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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Giveaway :: Mandalas to Embroider!

Hello friends, it's time for a giveaway of my new book! Yay!

One winner will receive a copy of the book and the DMC threads you see in the photo. A shout out to DMC for supplying the threads I needed for the book (thank you!!). I had a bit leftover so I put them aside to use in this giveaway. The amazing this is that I actually remembered where I had put them for safe keeping! ;-)

Anyway, on with the giveaway!

RULEZ for entering:

♥ Leave a comment* answering this question: My favourite thing/motif to stitch is...? (You must answer this question to enter!)
♥ Only one entry per person.
♥ Anyone can enter, as long as you have a terrestrial mailing address.
♥ Make sure there is a way for me to get in touch with you if you win. Whether that's your IG or Twitter name, link to your blog or just type your email address.
♥ The giveaway closes on Tuesday, November 28 at 8 PM UK time.
♥ The winner will be announced on the blog on Thursday, November 30.

*Comments have to be approved by me before appearing on the blog, so please don't be worried if your comment doesn't show straight away. I may be asleep or walking the dog when you make your entry. ;-)

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Monday, November 20, 2017

Califonia :: Part Four

Sutter Street, San Francisco - February 17
This is the last post from my trip to California (part 1, part 2 and part 3) and the last full day of my visit with my sister and her family.

My sister and I drove down to San Francisco for a girls' day out. On the wettest day of my visit, fun!

Peace Pagoda, Japan Center, Japantown, San Francisco - February 17
We headed for the Japan Center because I reaaaally wanted to go to Daiso. This is the Peace Pagoda outside the Japan Center. The pink blossoms cheered up a grey sky.

Japan Center - February 17
Inside the Japan Center.

Japan Center - February 17
Fake food so you can see what's on offer in this restaurant!

Daiso, Japantown, San Francisco - February 17
Ah, Daiso! All the cute! We don't need any more plates and I was worried they'd smash to pieces on the trip home, so no kawaii plates for me.

Daiso, Japantown, San Francisco - February 17
I have a thing for blue and white ceramics so it was really difficult not to bring home several bowls and plates and... chop stick rests?

- February 17
We had lunch in a cosy little restaurant called La Méditeranée which serves Mediterranean/Middle Eastern food. It was delicious. Not a scrap was left on my plate. One of the best meals I have ever had.

San Francisco - February 17
Random street, walking back from the restaurant to the Japan Center where we had parked the car.

Palace of Fine Arts, San Francisco- February 17
Palace of Fine Arts. In the rain. So much rain.

Palace of Fine Arts, San Francisco- February 17
That's my goofy sister photo bombing my selfie with the Palace of Fine Arts! :-D

Palace of Fine Arts, San Francisco- February 17
It was a bit cold in the rain but it did make the colour of the buildings and the greenery more saturated. The Palace really is a striking structure. I had seen it on my previous visit to San Francisco, but only from a distance. It was nice to see it up close.

Cable car- February 17
Obligatory shot of a cable car. ;-)

San Francisco - February 17
I was trying to take a picture of the houses in the distance, only later did I notice the eye lashes on this VW bus!

Golden Gate Bridge - February 17
We drove back to Napa across the Golden Gate Bridge and my sister pulled into the viewing area so I could get some pictures.

Golden Gate Bridge - February 17
It was still raining quite a bit at this point, but I had taken off my jacket to dry over the back of the car seat. So all I had to protect me from the wet stuff was my scarf. I use the word 'protect' pretty lightly as you can probably see! I got pretty wet, but it was worth it.

Robin Williams Tunnel, Sausalito - February 17
I thought it was quite delightful that this rainbow arched tunnel is named after Robin Williams. It seems fitting somehow.

I had a great trip to visit my sister and her family. I wish they lived closed, of course, so we could see each other more often. But then I would have had an excuse to go to California. ;-)

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Sunday, November 19, 2017

Relaxing with A Quilt in Progress

Blake and the Christmas quilt
Yesterday was a cold and rainy day here. Blake and I got pretty soaked on our afternoon walk. I had plans to do various things in the studio or work on my computer. But it was the kind of day that was made for getting cosy on the sofa with a quilt and Friends or a film. So that's exactly what I did.

The quilt is still in progress, as you can tell from the safety pins! It has been a work in progress for two years, but now the end is almost in sight and I'm hopeful confident that I'll be using it this Christmas.

The quilt is part quilted but I decided that I'd finish the quilting by tying it because that way I could work on it in front of the telly yesterday. A nice mindless task to relax with.

As I was tying the quilt, I got to thinking about why exactly I so rarely have a day of basically doing nothing. I seem to always be doing something when we're watching TV. Whether it's doodling in my sketchbook or embroidering something, or, yes, scrolling through my Instagram feed or looking for source images for whatever project.

I just can't not make/do something. Pretty much the only time I'm not working on something, even if it's just pondering it in my head, is when I am ill and forced to do nothing.

It's not that I'm go-go-go all the time, but there's always something my brain wants me to be thinking about. "I need to make this or that" or "remember to email that person" etc.

It was quite nice yesterday, to just watch TV all afternoon while the rain poured outside and Blake was snoring under the quilt as I was tying it.

I think I need to make this a thing, atleast one Saturday or Sunday every month I need to just switch off completely. Tony is very good at this. He sometimes asks me "why can't you just sit and watch telly without feeling you have to do something?"

As much as it's doing something physically, the mental 'exertion' of keeping track of everything is harder to rid myself of. I need to be better at making a 'brain dump' where I just write all the to-dos on a random list so they are out of my head and then I can deal with them later.

Wow. I didn't expect this post to take this direction... ;-)

I hope you've had a nice relaxing weekend. xo

Blake and the Christmas quilt

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Saturday, November 18, 2017

Inspiration Wall

Inspiration in the studio
This wall in my studio is pretty much the only one that is clear of furniture. It was my intention to keep it bare, with just the hooks for my embroidery hoops. That way I would have a clear wall to take pictures on, or maybe one day make a quilting design wall.

But as you can see, those intentions didn't last very long. Pretty bits and pieces are slowly creeping in. I have stopped resisting it now. I figure, I can just take them down if I need a nude wall. ;-)

Inspiration in the studio
I found this map of Pompeii in a guide book I bought when I visited there the first time. Almost 20 years ago, in January 1998! I think the map is quite beautiful.

Inspiration in the studio

Inspiration in the studio

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Friday, November 17, 2017

Friday Links :: Soup, Full Moon, Brownies

...en rose - stitch improv
Maybe I should rename these link posts to "links I have emailed to myself" because that's basically what it is. ;-)

Roasted Red Pepper Potato Soup. I tried this recipe and it was delicious.

I read a blog post about the Moroccan city Chefchaouen recently and it has the most amazing blue houses. Check out this Google image search. Spectacular, right? Almost unreal.

What are the full moon names? I wondered, and of course there was an answer on the internet. :-)

Fudgy vegan brownies. I haven't tried this recipe, but I'm gonna have to, they look delicious.

Simple Vegan Rocky Road Recipe. Another one I haven't tried, but it seems like the sort of thing that would be nice to make for Christmas. Or just anytime you want something chocolate-y and crunchy.

15 wild words to describe the natural world
. I kinda have a mild obsession with old words or weird words. Or words that are so very specific that you wonder why you never knew them because that would have been so useful.

If you like that kind of words, especially relating to nature, landscape and weather, I recommend checking out the books by Robert Macfarlane. I loved The Wild Places and am currently reading Landmarks. Finding the latter a bit harder to get through.

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Thursday, November 16, 2017

Orange Glow

Autumn leaves and Blake
On our morning walk. These leaves were calling to me from a distance. All gold and orange and warm and bright on this grey morning. Autumn is really here now. Trees are losing their foliage for real. Leaf confetti covers lawns and patios and even our bin.

Blake had to be in the picture. It is the rule. If I am taking pictures of something on our walks he comes and sticks his nose in it. "What are you doin'?" :-)

Autumn leaves

Autumn leaves

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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

A Stack of Happy

I can't tell you how happy I am about that picture. I spent this morning signing Mandalas to Embroider pre-order copies. I am so grateful that so many lovely people ordered the book from me instead of Amazon or something.

Everyone who pre-ordered will get two mini mandalas printed on fabric, ready to stitch or use as they are. The mini mandalas fit in a mini hoop like the ones used in the book.

And I also designed two large mandala designs just for pre-order lovelies. :-)

I was hoping to get all the books posted this week but it turns out I only have a handful of large padded envelopes. Probably should have checked that sooner! ;-)

So I'll get them in the post as soon as the envelopes arrive.

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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Resident Quilt Thief

A random picture of Blake. He likes quilts. He loves getting cosy under a quilt or three. :-)

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Monday, November 13, 2017

Califonia :: Part Three

Sacramento Tower Bridge - February 16
Way back in February, I visited my sister and her family in Califonia. I posted about parts of the trip already, here and here. Pictures from the last two (full) days have been sitting on my computer waiting to be edited and shared. So here we go with the antepenultimate day. ;-)

Sacramento Tower Bridge - February 16
On day seven, my sister, the twins and I drove over to Sacramento. The kids were VERY excited about this yellow bridge over the Sacramento River. When we returned home in the evening, they wanted to go over it again, but that was out of the way for us. So I told them it was closed at night. Amazingly, they bought and there were no tears! ;-)

Old Sacramento Historic District - February 16
We arrived at Sacramento's old historic district just after it had rained, so I got a few dramatic shots like this. The buildings in that area are beautiful and interesting.

Old Sacramento Historic District - February 16
Another building in the historic district.

!927 Riverboat Sacramento - February 16
There is a 1927 riverboat moored by the old historic district - I think it's used as a hotel - it was beautiful. I am not super keen on water, but I braved my fear and went on board.

1927 Riverboat Sacramento - February 16
My sister taking pictures of the kids. I like the movement in the picture and the pops of yellow and neon pink. :-)

Old Sacramento Historic District - February 16
There were several old trains by the old historic district. What giant beasts!

California State Railroad Museum - February 16
We went to see the California State Railroad Museum right next to the historic district. Lots of different trains, old ones and new. Like this one from Germany. Much excitement about being allowed to sit in the driver's seat!

California State Railroad Museum - February 16
But most of all, there was excitement about playing with the Thomas the Tank Engine trains. They would happily have stayed there for ages! :-)

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Sunday, November 12, 2017

Watercolour Effects

Playing with the Portra app
I kept playing with the Portra app (AndroidApple). Here are some of what I "made" - let's be honest, the app does all the work. ;-)

Happy Sunday, friends! xo Carina

Playing with the Portra app

Playing with the Portra app

Playing with the Portra app

Playing with the Portra app

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Saturday, November 11, 2017

Inky Twilight

Quilt and books
Do you ever wake up earlier than planned? What do you do? Stay in bed or get up and start the day with this bonus time?

I usually get up, but sometimes I grab a book and my sketchbook and settle in under a quilt to read for a bit. Usually with Blake by my feet. He loves being under the quilts.

Sometimes, I get up and open the curtains and then I go back to bed. There is something quite magical about the inky twilight darkness of dawn. It feels like I am the only one awake and the day is full of potential.

It is the perfect time to be half awake and let my thoughts drift in any direction they like.

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Friday, November 10, 2017

Friday Links :: Mandalas, Creativity, Sashiko

Playing with the Portra app
Blake is always cute, and now he's painterly too. I've been playing with an app I accidentally stumbled upon, it's called Portra (Android, Apple). It has a dozen watercolour and other artsy effects. Fun!

After you have enjoyed wasting time with that app, here are some links I have emailed to myself this week.

Painted Mandalas Gilded with Gold Leaf. Stunning work.

Speaking of mandalas, have I mentioned that my book, Mandalas to Embroider, is out ON MONDAY?! :-)

If you want a signed copy of the book, you can order it from my shop. If you just want a copy, you can order from Amazon (UK) or Book Depository. Hot tip: the book is only £7.02 on Book Depository as I'm typing this!

Gretchen Rubin has a list of 7 Brilliant Books About the Nature of Creativity. I need to put some of those on my to-read list!

100 free or low-cost ideas for self care from Mason Dixon Knitting. "28. Find a way to manage your self-talk, and mute the Inner Critic." Need to work on that one!

Your Guide To Surviving The Holidays as a vegan/plantbased person.

7 questions to ask when you're feeling stuck.

The Burner List: an interesting approach to to-do lists. I'm always tweaking my to-do list system, this could work.

This learn to do sashiko stitchalong from Blair Stocker at wisecraft looks like fun.

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Thursday, November 9, 2017

Naming Embroidery Motifs

Explorers spread
This is a spread in Mandalas to Embroider. There are 12 large motifs and 12 small motifs. The small motifs are designed to fit in mini hoops from Dandelyne. It was quite a challenge to design something that small! But I enjoyed it and I think there will be more small designs in my future!

Each mini mandala has a female name. At first I couldn't figure out what to call the mini mandalas. Giving them numbers would be boring. A 'Friends' episode style title would be too long, "The One with The Green Stars". Way too long.

In the end I decided on names of women from (mostly) science. There is a botanist, the first female kosmonaut, a computing pioneer, for example. I named some of them for my grandmothers, my sister and my niece. I really wanted to use Carolyn (Porco) but my niece is called Caroline so that was a bit too similar. So I used Maggie (Aderin-Pocock) in stead.

The three collections of mini mandalas are called The Explorers, The Gardeners and The Artists. The Explorers were named that because on that page is Valentina Tereshkova, the first female kosmonaut and Maggie who is a sort of explorer too.

The Gardeners collection name was inspired by Lucia Alma McCulloch an American botanist. The Artists was named a bit at random, I needed a name that would conjure up an idea like the other two collections. There isn't actual an artist name in the group (not on purpose anyway). Why didn't I use Frida (Kahlo)?!

So the names started out kind of random, but then they became a celebration of ladies who have made some kind of difference - or who are related to me. ;-)

What has been a real gift is to have Stacy, the photographer, interpret the names of the groups in such a wonderful way in styling the photos. I actually gasped when I saw the photos. So beautiful.

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