Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Spring Flowers

I enjoyed making this batch of pincushions and needle books with lots of pretty Spring flowers.  We have had a few days of sunshine after the last big storm which brought so much rain, snow and mayhem.  Tomorrow it is all supposed to begin again....  









Friday, January 13, 2017

Some Brightness For This Dreary Weather

I live in California and you may have heard that we've been having some Weather.  In truth it's been completely crazy.  We had several inches of rain from a wild and windy storm system that caused localized flooding, downed trees, power outages and all our local reservoirs to overflow!  Up on "our" mountain we had 9 inches of rain in one day. This then froze and was followed by 6feet of fresh powder and high winds over the next couple of days resulting in dangerous avalanches and forcing the the ski resort to close for the week.  

This is what 6 feet of fresh snow and high winds actually looks like on top of the three feet or so of existing snow.  These are not my photos but from Bear Valley's Facebook page.  The first one is the front of the main building!





The sun came out today and they have been digging out and grooming and I am heading up there tomorrow for some fantastic skiing!

Meanwhile back in the gloomy flatlands, I've been cheering myself up with lots of color!  My orders of wool felt arrived and are just gorgeous.  



I've been working on some pincushions and coordinating needle books with pretty Spring flowers - my way of handling the dark, grey weather and unrelenting rain.  There are wild roses, lily of the valley, forget-me-nots, daffodils and snowdrops.  I think the snowdrops are my favorite.  Every flower and leaf is cut freehand.  This design takes a little longer than some of the others because of all the cutting out but I think it's worth it.  










Saturday, January 7, 2017

Things I've Been Working On


I've been working on several things at once this week.  I have a couple of custom designs that I'm doing, one is being stitched and the other is still at the sketch stage.  I also finished up this batch of woodland pincushions and some matching needle books.  I'm sometimes asked why needle books are a thing.  Did you ever lose a needle inside your pincushion?  Enough said!  



I've also been working on these colorful needle books.  They match my rainbow flower tree pincushion.  We've had some really gloomy and wet days and I needed something bright to cheer me up.  I can't sit and cut out little felt flowers in all those lovely colors without smiling.  


This being California the gloomy, grey, wet weather doesn't usually last very long and we have also had some very cold days.  We rarely get really sharp frosts but this week we had an unusually cold morning when the birdbath was frozen solid and I couldn't manage to scrape all the ice of the windshield of my car for the school run!  The ground was still sparkling when I took Tia for her walk mid morning!  



I was given a gift card to a local craft store for Christmas and this week I spent a bit of it on this luscious handful of thread.  I love thread and looking at it all neatly organized at the store -  all those colors and it has such a pretty sheen.   This is not for any particular project, I was just restocking and adding a few new shades to my stash.  







Thursday, January 5, 2017

Happy New Year!

I never make Resolutions for the New Year.  We were talking about it on New Year's eve at dinner and I don't remember ever making one.  Resolutions are just another way for the universe to make you feel bad about yourself.  I set myself goals and have intentions because these are kinder and each day can be a new beginning.  


Last year was pretty depressing at times culminating here in the US, with the election of new President.  It was my first Presidential election as a new US citizen and I didn't vote for the candidate who won.  Thinking about the next four years makes me anxious. 

But 2017 will be an interesting year for me personally.  Our son graduated college in November and is living at home while starting out in the real world.  Our daughter will head off to Art School in the Fall.  So many huge changes ahead.  I have lots of ideas for my Etsy shop and some exciting possibilities.  I want to fit in more sewing projects that make use of my sewing machine and fabric stash.  I'd like to make and finish a quilt for my daughter as she heads off into the world.  I want to practice kindness and patience.  I'd like to step out of my comfort zone more often, learn new things, read more and use my phone and computer more thoughtfully so I waste less time looking at screens.  I want to try more new recipes and wear colors other than black, grey and white!  There are new crafts I'd like to try my hand at, new places to visit and people to meet.  

So here I go, stepping out gingerly into 2017 with mixed feelings.  Happy New Year!




Saturday, December 17, 2016

Finishing A Tiny Dandelyne Hoop

In my last post, I shared about the tiny embroideries I've been working on to fit in these cute little hoops.  


Having finished the two little embroideries, I cut them out a little larger than the piece of wood that goes behind them.


Using my hot glue gun, I ran a small line of glue around the edge of the wood piece. Then I placed the embroidery over the non glue side and carefully eased the linen over the edge and onto the back and the line of glue.  There are several videos on YouTube showing how to do this.


Next I positioned the hoop around the piece of wood and fabric, put the little screw and nuts on and tightened them.  


This wooden back plate was glued on using white glue and clamped.  This hides the scrappy edges of fabric.  I used Tacky Glue which dries pretty fast.



I'm still trying to decide whether to put these on a chain or on a beaded necklace.  







Friday, December 16, 2016

Making Tiny Hoop Embroideries

It's tough to keep a blog fresh this time of year when so much of what you are working on is a surprise for someone, a family member or it is a custom item purchased as a gift from my Etsy shop.  So although I've been quiet here, it hasn't been quiet in real life!  

My Etsy shop has been really busy.  I have such awesome customers and it's been fun to work on a few more custom things this year.  For the last couple of days though, it's gone quiet and I have to say it's been nice.  I don't have time to make more of anything for my shop before Christmas now and so the pressure is off.  I'm finding that I'm full of ideas and inspiration and having to jot things down so I don't forget - I have my sketchbook permanently at hand.  I'm one of those people who is at their most creative late at night and I guess as I'm tired from all the busyness of the season, my body thinks it is late at night all the time!  

A few weeks ago I bought a package of these small embroidery hoops from this Etsy shop in Australia.  I bought these round ones and a package of tall oval ones.  They are so cute I can hardly stand it, what is it about tiny things?


I haven't had time to experiment with them till now.  Earlier this week, I pulled out some close weave oatmeal colored linen and did some quick little sketches before diving in.  




You can't really get a feel of the size of this from the above photos but these next photos will help.....yep, this is really tiny work.  And yes my scissors are very sharp.




Here are the components ready for assembly.  I'm planning to make this into a necklace but I haven't decided yet whether to use chain or something with tiny seed beads.



Last night I decided to try a tiny tree stump.  It's on the same linen which just looks different because of the different light.  I can't wait to get these in their tiny hoops.















Tuesday, December 6, 2016

A Custom Pincushion

I'm back!  We've had family from Scotland staying with us so I've been distracted from writing and sewing!  This is the best kind of distraction though.  My little Etsy shop is busy with people buying Christmas gifts and I've been working on several custom orders.  

I just popped this one in the mail today.  My brief was to make a cat pincushion from some photos sent to me by my customer.  The colors and design were picked in collaboration with  her.  As usual I began with a sketch, moving on to making paper pattern pieces.  I keep all my paper pattern pieces in little labeled ziplock bags but I'm getting so many different ones, I really need to come up with some system for filing/storing them.






The cat is a long haired black cat with some brown here and there too.  To embroider the cat and get that variation in color I used my regular DMC black floss and also some hand dyed black floss which by nature has a variety of shades.  



This is my box of hand dyed floss.  I don't used it often for pincushions because it is a lot more expensive than the DMC floss I usually use but for a project like this it is perfect.  


The side band is red, a lovely proper Christmassy red with white flowers and green leaves and swirls.  It is very pretty, the colors all work together beautifully.  The underside of the pincushion is dark grey.  



These colors are hard to photograph!  I always have trouble with reds and I also had to lighten the photo a good deal so you could see the embroidery stitches on the cat itself.  It is prettier in real life!  My customer is happy which is the most important thing of all.