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1  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Cupcake Pin Cushion on: April 25, 2010 12:58:16 PM

I made this pin cushion for my friend Julie, whose nickname is Cupcake.  She loves kitschy stuff and has just started sewing for herself, so I thought a pin cushion would be perfect for her.

I drew the pattern for the cupcake myself, embroidering it onto white felt using bright colours.  I used split stitch, seed stitch, back stitch and french knots to realise the design.  I then cut out the shape and backed it on more white felt, stuffing it with toy stuffing. 

I think she is really going to like it and get a lot of use out of it.

2  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Sunflower Shirt on: April 25, 2010 12:53:47 PM

My friend Betsy donated a couple of shirts to my materials stash.  They were brand new but a family member had sent them to her and she didnt really think the style suited her.  This bright yellow shirt caught my eye immediately and I knew what I wanted to embroider on it.

The colour of the shirt made me think of sunflowers and twisting vines.  I envisioned a large sunflower on the front with vines crawling away from it along the neckline.  The shape of the sleeves leaves a nice drape, so I added smaller flowers here.  I chose a simple colour pallet to realise my design in, only yellows, oranges, greens and browns.  Once I had finished the hand embroidery I added green glass beads from New York to add texture to the piece.

3  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Peacock Shirt on: April 25, 2010 12:51:19 PM

My Peacock shirt was inspired by the decorations around the cruise ship I work on.  The stage curtain in the theatre has a huge peacock appliqud on to it and there are many paintings of peacocks dotted around the ship.  There is one outside on the promenade deck that has its feathers shaped like hearts, which I really liked and decided to incorporate into my own design. 

The blue shirt that I hand embroidered on to was given to me by one of my dancers, so I have given it a new lease of life with my design.  I hand drew the design first, then marked the outline on the shirt using dressmakers carbon paper.  I chose my colour scheme based on the colours you see on peacocks and that I thought brought out the blue of the shirt.  Once I had finished the embroidery I added a few sequins to bring a little sparkle to the piece.

4  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / Upcycled Flower Garden Belt on: April 25, 2010 12:47:38 PM

I wanted to create another belt like my Rock Belt and originally wanted to make something a bit more feminine and floral.  I used an old pair of jeans that one of my friends had left for me and was thinking I would embroider on the denim outside with flowers, vines and butterflies.  I tried sketching out some ideas but nothing looked right to me.  I then discovered as I cut the waistband off the jeans, that the inside of this pair was lined with a white fabric printed with a floral pattern!  I decided to follow this pattern and let the design develop organically, excuse the pun!!  I started by hand embroidering over the flower shapes in the print with colours I consider to be floral more pretty and subdued than vibrant, but bright nonetheless.  I considered sewing butterflies and other gardeny items on to the belt but it didnt feel right.  I went for the simple approach and just used the original flowers as the focus.  I added green vines to anchor the flowers to something, instead of leaving them floating on the belt.  I added green beads to represent leaves and green buttons to continue the natural theme.

This a very feminine piece and will look good with outfits in pastel or pale colours maybe for a wedding or a garden party?!

5  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / Upcycled Rock Belt on: April 25, 2010 12:44:45 PM

My Rock Belt is made from the waistband of an old pair of jeans.  My best friend tore up his jeans for his Hulk Halloween costume and gave them to me for my crafty stash.

I frayed some of the denim and added chains hanging down to give it that edgy punk feel.   The belt is hand embroidered with rock symbols and words.  I drew each of the symbols myself and chose bright colours to realise them on the belt. 

I imagine this piece being worn low on the hips, maybe with a band tee and some dark skinny jeans.  I think you could wear it casually during the day to punk up your outfit, or out with your best threads to a gig!
6  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: General / Liberty Choker on: April 25, 2010 12:38:53 PM

Last summer I was in New York.  I was inspired to design a gown based on the Statue of Liberty and while I was at it I designed this choker to go with it.

Although I have not been able to create the gown, I have made the choker from blue and green glass beads found in New York.  The centre is filled with a wire wrapped crystal bead perhaps symbolising the light of hope?

Each strut of beads is constructed of bendable wire so the choker can be fitted snugly and comfortably to your neck.  I added a length of chain to the choker so it is completely adjustable.

7  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: General / Spiral Sea Necklace on: April 11, 2010 10:08:52 AM

This shell sat on my desk for about three weeks while I worked out how to wire wrap it without taking away from its natural beauty.  I loved the spiral of this shell so I tried to emphasise it with wire curling around it, but it wouldnt stay put!  Finally I worked out that wrapping vertically would not distract from the natural shape and would mean I could attach the shell to a necklace.

I used dark coloured wooden beads and chocolate coloured hemp cord to bring out the dark colouring of the shell.  I used copper coloured wire to wrap the shell to add a little colour to the piece and introduced blue glass beads from England to compliment it.

This piece seems very sophisticated to me, with its mix of colours and textures.  The dark colours seem to make the blue beads and copper wire sparkle.

8  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: General / Sun Bleached Beauty Necklace on: April 11, 2010 10:05:41 AM

When I picked up this piece of shell in St. Kitts, battered smooth by the power of the ocean, I knew it had to be made into a necklace, it's just the perfect shape for a pendant.  

I wire wrapped the top with white coated wire, then chose beads that reflected its colouring.  I chose a pallet that made me think of wood or bones bleached in the sun on a hot dry beach.  I used frosted white glass beads found in New York and pale wooden beads from Miami, Florida.  I strung the whole thing on pale hemp to give it that washed ashore feel.

I like the neutral colours and simplicity of this piece.

9  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: General / Sea Gypsy Necklace on: April 11, 2010 09:59:56 AM

I found the central shell slither for this necklace on a beach in St. Kitts and knew it had to be made into a pendant.  I felt like the Goddess had placed it on the beach just for me ;-)

I gathered together pale hemp thread and wooden beads to begin with, but then I had the thought to use glass beads as well.  I wanted to use several strands of hemp to make a thick cord, but it also meant that I could string the smaller glass beads I found in New York onto a single strand.  They then fell between the hemp cord, partially hidden, which I really liked. 

I wire-wrapped the shell with white coated wire, making quite a chunky top which I liked with the size of the shell piece.  I decided to call this piece the Sea Gypsy Necklace as I feel I am a bit of a sea gypsy.  I travel around on different oceans seeing different places but never settling.  This piece reminds me of the pull of the ocean, the curl of the waves and that for now, the sea is my home.

10  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: General / Ocean Sunset Necklace on: April 11, 2010 09:54:23 AM

This piece of shell, worn smooth by the power of the ocean, was found in St. Kitts.  I loved its bright colouring and wanted to use materials that harmonised with it.  I also wanted to use the wire wrapping technique that I used on the Oyster Bay Necklace again.

I had two different coppery coloured wires in my bag of supplies so decided to use both.  I wanted to add beads in a similar way to the Oyster Bay Necklace, but didnt want them to be as big a feature in the piece as the pearls in that piece. 

In a happy accident, when I was wire wrapping the links from the coloured wires, I created the first link without an opening.  I didnt want to undo it as it had come out perfectly formed. So I decided to link the coiled pieces with oval jump rings.  I then used fine gauge wire to attach seed beads in iridescent blue to the jump rings pretty!  I used brown coloured hemp for the rest of the necklace to continue the soothing colour scheme.  I like the warmth of this piece, dotted with the piercing blue of the seed beads.

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