Friday, March 30, 2012

Where did March go?

I wanted to start my post by saying "it's all slowly coming back to me..." but honestly, it's not. However much I tried, I cannot figure out why March flew by and I'm a little frightened that the next time I check the calendar, it'll be Christmas. I know I haven't produced as much stock as I wanted. I have many items on my to-do list.

I know that one of the reasons I did not produce much was my right hand had to heal. I've learnt my lesson and I'm taking better care of my hands. I've bought gloves and I use them.

Another reason is that I really struggled with my non-creative life. Little things kept cropping up that needed my attention or brought me such despair that I could not give any attention to my creations. I wish I could separate my non-creative life from my creative life but it's not possible. I'm after all one person.

The last reason I can think of is my health. I have been suffering from headaches and migraines on and off throughout the first three months. I think if I want to be serious about getting rid of my head pain, I need to re-look my diet and stop eating food that could trigger the pain.

Having said all these, I am determined to fix my problems. Next month which is just 2 days away, I plan to really make a change and hopefully see results.

This weekend I'm emerging from my "cave" and venturing out to VivoCity to sell my bags and pouches again. It is good to go out and sell and be active. When I stay home all the time, I find my world becomes very small and it's all about me, me, me.

Maybe I've rested far too long. I feel a little nervous as selling at VivoCity has never been smooth sailing for me. Always a few hiccups here and there. Plus if I remember correctly, the last market was very quiet. I guess I won't know the outcome until it's over.

On Tuesday I did a stock take and I noticed that I had ONE iPhone zip pouch left. Yesterday I finally decided I would make a few more. What I like about my iPhone zip pouches is they use very little fabric. A good way to use up my remnants.

This is my favourite. I used Junichi Nakahara print. You can check out his stuff here. I have very little of this fabric left.

These two fabric has pseudo cross stitch print. I bought the fabric from Spotlight. I only bought a tiny amount. Hubs said he doesn't like these 2 prints. Good thing he's not a girl.

And this is the last bits from Red Rose Farm fabric. A lot of bedsheets in the old days had huge roses prints like this one.

Are you salivating over my iPhone zip pouches? You can make your own too. It only takes an hour the first time. Go here to buy the ePattern.

For more details about my VivoCity craft market, go to Where Can You Find Me?  I'll see you soon.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Blue lace

I started tatting in 2007. Wow. A lifetime ago.

It started with a fascination with how lace is created. When making crochet/knitting lace became out of my reach due to a lack of hand-eye-muscle coordination, I discovered tatting.

I am fascinated by knots and braids so tatting is very easy to love. It is really hard to learn though. Especially on your own.

As with everything else, I learnt to tat the hard way. From books.

I reference these two books a lot when I tat anything. The instructions are written in different ways. "Easy Tatting" has instructions in words. "The complete book of tatting" has the instructions in drawings. Contrary to the title, the second book does not cover everything you need to know about tatting. It does cover the basic stuff pretty well. And a few weird stuff too! (what was the author thinking?)

End 2007  I found a tatting teacher in Singapore and I went for a grand total of 1 class.

This useless bookmark is what she made me tat. You understand I already knew how to tat the basic ring and chain. But the teacher was rather inflexible. If I wanted to learn the advanced stuff like a basket (3D), I had to learn from scratch. It didn't make sense to me but I went for the first beginner class anyway. She was quite unhappy I could make the whole thing in one lesson. I guessed she saw dollar signs when she looks at my face.

Well, I still keep this bookmark around. This bookmark was the last craft I made before I was struck with myofascial pain. That was a period of my life when pain ruled my daily life.

A few years later when I recovered, I never went back to the tatting teacher. I kind of accepted that this level of tatting is as far as I will go. Tatting requires a lot of time and I surely don't have enough of that.

I have tatted a lot of little doilies and I didn't quite know what to do with them. Today I tried incorporating them into felt brooches and I'm quite pleased with the result.

I like the idea of blue background for lace. I don't know why. When I think of lace, I'll immediately picture a blue background. Like indigo or even denim.

This doily is big enough to fit nicely onto the brooch. The lace is made up of small rings and big chains (the crescents). I used variegated tatting thread.

This tatted butterfly is not big enough to fill up the whole brooch so I embroidered some lazy daisies and straight stitches. I used crochet thread for the butterfly and although it has a coarse effect, I rather like the texture.

I think the next time I make a tatted brooch, I will include beads. I have received some beads from a friend and I'm dying to use them.

As always, Bear is my model. As you can see, he's quite well-behaved.

The butterfly is not tickish at all. <Giggle>

Hey, the brooch works as an eye-patch too!

Linked to these partays..........

Skip to my lou
Ninth street notions
Ask anna
So very creative
Tea rose home

Sunday, March 25, 2012


25th March is a special day for me. It's the day I got married.

It's our 17th year of marriage.

A few things crossed my mind today.

1. I must be getting old because I no longer remember my life before I was married. That memory is buried somewhere in my photo albums. Remember the old days when you have to print all your photos to see what you took?

2. Today Singapore experienced heavy thunderstorm, gusty wind and me and hubs were caught in it. He fell. Heavily on his bum. I was behind him. I saw it happen in slow motion. Later after I made sure he was alright and not in any danger of dying, I re-played his fall over and over in my head in slow mo and laughed my head off.

On the day we were married, Singapore experienced the hottest weather in like over decades. I read it in the papers. Wished I had kept it.

When it came to choosing the date of our marriage, I basically chose the most convenient date available. My MIL wanted an auspicious date which was the 18th March. (one eight sounds lucky in Chinese - will prosper) I wanted to avoid 18th because it would mean more couples would be married and very likely a longer waiting time for the solemnization ceremony. As it turned out, 18th March was hot and not available so it never became an issue.

On 18th March, one week before my wedding day, it was the worst thunderstorm ever.

Today I wondered if getting married on an auspicious day made any difference for the couples.

We had a nice lunch. This is what I ate. The last item is cheese fruit cake. I think this is the first time I ate cheese cake. It is surprisingly good. I expect to be punished in some form tomorrow - like a headache or a weight gain.

Want to see our presents?

I gave hubs a mug.

He gave me a watch I lusted after.

Marriage is like eating KFC.
You may not like eating all the parts.
You like the crispy part more than the meaty part. Or you like the meaty part more than the crispy part. Really?
Sometimes you don't get the part of the chicken you like. Like the drumstick.
Sometimes you get the part of the chicken you really hate. Like the breast.
Sometimes the meal comes with a novelty dessert. 
Sometimes you get sick of eating it.
But you always go back to it.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Who pinned my cheese?

Hello folks,

Today I received an email from Pinterest about its "updated terms of service". What caught my eye was this change :

Our original Terms stated that by posting content to Pinterest you grant Pinterest the right for to sell your content. Selling content was never our intention and we removed this from our updated Terms.

Those of you who have Pinterest accounts, were you aware that you had given Pinterest THE RIGHT to sell your images? Because I didn't. Was it written in tiny font? This is such a big lesson. Seriously. We have got to read every Terms of service we agree to. Speaking of which, did you guys read the Google's new Terms of Service? I did not. I have no idea if I've signed away my kidney!

Just to be sure I'm updated on Pinterest's current "Terms of service", I went thru' it with an eagle eye and I'm very disturbed by a few items. You can go here to read it.

1c. How long we keep your content.
I read this portion a few times and the conclusion I get is this. Even if you delete your account, or you delete your images, Pinterest continues to keep your images for an unspecified period of time. Further more, if anyone has repinned your images, they continue to exist for an unspecified period of time. Am I right? Did I misinterpret? Is my England not so powderful?

8. Indemnity
Okay, reading the indemnity portion terrifies me. The gist of it is this - I pay if Pinterest gets sued for something I post that infringes any copyright. All the big words basically covers all the different kinds of costs that you have to fork out. There's no mention about repinner's indemnity tho'.

I think I'm pretty safe when it comes to pinning. I've only pinned 3 kinds of images. My own, free tutorials from non-litigious bloggers I know and books I want to buy. From day 1, I've never gone crazy pinning everything in the net mainly because I did not want to bother to ask the owners for permission. I wonder how many pinners actually ask for permission.

So, am I IN or am I OUT of Pinterest? I think I'll keep my account but before I pin anyone's images, I'll make sure they're okay with it first. And if you want to keep your blog a NO PIN blog, you can go HERE to get the code.

All these ugly talk about Pinterest is kind of depressing. Now, let's check out a couple of striped bags I made.

This big slouchy bag I've made before HERE. This one I made a little smaller. Not everyone has long arms like mine.

This crescent bag is now a favourite of mine. It's very hard to photograph though.

When I looked at this bag, I thought it has this rather disapproving look (look at the zipper mouth) - probably over the unfair terms of service organisations impose on users.

And just in case you guys want to pin anything from my blog, please go ahead. I'm HERE at Pinterest. All I ask is that you ensure the LINK points back to the post it came from.

Just in case you don't know what I mean....
If you click on the title of any post, the url will point to that post.

If you click on my "Projects by Jane" header, the url will point to my blog url.

See the difference? The rule of thumb is to pin from a specific post.

Lastly, don't pin images that I do not own. You can tell they're not mine because I would put the source.

Hope you're having a good weekend!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Blue chocolate


Are you ready for some blue chocolate? But first, how was your weekend? All over Singapore, parents and students discover unfinished homework and that was how my weekend went. Watching the kids like a hawk making sure they complete all their homework. You see, it was the end of a ONE WEEK school break and it seems the school teachers don't understand the meaning of school break. They assigned a ton of work. My girl had a pile of homework to do. My son had completed some of his work early in the week but he had left the ones he did not like to do for the last day. So glad school break is over. Regular school days is easier to manage.

Speaking of break, I've broken off with my diet. It's not quite working. I don't feel like I'm doing it right. There's no structure and I basically do whatever I like. So no surprise I haven't lost any weight. The good news is I haven't gained any. Hm... suddenly I'm craving chocolates.

Today I went into my sewing frenzy after I wanted to eat some blue chocolate. See, I saw some blueberries and then I saw some chocolates. Ah, that's how my brain works.

It's back to zippy zippy pouches again! For this post, I took the photographs in dim light. I don't mean I deliberately waited for dim lights. It's cloudy and the sun was dying. It's been raining every day in Singapore. I figured it's a good time as any to try to take decent pics by changing the setting.

This is a typical flower pose that I use a lot. I liked the idea of using blanket stitch for the bud. I don't know about you but I love blue and brown together. It's such a great combination. Next time I go to Art Friend, I'll get indigo embroidery thread. Would brown and indigo look good together?

For this pic, I wanted to get the background blurry so I used F/2 as learnt from my Canon class. I think if I want a better blurred background, I need to have more items at the back (instead of side).

One thing I noticed is the ISO needs to be increased. I wonder if it's due to the lack of light?

Bird on a tree branch - another favourite pose. I'm using fabric remnants from a linen fabric. I feel most proud of myself when I'm able to use every bit of a fabric I've bought.

With this fabric, I couldn't resist another bird standing somewhere pose. Has anyone seen a blue bird before. I'm wondering if the beak would be blue too?

Another gravity defying bird. This one wants to walk up a tree trunk! It's a brooch. Can you tell?

Lastly, I'm so excited! Some of you may know I keep count of the number of projects I made. Guess what? I've crossed the 300 mark for zip pouches. I have made a total of 309 zip pouches since 2007. Does this mean I've used 309 zippers? Actually I've used a lot more as I've made other zipped items but they're under different categories. My total project count is 804. This means that by end of this year I would have made 1000 projects. How did "1,000 Projects Before I Die" come about? A few years ago, I was suffering from myofascial pain and my muscles hurt all the time. On some days, I feel very down and possibly on such a day, my girl sensing my mood asked me What is the one thing you want to do before you die? So I told her 1,000 bags because I wanted her to know that it would take me a long, long time. Later hubs urged me to count everything I've ever made and that's how it all started.

On a positive note, I will continue to keep count of my projects even after I reach 1,000. And just to assure you, I'm not dying anytime soon. I'd like to think I can keep going for another thousand. Cheers.

Linking up to these parties later:
Ninth street notion
Skip to my lou
Ask Anna
Family Ever After
Inspired by Felicity
So Very Creative

Friday, March 16, 2012

Hello, am I invisible?

Today I did something I had been putting off for weeks and weeks. I did a supply run. This is something I dread. When I first discovered the little shops in Singapore where I could buy the supplies I need for my bag-making, it was fun. I enjoyed looking at everything in the shops. Now I pretty much go to the same few shops because the quality is reliable. Also, I can't spend too much time looking as I don't want to end up spending money on frivolous items. Today's supply run was more tedious than usual as I had 3 places to go to.

First I went to Ikea to return a couch cover which was too small. I got store credit because I had already opened the packaging. I would have stopped for lunch except that it was lunch hour and I saw that the tables at the food court had all been reserved by packets of tissue paper!

In Singapore, packets of tissue paper are like weapons which marked the chosen tables for hungry office workers who have gone to buy their food. I did not want to piss off these hungry men and women by taking over the empty tables. So I left hungry.

From Ikea, I was delighted to discover that there was a bus going to my next destination - Bugis. I counted the number of stops and thought it was doable. Now, I rarely take the bus as I have fear of overshooting my stop. To be safe, I counted the number of stops. The bus I took travelled at the speed of a snail. It also took me on a scenic tour of parts of Singapore I have never been to. Many housing estates later, I started to panic. I had lost track of the number of stops. Then I recognised where I was. The bus was right outside a train station. I pressed the buzzer and the driver braked to let me off. Yes, I chickened out.

Travelling by train is so much easier for me. I think I'm off bus for good. I hijacked myself along the way to my next destination and got distracted looking at beads at a shop along the way. I ended up spending 20 minutes at the shop looking and touching everything. Much to my amusement, a mute boy who worked at the shop decided he would "help" me. He became my shadow. Every time I looked up I would find him gawking at me. Once I asked him for the price and he signed the amount for me. Then he got shy. Totally awkward.

Finally I got back on track and went to Textile Centre where I bought my 100 pieces of swivel clasps. 100 might sound like a lot to you but I'm confident I'll use them up. 100 pieces of swivel clasps is also very heavy. Yes, I travelled from one end of Singapore to another just to buy these darn swivel clasps.

These little cuties caught my eye too. I have no idea what I'll do with them. But they have little holes in them so I think I could sew them onto something.

After that I had one more stop. Chinatown. Let me just say this. I dread going to Chinatown to get my fusible interfacing and zippers. This shop where I get them, I like the quality. But the shop is small and cramped and the shopkeepers are constantly quarrelsome. I often find myself in the middle of some cosmic storm.

I bought 30 zippers and a huge stack of interfacing. p.s. excuse the images. i'm struggling to adjust the setting for night photography. Another customer saw the number of zippers I was buying and couldn't help but express her surprise. Why do total strangers talk to me? I'm not exactly the friendliest person around yet total strangers often found the need to share some confidence in me. Well, this lady had a bag of old zippers of various colours and length. It belonged to her late mother who LOVED to sew. Why is she carrying this bag of zippers in a shop that sells zippers? I have no idea but she wanted a 7" zipper for a pair of jeans she wanted to salvage. I smell a cheap person! She obviously did not know her way around the shop so I pointed out to her the 7" zippers shelf. Out of the blue she offered to give me her bag of old zippers. Now, I'm not one of those people who would jump at the chance to get free stuff. So I ignored her offer. I mean, good grief! Who goes around giving total strangers a bag of old zippers? The Zipper Woman asked me to see if the 7" zipper would fit my jeans. Yep, she wants me to hold it AGAINST MY CROTCH and see if it fits. See? Normal people don't go around offering total strangers free zippers. Alas, I am too kind. I held the 7" zipper against my jeans crotch and told her it fitted perfectly. Then I expertly moved myself away from her.

Suddenly I heard a commotion. The shopkeeper poked me on the shoulder and asked me if it was reasonable for a customer to pay for a brand new zipper with an old zipper? See? I told you I would somehow be caught in a cosmic war. It turned out Zipper Woman did not want to pay for her 7" zipper. She wanted to do a barter. Using me as a facebook wall, the shopkeeper blasted Zipper Woman for her insaneness.

Sadly, the shopkeeper gets this kind of crap all the time. Each time I'm at the shop I would witness some totally idiotic customer being a "donkey". Like demanding for discounts, shouting at the shopkeepers or throwing tantrum.

The zipper shop was my last stop and by then I was starving with hunger as the tissue paper gang had prevented me from getting lunch. Below the zipper shop is a food court and I had my cup of tea and some snacks. The curious thing about this food court is there are a lot of old men sitting at the tables. A few female Chinese National sit with these men. I'm guessing these women are working as companions. One clue. These are really old men and the women look too interested in them. What's consistent about these women is they are middle aged, reasonably attractive and aren't dressed provocatively. These women basically just sit with the men, show interest in what the men are doing and sometimes they table hop. I have some curiosity about how money changes hand.

I wanted to be sure I was not mistaken as one of these companions so I sat further away. I mean, I am middle aged, reasonably attractive and my body rocks. Happy to report no one mistook me for anything but a strange thing happened. I sat at an empty table. Suddenly out of the blue, a woman sat across me and did not even make eye contact with me.

This is very strange and I would consider it rude if it were to happen at a food court where I live. Generally, people would ask if they could sit at my table. Or gesture or something. Here, they just plonk themselves on an empty seat opposite me and act as if it's the most natural thing in the world. I mean, come on. If you're sharing a table with someone, at least exchange some awkward smiles first. Some time later, the gatecrasher left and immediately another woman came and took her place. I looked at her and she refused to look at me. Yep. Looked everywhere except at me. Again no, "may I?" By now I'm already used to it and soon she left. As I was leaving, I could see another woman sit down opposite me. It's like being in a different country.

A few days ago, I received my cheque for my February VivoCity craft market. Sad to say, after deducting all the fees and commission, it did not even cover my expenses. My next craft market is coming up end of this month. I plan to make 10 more bags to sell. Hopefully I'll be able to make some money. Anyway, this is the first of the 10 bags. It's a crescent bag I've grown to enjoy making. The zipper pocket still takes a little too long to make tho'. I make mine the insanely difficult way - no raw reams inside out. See you.

Monday, March 12, 2012

A flower-flower obsession


Over the few years I've been selling my bags, I've often come across women who are very anti-flowery prints or anything associated with flowers. Not only are they openly vocal about their anti-flowery prints stance, they show the seller of such prints (me) the same disdain. Some of these women would try to persuade me not to buy flowery prints in future because they find them too "Auntie". In Singapore, to be called "Auntie" is not a good thing because it really means you're not fashionable.

Of course "Auntie" is also a term used to address an older woman. The older women don't seem to have an issue with being called "Auntie". I on the other hand am quite likely to poke your eyes out if you were to call me "Auntie". The only people who feel safe enough to call me "Auntie" are my relatives and my kids' friends.

Back to the flowery prints. If by association with flowery prints means I'm not fashionable then I'm cool with it because I don't care about being fashionable. I LOVE flowery prints and love illustrations of flowers. Right now I'm digging flower embroideries.I'm not so into the real flowers though because sometimes the smell makes me sneeze or gives me a headache.

When it comes to creativity, sometimes I'm hanging by a thread and sometimes I feel like I'm riding a tornado. Right now, I am still on a high after my brooch run in a previous post. This time I'm mainly using lazy daisy stitch also called detached chain stitch.

This is the first one I did. Three sunflowers in a classic pose. For the stems, I used stem stitch which gives a very nice texture. The leaves are done in fishbone stitch.

And I made another one with the same red sunflowers in a slightly different pose. When I made this batch of zip pouches, each time I complete one, I would show it to my son who sat next to me. He clapped his hands for every zip pouch except this one.

Yep, the same three red sunflowers - this time on a grey brooch.

I knew at this point if I made another "3 red sunflowers" it had better be different so it had to be on a linen brooch. I could feel the tornado waning.

If you're wondering how I sewed my sunflowers, it's simple. I draw a little circle and sew lazy daisy stitches around it. You can vary the look of the flower by changing the size of the circle.

While tidying up I saw these paper packaging which my SIL had given me after her trip to Japan. The 2 containers had little chocolates in them. Is it wrong to like the packaging more than what it contained?

Check out these gorgeous Japanese flowers. I don't know any Japanese so I have no idea what the names of the flowers are. For all I know the words could say: Little chocolates - very nice to eat. Pardon me, reader-san. These Japanese flowers gave me a second wind.

I went pink. Pink french knots all over apple green stems.

Back to sunflowers again. What's so versatile about lazy daisy stitch is you can vary the length or angle of the stitch and you're able to give the flower a little character.

The best part about embroidery is you need not base it on reality. I liked the idea of blue sunflowers. For the buds, I used blanket stitch (sewn on an arc) and straight stitch. In the end, I think straight stitch does the job better.

And I finally made the chain stitch flower on black embroidery into a zip pouch. Would you believe this is the first time I've made a zip pouch using a solid black fabric? This black linen has been in my stash for a while and it was only after purchasing some black fusible interface recently that I felt I could make it work. Would white interface show on black fabric?

And here are my 6 lovely flower-flower zip pouches. I've listed a few in my Etsy shop. Please have a look. I think I've got a few more flower-flower zip pouches left in me but I'll save them for future weeks. You see the tornado has left me with a giant migraine. So will go lie very still for a few days. See you.

Linked to these parties.
Skip to my lou
So very creative
Ask Anna
Family ever after
Inspired by Felicity

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Eye opener

Over the weekend. I entered the world of gaming.

Well, sort of. Me hubs decided to enter son in a gaming tournament. Like most kids his age, my son is into computer games and spends a large amount of his time either in front of the computer or the TV where he plays games dad had bought him. In our family of four, my son is the best player of any game. I don't know what got into hubs but the two of them went forth to conquer the gaming world. I imagine they were nervous as they have never entered an arcade before.

As it turned out, in the gaming world, there were way better players. Son was out of the main tournament pretty fast. Hubs decided son would stay and enter in the Newcomer competition. Unfortunately, he had to go to work. That's where I come in. I went to be son's chaperone. Basically I just sat around and waited until it was time to leave.

An arcade is not the best place to hang out in. It is very cold and unless you're playing, it gets really, really boring. The most exciting thing that happened was when I first arrived at the arcade and went to sit behind son while he "practiced". There was an odd sickly sweet smell which really bothered me but I thought it was the smell of the arcade. A couple walked past me and suddenly the lady slipped and fell. She had goo all over her. And I mean all over her. It quickly occurred to me she had slipped in a pool of someone's vomit! The lady did not even freak out. She saw the vomit all over her arms, legs, body, face and just tried to shake them off. Finally she realised she had to go to the ladies to wash it off.

I, on the other hand was close to fainting and shrieking insanely. I was sitting very close to the pool of vomit and was very fortunate not to have stepped in it. You understand that the arcade is very dimly lit. After the drama (of me almost fainting), a cleaning lady came to clean up the vomit. But she made it worst by spreading it. Ah, I felt it best to find another couch far away to wait for son.

After a very long wait, son got to play another 2 rounds before he was knocked out of the competition again. Finally we could go home. Despite losing, he had this half-smile on his face. I call it the "I'm so thrilled but I don't want to show it" smile.

I've never seen a bunch of gamers all in the same room before. They all have this geeky look and skin that has not seen much sunshine. There were a couple of really huge guys who turned out to be the better players. Most of the players were way older than my son. There were a few women, either girlfriends or wives. One thing I noticed. The gamers did not just enjoy playing the games. They enjoyed watching as well!

I think son enjoyed playing with superior players. But I don't want him going on his own so either me or hubs has to chaperone him if he enters in another tournament.

Yesterday I attended my free Canon class. A trainer spent 2 hours explaining the functions of my S100. I discovered a few dials and functions which I did not know exist! It was a very fast-paced class. I could follow most of it except the portion on shutter speed. It's a good thing I've been playing around with the setting. A few people who obviously have not been using their camera were really lost. Not to mention annoying with their endless questions.

One interesting aspect of the training was we were told to take notes by taking photos of what was projected on the white screen! Imagine how fun school days could have been. This image above was taken at ISO 1600. I had the impression that a very high ISO would result in a not so clear image. As it turned out, with the white screen, a higher ISO is needed to get a sharper image. One other thing that stood out was the trainer kept pronouncing "film" as "fleem". He could pronounce every word except "film".

What I took away was that I have a lot to learn. Oh, when's the S100 for Dummies coming out?

I'm declaring this cream a miracle cream. It is healing my skin in the most amazing way. I stare at my hand every day watching it get better. Yes, it's silly like watching grass grow. But the recovery is so speedy I'm blown away. I told me mom about this miracle cream and she being from the traditional medical oil generation immediately warned me not to over apply the cream. I read the fine print and it is used by eczema sufferers so does that mean I have eczema on my hand? I am being cautious and only slathered the cream all over my shin and feet, basically all the dry spots, once a day. My hand gets more frequent slathering tho'. Growing skin, you know?

Embroidering all the brooches in my last post really got me in the mood for more embroidery. I sewed this chain stitch flower this morning. Chain stitches are very time consuming. The center is a simple applique flower fabric anchored with blanket stitches. I expect this will be made into another zip pouch.

I'll see you soon.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

A $5 redemption

It all started with a $5 redemption. I had until end Jan this year to "spend" it and on the last day, I finally went to Art Friend. I didn't want to spend too much time looking around so when I saw a small pack of brooch pins which cost a little over $5, I thought it was perfect. At the payment counter, the cashier informed me that I needed to spend a minimum of $21 to claim the $5 voucher. Yes, I neglected to read the back of the voucher.

So I went to have another look around and I decided to buy a bigger pack of brooch pins. I grabbed the larger pack but sadly, it did not cost anything near $21. So I had another look around. I finally bought a pack of ZIG fabric pens. These pens are ridiculously expensive so I had no trouble hitting $21. At this point, I should have gone and replaced my big pack of brooch pins for a smaller pack but I was too lazy. So I paid for everything and saved $5. Hahaha. What a great way to get customers to spend.

Anyway, long story short I finally took a look at the pack of brooch pins and realised there are a grand total of FORTY-FIVE brooch pins. These brooches don't make themselves so the past two days saw me toiling away. It's all hand sewing so a great project for me while my hand recovers.

Some time ago I purchased a bunch of wool felt from Lupin Handmade.  The quality of the felt is thinner than the ones I use for my needlebooks.

This is the first brooch I made. I used polyester felt as I wasn't sure the embroidery would cause holes to appear in the wool felt.

Yep, 45 brooch pins.

photo thanks to Dee

No, these aren't my fingers. They belong to Dee who blogs at Dee-Tales. She is really into nail art and I was reading her post one day and saw these crazy white daisies on her nails! When I started making brooches, the only image in my head were her white daisy nails. And so that's what I sewed.

A gazillion chain stitches for the while petals. French knots for the center. Stem stitch and daisy stitch for the stem.

I love this light turquoise felt. I wanted to sew something simple but with beads. This is baby's breath. Once I had to buy a bouquet of flowers for my brother's girlfriend (now wife), I was told the baby's breath were free and I picked so many that they overwhelmed the bouquet. I had to put most of them back. The stems are chain stitch and the beads are little "pearl-like" seed beads.

While sewing on the turquoise felt, I discovered that if you don't use more than 2 strands of embroidery thread, this felt is suitable.

I was on a roll and couldn't put a brake on my beading ambition. I sewed feather stitches to get the wandering vine look and I had the perfect purple seed beads. I must curb the urge to fill up the entire brooch with embroidery and beads.

This was really on a whim. I just wanted to show the effect of snowy grass at night. White on black is so startling!

The problem with embroidery on felt is you can't draw any outlines to guide you. You just have to eyeball it and detailed pictures aren't possible.

This brooch is done on linen. Woo hoo! It's such a relief to be able to draw some guidelines. I used my disappearing ink of course. Oh, the bird is upside down because it is a gravity defying bird.

For my last brooch I went for the layering look. Lupin Handmade has a tute on how to design and make a felt brooch. Go here if you're interested.

I used the same template as my flower-flower applique. It's a basic flower shape. When it comes to layering, I think the natural instinct is to pile on the embroidery and colours. I really held back as I prefer simple to complicated. See the stitches that look like the letter Y? They're called crown stitch. I learn my stitches from a book.

I bought Mary Thomas's Dictionary of Embroidery Stitches years ago. It was really cheap, only $12. I really, really wanted the earlier edition which is available in the public library but you can't borrow it home.

I have listed 4 of the brooches on my Etsy shop. Go here if you want to have a look.

I got BEAR to model my brooches. He was not quite in the mood.

I demand to see my Bear contract.

What? Am I a girl now?

You know where you can pin your brooch!

Are we done yet?

Apparently not.


Hope you have a good week!

Linked to these parties.
Skip to my lou
Ninth street notions
The Gunny Sack
Get outta my head please
So very creative
Ask Anna
Family Ever AFter
Three Mango Seeds
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My Applique Patterns

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