Tuesday, 29 November 2016

An embroidered Christmas tree hanging decoration

This decoration came about after I'd been looking at primitive and folk art themed items on Pinterest. The dark cream and dull red gingham, along with the plain linen-mix fabric are a perfect match for that kind of style. I drew the pattern for the tree straight onto the fabric, stitched it and then appliqued a small piece of check fabric to serve as the pot for the tree.

For the left-hand side, I printed the 'Happy Christmas' onto a piece of fabric and attached this to the gingham with blanket stitch using vintage rayon thread. The little heart is made from felt and attached with running stitch. 

To cover the join between the two different types of background fabric I added a strip of beige and cream ric rac that I attached with a zig zag overstitch and added french knots at each point.

I've backed the whole thing with a cream and red striped fabric, with some wadding in between to add a bit of structure to the hanging. I then added a running stitch border around each of the two halves of the hanger.

I've used a heart-themed braid, that is attached with tied on vintage mother of pearl buttons, to enable the decoration to be hung up.

This decoration is now available in my Etsy store. Orders placed between 28th November and 25th December on either my Etsy store or Folksy store, will entitle you to a free gift of either a lavender heart or a length (approx 1.5m) of mini paper bunting. Indicate your preference in the notes box when you place an order.

I hope everyone has had a good start to the week, I can't believe how close we are to Christmas Day, it's less than a month away!


Sunday, 27 November 2016

I'm making a Christmas junk journal - part one, the cover and gathering papers

I have quite a lot of Christmas stuff in my paper and ephemera stashes that I have acquired over a few years, so I thought I'd make myself a Christmas junk journal to use some of this up. As with my first junk journal, I've used a Cadbury's fingers box for the cover. 

I've painted over the front of the cover with some red acrylic paint. It's not hidden the images on the front but it just adds a richer backing under the tissue paper that I've used on top. I used mod podge to stick the tissue paper down and added a coat over the top to give a glossy finish. I love the texture that the tissue paper (and the napkin I've used on the inside) makes rather than for it to be smoothed down completely flat (plus that would incur a lot of faffing about!). I used the top layer of a napkin and repeated the same process as the front for the inside cover.

So far I've decorated the front with a tag and a couple of wooden embellishments. I've used embossing powder on the Christmas decoration wooden embellishment and on the tag. I will be adding other stuff to the front when I come across something I want to use. 

I've gathered together some old Christmas cards, Christmas scrapbook papers, pages out of catalogues and some envelopes and bags to use the pages on the inside. The next job will be to create the signatures and to attach these to the cover.

I hope you're having a good weekend and I'll be back on Tuesday.


Friday, 25 November 2016

The lime-green knitted flower brooch

My Mum has been knitting more flowers for me to make into brooches. I've added a circle of tweed that I attached to the flower with french knots and added a vintage button. It's backed with felt and has an antique bronze coloured brooch pin.

I've added this brooch to my Etsy store, and I have a couple more in different colours to add too. So look our for them if you'd like one.

I hope you've been having a good week.

I'll be back on Sunday.


Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Make a maker smile - at story from the blog of Jane Hunter textile artist

I read this post on Jane Hunter's blog late (for me anyway) on Sunday night after seeing her post about it on Instagram and, as I think the message is so important, I'm copying it and sharing it with you too (Jane has asked for us to spread the word). By the way, Jane creates beautiful pieces of textile art depicting Scotland.

So here's what she wrote.

How to combat the scourge of black friday sales and heavy discounting.

Corporate behemoths vs the little elves. That’s what it boils down to. They have huge marketing budgets and tempt you in with massive discounts to flog you mass produced products. I’m not saying you should never give your hard-earned cash to big businesses. I mean, if I’m in the market for a new flat screen telly and I can get 40% off, then of course I’ll be tempted. (I’m not in that market, my twelve year old TV will, hopefully, make it through Christmas and our annual viewing of Santa Claus: The Movie!)
Evil Corporate Power vs the elves
On the other hand, amongst the mass hysteria, scrums and frantic panic to get as many Christmas pressies as possible with the November wage packet, there’s a quiet army of little elves who will go, largely, un-noticed.
Hard working christmas elves
Artists, designers and makers across the land are creating work and hoping/praying that just enough people will remember them this festive season. These talented folk are unlikely to take advantage of the Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, not because they couldn’t use a saving on that 'must-have' toy for their kids, but because they, as yet, have no idea whether or not they will be in a financial position to purchase gifts or be forced to make presents again this year.
For authentic artists, discounting our work is not only difficult, but also dangerous. Undervaluing the time and skill that goes into the work can lead to undervaluing yourself. 

Rather than searching for deals and discounts this year, have a look for authenticity, integrity and the value added by the story of how this work came to exist.

Now, this is by no means a pity party. I'm a creative. I was born that way. But I chose to try to make my living in this world by sharing my creativity with others. 'Why don't you get a real job?', I hear some cry. Well, I did that. Been there, done that, got depression. Let's not dwell.
The point is, without independent artists, designers and makers this world would be a pretty boring place, and we'd all have the same stuff.


I love learning about, finding and promoting new artists, designers and makers. But, as they don't have the marketing budget of John Lewis, it can be difficult to discover new, interesting folk.
So, this Christmas, I'll be spreading the love around. 
Share this article with your favourite, small, independent, designer/maker/artist so we can learn just how simple it would be to make a maker smile.
I'll go first:
Name: Jane Hunter
Age: 35
Number of employees: Zero
What do you make: Textile art inspired by vintage maps and physical and human landscapes
Where do we go to buy your work? www.janehunterart.com or visit my studio & art gallery: 117 Main Street, West Kilbride, Ayrshire.
How simple would it be to make you smile this Christmas? If only seven people bought my original work I'd be able to replace my dodgy oven, which has been knackered for two years, so I could get Sam to cook us a decent Christmas dinner this year. (You can grill a lot of things but a Turkey ain't one of them!)

This is what I posted on her blog

Name: Louise Oakes owner of Elsie May and Bertha
Age: 49
Number of employees: zero
What do you make: I make a variety of items using fabric and thread, these include lavender pillows, pin pillows, collages, needlecases, pincushions, brooches and, at the moment, Christmas decorations.
I love to reuse vintage linens, crochet and lace (especially those that are damaged or stained that would have been thrown out), stitch with vintage threads, along with new fabrics.
Where to buy my work: www.etsy.com/shops/ElsieMayandBertha

I’d be grateful for any sales, there’s nothing like the thrill you feel when you get a notification that you have a sale! Then I have the fun of wrapping and then the sending out with the hope that they’re delighted with their purchase!

If you go and look at Jane's post you'll see that she's created a link to each of the websites of the makers who have added their details in comments. As she has done that for those who commented on her blog, I shall do the same here, so please a comment.

As small businesses, mostly one man bands, we should, where we can, share the joy of encountering new makers and enabling others to do the same.

I hope that you're able to make one maker smile, even if it's not me, this Christmas season. As I say in my entry on Jane's blog, there's nothing like the thrill of discovering the notification that someone has bought something that you have made!

I'll be back again on Friday.


Monday, 21 November 2016

A little bit of paper play

This sympathy card was for an order. The image is from a vintage greetings card, probably 1930/40s that I decorated with some straight stitch. I also used purple card and flower patterned paper,

As I had my paper crafting stuff out I decided to do a couple of tags to pop into penpal letters this month. I used a mixture of scrapbook paper scraps, some pieces of ephemeral from my stash and soft purple glitter tape. 

I'll be back on Wednesday.


Saturday, 19 November 2016

The beautifully pink tweed brooch

I love working with tweed as it doesn't fray that easily so you can use it in smallish pieces like I have here. It's lovely to stitch through too, there's no resistance to the needle. I've used buttonhole lace and my favourite french knots to decorate the brooch, along with some pink seed beads and a button. I've used felt for the back and attached my label and brooch pin to that. I then attached it to the brooch using running stitch.

I was seriously tempted to keep this brooch for myself, but I was strong with myself and I've put it in my Etsy stall.

I hope you have a good weekend and I'll be back on Monday.


Thursday, 17 November 2016

Velvet Christmas decorations with a bit of added bling

These decorations are quite glamourous, even though I say so myself! They're made from velvet which has script printed onto it that I have decorated each side of the decoration with guipure lace, beads, a glass diamond, and vintage mother of pearl buttons. I added a little stuffing to give the decorations some body.

You can use these decorations on your Christmas tree etc, but I also use them to decorate Christmas presents, so the recipient gets a lovely looking gift and an extra present in one!

I've completely hand-stitched these and due to the print of the velvet each one is slightly different. I used a broken necklace for the glass diamonds and the beads from my stash of, mostly broken, jewellery. My favourite charity shop now saves me any broken jewellery rather then binning it now too!

If you'd like these decorations, I have a couple sets of two for sale in my Etsy store.

I'll be back again on Saturday.