Sunday, 2 December 2012

Two Whimsical Pendants

Two Whimsical Pendants

I have added two  ‘old/new’ pendants to my etsy shop.

The focal point for the first pendent is love of antique buttons!!

I wanted to have a pendant celebrating the beauty of Victorian buttons - each one special.

I choose a wonderful round Victorian brass button from c1870.
Then hanging from that I put a most unusual late Victorian c1900 button.
It is a drop shape - it could have been opened but I have sewn it shut.
It is so distinctive - anyone know the reason or history for this type of button - I would love to know?
I added two apple green wood beads, some moss green seed beads and some metal beads to hand the button.
They sit on platted green silk ribbon that is attached to a divided 18inch bronze plated metal chain.

For both of these pieces I cut the chain and extended with ribbon - just wanted to try a less formal look. Whimsical with a historic Victorian twist !
One of a kind.

The second pendant is called - Fly Birdie

Another  ‘old/new’ piece - just like memories are.

A blue distressed platted silk ribbon is again attached to a divided 18inch bronze plated metal chain with blue seed beads twisted around the tie knots.
A little collection hangs from the ribbon.
A bronze bead cap (lovely open work) holds some more ribbon, some Victorian lace and a small bird charm. 
On more blue seen beads hangs more Victorian lace and an antique watch key. (on one side a flower, on the other number 7). A nice pretty key - small enough to be delicate.

See them both on etsy

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Embroidered Buttons

I have been having fun making more buttons !!
I blogged in July about my first buttons for my etsy shop.
I have since made some more and now I don’t want to stop!

Buttons really are little mini embroideries and can be added to so many things,
tops, dresses, bags, scarfs, slippers, art . . . . 

For these I have used cotton thread embroidery, mostly on linen as it is so nice to work with. I added some lace, antique Victorian + 1910, vintage 1920’s + 1930’s to add the history. I am in a  ‘French Knot’  phase at the moment - so they appear everywhere !

I first give myself the button size guidelines - drawn with a fabric marker (that is invisible in a day). Then I embroider that outline (because I don’t always finish before the ink disappears!)                            
I set up the Linen in an embroidery frame and picked my lace and threads.

Here are some photos taken as I worked.

Then I carefully cut to the edges and made the buttons onto metal backings.
I found it best to have a layer of interface backing so that the shine of metal does not show through. So this is my latest little batch.

I have put them onto cards in two and threes for etsy.
Such fun - a capsule collection.

More styles soon - I am hooked !

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Making a Fabric Flower Bouquet

My First Fabric Flower Bouquet !
A very special couple just had a wonderful celebration - namely a 60th wedding anniversary - a truly great occasion. . . wow. !!
I wanted to make a personal anniversary gift and decided on a mini bouquet.    
As I was travelling to the event I was not sure how fresh the flowers would be on arrival so decided I would try my very first fabric bouquet.
Here is how it went !!
I looked at some complex and some simple styles on web and then there was lots of making it up as I went along.
I can tell you it does take a bit of preparation and some time but it is such a fun thing to do.

(1) Cut and singe
I bought some chiffon in white and some in pale pink and cut lots of circles - approx  6 inches diameter. You don’t have to be too careful with exact shape of circles.
But patience is needed for next stage - carefully singeing all around each circle - just heating enough to seal but not burn - not so easy. If you do burn a little - just cut off that piece of black and singe again. I found the easiest way to do this is over a candle.

(2) Making the flowers.
I folded and gathered a circle -  loosely sewing at the end  - four of these together made the flower size I wanted.

(3) Stem
I used hobby/florist wires for the stems.
I bent the wire and sewed on the flower and then to soften the stem and give a little body I used padding - just wrapping thread around to hold.  I finished off by wrapping with green florist tape. At tops I added some dyed silk petals - looks pretty and also helps secure the flower neatly.

For centers of flowers I picked nice white / pink fabric sewn around padding into little balls. The detail is made by embroidering knots with white cotton yarn and then lots of seed beads. ( I find it hard to make anything without adding seed beads !! )

(5) Wrap
I wrapped the bouquet with 1940’s white open work lace and at top added 1920’s thin lace. I printed the wedding date on cotton as a final touch.

The individual flowers can then be adjusted  - fluffed up - tweeked until it looks done !!

There are so many amazing fabric bouquets to be seen on the web - I am in awe at the detail and beauty of them. There are many ways to make one - mine is just my idea of how to go about it. 
It turned out a light bouquet to hold  - just what I wanted to make - and I learnt a lot making it !!

Monday, 17 September 2012

Drum roll !

The winner of my little antique lace wrist wrap is .  .  .  .
.  .  .  new-girl-on-the-blog -  from beautiful Greece
Her comment (number 6) was picked by the random number picker.
The wrist wrap will be packed up and sent on it’s way.

Many thanks to all who looked in and to those who took part - it was fun fun fun to do !!

Monday, 27 August 2012

September Giveaway !!

Introducing 'Edwardian Flower' a cream wrist wrap.
I am thrilled to have one of my pieces as the 'September Giveaway' for Handmade Europe (the European Street Team of Etsy). The giveaway is not here but on that site and starts 5th September so head over then to blog .  .  .

I thought I would write a little about making this piece and hope that whoever wins it will like it and enjoy the history.

I wanted to make something simple yet dressy, historic yet fresh .  .  .                                                                    
I choose some lovely pale cream lace from the 1930’s for this little cuff. It is a sturdy lace but is still light and has a delicate pattern.
To compliment it I picked a beautiful handmade applique flower that was made c1910. A fantastic example of Edwardian craft and so very very Downton Abbey !
I like to think that whoever made both of these pieces would be pleased to know they will have a second life.

To add some texture and detail I added tiny seed beads in matt cream at the cuff edges in little flower circles. A shimmer bead in the centers.
Then more beads around the flower in spikes and circles both matt and shimmer.

Then to add a bit of whimsy it closes with a cream shimmer ribbon.

A romantic and delicate little wrist wear - with lace from two historic eras.
For a chance to win this for yourself just go to - 
Looking forward to wrapping up and posting off to you !!

Truly Gifted Mallow !

Just a short note about a fun day yesterday in Mallow Co. Cork.
Queen of Cuffs is now on the shelves there !!

Set off on early train with hubby - crosswords and sandwiches on the way.
I  brought a selection of cuffs / wrist wraps / fabric pendants and fabric rings.
Heading for the lovely craft gallery shop ‘Truly Gifted’ which is situated in the Hibernian Way, just off main street Mallow. This lovely gem of a shop belongs to Majella and Bart and is a fun place to visit and a perfect one to find a unique gift.
The concept is that artists and crafts people rent space there and as no commission is charged -prices for buyers can be kept at very tempting levels !
Majella is also a glass artist and offers glass fusing workshops -  see their website for more info and a list of artists

I spent a very indulgent and totally compulsive time ‘arranging and re arranging’ my pieces on shelves!!
My only regret was that I forgot to bring my camera .  .  .  next time.
Bart kindly took a phone pic of my shelves for me. 
But no pics of the great bar that hubby found while I was shelf arranging - or the lovely place we had a well earned meal. Leaving all my creations displayed and shelved we headed for train and snoozed our way back to Dublin.

So if near Mallow - call in and have a look.
Next stock drop - more photos.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Knitting Therapy . . . and Lace Beads

Whenever I am flagging a little with my embroidery or fabric cuff inspiration I will often turn to knitting to revive me. It is so automatic, so comforting and it always seems to get me back on track.
I have knit all my life - my silly bad memory cannot recall exactly when I learnt, poetic perhaps that I cannot remember when I started - because it feels like I was born knowing how to knit !!
I prefer to be an intuitive knitter - I am a make it up as I go along type of gal.
I have no problem with patterns and have sold many in my day - but I love the buzz of  ‘add lib’ knitting. However, somewhere along the way - usually half way into a maverick piece - I begin to think . .  oh this is nice . .  and I start writing it down. I then end up with notes written on scraps of paper that I can never work out later.                                                                                                                                              
There is something so soothing and basic about knitting, the finger movement, the click of the needles, the roll of the ball. The fact that you can watch a TV programme  and not have to look down too often, that you can hold a conversation or plan a detailed shopping list is a bonus. It is portable and a very acceptable public craft.
It can therefore be both an easy social and a deeply solitary therapy.
It is part the tradition - part the ritual - part the rhythm that I love.
There is a whole knitting world out there that accepts you back even if you have been abscent for awhile. Once a knitter - always a knitter . .  the comfort in that !

If I need a quick fix I knit a little bracelet or lariat - those rewarding pieces that grow and mature quickly ! The finishing of these is not so fast as I feel compelled to add beads or buttons or embroidery. So this knit therapy of mine means I have an ongoing bag full of knitted pretties waiting patiently to be accessorised. That stage is saved for days I am creatively energetic !

Let me introduce you to one of my little therapy bracelets.                                                                                           
I started knitting this style one evening where I really wanted to be making something but was in that anxious state I call  ‘creative threading water’.  I had taken out a few things I was working on and could not decide on choice or colour/ trim/ bead etc.  I was doing a lot of looking and no doing ! With no clear direction and an indecisive mood, I still having itchy fingers, which meant I grabbed my knitting bag.

Here are two versions of the bracelet knit on same size needles - just different yarns. Based on cast on 3 stitches /cast off 3 stitches repeat it is a cosy little quick knit fix.

A few days earlier I had experimented with making beads from lace. I used 1930’s lace and twisted it around a knitting needle with a coating of fabric glue. The twists dried into very cute little lacy beads and were perfect to add that little extra to my knit bracelets.

To close the bracelets I used a speckled button and picked up the colours of the buttons in the seed beads I added around the lace.

These are thin and simple knit bracelets - with a twist.

And the bracelet in white . . . 

Did I say I love knitting ??  I love knitting.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Wild Garden - a fiber wrist corsage . . .

I decided to try a little plaiting.
I had first intended making a simple sari silk plait bracelet - but as usual got carried away. I will make those simpler versions - but this is the one that just wanted to be a little wilder !!

(1) First I spent a bit of time plaiting sari silk - I just love braiding, a very relaxing and satisfying thing to do. Just cut three equal lengths, tie one end to a door handle and off you go.
Here is pre braided sari silk pic and then post braided pic.

(2) I choose a particularly yummy raspberry purple sari silk  .  .  .  .  but then I could not resist adding in a strand of knitting yarn - the colour mix was perfect. The knit yarn is 90% wool 10% acrylic and made the final plait thicker and more textured. 

(3) I picked three Czech glass bellflower beads, a lucite trumpet bead, some raspberry and purple shimmer seed beads and a deep purple ribbon for the base.

At this stage I brought all the elements downstairs and put on a movie.
I wonder does the choice of viewing influence how the piece turns out?
I prefer to work while watching something I have seen before - I like to keep my
attention on what I am making and just be able to look up from time to time!
( I was watching - Thelma and Louise, so maybe that is why it grew a little wild !! )

(4) I sewed the fiber mix along the ribbon - twirling into a circle at the centre.
I added extra twists of plaited sari silk for more texture.
I put in the Czech and lucite beads and attached them with the seed beads.

5) I felt it needed something else. I looked at buttons / charms / keys but they all looked too bright. It cried out for a dark colour to anchor it. 

I finally settled on a lovely piece of black Victorian lace c1880 for both the extra depth of colour and a little bit of history.

So here it is - a little silk, a little wool, a mix of beads, some new ribbon and some old lace . . . . . 
a very ‘wild garden’ (very Thelma and Louise) wrist corsage.