Posts Tagged ‘brooch’

I fell in love with a bought an antique Art Nouveau broken silver plated belt on eBay several years ago purely because of the Green Man masks on each section.

green man

I knew they would make gorgeous pendants/necklaces but I only got round to it the other day when I unearthed a damaged silver chain which was the perfect weight and patina to work with the panels.

There was just enough chain to make two necklaces.  The loops at the top of the panel were perfect to attach the chain, but that still left the loops at the bottom, which looked a bit odd without anything attached, so to the first one I added a drop with green cat’s eye beads, silver colour leaf beads and a central silver and abalone shell pendant from an odd earring, all threaded onto a length of silver wire.


For the second one I used an odd labradorite earring drop, two labradorite beads on oxidised silver wire and a tiny length of silver chain to make the drop.


They were a delight to make and can be found here and here in my Etsy shop.

Then only a few days later, I was looking for something else when I found some vintage embroidered linens in the back of a cupboard. Among them were two napkins, one quite badly holed and inspiration struck again! I cut them into sections for brooches or pendants and added to each one a hoop from various bits of odd vintage jewellery – bangles and earrings. The result…



…three brooches: large Daisy Spray, medium Daisy Wreath and small Golden Daisy


…and two pendants: Red Bellflower on the left and Brown Daisy on the right.


For each one, I laminated two circles of buckram together and gathered the embroidered piece of fabric over it to stiffen it and did the same with a plain piece for the back. Then I hand stitched the circles together with the assorted hoops/bangles sandwiched in between to give the whole thing stability. I used a variety of stitches including herringbone stitch, ladder stitch, beaded ladder stitch and chain band (below) to give an attractive finish to the edges.

DSCN8948.JPGIt then depended on whether the hoop I used already had an integral loop or not whether the finished piece became a pendant or brooch.  Lots of fun but not appreciably more space in that cupboard – two napkins go a long way!

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Several years ago when I was doing my silversmithing course, I had an idea about creating a piece where I ‘mended’ a piece of denim with a ‘patch’ of impressed brass. I impressed some brass with a piece of fabric to give it a woven texture, but got no further. Some time later I was revisiting my sketch book from the course and cut out a ‘patch’ which I then drilled all round the edge to take the stitches. Once polished, it stalled yet again.


However, last week I found the perfect piece of denim  – an off cut from a pair of jeans – and with a square of apple wood from my Dad’s shed, the project was back on again.


I cut a section of the denim with one of the iconic seams running through it and frayed the edges. Next I chose some bright red perle thread to stitch the ‘patch’ on. It took less time to stitch the patch down than it had to drill just one of the holes with my bow drill!


Mounted onto the apple wood square…


… and made into an unusual brooch which I’ve listed here.

Some more progress on the bluework too. From this:


To this:


I’ve finished the eyelets at the bottom and completed the leaves and stems on the floral fragment on the right. The leaves and stems are in split stitch, a favourite of mine for filling areas.


I found an image on the internet of a flower where the petals had been created from long blanket stitches and then the top loops of the blanket stitches had been blanket stitched into to give a frilly sort of raised edge, so I thought I’d have a go at that for my next section.


It’s an interesting method, but slightly untidy for my liking! I think I’m going to seed stitch the background so they don’t stand out quite as much.

And in other news, I have just got the silk fabric to add to my linen and wool and I should soon be able to start investigating how to get ‘crocus coloured’ fabric for the start of my Dorian Gray project.

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If we have had a workshop of some sort at our Embroiderers’ Guild group, then at the next meeting there is a space available for people to bring their workshop pieces, whether finished or just continued, to show. It was fantastic to see what had happened to the stitch play pieces from my workshop in December.









Many thanks to everyone who brought along their work – glad you enjoyed it!

I’ve also been doing some more upcycling. First, I turned a single 1980s enamelled earring which looked like orange sherbet into a beaded brooch. I removed the post and then beaded it onto some hand dyed vintage cotton fabric with some matching pearlised opaque orange seed beads using peyote stitch.


Then I gathered the spare fabric over the back and ladder stitched it to the covered vilene circle onto which I’d already stitched the brooch back.


Then I could add the edging in a mixture of clear orange, opaque pale yellow and very pale lilac beads, to echo the colours in the swirl.


It’s not a terribly quick thing to stitch, but a lot of fun to do!

Among the oddments I scored from my Dad’s workshop last year were some bits of veneer that he had hand cut. This little piece is apple wood.


I wondered what would happen if I doodled on it in black pen…


…and then cut it into sections to fit in this vintage bracelet.


Measure twice, cut once…


Hold your breath and hope…


…and be pleasantly surprised at the result.



I’ve also added nuggets of sea glass and sea washed china to a selection of vintage pendants, brooches and rings.









They are all sitting in my Etsy shop now, waiting for loving homes!

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This week it was bitterly cold but bright – perfect for sanding the drawers of my ’60s teak chest of drawers outside.

Starting point: tired, faded, stained.



Simply sanded as close as I could get to the handles. The handles are amazing. Most furniture has at least one loose handle. Not this one. Every single handle is rock solid, glued, screwed or whatever, but it’s a good job I love the original handles because they were NOT coming off…

20171208_104022_HDR.jpgThen laborious sanding down by hand to get to this:

20171208_105617_HDR.jpgThree more to go before the Danish Oil could work its magic. And what magic! I was prepared for it this time but it still blew me away.


20171208_144549_HDR.jpgThree coats of Danish Oil and a thorough polishing with beeswax later, it was transformed from this: 20171126_105438_HDRTo this:

20171210_104643_HDR.jpgIt’s now in my bedroom filled with Christmas presents and fabric. I absolutely love it! :o)

I’ve also had a bit of a metalwork session. I loved the effect of the printed silk carrier rod behind the rescued gold tone bib, so I hunted out some of the brass I impressed when I did my silversmithing course several years ago…


…and started to play.  This is going to be a pendant.


And this, a brooch.

DSCN7587.JPGI love cutting fiddly shapes with the piercing saw, letting it and the texture of the metal dictate where it goes and making these pieces has been a joy. I have an oval pendant on the way too. More photos to come.

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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.


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


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


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.


You can find it here.

I also created this flotsam assemblage pendant



…from a piece of wave worn aluminium…


…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.


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


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


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


..and a bracelet.


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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Sorry I’ve been awol. Issues with work kicked off at the end of May and I’ve really been struggling to get my head round them. In fact, I’ve struggled to do anything much, including sew, but I do have a couple of bits to show.

Firstly, the bluework is coming on slowly. I wanted a section that looked like a fragment of blue and white china from another piece of pottery so I used an old embroidery transfer picture and copied the central part of that into the right hand section.


I’ve used split stitch to outline the flower shapes and am filling them with a sort of cross between satin stitch and long and short stitch.


My usual mixture of threads. Some silk, some cotton and some a complete mystery.


Heavier weight and lighter toned threads on the larger flower which I plan to finish off in white stranded silk.


I’ve also made another brooch from some of the wooden offcuts and rusted painting cloth I brought back from my Dad’s shed at Easter to go in my Etsy shop.

This one is made from a square of rusted muslin that he was using as a paint cloth. I ruched it onto a much smaller piece of hand dyed cotton with french knots in a rusty-coloured variegated thread which gives it a lovely fluid, tactile surface.


I’ve mounted it into a square of apple wood left over from one of his chopping board projects.


The wood is smoothed but not polished and I love that understated background against the contortions of the bunched up fabric.



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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…


…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:


in lilac wood


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


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.


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.


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


With some pieces of watch mechanism added…


I think this will probably become a brooch.


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…


…and outside.


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.


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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