Polka & Bloom on Etsy

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Happy hexagons

Last night I ordered a collection sample from Spoonflower. This is one of the designs. The designs are quite varied, but they all have the same (happy!) colour palette in common. I can't wait to see them printed on fabric!


Can you believe the month is almost over? I mean, I know it's a short one, but still! That's one sixth of the year almost gone. Blimey!

Hey look, I have done more sewing! All my embroidered birdies all together on a cushion cover. Looking kinda cute, huh? Especially appealing to ornithologists, I suspect! ;-)

Friday, February 26, 2010

We always get there in the long run(ner)

Ages and ages ago, way back in June 2008, Jesse organised a fabric swatch swap and I was part of that. And, uh, on Monday I finally got round to making something with the swatches I got. Well, most of them anyway.

And this is what I made: a table runner. I am quite pleased with it, I must say! As different as all the prints are, I think they go together somehow! Unfortunately, I can't remember who I got the swatches from, apart from these two: the one on the left is from Jen of painted fish studio and the one on the right is from Jesse herself.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Custom work

Hey, this is the reason I've been a bit busy lately. A lovely lady asked me to embroider a couple of pieces for her and these are the ones she wanted. I seriously could happily sit and embroider all day, every day, so I jumped at this project!

They are both available as patterns in my wee shop. It was fun to re-visit these two because they are some of my very first patterns. And I am so happy that I didn't feel bored doing the same again. I actually found it quite inspiring. Yay!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

My Twitter pet peeves

So... are you on Twitter yet? It's good fun and it's a cool way to connect to other folks. If you are just about to join Twitter, I have a few tips for you. Especially of you want people who don't already know you to follow you back. I am no expert on this subject, and these are not Rules, but I do know what annoys me, and since I am nothing special, I am sure it bugs others too (in fact, I know it does.)

- Fill in all the profile information. Atleast as much as you are comfortable sharing. Don't worry, you won't have to write an essay about your life. In fact, there are only 160 characters for the bio, so brevity is a virtue! But do link to your blog/website if you've got one. Because of the 160 character limit, this is where people will go to find out even more about you so they can decide whether to follow you back or not.

- Tweet before you follow. I know, it may seem a bit silly to tweet into empty space, but just like blogging, it's better to have some content before you start letting people know you are there. So tweet to yourself for a week or so. (But tweet quality stuff.) Then start following people. However, if some of your friends are already on Twitter, you should definitely follow them from the beginning. They know you already, so it's all good.

- Got an online shop? Awesome. Someone probably told you that tweeting about your wares is an amazing way to let people know about your shop and you will get tons of customers from it. Maybe. But most people get Seriously Fed Up with you if every other tweet from you is "just listed in my Etsy shop!" or "just sold and relisted this in my Etsy shop!" That is great, we're all happy for you. But ask yourself this: do you call all your friends every single time you add or sell something in your shop? They would probably start avoiding your calls. If you want people to be your Twitter 'friend', maybe spamming them like this isn't such a good idea.

- Don't use the normal tweets as a chat room. Please. You and one of your Twitter pals may love a certain tv show, but other than saying 'I love CSI', others probably aren't terribly interested in your insipid discussion of it. Use Direct Messages (= private) for longer conversations which, if you were reading them from someone else, would seem really boring.

- That's not to say that you shouldn't tweet about stuff you love, you absolutely, most definitely should. People want to follow people who are passionate about something. Especially if they share your passion. And if your tweets are interesting enough, people might even follow you just because they like to follow how you communicate those passions. Pretty cool.

- Don't get into Twitter just to get loads of followers. If it is just a numbers game for you, and not about the connections with other people, then what is it worth in the end? Not much, if you ask me.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Ups & Downs

Page from my sketchbook. This is how I amuse myself. ;-)

I am sorry I haven't got a lot to show or tell at the moment. I'm working on some stuff and I am also trying to limit my internetty time a bit.

I hope you all have great weekends. And I hope that you do something fun and creative and maybe get a little messy while you're doing it.

If you need inspiration, why not download a couple of my free patterns? If you feel like buying one of my patterns, do mention this post and I'll send you another one for absolutely free*. Of course, you'll have to let me know which pattern you'd like. ;-)

*This offer is only valid until Sunday, 21 February.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Cafe Cartolina

How wonderous the interweb is and how kind people are. Last week I poked my head out of my shell (I am quite shy, so it's not something I do very often!), and emailed Fiona of Cafe Cartolina. I've been following her (incredibly inspiring!) blog for quite a while, but never got round to leaving a comment (again with the shy thing, I guess, but that is a whole post in itself!)

Anyway, Fiona emailed me back and she is as nice as her blog suggests. And guess what, she very kindly featured some of my embroideries on her blog today. Totally flattered and honoured!

Thank you, Fiona! And hello to the visitors coming from her blog!

I urge you to go and check out the Cafe Cartolina blog, I am sure it will inspire you!

Fruity Segments

Hello, feel like some stitching? Get yourself over to the free patterns page. One of them is for the one in the picture. You can fill the shapes with satin stitches or Lazy Satin Stitch. :-)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Lazy Satin Stitch

Oh I know, you are excited to know how to do the extremely complicated Lazy Person's Satin Stitch. Well, gosh, aren't you in luck, I am here to tell you!

Draw the area you want to fill with stitches. You can also fill in a shape you have outlined with back stitch or something.

Ok, these are some stitches I prepared in advance. Bring your needle up from the back and then down again on the other side of your design.

Bring up your needle as close to where you pushed it down, but not so close that you risk pulling it through the fabric. Then down again on the other side of the design.

This is the back, where you can hopefully tell what is going on; the actual stitching is going on on the back of the fabric.

Ok, I hope I've managed to make this make some kind of sense. You can space the stitches wider apart for an even more lazy casual look. :-)

Friday, February 12, 2010

Fruity geometric stitching

I know, it probably comes as a complete surprise that I have been embroidering! I suddenly got this idea and I had to Do It! So i spent a couple of days doing very little besides. Yes, sometimes I become a little obsessed. ;-)

I have been using what I like to call the Lazy Person's Satin Stitch. The lazy person being me. Also, it saves on embroidery thread compared to proper satin stitch, which is another good thing! I don't know if there is a 'proper' term for this stitch or technique..?

Here's the whole thing. I really like it, yes I do! Happy colours! This is a bit larger than I normally stitch. Usually, I use a 6" hoop, but this one is 8". I think I am going to do this on some new cushion covers for our sofa. But in slightly different colours.

You might be able to tell that the stitches, on the 'front' of the fabric, are pretty much flush with the fabric. But on the back the fabric 'bobbles' up. I was a bit puzzled by this, but I think it has something to do with stitches being tighter than the fabric so it pulls at it. Or something like that.

I really like the look of the back, so I think I am going to see if I can recreate this, on purpose, at some point.

In case you are wondering how to do the Lazy Person's Satin Stitch, I'm going to do a wee tutorial for it very soon.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A year in stitches

These are most of the embroideries I did last year - and 2 or 3 from this year have sneaked in as well. Not shown in this photo is the large pile of unfinished or abandoned projects. And believe me, there are plenty of those!

I am quite happy  to be able to take this picture, because I thought I had lost a lot of these. Just couldn't find them anywhere! Yikes! But luckily I found them.

Although, looking at them now, there doesn't seem to be that many. Must do better this year! ;-)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Sudden snowfall

I was sitting at my desk when all of a sudden the room was filled with a bright yellow light. I turned around and this was what I saw. I flew up, grabbing my camera and opening the door in one movement and I am so glad I did, because it started to snow a lot as I was taking the picture.

It was quite something, believe you me! So I quickly switched to video mode and here is a couple of little videos I shot. There was literally seconds in between the two videos and you can really see how it picked up somethin' crazy! I love snow!

Dotty for Wonky

This is quite special to me. It is fabric with my design on it (I've mentioned it before). But before I only had a 8"x8" swatch of it. Now I have, not exactly yardage, but about a fat quarter of it. That is pretty darn exciting!

My mum bought some of it through Spoonflower and she very kindly gave me the leftovers!

It was supposed to be a surprise for me for when we visited in January,  but my mum didn't realise that I could see on Spoonflower that she had bought some, so she thought it was less of a surprise. But it totally wasn't! Because I didn't expect to see that she had bought it. :-)

This is what she made with 'my' fabric. Cushion covers for their living room. I must say it looks pretty awesome against the brown leather.

Having a bit more of the fabric only makes me want to make more fabric designs. Imagine the possibilities.. with the likes of Spoonflower you can have Your Perfect Fabric Prints!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Blue scarf

I made a scarf pattern. And then I made a scarf. This is it. I only had 1 skein, so it is a fairly skinny scarf. I wish I'd had 2 skeins so it could be a less skinny scarf. But it is ok. I like it! And it was quick to make and that is always a good thing: (almost) instant gratification. That's the kind of crafting I like! I might buy another skein of the same kind of yarn but in a different colour so I can make another skinny scarf, but wear the two together... :-)

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Blogging photos from Flickr - tutorial

Got a Flickr account? Want to blog your photos directly from Flickr? This is how!

Go to this page on Flickr to set it up.

This post is written as a help for my fellow Feeling Stitchy bloggers, but the same 'procedure' applies to other blogs...

If this is the first time you are setting up posting to your blog (or Twitter!), it may look slightly different, but you get the idea; click on a link/button that says 'Add a blog', instead of 'Add another blog'.

First you have to chose which kind of blog you have, Blogger, Wordpress, Twitter etc... It may send you over to your blogging platform to confirm permission for Flickr to post, but it should be pretty straight forward. It doesn't ask me to do it because that part is already set up for me.

In this case, Feeling Stitchy is a Blogger blog, so click on that one.

Ok, once you're back at Flickr, you need to pick the blog you want to blog to, feeling stitchy inthis case. Then click 'next'.

The next page should look something like this, click 'all done' and you are done.

But wait there's more!

The next page will ask you if you want to create a custom posting template. You should definitely take them up on this so the layout of the posts coming from Flickr are as much like your 'normal' posts as possible. So click that link!

Awww, a cute and kinda creepy dog! Oh sorry, gotta focus on the templates.. Ok, pick the one you want. Bear in mind that in the first option the image will be 500px wide and that may be too wide for some blogs.

For Feeling Stitchy, the first option should fit, so pick that one so we can show off all the awesome stitching as big as we can!

It will then take you to a page that previews how it will look. Looks good, so click on 'use this' and you are ready to blog from Flickr.

Yes, you can customise it further, like border colour, type and width, but I won't get into that here. Do email me, though, if you'd like help with this. :-)

Nice, let's find a picture to blog.

Above most images on Flickr you will find a 'Blog This' button, which you can probably guess what is for by now!

But before moving on to the next step, I just want to add this: if the image doesn't have the button above it, it is probably not a good idea to blog it unless you get the permission of the owner. Some people want control over where their images end up and we should definitely respect that.

Ok, now, click the button and you will see...

..a drop-down menu with a choice of all the blogs you have set up for Flickr access (blimey, I've got a lot of blogs set up, huh?!). Click on the one you want to blog to, feeling stitchy in our case.

On the next page you can change the title if you want and write a post. Once you are done, click 'Post Entry' and you are all done!

Well, except if you want to add labels/tags to your post. Unfortunately, you can't do that from Flickr, so you'll have to pop over to your blog and do that.

Right, I hope this wasn't too confusing! Please get in touch if you have any question. :-)

Friday, February 5, 2010

Free embroidery pattern for you

Look what I made today. I am so happy with it. Especially because I went out of my comfort zone a bit. Using colours that (to me, anyway) are a lot more subdued than the ones I normally use. The light was kinda bad today, so the photo has suffered a bit and doesn't show the colours properly.

I have more ideas for similar patterns and when I had the name for this one, it occurred to me how they will go together. Now when I tell you the name, maybe you can guess what theme I have in mind? This pattern is called 'Parterre du Feu'..

And guess what, you can get it for F R E E by following this link: Get Parterre du Feu!

It is a fairly quick pattern to stitch, it should be possible to finish the smaller version over a weekend. ;-) There are 2 sizes of the pattern, with stitch and DMC colour suggestions. If you make the pattern, please share in the Stitching Polka & Bloom embroidery group on Flickr. Which I also hope you will join if you buy any of my patterns.

Hope you like-y! :-)

The small print...

Please note that the pattern is for personal use only. You are not allowed to sell it or anything embroidered with it. If you like the pattern, feel free to link to this post, but please do not distribute the pattern yourself.

Monday, February 1, 2010

New paintings + a sale

I've been painting and these two ladies are some of what I have been doing. The one above is a bit unusual for me, because I very rarely use black. But sometimes you have to get out of your comfort zone, right?

They are both in the shop and whaddya know, I'm having a little sale because the days have started getting longer and if that isn't worth celebrating, I don't know what is!

All the paintings are 20% off, including the two in the image below.

Mosaic Monday, February 1

1. Untitled, 2. OMG! Maryse! Martha Stewart totally has a small colander available!, 3. In the Wayward Garden (detail), 4. internet zombie, 5. Kitchen Shelving, 6. Un gatico acostao! ;P, 7. in case your curious, 8. Don't be so vanilla!, 9. Embroidered Pincushion, 10. 'Beach Huts' (Detail), 11. bypassing winter..., 12. Unecht {= fake}, 13. Untitled, 14. Untitled, 15. Leaves Repeat Pattern, 16. snow