Monthly Archives: July 2016


In Stitches

satin_stem_frenchHere are a few of the stitches I’ve been practising for my little cushion (see previous post).

Stem stitch is very sweet and is a definite favourite. Almost up there with the French Knot.

Back Stitch, Split Stitch and Running Stitch are useful basics to know as well.

I’m no expert at hand embroidery but enjoy it enormously and love adding new stitches to my repertoire.

I’m sharing with you my tutorial  for sewing Feather Stitch today. It’s versatile, quick and easy.


feather stitch_p1








You can download the full PDF tutorial here:  feather stitch


Hare Cushion










Today I find myself in a meditative mood. Maybe somewhat sombre. I didn’t actually realise that I had any feelings of being blue until my choice of music was that of Purcell’s Dido’s Lament ‘When I am laid in earth’. Hmm.

It’s exquisite. Pure. Beautiful. But not jolly.

Also appealing right now is Mozart’s Requiem. The ‘Lacrimosa’. Glorious and transcendental. But hardly upbeat and happy.

Anyway, I’m sure I’ll pick up in a bit and will end up playing Feeling Good by the Muse.

Am starting to make little pieces that will form an inset panel for a small cushion.  It will feature the two running hares that I have used in other projects (I made my own templates in Illustrator). The Irish hare was immortalised as the animal featured on the Irish pre-decimal three pence piece and is an integral part of rich Irish folklore; its myths and magic are tightly woven into Ireland’s history.

There are many tales of hares in Celtic mythology. Shape-changing women, with magical abilities to transform into hares, abound. The Celtic warrior, Oisin, once hunted a hare and wounded it in the leg. The stricken animal ran for cover in some bushes. Oisin followed it and found a door leading into an underground passage and entered the way. The passage eventually opened into into a huge hall where he found a beautiful young maiden. She was sitting on a throne bleeding from a wound in her leg.

Ancient tribes celebrated the hare for being one of the first of nature’s bounty to emerge after long, dark winters. Struggling to survive on limited rations during the bleak months, the hares were caught and eaten providing good, hot meals for the cold and hungry. The end of winter and the start of spring also meant the birds were preparing their nests and laying eggs. The hare became associated with eggs and became a symbol of new life.

The Celts believed that the goddess, Eostre, changed into a hare at the full Moon and the hare was her most beloved and sacred animal spirit. And so the hare became associated with the Moon, dawn and Easter (and eggs!).

The hare was also sacred to the White Goddess, the Earth Mother. Boudicca was said to have released a hare before each battle and ‘see’ the outcome by interpreting the actions and behaviours of the freed animal. She even took one into battle with her as a lucky amulet and kept it safe beneath her cloak.

They are still celebrated in parts of Ireland to this day. The  ‘White Hare of Creggan’ can be seen at the An Creagan Visitor Centre in County Tyrone and its white silhouette appears on many houses as symbols of good luck and protection.

Sadly, despite their long association with Ireland, the Irish hare of today struggles to avoid extinction as their natural habitats are systematically destroyed for the ‘needs’ of man.

Getting back to my little cushion!

Anyway, my little cushion panel will depict hares running and playing under the moon on a wild, rugged wilderland. I would like to capture some symbol of magic in there, somehow. I shall have to think about it.

The woolen strip will be stitched to some cream linen. I looked for a good sized panel piece but, to my tremendous shock, have only scraps! That is being remedied and Higgs and Higgs and have ordered a couple of metres, via Amazon.

And I will be using a few new (to me) hand embroidery stitches to decorate and have been practising Feather Stitch,which I think will work nicely as the green foliage of Ling Heather and Satin Stitch for Ribwort leaves.

Bullion Knots are also new to me and kind of tricky. You really need a needle with no taper to it; normally the eye of the needle is wider than the shaft and the increase in the girth of the eye as you pull through the coils of this knot Knot creates some difficulty and disturbs the neatest of the result.

I was delighted to see Milliners’ Needles on Amazon – they have a single width and perfect for such stitches. They are ordered and on their way.

Anyway, time to move about and shake off this mumpish and glumpish downer. Must get a wiggle on. Bye for now.


Flowered Pots








Well, my neighbour actually loved the last pot and paid me more than I normally ask! Phew. A lot of work goes into each one and takes days and days to complete. She called me round to show it planted with some beautiful lillies. It set it off something lovely.

Anyway, have just finished one for another 50th anniversary. The pots are terracotta and painted with a biscuit-coloured eggshell before adding the graphics. The edges are outlined with gold acylics to give the pot some lustre and as a nod to it being a golden wedding anniversary.

m_TPink peonies on one side and butterflies on the other.





















It’s just had its last coat of Mod Podge and am waiting for it to fully cure. I hope it looks proper fabulous planted up with something gorgeous.

There must be something in the water here for so many couples to live to good old ages. I have a fair way to go to catch up with them and hope I’ll wear as well as they have.


Painted Flower Pots










I’m decorating a pot for a neighbour who wants it for her friends’ golden anniversary. She will be buying a bushy plant to fill it and make it a good show. The pot is to go inside a porch, facing the street so one of the things I was asked to include was the door number. And, to really personalise it, their names are on the rim.

The pot is a medium-sized terracotta one and was painted inside and out with an egg shell paint in a soft biscuit colour. I printed the names onto 100gsm paper with  a laser printer. It was Mod Podged onto the rim and when dry, had the surface paper dampened and rubbed to show the underlying print. In the picture, you can see it needs another damping and rubbing to remove the last of the paper.

You can see it’s decorated with flowers and butterflies.










The design is also highlighted with touches of bronze and gold acylic paints.

Tons of work went into it.

I gaffed, though.

The flowers and butterflies were done before the numbers. And because the pot has curvature and there are difficulties in holding it steady yet accessible to turn…

And from the angle I painted them on, they looked good. Not symmetrical – I was going for a slight ‘jaunty’ effect.

But, when viewed face on and upright…. groan. I cringe to show you… but what the heck – you can learn from my mistake and always have a second pair of eyes to check the positioning and composition…

Parallax  fu**ery at its finest:











The single butterflies are too close. The nine looks like it’s falling off…

Am going to show neighbour and tell her I’ll buy the pot off her (she supplied the pot) and not charge her for the design. I’ll keep it and do something with it. She then has the weekend to find something else for her friends.

The painting pot Gods were not there for me. Damn.

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