Monday, 27 August 2012

Prize Time!

I promised in my last post that I'd do a giveaway very soon to celebrate reaching 1000 views on my blog. It's getting on for a year since I started this blog, and this coming weekend will be one year since my first ever craft fair, so lots to celebrate. As it stands I'm only 6 likes away from 100 on my Facebook page too so if anyone wants to help me out with that we'll have even more to celebrate!
If that wasn't enough I'm also working on two very exciting new projects with some great small businesses, and the Made-Here pop up shop in Liverpool, through which I sell my work, is relocating to an exciting new location in the city and it's even bigger than before! Could things get any better?

To mark all my good fortune I will be giving away this stripey purse and rosette;

Made in soft cotton ticking in red, and with one of my trademark 'surprising linings' it has a zipper top and a wrist strap for safekeeping of valuables, money, phones, cameras, haberdashery... The rosette is made in red and ecru ticking and isjust the right size for attaching to the pouch, and has a 1" locking brooch pin so you can wear it on your coats, hats, cardis, dress up your pets...

 What do you need to do to win? Just say hello! Leave a comment below, you don't need to follow my blog (but if you'd like to I won't stop you!) Do you also have some good news to share? Share it here,  or just introduce yourself, it's nice to know who I'm talking at to. And I know the prize is a bit female oriented, but don't let that put you off chaps, just think of it as a mother/sister/daughter/girlfriend/wife present you don't need to buy!

In two weeks time I'll put all the commenters names in a hat and draw one out for the winner. Easy!

PS. This giveaway is open to anyone, no matter where in the world you are!

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Hot Off The Press

When I was doing my A Level in Textile Product Design we all had a go at using some fabric that you could feed into an inkjet printer and print onto like paper. I think the technician had to cut the fabric to size and there was a solution you had to soak it in and leave to dry for it to work. Also, you had to feed it into the printer from the back. The results were reasonably successful, but I imagine it was a awful lot of faff and that's why we only ever did it once. Luckily some smart person has simplified the process greatly and you can now buy pre-cut, pre-treated sheets of A4 fabrics, both washable and non washable, and in cotton, linen and silk. Amazing!

I'd been planning to try some out for a while so I ordered a starter pack from this site, which inlcudes an A4 sheet each of cotton, cotton lawn, linen, silk and silk organza. One of the things I wanted to do was try and reproduce my hand embroidery on decorations and accessories. I love embroidering and how fluid it is compared to, say, sewing purses or folding books, but it takes a long time and that increases the final price considerably. I'm not at all against charging lots of money for things when it's justified by the work involved, but I don't want to sit at a stall for hours on end with lots of beautiful things that no one can afford. (sometimes it's hard enough with very reasonably priced work, but when people think a craft market is basically the same as a jumble sale there's not much you can do) Wouldn't it be nice, I thought, if you could have the look of a hand embroidered piece without spending a fortune on it?

As we are over the middle of the year 'hump' it is sadly acceptable for me to start thinking about (whisper it) Christmas. So, my first experiments are of a decidedly festive nature, and for that I apologise. Using some of the leftover linen from my vintage tablecloth and red stranded cotton (and 3 episodes of The Sopranos, and lots of cups of tea, and Poirot) I produced these:

Redwork heart on vintage linen. Lazy daisy, chain stitch, running stitch, french knots and back stitch.
The heart was first and quite restrained. The tree had a couple of false starts in green but the red seemed to make more impact on the white, and I didn't plan any of it out to start with, just added and filled in gaps as I went along. I've found Pinterest to be a great help when looking for embroidery inspiration, partifularly for less formal approaches than you'd find in books on the subject.

Redwork Christmas tree on vintage linen. Chain stitch paper chains, lazy daisy flowers, french knots and running stitch.
 With the embroideries complete I gave them a good iron and then scanned them and uploaded the images to the computer. After a little playing around in Photoshop this morning and a few test prints on paper I was ready to go with the fabric. I used the cotton lawn for these, a nice smooth weave and natural feel. The fabric comes backed with paper and goes straight in your ususal paper tray, paper side up. Set your print quality to Best and away you go! I find it easiest, once you've printed and left for 30mins or so, to mark your cutting lines on the paper and cut them out, then peel the backing off.

 With my printed designs ready I tested two ways of making hanging decorations. First up I used some gorgeous red 100% wool felt from Myriad and wundaweb-ed it to the printed lawn, finishing with a machine stitched edge, I prefer the zigzag, but think either would be better in a white or off white thread so as not to distract. The tree has an extra layer of medium interfacing between the layers too which makes it hang straighter. I like the simplicity of these, but I'm not sure if the tree has too much of the car air freshener about it, what do we think?

Next up I went for a tried and tested 'stitch and stuff' method, using red polka dot cotton for the back. I like the squishy-ness of these, and it's great to substitute the stuffing for lavender or other aromats. I'm currently on the lookout for festive smelling things if anyone has any tips on that? Perhaps steering clear of anything too pine-y as we'll be back in car freshener territory again.

As a start I'm quite pleased with how these have turned out, might have a couple more stabs at this idea and then settle on a final method. The other fabric sheets I have plans for too, there'll be more on those in future.

Today I realised I've also passed the 1000 mark on my blog views, woo hoo! I'll be doing a little giveaway to celebrate that in the next week or so, so stay tuned!

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Just Cruisin'

Yesterday I took part in a new art fair at the Liverpool Cruise Terminal. The MASSIVE Queen Elizabeth cruise ship was docked at Liverpool for the day, sadly didn't get a photo but probably couldn't have fit it all in shot without standing on the other side of town. We set up shop with arts and crafts in the terminal building, and there was a little funfair outside too.

Hundreds of people came along to get a look at the ship, and I spent a lot of my time playing spot the cruiser (clues were big sunglasses and gold jewelry). I've had a few disappointing fairs recently, in terms of sales, so I had high hopes for this one and I wasn't disappointed. Hopefully todays fair in L1 will be just as successful!

Here's a video from Bay TV covering the day, spot my cameo at the start of the crafts section, looking shifty behind my stall!

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