It hasn`t been a cold Winter, but it`s been a very long, rainy, dreary, dark and depressing one. Everyone is longing for the Spring, and now we`re into March it feels as though it`s almost here. It`s still quite chilly, but there have been one or two sunny days, and it`s wonderful to have an extra hour or two of daylight in the evenings.
I thought I`d share a few bright, cheery makes that look forward to Spring.
A sunshine yellow Brimstone butterfly.
Stitched flower brooches.
A few twin heart brooches.
New butterfly heart brooches.
And a pair of Orange Tip butterflies fluttering over some lovely vintage fabric in cheerful shades of pink and orange.
I`m longing for long sunny days and really hope we have another Summer like last one. The clocks go forward in a few weeks so at least it will be a lot lighter, thank goodness! Like lots of people I find Spring a really energising and inspiring time so I`m really looking forward to exploring lots of new ideas.
I`ve been concentrating on making bumble bees this week , a few brooches and embroidery hoops to top up my Etsy shop and to send down to Made in Britain in Bristol. I really enjoyed it as I hadn`t made them for a while and it was nice to make something that reminded me of Summer on such dark, gloomy Autumnal days.Three brooches for my Etsy shop.
I love this vintage fabric, printed with bluebells. A piece of from an old curtain which is printed all over with little vignettes of cottage gardens.
This little piece, printed with Livingstone daisies, came from the same curtain. Just perfect for adding a little bee and setting in a cute 4″ hoop.
Another pair of bees stitched onto a remnant of vintage linen.
I thought the colours in this woven fabric worked really well as a background for this bee. It was a tiny piece of recycled furnishing fabric, just big enough to make one brooch!
This is turning out to be a bit of a butterfly summer for me. I`ve been developing my stitched 3d butterflies, thinking of them as little soft sculptures as well as brooches. My recent ones are all based on real butterflies and I`ve been trying to make them as realistic as possible, layering tiny pieces of fabric and stitch and even incorporating little pieces of calico that I`ve hand painted to just the right shade. They are miniature labours of love!
The butterflies have gradually been growing in size, culminating in my Red Admiral which measures just over 14cm at its widest point. This would be rather large to wear as a brooch, but would look striking perhaps pinned to a curtain. All my new butterflies would be equally at home pinned into a little box frame, or hanging on the wall just as they are, the brooch pin on the back will hook happily onto a little panel pin.
I`ve been adding a few butterflies to my Etsy shop, although some people have been buying them directly from my Facebook page where they`ve been having a wonderful response, which is really encouraging.
I`ve loved making these butterflies, especially with the gorgeous summer weather we`ve been having recently. I sit on an old quilt in the garden, with my butterfly books spread out for inspiration and surrounded by scraps of cotton, handstitching the first stages of the butterflies, then coming in from the heat to the cool of my sewing room to finish off with machine stitching. Perfect! I`ve been more aware of butterflies in general too, spotting lots in the garden and on walks, although I can`t always get a good look to identify them properly. I`d love to be able to identify them as easily as garden birds, I only know a few at the moment. I`m looking forward to making more butterflies and also perhaps incorporating them into larger embroideries inspired by their evocative names.
This has been a wonderful summer so far, in fact it`s wonderful to actually have a summer for a change! Long may it last, although the garden would love a little rain- maybe just the odd shower at night!
Here are a few of my new butterflies:
a special order blue butterfly
my favourite so far!
I`ve been working on some new butterflies this week.
I wanted to make a freestanding butterfly brooch that would give the impression that a butterfly had just landed on you for a moment. I looked closely at illustrations in my butterfly book and tried to make the brooches as realistic as possible, painstakingly snipping out tiny pieces of fabric before stitching the into place.
These are based on Large White, Clouded Yellow, and Large Blue butterflies (with a little bit of artistic license…).
The wings are covered with layers of machine stitching and the butterfly is slightly padded and backed with felt. The antennae are made from strong button thread.
These butterflies can be worn as a brooch but I think they would also look lovely pinned into a little box frame.
These three will be listed on my Etsy shop, although one has been reserved already. I`m definately going to make more, I`ve been thinking of some larger pieces and perhaps some 3D butterflies incorporated into mixed media embroideries.
My bumble bee brooches have been featured in this month`s Mollie Makes, my first magazine mention! I`m a big fan of Mollie Makes, so it`s very exciting. Got started on another batch of bumble bees this morning!
Last week it was all about bees and butterflies again as I concentrated on finishing some more brooches and lavender hearts. I also had a commission for some bee sketches from a nice lady via my Etsy shop.
The drawings gave me a chance to look closely at bumble bees again and inspired a few more brooches.
Two new bumble bee lavender hearts. I chose pale vintage linen so that the bees really stood out.
I love the colours in this butterfly, my favourite brooch from the latest batch!
I`ve just spent the last couple of days making some more bumble bees brooches and I`m really pleased with the results. I used the drawings I did last year for inspiration again, but I let these ones ‘evolve’ as they were being made which means that they are all slightly different. They really seemed to come ‘alive’ when I embroidered their little legs, I took care over the angle of their legs to try and suggest movement and to give them a sketched feel. I really love their textures, I think the layers of fabric scraps and stitching give them a lovely furry look. It`s been such a cold Spring so far that I haven`t spotted any bumble bees in the garden yet, but I`m looking forward to seeing them soon.
More butterflies this week…. I made some more brooches…
and some new lavender hearts featuring an embroidered butterfly…
I really like the way the brooches and hearts look together.
I`m really pleased with these and have just listed a few hearts on my Etsy shop. I am enjoying working with these techniques and can see my butterflies and bees emerging as my signature style. I want to keep developing this way of working, combining drawings from nature, machine embroidery and vintage linens and lace. I`m hoping to spend a few days drawing soon, but first I have to make a few more bees, there`s only one left on my Etsy shop!
I had such a good response to my little bee embroideries that I decided to do some more and turn them into brooches.
Tiny, layered scraps of black and yellow cottons and lots of scribbly stitching make up their bodies and they have hand-embroidered little legs. The bees have been stitched onto recycled linen furnishing fabric in shades of blue. My favourites are the ones on the dark, indigo blue fabric.
I think insect brooches will sit well with all my flowers and are also quite an edgy contrast. I`d like to try other insects, maybe butterflies or ladybirds, I`ll start with some drawings then work from there, I think the embroideries definately work best that way as it keeps them looking free and hand-drawn. I`ve got lots to catch up with next week, but if I get time in between making more fascinators and brooches for my stockists then I`ll start sketching, hopefully in the garden- if it ever stops raining!
Whoops! No blog for a couple of weeks…
I must admit I`ve been taking advantage of the sunny days to catch up with friends, get some gardening done and go for some lovely woodland walks.
I`ve been busy sewing too, making stitched heart and daisy brooches for Boho in Aberdour, top ups for my other stockists and lots more fascinators for Katie Cupcake (she`d sold out again!).
I made a fresh batch of decoupage brooches last week, I really like these pinky-toned ones.
I`ve still got lots of other brooches to catch up with to make sure my stockists have plenty for the summer. In the next few days I`ll be sewing rosebud corsages, rosette corsages, tweed hearts, embroidered brooches and lots more little stitched hearts.
I`m so glad that my new little hearts are selling well, they are definately my favourite at the moment and I`ve been wearing one every day. They are really light and dainty, perfect for wearing on a T-shirt or Summer dress.
I hope we have a few more sunny days next week so I can sew in the garden. There`s nothing nicer than sitting on a rug under the apple tree with a cup of tea, getting on with some sewing while listening to a play on the radio. My cat, Matilda, loves the sun and usually keeps me company, sprawled on the rug beside me.