Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Post Haste Challenge Bag

 

On the last day of the month I'm fitting in my single project for the monthly 2017 Sewing Book Challenge over on Instagram. I only managed one challenge make in February - why does this month always seem to fly by so quickly? It is only 2 days shorter than the other months!!


The Long Handled Bag pattern is from Sew Illustrated by Minki Kim and Kristin Esser and is a gift for a sister whose life has suddenly been turned upsidedown - and not in a good way. I'm hoping the cheerful print and gingham will in some way brighten the dark days she is going through at the moment - and also be useful for carrying little comfort essentials on hospital trips.


Although I used the bag pattern straight from the book I changed the surface decoration as I was bowled over by the gorgeous Stitched Rose Bag Minki blogged last week and tried a simplified version of her design. Because I wanted to get the bag finished quickly I used a patchwork "cheater print" from LECIEN I'd been hoarding for a year or so. And I had a large reel of woven braid found in a charity shop which was just the right colours and the perfect width for the handles.

I used stamps for the flower embroidery, though I didn't actually stamp on the fabric but used a light box to trace the outline image on the stamp set's acetate holding sheet straight onto the linen with a Frixon pen.


And I added a bit of colour with Copic markers - if you try this be careful to colour with the lightest touch and pale colours so as to prevent any bleeding over the stitched lines. It all came together very nicely and was finished in one day - though I have to admit rather late in the day! Now I just need to get it to the Post Office post haste!

Friday, 10 February 2017

Winter into Spring?


February is here and of course Valentine's Day is all over the place. I don't join in the sending and receiving of cards/gifts on the day but a friend asked me to make a couple of small love tokens for her daughter and a dear friend of her mother's so I turned once again to the wonderful Minki Kim and took my inspiration from her Valentine's Day Tags post.  There's a key ring for the daughter and a bookmark for the friend.  Hope they suit.


I do rather feel this yearly celebration of romance marks a turn in the season - especially as the sun has returned to the very bottom of the garden for an hour or two in the mornings. But of course its still cold and winter may well have something in store for us before we can definitely celebrate spring. However the sunlight on the old brick edging and spying one or two of my resident flock of sparrows with feathers and other nesting materials in their beaks is a cheering sight.


So, I wish all you lovebirds a Happy Valentine's Day next week and trust you will receive the appropriate love token.  When I was young we all hoped for an anonymous card from a secret admirer - I never got one but how times have changed!


Thursday, 26 January 2017

Picture taking woes!


I finished another project for the Sewing Book Challenge last week and it was another requested gift - this time to cheer my friend's niece who is at college in far away London and missing her home in North Wales.


Its another make from my favourite Sew Illustration, an embroidered needlebook.  I made a pincushion to match and added the recipient's name.

January is not a good time in my house for taking photos of my makes. Even on sunny days the houses opposite shade my windows. I sometimes add my daylight lamp but for some reason it still doesn't make a decent photo so I usually resort to Windows photo editor. But often even that doesn't produce a photo I'm pleased with.

 
I had such problems with this photo of two zip purses this week. Even now I'm not happy with it. I think its something to do with the thread I used - a dark one for the duck and light for the lamb. Too much contrast for the camera.  I found inspiration for the little animals in Francoise's lovely book illustrations. I've loved her books for some time and always thought her simple shapes would make good embroidery motifs.  I'll be trying some more.


Anyway - January is almost over and the sun is rising higher in the sky every week. I'm looking forward to the time when it rises above the houses on the other side of the street and will fill my sewing room with light.
 

Yesterday was sunny and cold - a perfect winter day.  I went for my favourite walk and visited some of my favourite trees. And on the sunny side of the lane the snowdrops were in bloom.

 
These are always the earliest to flower - those in the garden won't come out for another couple of weeks and by then we'll be half way through February and definitely looking forward to Spring!

Thursday, 12 January 2017

2017 - a year for some crafty challenges?


Firstly I want to thank you, Julie, Anja, Yve and Simone, for you kind and encouraging comments on my last post. Especially as I never get round to reciprocating on your blogs, though I do visit honestly! I love you guys! :o)

As always I/we start the new year full of intention and enthusiasm, which usually fizzles out by the end of January.  However I have not made resolutions this year but have signed up for a couple of challenges. I've already mentioned Minki Kim's 2017 Pincushion Sew-a-Long and have so far notched up at least one of each design. There's still a couple of weeks before the end of January when the SAL ends and I know I won't be able to resist a few more - yes they are addictive but what do you do with a mountain of pincushions!


Another challenge I've signed up for will last a bit longer - until the end of 2017 in fact.  Like me Carla Peicheff has a shelf of craft books full of wonderful projects seldom utilised. I have to admit I've at least twice as many volumes on my shelves (well at my great age I expect I've been collecting many more years than Carla!) all of which contain at least one project I've intended to make. So the challenge is to make at least one thing from a book on that shelf each month.


And guess what, I've already made two this month!!! It helps when I have some reason for making and I'd been asked to make for a new baby.  So I dipped into Amy Sinibaldi's lovely book Sweetly Stitched Handmades and made the cute teddy bear nursery cushion and a ruffled bib.  I know only that baby is a girl named Mia so do hope these will be to the parents' taste.


There is one more challenge signed up to and its one I've made for myself.  That is NOT to buy ANY fabric, yarn, or haberdashery in 2017. If you could see my sewing room you would have a fit (sorry - I'm certainly not going to share any photos of it here or anywhere else)! Something needs to be done! So unless I absolutely have to buy something, like plain linen or interfacing or something else absolutely necessary for a particular project, I'm not going to be beguiled into buying that oh-so-pretty fabric, that bargain price yarn or anything else I covet on someone's IG feed or blog or pinterest board.


In fact I started off well in December and made all my Christmas gifts from stuff I already had in my huge stash. These makeup brush travel rolls were made for my often travelling nieces and were created from pieces from my scrap bin and braid that was used to tie sets of teatowels I'd bought at Primark earlier in the year. I did however have to buy the wooden toggle buttons. This project is from another favourite book Sew Illustrated.

Now I've got the bug I'm looking for a couple more challenges to keep me busy.  Let me know if you see a good one.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Happy New Creative Year!


Wishing anyone who reads this a Happy, Creative, Peaceful and above all Safe 2017! Its been a pretty awful year for the world and it hasn't been too good for this blog either. I've toyed with the idea of closing it down but there's so much of my life over the past 8 years recorded here I'm lothed to do it. So I'm going to try a different tack in 2017 and write shorter posts but more of them.


I became infatuated with "sewing illustration" in the second half of 2016 and have even bought myself a new sewing machine for Christmas, one more suited to this style of machine embroidery (I just can't get on with free motion - I need more control!)  So to start off the new year, a new sew-a-long from the wonderful Minki Kim. Want to join in? Here's a link to the details: http://www.minkikim.com/pinchushion-2017-sewalong/

Back soon!

Sunday, 4 December 2016

November in the Garden


Well November passed in a flash! We had some gorgeous days and some wet ones but luckily I was able to rake up the leaves in front of my mother's house before they got too wet and soggy. As you can see there were rather a lot - this picture shows them during mid-rake. There seemed to be more than ever this year and believe me there were a lot more than shown here.


As well as the grass in front of the house there's the drive and the border to clear too. I did have company though - the birds really enjoyed mooching around picking out little tidbits as I raked and of course my most helpful companions were these two. Don't know what I'd do without them!


Blue plastic rake is much better at leaf raking than a metal one which just gets clogged up with the leaves, and Red snow scoop is her perfect partner.


Whilst I was raking a flash of gold caught the corner of my eye. When I went to investigate I found a beech leaf on the path caught in a ray of sunshine. It really did look like it was coated in gold leaf (no pun intended!!) November 2016 has certainly been a good one for catching autumn's beauty in the camera lens.


Can't resist sharing a few more photos.....





Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Supermoon Monday


Okay! We've had all our September family birthdays; we've had Halloween, and Bonfire Night; and this last week has seen Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday passing in their turn. Every year I get the feeling this is the right time to turn thoughts to the festive season and gift ideas. And tonight there was a supermoon which, apparently, was the largest since 1948, which just happens to be the year I was born!  I think its an omen! Tomorrow let the stitching begin!


I have made a start - I took some inspiration from Minki and Kristin's fabulous book Sew Illustrated and stitched a couple of coaster sets using patterns in the book.  Seeing photos on my Instagram account my sister ordered her Christmas gift and now I have a suspicion "coasters" will be written against quite a few names on my gift list this year! And they look so nice tied up with a matching gift tag don't you think!.


I chose some suitable images from my stamp collection and a piece of lovely red gingham for the Christmas coaster set. Its easy to transfer designs to the fabric by stamping them with a light neutral colour ink like grey or brown and machine stitching over the inked lines. However my preferred way to transfer the patterns is to use the images printed on the stamps' acetate holding sheet and trace them with an erasable pen. Use a light box if you have one or, in the traditional way, tape to a window. Outline stamps work best.


I've also made some bookmarks using stamps.  They are perfect little personal extras to slip in with a gift book - and who doesn't enjoy a new book at Christmas. Now, I need a little Pinterest browsing to fill up some of those other empty spaces on my 'to-make' gift list. Time is slipping past so quickly.... I thought I was writing this post at the beginning of the month but suddenly find its already half way through!!! Agh!!

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