aged paper, bouquet, flowers, paper flowers, projects, recycling, steam punk, wedding

Paper flower bouquets tutorial

My daughter is having a Steam punk wedding so I made these little bouquets for her bridesmaids. They are made from an old card games book! I have to admit I had to overcome a lot of hesitation to actually tear out the pages of a book, but the paper was a dream to work with. 

To make your own bouquet you need, 
1 old book with parchment type paper
I flower punch 
11 Brass buttons
1 dried flower cone
Florist wire
Florist tape
Matching ribbon

Wire cutters 
Round nosed pliers
Glue gun


I have a wonderful clutter bug which made the cutting out of the flowers very easy but any flower punch will do or you can just use the template on this tutorial and use scissors. You can stack the pages to make it easier and cut a few out at a time.

Then take a button and place it in the centre of the flower and pass the wire through the back of the flower. There are two types of button the ones that work best have a shank at the back that makes it easy to pass the wire through. If you have a normal two or four holed button then pass the wire through two holes and then push the wire through the centre of the flower from the front to the back. 
Using the florist tape wind the tape around both wires to secure the button, work up slowly until the tape has secured the button to the flower. Cut the ends of the wire to size. 
Gently fold the flower petals upwards so they curve gently round the flower. If you are using wider petals (like roses) you can use an embossing tool to gently smooth the outer edges of the flowers which gives a realistic curve. 
If you want a more aged effect you can gently brush the outer edges of the petal with some distressing ink. 

Once you have made your eleven (or any odd number) of flowers, press them into your cone, start with one in the middle then add three in equal parts around it, then fill in the spaces with other flowers until you have a pleasing bunch.

It helps if you put the cone in a tall glass or vase to keep it steady and upright while you work. 
Finally cut out the leaves, using the template and attach one half then using the cut, shape the leaf and glue the other half so that the leaves are curved. You can use more leaves if you wish but four makes it look fairly even. Use a paint brush and distressing ink to age the leaves if you wish. 
Wrap the ribbon round the stem of the holder, gluing as you go. It might help to start with a small strip across the end, then use a sharp angle to wrap the ribbon along the base finishing just under the leaves. 
Templates for flowers and leaves can be emailed on request. 

Advertisements
creativity, doodling, drawing, fun, inspiration, Picasso, projects, relaxation

Oodles of Doodles

I bought this lovely doodling book; I can’t always get out my paints – there are times when I simply want to switch off for a while but only have ten minutes to spare. These little pages encourage creativity in bite sized pieces, I find it relaxing because I am not focussed on the outcome. I was told my my friend M that it is the most relaxing activity you can do, she is a fan of colouring in books.

 Doodling is a great way to develop your drawing style; it is often by accident I come across something lovely to develop. Playing is under-rated – as adults we are discouraged to do so – but without it we close ourselves of to discovery and free expression.

Take a simple page of colourful circles, it was really blissful to play with the shape and it is amazing how a few lines can change the shape.  I also enjoy playing with my large pot of crayola crayons, they blend so nicely – because they are crayons there is no pressure to create a ‘work of art’ it is all about play. Picasso says that ‘everyone is an artist, the skill is to remain so when you grow up’ 
Sunrise – crayola crayons

Adventures, Charlotte Lyons, cotton, fabric, Kokka, linenen, project, projects, Robert Kaufman, sewing, Trefle, union jack, vintage

Saturday Shopping

It was my birthday on Friday and lovely A gave me a voucher to spend at the Eternal maker, so I spent Saturday afternoon browsing round the delights of the shop, I adore the table laden with china cups filled with  a wide variety of buttons, or the cosy corner of ribbons of every tone and shade which makes me feel like a hunter gatherer if only for fabric, ribbon and felt.  Saturday was such a dull overcast day, typical of January that it was a lovely way to spend the afternoon, T came along too and we followed the visit with tea and cake in a nearby cafe to thaw our fingers and toes. (If you intend a visit it is well worth investing in several layers, the shop is not very warm and I had to give up once the cold had seeped into my bones!) 
The biggest difficulty I have is can be a struggle to find fabric and notions that match my ideas, I have lost count of the number of times I have desperately searched the shelves of fabric stores only to have to give up my project simply because the fabric to bring it to life is elusive. Ideas often perplex shop keepers, I have often heard them exclaim “no-one has ever asked me that in all my years owning this shop” or “why on earth would you want to do that?” so EM is a welcome relief, the staff are so helpful and when I told them what I had in mind, their expert knowledge of the wide range of fabric for sale, some of which journeys from as far away as Japan; soon had me smiling with pleasure. Not only that, but suggestions and exchange of ideas flowed easily, I always feel I leave the shop with a friend behind me. 

I gathered these lovely cotton ribbons together, I was particularly delighted with the red and blue ribbon at the bottom because it was exactly what my project needed. 

This fabric is called the vintage workshop, I love the combination of pattern pieces alongside vintage sewing instructions. It is an Amy Barakman design from Red Rooster fabrics. 

I simply could not resist this Trefle crazy sewing pattern by kokka, my inner compulsiveness struggles with the upside-down design, but I love the retro colouring and style. It reminds me of the french schoolbook I had back in the seventies!  I love this pattern because it offers so many colour combinations to pick out from the lovely bright reds to the pale blues and lime green. 
These lovely notions are so beautiful that I will struggle to cut this design up! I love the little buttons and the keys, it is simply delightful. It is a Charlotte lyons design from Blend, called walnut farm. 
So that is most of my supplies in order, now with a little sketching and research, I am almost ready to begin, but I can’t tell you what it is just yet, you shall have to wait and see. 

applique, bag, embroidery, hand made, hand sewing, hand stitched, heart and home, lingerie, projects, sewing

Naughty but nice – Applique

There are times when I am rushing through a project and my sewing machine is going great guns  it is all about getting the project done but hand sewing seems to be the opposite. It means that you have to take your time, enjoy the process of creation one stitch at a time. I made this project one sunny afternoon in our little caravan, the appliqué is entirely hand stitched right down to the beads and ribbon bow, but the bag itself is machine stitched.  I use it to keep all my tights handy as they seem to end up all over the place. It is unashamedly girlie but then I am a girl after all. 
cotton, crochet, heart and home, learning, life lessons, projects, roses, tea cosy, WI, wool

Roses and tea

I find that wool shops can be like stepping into an artists palette, the colours and hues really do excite me. There seems to be an endless variety of textures as well as colours and after years of seeing haberdasheries and wool shops disappearing, the new wave of knitters and hookers has seen an upsurge in new wool varieties, merino and alpaca as well as denim, but I have a liking for cotton type wool and this is called baby bamboo.

Choosing colour is difficult for some people they are daunted by the sheer magnitude but I find if you look at a range you will find that the shades and colours have a harmony. Such was the case with this, there were a beautiful palette of the baby colours, blues, yellows as well as greens. The pink has come out in this picture a lot brighter than it is naturally it is lovely. Very soft to work with and gentle on the hands.

I have a sweet little tea pot, from Whittards, its lovely blue and white but was being swamped under tea cosies made for stouter pots! I felt it was small enough to practise on!

I wanted to learn to crochet but I have a terrible problem understanding practical things from books,  I wish I had let my Nan show me when she wanted to, she made the most wonderful bed covers using the granny square!

Since she could not show me, I did the next best thing and I took myself off to a local WI where a lovely lady kindly showed me the basics. I was then able to decipher the books and learn new stitches, but I still struggle to follow patterns!

So this is my little journey into playing with various stitches, made from two straight easy pieces of plain crochet and some practice frills. The roses were great fun, as usual I went off the pattern to create my own rose  but I was pleased with the results.

Crochet is so much more free form than knitting, you can make holes, add frills or simply pull and it will all come undone and you can start again. It really is the most forgiving wonderful craft.

doll, Geisha, kit, Monsoon, projects, quilting, sewing

A little Geisha

Just look what I found in a charity shop, a pretty little dollie from Monsoon. It looks as if someone had a go at making her but lost interest just the sort of project I love. 
Now I don’t really need a doll, but I thought she would make a lovely doorstop. I used the soap powder bottle as a way of giving her a bit of stability and filled it with salt to add weight to so she can hold the door open. It was such a lovely little project to work on and she does do a grand job, don’t you think?

cord, designs, magazine, projects, recycling, redesign, revamp., sewing, skirt

Skirting around the issue

 I love the feel of cord, it is such a lovely soft fabric and it feels better as it ages. It is one of those comforting fabrics that you put on during the first chills of Autumn.

I discovered this little skirt in one of my regular haunts; I often look at the shape of something rather than the colour, I simply have never been a beige kind of person, but it was a very lovely skirt and it called to be given a new identity.

A line is such a flattering shape so I decided that I would change the colour and see what happened. The problem is that there are so few dye colours about, I had the choice of purple or fushia pink, (among others but not half as exciting!).

Since cord is mostly cotton it took well but the ribbon had changed colour and was rather insipid. Just when I was trying to think about what to do next I spotted a flower design on someone’s skirt. It gave me an idea.

I never tire of looking at other people’s clothes and have been known to admire the pleats in someone’s skirt or the detail on the sleeve. Most people find it odd when I complement them in that detail as most people simply say I like your skirt but then I have never been ordinary.

Sometimes that is how a project goes, I get so far and then I am not sure what to do next, but by sheer chance I had been invited to meet the editor of Sewing world. I had to come up with a number of ideas, and I had taken the skirt along together with an idea of my version of the flower. It was my first commissioned article and it did prove to be quite a challenge, my advice is to stick with your first idea!  Some would say, it is more my colour, some would say they could never wear something that bright, but I love it. More importantly, it is unique, recycled and feels so lovely and warm.

acrylic, art, canvass, painting, projects

poppy

This is the second poppy painting and my favourite, it is acrylic on canvass. I painted it as a wedding present for a friend of mine. I love the way the centre of the poppy seems to come out of the painting. I love poppies for their deep colour, this was my second painting ever, so I was very pleased with the results. Sometimes I wonder why I don’t do more painting! There are just not enough hours in the day. 

aromatherapy, gardening, heart and home, herbs, lavender, lavender bags, projects

Lavender Harvest

The front garden gets full sun and very little rain so I planted a lavender hedge all along the front which has thrived.

The problem comes is what to do with it all? It seems such a shame to let it go to waste. I wait until the bees have had their fill and then bring it in to dry for a while.

Then I remembered I had some pretty organza left over from when I made some nets. I also adore my little baby lock overlocker, it makes it so easy to make these pretty little bags. My friend Jo taught me how to make the lavender bottles.

Lavender is good for us in so many ways, not only is it a calming herb, but an anti-septic too. These little bags are great to keep in drawers or the wardrobe as they keep clothes smelling fresh and ensures the moths don’t take up residence in my favourite dress!

If you wish to find out more about lavender click here

clarke and clarke, cushion, doily, heart and home, project, projects, recycling, revamp., rocking chair, vintage

Cosy corner

Are you sitting comfortably? Then let’s begin!

This is a lovely corner of my little home. The rocking chair has been with me through many houses, when it was purchased it was a lovely light beech colour but my beloved at the time decided to use a dark stain on it. (you can scroll down to see it before it was revamped) It looked terrible and remained unloved until last year. I was moving into my own little home and deciding what needed to go or stay. I painted it pure white, and the thing I love about doing that is that the form of the piece is revealed. However, I just could not resist adding the blue polka dots to the paintwork, so easy to do! The cushions are made from gorgeous Clarke and Clarke and I love the fabric so much I bought quite a bit of it in its various guises.

If you want a co-ordinated look but not too co-ordinated, it is a good idea to buy the various different patterns of a make, not only with the tones and hues work, but they will go together well, after all that is what designers are paid for, their eye for colour and knowing instinctively what goes together.

The round cushion is one of my favourite creations manly because I love all the pretty doilies that you see in charity shops and car boot sales. Little pieces of art work, lovingly created for the bargain price of 50p.
This one is particularly lovely, it is blue, which makes it unusual, but it is also so perfectly formed with perfect tension. As a hooker myself, (the term I like to use for crocheters!) I can appreciate the sheer skill it has taken to make this delightful thing.

The difficulty is that we no longer use them in the same way, so while I could not pass up the chance to purchase these delights, I found they were stacking up in my studio with no real purpose. The rose material was a remnant, no bigger than a 1/4 metre, but I loved its vintage feel and so the rounded cushion was born. The white background was an old linen napkin. Another beautiful fabric I simply cannot resist, the quality surpasses anything you can buy now, and who uses napkins every day let alone linen ones. So I gathered these beauties together and came up with the cushion. You really don’t see many rounded cushions, so I was rather pleased with the way it came out.

The project itself was published in the May 2012 Edition of sewing world with the rocking chair published a month earlier in April. I think it is such a lovely seat to sit in and I have convinced myself that sitting and rocking while sewing burns enough calories to eat the odd biscuit or two and not feel guilty.

Here is the rocking chair before it was given a new lease of life.