Sea Glass of a Different Hue.

15 Dec

Having mentioned my glass fusing adventures in my last blog I thought I would keep you up to date on how we are progressing.

I am still surprised at the popularity of the glass jewellery I sell through my shop. I started selling it as an extra for non quilters visiting the shop in the school holiday season. Ironically, during the season seems to be the time they do not sell as well. Off season they go like hot cakes. The main problem I have is that I have to spend my only day off making more. Still there are worse ways to spend a day.

For a few blissful weeks I even had someone to clean the house as I obviously don’t have much free time. Unfortunately the karma ran out and I was let down not once but twice so I am back to doing my favourite job of cleaning as well as the ironing, working 6 days a week and making glass. Still it hasn’t killed me yet and who needs a spotless house and beautifully ironed clothes anyway. (It’s a sad fact that actually I do.)

Back to the glass.

I use mainly dichroic glass which is a glass with a metallic finish. It can either be left as it is and fused or fused with a clear cap. Each gives a different effect.IMG_0243Without

IMG_0244With

IMG_0190 (1)A mix of coloured and clear dichroics.

Then we have the ones with a leather cord, mainly because the design does not really allow room for a bail.

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IMG_0182At the beginning I had favourites that I would put in the window. I have now learned that everyone seems to like a different type so anything goes. The secret is to put them in the sun in the window. They shine beautifully and sell themselves.

Dichroic is an interesting material. It changes colour as the wearer moves  which means that it looks different from different angles and pretty from all. Putting a clear cover on it gives more depth to the piece whereas without it makes a definite statement. Dichroic glass is pure ‘look at me’ however it is used.

Even if I wanted to duplicate a piece, and I don’t, it would be difficult. There is really no telling how a piece will turn out. That is the beauty and the mystery of glass. You can plan and design but once it goes into the kiln it can do whatever it likes. With the capped glass bubbles are the thing. Sometimes it is a problem but often it adds to the design.

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I look at them as little magnifying glasses. The appeal of these pieces is that they are organic. They are not mass produced and so they are all different. As such you will never see someone else wearing the same pendant.

I would suggest anyone interested go on a course but unless you are prepared to make a financial commitment don’t tempt yourself. There are microwave kilns available so that you don’t have to buy a kiln but I am a bit of an addict when it comes to these things and the idea of making one at a time rather than a batch would put me off. There are lots of youtube videos about using the microwave kiln from http://www.glaze.co.nz. These show you how to make particular pieces of jewellery and are easy to follow. In fact there are lots of videos about dichroic jewellery making catering for all tastes.

I have just found this in ‘drafts’ so here goes. I am also going on another course as I want to improve on what I have achieved. Also it is a good excuse for a couple of days away over my birthday week.

 

 

 

Seaside Postcards from McKenna Ryan

14 Apr

One of the perks of a wholesale account with McKenna Ryan is that I also get to make her quilts at an affordable price. Imagine the problems I had resisting the deal on laser cut kits on two of her designs – ‘From the Coast with Love’ and’ Snow Buds’

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snow Buds

It is sort of cheating but I just fancied a bit of applique that I could do in a hurry. I have started on the Coastal one as I thought it would make a good window display, my being by the seaside and such. Added to which, I already bought the pattern on its own and having it made up as an example never hurts to sell a pattern.

I also have two Kukaburra Cottage quilts cut out ready to applique so the next few weeks could be busy on the applique front. I just need the machine to behave now and I will have fun.

I have laid out some of the Coast but I will be doing it with satin stitch rather than the McKenna Ryan method. It is the way I like to work and even wall hangings need a wash occasionally and I would not be happy if they frayed. Having said that I see why she uses her straight stitch method as it means the lines stay clean on what are almost paintings done in fabric.

Here are the first three laid out.

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The fabric is interesting. It might be interesting to try it with other fabric too.

I will keep you posted on progress.

Fossil Ferns and Fun in the Sun

19 Mar

Finally everything is sorted – well most things- and my shop is open in Polperro in Cornwall. I am glad to report that despite the fact there is practically nobody about, we are selling steadily. There have been several quilters actually staying in the village and that means they have to resist the shop for at least a week. Thankfully few do.

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The glass jewellery I make  with the occasional input of various members of the family is also going well. The secret seems to be to have things that are different and so not available elsewhere. Alas I was having a ‘day off’ – if you can count making jewellery as a ‘day off’ – and was not the one who made the first of our quilt sales but it is still a lovely feeling that someone now has an heirloom made by yours truly.

I have sorted out the sock monkey kits. They contain everything needed to make a monkey, including the stuffing of course. An added  bonus is that instead of a paper bag or box they are packed into a matching bag with an embroidered sock monkey. In other words when the monkey is finished the bag is usable in its own right. We waste nothing here.

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Anyway, if you are visiting the West Country call in and see us. I don’t think you will be disappointed. We have Fossil ferns in abundance. We have a great many of the Makower plains. We have Elizabeth’s Studio prints and Laurel Burch collections. We have a wide range of fun and funky fabrics. It is certainly a bright and cheerful place to be.

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If I get lonely I talk to the Dolls (no not really).

 

 

 

Socks and Monkey Business

8 Jan

Meet my friends the sock monkeys. Over Christmas week I moved from hating the blessed things to having great fun making them. I decided that I would like to carry kits for making sock monkeys in my new shop. After all there is many a rainy day on an English seaside holiday and there is nothing like a bit of creative needlework to fill the time. I read all the conventional information on making them and watched the odd youtube and then jumped in. The first one I hated and now I don’t know why. Meet Red.

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He is chilling in front of the computer and later on I caught him swinging from the beams.

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He also managed to teach his little friend Ginger bad habits, transforming him from a perfectly well behaved little chap into a bad mimic.

 

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At least he looks scared.

Henry got the hump because he couldn’t join in.

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However when he tried he nearly frightened himself to death.

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In case you hadn’t gathered I was experimenting with different types of eye. I liked the googly eyes best but they don’t work unless you are prepared to make buttonholes through which to insert them. In the end I decided the felt were the simplest and most effective. Red was the first and Henry the last but I actually made a few more before I was satisfied.

Meet the gang.

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I also found that the traditional way of doing some of the stages, particularly the arms was not the best for me so I developed a different approach. Hopefully the kits  will give lots of people hours of fun. First I have to jump a few hoops with Trading Standards and the European Directive on Toy Safety or some such.

Watch this space. I might even share my journey into the fascinating world of the sock monkey and the tips for making life easier.

Watch this space.

 

Kitty Kitty Christmas and Friends.

12 Aug

Just in time for The Great Northern Quilt Show I have received the Kitty Kitty Christmas range from Loralie Designs. There are two panels and I have also obtained the tossed fabric and three different colours of paw prints.

kitty panel

These make perfect pockets for gift bags.

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Or maybe a Christmas apron with the coordinating fabrics.

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white cat panelThis panel is good for use with HeatnBond Ultra as detailed in my last blog. You have 20 different cats to fuse onto gift bags. Or you could just use it as yardage.

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Wine gift bags.

IMG_0017Or anything that comes to mind really. I could see a table runner working too.

Other fabrics in the range make good coordinates as on the apron and bags above.

Black tossed cats black

red paws

black paws

green paws

Last Year I featured Very Fairy Christmas whcih is also a very christmassy fabric.

 

very fairy panel right

very fairy tossed

very fairy holly

verey fairy canes

very fairy red scroll

very fairy green scroll

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Loralie Designs Meets HeatnBond.

10 Aug

When I receive a new bolt of Loralie Designs panels quite often the top and/or bottom row is unusable as a panel as they are not often cut completely straight before rolling. I have made a few crazy patch quilts with them. This covers up any missing bits as you can see but what I really needed was to use up odd panels not whole quiltsworth.

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When I was trying to decide what to do with the Gypsy Chique (not my spelling) fabric I watched a video by Loralie. In it she used the no sew version of fusible web to fuse figures onto another surface.(I use HeatnBond Ultra) You can see these in my blog on the fabric. In case you are in a hurry this is what the finished bag looked like.

IMG_0093I was sorting through my ‘reject’ pile the other day and came across more panels that I could use in this way. I had also kitted up some cot quilts when I first opened the web shop and I saw that the colours in one of these were perfect to use with the panels. These panels are from the ‘Fast women Portrait’ collection and the fabrics mostly from Benartex fossil ferns. They matched perfectly and used up most of the kit in three bags which will now take pride of place on my stall at The Northern Quilt Show in Harrogate (4th to 6th September).

IMG_0006In progress.

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They work really well and in my case help me avoid my temperamental machine that does not seem to like satin stitch. It is also a good way of using some of the Loralie panels that are actually rows of fairly large figures such as the Gypsy Chique and also one you can see in my next blog about Kitty Kitty Christmas.

Preview.

IMG_0018It is all getting a bit seasonal on here so I will go and draft a proper Christmas blog as you need to start now if you are going to make Christmas goodies.

Maybe I will see you at Harrogate. It is a really good show. Take it from someone who drives 6 hours to get there every year. The layout will be a bit different this year if you are looking for your favourite stalls. The reason is that they are replacing the old hangar type building with a proper one so this year we are in a temporary building whilst they finish it. I will be more or less in the same place as before but as they have moved the quilts to the other end you might need a minute to acclimatise before the onslaught.

Loralie Designs Church Ladies.

28 May

The latest addition to me web site fabrics is another Loralie Designs.

Church Ladies by Loralie Harris is a fun fabric with a stained glass feel. ‘Happy and colourful’ is how I would describe it. Let’s see what you think.

Here is the panel church ladies panel

Detail

church ladies panel 2

church ladies panel copy

Matching tossed figures

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What is church without a hat? Here are a few to be going on with.

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Is it is or is it isn’t great fun? Well I think so but then I always did have a weird sense of humour. It cheers me up anyway and I’ll take anything that does that.

I have had a few new Loralie fabrics in since my last post so it might be worth a trip over to nsaaquilting.co.uk