Tuesday, January 30, 2007


Ok so today I was supposed to get on with the whole wedding invite design but somehow I'm just not in the mood. I think it will be a mad rush on Friday night to get something done in time for the weekend now as tomorrow night I'll be at the movies and Thursday I am having dinner with friends.

I have though managed to get some paper crafting done this week. Here is a page I made for a chunky page swap over at Alter Native UK.
The page is 4 x 4 inches. I used another of my favourite rubber stamp images for this and of course I couldn't help but sneak some lace onto the side of the page for that added fiber flare!

Monday, January 29, 2007

Heart Charms

Thank you to everyone who left kind comments about my goddess book pages. It looks as though Earth Mother was everyone's favourite and mine too :)

I've had the afternoon off work today as I had some time owing and I thought I should catch up on some housework. Did I get any housework done, of course not! I have been playing instead. I signed up for a fabric charm swap at Surface Design. I need to get on and make 25 fabric charms no bigger than one inch. The close date isn't until March but I have received some wonderful charms already so I thought I should get on and at least see if my idea would work even if I don't have time to make all the charms this week.
Rather than make life simple for myself I decided not to go with a square but to try and make a heart shaped charm instead. Here is my first attempt. I stitched out a small cross stitch heart and layered this up onto TimTex. I even managed to fins some heart shaped eyelets in my paper crafting stash. I sure wish my proper machine was working as I could do with being able to get an even smaller satin stitch round the edge of this but I think it's a workable charm. Hopefully my machine won't be away for too long and in the meantime I can stitch out the hearts so I'm already to go when it is back.

I should really be getting on with the wedding invite designs but I have until Saturday to come up with a few ideas so hopefully still plenty of time!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Goddess Book

My sewing machine is still out of action and will definately need to go in for repair, but today I dragged my old machine out of the cupboard and set that up so I can at least get on with a few things.

So today I have been working on some pages for the fabric book round robin that I am in for Fabricolics. Actually this book should have been well on it's way by now so I'm playing catch up and am glad to have the pages done and be ready to send the book on to it's next destination.

The book for this round belongs to Jo-Ann and she chose 'Goddess' as her theme. I decided to make one page inspired by the Aphrodite postcards that I made the other week. So here is my goddess of love page.

For the second page I decide to go with an Earth Goddess. I think out of the two this one has turned out to be my favourite. I hope Jo-Ann likes my pages!
I'm not sure how much stitching I am going to be getting done over the coming week. My sister has asked me to make her wedding invites. I am going up to visit her next Saturday and have promised to take her a few samples to choose from, so I will be working on those this week.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Kitty ATCs

I have been having fun making some kitty ATC's using motifs from the same fabric that I used for my postcards a few posts back.I decided to try and use up some of the cute kitty motifs that were at the very edge of the fabric piece that I had. Some of these had half an ear or no mouth but I just couldn't see them go to waste!On Tuesday night I went and visited my old quilt class. I didn't sign up this year as things were really up in the air on the home front and I wasn't one hundred percent sure that I would be able to attend every class. It was great to see everyone again and one of these ATc's went to my old teacher Anne Chapman, as it reminds me of her own fur friend, Muffin.
As for the rest well I have been searching around on some of the groups that I belong to and have found an open theme ATC swap to join :) On a more depressing note my sewing machine has decided that it doesn't want to switch on anymore so I think it will have to go in for repair. I'm hoping to get my old machine set up over the weeked to keep me ticking over and to stop me getting too far behind with my swap commitments.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Take a Stitch Tuesday - Buttonhole

I am totally running behind with the Take a Stitch Tuesday challenge at the moment. I haven't even started on detached chain stitch and a new stitch will be out tomorrow. I also have my mermaid to finish and the piece that I really wanted to create for the buttonhole stitch. So much to do and so little time, sigh, I really must find a way to fix the lottery and get a win!

Anyhow I added a few more stitches to the buttonhole sampler that I started and turned it into a postcard. I don't really think samplers are my thing somehow I just don't get a feel for where to put my stitching to make an interesting composition. I'm not overly pleased with the finished card but it is finished none the less.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Inspired by Alma

This last week I received a copy of 'Odd Ball Charm' a wonderful zine created by Alma Stoller. I came across Alm's blog one day while blog jumping and have been back many times since to admire all the beautiful work there.

She handmakes all of the covers for her zines and this is what I received.Inside there are lots of inspirational ideas and also some fabric, some lovely inspirational paper images and some of the wonderful clay beads that Alma makes. The one thing that immediately caught my attention though was an article about paper applique. I thought immediately that it would fit very well with the Fiber Art Friends January challenge of combining paper and fabric. I haven't had much of a chance to experiment yet and already the monthe is nearly gone. Here is a postcard I made using Alma's idea for a paper applique flower. I cut the petal shapes from pages in a magazine and stitched them down. Adding some free stitched flowers to the background.
Although I love the colours in the first one I think overall I like this second one better. Personally I like the text on the outside of the petals better and I think the stitched background has turned out better too. I have signed up for an open theme swap over at FAI which is due at the end of this month so I will use these cards for that I think.

Free Motion Embroidery

Over at Artsnthemail I have decided to inflict my desire to learn new things this year on the other members of the group by running a monthly challenge. Actually we had our first challenge back in December but that was theme based rather than technique based and some lovely face cards were produced for that one!

Ok so this months challenge is to create a card using free motion machine embroidery. Only three of us have signed up so far so I guess not everyone is as keen to experiment as I am, lol!Having recently refound my passion for kitties I decided to go with a sleeping cat. You can't really see all the stitching detail properly from this scan but I think it turned out pretty good. Very time comsuming but I think the effects you can get from varying the direction you stitch in is well worth it and no doubt the more you do it the faster you would get.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Morvoren the Mermaid

When I posted pictures of my spirit doll last week you might recall me saying that I had signed up for not one but two doll round robins. SO today I thought it was high time for me to get on with making my second form so that I will have time to go on it's first leg of the journey by the end of the month.
This second group I'm in has a mermaid theme. I made my doll form using a free pattern I found on the web. I will post a link just as soon as I can find it again.Rather than go for a traditional blue or green I decided to Jazz things up by going with my favourite colour of the moment, orange. As I'm not really a doll maker she turned out to be trickier to put together than I thought and some of the joining stitching isn't great but hopefully that will mostly get covered up with beading anyway. I used my InkTense pencils to draw out a simple face, as you can see I'm no artist but I think she has a cute kinda charm none the less.

Catching Up

I'm feeling so much better today than I have been all week. Fingers crossed I'm finally beating off the cold that I have had. I'm starting to feel the panic set in now though as I feel like I'm a week behind as I haven't felt like creating in the evenings after work this week. I have a list of things that I need/want to do that is (no joke) as long as my arm! I guess there is nothing else for it I'm going to have to just limit my time on the PC this weekend and get stuck in!

On another note I had some exciting news yesterday. My sister got engaged! After all the troubles she has had in the last 18 months I'm just so happy for her. She has asked me to be a bridesmaid which of course I want to do for her but I know as I am at the moment I will look hideous in a (no doubt pink as that is Em's favourite colour) dress. The serious dieting starts here!

I don't often post without adding a picture so before signing off here is something I have been wanting to share for a while.These are some wonderful coasters made my my Nan from plastic canvas. My Nan was always a great knitter and seamstress but when she had a stroke and lost the use of her right arm she couldn't carry on with those arts. She was able to do some stitching over canvas for a while as the wools are nice and thick and the canvas sturdy. When she passed away a few months ago my aunt gave me a bag of stuff and these were in there. I just love all the bright colours. I have about 8 altogether and hope to figure out a way of using them eventually but for now I have an idea to use them as inspiration for another project. Here is a close up so you can see what I mean about the wonderful colours.
I will be back later as Vi has tagged me to name some weird things about myself. I just need some time to figure out how to narrow the list down to six, lol!

Friday, January 19, 2007

Kitty Kats

Some of you might remember a few posts ago I dumped out my huge stash of cat fabric and took a picture. Well seeing all those yummy fabrics again gave me the urge to actually want to get on and use them.I decided to combine some cute kitty motifs with some left over thread snippets that I had from making my hand embroidered postcards that you might remember from a few posts ago too.Basically I used a plain colour background fabric and fused on some bondweb. Over that I layed the leftover fibers and a layer of sheer and free stitched across these to secure the layers.One of these is heading on it's way to Anna in return for the lovely fairy postcard that I received last week. Not sure what will happen to the others yet but I'm sure I will be able to find them good homes some day soon.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Vintage Valentine

The January challenge for the FiberArtFriends is to think about ways in which to combine paper and fabric. I have been itching to get some time to play with all the ideas running round in my head but thought I would start with something simple.

Here are the cards I've made for the FAT vintage valentine ATC swap. Fabric backgrounds and paper hearts. I was looking through all my bits and pieces for some inspiration for this swap and came across some toppers that I bought in a bulk lot for card making a couple of years back. I hadn't got round to using them as when they arrived they were actually too busy for my liking but I dismantled a few and used the paper heart elements and also some paper roses for these cards. I like the way they turned out and the handmade paper was lovely to stitch on. I have loads of the toppers left so I might have a go at making a few postcards too.

I have decided to trade all four of these cards in the FAT swap. The Be Mine card that I made the other day I am going to keep for a while as it's been sitting on my desk charming me for the last few days and I'm not ready to let it go yet. No doubt it will get traded at a later date though when the charm wears off for me, lol!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Something Beginning with A

Over at Artsnthemail we are having an alphabet swap. Each month we will make some cards showing something beginning with a particular letter. January is the first swap month so of course we are starting with the letter A.

My letter A stands for Aphrodite, the greek goddess of love. I had lots of fun making these cards. I used some angelina fibers for the first time (yes there are still people out here who haven't yet experimented with angelina,lol!) I stamped the word love onto the angelina. I also used rubber stamps for the goddess face and name at the side of the card. Some fancy stitches in my machine for the hearts and also some tiny silver heart brads. These brads are really for papercraft but I still have tonnes of papercraft stuff from when I was really into that I am hoping that I can experiment and use more of it in my textile work this year. Next month of course is B so far I have no idea what I will do for that. I want to try and stick with things that are slightly more unusual and therefore more of a challenge to translate into a postcard. Any suggestions gratefully received!

Vintage Valentine

Over at FAT they are having a vintage valentine ATC swap. FAT was one of the first yahoo groups I signed up with but what with one thing and another I don't seem to have had time to join in there much in the last few months. I thought I would try and join in a trade for the new year and make some ATCs.

I haven't actually signed up for the trade yet as I wanted to make sure I would have time to make something first. Here is a little ATC that I made yesterday. If I can make a couple more over the next few days then I will sign up. If not I'll just keep hold of it for the time being as no doubt I will find another trade to use it for later.

Take a Stitch Tuesday - Buttonhole

This is my woeful attempt at playing with the buttonhole or blanket stitch that is this weeks challenge on TAST. So far it is not going well. I have used this stitch quite a lot as a way to secure fused pieces in applique projects and it really is one of my favourite stitches but somehow I just couldn't get going with it yesterday.

I do have a larger block planned in my head which is the piece that I really want to create for this stitch, but I want to bead and finish last weeks mermaid before I start and so I thought I would do a small 6 x 4 sampler just to show that I have done something and with the hope that I could turn it into a postcard for an open theme swap that I have coming up at the end of the month.

So far I am not inspired. The only thing I like about this is the curve going through the middle. I couldn't get the circles right at all. I'm not sure if it is lack of care on my part or just that I am full of cold and had been working on other projects through the day and was just plain tired when I picked this up. I'm only sharing it just to prove that I have done something. I might spend another half hour on ot today adding some more bits as there are too many 'blue' spaces still and if I'm still not happy then I will go in the recycle pile and hopefully I will find something to do with it!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Spirit Doll

Before I start this post I just want to say a huge thank you to everyone who left such kind and encouraging comments on my last post. I had been feeling really apprehensive about these cards and now I'm confident that they will be liked by their recipients so thank you all for the encouragement!

I recently joined the Beaded Art Dolls yahoo group just in time for their launch of a whole new bunch of round robins. After making my beaded tree spirit via a Ronda Kivett online class I have been wanting to do more beading so thought making a commitment to a RR (ok so I signed up for 2, yes I am a glutton for punishment!) would be the perfect way to make sure I got some beading done this year.

The first group I joined is for an elements doll. Basically you chose to make a doll based around one or all of the four elements, earth, air, fire or water. I wanted to try and come up with something that would reflect all four elements and it struck me to make a pyramid doll form, with one side reflecting each element. There are 6 people in the round robin so I have left the doll form pretty much naked so there is room for everyone to add to it. I didn't get time to go to the craft superstore so had to make do with a pack of felts designed for kids craft so the colours are a little bold, lol! It will be fun to see what the doll looks like when she comes back from here travels.

This is the first time I have constructed a 3D form without the aid of a pattern and I know it's only a simple shape but I'm pleased with the way it came out for a first attempt!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Hand Embroidery and Beading

I am feeling quite nervous about this set of cards that I have been working on. It will be the first time that I have participated in a swap with the Surface Design group. First time swapping on a group is always difficult as you don't yet have a feel for what sort of thing is expected. I only know that this group seems to be for more advanced stitchers and you are expected to spend more time thinking about the design of your cards.

To top it all off I have gone for a non traditional construction method on these cards which I just hope will be acceptable to the other swap members.

Ever since I saw the article in the Fall 2005 edition of QA mag by Julia Caprara, I have been itching to have a go at some eyelet stitching. This swap on Surface Design is Hand Embroidery and beading so I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to give it a go.Here are the results. I've made four hand stitched cards in the same way just using different coloured threads and yarns.I stitched over a background of coarse hessian fabric. Lots of eyelets, some french knots and added a few beads here and there, you can't spot the beads in the pictures too well though.As the eyelet stitching created quite a lot of bulk on the back as well as the front. I decided to mount them straight onto a card backing missing out the layer of Timtex that I usually add to the middle of my cards.I had great fun making these and even though I was only covering a relatively small area each took several hours to stitch. It was a great excuse to sit in front of the TV and catch up with some of my favourite shows!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

January Cheer

There is a big postcard swap going on at BQLPC at the moment. 15 of us have signed up altogether. I think this is the largest postcard swap I've taken part in. The theme is January Cheer, there is no particular lead for the theme everyone will be interpreting it however they wish.

I decided to go with an old favourite of mine, cats! My cats always manage to make me smile with their antics, so hopefully these kitties will bring some January Cheer!
I made half on a vibrant background and half on pastel, the pastel colours don't show too well in the scan I've taken. Here they are looking more washed out than they really are. The swap isn't due until the end of the month but I'm so glad that I have managed to get them all made in plenty of time. I have three more postcard swap commitments for January and I'm confident that I will be sticking to my resolution not to fall behind! I'm also making myself slow down when it comes to signing up for postcard swaps too. This month is pretty busy but so far I have only a few commitments for the next couple of months so who knows maybe I will actually get way ahead of myself!

New Pattern

Yipee I ordered a new pattern from Patti LaValley the other week and it arrived safe and sound today. I told you the theme of the year was going to be mermaids. Something else to add to my list of projects for 2007!

Monday, January 08, 2007

Take a Stitch Tuesday - Herringbone

I'm back after a busy weekend. Had a nice day with all the family on Saturday, my Nan come up too which was a nice surprise. Yesterday Mark and I went walking in the morning and then I got to do some stitching in the afternoon.

I have lots of things started but not much to share picture wise yet, but that should leave plenty to share later in the week.

I have been working on my Herringbone though for the TAST challenge. You might remember I said I was going to attempt a mermaid. Well there is still a bit of work to do to finish the block as a whole but I have done my herringbone tail. Here it is.

Originally I was going to bead in the centre of each of the herringbone diamonds but I think I may just leave it as it is. I used a variegated green embroidery floss to do the stitching and didn't worry too much about getting them particularly even as I thought that way it would look a bit more organic. I think I will bead her some sort of bra and maybe stitch round her body to give it a bit more definition.

I haven't decided what I am going to do with the pieces I create for this challenge yet but I may make them into some sort of fabric journal if I get time.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Cat Fabric

I have my Dad and sister coming up to see me for the day today so there won't be much time for creating or blogging but I promised to share a picture with Terri, a fellow cat fabric enthusiast, which reveals the true extent of my obsession. So here is is my cat fabric collection not the greatest picture as I just emptied it out on my (unmade, can't believe I'm showing that have I no shame!) bed to take a quick snap before the gang get here. I haven't counted them lately but I know I have over 100 different prints!

Yes that is a real life cat butt in the background. Pip was peeking out of the window watching the rain. As I speak he's now happily rolling around in all the fabric ensure that it is now textured with cat hair so I have to wash anything now before I use it (groan!)

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Play time

Back to work today and then out to a movie this evening so no time for creating for me today :( I do have a couple of pictures to share from yesterday though. I have been thinking about what I want to to this week for the TAST challenge. I really loved the sample on Sharon's blog which was herringbone with beads I immediately thought of scales on a mermaid tale. (I think 2007 will be the year of the mermaid for me!)

I treated myself to a set of watercolour pencils in the sale. They are called Inktense and made by Derwent. I thought I would have a play and see how they come out on fabric. They really do do what they say on the tin! Once these pencils are wet the colour becomes so much more intense I really like them, on paper they claim that once the colour is dry it's permanent I'm not sure that that will hold true for fabric also but I figure as long as I don't use them on anything that will need to be washed they will be ok.
A while ago I bought a great face stamp from Patti Culea's website but hadn't found time to use it yet. I thought this would make a great face for my mermaid, I'll just have to sketch out a body and tail around it. Here is my first quick attempt on a fabric scrap I had lying around. Mainly I wanted to test how the pencils would work so I didn't put too much into it but I'm actually fairly pleased with the way it turned out and am looking forward to having a go at making a proper sample for the challenge at the weekend.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007


I had so much fun at home yesterday that I decided to take today off too, I am definitely not going to want to go back to work tomorrow, but I am fast running out of leave so will have to boohoo!

I sat and made a bunch of QTC's or fabric ATCs if you prefer. They are for a celestial swap going on at Fabricards at the moment. I had so much fun. I don't make these very often but when I do I always promise myself that I'll sit and make more but somehow I never seem to find the time.

I made seven altogether all different designs but here are a couple of my favourites.
This first one I am calling 'Burning Sun' I used a scrap of fabric that I dyed in the microwave a while back for the background and stitched down the sun print which is cut from commercial fabric. I then used the long stitch technique similar to what I did for the roofs on my scrappy houses to stitch out the middle of the sun. I used a variegated yellow thread for this. I was going to add some beads to the background but I had some thread left on the needle so decided to go with french knots instead.

This next one is called 'Sunburst'. For this one again I used the same microwave dyed fabric and stitched vermicelli style over that. I recently bought a couple of strings of beaded wire in the sale was originally meant to be some kind of Christmas table decoration, anyway I cut and coiled up some of this for the centre of the sun and then stitched some rectangular gold sequins (also bought in the sales, lol!) round this. Probably the cheapest ATC ever as the background fabric was originally an old sheet so probably cost less than a penny all told :) This last one is a bit different to the others. I've called it 'Wishing on a Star' As you can probably figure out I again randomly stitched the background and added some sequins beads and charms.

I might not be around much for the next couple of days as my Dad and sister have decided to come visit for the day on Saturday so I really must get to the housework I can't avoid it any longer.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Take a Stitch Tuesday

You might remember me mentioning the new Take a stitch Tuesday challenge being hosted on Sharon's blog. The challenge starts today and I'm really looking forward to getting stuck in. I love to do hand work but only ever use a few stitches so this is going to be a great way to learn I'm sure.

This weeks stitch is Herringbone. Hopefully I will have some progress to share later in the week.

Changing Leaves

Today I should be back at work, but I was so tired when the alarm went off this morning I just couldn't get going. Luckily we have flexi time at work and when I called in they agreed to giving me the day off yipee! I'm so excited to have another day at home to create this working lark certainly gets in the way, lol!

I should really get on with some housework as it's been woefully neglected the last few days, but who wants to spend a day off work cleaning? Yep you guessed it I'm going to be creating instead. Here is my first offering of the day, hopefully there will be more later. I have been taking part in a fabric book round robin on Fabricolics. Our group had some sad news just before christmas. You may remember a while back I worked on some flamingo pages (you can find them in the November archives) this book belonged to Geni sadly a few days after I posted it on to the next person in the robin we heard that Geni had passed away suddenly what a shock. Her work was lovely and she will be missed by the group.

This time round I have Lenna's book, the theme is changing leaves. Lenna has painted her pages with the most amazing leaf prints it seems such a shame to cover them up! The books I have had so far have all had 6 inch pages, Lenna has created hers with 4 inch pages, I wish I had chosen this size too as they are so nice to work on! Here are the pages I made to add to the book. For this first one I took a piece of autumn leaf print fabric and stitched down several layers of different coloured skeleton leaves. On top of this I added a couple of images which I stamped onto fabric scraps and then added some button embellishments. A while back I bought a heap of different yarns and haven't used any for a while so I decided to add some eyelash yarn round just 2 of the edges. Don't ask me why just 2 I don't really know other than I thought it might create a bit more interest than going round the whole page, anyway I think it worked out ok.

For the second page I took an artifical leaf that was given to me as part of a secret sister package recently and stitched that down to some leaf print background fabric. I then used the tiniest satin stitch I could get from my machine to stitch out all the leaf veins.

Monday, January 01, 2007

First finished project for 2007

I guess strictly speaking this was a collaboration of 2006 and 2007. Here is one of the postcards I made for a swap on Arts, called Scrappy Houses. This swap was due back in November and the only one I had left to catch up with on the group, so now it's done I'm happy dancing!

I had these started a while back and sat down hoping to get them finished yesterday. I had fun stitching down all of the little pieces but one they were at the point that I thought they would be finished I decided I wasn't totally happy with them.

I decide to add some little fench knot flowers in the garden and to thatch the cottage roof. Finishing the roofs took an age, but I found some thread in my stash bought in a bargain bundle off ebay that was just perfect for me to long stitch the roofs. I'm really pleased with the way they turned out.



My first post of 2007. Wow can't believe it's 2007 already, it doesn't seem that long ago since we were celebrating the millennium. We had a quiet celebration here, Mark hasn't been feeling too well the last couple of days. We made it through to midnight though and watched some of the fireworks going off round our estate from the safety of the bedroom window.

Of course I have made all of the usual resolutions but as far as craft goes here are my 2007 resolutions

1. Learn more - I'd like to take some classes and/or teach myself some new things from all the books and magazines that I've collected over the past year.

2. Finish up my UFO's I have a couple of quilts, some cushions, dolls and pin cushions all half finished.

3. Not to create any more UFOs to add to the above list!

4. Make a start on working on some of my Mum's UFO's. Sadly when she passed away she left lots of unfinished cross stitch designs that she had been working on. I think it will take me years to finish them all but I plan on making a start. I hope to sell them when they are complete and donate the proceeds to charity.

5. Keep on top of all my swap commitments. I got so far behind last year I didn't think I'd ever see the end but I'm almost caught up and I plan to stay that way!

6. Not to be so precious! I have lots of things in my craft stash that I just don't seem to be able to use, that lovely piece of fabric, or that fabulous embroidery thread. This year I want to start making use of them after all that is what they are meant for right!

7. Sell some stuff. I'm not altogether confident about this one as I'm not sure I have anything good enough to sell but it would be nice to get a few things sold to help feed this craft addiction that I have, lol!