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Archive for the ‘Upcycling’ Category

Last year at Embroiderers’ Guild we had an amazing full day workshop with Chris Gray which started off with printing from her mind-blowing collection of printing blocks. I only had a handful of bits of fabric and loved the printing so much that I ended up printing on everything I could find in my bags, including three silk carrier rods I’d ironed flat.

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I love silk carrier rods, but like so many things, they disappear into drawers and boxes knowing that the chance that I might find something to do with them is slim to none.

However… I’ve been upcycling jewellery again and after trialling a few ideas for how to enhance this rather naff goldtone geometric bib section,  I came across the printed carrier rods and that turquoise one was perfect.

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The nature of the carrier rod means that it doesn’t fray and I could simply stick it into the back of the triangle.

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Turquoise is a complete nightmare to match colourwise because of the proportions of green and blue, but the turquoise nugget beads were a perfect match and some gold tone chain finished it all off nicely. It is always such a pleasant surprise when things work out smoothly and I have listed it here.

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On a roll, I came across two odd earrings. This…

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…now equal this:

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I have been embroidering as well, but it’s unfortunately under wraps until December.

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I’ve been restocking and updating my Etsy shop with that December thing coming up fast on the horizon and although a lot of my pieces have involved sea glass, sea washed china and found objects, I did get inspired by another vintage brooch without a central stone.

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So I gathered some supplies and started to stitch a ribbon rose on some scraps of hand dyed silk.

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With a woven rose in the middle, split stitch curling stems either side and some french knot buds, it stitched up quite quickly.

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Then I layered three pieces of pelmet vilene, each slightly smaller than the other to create a domed shape, gathered the silk around the dome and pulled it up tight. A piece of the rust coloured background silk covered the gathering at the back and then I set it in the brooch.

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You can find it here.

I also created this flotsam assemblage pendant

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…from a piece of wave worn aluminium…

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…which I beachcombed ages ago and just love; a piece of tactile driftwood and a long nugget of sea glass which sat in the groove of that grain perfectly.

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A treasured oval piece of multicoloured Seaham sea glass went into a vintage pendant.

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And rich green oval nugget of sea glass went into another vintage pendant.

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In fact I managed to find and nearly match so many lovely green pieces that I was able to add a pair of upcycled vintage clip on earrings

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..and a bracelet.

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It’s lovely to be able to reuse some of these gorgeous pieces and bring broken jewellery back to life again.

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The holiday journal is finished and just waiting for me to add some extra papers, pockets etc. to the inside.

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Doing blanket stitch so close together took longer than I bargained but I like the effect.

Then I moved onto another one of my samples for my upcoming Embroiderers’ Guild workshop later in the year. Grey on grey felt embroidered in pale blues.

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Fly stitched edge, straight stitches in a radiating pattern and french knots:

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Feather stitch edging with a chain stitch spiral:

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And I’ve turned what I think might have been a vintage money clip into an upcycled sea glass pendant. First of all I sawed off the long bit of the clip following the lines of the design at the bottom.

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Then I pierced and cut out the middle section with a very fine saw, again following the edges of the design, and leaving three tabs to attach the sea glass to.

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A lot of fiddly filing happened next, to really shape the central section and tidy up the tabs before I could set it with a lovely piece of deep turquoise sea glass.

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I love using the piercing saw and the fiddlier the design, the better. I really need to get back to making some more of my original jewellery…

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When I went to visit my parents at Easter I spent some time with my dad in his workshop. He turned me a couple of pairs of knitting needles from yew last year…

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…and I used one pair to knit him a hat but the knobs on the end were a bit too small and they were a little on the short side so he turned me a version 2:

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in lilac wood

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with laburnum collars over the ends to make the knobs a better size.

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Laburnum is a fabulous wood. Who could have guessed that the small slender trees which rain down their clusters of golden flowers in suburban gardens at this time of the year have such rich dark wood. I’m not sure where my dad has managed to get so much laburnum from, but you can really see the deep colour of the wood and the dark, spiralling grain in a mouse and egg he made years ago.

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Anyway, whilst in the workshop, to my dad’s bemusement,  I managed to score an assortment of scraps and offcuts of various woods. This is apple, which he has used to make some gorgeous chopping blocks.

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I added some kantha style rusty doodling. (That rusted sheet came from the workshop too, as I remember…)

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With some pieces of watch mechanism added…

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I think this will probably become a brooch.

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Also time I was thinking about upcycling a random notebook – the sort of thing that comes full of gorgeous pictures and inspiring ideas inside glossy lifestyle magazines – into a holiday journal. Usually I just fuse fabric to the inside, but there was more writing on the front than I wanted, so I made a cover sandwich, with fabric inside…

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…and outside.

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I’ve just started to blanket stitch the edge for decoration, to keep the edges of the fused fabric from flapping up and also for adding strength to the cover.

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I’m using a slightly lighter weight perle that I have done before with these journals and so have put the stitches closer together which means I need to concentrate on keeping the spacing neat!

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I’m on a roll!

An upcycled bracelet,

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Pisces necklace,

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Branch necklace,

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Green daisy necklace,

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Broken vintage brooch turned into a pendant

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…and another upcycled broken brooch. This one does actually have embroidery in it!

The main piece was a ring brooch in lovely condition with all the original stones intact, but no pin, so I got rid of the remains of the pin mountings and decided to fill the middle with a back stitched spider’s web, rather like a Dorset button.

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I’d got about a third of the way through the stitching when I looked on the back and decided I preferred that effect. So out it all came and I started again!

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Much better.

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Filling up the space nicely…

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…and completed.

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The thread is quite a thickish cotton and the web is really firm and sturdy. The back is neat too, but I’m pleased I chose to restitch it.

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I added a vintage bar tie-pin as the brooch back and it covers the scars of the old closure quite nicely.

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Very pleased with this!

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The only other sewing I’ve been doing is a major repair job on one of our Scunthorpe Little Theatre Club costumes – a wartime woollen coat that somebody has turned into a pirate captain type coat. Various seams have given way and the gold braid is coming adrift everywhere.

Not creative in quite the same way, but extremely satisfying.

 

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I’ve been upcycling jewellery recently and having a lot of fun putting bits and pieces together to make something from nothing. I had a small lot of vintage 1970s silver tone ring blanks which were crying out for some nuggets of sea glass.

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Then I used freshwater pearls and seed and bugle beads in a variety of shades of green to create a set of sea-themed dangles for my Mermaid’s Garden dangle ring. The centre is finished with a piece of ‘coral’ I beach-combed from Claigan Coral Beach on the Isle of Skye as a child in the 1970s. I always thought it was actually coral, but according to the internet it’s ‘desiccated and sun-bleached algae’ which is much less attractive sounding!

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Then an assemblage piece – Ship’s Wheel Locket. The original vintage goldtone locket had a slight depression in the front so I shaped a piece of polished broken abalone to fit into it and then added a lovely ship’s wheel charm on top of that so the sea green swirls of the abalone can be glimpsed through the spokes of the wheel.

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Lastly I reverted to embroidery for the Cottage Garden pendant. This gold tone pendant had a pierced pattern around the edge which was just begging to have some sort of thread added. I chose a heavy Caron cotton thread in lovely muted cottage garden shades and added a simple row of slanted stitches, following the pattern of the holes.

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Then it occurred to me that I could do a sort of back-stitched spider’s web around the champagne coloured diamantes and turn them into flowers, which worked very well.

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Always good when a plan comes together.

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A couple of years ago I was delighted to come across a vintage white metal brooch with spaces I could fill with stitching. An offcut of pelment vilene and a few french knots later, I created one of my first upcycled brooches.

So I was delighted when I found a very similar brooch recently. Pink vilene this time…

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…and tiny stem and lazy daisy stitches in a single strand of silk made tree branches with leaves.

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Another branch on the other side with cream french knots for cherry blossom and odd blossoms and leaves in the central section.

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Mounted into the brooch.

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And popped into my Etsy shop. Another quick finish.

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