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.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Casalguidi workshop and a tea shop renovation

Yesterday a friend and I ran a workshop at our Saturday Stitching group on Casalguidi embroidery. There were twenty ladies taking the class - which was quite a lot to teach - including one lady who had only ever worked cross stitch before. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves however and they all managed to work a small oblong of four sided stitch for the background and a raised stem bar. 

You can see these stitches in the sample below ...

The raised stem bar is the fat 'sausage' shape in the centre. We also showed them how to do the bullion knots over the ends of the bar. We'll show them the woven picots (the leaves) and buttonhole triangles (the flowers) next time. This was the piece that I worked when I first learned this kind of embroidery at a workshop at Gawthorpe Hall in the North of England.

Since then I've played with the technique a little

Lots of woven picots on this piece.

Here I've entwined the wrapped cords through a square of hardanger embroidery.

And although this isn't really true Casalguidi, this little bag does use some of the elements. The four sided stitch background is there, together with buttonhole bars and wrapped threads but this time I've incorporated lots of beads to give a bit more modern effect.

The technique was traditionally worked white on white but those of you who know my work will already know that I don't really do white embroidery - hence the colour in all of my pieces. I do love those hand dyed threads!!

I started this morning to clear some space on my workbench in my garage in an attempt to see what (if any) miniature items I might need to buy at next weekend's minis show at Pudsey. Inevitably I got sidetracked as I came across some pieces that I'd been making for the tea room renovation project. So the projects are now better organised, even though my workbench is still fairly full. I won't show you. I'm sure you all know what a cluttered workbench looks like :-)

Some pieces made their way into the apartment above the tea room however ...

 The bedroom is just about complete now I think. The bed looks inviting with its patchwork quilt, folded blanket, smart cushions, hot water bottle and nightdress case.

I added a dressing table and stool and, although I still need to add a few accessories to the dressing table, it fits well against this wall.

A little leather handbag, pretty bottles and boxes and a beribboned hat top the combination wardrobe and chest of drawers and a parasol and set of floral patterned luggage complete this side of the room.

The attic room needs more items and it still looks a bit too clean.

The tea room itself now has six newly painted chairs though I may repaint the green one, which I reclaimed from another project. The trolley needs painting too and there will be shelves and pictures on the walls.

I added a small collection of tiny wooden mushrooms/toadstools to the kitchen window to echo the collection I  have on my own windowsill.

Friday, 18 October 2013

A lace mask and some miniatures

Yes, I have actually been working on some miniatures. I know its been a while but other things (like holidays and visitors, exhibitions and competitions) have been getting in the way. However, this week I've been working on the quarter scale cottages. These are semi-detached and will have a thatched roof eventually, which will make them the only thatched cottages in the street but that's ok.

 The right hand cottage is quite large with four rooms and rendered walls

The one on the left just has one room downstairs and one upstairs and I've given the exterior walls of this one a stone finish.

This is the smaller cottage. It still needs a few pieces of furniture - a small table to go with that dining chair and an armchair by the fire I think as well as a comfortable rug by the hearth and some pictures on the walls to make it look a little cosier.

 The larger cottage already has its dining table (just noticed that dining chair that has fallen over).

 The furniture in this cottage has a 1940s feel - including the fireplace in the sitting room.

 There will be a settee and armchair in this room too - eventually.

Even the bathroom is a little old fashioned with that high cistern toilet.

The kitchen is small but I've managed to squeeze in a cooker and a sink unit with cupboards.

This is the lace mask. It's taken me a while to work out exactly how to fix it onto the plastic mask that I had bought for the purpose and I finally covered the front of the mask with gold lame and the back with red silk dupion, then stitched the lace onto that. I have to admit to being pretty pleased with the final result of this piece which has taken countless hours of work.

Oh ... and this morning I also framed this piece.

This was a kit from Stef Francis with a small embossed metal panel in the centre - and now hanging on my lounge wall.

Have a great weekend everyone.
I'm leaving you with a little autumn colour in the shape of a potted maple in my garden. In real life it's even redder than it looks in this photograph - really scarlet. It cheers me even on the gloomiest day.

Friday, 11 October 2013

Home again

Sorry I've been gone so long. It's been quite a hectic summer and I just got back from two weeks in beautiful Scotland. The first week was spent on Rannoch Moor - and, ok, it may not be to everyone's taste, but to me it seems like a little piece of heaven.

 This was my third stay on the moor and this is where I stay - the hotel is literally at the end of the road, just across the way from the railway station.

And then there is nothing for miles around.

 When you walk down to the loch the only sounds you can hear are the singing of the birds and the buzzing of the insects.

I spent the second week in Glasgow - home of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, the main proponent of the Art Nouveau movement in the UK.

 This is inside one of the two Willow Tearooms, for which he designed the furniture. Obviously I sampled both!

These are the kind of designs for which he is famous -- beautiful elongated figures and flowing lines ...
and of course, the stylised Mackintosh rose.

So, inevitably, I had to do a little stitching in homage - a bookmark (though more may follow).

 I've also  been making a canvaswork bag - this is the front, the back will just be stripes. The idea was to use up a large percentage of my stash of tapestry wools - hence the odd selection of colours, though actually I think they work surprisingly well together.

 And finally a piece of free embroidery - alliums this time which are one of my favourite flowers.