Pop Up Wedding Beauty Parlour

by Helen on June 27, 2014

I’ve turned my workroom into a pop-up beauty parlour all ready for the bride and her attendants tomorrow (eeek – tomorrow – how can this be?!).  The sewing machines have been tastefully draped with fabric and used to prop up some large mirrors (oooo … the indignity of it!).  I found the mirrors in local charity shops and simply repainted their frames in pastel colours – tres chic – but not too expensive …..

Then a few tacks, some floral fabrics and fairy lights transformed the wall behind the mirror (please excuse the pic of me in my PJs!).  I also had what I thought was a bit of a snazzy idea using vintage images and embroidery hoops (there’s a bit of an embroidery hoop theme going on in our decorations – will be able to show you more next week) ….

I found some vintage beauty adverts online, including one with a bride ….

A bit of photoshopping was needed, after which I printed them onto plain white cotton using inkjet transfer paper.  Then I simply stitched them onto some pretty floral background fabric – just as a patch with a line of machine stitching around the edge, and mounted them in a painted hoop.  The cheap ones you get from Hobbycraft and similar outlets are perfect for this ….

Then threaded some white cotton through the screw and pinned them to the background fabric.  And they’ll be great mementos of the day too – if Rosie doesn’t snaffle them all then I’ll definitely hang one or two here at Coombe Leigh.

Meanwhile …. please keep your fingers crossed for a sunny day tomorrow!





A pair of lovebirds ….

by Helen on June 20, 2014

No – not Rosie and Dan – though the BIG DAY is now only a week away.  These are different lovebirds.  I’ve been busy making new bunting for my kitchen, digging deep into my stash and finding fabrics that I’d completely forgotten about, one of which was this large remnant of Nina Campbell Perroquet acquired from the remnants bin at a furnishings shop sale.  Some of the lovely painterly roses and parrots went into my bunting, but I couldn’t bear to cut up this pair of lovebirds…..

And then I had an idea.  I’ve recently discovered the joys of embroidering on printed fabric.  No, that’s not quite true, I’ve always enjoyed embroidering on printed fabric – but have recently begun to really incorporate the fabric design into my stitching rather than simply working over it.  My Bloom and Grow pattern in last month’s magazine is an example of this idea …

And so I thought I’d turn these two lovebirds into a little gift for the happy couple.  Other than the text I didn’t draw up a pattern, but simply indicated with my erasable pen where I wanted to stitch and dived in …..

Bullion stitch roses with Anchor variegated floss – loads of fun!

From reading the comments on my giveaway (closes tonight, but there’s still time to enter if you’d like the chance to win a Bloom & Grow kit) I think others have enjoyed stitching on printed fabric too. I think that my first two kits – coming in the late summer/early autumn are therefore likely to be an embroidery kit with printed fabric and a softie.  I can’t decide which softie yet, though I’m leaning towards a Humphrey – if anyone has any strong opinions then please do let me know. The softie kits will be available in limited runs only as I will need to source the perfect fabrics – usually vintage or recycled – which by their very nature aren’t available in large quantities.

But I’m getting over-excited and ahead of myself, so here to finish is the completed Lovebirds Hoop ….

I hope they like it!



After the rain ….

by Helen on April 3, 2014

Well I wish it was AFTER the rain!  Today we have had one of those very special English West Country days.  We have had light rain, heavy rain, drizzle, mizzle and mist!  So perhaps it’s a good sort of day to show you my first project for the May issue of the Bustle & Sew Magazine ……

Although as I carefully brushed off the newfie hair before photographing my project I was tempted to rework it with the caption “there will always be dog hair on my embroidery!”  I don’t know how it happens but there is always a sprinkling of black fluff on all my work, though I’m very careful to keep Ben & Daisy away from my sewing and they’re never allowed in my workroom.  Does anyone else have this problem?  And if so, what do you find to be the most effective method of hair removal?  I’d love to hear from other similarly afflicted pet-loving stitchers!  

But never mind … it might be grey and rainy outside, but there’s a lovely sunshine-y feeling indoors as the wedding napkin project is progressing well ….

I’m so loving my overlocker (serger)!  And in a burst of ambition I’ve added confetti bags to my list of wedding creations – lots of overlocking going on here too.  This batch of little bags (measuring just 4″ across) are waiting for their drawstrings …..

Less than three months to go now until I am officially grown up – becoming a mother-in-law.  Eeek!  



Daisy thinks stitching is boring!

by Helen on November 7, 2013

On my Facebook page today I was asked how I managed to get so much stitching done?  Was it down to excellent planning?  I’m afraid not Gabby!!  I think it’s because sewing is such a passion of mine.  I’m one of those people who simply can’t sit down and relax for even a moment without picking up my latest project, and it’s amazing how much I do manage to achieve this way.  

Of course Daisy would tell you it’s because I have such a hard heart – (I am very good at resisting her canine charms when I feel she’s had enough petting/playtime).  She thinks my stitching is VERY boring!!

Daisy hates stitching!!

 And I suppose from her point of view it probably is!!