A whole box of roses

Just before my birthday, Tiger was selling cheap balsa wood expanding craft boxes for £6. My mum took a hint, so it duly arrived on a tabletop in front of me on my birthday, and I spent the next several weeks spreading paper, glue and spray paint around the house.

Here’s the result of my first decoupage:

I used Rifle Paper Co wrapping paper which I bought at Selfridges. It took forever to cut out, and actually, I think cheap wrapping paper might work better with decoupage as this was a bit thick. But it is so pretty…

This little box now holds all my zippers, sewing machine feet, thimble and machine needles. Pretty and practical!

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Kitty fiesta

In early spring my mum and I received the most incredible surprise package full of treasure from friends in Canada. One of these treasures was a wonderful Kiriki Press embroidery kit for a Fiesta Cat (see my Raccoon and Bear from last summer). 

I eagerly brought it to Canada with me this summer, and whiled away several long car rides stitching happily. 

In my eagerness to progress I precut lengths of thread so that I could take it on the plane without scissors. 

By the time I flew back into London it was almost done, and I therefore spent my first day back in finishing Fiesta Kitty off and staving off jetlag. 

 

I was so tired that at one point I texted a friend to check what year it is. Yes, it is 2016 people. Phew. 

Fiesta Kitty is pretty cool. Another winner from Kiriki Press. 

Mr Raccoon

I took three books to Canada with me this summer and read none. Instead I spent a blissful time in the Canadian wilderness in the company of this precious raccoon.

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(It was the Canadian wilderness: there were of course bears too. Of which, more in the next post!)

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Isn’t he so pretty? I’d forgotten how much fun embroidery is.

My Mr Raccoon kit was a Christmas present from my dad (except, really from me in that I chose and bought it and then he paid me back, but anyway…). I bought him from The Workroom, Toronto’s finest purveyor of haberdashery and raccoons; he was designed and printed in Toronto by a Toronto-based screen-printer, Michelle Galletta at Kiriki Press. So all in all a very, very Canadian pursuit.

Ursa Minor

I mentioned in passing the obligatory reference to bears in connection with the Canadian wilderness, in my last post. So this summer there were bears! Lots of them! All over the place. It was really quite wonderful.

Here’s one in a tree behind the laundry line:

2015-08-01 13.38.58Anyway, I got back to England and missed my bear friends, and missed my embroidery, so I finally got round to doing the one and only truly awesome kit to ever come with a crafting magazine (generally I despise crafting magazines, as they promote useless clutter, and are – I say this with full awareness of my snobbery – perpetually catering to the lowest common denominator in crafty skills. I get bored and frustrated. But I buy them anyway and weep).

This kit was another designed by Kiriki Press. The quality wasn’t as great as the proper kits (the cotton was a much heavier weave, and difficult to stitch); and after much shuttling back and forth from/to Liberty’s excellent new haberdashery department, I ended up completely changing the colours of the flowers to be less faddishly neon.

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Why is this post such a rant?! Anyway – I love Ursa Minor, which is her name of course, and I love the colours I picked, and I love that a Toronto-born-and-bred kit made it into a British magazine, along with an excellent feature on scalloped edges. Perfection!

Some final pics of Ursa M hanging out with Mr R:

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Hanging out

It’s been a very long time since I last dared to unleash my creative fury on defenceless plants. The last post here to feature greenery was over a year ago.

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I’ve been feeling inspired to make a winter moss garden, after seeing one at my grandmother’s old house at Christmas, which I’d made for her in the summer soon before she died.

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So I’ve made a few moss gardens, and also a few hanging jars to brighten up the loft. I think I’ll repot again at some point as I didn’t have any gravel for the bottoms of the various vessels used.

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I didn’t realise how hard it would be to find good moss in London! I got some scrappy orchid moss from the local florist, but I’ve had to concentrate on succulents rather than moss varieties.

My new green friends are lovely, and have given me a chance to relieve the household mega jade plant of a few boughs.

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I’ve also potted one of the Caligulids – what I call offshoots of my spider plant Caligula, which itself was the grandchild of a plant in the window of my Year 10-11 form room. Caligula is ten years old now, which makes me feel old. Anyway, I hope this Caligulid will thrive and soon be sending its own offshoots out of its Kilner jar.

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Finally, here are some pics of my wonderful summer moss gardens. All the plants were collected from good old Canadian Mother Nature.

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Anti Loom

So loom bands are apparently popular this year. Since I don’t feel like buying various bits of plastic gizmo to create them, I’ve decided to rebel against them with embroidery floss, harnessing skills unused since the early noughties.

My quest has been aided by the discovery of my step-grandmother’s haberdashery stash. The colours are all a bit twee though…

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Disgusted by the colours available, I went out to The Workroom on Queen Street West in Toronto, and bought some glorious byzantine colours.

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Result:

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Gingerbread treehouse: part 2 – in which, liquorice

Now that I’ve sufficiently calmed down (actually, I’m still way too over-excited, but no matter) about my lovely little gingerbread treehouse, I can introduce it properly to you – liquorice ladders and all.

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The ladders are made from liquorice glued together with icing. They’re a bit bendy, but I hope that the air will harden them eventually (but not too much – I want them to be edible after Christmas!).

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Stained glass windows are a bit of a family gingerbread tradition. The treehouse has them on every side except the floor. I’m especially pleased with how well some of the larger windows turned out. Next year I might try for something a bit more modern, with big glazed sections. Or maybe just another treehouse!

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