Hoop Art Wall Update

Hoop art wall update - September

Today I wanted to share an update on my embroidery hoop art wall. I’ve been busy sewing away and have completed another four hoops since my last post!

Record player embroidery

1.  I’ve just finished this hoop and I think it might be my favourite so far. The design is based on a photograph from our wedding reception of the vintage record player we had set up playing Belle & Sebastian during our arrival drinks. The tiny writing on the album sleeve took a lot of patience to stitch! I used some leftover gold leatherette from a Mollie Makes kit to add details to the record player.

Hot air balloon embroidery

2. When I was putting together the hoop wall I ordered a few extra fabric scraps on etsy and ebay including a piece of my favourite Cath Kidston clouds print, and once it was framed on the wall I thought the perfect idea for it would be to add a hot air balloon. I sketched out a design including lyrics from a favourite song and appliquéd the balloon with felt and Liberty print bunting.

Mason jar flowers embroidery

3. Next up I wanted to make something with a 3D element. I decided on a bouquet of pastel roses with pearl centres displayed in a mason jar.

Mini bunting embroidery

4. For this hoop I made a string of mini bunting from the actual bunting we had at our wedding. You can’t really see it in the picture above but I also embroidered our wedding date onto the bunting flags. I’m enjoying how the hoop art wall is giving me an opportunity to display some of the mementoes from our wedding like this bunting, and I have also framed some material from Michael’s wedding shirt in another hoop. It’s nice to be surrounded by our happy memories.

Up next I’m planning on something lego inspired for Michael, two hoops with our initials on and a pretty bike.

Lucy x

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Design your own paper cut artwork: DIY

Finished paper cut

Like many crafters, I like to make gifts for my family and friends. I have gifted quite a few handmade items to my parents over the years so it is becoming a little more difficult to think of something new to make for them! Today is their wedding anniversary, and this year I decided to try a new skill by designing and making a paper cut artwork.

After a little reading up on hints and tips I decided to give it a try, fully expecting it would take me a few attempts to make anything successful, but it actually turned out well on my first try. Sometimes you just have to dive in and learn as you go!

Supplies

You will need:

  • a sketch book, pencil and pens to draw your design;
  • tracing paper;
  • washi tape;
  • a large piece of coloured card to cut your design out from;
  • ruler;
  • craft knife (I used this one which has a swivel blade, handy for getting around corners and curves!);
  • plain paper or card to back your paper cut;
  • a frame for your finished masterpiece; and
  • lots of cups of tea!

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1. The first step is to sketch out your idea. I wanted the design to be based around a quote and to have a nautical theme to match my parents’ living room. I grabbed some scrapbooks and keepsakes from seaside holidays we have shared for inspiration and came up with some motifs I thought I could include, trying to stick to fairly simple shapes as this was my first attempt. I started by marking out the layout for the quote and then drew in the lettering, thickening the down strokes to give the effect of calligraphy. I then added the other motifs and details around the edges. You need to make sure that every element of your design is joined up so that it will all hold together once you have cut it out, for example I had to add joining lines to the birds and the fish, and make sure the lettering was all joined up.

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2. Once you are happy with your design trace over the outline to create a template, using washi tape to hold the tracing paper in place while you work.

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3. Next you need to transfer your design onto the coloured card you will use to create the paper cut. You will be working from the back of the card when you start cutting to keep the front neat and tidy, so you will be transferring the template as a mirror image. Place the tracing paper face down on the card, tape it in place and then shade over all of the pencil lines on the reverse of the paper. This step reminded me of art projects when I was at school, and I was just as covered in lead by the end of it! Once you have shaded over all of the lines, you should have a very faint outline left on the card as you can just about see in the picture below.

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4. Draw over the faint outline so that your template is clear and easy to follow. You should also draw in the edges with a ruler to create a border.

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5. To avoid any mistakes, shade in the areas which will need to be cut out.

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6. Now for the tricky part, to start cutting! I had a little practice on a spare piece of card first to get used to the knife. Start with the small sections and then gradually work your way through the larger sections. Use a ruler to guide your knife along any long straight edges, i.e. the borders. Take your time and only work in good light!

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7. Take a moment to admire your finished piece!

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8. To frame the paper cut I chose a frame with a mount and lined up the paper cut inside the mount, securing it with washi tape around the edges. I then took a large piece of plain paper and taped it over the top to create a backing. You could also use a contrast colour or even glitter card as a backing.

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It was very difficult to take a good picture once the paper cut was framed (and if you look closely you can probably see my reflection in the image above!) but it gives you an idea of the finished look. And here it is all wrapped up…

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I am pleased to report that Mum and Dad loved their gift, and I am looking forward to showing them this post so they can see how I created it!

Lucy x

Making my own wardrobe: The Bettine Dress

Bettine dress

I have always wanted to be able to make my own dresses – I love sewing, and I love dresses, so it’s the obvious result! But I have tried in the past without much success. I attended a dressmaking class at The Papered Parlour in Clapham about 6 years ago which I really enjoyed and, with help, made a pretty but simple chambray shift dress,  but when I tried again on my own I made a series of dresses which either didn’t fit, fell apart or were full of puckered seams and wonky zips. In retrospect, I think I made some mistakes in choosing the wrong fabrics and also trying to take on patterns which were too complicated for a beginner. All in all, it put me off as I wasted some lovely fabrics (including a quite beautiful Liberty lawn!) and I thought perhaps dressmaking just wasn’t for me.

But, 6 years later, I’ve decided to give it another shot, starting with something a little simpler and trying to learn from my past mistakes! My first project is the Bettine dress pattern from Tilly & the Buttons. I was inspired by the fabulous Bettine which Teresa of Shirley Rainbow made and all of the lovely Bettines I have seen on instagram, and I thought it would be a good pattern to try as a semi-beginner as there are no tricky zips or fastens to insert, and it has kimono sleeves and an elasticated waist so no need to worry about fitting on my first attempt.

I chose a colourful but not too expensive fabric with a retro inspired print and then took the plunge, and I am delighted with how the dress has turned out! I found the pattern was very clear and easy to follow with lots of helpful hints and tips along the way, and a simple design but with enough details to create a dress I would choose to wear. You can make the Bettine with or without pockets but I am a sucker for a dress with pockets so I decided to give it a go, using a plain coloured yellow/orange fabric for the pockets and cuff details to add contrast, and I enjoyed the challenge of these added elements.

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I might just be riding high on my first success, but I’m now planning to work my way through Tilly’s brilliant book, Love at First Stitch (which I am ashamed to say has sat on my shelf for the past year), making each project and trying to learn new techniques as I go to build up my confidence in dressmaking. I’ve already made a Brigitte scarf, the first project from the book, to match my new dress but with an added wire as my hair is just too fine to wear a headscarf otherwise!

I am also already planning my next Bettine, partly because I think it would be a good learning exercise to work on the same pattern again and try to improve, but mostly because I just love the dress and have lots of other ideas for it!  I might shorten the bodice slightly next time as the waist sits a fraction below my natural waist, and I may alter the skirt as whilst I do like the shape of tulip skirts I am more used to wearing a fuller skirt.

Lucy x

Introducing Daisy & Alice Jewellery

Sewing necklace

I have some exciting news to share today, as I have opened a new Folksy shop called Daisy & Alice with my wonderful Mum selling our new jewellery designs.

We both love making and creating, and after each selling our own handmade designs we decided to collaborate together. Mum’s business is called Spotty Daisy and I have been blogging and instagramming using a twist on my first names, Lucky Alice, so the name Daisy & Alice seemed the perfect choice for our next crafty adventure. We have been experimenting with jewellery made from shrink plastic for a few months now, and having made ourselves plenty of pretty necklaces and perfected the process we decided to take the plunge and open a Folksy shop. We have both previously sold on Etsy, but decided to try out Folksy this time due to its focus on UK designers.

Each necklace starts life as a hand drawn illustration which is then copied and printed onto shrink plastic, baked, sealed with varnish to prevent fading and attached to a silver plated chain. Our designs are inspired by our passions and interests and are all colourful and pretty, with a vintage feel and a touch of whimsy.

Here is our first collection, I hope you like it!

Flower bouquet

Flower necklace

This necklace is inspired by my flower garden and is based on a selection of my favourite blooms from this summer – pretty pink cosmos, bold purple anemones, delicate little violas, vibrant dahlias and blousy roses.

(Anyone who takes part in or follows #makeitsewcial might recognise this necklace as I posted an earlier version of it earlier this year and have since been working on improving the design!)

Afternoon tea

Afternoon tea necklace

This necklace is inspired by our love of tea and cake and is based on memories of afternoon teas we have shared together – delicate china adorned with polka dots, stripes and rose buds, pretty pink cupcakes piled up with frosting and sprinkles, and a classic slice of Victoria Sponge.

Sewing basket

Sewing necklace

This necklace reflects my love of sewing and is based on my favourite items from my sewing basket – dainty silver embroidery scissors, rainbow heart pins, ditsy patterned tape measure, colourful buttons and vintage wooden thread spools.

In the garden

Gardening necklace

This necklace is inspired by my love of gardening with my husband Michael and is based on my favourite gardening tools, including my trusty blue watering can, enamel patterned hand trowel and fork, wooden trug for gathering flowers and picking produce, colourful seed packets and Michael’s favourite flower to grow – sunflowers.

Days at the seaside

Seaside necklace

This necklace is inspired by summer holidays spent at the Great British seaside, and is based on memories of sunny days on the beach – flip flops and sunglasses, beach ball and bucket and spade, and of course a delicious ice cream!

Dressing table

Dressing table necklace

This necklace is inspired by my love of all things girly and getting ready at my dressing table and is based on everything a girl needs to get dolled up – lipstick, perfume, nail polish, a bow for your hair and a pretty hand mirror to admire the finished look!

I do hope you like our first range of designs. We are busy working away on other ideas, including brooches to match each of the necklaces above, bunting flag necklaces, a snail mail inspired design and, dare I say it, Christmas necklaces!!

Lucy x

Local Favourites: Leek

This week we had a day out to Leek, one of our favourite local spots, and I thought I would share some of the best places to shop and eat. Leek is a traditional market town in the Staffordshire Moorlands with lots of lovely independent shops and is a great place to hunt for vintage and antique finds.

Where to shop:

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Bibelot is a beautiful boutique and official Cath Kidston stockist so it is always my first port of call! There is a very tempting haberdashery upstairs along with a recently refurbished craft room where they host a variety of workshops – I am hoping to take part in the “Make a Dress” class soon. I was given a Bibelot gift voucher for my birthday so I treated myself to a few Cath Kidston sewing accessories to keep in my craft bag. I can also never resist the jewellery making section and usually come away with a bag full of charms and beads.

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Just along from Bibelot is the lovely Holly Crow, home to a range of beautiful handmade clothes and quirky accessories. I will definitely be heading back to try a few dresses on my next visit!

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Across the road you will find Alcove, a real treasure trove which stocks lots of unusual home accessories and great pieces of vintage furniture. I have my eye on a printers tray to display some trinkets in the living room but need to decide where I could hang it as we are running out of wall space!

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A few other favourites include:

I also recommend having a look around the market if you visit on a market day. We usually go on a Saturday for the Antique & Collectors Market and have found some great items in the past, including a knitting machine and lots of pretty china!

Where to eat:

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This week we discovered The Yard Tearooms, a very pretty tea room tucked away in Getliffes Yard with lots of other little boutiques selling locally made items. I had a delicious cream tea all served on vintage china.

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Another favourite next door to Bibelot is a lovely little cafe called The Penguin. Last time we visited I had a scrumptious white chocolate milkshake, and they also have a fantastic range of healthy juices and smoothies along with sandwiches, cakes and crepes.

Does anyone local have any other tips for places to visit in Leek?

Lucy x