Friday, 27 May 2016

Five on Friday - The Garden

A lot of time has been spent in the garden this week so I thought it would be appropriate to make it my Five on Friday. What does the garden mean to me? It is hard to define but I know I would struggle to live without a garden, so it is pretty important. 
The beginning of the week was bright and sunny and many flowers opened in the sunshine.

On Wednesday it was much cloudier and cold and it was almost as if the flowers decided they were not coming out to play.

The Sweet Sultan only partially opened
and the hardy osteospernum remained tightly closed.

There is something very inspiring about buds ready to burst into flower. 
Promise of delights to come.

These two clematis are just ready to unfurl their petals and reveal their beauty

So my Five this Friday are the feelings and emotions evoked by my garden. 

 Peace and Tranquility - a place to escape to from day to day frustrations to restore the soul.

Safety - as I have become less mobile the garden has become a safe place to be outside. Also plants just are, there do not judge what you can and cannot do.

Pleasure - an enjoyable space to spend time with friends and family.

Hope - the cycle of life, renewal and rebirth in the Spring

Happiness - a bit like number 3, but that moment of seeing something new like a flower you don't remember planting or a bird enjoying the birdbath that brings a smile to your face.

I have been watching the TV coverage of the RHS Chelsea Flower show this week and the artist Grayson Perry was a guest one evening. He described the garden as 
"a meditation on mortality",
 which sums it up perfectly for me. 

Joining with Amy at Love Made My Home for Five on Friday

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Cottage Needlecase (JETS April and May)

Over the last two JETS (Junior Embroiderers' and Textile Students) sessions in April and May we have been making a Cottage Needlecase. Normally I create a project that can be achieved in the two hours we meet each month. The students had asked if we could make a Needlecase and I'm afraid I got rather carried away. Determined not to recreate the binka and blanket Needlecase of my school days, I wanted something that would appeal to the 12 year olds as well as the 5 year olds. Not that there is anything wrong with binka needlecases. There are a lot of treasured pieces of binka out there with first attempts at stitch.

There was a lovely pattern in the book Stitch at Home by Mandy Shaw, which looked suitable for adaption. Our Needlecase would be made from felt as we do not have a sewing machine. (Although I am working on that one!) Problem was there was no way we would achieve all the work in one session. We needed to make a decorative outside, useful inside and join the two pieces together. I worried that the children would loose interest with a month gap between sessions.
The wonderful JETS volunteers were right behind me and thought we should give it a go.
So that is exactly what we did.

Stitching the windows and door in over stitch or running stitch.

Adding decoration and embellishments.
Although it did not look much like a cottage at this stage!

All comes clear when the cottage is folded, particularly with pretty flowers by the front door.

The first stage was completed and the students were ready to go onto the next phase.
Creating the inside pockets with needle and pin keeps.

Some students chose over stitch again, while others preferred running stitch.
Try to keep those stitches small and neat!

Attaching the roof was a little tricky so it did not cover the windows and door.

Don't forget the press stud to fasten the needlecase with.

Finally, carefully stitch the two parts together. 
This cottage roof has been beautifully edged with blanket stitch.

This cottage belongs to our most experienced stitcher. 
There are candles in the front windows and the silhouette of a family in the rear window. 
Also lovely chain stitch and french knot climbing rose and daisy decorations.

The first two completed cottages. 
I. created stain glass windows at the front and stitched ivy over the rear window.

While L. who is our youngest stitcher, created daisies and climbing plants in pots.
They both went home happy with their Cottage needlecases.

The remaining cottages will be completed next month and all my concern about a long running project was unfounded. All the students are enthusiastic and looking forward to finishing off in June. When given the choice for the next project, either a woven butterfly or mini cottage scissor keep they all wanted to make a mini cottage. 
We will have to rename the group - Cottages 'r' us! 

 I am so proud of them all, their creativity, determination and enthusiasm for learning.
They are a really inspiring group of children.

(Not forgetting the wonderful volunteer helpers too!)

Friday, 20 May 2016

Five on Friday - Happy Fabric Books

For Five on Friday this week I would like to share the five pages of a little fabric book made at a workshop with Textile Artist Jill Izzard. The title of the workshop was Happy Fabric Books. What could be better than Fabric and Books as they both make me Happy? Jill is a wonderful, talented lady and you can see her beautiful work on her website Textile Art - Jill Dian Izzard - Textile Artist

The front cover and back of the Happy Fabric Book
Jill brought all the resources we needed for the workshop with her and was very generous with all her materials encouraging us to take fabric, buttons, lace, beads and a myriad of other lovely treasures. Why is someone else's stash is so much more exciting than ones own? Jill demonstrated how to combine fabrics with scraps of lace and other trimmings with lots of examples of her own work. 
I could have spent all day just looking at her amazing work.

This wall hanging is one of my favorites although I apologise for the photo as it does not really show the beauty of it. There are better pictures on her website.

The pages of my book were created rather randomly just choosing pieces that pleased me rather than adopting any theme. However, looking through the book now, each page prompts a memory.

Sitting and listening to my maternal Grandmother tell me stories about her life.

Watching the birds in the garden with my father.

Learning to stitch and embroider with my mother.

The birds and flowers loved by a special friend.

Meeting up with my brother and sister-in-law in the Tuileries Garden, Paris.

They are all memories bound up with love and special moments in my life.

Truly a Happy Book

Thank you Jill.

Joining with Amy at Love Made My Home and Five on Friday

Friday, 6 May 2016

Five Crazy Creatures for Five on Friday

As mentioned in a previous post our Branch of the Embroiderers' Guild started a JETS (Junior Embroiderers' and Textile Students) group at the end of last year. We meet in my local Parish Council Hall and the group is growing steadily. The Parish Council hold a Summer Fete each year in July so the local community can get together and have some fun. I thought this would be a good opportunity for the JETS group to be involved in the wider community and also raise some funds. We plan to offer an activity for anyone who would like to try their hand at stitching, kits to sew and small stitched items for sale. 

We were lucky enough to be gifted lots of fabrics, threads and embellishments when the group started. So we have plenty of resources for the students and enough left over to make kits and items to sell. Among all the resources there was a large bag of small felt squares, which were left over from a Guild activity last year. I set myself the challenge of making something with them........

So here are my Five Crazy Creatures for Five on Friday!

1. Funky Chickens

2. Sweet Hearts

3. Wise Owls

4. Bouncing Bunnies

5. Pretty Puppies

They are all little brooches and will hopefully raise a few pennies for our group. 
The plan is to be able to buy some art materials and a junior sewing machine in the future.

Now, there is a huge bundle of net fabric, 
what could I make with that............??