Friday, 16 September 2011

Sentimental Journey

I haven't posted in ages because, to tell you the truth, I haven't managed to finish anything!  I go through periods like that with umpteen projects on the go and none finished.  It is very depressing and I hate it. 

The end is now in sight for a number of projects though and this is the first;

I am trying to put together a gallery wall in our sitting room that is a mixture of cool images and photographs, maybe a bit of cross stitch etc.  It will be a long process but I finished the first original image that I want to include.

Hubby and I celebrate our tenth wedding anniversary this year and to try and highlight that I decided that I want to include the lyrics to "our" song (and the only dance at our entire wedding!).  I wanted them to look subtle and modern instead of sugary and sentimental though. 

I'm pretty pleased with it and still think that "The Way You Look Tonight" is a beautiful song.  Hopefully I'll post a picture of it in our gallery before too long!

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

"Stocking" up for Christmas!

The Shop which I work for (C&H Fabrics in Winchester) has been getting all of it's Christmas stock in since the beginning of July.  Although this is depressing in one respect it has provided me with some crafting fun recently, in the shape of a store employee competition!

To promote our range of Christmas fabrics and crafts we employees were challenged to make a Christmas stocking decorated in anyway we chose.  The store provided us with a basic pattern and fabric for the stocking and it's cuff.  After that we were on our own!  The idea being that the staff would each vote anonymously for their favourite.  After that they would all be displayed in a shop window.

The Fabric that I was provided with.  I chose a design that I felt would make a good background, rather than dominate!
I have to admit that once the initial excitment of the competition in principle died down I was more than a bit intimidated!  You have to understand that I work with some extremely talented people who have been crafting a lot longer than I have and who are EXTREMELY talented in many fields (If you want to see what I mean pop over to Fairy Thoughts or Here's One I Made Earlier...). 

My intimidation was completed by my summer holiday, during which time I had zero ideas and forgot about the thing completely only to remember it in a complete panic when we got home!  In the end I gave up on getting and inspiration and just laid out the pattern and cut it out, hoping that something would pop into my mind.

Seeking inspiration...please!
After a couple of restless nights thinking about what to do time was running short and I was down to one week to get the blessed thing done (eeek, where did that go!)

To cut a  long story short I am still not sure when inspiration finally struck but I got up on the Wednesday morning and decided that I'd better do something! (The finished stocking was due in by the following Saturday).  Having limited time available made me want to use only techniques that I was comfortable with and so I settled on applique.

Last year at work I had fallen in love with an adorable book "Make Me, I'm Yours...Christmas" and bought it.  I has lots of fantastic ideas in it and I particularly love some of the little characters like the Gingerbread men.  I got the outline of the letters from their and cut them out in felt.  I then stitched round with starnded embroidery cottons in contrasting colours.

Detail of the lettering from the final stocking.
I then ironed on "crisp" interfacing and sewed the trim together as per the instructions. 

When it came to making up the stocking itself time constraints meant that I didn't have time to line it, which I was originally planning to do.  I cut out the felt Christmas Tree and raided my ribbon and trims box for things to use as "tinsel".

After playing around with the trims for a while I used fabric glue to glue the chosen ones into position. When they were dry I appliqued them onto the stocking panel, again stitching around the outside with a contasting stranded cotton.

After that all that remained was to repeat on the other side (well, I didn't know which way it would be hung up facing!) and put the whole thing together.  Almost all that remained!

I nervously submitted my entry to the competition the next day and was VERY relieved to find that it didn't look too poor in comparison with the others (whew!)  The stocking were judged by anonymous vote by our peers and the winner was.......

Not me!  Natalie, one of our Saturday girls won, and deservedly so. What made it even more fantastic though was that she was leaving about a week after that to become a full time primary school teacher after 5 years at C&H.

The following Tuesday the window display was put up inviting all our crafty customers to come and buy their supplies for Christmas crafting.  I have to say it looked fabulous and no-one has even complained that it's only August!

Now I am leaving Christmas alone for a couple more months!

Friday, 12 August 2011

New Toys!

Well, I'm back and raring to go!  We had a wonderful holiday, if too short.

Just before we went away I downloaded the Picasa software that many other bloggers talk about and have been itching to give it a try.

What better for a first attempt than to practice on my holiday photos!

Be gentle if you comment please.  Remember it is my first attempt!
Posted by Picasa

Friday, 29 July 2011

No more worries for a week or two...

Finally it's here, my long anticipated family summer holiday!  We're off tomorrow to France, (just east of Paris in fact!), for ten days.

Sadly that means blog withdrawal symptoms for me but hopefully I'll come home with loads of ideas and photos to make things from!

Bon Voyage!

Monday, 25 July 2011

Four Letters for the Birthday Boy,

(as opposed to three cheers!)

The finished letters, alongside a (old) photo of Alex.
It is my Godson Alex's fifth birthday on the second of August and I like to make things for him while he is still young enough to like having things made for him.

Anyway, I bought these letters at the shop I work in.  I liked the shape of them better than some I have seen in other shops so I was really pleased when we started stocking them.

Alex is nuts about anything with an engine (planes, boats and trains) so "Thomas the Tank Engine" is a favourite.  I was lucky enough to get the "Thomas" fabric in the sale so it was considerably cheaper than normal, however all four letters covered with it proved to bit a bit much when I began experimenting.  Because of this Ibought some plain patchwork cotton in blue and green shades to match the colour of two of the engines in the books.

Looking on the internet at other examples of fabric covered letters I didn't like the way that fabric was inclined to bunch around corners and other "issues" I could see other people having.  Vaguely remembering an article I saw in "Making" magazine last year I cut the shapes of the letters from cereal packet cardboard before starting.  I could then use PVA glue and strips of fabric around the outline of the letters and then cover up the edges with the fabric covered cardboard cut out on the front.  I am really chuffed with the effect and I hope that Alex loves them!

A for Alex
Detail of the X showing the "false" front.

Happy Birthday Alex xxx

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Dick Whittington- Village Panto 2011

It is an incredibly long time ago now but Panto went off beautifully.  It was a hilarious week for all concerned (audience, cast and crew!).  I was so proud of my two performers and the Parrot held up pretty well!

I designed the sets and painted most of them with a small team of incredible helpers and they seemed to be well received too. I have asked them to choose a panto without so many scenes next year though (five full backcloths, four partial ones plus flats was a tall order and had to be started in October!)

Olde London Towne!

Action Parrot -Take 1
Alderman Fitzwarren's Kitchen...and some unusual sausages!

All singing, all dancing Parrot (and Hubby!)
Action Parrot-Take 3
All aboard the HMS Lollipop!
Waiting nervously in the wings.
The Sultan's Palace

In the Jungle
The FANTASTIC back stage crew!

Anyway, as promised, some action shots courtesy of our show photographers...

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

It's Panto Time - Oh no it isn't!

Well, it's village panto time again and that means that I am on duty as set designer and chief artist.  It also it means that Ed (long suffering husband) is learning lines and number one daughter seems to be doing dance routines in her sleep!

Anyway, Ed is a ship's captain in this year's Dick Whittington and no gnarly old sea dog is complete without a Parrot.  I really didn't fancy sewing one so the hunt was on for a knitting pattern.  Finally found one in Kath Dalmeny's "World of Knitted Toys" book (second hand through Amazon marketplace for £0.01 plus p&p, genius!).

Anyway finally finished the darn thing and pretty pleased with the result!  Hope to post some action shots of the stunt parrot later!