My Hoop Guts!

Don’t worry, its not a condition…

If you haven’t seen already, Mollie Makes recently asked us to show them our hoop guts! I absolutely loved the idea. As any embroiderer will know, whenever you show your work to a fellow stitcher they will always flip it over to see the back. So much so, that I take pride in my hoop guts and try to keep it nice and neat.

A bit unnecessary I know…

So anyway, I thought I would grab some of my old cross stitch and show you the juicy bits.
Let me know what you think and I can’t wait to see yours!

Albany x
Advertisements

How to make: Adorable Dungarees Card

How to make an adorable dungarees card
This is another creation from the COAMC back catalogue that I think is still one of my favourites. Tiny washing lines are the cutest thing.
Starting off with a diddy 4×4 card blank, cut a slightly smaller square of white card (I normally go for 1/2″ smaller) and blend Antique Linen Distress Ink around the edges with a foam pad. Stamp the ‘my friend’ sentiment from the Stampendous ‘Happy Messages’ set using VersaColor in Chateau Grey so that it sits along the bottom of the layer.
Cut a length of grey baker’s twine (long enough that it creates a nice ‘hang’) and tie at either end. Adhere it to the to the layer using a dot of Pinflair glue at either end.
 How to make an adorable dungarees card
Using the dungarees punch from Personal Impressions, punch out the shapes from the My Minds Eye’s Fiddlesticks pad, and fix to the layer using foam pads to add dimension.
To finish it off, punch out a small heart (any heart punch will suffice, I think everyone has one!) from light pink card, accent with an adhesive pearl and glue the heart onto the twine using Pinflair.

And there you have it! A super sweet card perfect for your best friend.

Let me know what you think in the comments.

Albany x

Pom Pom Beach Shorts

Pom Pom Beach Shorts

There’s nothing better than a pair of cute little beach shorts, and these came in particularly handy on my recent holiday to Portugal (seven days of sleep just can’t be beat!)

I was determined to make myself some lovely, floppy little numbers in time for the summer, and I remembered a huge piece of cheesecloth-type fabric I bought from Ipswich’s Crafty Baba for £3…yep! And this piece is HUGE, I’m talking 2/3 metres! It was an absolute steal and so perfect for the slouchy shorts I had in mind.

Pom pom beach shorts

I happened upon a great City Gym Shorts pattern from the guys at Purl Soho and got to work! Well, when I say got to work I mean I cut the wrong sized pattern and realised halfway through sewing that they were tiny, but we’ll skip over that part.

My hips are 32.5″ and after my mishap I finally settled on the 38-40″ size which proved to be the perfect fit: just the right amount of gather at the waistband, particularly for such a loose fabric. I also shortened the pattern by a few inches as I personally prefer a shorter short; you can see from the photos how this turned out. All personal style though of course!

This was also the first time ever I’ve made my own bias binding and, seeing as I made it hard for myself and picked a wayward fabric, I’m really pleased with the results.

Pom pom beach shorts

Then, of course, I added pom poms along the hem with a simple zig zag stitch (I found this worked best with a slighty wider and tighter zig zag but definitely play around with what works best on your chosen fabric).

I’m actually really glad I did this as it reinforces the bias binding around the leg holes and stops the fabric from fraying and pulling out. Pom poms: is there anything they can’t do?

So there we are! I basically haven’t stopped wearing these since as they are so comfy and perfect for lounging on the beach (or sofa if you live nowhere near the Algarve!)

Let me know what you think in the comments!

Albany x

📷: Mathew Parri Thomas

Popping up to say…

image

“There has never been a sadness that can’t be cured with breakfast food.”- Ron Swanson

Breakfast food is the best. Seriously. My photographer friend and I have dreams of opening a brunch cafe one day, where we will listen to Creedence Clearwater Revival on repeat and survive off eggs and avocados. It’s a work in progress. I’ll keep you updated.

Anyway, one of my all time favourite stamp sets is Lawn Fawn’s Love ‘n Breakfast collection. I mean, who doesn’t want to receive a card with cute little eggs and salt and pepper pots on it?

With this in mind I created this sweet little ‘all occasion’ card that I think anyone would be thrilled to receive!

Starting with a 4×6 kraft card blank, I cut a slightly smaller layer of white card. I stamped the toaster from the set using StazOn and coloured it in using Pastel Blue and Cool Grey 1 Promarkers. Next, I stamped the little toasts and coloured them in using Apricot and Terracotta Promarkers. I also decopaged them to add dimension and make them look as it they were actually popping off the card!

image

I also stamped the small heart just above the toast and used the Pastel Pink Promarker to colour it in. I chose the  ‘Popping up to say’ sentiment at the bottom and added the ellipses with black pen, adding the ‘…I love you!’ sentiment inside. Finally, I adhered the white layer on to the kraft base with foam pads to add dimension.

I hope you like it!

Albany x

Shibori + Pom Pom Napkins

image

Fabric is expensive. Fact. Patterned fabric that is not covered in chintzy prints or vom-inducing colours is even more expensive, not to mention sometimes hard to find. Since I am very particular about patterns, I started looking at ways to create my own prints to work with that don’t cost the price of a small house, and one way which I’ve been seeing all over Instagram and Pinterest is Shibori dyeing.

The ancient Japanese art of Shibori has been having a definite moment of late, and I for one have definitely fallen in love with it. Similar in technique to tie dye (that old favourite of ’60s free-thinkers and primary school art teachers), Shibori incorporates traditional indigo dye on natural fabrics to create beautiful, eye-catching results. Although relatively simple in principle, some of the insanely intricate details that can be created are absolute works of art; check out my Shibori board on Pinterest to see what I mean!

Inspired, I set about having a go myself and ended up using the fabric for some napkins (with added pom pommage because, you know, they’re awesome).

Shibori is all about folding, namely concertina folding, and although there are traditional designs with crazy names, there really isn’t a right or wrong way about it. Using lightweight bleached calico, I tried various different folds (I will probably go into more detail on this in a separate post) and bound each piece with rubber bands and wood to resist the dye in certain areas. I’ve numbered each one so you can see how the various folds turn out below.

image

I used Dylon hand fabric dye in Jeans Blue and left the pieces in the dye for about 45 minutes before leaving them out to dry. Then it was time to make them into lovely napkins!

image

I used a napkin that we already had for dimensions, as we like fairly sizeable ones in our house, so mine are roughly(!) 38x38cm. Obviously this is completely down to personal preference. Don’t forget to allow 1.5cm for the hem.

I double hemmed each napkin using a navy/dark teal thread, mitering the corners for a professional look (I will probably do a tutorial on mitered corners in the near future since I find them so satisfying to do and they look the bomb). Then I sewed a row of white pom poms along the bottom edge of each napkin using white thread  – make sure you use craft poms as opposed to upholstery ones as you want them to survive washes!

image

And that’s really it! I thoroughly enjoyed the Shibori dyeing and will definitely be doing more of this using different folding methods. I’m planning on trying the Dylon Navy Blue dye next time and leaving the fabric in the solution longer though, as I found these faded slightly after drying out. We shall see how it turns out!

I hope you like them, they are already getting a lot of use in our house!

Albany x

The perfect Father’s Day card

image

So just a quick post today detailing the card I made for my old man for Father’s Day. He’s definitely a typical dad, always telling us to switch the lights off, lock the doors, turn the heating down! His party trick is to tidy away your things so that you can’t find them next time you come looking…something my Mum thoroughly enjoys…*ahem*.

As much as he has his little quirks we of course still love him so much, and what with his birthday falling just after father’s day, this really is his time of year. I saw a similar design to this a little while ago and smiled at how much it resembled my dad. I couldn’t find where to buy one so I decided to make it instead!

image

This is a super easy card to put together; it’s really quite self explanatory. However, it did mean I’d have to hand write the text which, as anyone who hates their handwriting as much as me knows, was a terrible thought. I have been practicing lettering recently though, and I chose a typeface which is very easy and purposely ‘scrawly’, so I am pretty happy with the result.

The card base is a 5×7″ and I simply layered up green card to create a border before placing the quote on top. I accented the wording with a lime green Staedtler fineliner (I’ve been obsessed with these pens since school) as well, just to tie everything together.

A really simple and quick card that definitely made my dad chuckle!

Albany x

Thank You Flower Card

Happy Hump Day! I’m currently writing from the comfort of a deckchair in the garden as it’s so glorious in the sunshine 🌞
Today is a throwback to a card which featured on my original blog and is one that I still really love…
image

First off, I die cut four of the large flower dies from Marianne Designs Creatables set from dark pink paper and created dimension by cutting into each flower and gluing the adjacent petals on top of each other. I gradually cut away more of the petals (none on the first layer, one on the second, two on the third and so on) to create the layers and added a turquoise gem in the centre. I also found an old leaf punch and I used on lime green paper and attached to the back of the flower.
I then die cut a scalloped circle from kraft card and stamped Script Background from IndigoBlu using StazOn on to it. I layered my flower on top of this to create my topper.
image

I then die cut one of the Small Folded Banners from Simon Says Stamp out of white card and stamped the faux stitching from the corresponding Holidays stamp set using Old Paper Distress Ink. Since the only sentiments I have that fit that die are Christmas related, I had to hand write the ‘Thank You’ (horror! – I hate my handwriting). I also added some smaller turquoise gemstones either side.
I adhered both the topper and banner onto a background paper from the Bluebell pad by My Minds Eye, which I had sewn onto kraft card.
Finally I layered it onto a 4×6 card and there you go! So happy with how that flower turned out and I love the colours – completely unplanned, I kind of just went with the flow!

Hope you like it,

Albany x

Super Easy Tissue Case

image
So I’ve been seeing quite a few of these little tissue cases dotted across the Internet, and thought they looked so simple to make that I decided to give it a go. I recently went to visit my auntie in Ipswich and this proved to be a lovely little gift for her, not to mention a great way to use up scraps!

First, I cut a 6.5″x5.5″ rectangle of fabric for the outer casing (although it didn’t matter with this fabric, I later found that any directional print needs to be going horizontally in order for it to end up vertical on the finished article and vice versa) and a 7.5″x5.5″ piece of contrast fabric for the lining.
After pinning and sewing the pieces right sides together along the short edges, I turned it right side out and pressed so that a little bit of the lining fabric peeked out at each short edge of the outer fabric.
With the outer fabric facing me and laid horizontally, I folded both long ends in so they just overlapped slightly at the centre*. That left me with a little ‘book’ with the lining facing outwards.
image
After pinning along the now short ends at the top and bottom, I stitched it together, making sure to catch all the layers of fabric (2x lining and 2x outer fabric) and backstitching at either end to secure.
I removed all the pins and turned it right side out to reveal the outer fabric on the outside!

*I found that a lot of tutorials don’t overlap the edges and felt that this left the case too loose to fit tissues in securely. Overlapping definitely helps counteract that!

I hope you like it!
Albany x

Why I Love Cross Stitch

I have been cross stitching for some years now and it’s grown to become one of my favourite crafts; I always have a project on the go.

I’m funny though, I don’t always love the finished result of cross stitch. I find a lot of the designs rather old fashioned and not something I would put up on the wall (I do however love all the modern, funny designs that have been making the rounds recently…so watch this space!).

The thing I like about the art of cross stitch is the process. I love seeing the image slowly come together x by x, I love working out the ‘path’ of each colour and the satisfying act of highlighting each row as I go along. It’s something to do while I’m watching TV or listening to podcasts (The Tobolowsky Files…get on it!) and I’m very rarely seen on the sofa without a needle and thread.
image
What also strikes me is the number of people who comment “Oh that looks fiddly,” or “You must be very clever to do that”. I genuinely find it incredibly straightforward; you have a pattern to follow and you just sew x’s! I think it’s a common misconception that cross stitch is difficult and I would argue the complete opposite. As long as you have good eyes and a bit of patience there’s no reason not to give it a go.
image
I’ve been working on a fairly detailed piece recently that has been coming along slowly but surely. Again, I probably won’t display it once I’ve finished but the art of cross stitching, the almost meditative effect it has, is reward enough.

Albany x

Simple Pot Holder

So in my quest to become a better sewist I recently bought a very self-explanatory book entitled How to Machine Sew, full of all the basic techniques you need to sew (obviously), and I absolutely love it!

The instructions are incredibly simple and easy to follow – with everything from topstitching to inserting zips – and the book itself is nicely put together. It’s definitely been helping me to practise and work towards creating some really amazing pieces.

20160523_174010

The first project in the book is a simple pot holder which is a great project to start out with. I found a lovely piece of red mattress ticking in my fabric stash that was absolutely perfect for this project. It gave it a real ‘country kitchen’ vibe, particularly combined with this cute ribbon that I used for the loop.

First, I cut out two 12″×12″ pieces from the ticking fabric. Using the various stitches on my sewing machine, I stitched along the lines on one piece, altering the stitch width and length throughout to create some decoration and texture. This is a super simple way to add that extra detail to something fairly plain.

Simple Pot Holder

I then cut a 12″x12″ piece of wadding and pinned the ticking pieces right sides together with the wadding on the outside. I also created a loop with the ribbon (one i found in our overflowing ribbon box) and pinned to one corner before sewing all the layers together, leaving a gap along one edge.

After turning everything right side out, I pressed the opening in on itself and topstitched around the edge of the square (thus sealing the gap) before giving it a good press to finish!

20160523_173706

I really love how it’s turned out for my first proper sewing project and it’s the perfect size to put under hot pots and pans.

I hope you like it, and if you’re learning to sew I highly recommend picking up the book!

Albany x

%d bloggers like this: