2016: A Year in Thread

Between my day job, wedding and birthday cakes and general life, 2016 was not my most productive year…threadwise. However, it was a year in which I feel my freemotion embroidery skills took a step forward and I found my own style.

The year started with some seasonal appliqué.

Then there were the days I woke up with an idea in my head and couldn’t wait to put it on fabric.

Miniatures inspired by the Very Berry ATC (artist trading card) and mini hoop swaps.

Much of my time…and my heart…has been invested in portraits of pets and wild creatures.

I am still in love with the beautiful city of Bath, and want to many more cityscape and landscape embroideries in 2017.

embroidery-2016-41

 

a right royal embroidery

I have long been meaning to try a few applique/embroidery pictures of buildings. I had initially intended to start with our own humble home, but after recently visiting Prince Charles’ residence of Highgrove I felt inspired to set my sights a little higher. Photography is understandably not allowed in the grounds of Highgrove House and, although I loved every minute of the tour, I was itching to record the place somehow…and so here is my first building portrait (I don’t think my beach hut pictures and bags count!).

highrove - 1

highrove - 2This is the view along thyme walk (the thymes having been planted by HRH Prince Charles himself, our guide informed us!). I really loved making this picture and my head is full of ideas for more!

The gardens at Highgrove are amazing – each ‘room’ has a different feel and the attention to detail is incredible. What I wouldn’t give to be allowed free reign to wander around the gardens one early morning with my camera…!

and the Christmas making continues

Well, my time continues to be ploughed in to making for the Christmas fair on 4 December – I rarely have time to write much, which I miss. I also suspect that just bunging a load of photos in to my blog is not only a cop out, but makes entries less interesting. Of course I may be wrong and readers may be relieved when they see I have refrained from wittering on.

I am trying to fit in a bit more non-business stuff. This week I made 12 jars of dumpsideary jam (spiced apple, pear and plum) from Gloria Nicol’s book ‘Fruits of the Earth‘  and shortbread Christmas trees to photograph for Christmas cards from uk.Moo.com and four Christmas cakes to be fed weekly with brandy. What’s more Mark and I went out for lunch today – just the two of us (and he bought me flowers on Friday…should I be worried?). Tomorrow afternoon I am giving blood , so that too will be a non-business activity.

shortbread snow scene
shortbread snow scene
edible snow scene
edible snow scene

 

I also signed up for an artist trading card (ATC) swap run by Ali at very berry handmade. I confess that although I had seen the size of the card, it had not sunk in just how small it actually is. The finished card sits easily in the palm of my hand – and that makes cutting out all those leaves exceedingly fiddly. I worked out the design on paper and then painted the dog in fabric paint on natural calico, then used a temporary spray adhesive to hold it in place on the background fabric and ironed on some stitch and tear to stabilise the fabric while I stitched on the leaves and highlighted the dog’s fur in black and white, adding a French knot nose. I made a backing and cut down some bias binding for the edging. It goes in the post tomorrow and I am a little sad to see it go, but I am excited to see what I receive in the post in return!

little dog 'Autumn' artist trading card
little dog ‘Autumn’ artist trading card

On the business side, I have had orders for dalek pincushions and will be making still more this week.

dalek pincushions
dalek pincushions

 

I found some old fashioned milk bottles in Lakeland and am very happy with the look of the snow scenes (not edible!) I have made in them – what do you think? I am running out of space in our dining room/my work room for snow scenes, but am reluctant to fill the living room with them as I don’t want us to get bored of Christmas before it has even started. I generally refuse to put up the tree or any decorations (other than the wooden advent train) more than a week before Christmas, so really hope these things sell!

old fashioned milk bottle snow scene
old fashioned milk bottle snow scene

 

Finally, I just want to share my latest indulgence. For a long time now I have been drooling over Lilla Lotta‘s printed tapes and treated myself to this one:

Lilla Lotta printed tape
Lilla Lotta printed tape

I am not sure how I will use it, but I have an urge to make a number of items relating to fairy tales and think this will fit in. I like it so much I went back and ordered some more – I considered this one, because it’s lovely:

Lilla Lotta red riding hood tape
Lilla Lotta red riding hood tape

I decided though that I don’t want someone else’s image of a fairy tale, as I want to use my own images, so opted for this one.

Lilla Lotta magic mushrooms tape
Lilla Lotta magic mushrooms tape

If you are tempted to buy yourself some of these printed tapes, you will need to get a wriggle on as Lilla Lotta’s Etsy shop says she will be closed for at least a year from January!

Right then, now I have done a wee bit of writing, i want to do some reading…Vastgotaspets och tradgard, Knitsofacto and Twigg Studios, here I come!

 

 

Christmas is coming…the daleks are getting fat…

Christmas is coming…the daleks are getting fat…

Well it’s something like that. I have been getting myself a bit stressed about how much sewing I have to do for Christmas and for my first craft fair* and have been trying to get as much stock made as possible. I had been making things I know well as I can make them quickly, but as I calm down a bit I am letting myself have fun designing new pieces. While I was beading daleks for custom order Christmas stockings I began to think about the possibility of a dalek pincushion and this week set about designing one. I am rather pleased with my first attempt, what do you think?

dalek pincushion
dalek pincushion

Of course do remember that a dalek is not just for Christmas!

Stallholders at the Christmas fair are being asked to donate a raffle prize and as soon as I hit send on my email, I knew a gingerbread house was a silly thing to offer as cooking is not part of my business. Bags are more my thing…but then surely a bag could be a gingerbread house…

gingerbread house handbag
gingerbread house handbag

I will probably add a bit more detail to the windows, but it was fun to make (and sent me off on  the trail of some gorgeous Christmas buttons to make a second (or third) gingerbread house bag.

I  am totally immersed in Christmas. Most years I hate the commercialism of it all and the way the shops fill with decorations and gifts as soon as Summer holidays are over, but this year I have no option but to jump in to it head first. I have been making more free-motion sewn cards and even a bit of hand emroidery.

 

French knot polar bear Christmas card
French knot polar bear Christmas card
tree Christmas card
tree Christmas card

Today I also gave in to Pinterest and made a snow scene in a jam jar – I first saw these on Pinterest last Christmas and I think they are so cute. For gifts (not for sale) I am also going to make some edible snow scenes in jars, with shortbread trees and sugar snow.

jam jar snow scene
jam jar snow scene

 

I have had some time off making things though, including a trip over the bridge to chat to some textile students about the things I make. I was a bit nervous – it’s a really long time since I have even been in a school – but thoroughly enjoyed myself. Everyone was lovely and they showed me their beautiful past projects and we talked about their upcoming projects. I am looking forward to seeing the end results.

Yesterday one of my old work colleagues came over and we had a National Trust day – the Courts and Lacock. It kept looking like it was going to pour with rain, but held off until we were having a meal in the pub in the evening. I rather like grey skies they add a touch of gothic drama.

Lacock tree of light
Lacock tree of light

I will sort out the other photos and pop them in to Deere Diary in a bit.

 

* St Mary’s Church (bottom of Bathwick Hill in Bath) 7pm to 9.30pm Wednesday 4th December 2013