All the New Things

Wow, it really HAS been a long time since I posted on my little blog, hasn’t it??  SO much has happened this year, it’s been a bit of whirlwind to be honest and blogging has taken quite the back seat!  My creative life has moved into whole new areas in this last year and I’ve been having a wonderful time making new things, trying new ideas and meeting lots of lovely new people too.

So first off, I have moved house AGAIN!  I now have a wonderful, permanent home (for the first time in, err, EVER) with lots of space and my very own craft room, that I like to call my Playroom!  That’s it to the left of the front door. And as you can see, I also have a WHOLE new wilderness of a garden to tame!  In fact I have three – one at the front, one to the side, and the main one here at the back.  It was a bit of a wrench leaving my old garden behind I must admit.  I’m very glad of this little video I made of it a couple of months before I left to remind me how lovely it was, and also how quickly a garden can change – who remembers what my last one looked like when I arrived??

As you’ll know from my last few posts here, starting this summer I’ve been co-hosting a craft stall with BitsaTat by Delia at our local Arts & Crafts market every month.  It’s been a wonderful social thing to do and I’ve really enjoyed meeting lots of other makers and being part of the lively creative community that we are blessed with here in the Marches.We have a great craft group in our little town too, and every Wednesday afternoon you’ll find a bunch of us surrounded by yarn, fabric, threads, and tea (and often cake!) in our local cafe.  Over the summer we did a little ‘group project’ to make a display for the cafe, which was so much fun that we’re all agreed we need to do another!  You can see the finished results on our Facebook page, but here are some of my contributionsI’ve not been doing so much sewing this year, but still plenty of crochet and lots of felt creations!  Mainly in the form of headdresses and hair clips where I’ll use a mixture of wet felt and needle felted shapes and embelish these with embroidery, beads, applique, and all kinds of bits I’ve picked up in charity shops and car boots.  I absolutely love these creative journies, I never know quite how they’re going to turn out!We’re taking a break from the craft stall for the winter now and I’ve almost finished setting up my craft-space Playroom, so there should be a bit more time for blogging over the coming months.  I have crochet cardies to share with you, plus my latest obsession – felt and fabric beads!  Hope you’ll come and join me!

Wishing you all a colourful creative weekend 🙂

Lots of new makes for Kington Arts & Crafts Market!

Hello everyone!  Wow, have I been BUSY these last few weeks….  mainly making faerie houses and felt flower headdresses, ready for my first stall at Kington Arts & Crafts Market tomorrow!  This is a new joint-venture effort between me and my super-talented friend Delia (see Her Facebook page Bits A Tat for more info) and if all goes well, we shall be making it a regular monthly thing.  Fingers crossed!

It should be a lovely lively day tomorrow, with lots of fabulous hand-made and vintage treasures on sale plus street music provided by Nat Brewer.  9.30am til 3pm at the Market Hall, Kington HR5 3DP.  So do come along for a browse if you’re in the area, we’d love to see you!

But enough of that!!  You want to see the latest crazy funky headdresses, don’t  you?!  Ladies, gents & all between, I give you my July collection (modelled by my new glamorous assistant)…

The Purple Princess… Frida Flowers…The Deluxe Mermaid…and finally, The Little Mermaid clip (for those who don’t want to go ‘the full mermaid’)!Thank you, as always, for sharing my Creative Adventures with me!  Hope you enjoyed the pics.  Wishing you a lovely weekend one and all 🙂

Felted Faerie Houses

Greetings, mortal folk!  Welcome to our Faerie settlement. Our local builder has been very busy lately as you can see, having just scored a whole pile of new materials at WonderWool last month.  Shall we take you on a little tour?

That online embroidery course last year has resulted in some rather fancy door and window frames The clematis are flowering nicely at the momentvery good for attracting the wildlifefaery houses are remarkably fertile places, and all sorts of interesting things like to grow around them of course it’s not only faeries who are attracted to these little abodeswe don’t mind though, there’s plenty of room at the top It’s a very friendly neighbourhood I’ve got a feeling there will be a few more of us very soon! Wishing you all an enchanted faery weekend! 🙂

Adventures in Appliqué: Sue Spargo online class

booksI’ve become more than a little obsessed with Folk Art quilts this year!  Wendy Williams, Kim McLean and Sue Spargo are among my favourite quilt artists (see my Pinterest board for more) – I love their quirky, colourful designs and the way they combine different techniques, using combinations of patchwork, appliqué, embroidery, embellishment and quilting.  A few months back I treated myself to books by Sue and Wendy, with the intention of Having a Go.  However, as mentioned in previous Adventures, my first foray into the world of hand-sewn appliqué was less than brilliant!

Whilst browsing the recent Craftsy course sale however, I discovered there’s one with Sue Spargo herself!  It’s all about hand stitching, using embroidery techniques to embellish and add texture to appliqué work.  I’ve never done one of these online courses before, but this one is very well put together and presented in well-shot, quality videos (no they’re not paying me, I really did think it was good!).  I’ll admit to having to pause and repeat LOTS of times for certain things, and I certainly needed plenty of practice, but the instructions were very clear and you could see exactly what was what.  https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/18/50/35/1850356b455a62a01bd51d3f85a38737.jpg

Unlike some of the other Craftsy courses this one focuses on just one main project, a ‘sampler’ appliqué panel using Sue’s butterfly design.  Having gathered myself some lovely threads and fabrics (I even had a go at making some of my own felt – see bottom left of the pic below), I launched straight into a smaller version of the butterflies!materialsFirst mistake: I didn’t zig-zag around the edge of my wool base fabric and it soon began to fray horribly!  As you can see from this bit of butterfly detail, there wasn’t much edge left by the time I got it under control… you’d have thought I’d learned my lesson last time, huh??wholeyellowbeforemiddleSue’s layering technique begins with a wool fabric background to which toning fabrics are added for texture; she then hand stitches wool felt appliqué shapes in contrasting colours on top.  Further layers of fabrics, wool, embroidery, beads, etc are added onto the appliqué to give further dimension and texture.  So this butterfly wing, for example, has a layer of (non-wool) felt in purple, a hand-turned greeny-yellow cotton on top of that, then circle of purple velvet on top of that; then I’ve used embroidery silks, perle cotton, and a sparkly purple heavy acrylic thread to do the various bits of embroidery.  It was so brilliant, watching these little butterflies build up from plain shapes, taking on more and more character as I added the different elements!  Here’s  more of Mr PurplepurplelowerwingdetailwholepurplefinishedThis pink & orange beauty was my first butterfly, and as you can see my stitches got neater as I went around the outside edge from right to left,wholepinkfinishedand also as I worked my way up through the layers!  By the time I came to do the last little details on the inner circle of this wing (a Palestrina knot edging and some Drizzle stitches) I felt like I was starting getting the hang of things!pinkwingdetailAnd here’s the rest of Miss YellowI’m particularly chuffed with the emboridery on the centre body of this one!wholeyellowfinishedIt was a such a gorgeous project to work on, and I loved playing around with all the different fabrics, beads, and threads.  I’ll admit that some of the stitches on the course I really couldn’t get the hang of, and a couple didn’t interest me that much so I didn’t bother with them.  I also made myself a little ‘stitch reference’ guide to keep on my laptop – I did find it a bit of a pain having to go back to the video every time I needed to remind myself of any tiny thing.  A couple of other people had commented about this too, so maybe Craftsy will include a stitch guide in future. stitchindex I made mine into a mini-sampler, and it was a handy piece to use as practice for quilting through the wool fabric. flowercardquilted To be honest, I didn’t think it added much to it and the fabric didn’t hold up that well.  In fact I was umming and aahing about whether to quilt the finished butterfiles at all….

You see, by this time I had spent many, many MANY hours on this little sampler, and it had turned out so much lovelier than I had ever expected …finishedunquilted…that I wished I had used a better quality fabric for the background, plus I was a bit scared that it would fall apart completely if I machine quilted it!  But as it stood I thought the background looked a bit tatty.  So after much pondering, I decided I would HAND QUILT it.  Yes, my Hand Stitching Confidence really has improved thanks to this course!  I also found this video tutorial by Sarah Fielke very helpful.  quiltingdetail1wholepiecequilted Much better!  I really think the quilting has ‘lifted’ the whole thing.  So all that was left now, was to add a binding.  And before you say anything, yes, I could do with a whole other course on that!  But here it is, anyway, the result of several weeks’ worth of stitching…finito2WHOO-HOO!!  I LOVE it!  It’s so colourful and sparkly and tactile!  And apart from the Emergency Unravelling Prevention zig-zag round the edges, EVERY bit was sewn by hand!  So I have definitely achieved my aim, of improving my hand-sewing skills.  Yay!  Plus I have a VERY groovy thing to hang in my living room!

So there we are, that concludes my recent Adventures in Appliqué – thanks for coming along!  Now the nights have gotten all long and dark and cold, it’s back in front of the DVDs with some crochet in the evenings for me…

Wishing you all a funky folk-art kinda week 🙂