Call me old-fashioned…

Well call me old-fashioned, but I have found a very practical use for the fat stuffed fabric fobs I’ve felt compelled to sew – pomanders! For those of you too young to remember wardrobes which bore coathangers with sewn covers (to protect your delicate clothes), and small scented sachets hanging on them to ward off moths… This is the definition from the Merriam-Webster online dictionary.

1: a mixture of aromatic substances enclosed in a perforated bag or box and used to scent clothes and linens or formerly carried as a guard against infection; also : a clove-studded orange or apple used for the same purposes
2: a box or hollow fruit-shaped ball for holding pomander
I used small samples from upholstery swatches to make them, embellished with my own fabric inchies and on the back I stitched  a quilted inchy. The paper roses are from a pen box I was tired of looking at!
There’s a red one too, a little blurry, but then I am using my phone for the pics…
The reverse has 3 recycled fabric leaves and a paper rose stitched to the back. These are my entry to Take a Word – “old fashioned” – this week. I do have more stuff waiting to be blogged, but my foot’s protesting too much so I’m off to elevate it for a while. 😉

Of fabric ATCs and Millie

I have been busy sewing ATCs for the Summer Camp swap. I wasn’t sure about it at first, but it has been quite a while since I made ATCs for pleasure, with just a theme, and not for a challenge. I thought I’d share a few things that I do with these, as it’s such a labour-intensive process.

I use craft or pelmet (heavy-duty) vilene, or interfacing, for the base of ALL my fabric cards. This enables me to “lay down” initial designs without having them slide around a table or cutting mat. I don’t use Misty Fuse, I just stick a couple of pins in and start machine-stitching! I like to cut some fabrics and rip others, for extra texture.  If I’m making a batch of ATCs, for example, this is an example of how it begins:

The piece on the top is a triple ATC, waiting to be cut into 3. It consists of base, fabric scraps attached with white zig-zag stitching and a rectangle of stamped linen in the centre. That bit has been ironed to heat-set the stamped words. On the top is more ripped fabric strips, attached by machine-stitching and a bit of turquoise netting for texture. It all adds to the “touch-factor”. My pieces are always untidy but I do try for a tactile end-product!!

Two things and two people I have to credit here – Belinda Spiwak (Crazy Art Girl) was the initial inspiration a couple of years ago when I first saw some of her wonderful, mixed media, textile artworks. Then, if you apply the same recipe of paper, layers, colour and textures to a card base – no fabric – you get Lisa Vollrath’s “serendipity” backgrounds for ATCs – check out the Ten Two Studios – Projects – website for ideas and tutorials, because she never stops coming up with ideas!!

I did say these were labour-intensive, didn’t I? But, they can be made in stages. The bases for half of these were stitched a few months ago… Above are 6 ATCs awaiting the faux leather, seaside embellishments I have made for each one!!!

I won a set of collage stamps from Shelia Oliver a few years ago (she was decluttering to raise money for a worthy cause) and they happened to be seashore-themed. That fits perfectly for me with the Summer Camp theme – I always equate summer with the seaside! And I chose the colours of my scraps for the sun (golden yellow), sand (oatmeal linen base), and sea (vivid shiny blue fabric) to fit that theme.

The embellishments were stamped onto heated up fun foam, pressed down hard and removed when cooled. I then cut round them and attached them to each ATC (or I will do…!!). I have another issue with neat fabric ATCs – the backing! This time, instead of hunting for yet more fabric and having  to cut bits up, I decided to back them with old book pages. Some of my old books are quite small in page size, little more than a large postcard, so they will make 2 backs per page. They are thick soft paper, stitched into the book-blocks, so they tear really easily…

You can see the serrations in this pic where I have stitched an ATC to the page and then gently torn it out afterwards!! Finally, I print out my ATC labels using a Dymo (address) label printer and stick them to the back. It means that

  • no-one has to struggle to read my writing if they want to get in touch;
  • I can include all the info I want up to about 6 lines
  • I don’t have to write out 14 labels
  • they all have the same info on them!!
Here are a couple that are finished, waiting to be labelled and posted!
Hopefully, you’ll find some of my process useful if not exactly “interesting”!! All the steps I take are the result of research and mistakes. Truly! I never undo anything or unpick stuff – life’s too short. I either add another layer or paint over it! 😉
Speaking of “trial and error”, I took this pic of Millie to remind myself of how she should look after I have clipped her:

It’s all about… ME!

For Sunday Postcard Art this week –

The fabric pieces are all attached to a postcard about planning for the future and that’s exactly where we are at the moment… planning. So, really, this postcard represents me totally! 🙂

Words and numbers – triptych!

I’m at Marit’s Summer Camp from now till the end of August! Yay! Following one of the prompts, I challenged myself to create a triptych this evening… in fabric, using a piece I have been building. It’s appropriate for The Three Muses – the written word – and Wednesday Stamper’s – numbers:

A string shaped into a number 6 or 9…

The numbers are stamped onto the orange organza covering all three ATCs.

Books and busi-ness!

I have been a busy bee lately. Nick and I started packing away things we really aren’t going to need/use or look at whilst we wait for a move… and at the same time, I have been back to AP, where I work during the summer season. At the  moment, because Easter’s so late this year, that’s only really once a week but that has also allowed me to really get stuck into my Etsy store – okay, shop! I listed Lace Face today!!

I am still tryin g to stay on track with the art journalling, although I do get distracted with Penny’s Songs in my Heart blog and other challenges, but I like challenges! It makes my art-brain more active! So, reading Julie FFB’s blog a couple of weeks ago, I saw a tutorial for a leather journal… I have some scraps of leather and as it’s my own journal, I thought it’d be fun to experiment and try it out.

I am also going to change the blog theme (and if WordPress doesn’t stop buggering about, I may move to Blogger… >.<) so expect the unexpected!!

This is what the front cover will look like when I have inserted the signatures… and above is the entire cover. I have used greyboard inside to strengthen the cover. I may paint that later… On the outside, I used a stamped flower and other Cherry Pie images, and some pretty purple yarn with fancy stitches that are on my sewing machine’s programme! See, Linda Matthews has been encouraging us to use the embroidery stitches we have available…

I even had a go at Linda’s Flip-Flap Fabric tutorial for another book cover! I am still in Fabric-love mode at the moment, so… 😉

Lace-Face!

Confession: I have a nasty streak!! I made a pin cushion which I sent to my BBF Barbara – “I’d rather stick pins in my eyes than darn socks!” on which I had used the lovely face stamped onto linen as I have here. This scrap of  fabric with the face has been in my stash for over a year I should think, and I have needed a new pincushion for a while now, so…

The lace sides were inspired by Take a Word this week, although I had thought of something else…

I converted, (or upcyled, or recycled) a linen dress into a summer top today, so I was in that sewing frame of mind anyway!

And I am still gravitating towards orange-coloured stuff! So although I can’t wear the colour, I can still enjoy it!

That scruffy strip along the bottom is some of the hand-dyed gauze bandage I made a couple of weeks ago. It’s still nice and bright and makes a cool embellishment. I’ve been reading Cath Kidston’s first book “in Print” which has given me loads of ideas – like I needed more!! Here’s a link to some of her more recent books.

Nick’s in Wales for a few days’ fishing and DD and I have stuff to do, so I expect it’ll continue to be a busy week ahead… Hope yours is peaceful!

Take advantage of me, why don’t you?!

I have just put these up for sale in my Etsy shop:

Aren’t they a gorgeous colour? (Click on the pic for full size and bright sunshine!) Now it’s my birthday on Sunday, (March 6th), and I can’t make up my mind what I want… Sound familiar? I bet! It’s been a tricky couple of months – bills, accounts, etc. – and so I have to be frugal. However, I can also be giving too, so take advantage of the fact that I am offering 20% discount across the board in my Etsy shop until Monday March 7th at 1800 hrs (GMT) and the shipping is really affordable, wherever you live! Type in MYBIRTHDAY2011 in the coupon code section when you purchase and Etsy applies the discount! Yay! Simples…

I am also giving away the Double Take fabric postcard and Annie Oakleaf. Just leave a comment and tell your friends too and I’ll draw the winners on Monday evening after the Sale ends.

"Double Take"

 And the wooden plaque: Annie Oakleaf, Drama Queen!

This is an International Giveaway and I so don’t mind where I post to… so come on, help me celebrate my birthday!! 🙂

I plan on increasing the number of items in my shop and will also be running promotions and giveaways throughout the year, so keep your eyes open and come back often!! 😉

Double Take!

When I saw the typo in the title, that’s exactly what I did! Double Tkae indeed – and I’m an English teacher – hah! I have no excuse for the frequent typos, I have no idea why I can’t touch type either. I can’t even use predictive text… you should see some of the things I used to send DD before I learned to turn it off!

Anyway, I digress… this week’s challenge at SPA was to use the same image twice in our postcard art. I started with the makeovers again yesterday – sewing machine, scissors, ironing board out upstairs and I cut 3 pairs of fingerless gloves from an old lambswool waistcoat (now awaiting embellishment before they go to the Etsy shop!); I converted a shiny black dress into a bag (awaiting handles) and even made the zipper go round the corner!!! I cut and tore strips of silk up for the prettifying and sewed up a sweet pair of variegated blue wristies (that have a matching hat) to photograph and Etsy later… I have also started the sleeves of the jacket I was knitting back before Christmas, so I was in full-on, artisan-mode.

I decided to take advantage of not yet having put away the sewing machine this morning and create a fabric postcard. I have some beautiful vintage playing cards with the same image on every one which were ideal for the theme. I get Linda Matthews  newsletter every week and she shares some beautiful tutorials, etc. I am often inspired by her (textile) projects and I wanted to try the simple scrap-strips method she showed one week… although I didn’t use the iron, I just stitched them together.

Seeing double...

It’s such a pity the metallic ribbon on the right and the shiny gold fabric on the left don’t scan well, but you can just see the red metallic thread I used to stitch the images down, can’t you? I know metallic thread can be tricky to stitch with – mine broke once when I was sewing through the brown suedette strip – but if you stand the spool on the table behind your machine, the thread seems to flow more freely and not get stretched to snapping point.

That’s a tip from a Cloth, Paper, Scissors newsletter last year!! See, I may be very eclectic and untrained, but I do pay attention sometimes! The reason for this foray back into stitch, knit, sew is really down to my bookbinding buddy ***Billie (Billie’s Craft Room), whom I first ‘met’ in JP’s Supernova Journalling Class. Billie has been picking my (in)expert brains about interfacing, threads, knitting, etc. We haven’t met in real life yet, but as we are moving later this year, it’s a pretty fair bet that we will sooner or later… 🙂

***See Billie’s blog for loads of tutorials about crafting items, reviews, featured artist of the month is a good read too! And, if you need help, Billie’s bound to respond quickly – she’s very kind (and a Twitter addict!).

So, this is a long post, innit? But, I might be too busy embellishing and stuff to write much this week – we’ll have to see how it goes. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Steampunk inspired?

Sunday Postcard Art this week – sponsored by Jean from Crafty Individuals (one of the very best rubber stamp companies in the UK), and a really charming example she has made for us. It’s not my “thing”, I don’t do the genre justice, unlike a lot of my fellow art-bloggers, but this is my take on the challenge. I used one of the fabric postcards I made last week as a base:

Prior to "punking"

And then I went ape with some homemade (link in a bit) spray ink… 😉

Now, present-day, post "punking"!

I like the metal bits, the pink I like less (though hse may have been playing in the background when I was making the ink…) and I LOVE my “cherish” stamp which finishes it off for me!

The spray ink I made with a Sharpie! Here’s where I watched(Jan Fox) the tutorial and I should’ve worn gloves, or at least one because I still have a bright pink thumbnail (and not in the Photoshop sense!!!)… duh! That took me ages to find and I don’t really know why. Phew! Jan is really easy to follow though and I am living (and rather pink), proof that this works!! 😉

Christmas robin padded collage!

“Robins” is the SPA theme this week and after leaving Nick to get on with most of the decorating of the “tree”, I had a bit of “me” time this afternoon. Apart from painting the row house assemblage/collage, creating a mini-canvas for TAW tomorrow and getting a bit too ‘painty’, I got out the sewing machine…

"Age 3 yrs."

I couldn’t find any images of robins in my stash so I drew him. Well, he’s not too bad, is he?!! Lots of recycled elements in this stitched postcard – the background is a paper cast from a previous GPP Street Teams challenge; the threads are leftovers from fraying fabric pieces, the leaf ribbon was gifted to me by Patty (Magpie’s Nest) a long time ago; the red gauzy (gold holly), ribbon is from a gift last xmas which I just cut up and used for the hanger too!

I am still knitting happily in the evenings and have managed 3 pairs of cable wrist warmers so far (sent one pair to DH’s best bud yesterday!!) and am playing with some very hairy, mohair leftovers at the moment, knitting stripes – something I haven’t done since I was a kid!!!

Looking forward to seeing who goes into next week’s Strictly final – my ultimate line-up would be Kara, Pamela and any of the boys (though I have a soft spot for both Scott & Matt), and I shall be recording the X Factor final results too!