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Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Spring Time Pattern Offer

Happy Spring Equinox!
The snow from the weekend has just about melted away, just in time for the arrival of spring. :-)

I have put together a collection of some of my patterns with a spring time feel and they're 25% off until Sunday. There are single patterns and a couple of sets as well, which means saving even more!

That's your spring/Easter stitching sorted! ;-)

The Feels Like Spring collection for UK/EU customersJust a reminder: for UK/EU customers I have to email your patterns because of an EU law that is a burden for small biz peeps like me and adds VAT for you if I don't. So. Please use your 'special' category to save yourself some money and save me a headache. ;-)

Feels Like Spring collection for everyone else.

The code to use is SPRINGTIME and it's valid* until Sunday, March 25th.

*25% off is only valid on the patterns in the Feels Like Spring collection.

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Friday, March 16, 2018

Friday Links :: Embroidery, Turtles, Tattoos

Seal pup
I took this picture at the end of March 2016. 2016! And now I am finally getting close to finishing the project these guys were/are intended for. It's what happens when you get sidetracked by book writing. I'm not complaining. ;-)

I hope you have a good weekend! xC

This Artist Uses Paper Cut-Outs to Transform Places into Works of Art.

How to use testimonials and reviews on the legal up and up. Some food for thought in this if you sell anything (online).

It probably won't come as a big surprise that I am a big fan of Hungarian embroidery. So beautiful!

Recent Street Interventions by Oakoak Turn Architectural Details into Visual Puns.

Render unto Caesar. The new pound coin designs seem a bit backward-looking. "...rolling out all the cliches of Olde Britain, as you might see in some not very good movie." Yeah.

If you like turtles, you should check out my friend June's adorable sea turtle crochet pattern(s).

Young Children Accompanied by Wildlife Take a Stance Among Urban Decay.

During a recent Google search I came across a lady who had parts of my Marigold Sugar Skull pattern tattooed on her arm! Check it out! And a couple of other elements from the pattern as well.

And it's not the first instance of one of my patterns in tattoo form!

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Friday, March 2, 2018

Friday Links :: Book Shop Dogs, Music, Redbubble

Blake in snow
Hi! Not as many links as usual this week. Blame it on the snow! More time spent wondering if it would indeed snow and then it did and I was so excited. It's snowing right now as I'm typing this! Blake loves the snow too, but his paws get cold quick so we can't go out for long.

Have a great weekend, friends! xo Carina

Book shops with resident dogs?! YES! :-)

I have uploaded a few pictures from St Dunstan in The East (a ruin of a church in London) on Redbubble. If you're interested in that sort of thing. I think I may start uploading some more of my London photos - and maybe other places too.

What I Learned About Masculinity When I Let Myself Start Cross-Stitching.

Your Best Year 2018: Productivity Workbook and Planner by Lisa Jacobs.

I'm diggin' the music of Swedish band Säkert! Check 'em out on Spotify. :-)

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Monday, February 19, 2018

Tutorial :: Bookmark with Tassel

Scrappy bookmark 13
I enjoyed making the bookmarks shown in this post so much I decided to make some more. Also, I am reading several books at once, so I needed some more. And since I had all the materials out, I thought I'd do a tutorial for the bookmarks. Not that they are super complicated or anything!

What you will need:
Scraps of fabric, approx. 3" on atleast one side
Larger scraps, for the back of the bookmark
Embroidery floss, half a skein per bookmark*
Sewing needle

*When making the bookmarks for myself, I just use cheap embroidery floss, the kind that's not really that great for embroidering with. If I were to make the bookmarks for someone else, I'd use a proper brand like DMC or Anchor.

Scrappy bookmark 1
Cut scraps of fabric to a width of approx. 3", the height of each scrap is up to you. I don't worry too much about the height.

Lay out the scraps in the sequence you want them. Completely at random or rainbow colour or whatever you fancy. You will need as many scraps as will make up the size of your bookmark. Mix up your strips with narrow and wider ones. Remember to take seam allowance (1/4") into account. Each strip will shrink by 1/2" once sewn together.

Scrappy bookmark 2
Cut your sewn together strips to size. And cut the back to the same size.

Scrappy bookmark 3
To create the pointy end, draw a guide on one end.

Sew the front and back together, with right sides facing each other. Remember to leave a turning gap at the non-pointy end. Cut away fabric at the corners so they will be nice and sharp when turned right side out.

Scrappy bookmark 4
Turn the bookmark right side out and push out the corners and the point end. Press the bookmark well. If you have trouble getting the edges nice and even, use the eraser end of a pencil to push them out.

Scrappy bookmark 5
Sew the turning gap closed. You can do it by hand so it is nice and hidden, or by machine if you just want some bookmarks in a hurry. :-)

Scrappy bookmark 6
Remove the label(s) from the embroidery skein and open out the skein. It should be a big loop of thread.  Cut the loop at both ends so you have two bunches of thread.

Scrappy bookmark 7
Pull one thread from each bunch and split into two lots of three strands.

Scrappy bookmark 8
Tie three strands at the top each bunch.

Fold the bunch in half and tie together with the other three strands to create the tassel.

Scrappy bookmark 9
Thread one half of the thread at top of the tassel through the point of the bookmark.

Scrappy bookmark 10
Thread the other end of the thread through the point from the opposite side of the point.

Scrappy bookmark 11
Tie a sturdy knot on the back of the bookmark and snip off the ends of the thread.

Scrappy bookmark 12
Trim the edges of the tassels if you want. And the bookmark is finished!

The back of my bookmarks. I used some random scraps that would fit the front. You could skip the "sew strips together to make the front" and just make the bookmark front from a single piece of fabric. There are lots of possibilities. :-)

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Friday, February 16, 2018

Friday Links :: Dye, Embroidery, Park Bench

The Village Haberdashery entrance
I taught at The Village Haberdashery on Tuesday and on my way home, I stopped to take a picture in the entrance to the stairs leading up to the shop. I love these cheerful colours, an inspiring sight as you enter. :-) I'm teaching there in March as well, so if you're in London and want to learn embroidery, check it out.

I am working on a new ebook with embroidery and sewing patterns. I haven't started on the layout yet and I have been wondering what would be the best format for it, portrait or landscape. I'd love to hear what you prefer, so I'd be grateful if you'd fill in this short survey to help me make this decision. :-)

Avocado Dye Top tips for pink. I would love to try this, but I don't eat a lot of avocados so it would be difficult to gather enough to do it. Have you tried using avocados to dye fabric or thread?

Thoughts as nest eggs. Very interesting idea.

Check out the work
of Japanese artist Matazō Kayama. Beautiful. ♥

Loving the embroidered cityscapes by Vesha Parker.

Make it Cuter—and More Branding Lessons From the Weird and Wonderful World of Japanese Mascot Design.

New Rules for Instagram Hashtags.

Lately, Tony and I have been watching a TV series called Superstore. I was skeptical at first, but I really like it. And because it's a few years old, but they only just started showing it here, it's on every night Mon-Fri. It's very nice to have something to look forward to watching every evening.

A Photographer Captures a Decade in the Life of a Single Ukrainian Park Bench. I love this sort of 'pointless' projects. In fact, I started one kinda like it at the beginning of this year. @justanoaktree. Tony thinks it's weird, but what does he know?! ;-)

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Friday, February 9, 2018

Friday Links :: Stop Apologising, Murals, Mars

Tiny blossoms
Walking Blake on Sunday, I spotted these tiny blossoms. Spring is on its way even if perhaps it doesn't exactly feel like it. Monday morning it snowed! :-)

In this episode of the Happier in Hollywood podcast, they discuss saying sorry when you don't need to. It's something I've been thinking about a lot lately. And something I'm trying not to do. Like apologising for not emailing someone back straight away or apologising for having an opinion.

Folklore Inspired Illustrations by Eveline Bervoets. Delightful. They remind me of Czechoslovakian cartoons I used to watch as a child.

The Email Charter. So much time could be saved if everyone adopted the email charter.

Werner's Nomenclature of Colours. I need this book. I love names of colours. {via Gurney Journey}

If you make lots of screenshots, especially if you make notes on them, you might find MonoSnap useful. I'm still getting to know it, but I think it will be very useful indeed.

Vegan tiramisu. I haven't tried this recipe yet, but it looks delicious.

Soaring Murals of Plants on Urban Walls by Mona Caron. Wow. Just wow.

2,000 Days on Mars With the Curiosity Rover. {via Kottke} Absolutely stunning photos from Mars.

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Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Mandalas to Embroider out in The US

Hello! Today Mandalas to Embroider is out in the US, yay! I'm still not sure why it wasn't out the same time as in the UK, but never mind, it is out today.

So I get to celebrate a second pub day, hey! :-D

I have occasionally checked the book's rank on Amazon UK, and a little while ago I spotted it as #13 on Amazon UK in the embroidery category. Unfortunately I didn't think to take a screenshot of it. But the other day it was #17 and I'll take that! And then I saw it as #10 on Amazon.com in the same category BEFORE it was even released. That made me very excited!

A few five star reviews have also popped up on Amazon UK and I am so grateful to those people who bought the book AND took the time to review it. It means a lot to the success of a book. So if you reviewed the book, thank-you, thank-you, thank-you!!

There are some more reviews and giveaways coming to a blog near you, I'll mention the links once they are up.

Here are a couple of reviews of the book: myBearpaw and Postcard Reviews. And don't forget that there is a free pattern from Mandalas to Embroider on the Calm/Moment website. :-)

If you review the book on your blog or Instagram or Goodreads, please send me a link so I can share it. xoxo

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Tuesday, January 30, 2018

A Perfect Green

Multi-Colour Embroidery
An embroidery work in progress. It's a much larger version of an embroidery I made many years ago. And sold way too cheaply. Lesson learned. ;-)

I'm excited about doing a new version of it, because my stitching is so much better now. And of course, now I have the perfect light green to use in the embroidery. That new DMC 16 is pretty much my new favourite DMC colour. :-)

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Sunday, January 28, 2018

Finished Object :: Art Materials Wrap

Paint fabric roll
Tony's niece had asked for acrylic paints for Christmas but I thought it would be a bit boring to just give her the paints and some canvas, so I made this art wrap for the paints and brushes we bought. Hopefully, it makes it easier to keep things together. I might make one for myself, come to think of it. I am forever looking for my water brushes!

Paint fabric roll
The strips on the outside where supposed to be different sizes, but I messed up the measurement on some of them so I had to adjust the other ones. I'm actually quite happy with this 'mistake'. I think it would have felt more.. 'static' if they were all the same width.

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Thursday, January 25, 2018

Books I Read in 2017

Green and blue bookmarks
For a few years now, I've felt like I rarely did any reading. Which made me a little sad because I used to read a lot. I was the girl who would visit the local library every week, browse through the shelves and bring a stack of books home. Usually, I'd read them all by the time I went back the following week. And it wasn't unusual for the librarians to find me sitting on the floor looking through books in a pile around me (I'd always put the books back on the shelves!)

But in recent years, there hasn't been a lot of reading. Or maybe there has, I just didn't notice. A few months ago, I put together a list of the books I've read this year and, happily, there are a lot more than I expected!

These are the books I read in 2017. In no particular order with some thoughts about each one. No spoilers, I promise.

And I've started this year book-strong, I've read several books this month already and I have so many books on the go right now, I had to make myself some bookmarks. With cheerful tassels!

What did you read in 2017? Anything you want to recommend in the comments? :-)

A Natural History of Dragons (Marie Brennan)
From the description, it sounded like I would like this book. But there was something about the language or...I don't know. Something about it annoyed me. So in the end I gave up on it.

Rivers of London (Ben Aaronovitch)
I bought this as a Kindle book on a whim because it was 99p. And I'm very glad I did! Although I am not that into supernatural things, I couldn't put this book down! I think the setting in London is what really hooked me.

Moon over Soho (Ben Aaronovitch)
This is the second book in the series that started with the one above. I read this in a few days over Christmas and last week I finished the fourth book in the series. :-)

The Wild Places (Robert Macfarlane)
I loved this book, although it was kind of a slow read. Maybe because I was savouring it.

Sleepers castle (Barbara Erskine)
Another book I read, or rather listened to, on a whim when I was trying out an audio book app (BookBeat). I really enjoyed it.

The Bedlam Stacks (Natasha Pulley)
The idea of the book is interesting but it doesn't deliver. I didn't care about the characters, some seemed completely irrelevant to the story, and the plot was kinda plodding along. I really only found the ending of the book interesting but that was way too short and hurried compared to the plodding along in the rest of the book.

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine (Gail Honeyman)
Another audio book, narrated in a wonderful Scottish accent. The story was engaging and surprising and contrary to the previous one, I cared very much about the characters.

The Words in My Hand (Guinevere Glasfurd)
The idea was interesting but I actually found the book a little dull. And the whole story was a little sad, actually. Maybe that was on purpose, I don't know.

Spectacles (Sue Perkins)
A very quick read. Entertaining enough but not really anything that stands out. I really like Sue Perkins and I think I had hoped it would be more... I don't know what.

Scandi Kitchen: The Essence of Hygge (Bronte Aurell)
I actually browsed through a few other hygge books, but I didn't actually read them properly. But of all the hygge books I came into contact with, this is by far the best. I read the whole thing and I should be able to vegan-ify a lot of the recipes which is a bonus. If you want to read a book about hygge, this is the one. :-)

An Excuse to Draw (Tommy Kane)
This is not a novel, but a collection of drawings. There is (hand) writing on many of the pages, so you can read the book, but I got it for the drawings. If you do want to read the text, do so in good light and perhaps with a magnifying glass to hand as some of it is teeny tiny. The drawings are very inspiring!

Spaceman: An Astronaut's Unlikely Journey to Unlock the Secrets of the Universe (Mike Massimino)
Autobiography on how Massimino became an astronaut. I am not sure it delivers on the title and 'unlocks the secrets of the Universe'! But if you're interested in astronauts and the Hubble telescope, I recommend this book.

All The Birds in The Sky (Charlie Jane Anders)
Ok, confession, this is a Kindle purchase which I have no recollection of reading. So maybe it shouldn't be on the 2017 list... I'll read it once I finish the books I'm currently reading. ;-)

The Sewing Machine (Natalie Fergie)
I kept seeing this on blogs and Amazon kept recommending it to me, but I thought it sounded a little simplistic so I resisted it for a while. However, I'm glad I finally gave in and read it because I think it may actually be the book of the year for me. I read it in July or August and I still catch myself thinking about it now.

How to Eat Better (James Wong)
Interesting book about the nutrients of various foods. I bought the Kindle version for 99p. I'm not entirely sure I would have bought a printed book of it.

My Heart Wanders (Pia Jane Bijkerk)
I bought this mainly for the pictures, but the writing is inspiring too.

The Private Lives of The Tudors (Tracy Borman)
This was both interesting and a little dull. It felt like there was a lot of "Henry VIII spent Large Amount on Whatever". Which is interesting to some degree, but did feel a bit repetitive.

Steal Like An Artist (Austin Kleon)
I really liked this book and I am going to read it again (and again). :-)

Hidden Figures (Margot Lee Shetterly)
I really liked this book, It was a fascinating look at a very different time and the women who did so much important work but got very little credit for it. I haven't seen the film that was based on the book. I'm not sure I want to... Have you seen the film?

The Lost Tudor Princess (Alison Weir)
I was interested to read this book about Margaret Douglas, the niece of Henry VIII. It was interesting but I had trouble keeping track of all the various royals and nobles and their plotting and scheming. I gave up on the book in the end.

Kick, The True Story of Kathleen Kennedy (Paula Byrne)
The story of one of the Kennedy sisters. It was interesting to see the Kennedys from a different perspective.

The Ashes of London (Andrew Taylor)
I really liked this book and was hoping it was one in a series, but it doesn't look like it is. I might read some of Taylor's other books at some point.

An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth (Chris Hadfield)
Another astronaut! Having read two astronaut bios, it was really interesting to compare their very different journeys towards the same goal.

Porcelain (Moby)
I really liked this book. I didn't know a whole lot about Moby apart from knowing that he was a vegan and enjoying his music for years. He is very self deprecating and has a great way with words. It was also an interesting dive into New York of the 1980s and -90s.

Landmarks (Robert Macfarlane)
I was looking forward to reading this, after enjoying The Wild Places so much. But, although this book is interesting, it just didn't grab me in the same way.

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Friday, January 19, 2018

Friday Links :: Toy Instrument Covers, Crochet, Quiche

oak tree
I walk past this tree almost every day when I walk Blake. I enjoy watching it change through the seasons. :-)

These crocheted illustrations by Tuija Heikkinen are delightful. {via SwissMiss}

I love Gmail short cuts and tricks. Here are a few that will help clear out a messy Gmail inbox and get rid of emails that are taking up unnecessary space.

I do not have a wholesale line sheet, but if I were to make one, I'd take a very good look at this post from Aeolidia.

Just in case you missed it last week, head over to the Calm/In The Moment website to download a free pattern from Mandalas to Embroider. :-)

I sometimes need a bit of help falling asleep and these Long Ambients pieces by Moby are excellent to drift off to.

Blogger Beware: You Can Get Sued for Using Photos You Don't Own on Your Blog. Doesn't just apply to bloggers.

Simple Tofu Quiche. I use the recipe for the 'eggy' filling, but add a bit of turmeric to it for yellow colour. For the base I use puff pastry and the vegetable filling is whatever I have to hand. Onion, tomato, broccoli are all nice.

Tony sent me a link to this version of Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit. It is played on childrens toy instrument. The Wackids have done a whole bunch of these covers. It is delightfully quirky. :-)

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Customer Show and Tell :: Stitched Snowstorm

Snowflakes stitched by customer ♥
I know I have said it before and I will undoubtedly say it again (and again): one of the very best things about designing embroidery patterns is when people get in touch to show what they have made from one of those patterns.

Look at all those snowflakes. When Gina, who stitched them, got in touch to show me, I whooped with delight. For real. Good thing I was home alone, so I avoided Tony's funny looks! So many snowflakes, a whole snow storm. And now I kinda wish I had stitched the originals in white on a coloured background.

If you're inspired to stitch your own snowstorm, you can find snowflake patterns in my shop:
Snowflakes for UK/EU customers.
Snowflakes for customers in the rest of the world.

(Yeah, there are two sections for patterns and ebooks in my shop because of EU VAT rules. Fun times!)

Thank you for sharing, Gina!

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Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Finished Object :: Dinosaur Cushions

Dinosaur cushions
My niece and nephew are crazy about dinosaurs. When I visited last year, a particular dino book was read several times.

For Christmas I wanted to give them something personal, but it had to be light weight so the trans-atlantic shipping wouldn't cost a fortune. So I made them custom dinosaur cushions. :-)

And it was the perfect project to put my new machine embroidery skillz to the test. The machine embroidery isn't perfect, but that just adds character, right?

Dinosaur cushions
Here are the cushion covers without Blake getting in the way. Seriously, it's like he has a sixth sense for when I'm taking pictures!

The dinosaur is based on a sketch of a drawing of a diplodocus I found online. I wanted something simple yet distinctive but without too many details where those machine skillz might not be up to it. For the names I just used a nice heavy font without any serifs to make things easier for myself.

Dinosaur cushions
One thing I wish I'd done differently, is use a fabric with a bit more contrast to the background on the orange cushion. I am slightly annoyed that I didn't notice that it wouldn't stand out as much as the one on the green cushion. But never mind.

Dinosaur cushions
The backs are these fun Michael Miller fabrics I've had in my stash for almost ten years. They are so fun and colourful. Luckily, there was just enough to make the backs.

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