long weekends

Having Friday off school due to snow has led to a fun extended weekend for us. Friday was a fantastic yet exhausting day of tobogganing culminating in an impromptu sleep-over with five teenage boys, equally as exhausting - for me. They made a pancake feast Saturday morning and sort of even tidied up afterwards, in a teenage boy kind of way.

Riding for G on Saturday turned into mostly more tobogganing on the fantastic Quantock hills. Now some of the snow has melted but it's still so pretty. More is forecast for tomorrow so the children are crossing every finger and toe for an even longer weekend.

Today mummy has refused to go anywhere. After doing the usual morning chores and returning the most necessary emails I've snuck back to bed with my coffee and stitching. I've been into faces lately, not sure why the faces haven't become complete dollies but I'm sure they will eventually.

Though I've been working a lot lately, this week I'll enjoy squeezing in a project for Whip Up, Action Pack; they have a "water" issue coming up and I know it will be another great one.

I hope your weekend has been fun filled too.

Jx

PS, I'm trying out the Typepad app for iPhone, I can't see a way to make links in it and this post might end up looking odd too!

long weekends

long weekends

long weekends

long weekends


Thanks and blues

Voodoo felting
voodoo felting

This is one of those weeks where lots was accomplished but not in a tangible sense. Lots behind the scenes stuff that just needs doing. As well as planning, designing and the usual busy family stuff.

I wanted to say thanks to everyone for the incredibly kind words about the moths both here and on Facebook too. It's fun to get such great feedback on something I loved doing. And thank you to those who made kind donations for the full pattern set too, it's always appreciated.

The tiny stitching above is a thank you gift I whipped up. I know hog weed is considered a pest here in the UK but I love the structure of it, especially in skeleton form that we're left with come autumn.

The other images are from last weekend when I had a few hours on my own and I spent them at Kilve. The landscape there is all consuming, I could spend all day at Kilve and feel like I'd just arrived.

We're off this afternoon to see this show in Cardiff.  Green Day are one of T's favourite bands, he can play all their songs, but we didn't think we could swing it for the price of the tickets. We happened to see an offer for three tickets for next to nothing by someone in a neighbouring village who couldn't go. Now we get to go – someone up there likes us :)

Better run, have a great weekend.

Jx

Hog weed stitching
hog weed stitching

Rock formations
rock formations, kilve

Natural paving
natural paving


mending moth holes with moths, a short tutorial

Shoulder-moth

This was meant for a magazine last year but the mending theme for the issue changed and I was too busy to follow it up so I happily tucked it away to share here for another day. 

I often wear huge sweaters around the house with lots of layers underneath. My wintertime mantra is the same as my father's when I was young and complained about a cold house "Put on more clothes." This particular sweater was discarded by it's previous owner when his beer belly outgrew it so I snapped it up to layer with. Unfortunately the moths nibbled a big hole in the shoulder and some smaller ones in the front.

Hypoprepia Moth sample
Lisa took some amazing moth pictures a while back and I thought, I might not mind moth holes so much if they were made by those beauties. Then thought, why not cover up the holes with those beauties (I wouldn't choose the ugly little grey critters that really make the holes).

So I made some drawings of my favourites and pulled them into Illustrator, I was pleased with the way they turned out as line art. I then did some watercolour sketches of my moth selection and created a new pattern set of five moths. So I offer you up one moth patch, click here to download. If you'd like the whole page of five moth illustrations with my watercolour sketch as a guide they're available on my pattern page. Moth watercolour sml sample

On this sweater I've used two moth patches. The patch above (antheraea polyphemus) I made by embroidering on to felt and needle felting a body. The patch on the front (gnophaela vermiculata) is mostly needle felted with a little black stitched detailing.

This is how to make the patches

  1. First cut out the moth shape from paper.
  2. Then trace it onto a piece of felt or felted wool that is a similar colour to the moth body. I find a ball point (biro) pen the best tool for tracing onto felt. You will want to either cut off the pen mark or stitch over it to hide it.
  3. Next cut around the moth, not right on the line, leave space around it.
  4. Then fill in the moth with embroidery stitches and/or needle felting. I used both embroidery and needle felting for both of these patches.
  5. Referring to a picture of the moth, pick up the thread and start drawing with it. Just start stitching, if you haven't freehand stitched before you'll be surprised at how your hands can use the needle like a pencil. Moths are a particularly good subject to try this with because they are symetrical and therefore easier to position each element in.
  6. When you finish the details of your moth, cut it out, close to the edge but not right on it.
  7. Next prepare your hole for your patch. I mended the holes with a simple darning stitch using mending wool. If you've never mended a sweater before I just searched around for tutorials and found this one on Martha Stewart but any vintage family sewing book should show you. The mending step might seem silly since the hole will be covered up, but mending it first will help your sweater withstand future washes better.
  8. Using mending wool or a couple of strands of embroidery thread, cover your mended hole with the patch and hand stitch around it. Be careful of your tension while stitching. If you pull the thread too tight while stitching the sweater will pucker around the patch, too loose and the patch won't look tidy.
  9. Finally, add the antenae straight on to your sweater being sure to start your stitches under the top of the moth's head to hide the join, again, watch the tension in your stitching.

Mending tutorial

Hope you have a go. If you download the pattern let me know how you use it, or add an image to the Created with Nini Flickr Group. I'm no nature Illustrator so this art is not exactly accurate for the purists out there, the gnophaela vermiculata for example is much bluer than a real one, but my water colour dried darker than I thought it would and you know I love my blues :)

If you do regular mending and you're on Flickr, join Scrapiana's Big Mend Flickr group to share your mends. She also recently posted a moving piece about sandblasted jeans on her blog; read it, I gaurantee you will shop more carefully for jeans in the future, I know I will.

Happy Wednesday!

Jx


wordless weekend

A gift
some crewel from a SWEET friend

8ccbeae40fda11e292a722000a1e8b14_7
duck friends at the stables

Stable art
horses appreciate art too

Penelope & hens
Penelope and friends

Front step
Last blooms at our front door, frost coming soon

Not really too wordless. The fantastic crewel stitching was gifted to me by a friend. I had my eye on it at a charity fair for a local hospice today and she swooped in and secretly purchased it for me. It was in an ugly frame behind glass which I've already stripped off so this pretty bird will become a new cushion instead. I think she looks like autumn, don't you?

The other images are from the stables where Gracie rides on Saturdays. The place is full of photo opps and could be the scene for story books. Picture a child (Gracie) holding a sandwich, a chicken runs up, steals it from her hand, Penelope the basset hound chases the chicken for the sandwich then a runner duck chases Penelope. The dog wins, she always wins ~ you can't leave the kitchen door open, Penelope's a thief. True story.

Lastly, an image of our blooms next to our front door. The ground looks very weedy there, it kind of is. Those are cobblestones and hell to weed. The tiny daisies at the bottom right grow all over the village in every nook and cranny. I'm told they're from Mexico, the climate in Somerset is mild enough for them to thrive.

I've been playing with apps for camera phone images. Though these were uploaded to Instagram, I played with the bottom three in a couple of new to me apps first, they are Snapseed (I've just read Google acquired them a couple weeks ago) and VSCO CAM. I'm probably late to the party here because I'm not up on app news at all, but some of you may not know of them yet. I didn't note what I did to each of them but the changes were fairly subtle, which is the whole reason I like both of these apps. Changes to images can be slight creative enhancements instead of the somewhat over the top options available on Instagram. If you don't have either of these but want more control over your camera images give them a try. Out of the two of them, Snapseed has the edge in my book. 

If you Instagram, let me know, I'm @ninimakes

Not wordless at all.

Back  in the coming week for sure with my little wool related tutorial.

Jx

 


autumn bouquet and getting caught in the rain

Dandy-dahlias

I feel like the luckiest girl. My sweet friend brought me a huge bunch of the prettiest dahlias you've ever seen and, took me to the hair salon. Seems it was time for my grey to go. I was voted out by all who see me on a daily basis, and now that it's done (first time in many, many months) I must say they were right. This sweet friend has been one of many real rocks, and she always goes above and beyond. I'm lucky.
Wet-dog
Yesterday I had one of those walks where it was so sunny when we left and the rain came out of nowhere. Pippi and I waited it out a while under a tree.
New-babe
And today, I got to see another brand new baby alpaca, she was born this morning. I can't believe this petite mama gave birth to such a big girl. Petting a baby alpaca is like touching the clouds, soft and heavenly. Naomi was helping keep the baby warm and encouraging nursing and the mama just kept reaching everywhere to give her new babe kisses, like a human mum I thought.
Can you guess?
Here's a sneakiy peek at the wool related project I have coming up. Can you guess what it might be? I have a feeling one or two of you will.
Happy Friday to you!
Jx

Cold walks & a sweet new zine

Icey thistles
Tristan is ripping out a Metallica song upstairs on his guitar, Gracie is washing her hair and Pippi is tucked up next to me hogging the heater, so I'm stealing a few moments to post some images from a very frosty walk I took yesterday morning. It was one of those mornings that looked like snow at first glance and you just know an extra layer will be needed.

Frosty walk

Frosty branches

I half expected a Snow Queen to pop out from behind a tree somewhere.

Now onto a much less subdued image, a new zine by Nicole, from Follow the White Bunny and Carina from Carina's Craftblog; the pair have teamed up to start &Stitches.
Issue1CoverWhen Nicole contacted me a couple of months back to be one of the crafters featured in their first issue I didn't hesitate, I knew their new zine would be fun and first rate and when I received it I wasn't disappointed. It's bright and cheerful and full of tips and talented stitchy people like the authors themselves. The zine also includes patterns like the fishies below – I'm seeing this one on a beach bag.

The first issue is all about colour and it's a cracker. In their own words "&Stitches is a quarterly e-zine, all about modern stitching. It has a strong focus on Embroidery (and yes that includes all kinds of Embroidery!) but other (hand) sewing projects and themes are definitely on the map too."

I'm looking forward to future issues, this stitchy zine is off to a fantastic start. Now hop on over and pick yourself up a copy here.

Issue1FeaturePattern


Nearly there

Short scarf
Short scarf

We had a lovely early Christmas with the UK family on Sunday so I can show a few of the items I've finished so far. The short winter scarf was cut from a thrifted cashmere sweater and I lined it with a vintage silk scarf. It's probably the gift I most want to repeat to make one for myself.

I'm working all out now to finish a couple things for Gracie and the American family because we're off to California at the end of this week. I'm sure most of you are busy with last minute preparations too.

Finished booties
Finished Purl Bee booties

These booties were simple and fun and both children want grown-up versions of them, think I'll have to find some very big felted jumpers for that job. The pattern is here.

MakingForChristmas
Gifting

It's been really great diving into my boxes and tins of stash I have tucked away all over the house to make gifts. This year I've already sculpted clay, needle felted, made jewelry, sewn, embroidered, lino printed and baked. Feels good to use only the resources I have on hand. I've so far only had to buy one zipper (for a gift not shown) and I've made 17 gifts. That means I've been either very resourceful or I'm a HUGE hoarder of stash. I prefer to believe the resourceful one ;)

The Black Apple dolls above are from Emily Martin's pattern and far quicker than patterns I've drafted myself so I recommend them if you need some quick gifts for little people. The pattern is here. The pencil case above and doll on the left are made from my favourite vintage tea towel, they were for two sisters.

I have had to buy some gifts though because I find teenage boys challenging to make things for and there are seven of them on my list! 

I hope your own lists are being nicely checked off and you're either finishing all you've planned or throwing your hands up with a smile and drinking mulled wine instead.

Happy days to you,

Jx


Gifting

For teacher
For teachers

Gracie made a flower and bird ornament for her teacher. A repurposed embroidered tray cloth became a small gift bag with chocolates that the birdie snuggled into. Tristan's teacher is also his math teacher so he got a math themed bookmark.I'd like to tell you T made it himself, but he simply approved it. 

Purl Bee Booties WIP
Purl Bee booties 

So today winter break starts and happily the sun is back out and the fierce winds have died down, though I hear 70,000 homes are still without power up north. I'm now sitting here soaking in the warmth and savouring my last few hours of me time for the next month. I loved this simple baby bootie pattern from Molly's Sketchbook at Purl Bee. Lucky we have a brand new baby cousin that I can whip a pair up for so these are being finished.  

Also, I'm really loving these tinies from Lisa, these wonderful paintings by Claire Desjardins found via Erin and also the new Bookhou ceramics (though I think they're all gone already). And these fun marshmallow reindeer lollies look so simple they'll be added to our vacation activites. (found via Pinterest).

Now I'm off to make some dough for dinner, it's going to be Friday night pizzas for us.

Happy weekend to you,

Jx


A new, old pattern and a visitor

Wild skies & rainbows

We've had some wild skies lately. With extraordinary images like this one it's easy to see how one could expect to see magical little people living in this landscape. 

Gnomebody's-home
Log cabin Gnomebody's Home cushion

Gnomebody's-Home-sampleYou may recognize this pattern and cushion, I made it at least three years ago.
I wanted to offer up this "Lights are on but gnomebody's home" pattern then but I started to feel a little gnomed-out, by the time I went to put it online gnomes were e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e!

A sweet person called Ruth stitched this one up for me to test the pattern but I can't find her blog any more to link to. She's since gone off to start uni so she's probably now involved in busy studenty stuff. Click on the cushion image to make it larger and see what a beautiful job she made of it. 

I decided to get him out of hard drive storage, dust him off and offer him up. The pattern can be found here.

Gnome homes

Everywhere I look while I walk this time of year seems I see places that could be home to fairies, gnomes and sprites – hopefully no trolls. Little mossy logs and toadstool villages are perfect homes. These agarics are from a few weeks ago and I thought we'd have no more after our warm spell, but I spotted new ones yesterday, also loads of parasols in the grasses and earthballs in the woods. Lucky the frost hasn't set in too badly yet to finish off the fungi.

6245457185_e3b2df0e22

Now the leaves are copper and gold and hailing down. Soon they'll be gone and I haven't managed any nice images yet. Hopefully I'll get some in the coming week when I drag my sister up and down hills and through the woods with me. She's visiting from Texas where she now lives and there they've had several months of outrageously hot and dry weather – hope she packed her layers and her walking boots.

Hope you have a magical day :)

Jx


Mistletoe kisses, another pattern finished

Robins&mistletoe
Mistletoe Kisses pattern stitched on a linen tea towel

I finished stitching up this pattern using a loose lazy daisy stitch for the leaves and a small stem stitch for the branch. I'm not a fan of the stem stitch but I liked the way the smaller stitch length worked for this. The mistletoe stems are backstitch and the birds are split stitch, and of course, French knots for the berries. Appliqué is used for the red breasts and I toyed with filling in the birds but honestly I'm on a mission for finishing things at the moment, I also think it lends itself more to a vintage feel by not filling.

Mitsletoe-Robins

To receive this new pattern go to the Embroidery & Appliqué page here. It is available on a donation basis as all patterns on this page now are. I think I might have forgotten to say in my previous post that there is no minimum donation and also that Gracie will receive all the donations on patterns she has drawn.

In other news, this week is busy as I prepare for G's birthday and also the children are home for their half-term break but I'm hoping to squeeze in a day in the city to visit Jill. I also received a surprise package from Kay, thank you Kay – I really needed that chocolate treat this week and it's already gone. Also thank you Pam, everyone needs a cheerleader and friend like you.
And most importantly, if you know Sonia, she's had very sad news, you may want to send a message her way. 

Have a lovely week.

Jx