Friday, April 29, 2016

Spring Flowers Pincushion

Spring feels like it has moved on to early summer here.  The trees are done blossoming and now there are local strawberries and early cherries at the roadside fruit stands.  I know from reading blogs whose authors live in other parts of the U.S. or in Europe that this is not the case everywhere!  

This week I finished up a batch of antique clock face pincushions and the two deer pincushions which you can see here.   After that lot I wanted something completely different to work on and settled on some pretty flowers.


I began working on this pincushion in the car while my daughter was riding which is why the light is different in the first two photos.  I stitched a simple wreath with brown thread to give me something to work from.  Then I added the leaves and flowers as I went.  Each leaf and flower is individually hand cut.  


Below are photos taken at home and these are the true colors.  The little blue flowers are forget-me-nots and the others are just imagined blooms!




I'm not sure what I'm going to put on the side band yet, or even what color it will be.  


The next pincushion top that I will be working on will be similar but with English woodland flowers, daffodils, snow drops, bluebells and primroses etc.  





Friday, April 22, 2016

A Hummingbird Nest

Yesterday, while laying in the sun on her lounger Tia (the greyhound) kept getting buzzed by a hummingbird.  She ignored it for a while but it eventually drove her inside.  When hummingbirds get near you, the thrumming of their wings sounds like a very large and scary bee.  I wondered what was up with that and then life took over and I forgot about it.....until today.


Outside my back door there is a little covered area and we have hung a bunch of spinning things and chimes, it's all very weirdly Californian but I love it.  This double spinner is literally right outside my back door, I can touch it from my back step, and in the center that little hummingbird is building a nest.  It's tiny.  And it's made out of tiny leafy bits and cobwebs.  Cobwebs!  

I watched the hummingbird repeatedly bring beakfuls of cobwebs and weave them into the other stuff it had already gathered.  It was completely mesmerizing.  Below you can see some of the cobwebs it gathered.



I have two concerns.  1 - Will the hummingbird allow us to come out of the back door into the garden? - they are very territorial and 2 - what will happen when the wind blows???



After I'd taken a bunch of photos, I noticed the hanging hook for this spinner,  awesome right?









Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Stitching With A Friend

I spent this morning stitching deer pincushion tops.  A new friend came over with some handwork of her own and we had a lovely morning of crafting, tea and conversation.  It was so relaxing to stitch, sip tea from pretty cups and chat.  I barely noticed the noisy construction we have going on out on our street and didn't have time to be annoyed that the construction crew had shut off our water for an indefinite amount of time in order to connect pipes to the water mains for some new houses. 



I've made this pincushion design before.  I made some for the quilt show back in February but I sold them there and so they never got listed in my shop.  I'm hoping to get these finished tomorrow and then listed either tomorrow or Friday.  I really do like these soft colors.  





Mica brought a small loom with her and was working on a woven pot holder which she was making from strips of a really pretty vintage floral sheet.  When she showed me the sheet, which she'd found at a thrift store, I was transported back to the 70's!  I'm pretty sure we had sheets like that, maybe not those exact colors but floral like that, and soft.  Later in the day, she texted me a picture of the finished pot holder and I think it's lovely.  The colors make me smile.  Mica and I have a lot in common, not least a deep desire to create beautiful, useful things.  




Tuesday, April 19, 2016

On My Work Table

I've been trying to fit in as much sewing as possible in between all the mundane housework and everyday life stuff.  I finished a batch of TARDIS pincushions over the weekend so it is good to have those back in stock.  


I've also finished some Union Jack pincushions which I have also re-listed in my shop.  



When my daughter and I were in England last summer we spent several days in London and we spotted these intricate Tudor Roses on the Palace Of Westminster.  They were carved into a huge doorway.  At shows I often get asked why I've used that shade of green for the sidebands and the answer is that it is British Racing Green, the color of British racing cars from the early 1900's.  




Now I am working on some more deer pincushions.  I made these before for the February show and sold them there so they never got listed in my shop.  I really like the soft colors I'm using here. 

My painted denim jacket is curing and I'm curious to see how easy(or not) it will be to embroider through the painted areas!










Thursday, April 14, 2016

Painting On Denim Jackets

I have always wanted a denim jacket but I've never found one that didn't make me look like a dark blue bubble....until a couple of weeks ago when I found a soft, weathered denim jacket in Old Navy.  It's short so it actually fits me properly, with no undesirable bubble effect!  I can't tell you how happy that made me.

And then I wondered, what about some paint, embroidery, maybe some trim?  My daughter has a lovely denim jacket too and a project was born.  We both decided to start by embellishing the back panel.  I am planning to try some embroidery over the paint.  It's Spring Break here this week so we've taken over the family room table and been working on our jackets together.






We are using regular acrylic craft paint with a fabric medium by the same manufacturer.  It can be a little tricky painting on the denim which has a pronounced texture and we found we needed at least two base coats to cover the dark blue.  The fabric medium says that the paint can be washed but not tumble dried but I have always found in the past that any acrylic paint that gets onto clothing is there to stay no matter how you treat it!


My grand plan is to add some embroidery to the painted flowers and some cream crochet trim to the cuffs and possibly elsewhere.  I may also experiment with some Liberty style fabric torn into strips and used at the cuffs as well.  I'm not sure yet.  



I'm not done with this panel of painted flowers, this is as far I've gotten today.  I want to fill that whole area and just go over the edges a bit like the leaf on the bottom.  I'm thinking I may trail a little vine with some tiny leaves and flowers up and onto the shoulder area.  I'll keep you posted!




















Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Tia's First Trip To The Beach!

We have had our greyhound, Tia, for 6 months now.  She is nearly 3 years old and a retired racer.  She brings us a lot of joy especially when we do something fun together like her first trip to the beach.  As we left home, the sky was grey and the light gloomy.  The forecast said it would be cloudy at the beach......


It was cloudy until we got to within about half a mile of the beach and then miraculously the clouds cleared and the sun was shining!  In summer it's the other way round!


What a gorgeous day.  We walked a long way up the beach and back.  Tia was a little spooked by how loud the ocean was and jumped a mile when the cold Pacific dared to touch her paws.  She also seemed completely confused by the lack of a defined path.  She is used to trails in the hills and sidewalks in our neighborhood.  



It was just one of those perfect beach days.  There were lots of birds to look at (me), all new smells/sights/sounds (Tia) and tons of interesting shells and driftwood bits (my daughter).  


We have to crate Tia in the car otherwise she stands up or walks around which is dangerous.  After this adventure she was conked out!












Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Bears And Telephones

I haven't posted lately because it feels like I am sewing the same things I've already shared!   I've been working on some bear pincushions and some more of the vintage phone pincushions.  Those first phone pincushions sold the same day as they were listed!  





I've been doing some sewing outdoors when the weather is good.  The light is so good for sewing on a bright day, it's only a problem if it is windy!  One afternoon I got to spend a couple of hours sitting in the shade of a huge peppercorn tree while my daughter had an interview for a student worker job at a horse barn.  It was so peaceful, with hummingbirds flitting around, horses making horsey noises (and smells!) and views of the hills all around.  I paid for it later with itchy eyes and a runny nose but it was nice at the time!  And my daughter got the job.


This kind of sewing is so portable.  I pack up whatever I'm working on in a little plastic box, put that and my thread box in a basket and I'm good to go.