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It’s a bit of a tradition in blogland to show things you’re good at, the corners of your house that are tidy and to share all that’s successful – after all blogs inspire us to try projects out or to go and be creative with paint, yarns, fabric etc.
So it’s with my tongue firmly in cheek that I share this little sewing project I tried recently because it is none of the above. And I must rush to add that it is not the fault of the author at all – this came from Tilda’s Studio which is a beautiful and well written book. It just turned out to be a lot harder than it looked and too much for me.
Being bird obsessed at the moment, I wanted to try to make one of these but it required the stitching of wire into pockets, careful measuring and a sewing machine that will keep its tension.
As you can see mine has got the wonky factor! And that’s a good photo!
And here’s a close-up shot of how to zig-zag stitch over the top of one’s terrible stitching in order to disguise it (not).
Ah well, nothing ventured, nothing gained and don’t let me put you off trying it yourself if you’d planned to. I’m going to stick to making dog-bed quilts – small and flat!
Outside maybe cold, white and covered in snow…
… but inside it has been bright and hot.
I examined my crafting at the end of this weekend and saw my subconscious at work. Hot colours to remind me of places far away.
Lots of bright colours employed in using up ends of yarn, appropriately made into a hot water bottle cover.
And for a snow-excited Spaniel, stripes of Kaffe Fassett scraps quilted up into a dog-bed pad.
I love how crochet can be like colouring-in with yarn. No real plan, just whatever colour I fancy next.
All warm and dry but longing for summer already.
Mother, the ribbons of your love are woven around my heart. ~Author Unknown
Happy Mothering Sunday Mum – a special day to remind me of all the things I should say everyday.
And this year I learnt a new craft and made a cross stitch heart which is fitting really because it took lots of tiny stitches to make a whole heart and that seems to be a good analogy for mothering.
Project taken from Cath Kidson Stitch.
I don’t think I’ll be alone in admitting that I sit (knitting) in front of Kirstie’s Handmade Britain, tutting and eye rolling at the heavy weather she can make of what seems like a simple craft project.
Well I can now say that it’s harder than it looks having given it a shot myself.
Sorry Kirstie – I shall no longer be so smug about trying something new and being good at it.
I enjoyed the whole Smile exhibition but must admit that seeing Julie Arkell’s work in the flesh was the motivating factor for going.
Her work fits perfectly into the brief for the exhibition because it is delightful, whimsical, nostalgic and amusing. It made me smile, coo, ahh and giggle.
Julie Arkell is one of Britain’s most recognisable folk artists. She works in paper mache and mixed-media .
Her construction process is completely handmade, beginning with manipulating the paper mache into figures and then dressing them by knitting and sewing bespoke garments.
Her work is the meeting point of domestic craft traditions and sculpture.
The ‘people’ she makes have references to bunnies, people, children and dolls but are none or all of those things at once.
I think this is what gives her work a storybook quality. That and the narrative which is hinted at through the embroidery on the clothing and the title of the work itself.
The clothing is reminiscent of an earlier age where petticoats and hobnail boots were standard. Julie likes to re-use items from the past such as lace trimmings and brooches which reinforces the historical quality of the characters.
I have always loved to make things using accessible materials like paper, glue, cardboard, fabric and wool, which relate to my papier-mache pieces. I am able to make pieces that express my feelings, thoughts and ideas, bringing past and present together. Julie Arkell, Flow Gallery.
I really loved this one A LOT. I love the expressions on their faces made through very little marking but a lot of expression through shape. I can just imagine these two sisters gossiping and comparing notes on things.
I adore the way their hair has been made and piled upon their heads and pinched in with ribbon.
I’m amazed by how much character comes thorough with such a lightness of touch. Carefully poised dots and lines, rouging and a clever wittiness with the printed text all combines to create a character that you can ‘read’ almost instantly.
There is something endearing about anything that is miniature and this outfit is no exception.
Collecting things is an important part of my work. I look for postcards, plastic dolls (that I take apart and rearrange) old books, aprons, fabric, buttons, jewellery, used toys and much more that captures my attention. I’m constantly writing down words and phrases and thinking up stories for the world I make. Julie Arkell at CAA
I think her work perfectly suited this particular exhibition and I admit that I would like to don an apron and a pair of knitted ears and go and live in her fairytale world where it looks like relationships matter and its playtime all the time.
Yesterday I went into Staffordshire town center to catch the end of the Smile exhibition.
This is a Ruthin Craft Centre touring exhibition. I think it’s going to King’s Lynn next but you can look here to find out.
And the theme of the exhibition was simply ‘Smile”.
The exhibition showcases the work of thirteen contemporary applied artists all working in different fields.
The exhibition “looks at how makers have explored the quintessentially British love of everyday humour. Many of the works suggest memories of childhood and long-ago holidays or explore the comedy in ordinary life.”
- Janet Bolton
- And it did just that. It was a small exhibition but it had me smiling and exclaiming and cooing and feeling light-hearted and whimsical.
- Who couldn’t fail to smile at this simple, cute, crazy idea?
And I really enjoy Linda Millar’s embroidery because I love the celebration of life that these convey.
They do work to make me smile and feel happy, apart from being eye catching patterns and colours and well crafted.
“All the people in my work smile because mostly they are genuinely happy and contented and busy being about their business.”
And finally here’s a little Julie Arkell, but it’s just a taster.
There was much more than this but I have made a post for tomorrow which is dedicated to just her work.
Thanks so much for all your lovely comments about the blanket box. Here is the finished room which of course looks as tidy as this everyday! Not.
The wallpaper is Antique Rose by Cath Kidson and that’s my Nan’s eider-down – not just vintage but heirloom.
We’ve had this pine furniture set since the early years of our marriage. At the time it was the most enormous amount of money to us and the only things which matched in our house. So for many years we’ve been a little precious about it. Until now when we decided it would suit the room better white and that pine furniture is ‘so last season’. We took a deep breath and slapped on a whitewash and it looks much the better for it.
Our local junk shop came up trumps with this lovely oval mirror. It’s so deep and heavy and finely finished and was only £35.
This photo hides the as- yet unhemmed curtains!
I love this piece of furniture and the whole mirror, dressing table set up. I saw this at the same junk shop months before we even began redecorating but knew, from what Lu had said about her vision for her new bedroom, that this would be perfect. I nearly drove up onto the pavement to snatch before anyone else did!
We didn’t quite get a good photo of the day bed because the truth is that I moved a pile of junk out of every shot and it all ended up under the bed! That’s life.
I did this…
…as a reward for finally doing this much overdue job…
…it’s still more boring than making a felt ipod cover from the Mollie Makes issue 1 kit.
Even better was giving it to a very grateful teenager whose friends think her mum sews cool things!
The new issue of Mollie Makes is out and is full of inspiring things to do and people’s crafty homes to look in.
In the last issue I wrote a mental list to try all the things that inspired me (including the iPod cover kit which came on the front) and then never did a stitch! So this time I jumped right in and made the project on the cover. These are little strawberries stuffed with lavender and are really easy to do. It’s been a great little hand sewing project to pick up over this weekend and the instructions were really clear and easy to follow.
There was a lot to inspire in this issue, like this embroidery that I fancy trying next…
…and this lovely inspiring house belonging to a vintage shop owner in Bridport.
I do still think that a fiver is a tad over priced for Mollie Makes compared to other magazines and how it takes to read them but as I found a pound in the shopping trolley I feel like I got a bargain!
This painting has taken many layers to build up to being finished. Each layer brings a bit more detail and deepens the colours. It’s been like slowly focussing a camera lens. Speaking of camera’s; I just could not get a true photograph of the colours in this painting. The pink blossoms are grey here. Which they are not. Annoying given how long I’ve spent trying to get the right shade of pink/gray/angelfluffcolour. Anyways…I thought I’d show you what good company I’ve been keeping in the studio this week…
While I’ve been painting, this industrious soul used the above book to inspire an applique teddy bear which she then made into a purse (with a teensy bit of help with the zip). So cute! She’s so cute. The purse is so cute. Happy days. Have a great Easter weekend. God bless x