Friday, 22 July 2022

100 day stitch challenge

 I love a challenge & like to find time for projects - most often just for the sake of them, many do not have a specific use. 

My Elective Home Education students have been released from lessons now for our long summer holidays. It is always a time to step out of my routine & to do some of the creative things that I have contemplated. 

I saw mention on Instagram of The Hundred Day Stitch Book  and it appealled to me. 

The challenge is sewing twenty fabric pages over 100 days - 15 minutes a day for 5 days a week.  Each page is 7 x 5.5 inches big - a very manageable size to work on. 

I decided it will have a bit of an African theme & colours - something that I have been thinking about. 

I cut all 20 pages in colours I think go together - & then decided to iron some interfacing on them as they are too flimsy to work on. 

I put stickers on with the numbers that will go together & if it was a tab or a slot page (for assembly later on as they will be handstitched once they are inserted.) 

I decided to do some free motion embroidery as I really need to practice that technique.  The feed dogs do not drop on my basic sewing machine, but it has a plate that covers them. I do not do enough sewing to justify another machine. Fortunately I had the special open darning / free motion foot from a previous attempt. 

It is a lot harder than it looks & the results are ok. 

I had a night sky thought after watching the new James Webb space telescope in action - so I cut an additional piece of fabric, interfaced it & took it with in the car while waiting for hubby at the dentist.  I just scribbled an idea of a large moon against the dark fabric & the sewn lines of various blue threads just happened from there. 

Looking at it, it reminded me of the vast African sky on the farm I grew up on & so a little farm house & some greenery appeared. I wanted the sky to be the dominant feature & so it is.  The hand stitching on this one just developed because there is something very calming about just going with the idea. It needed a few stars, some darker lines hinting at the horizon & some other detail on the farmhouse. 

The cover has a map of Africa & it has some hand stitching on but more details will happen. 

The other two pages have large patterned containers / vases on that I loved on my last trip with my Dad, they are just the start of each page .... 

These rock shapes remind me of the Matopas hills in the Zimbabwean landscape & again, hand stitching features heavily. 

I don't know what each page will have, it will be something I am inspired by.

That is my holiday project, pop back for updates over my summer. Thank you for stopping by,  I am always thankful for your visit 

Dee ~💕~

Wednesday, 18 May 2022

Preparing to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee ...

 We are gearing up for a few days off to celebrate Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee -- 70 years on the throne is an amazing feat. More so is the dedication of HM, no one will come near to that time on a throne again & it is a great occasion. The crown tea tin was a recent gift that is appropriate & helps to set the theme.

The sideboard in our conservatory is always used & it changes regularly to reflect what is needed. We have had the crown cushions for years & they were brought downstairs to play their part. Aren’t they fun? I think they came from Past Times some years back & I like their muted colours ... 

Tea anyone? Tea & some flags? 

I changing our large sideboard / dresser in the conservatory - it always sets the scene for events or times of the year & this one gives a nod to the things we most associate with our Queen. 

I love the floral flag tea towel from the iconic Cath Kidson brand - florals make me think of tea parties & this cardboard cake stand (bought for one of the royal weddings) is just fun ... 

I have several boxes in the garage with items we use at times & I got down the bunting box & to my delight found several items used at the 60th celebrations, at the various Royal weddings & they are all very welcome to make another appearance. 

Tea parties or afternoon tea are quintessentially British so I decided to bring out one of mine. This one has a pretty little floral pattern around the edges & the colours are perfect too. 

Everything on the sideboard came from my stash which is really handy because patriotic things come in handy on our Isle as we do like to celebrate events.

The table has been set with a bright pink silk bolt of cloth I have used before - HM The Queen never shies away from colour so this is a good tribute. The Union Jack tea towel was featured often with my lockdown bakes - it is a floral tribute which is pretty.

Will you be celebrating over the Jubilee weekend? Will you decorate? Tell all. 

Thank you for stopping by, please do stop by again, & share the blog

Dee ~💕~

Sunday, 10 April 2022

The sunflower series ...

I dip in & out of various crafts but am always doing something creative.  I am a lifelong skills learner & often sign up for courses to learn something new. Some years back, I did a day long needle felting course & absolutely love it. 

The scenes from Ukraine has given me the incentive to do some sunflower inspired needle felting & I blogged my earlier blue & yellow efforts in March. It is a very creative, calming activity that is coupled with hand embroidery, something I learnt at my Mother & Grandmother's knee. Not all greens are the same, I often combine two different threads, especially adding in metallic gold ... 

The sunflower is a powerful symbol that can be interpreted in many ways - my sunflower collection is now at 10 felted images; I have yet to decide what to do with them but they are all unique in their own way & they reflect a moment in time that we are all party to via the news. 

I blogged the first 4 felted images here so look back on them for detail if you want .... 


The red poppies make an appearance,  we all know of the association with war, remembrance  .... 

A pure heart against the blue & yellow - the strands being pulled away from it as people flee ... 

Faith, Hope & Love - as  refugees made their way in to various countries, I was inspired by a charm my parents had given me decades ago - I combined the three as I thought they showed a core strength. 

A vase of sunflowers, bold against the blue sky (blue & yellow are the national colours of Ukraine) with a candle to show the way ....

Whenever I start felting, I have an idea but it develops as I work. I knew I needed to reflect the destruction of whole cities, of lives. The destruction is under a blue & yellow sky, straggly sunflowers with a river of blood red beads ... 

The blue heart is being pierce with red beads, sunflowers holding it all together.  The red in the heart rests on a bed of poppies which are a universal sign of Remembrance, of war across the world. You cannot escape the blood soaked earth ... 

Much of that region belong to various Eastern Orthodox churches & so it is fitting that in the run up to Easter, a cross must be against the chaotic sky. The sunflowers & spring blooms are signs of hope with the ever present red poppies a reminder of the reality. 

The last two together - the religious aspect which is important. I find it hard to believe that the Church & the many religious leaders are not taking a firmer stance on this atrocity ... 

I felted a large sunflower then did not know how to continue so it sat on the felting mat overnight. As soon as I saw it this morning, I realised it is Palm Sunday & then the way forward found its own way. The sunflower is meant to be bold, to be defiant, to be the centre, the palms a reminder of Easter this coming week, the stars, and a single small cross ... 

Do you have one you are more drawn to? Thank you for stopping by, be thankful for your life where you are & keep those who need it in your prayers. 

Dee ~💕~

Tuesday, 5 April 2022

The lovely Benthall Hall, Shropshire

 Benthall Hall is situated in the town of Broseley just above Ironbridge. Broseley is more famously known for its clay pipe making skills in the last century, notably the very long church warden ones. 

It was recently used as the outdoor setting for Enola Holmes  which according to the National Trust website - 

Surrounded by Shropshire countryside, and with a fine stone building and grand courtyard entrance, Benthall Hall was chosen as an ideal filming location for the exterior of ‘Ferndell’ - the Holmes family estate. However, a lot of work was needed to make this well-cared for historic place look wild and unkempt for the film.

Production Designer Michael Carlin said: ‘In the story we have the brothers, Sherlock and Mycroft, arriving home for the first time and Mycroft expressing dismay at the state of their home. He’s been sending his mother money for upkeep but she has more important things to do with the money.

‘The gardeners and the people taking care of the house at Benthall were brilliant in allowing the gardens to get really overgrown and letting us drape vines all over the exterior.’

Along with the return of Sherlock and Mycroft to their family home, this location was also used to film carriage rides through the horse chestnut avenue and through gates behind the church into the front courtyard. An assembling search party scene was also filmed on the front courtyard.

I had not visited in some years so it was a spur of the moment decision on our part & we are glad we did. 

The gardens have lovely spring colour & it all looked splendid. We stopped in at the lovely church attached to the estate, so much history is there. 

I hope you have enjoyed the photos, stop by again soon, or leave a welcome comment. 


Friday, 11 March 2022

Felting in blue & yellow

 Hi everyone, 

The crisis in Ukraine has really brought home the futility & destruction of war & how quickly millions can be displaced, leaving with only a little suitcase, probably never to return again. The sight of beautiful cities destroyed is soul destroying - why? 

I like to retreat to the conservatory, as I did through the long lockdowns, and do something creative. 

I did a felting course some years back with a really talented felter and it is a very calming process because you have to concentrate on where you want things to be because once you stab / pierce them in, it is almost impossible to change your mind without felting over it & hoping it is covered. 

For my felting I decided to use blue & yellow as the main colours, with sunflowers too as they are the national flower of Ukraine.  I teach war poetry & find symbolism a very powerful medium so I have incorporated a lot in to my images. It started as one & then I was inspired to do variations on a theme. 

I first made this one - dark dramatic colours with sunflowers rising from it. The background is dark, threatening, foreboding. 

The second image has dramatic sunflowers rising defiantly into the dark sky. However, down the centre, you can see sunflower petals falling to the ground where they become bright red poppies (symbols we associate with Remembrance Sunday here. 

The third image was inspired by seeing a post about Faith, Hope & Charity. I have a gold charm my late parents bought me with the three symbols on it & so that was my inspiration. I wanted to combine them in one image & so did them as a trilogy. It was tricky & the cross & anchor should (to my mind) have been in a straighter row but I am pleased with the contrasts of the deep red heart & the bright sunflowers against it. The cross represents faith & so it was edged in gold thread & encircled with metallic beads to highlight the importance of keeping faith when everything else is lost. The anchor seemed lost so I added some blue colour around it but it still needs a little something. 

I knew I wanted to return to the heart shape but started with a blue heart to represent the colours of Ukraine. The sunflowers are heavily sewn with yellow & gold metallic thread, then beaded with metallic centres to show the richness of Ukrainian society.  Long beads pierce the heart but it keeps its shape.

Brown, mixed colours to the left of the shape sweep down to the base with red poppies, beads & red blood beneath the green. The blue sky has star beads sweeping across it with coloured beads which almost encircle the heart so it feels trapped by the details. 

Once I started the last one, I worked solidly at the conservatory table for about 5 hours until I was aware of the light changing as I was beading - it is how I am seeing the war, the symbolism is powerful & heart breaking. 

Do you have one you are more drawn to? Thank you for stopping by, keep the people of Ukraine in your prayers & be thankful for your life where you are. 

Dee ~💕~