Always smile at a [plastic] crocodile

The Queens Birthday long weekend here in Australia means I can squeeze in a blog post. Over on Instagram I promised I would share my photos of the 29th Miniature’s and Dolls’ House Fair held on 5th and 6th May at Netball Centre Olympic Park. This year we exhibited and had a stall.

So impressed with all the displays I forgot to take photos of my mini haberdashery store and of my dad’s ‘junk food’ lane.

My mum created a bag and hat shop many years ago. She subsequently created some framed pieces which would look lovely in a girls room, sewing room or craft room. We also sold room boxes which my dad made. He made the room box, floor and furniture. This is our mini stall.

I created some brooches showcasing different crafts which I sold on the day. You can see them laying flat. They all measure on average 5cm x 6cm [2.5 in x 2.5 in]. Mini knitting, crochet, macrame, quilting, weaving, cross stitch, sashiko, felt and ribbon embroidery. Here they are close up.

Here are some of the displays that caught my eye. The level of detail is what astounds any miniaturist. So zoom in or take an extra second or two admire the craftsmanship in these pieces.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Enjoyable Embroidery [challenge]

So technically it is still February somewhere in the world – although here down under we have started a new month and new season. So to celebrate the wonderful month that February is [my birthday, Valentine’s day, kids go back to school] AND it being National Embroidery Month – I am blogging about the challenge I participated in last February.

Gulush Threads and DMC organised an embroidery challenge during February – National Embroidery Month – 2017! I participated through Instagram. We were required to post a photo of stitches from the daily prompts. Here are the prompts for the month.

As opposed to using fabric or an embroidery hoop I decided to embroider on cotton paper. Here is the complete collection I created during the month.

So if you are interested how I interrupted each day, here goes….

Day 1 – Pink only

baby pink to be exact – embellishing sequins and seed beads with straight stitches and French knots

Day 2 – Back Stitch

an nice easy stitch to create this thread bobbin/spool

Day 3 – 1 ply strands

weaving stitch

Day 4 – pearl cotton

in addition to French knots – eskimo laced stitch

inspired  from the Modern Folk Embroidery book by Nancy Nicholson, a blog hop I participated in

Day 5 – neon

this is the only neon I had in my stash at the time – couching stitch

Day 6 – stem stitch

a little pumpkin in stem stitch

Day 7 – free style

so I delved into my embroidery bible and thought I would try this double threaded [mauves] back stitch [grey]

Day 8 – neutral only

buttonhole stitch – they look like wheels and buttons

Day 9 – French knots

my idea was to fill the negative space of the ampersand with French knots – far too ambitious for a daily challenge – I’m liking the combination of knots and holes though

Day 10 – variegated

wanted to try the herringbone stitch

Day 11 – whipped back

combines a back stitch with thread threaded back over each stitch [easily seen with this variegated thread] – crochet hook only in back stitch

Day 12 – black and white

I was cheeky with this one – using back stitch – Spanish and reversal

Day 13 – 7 ply strands

first time using 7 ply – I had a go at feather stitch – do you think it looks like coral

Day 14 – free style

I decided to have a go at chevron stitch – in red for Valentine’s day

Day 15 – green only

Amber from @ambrosiastitches on Instagram introduced me to cast on stitch – perfect for my lil tree

Day 16 – ombre

pink ombre long and short stitch also known as embroidery shading stitch, tapestry shading stitch, brick stitch, leaf stitch, Irish stitch, plumage stitch, feather work, opus plumerium

Day 17 – split stitch

split stitch for concentric variegated circles kinda works

Day 18 – shapes

applying some felt with blanket stitch and French knots

Day 19 – blue only

chain stitch on a paisley shape – or is it a bird

Day 20 – straight stitch

also known as stroke stitch – which is great for depicting grass

Day 21 – free style

flicking through my embroidery bible I choose this Pekingese stitch also known as Chinese stitch or blind stitch – looks like a stamp to me – stamp stitch?

Day 22 – 3 ply strands

the basket stitch or long armed cross stitch was easy quick – the French knot hydrangeas on the other hand…

Day 23 – shades of grey

not many greys in my stash but the wheat ear stitch came up a treat

Day 24 – abstract

had a go at Roman stitch also known as branch stitch – I also varied the short cross stitch from running parallel to running diagonally.

Day 25 – filler stitch

I used 4 ply for the double Algerian eye stitch

Day 26 – rainbow

battlement stitch – or overlapping blanket stitches

Day 27 – satin stitch

no secret I like to mix different media in my creations – I couldn’t resist stitching a hexie with satin stitch

Day 28 – free style

to finish the challenge I want to combine several element and try a new stitch – I create this miniature kite with a back stitch tail and sheaf stitch bows – I added a metallic thread in the variegated floss – upcycling an old atlas page to make the kite.

Would love to know which one is your favourite and which stitch you are now itching to try?

I learnt so many stitches during this challenge – great learning exercise when you commit to a challenge!

WOW WIW [walk-in wardrobe]

This Christmas gift was 6 months in the making. And is not quite finished either. But the 25th December deadline insisted I deliver this labour of love. Who would be worthy of 6 months of my craft time – my miniatures loving parents. I created this fairy-tale walk in wardrobe for them.

Let me walk [pardon the pun] you through the steps of my creation.

It first started with those crocheted hangers the ones Grandma used to make. The plan to replicate the crocheted hanger in miniature. I used paper clips and DMC perle cotton for a collection of pastel hangers.

Then some delicate fabric and lace covered hangers. The fabric covers were machine sewn. The hangers were made with cardboard to provide the shape and support. And beads added as a decorative touch [see white dress photo].

A couple of years back I was fortunate to participate in Sarah Peel’s Luna Lapin blog hop. Flipping through the wonderful templates I was drawn to the cape. I reduced the template size and created 2 lined capes.

More clothes for the wardrobe meant some dresses. First up, crocheted bodice with full linen skirt. Seed bead as a button and ribbon tie. The linen skirt I was up-cycling had this brown trim which was perfect for mini dress.

The second dress I attempted was one I had seen in a book where the front panel is actually one piece and the side is gathered and sewn at the waistline. The hem was created with a machine stitch and the fabric trimmed as closely as possible to the edge of the stitch. It has raw edges [neckline and armholes] but in my next attempt I would try and finish these off with more finesse [note the coat-hangers]..

 

Between the hangers and the dress there seemed to be enough crochet – knitting was the next miniature challenge. A cardigan. I found a pattern on Pinterest and created this little double-breasted cardy. Star buttons were the perfect size.

A chance exchange during my son’s kindy gym session had me swapping crochet patterns with another mum and I received a pattern for Solomon’s knot scarf – but of course my first try at this was in miniature.

As I delved into the accessories and away from the clothing I thought I would make the little lady a hand quilted hand bag from floral ribbon I’d purchase in Spain. Sequin and seed button and crochet  to close the sides and for the strap.

On to the clothes rack. This was fun to create. I drew a rough diagram. Measured and cut the balsa wood, craft rod and foam board. Glued all pieces together to create the rack.

With the majority of the items made I set about to create the room. I purchased I photo frame from the op shop. It had to be right size, for both the floor size and skirting. I pulled the apart for the base to become the floor and the 2 sides of the frame the skirting.

I needed a little help from my dad – so I had to say a little white lie when I asked my dad to make me the room box – all I had requested was two walls at right angles attached to the floor and 2 mitred skirting pieces . Nothing else. So my dad thought I was making this for my bestie so he offered a window frame and door. I accepted but had to insist I was still working out what I would do for the floor. I had definite plans for the floor but could not divulge.

The walls, floor, window frame and door were ready for finishing touches. The window frame and door were painted gloss white after light sanding. And the walls a ‘praline sweet’ shade – the sample bottle and mini roller was perfect for the application.

Next the floor – definitely wooden. Floor boards – perhaps? Parquetry – mmmm? Modern parquetry – yes!! After some ‘research’ on Pinterest I decided on a hexagon format with trapezoidal tiles. Hand cutting tiles from jumbo pop sticks – 120 in total took some time but I had a good feeling on the outcome. Edges were sanded, laid, glued and sanded again.

And then varnished. And skirtings too.

My next challenge – venetian blinds.  Coffee stirrers, quilling paper and cotton used to create the blinds for the window. And balsa wood for the pelmet. Ice-cream sticks and a make-up case mirror for the wall mirror. I designed them as I went along.

The walk-in wardrobe needed a comfy chair for the little lady to put on her stockings and shoes. Inspired by my own chair in my craft room [photo below] I set about to make miniature furniture. My first attempt was looking like a failure – so I simplified my approach and created this. An upholstered chair, I made this from cardboard, sponge foam, balsa wood and fabric. It’s suit fabric from India. It’s perfect for mini upholstery.

Just a couple more crochet pieces – I warm floor rug for her feet

And a raffia hat for the sunny days.

I do want to add some more items to the walls and perhaps add a dress or too. I will be sure to share those once finished.

You’ll never loose your keys again! [free bag organiser instructions]

We are all guilty, the hand bag is a fashion statement, or it must match the outfit or shoes. So it’s functionality is sometimes overruled by it’s statement. Regardless of which handbag you choose, this bag organiser will make finding that pen to jot something down or finding the lippy before you step out, a breeze. It folds or rolls up as compactly as you need it. A compartment for everything!

I designed this bag organiser for Handmade magazine [using the lovely Leutenegger’s Sketchbook range] who have published the instructions on their website. You may need to sign up to receive their newsletters and offers but it’s worth it as you will have access to many other instructions.

Click here, to go straight to the instructions, if you are already  a member or once you have signed up. Let me know if you have a go at making this and how it has saved you time 😉

So much character and charm!

This is the final part of my creative inspiration travel photos. And this is probably my favourite collection of photos. If you would like to read the other installments, links here Part 1, part 2, part 3 and part 4. I have always loved antiques or ‘old’ things. But my antique attraction started during a sunny day in Lisbon whilst we were walking, exploring the city and decided to explore Avenida de Liberdade and stumbled upon a wonderful market. It was stall after stall of pre-loved treasures.

 

 

As mentioned in my 4th installment on our second day in Florence we came across markets where I found the following gems…..

On our way to the Basilica della Santa Croce, through a tiny laneway this adorned a store front step!

So many stores had wonderful pieces as their window dressing….

Couldn’t help another trip to the flea market in Florence!

I have been having fun googling the brands on the machines and instruments to ascertain rough vintage.

Another wonderful flea market, Port Antic Market,  in beautiful Barcelona!

And these markets, Mercat del Encants, a wonderful find.

THE PRINCESS OF WALES SEWING MACHINE
By
Newton Wilson

Actions speak louder than Italian!

This is part 4 of my 5 part creative inspiration travel photos. Part 1, part 2 and part 3 if you would like to read the first 3 installments.

On the second day in Florence, 1st of October, we set off for breakfast. After coffee and delicious pastries we continued our on-foot exploration of the gorgeous city. Before stumbling onto the heavenly food, flower and antique markets I discovered Zest, a cute little craft store on Via della Mattonaia. At the entrance a notice board with their upcoming demonstrations. It read, Sabatto, 1 Ottobre. What luck, a quilling demonstration for 2 1/2 hours! After a wonderful morning at the markets and homemade lunch in ‘our’ apartment I returned to Zest for the demonstration while my ‘boys’ decided to feed the birds at the busy bustling people watching piazzas.

Lucky I have delved in quilling before, and my second language, Spanish helped somewhat but the entire demonstration was in Italian! Mario explained and demonstrated many techniques and showed lovely examples of his work. Lucky for me actions speak louder than words. What an awesome serendipitous afternoon! I also stumbled upon the best crepe paper [Cartotenica Rossi] in this store. Probably one the best souvenirs!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What can you see?

This is part 3 of my 5 part creative and inspirational photography series. I wrote about doors here and mosaics/tiles here.

Today’s post is a mixed collection of photos. I found inspiration in:

a. shop fronts

these giant balls of wool look good enough to play with

this crocheted window dressing was adorable – love the percolator

the balls on the those giant pins!

that’s a lot of wine 😉

b. craft shops

cute little shop in Cordoba, Spain

I fell in love with the tiny floral ribbons in row #2 from the top

paper bliss

love the shop name – to create and decorate!

c. almost anywhere

these string art adorn building facades in ‘La Rambla’ Barcelona

Floral circular panels

shells, rosettes, egg shape

I see the figure 8, quilling, hexies 😉

the iconic rooster in Portugal – paper maiche tin style

painted ceramic in Toledo, Spain

florals and embroidery in this stylish cushion in a Florence shop window

Keep looking. Keep recording. There is inspiration everywhere.

Alluring Azulejos

Last week I wrote about all the non traditional photos I took during our European trip. I shared my photos of doors and doorknockers and window. This week [part 2 of 5] – tiles and mosaics. Or azulejos as they are called in Spain and Portugal.

Some facts for those interested, tiles in Potrugal:

  • date as far back as the 13th century, when the Moors invaded land that now is Spain and Portugal
  • became part of Portuguese culture between the 16th and 17th centuries
  • the word azulejo stems from Arabic roots, meaning ‘small polished stone’. Originally they were fairly simple structures cut into geometric shapes in neutral tones.
  • Portugal’s King Manuel I visited Seville and brought the idea back, following this Portugal truly adopted this artwork into its culture.
  • antique azulejos were decorated in a simple colour palate, dominated by blues and whites
  • other colours that appeared were yellow (sometimes looking gold) and green.

Here are some of the bright and attractive tiles that caught my attention.

 

Door knock appeal

No this post is not about charity collectors but rather the appeal of the details in doors, doorknockers, windows, mosaics. Have you ever put together a photo-book? You know the drill, upload photos onto an online photo book platform, select automatic or manual placement and add journaling/embellishments. I think I created over a dozen books now, our trips, son’s birthday, building our house. The most recent photo book was epic. In terms of the volume of photos and details, our European holiday. In fact, I received notification today that it is ready for pick-up. Can’t wait to see it after the endless hours I spent culling/sorting/deleting photos. During the process, I realised I would have to create a separate photo book with all the creative inspiration photos I took as they wouldn’t fit in the 100 page book! In addition to the typical holiday snaps I took photos of doors, windows, antiques, patterns, mosaics. Here is the first installment of my creative inspiration photos – doors, doorknockers and windows. Taken in Spain, Portugal and Italy.

Doors

Doorknockers

Windows and Door

Fabric, fishing and flowers – in miniature of course!

I am currently going through another miniature wave as I explore furniture making and the world of balsa wood and popsicle sticks! More on that in future posts.

On Saturday I attended the 28th Sydney Miniatures and Dolls’ House Fair at Sydney Olympic Park. Here are some of the items that caught my eye. Hope you enjoy the detail as much as I did. Can you spot the…..

…toilet brush and gold rimmed brush holder.

…. the kitty on HIS bed.

…. the distillation apparatus.

…. the test tubes and rack.

….the broken post.

… the moss on the steps.

… the moss on the brick wall.

…. the fish, catch of the day.

… the fishing rods.

….fishing net weights.

…. the hanging planter basket.

…the lucky bamboo plant.

… the hinges on the window shutters.

….the origami crane!

….. the sewing pattern.

…. the green tote.

….. the coral needlework on the wall.

….. the crochet throw.

… the coathangers and teal beanie.

…. the hexie EPP quilt on the wall.

…. the rolls of ribbon.

…. the Champagne flute.

Love the details of these….