Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Beautiful Flowers ...... lots of them !!!

Greetings dear friends & readers 
Just trying to squeeze in one final post before we wave Goodbye to January !!

Beautiful flowers gifted to me by my friend Sally who is now the resident florist at The Hummingbird

A couple of weeks back I pulled a small tissue bundle out of a craft room drawer ...... inside was this collection of beautiful wool flowers, a gift from my friend Donna for my birthday last June, all handknitted by Donna herself

As Mum was staying with me at the time, I admired them, then wrapped them carefully & put them away.
When I rediscovered them I thought to myself .... they would perhaps make a gorgeous cushion !

I cut a large square of plain wool blanket & set about deciding my placement of the various flowers ...... I honestly had no idea of what I was wanting to create

As I pondered this, I had some help from Miss pain in the Pippi .... who tried to help me with my placement

When it became apparent I was still not-quite-sure she went & got Blackie to come & give his 2 cents worth !!!
(Can you just get a teeny inkling of why it takes me so long to jolly well achieve anything around here friends)

In between trying to decide my placement an idea occurred to me ...... why not have them spilling out of 
a large flower pot??!!
I found a woolen offcut & vliesofixed & blanket stitched a flower pot base -  this gave me a good starting point 
I spent a couple of days happily hand stitching my flowers & leaves onto my cushion 
Then I stitched a button closure for the back using odd buttons from my stash
My sewing machine decided it did not wish to sew button holes that day & very nearly went sailing out the window !!!! (the machine that is, not the cushion !!)

As I like my cushions to be stuffed really plumply I ordered an extra large size inner for it ... the cushion is a generous size measuring 48 cms square.

I am thrilled with it & it sits comfortably alongside my barkcloth cushions on the dining room couch
And Yes, I have just finished picking all the cat hairs out of the completed article!!! 😏

Still on the subject of flowers ... I planted this $5 Op Shop Vintage suitcase a couple of weeks ago ... it is to be a birthday gift for a friend next week ... I lined the case with a black rubbish bag prior to planting

I am hoping that by her birthday the flowers are spilling out merrily & putting on a lovely display

Though much has bolted to seed in my veggie garden this hot dry summer, I still have an abundance of tomatoes, cucumbers & courgettes

This was my mornings pick, along with 2 red capsicums that were ready

Finally dear friends, my lillies are putting on a wonderful display around the far end of my house ... when I water in the early evening, their fragrance is heavenly
Thanks so much for your visits today dear friends,
I hope you are managing to stay warm or cool wherever you are in the world.
With much love & friendship to you All
Julie & the furry ones x0x0x

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

A Chair Planter for Joyce ............ & Change in the Wind ............

Mid Week Greetings dearest friends & readers,
My friend Joyce turns 70 at the end of this month & is having a small informal party to celebrate.
Even though Joyce said "No Gifts" in her invite, I wanted to make her something special.

 This chair has been languishing in my sleep out since last winter - it was a $10 purchase from St John's Op Shop.
Knowing Joyce loves her garden, I decided to make her a chair planter that could sit outdoors & not deteriorate.
 I unscrewed the padded base & scrubbed the half inch of dust off the chair.
Then I painted it with 2 coats of my Resene Amulet test pot

 Underneath my house in amongst all my rubbish treasures I knew I had some wire hanging basket frames.
I found one that fitted inside the chair perfectly & removed its chains.

On my next trip to the Garden Centre I purchased a punnet of petunias & lobelias, & a coconut fibre basket liner
I planted the basket up a couple of weeks ago & have had it in a nice sheltered spot on the decking area

I am hoping that by the date of Joyce's party, it is a mass of colour 😊

I think it would look equally as nice planted up with a variety of succulents.

I came across the remnants of a large white towel in my sewing room so I stitched up another 6 bibs for my youngest grandson Sid.
Sid's Mum Nicole frequently tells me these are "the best bibs ever" !!
The pattern is a free download from *here*

Last week I picked the last of the lemons on our tree ... it is only a young tree but has produced an amazing bounty this season.
I got the idea in my mind to make a Lemon Drizzle Cake - for some reason I became fixated on this !!?

I have been feeding various animals around our district while Owners are away on holiday so I had a small stash of fresh duck & chook eggs

Yesterday morning I decided to bake the cake ...... I used this recipe *here*
 It turned out lovely & moist, with a real hit of citrus - just the way I like it!

Well dear friends  - it is a time for change in the wind !!
After a great deal of consideration, to-ing & fro-ing & long talks with The Mr, I have made the decision to close my Craft Cottage.

There are a number of factors contributing to this but I feel in my heart this decision is the right one.
This would be my 15th year of running my little Cottage.
I plan to have a half price sale for the month of February & then close the door.
What I don't plan to do however - is stop creating!
Creating & crafting is what I LoVe!

 For the future I will look at possibly opening a small online etsy shop in which to sell my work.
I will still keep blogging & life will continue much the same here at Threadbear ....................
No doubt the antics of these two below will continue ....................

Thank you all So Much for stopping by today,
I hope the rest of the week brings you only good things,
Be kind to yourselves & to each other,
With much love & friendship,
Julie & the furry ones x0x0x0

Monday, January 8, 2018

Off on a tangent ...............................................

Good Monday Greetings dear friends & readers,
At the beginning of December I purchased two new patterns for myself with the hope intention of making them up before Christmas

I bought Jenny of elefantz Homemade from the Heart mini quilt pattern & a cute little felt sewing machine ornament from betz white

Needless to say ... it was not until the day after Boxing Day that I finally found some time to sit at the table 
& make up the little felt sewing machines

 They were simple to make & turned out rather sweet !!

As the day was stifling hot I had company in the cool of my dining room while I sewed !!
(whether I liked it or not !!!)

Next I decided to tackle the stitchery mini quilt

I was lucky enough to receive several "tea gifts" for Christmas ... this one was a Harney tea & the flavour is 
"Holiday spice"

I very much enjoy stitching Jenny's patterns

Although my original intention had been to sew it up into a small wall hanging as per the pattern ....
 I came across this wooden boxed frame that my friend Sally had recently tossed my way 
 . . . .  so off on a tangent I went & changed my plans entirely

I realised the stitchery panel would fit rather well in the frame.
Luckily Sal had already chalk painted it so I re-attached the glass, then lightly sanded the frames edges to distress it

My stitchery panel fitted perfectly inside

 I decided the frame now needed something to hang from the hooks

So once again ..... off on a tangent I go - & make a trio of hearts & a small felt sewing machine 
NoT in christmas colours this time !

However .... now it needed something to sit on the top
It was while I was browsing *this Tilda Book* over New Year that I came across the sewing machines
Thats it !!!   
I stitched up the small size machine in Tilda fabrics & fussy cut a piece of a vintage linen to sit under the needle

 I took a small wooden spool, wrapped it in Tilda fabric & glued a felt ball to the top ... a mini pincushion to go with my sewing machine !!

I think that tangent was rather worthwhile because I am thrilled with my little sewing vignette 😊

(Photographing rather pinky/yellow for some reason?!)

When Sally has her "de-clutters" she is definately the sort of friend you hope will keep you in mind!
This vintage stitchery panel also got tossed my way -  I LoVed it ... I think it is stump work embroidery?

Yesterday I trimmed & backed it with a pretty muted Tilda fabric, then stuffed it tightly & made up a small plump cushion to sit beneath a vase of last years dried hydrangeas

I LoVe the colours & look forward to drying this years hydrangeas soon.

We had a wonderful Christmas - well two actually as we had one with Alec two days before the 25th.
 We gave him a toy chainsaw for christmas - & little Sid loved his stocking but, as I fully understood, was far more interested in the wrapping paper than anything much else !!

Dear little Sid with their dog Karma on Christmas Day

Thanks so very much for your visits today dear friends,
I hope the coming week is a good one . . . .

with much love & friendship,
Julie & the furry ones x0x0x

Monday, January 1, 2018

A Special Angel Doll for "Bob" . . . & A Happy New Year !!!

Happy New Year to you all dear friends & readers !
Welcome to a bright shiny New Year . . . . a New Year always reminds me of a fresh clean sheet of paper & a newly sharpened pencil . . . . maybe a chance to do some things a little differently this time around - perhaps make some subtle changes ?

My lovely neighbour Jenny came to my Cottage just after the craft fair in early November.
She had seen a primitive doll that had caught her eye & had an idea brewing around in her head.
(This is the doll in the photo below with the arrow pointing to her)
The pattern is by Sun Valley Primitives & is called "Raggedy Angel."

Jenny's stepdaughter Emily lives in Australia & owns a vintage caravan which she has fitted out as a mobile hair & beauty salon
Emily has named her caravan Bob ... which stands for "Beauty On Board"
Jenny wanted me to make a Primitive Angel doll that Emily could hang in Bob
She emailed me a couple of photos so I could get a feel for the style of the caravan & thanks to the wonders of facebook .... I was able to do some research on the interior aesthetics of it all.

Jenny had put a great deal of thought into this gift for Emily & was quite specific in her ideas.
Her requests were for a doll the same size as Raggedy Angel, not painted striped legs but more stocking style with perhaps some painted flowers, a shorter dress not with a felt christmas tree stitched on but possibly flowers again, the same colour hair but tight curls (to match Emilys hair) & definately a raggedy style face
She wanted the doll to have some things in her arms that could be interchanged for different seasons ... for example some berries/greenery at christmas time.

After much research on the caravans interior, Jenny & I decided on a pale-ish green fabric to compliment the many plants that Emily has, & the fresh, clean, natural palette.

I began by cutting out some wool felt flowers & blanket stitching them to the lower part of the dress
I sewed some legs in a stripey fabric & then handpainted black boots onto the foot area

Miss Pippi oversaw this part of the construction !!!
Rather than paint flowers on (as Jenny had suggested) I felt more confident hand sewing tiny lazy daisies around the stocking part of the legs

After I had hemmed the dress I added a gathered black tulle petticoat to give it some extra dimension ......

...... & left the bottom of the petticoat just peeping out.

Next came the challenge of the curly hair - thankfully I had some hand dyed Jute left over from the previous Prim Angel that I could use
I found a great tutorial *here* about curling dolls hair, but instead of using just water as suggested ... I used a PVA/water mixture as I was concerned about the curls dropping

Winding the strands around knitting needles & waiting to dry was a labour intensive project but gave me exactly the look I was after  -  tight bouncy curls, just like Emily's hair

Next came the issue of what to sit in her arms?
I was able to click/save the image of her logo & print it off onto some calico with freezer paper ironed to the back

I cut out a raw linen heart & blanket stitched the Bob logo to my heart shape
After I stuffed the heart I found (online) some miniature comb & scissor charms which I stitched to the top, then attached the heart to the dolls hands

Thankfully I had one set left of the corrugated iron wings I use for this Angel - although these are detachable, I think they definately finish her off - anything smaller would look quite lost

This is how she looked without any embellishments

I had fun playing around with some bits & bobs to tuck into her arms behind the heart ... chalkboard signs, small silver nail scissors, some christmas berries & greenery, rusty stars etc ... all removable

This is how she looked with all her added bits &pieces

I must confess I felt quite nervous about Emily receiving her .... dolls are such a personal thing & you tend to either love or hate them, there is seldom any real middle ground.
So I was relieved on Christmas Day to receive a gorgeous text photo from Jenny of Emily holding her doll, smiling & giving the thumbs up, & a message to say "she adored her & can't wait to get her home to hang her up in Bob" 

May the year ahead be a good & kind one to all of you dear friends & may you find some time in all the busy-ness of your days to take care of yourselves

Thanks So Very Much for your visits here today,
With much love & friendship to you All,
Julie & the furry ones x0x0x0