Printing Fabric & Cherry Cola Dreams

I’ve been busy recently making bags with loads of lovely fabric, while also doing some smaller embroidery pieces.

After reading about designing fabric I decided to try it out and this is my latest bag, designed and created by me!

bag2

I started with the beetle watercolour I painted as a new header to this blog and put it in Photoshop to cut it out and sharpen up the colours. I found a company through another blog called Fashion Formula that print designs for a reasonable price and got a fat quarter printed with the pattern of my beetle reflected.

I was super excited to get my finished material! I had already decided to make a bag with the fabric as it was a good length piece. I bought some orange and black strap material and found an orange paisley design fabric in my stash that would be great for the lining. I also wanted to create a zip pocket for my bag and bough a 5 inch chunky zip with a cute yellow flower print for the inside lining.

This is my first bag using D rings for the straps and I really like how they turned out. I also added a small swivel clasp on the side of the bag with ribbon to attach a keyring or charm.

I am really happy with how my beetle bag came out. I think I would have made the straps a bit thicker, but the quality of the print is wonderful and is the ultimate in unique style!

Cherry Cola Dreams

I’ve been running this blog for six years now and it has changed a lot since I started. I’ve wanted to create something new related to my art for a while and decided to let this happen organically. I still enjoy blogging and sharing my work, but I want to focus more on a specific area and really develop my skills and styles in textiles.

This is how my new website Cherry Cola Dreams came to be. I wanted somewhere to showcase my work and sell it, starting fresh with new ideas and styles. I want it to be fun, whimsical, bright and show my own take on all things I love that are kitsch, tacky, lowbrow and pop art related.

I feel energised and excited about this new project in the making. It is starting off small as I am doing everything myself but I get great feedback from my work through social media and hope this will too.

Post Apocalyptic Pop Art

I seem to like setting myself massive art projects, until I am half way through them and then think ‘what the fuck am I doing?’

This is what happened with this 12 inch embroidery hoop project! I loved the pin up/ pop art women I had been sewing and thought it would be cool to carry on this theme. But this time she would be wearing sunglasses with a reflection, suck a lollipop and have beading in her earrings. Straightforward, right?!

Lollipop Woman

I decided on this cute ice cream fabric as it was quite muted compared to the colours I wanted to use in my piece. I knew I wanted her to gave aqua hair and red lips and I normally do a few sketches in my notebook before I draw on the fabric.

lollipo begining

I stitched the general outline before I started the beading in her earring and hair piece. I used an invisible plastic thread, which is kind of tricky but looks really good when finished.

Beading Details

I started this huge project in February, and had quite a few breaks in-between, including going to Berlin. Sometimes, to keep my sanity, I would work on smaller hoops and did a vintage style lipstick for my sister, a little pink alpaca and a super small cartoon bomb.

I’ve also been working on some cute tote bags and purses with my sewing machine as well as preparing my entry into the Hand and Lock Embroidery competition. I have my ideas really, I just need to get stitching and stop procrastinating!

Metal Purse Frames & Zipper Purses

1

I had a sewing machine about 7 years ago and really got into sewing things. But, as life gets in the way and you move house and jobs and stuff, I stopped sewing and gave my sewing machine to my sister.

I’ve always wanted to get back into it and having a spare room with space was a good reason to get a new sewing machine. I bought the Brother LS14 Metal Chassis sewing machine at Christmas and it is a great machine at a really good price.

Of course now I have an excuse to get sewing supplies! I got different fat quarters, zips, threads and sparkly embellishments from Hobbycraft. I already had a lot of sewing stash but too much is never enough!

Here a few of my recent projects I’ve been making. Some metal framed coin purses which I think are so cute and then as a challenge, I sewed some zipper purses as well and found a cool tutorial on YouTube by Gretchen Hirsch. She’s my new craft lady crush! I need to check out her books.

Because Hobbycraft is like a sweet shop to me, I also got a plain wooden box and decorated it to keep all my threads nice and tidy. As if I don’t already have a million projects on the go!

With this new craft added to my ever increasing crafty hobbies, I’ve been rearranging my art space and put up a shelf for useful items I need to grab when I start sewing. I loved making the zipped purses as well. The first one came out a little crooked but I think I have the hang of it now, and preparing everything before sewing is definitely a big plus (instead of my usual rushing into new things and messing them up!).

I also got some labels printed of my new beetle logo from Etsy and think they look so cute as part of my finished projects. Just have to remember to add them!Mini Metal Frame Coin Purse

Adieu 2017!

Bead Embroidery Beetle

As 2017 comes to an end, this would be a good time to write a post reflecting on everything I’ve done, the art I’ve made and how I’ve changed.

This year I’ve naturally focused more on my embroidery and as a result I’ve become more precise in my work. Moving house meant I had more space for my crafts and while I set up the art room I would do embroidery projects in the living room. The more embroidery hoops I made, the more ideas and I would get for new ones.

I also started to spray paint the hoops, giving the whole piece a more completed look. I have lots of fabric pieces so embroidery was like a fun way to plan, doodle and relax. I would pick out my fabric, sketch an idea onto it and play around with colours and stitches to bring my ideas to life. I also challenged myself to try something more complex each time I started a new piece.

 

When it came to subject, the main themes for my pieces were nature and whimsical – no surprises there! I find inspiration in so many things; beetles, flowers, seasons, the sea, anatomy, space. I also love looking at other artists and different styles such as Pop Surrealism, Kitsch, Kawaii.

Continue reading

Halloween: Wednesdays’ Dolls

Horror Dolls

I wish every day was Halloween!

For my Halloween art project this year I thought I would try something different.

I love films, film props, costumes, kitsch and pop culture; and of course Halloween. I’ve been interested in art dolls for a while, reading up about making them and finding new doll artists online. In September I found some old dolls in a charity shop – 3 for £5 because the guy working there found them creepy!

Doll One – Ava the Corpse Bride

For my first doll I wanted to make a corpse bride. I actually removed her head to paint it, which I quickly realised wasn’t the best idea – it was so difficult to sew back on!

Continue reading

Paradise in Portugal

I’ve not been on a beach holiday since I was a teenager. I’m so used to this wet British weather that when my boyfriend and I went to Portugal last week for a lovely holiday, I think I was in shock!

We stayed near Carvoeiro in a little holiday village with a gorgeous swimming pool and beaches really close by. Here are a few pictures from our little bit of paradise before autumn sets in.

The skies were a perfect blue all day and in the evening turned orange, pink and yellow like a watercolour.

We swam in the pool everyday and read books in the sun, drank iced coffees and in the afternoon went to the beach.

In Carvoeiro we saw these phone cabinets painted with different things and there were a lot of pottery shops next to food and drink places along towards the beach. I loved this frog!

Continue reading

Beads, Beads, Beads!

Beads are my current obsession. As a mixed media artist, I’ve always had a stash of beads; seed beads, bungle beads, faceted beads, lampwork beads. I normally pick them up from somewhere because I like the look of them and mostly used them in my polymer clay work or other mixed media projects.

It wasn’t until relatively recently that I realised bead embroidery was a thing!

I started a mini project of this beetle with a mixture of beads and threads. I also wanted to make some new earrings and made these little spiders from a video I found on YouTube. Mine are a little big but so cute and once you get the hang of making them, you can make variations.

Continue reading

Mixed Media & Clay Jungle Frame

I wanted to get back into my clay work for a while and have a lot of ideas scribbled in my notebook. I had a few deep box frames since last year that I had been meaning to create something with, similar to my sea themed box.

To get back into using polymer clay I started with a mini frame and used scrap bits of clay to make a little frog. I definitely felt rusty as I made the foliage to go round the frog and the clay was super hard – it took ages to soften it.

I added some beads on a wire to give the piece some texture and added different Perfect Pearl Shimmers, beads and then some resin to the baked piece. I couldn’t fit the glass frame back onto the box as the frog was a little bit too big, although I quite like it without.

 

I decided to continue with the jungle theme on a bigger frame, this time with a tropical bird as my focal point.

I used scraps of blue and purple clays to make a background to build my image from. I then added different layers of leaves and two large branches across the piece. I decided to make another frog and used a skinner blend of peach and a translucent yellow. Looking at it now I think he was a bit too big, although I was try to create perspective.

I loved looking up different leaves for reference and trying to capture the shape and colours in clay.

One thing I find most enjoyable about working on a project like this is building the image by adding layers. I built the toucan up with black clay and had fun creating his colourful beak. I used a variety of tools to smooth the clay into the background, and textured the feathers to make him look less solid.

When I felt I had enough foliage in the piece I made some beaded wires as vines and placed them in over the leaves. I added some smaller leaves to hid where the wires started.

I made a little beaded spider from a tutorial I found on YouTube and decided to add him into the frame. I also added a few metal leaves, beads and a mixture of shimmer powders to add more bling.

Once I baked him, I added some resin sparingly to look like rain and spray painted the front of the frame with blue and splatters of gold. I varnished the rest of the piece without resin and added a few gems – because he wasn’t bling enough!

With this being my first clay piece in a long time I am happy with how he turned out. One major problem though, was that he isn’t secured to the back piece of wood. He feels quite solid with the frame in place, but next time I will try Sculpey Back and Bond to secure him.

IMG_1582

He is now on the wall in our living room. I’ve also been making a lot of beaded spiders which I will put up in another post and am planning another one of these mixed media clay frames. Possibly a desert for my next theme 🙂

Textiles, Sculpting & My Birthday!

So this is just an April post update on things I’ve been up to plus it was my birthday, hurray! 33 baby! I had a lovely chilled day with my sweet boyfriend; went looking round shops I like, got this cute tattoo of a vintage medical drawing of teeth (I just like teeth, what can I say?!) went to Richmond’s tea room in Manchester where it is themed like Alice in Wonderland and ate cake, then later we went to see Ghost in the Shell.

I bought this lovely glass terrarium and add two of my smaller cactuses; I made this crazy chocolate swirl cake and decorated it with m&ms; I also got my hair cut quite dramatically!

I’ve been working on some new embroidery projects and continuing with the sweet theme, did an ice cream cone. I’m also working on a new banner for this blog which is coming along very slowly!

I recently got a commission to do a small penguin sculpture; he was to be wearing a little jumper and bow tie! Well I do like a challenge and this is how he came out. I really liked this project and am planning to do some more bird sculptures.

I still feel like I’m working on making my craft area the best possible place to work in. I’m going to be making a little shelf unit for all my knickknacks that I put on the window; I also want to re-pot more cactus friends!

Recent Things in March

So the craziness of last month has definitely started to settle down and my new craft space is looking good. I have my favourite things on the window sill and my inspiration around me that make me so happy and fulfilled while I’m creating things or in need of ideas.

DSCN2808

Since moving into the flat with my lovely boyfriend, I have been exploring my new love of baking (especially decorating!) and also want to make the place cosy and a space to feel relaxed and content. I recently bought a magazine on up cycling and am planning to make a headboard for our bed and re-purpose an old lamp. Also my obsession with cacti has exploded!

DSCN2795

I have been getting back into embroidery recently, partly because our spare room wasn’t finished yet and I wanted something creative to do while sitting in the living room.

I started with a smaller hoop as a practise then planned out a bird silhouette filled with flowers. I forgot how much I enjoy creating with stitches. Colour, shape and movement are all my favourite elements in my work and feel I have captured that in this project. I’m planning to add some seed beads to this and also thinking about spray painting the frame. I’m thinking this would make a lovely Mother’s Day gift for my Mum as well.

Another one of my mini projects for my art area is a copper wire letter S I got from Hobbycraft which I thought would make an interesting addition to my wall art. I’m thinking of covering it with wire and beads and just generally experiment.

Continue reading

Chaos and Creativity

‘I have always believed, and I still believe, that whatever good or bad fortune may come our way we can always give it meaning and transform it into something of value’ – Hermann Hesse

It’s been about two months since my last post and probably the longest gap since I started writing my blog. Life suddenly got very chaotic and I found myself unable to anything art or craft related. I was poorly then I had to move house as my landlord was selling. I was also learning to drive and doing some volunteering at an art gallery. Looking back now it was a massive upheaval and I felt stressed and overwhelmed.

Gradually things began to level out and my boyfriend and I moved into a flat together. We now have a spare room for arts, crafts and magic (he is an actual magician!) but this is yet to be fully sorted and is currently a myriad of boxes and degu cage – they are cute though so they can get away with it for now.

Between moving house I did some art journal pages and made my friend a mixed media birthday card. I’ve also been teaching myself Illustrator so I can create a website layout for my boyfriend – magic is a great topic! It is a new way of approaching art and I am finding it a real challenge. I’ve always liked design and illustration and scrapbook interesting packaging, so learning how to create vector art on a computer is another step towards that kind of artwork. I have to admit that spending a lot of time on the computer is hard. I work in an office during the day and being able to make things with clay, paints, sewing is my way of escaping technology and feeling more connected by using the materials with my hands. Maybe once I get more to grips with the software I will find a balance between both.

Below are a few pictures from the last month. Now my life is calming down a bit more I have plenty of creative projects bubbling in my mind.

Space Things & Galaxy Octodudes

Polymer Clay rocket tin

I think after making my large scale shark coral reef, I felt a little bit of a lull with my ideas. Although I had some vague thoughts on new clay projects, I couldn’t seem to get started. I looked at Pinterest (go to place for inspiration!) and started thinking of a space theme for an Altoid tin. I drew round a tin I had in my drawer at work and did a mini sketch of a 1950’s style rocket. I liked where this was going!

Working with Altoid tins in the past, I found that putting clay over the entire thing doesn’t always work and wanted to try spray painting them. I learned pretty quickly that you should invest in some metal primer if you don’t want the paint to scratch off.

DSCN2537

I decided to used my rocket drawing as the basis for my tin lid. I mixed together Fimo clay in black, purple, translucent, green and stardust to get a blend similar to a galaxy. I rolled it through the pasta machine to stretch the colours out rather than completely mix them and placed this on the lid. Next I cut out some basic shapes in silver clay for my rocket, using a deep blue and aqua to define parts of the rocket ship. I used a pointed tool to make some indents and added some small gold pieces for detail. I used a fluorescent clay to make the stars which I thought would be add dimension.

DSCN2520
Ready to bake

After baking and leaving the tin to cool, I sprayed it with metal primer and left it for a few hours. I then did several coats of black spray paint before deciding what to do with my tin.

Continue reading

Farewell 2015!

It’s been a while since my last blog post and what better time to reflect on this year than New Year’s Eve?

Looking over all my projects and posts, it surprised me just how much I’ve made this year. The biggest thing was my new found love of polymer clay. I moved house in January to a nicer house and bigger room. I was still focusing on embroidery around the beginning of the year and set myself the project of my large Toucan on a hoop. A daunting task as it was so big!

text from side

After spending a lot of hours on embroidery I wanted to try something new and tried shrink plastic. This was a lot of fun but felt the possibilities of it were a bit limited.

Continue reading

Art Blogs

Just made a poll to find out what you guys are interested in when it comes to art blogs in general 🙂