Sunday 31 July 2011

Pink + Blue

Such a busy weekend!

I've been catching up with a lot of odd bits of admin, and getting a couple of projects finished for a looming deadline. I wish I could show you what I've been making but alas, sometimes I must keep secrets.

I've also been sorting out a big supplies order that arrived on Friday - including making up lots of colourful packs of felt, and tying them into bundles with pretty ricrac.

Ah, how I love ricrac...

Friday 29 July 2011

Hollywood Stitching

I often get distracted by amazing vintage clothing & decor when watching old movies and tv shows - much to the annoyance of the boyfriend, who frequently has to pause dvds and rewind them to hear dialogue drowned out by me saying loudly "ooh, look at that wallpaper!"

I'm similarly fascinated by characters knitting and sewing, and these pics of old Hollywood stars knitting on film sets = just awesome.

This week I've been watching lots of black and white movies via the BBC's iPlayer while doing lots of sewing and was totally entranced by the title credits of My Favorite Wife, a largely unremarkable Cary Grant comedy from 1940.

The film title, leading actors, director, etc are all embroidered on a series of lace-edged handkerchiefs, which are pulled away one by one to reveal the next panel.

How cool is that?

The film is available to view on the iPlayer (UK only) until Monday if you fancy a peek.

Thursday 28 July 2011

Wednesday WIP

From my "work in progress" pile yesterday...

... a box full of scraps from the last few days sewing, and a lid full of almost finished cherry blossoms.

I use this little box when I need to take a bit of sewing, some scissors, threads, pins, etc with me when I travel.

When I'm working at home it gets used to store in-progress projects - the lid is also great for tipping seed beads into so you can have a good rummage without them rolling everywhere.

Tuesday 26 July 2011


A couple of bits and bobs to mention today...

Love birds? You can now buy a full set of seven British garden bird ornaments over in my Etsy shop:

If you buy them as a set instead of buying the individual listings in my shop, you'll save about £9 (and the postage works out cheaper too). My mum has a set of these - her Christmas tree is full of felty things I've made :)

To make room for new things, I'm continuing to clear out some old designs at bargain prices. Lots of items are now only £5 including these large flower brooches made from eco friendly recycled felt...

... and these eco friendly flower combs, which are now only £4 each!

Finally, here's a quick snap of a custom flower headband I stitched last week - ready to get packed up in candy stripe packaging and posted to a (hopefully) happy customer.

I do love those pink and white stripes!

UPDATE: My large felt flower design is now available as a sewing pattern! I'm gradually sharing patterns for making all my felt bird designs, too! Visit my shop to see all my printable PDF patterns:

Monday 25 July 2011

Gloucester Cathedral Flower Festival

Earlier this month my mum came to visit last week, to see the advance copy of my book and ooh over it in a proud, maternal fashion.

We also took a trip to see the "Glorious Gloucestershire" flower festival at Gloucester Cathedral, which was pretty awesome.

All the flowers were arranged by the flower guilds from churches across the county - there were some quite traditional floral arrangements designed to perfectly suit their setting, and lots of creative displays with a historical or other local theme.

It was wonderful (if slightly surreal) to see flowers, trees and bits of Costwold hedgerow emerging from all the corners of the Cathedral. No space was left unfilled with flowers, with large displays dotted round the main spaces and smaller ones tucked on ledges and around monuments.

The festival also had the same effect as the scuplture exhibition, Crucible held at the Cathedral last year, that of making you look closely at spaces and details in the building that you would otherwise not have noticed.

There were some very fun displays too, including this one themed around goats cheese (complete with a goat munching on some of the flowers)...

... and this homage to the annual cheese rolling at Cooper's Hill, recreated with a cast of knitted characters:

This display was one of my favourites, celebrating the Dymock Poets and the countryside they walked in.

While I was there, I also couldn't resist taking some snaps of the lovely patterned tiles...

... and some of the intricate needlework:

All in all, a very lovely day out!

Sunday 24 July 2011

Secret Sparkles + A Winner

I went to Hobbycraft yesterday to track down some special embroidery thread for the secret project I'm working on (in case you've not heard of it, Hobbycraft is a craft superstore here in the UK ).

Whenever possible I try to support the smaller "local" haberdashery shops (we're very lucky to have three haberdashery shops, one very fancy yarn shop, and an amazing baking supplies shop that sells lots of ribbon)... but when I'm tracking down something very specific a trip to the warehouse-like Hobbycraft is often needed.

It took quite a lot of willpower to ignore all the other yummy colours in their vast display of threads and only buy the ones that I needed - the rest of the metallics range was particularly tempting!

In other news: the winner of the bundle of little felt squares is...

... Murni, who said... " Wow.. How nice to see the Felt has a pattern. Unfortunately in my place (Jakarta, Indonesia) no one has." Please leave me a comment with your email address, Murni (it won't be published) and I will get in touch :)

Saturday 23 July 2011

Secret Threads

I've been working on a secret project this week - I wish I could share it with you, but you'll have to wait :)

So instead, here's a pic of the lovely thread colours I'm using:

Friday 22 July 2011

Busy busy

Out of nowhere this week has turned into one of those crazy hectic rush around ticking things off the to do list at the speed of light weeks.

Lots of sewing, lots of parcel packing, lots of admin, lots of website tinkering, lots of domestic chaos (involving a plumber and an electrician)... but not a lot of time for blogging!

Two quick things before I head back to my to do list:

1) It's now less than 7 weeks until my book - Super-Cute Felt - is published here in the UK! Eeek! I'm starting to get quite nervous now...

and 2) Look at the huuuge stash of airmail stickers the ladies at the Post Office gave the boyfriend the last time he posted some parcels for me:

Fifty whole sheets of them! I wonder how long it'll take me to get through that lot?

Monday 18 July 2011

Show and Tell #7

Time for one of my favourite things... showing off some of the gorgeousness made by my lovely customers, using felt bought from my shops:

Kirsty of Hello Clementine used her felt to make super cute finger puppets:

Sarah, aka BunnyBanter, made two gifts - a scented lavender heart, and a fab little elephant:

Tine of Little Sprout Design has been making lots of pretty felt flower hair clips and headbands:

Petra used ginger felt to make gingerbread men and women for Christmas:

Jess of BettyOctopus has been using her felt to make lots of brooches, and amazing textile pictures:

Wendy, who blogs at The House of Wendy, made felt flowers to adorn a sweet handmade pinafore dress:

Jo, who blogs at A life in lists, has been making lots of pinwheels to match her wedding colours: so pretty, and great to see one of my felt charts in use!

And Alina of hanaletters used some pastel felt to make this addition to her range of adorable brooches:

... she sweetly wrote about the pastel felt that "these new colours gave me the refreshing emotion that I was working with felt for the first time", which is pretty much how I felt when I first discovered those lovely soft colours!

You can see more lovely stuff made by my talented customers by checking out all the show and tell posts here. Want to show off what you've been making? Get in touch!

P.S. please respect the work of my customers as you do mine, and don't copy their designs :)

Saturday 16 July 2011

How To: Butterfly Napkin Rings

Planning a party this summer? Decorate your table with butterflies!

This paper crafting project is perfect for tea parties, birthdays or even DIY weddings. It originally appeared in the Spring 2010 issue of UK Handmade.

To make the napkin rings you will need:

The butterfly pattern provided at the bottom of this post
Lightweight white card (thin enough to curve easily, mine was 160gsm)
Assorted pieces of card in bright spring colours
Scrap cardboard (e.g. from a cereal box)
A ruler
A sharp pencil and an eraser
Double sided sticky tape
Craft glue (suitable for gluing paper)

To make the napkin rings:

1) First you need to make a butterfly template. Print out the pattern provided and carefully cut it out. Glue the butterfly to a piece of scrap card (from a cereal box or similar), wait until it’s completely dry and then cut it out again. You’ve now got a template you can use to draw lots of butterflies.

2) Cut out one butterfly from bright card for each napkin ring. I used three colours for a mix and match look.

3) Using a ruler and a sharp pencil divide your lightweight white card into strips 1 inch wide. These will become the “ring” around your napkins, so it’s a good idea to make a test strip on some paper first to check the rings are the correct size for your napkins – remember that you need to include enough overlap for your double sided sticky tape. Cut out all the strips, and trim them to the length you need (I cut my strips to be 6 inches long).

4) Use an eraser to rub out any pencil marks from your butterflies and card strips.

5) Take one of the strips of white card, and stick a piece of double sided sticky tape to one end. Curl the strip around into a circle, remove the paper from the sticky tape and stick both ends of your card strip together making sure the edges line up neatly. Repeat this for all your napkin rings.

6) One by one, stick a butterfly onto each napkin ring. Use one small piece of double sided tape in the centre of each butterfly so they’re secured to the card ring but so the wings stick out from it.

Other ideas:

To make cake toppers, use sticky tape to secure cocktail sticks to the back of your butterflies. These could be used to label plates of cake or sandwiches – particularly useful if you’ve got vegetarian guests!

For a pretty addition to your flower arrangement, use plastic drinking straws instead of cocktail sticks and nestle bright butterflies among your flowers.

The same butterfly motif could be used to make place cards for each of your guests. Just use glue or double sided tape to stick a butterfly to piece of blank white card, leaving space for writing your guests’ names at the bottom and place one on each plate. Don’t need place cards? These would also make sweet mini invites for your tea party.

Click here for the template! Print the butterfly at 50% to make your butterflies the same size as mine.

More crafty projects to make with the butterfly template:

- butterfly mobile
- butterfly curtain
- simple notecards
- butterfly gift basket
- gift wrapping with doilies

This tutorial is for non commercial use only: you can use it for as many butterfly themed things as you like for yourself or as gifts for friends but please don't make any for sale. Please feel free to borrow photos if you want to blog about this project, but remember to credit me and link back to the original source, and do not reproduce my entire tutorial on your site. Thanks!
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Friday 15 July 2011

Giveaway: Little Felt Squares

When I was working on Super-Cute Felt, I sent a selection of felt and other crafty bits and bobs to my publishers to use in photo shoots. They've just been returned and instead of putting the felt back in my stash I thought it would make a nice little bundle for a giveaway :)

Each square is approx 8cms (3 1/4 inches) wide - just big enough for making brooches or other mini projects.

There are 30 rainbow colours in a variety of different types of felt (wool blend and synthetic) plus 6 patterns.

As always, I'm happy to ship internationally, so anyone can enter. Just leave a comment on this blog post for a chance to win! (If you're reading this on my Facebook page please click through to my blog to leave your comment on the original post).

Leave your comment before 10pm on Saturday 23rd July and
I'll pick a winner at random on Sunday 24th July.

Please make sure you leave a name or pseudonym (no anonymous comments please!) and leave a link or email address so I can contact you.

EDIT: this giveaway has now been closed.

Thursday 14 July 2011

Christmas in July with Fa La La La Felt

The lovely ladies over at Stumbles & Stitches are celebrating Christmas in July all this month, with lots of festive posts and (very excitingly) four free PDF patterns for projects from Fa La La La Felt, published by Lark Books.

The first free project is one of my four designs from the book - quick and easy Layer Play baubles:

The other three projects will be posted over the next couple of weeks...

... lots of lovely ornaments for a very crafty Christmas!

UPDATE: Fancy some more crafty goodness? Subscribe to my newsletter for a monthly free pattern and visit my crafty tutorial archive for lots more free projects.

Visit my shop to buy my printable PDF sewing patterns: