I`ve started working on some little bird embroideries, inspired by my drawings in my sketchbook. So far I`ve finished a blackbird and a bluetit, and I plan on doing lots more. I`ve enjoyed the process of creating them, taking time to select fabrics and stitching them in layers to echo the scribbly marks, tones and colours in my drawings.
I set the first two into embroidery hoops, using vintage fabric for the backgrounds.
I was so pleased with this little blackbird when I finished it and it sold instantly in my Etsy shop. I think blackbirds must be my favourite garden birds, but I love them all and try to encourage as many as possible into the garden. I`m lucky to live quite near woodland so there are lots of birdy visitors and lots who live in the garden all the time, including a huge colony of sparrows who live in the hedge. There are always a few bluetits busy at the feeders hanging in my apple tree. At the moment there are lots of young ones which are much paler in colour than the adults.
I think I`ll try a little wren next, I`ve just spotted one flitting in and out of my plant pots looking for a meal. But the choice and variety is endless…
Just finished ten more bumble bee brooches. I like to make them in small batches because there are so many layers and stages to complete in each brooch, it`s so satisfying when I finish the last one!
I used discarded furnishing fabric samples for the backgrounds of these bees. I like the earthy tones and chunky weaves. I only had a tiny piece of each fabric, just enough for one brooch, which makes each one unique.
I used this black and white print for the backs of this batch. I don`t use a badge maker, but carefully finish each brooch by hand and I like to choose pretty coordinating fabrics for the backs.
Five more bee brooches have been added to my Etsy shop!
During the past few weeks, I`ve been busy making lots of Valentine`s and Mothers` day brooches for my stockists. They all needed a good topping up after Christmas and I enjoyed making some pretty brooches that look forward to Spring.
Hearts galore for Valentine`s day! These round heart brooches are new.
More little stitched hearts and tweed hearts.
Some more stitched flowers, pretty for Spring and perfect for Mothers` day.
Another batch of layered corsages. I`m so pleased that these are selling really well. They`re my favourites at the moment, I`ve been wearing one almost every day!
I also had a couple of commissions last month, for a wedding fascinator and a Jaunty Jim cap.
These were people who had found me online and it has made me determined to get on with my online shop. Now that my stockists are topped up it will be my next plan of action!
My Edinburgh stockists have been keeping me busy over the last few weeks on the run up to Christmas. I`ve been making lots of all my best sellers to keep them topped up. This batch of heart brooches were for Flux in Leith.
Some of my favourite brooches to make for Autumn/Winter are my leaf corsages. Inspired by Autumn leaves, they`re made from recycled tweed and felt which I`ve dyed in leafy colours. Each corsage is made up of a layer of four leaves, finished off with a rustic wooden button. The leaf shapes are ‘drawn’ freehand on the sewing machine so they are all slightly different.
My new layered corsages have been selling well and I`ve just finished my fourth batch of them. I made some lovely muted ones using recycled velvets and brocades mixed with voiles, tweeds and vintage ties.
I even made myself a silvery one to wear on my sparkly Christmas jumper!
The corsages inspired some little fascinators which I made for Miss Katie Cupcake in Cockburn street. The flowers are layered onto black felt with lots of net. I made them on hairbands so they are very easy to wear, perfect for a Christmas party!
Yesterday I took some time off to gather greenery from the garden to make a wreath for the front door and lots of bunches to hang up in the cottage. I used lots of textures and leaf shapes, mixing holly and ivy with hebe, laurel, golden privet and other evergreens. I always add a few sprigs of rosemary to the indoor garlands for the lovely scent.
Merry Christmas to all and best wishes for 2013!
Look out for my online shop, opening soon in the New Year.
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!
I`ve just spent all afternoon making the leaves for these rosebud corsages. Not the most exciting job, but very satisfying to get them all finished.
The rosebuds are made from strips of cotton in toning colours and patterns, each one carefully folded and stitched to look as life-like as possible. Each corsage has three rosebuds and three quilted leaves.
I use mostly vintage cottons, recycling old sheeting, blouses, etc, in fact anything in the right shades. I collect cottons specially for my rosebuds and have bags of reds, pinks, yellows and blues, plus greens for the leaves.
I have a wonderful piece of vintage Laura Ashley cotton in leaf green printed with tiny white flowers which is sadly running out, but I found some lovely block-printed Indian cotton in K1 Yarns in Victoria Street, Edinburgh, which is the perfect leaf shade and a good substitute. I`ve also recycled some khaki trousers to make some solid coloured leaves.
I like mixing florals with polka dots and ginghams in my rosebuds. I`ll sometimes mix in some linens in the right shades for a different texture (like my old, much loved and missed, red linen trousers!). I found a red blouse with tiny white polka dots in a charity shop which is perfect for rosebuds, but that`s nearly running out too. I`ll just have to keep an eye out for more fabric, a good excuse for lots more charity shop rummaging!