Wednesday 29 February 2012


I wasn't planning to make any miniature books yesterday. I have a very big trip coming up in only three and a half weeks and I'm trying to get classes planned and samples made so that I'm very organised before I go away. (That is how it is happening in my head anyway.)  The afternoon was set aside for making some bigger books as samples for a book making class I have starting in April... but then I got side tracked.

In one of my reference books there were instructions for making Kusudama flowers and I just happened to wonder if I could make a tiny little folded flower... out of 4cm squares of paper... and I discovered I can!

And then into my inbox pinged an email from a very old friend (as in I've known her a very long time not that she's very old!) asking could I possibly make her a Japanese themed book. Not wanting to make a third one that was similar to the first two, I thought I could use the kusudama flower...

Along with some pretty Japanese origami paper...

And before I knew it that was the afternoon gone.

Another little Japanese stab bound book for a special friend.

No more books today though as I'm off to London on the train... I just had to see the David Hockney exhibition again. When I left the exhibition last week I couldn't bear to think I wouldn't see those glorious paintings another time and so went on line and bought another ticket for today. I guess that planning and preparation that is going on in my head won't be happening today either!

Tuesday 28 February 2012

And then there were three...

I'm on a roll...and finished off the other two "Easter/spring flower" books.

One a "Forget-me-not" book encased in a matchbox adorned with forget-me-nots and decorated with silk ribbon and a ceramic button.

The book has another wrapped and embroidered jacket. One of the challenges I have set myself in this project is to only use things I've got already as it seems pretty pointless trying to raise money and then going out and buying new stuff. So I was delighted when I found these little sequins... not quite forget-me-not colour but very pretty and spring like so I think they work.

The third book in the set is a "Primrose" book

In a box also decorated with ribbon and a special button...

And another embroidered wrap around cover.

Which completes the set of three... Daisy, Forget-me-not and Primrose. I just hope the recipient likes them!

I do feel these little books are rather dominating my blog at the moment... but then they are rather dominating my life! So very sorry if you've had enough... but I've still got 37 more to make! There will be another one for the shop by the end of the week.

Monday 27 February 2012

A Miniature Library

It's all quite clear now... the cruddy eye, feeing frazzled after young embroiderers... add to that feeling shivery cold, aches and pains, cough and sore throat that I woke up with yesterday... it would seem someone has passed on something I'd rather not have. I'm dosing myself up with regular hot lemon and manuka honey and I'm staying in and staying warm... which at least means there is lots of progress on the matchbox books.

Most of those I've been working on have been special orders... some more challenging than others. A "Jackdaw" theme was definitely one of the more challenging ones, but I have made a little book based on the Aesop fable of the Vain Jackdaw

The book has a wrapped cover embroidered with a Jackdaw and tied with a silk ribbon.

And inside there is the fold out story of the Vain Jackdaw.

I also received a request for another Japanese book. It's my aim to make each book different and unique so I didn't want to make a copy of the first Japanese book, so it is similar but with different papers and the matchbox is covered with Japanese fabric.

This next book is the first one of a series of three that I've been asked to make for Easter. My brief was spring flowers but no bunnies or chicks!

So another little wrap around cover with embroidered daisies and leaf shaped beads.

Encased in a daisy covered box trimmed with silk ribbons and a cheerful yellow button.

And finally... one more for the shop...

This is the "Toys and Teddy" edition

Inside the box which is decorated with images of toys and trimmed with spotty ribbon and teddy button...

There is a very tiny but fully working Jacob's ladder book.

which I have to confess... I'm loath to part with!

It's in my shop * now... if you hurry!
* sold already but there will be another one soon!

Saturday 25 February 2012

Pins and Needles

It was our Young Embroiderers meeting again today and we thought it would be a nice idea if the girls all made themselves each a needlecase and pin cushion for their sewing kits. Being very organised, I frantically finished off a sample of each on Friday evening (having bought the materials on Friday morning!)

We gave out the materials and some brief instructions and I urged the girls not to copy my designs but to try to think of their own. I'm not sure why I thought they would do any different... eighteen girls and eighteen different designs...

each one totally unique and fabulous... don't you just love those dangling legs! (Well... I love all of them really)

I thought I had photographed everyones but one of the above belonged to one of the helpers and as I was packing up Abigail presented me with hers... I had to include it with such beautiful blanket stitching around the apple.

And quite a few of the girls managed to get a little bottle top pin cushion made too.

As always it was a brilliant day and the talent and enthusiasm of our lovely group of girls is a joy. I have to confess to feeling a little frazzled this evening after such a full on day, so I'm putting my feet up tonight and shall enjoy a day of doing very little tomorrow (a rare thing for me) but I'll be back on Monday with some more little books and maybe even one for the shop. Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Friday 24 February 2012

I've got my eye on you...

Once again I have succumbed to an eye infection. I seem to go three or four weeks with it clear and then it starts to itch and become infected with blepheritis again. In class yesterday it was irritating me so much I happened to mention that I would like to be able to cover it so I would resist the temptation to rub it. I joked that I should get an eye patch... and someone who shall remain nameless (but you know who you are!) suggested I make one... with an eye on it... and so the gauntlet was thrown.

While the rest of the class got to grips with cable stitch on their machines by making landscape pictures, I used cable stitch to embroider an eye patch.

What do you think to my new look? No, I'm not keen either so I'm back to the doctor this afternoon for more ointment.

Wednesday 22 February 2012


The David Hockney exhibition was amazing!

Winter Timber, 2009, David Hockney RA
Oil on fifteen canvases.

I had seen images of some of the paintings but nothing prepared me for the intensity of the colour. It was outrageous, preposterous even, but dazzling and wonderful too... quite mesmerising. Despite tickets being sold out on the website there seem to be plenty available from the desk at the Royal Academy, so if you can do go! If time and money weren't an issue I would go back over and over again. It made me want to abandon my sewing machine and get out my paintbrushes.

Tuesday 21 February 2012

Fairy Wishes

Just popping by very quickly to let you know that book no. 7 is in my shop now.

This is the "Fairy Wishes" edition

A little matchbox decorated with fairies

And a tiny stitched book with a little hard cover and beaded spine.

Decorated with fairy dust and perfect for writing in those fairy wishes.

Must run... I've got a train to catch.
I'm off to see the David Hockney exhibition.

Monday 20 February 2012

Flowers and Fish

I'm back from another lovely residential weekend at Missenden Abbey. As always it doesn't feel like work to be in such wonderful surroundings, especially with the small but select group of students that I've had the pleasure to work with all weekend.

Outside the grounds were carpeted with snowdrops...

But inside we were producing our own flowers. The following is a small selection of the work produced by this group of  machine embroidery beginners.

I just love Mandy's interpretation of doodled flowers and her foiled brick wall below.

Another lovely bouquet from Rosemary...

and her geometric foiled piece.

Flowers and a fish from Margaret...

and more flowers from Sheila.

While the students were busy stitching their flowers I got to work on some of my own...

But mine were rather smaller!

And designed to cover the lid of a matchbox!

This little flowery book was commissioned for Mother's Day so is not for sale I'm afraid.

I also managed to finish another commission this weekend...

This one is for a Piscean birthday but in the style of William De Morgan

The book has a machine embroidered cover that is very loosely based on a De Morgan design (VERY loosely... I was exercising artistic licence) and on the matchbox is a a tiny ceramic button that is a reproduction of a De Morgan tile design.

And as a bonus... an extra little folding book tucked inside with a horoscope for Pisces.

Tomorrow there will a book for sale in the shop... so keep your eyes open!