Saturday, December 31, 2011

Seeing out the old year with an old project

Baby cardigan by KittyStitch
Just finishing a 2 year old UFO. Personal circumstances at the time meant that I didn't have the heart to finish it. I came across it whilst tidying my studio a few days ago - all it needed was ends sewn in, blocking, sewing up and some buttons added. Now there is a new addition in my street who would welcome this to snuggle in to - and it is time for me to move on to the New Year and the future.
Happy New Year - hope 2012 has good things in store for everyone.

Purse handbag mini-wallet organiser/organizer thingie

Mini wallet loaded

I think I am perpetually confused in spelling and terminology thanks to being British but working for an American Corporation (where we spell things with a "zee") and reading lots of lovely US sewing blogs.

First I wanted a little organiser for my very small handbag which, during the week resides in my laptop bag but resides in a larger leather "proper" handbag at the weekend.  (hmmm should that translate as "I wanted a little organizer from my very small purse which, during the week resides in my laptop bag but resides in a larger leather purse at the weekend"?)

Purse organiser loaded

Sometimes I need to travel even lighter and just travel with something that holds a few cards and takes a few notes.  Of course this means in UK English I would need a small purse, however, is this correct as it wouldn't contain any coins?  It would more resemble a wallet (which is more the kind of thing a man would carry - men NEVER have purses).  Oh I don't know - it is something that stops my various credit and loyalty cards getting all mixed up in a pouch and keeps my banknotes from getting mixed up with my receipts, with pretensions towards being a wallet.

Off. To. Get. A. Life.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Re-use Fabric Swatch Coasters

Swatch coasters by KittyStitch
The coasters in my living room are starting to look a little worn, so I decided to whip up a set of quick fabric ones. I still had the original fabric swatches from when I was deciding on what curtain fabric to buy. Free fabric + half an hour = almost free coasters!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

7months, 7 hours, 70 minutes

Kindle Kover 2
7 months to procrastinate.
7 hours to rediscover horizontal surfaces in my sewing studio.
70 minutes to make.

This is similar to the one I made rather more promptly as part of a gift last March.  This time the Kindle cover is for me (I bought a Kindle for myself last May - hence 7 months).  I chose the fabrics after perusing my fabric stash and found I had enough of this Japanese print left over from a bag kit.  Lining from a fabric I got from my Grandma's fabric stash (via my Mum's).

Again a simpler version (no patchwork, no quilting) from this tutorial on Elizabeth's Whimsies.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

All but the parsnips

All our Christmas meal veggies are from the allotment.  Except for the parsnips, which we couldn't be bothered to phaff with.  Happy Christmas!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Friday, December 16, 2011

What I folded last Christmas

 Last Christmas I finally decided that this was the year I was going to implement an idea I had had for a few years.  A year or two previously I had tried it in another cubicle but I was sitting with bah humbugs. This particular year I was with more amenable people.  This was the year of the origami decorations:

Magazine Christmas Trees

I went for coffee one day and when I came back two more had sprang up!
Honestly, of all the things I did this was the most infectious.
Five pointed star - but first you need to fold yourself a regular pentagon.
This is not strictly origami, possibly more kirigami. 3D Snowflake.

Further origami Christmas ornaments: A simple ornament, via the origami resource center.

(oh yeah - we won some very tasty "fruit juice" which was appreciated in the last scrum of the year)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Iconic Celebration

Iconic Celebration
Heat treated organza on fabric fragments with machine and hand embroidery

This my entry for the "Art in the Park" competition at IBM Hursley as part of the IBM Centennial Celebrations. This was open to past and present employees and families. I won first prize! I present it here to show those who don't have access to the first floor of the house where it is currently displayed (or for those who, like me really don't have the time to trek that far).

I took the idea of fireworks as a form of celebration and brought it together with a selection of the icons of progress which IBM has been using to celebrate some of the many things the company has achieved over the last 100 years.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Just in case....

...the post comes after you leave for your exams......

and to all those other people mired in the exam season.

Paper dresses

I was reminded of these:

when I saw this post by Diana Trout on these awesome Italian paper dresses.

I don't think I have shared this before but in my sketchbook I produced this, following an exercise suggested by Sandra Meech:

Saturday, May 28, 2011

An authentic blog post

Somebody decided to post to my blog and email my entire contact list this evening. Now in the process of clearing things up. In doing so just blogging the following to showing you this is the real me, last weekends mini-project for P & R's wedding:
Kanzashi flower fascinator
This is another Kanzashi flower - this time with pointy petals - for which I got the instructions from  Diane Gilleland's Kanzashi in Bloom: 20 Simple Fold-And-Sew Projects to Wear and Give. This time I kept it simpler with a single flower and simple grey button to match the dress I was wearing, the fabric was extracted from my Mother's fabric stash (previously my Grandmother's). Apart from some feathers and a cheapie plastic Alice band from the supermarket this was an almost no cost project.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Cake SOS and a bit of ribbon

I am not one of life's natural cake decorators. Personally I think cake is at is best au naturel but thought I would have a go at creating something celebratory (its a work thingy) with a bit of fondant. The cake inside tasted fab (thanks to the pointers from my sister K). But that ribbon & those fondant stars hid some very dodgy cake coverage. Still it at least spoke to my inner child - I love an opportunity to play with my food!

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Birthday girl

Birthday Girl
Remember back in January I did a little origami?  Well, I thought it was time one of my pieces was a little less headless and homeless and put together this little greeting card.  The hair was stamped with a little home carved stamp and the details added in freehand with a pigment drawing pen.  By now this little girl should be with a 9 year old Birthday Girl, after giving her the vouchers tucked away behind her.  Happy Birthday L!

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Fascinating adventures with my glue gun

Kanzashi fascinator
The big reveal! I was attending the wedding of 2 friends this weekend and fancied adding to my outfit in the traditional English way with a bit of head gear. I decided against the hat - my hair does not recover well from hat hair syndrome. I was considering buying one, but a combination of leaving it a little too late and a small voice in my head (G's) saying "make one, make one). So here it is.

Kanzashi fascinator

I am pretty pleased with the result - especially as I did not spend a lot on materials.  I only splashed out on the feathers and the hair band I attached it to.  The rest was all in my stash.  The kanzashi flowers were made from silk scraps which I already had.  (To make the Kanzashi flowers check out Diane Gilleland's Kanzashi in Bloom: 20 Simple Fold-And-Sew Projects to Wear and Give there is also blog and flickr group of other readers Kanzashi creations).  The loops were simple tubes sewn from blue silk, turned with my ever faithful rouleau loop turner and then threaded with offcuts of  thin polyester boning.  After a frenzy of gluing with the aid of my glue gun and other supporting fabric and bead glues  - this was the finished result.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Sneak peak

Just showing my work in progress.  Now taking a rest from my glue gun and off to the Post Office.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

A little more birthday sewing

As previously mentioned someone recently had a special birthday and for this a Kindle was purchased as a present for him, from my sisters and me. It was ordered, duly arrived but all sealed up so I couldn't measure it up, it was my intention to make a simple cover so it was protected straight out of the box. Luckily there are plenty of tutorials out there and I found this one as useful guide for the measurements required for the Kindle. As you can see I stopped short of patchwork and quilting, using some offcuts of denim, Liberty print cotton and quilt wadding to make lovely cover, sparing a few pounds.  It fitted perfectly!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Birthday Peacock

Proud as a peacock
The burnt doodling of the other day was followed by a more planned piece of stitching for a birthday card for a very important gentleman with a very important birthday. I returned to themes of some of my more recent work (if you call 2009 recent), previous studies and combined free machine embroidery with the application of a soldering iron. As with my other work in this style I restricted my choice of stitches to stem stitch and straight stitch.  There was a slight cheat in that satin stitch made an appearance due to straight stitch also being known as single satin stitch, which when stitched together makes satin stitch (who'd of thought?).  Of course, the straight stitch became small enough in the top part of the piece to be considered seed stitching.

I only used 3 different threads for this piece as well, a Madeira 40 metallic for the machine embroidery, a Madeira 12 metallic either doubled or single and a hand dyed 2 ply silk for the hand sewing.  The fabrics used either came from some old sewing projects of mine (pre leaving home ones), a couple of shoe projects and an interesting table melting experience (how I miss those days).

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Back to basics

Burnt doodling
I have finally made a return to hand stitching - I find myself needing the occupation for my hands. This is meant to be stress free - so I have gone back over old textile samples with a view to adding a little more stitch. I found this soldered sample from a few years back, a little leftover metallic thread and got to doodling: fly stitch, french knots, bullion knot, seeding, running, open chain, ladder stitch whatever took my fancy. I was originally thinking of chopping the finished piece up further and make note cards from it, it may become a book cover. But, no stress, the process is more important than the result in this case.

Thursday, March 03, 2011


Today is the Japanese Doll Festival or Girl's Day.  I made these paper dolls a few weeks ago from a kit I had, but there are instructions about for similar dolls.  These dolls are sitting down, and these are super skinny (but would also make cute bookmarks).

Friday, February 25, 2011

Time goes by

Recently, whilst purchasing a birthday present I treated myself to some tasty beads and other bits to make this watch. It has been worn quite a lot recently and has seen double duty as a timepiece and worry beads.

Yep, I broke it whilst fiddling with it absent mindedly whilst updating a chart  mid-afternoon at work.  Funnily enough my colleagues knew exactly what had happened without looking round.  My apologies for being a bit rattly for the past week - I will return to the ever reliable Baby-G next week. Though I'm off to the local craft emporium to get more thing stretchy beading elastic this weekend.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A little extra heart

I needed a little gift bag to hold some extra beads for a birthday bracelet. So designed and stitched this little heart shaped pouch.
Heart pouch
Which then gathered into a leaf
Heart pouch closed
or a flower bud depending from which view you looked at it.
Heart pouch closed

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine Breakfast

This was more of a Sunday breakfast exercise.  Too much to do first thing on a workday.  Rustled these up for my beloved in anticipation of Valentines night steak and chocolate pudding.  Anyway, will be grateful to be where I am today rather than where I was a year ago.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Birthday Brooches & Keepers

A few presents for a recent birthday. First a brooch made with some lovely Aizome Chiyogami Washi*

Something to keep the above in and along with the recipients collection of brooches, a brooch keeper.
It is a variation on this brooch keeper from Buttontree Lane (or it could always be used as an extra large needle case!).

Aizome - Indigo dye
Chiyogami - "Chiyo" thousand generation, "gami" paper
Washi - "Wa" Japanese, "shi" paper

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Xīnnián Kuàilè

Before I forget:

 This little rabbit has got a magnet instead of a brooch back so that it will be adorning my fridge, rather than my lapel.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

A little get together

A little more origami jewellery has been made but this time I wasn't solo. G & X were my willing victims pupils and came along last week and created their own origami brooches (left & right above, the ones in the centre were my sample pieces).

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Burns Night Bear

The Bear Maker has been at it again and last month Bear got a new outfit as a birthday present of a new sweater, tartan troosers and Tam O'Shanter. As he was caught up with Christmas festivities he decided to keep his new outfit for a special occasion - and what better time than Burns Night. Though I think he would also look quite natty on the golf course too. The outfit came with a special Doggerel provided by the bear maker:
 Doggerel for a Bear
Here is a present for one's birthday bear
two new kits for him to wear.
(The first was requested by his mistress
to make him look like Father Christmas.)
Apply to his face and secure with elastic;

The second outfit will change the  bear
into an ursine with look of a laird.
The kit should be fine for Hogmanay
and see him through to New Year's Day
for striding out across the moor,
or playing golf and shouting "fore".
But, whatever he decides to do
his sartorial elegance will be on view.

Personally I think that is ace* but if you prefer I'll leave you with a link to the Bard's words.

(*Mum's poems written whilst tootling down the A21 always did my sister proud.)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Origami Jewellery

I should have been making curtains but instead decided to investigate one of my Christmas presents more thoroughly. Origami Jewellery by Ayako Brodek.Most of this has been completed whilst chilling out at the end of the day in front of the TV.  I started with this brooch:

I then decided to go from something relatively easy rated piece to something more difficult, this pine cone bead necklace:
This proved to be more repetitive than difficult. This balloon bead necklace proved to be more fiddly:
Finally, this brooch was quicker to make, though required a little bit more judgement:
I had most of the supplies in my large stash of stuff, but found a supplier of lovely washi paper in the UK at Roze flowers. The book mentioned using a one part epoxy resin glue, after some researching on the internet I found one brand to use is E6000 glue. This also appears to be the jewellery makers glue of choice so got this and the bead caps for the balloon necklace on Ebay, but found that the seller had their own online store at

p.s. the glue is kinda smelly and is probably not a good idea to be used round kiddiwinks

Monday, January 03, 2011

What I sewed for Christmas

Just a quick post Christmas report on a few things I put together for the present splurge that occurred.

Somebody really, really, really wanted vouchers (honest!), so I thought it would be nice to have a little holder for them:

I thought the little holder needed a little bag to go with it.

This was created using my overlocker - it took more time to cut out than it did to sew.  As I was having fun on it I whipped up a couple of these for my sister.
As I had the fabric out I returned to the sewing machine and made another pair of oven gloves, this time for G.
(Unfortunately I forgot to photograph Mr. T's awesome apron - if I do say so myself)
I then went into production overdrive and made these ever useful* box bags - which contained an emergency "Pub in a Bag" kit for Dads and BiLs stuck in the house with too many kids.  (Although swap the beer for a miniature bottle of Gin and a slimline tonic, the pork scratchings for some olives and you have an emergency "Bar in a Bag" for the Mums and Sisters)

*useful because they take CDs (some people still use and accumulate them), gadgets, cables and random bits and bobs.

I may have sewn some voile panels for a bay window but they are not that interesting, nor are they easy to photograph.  I will leave you with a revisit to a more interesting "net curtain"

That is the end of the end of holidays report.

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