Hola, blog chums. Good week so far?
I've been busy working on some book revisions, specifically activity books for pre-schoolers, which probably explains my general lack of wordiness just now. I am in the zone. The keep it clear, simple and as short as you can zone.
I have been doing some make-ish stuff on the side, though - just me and my hoops, keeping it real, you know?
(tape strips | Pugly Pixel)
I'd love to say the surprisingly satisfying combination of machine and hand embroidery is down to careful planning and forethought, but it was mostly just experimenting. I love the fact that the finer, machine-stitched lines seem to sink down into the heavy linen, and I'm almost as pleased that I decided not to whip that last line of backstitches along the centre. They contrast very happily with the smoother lines, don't you think?
And in case you're wondering, the image is a botanical diagram of a magnolia flower. I am a little obsessed, it's true.
I've been itching to share this project ever since I finished it last week. I'm not quite ready to post the whole thing just yet - it's part of a bigger something-something I'm planning - but here you go with a quick look at the Mother's Day present I made for my mama. Except, I should probably call it Mothering Sunday, because she prefers that.
The blue floral fabric is vintage and was donated by my aunt and uncle (my uncle is a ex-maths professor who now makes really beautiful patchwork quilts - is that not the coolest thing?). The applique, as you might have guessed from its latin label, is actually a hare, rather than a rabbit. If you remember the present I made last year, you'll know my mum is rather fond of rabbits. I thought a hare might broaden her horizons, without totally fleeing the comfort zone of knowing-what-she-likes.
So, how about you? Did you hand-make your Mother's Day, or receive something made especially for you, or are you in a part of the world which celebrates it later in the year? I need plans and pictures and sweet stories to warm my ice-queen heart.
Nothing more than a little bit of old-school pretty for you this afternoon.
As the story (prompted by a few Flickr notes) goes, this was the first time I'd tried stretching a piece of embroidery around a deep-edge canvas and it's quite a satisfying way to take the glass/no-glass decision out of framing fabric. The straight seam across the middle is a little less straight than it probably ought to be, but it's somehow less noticeable in real everyday life.
The pattern originally came from this Etsy shop, but doesn't seem to be available any more. Comfortstitching have something not too dissimilar (with added swing and sweet little girl) if you're itching to be stitching a tree of your own.
And on that Parmesan-stink of a cliché, I shall slink off feeling suitably embarrassed, ashamed and determined to do better next time.
Pssst! Have you seen? There's a new boy in the shop.
I'm really quite fond of this little case. The idea popped into my head one afternoon last autumn, and when I made the prototype a few days later, it turned out just as I'd pictured it (and pretty quickly by my snail-ish standards, too). I gave some as Christmas gifts and they seem to be doing ok out in the world, so I thought it was time to share a couple here.
I have a few more things to upload over the next few days, and then I'll get to the giveaway I mentioned earlier in the week. I'm thinking it'll be good for the winner to have a choice of prizes, and that way I also get to be nosy and find out what everyone's shop favourites are at the moment.
However you're spending it, have a happy weekend.
thing I am a little more certain of, though, is that my parents liked it enough
to have the finished piece framed and, all these years later – far more years
than I’m prepared to admit – it’s still hanging in their home. x
Way Back is probably never going to be a more apt description than for this week’s project-from-the-vaults. Short of digging out my collection of hand-made Sindy clothes (seams sewn with stitches bigger than her head), or primary-school fingerpaintings, this is about as old as it gets. So old, in fact, the details are a bit on the hazy side. I know I made it at school as part of a textiles module on blackwork embroidery (something I’ve been meaning to revisit ever since), although can’t remember if it was for GCSE or A Level. I’m also pretty sure the basic pattern was from a book, but again, have no memory of what it was or where I found it. (If you know, please do leave me details or a link below – I’d love to be able to credit it properly.)
The images here aren’t as good as I’d like because it’s framed behind glass (always the dilemma with embroidery – to glass, or not to glass), but in person, I love the fact I can still peer so closely at something I stitched such a long time ago.
One thing I am a little more certain of, though, is that my parents liked it enough to have the finished piece framed and, all these years later – far more years than I’m prepared to admit – it’s still hanging in their home.
It’s very much been a month of two halves here – making things and writing outdoors (hurrah for sunshine and pretty gardens), then heading back indoors to edit photos and do computery stuff. It would be nice to think there’s an ingenious-but-pale scientist somewhere out there, busily inventing a way to make laptops more sunshine-compatible, but until then, please go right ahead and enjoy my hard work, while I slap on another layer of tinted moisturiser so my vampire skin doesn’t frighten small children.
The grocery bag above, decorated with Little Miss Radish-me, and the windmill picture below were both projects from our weekend-long blog party over at The Copy+Paste Project back in May. (Lots more goodness to catch up with there if you didn't see it at the time.)
Also in May, a certain someone turned . . . well, let's just say a few years older than his pretty face might suggest. In an effort to decorate with something frugal but fabulous, I took my scissors to a piece of gift-wrap and created the banner below. You could very easily do the same by printing off alphabet letters in a selection of fancy fonts and colours, cutting around them, and folding the top edges over a length of string or ribbon.
And then, lastly for now, a little rabbit. It's a finger puppet, but I'm not going to say much more, as plans are afoot involving a few more of them. I do like those round pink cheeks, though.
The last time I went to a party on a Saturday afternoon I wore a blue flowery dress made by my mum, and a pair of knee socks so dazzlingly white they were visible three streets away. The last time I went to a party that lasted all weekend long. . . well, I’ve never been cool enough to do that. Which is why I was very happy to be invited to the inspiration bash going on this weekend over at shimelle.com.
The project I put together was one of those ideas born out of necessity. For the last few years, my desk has played host to a growing pile of burned CDs – backed up computer files, collections of photos, digital scrapbooking kits, audiobooks, podcasts and iTunes downloads (just in case something awful happens to both my laptop and iPod at the same time). While they don’t exactly take up loads of space, they’re surprisingly tricky to store or, more to the point, to store in a pretty way. If you’ve ever tried to buy a CD storage case in the shops, you’ll know what I mean – it’s all nylon, neoprene and nasty synthetics, and if you want anything other than black, you choices are limited to the kind of shades even Jordan would consider tacky. So, a DIY job was very much in order, and Shimelle’s music and camera-themed printables gave me a kick in the pants to finally try making something.
As you can see, I tried a couple of different variations on the theme, both with different bindings and using the printed images in very different ways. The camera one I turned into an embroidery pattern. This is one of my favourite things to do with digital stamps, brushes or line-work images, especially as they give you a wide range of options and quite a different look to traditional embroidery designs. The easiest way I’ve found to transfer them is to print your image on to plain paper, tape against a sunny window (or a lightbox if you have one), tape the fabric on top and trace the image through with a water-soluble pen. You can then stitch directly over your drawn lines and rub them away with a baby-wipe or damp sponge when you’re done. (The tape, btw, should be masking tape – use regular parcel or sellotape at your own, window-scrubbing risk.)
To add a little bit of colour, I ironed some fusible webbing (try BondaWeb, Heat'n'Bond or Wonder Under) to a scrap of patterned fabric, re-traced the centre section of the camera, then cut it out and ironed to the background. You could just as easily colour with fabric paint, wax crayons or leave it plain and simply stitch around the outline.
The second version of the album was an experiment which went wrong, but came good in the end – very often the best creative lesson, I think. Let me spare you similar frustration by saying you can’t print onto sticky-backed vinyl with a regular inkjet printer. Save your ink, preserve your nerves and move on. With my test pieces resigned to the bin, I used a fresh sheet to cover two pieces of stiff card, printed Shimelle’s music design onto acetate and layered it on top. The end result looks just like I wanted it to, but with a little extra texture, which is rarely a bad thing.
So, there you go – two similar-but-different projects and a little bit more of the mess cleared off my desk. If you want to try something similar with the printables (there are twenty sheets altogether), they all come as part of Shimelle’s class, which starts on Monday. And just in case you need any convincing that using your printer for stuff other than paper is a good idea, I’ve put together a few pictures which clearly demonstrate that I don’t.
When you’re done leaving me a comment (because I really don’t want to be the girl at the party who no-one talks to), remember to head back over to shimelle.com for stacks more inspiration and giveaways right through until Sunday evening.
I’m off to polish my tiara and dig out the cake-forks, just in case.
Hola, lovely and much-appreciated readers. How are you? I am in frantic mood today, cleaning round the boxes like a loon in hopes of passing the forthcoming parental dust-check test. Both my parents and Mr P’s mum are visiting this weekend, so this is just a quick halfway-house of a post, pointing you towards a couple of things you might like to take a look at.
First of all, there’s this little bit of colourfulness over at Shimelle's – very happy when she asked me to contribute to her Month of Colour a few weeks ago (and hello if you’re visiting here from there). Should I admit how much childish glee I’ve had inviting people to go and look at my underwear over the last few days? Probably not.
Even if you can’t be bothered listening to me blether on about the wonders of custard, mustard and retro acid-brights, it’s worth a visit for the freebies you can win – a handmade, raw-edge cuff or the very sweet Little Yellow.
A couple of longer posts heading this way next week, including one last Month of Colour-inspired hoorah, and a fun idea for using digi-kits to make your own desktop wallpaper and folder-buttons. Until then, wish me luck on the dust inspection – there’s every chance I’m going to need it.
This is my beautiful little
When we were growing up, the deal was I bossed her around and she let me. (Sweet, I know.) These days, she’s much less of a pushover which, considering I’m every bit the control-freak I was back then, is probably a good thing. So, when I needed a model for some Kitschy Digitals projects a few weeks ago, I was a little bit surprised and a lot grateful that she was so willing to put up with me telling her what to do, how to stand and when to smile.
The cardigan (made using the silhouettes from this kit as an appliqué pattern) was one thing…
…but letting me paste temporary tattoos about her person in spots of my choice? Now that’s sisterly love for you.
The ‘to-do’ list was inspired by one I spotted in Paperchase a few weeks ago. Despite owning enough notepads to rewrite all seven Harry Potter books in half a dozen different languages, I’m constantly scrawling notes and reminders on my hands (in my defence, they’re much harder to lose than bits of paper). I also love lists, so the memo-slash-list-slash-hand-tattoo seemed like a thoroughly ingenious idea, albeit one that could use a bit of prettying up. I added a tiny re-coloured detail from the Olivia kit to my basic list design, but it would work with all sorts of icons – clip-art and dingbat fonts, as well as other Kitschy Digitals kits. If you want to try something similar, here you go with the basic template, ready to add whatever prettiness you like.
And because I know how smart you are, the answers to your very insightful questions are (one) I found the tattoo paper here, and (two) my sister is a leftie, hence her list being all ready to fill in on her right hand. If you’re not similarly sinistral, you’ll probably want to tattoo your left palm instead.