Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Future Perfect

During the Bank Holiday I was helping out at the Future Perfect music and arts festival down by the canal in Manchester. It was set up in 2007 in memory of Lee Wyatt, a 25 year old who lost his battle to cancer. Ever since his mum, family and friends have organised an annual festival featuring local bands and art and crafty things to do for all the family with all proceeds going towards The Christie. It was such a lovely event to be part of and it had a wonderful family feel to it. I strongly recommend going to it next year.

The themes were happy and healthy and I was assisting an army of kids decorate paper bunting flags with things that make them happy and these were strung up around our tent. We also made fruit to go on the "healthy tree" and our corner looked very colourful and vibrant by the end of the day. Here are a few photos:

Happy bunting

More happy bunting (and a monkey)

The healthy tree

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Operation Spider Plant

My latest project has been a long time in the making. I have a slight obsession with spider plants, mainly because they are the only plant that I can successfully keep alive but I also love the way that they just keep on growing and producing babies without having to go through the whole flowering, pollination and seed planting process (saying this though I've had two spider plants that have produced flowers as well and it was quite exciting). I love how you can cut off their offspring and stick them in water until they develop roots and then plant them in a pot of their own until they grow up and have babies themselves thus keeping the whole circle of life going for generations and generations right in front of your very eyes. They are my substitute for dogs whilst I continue to rent flats from landlords that don't allow pets although in an ideal world I'd have loads of spider plants and dogs running around and maybe a tortoise as well. It is my life ambition to one day set up a shop that sells just spider plants and when you walk in the door they'll all be hanging down from the celling and there will be a thick jungle of spider plant babies cascading down to the floor. This is my vision...I do realise that I may have issues!

Currently I have two spider plants. I acquired Aragog, the Daddy of all spider plants, in a pub* when he was just a baby.  Just like his namesake he grew and grew and had millions of babies and now he's taking over my whole flat. I've had him for about three years and I love him dearly with all my heart.

The other spider plant I have is a special curly leaved spider plant. I heard about these years ago but they are really hard to come by. I found one in a pop up stall in the middle of Chester about 6 years ago and went back a few days later to purchase it but the stall had already vanished and I haven't seen another curly leaved spider plant since. And then in November last year I bought one off Ebay. I wasn't sure how well a plant would take to being battered around in the post but he was packaged very well and he's still alive today. I decided to call him Norman [Watts].

From left to right: Aragog and Norman. Aragog's babies have got so out of hand that they are now trying to take over Tracy Island!

I used to have two other spider plants prior to Aragog and Norman but sadly due to an unfortunate incident where my ex housemate cranked up the heating too high whilst I was away for Christmas, it resulted in them both being dead by the time I got back. It was very upsetting and I will never forget Obi Wan or Cassie, may they rest in peace.

Anyway, now that I've told you about my entire family tree of spider plants I can get onto the whole point of this blog post which is the fact that I decided to try my hand at making fake spider plants out of fabric and the whole operation turned out rather well I think. The leaves are stuffed with pipe cleaners so you can bend them and shape them anyway you want them (just like a Cheese String) and the pots are upcycled cream pots that are painted to look like they are actually made out of terracotta. I wanted to make this a novelty item and thought it would be pretty exciting to make a batch of "pot your own fake spider plant kits" to sell on Folksy so I started experimenting with materials to use as a substitute for soil. In the end I decided that felt was the best thing for it and I am so pleased with the way the first one turned out.

This is the fake one

At the moment I've only made one but I will be making more as soon as I have another free couple of days to spare. I'm also trying to formulate a cunning plan on how to go about making a gigantic spider plant with millions of babies dangling from it so watch this space.

I would  love to find out what you (ie people who are slightly more sane than me) think about about operation spider plant. I am very aware that not everybody is as enamoured by these truly beautiful plants as I am but it would be nice to know other people's thoughts on the subject. Or you can just send me photos of your own real spider plants or any other plants you may have in your house/garden.

You can leave me a message below, send me a tweet @McPoodleShop or head on over to The McPoodle Shop Facebook page. If you would like to purchase your very own fake bendable spider plant please click on this here link. http://folksy.com/items/4362767-Fake-Bendy-Spider-Plant

* the pub wasn't The Hog's Head unfortunately

Monday, 22 April 2013

Quick Curtain

At the start of the year I acquired a rather useful shop fitting after a local kitchen shop closed down. I wheeled the damn thing half a mile down the road and somehow managed to get it up a flight of stairs and into my flat (imagine the most stubborn supermarket trolley you have ever come across, times the stubborness by ten and then add a few extra tonnes of weight onto that and you'll be able to build up a decent picture of me trying to navigate curbs, tram lines and uneven paving slabs). It was worth it though, it holds so much stuff but as you can see from the picture below, I'm not the neatest when it comes to storing things so I decided to make a curtain to hide the things I hastily chuck in there.

I found a cheap net curtain rail from Wilkos and then set about making a curtain to go across the front. I've never made curtains before and I think I could have done with using slightly bulkier fabric as it doesn't hang very straight at the edges but it does the job and it also detracts from the boring white walls and the laminated wooden furniture in my room.

iPad Sleeping Bags

A while ago I found some really lovely fabric with apples on it and seeing as my flatmate is a complete Apple fan boy I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to make accessories for said Apple products that are readily available around my flat for modelling.

This iPad Cosy turned out to be even cuter than I envisioned it in my head, it's like a miniature sleeping bag and it has a layer of wadding and a flowery lilac lining inside to keep it safe from knocks and bumps. I decided to stick it in my Folksy Store so if you want it please hop on over there. I'm also planning to make covers for the iPad Mini and some kind of protector for the Kindle that I got for my birthday so if you would like a bespoke handmade sleeping bag for your gadget get in contact and I'll make you something wonderful (I can also make gadget accessories that are far less girlie just so you know).

Monday, 4 March 2013

Cushions and Bunnies and Watermelons

I've always been a knitter, it has been my main crafting outlet of choice ever since I first saw Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone at the cinema and wanted my own Gryffindor scarf. There's nothing quite like curling up on the sofa with a pair of knitting needles in your hand for hours on end. Saying this however, the knitting has been on the back burner recently, ever since I was reunited with my sewing machine after years and years of it gathering dust at my dad's house. My new favourite things to sew are cushions after watching about 20 Youtube tutorials on how to add zips and piping and other exciting things to cushion covers. I went off to buy some fancy feet for my sewing machine and then I was off, you couldn't stop me!

First I made this little monkey cushion with the softest cotton fabric I've ever had the pleasure of stroking (seriously I sat there stroking it for hours after I made it).

And yesterday I made this robot cushion out of some equally adorable fabric...I do spend a lot of time looking for pretty fabric.

I haven't just been exercising my new found cushion skills though...I also tried to make myself a watermelon pin cushion out of felt but the flat bits became slightly less flat due to adding too much wadding so I decided it would work better as a laptop screen duster and added it to the McPoodle Shop along with the cushions because I live in a teeny tiny flat where there is no room to keep all the things that I frequently get the urge to make :(

Lastly the flatmate has gone over to Melbourne for a fortnight to visit Tim and Serena who are awesome amazing people who we both had the pleasure of going to uni with. They emigrated over to the holy land of Paul Robinson about a year and a half ago and neither of us have seen them since. I made a mad looking stuffed bunny thing for Serena and gave it to the flatmate to take over to her. She seriously loves crazy stuffed bunnies, the crazier looking the better so this was my attempt at making one:

The ears are different sizes on purpose and the inner ear pieces are made from bits of appliquéd-on felt.  The mouth and teeth are also appliquéd on and the button eyes are sewn on by using various different threads. The ears don't hang as well as I would have liked them to, I think I should have positioned them slightly further down so they wouldn't make the top of the bunny's head look so flat and his body is a bit too weirdly shaped...even for an intentionally weird looking bunny.

Anyway, Mr Bunny arrived safely in Melbourne after a whole day of sitting in a rucksack on various aeroplanes and he is now sitting in Tim and Serena's front room next to an elephant instead. Serena has called him Fibs and she assures me that she loves him and that's all that really matters at the end of the day.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Welcome to the Blogspace of the McPoodle Chieftain


Some of you may know me as that girl who works in telly and blogs about it lots and you would be right in thinking that because I do. The trouble is that I also spend a lot of time when I'm not working in telly making things and up until now I didn't have anywhere to share my creations on the world wide web. This has recently changed because I've now plastered myself all over the net. On Twitter, on Facebook, on Pinterest, on Instructables and I also sell the crafty things that didn't turn out too bad on Folksy as well as blogging about things of no importance.

I'll be posting lots of photos of the things I make on here and sharing hints and tips with you of how to go about making your own things. I wont however be posting video tutorials due to the fact that I'm rubbish on camera. Seriously, I turn into a right goon as soon as there's a camera pointing at me so all my charisma will have to come via the written word I'm afraid.

I'm also planning a few competitions where you can win some of my hand made things so be sure to follow me on the social media outlets of your choice to ensure you'll be kept posted on all the latest happenings.

Until next time....over and out and thanks for popping by.

ps. Here's something I made for myself last week. I wanted to immortalise last years Gene Hunt calendar and so I turned it into what 2012 was all about for me...bunting! I like to call it my Gene Bunt.