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…
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.
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!
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!
These are some butterfly brooches that I`ve been working on over the last week.
It took a bit of trial and error to get them right at first, but I`m really pleased with the final result.
The butterflies are built up of layers of tiny scraps of fabric, handstitching and machine embroidery. I painstakingly snipped out tiny pieces of cottons, choosing fabrics in soft, muted tones of orange, yellow, blue and brown to echo the colours of wild British butterflies. I was influenced by the illustrations in this vintage wildlife field guide book. The layers of machine stitching softened the effect further, with the black stitching picking up details of veining on the wings, outlining the butterfly and drawing the antennae.
I wanted these butterfly brooches to act as companion pieces to my bumble bees and made them the same way, trying to keep quite a loose feel to them.
It`s been such freezing, wintry weather all week so I`ve really enjoyed staying cosied up in my sewing room, surrounded by scraps of fabric and accompanied by my cat and Radio 4, creating these tiny heralds of Spring.
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`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!
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.
These cute little fascinators are made with a trio of recycled fabrics plus some veiling for added quirky glamour.
I`ve finished them with a vintage button and a tiny cameo button. I found the cameo buttons in a craft shop and couldn`t resist them. I think they give just the right vintagey touch to the fascinators.
These two are made with vintage tartans topped with some lovely Loire silk furnishing fabric recycled from a sample book. I only have a tiny piece of each colour, just enough to make each fascinator unique.
The little fascinators are now available in Miss Katie Cupcake, Cockburn Street, Edinburgh.