I have lots of friends with birthdays in January. Maybe it has something to do with star signs... I'm a Leo... Anyway, yesterday I stitched some lace and lacy bits to a base, then got to work with paint, inks and metallic wax. I've now cut it into motifs to use on birthday cards. Making the cards also gave me an excuse to play with some delicious papers that I bought last weekend in Canberra. To my delight, I discovered that Pepe's Paperie is now in Civic, as well as Woden. I have almost as big a stash of paper as I have of fabric, threads and beads. And I can't stop myself buying more!
I've only made two cards so far, but am now all set to make some more during the week. This is my favourite of the two I've made. I just love that background fabric. I seem to be in a purple/pink mode for birthday cards at the moment.
I'm trying to get inspired to sit down and actually do some sewing, so I've been cleaning out cupboards instead (as you do!). I came across this bag and decided to share some of what has inspired me in the past. The bag was made to match a Chinese silk top (photo of the fabric is below) which I'd bought to wear to a wedding. I stitched metallic threads and fabric, along with squares of red leather, onto a black silk fabric, overlaid with an old chiffon scarf, which happened to have dots of red scattered here and there. Another guest asked where I'd managed to find a top and bag to match. It was very tempting to say that I'd been shopping in a very exclusive boutique. It's a shame that I'm so honest... This multicolour pendant was made to jazz up a white t-shirt, which I was wearing with a skirt made of the fabric pictured below. It did the trick.
I want to make some book covers, so have set up some fabric ready to do some machine stitching. I've trapped ribbons and threads between some black fabric and some blue chiffon. I think it will be interesting to see how different it looks once I've added some stitching over the top. I've been in Canberra for a couple of days and visited my favourite bookshop - Clouston and Hall at Fyshwick. They sell remaindered books. I was very excited to discover a copy of Celtic Inspirations for Machine Embroiderers by Valerie Campbell-Harding and Maggie Grey for about a third of the original price! I snaffled it very quickly and have been browsing through it. There's lots of inspiration in there.
Along with a group of internet friends, I've been making pages for textile books. It has operated like a round robin. Each of us decided on a theme and made the first page of our book, then sent it to the next person. That person then made a page to fit the theme. Mine has arrived back, and I'm thrilled with all the pages, except mine. The theme was the sky and my page was based on the sweep of night sky, with its unblinking stars, which we get in western New South Wales. I've decided that it's the lack of focal point that is the problem with it, but don't quite know how to fix it. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
If I can't fix it to my satisfaction, I'm considering making another page, based on clouds. This is a small hand embroidery which is an exercise from a Creative Embroidery course that I did with the Embroiderers' Guild years ago. We were sent grey fabric and grey, black and white threads. We had to make an original design and we were told that we could only use one stitch - Cretan stitch. I was having a lot of trouble coming up with a design, until I looked out of my kitchen window one day. We'd been having a long, dry spell but there were rain clouds in the sky! I based the embroidery on that, and I've always been quite pleased with it. I'm now thinking that I need to expand on that theme. That should keep me busy for a while.
Take some Turkish Bread, cut it in half horizontally and toast. Spread with avocado and top with ham, chopped sundried tomatoes, chopped marinated artichokes and rocket leaves. Finally add second piece of Turkish Bread, and squash carefully with the palm of your hand so that you can get your mouth around it. Guaranteed delicious! I love being on holidays and having time to think about what's for lunch...
I couldn't help myself. I'm sure these coffee cuffs are just as addictive as coffee itself! They're so easy to make and are great gifts. So I made two more. The embroidered fabric was already made, and there was just enough to cut two cuffs from it.
What a great spot for a lazy lunch! Artist friends live in an old house in an old gold mining town. The courtyard beside Tim's studio is a glorious spot for a lazy lunch with a group of friends on a summer Saturday. Seven hours after setting out, we arrived home full of good food and great conversation. I think I want to drop out of the rat race and live there, too!
The patterns on some pottery plates in the garden might inspire an embroidery.
Today has been a playday in my studio. I needed to make a birthday card for a friend, so decided to try working with some brass shim that has been sitting on a shelf in my studio, waiting to be tried out. I held it over a gas flame to colour it, then cut it to size and embossed it with the flower design you can see. The colours are hard to photograph, but range through golds, blues, greens and purples. The bacground fabric contains all of those colours, and I've machine stitched the shim to the fabric and then added some beads. The embossing needs a steadier hand - but then I'm not very good at drawing with a pen! (I used an empty ballpoint pen to make the marks on the back of the shim.)
I still felt like playing, so decided to try making one of the coffee cuffs that feature in the latest Quilting Arts magazine. It's used for holding a cardboard coffee cup and, as I regularly burn my fingers while trying to carry my coffee back to work from the coffee shop, it seemed like a fun idea to try. I used a piece of embroidery that was an off cut from a larger piece. It's coffee coloured, so won't show the spills (I hope!). The piece wasn't quite big enough, so I cut it up and pieced it back together, so that the cuff pattern would fit. I don't have a cardboard coffee cup to try it out on and the finished cuff seems a bit big, but I'll have to wait until I'm back at work to buy a coffee and try it!
I've been clearing up my studio - what else do you do while on holidays? - and thought I should post an example of the type of thing I like to make. This is a small piece for the front of a birthday card. The background paper is a handmade paper incorporating confetti, which I bought in Adelaide a couple of years ago. It makes a great background. The "shell" in the centre and the fabric behind it are made from silk paper, which has been scrunched and the edges coloured with Treasure Gold. The beads were handstitched.
This is my first ever blog entry. So, one New Year Resolution has been kept up to this point. Not bad for two days into the New Year. It's raining at last here in western NSW, although we need a lot more for the drought to be broken. Still, the garden is looking greener than it has for months now and it's great to see the raindrops on the leaves and flowers.