Saturday, 30 March 2013

May ( and no longer the April) craft challenge - Weather

Update: following some changes at Creative Connections, their monthly challenge now has its own dedicated blog - Get Crafty for Creative Connections. Because of the changes, the April challenge didn't take place so the weather challenge this post is about has now become the May challenge. Pop over and have a look at the new blog, there'll be lots of posts from all members of the design team as well as the monthly challenge.

As weather was the subject of the May challenge, I know that there was lots of material to choose from. After all, the weather is supposed to be one of our favourite things to talk about.

With the snowy and wet weather we've been having lately, I wanted to do something that was a bit more cheerful - i.e. sunny days. To start I had a nose around the subject of sun in my dictionary and found this quote by Edith Wharton:

"Summer afternoon - summer afternoon ... the two most beautiful words in the English language."

A couple of months ago I'd done a doodle sketch of a cottage in a garden so I decided to use this as the basis of the design for this project. The shrubs and trees on the design are only in outline, similar to embroidery designs I'd seen from the 1930s and 40s.

My sketched design
 I used a vintage chair back as my embroidery fabric. I knew that my design wouldn't cover the whole piece of the fabric, but I still wanted to use the narrow lace on the chair back, so I I decided to add some lace to the two sides that wouldn't have the original lace.

I drew my design directly onto my fabric using a pencil, but if you aren't confident enough to do that yourself, you could either use a disappearing ink pen or transfer paper (both of these would be available from your local craft shop).
You can just see my pencil drawing on the fabric.

I did the garden bit of the embroidery first, using a mixture of running, blanket, chain and stem stitches.

The writing is done in running stitch and is surrounded with chain stitch and french knot flowers.

To mount the embroidery, I sandwiched a piece of wadding between this and the backing fabric, folded the backing fabric edges under so that it fitted onto the embroidery and sewed them all together. I did this by hand, but you could use a machine.

I hand-stitched some vintage lace onto the side and bottom of the fabric, where the lace was missing. To further decorate the piece I added a crochet flower (not made by me, I buy them from Marlene at Daisy Chain designs), a little lace rosette (made by me) and a couple of vintage buttons.

To enable the embroidery to be hung up, I added two rings onto the back of the piece. 

The completed collage is available to buy from the Elsie May and Bertha Folksy shop.


Tuesday, 26 March 2013


Whilst trawling the internet, reading other people's blogs or Pinterest I have come across lots of people who 'journal' or 'scrapbook' and often wondered were they the same thing and why do it?

I found that there is supposed to be a difference - journaling involves the creation of a visual journal or diary using your artistic skills and techniques, whereas scrapbooking is focused on the collation and presentation of memories, photos, small keepsakes and memorabilia, using creative techniques to enhance these. Which sounds as clear as mud to me!

With seeing what others have been doing, when I came across a 2013 diary in Wilkinson's for 10p (yes you did read that right!) I thought I'd have a go. 

The diary is A5 sized and has one page a day. My first thought was to add items onto specific days illustrating what I've done on those days.

But, considering the majority of my days are spent sewing/crafting, this journal wasn't going to be too exciting (or have many filled in pages!). So last week I decided to turn my journal into a scrapbook in the main.

So now I'm going to use it to keep pictures, bits of sewing or for when I feel a collage coming on, but don't want to create something standalone. Here's what I have done so far:

Hopefully, I'll keep this up, and use it for inspiration.


Thursday, 21 March 2013

I'm am artist (sort of)!

In my last but one post, I talked about the two pieces of art I was creating for the Love New Brighton exhibition. I managed to finish these by the deadline (thanks to my Mum and Dad taking them in for me). Luckily, both of my pieces were chosen.

The exhibition is the window of an empty unit at the Marine Point Development in New Brighton, and as such, the photos I've taken aren't as good quality as usual. I've tried to avoid my reflection in the glass, but some of the pictures I took were a bit grotty so I've not included them here. Apologies to my fellow artists that don't have their pictures here. 



I'm going to have another go at photographing the ones that aren't here, so pop back in a few days to have another look.



Sunday, 3 March 2013

March craft challenge.

The theme for this month is celebration. It took me a while (the day before it was due in!) before inspiration struck - I'd make an Easter egg decoration. My egg is flat, as the decoration I wanted to do wouldn't have fitted onto 3D one.

I began with drawing my egg template (I drew a half first, to get the shape I wanted, then folded the paper in half to use the first side as a template for the second).

Once I'd chosen my fabric, I set out my design. A vintage image, bunny tape and woven flowers.  I embroidered 'happy Easter' at the top and added some cut out flowers and buttons either side of the image.

To complete the decoration, I cut out a piece of fabric for the back (a vintage pillowcase I found at the charity shop this week) and a piece of wadding.

To be able to hang the decoration up, I pinned a length of pink ribbon onto the front piece (raw edges together with the ribbon loop pointed downwards). Then I placed right sides together and sewed everything together, leaving a gap to turn right sides out and then sewed up the gap.

This egg is available to buy via the Elsie May and Bertha website.

Pop over to the Creative Connections website if you would like to enter this month's challenge.