Sunday, 29 December 2013

Stitching Sundays 17

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas. Stitching Sunday has come round again and I have a little more progress to share with you.  I have added in a few seed head-type plants in the mid ground.  I needed a bit of thinking time as I wasn't sure quite how to tackle these and my first thought was to applique some tiny pieces of felt in order to get the look I wanted.  However, in reality, the tiny pieces of felt just didn't work at all.
(It probably doesn't look much in this photo, so I have added a couple of close ups below in order that all my hard work will be easier to see!)
 I turned to the trusty split stitch for the stem and then double french knots at the base of the stem, moving to single french knots towards the top.  I used six wraps round the needle to make the french knots bigger.
Although I did have a few issues when the thread decided to helpfully get tangled right in the middle of the knot construction, (and this happened quite a few times) I am pleased with the result, which adds more texture to the embroidery as well.  I am slowly moving onwards and the next thing will be the dandelion seed heads.  I have tried these already, with no success at all, so am going to use one piece of thread, rather than my usual three, so that I should get a more delicate stitch.  That is the hope, anyway.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Merry Christmas!

I was busy making a cake this morning and thought how appropriate this seasonal golden syrup tin was.  I hope that you all have a wonderful Christmas; baking, eating and enjoying being with your families.
Merry Christmas!

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Stitching Sundays 16

 Amazingly, I have actually started stitching onto my felt background and I am quite pleased with the effect so far.  I started with the large seed heads at the back and the intention is to move to the middle ground and finish with the foreground, building up the stitching in layers.
I have used my favourite split stitch and french knots for these seed heads and I feel that it looks quite effective. Although the thread looks white in the photo, it is a pale beige colour which echoes the colours of the original seed heads in the original roadside verge.  I hope to make some more progress for next week, but at least I have finally got it started!

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Finally...the Christmas Tree is up!

 I have finally got round to putting the Christmas Tree up (there were times when I thought it would never happen!)  Traditional red and gold but also various little bits and pieces we have collected or been given.  I do admire beautifully colour co-ordinated trees, but it just isn't me!  While I was busy with assembling the tree, Scruffy was very interested in the box.
 He decided it would make a perfect little bed...
Doesn't he look comfy?
 Perhaps the other part of the box is better?
He just about managed to squish himself in  - he has filled out a lot and the vet told us he is overweight, (but I blame the steroids he has to have for his itchy skin), as he is pretty active and doesn't seem to eat that much. However, we don't know what he does or who he might go to, once he goes out prowling!
Here is a close up with two new decorations from the Christmas Cracker swap, which look lovely!  I think I feel a bit more ready for Christmas now, although I need to wrap the family presents and write their cards, oh, and finish making a present for a friend...hmm, on second thoughts, perhaps I'm not quite there yet!

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Christmas Cracker Swap 2013

I have just taken part in Tracy's (from Mad About Bags) Christmas Cracker Swap.  I first joined the swap last year and thoroughly enjoyed it, so was hoping she would run it again.  This year, I was partnered with Jille.  We emailed each other to find out addresses for posting and discovered we lived reasonably close to each other so would meet up to swap, rather than post.  We had the grand meet up yesterday and enjoyed a cup of tea and an hour long natter - it felt like we'd known each other for years.
 Here's Jill's cracker to me - doesn't it look beautiful?  It almost seemed a shame to open it...almost! The Noel decoration will be going on my tree (when I eventually get round to putting it up!)
 Look at all these goodies - it is amazing what can be fitted into the inside of a kitchen roll.  The fabric was really pretty too - white with little green circles.
 Beads, a flower ring, a gingerbread man brooch, a red spotty heart decoration and a crocheted mistletoe brooch...
 a vintage sewing kit in a pretty tin, some chocs and a Christmas snow globe.
 I am ridiculously excited to have my very own snow globe!  Thank you so much to Jill - what a wonderful selection of gifts!
 Here's my cracker for her.
Cosmos seeds, Christmas ribbons, sequins, embroidery threads, chocolate coins (I fitted as many as I could in, but couldn't quite squeeze the whole bagful in there!), a felt heart, a chocolate reindeer, a polymer clay star decoration and some earrings.
This was a lovely swap to take part in and I hope that Tracy will be running it again next year.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Stitching Sundays 15

I have made a little progress this week, but not as much as I would have liked.  I have been really busy at work and have only just got around to writing Christmas cards!  Decorations will be going up in the next couple of days, I hope.  So, enough excuses, what have I done?  I looked at the original photo and then did my trick of using a scanned image to draw the design on.  Unusually for me, I only drew one design.  I used a white pen as the background was so dark, so that I could see what I was doing, but the stitching won't be in white - I'll use the photo for inspiration in choosing colours.
 Here is the design, which I am really happy with.  It will probably change as I start actually stitching,  but I am hoping to keep the busy feeling of all the grasses at the front.  I am intending to have some dandelion-type things in the mid ground and some more detailed feathery grasses as well.  I think the stitches will be relatively simple; stem stitch, split stitch, seed stitches, perhaps satin stitch (or a variation on that), couching and french knots.
So, as you can tell, although I haven't stitched yet, I have been doing lots of thinking and decision-making. Now I'm ready to start the stitching, I think!

Monday, 9 December 2013

Stitching Sundays 14

 The eagle-eyed amongst you may have spied that it is, indeed, Monday, not Sunday.  I am making a bit of a habit of this just lately (I blame Christmas preparations which do seem to be rather taking over).  I don't actually have any visible progress on my latest project to show you, but I have been getting more inspiration, from a lovely book (which is a Christmas present to me from Chris, but which I couldn't resist having a sneaky peek through).  It has some lovely designs which sent my brain whizzing again! Details can be found here.
How about this for my design?  Perfect, isn't it?
Then I noticed this one as well.  I think the seed stitch is so effective here.  There are lots more fabulous designs in the book, which I'll save up for other projects.
I think I need to sketch out a design for my felt piece - I could just dive into the embroidery, but I think I would be happier with some sort of  basic plan.  That's my next job and hopefully, next Sunday I may have even started the stitching and have something to show you!

Saturday, 7 December 2013

A bit of a funny week

It has been a bit of a funny week this week.  Not funny, ha ha, but funny, odd.  I have had lots of creative ideas whizzing round my head, but when I have tried things, they just haven't quite worked the way I  had hoped. I am also feeling rather inadequate when it comes to Christmas as I have only managed to buy one present so far, haven't written any cards and am not feeling at all christmassy.  Oh dear, this sounds a bit like a moan! I feel a bit like Fanny Cornforth (above) does - a bit listless - although she is also waiting for the man she loves to come and visit her (it is a study for 'Fair Rosamund'), so that may have something to do with her expression.  I haven't even started my Stitching Sundays project - not one stitch done yet!
There's only one thing to do when you feel like this on a Saturday night - watch Strictly Come Dancing!!

Having just published my slightly moany post, my week has suddenly got a lot better as my lovely husband had to go to the supermarket to get some supplies for pickled pear making and came home with these for me!  48 Jaffa Cakes - yum!

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Stitching Sundays 13

 I think I have finally decided on my next Stitching Sunday project (although I do need to make some winter decorations for my seasonal tree as well).  It all started with the photo above which I thought would make a good felt piece with some embroidered grasses and seed heads.
 I made the felted background, incorporating lots of interesting bits and pieces to add texture and depth, including silk, tweed, yarn and randomly placed threads.  So far, so good, I thought.
 Then, as the tutor from my art course had taught me (she'd be pleased with me!), I started to jot down ideas and make little drawings to find the right design for the embroidery.
I carried on doodling and sketching and couldn't quite decide what I wanted to do.
I made notes when I saw images in shops or in adverts.  Then, I started to get nervous.  My embroidery skills weren't terribly advanced and I was worried I would ruin the felt. How could I get the image to look right?  Perhaps I should just think about it a bit more.  That was in 2010!  I did think about it, in 2011 and 2012, but somehow, no progress was made. So, I am feeling brave and now I think I must get it done.  I am more confident about my skills and if it doesn't look right, I can always unpick it and have another go.  So, this is going to be my next project and it may take me a few weeks to get it done (it has waited this long, so I don't think it will matter if it takes me a few weeks!)
Wish me luck and I'll post my progress.