Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Some new work

Tiny hairclips using some of my Japanese felts. Too cute. Soon to be in my online shop.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

My place and yours

It's been a while since I got myself organised enough to check the new home of Pip's meme from last year. Now it's residing over at Vic's place, and this week's theme is "Kitchen Love", conjured up by Nic (great blog) and Tracey (another gorgeous blog).
So since it's the day of celebrating love (well, not really the love of inanimate objects, but what the heck), here is the part of my kitchen I love most. The coffee machine. I virtually designed the whole kitchen around it! For about four years it sat on a trunk near our crappy old kitchen, waiting for some clear bench space to live on. It used to reside in a city cafe that my friend purchased, and was traded for some interior design advice. Makes a mean espresso.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

My Process - Creating a Mushi Brooch

Today I'm sharing with you a few pics of the process I go through when creating a "Mushi" leather and fabric brooch. Lots of images follow.

Step One.
Fabric selection from "The Stash". Many of my fabrics are recycled, vintage, offcuts or Japanese in origin. I like to make these brooches in batches, to streamline the process, so these days I keep a container full of fabric already cut into small elliptical shapes. Here's a few:

Step Two.
I'm starting to build the layers. I choose complementing felt, more fabric or leather to cut more ellipses from. These will go under or over the fabric, depending on how much of the fabric I want to show. A note here - all the layers that these brooches are composed from are cut entirely by hand using scissors. No laser or die cutting used!

Step Three.
The fabric/felt/leather layers are co-ordinated with two layers of leather backing. Most of the leathers I use are offcuts from the upholstery industry. Again I cut the leather by hand using scissors.
Step Four.
I select a co-ordinating colour thread and stitch the fabric layers onto the top layer of leather. The stitching is done on my domestic sewing machine, using a very heavy duty needle. I have a random way of stitching these brooches; no secrets with the settings on the machine, just a straight stitch, with the stitch length varied depending on the thickness and suppleness of the leather. The main trick is guiding the work through the machine; a teflon foot or walking foot helps with the really thick stuff. Sometimes the layers can bunch up and pucker, so it can be tedious and takes quite a bit of control. The seam ripper gets a bit of use at this stage if I'm having a bad day!

Step Five.
Both leather layers are stitched together using matching thread. Again, the layers can sometimes pucker, especially due to the elliptical shapes I am fond of cutting. More guiding, turning and pulling to make sure it's all nice and neat and the stitching is nice and even.

Step Six.
The edges are trimmed, using very sharp scissors. The little hairy bits of leather are burnt off with a lighter or match, as are any loose threads.
Step Seven.
A brooch pin is fitted to the back.

Hoorah! A couple of finished Mushi brooches (available in my shop of course!):

Friday, February 12, 2010

The latest stitch project

Yes the latest stitch project, and about all I've managed to work on at night this week, as the wee one dropped his day sleep for SIX days in a row....aaaagggghhhh. What's with that??

I'm working this cross stitch on white linen and using a pattern from Graeme Ross, called "Amethyst". This design is based on a poster by Alphonse Mucha, who I've mentioned here previously. My Mum happened upon the next pattern in the series of four - "Ruby" - at the op shop recently. Oh goody, another project for the never ending list....and apparently there is a third called "Emerald", with the fourth yet to be created.

I've already finished three of Ross' other Mucha designs, all based on Sarah Bernhardt theatre posters. Two are framed and hang in my hallway, and here's the last one, which I finished late last year. In need of a quick handwash and a press, and then off to the framer. It's called "La Tosca" and I think it took me about ten years to get around to finishing it. No joke.

To give you some idea of scale, these patterns end up being about 90cm x 40cm when framed. Yes, ambitious. And tedious. Not everyone's idea of fun, but I love the intricacy of it.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


I've been quiet on the posts of late, in fact there's been a bit of silence here over the last few days, with the passing of some meaningful and sombre moments as we remember.....
"Tiger" b. 1991 d. 2007
Our beloved pet dog "Tiger", who passed away on the 9th of February, 2007. He was part of our family for nearly 16 years and he is still dearly missed. Only 5 months after Tiger quietly left this world we welcomed our son, and embarked on a whole new family journey.
And there were moments of silence on Sunday while we reflected on those who lost lives, loved ones, homes, pets and livelihoods in last year's Black Saturday bushfires. May they all rest in peace.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The private interiors of our home

Yes, I think the bedroom is still classed as a "private" space, is it not? Or would that only be the bathroom? Being an interior designer I suppose I really should know. Well, it's certainly not the case at our house, not after you have child. In fact no space and nothing is private any more.

These are pics taken of the boy's bedroom and our "master" bedroom. Finally, two rooms pretty much finished after installing new wardrobes for the boy over the Christmas break.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The quilt is finished

Finally bringing you the photos of my first finished quilt, made for the wee one's bed, using lots of Japanese fabric remnants acquired on my last trip to Tokyo.  There's a few vintage and inherited remnants thrown in too.

The design is a good, basic beginners pattern (perfect for me!), called "Two Square" by Audrey & Maude, which was purchased at the lovely Amitie. After visiting that shop I can see how women become hooked on quilting -  my goodness what fabric delights they have to pore over!

So after assembling all the blocks, I decided to machine quilt the lot using a freeform method called "Stippling". Probably a little ambitious for a beginner, but hey what the hell. And did I mention it was going to be stitched in dark blue on a predominantly off white background?? No? Oh well, yes bit off a little bit much there, but it turned out beautifully in the end. And I really love the contrast between the organic stitching and the regimented blocks. What do you think??

Tomorrow I'll be posting some interior shots of the boy's and the main bedroom in our little Edwardian renovator. Yes, I did some dusting, and the light was great for taking some please pop in again tomorrow to say hi!!