Friday, 10 June 2011

Recent Adventures with Embroidery

Blimey, it's chilly here today. I've taken to wearing socks again but, to be honest, I'm quite tempted to light the fire this afternoon. My hands are like ice! I might warm them up with some crochet in a bit.

As the weekend approaches I wanted to share with you a couple of the Little Picasso cushions I've done recently of which I am proud.

You may remember that my Little Picasso cushions are embroidered copies of a child's drawing, with patchwork to match the colours used in the illustration. The actual process of making them is a closely guarded secret (if I told you I'd have to kill you, mwahahaha). I'm very proud of the way they turn out. And I LOVE working from children's drawings, it really is the most fun.

The hand embroidery is time consuming, but is my favourite part. It takes, on average 4 - 10 hours per cushion.

This one was from a little boy for his Frampy, who owns a Harley Davidson. Isn't it the coolest thing?



I tried really hard to make sure that the fabrics I chose were appropriate biker fabrics - sometimes choosing cushion fabric for men can be a bit challenging. This was OK though because it contained red and orange. I'm LOVING red and orange at the moment - it's part of my year long orange fetish*

The back of Frampy's cushion was plain, with a zip:




By contrast, here is a Little Picasso by a girl for her Aunty Janaya. Possibly picked because, again, it indulges my love of orange:



Being more girly, this one has the patchwork frill, and is fastened at the back by a large orange button. I love it's four mismatched corner buttons too.



You see, THIS is why I love working with children's drawings. Not only are they unique and effused with love, but who would have thought about putting orange with lilac and blue? But, blimey, I love it and I will certainly use that colour scheme again in the future.

I hope you have a great weekend! I'm in the very unusual position of not having any orders, so I think I shall spend my time making Roman blinds for my kitchen/diner. I've only had the fabric for, umm..., four years, so I really ought to get a wriggle on!

Lots of love! Speak soon!

Claire x


* the colour orange. Not Conservative politician orange fetish. Obviously.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Adventures with Cake! Part 1

In more cheerful news, we have had a couple of BIG family birthdays this month. My Father-in-law Baz, or Pops as my boys call him, was 65. He finally retired from his job as a school caretaker, which he absolutely loved. At this moment, he and my mother-in-law are sunning themselves on a cruise of the Med, the lucky things, in celebration of the next stage of their lives.

There are a few things you need to know about Baz. He's a musician, and a self confessed ladies man. And he looks a bit like Father Christmas. As he's a big flirt, my mother-in-law asked me to make him a booby cake. A BOOBY cake?! Well, erm OK then, it could be a laugh....



I made two cakes, one a vanilla sponge and one a coffee cake - Baz's favourite. I baked them both in Pyrex mixing bowls, as the cake needed to feed 60 at his surprise birthday party. This took HOURS - about 3.5 hours per cake! After this, I cut them in two places and sandwiched them back together with vanilla buttercream and sieved home made raspberry jam.

The sugarpaste came from the fab Squires Kitchen, an online shop that I could spend hours browsing (and often do). It took me about 3 hours to ice the cake, having covered it roughly in more buttercream.

The best fun for me, by far, was making the cake topper. I have a really talented friend, Jenny ( who does fabulous things with Fimo clay, and she'd inspired me to have a go myself. I'd seen wedding cake toppers, and wanted to make a model of Baz playing his guitar. It was marvellous fun.

The structure of his body is made from wire, with tin foil putting flesh on the bones. The clay then needs to be softened and rolled out quite thinly and wrapped around the tin foil. This was not as easy as I thought, especially for his clothes. Eventually I blasted him with a paint stripper gun. It felt a bit odd (and could, I imagine, be quite cathartic, depending on the member of family one had modelled...)

I was quite pleased with the outcome. Quite a good likeness I thought...



The party was brilliant - Baz had no idea that most of his family and friends would be there, so was thrilled to bits. The cake was a hit too - and apparently a lot of fun was had at the end of the night after we had gone home.

Do you think boys ever grow up?

Lots of love

Claire x