Tuesday, 23 June 2009

I've struck gold!

I think I’ve struck gold. I went to my local car book sale at Cheltenham racecourse with the hope of fining an interesting tin for my dress making pins (I currently have them in a very tatty cardboard box at the moment). I saw this blue tin and fell in love with it especially the colours, sky blue and red. The fact it was a tin for dressmaking pin just assured me it was meant to be. As I searched a little further I found a whole host of gems on this stall, it was like my birthday and Christmas had all come at once.

The next thing that caught my eye was this Darn it, Mend it kit. This was from the era for make do and mend where you had to fix your tights or stocking if they got a hole. You could just go and buy a new pair like we have the luxury of doing today.

---- The back.----

Now I never need to get my knickers in a twist ever again thanks to durAble knickers elastic, brilliant!

---- A full card of snap fastners (Front)----


----Needles ----

Some lovely clear glass buttons which catch the light fantastically and some interesting pillar box red plastic buttons. I’m going to have to think of a great project for those as I’ve never come across buttons like this before.

Lots more mother of pearl buttons (I don’t think I will ever have enough)

And lastly some lovely vintage clear glass beads that are a kind of square tube shape. I can’t wait to do something with them. I think I have done amazing well with my purchases but I did have a little bit of shopper guilt which soon faded. Now I have start using all my goodies in my next project to justify my splurge.

Monday, 22 June 2009


As I said in my previous post, a friend of mine is getting married and I decided to make his wedding present. A Banksy style stenciled graffiti portrait of the happy couple. This was quite a challenge as I could only get a picture of them together off Facebook without raising suspicion. I am very happy with the results and I hope they like it as well. I made a wooden frame and stretched canvas over the top so it looks like a bespoke piece of art work. 

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Elvis Lives!.............. Kind of!

I had a few cards to make recently so I decided to make them all in one go. They were all for different occasions and when I make cards I try to personalize them for each person. This made it slightly more difficult to think of different designs. However I think is the beauty of handmade cards. The first card I already had something in mind, my friend is a huge elvis fan. I decided to make a applique style elvis in silhouette using some of the left over fabric I had from the purse I made. I used bondaweb and Ironed it to the card. 

I always find making cards for boys a little harder, I find they are never really bother about receiving cards but you can't leave them out. This is my fathers day card. My dad used to work in the printing industry when it was all printing presses so I'm sure thats where i got my love of fonts from. I used a combination of two printing sets I have to make this very simple design.
This one really stumped me. I off to a wedding next week which coincidentally is on my birthday (a welcome distraction to getting older). This is a civil ceremony between a male gay couple. I've been working on a fantastic wedding present which I will hopefully finish this weekend but I decided to keep there card very simple and just print the date of the ceremony in my antique print set. I might have to do a little more to it as it does look a little dull.  This is the first wedding card i've made so that might be why I found this a little more difficult.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Vintage and Handmade Fair goodies

I know this isn’t recent news but a couple of weekends ago I went along to the Vintage and Handmade Fair in Chipping Sodbury Nr. Bristol. I found out the Viv from Hen’s Teeth was going to be there so had to pop by. I have been a regular follower of Viv’s blog http://www.hensteethart.blogspot.com/ and as I was going to Cardiff on the Saturday I thought it would be the perfect crafty detour. It really was worth the extra miles. The fair was a complete feast for the eyes with vintage sewing bits and pieces, fabric, buttons, lace and patters every thing you could think of as well as Vintage inspired handmade purses and pieces of art work from some very talented people.

I was quite well behaved as I allowed myself to spend a certain amount of money which I did very easily. I bought some French linen and lace, some retro looking fabric as well as a daisy maker. I have seen these on American website and have been dying to have a go but have not found any in the UK.
This was my main purchase of the day, one of Hen’s teeth’s stunning hand stitched postcards. I had a lovely chat to Viv about her work and the fair. As soon as I saw her stall I was drawn to this piece due to the colours. I love the hues in the piece and the use of the postcard. I also share Viv’s passion for old postcards and envelopes. I have now found a home for this piece on my desk to act as inspiration.

As I said I went to the fair on my way to Cardiff. On the Sunday the weather was stunning and I went for a picnic with a couple of friends to a lake near Penarth just outside of Cardiff. I had my camera on my and decided to take a few pictures of the wild flowers and strangely it looks quite like piece I bought from Hen’s Teeth.

Monday, 8 June 2009

Prezzy time again

Well it seems like a heavy birthday season has started again and I feel I’m quite organised at the moment. It was my friend Claire 25th birthday and I saw this spotty fabric and knew I had to make something for her. She always wears bright colours and this dotty fabric seems to have captured all her favourite hues. This is the first time I’ve made a purse using a purse frame (I bought the frame way back in January I think) and I’ve been putting it off as I thought it was quite technical. However I found a fab tutorial online and away I went. I was quite proud of myself when I had finished and she was so impressed she thought I had bought it. (It’s a good thing I used some scraps of fabric on her card as proof!)

I also made her a bright flowery brooch as well. I’ve been wanting to have a go at making one of these for ages and I had a bit of blue organza in my stash (again, one of Claire’s colours) and thought this will be perfect as a little something extra prezzy. This was very simple to make, I cut out lots of circles starting with a diameter of about 10cm and slowly went down in size. I cut two of each size and slightly burnt the edge of the fabric to stop it fraying. I layered all the circles on lop of each other and stitched them together with some light blue floss. I then ruched every other layer to add some volume and then sewed on a brooch back. My sister has already placed an order for one and I think I’m going to make one for my self as well.

Friday, 5 June 2009

Stenciled Doilies Trays



I recently moved to a new house where I don’t have a dining table. I unfortunately have to do the student thing of balancing my plate and eating off my lap. This is no good if you have a hot meal so it was time to invest in some trays. I went shopping and found trays are quite expensive, I bought a really pretty one and my housemate dropped it! Rubbish! However on one of my car boot trips I found a couple of trays for 20p each. Bargain, but they weren’t that nice so I thought great, a DIY project. I also recently inherited a whole box of vintage doilies which were so intricate and pretty so then I was thinking, great a pre cut stencil. I used enamel spray paint and attached the doilies using spray mount. A couple of coats of paint later, job done. The best thing was when my house mate saw them (she felt so guilty and had offered to buy me a new tray) she said ‘wow, those new trays are really nice where did you buy them from?’ Result.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Scrap Birthday Card

This is a card I've made for a friends birthday which corresponds nicely to the presents I have made her. I used the left over fabric from a purse (the pokadot fabric) and the blue fabric off-cuts from a flower brooch I have made her. I had to chuck in a few colorful buttons for good measure. I hope she likes it.

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

My fist blog mention

I was very happy to find out one of my emphera collages had been featured on a blog called Pattern Pulp. I was quite excited as this because it just proves the power of the internet, that people all round the world can see your work. This was a little paper collage experiment which just developed and almost told me what to do as I worked on it. I’ve been meaning to try a few more of these as my collection of interesting paper had grown and needs to be explored. This might be the encouragement I need.

Monday, 20 April 2009

Grandma's Tablecloth

Here are a couple of close up pictures of the table cloth I used on Mothers day. It has been beautiful embroidered with a weaving floral patter all around the edge. The flowers have been stitched in a rainbow effect floss. I love the design, it's not too busy or dated.
I did have a slight accident on mothers day when some tea got spilt onto the table cloth. I was quite nervous about washing it as I wasn't sure how the floss would react. I put it into the washing machine on a cool hand wash cycle but that didn't get the stain out. I then tried a 40 degree was with some stain remover and luckily that worked. I don't know exactly how old the table cloth is but as it is a newly acquired family heirloom I didn't want to ruin it.
It's hard to know whether to store away all these precious embroidered pieces or take a risk and use them. Personally I think it's ashamed to hide away all that hard work. Every thing that has been handmade has been made to use or be displayed so I'm willing to take a risk. Even if accidents do happen.

Proper kntting

Last year I got into knitting again. I wouldn't say I was a accomplished knitter but I try, scarfs and simple fingerless gloves have been about my limit. Knitting patterns are still quite a mystery to me so I decided it was about time I should learn. 
After my mothers day cream tea, I was having a joke with my housemate about how I was missing a tea cozy so a tea cozy became my next project.  I thought this would be the perfect pattern to start with as it hopefully wouldn't take me too long and I wont get too frustrated if it all goes wrong. If you look at the top picture I have made quite a good start and I haven't even dropped one stitch, Yeh!

This is also the first time I have knitted in this ribbed design. I keep getting myself a little tangled using two different balls of wool but I really like the was it looks
Even on the reverse side. It looks so neat!

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Grandma's Kitchen

This embroidery has been hanging in my grandmothers kitchen for as long as I can remember. My grandparents on my mum's side used to live in Heartfordshire before moving nearer to my family in Cheltenham. My family and I would spend a lot of out school holidays staying with them in a little village called Letty Green.

My grandparents had a lovely old country house with a huge garden. I remember spending hours in the kitchen helping my gran bake all sorts of goodies. This embroidery used to hang just to the side of the Aga cooker. The smell of toast drifting up the stairs in the morning will say with me forever.

These holidays are where my obsession with carfting began. I had a very short attention span as a child and my gran would set us activities which often envoloved making something or baking to keep us entertained. I would say my gran has been my main inspiration for everthing I do now. She was a very talented lady who made toys, clothes, embroidered and won many a competition with her work. 

My gran recently passed away in January and we are currently sorting out her house. Unfortunately my younger sister now owns this sampler but I have aquired some fantastic table cloths and white work which I will hopefull take photos of and blog soon. I will really miss her as she had lived a fascinating life and always had funny interesting stories to tell.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Happy Mothers Day

Well as you know today was mothers day and my siblings and I celebrated by inviting my mother around my house for a cream tea. My family love cream teas, if you are a  non British readers a cream tea involved scones, cream (clotted cream if you can get it) jam and the essential cup of tea. This is a very summery British tradition, very unhealthy but very yummy. My younger sister and I spent saturday afternoon making plain scones and chocolate chip muffins that accidently went a shade of blue! Nothing to panic about, i didn't have enough chocolate chips so I added some M&M's I had. The blue colouring changed the colour of the cake mixture. But they still tasted delicious.  I also made some butterfly cakes, just in case I didn't already have enough goodies for everyone.
The weather has been stunning the last couple of days so I thought we could sit outside. I thought this was a perfect opportunity to use a recently inherited table cloth that had been hand embroidered my someone in my family. It really is stunning these pictures do not do it any justice. 

Thursday, 19 March 2009

I love a pretty mini tea cup.

Just after I left University I moved in with a lovely girl called Gill. Gill and I shared this philosophy that a cup of tea will solve any problem that was troubling us which is a belief I still hold today. It was her birthday back in January and I decided to make her something tea related and wearable so that she could be reminded of this philosophy where ever she went. I saw this cute china dolls house tea cup and saucer and just had to turn them into a pendant. I'm quite sure my other friend might thought I was a little insane but I could tell she was quite touch. As soon as she put it on I knew I wanted one as well and I've only just got round to attaching the chain to the one for myself. However I'm now going to coordinate an outfit so I can wear it to work tomorrow.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Your a star

This is the mothers day card i've made in preparation for Sunday. It's quite a simple design but I felt like dong a tiny bit of embroidery.  My siblings and I (there are four of us in total) have decided to have a very british cream tea at my house to celebrate Mothers day. So I will be baking scones and cakes on saturday in preparation and if the weather is nice we might be able to take our high tea in the garden.

I was very excited when I got home from work today because my new magazine subscription to Making Jewellery had dropped through the door. This is a new British jewellery making magazine and it's much better then I thought it was going to be. I was a little worried it was going to be a little chintzy and basic but I'm amazed at the range of projects and abilities it's aimed at. The magazine came with a supplement full of projects which I'm going to try as soon as I get the chance as well as helpful silversmithing hints and tips with interviews and fashion advice. I worthwhile investment which I'm sure I'm going to really enjoy throughout the whole year.

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Bread and Wine

I went out for a lovely meal earlier this week to a place called Hotel du vin in Cheltenham, the food was delicious but I couldn't stop looking at the beautiful chandelier. It had been made from lots of cut glass wine glasses. Absolutely stunning and a great idea if you have a 100 or so spare wine glasses hanging around the house.
I also inherited a bread maker this week and got straight to work on my first loaf. I love the smell of fresh bread running through the house. These machines are so easy to use for a basic loaf but i have also branched and made malt loaf which was very yummy.

Monday, 2 March 2009

Hello stranger, it's tea time.

Well what can I say it’s been months since I’ve written. All I can say is I haven’t neglected you dear blog out of choice. I have recently moved house and have only just got my internet access sorted in my new house. I have also just about got all my crafting supplies in there rightful place and so can now carry on creating. It feels so long since I made anything.

Well, I have eased myself back into creating by making my new housemate a birthday card. We have got into a bit of a new routine of having our English tea from the pot instead of just making it mugs (very unsophisticated) so I thought I would make her a tea themed birthday card. I cut the base of the tea cup and tea pot out of vinyl and then used a glitter glue pen to add the detail. I hit a few technical difficulties when making this card which don’t really matter but something I will bare in mind in the future. The glitter glue pens were great fun to use but did take about 4 hours to dry, I might have just used them a little too thickly. Secondly once the glitter had dried it fell off! The good news is it was in one piece but still not what you want to happen to a birthday card. But lesson learnt, don’t mix glitter glue and vinyl.
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