Sunday, 26 May 2013


 The veins on the larger dragonfly's wings is now completed.  Time now to work on the body.  Before starting the wings I put a layer of padding on the head and body - several strands of cotton thread.

A black bead for the head with two clear glass beads either side for eyes.

Imitation jap and purl purl are couched over the cotton padding to form the body.

A piece of felt padding and a piece of gold coloured leather cut to size ready to sew on for the thorax.

 The felt padding has been stitched to form thorax and blue stripes finish the abdomen.

The finished dragonfly, the gold coloured leather has been sewn over the felt padding.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

MAD FOR NEEDLES - for every task a needle

 SOME PARTS OF MY CURRENT GOLDWORK PROJECT would be much easier if I have the correct size needles - easy to solve I will get some while shopping.  Little bit of a mistake ..... yes I got the needles I wanted, some Chenille needles that should have the right size eye to pull the gold threads to the wrong side of my work.  To be sure I also got a pack of assorted craft needles that had a couple of needles with larger eyes.  It is after that things got a little out of control.  Large plastic needles for sewing knitted projects together,  Doll needles - extra long for making soft toys and dolls, and some straw/milliners needles.  These could be useful if I take apart and repurpose the two cheap hats that I brought last year.  They were too small so I plan to turn them into purses.
 This was a pure impulse buy.
A PARALLEL TRACING WHEEL.  As I do not seem to be able to see any clothes I like at the moment it would be a good time to make my own again.  This will make my partner very happier as I am planing to work my way through by beautiful collection of fabric to start with.  He is very good and has even offered to lend me money when I have run out of funds - one of my favourite places to
fabric is at the multi period re-enactment show held at Kent County Showground.
There is usually a stall there with reasonably priced 100% linens and silks.  I have often struggled around the event hugging a huge pile of fabric.
 In the past I have just bastardised patterns to get the effect I wanted - the sleeves from this and the collar from that.  This time I feel like drawing my own patterns.  This book PATTERN CUTTING MADE EASY from SEARCH PRESS should help me in my quest for individuality and I think the tracing wheel will help me create my patterns. 
Loved the look of the needle weaving in this magazine so the last things I brought were some purple wire and some variegated thread ready for when the muse takes me. 

Sunday, 19 May 2013

GOLDWORK project - the dragonfly comes to life

 I have cut wing pieces out of some cloth type paper - an ivory colour with a glittery sheen to it.  The books that I have all agree that paper was often used.  After cutting the wings to size I stitched them into position.
 The body  and the head have been padded with strands of soft cotton thread.  Couched  imitation jap gives the detail on the wing.

Both wings nearly completed.  These pictures were taken outside in full afternoon sun this seems to have given the wings a rather lovely glow.


Saturday, 18 May 2013


THE TOMATO AND CUCUMBER SEEDS I planted a couple of weeks ago have germinated nicely and have now been potted on.  The chillis and sweet pepper seeds were a little slower.  I was worried that the sweet peppers wouldn't germinate at all they were so
slow.  So convinced was I that the seeds weren't going to grow that I planted another lot only for the first shoots of the original seeds to show the next day.

Sharing the greenhouse bench this spring are ....... a ROYAL OAK SCENTED GERANIUM (see right)
and a SPIDER FERN a type of tree fern (see top photo) that needs to stand in water, I have had this one for several years.
This year I decided, once again, to order from CHILTERN SEEDS 
This was partly because I wanted to grow some living stones.  I have been checking the local garden centres since the new stocks of seeds started to be delivered searching for seeds with no luck.  I knew that I would be able to get them from CHILTERN SEEDS

This time I ordered from the website but there is nothing like the absolute joy of pouring over the pages of the catalogue.  Marking anything that takes my fancy before the final selection is ordered.
Only a small order this time and the seeds I ordered were :-
LITHOPS (living stones) mixed
ASTROPHYTUM (uncactus-like cacti) mixed
WILD FLOWERS pond edge mixture
ONOBRYCHIS VICIIFOLIA - SAINFOIN a British wild flower that grows on chalk.  Perfect I thought for a garden that has chalk bedrock very close to the surface.

I planted the seeds this morning, at least some of them.  Some of the packets had so many seeds it would have been silly to plant all of them.  I cannot bring myself to throw seedlings away - I already have too many tomato plants and I did my best not to over sow.  

Monday, 13 May 2013

GOLDWORK EMBROIDERY - flowers nearly completed

 The first part of my design is nearly completed.  
I had a quick read of one of my books yesterday.  My Goldwork books have been my bedtime reading for the last few weeks.  And I haven't followed the 'order of work' to the letter.

 I should have done all the padding first, then the outlining before starting to fill the design.  I haven't done this because I wasn't to sure what it was I wanted to do.  Even as I was working along the first stem I changed my mind about how I wanted it to look.
 Even though I have freestyled my work to a certain extent I am very pleased with how the embroidery is progressing.  Yes, there are some mistakes - but this is my first attempt.  
 The different ways to couch the threads to the fabric give so much texture to the work

 and even working with a limited palette (copper in this case) there is great depth of colour.

Luckily I had some small beads that were the right colour.

Friday, 10 May 2013

GOLDWORK EMBROIDERY PROJECT - the first few stitches

 I HAVE DECIDED TO SPEND some time on my own enjoyment. Over the last few months I have been so concerned with creating items for my on-line shops and the ill fated shelf in Margate that I stopped making things just for fun.  That isn't to say I haven't enjoyed making all the bits and bobs because I have.  I think that I have been neglecting me.  So the goldwork project I started is top of the list.  

With two very good books from SEARCH PRESS 
and a couple of sets of SIESTA FRAMES

I have made a start.  The frames seemed to be the best option for setting up my work although I did struggle to get the recommended drawing pins into the woodBoth books are well written and explain everything clearly - a godsend for a style of embroidery I am new to. If I could only have one of them it would be this one.
 This is quite labour intensive but I am enjoying it so much that I am not noticing the time passing. 
This last picture shows the areas where I have used soft cotton thread padding before embroidering over them.  My goldwork at this stage is copper not gold.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

A card for New Zealand

I brought a copy of CRAFTERS COMPANION - CRAFTERS INSPIRATION last week.  The main reason I brought it was because I had a coupon, but as I read it I found lots of interesting things to make.  The first item on my list was an easel card with drawers.  I wanted to make this for my partner's Stepmother as she has been so wonderful to us over the last year.  Not exactly a Mothers Day card but it was important to us that it got to her for Mother's Day.                                  

 A quick read through the instructions and some spare cash sent me off to buy the CRAFTERS COMPANION ULTIMATE PRO - I have been meaning to buy it for a while and as I needed one for this card I took the plunge.

Things were going well until I needed to start scoring the drawers and draw sliders.  I got very confused by all the references to a BOXER BOARD.  And sure enough missed by me in the list of tools BOXER BOARD.  Not only did I need the BOXER BOARD but for this project I didn't need the ULTIMATE PRO!!  
This made making the card slightly harder (the whole point of these tools is to make things easy) but not impossible.  So, here it is, my very first Easel card.  I was so happy when I finished the construction that I got a little carried away with some of the decoration and added some twisted ribbon and flowers.  
 The drawers have got hidden gifts in them and a little thank you note.  

    Finally I just want to say   I NEED A BOXER BOARD!!!

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Catch up gardening, late April 2013

A week ago, monday I finally got round to planting the tomato and pepper seeds.  I don't remember ever leaving planting so late.  Because the greenhouse needed cleaning out before I could use it I put the seed tray in the bathroom to germinate the seeds.  Sunday morning the first plants were coming through.  

We had, again, stored wood for the stove in the greenhouse through the winter.  This time the load of logs we had brought were wet (we were not happy about this as we had to dry them before we could use them) and this meant most  of our greenhouse  windows ended up with a layer of green slime over them.  

On sunday morning
I washed the windows with some diluted Jeyes fluid and I swept the benches and floor.  Just the two raised beds to tidy up now.  It is possible to bring the seed tray down from the bathroom and put it into the greenhouse to stop the plants getting leggy.

This evening I was very happy to find 100% germination of the cucumber seeds, and a good germination rate of the other seeds.  The only seeds that have not germinated yet are the chilli seeds.  I am going to plant a few more to be on the safe side.  At the weekend I am going to plant the runner bean seeds and then I should be back on track.