Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Just playing about!

After another night playing around with my bowl of bead soup, and not a button in site, I have some bracelets to share.

The two wire ones are a bit on the rough side, but I am learning the art of wire winding and I hope to get better with practice. These are my first two attempts so please be gentle...

This was the first one, which is a little too 'disorganised' for my liking....

And this was the second one. I hope that you can already see an improvement. I prefer this one, thought the wire winding is still a bit rough in places.

And after all that winding I fancied a splash of colour so I raided the less 'tempered' elements of my bowl of bead soup, and here is the result!

Sunday, 28 June 2009

How much do I love buttons...?

I recently blogged about my first attempt at a button necklace. Since then a friend of mine has asked me to make a set - necklace, earrings and bracelet - so I thought I would show you the results.

I learnt a lot of lessons on the first one that I created for myself, and this is definitely much much better, in construction and design. I also included a little 'made with love' charm.

The necklace

A pair of 'dangly earrings'

The bracelet

I just adore working with the buttons - the colours are fabulous and they are so versatile as a medium. But the best thing about buttons, and especially these buttons, is that they make you smile!

Saturday, 27 June 2009

My first ever piece of silverware

Just a quick update on my book from yesterday.

I entered it in the Marsters Cup which is an award given by my local embroiderers guild for a piece created at (or coming out of) a guild class. All pieces are anonymous and all members of the guild vote for their favourite.

I am delighted to say that my book won! I have never won anything before, for creative work or for anything else. So to say I am over the moon is an understatement. I have placed the cup in pride of place in my studio and it makes me smile to see it.

It is always lovely to hear that other people like your work!

Friday, 26 June 2009

A completed work - at last!

It seems that lately i have been taking classes, but not finishing much! Following a couple of days of well earned holiday pottering around in the sun, the storms have set in today and so I squirrelled myself away in my studio - determined to finish something from my WIP box.

So here are the results of my labour today and I admit to being quite pleased! This grew out of the course I did recently through the embroiderers guild with Susan Stuart called 'Bags of heat' - which involved trapping silk scraps behind a piece of heat sensitive fabric. Then you stitch it heavily, and go mad with the heat gun.

As someone who never likes to make something without a use, I turned the piece into a book cover. I used two gorgeous swarovski crystal buttons (bought from Spoilt Rotten beads on Wednesday) to make the clasp - one on each side. The colours were perfect.

I am delighted with the results - it is a great technique; not least because you don't know exactly how the piece will look until you have finished with the heat gun. It also uses up all of those tiny scraps of fabric that you end up with at the end of a project!

The completed front

The back

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Another necklace - a bit of fun!

Just a quick post to share my newest necklace with you. This one is called 'Happiness is a bottomless button box' because it is made mainly of buttons from my button box (otherwise known as old coffee jars)- and I thoroughly enjoyed sorting them.

I have always found button boxes brilliant (hence the name of my blog) - I have fond memories of going through my Grandma's collection when I was a little girl. She had what seemed like thousands - and it was indeed bottomless. I miss my Grandma deeply - she passed away 2 years ago aged 99, but I cannot look at a pile of button without being transported back to her little house, sitting by the fire sorting them in piles while my Grandad watched the cricket. Happy days!

This particular creation was inspired by a necklace made of brightly coloured wooden disks that I saw a lady wearing last weekend. I love the bright colours, and I have a shirt that will 'match' so lookout world - here I come - prepare to be dazzled!!!

Friday, 12 June 2009

My first ever course

Just to let you know before we start - thi is NOT my work!!! I wish it was but it isnt.
At the weekend I went on my first ever stitching course! It was a day school with the Peterborough branch of the Embroiderers guild at Orton Wistow. The course was called 'Bags of Heat' with a very nice lady called Susan Stuart.
The idea is that using our sewing machines, a heat gun and some fabulous pieces of fabric, we would all create some gorgeous bags.

The Tutor Susan brought along some of her work to give us inspiration and I couldn't resist showing you some of her delightful pieces.

This one is a wall hanging based on a William Morris design (apologies for the camera work - I took these pics on my phone). It was one of my favourite pieces that she bought in - the colours were delightful and the photo really doesn't do it justice.

This one is a book cover and she has used tomato puree tubes which she has supported with felt to make the raised areas.

I love the movement in this one.

The colours in this one really pop!

This was another favourite of mine - I love that Celtic cross motif and the colours were divine.

I will put up some picture of my attempt in another blog - I am waiting for my friend Pam to send me some photos that she took, but rest assured I will be sharing them with you.

Well I am off upstairs to get my stuff together for another course tomorrow - I am going to make a crazy patchwork cushion at Art and Stitch in the morning so I have to rummage through my stash. It's such a hardship! I am looking forward to spending a day with more crafty people - they are the best kind!

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Postcard as inspiration!

Being creative is a great cure for boredom! The other night I was feeling the need to do something but didn't really have an idea/project in mind so I decided to take a look at my notice board for some inspiration. This is where I pin 'bits' that I find interesting, and there is never enough space on it!

On this occasion the thing that caught my eye was a postcard that I bought a few years ago showing an aerial photo of a lake in Yellowstone park. It had the most amazing colours and shapes in it that I immediately drawn to it.

So using this as a starting point I got out my needle felting box.
After creating the shapes and colours I heavily machine stitched some areas in matching colours.

However I still didn't really feel it was working, so when my friend Pam popped round I showed it to her and told her it was missing 'something'. She has a brilliant eye for these thing so when she suggested I pop it in a boil wash I didn't hesitate! Then I put it in the tumble dryer for good measure. I did take the precaution of loosely stitching it inside an old pillow case just in case it decided that the treatment was too much and it was simply going to join the fluff in my machine!
The change is quite subtle but I love the matting effect. It still needs work and I shall pick it up again at some point when some more inspiration hits me, and it will probably be embellished to within an inch of its life! But I am no longer bored!

More toys

After the fun I had with my first Toy Society drop, and the fact that I am taking a patchwork class in a few weeks, encouraged me to sit down and make a couple more toys and get used to using my sewing machine 'properly'.

The results were Jalia and L'il Bird.

Jalia is a 'crazy patchwork' doll using some brightly coloured cartoon animal prints from my stash. I loved the vibrancy of the colours, and the fun element introduced with the comical animal design. I really wanted to go for an elongated silhouette and so she has outrageously long arms and legs. I love her and I may have to keep her!

L'il Bird is a much more subtle creation. I had some lovely pastel fabric in my box and so decided to use those. I do not deign these toys, I look at the fabric and have a rough idea of shape when I start, but L'il Bird only became an Owl half way through. It felt to me like he would be a 'wonky' owl, which is why I gave him those funny eyes.
I also couldn't resist some hand embellishment with a little bit of floral stitching around his tummy. I think it suits him!

Monday, 8 June 2009

Midnight dreams update

If you follow my blog you may remember that I entered a necklace called Midnight Dreams into the Fire Mountain Gems Beads contest.
As it is the first time I have entered ANY of my work I was not expecting to get anywhere but I thought it would be good experience and I always work better with a deadline!
Well I have just received a letter this morning from Fire Mountain Gems telling me that I have made it through to the next round! OMG!!!! You could have scraped me off the ceilling I was so surprised. So now I have to package it all up and send it over to the States to be judged in person! The letter says that they are 'judging the finalists' (whatever that means) and checking for 'colour co-ordination and workmanship' of my piece.
So I am off now to check for any loose threads and perhaps have a couple of cups of tea to calm me down!

Thursday, 4 June 2009

BeeJay has found a home

I am delighted to anounce that BeeJay has found a new home and a delighted friend in Alisha. The story of how Alisha and her family found Beejay can be seen on the Toy Society website and the look on the little girl's face has made my day! Now I feel all motivated to make more toys and leave them lying around. It looks like BeeJay will continue to smile for a long time to come!

Monday, 1 June 2009

Greenhouse heaven

Well after 2 nights and the best part of two days (numerous cuts and bruises, some off colour language from your truely and possibly a mild case of heat stroke) the greenhouse is up!

I bought it new from Ebay, and despite the amount of time it took to put the bloomin thing up, I am delighted!!! I put it behind the garage because it is the leat windy spot I could find, and I want to use the water that comes off the roof in the greenhouse. It is 6ft by 8ft though somehow looks tiny now I have built it!

We finished it at 9.30 last night (in the dark) and the first inhabitant moved in straight away!
All I have to do now is find a way to convince Millie that the gravel is not a litter tray!