Friday, 5 April 2013

Fabric wrapped necklace

I came across the Umbrella Prints Trimmings Competition a couple of weeks ago, and as you probably know by now, I am a serial signer-upper! So, naturally I bought my Trimmings pack from Umbrella Prints Etsy shop and waited for inspiration to arrive, and waited ... and waited!

Umbrella Prints received

The pack I ordered was called Elephants love Water so I had a hunt for stories and legends relating to elephants to see if that would kick start the inspiration process and thankfully it did! I found a Thai folktale about The Elephants and the Bees of how the Elephant came to have a long trunk, and it started me thinking about using the Trimmings pack to tell the story.

And this is how I told it!

With a fabric-wrapped beaded bracelet, a fabric-wrapped double necklace and, because you can't take Scotland out of the girl (!) a Kilt Pin brooch :)

Why Elephant Has a Long Nose
(Adapted from Thai Folktale by Dr Mike Lockett)
"Long ago, Elephant has a very short nose that looked a lot like the nose of a pig.  Though his nose was short, Elephant could smell very well, and he smelled smoke.  Elephant looked all around him.  He did not see fire.  But, he did see a cloud of Bees.
"Bees," called the Elephant.  I smell smoke.  Where there is smoke, there is usually fire.  The Bees flew up high.  There was fire to the North.  There was fire to the East.  There was fire to the West.  There was a river to the South.  Fire could not cross the river.

"Follow us," said the Bees.  We will take you to the river where you will be safe.  So Elephant ran South, following the Bees.  He ran until he came to the river.  Elephant would be safe in the middle of the river.

"Mr. Elephant," called the Bees.  "We saved you.  Now you must help us.  The smoke from the fire can hurt us.  We cannot stand smoke.  Open your mouth, and let us fly inside.  We will be safe inside your mouth until the fire and smoke are gone."
This sounded fair.  The Bees helped the Elephant.  The Elephant would help the Bees.  He opened his mouth and let the bees fly inside.  Oh, my - there was a loud buzzing sound inside the Elephant's head. "Buzz, Buzz, Buzz."  The sound hurt the Elephant's big ears.  "Buzz, Buzz, Buzz."
When the fire was out, the Elephant said, "You must come out now Bees."
The Bees just said, "Buzz, Buzz, Buzz.  We like it in here.  We will not come out.  Buzz, Buzz, Buzz."
The Elephant shook his head.  "Buzz, Buzz, Buzz."  The Elephant flapped his ears.  "Buzz, Buzz, Buzz."  The Elephant jumped up and down.  "Buzz, Buzz, Buzz."  Elephant was getting a headache.  "Buzz, Buzz, Buzz."
Elephant knew that Bees hated water.  He sucked up water in his nose and blew it out.  "Errumph."  The Bees still buzzed.
"Buzz, Buzz, Buzz."
Elephant sucked up more water in his nose and blew it out.  "Errumph."  The Bees still buzzed.
"Buzz, Buzz, Buzz."

Elephant blew his nose over and over.  As he blew, his nose got longer and longer and longer.  Still the Bees went, "Buzz, Buzz, Buzz," inside of his head.  Then the Elephant remembered that Bees cannot stand smoke.  He walked back on the shore where the fire had died out.  He walked to where a tree still smoked from the fire.  Elephant took a deep breath and sucked the smoke up his nose and opened his mouth. 
"We hate smoke," said the Bees.  They came flying out of the elephant's mouth.  The Bees saw a hollow tree that had survived the fire.  It had a hole in it that was as big as the Elephant's head.  They flew straight to that hole in the hollow tree.  There they made their new hive and lived very comfortably.
Ever since, Bees still like to make their hives inside of hollow trees.  Also, ever since then, the Elephant has had a long nose.  Some Elephants still feel like they have bees inside their heads.  They still suck up water with their long noses and squirt it out to make the buzzing stop."

To make the fabric beads I used wooden beads and strips of fabric.

I had several attempts at them before I was happy with them as you can see below!

The PVA glue used on the first bead wasn't strong enough to stick the fabric to the bead, the strips of fabric on the third bead were too wide to wrap well around the bead and as for the bead in the middle, well it was just a disaster! I had seen several tutorials on bead wrapping that advised covering the whole bead in one piece of fabric, but this was my result! Hence the fabric strips.
I used an ordinary glue stick on the back of each fabric strip and then wrapped them around the bead, leaving a gap at the top and bottom for the beading hole.
The same technique was used to wrap the fabric rings, which were originally wooden curtain rings!
More of the trimmings pack made a fabric tube for the necklace, which is covering plastic tubing that I had left over from the handles of my Fashionista Bag.
So this is my entry for the Umbrella Print Trimmings 2013 Competition. It is certainly not what I expected to be making when I originally read about the competition, that is for sure :)
Voting has now opened in Rikka's  Fancy Feet Challenge, so if you are still puzzling over those strange feet that came with your machine head on over to Ricochet and Away's voting page and the mystery may well be solved!
Linking up to
Crazy Mom Quilts



  1. wow, this is fabulous! Love that little elephant charm on the bracelet and well done on the fabric wrapped beads

  2. You are so adventurous! These are great.

  3. My goodness, you are so inventive Fiona! Your creations look absolutely wonderful, and the story was so much fun to read!

  4. Amazingly creative Fiona! Thanks for sharing your inspiration :D

  5. wow your makes are great i got my pack today have not a clue what to make.............and after seeing yours :))

  6. Fun idea, and I love that we got a story too :oD

  7. Great project! I'm still waiting for my scrap pack to arrive... I hate waiting!!!

  8. I love all the different textures on that piece! Plus it's always interesting to hear other cultures folklore.

  9. I love elephants and I love your makes, especially the little bracelet, it is so cute.

  10. That's an amazing collection! Thanks for sharing the story, I didn't know that one

  11. What a fun legend, Fiona and a very creative way to use your Trimmings pack!!! I love the fabric wrapped wooden ring with the elephant inside.

  12. It is so cute! I love learning no-sew ways to use cute fabric :D. Thanks for sharing the story too. It is always fun to read about where inspiration came from!

  13. Very very cute! Keep up the good work!

  14. Great story, lovely makes, good luck.

  15. I'd never heard that story before. I liked it very much. Thanks for posting it!


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