Sunday, October 16, 2016

Something New

Sometimes I just want to work on something completely different.  Often I can't do that when I would like to because I have other more urgent items that need to be finished but yesterday was one of those days when I was all caught up.  

In my imagination, I could see a really pretty owl ornament, in really soft pale colors with hand embroidery and some extra embellishments that my other owls don't have.  

When I start something like this, I pull all the fabrics and other things I think I might need but it doesn't necessarily mean I will use them all. I wanted this owl to have a pretty shabby chic, vintage feel.  Those buttons on the far right below are pretty vintage ones I got at a quilt show.  

When I stitch the wings, I like to pull the thread fairly tight, this causes the wings to curl slightly in a wing-like manner.  I also like to use the selvedge edge of the hand dyed felted wool fabric for the tops of the wings because it usually has a slightly different pattern and a textured edge.  

When I stitch the front to the back I fold and pin the wings out of the way so I can blanket stitch the edge.  I always think the owls look like they are holding a sword when I do this!

I wanted to add a tiny crown to this owl but there really wasn't enough space so I added a flower and some embroidery at one of the "ears".  The embroidery kind of looks like a classy tattoo!  I usually use a plain color coordinated hanging ribbon but I found this pretty ribbon in my stash which is just perfect here.

And there we have it, a pretty owl, exactly how I imagined it - I love it when that happens!

I'm planning to make a few of these owls, using the felt colors in the first photograph.  When I list them in my shop, they will be priced higher than my other owls because there is a lot more work in these.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Fox Pincushion

It has been really gloomy and damp here today.  All I've really wanted to do was snuggle up and drink cups of tea while reading my favorite blogs!  But instead I cleaned the house and took advantage of a slightly brighter few minutes to photograph and list the fox pincushions that I finished up last night.  Two of them are my original fox design and the third is this variation - because sometimes I just want to make something different.  I like the simplicity of the original design but this one is pretty too.  

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Fall Door Wreath

I've been meaning to change the wreath on my front door for weeks, especially since getting pumpkins earlier this week!  I really prefer to build a wreath from scratch but that can get expensive quickly and whilst it is worth it for an indoor wreath which will store from year to year, an outdoor wreath takes a beating.  

I found this wreath at Joann's this week and because it was a Fall item, it was 60%off.  I don't use purchased wreaths without fancying them up a bit so I also got some pine cones picks, ribbon and some orange and red berry picks which were all also 60%off.  I like this combination of burlap leaves and slightly wispy flowers.  

I added the pinecones and berry branches in inside part of the wreath.  

The ribbon is the finishing touch.  I think the color combination feels fresh and pretty and not too predictable.  I love how it looks on our red front door, the white flowers really stand out.  

Sunday, October 9, 2016


There is just something about pumpkins that makes me smile.  I can't help myself.  Maybe it's because they are so outrageous, so orange and full of attitude.  Maybe it's because I grew up in England where we celebrated the Harvest but with piles of apples and vegetables, not pumpkins.  I don't think I'd ever seen one till we moved to California.  

For the last few years my daughter and I have driven to a farm shop a few miles away to get our pumpkins.  They are always fresh with dust from the surrounding fields and they all have lovely, long, intact stalks.  We take our time picking out some different kinds, load up the car and drive carefully home with our precious cargo.  

There are fancy pumpkin patches near us, with hayrides and little trains to ride.  One even has a carousel and a large pyramid of pumpkins but I love the farm shop best.  

Friday, October 7, 2016

Hello October

How can we possibly be a whole week into October already?!  

Since the quilt show, I've been really busy photographing and listing new items in my shop.  It seems to take such a long time and is my least favorite part of running an Etsy shop.  I'm close to being done now though.  Our weather is mixed, warm and sunny one day, chilly the next but it is definitely Fall - my favorite season and there are pumpkins everywhere.  The fire that was burning in our local hills is now contained and our skies are blue again. 

I collected these acorns on my morning walks with Tia.  They are the most beautiful acorns, big and exuberant.   

This is my Fall mantel.  My husband made the clock from a log, cut up at our cabin in the Sierras.  I've hung the copper leaves I made last year and added a copper cup I found at Target.  

I do most of my grocery shopping at Trader Joe's and the store is looking especially festive at the moment. 

I've been finding lots of good stuff in Etsy shops lately.  I bought some of these acorns from a shop in Bulgaria and some from a shop here in the U.S.  They look really good in the squirrel dish I got at Hobby Lobby back when it was really too hot to even be thinking about Fall!

Aren't they pretty?  Those are real acorn caps with needle felted acorns in luscious colors.

I've been sewing as well, working on custom orders and on restocking sold out items like this pincushion.

We recently took Tia to get her nails clipped at a clinic at a pet store in San Jose.  It was a stressful experience so afterwards she got a new toy which she picked out herself and carried to the cash register, dropping it just long enough for the employee to scan the label.  She likes to cuddle her soft toys, or lay on them.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Troll Dolls

I am often messaged, via the Etsy convo system, about making custom items.  These are usually fun projects and it is always a challenge to make something new.  Recently I had a tentative enquiry about making some felt embellishments for a collection of Troll Dolls.  

Remember those?

I really have the most interesting customers.  How could I possibly resist such a request?  There was some back and forth about what my customer wanted and finally we decided it would be easiest if she sent me the Troll Doll clothes for me to embellish.  

Trolls are outdoorsy creatures so naturally the clothes needed twigs, leaves, flowers, mushrooms etc.  Here is how they came out (did I mention what a fun project this was???).

The clothes came to me completely plain and some of them were really small!

I was really happy with how they turned out but more importantly my customer was thrilled.  She sent me this great photo of some of her Troll Dolls modeling their new couture outfits.

Monday, September 26, 2016

SVQA 2016 Annual Quilt Show

This last weekend was the South Valley Quilt Association's annual quilt show.  For the last three years I have been a vendor there, selling the things I have in my Etsy shop.  The preparation is always a lot of work but I enjoy meeting and chatting with customers and this year I saw several people who I haven't seen for ages which was especially fun (even the person I completely mistook for someone else!).  There were generally fewer people around this year which was sad because I thought the quilts were more interesting than they've been in the past.  My booth looked colorful and attractive and we did pretty well.  We had great vendors next to us so it was all good.

Here are my favorite quilts from the show........

The following items were stitched by a group of Japanese ladies who live in our Sister City in Japan.

I love these little guys below!