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!
I wanted to set myself an embroidery hoop challenge and found a pop art style image I liked online I thought would be a great addition to my wall. This piece really was a labour of love!
I started it in December and in total I’ve spent over 50 hours on it. That is a lot of stitching!
This piece is a different direction from my other work. I’ve always loved Pop Art, especially Lichtenstein with his comic book style and bold use of colour and shape. I think it is still as relevant today, with Pop Surrealist artists putting their own twist on the art of the 1950s and 60s.
I had prepared my hoop (I always use embroidery stabiliser with my work) I sketch my image directly onto the fabric. I just used a green sharpie here, nothing that fancy! I then used black shimmery thread to on all my bold lines, stitching at least two lines to make them thicker.
I really like the contrast of this floral fabric and my pop art style girl eating an ice cream. I decided to fill in some colour almost like a guide to myself, and faintly outlined where the different highlights of purple would go against her eyelids.
The majority of this embroidery was done with a satin stitch, back stitch and stem stitch to get some nice curves. You can see from this picture why it took so long to sew the whole hoop!
To add texture to the piece, I sewed some beads into the ice cream as sprinkles and stitched her earring from beads as well. I found it hard to get the colour right for her skin tone but overall I am pleased with the result.
I’ve been reading up on sewing and started using my new sewing machine I got at Christmas. I also got some great new books recently, and got some fabric labels made with my little beetle logo. I love them!
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!