Sunday, 7 February 2010

Little Trees

I was staring at a painting of topiary trees in flower pots a few weeks back, just letting my mind wander... hmmm, what a lovely shape, I'm sure I could recreate that somehow...
And here is the result - Little Tree Pin cushions!
It took a while to get them right and even now they are still liable to topple over in a slight breeze, but I think they look very cute and actually work as a pin cushion.

Here is my first prototype.
Very sad indeed!
I used a pipe cleaner for the stalk and didn't try particularly hard with the flower pot! My son, Jacob came up with the idea of using a straw for the stalk, so the next one was a big improvement as it stood up straight. However the top was too heavy and it kept toppling over so Jacob, again, came to the rescue and suggested putting a pebble in the base of the flower pot (thanks for all the advice Jacob!). This certainly improved the stability but I think I need something heavier for the next batch (that's if I sell any of these), Jonathan says he has some bits of roofing lead I can use (!).

When the second prototype looked like it wasn't going to work out (I have since rescued it) Jacob said my sewing room was starting to look like the scene in Aliens Resurrection (the fourth film) when Ripley discovers the mutated early clone versions of herself (but with tree pincushions - keep up!). This really made me laugh, especially when he made the first tree say 'kill me!' in a pathetic voice (as you can imagine, the hours just fly by in our house!).
I had to experiment quite a bit to get the stalk right - just the straw? or a pipe cleaner inside the straw? I finally settled on the straw filled with 3 pipe cleaners. This seemed enough to stop it toppling over once the crocheted 'head' was added. The Autumn tree was a bit of an indulgence. I had just bought this lovely, stripey Opal sock wool in Autumnal colours and was desperate to use it. I think the beaded 'fruit' trees work best but it's nice to have a bit of variety.
They were time consuming but really fun to do and I loved combining crochet, felt and beads (all my current obsessions!) into one original item.
If they sell (as part of this range I am working on for the new, re-born shop) and I make some more, I will try to show a tutorial with patterns. I made up the crocheted ball pattern as I went along and am still trying to perfect it after 7 attempts so I need to get that right before I can share it.

I am off to Birmingham tomorrow to the big Trade Fair at the NEC. This is the biggest in the whole year and fills the whole of the NEC. I will need an early night tonight as 2 days of walking and decision making amongst such an assault on the senses is one of the most exhausting things I do. Hopefully I will come back with lot's of new goodies for the shop and lots of inspiration too.


  1. I love the little trees, they are so different to anything else I have seen out there. Great advice from Jacob (hope he will not ask for commission if they take off.

    You are seriously into creativity mode at present, well done x

  2. They've very cute! I like the ones with the smaller beads best. If you could find a way of lining the felt pots or covering readymade pots with felt (you can get really tiny plastic flower pots) you could fill them with plaster of paris, which would add a lot of weight and would set the straw straight too. Just a thought!

    The Spring Fair - I used to exhibit there regularly; it's as torturous standing there for hours on end as it is walking around it. I don't envy you one bit, ha, ha! Hope it goes well though and you find some exciting companies and products :)

  3. Thanks for the advice Stephie! I did think about using 'real' pots rather than making felt ones... I will have to look out for some and experiment more I think.
    Yes I have been 'both sides of the counter' at Spring Fair too over the years.
    I would rather be buying than selling on the whole - more phsically demanding but less soul destroying!