Back to the Making

So I’ve been running the craft club now since the begining of January and its been going well – the only thing is getting different people to come. Someone said to me that if you offer something for free it is not valued by people, but if they have to pay for it that is a different matter. Isn’t that sad – I have skills that I want to share and yet people are not interested….. however if I charged £30 a pop I’d be laughing.

I think that is indicative of the way of the world. So after the Easter break I am going to start running adult only classes and begin to make a charge.

I’ve really enjoyed the work that I’ve done so far – we’ve made buttons, three different types of fabric flowers, the craftavist jigsaw pieces, and now we are moving onto learning to crotchet. I’ve got my mini balls of wool that are so dinky and a bunch of crotchet hooks so lets see how we get on.



My mouse cross stitch from a drawing by my son! – he’s not dead he’s dancing btw 😉

Craft Clubing with the Hackney Youth

Me and my little man in 2010

Me and my little man in 2010

Having passed on skills to my two kids and encouraged making, painting etc for years with them I have realised it is time to pass it forward in a wider sense. I have the time and the skills so why not encourage youngsters to start crafting young. Unfortunately there is a ‘lost generation’ out there. I was lucky that my mother was taught to sew and knit by a neighbour, but she was never encouraged by her family to follow her passion just to go to school, then secretarial school and then into a job.

Sure she traveled – she was a £10 Pom in the late 60’s but when she returned to England, had babies ie me, it was then all to late as a struggling single mum to step out, re-train and use her sewing skills to found a career. Instead she used to knit and sew to dress us. It was an enjoyable but practical pass time. Then she took the time to pass it on to me – and I fell in love with fabric, thread and weave.

My favourite dress my mum made me -  I suspect she knitted my bro's jumper too!

My favourite dress my mum made me – I suspect she knitted my bro’s jumper too!

My mum inspired a career that has spanned 20+ years and led me to this blog, and setting up my Folksy shop…. so I think I owe it to her and all the women out there like her to pass this on and encourage youngesters to think of ways to find and use crafting talents. Especially in an area that see’s high youth unemployment and despite the recent cool label and huge influx of the well off, and trendy is still struggling with inclusion issues.

The recent riots show the disparity between the have’s and have-nots, and these kids need to be shown there are other ways. They can aspire to more than a job in JJB sports, and to be honest there is a lot of talent here. I’ve seen it already through the years with the fantastic Youth club which you is talked about on the Volunteer Centre Hackney Website . There have been screen printing and textile workshops which the kids have loved – streetwise and always ready with a quick come back, you see them concentrating and quiet whilst they come up with an original design that says something to them. A few days later they are running around the estate wearing their handprinted t-shirt with pride. Is’nt that so much better than fighting and arguing about gang territory. Girls, boys, black, white and every shade in-between no worries no cares just fun, colour and crafting.

So I need your help. I have some supplies, we have glue, paint, scissors, the space to do it and I have the time and skills. I just need fabric, buttons, beads, ribbon, anything you can spare. If you live close by and can drop it round fantastic – if not and you are in london then I can come with my trusty Wheelie Boy and collect. If you live further a field and have some fantastic ideas of makes we could do and want to share that’s great also. I want to think outside the box – show these kids craft is cool, fun and relevant!

Details, Details, Details

Just drop me a line at letting me know if you have supplies or an idea and I’ll respond as soon as I can.

The project startson the 8th January 2013 and initially is running once a week for 6 weeks – after that we’ll see what the kids think & if they want it to continue then fantastic it will!

I want to do one session for the #imapiece Craftivist Collective project to show these kids that they can have a voice too and it’s just as important as us adults to use it.

Any other suggestions and I would love to hear from you…….

Crativist Collective #imapiece piece of the week

Crativist Collective #imapiece piece of the week

Oh and we need a cool name – something that grabs the kids – the estate is called Wilton Estate, it’s near London Fields in Hackney E8 London – so if anyone has a suggestion …..

Craft Porn

Italo Calvino said: The more enlightened our houses are, the more their walls ooze ghosts.

I don’t know about enlightened but I’m certainly expanding my repertoire, and with that comes more books, more blog posts, more crafting magazines….so does that equate to more voices in my head, ghost voices of people who inspire me to try more things??? I guess it does.

Yesterday my parcel arrived from the book people and I ripped it open with glee. It was filled with christmas presents for relatives, a Santa surprise for my son, and joy of joy’s three books for me. So I have Kirstie’s Vintage Home which has been receiving some pretty mixed reviews, Super-Cute Felting, and Granny Square Crotchet.  I was in heaven!

I love Kirstie’s books, not because they necessarily show me new things – but check out the felt rug idea a winner! – but really because they are so beautifully presented. They are the porn of the crafting world. We crafters don’t get turned on by a flash of boob or a shot of a rampaging cock. Oh no it’s Fifty Shades of Madeira Thread for me. I opened the pages and was immediately going ooh, ahhh, mmmm – verging on the side of a soft porn soundtrack. It’s the carefully thought out colour scheme, all faded tea stained pages, stamped titles and faded labels, and a wonderful aroma of freshly printed pages. As for the actual content, well there’s some fun ideas, ones that are frankly amusing – my brother is a willow artist and there is no way you could weave something useful if you have no idea what you are doing – and some that are rehashes of old ideas. £20 in this current climate is more than I wanted to spend, but the book people’s kinder £6.99 is well worth it!

 Super-Cute Felting was something entirely different. Bright colours, simple designs, no on trend vintage stuff,     but love it. I have just discovered the joys of working with felt as previously in the world of costume this material is looked down upon; unless of course it’s a heavy wool felt being used for some dashing young dandies coat then we’re all for it. However I’ve tried using it for my felted birds and fell in love with the fabric so wanted to get some ideas – looking for little pressies to make for family. This book has loads – not always in the colour schemes I would choose, and I’m sure Kirstie would choke a little – but you can change that. So now I’m armed let the felting commence!

Last and sadly prehaps least Granny Square Crotchet. It’s a nice book – in the way that we say it’s a ‘nice’ dress. It does nothing to offend out right, but it also does nothing to excite. I’ve been crocheting for a number of years now and quite like to make things up as I go along, but I remember my Gran every Christmas producing some granny squared item, and I guess I was hoping this book would give me a bit of that back. Well it just goes to show that there really is only so much you can do with a granny square, and really would rather they didn’t!! I will however be making the flannels – loved them, and a longer project of the blanket. Glad I got this at a knock down price.

Hang on, whats that – ohhhh another parcel. Ahhh a guilty pleasure, something from Amazon. I know I know I shouldn’t be ordering from them but it’s so hard not to – and I did use a seller using Amazon rather than them. So only half bad. Oh yes, mmmmm just there, oh god that’s good…… ahhh Supersize Stitches by Jacqui Pearce I’m off to bed!!!

Competition being run by Dylon

Competition being run by Dylon

Simple little competition being run by Dylon on Fac-e-book(for any Jack&Dean fans) to win £100 in shopping vouchers for spending at Crimbo….. think we could all do with a littl of that right now!

Folksy Competition

So its time to get my butt in gear as the closing date for the Folksy Christmas Comp is rapidly approaching and I still have one half-finished make and possibly two more to do! Ahh guess what I will be doing tomorrow…..

I can’t complain though as it’s so much fun to be able to be making and crafting all day. Having left the hectic world of costume where most things were needed yesterday and for nothing it is bliss to be able to get up plan my day and take a break when I feel like it not when I’m allowed. I have to admit though to staying the PJ’s a couple of times especially with all the ‘wonderful’ weather we have been having recently.

Today was exciting as I received my first lot of Christmas & business cards – the Christmas cards are super nice and printed on the back with a message from me and a link to my shop so all good for business. Here’s a print of the design….

Made by me from left over and scrap fabric with handmade felt birds – I gave this to my Aunt to brighten up her door for the festive season, but there are more on sale in my Folksy shop

This is such a simple method to make a beautiful and individual wreath for your door and I guess I’m gonna have to show you…

All you need is some leftover/scrap fabric and a wire florists wreath


Begin by cutting of any seams, labels or overlocked edges


Cut the fabric into inch wide strips – if you can rip it all the better as it adds a feathering effect.


You then have to cut the strips into 3″ lengths – this doesn’t have to be accurate as a little bit of difference adds to the charm


You’ll need a good few piles and if you can mix up the colours or tones it makes it much more interesting


Begin by threading the first strip round the wire frame


Tie a single knot and pull tight


As you knot more strips onto the wire push the others back as you need to fill the space until you cannot move the knots – otherwise your wreath might look a little bald


Can you see what it is yet??? – this is after one section has been completed. Looking good and you can really see what the finished result is going to be

I’ve added some felt holly with glass beads, felted birds in a contrasting colour and some silver painted orange slices to finish it off

This is a really fun make and can be used again and again – you can even make them just as a decoration for anytime of the year and for a little girl decorated with a few fairies would look fab!

If you don’t want to make one or haven’t got the time you can always commission one from me through my Folksy shop
Debbie Does Design
Right I’m off to do some more crafting….

Up up and away!!!

So here we go off into the world of cyber…….

Having worked in the world of design and been self-employed all be it via contract work for the last seventeen years this was a leap that I was well and truely ready for. I have been toying with what to do instead of designing costumes and working in the world of film/tv for the last two years. I’ve tried vintage trading mainly in clothing and loved it but it wasen’t me, I’ve sold Forever Living Products(and still will if you ask me) love them all and use them but full-time it wasen’t me, I’ve made bespoke wedding dresses but one bridezilla too many and that certainly wasen’t me, I went back to designing/making for TV and loved the buzz but really it wasen’t me.

Then I began to make,make what I wanted, what I saw and felt – pull out all those pieces of fabric, buttons and beads that I have been hoarding for years …… waiting for the day when I would know what to do with them. Well now I do. Now I know how to use all the scraps of fabric I couldn’t throw away, buttons I cut off clothing and items I’ve saved from landfill. I am going to make the frivolous, the impulsive, the things that you may not ‘need’ but you will want.

Ninja Boy

Sweet little Ninja boy adapted from a cross stitch design I’ve come up with in a pimped Ikea frame.

I am also wanting to share with you my ideas and how to’s so keep in touch and you might just decide to bring a little homemade craft into your life.
I am regularly contributing and sharing my ideas on an app called GUIDE CENTRAL which is avaliable in the app store so catch some of my how to’s there – totally free – and prehaps you may want to share some too.

So to start I’m going to show you how to ‘PIMP YOUR FRAME’

All you will need to PIMP YOUR FRAME – if you don’t have a glue gun and can’t borrow one then consider buying one they are fantastic for all sorts of crafting.

Start by removing the back from the photo frame and all the glass etc – strip it back to basics!

Place some of your buttons to begin to get an idea of the design you want

Once your glue gun is ready to go put a blob of glue onto the back of your button

and push it into place – carry on building you design

Your design is building and you may have some spidery wisps of glue – don’t owrry these can be removed when the glue is hardened

All done – just leave for the glue to go hard

All done – add your picture, put the back on & off you go!!

Hope you liked the first ‘How To’…… if there is ever any question then please ask……if you want to see more of my owrk then visit my folksy shop….. and if you want more guides then download the app GUIDE CENTRAL

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