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Sunday, 7 January 2018

Fabric scrap bead tutorial


This is the perfect project for some of those sewing scraps you've been hoarding. It's especially great for using up strips of fabric that you can't use for other projects such as English Paper Piecing.

You will need:
A thin knitting needle or something similar eg skewer
Some scrap paper
Lengths of fabric scraps
Pins
Needle
Thread


Start by cutting an oval shape from the scrap paper and wrap this around the knitting needle. Hold it tight to prevent it unravelling.

Still holding the paper and knitting needle, start wrapping the fabric strip around the paper.

Keep wrapping across the paper to the length that you want the finished bead to be.

Continue wrapping until you use up all the fabric or have created the desired shape. Pop in a pin to secure your bead.

Thread your needle and secure the bead with some small stitches.

Next you need to start securing your bead by stitching - randomly stitch until the layers are secure.

Carefully slide the bead off the paper and stitch from the centre outwards to secure the inside of the bead.

Tie off and and trim the thread.


You can try making different shapes - a tapered bead (fatter in the middle than at the ends) or a straight bead (even width across the whole bead). To create the tapered bead, build up each end first before then working only on the centre of the bead.

If you are making several beads from the same fabric and want them to look similar, try to pick strips of fabric of similar widths and lengths.

You can make more than one bead on the same paper tube.

You can also use this technique on short strips of ribbon, the beads look neater as there aren't any fraying edges.
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Saturday, 30 April 2016

Elephants -- Fabric

This month's selection of elephants was inspired by the safari print fabric I picked up on my trip to Hong Kong at the start of March plus my current obsession with sewing. Most animal and elephant print fabrics you see around are designed for children so I looked at a selection of more grown up designs.

Embellished Elephant :: Fabric print elephant selection

1. This fabric is called 'serengeti' and isn't really a children's design but still has some of the sense of fun of some of those designs.
2. The single colour way on this design makes it stand out from some of the others. Combined with the geometric shapes gives it a different edge.
3. The black and gold of this upholstery fabric gives it a sophisticated edge. I'm not sure you'd want a sofa or curtains in this design but it would make an interesting feature on some cushions.
4. This is another upholstery fabric that I can see in a grand sitting room on a chaise-longs.
5. I can imagine making a summer dress out of this fabric, the palm trees give it an exotic feel.
6. This is probably the most nursery like design that I've picked for this selection but I think the monochrome silhouettes make it a little more grown up.
7. The rows all have a different motif in this design which give a great safari feel without being too overpowering.
8. It's a bit difficult to see on this image but the elephants all have text on them with gives this design a more grown up edge.
9. The combination of elephant shapes and zebra prints make this fabric stand out.

For more elephants visit my Elephants board on Pinterest.
All links above are to Pinterest as some of the items pictured may no longer be available at their original link.

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Elephants -- Lights

I've been looking for a lamp for my hallway table, and got slightly distracted when I spotted an elephant table lamp. This is what prompted this month's collection of elephants.


1. This elephant reminds me of my cat sitting waiting patiently for his dinner!
2. The print on this lampshade is very grown up compared to some of the printed shades I saw.
3. The trunk of this elephant supports the shade and pops out the top. I particularly love the way the ear is designed on this one.
4. This lamp would be perfect for a gender neutral nursery.
5. These stacking porcelain style elephants would work well in a colonial inspired sitting room.
6. Another bedside table lamp, this time with more a more rounded friendly design.
7. This design is actually painted onto the base to give a lovely finish.
8. I love this lamp and bet it shines beautiful patterns over the wall.
9. This is a cute plug in night light that would look great in any nursery.

For more elephants visit my Elephants board on Pinterest.
All links above are to Pinterest as some of the items pictured may no longer be available at their original link.

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Hong Kong temple inspiration

There are temples everywhere in Hong Kong. You can be just walking down a street and there is a little one by the side of the road.

What I love about these Chinese Buddhist temples is the colour, that and the fact they really don't seem to mind you taking photos unlike some of the places of worship I've visited on my European travels.

Here are a few of my favourite pictures that I took in Hong Kong temples as inspiration for my crafting.





Saturday, 12 March 2016

Fabric shopping in Hong Kong Sham Shai Po

I've been working on a project at my day job that involved travelling to a conference last week in Hong Kong. After the conference I tacked on a few days holiday.

Hong Kong was never one of those places on my 'must visit' list but I really enjoyed it. Because of it's colonial past it is a very easy place to travel around as English is widely spoken.

While I was there I couldn't pass up a trip to the Garment District - Sham Shai Po. It's really easy to get to - about half a dozen stops on the MTR red line from central.

Hong Kong MTR // Embellished Elephant

Take exit A2 then walk a couple of blocks until you get to Ki Lung Street. When I went on a Friday morning there was a small market between the MTR exit and Ki Lung Street.

Ki Lung Street Market // Embellished Elephant

Ki Lung Street is the street with fabric shops and fabric stalls.

Fabric shop signage // Embellished Elephant

I only walked down a couple of blocks that was enough to fill my bag. Mostly from this shop ...

Fabric shop interior // Embellished Elephant

Also along Ki Lung Street there are shops selling leather.

Leather shop // Embellished Elephant

There was a lot of cheap polyester around but I haven't yet graduated to sewing with slippery fabrics so I left them alone.

Very cheap fabric // Embellished Elephant

The other surrounding streets have ribbons, buttons, beads etc.

Button shop // Embellished ElephantBead Shop // Embellished Elephant

Ribbon shop // Embellished Elephant

This wonderful blog covers everything you need to know about the garment district, how to find it and what is on offer.

At the time I visited the exchange rate was about £1 = HK$10.5
This is my haul - going clockwise from top left:
  • Black chinese style floral fabric good quality cotton HK$50 per yard 
  • Black floral cotton lawn HK$40 per yard
  • Safari print canvas (since when have kangaroos been safari animals?) HK$25 off cut
  • Chinese style fabric in blue and red/black HK$35 per yard
  • Blue / purple repeating horizontal panels HK$5 (YES 50p!) per yard 
  • Blue floral fabric draped cotton/polyester mix HK$40 per yard
Fabric haul // Embellished Elephant

I walked back to the MTR station a slightly different way and unintentionally came across bead shops. I didn't want to add to my stash but I couldn't help it ... most of this was just HK$10 or less per pack.

Bead haul // Embellished Elephant

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Alexander Calder inspiration

I don't know where the first two months of the year have gone. Back in mid January I paid a visit to the Tate Modern. It had been a while since my last visit mainly because it is just too popular for its own good. The paid for exhibitions are just sooooo expensive and once you've forked out a small fortune you then have to queue to get past those people who've splashed out even more cash for an audio guide as they stand RIGHT IN THE WAY of the little boards that tell you the title of the work, artist etc. And then there are the people who come and stand in front of you...

I work for a large company. The kind of large company that does its bit to support the arts (although maybe not for much longer with the current share price). This means that every so often we are offered the chance to apply for a pass to visit a private view at the Tate Modern. I haven't done this before but when the opportunity popped up to see the current Alexander Calder exhibition I was there signing up within 6 minutes of being notified. 


Source :: Tate.org.uk
The private view was a much more civilised experience with the galleries much less crowded. Although there were still people with poor gallery etiquette and someone let some children in, I very much enjoyed the private view experience.

So how about the art? I've been a long time admirer of Calder's work - ever since my big trip around the world 15 years ago. His work has a wonderful calmness about it. But I've never seen more than one or two of his pieces together. This exhibition was an exploration of his life's work and you could really see the evolution from his early works through to his most famous mobile sculptures.

The early wire sculpture pieces were just stunning. The wire face sculptures casting a mangled shadow behind them were complex but simple at the same time. The circus figures where you could trace the line of the wire and see how it had been created from one length. My favourite piece was the elephant (of course!). Photographs just don't do justice to the 3 dimensional nature of the work.


Source :: Wikiart.org
We also went to The World Goes Pop exhibition (now closed).


Source :: Tate.org.uk
For me it was rather underwhelming. The aim was to explore the fact that the Pop Art movement wasn't just confined to Britain and the US. And that was the problem, there just weren't any of those blockbuster Pop Art pieces to tempt you through the rooms. But maybe putting these pieces next to those would have just showcased how brilliant they were. There were a couple of interesting pieces, including the one on the banner. I'm just glad I didn't pay to see this one.

Monday, 29 February 2016

Embellished -- Oscars 2016

I have to say I was a bit underwhelmed by this years collection of Ocsar frocks, in terms of their embellishments but here are the ones worthy of a mention ...


1. Cate Blanchett :: I wasn't sure about the overall dress but the floral embellishments were interesting
2. Brie Larson :: it's all about the beaded belt on this dress
3. Kevin Hart :: when a bloke with an embellished tux makes my montage ...
4. Jennifer Garner :: she always has great dresses, the hint of beadwork is beautiful on this dress
5. Alicia Vikander :: she has the Oscar, she has Michael Fassbender so it really annoys me that she also picked a lovely embellished dress too. PS her Mum's dress is beautiful too.
6. Saoirse Ronan :: emerald green sequin, by the way did anyone else thing this was a more sparkly version of Kiera's dress in Atonment?
7. Maria Menounos :: beaded shell patterns on this dress
8. Julianne Moore :: a little beaded detail goes a long way
9. Naomi Watts :: the embellished detail on this dress is mermaid like

All pictures are sourced from The Daily Mail (I know - but they always have the best red carpet coverage).