Monday, 27 May 2013

Crafty Exploits: Seventies Themed Embroidery Threads


Okay so for this embroidery threads and cocktails post I have gone for a seventies theme. If i'm honest i'm not a huge fan of the seventies as a decade but I do enjoy some of the colour schemes involving mustard, plum, burnt orange and grey.

The colours above from left to right are 279, 307, 872, 391 (all Anchor threads)

To celebrate the seventies theme we're going for a very seventies cocktail recipe.... The Harvey Wallbanger!


1 shot Vodka
4 shots of orange juice
Splash of Galliano
Orange slice to garnish


Fill a tall glass with ice cubes. Pour in the Vodka and Orange Juice and give it a stir. Use the back of a teaspoon to pour in the Galliano so that it will float on top (hopefully!). Pop the orange slice on the side of the glass. Enjoy!

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Designer Picks: Modern Art Deco

Okay so I have finally given in and done a post inspired by the Great Gatsby. I know what you're thinking- "How many posts can one person read about the 1920s in such a short space of time?". Sorry I'm just adding one more to the pile!

I actually went to see the film on Saturday and liked it. My husband on the other hand absolutely hated it. He thought it was superficial, badly shot and 45 mins too long. I thought it was good fun and really demonstrated the frivolity and fun of the era.
I also enjoyed the mix of modern music along with authentic sounds from the era. So in the spirit of modern mixed with traditional I have pulled together a collection of jewellery inspired by Art Deco but with a modern twist... Why jewellery? I always feel that Art Deco jewellery made in modern times is often really difficult to wear (unless of course you happen to be running around in a flapper dress). I really enjoyed these pieces because they give a nod to the era but can still be worn with contemporary fashion.


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Thursday, 16 May 2013

Crafty Exploits: Blue Lagoon Themed Embroidery Threads

The latest in the themed colour scheme embroidery threads comes inspired by the infamous Blue Lagoon Cocktail.

The colours are 159, 160, 161, 162, 399 (All Anchor Threads)

Here's the Blue Lagoon Cocktail Recipe in case you fancy having a tipple while you embroider...


1 part Vodka
1 part Curacao
4 parts Lemonade
Lemon Slice to Garnish


Pour Vodka and Blue Curacao into a cocktail shaker over ice. Shake well and strain into a tall glass filled with ice. Top with Lemonade and garnish with Lemon Slice.


Crafty Exploits: Getting Ready for Craft Show

So tonight I've been assembling boxes for my upcoming craft fair in Glasgow next weekend. I've chosen to go for brown kraft boxes and I've decorated with washi tape. I chose grey tissue paper for inside the boxes because I was looking for something (other than white) that would go with all of the different brooch colours. I'm quite pleased with the results- I just need to work out how to display all of the other products!

I'll keep you posted of all the other bits and pieces I manage to make up over the next week.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Crafty Exploits: Acai Mirage Themed Embroidery Threads

I love cocktails probably as much as I love embroidery so it seemed like a good idea to merge the two. Today I had purple shaded cocktails on the brain and picked a selection of embroidery threads to match the Acai Mirage cocktail.
Colours from left to right: 86, 97, 94, 69, 399 (All Anchor Threads)

Oh and if you fancy having the cocktail while you're embroidering here's the recipe...


1.5 oz Acai Flavoured Vodka
0.5 oz Cointreau
1 prickly pear cactus fruit
0.5 oz Agave Nectar
Club Soda to fill
Lemon slice and Mint to garnish


  • Muddle (mash up to you and I) the prickly pear cactus fruit in the bottom of a tall glass.
  • Add Vodka, Cointreau and Agave Nectar, stir well and fill with ice.
  • Top with Club Soda and add Lemon and Mint to garnish.

Paperfolk: Some more new products...

I mentioned a couple of days ago that I have been trying out some new wearable embroideries. Here is another prototype I tried out tonight while the wee one was asleep. More to come tomorrow hopefully!

Monday, 13 May 2013

Inspiring Reads: Royal School of Needlework, Embroidery Techniques

Todays inspiring read is more of a 'technical' read than an inspiring one. This particular book comes from the Royal School of Needlework. This school offers a range of courses and qualifications in traditional embroidery techniques. More information about the school's courses can be found here.  The Royal School of Needlework Embroidery Techniques is a paperback instructional manual of four popular embroidery techniques: Silk Shading, Crewel, Blackwork and Goldwork.
Each chapter gives a history of the particular technique, step by step instructions on the basic stitches and then a couple of projects to try out the technique.
I've found this book very useful when deciding on which technique to use for new pieces of work. It's very clear and easy to use as a quick reference guide when needed.

The downside of the book is how old-fashioned it is. The front cover wouldn't entice a modern embroiderer at all. The projects inside also reflect the style of the front cover- for example silk shading is used to create very traditional embroideries of flowers.

It's a shame that the projects haven't been as useful to me as the stitching glossary and also the historical information on each stitching technique.
However, I don't feel that this is too disappointing for me because I always design my own images to stitch so I wouldn't be looking to copy projects anyway. It's nice to read an embroidery book which does appreciate the art of painting with stitches. A lot of modern texts try to keep the embroidery as simple as possible so as to not scare off the beginner but this isn't always useful for the intermediate or experienced embroiderer.

So if you are looking to learn a little more about the history of embroidery and have a comprehensive easy to follow guide to traditional techniques then this the book for you. If you are looking for something simple with cute projects then this isn't the best choice.

You can buy the book here for around £12.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Embroiderer's Delight: Ribbons

I don't use trims in my work very often but I do love them to look at! There's such a good choice of trims available now for all budgets. VV Rouleaux used to be open years ago in Glasgow. I loved going into the shop and looking at wall to wall trims organised into colour groups. Unfortunately looking was all I could afford to do!
Now anyone can buy trims for projects without even leaving the sofa. Here are my pick of some lovely ribbons with links to the stores. Go on buy some... you know you want to


Crafty Exploits: Old Cross-Stitch

I shared my first embroideries on the blog but I also have some early cross stitch works as well. This was when I first began to get into using domestic objects in my artworks. I always liked the way that cross stitch can give you a very graphic piece. I don't do as much cross stitch work anymore as I began to enjoy how hand embroidery can replicate, and enhance, an illustration on paper. 

Crafty Exploits: Old Embroideries

I've been cleaning out my loft/studio space over the weekend and I came across some old pieces of work that I made when I was younger.
The pieces below were my first bash at hand embroidery. I made them from an old pillowcase that my mum gave me. Each one is related to a memory I had of my childhood and particularly of my grandparents.  
I always like coming across things I made as a child and seeing how I have changed over the years...


Paperfolk: New Products

Just thought I would share some new products that I have been working on for the past wee while. Most are still at the drawing/research stage but I finished this little prototype yesterday. I'm thinking of launching them at my next craft fair (Ashton Lane , Glasgow on June 1st). If they go well i'll pop them into my Etsy shop over the next couple of months.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Crafty Exploits: Ice Cream Colour Scheme

Apologies for not posting for a while, my little girl has been a full of the cold and time has just got away from me. The embroidery thread colour scheme I blogged a couple of weeks ago has been put to good use but I made the cardinal sin of not buying enough of one colour to complete the area of colour on my new piece. I need to make a trip to the haberdashery before I can post the picture of the completed work.

In the meantime here is a new colour scheme: Ice Cream Parlour Palette...

(Left to right colours are 186, 397, 159, 85, 289 all Anchor threads)

I'm working on some new embroidered jewellery which I hope to be able to post samples of this week before they go on sale. Watch this space!

Friday, 3 May 2013

Embroiderer's Delight: Sewing Pins

Okay so not strictly part of the embroiderer's kit but lets face it, if you embroider it's highly likely that you have stitched two bits of material together at some point. It's even more likely that you will have pins in your sewing box as well.

Aren't pins just really boring? I hear you say. Well yes they are in some respects but like many other dressmaking tools you can pick up them up in a more flashier version if you so desire.

I for one like a more colourful pin in my sewing box. This is partly due to my inclination towards more fun products and partly due to safety. You see, I've lost count of the number of times I've pulled on a skirt and been jabbed by a forgotten pin. Not so easy to lose a pin with a colourful glass head on it!

So even if its only for your own safety, I suggest everyone invests in some glamorous pins...
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