Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Minki's Pincushions

These pincushions are part of Minki's collection of amazing artistic creations. You can visit her place and sink into the delicate designs and perfect makes she has.  She is such an inspiration! I have been following Minki for years now, and for the first time dare to try one of her designs - the pincushions. The pattern could be found in Sewing Illustrations.

I made only seven of them, and have to admit that these little charms surprised me with the attention they needed. 

I love how they look like, made with the Haori textured fabric and appliquéd with gentle cottons. 

The great thing about Minki's designs is that they are purely inspired by her life. She tells stories with her sewn illustrations in such a simple way, that one starts feeling these are stories from a childhood friend. I am sure you would spend wonderful time visiting her corner. 

I am in love with this one. Is it because of the little french knot-ed berries :), or because of the clean lines, I don't know, I just found out this to be my favourite, when they were all done and proudly displayed for evaluation on my desk.

How lovely the vintage scale is! And the delicate strawberries... 

This gentle vintage china I achieved with the lovely 'Thyme with Friends' collection by Kris Lammers for Maywood Studio. I love it so much. And to my taste this looks so much like morning espresso shot. To my little daughter is the chamomile tea she drinks every night before bed.

It is impossible not to fall in love with these little babies! Off I go to visit Minki's 'home' back again to charge my cloudy day with a ray of sunshine.

Thank you for being my guests,
♥ Ivelina

Monday, 23 January 2017

Computer case "Winnie-the-Pooh"

This case is a gift for my beautiful and loving daughter, who still has a heart of a child and loves everything colourful, adventures and Disney related. She has her moments of favouriting some Disney characters, but the stories of Winnie the Pooh are a classic and very precious to her. When she bought her first laptop herself, she wanted to wait for our vacation to DisneyWorld (yay, soon to be... in March) and buy a case there. I decided to surprise her and make something unique, that she would love. It was meant to be a Christmas present, but unfortunately, wasn't finished in time.

Here it is, a month later, her new and custom sewn, hand-quilted and Pooh and Piglet appliquéd computer case for her to enjoy:

The computer case measurements are for MacBook Air 13.3 ". The case is made tight for better protection.

materials used:

These are my choices from Haori:

I used
1. Blue striped fabric for the face,
2. Plain mustard yellow fabric for lining,
3. Two different designs yellow fabric for Winnie the Pooh,
4. Three different designs pink fabric for Piglet,
5. Red batik fabric for Pooh's shirt and for the Balloon,
6. Bias tape in preferred colour
7. Matching thread for sewing
8. Darker shade of matching thread for the appliqué

extra materials and notions:

9. double zipper in mustard colour
10. Batting - thick cotton batting for the sides of the case
11. Heavy fusible interfacing
12. Matching thread for the hand-quilting/ I used embroidery floss DMC

Finished size of the case: 38 cm x 26 cm

cut size fabric for the face: 36 cm x 25 cm / cut 2 pc
cut size fabric for the lining: 36 cm x 25 cm /cut 2 pc
cut size batting: 35 cm x 24 cm / cut 2 pc
cut size fusible interfacing: 35 cm X 24 cm / cut 2 pc
zipper size: 55 cm, double sided zipper
bias tape size: 2 m length, 4 cm width /check the Haori bias tape

make the case:

1. Prepare all the necessary materials (cutting the fabric and gathering the notions)
2. Make the appliqué. it is like a puzzle - to have a design complete, the most important thing id to b aware which piece is sewn first on the canvas, and in what order will go the other pieces.

3. Stitch along the lines to fix each piece on the right place.

4. Complete all the sewing before the next step.

5. With the batting underneath, quilt the face and the back of the case.
6. Interface both pieces of lining.
7. Place the quilted face and the lining together, wrong sides down and baste all around.
8. Pin the wrong side of the zipper to the right side of the lining all around, starting from the edge of the longer side of the rectangular and finishing when the zipper ends.
9. Baste the bias tape at the zipper area (both sides of the case seperately: face and back). With right sides down, baste the bias tape to the face fabric, including the lining and the zipper that is already pinned.
10. Machine stitch the zipper (there would be all layers stitched together: bias tape, face fabric, batting. interfaced lining and zipper).
11. Fold down the bias tape covering the seam and slip stitch to the zipper on the inside of the case. Repeat for the other side.

12. Baste together front and back side of the case.
13. Attach the bias tape.

14. Make the zipper pull.

I had these two cute Disney buttons handy - a generous offer from a British friend. I wanted her to have them, but she was convinced I was going to find a good use for them. I am so thankful for these. They are a perfect charming addition to the case and keep the two friends together on the front.

If you haven't read the book, you could spend a wonderful time discovering that it is not only about the stories from the Disney movies, but so much more.

I think I will never be able to grow completely, until I have my daughter and her contagious love for gentle characters around. She inspire me to stay happy and believe in magic. How difficult this could be?

Hope you get inspired by the book you love and share with me.

Thank you for being my guest,
♥ Ivelina

Listening to Carly Simon "With a Few Good Friends" while writing this post :)))

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Money envelope

Another red and gold come together to create a traditional money envelope, that is given to young children by their parents and grand parents for the Lunar New Year celebration. 

This project was inspired by an innocent visit to the local post office. I needed to pick up a parcel from there and I was entering the office with a heavy head - I was trying to put my thoughts in order, straighten them out. It was a chaos in my head - all these ideas popping out like snowdrops in early spring. Some organizational chart was required. I had the idea of making a money envelope and I knew I wanted it to have something to do with the symbol of 2017 Lunar Year - the rooster. At first, I was thinking that the spelling of the word would seem nice, embroidered on the red batik, with gold embroidery floss. Oh, no!... after checking the right spelling of the symbol, I was discouraged unconditionally - of all twelve of them, the rooster symbol is probably the most complicated. Have you ever tried to wright an hieroglyph? One line made a bit longer than needed or misplaced, changes the meaning of the word. I wouldn't dare, no. I may easily make a full of myself. 

I glanced at the desk in the post office, patiently waiting for the lady to take my parcel out of the storage and check my credentials, and right there, underneath the spotlessly clean glass were these amazingly bright red stamps with the crisp graphic gold image of a rooster, honouring the Lunar New Year! I wanted to dance at that time - it was such a joyful moment! 

The rest was easy. I had the model and it was perfect for my project. In its simplicity, it shapes a perfect rooster head. I have to admit two things: 1. I only saw the stamp with the head at the post office. The one with the proud rooster in its full size I found in the web later at home, after I had already done my envelope. 2. I could not find any information about who the designer of the stamp was, that is why, I can not mention it here in my post.  

But I will take the time to show you the stamp from the past Year of the Rooster.  And I will do that just because I loved it so much:

This stamp was created for 2005 by the designer Hélène L'Heureux. The interesting thing about this stamp are the brush strokes she used while creating this proud bird, tributing the ancient eastern art of paint brushing. 

"As a designer, I try above all to be honest," says Hélène L'Heureux of Montreal's Gottschalk+Ash International. "It would be a fallacy for me to attempt Chinese brushwork - I could not pretend to create something in an art form that takes decades to master. I wanted to create a design that would re-interpret the genre in a personal and playful way."

Back to my bird...

I have another confession to make. To fully follow the eastern traditions, I should have stitched my rooster exactly the way it is on the stamp - facing east, greeting the rising sun... I have no idea why I flipped it - I just felt that looking left, it creates more personal message. 

Envelope finished size: 8 cm x 16 cm

materials needed for the envelope:

I wanted only the face of the envelope to be made with the batik, and the rest to be yarn-dyed cotton fabric, but you could use one whole piece for the face and the same size piece for the lining. This will  make your project so much easier and faster to make. I will put the measurements for that as a second option.

1. one piece of printer paper to design the envelope
2. 10 cm x 18 cm Haori batik, colour red /22 cm x 25 cm for the face
3. 28 cm x 30 cm Haori yarn-dyed fabric /22 cm x 25 cm for the lining
4. Haori 100% polyester thread, colour red and gold (for stitching the rooster)
5. Heavy fusible interfacing
6. embroidery floss 
7. small and big red buttons for the closing
8. hemp cord

make the envelope:

I wanted to make it look like a paper real money envelope. Surely, i could have skipped the sides where the glue goes on the paper envelopes, but it wouldn't be so fun. That is why, the pattern is as if it is a paper envelope.

1. Draw your own envelope design, copy a paper one, or download from the net. I draw my own, trying to stay true to the traditional shape of the money envelope. Make sure you shape it the same way. The size of the envelope is 8 cm x 16 cm. 

Note: Embroider your design prior to sewing.

2. Transfer the pattern onto the fabric used for lining. Cut the transferred image, leaving 1 cm allowance. Repeat for the facing fabric, if you are using one whole piece. If you are following my design, cut the individual pieces needed, and seam them together to assemble one whole piece for the face. Press the seams with an iron and check with already cut piece for the lining if they match perfectly. Trim if needed. Cut the fusible interfacing as big as to cover the sides of the envelope (front and back),  and the closing part with no allowance. Fuse to the lining.

3. Machine stitch all around, leaving a 4 cm opening on the outer side of the back part of the envelope.

4. Turn the envelope right side out through the opening. Press with an iron and slip stitch the opening.

5. Form the shape of the finished envelope, pressing with an iron.

6. Slip stitch the side seam first, placing the 'glue' side inside the back.

7. Slip stitch the bottom 'glue' side on the outside of the back. Prepare the buttons and the cord to finish with the closing.

8. Stitch the big button in middle of the back side of the envelope, just below the closing flap. Using a bigger needle and the hemp cord, attach the small button in the middle of the closing flap. Slip stitch a small piece of red batik on top of the hemp on the inside. 

9. Insert some money and impress your friends and family with a fabric handmade money envelope. This way is not only the money itself you are giving, but a nice souvenir that they will keep forever (and they will never forget what year it was when they received that gift from you ;)). Do you know that the money you put inside has to be new banknotes? New and crisp!!! 

Happy New Lunar Year to all that celebrate! I found so much inspiration in researching that event, I wish I started this earlier, so I could devote more time to it. 

Until soon,
♥  Ivelina

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

新年快樂 Menu

...or why to acknowledge the Chinese New Year

While we are looking at the new year, planning how to organize our months and almost in the rhythm of every day life, people from far east are preparing the most significant celebration of the year for them - the Chinese New Year. This tradition of New Year's festival has stayed for centuries and is a reminder of how ancient and wise the culture of Asia is. 

What I love the most about this celebration is the existence of the colours - mostly bright red with gold incrustation, but also the prints and blossoms as a reminder of the upcoming spring. The festivities are busier and more colourful with every day passing and "the cherry on the top" is the Lantern Festival. It seems like a gentle and romantic way to close the ceremony. 

I could not resist the temptation of representing some of the symbols in a super welcoming menu-organizer. 
It does take a lot of effort to prepare a festive dinner. Why not showing off with a menu?! I live in a country where people from all corners of the world, or I would even say from different worlds, meet and celebrate together. Sometimes it is hard to accept a different cuisine - food that one is not used to is not always delicious. I am excited to learn all kinds of cooking tricks (after all, I am firstly a food/desert preparing passion-ist). I find it easier to fight the fear of trying new food, when get to know what it is. 

The menu serves two purposes - presenting your guests with the information of what they would be served, and, of course, a little formal, and also joyfully innocent show off. Before we come to the stage of assembling the menu, we get to use it as a notepad carrier and organizer.

On the right side of the organizer, there is a pocket that holds the notepad - a place to keep the shopping list and plan the days ahead of time so there is no stress on the day of the party. There is another pocket underneath the notepad, that further notes and papers could be hidden. Because of its shape, it could serve as a cover of a note book that need to be carried around through the busy running of organizing the event.

For those of us (mostly you), who do keep their shopping list on their mobile devices, well, the device freely and safely fits in the pocket. I like handwriting notes and scratching noice of a dragging pen over a purely white paper. I am sorry, but when I here the sound of fanning a notebook, I feel alive. So it is a choice anyone is free to make - how to use the pocket. No judgement is allowed!

It must feel good! We are on the right path: first - getting organized! 

There is something very interesting I noticed in the post office today - Canada Post reacted to the bright celebration with a print of stamps. The Chinese zodiac is a repeating cycle of 12 years. This year is the tenth from the Chinese zodiac and is the year of the Rooster. 

After all the organization is done, and the menu has been decided, it is time to get rid of all the notes and reminders and fit the printed menu into the strap holder in the middle. Done! All happy and ready for the date to arrive.

I think I should introduce the menu holder in some details:

It is made out of Haori yarn dyed cotton fabric. The lanterns on the front are appliquéd, using Haori bright red batik fabric. The branch with the cherry blossoms were embroidered with DMC cotton thread in two strands. And also, how appropriate and fun it was to use the sparkly shiny gold DMC floss for the accents. As I mentioned earlier - red and gold are the major colours for the Chinese New Year celebration.

The menu holder/organizer was quilted - it is more fun this way. But mostly, when used as an organizer, the softness of the product makes the elegant appliqué and embroidery stand out even more. Also it has been given some structure with heavy fusible interfacing.

I will present the working experience of this product in another post.

I wanted to keep the back of the menu holder/organizer pretty simple. Only one cherry blossom was embroidered on the bottom left corner.

And that is all from me for now! I hope you liked the experience. 

I am really happy with the result and have learned a lot while doing my research on the Chinese New Year and making it. 

It has been more than a week, since I sat down with a pencil and a paper to create the picture. Transfer it onto the fabric and finishing at the stage where it is now was a heartwarming and satisfying experience 

What do you think?

♥ Ivelina