Polka & Bloom on Etsy

Monday, September 10, 2018

Days Out :: Colchester

Colchester, August 2018
A few weeks ago, Tony and I went to Colchester. We've talked about going there for years and never got round to it, although it's not that far at all!

We saw the castle, which was a little bit disappointing. You can't see that much of the inside of the castle and what you can see is used for museum displays. Which were interesting, but not what we were expecting. Also, it was really, really hot inside.

Colchester, August 2018
Nice flowers in the castle park.

Colchester, August 2018
I am a bit of an Ancient Rome nerd so I was actually more excited to see this Roman wall. Colchester was the first Roman capital in Britain, back then they called it Camulodunum. The wall was built after Boudica's rebellion in 61 CE. I guess the Romans got scared of the natives after that. ;-)

Colchester, August 2018
Tony taking a picture of a swan.

Colchester, August 2018
There are lots of pretty little streets in Colchester, I wish I'd taken some more pictures of them!

Colchester, August 2018
Speaking of pretty, isn't this the prettiest house ever? :-)

Colchester, August 2018
We ended the visit with ice cream (Tony) and a very delicious shake (me) from Shakers, a vegan fifties style milkshake place and diner. Based on what we had, I can very much recommend it!
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Friday, September 7, 2018

Thank You For Your Comments!


If you have left a comment on one of my posts in the past 2-3 months: Thank You! I used to get an email notification every time someone left a comment, but I haven't had one in ages. When, by chance, I thought I would check my comments, it turned out there were a bunch waiting to be approved (or sent to spam!)

So if you left a comment and wondered why the heck it hadn't appeared on the blog, this is why. It's not you, it's my fault. Although, mostly it's Blogger's fault for not notifying me of those comments. ;-)

Thank you for reading and commenting!! xo Carina


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Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Iron-On Sale!


So...I was going to post about my new book/kit Folk Art Embroidery being published today, but it looks like it's been postponed until next month. Although, I do still have a couple of copies in my own shop (which I'm happy to sign for you, of course!) but I won't get more copies because they take up quite a bit of space to store. So if you want a signed copy..once they're gone, they're gone.

Instead I can tell you that my Calavera Sugar Skull iron-on transfer is on sale in my Etsy shop.

40% off and you don't even need a code! On sale until Tuesday next week (September 11, 2018).

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Friday, August 31, 2018

Friday Links :: Storytelling, Embroidered Typography, Landscapes

Mikuna vegan cafe august 2018
Last weekend I visited my parents in Denmark while my sister and her family were in town too. It was so great to see them all! My niece and nephew are almost four now, so it's a bit easier to communicate with them than when I visited them in California last year. :-)

It was a jam packed weekend. On Saturday, the grown up 'girls' went to a fabric shop and then to Århus to have a wander round. Per my request. I needed to soak up as much Danishness as possible. We had delicious lunch at Mikuna, a vegan takeaway cafe. I'd been thinking about the delicious burger I had there last year. I'm glad we made it there because the cafe had its very last open day the following day!

Sunday some of my friends came for lunch and we had a jolly afternoon chatting and laughing. :-)

The 10 Principles of Storytelling.

How to Send Canned Responses as Auto-Replies in Gmail.

Embroidered Typography Celebrates the Joy of Wearing Sweatpants and Staying In. Replace sweatpants with pjs and I'm in. ;-)

Ten drawings for creative people, to motivate and inspire.

If you use Inkscape instead of Illustrator (is it still called Illustrator?), you might find this useful: Custom palettes in Inkscape. I had NO idea you can make custom palettes!

If you would like to try Inkscape (it's free!) here's a good tutorial for beginners.

Abstracted Dual Landscapes Created Using Cleverly Placed Mirrors.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Finished Project :: Colourful New Bag!

Tropical Leaves fabric - new bag
I made myself a new bag! Nice and colourful, using some of the swatches from my Tropical Leaves Spoonflower designs. See more pictures here of the fabric swatches.

I really had trouble deciding which of the designs to use. I wanted to 'show off' as many as possible, but I didn't want to make it look too busy or over crowded. In the end I decided on four different ones on each side of the bag, so eight in total.

For the bottom and the straps I cut up an old pair of jeans. Use what you have, right?! I really like the effect of the denim. It reads as a solid, but when you get up close, there is differences in the denim fabric, either by design or from wearing the jeans. I like the added texture that adds.

Oh and I had an excuse to add one of my labels from Dutch Label!

(You can still get 15% off your first order from Dutch Label for another month, see the bottom of this review post I posted a few weeks ago.)

Tropical Leaves fabric - new bag
The other side is a bit brighter, more contrasts! I do love that orange design. :-)

I forgot to take a picture of the inside but the bag has a small inside pocket and is lined with blue Rosali fabric from IKEA in my stash. And I had a zip so I could make a recessed zip at the top. So apart from the Spoonflower swatches, the bag was made entirely from my stash. I like that. :-)

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Monday, August 13, 2018

Day Out :: Conservatory Fabric at The Village Haberdashery

Conservatory fabrics at The Village Haberdashery
On Saturday I was at The Village Haberdashery for a celebration of the new Conservatory fabric first collection. The collection is guided by Anna Maria Horner and this first 'edition' also includes designs by Monika Forsberg, a Swedish designer who lives in London, and Arounna Khounnoraj of Bookhou.

Anna Maria and Monika were there to tell us all about the fabrics and show off some beautiful quilts from the three collections.

Conservatory fabrics at The Village Haberdashery
Here's Anna Maria (and Charlotte!) showing the quilt made using fabric from all three collections. I think it was my favourite. The white background really makes all the colours pop! And that block next to Anna Maria's hand really makes me want to do some appliqué!

Conservatory fabrics at The Village Haberdashery
I was really excited when I heard that Monika's designs were going to be turned into fabric. I have followed her work on Instagram for a while and I'm really smitten with it. It has a playful, childlike (but not childish) feel to it and I'm really digging that. After seeing it in person, I was struck by how it sort of reminded me of IKEA fabrics I remember from my childhood. Which is not a bad thing in my opinion!:-D

Conservatory fabrics at The Village Haberdashery
Another couple of Monika's designs plus one of Arounna's (on the left).

Conservatory fabrics at The Village Haberdashery
I am really digging this magenta and dark blue design from Arounna. Blues and pinks go very well together if you ask me. ;-)

Conservatory fabrics at The Village Haberdashery
The quilt made with Arounna's designs.

Conservatory fabrics at The Village Haberdashery
The quilt made with Monika's designs.

Conservatory fabrics at The Village Haberdashery
The quilt made with Anna Maria's designs.

Conservatory fabrics at The Village Haberdashery
A couple of colourways of the different collections. They play very well together, even the designs you might not like so much. It's fun to see them all together, it's rare to be able to do that with a whole collection, when you usually have to rely on seeing fabrics online.

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Friday, August 10, 2018

Friday Links :: Neon, Trolls, Dogs

Nyhavn - Copenhagen - July 2014
A picture from our trip to Denmark in the summer of 2014. I'm off to Denmark in a couple of weeks. Just for the weekend to see my sister and her family while they're in Denmark. I'm looking forward to seeing my niece and nephew again! The other day I was talking to my sister and my nephew was telling me how he was going to Coconut Haven soon. Coconut Haven = Copenhagen!! 😂😂

I was watching the first episode in the BBC's The Story of Ireland and the striking black and white illustrations used throughout caught my eye. I couldn't quite figure if they were woodcut print or whatever. But the illustrator, David Rooney, was mentioned in the credits, so I headed to his website to check it out. Turns out they are scraperboard illustrations. A technique I'd never heard of before. Although, I seem to recall playing with something similar when I was child. Check out the illustrations for the TV series here, they are really stunning.

Mischievous Wooden Trolls Take Over an Arboretum in Northern Illinois.

Landseer's Dog Studies.

And these delightful sketches of dogs at an animal shelter. The very last one looks a lot like Blake. :-)

Embroidery stitch to try: Granito stitch.

25 Secrets of Adulthood that I’ve Learned the Hard Way.

The Neon Archives: An Exploration of Hong Kong’s Fading Neon Landscape.

I love how sometimes Spotify randomly plays music by artists I'd never heard of before and I totally dig it. Like Alessia Cara. I guess Spotify knows I'm into singer-songwriters. ;-)



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Wednesday, August 8, 2018

New Book! :: Folk Art Embroidery

Folk Art Embroidery book
Yesterday there was only four weeks until my next book/kit is published!! Folk Art Embroidery is a collection of embroidery designs inspired by folk art from different parts of the world. If you've followed this blog for a while, I think you know that folk art is something I am very inspired by, so I was really excited to do a book all about that!

Unlike my other books, Folk Art Embroidery is part of a kit where you get a hoop and needles plus threads, fabric and an iron-on transfer to make two of the patterns.

I have five signed copies of Folk Art available, and I probably won't get anymore. Because it's a kit, storing the boxes takes up a lot of room! So if you want a signed copy of this book, now's the time. Once they're gone, they're gone. ;-)

The patterns are inspired by all kinds of folk art: Russian doll, Moroccan tiles, Japanese maneki neko, mud cloth, Pennsylvania Dutch etc etc. It was really interesting exploring all these different things. Some I already knew a bit about, others were completely new to me. And some I thought I knew about turned up some surprises. For example, did you know that the Russian matryoshka stacking dolls are actually inspired by Japanese dolls? I had no idea!

Folk Art Embroidery book
There are 10 patterns in the book, some are quite quick to stitch, while others require some time to finish. A couple of them have a lot of satin stitch! :-)

If you want to have a look at the inside of the book from the kit, here are a couple of screenshots. The book has all the "get started with embroidery" you need and also some information about the culture which inspired each embroidery design.






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Sunday, August 5, 2018

Tropical Leaves :: Fabric Collection

Tropical Leaves fabric swatches - Spoonflower designs
I made a new fabric collection (that sounds very fancy!) over on Spoonflower. It's called Tropical Leaves because it is all about leaves and fruity, tropical colours. :-)

I wanted to see what I could do with just a few leaves (and dots) and limited number of colours. This is what I came up with! I'm really happy with how they turned out.

It was really fun to play with these designs. There are different scales of design and variation in the 'density' of the designs. Some have big designs and some have smaller designs. Some are really densely filled and others have space in between the different elements.

I also wanted contrasting colour and complementing colour. So they can be combined in lots of ways. Mostly pinks (yes!) or mostly blue or green. Blue with yellow, green with orange, pink with green etc etc. Or just put them all together in one happy mix!

Not sure what I am going to make with my swatches, but I think maybe I will use some of them to make a very bright and cheerful bag for myself. :-)

Find Tropical Leaves on Spoonflower if you fancy taking a look.

Tropical Leaves fabric swatches - Spoonflower designs


Tropical Leaves fabric swatches - Spoonflower designs


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Friday, August 3, 2018

Friday Links :: Book, Uncanny Cats, Collages

Festival of Quilts 2015
Throwback to the Festival of Quilts in 2015. FoQ is on again next weekend, I wish I were going this year, but I'm not. Maybe next year. :-)

The heatwave is back. I really rather wish it wasn't. The novelty of temperatures around 30°C wears off pretty quickly. But now it's back after the weather cooling down a bit this past week. I think the best thing to do is find somewhere in the shade, curl up with a book in one hand and an ice lolly in the other. :-D

Recently, I read How To Stop Time by Matt Haig. I'd seen it recommended/places in various places over the past few months and that makes me weirdly suspicious, like if something is popular...it can't be that good? Is it just hype? But it's actually a very lovely book! The ending perhaps felt a bit rushed and the book could easily have been longer. But it's good, I recommend it for your book in one hand, ice lolly in the other summer reading sessions!

Vanishing Thoughts Explored in High Contrast GIFs by Tracy J Lee. Beautiful work. Gifs aren't just for cute cats or Kermit flails! ;-)

Colorful Collage Illustrations by Clover Robin. What a delightful name, too, Clover Robin. :-) She also has an inspiring Instagram account and a book that's out soon, called Cut Paper Pictures.

Uncanny Portraits of Cats Crafted with Realistic Glass Eyes and Felted Wool. Impressive and also somewhat freaky how real they look.

Colourful, quirky illustrations by Herikita.

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Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Belated Happy World Embroidery Day

Colourful threads
On Monday it was World Embroidery Day*, did you know?

I meant to make a new free pattern, but life got in the way - and the current heatwave, it's like it's zapping all the creative energy out of me!

Anyway, since there's no new free pattern, I thought I'd atleast give you a discount for my shops to celebrate, so there's 25% off all my embroidery patterns. But you must act quickly, because it ends today, August 1st!

In the Polka & Bloom Etsy shop, the discount is applied already, but over at polkaandbloom.com you will need to enter HAPPYSTITCHES to apply it. And the same discount code is also valid in my Payhip shop.


*I think that pretty much every day should be World Embroidery Day. ;-)

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Thursday, July 26, 2018

Me Made Tops!

Me Made Summery Tops
Look at this! I mad these tops! Me!

And not only did I make them, I made several modifications to the pattern*, just making it up as I went. I am really happy with these tops. And comfortable sleeveless tops are necessary at the moment, what with the crazy heatwave we're having here in the UK. Today, it's supposed to read mid-30s°C. That is really hot for us!

I made the pink top first, using a pink pin dot cotton lawn with some of my precious Denyse Schmidt Flea Market Fancy on the yoke.

The other top is made entirely from fabric in my stash. You can just see a corner of the main fabric, a favourite floral purple/mauve fabric I've had in my stash for ages. The yoke (and for this top I made my own modification with a back yoke as well) is made with fabric from one of Tony's old shirts!

I keep all his old shirts, intending to make quilts with them. I never imagined I'd use them in a top for me. Mainly because I never imagined I'd make any tops for me. ;-)


*The pattern is the Dress No. 2 by Sonya Philip/100 Acts of Sewing from this Creativebug class. With this yoke modification.


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Sunday, July 22, 2018

Experiment :: Block Print and embroidery

Block print and embroidery
A test of a block print on fabric. Which I *had to* add some embroidery to. With no plan or anything, just adding stitches where I felt like it. It has given me ideas for a bigger project involving that block print, because I wasn't going to add embroidery to that, but now I am. :-D

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