Hello 2015!

Ooh it’s been a busy Winter. Busy, but profitable. What has slipped has been writing (and housework…sorry Mark!). So here goes…a brief summary of 6 weeks in the life of Sue Deere, textile artist.

I have worked on a teeny weeny Artist Trading Card for the Very Berry Handmade swap:

I have had lots and lots of orders – many for pieces using the customers’ own photos, so I can’t really share them here while others were freemotion pieces and now Christmas is over, I can let you see!

1
Royal Crescent, Bath

My photos as well as textile art:

I had a number of craft markets and hugely successful and enjoyable open studio with my friend and willow artist, Su Macpherson (involving plenty of mulled wine and mince pies too!) – for the Christmas Fair at Bath Library I even had a very lovely young French lady to help me run the stall.

Su and I treated ourselves to a half day fused glass course at Silversides in Larkhall:

Excitingly, Su and I have also decided to work together running craft workshops – a creative fun day out, suitable for the absolute beginner: Grownups Playgroup

Su and Sue6_instant
Sue and Su

We are now booking for:

  • 21 March 10.00 – 16.00 willow plant supports (only two places left)
  • 28 March 10.00 – 16.00 willow sculpting
  • 11 April 10.00 – 16.00 introduction to free motion embroidery

Please email grownupsplaygroup@gmail.com if you are interested in attending.

I will also be running a workshop for the Bath WI, making pincushions in teacups:

pincushion1

As well as all this crafty loveliness we have had a lovely selection of frosty mornings and Winter sunshine…stunning sunrises and delicate moonfalls.

A few brisk Winter walks to put roses in our cheeks:

lacock doors

Lots of wildlife to admire, including a kingfisher in the Botanical Gardens in Bath!

botanic 27 dec11

In contrast, the cats have been making the most of the central heating. Max has been experimenting with different resting places including Christmas presents, a hamper, boxes and a rather nice pack of truffles! Rio stuck to Mark’s dressing gown and the ironing board…

There were decorations…

…and lots of baking…

…injuries – little ones like burning my arm on the oven and bigger ones involving an ambulance ride to A&E when our neighbour tripped and cut her head badly.

burn

There were party hats, racing wind-up robins, cocktails, two Christmas dinners, accounts and my first tax return…

botanic 27 dec34

…and the new year started with a new hair cut!

me new hair

So here’s to 2015 and all the excitement ahead!

The lonely tree on a hill: four seasons

A little while back I had a vision. It wasn’t spiritual or enlightening, I just had a picture in my head I wanted to put in to fabric. A picture of a tree on a hillside in rich autumnal colours. This was the result:

lonely tree on a hill: Autumn
lonely tree

 

I have now sold this piece and the lovely lady who bought it commissioned me to make the other three seasons. It has been an absolute delight making these fabric pictures. Have a look at the rest of the year…

lonely tree Winter1
lonely tree on a hill: Winter
lonely tree on a hill: Spring
lonely tree on a hill: Spring
lonely tree on a hill: Summer
lonely tree on a hill: Summer
lonely tree on a hill: the year
lonely tree on a hill: the year

 

 

if you go down to the woods today…

For a few weeks I have been turning an idea over in my mind. Fairy tales. I have always loved them and they suggest such vivid images. With the new year, I made a start…with Little Red Riding Hood.

I started by getting a basic image of snowy woodlands on to the fabric with fabric paints.

fabric painted Winter woodland
fabric painted Winter woodland

I then picked out the detail on the trees with free-motion embroidery and appliqued Little Red and the wolf, using a combination of crushed velvet, calico and brushed cotton.

Little Red Riding Hood
Little Red Riding Hood

Finishing the picture with a bit of sparkle on the snow.

snow highlighted with shimmering thread
snow highlighted with shimmering thread

Now I need to decide how to use it. I am inclined towards framing it as I am concerned about how well it will wear as a bag or cushion. What do you think?

In time I will make a smaller piece to be part of a fairy tale quilt. I think my next fairy tale will be the real princess…!

 

 

 

Happy New Year!

A little early you may think, to be wishing everyone a happy new year, but my online shop is now closed and I will not be around next week. The house is all clean and tidy awaiting our kind and lovely house/cat sitters, the bags are packed and the seaside awaits! I am hoping for icy, blustery walks with wild seas…but no flooding please! I may have to bore you with a photo or two when I get back.

Edit: Oh dear – just had a flood warning from the Environment Agency for West Bay. It doesn’t look like the drive down would be very safe and the forecast is for rain all week, so we have decided to stay here…I will go now and reopen my Etsy shop. We will make the most of it – after all Bath is a pretty nice place to be anyway – perhaps dinner out and maybe the Hobbit at the cinema.

Talking of photos, I often get my sewing inspiration from the photos I take of gardens and birds and bugs…and seascapes of course. This morning I woke to a world white with frost and was out at first light with my camera. I thought you might like to see some of my shots…

windchimes
windchimes
frosty leaves
frosty leaves
frosty leaf detail
frosty leaf detail
sunlight on a bed of leaves (really must clear these up!)
sunlight on a bed of leaves (really must clear these up!)
early morning sunlight on frost
early morning sunlight on frost
Rio the cat
Rio the cat
playful Rio
playful Rio
the frost sent Rio a little crazy
the frost sent Rio a little crazy
sunlight on the windchimes
sunlight on the windchimes
sunlight catching the frost as it melts
sunlight catching the frost as it melts
geranium veins
geranium veins
bug house
I can see you!
I can see you!
frosty seed heads
frosty seed heads
frost on the sage
frost on the sage
sunlight and frost on the windchimes that hang from one of our apple trees
sunlight and frost on the windchimes that hang from one of our apple trees

Now I had every intention of stopping here, but as I uploaded the images from camera, Max the cat decided he would fit in the small box on the table beside me. My phone was to hand and I recorded his valiant attempts…! I guess I am not the only one who needs to diet in the new year.

cat in a box...well almost
cat in a box…well almost

I hope everyone has a fun new year’s eve and a happy, healthy and creative 2014.

We wish you a merry Christmas…

First things first…or no…actually before that…I must apologise for the lack of attention I have given my Deerey Me website. Such a busy time, I confess I have been favouring the speed and ease of my Deerey Me Facebook page, which has had more than a hint of Christmas party about it. I have all sorts of plans for the new year, including lavishing more attention here.

So back to ‘first things’…I drew the winners of my calendar giveaway. First (Aaron) and second (Emma) who commented over on Facebook, but I was delighted that the third name drawn was lovely Caitlin, who commented here. A Sue Deere Photos calendar will be winging its way to all three very shortly.

Deerey Me calendars
Deerey Me calendars

Most years our house is full of gingerbread houses and yule logs waiting to be collected by friends and family but this year my only request for a gingerbread house was received too late for me to have time to make. In fact my only gingerbread house was a handbag for the WI Christmas Fair…

gingerbread house handbag
gingerbread house handbag

I did have my usual Christmas cake gifts to make and decided to use the spherical bun tin I treated myself to a few years back to make mini fruit cake spheres that I turned in to little fat robins…of course!

fat fruit cake robin
fat fruit cake robin
fat robin Christmas cake
fat robin Christmas cake

My mum is not meant to have marzipan or icing, so her cake just has a hint of edible gold spray and some gold plastic reindeer.

non-iced Christmas cake
non-iced Christmas cake
Christmas cakes wrapped and ready to go
Christmas cakes wrapped and ready to go

I have a little more baking to do before Wednesday and last night was our Christmas street party – a great regular event. One of our neighbours has even put an extra shed in his front garden, which he has converted in to a bar…and this year there was homebew on tap too! We gather around a brazier (not to be confused with brassiere!) and sing carols, drink mulled wine and eat nibbles (the mini meat pies were particularly awesome…). My contribution was these melting snowmen cookies I saw on Pinterest.

melting snowmen cookies
melting snowmen cookies

You can use any sort of biscuit/cookie (even shop-bought), spread a dollop of white glace or royal icing and – before the icing dries – pop marshmallows on a greased piece of baking parchment on a microwave-safe plate and zap for no more than 20 seconds (just long enough that they start to puff up). Oil your fingers and squish a melting marshmallow on each biscuit. When cool and dried pipe on arms and faces. Another time I would use larger biscuits and add fondant scarves. I bought rolos and giant choc button to make hats, but again the biscuits were too small…ah well, we will just have to eat the chocolate.

Talking of chocolate, I made some hot chocolate spoons as little extra Christmas gifts. I bought a big pack of wooden teaspoons and filled them with milk and white chocolate and added Christmas sprinkles and edible glitter; when stirred in to a mug of hot milk they will make yummy hot chocolate.

I was worried that this year, with all the Christmas sewing starting in late Summer, I might be fed up with Christmas before it got anywhere near. However, I am delighted to announce that I was still very happy to decorate the house this week. We have so many Christmas decorations…

Christmas decorations
Christmas decorations

…but there’s always room for a few new home made lavender cats!

lavender cats
lavender cats

Actually, I made so many lavender cats and other lavender bags, I ran out of lavender and had to move on to cloves and cinnamon.

empty lavender jar
empty lavender jar

With all the Wintery preparations for Christmas…

note my reflection in the teapot bauble...tripod and all; very proper!
note my reflection in the teapot bauble…tripod and all; very proper!
Christmas mantel

…it was rather nice taking a moment out to look forward to the new year and Spring with a get well card…

get well card
get well card

I intend to be back here before Christmas, but just in case I get buried in icing sugar and shortbread (what a way to go!), I will take this opportunity to wish everyone a very happy Christmas and/or Winter break.

 

 

 

 

Tis the season to go shopping…!

My first craft fair was really good fun, and I learnt a lot. I hope most craft fairs will have larger tables, but I have learnt not to overload whatever size table I have. I sold quite a bit at the fair and more in the online shop, but had got a bit carried away making stock, so still have some to refill the virtual shelves in my online shop.

Amongst the stock there are lots of Christmas stockings…

black and white Star Wars stockings
black and white Star Wars stockings
Star Trek stocking
Star Trek stocking
red and black Star Wars stockings
red and black Star Wars stockings
Wizard of Oz Christmas stocking
Wizard of Oz Christmas stocking
snowmen stocking
snowmen stocking
snowflake stocking
snowflake stocking
holly stocking
holly stocking
glittery stockings
glittery stockings
welly boot Christmas stockings
welly boot Christmas stockings

and aprons…

and bags…

IMGP9165

and cards…

and Christmas tree decorations…

I generally post first class, but am happy to upgrade to courier service to be sure gifts reach you before Christmas – send me a message and I will let you know the additional postage cost and expected delivery time. Do go and have a look! Deerey Me Etsy shop.

quilting therapy

Is it just me, or do other people find a sense of calm from quilting? Perhaps it’s the warm cosiness of just having the layers of fabric and wadding resting on your knees as you sew, or knowing that people have been making quilts for hundreds of years, or the repetitive stitches – but I love quilts and quilting. I am still a relative beginner and usually tend towards some sort of quirky applique number, but I like to think my latest quilt is an homage to the simplicity of Scandinavian style. I fell in love with this Moda ‘Winter’s Lane’ fabric and will be sad to see it go…but it is in my shop now: tied patchwork quilt

I discovered a new (to me) online fabric shop specialising in extra wide fabric for quilt backs and upholstery; gorgeous stuff and half the price of most of the fabric I have found. So, if you are in the uk and need very reasonably priced extra wide fabric, I can recommend Quiltbacks UK.

Photos of the quilt on our sofa and on our rotary dryer in the garden just didn’t look right, so my lovely neighbour let me use her washing line (so it seems only right to include a photo with her in it too):

my next door neighbour helping control the quilt
my next door neighbour helping control the quilt
Deerey Me tied patchwork quilt
Deerey Me tied patchwork quilt
Moda's Winter's Lane
Moda’s Winter’s Lane
newly finished quilt blowing in the breeze

As you can see from the quilt photos, it has been a beautiful day today – good light to show off the gorgeous artist trading card I received from Marie at Stokes Croft Stitching. You can see how clever it is with the light behind it (mounting it on acetate was a genius idea); a very clever lady!

Stokes Croft Stitching ATC
Stokes Croft Stitching ATC
ATC from Marie
ATC from Marie
co-ordinated note and ATC

And finally…I love Pinterest! I have been making little snow scenes in bottles and jars and, as is so strangely often the case, mini trees in their natural bottle brush state are far more expensive than ones dyed green, but thanks to Pinterest I saw that it should (theoretically) be possible to bleach green trees. They are not pure white, but a rather nice vintage cream – now ready to be re-glittered!

bleached mini Christmas trees
bleached mini Christmas trees

 

 

 

 

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!

 

 

Santa baby…

The weather has turned cooler (I am back to fighting our two cats for my work chair now they don’t want to sit in the garden all day) and I have started to feel a little shiver of panic about how much sewing I have to do for Christmas. To ease my nerves I made a Christmas stocking before breakfast!

I like Christmas, but this year I wonder if I will be too busy to enjoy all the usual preparations. However, I will get my Christmas cakes made shortly…slug of brandy for the cake, slug of brandy for me…

Oh Ellen...come out of there!
Oh Ellen…come out of there!
first Christmas stocking of the year
first Christmas stocking of the year
Moda 'Winter Lanes' fabric
Moda ‘Winter Lanes’ fabric

I also finished another Ellen Mouse to go in the shop: