Saturday, 28 March 2015

Book Review: Applique Art by Abigail Mill

Here's another of my favourite sewing books: Applique Art by Abigail Mill.  I have admired Abigail's work for a while so, when I found out she was writing a book, I pre-ordered it.  When it arrived, I was not disappointed  

It is a really beautiful book with gorgeous photographs and gives an insight into how Abigail uses colour, texture, pattern and stitching to create her unique style.  

It also features step by step instructions on how to create 5 of Abigail's lovely artworks:

  • Shop Fronts
  • Teatime Treats
  • Country Gardens
  • Animals
  • Seaside
I really enjoyed reading the section on how Abigail over-dyes fabrics, something I have never tried - yet. 

I would definitely recommend this book for both beginners and also more experienced Applique-ists.  Even if it has nothing to teach you, it is still a charming book to read.

Friday, 20 March 2015

Coffee Pot Wraps vs Cosies

It's time to deal with that old argument of Coffee pot wraps versus cosies :) . Should your weekend morning coffee be wrapped snugly in the embrace of a well fitted body warmer........

.......... or blanketed from top to bottom in an all encompassing cosy?

Personally, I drink instant Alta Rica in a morning but if I was brewing a big pot of 'Joe' that I wanted to last a good while, I'd go for the cosy.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Book Review: The Cloth, Paper, Scissors Book

As an avid reader, I love to read all sorts of books but I have a special weakness for sewing/craft/cookery books.  Although I love my Kindle and will happily read novels on it, you can't beat the feeling when you have a new illustrated book in that old fashioned medium - paper!

I thought I would start to share my thoughts on my favourite crafty books starting with The Cloth Paper Scissors Book by Barbara Delaney.  

Although the book is available on Amazon for £16.54, it is currently available on Stitch Craft Create for only £5.49

It is a collection of the best articles and projects from Cloth Paper Scissors magazine and features chapters on:

  • Printmaking and surface design
  • Journals and bookmaking
  • Collage and assemblage
  • Mixed media stitching
  • Encaustic, metal and jewellery
  • Getting your work out there
Although my interest is towards the fabric and stitching sections of the book, I loved all of the photography and am tempted to try some other techniques.  The instructions in the projects are very well written and easy to follow.  

So if you are looking for something a bit different and which also gives you the opportunity to those bits and bobs that we all save 'just in case' we can think of something to do with them, then have a look at this book.

Friday, 13 March 2015

Catch Up

Once again, it's been a while since I last posted to this blog.  The last few months have been lovely and busy for me and I have had some great orders.  

My recipe notebooks are really popular at the minute but I have to admit, I am itching to develop some new designs.  Although I love making my standard designs, it does tend to get a bit tedious when I have to make a lot of the same thing in a short space of time.  I do try to put a little variation in each so that each customer gets a truly individual piece but I need to start doing something different.

Today I have a day off from my day job so, after my orders are complete, I think I'll start thinking about new designs and will hopefully have something to show you soon. 

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Embroidery Picture - Neals Yard, Covent Garden

Over the past couple of years I have completed at least fifteen framed projects featuring buildings, landmarks or landscapes.  So far my subjects have either been commissions such as the portrait of Yethouse in Newcastleton,

or portraits of famous landmarks that I think will sell well as greetings cards or prints such as the North East Landmarks piece.

A couple of weeks ago I was looking for a new subject and, as I had no commissions waiting, I decided to choose something that appealed to me just for its beauty and not just for its saleability (is that a real word?)

After a good few days on Google, I came across this blog post by The Lost Londoner.  In it I found Neals Yard in Covent Garden.  Although I have heard of Neal's Yard Remedies and their organic health and beauty products , I had never realised that Neal's Yard was a real place and that it was so stunningly gorgeous!

As it made me happy just to look at the vibrant colours in the photos on Google, I decided it was to be my next project. This has been my most ambitious picture to date, and it is still not completely finished, but here is my progress so far.  

I'm still undecided as to what I will add in the foreground, perhaps people or more foliage but it has been a joy to do and makes me smile whenever I look at it.

It's definitely on my list of places to visit next time I'm in London.


Sunday, 13 April 2014

Applique Flower Cushion in Blues

Today I decided to make something for myself.  It's been a while since I had the time (or energy) to just make something for fun.  So I thought I'd make a cushion.  Here's the cushion pad, not really what you need to see but better for the big reveal photo at the end of the finished cushion !!

I thought I'd share with you the thought process that goes into designing and making a Ruby Patch cushion.  The first step for this particular project was my new fabric from Ikea.

Their fabric sells at such good prices it is a shame not to buy some when you visit.  They tend to specialise in bold, colourful prints which are great for adding interest to the back of my cushions.  Today I chose the left fabric which is a botanical print in a very dark navy blue.

So now I had the back of the cushion sorted, I wanted to choose a design for the front that complemented it.  As a fully qualified list maker, I always find that my ideas work better if I write them down.  This was the result.

Birds and butterflies were my initial idea but they were swiftly replaced by flowers.  I don't usually do flowers so it was a nice change.  Before finalising the design I got the fabrics out to decide which ones to use.

Although the yellows really appealed, I decided to go with blues and stay monochrome.  The flowers were cut out of different blue cottons (including some denim from an old pair of jeans) and attached using bondaweb.  The design was then outlined and highlighted using free motion embroidery and here is the result.

Job done. x

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Embroidered Portrait - Edinburgh Castle

Last month I completed a small portrait of Edinburgh Castle.  I am determined that I will start to produce portraits of my favourite buildings and landmarks whether they have been commissioned or not.  I think that there is a market for greetings cards and prints for this kind of portrait and will be investigating ways to get my artwork to develop away from just originals which are both time consuming and expensive.  

If I can supplement each piece with additional sales of other products I will be a happy bunny.

Here's the Edinburgh Castle pic.

If you are interested in commissioning a picture, you can contact me at .

Alternatively, I'd love some suggestions of what you think would be good future portraits.  Please comment on this blog with any suggestions.