Saturday, August 15, 2015

a visit to a French Flower Shop - a fleur d'emotion

Today we were walking through the town of Nancy in France when I saw a beautiful flower shop called Le Liseron -

I must admit that, when we are travelling, I can not pass flower shops - there is just something about their ambience that I enjoy.

 Le Liseron certainly has ambience by the bucketful, right down to the bridal salon where brides-to-be can take  time choosing their floral arrangements


 The stars of the show were, of course, les fleurs and no words are needed to describe them. They were exquisite






Nancy is more wonderful than I could have imagined and our visit to Le Liseron was a real highlight - tres Jolie!  I was even invited to see the "back shop" where flowers are dried and also the ancient cellar

I could not refuse an invitation to see "the back shop" 
and the ancient cellar


Thank you Sylvain 



Monday, August 10, 2015

Tatting and Silk Ribbon Embroidery on Felt Hearts

and... What am I going to do with all these hearts I am collecting?

I just love making them and trying new designs.

I cut the hearts with my Sizzix Bigshot and it easily cuts through two layers of felt

....this one has hollyhocks and a small tatted butterfly. I added some depth to the centre of the hollyhocks with DecoArt So Soft fabric paint
 .....this s a fairly simple one I designed for a beginners' class
one of my favourites.......with tatting and silk rosebuds
I love trying new things and added gold beads to this one as I sewed the back & fronts together

We are on holiday at the moment so these will be filled when we return home in a couple of weeks 

Happy Crafting and thanks for your visit



Canal - Narrowboat Painting

 Hello  again

I have not posted much recently as we are travelling in France in our motorhome. As anyone who reads this blog knows I am am an absolute craft addict, but I must admit, it has been nice to have a little break from designing and especially from tidying up.

I have, however, been working on some new designs to teach on two cruises later this year.

One of my classes will be canal boat (narrow boat) painting for beginners.

Traditionally oil based paint was used for this technique, but I will be using DecoArt Traditions. These are really good quality acrylic paints which will more than stand up to any uses my students will have for their finished items - not much chance they will be painting canal boats!

There are many books available......I really like this one by Anne Young

Wednesday, July 1, 2015


Crochet is the very first craft I taught 30 years ago! I first taught my neighbour Cath (who is still my best friend....and she still does crochet) and then to my colleagues when we worked in an out-of-town office and had nothing to do at lunch time.

Recently I have not done much crochet but, because it has had such a resurgence in popularity I have decided to teach it again.

I have designed this pattern because it has such a wide range of uses and can be used on a quilt, bag, hat  or as a brooch.

The pattern is suitable for beginners

It us written in UK crochet terms

Abbreviations: beg = beginning, sl st = slip stitch, ch = chain, 
dc = double crochet, htr = half treble, tr = treble, dtr = double treble

ch 34 leaving a 9” tail

Row 1: 
1dc into 2nd ch from hook and into each ch to end
Row 2: 5 htr into 2nd dc, 1 ss into next dc, 
*5 htr into next dc, 1 ss into next dc*, repeat from *to*  twice (4 clusters)
*5 tr into next dc, 1 ss into next dc*, repeat from *to* 4 times (9 clusters)
*5 dtr into next dc, 1 ss into next dc*, repeat from *to* 6 times (16 clusters)

To assemble - fold over the first two small clusters then roll gently and sew in place at the back of the rose

ch8 ,8 tr in fourth ch from hook, 1 htr in next ch, 1 dc in next ch, 1 ss, 1 ch, 1 ss in last ch

Turn work round, 1 dc in next ch, 1 htr in next  ch, 8tr in next ch. Fasten off

Please contact me if you have any questions about this pattern 

I crocheted this little piece to show beginners how the height varies with different stitches 


Sunday, June 21, 2015

Silk Ribbon Roses, Tatting and French Knots

Hi - these are a few of my recent projects combining silk ribbon embroidery, tatting and French knots. 

I am really enjoying hand stitching and is not too difficult and is very therapeutic. 

There are lots of videos on Youtube for all of these favourite tatting tutorials are by Yarnplayer and my love of embroidery and silk ribbon work was inspired by a beautiful book called "Roses" by Di van Niekerk

These roses were all created using 7 mm wide silk ribbon and the tatted edging was done in Lizbeth thread size 20

 Silk spider roses with French knot centres and silk leaves

I embroidered the French knots using 3 strands of  DMC thread

See you soon 


Sunday, April 26, 2015

Hand Painted Roses on Cards

Who doesn't love roses?

I love growing them, drying them, sewing them with silk ribbon and painting them

My orevious post was cards made with this Sizzix On The Edge Die and I could not wait to make cards  with painted roses. The lacy edge combined with pale roses is stunning. I love painting on black  and the cards look amazing with either coloured inserts or a greeting written with white ink

If you would like to learn decorative painting it is easier than you think as you build on your skills stroke by is similar to the way you learn the alphabet or a musical instrument, rather than being born with "artistic talent".  I believe everyone is born with some creativity but often lack of confidence and self doubt gets in the way of it! I didn't start painting until I was 55 and many good painters only take it up when they retire.

I teach arts and crafts on cruise ships and one of my favourite things is seeing passengers who have just made something for the very first time

If you want to start painting there are many helpful links with ideas, tips and projects. 

. There are hundreds of projects for all skill levels on the DecoArt site

I painted these cards with DecoArt Americana Paint on black card. is a quality paint with a smooth consistency and  comes in a wide range of colours


If you are a beginner you can achieve beautiful results with a new series of folk art painting kits called Folk It   The kits are designed to enable you to learn the basic skills of folk art and you can create beautiful hearts, greeting cards and home decor items using these skills. Everything you need to start is in the kits including brushes, paints a, surfaces and patterns

Give it a will love it!


Friday, April 24, 2015

Sizzix On the Edge Doily Cards

How exciting when you get a new die!

I already have a Sizzix doily die but wanted to try the Tim Holtz On the Edge one. I think it is discontinued but you should be able to find one online. I ordered mine from the US on Amazon UK and was happy with the price

I found the best weight of card to use was 220gsm. I tried thicker card but it was too difficult to get a clean crease and also to poke out the little itsy bitsy pieces

The top of this one is vintage lace and the inner is pearlised embossed card

....for the background here I applied soft artists' pastels in pink and green, rubbed gently with kitchen towel and set it with hair spray. The beautiful rose image is from the Graphics Fairy site and was applied with spray adhesive

This would be a good choice for a wedding or Christening invitation

A nice cheerful card with paper daisies and a rhinestone flower - it's good to mix textures and colours

 I had a lot of fun making these and hope you enjoyed seeing them



Sunday, April 5, 2015

Round Pin Cushion Tutorial - make from an upcycled cashmere sweater

It is a beautiful day in Edinburgh - great for children rolling their Easter eggs

Not for me however as I have been busy crafting and preparing lesson plans.

This year I will be teaching again on cruise ships and am always trying to come up with new projects....

What do you do with that favourite cashmere sweater or cardigan? You can only shave off these little  pilled balls for so long until it is eventually unwearable.

I have always liked these pin cushions so thought I would try making some.....they are super easy and quick to make and woukd make lovely gifts

Also this is a nice way to use up your stash of buttons and bling to make each a One of a Kind

To make one you will need;
A piece of cashmere
Embroidery floss or crochet cotton
Polyester filling
A button
Pinking Scissors
Needles (it is helpful to use a long needle for the final step) 

Fold the fabric in two with the right sides together. 
Pin together and draw round the edge of a small saucer or plate with an air erasable pen (mine was in the loft so I used a Sharpie and made sure I cut inside the marking). I used a 10cm saucer.

Cut out with pinking shears to prevent fraying

Sew together with backstitches approximately 3mm from the edge,  leaving a small gap to insert the filling, Then cut a few nicks

Turn inside out, stuff and sew the open part with small stitches

Bring the needle with double floss up from the back to the front at the centre point, pulling gently, then over to the back again. Repeat this until you have the required number of segments* (sorry I did not take a picture)

*you may find it helpful to make a paper template and fold in half two or three times and use this as a guide for the segments. I did it without a template and it is ok for me....I always say if you want something perfect buy manufactured not crafted 

This one goes nicely with the needle case I made recently

and this lily was cut with a o, then tinted with watercolours

and this one is embellished with a tatted flower  and hand made tassel (please see my earlier post for how to make tassels)

Since writing this post I have tried washing the cashmere in a 60 deg wash  - this works a treat and felts the wool: this prevents fraying, so you can cut with ordinary, rather than pinking scissors.
Happy crafting.........