Monday, 30 December 2013

Pyrography - Star Wars

Death Star
I decorated this wooden art compendium for my friends son. 

If I had been doing this for Christmas 2012 the box would have had something related to Thomas the Tank Engine on it.

Now, although Thomas remains a fond friend the denizens of George Lucas' Empire have moved to the forefront.

As you may be able to tell from the name on the box, Phillip is more fascinated with the 'dark side' characters at the moment.

So in addition to knowing the names of every engine and appliance of Sodor he is speedily amassing all the names and characteristics of the Empire and Rebellion.

I am quite please with my latest wood burning attempt and happily Phillip was as well.  He is delighted with a box the contents of which he can use to make his secret plans for domination of the Galaxy. Ohps, thats just between us you understand.

The image is from a free colouring page for children and the lettering based on the font used in the films.

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

all empty, so

So here we are again.

Christmas Day.

All the waiting is over.

All the planning has reached its focus.

All the gifts unwrapped exclaimed over 
 ( or soon to be headed back to the shop for an exchange) 

Lots of food eaten.

Queens speech watched
 (at least if you'r British)

Curled up on the couch, replete.
Time to relax.

Well at least until tomorrow
when it will be only 364 days to Christmas

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Ho! ho! ho!

Santa Claus

Yeah it is the Big Guy himself setting off  for his nights work.

Monday, 23 December 2013

Mini Stockings (Christmas)

These little stockings are made from green velvet with felt appliqué.

I made them for my parents the year I decided it was not fair they did not have a stocking.

they are only about four by three inches which makes finding gifts to fit a bit of a challenge.

They do however also double as decorations as they are small enough to hang on the tree.

Although they are quite old now the only bit that has not stood the test of time are the eyebrows of which only wisps are left. 

Christmas stocking day 23

The penultimate image, can you guess what the last one will be?

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Another bauble


Almost time to put the decorations up, we normally wait till the 24th.

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Last Saturday before Christmas

21 days of preparation and am I ready yet?

Of course not, but Christmas is going to arrive regardless.

Friday, 20 December 2013

Christmas elves big and small

I did not make theses elves. The first one with its ping pong ball head was made by my mother.

Big Elf

He was a project at a Church meeting. The arms and body are pipe cleaners covered with felt.

The hat, tunic, hands and feet are felt as well.

The elf has been part of my Christmas memories for years, since I was a child.

So, when I had the responsibility of the children's section of our church some years ago I decided it would be a fun thing for the children to make at Christmas.

I had no ping pong balls to hand but I did have some wooden beads. There was a bit too much sewing in the original design for the time the children and I had but there was the wonderful invention of the hot glue gun. (with very careful adult supervision)

Even so covering the pipe cleaners was going to be a bit much as well so coloured pipe cleaners would have to suffice.

The children on the day worked carefully to make their elves, chatting about what they would do with the finished item.

A brother and sister each worked on their own  elf, the boy stating his would go to grandparents or perhaps his mother or.... various other options.  His sister made no comment.

Little Elf
After they were all finished and were to take their completed projects home the girl handed me hers, I said it is yours, you made it, it is for you to keep. "no, yours" she said most firmly.

Being a bit slow I asked don't you want to take it home for your mother or father.  Tearful now she said rather quietly
"want you to have it" 
penny dropped and I realised she thought I was rejecting her gift.

I thanked her and said I would be delighted to have it and promised it would join its bigger fellow with our family decorations.  Satisfied , she gave a firm nod and off she went.

Little elf made the journey home with me and has ever since kept his bigger compatriot company.

That first year my brother spotted the addition and exclaimed..

"Where did the mini me for the elf come from!"

That little girl is 17 now, I wonder if she recalls the elf or my promise?  Not that it matters if she does or not, I remember and big elf and little elf are still keeping each other company in my home every Christmas.

Friends together

Thanks Olivia

Deck the halls


boughs of


Fa la la la la, la la la

Couldn't resist that one. 

Today is double Christmas, the works Christmas charity day and the carol service at Church.  Four days to go and starting to get that nice warm feeling (even if I am still not ready).  Of course that could be a fever from my Christmas cold!

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Gona let my little light shine


nice as a Christmas image but I am so glad not to be sewing by candle light.

Electricity what a gift for the sewing inclined amongst us.  I just wish I could find an energy efficient green light bulb where I did not have to switch it on a good half hour before I want to get started sewing! 

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Figgy pudding

Christmas pudding
Works Christmas lunch today however, there was no figgy pudding.

Indeed we had no pudding at all.

I have never seen a round pudding they generally come in a dome shape.

I have a fondness for this pudding image as I once was one myself.  To clarify that statement, in the school Christmas Play, in the infants if I recall correctly, I had the starring roll as a Christmas Pudding. 

The pudding was having some adventures and trying not to be eaten till Christmas.  I recall my costume being two rounds of painted cardboard front and back, that I ran round in circles a lot and had a little song which ended 'you can't eat me till Christmas'.

Funny the thinks that stick in the memory and the things that bring them back to the fore.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Feeling Pagan?

with a bit of mistletoe?

Does it work, I don't know

worth a try?

Monday, 16 December 2013

Celtic knot Christmas decoration

This is a knot made of metallic thread couched down.  Then I filled in the spaces with blue and green thread.

It would have been one of my holiday knots done with variegated thread but I got the iron too hot when transferring the design and scorched the material.

So something that scorched stiff material would work for and needing to be solid thread was the solution.

Glued some stiff material on the back (sandwiching the shop bought tassel  in between) and it was all ready for the tree.

I like it and I keep intending to make more on purpose rather than as a fix to a mistake but I have not gotten around to it yet!

Oh and it still manages to be a holiday memory keeper as I bought the tassel on holiday and perhaps I should call it store bought.

Christmas crackers

certainly the way I feel about getting ready for Christmas.

Did you know that the jokes in the crackers are supposed to be bad so that there is a community of spirit between the hearers as they all groan together.

It prevents disagreement over the joke being funny or not.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Chestnuts roasting

Open fire

In front of one of these (real) is the place to be on a cold winters day.

Preferably with some stitching to hand and one of my other craft hobbies (a patchwork quilt) over my lap.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Friday, 13 December 2013

Bauble two, day thirteen

Christmas bauble two

Still no baubles on my tree, as still no tree up yet. Several days still to go before I do that.

However my embroidered Nativity trio is up now.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Christmas card inspirations

Sorry not cards to make for Christmas but sewing projects inspired by Christmas cards.

I wanted to do something for Christmas one year and I was struck both by a nice Christmas card I had received and my favourite piece of choral music, Handel's Messiah and in this specific instance the "for unto us a child is born" chorus. I liked the children of the world theme of this card and thought the image and the words went well together.

And so began my Christmas embroidery project.  My apologies to the designers of the original images, I don't have the cards and don't have the details.  I hope that these one off interpretations will be taken as homage and not a breech of copyright

I set no particular limits on this first design and used what ever threads I had to hand.  Finishing the edges off with two shades of bias binding and mounting it in a stretch frame.

I was pleased with the result although it took me a goodly while to finish.  Not as long from start to wall hanging as those it came after it however!

For unto us a child is born Nativity

As is often is the case once the first one was nearing completion I was already thinking what to do next. A nativity with crib scene done, a card received of the Three Kings or Wise men caught my eye and I started planning that out in my mind.

This time I did decide on a slightly different approach, that the three focal figures would be done in a new discovery for me, shiny Anchor Marlitt thread.  Tricky, slippery stuff to work with, still it has a lovely sheen. A few beads and that would make it just different enough to keep it interesting.  The longest bit to do on this was the stippling outside the sewn frame.  I used a variegated thread randomly sewing little dots of stitches to give a verdigris effect.  I quietly promised myself I would never do that again as it took so long.

Three wise men

Next the shepherds of course and it had to be from a Christmas card again as that was becoming my self imposed theme.  This time as I had received a boxed set of red heart thread as a gift, I decided to limit my colour palette to that set. I managed to keep to that except I needed to add another green for the middle section of grass and I did pop a bit of glow in the dark thread into the star.  There was a gap in me progressing this project once the shepherds were done as the sheep cried out for the little dotty thread method and it was months before I could bring myself to do it.  But eventually I got on with it and it was I think the right choice.  Grass and sky sewn with one strand of cotton also took a goodly while  (and another self promise not to do that again) so with my do and don't and pop it away for months on end method of working, this last scene took seven years from first marking the design to getting it framed up.  

Close up of my dotty sheep

And what next, well I was already contemplating that, the Herald Angels of course, although once I wanted them, cards with Angels on became few and far between, with friends and family passing on any they came across. I think I have a card to work from now, although for the first time it may take a little more moving the main figures about.  And of course there has to be a limit, a theme.  Well this time DMC's light effects and metallic threads beckon as being just the thing for angels.
angels yet to be
 I have the frame, the material and the thread but just yet have not finalised the design never mind got started.  Who knows how many years the next one will take.

Oh are you wondering what they look like on the back?  I don't subscribe to the idea that a piece of work should be judged by the back as much as the front.  But perhaps seeing how I stretched and stitched the back might be of interest so here they are, the behinds!

Well, although I don't fret about it, in this instance the behind is not too bad either!

Dashing through the snow and half way there

no horse on my sleigh just lots of little parcels.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013


Christmas Bauble
None of these up in my home yet (except on the advent) I am a late Christmas decorator not an early bird. 

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Sweet singing in the choir

Church music

this would have been a nice image for Sunday, but this year missed out on that, perhaps another year it will fall on a Sunday.

I notice the time is set for the Queens Speech on Christmas day.  I wonder if it was designed that way.

Monday, 9 December 2013

Number nine

Christmas gift
 and wrapping time?

That would be nice wouldn't it.  Shopping all done and parcels wrapped. 

This is a nice re-usable pattern easy to change the colours and use up those little bits of thread. 

Sunday, 8 December 2013


Do you occasionally look at clouds and see pictures in the shapes, at knots in wood or the swirls in a carpet and see a face or a sleeping dragon.

Carpet dragon
Don't worry its is not being crazy it is a trait most of us have, our brains trying to find meaning in patterns. the familiar amongst the disordered.  There is even a word for it.

OK bear with me this does have something to do with crafts, on several levels.  On this occasion however, it is to do with an evolving cross stitch.  Quite often I see in the initial stitches, as a pattern evolves, an image the designer never intended.  Generally this alternate image is subtle, add a few stitches and away it goes and I am the only one that saw the horses head or the bear in the middle of an owls feathers.

This design however was so very uncannily other than its final intent I was not the only one to see it, so I took pictures of its evolution. Not something I have done with a cross stitch before.

Dancing E.T ?

Dancing E.T with fox

Still the look of E.T but add the deer

a touch of red

an E.T begins to morph

hat and all

in to a snowman

For anyone interested in making their own morphing E.T Christmas cross stitch, the design is Midnight Snowman by Dimensions, the gold collection petite and is 7 by 5 inches.  I had it as a kit which included the little bit of blending filament in with the white to make the snow glisten. 

Eight..can't wait?

Christmas garland

I don't know about you but I can't get excited about the approach of Christmas when I still have things to get sorted and shopping to do.

This is about the time I wish I had more..time that is.

Why is it that Christmas always seems to sneak up on you when it is always at the same time of the year unlike Easter which moves around?

So I could do with a bit of waiting, but time won't.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Blowing my own trumpet


day seven is one of my favourite patches, and here it plays out the first week of advent and blows in the weekend.

Shopping time!

Friday, 6 December 2013

I saw three ships..but no one else will

I saw some illustrations of nautically themed plates in a magazine. You know the type of advert, collect all the plates with the pretty pictures and have a valuable heirloom collection for the future.  Well the pictures I liked but not the idea of the plates.  So I thought I would sew some.  There were three of the series of designs that called to me.

I bought the frames first, three white stretch frames to make sure I had the same size and type of frame for the whole set. Then I set to sewing the first one.  The colours were tricky, the stitch angles were trickier and the rigging was the trickiest of all.

Whilst happy with the first finished ship my enthusiasm for the next two had quite sailed away. So although the plan was for three to quote an unrelated film..there can be only one!

Tall ship

Ok, so there is one ship and one boat, but just the one embroidery. It is about three inches in diameter and yeah the sky was green on the original design.  The next one would have been an Arctic exploring vessels but the thought of all those shades of white...

I have yet to use the two round frames I had left over. 

Parum pum pum, day six

is a drum.  The gift you buy for a child who you do not share a home with!

My long stitch drum sticks look a bit worse for wear here as if the little drummer boy has been playing hard for a long time.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Day five

A Christmas Pie, I wonder what is in it?

There was more back stitching on the pie tin on the pattern but I was having a 'not doing any more of that' moment. 

Which I do not regret a bit.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Bobbing along (cross stitch)

not lace bobbins this time but a Christmas Robin.  I was given this kit for Christmas at work one year.  It is fun having some designs that only come out at Christmas.

Bobbing Robin

And four follows three of course

Christmas tree
I like this little Christmas tree, I can see it making a reappearance in the future as a mini Christmas card motif.

Easy enough to vary the colours and use up bits of thread left over from kits.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Day three of the advent

Christmas star
This was one of the easiest to stitch.

I tried to stitch in order, and in the main I did. However As changing needles and colours all the time for a few stitches was getting on my nerves if there was thread left once I had finished using it for that 'day' I would go looking for that colour in another 'day' to use it up. 

I had part started images all over the place.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Christmas tree

Here is a Christmas tree that I made for a card one year.
Can you tell what it is made of?

Here is a close up in case you need help.

Yip, you got it, it is made out of pencil shavings.  You need some  good strong glue, preferably quick drying but otherwise it is reasonably easy to do.  I helped the children at church ages 3 to 12 to make pencils shaving Christmas trees for calenders one year and all managed very well.

Second day of December

and the second pocket in my Advent Calender.

Toy soldier

I bought the kit for this in the Avon sale, hence the start date of March 10th that year. 

I thought I would have it finished for Christmas.  Well I did that but not quite by the year I had intended.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

First day of December and

the end of thirteen and a half years working on (and more often off) project.

An advent calendar started 10th March 1999. 
Christmas Bell