Saturday, 20 March 2021

Marvellous Melon Seeds

Painted melon seeds

Do any of you remember painting melon seeds as a child and then making necklaces with them?  It's certainly something I did and I can remember watching my daughter carefully threading some together to make a necklace for herself.  Well, I've been doing some more of that lately but not to make necklaces.  I was making a tree out of beads (yes, more trees!) and didn't have anything suitable for the leaves - so that's where the melon seeds came in because I did have some of those!

Tree (detail)

First, wash your seeds and let them dry.  After they have thoroughly dried, paint them.  I used acrylic paint in several shades of green.  Let them dry again.  They are then ready to use as embellishments for your stitching.  I sewed them on as if they were buttons using two holes that I just made with my needle as I went along.  You could just use one hole like a sequin and secure with a bead or a french knot.  You do have to be careful not to split them so don't sew too near the edge or use too fat a needle, or make the holes too close together.

Beads, sequins and french knots make up the flower details

I used bugle beads and the odd sequin for the trunk and branches, melon seeds for the leaves and sequins, beads and french knots for the flowers and grass at the base of the tree trunk.  Here's my finished tree...

Finished tree

If you want to be inspired further by amazing embellishment check out the work of Jess Grady and Kate Tume.  Or you can listen to them over on the Stitchery Stories podcast here (Jess) and here (Kate).  

Let me know if you use something unusual in your stitching - or if you have a go with melon seeds!

Saturday, 13 March 2021

more trees please!

Stitched booklet - more trees please!

Recently I have been working on a little fabric book entitled - more trees please!  

I love trees.  I know I'm not alone.  Nature, in all its glory, has been particularly appreciated in the last year when our worlds have been limited by pandemic worries and restrictions.  Getting outside for some exercise and fresh air has been a boon - and trees have been there to provide a beautiful backdrop to inspire and uplift us.  I nearly became a forester in the dim and distant past and whilst I don't regret not doing that, I remain fascinated by the magnificence of trees.

My stitched book doesn't aim to showcase realistic trees - think more children's drawings and you'll have a better idea of what I was aiming for.

Anyway I had a great time stitching my different trees...

The back of the stitching is interesting too and I like the frayed edges of the pages...

And I think you'll agree, we could all do with more trees please!

Saturday, 6 February 2021

New Felt Necklaces

Felt beads in the making

Recently, I have been making some new felt necklaces.  In order to make them, first you have to make the felt for the beads.  I use the wet felting method and generally combine 2 colours.  Once the felt is dry you have to cut into it...

First slice to see the colour combination

Here I am cutting the beads...

although in real life I can't do it this quickly! And this is what they look like once I've made them...

Finished felt beads

Next I match them with some beads to decide what looks good...

Magenta and blue felt beads teamed with haematite and lava beads

Turquoise felt beads teamed with wooden turquoise beads

Then I string them together and this is what they look like...

Completed felt necklaces 

The beads themselves vary in size and the necklaces are a variety of lengths.  If you want to see more, check out my Folksy shop here where I've just listed them.  Hope you like them.

Monday, 1 February 2021

Share the love - Valentine's Day Cards


Love Heart Valentine's Day Card

I really love receiving cards and letters in the post.  I'm a big fan of snail mail and I don't think I'm the only one.  Particularly this year, when we can't see who we want when we want, it's a good time to share some love.  Valentine's Day, 14th February, is coming up and offers an opportunity to do just that.  Don't feel the need to confine your cards to your true love - how about sending a card to a much missed friend or a family member to show you are thinking of them.  In fact why wait till Valentine's Day?

Which heart would you choose?

In preparation, I have been making some love heart cards using upcycled drinks cans, some fab textured card and paper and a smattering of stitch.  They are now available in my Folksy shop here.

Love Heart Detail

And another thing - picture stamps make a letter even better.  The current lovely stamps are of the nation's National Parks.  There are 10 different first class stamps.  If they haven't got them at your local post office and it seems to be increasingly difficult to get them locally, you can buy them online from Royal Mail here.

So, go on, make someone's day, send a card and share the love!

Saturday, 28 November 2020

New in at The Ropewalk

Fabric Necklaces

I've just made a delivery to The Ropewalk in Barton upon Humber so they would have new stock in time for the post lockdown reopening. There are lots of lovely things, apart from a whole lot of colourful fabric necklaces, including some wooden domino brooches...

Wooden Domino Brooches
and resin button brooches, both of which are new to The Ropewalk...

Resin Button Brooches

Some of these knitted tree brooches could even be Christmas trees...

Knitted Tree Brooches

and there's some bird brooches... 

Button Bird Brooches

and some button brooches...

Button Brooches

not to mention People & Places brooches...

People & Places Brooches

and coin brooches...

Coin Brooch

and if you need something to carry it all home in there are even some bike bags...

Bike Bags

Of course there are lots of other artists and makers represented at The Ropewalk so if you can, make a beeline for their Craft Shop and do a spot of Christmas shopping!

The Ropewalk Craft Shop re-opens at 10am on Wednesday 2 December 2020.

Sunday, 22 November 2020

The Potential of Pattern - Sunny Bank Mills


Jenny Haynes - Modern Times Quilt

The Potential of Pattern exhibition is on in the Gallery at Sunny Bank Mills until Christmas 2020 which hopefully means you will get a chance to see it when the current lockdown ends.

Frances Priest - Gathering Place - Grammar of Ornament - India ii

Pattern: the underlying arrangement used to organise a surface or structure in a consistent, regular manner. This can be by the repetition of a shape, form, colour, rule or sequence. Exploring this theme, the artists and makers in this exhibition all uniquely reference pattern in their work, whether through process, inspiration or form.

Above and below are my top pics from the exhibition.  Here are examples of surface pattern design from Millie Rothera...

Millie Rothera - Digitally Printed Cottons

Next, ceramics from Charlotte Morrison (I'm a big fan and have a few pieces of her work)...

Charlotte Morrison - Jug

and print from Russell Hughes...

Russell Hughes - Language of Addiction 1 Series (part)

 Furniture from Nick James...

Nick James - Bespoke Furniture

Textile design from Vanessa Plews...

Vanessa Plews - Hand drawn design detail

Weave from Carol Penney...

Caron Penney - Twelve Avenues

and Jacqueline James...

Jacqueline James - Hand Woven Rug

and another quilt from Jenny Haynes...

Jenny Haynes - Paper Round 

I think Jenny Haynes' Modern Times quilt was the star of the show!

Sunny Bank Mills has plenty of car parking, cafes and of course the Gallery which includes a shop. It's well worth a visit!


Sunday, 8 November 2020

Random Weave Baskets With Ruth Waller at the Harley Gallery

Ruth Waller's Random Weave Baskets

Before the recent lockdown, I was lucky enough to attend a workshop at the Harley Gallery in Welbeck and yes, it was in person and not on Zoom.  It was being taken by talented artist, Ruth Waller who was sporting a rather fab reversible skirt she'd made (sorry no pics!). We were making random weave baskets.  These were something I'd only recently come across and was looking to find out how to make when this course popped up on my radar.  Luckily I got one of the last places available.

Socially Distanced Workstations

Everything was very socially distanced and everyone was wearing masks - there was plenty of hand sanitiser and it all felt very safe.  All equipment needed was provided.

Equipment Provided

Ruth explained how to make the baskets and we all got started by making the form around which our basket would be woven...

Next it was time to weave the cane.  Here I go...

And here's my finished item...

My Finished Basket


When I got home, I added some decorative stitching round the hole...

Decorative stitching added

I need to try making a few more to improve my technique but I really enjoyed the afternoon and it was great to get out and chat to people at a real live workshop (at a distance and wearing masks because we want everyone to be safe).  Ruth was very helpful and full of tips to help us improve.

Edwina Bridgeman Artwork

The education room where the workshop was held had this great mixed media artwork on the wall by Edwina Bridgeman which I really liked.

It was a fab afternoon - thanks Ruth!