Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Update: Child's Reversible Sun Hat & Cloth Bag

New in the shop, this adorable child's sun hat and bag set: fully reversible and made from pretty and hard-wearing linen and cotton fabrics. The hat and bag are also available to buy separately but buying the set saves £2.00 and comes with FREE postage. Here are some images of my terribly obliging little girl modelling them in the garden. Look out for different options coming soon.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Anniversary Magic

Happy Anniversary to Chris and Nicola who celebrated their wedding one year ago on Monday. Chris contacted me in May to arrange a special dedication cushion to surprise her and here it is. Blueberry and black mixed ink printed on natural hessian and backed with cotton. I think it's my favourite cushion design so far. I'm looking forward to hearing what she thinks of it.

Tidying Up

In a bid to make my workspace more efficient, I've been having a tidy up and a quick beautify of my storage options. This is not a work avoidance tactic. I've increasingly found as I've got busier over the last year or so that I waste an awful lot of time just looking for stuff that I need in my studio. The trouble is I hate looking at plastic, functional stuff no matter how practical it is. These three jars previously served a pointless ornamental purpose storing wholewheat (honestly - when were we ever going to eat that) pasta shapes. I've reinvented them as storage jars for some of my myriad embellishments and trims using scaled-down prints of some lovely botanical drawings that I collected from Homes & Antiques magazine last year. Very simple, I used the photocopier to get the size I needed, measured up the jar, cut out an appropriate shape and slotted them in. Piece of cake and nice to look at. Now back to work!

Sunday, 8 July 2012

The Ladies Collection

I present The Ladies Collection - new cushion designs inspired by or commissioned for some very special ladies over the last few months.  All 30cm x 45cm. Now available in my shop.

Home Touches: Ugly Window

We have this ugly window in our otherwise very pretty bathroom. It's a UPVC monstrosity with patterned glass for "privacy" that was added when the house was extended before we bought it. It's impact on the room is so negative that it's taken me a long time to figure out what I am going to do about it. The dilemma I have is that, in spite of the eyesore that it creates, the window does let in a lovely lot of light - and anyone who's lived in a Victorian terrace will know that spaces with good light are commonly in short supply. Another thing it has going for it is a wooden moulded surround which I think it would be a terrible shame to cover up. It is also very important to be able to easily open the window after the shower has been used because of all the condensation that gets generated. The last thing I want is a) to have to see the window at all...EVER and b) having to sort out a tangled up blind after a guest or family member has been let loose on it.  

Here's what I did:

I measured it all up and then made two simple panels out of quite thick cream linen. Here's a picture of the first one in place. I used velcro to attach this to the window frame and, the good thing is,  because it's flush to the pane, I still get the use of the entire sill for all those nicknacks that my husband hates. Great! I threaded a length of wooden dowel through the bottom hem to keep it all nice and taut. 

The second panel had to hang down far enough to overlap the lower panel but not so far as to impede access to the handle. I also had to have it hang far enough out to clear the handle which juts out 60mm from the window frame itself. I inserted a second length of dowelling into the bottom hem to keep it all straight and added a some beaded (or in this case shelled) trim.

I painted some metal hooks white and screwed them into the upper frame of the window recess and hooked on a third length of dowel (dry-brushed white with acrylic paint). Now for the coup-de-grace: some absolutely exquisite Laura Ashley curtain clips that I got for a song on eBay. I've never used them before but they are amazing. They have a mechanism like mini jumpleads and you just clip them on to the top of the curtain or blind you want to hang. Ingenious. I hung them at intervals and then clipped on the top panel.

As an afterthought, I crocheted around an old hoop earring I had spare with some cream yarn and attached a mock pendant "pull" to the upper panel with some gingham ribbon.

And there it is: light, practical and lovely to behold...and still plenty of space for a pot plant and those much disputed nicknacks! Sorry Michael. 

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Dolls House - Before

Time to brush off my model making skills. This is a nice little project to be going along with. We found this little abandoned dolls house in a junk sale for £10.00 but I didn't realise what a bargain that was until I went and had a look at what they cost new. Most of the available literature recommends not giving children access to any doll house toys or accessories until they are at least three years old so that gives me just under 18 months to knock it into shape for my daughter. It's been rather hastily and garishly painted on the outside but the inside is pristine and, apart from having one of it's chimney's knocked off, the whole thing is in mint condition.  I'll post updates as I go along. 

Home Touches: Take One Printer's Tray

When I bought this old printer's tray from Ebay about 18 months ago, my husband was less than impressed. I explained it was for storage and display,  and I think he was worried I might be about to start a thimble collection or something. I got the last laugh though because it turns out to be the perfect place to keep all my little ribbon remnants and a few reels of cotton that, until now, have been hidden away taking up space on the shelves in my studio. I may drill a couple of holes in it and nail it to the wall but I actually quite like it casually propped up in a nook at the bottom of the stairs. A neat little splash of colour and ready access to all my bits of haberdashery.

Saturday, 30 June 2012

Project: Re-purposed Jewellery Cabinet

I have this old jewellery box. Most of us either have one or know of someone who does. They are horribly twee and dated with old-fashioned fixings and "stained-glass" panels (see first image below). Some of them even have a musical box function. Horrid and hard to get rid of (you'll find about a million of them going nowhere on Ebay at any one time) but sturdy and generally well made...and full of little drawers and hidey-holes for keeping useful stuff. I decided to re-purpose mine into a wall-mountable first aid cabinet and here's how:

I removed the glass, doors and lid (the handles wouldn't budge so I left them) and put masking tape around all the edges where I wanted a neat line and no paint smudges.

I gave everything a coat of primer followed by a couple of coats of good quality interior wood paint (Stone Ochre by Fired Earth). I cut out a panel of fine wire mesh to fit the panel that used to be occupied by the stained glass monstrosity and gave that a dry brushing with the same colour to take away the metallic look and give it an enamelled look.  When dry, I replaced all the doors and drawers and screwed the mesh panel into place in the door.

Next came the fun bit. I designed some stencils for the cabinet using the Copperplate font which seemed the best fit  and cut them out in clear plastic acetate using my heat pen (but a scalpel works just as well). I used a very sheer coating of spray mount glue to fix the stencil in place on the panel. If you spray the glue lightly onto the stencil, it doesn't come off on the surface of the object you are stencilling onto and prevents bleed when you apply the paint.  I laid the white acrylic paint on really thick to give it a nice textured, slightly raised finish.

I then did the same with the next stencil, again creating a textured finish with the paint and finishing off the shape after removing the stencil to avoid leaving gaps.

For the first aid cross on the wire mesh, I used spray glue again to fix the stencil in place and, on the reverse, attached a couple of strips of masking tape before adding the paint. This allowed the paint to go on the porous surface a bit thicker. Once dry, I removed the stencil and the tape.

To give it it's aged, vintage look,  I went back over all of the white stencil work with a coat of the base colour, dry brushing so as not to spread it too thick and allowing the textured surface and a hint of the white to show through. To finish, I used the white acrylic to dry brush the handles to get rid of the nasty brass look. The patterns on the metal, come out beautifully with this technique.

And that's it. Much better and ready to be screwed to the wall and filled with plasters, dressings and antiseptic wipes! 

Monday, 2 April 2012

Rule Britannia in Print

I was delighted to see my Rule Britannia cushion and others as part of a feature on Union Jack furnishings in this month's Interiors Monthly this month. the mention came courtesy of, a lovely boutique through which my work is marketed and sold. 

Monday, 27 February 2012

An Old Favourite

I've been rushed off my feet so far this year and been so busy in fact that my plans for a new Mother's Day cushion range has run more than a little behind. So it's enormously gratifying that I have had more than one inquiry about my "Perfect Mum" cushion that was the very first design I released last year. I figure, if it ain't broke, don't fix it, so the design be shortly be available again in my shop while I continue to work on my Jubilee creations for June. Thank you for your continued support.