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...