This is the third year in a row I've been asked by Community Education at my local secondary school to organise a craft workshop for a group of mums in the village. The group meets monthly to support mums who have children with additional needs. There's a brief two hour child-free window to make something, accompanied of course by chat, coffee and cake. Susan brought these delicious homebakes to yesterday's workshop.
Each year I've chosen the craft of needle felting for the workshop as it's a craft which requires no prior knowledge on the part of the mums but everyone is able to complete a project to take home, even in the short time we have together.
In 2014, we made a winter picture. I used the video tutorials at feltedsky.com to form the basis of what we were going to make.
Last year, we made these brooches featuring a robin.
But reaching the decision about what to make can take more time than the making itself!
I'd never tried this before myself so I started off with the only polystyrene shape I had in the house - an egg - possibly left over from when the church craft group made these fabric covered eggs for the Easter display in 2012 (throughback to a much younger me!)
I tried needle felting the polystyrene shape with merino roving wool and a felting tool.
That worked - so I tried some more eggs and added a bit of decoration. I bought some polystyrene spheres and had a shot with them, adding some sparkle this time. I felted a spiral tree onto the red bauble and topped it with a sequin star. I decorated the green sparkly bauble with a reindeer but it looked terrible - more like an angry fox - so I removed it without even taking a photo! I spent far too long seeking inspiration from Google images of needle felted Christmas decorations when I should have been doing housework. Finally, I had a light bulb moment and covered the egg with red roving, fashioned a hat, added pompoms, eyes and a beard and Santa materialised. Even then, the eyes didn't look right - they reminded me of a bird...
... so I tried making a robin - but it looked liked the scary penguin from Wallace and Gromit! Besides, we made robins last year. Then I found smaller beads to make eyes and refashioned the robin into this Santa with which I was finally happy.
Then I had to see how long it would take to make one - by making lots more of them.
Only then could I write up an instruction sheet, gather all my craft supplies together and feel prepared for the workshop.
The reward for my 'work', and I use this word loosely because it was mostly a lot of fun, is seeing the finished decorations at the end of the workshop and feeling that the participants have had a good time. I'm delighted that the ladies have agreed to let me share their decorations here.
Here's the handiwork of Elizabeth, Susan, Karen, Gina, Gillian, Rebecca, Lisa and Biff. They all did a fantastic job yesterday and made wonderfully unique Santas! I hope they'll be part of their Christmas decorating traditions for some years to come.
I wonder if they'll ask me back next year?