Thursday, 21 February 2019

Tutorial - Wee Widget

I use this funny little poufy sqaure thingy all the time and I thought I would share how to make this.

I use this as a weight for when I’m quilting, cutting out a pattern from fabric, or needing something to hold down the various bits of paper I use when I am drawing and painting etc.  Ive got a bunch of these in different sizes and they are very useful.

I’ve done up an illustrated pattern (only 1 page) that you can print out if you want to scribble all over it or do what I do, and stick them in a folder.  For that rainy sewing day.

This is such a simple project to do.

You will need:

A square off fabric.  It has to be square or it will make you cry.  I started with an 11.5cm square or a 4 and half inch square of fabric.

Needle and thread.

Your chosen filling material, I use flax, but you might want rice, wheat etc.

I folded that fabric into quarters and finger pressed the edges.  This is to make guidelines.  They come in handy.

Fold the edges into the middle of the square and sew the together.  Have a look at the drawn images on the pattern  It’s simple and clear and it will make sense.

Once you have sewn all your edges together making sure you have left a space to fill (yes, I have learnt that the hard way).

I have filled my widgets with flax seed.  I like the way that feels and I like the fact that folks have been filling all sorts of things with flax since medieval times or earlier.  I get mine in bags form my local health food store.  When I bring the bags home I stick them in the freezer for 24-48 hours before I am going to use them.

Sticking the flax in the freezer means that you will have very kindly and gently gotten rid of anything creepy crawly that have been snuggled down in the flax (because that can happen).  Just be aware that if you want to fill your widgets with rice, wheat whatever, make sure you stick in the freezer for a bit first.

You could fill your widgets with sand or with crushed walnut shells if you want a pin cusahion as well as a weight.

Toy fill or wool won't work for the widget because they don’t have any real weight but could work if you want to make a pin cushion.

Let me know how you go, I’d love to see what yours look like.

You can find the pattern link here

Wednesday, 13 February 2019

The Dressing Table.

Elizabeth Arden Blue Grass advertisement 1959

I’ve got a large collection of vintage magazines and ephemera, plus scrap books filled with pictures of all sorts of vintage images and fonts etc, stacks.

It’s a bit of a sickness that seems to be shared by a lot of designers and creative folks. We are visual pack rats ๐Ÿ˜œ

But there’s a point to it. Every single image on every single page of everything I’ve got stashed away is packed with heaps and heaps of information and inspiration. I’ve got it organised - mostly. Some creative folks like a huge pile of chaos, that can be part of the process that is getting inspiration.

I love late 50s - early 60s design. It’s my thing. BUT while I love it too bits, I don’t want to steal from it. I want to be inspired by it.   In designing that can be a bit of a tricky thing.

Anyhoo, the range I’m building that literally came from some flowers I took from my garden (only because I had to dead head some roses ๐Ÿ™„) has now grown into a range of quilting/furnishing fabrics. I’ve just loved loved loved being swallowed up by the process, I’ve got a couple of designs in the range to finish but I’ve also starting getting together a few images to use as a base for a new range.

And so it goes.

My range that I’m working on now has a name “Dressing Table”.  I have such strong memories of the lovely old lady who lived next door to us when I was a kid. Aunty Joy had a white, low early 60s Dressing Table with a very large mirror that was covered in vintage Avon bottles, little ornaments, powder puffs, cut glass crystal bowls filled with costume jewellery and very large rings. My mother in law has something similar.

It’s funny how those snap shots from life get buried in the brain and always stay with you. 

It stayed with me.  As I painted roses and swans it was a no brainer, “Dressing Table” is my theme for my range and for the new one too. 

I’ll talk about how I look at images next week. What do you think when you look at the picture above. What can you see and what does it make you think? 

Monday, 4 February 2019

The birth of a range ... why is it so late??

Something happened the other day.  I took a picture of a bunch of flowers from my garden. No big deal really. But something happened.  I found myself wanting to turn those flowers into a large floral motif.  I had to do it.  I couldn’t wait for the small pockets of time I could grab so I could get it started.  And since that very moment I put brush to paper, I have not been able to do anything else (my bathrooms and the washing that needs to be done can testify to that).

I’m a planner.  Sometimes, that can be a good thing.  Sometimes I think I should plan more,especially with my writing.  But when it has come to my textile designs, I plan way too much.  The more I plan, the more confined and fussy my designs become and the more frustrated I become. After my last attempt at putting together a range, I found myself with great colours, a promising motif and a lot of silly ideas that went no where.

I was thinking way too much.

The new work I have done, to be honest, I didn’t think about it all.  I mean it, I just thought “paint”.  I used colours that I had mixed for the last failed range and paper I had in my studio.  I don’t think about anything, I just allowed myself to  paint and enjoy it.

I love the result, it’s excited me in a creative way and as a result, I’m getting fizzy brains.  In other words, I’m getting together a range that is forming organically.  All by itself.  Very cool.  I’m in unknown territory here because this isn’t a process I have ever followed before.  So its going to be interesting to see what eventuates. 

I’m instagramming the steps I’m taking so I can see the progress of the range.

I rustled up a quick co-ordinate to go with my floral centre3 piece.  It looks great.  Text can be great in fabric and it can be very versatile.  It looks great as borders or as highlighting or as a focal point.

Words are important, and they can have power.  They can transport and educate and create feeling.  Unless you use them waaaaayyyyy too much.

The words “dream’ and “believe’ are everywhere.  Wall art, fabric for furniture, fabric for quil;ting and clothes and t-shirts.  I hate to say it but those two, once very important words, now have the depth of wall paper.  I glaze over when I see them to be honest.

I went through all my vintage magazines and ephemera looking for great fonts and words that made my imagination go bonkers.  I then took the words I found and turned them into a design.  I thought it would be lovely to be lying  down on a quilt and l;eating the words fool your head with images.

Words like : Loveliest, cottage, garden and open of my favs, enchantment.

It only took a couple of hours to get the design finished. I thought I was done for the day.  I did all the stuff I needed to do and went to bed.

Like that worked.

My head has been filled with a deep, dark forest green.  I have that green in the bunch of flowers piece.  I love that colour, its very rich and out looks great with the mauve colour I have been using.  So my brain goes fizz fizz fizz and I’m lying in the dark imagining what that fabulous green looks like with gorgeous text on top of it, and then what that fabric would look like as an oversized business shirt, worn with boyfriend jeans, and a bandana made out of my bunch of roses motif.  Yeah, I’m in creation mode.  

So here I am, in the studio writing my blog post so i can say that I have been true to my scheduled and blogged on Monday(ish) and thinking about mixing some more divine green before I go to bed and start a new design tomorrow, without planning!

Saturday, 2 February 2019

Ah ... the empty blog and how to fill it.

“You have to have a blog Jo.”


But ... blog what?  I’ve been wrestling this for months and months now. So now, at last I’ve settled on what I would like to put here.

If you have found me on Instagram (revolutionarycake) and have come here (hi ๐Ÿ‘‹๐Ÿป), you’ll probably find an expanded version of something you have seen there. This blog is the place where I can write about stuff I like, stuff I’m creating and stuff that makes me want up create stuff.

And I’ll show you all the stuff too.

Starting from Monday, I’ll be blogging once a week. I have to, I put it in my diary so I can’t let the diary down (this is my year for organising my design schedule and staying true to my focus. ๐Ÿ˜ฑ๐Ÿ˜ฑ)

So this is the kick off post. The picture is of a new design I’m working on.  I’ve spent hours preparing another collection based around the colours I’m using here and to be honest, it didn’t thrill me   I plugged away at it but it all felt very stilted. I got grumpy and put it all away.

It’s been incredibly hot here, so hot it’s been melting the tar on the roads. While everything has been shrivelling up (including me) my roses have grown into monsters. I had to do a huge session of dead heading, and this big bunch were the left overs.

They just sang to me. So I stood on a chair and took a picture of the flowers while my cat looked at me like I was nuts.

I thought it would make a lovely fabric design so I had the picture blown up to an A3 copy and I’ve been working on the design ever since. Without thinking too hard about it and using the colours from the failed project, because they were too lovely to ignore.

A new design collection is coming to life. Woohoo. It’s going to be interesting to see what it looks like.