Friday, 12 September 2014

Taking photos for Etsy or Facebook

Using a smartphone or my iPad for photos, to upload to our little shop, Dunn Crafting, on is fine - the picture quality is not bad, but the biggest issue is positioning and lighting.  The low energy bulbs we all have to use these days give a yellowish tinge to any photo that doesn't really do the item justice.  I've photo-ed baby bunting in my bedroom which has large picture windows and lots of natural light - that's good but sitting on the floor trying to capture that perfect shot of bunting strung across my cupboard doors is less than ideal!  Too much wobble and cats interfering!

Enter the Lightcase!

This ingenious piece of kit is, very simply, a box made of translucent plastic with a hole in the top through which you can take photos with your smartphone.

The results are brilliant - in every sense of the word!  Have a look at the difference.....

After, using the lightcase

The colours are brighter, sharper, more vibrant .....

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Weather gremlins

Certain words and phrases, it seems to me, act as wake up calls for the weather gremlins - barbeque, long weekends when everyone goes camping, Glastonbury, school fetes and summer fayres....

....Even whispered, these can bring thunder, lightening and lashings of rain!

We decided we need to make ourselves known on a more face-to-face basis, rather than just relying on on-line sales, so opted for a stall at Moggerhanger Lower School's summer fayre.

Everything was set up, looked really pretty - and things had just started to get going, with some folk really taken with our things .... They promised to return after they had seen the other  stalls.... And then the rain came down.  In torrents.  Everyone went home.  So did we.  Best laid plans ..... Better luck next time!

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Goody bags for weddings

The youngest daughter of a good friend of mine is getting married in a fortnight.  Among the myriad of arrangements attached to a DIY wedding is how to keep children, aged 1 - 9, entertained and, particularly, quiet in church.  Answer?  Pew bags.  Never heard of them?  Neither had I until my friend asked me to make some!  Simply, they are cloth bags, drawstring or with handles, filled with goodies to keep youngsters quiet and happy.  Pinterest has all sorts of pins - busy bags, quiet bags, activity bags, ISpy bags - all filled with ingenious ideas.  For a wedding, the beauty of these bags is that the children can take them away, and they can be used again and again to keep treasures and other cool stuff.  Brilliant idea!

 My friend supplied the material - her main choices were children's curtain material with a really cute animal design for the little ones, and a lovely lilac tree design for the older kids.  We didn't have quite enough so she got some extra material - good quality cotton with owls - not a match, but what does that matter?  Her daughter's wedding colours are lavender so even though the fabric colours didn't quite match, lavender ribbon gives the right touch to link it all together.

The bags are really quick and easy to make, with the seams overlocked to allow for fraying - the curtain material is linen.

Friday, 30 May 2014

Button letter

A good friend is approaching a significant birthday, so I decided to make her something.  I'd wanted to try doing a letter, and had seen some black and white buttons so that was the germ of the plan.   Colemans craft warehouse is the most fabulous place for anything crafty, obvously my first (and only!) port of call. At the branch I go to, they have regular workshops for all sorts of crafts; every time I go to shop or browse, there are always lots of busy ladies of all ages and, often, a number of   bored husbands patiently waiting..  I bought a large paper mâché P, a couple of packets of black and white buttons of various designs, some white poster paint - and a piece of pink and purple floral linen ribbon to cover the outer sides of the letter.

To start with, I decided to paint the letter, using the smallest paint brush I could find - not on purpose, it was just the only one immediately available! Poster paint is nice and thick, but paper mâché is very absorbent, and with my little paint brush, I had to do several coats before I started to get the matte white effect I was after.  Next time, I will use a bigger brush and, perhaps, get a little pot of enamel paint.

The linen ribbon was frayed along the edges, so I trimmed it a little and then applied PVA glue to the letter in three long lines, sticking down the ribbon as I went along.  PVA glue sticks well ... But .... It shows through fabric, so if you use it, be prepared for some creative covering up!

As you can see, as I worked, my black and white plan became pink, with black and white!  A sort of  pretty candy effect.

I found that these paper mâché letters are filled with something (sounds like sand) to weigh them down and help them
to stand.  With the weight of the buttons on the front, I wasn't sure that the letter would stand, so I added  a little ring (used for hooking the central wire cords for net curtains) that I screwed into the top through the ribbon, and then glued and surrounded with well glued buttons.  A deep burgundy ribbon, edged in gold, finished it off so my friend could hang the letter if it didn't balance (I put buttons on the bottom, so it probably won't!)
She was delghted with the end result - 

Friday, 4 April 2014

Buttons and balls

Buttons have great versatility - and the colours are amazing across the whole spectrum.  Karen was experimenting with 2 inch polystyrene balls, hot glue (love it!) and different colours and came up with these.....
She continued to layer the buttons, and then extended the colours - here are the others....

I had some 3 inch balls, so created three of my own.  When my cat would let me....

Very few pins, mostly to secure sequins.  I buy my pearlheaded pins on eBay in batches of 480 - they are as cheap as chips, and not of the sort of quality one would have for sewing, but for sticking into polystyrene balls they are ideal.  As pomanders or kissing balls, or whatever you would like to call them, they make lovely gifts.

This one has a light spring theme - don't you like the butterfly?! Craft punch - wonderful things!  I particularly like the Martha Stewart range - can be a bit pricy but they are of such good quality that I think it's money well spent.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Commissions and orders

Such excitement last weekend, when we received our first order from Texas - Karen's lovely minimalistic wreath.

We are learning all the time with postage and packing - boxes are heavy!

Next, a colleague commissioned a button-heart for her bathroom, in browns, beiges and creams. Mmm - I was a bit concerned that it would look dull and wondered how I could lift the colours.
None of the brown buttons I had were terribly exciting, so I ordered two different selections (ebay and Amazon are great sources!  no surprise there)  and meanwhile experimented with wrapping the heart form, first in cream ribbon (didn't have quite enough) and then chocolate brown (still not quite enough... Frustration beginning to build!) then in both cream and chocolate .... Too 'busy'.  Final decision - wrap the heart form in white lace and use the chocolate and cream ribbons to hang the heart with.  I twisted them and secured them with glue and a button. Sorted.

The buttons duly arrived and I laid them out on my dining room table and got to work.  Using gold star sequins to help secure and stabilise buttons with large holes, blending pearly white and cream buttons with the browns, and filling spaces with white pearl beads - and at last I was happy with the results.

I'm happy to report that my colleague is also happy and sent me a picture of where the heart is hanging - in her bathroom, alongside other heart shapes.  It glows!


Sunday, 9 March 2014

Applique letters

I love making baby blankets, and have dabbled in using bondaweb to applique shapes onto fleece, quite successfully.
 I've seen some wonderful quilting on Pinterest such as this link for a very cute gnome's house: -
I wondered what appliquéd letters would be like to do with a bit of padding.... I found a website for free downloads of letter stencils  - really cool as you can choose the font, size, etc and simply print it off, or copy and paste to a Word document which is what I did so I could fiddle about.  I got the right size and cut out the paper stencils then used then used them as mini-paper patterns on some fabric scraps I had......

I use polystyrene wadding - inexpensive, durable and very practical for something that will be well used like a baby blanket! The backing fabric is also any sort of scrap material (remember to keep those odd shaped bits when you cut something out). Next task: to machine sew round the edges, making sure you catch the edges.
Whoever invented double sided sticky tape needs a medal!  I stuck the letters onto the blanket in the position I wanted them... Pinning can all too often result in movement and endless frustrating unpicking! Stitch round using a fairly narrow zigzag stitch - I chose a contrasting colour.... And here's the result....

 How sweet is this!

Monday, 3 March 2014

Introducing Dunn Crafting!

Hello!  I'm Sue and this introduces the Dunn Crafting duo - mum, (me!), and daughter, Karen, (the gorgeous one) who have ventured into the world of crafting and, hopefully, of enthusing others.

We are both keen sewers - Karen has made some brilliant things for her children just by looking at pictures - and of course, Pinterest is the best place for inspiration!
It all started over the Christmas break - Karen made some beautiful, festive quilted baubles (pomanders), I knitted some baubles with Norwegian designs - and we decided on the spur of the moment to launch Dunn Crafting on -

Since then, our range has grown, our techniques are developing all the time (don't you just love hot glue!)

And the best bit is the experimenting with new ideas .

We also have a Facebook page where you can see photos of what we're doing. -

We hope you will enjoy these posts as we share our journey with you