Applique

A summer’s afternoon …..

by Helen on July 19, 2014

The weather has turned hot and sultry – there was thunder again last night which nearly drowned out the sound of Daisy’s snoring.  She is not at all afraid of thunder, no – her worst fear is being left alone – quite alone that is, with neither her Big Bro nor I close at hand to cater to her every whim!  She had to be brave yesterday however.  I simply had to leave her home by herself for an hour while I took Ben to the vet  to have his stitches out as it was far too hot for her to wait safely in the car during his appointment.  Everything went well for Ben at the vet’s since as well as being highly skilled, our vet is very kind and patient, understanding that on such a hot afternoon a heavily-coated and slightly stressed large dog needed quite a few breaks during the lengthy procedure.

Today has been much more the sort of day the Newfies love as, after their early morning walk, we’ve spent most of our time in the summerhouse ….

Here’s a very relaxed and cheerful Ben!  His eyes are still rather sore and swollen, but our vet assures me they will improve a lot over the next week or so.  And notice the untidy muddle on the table behind him!  This is what happens when somebody (me) with the attention span of a butterfly decides to spend a hot summer’s afternoon working outside.

On the table you mght spot no fewer than three projects for the August issue of the Bustle & Sew Magazine.  There’s the lid for my button jar, together with the DMC colour chart to help me write up the pattern.  Then there’s my Poppies applique (more about that in a minute) and my current handstitching, as well as a half-drunk cup of tea, several magazines, the house phone, and more.  But back to the poppies applique ……

It is of course the centenary of the beginning of the First World War next month and, as all my grandparents’ lives were affected by this conflict, I wanted to create a design to remember that generation.  I wanted this design to be simple, but light and airy – reflecting my grandparents’ hope for the future rather than brooding on the horrors of war.  To achieve this I chose bright colours and have combined sewing techniques that my grandmothers might have used as well as modern ideas.  The poppies’ stems are all chain stitch, and the centres French knots whilst the petals are felt and freestyle machine applique.  I think it has all come together  well, and I’m planning make the finished panel into a cushion cover that will have pride of place on my living room sofa – well out of that naughty Miss Daisy’s reach.

And thinking of that furry whirlwind – I began this post with Daisy so it seems nice and tidy (unlike my summerhouse table!) to finish with her too……

 

“MUUUUMMMMMMM!!! I’m sooooooo bored with all this sewing!  When can we GO TO THE BEACH???”

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Publication day for the February issue of the Bustle & Sew e-Magazine is drawing closer and I’m busy working on the last project to be included.  It’s not a traditional sort of pattern …. I’ve started a new series of articles for the magazine “Making Money Making” and I wanted to show how simple shapes can be used in a variety of ways to give great results that are sure to be popular at craft fairs and online.  (I don’t at all mind people selling items they personally have made using my patterns, providing they credit Bustle & Sew with the design).  I’ve chosen a basic sitting bunny shape and so far have worked it into four easy (and saleable) projects.  There’s a set of three bunnies that would make a great Easter decoration ….

Perhaps a larger bunny with gusset for a novelty cushion? Or why not applique the bunny template to a patchwork base for a more traditional look….

And of course it’s always useful to have a little help when you’re trying to take photos ….

Especially when you don’t want dog hair everywhere!  Thanks for your help Daisy, I don’t know how I’d manage without you – a little of your help goes a very long way indeed!

I’m just working on the final bunny idea for this month’s issue – I’m all out of time – but I may include another couple of ideas in the March issue.  Here’s the final work in progress …..

Exactly the same template, but much much smaller with a border of spring flowers.  The bunny project and the first article in my new series about making to sell will be in the February issue of the Bustle & Sew e-Magazine – it’s out next week, so not too long to wait!

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Woodland Friends

by Helen on October 16, 2013

This morning I woke to hear the sound of rain lashing against the window panes, such a grey dreary start to the day. But for once the weather forecasters were right and by lunchtime the rain had cleared and the sky was a beautiful clear, washed-clean sort of blue.  So I called to my furry friends and we headed up into the woods behind the village .. 

Walk in the WoodsWe had fun squishing through the fallen leaves, and Daisy was happy to pose for her picture …

Walk in the Woods

Then home again – the newfies for their afternoon nap and me to my workroom to finish my Woodland Friends cushion covers.  I couldn’t decide on the right button for my badger’s eye, and became frustrated chasing the smaller buttons through the jar with my fingers – they kept slipping away and out of sight.  So in the end I gave up and tipped out the contents of the jar onto the floor for a proper rummage through its contents.   So many buttons – it’s a good thing that Miss Daisy isn’t allowed in the workroom – I’m sure she’d also enjoy a good rummage through them ….

Woodland friends wip

The pattern for my Woodland Friends cushion covers will be in the November Bustle & Sew Magazine, published on 31 October ….

Woodland Friends Cushions

 There’s a badger (spot the button eye … such a small button – but I’m confident it was the perfect choice!), and a stag head.  I added some patchwork squares to the bottom and side so the cushions mirrored one another.  Then I backed the front panels with old blanket and quilted the patchwork, stitching around the edges of the applique animals so they’d stand out nicely.  

When working on these cushion covers I did wonder about appliqueing the animals onto vintage linen, but in the end I decided to go for a bolder effect with this medium weight linen.  Sadly I can’t remember the fabric’s name or designer as it’s been in my stash for quite some time, but I do like its clean, modern look.  I managed to take a couple of pictures of the finished cushions before my photo session was disrupted….

Newfies at play

 …by my two furry friends, well rested after their afternoon nap, now wide awake and looking for trouble!  Mind you, if Daisy carries on batting Ben’s ear like this I think she might find herself in quite a lot of trouble rather sooner than she might like! 

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A Nice Pear … and some apples too!

by Helen on August 18, 2013

I can’t help but feel a little autumnal … the summer seems to be drawing very quickly to an end, although it’s still only mid-August.  The weather has turned cooler and cloudier, whilst up in the woods above the village, the trees are scarlet with berries …

A walk through the woods August 2013

 And the apple trees in the orchards are laden with fruit … 

A walk through the woods August 2013Being conscious that Ben hasn’t featured much in my photos lately, I attempted a shot of him beneath one of the trees .. 

A walk through the woods August 2013

 Which didn’t quite turn out as planned – sorry Ben!   Thinking about  apples, I was amazed to discover that my popular Appley Dappley pattern is now two years old – I first published it in August 2011 – wherever does the time go? 

Appley Dappley Applique

It’s currently available as a free download  on my Newsletter Readers pattern library page. (If you’re not already a newsletter reader and would like the pattern then you can join using the form at the end of this post.  It’s free and I promise that I never share your details with anyone else.  Newsletter readers receive extra free patterns, discounts and all the Bustle & Sew news every week.)  This year, inspired by the orchards around Chillington, I decided it must be time for another fruit applique – this time pears … 

A Nice Pear

I have mounted my pears on a canvas block for my kitchen wall, where they look very cheerful next to my red dotty towel.  The fabrics I chose for the patchwork background are some left over from last year’s quilting project and remind me of the English countryside all around, where the old pear trees nestle snugly in a fold of the hills. 

A Nice Pear

  The pattern for “A Nice Pear” will be in the September issue of the Bustle & Sew Magazine (published on 29th August).  

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