Three little embroideries set in mini embroidery hoops, freshly listed on my Etsy shop. Two butterflies and a bumble bee.
I really like the soft, muted colours of this vintage linen.
I deliberately chose this piece of fabric so the bee looks like it`s crawling over daisies.
This little piece of fabric reminded me of a cottage garden.
I set my daisy embroideries into hoops too and I think they work quite well. I backed the embroideries with natural calico, with a thin layer of wadding in between. The fabric at the back was carefully snipped away and I decided to brush a thin coat of PVA glue onto the edges to prevent fraying and set the fabric into the frame. I`ll definately do a few more of these, in various sizes, perhaps birds next!
I treated myself to some lovely marguerittes for the garden this week and they instantly added a dash of cheerfulness and sunshine. There really is something about daisies that lift the spirits.
I felt inspired to try some daisy embroideries, taken from the sketches of ox-eye daisies I did last year.
My friend recently gave me a bolt of vintage white glazed cotton and this is perfect for daisy petals. So crisp, lovely to cut into and gives the daisies a lovely lustre. I chose some bright, fresh, yellowish-green for the background.
Really pleased with these, I tried to make them as realistic and ‘drawn’ looking as possible. I`ll put these in my Etsy shop, perhaps set in embroidery hoops. I`d like to do a bigger piece, perhaps a large cushion or wall hanging featuring a whole swathe of daisies.
I`ve been filling my sketchbook with drawings of garden birds this week. I really want to include birds in my work, especially the ones that fill my garden every day. I try to encourage as many birds as possible to the garden- my apple tree is like a bird cafe, hung with lots of feeders, and the first thing I do in the morning is go out (in my nightie) to feed the birds. They are quite partial to crushed digestive biscuits.
There is a beautiful thrush that can be seen hopping about on the grass most of the time. Thrushes are really welcome, hopefully they`ll keep the large numbers of slugs and snails down a bit. I love to listen to their amazing song on summer evenings too.
Blackbirds are probably my favourite garden birds. The glossy black males are so handsome (they seem to know it too!) and I really love their gorgeous, liquid song. There is a pair of blackbirds that have become quite tame, especially the female, which I have rather unimaginatively called Lady (well she is a ‘lady’ blackbird…). She`s never far away when I`m in the garden and always lets her presence known with a friendly soft clucking noise. She`s quite demanding too and always appears first thing in the morning for her breakfast. They have built their nest in the hedge again this year, as close as possible to the bird table!
Bluetits are so colourful and cute. There are always lots of them around the feeders on the apple tree.
I`m going to continue this week, there are lots more birds I want to try to draw, then hopefully the drawings will inspire some stitched pieces.
Inspired by my forsythia drawings, I made this little stitched sampler this week.
The forsythia twig is ‘drawn’ on some loose woven, vintage linen, framed by scraps of toning cottons, vintage lace, cotton tape and shell buttons, all sewn onto a small piece of pale yellow recycled furnishing fabric. I want to experiment with lots more botanical stitching, based on drawings, I`ll just play around with little samplers till I feel I`m getting it right.
I love seeing forsythia at this time of year. So bright and cheerful, and just so yellow! The forsythia in my garden is growing on the wall behind the greenhouse, so is unfortunately out of reach, but looks great against a blue sky, like the one we have this morning.
Yesterday I visited my Aunt`s new house and there was a lovely forsythia bush in the garden, like a burst of sunshine growing up the garden fence. I picked a few sprigs to bring home to draw and ended up with four small sketches which I`ll pop onto my Etsy shop.
We`ve had such wild, contrasting weather recently. It`s a tiny bit warmer, but with strong, gusty winds that make still feel very chilly. There was a heavy downpour this morning, followed by sunshine and a bright blue sky. When I went outside after the rain there was the most gorgeous, fresh, sweet smell in the garden. I had a little wander to enjoy it.
I had a really good look in my little pond, but I still haven`t spotted any newts this year. I usually see loads by now and I`m getting a bit worried about them. I hope the cold weather hasn`t harmed them. I thought I saw a tug on a pond plant which might have been caused by a newt, but it was so windy I couldn`t be sure. Hopefully I`ll see some soon when they return to the pond to breed. It`s only a tiny pond, but it has quite a large population of newts.
Camelias just coming into bloom.
Seedlings in the greenhouse, full of promise.
A fern unfurling.
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!
Could it be Spring at long last? It`s a bit of a wild and stormy day today, but it`s definately a bit milder. Yesterday was a lovely fresh day, with the temperature finally cranked up to double figures (only just!). We had a bracing walk round a nearby loch in the morning and I spotted a swallow!
Later on I had a wander round the garden and gathered a few budding twigs to draw. I really liked the lines of the almost bare twigs, with each shrub or tree having quite a different character. I laid a selection out on some grey paper to have a closer look, then I filled a double page in my sketchbook with some twig drawings.
I was quite pleased with the sense of line and space and it was an enjoyable excercise. I`m hoping to try and fit in a drawing day at least once a fortnight from now on and to include some small drawings for sale in my Etsy shop very soon. Meanwhile, it`s back to bumble bees! I had a great response to my bees over the weekend- thanks to everone for their lovely comments, special thanks to Emily Heath who featured my brooches in her blog. She is a beekeeper and writes tales from her hives in her blog Adventures in Beeland. Her blog is truly fascinating and well worth a look.
Far too wild and stormy to venture far today, so it`s time to head back to my sewing machine. Hopefully we can all enjoy some lovely Spring weather very soon.
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!