Tag Archives: crafts

November 2013: Crafts for Christmas

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We’ve always known the Spa Sweethearts were a talented bunch, but our November meeting was the first chance many of us had to share our skills.

We had four different work stations set up around the room offering the chance to make a range of festive crafts with help from committee members. Suzanne showed her group how to make gorgeous felt reindeer decorations, Sue and Rachael were decorating fairy cakes with Christmas characters, Bex taught a group of ladies how to create a 3D Christmas pudding and Vicky had a table of card-making kit to keep everyone busy.

While some of the crafts took all evening to complete, others were less time consuming, so many of us had the chance to visit more than one table. As well as learning new skills, it was a good opportunity to meet a few new people and catch up with some we hadn’t spoken to for a while.

Sharing skills is something we’re keen to do more of in the future. If you can make or do something which you think other members may be interested in, we’d love to hear from you – just speak to any committee member or contact us by email.

Meanwhile, the December meeting will be Christmas Greenery, when we’ll be making a table centre to put the finishing touch to your Christmas meals. There are several items you will need to bring for this:

* Scissors/secateurs
* Variegated greenery eg holly, ivy, conifer etc
* Plate/base to put the arrangement on
* Candle
* Ribbon

You can also bring extra items to decorate your display, such as small baubles, ribbons, berries, fir cones, fresh flowers and dried fruit. The oasis blocks you need will be available to buy at £2 each, and guests are welcome to join us for £4 each (plus £2 for oasis, so £6 total).

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November: Crackers and cards

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The Spa Sweethearts were feeling festive in November – and our crafting session gave us great tips and ideas for Christmas with plenty of time left to go and make them at home.

We started by making Christmas crackers. It was surprisingly easy – a couple of toilet roll inners, some wrapping paper and a snap were all we needed to make a basic cracker. We just had to decide what went inside them and how we decorated them.

After that, we tried our hands at making Christmas cards which featured a 3D Christmas tree. Again, the process was surprisingly simple and we just had to decide how we wanted to decorate them once they were put together.

 

 

Crafters Gemma, Ilona, Elisa and Georgi had provided plenty of sparkle to make sure our crafts felt suitably festive. Because they weren’t too complicated, we were able to chat while we worked without risking everything going horribly wrong.

At the end of the night, Gemma invited everyone to the crafting sessions she runs as a sub-group of Spa Sweethearts – a good chance to practise our newly-acquired skills and learn some new ones.

Now the Spa Sweethearts know how to make stylish crackers and cards, there will be some beautifully adorned tables and mantelpieces around Harrogate and beyond this Christmas.

September 2012: Felting

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Our September meeting was led by Susan Hibbert, who began by declaring herself a felting fanatic.

She told us she had been felting for five years and that it was a passion for her. She showed us the huge range of things she had made with felt, even describing the process as “magic”.

Her enthusiasm was infectious and we went off to our work stations armed with lengths of wool in all kinds of colours.

It soon became clear that technique is very important in felting. To begin with, we were told to be gentle when teasing out sections of wool to use, then to place them carefully in the shape of a flower on top of some bubble wrap, building up layers until the outline of a petal became clear.

Once there was enough wool in place, we doused it with soapy water and placed another piece of bubble wrap over the top. Susan then told us how to begin turning the wool into felt, with a lot of elbow grease!

In her demonstration, Susan was quite rough with the wool, rubbing it vigorously between the bubble wrap to encourage the fibres to come together and form a fabric. We must have been looking a bit nervous because she said she thought she’d scared us all, but after a cup of tea and a cake, we felt strong enough to give it a go.

As a technique, felting is not for those who are uncomfortable with quite a lot of mess. You need a lot of water and soap to get the right texture, and it does seem to go everywhere – at least, it did for me and everyone else I could see! Susan had brought her daughter, Lucy, to the meeting, and between them they went around the tables giving us help and encouragement, and saying “It needs to be much wetter than that!” a lot.

Once our felt, and most of our clothes, were suitably sodden, we rinsed out the flower to get rid of the suds and began encouraging it into a more attractive shape. It was hard work, but by holding it correctly and handling it very firmly, it did begin to improve.

Some of the flowers produced were beautiful, with bright colours and stylish shapes. Others were… less so, often resembling starfish, wilting leaves and dead insects. However, everyone certainly learned something about felting, and lots of ladies bought a kit from Susan so they could have a go at home and practise the techniques they had been taught.