Sunday, 28 September 2014

Fabulous Florets!

A super exciting patchwork milestone was reached today- I finally got fed up with sewing together mini hexagon shapes into slightly bigger hexagon shapes and have begun to take out some of the tacking and paper pieces!!

This morning was quite an early start (even with a two hour lie in), and there was still a heavy morning mist lingering over the gardens and coating everything in shimmering droplets. These spider webs were particularly impressive! (I much prefer webs without the spiders in.)

Ziggy was trying to be helpful in helping me count up my hexagon pieces. I have pieced together 83 'florets' (made of 7 hexagon pieces) which adds up to an impressive 581 hexagons overall!! And those are just the ones that have been put together, I still have a few handfuls of unattached hexagons that are waiting patiently until it is their turn to be used.

This afternoon I began taking out the middle pieces of paper, just because I was curious to see what would happen, if anything. All of the florets have been carefully ironed and pressed on both sides which helps the folds of fabric to keep a crisp shape. The exciting bit will begin when I start sewing florets together- something to begin this evening I think, in front of an episode of Murder, She Wrote perhaps?

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Sunflower ATCs

Good Evening!!! I have some great news to share with you- I have actually acquired a proper, regular, fully paid....job!! It has all happened quite quickly really, I handed in my application form the day after I got back from my narrowboating holiday, the next afternoon I was being interviewed and was offered a trial day for the next week (last Wednesday) and then I started working full time on Monday. So I have been employed for three days now!! Hugely exciting although absolutely exhausting as I have to be standing on my feet all day.

Today was my day off so I spent most of it stitching in front of various episodes of Murder, She Wrote (the box set I am currently working my way through). I had to make some Sunflower ATCs for this month's swap- sadly the only swap for this month, our group seems to be grinding to a halt.

I spent my lunch break yesterday cutting out the individual petal shapes, which have been stitched down with a single stitch. The background is green scrim and then I have used tiny beads for the centre. Quite proud of these.

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Grey Gloom

Something has been eating my Amaryllis. For quite a while now! I could never find whatever it was that was eating it so eventually stopped looking...until this morning when a big brown mark on the green leaves caught my eye from across the room. When I went over to investigate I found this hairy chappy! I think, from my quick Google search of Sussex caterpillars, that it is a Buff Ermine Moth Caterpillar (Spilosoma Luteum). My poor Amaryllis may have to put up with it's destructive visitor a while longer as I haven't the heart to move him now. (Plus he looks like a cactus which is never usually a good thing to move.)

I was up relatively early this morning as The Sister and The Parents finished packing up the car and set off for Leeds where TS is going to being studying Geology at the university there. Hopefully she enjoys it and makes her new room her own- she certainly took enough stuff with her!!

Last night we had the weirdest phenomena out in the back garden. From our patio in the evening darkness we watched this almost glowing white cloud which must have been a few miles from the house. As we watched it it suddenly started flashing up with lightening, huge flares of brilliant white that lit up the edges of this cloud but didn't seem able to escape it. It was like a firework display was going off inside the cloud itself. The flashes came in quick succession, seconds apart from each other and kept us enthralled for a good hour before we were forced inside due to the cold. Really fascinating, did anyone else Sussex way see it?

This morning though it appears we ourselves are inside a cloud, the view is grey and gloomy and the plants drizzled with tiny droplets of rain. The spider webs are looking particularly impressive!

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Thursday Thoughts

Ah, there's my gorgeous boy, sniffing in the autumnal breeze. Have you ever wondered how much more cats can smell than humans? No? Just me then. Can you spot a sleeping Ziggy in the flowerbed below?

I'll zoom in slightly for you. Such a cutie pie.

I'm afraid this post is destined to be a jumble of random thoughts and photos that have no flow or connection with each other, hopefully you can keep up with my scatterbrain and I do apologise for the randomness.

Having sat for a while in the garden this morning, I have decided that I am not ready for the trees to be putting on their Autumn clothes, or for brown to become the dominant colour in the garden. I am quite happy with dense green and pops of colour from the last few flowers. I noticed this huge rose in the garden earlier, such a fantastic mottling- would make a lovely paper texture I think.

My beady eyes also noticed this tiny mushroom in a hanging basket. It really is tiny, I had to put the camera right into the bottom of the basket to take the photo.

When not staring into the garden I have spent the day working on a commission that I was sent. It seems to be the thing now for my friends to send me fabric and ask for them to be turned into a cushion or two. (Like the Matilda cushion) This time it was a kind of postal order, in that the fabric was posted to me and I have to post the finished cushion covers back. I can only show you the backs of these cushions as they are destined to be a present for someone and although I'm sure they don't read my blog, you never know if they may decide to check it out. I have taken lots of photos though so I can show you the front when they have been given away.

One present I totally forgot to photograph before wrapping up, was this embroidered hoop that I made for two friends who have just moved into their first flat together. The date is the day they got the keys to their new flat and it became officially theirs. Hopefully it will be something that they can treasure.

And in other stitchery news, I thought I would show you a project The Mother has just started. She will be very surprised to see this on here (an avid reader and supporter is The Mother) which will be fun.

She prefers to follow patterns rather than make up her own, but is as neat as the original design- probably neater!

This is the kit she is currently working from if you are interested in having a look for yourself. You could all have a sew-a-long together!!

Monday, 15 September 2014

The Colours Of Monday

We have a very good way of knowing when the change between Summer and Autumn starts to happen...the spiders appear. Sounds strange I know, but as soon as the days become slightly more chilly, hundreds of a particular spider take to the garden and start covering the remaining flowers in giant webs.

Eugh, I'm not a huge spider fan (especially those giant furry brown house spiders! They are just too big), but I do think the Common Garden Spider or, Araneus diadematus (impressive huh?) have very pretty patterns on their overly large backs. And of course when the webs are caught with morning dew, they are very beautiful too.

It was quite a dull start here this morning, although as I look out of the window now it would appear the sun has begun to successfully burn its way through the early morning mist.
There are still enough bright spots in the garden to make me happy though.

I haven't been very well in the last couple of days, having been struck unexpectedly with a nasty cold- the kind that makes you feel as if your head has been stuffed with feathers and your throat rubbed with sandpaper. It did make me decide to experiment with a hot toddy (of which there are many varieties of the recipe on the Internet) which has become one of my new favourite drinks!!

I stayed fairly classical (just without the booze and cloves) and have been putting in the juice of about three quarters of a lemon, and two dollops of honey, topped up with boiling water. So delicious!

And it seems that all of the colours on my blog post this Monday morning, have ended up in my hexagon patchwork blanket!

I have now made 37 hexagon 'flowers' which uses up 259 of the hexagon shapes. I did a load more hexagons with some new fabric I found (as well as using some of the old fabric choices to blend the new ones in), and when all laid out I can really see the blanket taking shape!!

So chuffed with this project!

Thursday, 11 September 2014

A Sock Teddy Bear

Did you know that the 9th September is National Teddy Bear Day? Well neither did I until I was casting my eye over interesting facts on the Internet, looking for inspiration for Girl Guide meetings. The other leaders liked the idea of using NTBD as a way of easing in to the new term and we came up with the idea of making teddy bears out of socks.

As the slightly more crafty one, I was volunteered to research into the easiest pattern to make, especially as it had to be suitable from ages 10-14 and be 'make-able' for those who have never done any sewing to those who might be slightly more practised.

I found this great tutorial on another blog, Rawr, and having set myself the task of making an example bear for the girls to kind of follow, discovered how easy it was to transform one sock into a new friend.
The pattern ingeniously uses the different parts of the sock to help shape the bear- who knew that the shaped heel section could make such a pert bottom!!??!!

For me, the best bit about the tutorial was that the owner of the blog had help from her cat, Boo. No such luck in my case- Ziggy was off on an adventure and Kit made sure to keep his distance from my creation. (It's behind you!)

Never mind, hopefully the girls will like this project more than the cats do!!

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Emily Richards Fineoutline

You may have noticed that my blog's new look has finally been finished with a new banner!! It has been designed and illustrated (illustrated and designed?) by an old school chum of mine, Emily Richards.
I have watched her progress through university and developing her own style with interest, and love the splashes of colour against the bold lines, so when I decided I wanted a new logo and blog banner, her work instantly sprung to mind!

I asked Emily to send me a little paragraph about herself, her inspirations and what she has been up to recently. She said:

"I graduated at University for the Creative Arts with a 2:1 practising as an illustrator. I am often combining design with my ability to draw, giving me a unique quality to bring to the creative industry. Basing the majority of my work on reportage themes I often am inspired by my surroundings and the British environment. After exhibiting at New Designers this year I was lucky enough to be given a John Lewis 'we love' award and was further commissioned by Waitrose. I have then followed my freelance dream and was given a placement at Tigerprint studios partnered with Hallmark and gained experience with a creative team working to briefs and deadlines. I wish now to further my passion and profession working as a freelancer, illustrating and designing within editorial publications."

Personally it has been lovely to work with Emily and to watch the design develop from its very early stages to the finished thing. All I said to her was colour, sewing implements and a kind of patchwork background. Amazing how a few words can be translated into an image like that.

So just so we all know what my new blog banner (it is also on my Etsy shop) and logo looks like, here they are again...

The logo has gone on to my Facebook page and I am also considering getting a new lot of business cards printed with the new look (although I still have hundreds and hundreds left over from New Designers!!). Blown up to this size though, you can see how Emily combines hand drawn images with computer based colours and lines. Very clever.
I am thrilled with my new look, and I hope you like it too. If you would like to contact Emily then there is her Emily Richards Fineoutline Facebook Page, her Fine Outline Website, and also an Etsy Shop. Do follow her so that you can keep updated with her latest commissions too.