Well hello 2018, what great things awaits me? I hope everyone had a great festive season and are planning some wonderful things this year. I’ve already had enough of rainy, windy Manchester, where is Spring?
I got a proper mixing stand in November and have been busy making cakes like they were going out of fashion! I really enjoy cake making. I read somewhere baking is like chemistry and I couldn’t agree more. Planning the flavours, size and of course themes and decorating is so fun! Below are some I made in the last two months for birthdays and various Christmas celebrations.
Chocolate Mash up!
Mint Areo Cake
After Eight Cheesecake
This cake making frenzy found its way into my crafts too! I challenged myself to make a large embroidery hoop, which can be rough on my fingers – a Kawaii-inspired cake slice. But not any old cake, this was a space-mermaid-tripping-on-acid psychedelic kind of cake slice!
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.
Skull and Flowers
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.
Here are a few things I’ve been working on over October and November. I really wanted to get back into sculpting so made a derpy pumpkin for Halloween! Then I decided to try making a poison apple. I got these cool plastic eyes but they were much smaller than I thought!
I also finally finished my anatomical heart embroidery – it was a bit of a slog because I added more flowers around the heart to give it more depth, as well as adding beads and sequins. I love the little spider!
I’ve been brushing up on my baking skills with a new mixer and the last week have made Oreo brownies and chocolate marble cupcakes. Tasty! As usual my little helper Truffles was on hand for a bit of inspiration.
Here are a few bead embroidery projects I started before I went on holiday, and finished when I came back.
I love dragonflies, so I started this with a few larger beads I had and lots of seed beads and lovely gold thread. I had a lot of issues with this project! I used organza and some stabilizer but the material was just to fragile and kept tearing. I decided to cut out the body and try a stronger fabric.
Because I like to give myself art projects and challenges, I decided my next big embroidery piece would be a skull, surrounded with flowers. And I must have been crazy, because this piece took me ages! There was a lot of frustration, swearing and accidental stabbing of fingers, and wondering why I thought this was a good idea!
I love using black fabric for embroidery, it makes all the colours pop. As this hoop was pretty big I used two pieces of stabiliser fabric in the back to support my work. I used a white gel pen to sketch out an idea, looking at a few references for the skull and butterfly. With the flowers and foliage, I went with my instincts as I wanted it to be semi stylistic. I have loads of embroidery thread I bought online, so you will see quite a mixture in this piece. I think of it as painting with a needle, so there isn’t a lot of variation with the stitches, it is mostly satin stitch, back stitch and stem stitch.
I actually started this in June and had a few stumbling blocks as I tried to motivate myself to continue. So I set myself a mini task of doing 10 minutes a day free hand embroidery as a way to change my perspective on being so rigid with my work. This really helped as I had to think of something and start stitching without lots of planning and analysing.
While this was my larger ongoing project, I also did a few mini embroidery hoops and put together a travel pack when I went away to Paris and also for my lunch breaks at work.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
While I have been busy the last few weeks, and I started trying my hand at shrink plastics, I’m still doing my embroidery and my recent project over the last two months has been beetles and bugs. I also did a bee! I got the idea after seeing some mini hoops in a craft shop and thought having them laid out like a curios cabinet would look cool!
And here are my first few beetles. I thought I would do a bigger one for variation as well. Doing these little hoops was fun and therapeutic.
Well I have been obsessing over foxes the last few months and wanted to create a project based on one. This design was quite simple, as I was going to go for something more realistic. But I decided with the size of the hoop and the fox being the centre focus, that it should be colour and pattern that are more intricate and ornate.
My style is quite elaborate and I find that details really make a project pop which is why I added the detailing inside the fox. That was free hand and I gave myself the chance to just experiment with colours and pattern. I think it works well.
I’ve been learning hand embroidery for about six months now and thought I’d share some tips – and frustrations! – that might give anyone considering trying it (or even beginners) some insights.
The fabric is your background that pulls your design together. When I first started I used some terrible fabric. It was heavily patterned and pretty but overwhelmed the embroidery instead of complimenting it. I’d recommend planning. Being impulsive I went straight in and was left disheartened with the end result.
Another thing that may seem obvious is ironing your fabric piece! Even if it seems relatively flat it may have some small creases and it’s best to start from a completely smooth piece.
This is my most recent embroidery project I’ve been working on for the last two weeks and I love how it has turned out. It is the biggest and most complex piece I have made so far. I love toucans and I also love decorative and fancy designs which I tried to capture here.
I’m back! And feeling much better after picking up a particularly nasty virus that has been going round recently. Loads of hot drinks, sleeping and soups helped. Since moving to my new place I have been trying to sort my room to make it super cosy, which is hard when you have so much art stuff like me and not much storage space!
Here are two embroidery projects I’ve just finished.
I thought a nautilus was perfect for the smaller hoop and loved the patterns on the shell which I tried to recreate. I used a running stitch and split stitch for this project and I focused in on the details and colours of the threads.
Well hello January. Yep it is that time of year, new beginnings, rain, sales and all that jazz… I have to admit I do quite like the hope that comes with New Year and look forward to Spring, the days getting lighter and the possibilities that lie ahead. I’m also 31 this year and am fully embracing this decade of my life! They say you know who you are in your thirties, or maybe you are just happier with who you are.
A few things I want to do this year include improve my web design skills, try snowboarding, go to Paris, go to life drawing classes, save money, get a fox tattoo and Pilates.
Plus I have always got a lot of art projects going on in my mind, I just need to focus on one at a time!
A new shadowbox
A mixed fabric Stag head embroidery
A Pandora themed tag box
More felting creatures
Looks good with the Octopus
Still warm inside
And here is a tentacled monster I just finished. He was more a project to practice my embroidery stitches but he came out pretty sweet! My fingers need a break now! After a walk in the lovely wind and rain in Manchester,I came home and baked a cake. Got to take advantage of a free kitchen! It is chocolate and orange swirl and it was still warm inside when I tried it. Yummy!