Polka & Bloom on Etsy

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Mandalas to Embroider :: Winner


My personal random number generator (that's Tony) has chosen number 22 and that is MadameRenard. Congratulations!

I will be in touch with you shortly for your address. :-)

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Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Mandalas for Rescue Dogs

six mini mandalas
These are six of the mini mandalas from the Mandalas book. They are for sale in my shop. Each hoop measures 5.5 cm (approx. 2.1") in diameter. They can be used as brooches or necklaces. I am including a brooch pin with each one, but it's not attached in case you'd rather wear it as a necklace (chain is not included.)

50% of the sales of these will go to The Sato Project.
The Sato Project is dedicated to rescuing abused and abandoned dogs from Puerto Rico.

We concentrate our rescue on a place known as Dead Dog Beach. As its name states, it is usually a last resting place for dogs, and it is not a happy one. No dog walks to Dead Dog Beach - it is at the end of a long road with no residences - they are dumped there. There is no food or fresh water on the beach. We are the dogs’ only source of food, fresh water, and most importantly, love, on a daily basis.
As you maybe know, our dog Blake is a rescue and since he became part of our family, rescue dogs are very close to my heart. When I first heard of The Sato Project, I cried. And held Blake extra close grateful that he is safe.

I cried because I just don't understand how people can be so cruel and dump dogs knowing that they will most certainly die.

And I cried because there are good people in the world who will go out of their way to save these poor dogs.

If we were in the US, we'd adopt one of the Sato dogs, but since we're not, these samples from the book will help me make a contribution to help the work carry on. I hope you'll consider 'adopting' one of these mini mandalas. Find them here in my shop.

If you buy two, or more, I will refund the postage as an extra thank you. xo

Mini Mandalas

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Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Mandalas Review And Giveaway


A reminder to enter my giveaway of a copy of Mandalas to Embroider and embroidery thread: the giveaway closes in about 4½ hours as I'm writing this. So go enter now if you want a chance to win.

However, if you missed my giveaway, head over to Follow The White Bunny where my friend Nicole is giving away a copy of the book (without thread, I'm afraid).

Nicole has also written a very nice review of the book AND there is a super cute picture of her new kitten looking admiringly (I imagine) at the book. Wishing perhaps that she had opposable thumbs so she could do embroidery? Or maybe she just wants to play with the thread. :-)

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Monday, November 27, 2017

Slow Hexagon Quilt

Hexagons WIP
I am taking a little break from embroidery at the moment, but that doesn't mean my hands are idle. I just can't sit and watch TV without working on something with my hands. Just can't do it.

So I have pulled out my Denyse Schmidt fabric hexie quilt project. It is a veeeeeery slow project.

I started it in late August 2013 and the end is nowhere in sight. I can't even see the middle of the project, that's how slow it is. :-)

My initial plan was to make hexie 'flowers' all in one colour with another colour in the centre. I did kinda start that, but then decided that I'm just going to make it completely random. Which also helps with adding new DS designs.

I actually don't mind that the project is so slow. It's nice to know that I have an old 'friend' I can pull out when I don't have anything else I'm working on. And atleast now I have started sewing the hexagons together.

Do you have any long term projects like this?


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Sunday, November 26, 2017

Different Glorianas


Sometimes I get messages from customers about a pattern they have used. That always puts a huge smile on my face. And sometimes I get messages with pictures that just blow me away.

See those two versions of my Gloriana (Queen Elizabeth) pattern above. They are amazing!

The one on the left is by Jana and the one on the right is by Elizabeth (yes, really!).

I love how the colours are so different from my original version, and probably closer to something old Bess would have worn when she was a live. In comparison, my version is more like a pop art portrait of her! ;-)

Both of their versions are excellent, but I am really impressed with Elizabeth's use of beads, lots of beads. It adds another dimension to the embroidery.

Thank you for sharing, ladies, you made my day!

If you want to stitch your own version of Gloriana, you can get your hands on the pattern here:
polkaandbloom.com/EU-UK
polkaandbloom.com/everyone else
and in the Polka & Bloom Etsy shop.

And remember there is 20% off all embroidery patterns and ebooks until tomorrow, Nov 27. Use code INDIEFRIDAY on polkaandbloom.com - on Etsy no code is neccessary.

Gloriana embroidery pattern


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Saturday, November 25, 2017

Crafts from The Past

Crafts from the past
When we were getting our old flat ready to sell (almost five years ago!) a bunch of stuff was packed away in my inlaws' loft. When we moved into our house, that stuff just went straight into our loft. A few weeks ago, I got it down from the loft and I found a few bits and pieces I had occasionally thought about over the past years. "I wonder there such and such is..?"

Well, it was in the loft! Since most of the things I discovered, in the bags from the loft, were things I hadn't thought about, I think it is safe to get rid of them. Some can go without much fuss, but some of them I thought deserved to be remembered in some form.

This post is some of those things.

Up the top there is a star fruit pincushion I made ages and ages ago. I remember using green food dye to colour it. Probably not the best thing to use. ;-)

And a slice of felt cake from a book I reviewed. It was fun to make, but not really my thing.

Crafts from the past
Another pincushion, with hand drawn decoration. And a softie. The story of the inspiration for her may make you laugh. We were visiting my parents and had dinner one night. Something with boiled potatoes. The sauce pan of potatoes was on the table and a smudge of potato on the inside of it caught my eye. It looked just like a face! Which I sketched and then it became the face of this wee gal! :-D

Crafts from the past
A little house I made, I think it was inspired by a piece in Cloth, Paper, Scissors magazine. I kinda feel like making another house now. I think my skillz have improved so I could do a better job.

Crafts from the past
I remember being quite chuffed with the effect of this tree. It's just coils of thread, stitched down with couching stitches. But it's a nice effect, I think. :-)

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Friday, November 24, 2017

Friday Links :: Sale, Bird Houses, Needles

Handsome Blake
That Blake, he's so handsome, don't you agree? :-)

If you need a project to stitch, do take advantage of my sale over this weekend. Starting today, there is 20% off all digital products on my website: polkaandbloom.com - use code: INDIEFRIDAY. Valid until Monday, Nov 27. In the Polka & Bloom shop on Etsy, there is 20% off all digital products and 10% off my iron-on transfers. No code necessary. Also valid until Monday, Nov 27.

In case you're in Copenhagen some time before Christmas: Christmas markets in Copenhagen. The post is in Italian, but I'm sure you can get the essential info from the post. :-)

Turning FOMO into JOMO.

Sweet post about creating Christmas rituals. Although that post is more about creating Christmas rituals for your kids, I can kinda relate. After moving to England I/we had to create our own Christmas rituals, mixing together traditions and rituals from both countries.

Danish Street Art Project Has Built Over 3,500 Urban Bird Houses.

Universal Needles… Are They Really Universal?

Colorful Embroidered Portraits Use Thread to Mimic the Spontaneity of Pen. Embroidery goals. ♥

Extraordinary Routines: Tina Roth-Eisenberg.


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Thursday, November 23, 2017

Binding The Christmas Quilt

Christmas quilt binding
The Christmas quilt is coming along! I am almost done attaching the binding and that means not far from finishing the quilt! Which means there will, hopefully, be a post about the finished quilt next week. Providing I can get Tony to 'model' the quilt so I can take pictures of it. ;-)

Those clouds in the background is one of my fabric design on Spoonflower, Happy Clouds. It's available in a few different colours. :-)

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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Cancelled :: Book Party


Hey, this is just a quick note to say that unfortunately we have had to cancel the book party for Mandalas to Embroider this Friday.

xo Carina


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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.

***The giveaway is now closed for entries.***

*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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