Ziggy Stardust

I was so shocked to hear the sad news about the death of David Bowie this week.  As a seventies teenager I spent many happy hours singing along to David’s songs.  After wandering around for days feeling as though there was something I should do, I finally realised what it was.  I allowed Ziggy to possess my mind, my hands and my sewing machine.  This is the result:

Ziggy Stardust Julie Broad

Long live Ziggy Stardust!

Mackintosh Style Roses

I have a gift to make for a young lady who likes roses.  I searched the internet for ideas and found some beautiful pictures of Mackintosh roses.  Two days ago I started making some fabric that I thought would be completed that day.  I didn’t realise just how much work would be involved in this little project.  Here’s what I did:

I used a roll of sticky tape as a template to mark out lots of circles on some cream fabric:

The colours I used for the roses were bright red, crimson, violet and a little orange.  I mixed acrylic paint with plenty of water and fabric medium (which converts acrylic paint to fabric paint) and started laying down colour following the curve of the circles:

I used the colours in turn to build up the circles, then added swirls of red water soluble crayon at the centre (wet afterwards with a brush and water to bring out the colour):

Next, the backround was painted phthalo green:

Then it was time for the stitching.  I wanted to give the impression of sketched outlines, so I used black thread to outline the circles a few times:

Lines were then stitched on the inside of the circles to try to give the impression of the Mackintosh style (arcs aroung the edges, spirals in the middle, variations and trying not to be too precious about each one):

Finally, the stitched leaves were added.  This is the finished piece of fabric:

My original plan was to use the fabric to make a cover for a folder.  Now I’m not so sure.  I’ll ponder on this tomorrow.


Whimsical Wall Hanging Completed

A few weeks ago I started stitching a wall hanging based on a carved post at Anglers Country Park.  This is the original photo:


I wanted a tall, thin hanging that would resemble the original post.  I assembled a long quilt sandwich, drew on the design using an air soluble pen (I’ve never used one of these before – they really are brilliant) and started stitching.  It all went well until I started on the butterflies.  I’ve unpicked them and changed the design slightly at least 3 times.  I also managed to turn over the edge of the backing fabric during stitching, so this caused more unpicking.  Finally, yesterday I completed the surface stitching.  Today I’ve added the edging. Here are pictures of the finished wall hanging (click on the photos to enlarge):




The photos were taken under dark conditions so I’m hoping you can see them.  The bottom edge is straight, it’s my photography that’s crooked!  I will probably take some more photos tomorrow and edit the post.

At this point I’m feeling pleased with myself.  I’ve enjoyed the stitching (though my fingers and thumb hurt from hand stitching the calico binding) and feel as though I’m making progress.  Tomorrow I’m going back to the Distance Learning Machine Embroidery work and I’m hoping to get unit 2 posted withing the next few days.  It’s been a long day and I can’t stop yawning.  Off to bed and up early tomorrow for more stitching. Goodnight!

Photo and Stitch 365 Challenge – 26 Decorative Horse

Yesterday I had a lovely walk up to Anglers Country Park.  On the way there I noticed some gates to a property.  There was a pair of lovely decorative horses on the gates.  Here’s one of the photos I took:


The horse reminded me of a picture I’d seen years ago.  It was of an old native american painting.  There was a herd of galloping horses running across the page.  I can remember thinking that they would look great in a sheer fabric, overlapping so that they were like ‘ghost horses’.  I actually painted and made a collage picture with this idea, but that was about 30 years ago and it’s long gone.

The horse also reminded me of the colourful fairground horses on the roundabouts.  I decided to try to produce one that was made from very thin fabric and coloured.  I used lutradur.  I have used it once before, but I know very little about it.  I tried colouring it with brusho, then stitching the design, cutting around the edges and stitching it onto backing fabric.  This was the result:


Though the brusho did colour the lutradur slightly, I would like to experiment using transfer paints on the fabric.  That’s something for me to think about for another day.

Photo and Stitch 365 Challenge – 25 Bonnie

Allow me to introduce you to Bonnie Boo Banana Dog:


Bonnie belongs to my good friend Sandra, though I must tell you Sandra’s surname is not Bananadog.  And it never will be.  Unless of course she marries Mr Bananadog.  Though that seems very unlikely (though not impossible)!  Bonnie is part beagle (the barrell shaped body and short Queen Anne legs), part spaniel (ears, tail and lovely long coat) and part border collie (as you can see in her pretty face).

Bonnie is a very special dog.  She is not particularly bright, though we are sure she has at least two brain cells.  Whereas frogs and toads have neurones specially adapted as bug detectors, Bonnie has one neurone which specialises in Pizza detection, and another one that specialises in Chip detection.  She can find them in the most unusual places.  Indeed we often comment that she may be a magic dog, able to conjour up food anywhere and everywhere.

Bonnie can be rather timid at times.  There are three things she fears.  Firstly German Shepherd dogs; she was once attacked by a white German Shepherd and has feared them ever since.  However, she is aware of one at a local farm and on the downhill approach she likes to run and jump and huff and puff and swing her tail around in circles like a helicopter.  One day if she gets up enough speed we may have liftoff!  Her second fear is black bin liners, especially if they are hiding in trees or under hedges.  The third fear is shetland ponies.  If there is one in a field nearby she fluffs up her fur, gives it a very wide girth, and hides behind her mum.  We’re not sure why.  She has no fear of other horses.

Bonnie has boyfriend,.  His name is Harvey and he’s a beautiful labrador.  Over the past few months their relationship has cooled down though somewhat.  Harvey swallowed two stones and had to have a major op.  He was very unwell and lost a great deal of weight.  The vet made him wear one of those big collars around his neck (one like Queen Elizabeth I used to wear, only Harvey’s was plastic not lace.  Unfortunately Bonnie did not take kindly to Harvey’s new designer gear and barked at him furiously to remove it.  He didn’t.  Though he is now well again, and wearing only his beautiful fur coat, she’s still giving him the cold shoulder.  She has still not forgiven him.

What is really special about Bonnie is that Bonnie loves everyone, and everyone loves Bonnie.  She wags her tail and wiggles her bottom for every individual she meets (even the vet).  She’s very friendly.  We think she is the Marilyn Monroe of the doggie world.

For some time I’ve wanted to stitch this lovely pooch, but wasn’t sure I could do her justice.  I’ve taken the plunge today, and here’s the stitched picture:


This is going to be a gift for Sandra.  I’m hoping she likes it.

Photo and Stitch 365 Challenge – 21 Rosebud

A couple of weeks ago I took a photo of a rosebud I’d passed on my way to the local shop.  I was surprised to see the deep pink bud emerging in January, so I had to take a photo.  Here it is:


I decided to keep things simple today because I still have other projects to finish.  Out came the water soluble crayons and some grey thread.  Here’s the stitched rosebud:


This was so quick and easy to do that I’m thinking of stitching more and using them on cards for friends, but not until I’ve finished off the other 365 challenge projects.

I’ve now finished off the nine sets of hydrangea sepals, but they need a backing.  Here are the sepals on a large piece of white board:


I’m thinking about using brusho on a background, maybe practice on lining paper first.

I’ve had an hour or so today working on the wood carving wall hanging, and its progressing nicely.  More of that tomorrow.  I need to do more stitching!

Photo and Stitch 365 Challenge – 20 Teasel

As I have a couple of large projects to complete I decided to limit my time on this challenge today.  This meant that I had to make a quick decision regarding my subject and I had to work fast.  The photo I chose for today was of a teasel head:


I took this photograph a few days ago.  I’d previously taken similar photos and promised myself that one day I would try to draw and stitch teasel.  The reason I hadn’t drawn or stitched it was because I thought it could be too complicated.  I’d looked closely at the pattern, the spines etc and felt it would be difficult to reproduce.  Today I didn’t stop to worry, I just made the decisions and worked fast.  Here’s the stitched teasel:


The teasel was stitched in layers.  Firstly the brown grid and stalk.  Then beige stitching was added over the top.  White spines were added and they grey spines.  As I built up the layers it did at least start to resemble the teasel.  It’s a little stunted compared to the photo, but I’m quite pleased with the first attempt.  With more practice maybe I could improve.

I’ve also managed to finish stitching the nine groups of hydrangea sepals.  I’ve brushed the back of the final three with pva so that I can cut round the edges tomorrow without the stitching fraying or coming loose.  Tomorrow I’m going to start thinking about how I will arrange and present them.

I’m going to have some more time on the stitching based on the wood carving tomorrow.  It’s an enjoyable project and I’m hoping it will be finished in the next few days.

This is me signing off for an early night so that I can be up bright and early to start my stitching.

Photo and Stitch 365 Challenge – 19 Whimsical Carving

A few weeks ago I took a picture of a whimsical wood carving at Anglers Country park.  This is the photo:


This is one of four carvings (there is one on the other side, and another two on the wooden post nearby).  When I took the photo I thought it was something I could use on one of those days when I didn’t have much time, or when I didn’t want to think too hard.  Today wasn’t one of those days, but when I checked through my photos I stopped at this one.  I think my little creative monster was tickling my ear at the time.  I’m sure it whispered ‘Yes, this one today, but it has to be big.  This will make a great wall hanging’.  So of course, without thinking, I went along with it!

I made a pattern using lining paper.  To give you an idea of the size the pattern is about 55 – 60 inches long.  I then went in search of fabric and found some cream polyester cotton.  The problem was it wasn’t long enough, but there was plenty of it.  I worked out how I could use it by making an invisible join in the middle (at the top of the honeycomb).  I used an air erasable pen to transfer the pattern onto the fabric, then made a quilt layer with calico, wadding and the cream fabric on top.  Cutting all the fabric and layering it seems to take ages.  Thankfully I was then ready to stitch.

I decided that I wanted to add some colour using only threads.  The art silks came out again and I began stitching.  It’s now 10.30 in the evening and I’m still stitching (I’ve never used an air erasable pen before and I’m afraid the outlines will disappear overnight.  This is the stitching so far:


I’ve had another enjoyable evening stitching, but my main concern is that the projects are increasing in size.  I still have the hydrangea to finish, and now this one also needs more time spenging on it.  It looks like I’m going to be burning the midnight oil for a few nights!

Photo and Stitch 365 Challenge 15 Snowdrop and Bulb

On my way back from the walk to the church yesterday I spotted something that really warmed my heart.  I find that the period after Christmas, and leading up to the spring, can sometimes feel cold and dark.  Sometimes it’s as though we’re stuck in a timewarp, waiting for the spring, for the light nights and better weather so that we can cram more into out lives.  One of the things that gives me a feeling of hope and better things to come is the first snowdrop – and here it is:


I spotted the snowdrop in a large planter outside the school (thank you Barnsley Council for continuing with the upkeep of these during hard financial times).  Then I noticed the bulb reaching up just in front of the snowdrop.  I’m sure the snowdrop was whispering words of encouragement (or at least doing its best to waft lots of growth pheromones in the direction of the bulb).  I took the picture and bounced back home knowing that this would be a stitching project completed before the end of the week, and here it is (please click on the image to enlarge it):


I’m hoping you can see this photo as again it was taken under dark conditions late in the day. I wanted to keep it simple and delicate.  I used the water soluble crayons to colour the calico, and then decided to thread sketch in pale grey art silk (rayon) to add to the delicate feel.  It was quick and easy to do and I’m feeling pleased with the result.  It really doesn’t take much does it.

I’ve been out taking photos this afternoon and despite the wind I’ve managed to find a few little hidden gems showing their colourful heads in the grey winter air.  More on that tomorrow.

Photo and Stitch 365 Challenge – 14 Stained Glass Window

This morning I decided I wanted a change from the usual stitching plants.  Maybe a little bit of architecture?  One of the older houses in the village?  Or maybe the church?  I set off in the direction of Royston Church, with the intention of maybe taking a photo of the windows.  I had an idea of something I wanted to try.  Here is the photo I started with today:


As always the stained glass is beautiful from the inside of the church, but not much colour could be seen from the outside.  But never mind, I had a plan.  I wanted to try to make my own stained glass windows.

A couple of Christmases ago I worked my way through a box of Cadbury’s Roses.  Oh, and some Quality Street. Oooh – did I mention the Ferrero Rocher.  Chocolate Mints? Afterwards I stashed the wrappers in a little box as I know they attach themselves nicely to bondaweb.  I’m sure you can see where I’m going with this. I placed small pieces of the different coloured wrappers on bondaweb, ironing them down (under baking parchment) as I went along.  Then I added a piece of sheer fabric  on top.  I’m not sure what type it was as someone gave it to me ages ago.  It was crinkly and creamy, but caught the light so that it had all the colours of the raimbow shining from it.  I then unpeeled the paper on the other side of the bondaweb and ironed it onto black fabric.

Next I made templates for the size of each window, pinned them on top of the sweetie wrapper fabric and stitched around them.  I then added black lines to try to make each window appear more like stained glass.  I didn’t try to follow any pattern for this, just made it up as I went along.  I then cut out each window, placed them on black backing fabric and stitched them onto it.  Here is my first attempt at the stained glass windows:


OK, so admittedly they look as though they have flowery curtains hanging behind them (well it is cold and draughty in the church), and the colours are all over the place, but look what happens when I change the colours in photoshop:


I’m left with the feeling that there are possibilities of creating stunning stitched stained glass windows using this idea (or maybe working with sheer fabrics and silver foil beneath so that the light reflects back).  It would be easy enough to do a little research to improve the pattern/design of the window (I don’t have much thinking time on this when I’m trying to stitch a project every day) and to select a better colour scheme. On a smaller scale small stained glass windows would look great on Christmas cards (this is me thinking ahead).

Can you imagine how much chocolate I would have to eat in order to create a full sized window?  Even I would need help with that one!