Thanks for calling by. I hope you enjoy what you see, feel free to leave a comment and call again to catch up on my news.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Saturday stitching roundup

I have two finished pieces to show you this week, one of which has been several months in the making. And now I'm currently working on another fairly long term project together with a piece of lace which is almost finished. This lace is going to be a part of my offering for the exhibition next year on 17th century embroidery - but more of that when it's completed.

So ... to the finished pieces ...

 This is the second (and final) project for the Sumptuous Surfaces course I've been taking online. The design was inspired by lichen on rocks but I really wanted to slip outside my comfort zone for a while and work a more abstract piece than I usually do.

Aren't these colours gorgeous? Regular readers will remember from a few weeks ago the sweetie jars filled with threads which my good friend gave me for my birthday - well here they are, stitched into this project.

I've thoroughly enjoyed this course and would  recommend it to anyone. I've learned such a lot about the design process and about colour theory and how to apply it to my embroidery designs. I've also learned a little more about using a working journal/sketchbook with my embroidery. This is a topic which I'm finding increasingly useful, though I've never really used one before this year. Just goes to show that you're never too old to learn new techniques!

The second finished item this week is a mixed media fabric journal, which I've been working on for for a while. Earlier this year, whilst I was clearing up some shelves, I came across a folder filled with poems which a good friend sent me following the death of my husband. After re-reading them I began to think that it was a shame for them to just sit unread and often forgotten on a shelf. And so, the idea for my 'Stitched Therapy' journal was born. The words are all either from the poems or were spoken by my bereavement counsellor and the book now sits on the coffee table in my lounge.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Pieces for my shop

No progress at all on the retreat but I've been really busy making pieces to sell in my Etsy shop so I'll share those with you all.

The first piece is this little gardening bench complete with drawer full of seed packets, gardening tools, and even a little hedgehog which seems to have taken up residence in the plant pot on that bottom shelf.

There's a wedding memory box filled with all kinds of memorabilia related to the owner's wedding day.

Then there's a whole lot of luggage sets in readiness for the holiday season. Where will your dolls house occupants be going to this year?

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Saturday stitching roundup

I don't feel that there's an awful lot to show this week that's finished. The blackwork tree of life is complete.

and I've been busy working on my second piece for the sumptuous surfaces course. This piece is in colour and I've based my design on lichen covered rocks but really didn't want it to end up being a true representation of that. I wanted it to be more of an abstract design, which is a bit of a diversion for me as I don't normally do abstract. I did the low profile stitching in a pulled work stitch known as four sided stitch.

And then I've made a start with the colour. At first I felt that I was in danger of this becoming a symphony in green but I'm better pleased with it now I've added in some of the reds.

 In other news ... on Thursday I went to Sheffield to meet up with a third cousin who I've 'met' in my searches for family history and we went to Renishaw Hall gardens. We didn't really have time to go inside the house but the sun was shining (for the first and only time this week!) and it was beautiful.

 This castellated folly is actually a pet's graveyard and there is a whole circle of tiny headstones inside.
 This is the white garden.

 and this is the long border
 The whole garden is set out like a series of 'rooms' so it's lovely to explore as around every hedge corner there is another surprise.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

A bed for the retreat

My retreat now has a bed - no bedding yet but to be honest I'm so pleased with the bed and its mattress that I'm just enjoying looking at it as it is for the moment.

The design isn't mine ... I found it here on Kris' blog http://1inchminisbykris.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/How%20to%20make%20a%201%20inch%20scale%20shabby%20chic%20bed. I still need to sand down the edges a little and dirty it up a bit but I have to say that it was actually a lot easier to make than I thought it was going to be when I first started out.

I also made a little reading corner beneath the stairs. You can't actually see very well but those shelves are crammed with books and storage boxes, and I painted a magazine rack and placed it by the side of the armchair - no magazines yet but there will be before very long. Do you see the paperback book on the chair where it was dropped while the owner went off to make a cup of tea?

 You can see the shelves better on this photo - before I glued the staircase into position.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Saturday stitching roundup

I've decided that I need to get a little more organised - what again?! I hear you cry. I know - it's an ongoing battle, what can I say? So, the plan is that in future I'll post about my stitching projects on Saturdays. Miniatures will go in a separate post and I'd like to say that I'll do that on Mondays (Miniature Monday does make sense) but Mondays are always spent with friends making lace or at the Embroiderers Guild meeting so maybe it will have to be a case of Tuesday's Tinies instead.

Anyhow, here's what I've been working on recently.

As you know, I'm doing an online Sumptuous Surface embroidery course with SharonB and we've now moved onto working in colour, as opposed to the monochrome piece we did during the first three weeks of the course. First, we had to work out a colour scheme. We did this by clipping small squares of images from magazines and from the internet in our chosen colours and putting them together. Then I wrapped threads around a piece of card and stuck these into my workbook along with the magazine snippets. My printer has finally died so I've been a bit hampered in this process and will need to catch up once  the new one is delivered next week so the second of my designs has no images yet other than the photograph of lichen that I included.

I really wanted to use those threads that my friend gave me for my birthday so my first design was of flames so that I could use all those gorgeous reds and yellows.

My second design is inspired by lichen on rocks found on holidays in Scotland - which are just begging to be worked in textured stitches. This design will use the greens and golds and just a hint of orangey-red.

This is probably going to be a series of pieces eventually - earth, fire, air and water and this is the one I decided to begin with. So ... here is the outline for my 'earth' picture already stitched in a lovely hand dyed silk boucle thread.

My regular readers will know that I'm also stitching pieces which are destined for an exhibition of 17th century style embroidery which my branch of the Embroiderers Guild is planning for next year. I love doing Blackwork, so that's what I started with.

Blackwork was first found as early as the 15th and 16th centuries but was still popular in the 17th and I'm working on a very popular 17th century design - the tree of life. The ground beneath the lion isn't quite finished yet, as you can see, but it will be by the end of this weekend.

And here's another snail. I have no idea why snails were so popular in the 17th century! They're certainly not popular in my garden as, yet again, they've munched their way through all my delphinium stems (though I do enjoy stitching them).

Friday, 1 June 2012

Birthday presents

Last week was my birthday and both my son and daughter came to visit for a few days, which is why I've been absent for a while. I thought I'd share pictures of some of my presents ... the sewing related ones at least.

 My daughter bought me these tins to hold my silk lace threads. Aren't they just beautiful?!

My son bought me this kit for a stitch sampler book from Jane Greenoff. I've been regretting not having bought this when I first saw it at the Knit and Stitch show in Harrogate last year but felt I couldn't really afford it. I'm being very strong-willed at the moment and haven't actually started stitching it yet as I'm working on other pieces and trying hard to finish them before starting something new but I'm really not sure how long I'll hold out.

One of the friends who comes round to my house every week to stitch lace with me gave me this book on Casalguidi embroidery. We're hoping to go to a class on this later in the year so the book might give me a head start - or help afterwards to remember what I was taught. The sweetie jars are filled with threads and beads - see below. Aren't they gorgeous? And a brilliant way to present them too. I normally wind my threads onto little cards and then file them away in boxes but the jars look so good on my display shelves that I can't really bear to do that just yet.

There wasn't much in the way of minis going on while my family were here but I've been catching up a little this week so there's a little progress to show on the retreat.

I got the windows and deck rails painted and was able to finally attach the deck to the front wall. Of course, I couldn't resist playing with some of the furniture I'm planning to put out here.

 There's a table and chairs for all those al fresco meals ...

 The wicker chair looks so inviting by the plant table - no plants yet but they'll be coming soon.

Upstairs I've fixed a rail around the top of the stairwell to avoid accidental falls in the night.

and a telephone on the unit at the bottom of the stairs.

I've also been busy stitching my cat picture for the Sumptuous Surfaces embroidery course I'm doing. This has been such fun to do and I really learned a lot about the design process.

Now we begin to work with colour and this week's lesson is all about colour theory, so again lots of new ideas to think about. I'm currently playing with tiny squares cut from magazines to make up colour schemes for my next piece of embroidery, but I'll show you those in a few days time when I've got a little further with it all.