Monday, 29 May 2017

Day out at the Sewing, Stitching & Hobbycrafts show....

Last month I had a lovely day out at the Stitching, Sewing and Hobbycrafts show at the Excel.  The organiser's had invited me along to the bloggers' brunch where the talented Helen McKenna showed us how to make embroidered brooches using vintage fabric. This is my (second) attempt....

Embroidered brooch using vinatge fabric

Helen also had a stand at the show, look at these shoes she created inspired by A Midsummer's Night Dream....

The show is small compared to the one at the NEC (that's huge!).  Going on the Thursday instead of the weekend meant it was less busy and easy to get around.

I saw an amazing textile designer Louise Mabbs who used bright colours so her stand really stood out....

I'm not a quilter so I was in awe of her work and the detail. It looked really complex and I imagine taking a LOT of time and patience.

There were various inspiring exhibitions including one by the Quilter's Guild on the theme "The Living World". Here are a couple of my favourites....

A Selection of Tulips by Carol Dowsett.

Stratified Sunflowers by Sabi Westoby

Another display that stood out was "A cardigan for Cardigan!"

The 5m wide Aberteifi Cardigan is a collaborative work of art by local talent that took over nine months by the people of Cardigan to celebrate 900 years of the town's heritage. Around 300 people of all ages and abilities contributed to the cardigan.  Knitters had complete freedom to create their own pattern and shapes.  It took stitchers six weeks to make up the cardigan.

Romford WI marked their 25th Annversary with this map....

The costumes from the film the King's Speech were also on display....

I'm on a tight budget but I did buy a few things, I couldn't leave empty handed!....

I treated myself to some textile markers, more storage for my dies and a bunting die set. Also a flamingo wooden block which came in a pretty bag, this can be used on fabric or in papercraft.

Events like these are great for inspiration and shopping, a lot of stalls offer exclusive deals. The organisers have a lot of shows coming up throughout the year across the UK. You can check them out here.  Workshops book up fast at these events so I advise booking them before you go.  

I was kindly invited to the Bloggers Brunch by the organisers of the event, the views and opinions are my own and I have not been paid for writing this post.

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Create a work of art using up your crafty stash....

I would definitely consider myself a messy crafter, not just by the state of my desk but also because I love getting out paints, inks and using lots of different mediums together and they usually end up all over my hands!  I have always used whatever I have, mixing medias, to create the look and effect I want.  In the last year I've noticed mixed media is becoming more popular and if you've not tried it this is why I think you should....
  • There are no rules.
  • You don't need to be able to draw or consider yourself an artist.
  • Many materials = endless techniques
  • Encourages risk taking and not worrying about the end result
  • Multiple materials can inspire new ideas
  • Anything goes, so collect everything!
  • It's FUN!!!
To get you started I am going to show you a great way to use up your crafty stash and create a piece of mixed media art....

how to create a piece of art using up your craft stash

What you need
  • Box canvas. You can get these quite cheaply. I got a pack from Wilkos
  • Gesso, white or black
  • Acrylic paint, choose co-ordinating colours of your choice.  I recommend 3 or 4 but remember there are no rules! You can also use tester pots or left over emulsion to co-ordinate with your home decor
  • Paint brushes and sponges
  • Embellishments from your crafty stash, anything goes. It doesn't matter what colour they are. This is a great time to use the bits and bobs you don't really like or you'll never use.
  • Strong PVA or a hot glue gun
  • Texture paste
  • Stencil of your choice
  • Palette knife
  • Gilding wax
To get started I placed a stencil on the canvas and spread the texture paste over it with a palette knife. I wasn't concerned about it being smooth, the aim is to add texture.  If you don't have texture paste or stencils you can miss this step.

Applying texture paste using stencils onto canvas

Next arrange your buttons, ribbons, wooden embellishments, any random bits and bobs you have collected on to the canvas. It doesn't matter what colours they are or if they clash because they won't stay like that. Once you are happy with the arrangement glue them down securely with a strong PVA or glue gun.  You can also use your glue gun to create patterns and add texture.

canvas with floral embellishments and tecture paste

If you are using the texture paste you can stencil over some embellishments as well like I have done with this ribbon.

Once the glue has dried go over everything with white gesso.  This will prime the various surfaces of the embellishments, paste and canvas so they can take the paint.  Without gesso, the paint would soak into porous surfaces and/or dull the colours of your paint if the original surface is dark. Gesso is not opaque so you will still see some of the colour peeping through.

white on white canvas art

You may like this effect, if so you can stop here. Or if you want a more 'white on white' effect then paint again with white acrylic paint.

Both gesso and acrylic paint may not cling very well to shiny or plastic items, but that's OK, I have a solution for that further on. Just paint over what you can.

Now, with your acrylic paints in various colours here are some options as to what you could do next....

With a dry brush add colour to highlight details.  If you don't like the streaks of the dry brush just add a little water to your brush.

Go lightly with the paint, you can always add more but it's harder to take it away.  However if you have over worked any areas use the gesso to calm it down and blend.

I only used 2 colours in this piece which were inspired by the embellishments used.

To highlight areas, and to cover the buttons that wouldn't completely cover with the paint, I used silver gilding wax.  I love this stuff!  It can really make a piece pop and it covers the areas that the paint couldn't.

For this next one I created I used a lot more colour....

After painting with white gesso, I applied a base coat in the palest colour roughly with a brush.

I used sponges in the next step to get a different finish. I added orange and green paints and went back over areas with the pale colour to add depth and help blend the colours.  I just kept adding colour until I was happy with how it looked.

I used the gesso again to highlight areas and added wooden words found in my stash to finish it.

You can also use gesso in black which is what I used for this one....

Canvas using black gesso

I followed the same process of stencilling then painting with black gesso and I used metallic acrylic paint and applied it with a dry brush allowing some of the black to still show through.

Pebeo metallic paints over black gesso

I highlighted areas with gilding wax

Pebeo gilding wax over metallic paints and black gesso

I then added Aged Copper Frantage to add even more texture and give it an aged look. This works like embossing powder (you can check out my tutorial on embossing powder here). I roughly added a Versamark ink pad over areas I wanted the frantage to be and sprinkled the powder over these areas.  I wasn't worried about it being neat or if the powder went in other areas. Using a heat tool I heat embossed the frantage powder and then repeated this 2 or 3 times in areas so it was thicker in different areas.

Mixed media art using Frantage, gilding wax and acrylic paints

This is definitely my favourite!  Different colours are more prominent depending on the light and angle due to shine and texture of the paints, gilding wax and frantage.

Here you have three very different looking pieces of art using up my stash.  What do you think?

If you create a piece of art inspired by this tutorial I'd love to see it so please tag me on social media.

This tutorial is for non-commercial use only. You can make for yourself, gifts or to raise funds for a charity but please don't make any to sell for profit.

If you want to blog about this project, remember to credit me and link back to this blog. Please ask permission before using my photography and please do not reproduce my entire tutorial.  Thank you

Monday, 3 April 2017

My day at CHSI Stitches and the craft trends for 2017....

CHSI logo

Back in February I attended the CHSI Stitches show at the NEC and was invited to the Bloggers Brunch. CHSI Stitches is a free event for the creative craft industry.  It is across two halls: fabric, yarn and textiles in one hall with papercrafts, art materials and hobby crafts in another. The show features workshops, seminars and a catwalk show.  

catwalk show at the CHSI 2017

I took so many photos and notes during the day that it has taken me a while to go through them, but here it is, my post about my day and the trends for 2017....

First up was the Bloggers Brunch which was hosted by DMC. I hadn't realised how long the company had been going for, they were established in 1746! Surely that must be the oldest business? They are now part of the group that also owns Wool and the Gang, Liberty and Mamas & Papas. 

We were given a lovely goody bag of DMC products to try out and take away.

DMC embroidery and yarn at the CHSI Show

In our goody bag was DMC's new Colorista thread which we got to to play with during the brunch, it's beautiful!  I love to use yarn that changes colour when I crochet as it gives great colourful affects without having to change your yarn, this is the same principle.  It's been a long time since I have done any embroidery but I can see I will be doing more, it's so relaxing.

Embroidery work in progress

These letters they gave us are on a 'magic sheet' which sticks to your fabric so you can sew the design. Once you've finished you rinse it in cold water and the magic paper will dissolve.  You can get plain sheets so you can draw your own design to stitch.

One of the big trends this year is to embellish and embroider clothing to personalise and upcycle. They showed this example on a denim jacket

Embroidered, embellished denim jacket

I'm now looking at my wardrobe to see what I can embroider onto and with 1000 free embroidery patterns on DMC's website it will be a tough decision which design to use!

The show is a great place to check out the trends and get a sneaky peak at the new products that will be hitting our stores in 2017.  Here are the key trends I picked up on....

I've already mentioned embroidery is becoming a trend again and with the popularity of mindful crafting like colouring and zentangle, the next new thing is Zenbroidery....

Zenbroidery 2017 trend

Zenbroidery 2017 craft trend

Pantone launched their new colour 'Greenery' at the beginning of the year with the their 2017 palette chosen to "convey a sense of earthiness hues"  This is an interpretation of this trend....

Greenery trend in card making 2017 Greenery trend

2017 greenery trend, earthy tones

Scandinavian Christmas
I know it's only just spring but one supplier was showing their Christmas range.  If you are a retailer you will be planning ahead and some will have completed their plans for this year already. Scandinavia has been a fashionable theme for Christmas and it looks like it will continue which is no surprise with hygge becoming popular.

Scandinavian Christmas

Mixed media
I love mixed media and recently I've been experimenting more with various techniques and mediums (watch out for some inspiration and tutorials coming up on my blog!)
There were lots of mixed media workshops on and there were various brands exhibiting which suggests it has increased in popularity.  I was pleased to see one of my favourite brands, Indigo Blu, showcasing their new range with lots of lovely examples....

Indigo Blu mixed media art upcycling butterflies

Indigo Blu Junk and Disorderly

Indigo Blu Mixed Media Steam Punk art

Indigo Blu Mixed media upcycling pictire frame art

Also at CHSI....
The Bright Sparks Pavilion is an area for new talent and start-up businesses and the opportunity for retailers and buyers to find the latest designs and contemporary products from innovative companies. I had a lovely chat with Ruth from The Make Arcade, I just fell in love with her kits....

The Make Arcade at CHSI Embroidery kits

The Make Arcade at CHSI Embroidery Kits

I got to meet one of my favourite crafters Sheena Douglass.  Her ranges and creative techniques are my kinda style and she was with Crafter's Companion launching her latest range, Create-a-Flower.  I must admit I was a little star struck but she was so lovely and happy to talk to me.

Sheena Douglass Create a Flower

Sheena Douglass Creat a Flower

There was a lot of excitement around the Caron stand.  Firstly due to their fun display for Simply Soft...

models with knitted slippers

They even had knitted shoes!...

Caron Simply Soft Displkay at CHSI stitches

But a lot of the excitement was around their Caron Cakes....

Caron Cakes Yarn

These yummy yarns have only been available in the US until recently and difficult to get hold of in the UK but they are now widely available on our shores. They are available in a range of vibrant, variegated shades. Each ball features five bright colours and ideal for any project.  I can understand the excitement as they are fun, bright and feel lovely.  I just need to justify buying more yarn! 

Caron Cakes yummy yarn

Look at this gorgeous, hand knitted tree by Cygnet Yarns...

Cygnet yarn hand knitted tree

Back to the DMC stand where I saw these cuties....

crochet cute animals by DMC

As the event is for the trade you can't buy anything on the day and suppliers will generally have a minimum order requirement. However if you are not trade it is still an interesting event to see the future trends and be inspired, especially if you go along to one of the seminars or workshops. Unfortunately I didn't book on to a workshop early enough so I missed out (they are very popular).

I went with my friend Laura who owns No3 Royston which sells Haberdashery along with handmade products (including some of mine).  It was interesting to get her perspective of the event.  It was her first time and she liked the range of products and suppliers there.  She was able to meet with the suppliers she already has accounts with as well as meet new ones and see new products in real life.

CHSI is a huge event and next year I think I will go for 2 days so I can take it all in.  

What a busy but fun day. It was encouraging to see that the craft industry is booming with so much variety, there is something for everyone. 

I was kindly invited to the Bloggers Brunch by the organisers of the event, the views and opinions are my own and I have not been paid for writing this post.