Blog, Makes

Embroider and appliqué a Seagull inspired Cushion

Three things inspired this craft project, the sea, gulls and the effective but random looking stitching currently used by many fine art embroiderers. They in turn appear to have been inspired by Asian quilts made out of recycled Sari’s. I embroidered the cushion front in free hand stitches. I wanted to create the curls where the waves turn over themselves and also the subtle changes of colour in the waves and the sky. To achieve the turbulence of the weather I used two background colours of felt and also different colours of the embroidery floss. The changing direction and sizes of the stitches helps to suggest movement.

If you are not happy just doing freehand stitches using a water erasable pen, draw your design onto the cushion front, embroider over the pen lines. To get rid of the pen marks, dampen a cloth and rub quite lightly.

I expect, like you, I am forever taking photographs when I am by the sea. I took the images of the gulls using my phone. I increased the size of them and then printed them out quite large. Before cutting out in felt, I placed the paper gulls onto the stitched front and arranged in a pleasing composition. I then drew round the gull images onto the felt and cut out and then pinned and tacked the grey felt gulls onto the cushion front.

You will need

Piece of felt 100cm x 100cm x 3mm deep in pale blue felt for the cushion cover

36cm square cushion pad

Felt squares or oblongs in Grey, marine blue and purple

Embroidery floss in light grey, white, mid blue and turquoise (Korbond)

Tapestry needle

Sewing needle

Printer and images of flying seagulls

Water erasable pen

Paper Scissors

Dressmaking Shears

Dress makers pins

For the back opening cushion cover

Cut the cushion front 37cm x 37cm and cut the two cushion backs one 22cm x 37cm and the other 30cm x 37cm in pale blue felt .

Step 1

Work on the cushion front, leave a 2 cm border round the edge, and using brightly coloured thread, tack a piece of dark marine blue felt onto another piece and onto the cushion front so it measures 22cm x 32cm

Step 2

Thread the whole six strands of a piece of white embroidery floss into a tapestry needle and sew random sized running stitches from the left side of the felt to the right and back again, creating 7 uneven rows of stitches. Change colour and sew 7 rows in pale blue.

Step 3

Repeat step 1 using the purple felt. Make sure it joins onto the blue felt and will measure roughly 32cm x 11.5cm. You don’t need to cover the whole of the cushion in stitches, the effect you are after is the waves of the sea. Print images of gulls, draw round and cut out in grey felt.

Step 4

Arrange, pin and sew the gulls onto the cushion front. Using turquoise thread, blanket stitch along one long edge of the cushion back. Make an envelope opening for the cushion pad. With the two back pieces over lapping in the centre of the cushion, pin the cushion backs to the cushion front and sew together round the edge using blanket stitch.

Needles

Embroidery Floss

Pins and scissors and erasable marker pen from http://sew.korbond.co.uk

I designed this project for Coast Magazine

Blog, Makes

Make a recycled Appliquéd picnic blanket.

This project was originally in Coast magazine.

Those who live on the Coast are probably more aware than most, of the changing seasons. The skies are overcast and dark, the sea becomes rough and the sea gulls soar and wheel on the updrafts. With this image in mind I have designed an appliqued blanket. I have kept with the dark almost monochrome, but with suggestions of seasonal colours. The method of making is very easy and the end result has a Hygge Scandinavian feel.

Finished blanket

         I made this blanket out of two old woolen blankets purchased in a charity shop. They are easy to come by and often thin enough to use as a double thickness. If you don’t want to use old woolen blankets buy 160 cm woolen fabric that is 160cm wide. You will need two pieces in two different colours.

         If using old blankets, clean by washing on a wool wash. You can dye them, as I did one of ours, in a washing machine. We dyed it Jeans blue. The blanket must be made out of wool or another natural fiber for the dye to take. If you dye a blanket in the machine it will felt a little. Once the blankets are washed dyed and dry, then cut them so they are the same size as one another.

What you need

Tracing paper or baking parchment

Pencil

Dressmaking pins

Dressmaking scissors

Paper scissors

2 x woolen blankets or 2 pieces of 160 x 160cm woolen fabric

Dylon Jeans Blue machine dye (optional)

Tapestry yarn or an odd ball of wool (we used pale blue)

Tapestry needle

How to make

Step 1

Find some copyright free images of flying seagulls on the internet, scan to enlarge and print them out. Draw onto tracing paper and cut out using paper scissors. Or just copy the bird shapes shown here.

Pin the paper seagull onto the darker blanket. Being very careful to keep the shape, cut out the gull. You will need to repeat this with the other gulls depending on how many you want.

Pin the darker blanket on top of the lighter one. Round each edge, pin one blanket onto the other. Pin round the gull shape holes.  Using running stitch, sew round the edge of each gull.

Make sure the blankets haven’t stretched. If they have cut away any overlaps. Using blanket stitch, 1cm deep x 1cm wide, sew one blanket onto the other all the way round the edge.

Blog, Makes

Quick and easy chair transformation.

The made over chair in Annie Sloan Antibes green
The before shot looks quite nice, but believe me, the chair was not in a good state.

Recently a friend was throwing out a very old wooden child’s chair. It had been left in a shed for the last fifteen years and the seat was lifting up from the frame and the paint was peeling.

To restore the situation and to make a suitable chair for my grandson, first of all we tacked the seat back onto the frame. 

Always wear a mask when sanding

Then my grandson and I sanded the chair.

Next we painted it with Annie Sloan pure chalk white , and once it was dry we painted it with Annie Sloan Antibes green paint. To finish off and give it a smooth finish, we gave it a coat of Annie Sloan chalk paint wax clear.

A happy boy sitting on his new chair
Blog, Makes

Up-cycle old books and children’s toys to create stylish book ends.

If you have some ‘time expired’ books such as out of date restaurant or travel guides or have a few charity shop finds why not create some book ends from them. Top with a child’s toy animal, sprayed with Rustoleum paint.

1

You will need

Rustoleum Neon Spray paint

Rustoleum Metallic spray paint

A few books (hard back are best) Make 2 piles of books and make sure that both piles are roughly the same height when on top of one another

Paint brush

Glue gun

2

Using PVA and a brush glue the pages together round the three sides of the book. Obviously the spine is left as it is. Once the edges are dry, Use the glue gun to stick one book on top of the next.

3

In a well ventilated space, spray the pile of books you have stuck together, with the neon  paint. Spray the plastic toy with the metallic paint and leave to dry.

4

Glue the sprayed animal, to the top one of the sprayed books. Repeat steps 1-4 with the second book end.

Blog, Makes

Upgrade your dining chairs

I was lucky enough to find a couple of mid century modern dining chairs on ebay, but the covers were dull as ditchwater and needed replacing. I found a great upholstery fabric at https://www.craftysewer.com/ that gives more than a nod to mid century. I loved the colours on the underside of the fabric so I have used it reverse side up.

You will need

Screw driver

Fabric

Stapler

Scissors

Tape measure

Step 1

Unscrew the seat from the frame.

Step 2

Place seat on fabric, and cut out the fabric including a 4in overlap.

Step 3

Staple on the fabric at each of the 4 corners, as shown in the picture.

Step 4

Fold and turn the edge fabric over each side of the chair and staple into position. Screw the newly covered seat back onto the chair.

Blog, Makes

Valentine Wreath

by Juliet Bawden photo by Antonia Attwood Styling assistant Elsa Collier

I have devised a simple heart shaped wreath for Valentines day. This is a one off for the day. If you want the wreath to last longer use fake flowers and leaves, or use a heart shaped florists oasis for the foundation and use fresh leaves and flowers as we have here. 

1.You will need

15cm Polystyrene heart from £2.20 from Hobby Craft

http://www.hobbycraft.co.uk/polystyrene-heart-ring-15-cm/591593-1000

Roses pink

Eucalyptus leaves

Scissors

Glue dots

Dress makers pins

2. Using, inexpensive scissors, cut the heads off the roses. You do not want to ruin good dressmaking shears.

3 Pin the roses down their middles to the top inner edge of the heart shaped wreath.

4. Cut the eucalyptus leaves and glue dot them, so that they slightly overlap, around the heart. They should cover all the white polystyrene.

Blog, Makes

Orange Cake

Orange Cake by Juliet Bawden from  www.creativecolour.org

With a plethora of oranges in the shops at the moment, now is the time for this cake. It is made from whole oranges, ground almonds, eggs and sugar and is totally gluten free, no flour or butter in this recipe.

Everyone has a signature dish and this is mine. There are many variations of this recipe, some with fewer and some with more oranges and I even found one with the addition of olive oil. This is my recipe and I have been making it for over thirty years and believed it to be Armenian in origin, but sadly that is not the case.  You will find a version of this cake anywhere that  oranges are grown, including  southern Europe and the middle and near east. It is quite moist and pudding like in texture.

HINTS and TIPS

Because oranges vary so much in size it can be hard to judge the quantities. If the mixture seems too wet before you put it in the oven, stir in more ground almonds.

If the oranges are not organic, change the water after half an hour and bring to the boil again.

I often cook this cake in the evening and if it is not cooked through, after an hour and a half, I turn off the heat and leave it overnight to finish cooking  in the  oven.

YOU WILL NEED

4 (preferably organic) oranges

6 eggs

250g ground almonds

250g castor sugar

1 teaspoon of baking powder

Flaked almonds

SPECIAL EQUIPMENT

Spring form loose bottom cake tin 23cm wide

Food processor

Baking parchment

Mixing bowl

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Put the oranges in a saucepan, boil until soft, up to a couple of hours. Throw away the water and leave the oranges to cool. Turn on the oven to 160 degrees. Line the cake tin with baking parchment.

2. Cut the oranges into quarters and remove any pips and the pith from the middle. Put the quarters, including the peel, into the food processor, and blitz into a pulp. Pour the pulp into a bowl and put to one side. (you only need to do this if your food processor is a small one).

3. Break the eggs into the food processor, add the sugar, baking powder and ground almonds and blitz. Once finished, mix with the orange pulp.

4 Pour the mixture into the lined cake tin and put in the oven for one hour. After an hour sprinkle the flaked almonds on top of the cake and put it back in the oven. If after another half an hour the cake is not cooked through, cover the top of the cake with baking parchment and check it regularly.