Saturday 28 December 2013

Simply Curious

We took a week trip to Tasmania which truly was a lot of fun. I am not going to write about our wonderful adventure here since this blog is about needle craft and not travelling but there was something that I thought would be nice to share with you, my dear readers. On our first day in Hobart, while wandering around Macquarie Wharf, I saw this...

Tuesday 24 December 2013

Berry Merry Christmas!

Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas filled with love, joy and happiness.
And some berry sweetness as well. :-)

Sunday 15 December 2013

Small Gifts and Christmas Rush

I am sure it's a very busy time of the year for everyone. Christmas is just around the corner and there are still so many things to do. Every January I promise myself that I would start getting ready for Christmas some time in October or at least in early November so I would have plenty of time on my hands and would avoid the mad rush. Well, easier said than done. I was not able to keep my promise yet again. I waited for too long, I was in September mode until almost two weeks ago. So of course I could not avoid the madness of trying to finish some gifts on time. But somehow I managed. Hurray! I made a few things for my friends that I hope they like.

Sunday 8 December 2013

Cross-Stitch Pattern: Toadstool

I am feeling very happy, I achieved something new. I created my very first and my very own cross-stitch pattern - Toadstool. I know, I know, for many of you it might seem simple and even primitive but for me cross-stitching and embroidery in general never was natural, I didn't have patience for it and I used to get frustrated and bored easily within the first few stitches. So no matter how simple it is I am very happy with my tiny achievement. To celebrate this special event, I would like to share the toadstool cross-stitch pattern with you, my Dear Readers. Go to the end of the page and click on the pattern image. Print it. Use it. Enjoy it!

Sunday 1 December 2013

Work in Progress: Mushroomy Mood

I am in a mushroomy mood at the moment. I love toadstools with their bright red caps covered in white spots. They look magical, almost mystical to me, like something from a fairy tale world, something that holds great supernatural powers. I remember going mushroom picking in autumn when I was little. Every time I saw a toadstool, brightly burning in the rays of the morning sun, I wished it was a good mushroom, I wished we could pick it and take it home in our special willow baskets made by my Grandpa. I wanted to keep them in my room among all the toys and books, to cheer the place up a bit. I felt sorry to leave them sitting there in the carpet of dry leaves, it was almost like leaving a favourite toy behind. Funny, isn't is? It was such a long time ago...

This time around I did not go mushroom picking but I had my magical forest of threads and needles that I could get lost in, and I could take the toadstools that I found on the way home, and I could even keep them. Keep them forever. What mood are you in at the moment? Hope you had a lovely weekend full of joy and magic!

Monday 25 November 2013

Sweet Childhood Memories

Long time ago, when I was a little girl, I owned a pair of shoes. My absolutely favourite and the most beautiful red and white shoes, with tiny golden snap fasteners and decorative rings on the front. Why do I remember this particular pair of shoes? I don't really know.

Wednesday 20 November 2013

A Pretty Card From a Secret Partner

Not every time I get so excited when the postman arrives. This was long-awaited mail from an unknown country and an unknown swap partner. As you know, I participated in Artist Trading Cards Swap that was organised by Ali from Very Berry Handmade. You can check out the photos of all the amazing cards on Flickr group.

Saturday 16 November 2013

Tutorial: Fabric Boxes For Bits and Bobs

I love new and interesting storage solutions. Some time back, while working on bento lunch bags, I came up with this simple and effective pattern for small boxes that you can easily make with fabric.

I really like that these boxes are light and soft, cut off threads and scraps don't easily fall out if the box is tipped over and I can fold and store the boxes away if I don't need them. I thought I would share this idea with you.

Sunday 10 November 2013

Inspiration + Patchwork + Stitches = Place Mat

Do you get inspired by work of others? Do you feel sometimes that you have to make something particular and you have to make it now?

Wednesday 6 November 2013

Work in Progress: Red Shoes

When I was little, I had a pair of shoes. My ever so favourite, the best and the most beautiful red and white shoes. I was only three at that time but I still remember how they looked, even the tiny golden studs are still clear in my mind. I remember how they felt on my small feet and the sound they made when I walked.

So here I am, many many years later trying to make an applique of that fancy pair of shoes. I hope I haven't overestimated my abilities and patience, and I would be able to finish what I have in mind despite a few failed attempts already.

Friday 1 November 2013

Lost in Books...

Yes, I have been lost in books for the last few days. Not the reading type, but sewing books. Teeny-tiny needle books to be exact. I realised that my stitching companion desperately needed a small addition; a place to keep the needles in.

Friday 25 October 2013

Cross-Stitch Linen Coasters

I am in love. In love with my newly created linen coasters. I think they are my favourite creation at the moment. These little owls are very special to me because they signify the beginning of my stitching adventure. I embroidered them last year, when all of a sudden I had an urge to give cross-stitching a try. I had no idea at that time that I would start a blog, would keep sewing and embroidering and would meet many interesting people on the way.

Wednesday 23 October 2013

Work in Progress: Hoot... Hoot... Hoot...

Last year, when my sewing and stitching adventures just began, I came across a not very clear embroidery pattern for these adorable owls on the internet. They were cute. I fell in love. I had to embroider them. I really did. They were too charming to simply leave them on paper. I used small pieces of Irish linen. Small, because I was only practicing and had no intention of using this work for anything. Plus I had to do a lot of guessing work because of the poor quality of the pattern.

Two little friends spent almost a year in a box with some unfinished projects, but a couple of days ago I got them out. I got them out because all of a sudden I knew what they would be turned into. Something simple, something small, something that can be enjoyed by all.

Saturday 19 October 2013

Garden in a Coffee Cup

Just for fun. Why not? A miniature garden in a coffee cup. The cup is tiny, smaller than a regular tea cup but looks absolutely beautiful filled with this green bush. It goes with me around my home. Sometimes it sits on the kitchen bench, other days it's on the dining table or in my sewing nook, right next to me while I am stitching.

Nothing special, just a cup, a bit of soil and a tiny plant. A small green patch that brings joy and happiness, that brightens up the skies on gloomy rainy days. I am waiting for this plant to bloom with tiny white flowers, they are as small as a sewing pinhead. So I am watching it everyday and waiting, and sewing and smiling.

Have a lovely weekend everybody!

Wednesday 16 October 2013

Buzzy Bees, Lace and Stitches

I made something new, something I haven't made before. As my not so Little Boy said "Mum, it will take you no time at all, it's so simple for you. It's just a ..." Well, he might be right.

Sunday 13 October 2013

Stamps, Stamps and More Stamps

I have been busy. Very busy. Busy with making stamps. Yes, fabric stamps. Aren't they lovely? So many of them and they are all different. Any ideas what to use them for? I am still thinking.

Friday 11 October 2013

Please Meet...

... Krupenichka. A traditional russian rag doll filled with grains such as buckwheat, wheat or barley. The great thing about Krupenichka is that you don't need to sew anything apart from the first step - making a small sack for the body. The rest is just cutting, folding and dressing the doll up.

Isn't she cute? She is very small, only 8.5 cm tall and her body is filled with barley. I was going to use buckwheat but then changed my mind because I was making the doll in the evening and did not have any buckwheat at hand. You can find a step by step tutorial here. It's in Russian but there are plenty of photos for you to work out what to do. On this website you can find some historical information about traditional russian dolls. Unfortunately, the text is in Russian and the translation function does not do a good job. But there are many interesting and colourful photos there.

Saturday 5 October 2013

My ATCs Gallery

Welcome to my tiny Artist Trading Cards gallery. Well, kind of. I am happy happy happy! I finished all the cards and even chose the one I am going to send to my swap partner but I am not going to tell you which one it is, I will keep it a secret for now. The card is going to be send away during the first week of November. It's a long wait but such are the rules of this swap.

Monday 30 September 2013

My Stitching Companion

Today I would like to write about my little Companion that has been very helpful on my stitching journey. Maybe you have read about Take Along Stitching Folder that I made not long ago. While working on it, I was hoping that the folder would be easy to use and would be useful. After using it for less than two months, I have to say that I am surprised at how much I enjoy using it and how really useful the folder turned out to be.

Last weekend we were away from home, we were at an air field where my dear husband and our not so Little Boy were flying gliders while I enjoyed the prettiness of the countryside, the sweet singing of unknown birds, the freshness of morning breeze and the warmth of the spring sun.

Sunday 29 September 2013

Work in Progress: ATC

Autumn... What comes to your mind when you hear this simple six letter word? Trees and bushes festively dressed in their best attire. Yellow, red, orange, green, brown. Fire red rowan berries, slightly touched by the night frost, glistering in the morning sun. The cool crispy air filled with hardly noticeable earthy scent of mushrooms, grass and dry leaves tickles my nose. Lovely seasonal bouquets of maple leaves and acorns. Flocks of birds flying high in the sky. It's a time for berry and mushroom picking, for picnics near a river with warm rugs, hot teas and camp fires. It's time for a change, time for nature's colourful celebration before everything falls asleep warmly wrapped in white soft fluffy blankets of snow till next spring.

Tuesday 24 September 2013

Little Bags For Herbs

Hurray! The little bags have been finished. It took me longer than expected but I am truly happy with the outcome.  I felt really excited while filling the bags with dry herbs. They look so cute standing next to each other. A set of four.

Monday 23 September 2013

Artist Trading Card Swap

I am so excited! I have joined a first ever Textile Artist Trading Card Swap ran by Ali from Very Berry Handmade.

Do you know much about ATC? Well, I did not know about it too until just recently. According to a wikipedia article, ATCs are "minuter works of art produced in various media. The cards are usually traded or exchanged". You can read more about the ATC and the swap on Very Berry Handmade blog.

The rules of this swap are quite simple:

Theme: Autumn
The card must be 6.4cm by 8.9cm
The card must be predominantly textile
The back of the card must show some basic information about the artist
It is a secret swap - I know who my partner is and I have to keep it a secret

My head is full of different ideas so let the creative process begin!

Saturday 21 September 2013

Work in Progress: I Am Stuck

I am stuck. Totally and absolutely. I thought that by this time I would be able to show you my new creation and would switch my attention on to something new and exciting but I am still trying to finish the bags for herbs.

As you probably know, I create my own patterns and designs, and sometimes it takes me more time to finish the project than expected. Same thing happened to me this time around. The sketches were done easily; I sketched most of the herbs straight on to fabric. Stitching did not take long either. After all the embroidery patterns were finished, I was not happy with Calendula. The leaves were too big and too bare compare to the flower. So I had to fix it somehow. It took me about ten attempts until I was happy with the result. Luckily I did not have to redo the entire stitching, just the leaves.

Then came the time to sew the bags. I got stuck again because of miscalculating the width of the binding.  After some cutting and sewing, I realised the mistake I made. The seam ripper was very useful at this time and helped me a bit to reduce the amount of frustration I had by this point.

I wish there were more hours in a day so I could sit and enjoy my stitching or have enough time to get frustrated, calm down and finish all the work in one day. But I have only a limited amount of time that I can dedicate to my "sewing adventures",  so I have to stay positive and keep on trying. The good thing is that when I was still little and tried sewing (had to do it at school), I never had enough patience if there were any challenges with the work. I simply left it crooked or unfinished. But not this time though.

Have a lovely day and keep frustration at bay!

Saturday 14 September 2013

Work in Progress: Calendula, Yarrow...

Herbs, herbs... and more herbs. Just a sneak peek at what I am working on. I am stepping outside my comfort zone by using different embroidery stitches combined together in order to create the pictures of the plants.

As you can see, I am using more colours than ever in my stitching. I love the warmth of yellowish-orange calendula in combination with muted green leaves. Yarrow, calendula... As I mentioned in this post, I am not going to stop at just one bag.  I am making a few. A few for my dry herb that I can't wait to fill the bags with. Have a great weekend everybody!

Monday 9 September 2013

Fabric Stash Tickling Imagination

It's been a while since I bought any new fabric. Well, not that long but long enough to make me feel a bit fabric deprived. So I went shopping. Not really, just had a little look around one of the shops that has a teeny-weeny shelf with pre packed fat quarters. I picked up about eight rolls but stopped myself (Good girl!) and got only four. The four that I liked.

Wednesday 4 September 2013

Kiss Lock Coin Purses

May I share with you two adorable kiss lock coin purses for little girls or maybe big girls who like anything pretty and cute. I made them using Belle & Boo fabric called Tea Party. I simply love this print!

Saturday 31 August 2013

A Small Distraction

I have been sick for a while. A few days in bed without any sewing or stitching was hard. I could not even read or sketch because of a bad headache. Once I felt better, I needed some distraction, something to make me feel back to normal again. So the first thing I thought of was stitching of course. I had to make something quick and easy.

Friday 23 August 2013

Work in Progress: Can You Guess What I Am Making?

I had some spare time that I decided to spend on something rather cute. I am still working with Belle & Boo fabrics. Tea Party this time. I am sure you can work out what I am making. It's going to be a nice addition to a gift for a special girl.

Monday 19 August 2013

Quilted Pillowcase

Fedor the Bunny officially has got a new home - a pillow. My first ever quilted pillow cover made from scratch.

Tuesday 13 August 2013

Work in Progress: A Home for Fedor

Remember Fedor, the sad Bunny? I think he might cheer up a bit now. He is getting a new home, a new place to live in, so he is moving out of that plain and boring sketch pad. I hope he likes his new cozy home as much as I like making it.

Thursday 8 August 2013

Take Along Stitching Folder

I made a small gift for myself. Selfish, I know, but this is something I really need. Take along stitching/sewing kit/folder. I could not wait to test my newest creation and was totally and absolutely happy with the outcome. The folder is firm enough to hold its shape so I can easily carry it in my bag. There are enough pockets for all the supplies I might need while working on my small projects and it's very cute thanks to Woodland Walk fabric by Belle & Boo.

Friday 2 August 2013

Work in Progress: Something For Myself

This project is proving to be challenging. I spent so much time trying to find the right fabric for the lining and pockets. I had a countless number of combinations but none of them felt right. Some colours were too bright, some too gloomy, some too flowery and some simply too boring. I really struggled with this print as never before. Even I like this pattern very much, I found it quite tricky to pair it with other fabrics. I wonder what other crafters came up with while sewing with Woodland Walk fabric by Belle & Boo.

Sunday 28 July 2013

Beautiful Mess

Let me show you something. Do you know what it is? Well, this is the unexpected gifts that caused some pleasant distractions that I mentioned some time ago.

I was very lucky to get a gift from a Friend of mine, who works in a bridal boutique. She gave me a huge bag full of fabric scraps. Not just any fabric, but beautiful delicate fabrics that wedding dresses are made of - satin, silk georgette, tulle and lace. They throw them away! Our living room turned into a beautiful mess once I emptied the content of the bag on the floor. My mind went spinning... roses, purses, bags, more roses... Beautiful mess that inspires me, fills my head with ideas. Now you can see why I got distracted for almost three days in a row, I just kept folding and rearranging these bits and pieces of fabrics and lace, dreaming away and sketching what I could do.

These are just a few beautiful roses that I made in a matter of a few minutes (after I spent almost three days just rearranging the scraps and looking at them). The roses can be used as a decoration for a purse or a bag. They can be turned into brooches, hair clips, hair band decorations or can even be made into a necklace. For now I will just keep making them and storing them in a vase. My Boys thought they were meringues when they saw them on the dining table in the vase. How funny!

Monday 22 July 2013

Fabric Folder. Sailing Away

I am sailing away with a bunch of Little Pirates. They are so handsome and full of fun. The Little Pirates come from Belle & Boo fabric called Pirate Games. Have you seen it? It is absolutely and totally cute.

Here is a fabric folder for Boys. The pattern I used is the same as the one I made for the folder for girls. It features four pockets for books, notepads or some papers and a pocket for a pen.

As you can see, I really got carried away with my favourite running stitch and got lost in a myriad of tiny stitches. It was so much fun just drawing on fabric and then filling it all in with red and brown threads. When I finished the folder for Girls, I felt a bit sad because the folder did not have any elements done by hand stitching, neither it had applique elements. So I made sure that this one had it all.

I love the tiny boat with the anchor, and the seagulls flying away. I even made a small tag with scraps of fabric, just for fun. It can be used as a bookmark I think.

How cute it the wind spinner made with the same fabric as the insides of the pockets. I still have two more fabrics (Woodland Walk and Ava and Friends) by Belle & Boo that I already started working with. I am very curious to see how the new projects are going to turn out. Happy creating!

Saturday 20 July 2013

A Little Bit of Prettiness For Girls

May I show you a fabric folder. A folder for Little Girls.

It's blue and pink, it's cute, it's pretty (thanks to Belle & Boo's fabric) and it's 100% handmade. Instead of cardboard, bamboo batting/wadding was used to give some shape and body to the folder and to give some protection to the items inside. It's soft and also very light.

The flap lock with a magnetic snap allows some room for expansion, so you can fill the pockets with small books, notepads, cards, papers, pencils - anything that your Little Girl might need on a walk to a park or on a trip or just to play at home. There are two small extra pockets for little treasures that I am sure every girl has aplenty.

A little bit of lace, a tiny cupcake tag, some flowers and of course a pink elephant. This folder was made for our very special Little Friend and it's being packed and sent away right now. It's a surprise, I hope she likes it.

Come back soon and see the one I made for Boys. But I have to tell you now that I got lost in a myriad of tiny stitches but it was FUN.

Thursday 18 July 2013

Just a Sneak Peek

I am so excited! To be honest with you, I cannot believe that I made this. For the last two days I have been playing around with these folders while finishing the final details and dreaming away of what I would put in all those pockets if I was a little girl or boy. As I said earlier, I was going to work on something exciting so here it is - my very own fabric folders for Girls and Boys.

It's hard to believe that I, who did not really sew before, made this. I know, it's quite simple for many of you but for me it was a challenge. A challenge that I conquered. I am proud of myself for not running away from my own idea in fear but making sure that I complete the project from the very beginning to the very end. I am really happy with the result. Would you like to get a sneak peek inside?

Fabric Stash Belle & Boo

I wish I could start this post with "today in my studio..." but at the moment I do not have a studio or a dedicated space for my stitching. My sewing machine is sitting on the dining table in our living room. The growing fabric stash is neatly stacked on one of the shelves of the book case and slowly crawling on the floor near by, and for small bits and pieces like snaps, buttons, threads, bobbins I have a large box that I keep in our sun room. A sewing and drawing studio is my DREAM that I am sure is going to COME TRUE one day. One day, but that day is not here just yet.

So for now I am going to keep creating in the warmth and coziness of our home, mostly in the living room or not far from the kitchen. :-) The lack of dedicated working space does not stop me from making things and building up my fabric stash. I know I already have more fabric than I need for my planned projects, but nothing can stop me, especially when one of the shops is conveniently located and the choice is quite good.

So good that I was lucky enough to find this fabrics by Belle & Boo in Spotlight the other day. The prints above are: Woodland Walk, Pirate Games, Tea Party and Ava and Friends. The drawings are amazingly sweet. I thought it would be hard to think of something to make using this materials because the prints are quite large and I do not really make things for little kids, but to my surprise the hardest part was cutting this fabric. I felt so sorry. I am going to buy some more, if I am lucky, and just keep it, because I like it so much. Do you have your absolute favourite fabric that you can't part with? Come back soon to see what I am making using these pretties.

Wednesday 17 July 2013

A Little Bit of Warmth and Lavender

I can't believe how long it took me to finish this small project. Not the actual time of working on it but the time to get started. I was distracted with too many things lately - ideas, plans, projects and even unexpected gifts that caused even more pleasant distractions. But right now I am glad that finally I managed to find a couple of hours to complete these cute heat packs while watching an old movie.

The heat packs will make a lovely gift. They are filled with beautifully scented lavender flowers, buckwheat and barley. I love the scent of lavender. It's refreshing and soothing at the same time, it's sweet and slightly spicy, fruity and floral. Have you ever received a heat pack as a gift? I have and I really enjoyed it on cold winter nights and as a relieve for my sore back.

These bags are small, about 19cm by 11cm. I used free motion machine stitching for the plants and added just a few hand stitches to give a bit of colour to the flowers. I could not stay away from my favourite running stitch that goes around all edges in a lovely deep green shade.

It all started with a drawing of Plantago and Clover. Beautiful plants that you can find almost anywhere in the world. They always fill me with sweet childhood memories. I did not know where these sketches would end up, I just took one step at a time while enjoying the process of sketching, stitching and sewing. But I am happy with where Plantago and Clover are now. Have a wonderful creative day!

Saturday 13 July 2013

Funky, Wonky, Crazy Cat

... with a red tummy.

Here is a different style of a Funky, Wonky, Crazy Cat Lunch/Snack Bag. An applique for the tummy has been added for a splash of colour as requested by my son. To give this bag a more structured shape, a topstitch has been added to all side and bottom edges.

The flap is stitched on on the front of the bag and closes on the back with a prong snap. Note to Self: I might use a magnetic fastener next time, it would be much easier to close and open the bag. I really like them more than any other type of snaps and on top of that I have a whole bag full of them. I am off to work on something exciting. Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday 11 July 2013

Fabric Stash New Additions

It's been a while since I shared any new additions to my fabric stash with you. I am afraid that fabric shopping is becoming a serious problem; I simply cannot help myself when I see a pattern or colour I like. This is someone who does not really like shopping. Sometimes I buy material that I need for a planned project, sometimes I buy it only because I like it.

The stripy red and green fabrics were bought for two projects that I am working on at the moment. The beautiful bright flowery fabric, on the other hand, was bought only because I loved the colour combination of pink, green and pale yellow and the flower pattern too. I just had to have it.

The second fabric from the top was bought for a specific little project, a traditional Russian doll that I would like to make one day. I came across a picture and instructions on the net and thought it was rather cute. The material is meant for a head scarf. The bright orange and blue with flowers and orange specks might end up as a make-up bag. Maybe. The top and the bottom fabrics I bought only because I liked the look and feel of it. Do you have more fabric than you need? Happy stashing everyone!