Thanks for calling by. I hope you enjoy what you see, feel free to leave a comment and call again to catch up on my news.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Revamping a room box

Finally I've got around to doing something mini! I know I have so much stitching to do but this morning I awoke with the urge to create so ... As it's Sunday the craft shop in town won't be open (and anyhow a trip to town would take up all the crafting time available) I decided to re-purpose and revamp a couple of existing room boxes.

Some of you may remember my little shabby shop ...

Well, it had become a bit of a dumping ground for odd bits and pieces that didn't currently fit anywhere else and was looking a bit cluttered and tired - ripe for renovation.

And this sewing room was a better size for a shop - taller and very slightly wider.

Both boxes are just made of foam core board glued to picture frames so I emptied everything out of both and prised the sewing room box from its frame.

 I decided to put a window in one side wall and cut an opening to fit a beautiful sash window which I had stashed away waiting for such an opportunity.

I then cut strips of mount board to form a shop front, pieced them all together and glued them to the front of the box.

That's as far as I've gone today. Tomorrow I shall paint the window frame (which will be interesting as the 'glass' is already fitted in the window) and the shop front. Watch this space soon for more progress.

Monday, 20 January 2014

A very belated happy new year!

Where has the time gone?! It's almost a month since Christmas and I still feel to be playing catch up. I have a couple of new pieces of stitching to show you and one which you've seen before but is now completed, and then a couple of new ventures to tell you about.

So first, the completed piece. I'd like you all to meet Magda...

She has no feet in this photograph but I can assure you that she is actually wearing a pair of beautiful scarlet shoes. This week when I go to town I shall buy frames for both her and her friend Isabella, who I'm working on at the moment. Isabella is dressed in 1920's style in much more delicate colours. I think they will make a striking pair for my lounge wall.

 For months, in and amongst, when I felt in the mood, I've been crocheting hexagons, destined for a cosy blanket, a little like an updated version of the granny square blankets I remember from my childhood.

I finally decided that I had made enough to fashion a lap blanket, which will keep my legs warm on the cold nights to come.

I've also been working on a new book. This little one is destined to go to a friend, but I promise I'll show you the pages before I hand it over. It's all very delicate with silk ribbon embroidery and lots of lace stitched onto the pages.

Now for the new ventures ...

Early in February I'm running another needlelace workshop at my Embroiderers Guild branch. I admit to being slightly concerned about this one as 28 people have signed up! That feels like quite a large number to manage on my own, though at least a few of them have done a little of this type of embroidery before.

I've decided to keep things relatively simple so each person will stitch one small panel (6cm x 10cm) which they can then stitch onto a piece of fabric and stick it onto the front cover of an A6 notebook. The beginners will be able to choose between the two designs on the left of this photograph - the ones with three simple oblongs to fill. The other two designs are for those with a little experience. Everyone will get a sheet with all four designs on it though so they can practice more at home. They'll also get a sheet showing a route for laying the cordonnet for each design, and diagrams of how to do the stitches that I'll be teaching them.

We only have about 4.5 hours to work on these pieces so in order to save a little time I'm planning to stitch all the cordonnets for them so they can get straight on with learning the stitches. So - lots of preparatory work to do here in the next three weeks!

The other new track I'm following at the moment is getting to grips with using sketchbooks more effectively when I'm designing an embroidery. In the past, ideas have just been worked straight onto fabric and pieces have evolved as they go along. But last November two friends and myself decided that we would set ourselves a group challenge each month to work in our sketchbooks to design a piece of embroidery related to the title. We don't have to actually stitch the piece - just come up with the design.

November's topic was 'Palimpsest'

No ... I didn't know what it was either (apparently a parchment which has been scraped and re-used), so the idea was that we did a piece of work which showed how something had changed over time.

My inspiration was this statue which was attached to one of the buildings at my old school, and which had been removed 50 years on for health and safety reasons. Gladys, as she was affectionately called by the pupils, was sculpted by 'Peter' Peri who firmly believed that children would be democratised by surrounding them with things of beauty. The thing that upset me most when I visited the school last year, was that she had been ripped from the wall, leaving her feet still attached - a most unceremonious end I thought.

My finished design was to be worked in patchwork.

December's topic was, appropriately enough, Winter
I find that when I'm researching a piece of work I most often turn to my books of poetry and quotations for inspiration, then work them up into a mind map and take it from there.
 My family were visiting over Christmas and we went for a walk in a local park where I took these photographs of beautiful black lace trees, like the ones mentioned in the poem.

 Then I raided my magazine pile for more wintry photographs

and came up with the idea of a 3" fabric covered box.

January's topic is 'Joy' - so far I have a mind map and a colour 'map' of a sunset using squares cut from magazines.

Not entirely sure where this one will go yet but I have to say that I'm enjoying the journey.