Friday, 30 April 2010

"Sewing Freestyle Friday"

I love days like today... Spending time with a great friend, chatting, sewing and learning new techniques at the same time.... bliss!!! Today I visited my friend Sarah to discover the art of Freestyle Sewing, a la Poppy Treffry style. I don't use my sewing machine regularly, I pick it up now and then for the odd project, so I expected today to be a bit of a challenge, but I was pleasantly surprised!
On arrival at Sarah's I was welcomed with a warm cup of coffee and then we set up my sewing machine in her sewing room...... I just love this room, especially the gorgeous storage cupboard at the end, just look at all those little drawers, they were full of sewing bits and bobs, fabric, cotton, craft bits etc... a real treasure trove!

Freestyle sewing involves completely removing the pressure foot from the machine and dropping the dog feed so that you can control the movement of the fabric freely. You then need to place an embroidery ring around the fabric to get some tension and then work the material with your hands to create shapes, words and patterns. It feels really strange and at first I was all over the place, but gradually I started to write, you can see above I've written my name "Mandy" and drawn squiggles, flowers and hearts, this was a kind of warm up session before we began the applique below.....
Here I started to create an applique cupcake with freestyle sewn edges, very "Shabby Chic" in style don't you think! Creating the paper cup that the cake sits in (below) required alot of concentration, continuously moving the fabric up down and around to create the paper folds.

I was thrilled with the end result, I still need lots of practice, but it wasn't a bad first attempt. After a few more goes we then retired to the kitchen/diner for lunch. Sarah made a tasty Leek and Potato Soup with bread for lunch........

.......followed by the most gorgeous Plum Tart, below, this was sooooo delicious, served up with Creme Fraiche.
After lunch we made our way back to the sewing room, via Sarah beautiful front porch, she has the most stunning home with beautiful style.

For the afternoon sewing session we decided to work a little on writing freestyle, I must say this was REALLY tricky and is going to need lots and lots of practice, but below is my first few attempts.
After a late afternoon cuppa and some handmade Lemon Drizzle Cake we finished off our lovely day with more applique practice, turning our hand to cupcakes, flowers and hearts. If you fancy having a go yourself, check out Poppy's book; Free & Easy Stitch Style, you can purchase it on Amazon, it has really clear step by step instructions and patterns that are so easy to follow.
Thank you Sarah for a wonderful day xx

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Stocking Up!!

One thing I really enjoy is creating new Greetings Cards, it's been long overdue, and I desperately need to get stocking up on my cards for a new store in Battle, East Sussex, that has asked to sell my cards in their shop.
When creating new cards I generally spend an evening on the laptop trawling through my vintage images for inspiration, and as I find it I print off the image that has sparked my imagination and get creating the following morning, playing around with the images and matching them with backing papers and vintage elements till I get the scene just right.

These few samples here are the outcome of my morning of card crafting yesterday. Some of the vintage images are from my own collection, where as others, like the little lady above, are from collage sheets by talented friends / companies, such as Paper Whimsy.

I've still got lots more to create, I need to keep my "cheeky" line of cards going as they are very popular, as well as the usual Birthday, Wedding and New Baby lines.
But I will be taking a break tomorrow as I have a wonderful day of sewing and crafting lined up with a good friend, I'll be taking lots of photo's of the day and blogging about it over the weekend, so watch this space!!

Saturday, 24 April 2010

A Mermaid Wedding Theme

You may remember a few weeks ago I posted about a Wedding I was working on for a client, they wanted a Mermaid theme for their wedding breakfast decorations; Table Plaques and Name Cards, and today I finally finished the Plaques....

The name cards, samples below, are still a work in progress, unfortunately my printer broke down last week after seven years of wonderful service, and boy was I lost without it. But I now finally have a replacement.... a Laser Printer this time, which is wonderful, so I am able to crack on with the name cards.
I'm hoping the Bride will forward photographs of the table settings after the big day as it would be lovely to see them in the actual setting.

Hope you're all having a super weekend!!

Monday, 19 April 2010

New Friends and Old Finds

I don't know about you, but I find that as I get older it takes alot more effort to make new friends! People lead such busy lives it's difficult to make the time to forge and maintain new friendships... sad I know!! However, since my boys have started school I have met some fantastic ladies who have become wonderful friends and I am so grateful for the new friendships I have formed. One such friendship (with a new friend, Lilius) has lead to a mutual enjoyment of not only spending time together with our kids and partners but also for the love of vintage books and illustrations. A few weeks ago we decided to go out for dinner with our partners and have some much needed "me" time without the kids. After dinner we all went back to Lilius's house, the men went off into the kitchen for some male bonding (as they do! lol!) and Lilius and I took a look around her house, as I strolled into her dining room a whole bookshelf of vintage books stared back at me... that was it!!! the rest of our evening was spent oooohhing and aaaring over old books and their illustrations, well, I was doing most of the ooohhing!!
And then in the last week or so my lovely new friend has bestowed me with a few gorgeous books and some vintage paper dolls that she has given to me as gifts.... how wonderful is that!! And here to share with you are photos of the pieces I have received.

Apparently, Lilius's parents are moving out of their family home and downsizing, so Lilius has been busy helping them sort through their possessions and discard anything they no longer need. These items were part of Lilius's childhood and rather then discard them she has passed them on to me..... lucky aren't I??

There were so many clothes for these dolls that I didn't photograph them all as I'd have been behind the camera a good while!! But here is a snapshot for you.

The books I received were so pretty, the Old Rhymes book below, had the most gorgeous pop up sections.

And then there was the old "Wind in the Willows" book below, the illustrations plates in this book are by Arthur Rackham and are just stunning...

So, as the title of this post says..... I have found a new friend and in doing so discovered some old finds.... Thank you Lilius. xx

Monday, 12 April 2010

A Sweet Treat Delivery

I am a little late posting this as I've been having a busy time with the kids over this Easter Break, but I had to show you all the amazing package I received over the Easter Weekend! You may remember from a previous post, that I was participating in an ATC Swap with a Sweet Shoppe Theme, well this is the package I received from my swap partner Mary Ann. Not only had she created two gorgeous ATCs for me but she also put together the MOST AMAZING sweetie package for my family.... I was astounded when it arrived, here are some photo's of some of the items enclosed in the parcel.
In addition to the sweetie treats, Mary Ann also enclosed this gorgeous hand made journal, which I shall treasure! To see more of these items please visit Mary Ann's website and shop at Follow Your Bliss
Just take a look at all the goodies above that Mary Ann enclosed for my children, it was so nice to receive candy from the US, there were lots of sweets my boys had never heard of in this bag!

And Mary Ann did not leave me and my husband out either, we had a box full of choccies and beautiful greetings cards, along with a cup cake kit!!!

Above are the two ATCs Mary Ann created for me, aren't they adorable!! And below are images of my boys opening their sweet treats from Mary Ann....

Thank you so much Mary Ann, it was a wonderful package to receive in the post, so much thought and care had gone into it, my whole family are so grateful and send you big hugs from the UK!!

Monday, 5 April 2010

Spring In Paradise!!!

Or should I say... Paradise Park, Newhaven, to be precise!!! lol! Today we took a stroll through the gardens at Paradise Park. I love it here. We first went last Summer with some friends and it's a fantastic place to bring the kids with loads to do for them, but also a beautiful place for the grown ups too, with gorgeous gardens to stroll round.
It was such a gorgeous sunny day, the daffodils were out in force and there was a real sense of Spring in the air.

It is meant to be really sunny tomorrow, so I think we may take a walk down by the beach and introduce our new puppy to the sea. But whatever we do, pics will follow.