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Posts Tagged ‘etsy shop’

It all started with this odd earring. It’s not a very good image because it’s already partly disassembled (I got all excited and forgot to take a photo before I attacked it with the pliers!), but you can hopefully see that it’s made up of three pairs of brass leaf shaped sections that made me think of flower calyxes.

That was enough to spark off an idea for a pendant and a pair of earrings using silk cocoons for the main part of the flower with a brass calyx on top of each one.

Pendant first. I made a set of beaded stamens by threading some random sequences of blue and gold bugle and seed beads onto Nymo and then knotting the ends onto the loop of a headpin and setting it all with a blob of superglue. This is my third cocoon. I discovered the hard way that the silk on its own wasn’t robust enough to cope with having a headpin put through it and I had to use a layer of glue to strengthen the fibres.

But the result was worth it. The little ‘hat’ section from the earring makes an effective calyx for a fantasy flower. It’s available here in my Etsy shop.

For various reasons, I didn’t get round to the earrings until today. I managed to find an almost identical pair of silk cocoons and they really are this red! you also get a better idea of how the brass ‘calyxes’ look from this photo.

Beaded stamens again, this time in greens and golds.

The silk cocoons are really light so although the drops are quite large at 5cm long and 2cm in diameter, they are a lovely weight and not too heavy to wear. I’m hoping to get them listed in my Etsy shop shortly when I can get some more photos of the details.

It seems ages since I had a good jewellery making spell and after finishing these earrings today I was feeling really inspired. It’s a shame most of the rest of this week is going to be taken up with three days supply teaching but as online sales have dropped through the floor over the last few months, beggars really can’t be choosers.

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Happy Tenth Birthday to this blog! Please help yourself to a piece of virtual cake. :o)

I wrote my first post on May 2nd 2011 which also happened to be Bank Holiday Monday.

In 2011 blogging was massive in the creative community. It seemed that everyone from full time textile artists to complete beginners were sharing their art and creative processes and many of the blogs I followed were like fabulous magazines, full of gorgeous images and insights into all types of embroidery and textile art that were new and endlessly fascinating to me. People connected, made friendships, shared ideas and advice and I found I could join a whole world of people who loved stitch as much as I did.

However, blogs have waned massively in popularity since 2011. Probably half to three quarters of the bloggers I was following in 2011 have stopped blogging for one reason or another and I have to put my hand on my heart and say I don’t read blogs as regularly as I used to – like many of us I’m more likely to scroll through the same people’s Instagram feeds. But although we get the instant gratification of a pretty or interesting picture on Instagram, I still do value the time and space to explore creative practise that you get in a blog.

The rise of social media is understandable. It takes a moment to upload a photo from our phones onto Instagram, type a few words and hashtags and press send. The image is out there and it gets instant engagement. You can click a like on it in less than a second before you move onto the next piece of eye candy, or spend a few more putting a heart-eyes emoji or a brief comment. It has its place. Some quick feedback about a problem; affirmation that you have made something pretty or reassurance that other people are in the same position. Speed of response can be very useful.

On the other hand, blogs take time and effort. You need to compose your thoughts, create readable content and suitable images to go with it. Not everybody has the time or natural affinity with words to do that which makes the bloggers who are still plugging away out there very special and their posts a valuable resource.

Social media is a snack – like a bag of crisps. A blog is a meal. Words and ideas to digest. You have to take your time and work through the blogger’s thoughts and accompanying images and to continue the metaphor, like a meal, a good blog post leaves you feeling satisfied. Or it can be so delicious it leaves you hungry for more. More images, more explanation, more of an insight into a project. A very common comment to both give and receive is something along the lines of, “I can’t wait to see more of this project!”

So thank you to all the fellow bloggers who still follow and comment on my tiny corner of the internet. Thank you for letting me know I’m not just talking to myself and thank you for carrying on with your blogs and continuing to interest, engage and inspire me with your creativity.

Lastly, the watch case pendant is finished.

Rachel asked how I was going to attach a chain to the winder and luckily my plan worked! One of my biggest jump rings was just big enough to go round the stem of the winder and still have enough room to attach the silver plated chain to either side. It’s a bit askew here because I’d turned it round to photograph the back and it wasn’t sitting properly, but it give an idea of the way it’s constructed.

Available here in my Etsy shop.

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After having stitched the next section of ribbon for the glazing bars of the Temperate House at Kew down with stab stitches, it was clear that the original blanket stitches had to come out. Much better.

This has made it less bulky, so I decided to take Rachel’s (VirtuoSew Adventures) advice and run the bars right across the background.

Next I need some white thread for the thinner vertical bars, but there is white and white, as I found out a few years ago when I stitched a whitework piece and discovered that the threads I thought were identical under artificial light certainly were not in daylight! So I’m leaving the thread matching for a day with good natural light.

I’ve just added this sweet little upcycled sea glass brooch to my Etsy shop. It was one of those satisfying moments when after having trawled through a large pile of sea glass finding pieces that were almost but not quite right, I picked up this gorgeous green oval and it clicked into the vintage brass brooch setting like it had been made for it.

As if I didn’t have enough projects on the go, this week I’ve started a little or nué design of an acorn. I painted it onto some indigo dyed calico, left over from the Persian Chandelier piece with my Inktense sticks, which I love.

Then I started couching down the gold threads, using Pearsall’s ‘Gossamer’ thread. It’s so thin, it’s literally like stitching with spider’s web, so perfect for the job. It was a bit challenging to make the gold thread turn as tightly as possible at the ends , but so far, so good.

As I approached the edge of the acorn, I realised I hadn’t made things easy for myself. I was going to hit the acorn at an angle, rather than straight and this was going to potentially make it more difficult to get the shading right.

However, considering the amount of time it had already taken me to get this far with the gold, I have decided to keep on and see what happens. If nothing else, it will be an important lesson and remind me to do a bit more research before I blithely jump into a brand new technique!

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As promised from last week, here is the second china pot fragment, this time filled with ribbon embroidery irises, which have worked out rather nicely. The flowers are lazy daisy stitches with a stitch threaded through the bottom of the chain to give the falling petals, the leaves are done with ribbon stitch and the stems are two rows of split stitch.

I ended up finishing it late at night and the only photos I have of the finished piece have huge shadows round the sides of the pot which look like stains! Anyway, it was done in time for Mothers’ Day and went down well.

I’ve been working away on a couple of upcycled pieces of jewellery. The first was a fairly easy conversion from a broken 1907 silver and hardstone shamrock brooch to a pendant. The c-shaped catch was in good condition and substantial enough that I could twist it round to create a hanging loop. There was very little left of the pin hinge so I was able to carefully saw the remains off and neaten up the scar.

With the addition of a jump ring and a silver chain it’s good for at least another hundred or so years.

Available here in my Etsy shop.

The second make was a bit more of a puzzle. A chunk of abstract fused silver with two holes and a short length of tube on the back.

I wondered if the tube was supposed to be a bale, but it was very narrow and you would have struggled to get anything but the finest chain through it. And a very fine chain would have been out of proportion to the chunky pendant. So I decided to use the top hole as the hanging point and removed the tube. That left me with what to do with the second hole. I couldn’t hang anything from it as it was too far up, so I went through my odd stud earrings to see if there was anything to inspire me. I found a couple of round studs with semi precious cabochons in silver settings which were attractive before a little frog stud tumbled out of the bag. I’m not sure why I tried him in place, but he somehow turned the abstract chunk of silver into a sort of stylised lily pad.

He just works perfectly!

Mr Frog is available here in my Etsy shop.

As our second Mothers’ Day under lockdown in the UK rolled around, it reminded me of the memory journal of my beach walk on Mothers’ Day 2019 which I finished on Mothers’ Day 2020.

And that in turn reminded me that I have two pieces still to do for my Kew memory journal from June 2019. The recent needlelace sampler was a half hearted attempt at testing out some ideas for a piece based on the magnificent Chihuly Persian Chandelier which hung in the middle of the Temperate House.

But I’ve decided that I need to stop faffing and get on with it, so this morning I assembled some delicious Mulberry Silks, my tiny antique crochet hooks and a piece of lovely indigo dyed calico.

Time to stop overthinking and see what happens…

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Having finished Baby Leaf-Tailed Dragon’s tail with the white circles…

…I decided to add the details to the head section next. Extending some of the outline to give him a jawline and define the ears was straightforward, as was adding the highlights around his neck, ears, mouth and nose. Then it was the eye. The eye more than anything gives him his personality and I really didn’t want to get this wrong, so I cut out a paper template and moved it around until I was happy before I started stitching. It’s amazing how even a small alteration in placement can make a big difference to expression and personality. After a reassuringly small amount of unpicking, I was pleased with the way he looks. Definitely cheeky!

I had a pair of trousers to hem yesterday and while looking for the right colour sewing cotton, I bumped into the Bayeux Stitch mushroom I started last January during panto.

I’d got as far as putting the gills in but they were going in the wrong direction. I knew they were wrong but simply couldn’t work out what the right direction was, so I put the hoop aside and left it – I didn’t even bother to finish unpicking the gills. So this was what appeared as I moved my mending pile:

As I picked up the hoop I could see instantly where the lines needed to go! Trousers were postponed and gills were couched in place. I also outlined the spots on the cap and next stage is… the highlighting. I really need to get over my nerves about stitching highlights on these pieces!

I’ve also been adding some more upcycled jewellery to my Etsy shop. These drop earrings I made in January from a fragment of Art Nouveau pressed brass frame in the shape of olive branches is similar are available here. I’ve added faux pearl drops and new gold plated sterling silver earhooks.

The broken silver ring I shaped into two Celtic motifs has been teamed with a couple of iridescent Czech glass beads to become this rather elegant pair of earrings which are available here in my Etsy shop.

Then a couple of beachcombing pieces. Several years ago I found four glass beads which had obviously once been part of a necklace or bracelet on a tattered piece of thread at a Cornish beach. I love the way they have been worn by the sea and have been looking for just the right project for them ever since. Inspiration struck when I came across an odd earring with a hanging loop inside. I made a piece of silver wire into a headpin and two of the beads fitted perfectly. You can find it here in the Beachcombing section of my shop.

I had a silver pendant which had a very odd looking flat part under the garnet. It was a little while before I realised it was a backing plate and whatever had originally been stuck on it was long gone. Perfect for a piece of sea washed pottery and this fragment of Victorian spongeware worked perfectly. The finished pendant has a new silver chain and is available here.

And the final highlight is the upcycled mourning locket I wrote about in last week’s post.

Within an hour of listing it on Etsy it had sold! A great boost on a cold and snowy day.

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I thought I’d started the Baby Leaf-Tailed Dragon in 2018, which would have been bad enough, but the blog post from September 2018 when I moved him from a hoop to a frame and really got going, says I started him in 2015 – July 2015 to be precise. I did quite a lot of work on him in 2019 and even got as far as starting to couch the outline but then, like so many things last year, he lapsed and it wasn’t until last week that I picked him up and finally finished the couched outline. The next stage was to add the split stitch highlights. I’m always worried I’ll put them in the wrong places and it will look odd, so I usually prevaricate at this point, but I decided to just get on with it.

The result was a lot less difficult than I thought (it usually is…) and so his lower tail is nearly done!

I’ve also decided to get on with the last two pieces for my Kew Memory Journal. I want to base one on the beautiful Chihuly Persian Chandelier that was hung in the Temperate House.

I thought the wavy edged circles could work either in needlelace or crochet and while I decided which one would be most effective, I started a small sampler of needlelace stitches.

Corded Brussels Stitch is my go to needle lace stitch and after having worked the Single Brussels – twice – I know why. The Corded Brussels is always worked in the same direction. When you get to the end of the row you run the thread across the front, back to the start and then work over it, incorporating it into the stitch. It makes the lace firmer and because there is something to work over, more even, and the stitches all run in the same direction.

The Single Brussels is worked from left to right and then when you reach the end of the row, back from right to left. I’m not very right handed and can work most stitches both right and left handed but I could not for the life of me get the rows even. On the left to right rows I could make the buttonhole stitch loops stay open but right to left they just wanted to flatten down to the stitch underneath. The second version is better than the first, but not by much.

However, as a sampler and a learning exercise, it’s been very useful.

The last old favourite is the final two kilt pin brooch kits.

Forest green, golden yellow, and brown.

and

Orange, bronze, brown, purple and gold.

Listed today in my Etsy shop with free UK P&P.

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Mainly because much of the embroidery I’ve been doing this week really isn’t interesting enough to share! More split stitch round the edge of the ’tiles’ on the medieval tiles piece and I’ve also made myself pick up the baby leaf-tailed dragon kit again but that’s all couching round the outline, so not much to see.

The birthday for which I’m stitching the floral initial is fast approaching, so I’ve prioritised work on that. I keep trying to persuade myself that I’m half way through but I suspect that’s just wishful thinking. Single strands of stranded silk do not work up very fast.

So jewellery it is, starting with a piece of pressed brass which I think might have been part of an Art Nouveau frame or mount.

I’ve had a couple of ideas for it but keep returning to earrings. So I sawed it into two similar but not identical sections and created these earring drops with the addition of some silver mounted pearls. I’m just waiting on some gold plated sterling silver ear hooks to finish them off.

Then I found a broken silver ring in my scrap box.

I realised that two of the broken sections had the same design, so I flattened them before sawing and filing the excess parts of the design off to make a pair of earring drops. These just need a session in the barreller before I choose some beads to finish them off.

Then there was the collection of classic brutalist 1970s pewter components which someone had half turned into a necklace. The cabochons look like lapis lazuli but in fact are beautiful pieces of art glass with flecks of gold leaf to look like lapis.

The large section felt too big and chunky to keep as a pendant and the pattern of holes suggested that it might have had further sections hanging from it, which would have made it very heavy both literally and visually. Then inspiration struck!

I carefully sawed the big pendant into three pieces. This gave me a smaller pendant with two cabochons and two double circle sections which I could use as part of the necklace. Once I’d tidied them up, the necklace went together perfectly, with a length of reclaimed chain finishing it off at the back. I think it still has a Seventies brutalist feel but it’s a bit more wearable now. It’s here in my Etsy shop.

This left me with four sections which I used to make a matching pair of earrings with silver earhooks. Also available in my Etsy shop here.

I’ve also managed to make up four more boxes for the kilt pin brooch kits, so there are now six listed in my Etsy shop with free UK P&P.

Blue-green, lilac, purple and silver

Dusty pink, pale green, gold and russet

Purple, green, red and white

Russet, gold, brown and red

Peach-pink, yellow, brown, gold and silver

Red, green, brown, gold and yellow

Hopefully the stitching will be a little more photogenic next week!

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Happy New Year to you all and I really hope it is that; a year where we find and experience happiness alongside and in spite of what is going on around us. As friends are increasingly saying, “Be positive but stay negative!”

I wonder how many unexpected projects start with something like, “I went into a cupboard/a drawer/a box/the loft looking for X and instead I found…” It’s something I suspect I’ve typed more than a few times and here we are again. Just before New Year I went into a cupboard looking for some padded envelopes and I found eight kits for making upcycled jewellery kilt pin brooches like the one below which were left over from a workshop I taught back in 2019.

They were just popped into paper bags but it occurred to me that I could box them up nicely and put them in my Etsy shop. Kits seem to be quite popular at the moment and perhaps they would appeal to people who would enjoy the challenge of seeing what unique design they could make out of their kit rather than making the item on the front of the box.

I had some cardboard two piece boxes that I was given a little while ago (Thanks Ruth – I knew they would come in useful!!) that just needed making up and then I carefully cut the label off the paper bag and stuck it onto the front. The boxes are lovely quality and already they were looking really professional.

The original packs were designed for avid stitchers, but because these might be bought by or for someone who doesn’t have the vast amounts of stash that most of us do, I added an embroidery and a beading needle and a fat plait of assorted threads to the pack and reworked the instructions into a neat little booklet. This one is based on purples and reds (there are some lovely dusky purple seed beads hiding under the Magpie Pack) and is available here in my Etsy shop with free UK P&P.

This one is themed around autumnal russets and golds and is available here.

Yes, I did say there were eight kits and I’ve only listed two, but making up the boxes is taking a lot longer than I thought. As they are such good quality they have a triple fold plus tabs for each side and are taking me at least half an hour to make!

Over Christmas I’ve got into bad habits of browsing or playing sudoku on my tablet in the evenings so I’m trying to get at least half an hour away from the screen sewing before I go to bed. The last time I worked on my medieval tiles printed piece was in early November when I was playing embroidery chicken with the thread.

I’ve managed to find some roughly similar colour and weight perle thread to the lot that finally ran out on me and so I’ve picked this up as my before bed project. I’ve taken out the tacking stitches and am putting a second row of split stitch round the ’tiles’ to give the lines more weight (top left). There might be a third row yet but I’m seeing how it progresses.

I’ve also started back stitching round the motifs.

A nice straightforward project before bed but I just need to know when to stop. “I’ll finish when I get to the end of this piece of thread/the next piece of thread/the end of this motif,” took me until the other side of 1am last night…

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Christmas is coming and so there has been less stitching and more making and wrapping presents and seasonal cooking. I’ve strained the home made sloe gin I made with the huge sloes (or possibly bullaces) that we foraged on one of our Lincolnshire Wolds walks in late September. They were so big and fleshy I was able to make two jars of sloe gin jam with the strained pulp.

I used a new recipe for the gin this year and I was a bit unsure about the amount of sugar. Having tasted the result it’s still nice but very sweet so I’ll need to annotate the recipe or track down the one I’ve always used before. A drawback of having so many cookbooks!

This Christmas Cake is a present for my brother who loves rich fruit cake but doesn’t have time to make one for himself. One of my favourite childhood Christmas memories is Christmas and Boxing Night teas with my Nanny and Auntie Sheila. Every year they tried out a different Christmas cake recipe, always looking for that perfect moist, crumbly slice. (One year Nanny’s cake was so dry and hard it was only rendered edible by the layers of icing and marzipan!)

The search ended in the late 1970s when a Home Economics teacher who worked with my mum gave her a copy of the Christmas cake recipe she made every year with the 5th year ‘O’ level classes. It was and is idiot proof and we’ve made it every year since. It was even used for all three tiers of my wedding cake.

My little one has decorated gingerbread Christmas jumpers from Morrisons.

I’ve managed a few lunchtime stitching sessions while on supply to add some more lazy daisy flowers to my stitched initial. It’s been a useful exercise as I’m now sure that the flowers are far too small compared with the stems and a two hour workshop would not be long enough to get very far with this design. I’ll make this one into a birthday card and work another sample, this time using perle rather than one strand of stranded silk!

And lastly, a couple of assemblage brooches. The first one was a bow brooch with pendant drop that had been languishing in my shop for a while. I’d originally created an embroidered drop for it but I’d never liked it very much – it’s too big for the bow and the colours are decidedly dingy and I deactivated it a few months ago.

Gold tone items can vary massively in colour and the bow brooch is quite a light brassy shade so I was delighted to find a vintage heart locket that matched it nicely. With the addition of some dangles made from a broken necklace it’s now here in my Etsy shop.

The other new make started out as a strange looking vintage brooch rather like an old-fashioned dip pen. It had the perfect recess in the end to inlay something and I wanted to add a finishing touch to the top too.

Gathering some ideas together.

I bought a job lot of porcelain jewellery pieces from eBay a while ago and partnered one of the lustre discs with an odd earring to make the end piece. I decided to go for the embossed silk carrier rod rather than the felt to inlay into the top section. Once the choices were made, the actual making up of the brooch was pretty quick.

And it’s available here in my Etsy shop – still time to shop before Christmas!

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This was great fun to make. The starting point was a flat golden ring which came in one of my usual job lots of broken jewellery. No idea what it once was, but I love something I can use as a frame.

I combined some scraps of indigo dyed cotton with sashiko stitching to make a centre for it. I can’t bear to throw away even tiny scraps when they are so pretty and this boro style of stitching is the perfect way of letting them shine.

I gathered up the boro stitched piece around a circle of buckram and then made another plain one with a lovely shibori pattern running across it for the back.

I ladder stitched them together and then stuck the whole thing into the frame.

I wanted to flank the pendant with some cylindrical boro beads, so I stared with a long rectangle of fabric and wound it round my buttonhole ring stick to get an idea of how much fabric would be visible around the outside of the bead when it was all wound up. I stitched a square of fabric – these pieces are getting progressively smaller and smaller! – onto the outside section…

…and then wound the fabric back onto the stick, pinned it and started to buttonhole stitch around the edges to hold it in place.

Once I’d buttonholed top and bottom I continued the stitching over the raw edge to neaten it and close it up. Then onto the second one.

Once that was finished I could get a better idea of how the necklace was going to look.

I felt the fabric beads needed something, perhaps with a different texture, to keep them away from the pendant, so I started hunting through my beads. These hand made glass beads were perfect – the same colours as the embroidery but the shine of the glass contrasts well with the softness of the fabric.

With the addition of a couple of jump rings stitched to the back of the pendant and a gold plated chain, we have a finish!

Available shortly in my Etsy shop!

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