Monday, 30 December 2013

Monday Musings: Habitat 67

Check out this amazing complex in Montreal. At first glance it looks to me like a pile of shoe boxes. If you want to read more about the project you can check out the website here.

Enjoy the rest of your Monday!

Friday, 27 December 2013

Monday Musings: Beautiful Bookstore

I was doing a bit of research for my new collection of jewellery and I came across an image of this amazing bookstore in Aix en Provence, France. A bookstore made out of books- awesome!

My husband and I had been chatting recently about the whole idea of what place bookstores and libraries would have in a digital world. I have to admit I do have a Kindle simply for the fact that my books were either too bulky or getting trashed in my bag on the way to work. However when it comes to books that I would read over and over or art related books I definitely stick to a hard copy.

I remember when I was still at school, Borders bookshop opened in Glasgow and it was so amazing to be able to browse all of their specialist magazines and art books however that was probably part of their demise in that no-one ever bought anything!

Anyway the upshot of our chat was that if hard copies of books are still to remain of value to people they will need to come in limited editions with beautifully designed covers by contemporary designers/artists and bookshops will have to offer an experience and atmosphere that can't be rivalled by buying a digital copy from a website. I felt that even a couple of years before a lot of the bookstores in Glasgow closed down they weren't places that you wanted to spend time in, they were becoming very corporate. I think that small bookstores are attractive when they feel like a bit of an Aladdin's cave and the owner of the shop sells books because they love them.

That was a bit of a long musing so I decided to cut myself off before I had written an essay!

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Crafty Exploits: DIY Christmas Stocking

It's my little girl's first Christmas this year so I wanted to make her a personalised Christmas stocking. Unfortunately between working full-time in the museum, doing mummy stuff and running my shop I didn't have as much time I would have liked to make Amelie's stocking so it had to be sweet and simple.

I decided to go for a classic snowflake design and freestyled all of the embroidery. My sewing machine is having a few problems so I had to end up stitching everything by hand which took a LOT longer.

I'm quite pleased with my efforts although I would have liked to do a more intricate design if I had the time but hey there's always next year!

Here's the results...

What you need...

Felt (I used a pre-cut Christmas pack of felt from John Lewis available in white or red for £6.99)
Embroidery Thread in contrasting colour
Sewing thread ( colour should match the colour of your felt)
Embroidery hoop
Water soluble transfer pen/pencil
Greaseproof Paper
Dressmaking Pins
Embroidery needle
Sewing needle
Sewing Machine (optional but not necessary)

What to do next...

1. Draw a stocking shape onto the greaseproof paper and cut out.

2.  Attach the stocking shape to the felt using pins and draw around the it with the transfer pen. Now draw out the design for your embroidery onto your stocking, being careful to leave a couple of centimetres around the edge for seam allowance. Note: I found it easier not to cut out the stocking shape immediately to make embroidering a little easier to manage.

3. Now begin embroidering your chosen design. I found that I had to use all 6 strands of the embroidery floss so that my design was noticeable against the felt but you can use different thicknesses if your design is more delicate or detailed. I used a small embroidery hoop and moved it around as I worked through the design. All of my stitching was completed using split stitch because I find it to be much neater for straight lines.

4. When you are happy with all of your embroidery use a damp cotton bud to clean any areas of transfer pen still visible. Now place another piece of felt exactly the same size underneath your existing design, pin both pieces together. This is to make sure that you end up with two stocking shapes. Cut out your stocking.

5. Take the two shapes and place on top of one another with the finished design facing inside. Now stitch the two pieces together leaving a small seam around the edge. Don't forget to leave the top part open! You can use a sewing machine or stitch by hand. When you're finished turn the design to the outside. Voila! one easy peasy stocking.

Some added extras...

For a better finish you can hem the top part of the stocking by folding the opening inside and pinning. Stich around the top leaving a small seam.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Crafty Exploits: Needlepoint Patterns

I haven't shared anything for a little while because I seem to have lots of projects on the go just now and getting through each one pretty slowly!

Both of these designs are part of a new collection and I designed them using cross stitch software. Since its a repeat pattern it would be quite obvious if I made a mistake so I used the program to try and minimise errors when I was stitching.

Hopefully i'll have more to share soon...

Monday, 25 November 2013

Inspiration: Giacomo Favilla

I love Origami and love it when artists use two different mediums in their work. So when I came across Giacomo Favilla's work I was instantly drawn to the 'One of Us' project involving models wearing different origami masks designed by Francesca Lombardi. I think most people are used to the cute side of origami but I enjoyed how disturbing some of the portraits were dependent on the style of mask worn.


Sunday, 24 November 2013

Monday Musings: Fingerprint Building

Okay so I know it's technically Sunday evening but I won't be anywhere near a computer tomorrow so i'm being a wee bit cheeky and posting the Monday Musings post tonight!

I use fingerprints in my work quite a lot and when I came across this building in Thailand I just had to share it with you all.

I bet it's not quite as interesting inside but i'd like to think the interior reflected the design of the exterior a little bit. Unfortunately it's not actually a real design so don't get too excited!

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Inspiration: Emily Blincoe

I was browsing online and came across the work of artist/photographer Emily Blincoe. I completely fell in love with her images of items neatly organised into colour groups. I love images like this, they remind me of Wes Anderson films.

You can check out more of her work on her website.


Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Inspiration: Button Pics

While I was in Tokyo a couple of years ago we went to some amazing galleries and managed to see a lot of contemporary artists working in Japan at the moment. I was constantly taking pictures the whole time and I came across these pictures which I thought you all might like.

This is actually stills from a stop frame animation created using buttons. That's my excuse for the pictures being a bit wonky! Unfortunately I didn't manage to find the name of the artist so if anyone knows it please comment below...

Monday, 18 November 2013

Monday Musings: Sewing that makes me feel lazy

Wow I thought my sewing projects were always huge! This very talented woman makes me feel incredibly lazy...

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Crafty Exploits: DIY Christmas Cards

So how organised am I this year? Christmas cards made already- check me out! This year I decided to do a mix of techniques and also try to minimise costs by using things I already have in my craft room.

I'm not one for liking very traditional Christmas cards so I always try to use images I like that have a warm, festive feel but don't necessarily include Santa, reindeers or Christmas trees!

For this one I used a typewriter rubber stamp and alphabet stamps on an ivory blank card. Once these were in place I used crimson watercolour paint with a small brush to place dots in the background.

For this card I used an ivy rubber stamp to create a repeat pattern with mustard ink. I then used shrink plastic to create a Merry Christmas! speech bubble to place over the pattern.

Have you been creating an Christmas cards? Leave links of your efforts in the comments  section below...

Friday, 15 November 2013

Paperfolk Loves: Yumiko Higuchi

I found the work of Yumiko Higuchi on Pinterest and immediately fell in love with her attention to detail in her embroidered works. There are so many intricate stitches that are used to create her designs and her colour schemes are so subtle yet striking.

I love that she clearly experiments with a variety of subject matter and ways of stitching. There are definitely some designs that really stand out for me but I think there's something for everyone's tastes.

Yumiko's website is in Japanese but there are plenty of images for visual inspiration as well as items for sale in her shop.

Check out these beautiful works...

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Crafty Exploits: Amelie's Cross Stitch

I've been working on a little project for my nine month old daughter, Amelie. I wanted to make her something for her bedroom that could be hung on the wall plus I didn't like any of the designs that I've found for name plaques. So I decided do some hoop art and design my cross stitch from scratch.

Instead of reaching for a pencil and squared paper I thought I would try out the Easy Cross Stitch computer software. The software was exactly what I needed (i'll do another post about it later!)

Here are the results of my efforts...

Christmas Cross Stitch!

Okay so this is the second Christmassy post I've done in the past week but what can I say, I LOVE Christmas. Also if, like me, you enjoy a bit of craft at Christmas you kinda need to get started now so that its done in time to enjoy it over the festive season.

With that in mind I've pulled together my picks of some Christmas themed cross stitch patterns that are traditional without being too twee.

Oh and I've also been a bit cheeky and thrown in a link for a needlepoint clutch bag just because it's gorgeous!


What Delilah Did. Buy it here

Subversive Cross Stitch. Buy it here

Pattern Bird. Buy it here

Tiny Modernist. Buy it here

Liberty. Buy it here

Monday, 4 November 2013

Paperfolk Loves... The Two Handed Stitcher

So now that Halloween has passed I assume it's sort of okay to mention the C- word? I love everything about Christmas and would quite happily begin the countdown from Summer onwards but I know that for most this would be off-putting and frankly quite weird.

When I was trawling the internet for some festive needlework I came across the Two Handed Stitcher or Laura J. Perin as she is also known. On her website you'll find some pretty skilled needlepoint work and every year she pulls together some Christmas themed works. I particularly loved the jewel colours used in her Christmas tree pieces. Although her work is very different from my own embroidery work I really feel that Christmas themed pieces can afford to be a little more on the traditional side.

Here are some examples of the Two Handed Stitcher below (there's loads more on her website!)

Monday Musings: Coral and Tusk Behind the Scenes

Sorry I haven't been great on the blog front over the past week. I just started back in full time employment after being on maternity leave for 9 months (shock to the system!) and also had a craft fayre in Glasgow yesterday. The past week has been filled with trying to get my head around speaking to adults again and also trying to make Christmas stock in huge quantities.

I found a little video online from Coral and Tusk, a brand that uses machine embroidery as their main process for creating their very sweet products. Its a little behind the scenes look at their studio and process. After watching I became very jealous of their studio space and very inspired to create some more work. Check it out here .

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Designer Picks: Fric de Mentol

Ana Raimundo is the owner of Fric de Mentol, a label selling beautiful embroideries and illustrations. On her website, Ana states that she needed an occupation that she could do whilst travelling and having an online store was the perfect match. I absolutely love her illustrative embroideries, they're na├»ve, delicate and have an almost three dimensional quality due to the way they are stitched. 

Here's a little peek at some embroideries currently on sale in her online shop...