Thursday, 17 May 2018

Sewing Projects...and plans

Sewing has taken over a bit recently as I have lots of projects in my head. In fact, I have had to start a hobby notebook which so far has sewing project ideas, wish lists of plants and wish lists of more crafting goodies.  However, I am gradually  making progress on the sewing list front.  I have finally finished my cat cushion cover which has turned out just as I'd hoped.  The centre panel is a screen print onto calico, surrounded by a cat print material which I love as it makes me smile.
The back is a simple envelope  but shows off the fabric nicely.
This tunic dress has featured on my blog several times and I am finally happy with it and actually wearing it now.  It was too short originally and I made it with puffed sleeves which weren't very comfortable.  I changed the pattern to sleeveless and lengthened the hem, covering the seams with blue bias binding.  However, it was then too long and I didn't like the bias binding much.  As a last attempt, I took off the binding, shortened it a bit, and covered the bottom with cotton lace.  Now I am finally happy!
I have also finished my second Cleo pinafore.  I stuck to the seam allowances more this time so it is a little slimmer than the first one, but still comfortable and loose to wear.  The buttonholes went really well too - no unpicking needed this time!
 Here's the back.  I have worn it once so far.  It will be great for Autumn.
Here's the material for the next Cleo pinafore (it is a little bluer in real life) and then I would like a denim version.
 I also bought this sheep fabric to make a new bag for work, probably using denim for the bottom panels and this for the top/
How can you not love a stripy sheep?
My next projects are these.  Two (hopefully) simple summer tunic dresses.  I have had the patterns for a while but have never got around to making them.  I will make a toile version first, just to get the hang of the patterns and to adjust the fit - I have narrow shoulders so will probably need to adjust the pattern a bit. 
 Here are the fabrics for one of them - I really like the cheerful little birds and thought they would look great as a contrast hem or pockets or sleeves (or all three).
I saw this magnolia fabric and just had to buy it.  It may be the main fabric or a contrast - I haven't quite decided that yet.  So, plenty to keep me busy and I do need to get on with the summer dresses - I need them for work!

Thursday, 10 May 2018

The Spring Garden and last of the tulips

As promised, here is the third and final post about tulips this year.  Above is Angelique, a really frilly, blowsy, over-the-top tulip.  A couple of the flowers are multi-headed too.
 In case that just wasn't over-the-top enough, here is Carnaval de Nice in bold stripes.  Another one which demands to be admired.
 They do make quite a display!
 Angelique again...
 ...and I noticed yellow of some of the petals in the tulip at the back which I thought was quite unusual.
 Magnolia Susan, backed by the lilac tree looked wonderful against the Mediterranean blue sky we had over the bank holiday weekend (almost unheard of to have sunny and hot weather on a bank holiday - usually, it is dull and rainy).
Finally, here is Magnolia Fairy Blush which took a battering when the wall fell on it and which looked like it was sulking all through the winter.  In fact, I did think about removing it as it looked so unhappy and lost a large proportion of its leaves.  However, when the flowers look like this, how can I get rid of it?  Just beautiful.

Thursday, 3 May 2018

The Spring Garden - more tulips (part two)

I do like taking photos of the sky through Magnolia Susan as the unfurling leaves and tracery of branches make a lovely foreground.
Blue sky and white clouds help too.
Here is Rhododendron Patty Bee flowering beautifully.
Although there is no scent, this is a very pretty flower.
Rhododendron Tinkerbird in its second year and with the buds just starting to open.  It came through the winter well and I was really looking forward to seeing the flowers but then of course, we had more rain.  Would the flowers get battered?
So far, so good.  The scent was not very strong though, due to the dull weather.
I have recently bought some Lewisias, here a white and pink one.  They have a mass of flowers at the moment, but I do need to pot them on.
Ballerina and Red Shine in the border.The wall does show them off well.
 Here's Rhododendron Tinkerbird this morning - fully open and smelling wonderful - a strong jasmine fragrance.  Star of the garden at the moment, I think.
The flowers are beautiful too.
 Another view, just because I can!
 Here is tulip Shirley doing well and showing the delicate colouring on the edges of the petals.
 Another close up.
Tulip Brown Sugar again.  It has done really well this year. There will be one more post featuring tulips as there are two tubs by the front door, but they are not quite in flower yet.

Saturday, 28 April 2018

The Spring Garden - tulip time (part one)

 The promised hot weather did appear for a few days and brought the garden on very quickly.  My tulips, which had been shivering and tightly in bud, suddenly grew and flowered.  Above is the ever faithful Ballerina with the citrus scent.  (However, the new Ballerina bulbs I planted last autumn have been thrown by the cold and are just leaves, with no sign of flowers at all.  Some of the other tulips are a bit stunted too, but I hope that if I plant them in the border this autumn, they might be better next year).
 My erythronium Pagoda has gradually grown and spread and is looking wonderful this year.
 This is tulip Brown Sugar, which also has a scent and is rapidly becoming my second favourite tulip...
here it is in flower...
...and a close up of the inside of the flower...
 ...and fully open - really beautiful.  I need more of these.
 This self sown primrose is keeping a rose in a pot company although I think I will have to remove and divide it soon.
I couldn't resist capturing these jewel like raindrops one morning.  Here they are on the winter flowering honeysuckle.
 While one single droplet stayed in the centre of this aquilegia leaf.
My camassias have enjoyed the recent wet weather.
 There are flower buds (even though the leaves look a bit battered).
The lathyrus vernus plants have put on a lovely show this Spring, despite the unpredictable weather.

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

More creativity... cards and playing with the gelli plate

 I have been continuing with card making (just as well because I have amassed a large stash in a relatively short space of time) and have made a few more cards including thank you, get well and hello.  I like to decorate the envelopes too.
 This was made using a two layer stamp which gives a lovely result.
In my other news, I have discovered the joys of a Gelli plate.  This is a polymer based gel printing plate which can be used to make monoprints.  They have been about in the crafting world for many years, particularly in America, but, as usual, I am a bit behind the trends.  I watched lots of videos on the internet and decided that I needed to get myself a plate and have a go.  I have always enjoyed creating prints, whether these were monoprints, screen prints or lino prints, so I knew I would enjoy this.  Acrylic paints work really well with the gelli plate and distress inks can also be used, so it can cross into the papercrafting and card making too (hoorah!).
 Here are my first attempts, using marks, bubble wrap, stencils and stamps, in my favourite cool blues.
 I like the way the gel plate gives you a positive print and then what is called a 'ghost print', which is a negative sort of image.
More mark making and bubble wrap.
 Bright and bold colours blended on the plate and then stencils, bubble wrap and marks again.
 This is the ghost print.
I really liked the smudginess of this print which was actually a 'cleaning up the roller' waste piece which I put the stencils onto to remove most of the paint and then used a baby wipe to clean them - the baby wipe caused the slightly smudgy look to the stencil.  This is one of my favourite prints and wasn't even a 'proper' print. So often the way!
I have been watching more 'how to' videos and have been taken with some layered prints using more sophisticated colour mixes than I have used so far. 
I really like the process, it is fast, some great effects can be created and it is easy to clean up, so I shall be enjoying lots more playing and creating over the next few days/weeks/months.