Monday, 23 January 2017

Selvedge Workshop with Janet Bolton

After attending an extremely enjoyable printing workshop at Selvedge in Archway in December I have kept my eye out for other interesting crafty things to do there. I spotted this Saturday workshop with textile artist Janet Bolton and knew I had to go.
Janet Bolton Applique
Way back in 1993 I met Janet at the Harrogate Knit and Stitch Show where I was exhibiting some textile work through Cleveland College of Art and Design. She was as lovely now as she was then with a joyous approach to life (and sewing) which is basically to listen to yourself and do what feels right for you!

The workshop began with a quick biography of Janet's career and her philosophy and approach to making and then quickly onto the fun part of creating.

Using a neutral main fabric as a background we made a 'canvas' by arranging borders of fabric around the central fabric. This was hand-stitched in place.

We used white paper to create a view-finder to help visual the balance of the colours / fabric and widths of the borders
Janet's scraps of fabric that she kindly brought for us to rummage through!
Lunch break!
Some of the lovely ladies on the course deep in sewing concentration
The next step was to create the main 'picture' inside the canvas. I didn't want to create anything representational as some of the other ladies on the course were doing so decided upon an abstract route. I used neutral, black, grey and patterned geometric prints to dictate and inspire my composition.

I arranged several versions of what I wanted and used a combination of needle-turned applique (where the edges are carefully turned in and stitched into place) and appliquéing with raw frayed edges showing.
A cheerful Janet at the end of the workshop!

I thoroughly enjoyed this workshop. I didn't learn any new sewing techniques but spent six hours happily hand-stitching with a great bunch of ladies and loved every minute! A big thanks goes to my new friend Kathy who came all the way from the States to attend this workshop. She brought some lovely fabrics that most of us in the workshop used a bit of!

I have not included the final finished piece as I have signed up to Ute and Sanae's Secret Valentine Exchange for the second year and this might be my secret Valentine's gift. I have yet to decide!

What do you think?
Would you like to receive this hand-stitched textile as a gift?

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Pickled Vegetables

A while ago I attended a Fermentation workshop at Nama, a raw food restaurant in Notting Hill. It was great fun and the pickled vegetables was the easiest and by far my favourite recipe of the evening. The recipe below is inspired by Nama's head chef (who created Nama's recipe based on her mum's home-made pickles).

This recipe is very flexible so you can alter things to your own tastes.
The most suitable vegetables to use need to have a crunchy texture and be fresh.

Ingredients (amounts can vary depending on what you have in the fridge):

Large cucumber
Three carrots
20 radishes
5 sticks of celery
Cyder vinegar (enough to fully submerge the veg. I used a whole bottle)
Salt (a couple of generous pinches to taste)
Coconut sugar (you can use regular sugar instead)


  • Very finely slice all hard vegetables like carrots and celery. I used a food processor but you can just as easily cut the vegetables by hand
  • Finely slice the cucumber (if it is too finely sliced it tends to loose its shape when pickled)
  • Put all vegetables in one bowl and mix together

  • Completely submerge the vegetables in cyder vinegar. I used the whole bottle in the photo below

  •  Add two or three generous pinches of salt. Adjust amount to your preference. It is the combination of vinegar and salt that pickles the vegetables

  • Add a few teaspoons of coconut sugar to taste. You are aiming for a balance between salty, sweet and sour.

  •  Your pickled vegetables can be eaten immediately for a refreshing side accompaniment to a meal. I have got a generous amount in my lunches this week alongside quinoa, fresh tomatoes and chicken
  • To store the pickled vegetables place a sealable container and keep in the fridge. It would make a lovely gift if you put the pickled veg in pretty glass jars with a hand-made label!
  • My last batch lasted about two weeks in the fridge
  • Any remaining pickling liquid can be added to marinades or used for a salad dressing
  • I hope you enjoy this simple and tasty recipe!

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Brick Lane & Fashion Street Paste-Ups

I recently saw these amazing fashion inspired paste-ups in Shoreditch on Brick Lane, Fashion Street and Seven Stars Yard. I suspect these are either hand-screen printed or enlarged copyshop versions of fashion illustrations that have been pasted onto the graffitied walls of Shoreditch.

I tried a variety of google searches to find out the name of the street artist who creates these fabulously cool figures but alas no luck! Whoever created them certainly has an eye for 1960's style and glamour!

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Hand-Made Gift Bag

A while ago I attended a craft workshop with my friend Alex at Paperchase on Tottenham Court Road to make a gift bag.
I meant to blog about it before Christmas but never got around to it. Luckily these gift bags are great for any type of event where you want to put that extra bit of love and effort into it!

Card (an empty cereal box would do)
Wrapping paper (this is a great way to use scraps of wallpaper / recycle gift wrap)
Craft knife
Cutting mat
Ribbon, string or lace for the handle

The size of your bag will differ depending on the card you use. The card I used for the example below was about 45cm x 45cm. I cut the corners of the card about 5cm from the edges.

Trim the wrapping paper so it has about a 2cm border beyond the edges of the card, fold over and glue to the card.

To make the decorative flap (you can cut any design for this) I created an Art Deco style flap and glued the wrapping paper to the outside.

Fold the wrapping paper around the card and glue into position. Cut 45 degree angles into the internal corners so they could be folded neatly. Then cover this side with a piece of wrapping paper cut to the same size as the flap to hide the folded paper.

The next step is to mark the base of the bag. As long as the base is centrally located on the card you can decide the dimensions yourself. The bag below had about a 15cm wide base with the remainder of the card folded for the sides of the bag. Measure, score and fold over one side of the bag and glue the flap into position.

Measure, score and fold the opposite side and fold into position. The last part is to fold the remaining sides so it forms a gift bag. Score diagonally from the base of the each sides of the bag and fold internally to create a triangle fold. Glue the overlapping section on the sides of the bag (I forgot to take photos of this bit - sorry!).

Finish the gift bag with lengths of ribbon, decorative cord or lace for the handle and on the flap to add a decorative flourish.

Ready to give to somebody extra special!

Saturday, 14 January 2017

And Other Vices.....

You may know, as well as my love for art and sewing I have another vice in the form of Tatty Devine jewellery. Over the past few years I have bought some lovely pieces, received gifts, grabbed bargains at sample sales and most of all enjoyed the jewellery workshops held at their Brick Lane shop in London.

Below is a montage of images for the workshops I attended in 2016. Some of these lovely pieces I kept for myself and a few I gifted to close friends. After attending five workshops last year I am pretty speedy at fastening jump rings now!
  • Sequin necklace (gift)
  • Mini Mexican Garden necklace (gift)
  • Turquoise Swallow necklace
  • White Dinosaur necklace
  • Rainbow necklace
My favourite piece is the Dino necklace which was the most time-consuming to make as there were lots of fiddly connections.

Which piece do you like best?