Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Recycle Madness

My trusty faithful very old log basket finally gave up the ghost after many years of service. It was in a very sorry state but I didn't have the heart to just throw it away!

Instead I took some sharp secateurs to it and cut it up, essentially removing all the upright pieces in between the woven sections and ended up with this.....

The very top section had no upright pieces left in it so I was left with open hoops of woven wicker.

The base piece was scrubbed clean before having a padded foam top added to the rim to cover any jagged edges that were left. It makes a perfect bread basket or cheese platter!

The centre ring became a wreath to go over the fire. It's lovely and deep so looks good with lots of ivy and mistletoe around it. I've added some bows and clove studded clementines, just love the smell! The star in the middle came from a technique found on Debbie's blog ( see link on side bar of my blog), it was so easy to do and very effective.

The final open ended hoops had their ends rejoined and wired together. They were then wrapped in torn strips of green fabric to cover them and give them a bit more stability. Red ribbon was then wrapped round followed by ivy. They were then attached to the chair backs with more red ribbon bows.

My very decrepit old log basket has had a wonderful new lease of life!!

Monday, 7 December 2009


Had a fab weekend with a friend a couple of weeks ago and we started to make Angels for Christmas.

The tall angels are made out of card cones covered in papier mache with scrumpled up paper heads. The flat one is wire again covered in papier mache.

Our 'works in progress'!

Once the bodies were complete various pieces of paper, scrim and caulk were applied to create texture. Once dry the whole piece was painted and dry brushed with numerous layers of paints.
The hair was made with string that had been painted before being glued on and the wings are made from shaped wire that has been covered in scrim. These were then painted before being attached.

Last thing to attach was of course their halos'.

One angel is pale purple, one is gold and the other bronze. The purple one is for my sister!

Sunday, 6 December 2009

A4 quiltlets

Just a couple of little A4 size quilties that I've made......

This one is based on the Jurassic Coast of Great Britain....

And this one is inspired by time spent in Australia as a child......

Friday, 23 October 2009

Creative Whims

Having treated myself to a lovely brand new embellishing machine in August I decided it was time to get creative and put it to use.

I found some felt backgrounds that I had made previously and decided to embellish some more fibres onto them. Out of the finished pieces of fabric I made two brooche's, one for my sister and one for a friend

This is the 'Sea Witch' brooch, she is just lacking her wand!

This brooch has more of an autumn feel to her, I haven't come up with her name yet!

Once the shapes were cut out beads and hand stitching were applied along with the face, hands and feet. Then the backing and clasps were attached.

Great fun to do and I've got enough fabric to make another couple!!

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

A Little Bit More!

Just another little tantalizing peek at what I'm up to!
Some of the fabrics from the previous post transformed into almost finished pieces.

Keep watching this space.............

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Sneaky Peek

Here is a quick sneaky peek of what I am up to at the moment......more to follow in a while!

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Festival Of Quilts

This year I decided to bite the bullet and submit a quilt........

It was lovely to see it hanging there but also terrifying! Even more terrifying was opening the judges comments.....'.lovely interpretation of the subject matter with beautiful background quilting'. Big sigh of relief.

Am I doing another one for next year?......

Thursday, 6 August 2009

The final piece of the puzzle....

To finish off the main pieces, each piece had threads, ribbons and beads couched onto it.

The inside pieces had net stitched onto them before being bondawebbed onto another piece of pelment vilene. The front and back pieces were then bonded to each other before being satin stitched together along the edges. A thin wire was stitched into the top section.

The vessel was then assembled by first stitching the sides to the base and then stitching up the sides leaving the top white area un-stitched.

The inside net had glitter paint applied to give light reflection before being beaded.
Finally the top section that had been wired was curled over and twisted.


Monday, 27 July 2009

The Story Continues......

So having finished stamping my designs all over it was time to cut out the shapes, leaving an extra 1/4 inch all round to be trimmed back later.

Next, each piece needed to be embellished with various sea themed designs.
(Bet you hadn't guessed that one, lol!!)

The first piece has seaweed appliqued onto it in silk.

The hand stitching was done after appliqueing the design.

Next the second and fourth pieces were hand stitched.

Finally the third piece had more seaweed reverse appliqued on it, again in silk. Then another piece of seaweed free machined onto soluble fabric was stitched on.

The Ammonites were made from felt, machine stitched and burnt back with a soldering iron, and also from tin foil bonda-webbed onto black net and coloured with alcohol inks before being stitched and cut out. A little bit of glitter paint was added to give them a bit of a sparkle.

Finally pieces of shell, sea glass and stone were stitched onto the final piece.

The four almost finished pieces.

Long way to go yet but it's getting there.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Assessment Date is Looming-The Story So Far!

I have loved this module of my course. It has been all about the things I love covers, vessels, dyeing etc. My assessment piece for this module has to be 3D and I'm having such fun making it.

So far I have...........

Torn strips of fabric, cotton, lace, sheer, silks etc and bondawebbed them to pelmet vilene.


I stitched heavily onto the surface to hold all the pieces of fabric down........

Then to finish, I created another surface layer by stamping all over with various home made stamps, spirals, dots, waves and swirls using Jacquard Textile Paints and Jacquard Lumiere Textile Paints

I'm sure you've guessed what the theme is!
You'll have to wait for the next installment to see what it turns into!

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Triangle Dyeing

I finally had a whole morning to myself in the lull between one lot of visitors leaving and the next lot arriving so decided to do a little bit more dyeing using procion dyes. I have use this method to do a couple of dye batches but I am especially pleased with the colours achieved in this batch.

Each colour is achieved by using 3 different colours of dye, in varying amounts in each dye bath, 15 pieces of fabric in total.

Sunday, 31 May 2009

The Mighty Oak

Once again my sister and I have been playing with 'Silver Clay'. There was a little bit of clay left over from the last time we 'played', not enough to make anything too large so we turned the clay into paste so we could paint leaves with it.

I love Oak Trees, they are the quintessential 'English' tree and not far from to us there is a tree that is reputed to be upwards of 600 years old. It is very gnarled and the massive trunk has had to have a metal brace placed round it to preserve it as the trunk has split. With true British spirit it comes to life every year and is beautiful.

So we decided to use oak leaves, not I hasten to add taken from the 600 yr old tree! They were taken from my sisters tree. The leaf needs to be washed gently before starting, once that was done we could paint to our hearts content. Not a fast process as each layer has to be painted on thinly and dried before the next one can be painted on. In all it took 10 layers of silver clay paste for it to become strong enough to withstand use. Once totally dry they were fired and polished up. The veining was highlighted by adding 'liver of sulphur' to hot water and immersing them for a couple of minutes before re polishing to remove it from unwanted areas. A 'bail' has been added to the back of each one so I can hang them from a chain etc. We've both ended up with 2 beautiful silver (925) leaves.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Play Time!

This year my sister & I have decided to set each other a challenge for Christmas. The rules are very simple, we both have to have the same basic present with a price limit of £10. Once we have found something we both like we then have free reign to fill it with any manor of things, but whatever we fill it with has to be made from anything we have to hand in the house. No extra expenditure is allowed!

So now we've found some lovely wicker Trugs for the garden........

the fun can really begin.................

My first 'make' to go in the trug is an apron made from a t-towel. I have a bit of a t-towel fetish and buy lovely ones then hide them in the back of the drawer as I don't want to get them stained!! Virtually all my t-towels have dye stains on them!! At the beginning of the year I bought some lovely mint coloured ones from Asda and duly hid them! I came across them whilst tidying out the drawer and decided it was time to put one of them to a good use.

To the basic t-towel I added three pockets made from my stash of fabric and an extra long tie so it can be wrapped round the waist and tied at the front. I folded the two top edges of the t-towel round to the back just to add a little shape to the top of it. Eh Viola!

Now....what can I make next.............................?

Thursday, 21 May 2009

The Call Of The Sea

For a piece of my course work I had to make a bowl of some description. Having recently spent much time by the sea I knew instantly what I wanted to do.

So, on a piece of pelmet vilene I had bondawebbed I laid torn up strips of fabric, cotton, sheers, silks & nets in a spiral pattern. Starting with the darkest in the centre spiralling out to the whites for the crests of the waves at the edges. I also added some chopped up silver threads sprinkled onto the white areas before covering the whole with a fine piece of net. To hold it all together I vermicelli stitched it all over and then stitched a wave around the top edge.

The edges were then shaped to mirror the waves before stitching the sides together. As a finishing touch I stitched some shells and sea glass to the inside. I'm ever so pleased with the finished result!

Aren't I A Lucky Girl!

We went to beautiful Cornwall at the weekend to see our 'Oldest & Dearest' friends. My wonderful 'Dearest' friend had made me some beautiful baskets to keep my treasures in.

Not only that, there were two dear little felt cupcakes too!!
I feel a 'tidy up' coming on now so that I can display them properly.
Thank you so much my friend. I love them!

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

A Bit More Dyeing

So having bought some alum it was time to do more dyeing. I had saved some bits I had pruned from the grape vine and after soaking them overnight boiled them for nearly 3 hours to get the colour out of them.

I really like the soft coffee colours achieved with this. The silks really lapped the dye up.

The next one I tried was Ivy. Chopped up fresh leaves and stems into a pan and again boiled them for nearly 3 hours. No overnight soaking. Now I have to say here that Ivy doesn't smell so good when it's boiled, in fact it stank the house out and gave me a headache! There's a lot to be said for doing this outside on a camping stove!!!! Anyway, that said I love the range of colours I've achieved on the different fabrics from a soft creamy green through to quite and acid colour on the silk.

So onto number three.....Dandelion roots, of which there are plenty in my garden! For every 1 I dig out another 10 seem to appear! Again they were soaked overnight and boiled for the best part of 3 hours. The liquid in the pan was a lovely rich dark brown colour. I have to say I was initially a little disappointed with the final colours achieved given that the dye bath colour looked so lush. But, having looked at the results for a while they are growing on me. Again, it seems to be the silks that take on the most colour.

Trust me, I've gone and spelt dandelion wrong on the label!!
The next batch of dyeing will be done outside!

Monday, 20 April 2009

Beside the Sea!

I have just come back from a wonderful week in Cornwall. The sun shone for virtually the whole week, my face is sun burnt & wind burnt and my legs are sore from all the walking we did! It was so lovely to sit by the sea and listen to the sounds of the waves.

This morning, I just had to have a play in my sketch book to remind my of my week. So using things I had scavenged from the beach I created my own piece of the seaside.

The page was first coated in a layer of decorators caulk then the shells, seaweed, pebbles & glass were added. Before it had the chance to start drying sand was sprinkled over the top. Once dried it was washed with blue and green inks

My very own little bit of Cornwall!

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Garden Treasure Continued

I have been sketching the lovely pieces of bark I found in the garden. I love cutting up photos and filling them in to see what happens.

I have also been playing with sellotape to remove the photo from it's backing. Place sellotape over the photo and press down well. Soak in warm water for a few minutes then gently rub the reverse side to remove the paper. I've placed mine over a coloured textured piece of card. This has definite potential!

Now I just need to get some wide clear parcel tape to play with this a bit more.

A Perfect Misunderstanding

As part of my course work I have to do some naturally dyed fabric samples using plants and leaves as opposed to chemical dyes. Not having enough resources at home I headed for the library. As I could find nothing suitable on the shelves I approached the counter to enquire if they could get me in a book about natural dyeing.

Well Lisa typed in the search area to look for titles and turning to me with a somber face said....."we don't appear to have any books of that nature.......................have you tried talking to the Dr?"

At this point it dawned on me that she had typed 'natural dying' ( the 'e' makes a big difference!)
Needless to say we both ended up in hysterics once I had explained that I wanted to colour fabric rather than lay down and meet my maker!

So here are the first few pages of my samples book, none of these needed a mordent. I have to order some alum in order to continue with this experiment so more will follow later.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Garden Treasure

I'm very excited as today, by chance, I found this beautiful piece of wood in the garden. It had come out of a bag of bark chippings. It almost looks burnt around the edges and is peeling apart in layers, each one slightly different in appearance. I'm off to find my sketch book now as this is a perfect find for a little project I want to do later in the year!

The piece above is my favourite.

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Waste Not Want Not!

A little while ago a friend and I decided to have a go at making a small wall hanging using the Alicia Merrett method of curved piecing. So rather than delve into my stash of 'good' fabric' I decided that this was the ideal project to use up all the scrap pieces of fabric that are too small to be used in anything but a scrap quilt but were perfect for trying a new technique.

This is the almost finished piece that has been quite heavily quilted. I had added a bit of felt applique to one section with the intention of adding more. However, I decided in the end that I didn't really like the appliqued piece and would remove it at some point. Also, because I had used up scraps of fabric the colours were very hit and miss and it didn't all tie in together.

Over dying the whole piece seemed the best way to bring all the different fabrics together. I chose a red dye, popped the whole lot in the washing machine and crossed my fingers! Actually,I was quite excited to see how it would come out.

Over dying dulled the brightest colours and tied it all together a bit more coherently. However, it did nothing for the felt applique and turned the green stem into a dull dirty brown making it look worse than ever before. My solution to this was to cut the whole thing up!

I cut it into 4 pieces following the seam lines already present. I discarded the piece with the applique on it as I really didn't like it. I turned the centre piece round, rearranged the other pieces and re cut the edges to match each other. They were then bound and the binding was pulled round to the back before being stitched down so as it was not visible. I was then left with a large area of blank fabric that needed to be filled with something!

I cut a tree stencil that would overlap two of the pieces and used fabric pastels to fill it in. Once it had been ironed to set the colour I then stitched a broken running stitch round the edges of the tree and stitched in the 'knots' with a little more detail.

I think, for the minute it is finished, but you never know. Maybe I'll come back to it and tweak it some more!