, threads, and tea (and often cake!) in our local cafe.  Over the summer we did a little ‘group project’ to make a display for the cafe, which was so much fun that we’re all agreed we need to do another!  You can see the finished results on our Facebook page, but here are some of my contributionsI’ve not been doing so much sewing this year, but still plenty of crochet and lots of felt creations!  Mainly in the form of headdresses and hair clips where I’ll use a mixture of wet felt and needle felted shapes and embelish these with embroidery, beads, applique, and all kinds of bits I’ve picked up in charity shops and car boots.  I absolutely love these creative journies, I never know quite how they’re going to turn out!We’re taking a break from the craft stall for the winter now and I’ve almost finished setting up my craft-space Playroom, so there should be a bit more time for blogging over the coming months.  I have crochet cardies to share with you, plus my latest obsession – felt and fabric beads!  Hope you’ll come and join me!

Wishing you all a colourful creative weekend 🙂

Lots of new makes for Kington Arts & Crafts Market!

Hello everyone!  Wow, have I been BUSY these last few weeks….  mainly making faerie houses and felt flower headdresses, ready for my first stall at Kington Arts & Crafts Market tomorrow!  This is a new joint-venture effort between me and my super-talented friend Delia (see Her Facebook page Bits A Tat for more info) and if all goes well, we shall be making it a regular monthly thing.  Fingers crossed!

It should be a lovely lively day tomorrow, with lots of fabulous hand-made and vintage treasures on sale plus street music provided by Nat Brewer.  9.30am til 3pm at the Market Hall, Kington HR5 3DP.  So do come along for a browse if you’re in the area, we’d love to see you!

But enough of that!!  You want to see the latest crazy funky headdresses, don’t  you?!  Ladies, gents & all between, I give you my July collection (modelled by my new glamorous assistant)…

The Purple Princess… Frida Flowers…The Deluxe Mermaid…and finally, The Little Mermaid clip (for those who don’t want to go ‘the full mermaid’)!Thank you, as always, for sharing my Creative Adventures with me!  Hope you enjoyed the pics.  Wishing you a lovely weekend one and all 🙂

Continuing garden transformation

The weather has been mostly warm and sunny for the past week (apart from today of course, because it’s a bank holiday here in the UK!) and I’ve been continuing with my Mission to transform my garden.  Just for reminders, here’s what it looked like when I moved in just over 2 years agoYep, the area filled with rubble to the left, between the two tree stumps, is the same as the one in the pic at the top!  This has been the final part of the garden to receive the Sarah Special, Organic Permaculture No-Budget treatment, mainly because it was literally a pile of refuse – rocks, rubble, builder’s plastic, and broken glass.  I’m not up to lots of heavy digging and had no means to import top soil, etc, which anyway is against my ‘zero budget’ principles!  So I’ve been pondering what to do with it for a long time.  Then a few weeks back whilst re-reading Graham Bell’s classic book ‘The Permaculture Garden’, I hit upon the solution!  And here, I’ve even made a little video to show you how I did it!

Pretty cool, huh?!  I am, of course, exceptionally chuffed!

Meanwhile the rest of the garden is busy transforming itself, now.  The flower bed that was one of the first beds I created back in 2015 has totally come into its own this year and is looking amazing.  Again, here’s what it looked like when I started:By planting mostly perennials, bulbs, and self-seeding annuals and keeping the planting dense to supress the weeds, I really haven’t done much of anything to it this year.  It got mulched with compost last autumn, a bit of a weeding in spring before the perennials had gotten into full growth, and a sprinkle of organic chicken manure pellets.  This is how it looks today!

Hope you enjoyed my little tour!  Wishing you a flowery, low-maintenance kinda week 🙂

 

Felted Faerie Houses

Greetings, mortal folk!  Welcome to our Faerie settlement. Our local builder has been very busy lately as you can see, having just scored a whole pile of new materials at WonderWool last month.  Shall we take you on a little tour?

That online embroidery course last year has resulted in some rather fancy door and window frames The clematis are flowering nicely at the momentvery good for attracting the wildlifefaery houses are remarkably fertile places, and all sorts of interesting things like to grow around them of course it’s not only faeries who are attracted to these little abodeswe don’t mind though, there’s plenty of room at the top It’s a very friendly neighbourhood I’ve got a feeling there will be a few more of us very soon! Wishing you all an enchanted faery weekend! 🙂

WonderWool Wales 2017

I can’t believe it’s a month already since Wales’ premier woolly event, the Wonderwool Wales show!   Me & Cy packed up our cameras & tardis-like shopping bags, raided the cashpoint and donned our best me-made crochet wearables, landing at the Royal Welsh showground in Builth around 10.30am.  THREE giant halls packed with all kinds of displays and GORGEOUS STUFF awaited us!

Some of the local Guild Group’s work We saw plenty of real ones too but only this sheep was up for a photo opportunity with Cy Felt fish!  I loved this rug-making technique using scraps of wool fabric rolled up like swiss rolls, although I couldn’t quite work out how all the sections were joined together!This amazing piece is a hand-knitted map of Llandysul, home to the National Wool Museum.  (Spot the me-made crochet jumper No. 2, finally finished just in time for summer, oh well…) I loved all the tiny little details, SO much work has gone into this beautiful pieceThere didn’t seem to be so much crochet on display as I would have liked, although to be honest we didn’t get round the whole thing so I may well have just missed it.  My fave was the vibrant colours and varied textures of Jane Crowfoot’s ‘Sunshine and Showers’ blanket Since we are now both totally hooked on needle felting we had a field day rummaging through piles of beautiful wool tops and I came home with a bulging bag full, as well as some gorgeous yarn for next winter’s first jumper project.  All in all a Grand Day Out – the sun shone, we met up with friends, had a yummy Polish Cuisine lunch and talked about crafts all day long!  Perfect… Already dreaming of next year’s…

Wishing you all a Wonderful Weekend 🙂