Archives for posts with tag: inspiration

In case you hadn’t noticed, I’m a bit obsessed with perceived value and worth of all the stuff we have in our lives. So I’d like to introduce a the first of a short series of posts I think I’m calling “Treasures”.

There are some objects more powerful than others. A combination of positive associations (of a memory, time, place, or dream), when accrued, can give an object such strong emotional sway over you that it becomes precious.

I feel like I’ve already written posts in this series already, so really it’s just a continuation: I want to document the objects that, for whatever reason, are most precious to me. A continued exploration of the value of objects — and consequently the value of what I make.

glass heart – rose quartz – lucky black cat

The rose quartz was a small part of my christmas present off my boyfriend a few years ago. It was pirate themed, and he sent me on a treasure hunt around the house, into the beardie’s vivarium, and under the bed to finally gather all of my gifts together. It was silly and magical. The rose quartz represents love and emotional stability.

The glass heart I have had for a few years longer. After our GCSEs, my art teacher gave us each one of these along with a piece of a painting with a message on. It’s not so much the sentiment behind the heart. It’s the memory of that art teacher telling me my predicted grade was a B, and was I totally sure I could achieve that? Should she change it to a C? I said no, I can totally get a B. I got an A. I carry it to remind me that I can surpass everyone’s expectations… sometimes.

The lucky black cat, now with only one eye, is much much older. My nana gave it to me years ago, and she had carried it in her purse for many years before that. He’s a hard working little cat.

(You can buy your own charm purse here :) )


grey cotton sundress "before" I was so in love with this dress when I first got it… although¬† the high waist never sat right, the knotted spaghetti straps were beyond annoying and the “tie up/let down” parachute-y skirt always untied itself unevenly to create a sort of banshee-castaway look. Plus it was pretty long. And the elastic thread in the smocking lost its elasticity after about five minutes.

Add to that the fact that it didn’t layer up very well (thus was useless in colder weather, which makes up about 60% of the year).

So it didn’t get as much wear as it might have.

Prime for re-loving, I thought. It was easy to decide what to do with it, thankfully. I couldn’t (maybe didn’t want to) really recreate it as a dress without needing new material, which would have spoiled it for me. I love the skirt tied up (as opposed to down as a straight almost-maxi dress), so I would sew it up – no more silly ribbons coming undone of their own accord. My next favourite feature was the part-jersey part-woven waist where the smocking ends. That would make a great waistband. I tried it on to determine the length, having decided already that the waistband should sit on my waist (why do most skirts seem to sit on the hips? Not a good look for me). The fastening was decided when I found an unused zipper in my sewing box and the rest is history…

Wonky. Voluminous. Awesome. To me, at least. :)

OK… here’s the steps I took:

  1. Measured desired final length (with ribbons tied up), waistline to hem
  2. Added a pin (horizontally) at this point, let the skirt down, took the measurement from the pin to the hem. Added pins using this measurement all around the new waistline
  3. Cut the skirt off using the pins as a guide. Gathered the waist about 1cm down using long stitches, leaving a space of about 10cm at the centre back
  4. Cut a slit in the centre-back gap and added the zip (I tried to make it invisible and failed. Normally a zip is added in an existing seam before it is finished but I had to create a seam for it instead. But it still looks kinda cool. Check out youtube for good zip-insertion tutorials)
  5. Cut the waistband (length = my waist measurement plus 2cm for seam allowance, height = width of finished band (5cm) x 2 plus 2cm seam allowance). Pressed 1cm in on all sides. Folded in half and pressed.
  6. Added the waistband – aligning the short edges with the zip, folding it over the gathered skirt to enclose the raw edge completely. Pinned in place & stitched by hand (I had a quick try on the machine, the jersey went crazy – very fine and very stretchy)
  7. Added a hook & eye on the inside, above the zipper to finish.

Whaddya think?

necklace made from business cardsWhat do you do with your moo cards when the information is out of date?

… make a necklace with them, of course.

necklace made from business cards

OK. There is a story behind this random creative exercise. I was (accidentally…) browsing the Anthropologie site the other day and I saw this lovely necklace. Then realised it was made of paperclips and coloured tape. Paperclips and coloured tape!! I love the geometry, and just imagine how it’ll move. So this genius construction has been swimming around in my brain ever since and I just needed to have a bash at something similar.

Yeah. It’s hardly a masterpiece. But it’s good to test your braincells every now and then — getting all those pieces of card and little jump rings to sit just right wasn’t as simple as I first thought. I might re-make it in a more flattering form sometime.

One of my new year’s resolutions (which I don’t normally make) is to write a blog post every week. I’m not doing too well so far, although we’re only in week two. And week one was busy. But if I’m not hard on myself , who will be? :)

diamons pattern watercolour

Anyway, I’m designing a new collection. It started with a vintage harlequin print silk scarf in my collection. The colours are kind of horrid-yet-appealing, and those little diamonds have wormed their way into my soul. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about them for months now.

diamond stitch embroidery with beading

Which means that, for once, I’m focusing on surface before materials or form – which is actually kind of refreshing for me (and an excellent excuse to do lots of embroidery)!

In the meantime, I have new greetings card designs on the way and a potential new product line in the works. :)

Happy new year!

So, remember those ¬£21 headbands? No way were they ever going to make it into my shop at that price, so here’s a free tutorial. If you have a few basics in your sewing box, they don’t have to cost you a penny, and there’s no adhesive necessary! Enjoy :)

  • measurements are for an adult size bando, you may need to trim a few cm off to adapt it for a child

You will need…

  • an old t-shirt/other plain scrap fabric
  • a length of felt
  • elastic
  • fabric scissors
  • pins
  • embroidery thread & needle
  • measuring tape
  • fabric chalk/marker

On your felt fabric, mark out a strip which is 39cm (15.5 in) by 2.5cm (1in) using your fabric marker or chalk. Cut out with your fabric scissors.

Pin the felt strip onto your jersey or scrap fabric, making sure the whole strip fits on. Cut around the felt so you now have 2 strips of fabric.

Cut 15cm (6in) of elastic and tuck it in between the two layers of fabric on one of the short ends. Make sure to tuck it in about 2cm. Begin a running stitch from the corner as shown (hiding your knot or anchor stitches between the two fabric layers). When you reach the elastic, make three cross stitches as shown (making sure to go through all 3 layers), making three diagonal stitches going up to where the elastic ends inside the band (use your fingers to feel where it is), and crossing them to get back to the edge. Continue a running stitch along this short edge and then the long edge.

When you reach the opposite short edge, tuck the other end of the elastic into the band and stitch in place as before. Running stitch the remaining edges.

Now to decorate the band; you can use any embroidery stitch you like (in fact this is a good excuse to try a new one!). I chose to work Ermine stitches in a line repeat over the band, which is worked as follows (see pictures): bring needle up at 1, down at 2, up at 3

Down at 4, up at 5

Down at 6, up at new position 1.

Continue to the end of the band and fasten off. And you’re done! If you’re so inclined, you can make the band broader, thinner, patchwork, quilted, beaded… anything you like really, just using these basic measurements. If you take your time they’ll be a lot neater than mine :D

P.S., A message from Dinah, who is purring and stomping across my keyboard: “n mmmmmmmmmmmmmnb mmmmmmmmm”

I think that says it all, really.

As the sun was setting yesterday.

Watercolour in sketchbookWatercolour (because I didn’t want to go to bed last night).

cat peering over my sewing boxDinah peering at me over my (now immaculately tidy!) sewing box.

yellow wood sorrel leaves

yellow wood sorrel leaves

The yellow wood sorrel growing abundantly in our garden. I love the colours of the leaves and the patterns they make.

I have a table at a Gala day tomorrow, and for once I have everything ready in advance. No late night for me tonight! I spend this morning taking photographs of what I’m going to sell. Of course, I forgot to photograph one of my best sellers, so you’ll have to wait to see those. Have a look at the photos on facebook. Let’s hope the clouds are all rained out by tomorrow…

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