Not embroidery

•December 20, 2014 • 6 Comments

But it’s Christmassy, so there.

i had some little glass baubles on wire from paper chase, for decorating presies,( I often buy the little red berries you get in florists, and these were a bigger, shiner version) and they were pretty so I thought I’d splash out on a second box. I should add that I love decorating presents, but rarely buy things that would actually be glassified as giftwrap as I find it cheaper and prettier to raid the bargain buckets at the haberdashers, I also reuse stuff year after year because some people return the pretties.

but then when I was at paperchase I saw these



Which are basically the same baubles, but with hanging loops instead of wires, and in a box of 100…which works out about 30% of the price of the wired ones. So I got the big box.

and they’re so much more fun! Instead of just wiring a bunch of three into the centre of a bow, you can thread them and do this…


(I got a huge spool of that organza ribbon for two quid on leeds markets, enough to last years)Or this…



I’ve had a lot of fun this afternoon( I’ve also used some baubles wired- I just wired them myself with pipe cleaners). I’m also enjoying some £2 a metre shiny fabric from Boyes, which makes fabulous( and fabulously cheap) ribbon for larger parcels if you tear it roughly into strips



I do the pretty wrapping as much for my own pleasure as for the recipient, nicely wrapped presents set the tree off( I keep trying to hide the ones Gareth wraps round the back)


christmas tree pendant

•December 18, 2014 • 8 Comments

Last year I rang my dad and asked him if my stepmum, Janet, had pierced ears. He swore she did and so I made her some cute little Christmas tree earrings.

Except that Janet does not have pierced ears.

It’s taken me all year to think what to make as a replacement

tree1tree janet

Sorry about the dodgy photos. I meant to ask Gareth to take some proper photos but I forgot, so waht you see hear are some very dodgy efforts with my mobile on something thats fundamentally hard to photograph.

I wanted to play with backsetting, which is something I hadn’t done before, and it had to be glass for the colour. Handmade glass for that lovely subtle texture. It took me ages to track down a stained glass person to cadge glass from and then it turned out there was a lady called Mia living down the street, who very kindly cut three pieces for me.

Mia’s website is here

I’m moderately pleased with this piece, but delighted with the other one I’ve used for Janet’s this year’s Christmas present (which I can’t show you yet because Janet reads this to my dad). Haven’t had time to play with the third yet…

Roman brooch re done

•December 13, 2014 • 4 Comments


A better version of the roman jewel from borobridge that I made first in summer. This one is much smaller, closer to the original size, and I’m much happier with the clasp. I used a moss agate because it reminded me of the patina of the original

Zodiac Gemini

•December 12, 2014 • 7 Comments



I decided to to try finishing the Gemini I’d started, rather than starting again. I think the problem was that thing one had horrid piggy little eyes, and I’m much happier now I’ve adjusted them.

thats me, that is. Cept I tend to wear more clothes.

Still slightly disturbed by their little action man genitals though – I’ve retro- fitted Aquarius with pants.

family are coming for lunch on Sunday, so I’m all full of busy cooking and decorating. I decided this year to fill the little gap under the attic stairs( Gareth hasn’t got round to finishing it yet) with all my playmobils left over from previous years advent calenders.

i hadn’t realised I had a herd of riendeer and an army of santas…




Stitchalong wrap- up

•December 11, 2014 • 9 Comments

I’ve been meaning to say thank you to sue for organising the flickr group for everyone doing the stitchalong

And for anyone playing catchup

Part one

That’s the dragon, there’s also a dragon part two

Part two, that’s the leopard

And part two of part two

And part three, braids

And tassels

And the final part wherein all is assembled

Stitchalong, assembly

•December 5, 2014 • 9 Comments

First trim away your excess fabric on both pieces. You want about an inch and a half sides and bottom, but a good four or five inches at the top.image


Place your embroidered sides together. Knot and trim your tassel cords to about an inch in length, and pin them in between/inside the embroideries.

use as many tassels as you want. It’s very medieval to have three or four along the bottom and a few up each side. I’m using two because I’ve been too busy making Christmas presents.

Next take two longish fingerloop braids, and place the messy ends inside the centre bottom of the purse.



I like to start sewing from the middle outwards as this anchors the braids and tassels as quickly as possible and avoids the chance of pins coming loose. Make sure to put a couple of strong stitches right through the centre of each knot or cord to hold it firmly.



Sew up each side to a few inches from the top.



Then roll the four topside edges and anchor then with either running or hem stitch. I prefer running as it goes flatter.



Fold the two tops over until they’re even. You want two wide tubes.



Anchor each tube along the lower edge with double running stitch.

next take your lining fabric and cut it to the same size as the purse- you can do two separate pieces, a fold along the side, or a fold along the bottom- whatever works best for the fabric you have.



If you’re using the wool from the kit, you may find the lining shows through as the wool is quite sheer, so it’s best to add a white interlining.( I didn’t include the interlining in the kits because you can use any scraps you have lying about, I’m using a good bed sheet that a certain furry person clawed a big hole in).

fold your lining pretty sides together, and wrap the interlining ( if using) around the outside before sewing together.

reduce the bulk along the seam by trimming the interlining quite close to the seam.



Turn your purse the right way out.



To sew down the braids anchor your thread to the inside seam, then bring it through the seam.

to avoid a gap, cross the two braids over each other.



Sorry that ones blurry, by the time I realised it was too late to do anything about it.

sew the braids along the seam with a simple whip stitch.



When you get to the tassel at the corner, untwist the cord and push the braid through – as soon as you release it it will twist up again to enclose the braid. This avoids the tassels lying unevenly to one side of the braid.



Once  you get to the top of the seam, anchor the braid firmly, then loop it over and anchor the end on the inside seam. An average length fingerloop braid will give a loop of a few inches, which may seem short, but a shortish loop is preferable because if you make longer loops the purse will be able to twist on it’s mooring and you’ll end up having to untangle it every time you want to get in.



Next slip the lining inside. Fold down the top so it sits just beneath the top tubular seam and whip stitch around. If you’ve used an interlining you will have to carefully fold your linings into each other so that the inner lining doesn’t leave a shadow on the outside.

i find it virtually impossible to cut a lining that fits exactly, as the ratios of the fabric shift as you slide them together. As long as the lining is slightly too big you’re ok though, and you won’t even notice a tiny gather in the lining.



Finally thread the drawstrings. Two works best, threaded from opposite ends so that opening and closing the purse is easier – a single drawstring is much harder to manage. I’ve used my demo braid for the second string so you can see what I mean.



If you wish you can sew even more tassels onto the knotted ends of the drawstrings ( make then without a twisted header and use a long thread in place of the twist, you can then sew then directly) however, if you do this accept that no matter how firmly you sew them into place you will inevitably loose at least one drawstring tassel.

Now, nobody I like enough to give a present this fancy to would want this for Christmas. It’s a bit girly for john, and nobody else either lacks a present or does medieval stuff…spare purse for me, then.



zodiac, virgo

•December 3, 2014 • 4 Comments


Gareth and I both think virgi looks like Sandi Toksvig – same face, short legs, rather mannish attire. I checked, Sandi is not a virgo, that would have been too funny.

famous virgos are cardinal richelieu, and hg wells


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