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Have you been using your time during the lockdown to start a new creative arts and crafts hobby or to dedicate to an existing interest?
 
We know there are thousands of interest groups continuing to be active during this time and producing some fantastic items.
 
Consequently, we are looking for your ideas, suggestions and pictures of what you have made while we are in this lockdown period. If you are able to direct people to resources or sources of support so that others can have a go, either on their own, or with their interest group then please do so. We will publish as many of your pictures and ideas as possible.
 
 
  
 
Scrub bags, Mask supports & hair bands by Jacqueline Sharp of Leigh on Sea U3A

Scrub bags, Mask supports & hair bands by Jacqueline Sharp of Leigh on Sea U3A

Being housebound and wanting to be useful. at the request of my Daughter who is a UHS Emergency nurse in Maidstone, I set to work making scrub bags, mask supports, and special hair bands that keep their hair out of there eyes and have buttons at the back. She tells me that their ears are raw as the masks rub, so could i help. The scrubs have to be safely brought home and washed and the idea is that the scrubs go in the bags, and. Then when she returns home they can go straight into the wash, without the need to dispose of plastic bags safely. I really enjoyed raiding my mother's button tin and, spent an enjoyable afternoon reliving memories of buttons from my childhood and beyond.. It is lovely to think that although my mother is no longer with us, she is still helping. Keep. Safe all. Xxxx

'Cushion cover' by Jill Richardson-Jones of Horsley U3A

'Cushion cover' by Jill Richardson-Jones of Horsley U3A

This is a painted cushion cover.
Pure cotton covers are available from Amazon and are not expensive. I have used Acrylic fabric paints, that can be used just like watercolours when diluted.
The secret is to always use pure cotton covers, as the paint will flow better.
If you have an old towel, insert it into the cover, so that the paint won't leak through to theback of the cushion.
Having chosen your subject , use a graphite pencil to draw out an outline - very lightly.
Choose the colours you need, also have a jam jar of water, some kitchen towel .. and wear an apron!
After painting, and as soon as it is dry, using a hot iron go over the painting, this will seal the pigment so that it can be laundered.
The field is wide open for any subject to be painted onto your cushion cover .... anything from flowers, insects, butterflies to portraits.
Acrylic Fabric paints - and I use ""Keep Smiling Fabric Paints"" -are again available from Amazon.
This is a lovely hobby and can be used to make delightful gifts for family and friends - useful ones too!

Sculpture by Keith Appleby of Henley On Thames U3A

Sculpture by Keith Appleby of Henley On Thames U3A

I spend at least some time everyday working on a variety of projects in wood. This recently finished piece was inspired by a visit to Japan last year and part of a series of sculptures that reflect the culture and architecture of the country. I am a woodturner who produces sculptural work and love to explore the texture and colour of natural wood often combining with other materials such as glass and brass. I particularly enjoy producing hollowed forms and also exploring the use of texture and carving. Isolation has provided an ideal opportunity to indulge my passion for wood. I am the group leader for photography and history of art at Henley U3A and have been also been busy delivering talks using the video conferencing app, Zoom.

'Reading Pillow' by Sue Shannon-Jones of  Swansea U3A

'Reading Pillow' by Sue Shannon-Jones of Swansea U3A

I've had an embroidery/sewing machine for some years now. After much deliberation I decided to upgrade it to the latest model. It was delivered from a local shop the day before Lockdown! One of my grandchildren has a birthday coming up and ever one to encourage learning I've made her a reading pillow. She loves unicorns so choosing a pattern was easy! She will be able to read while resting on the pillow which has a pocket to keep her book in.

Pens by Ray	Dodd of Bourton & District U3A

Pens by Ray Dodd of Bourton & District U3A

Hi it's Ray again, pen making is a really worth while project, on so many levels. There are very few things you can do with pieces of wood just 2 long"" x 1""sq, but all too often us wood turners find ourselves with many of these small left overs. Personally I never throw them away; they are brilliant when making pens or Christmas decorations. The finish results make very acceptable presents (something we may have to consider if this lock down carries on). I usually buy most of my wood at local wood auctions (Ledbury in my case). They normally have about 3 or 4 auctions a year, and it's a great way of building your stocks up at very competitive prices. I also keep my eye out for trees being felled in my area; ok you have to give the wood time to dry out,but there's no hurry. When bidding for mixed boxes of wood, it's there that you can find beautiful small pieces of exotic wood, ideal for small projects. So there you have it, why not make small beautiful presents that really are well received, cost very little to make, and are cheap to post.

Happy turning.

Scrubs by Jenny Hill of Swansea U3A

Scrubs by Jenny Hill of Swansea U3A

I became a member of “For the love of scrubs” in mid April after seeing it on Facebook. A local lady in Swansea had started it on April 1st using her own fabrics and donated old duvets, sheets and pillowcases to make scrubs, laundry bags, masks ,scrub hats etc for the local NHS front line. Many many people, mostly ladies have volunteered to make things at home.It has grown fantastically with over 1800 members now.
I was keen to help and made the 3 sets of scrubs to a pattern on line, copied by my husband and the correct fabric.I was surprised that it took me so long (4days)realising that I was out of practice and had never been an industrial machinist. I was very pleased but needed a rest afterwards!

The group has grown even more supplying care homes etc with a large team of men volunteering to drive fabrics around and pick up finished items before they are packaged and taken to needy institutions. I am in awe of the lady who is the central organiser and so pleased to find so many still have needlecraft skills — skills that should be taught in schools today.

Plant Pot by Jacqui	Osley of Crouch End & District U3A

Plant Pot by Jacqui Osley of Crouch End & District U3A

I covered an old plant pot with broken tile mosaic to brighten up our lockdown lives. Any one can do it using any ceramic tiles they have left from d.i.y projects. Just put them in a bag, smash with a hammer and then use in a jigsaw formation using tile adhesive available from hardware stores (which are currently open)

'Rattle' by Wyn Jones of Flintshire U3A

'Rattle' by Wyn Jones of Flintshire U3A

"Baby's rattle. Made from a rare wood; Tanbutt.
Carefully sized; not too big to hold and not too small to eat.
The marking out is important, the rings are made in situ from the blank; not added later as you might think. Sycamore or maple would be safer for use."

'Recycled material bookmarks' by Louise Moore of Saltburn District U3A

'Recycled material bookmarks' by Louise Moore of Saltburn District U3A

Made using old, damaged book pages, scrap card, scrap wool and embellishments of choice. I have made these as Christmas gifts for my Book Group buddies but the idea can be adapted to suit any occasion or theme.

1. Cut rectangles (any size you like but mine were 5cm x 20cm) from damaged book pages. (I ‘aged’ mine using printing ink-pads but you could do this with a used tea bag and let it dry.)

2. If available, stamp an image or if you’re more talented than me, draw or paint directly onto the printed page to decorate.

3. Mount onto card and cut out leaving a small border all around. (I used two layers of card to create a sturdy bookmark)

4. Trim to a point at the bottom.

5. Punch a hole centrally at the pointed end and using wool scraps create a tassel for each bookmark.

6. Add embellishments if desired. (I used small wooden snowflakes, but buttons, sequins, fabric or paper scraps could also be utilised) 

'Garden - before and after' by Michael Ainley of Pershore & District U3A

'Garden - before and after' by Michael Ainley of Pershore & District U3A

This has been an ongoing project since we moved in - nearly 10 years ago. The house had been empty for nearly a year and consequently the garden was overgrown. Trying to find our way around when we first visited the house was like a journey of exploration - a bit like the Lost Gardens of Heligan, only on a smaller scale. The estate agent was very happy to show us round the house, but declined to venture in the jungle that the garden had become. As we fought our way through bushes that had turned into trees, climbing roses that barred our way and knee length grass we found a shed complete with chair and table, clearly set up to catch the afternoon sun for tea. Then in the distance we came across another shed, but we were unable to get there. We made an offer as soon as we fought our way back to the house. The first task having moved in was to relay the patio outside the back door, as we had built an extension that now meant the raised beds were too close to the house. They came out and the pond was dug. Behind the pond still had some large trees that we left in place, as the before picture shows. Last autumn we had to replace the fence to the right and took the opportunity to have the trees removed revealing an extensive part of the garden we had not been able to get to before, but too late in the year to do anything about it at the time, thinking this will be a job for the spring. So come the lockdown I set to and built the patio area in the corner, as you can see with the lighter (cleaner) shade of stones.