Because life’s celebrations shouldn’t cost the Earth

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Christmas Applique Hoop Art

Embroidery Hoop Tutorial 

In my blog post last week I shared the first of my projects from 'Creative Christmas', a lovely festive bookazine which is available in shops now.  My second design for them is this cute little woodland scene, featuring an adorable fox and robin dressing their tree ready for the holidays!

The design can be stitched up in just an evening and it makes a perfect first project if you've yet to try free motion / free hand machine embroidery.  However be warned that Kirsty Allsopp declared it's highly addictive and 'craft crack cocaine'!

The magazine includes full sized patterns and clear step by step colour photographs.  I used a frixion pen to mark the stitching lines (and then erased them with a warm iron) which makes precise sewing a doddle!

The hoop would look perfect hung on the wall of a child's bedroom or nursery and you could even change the colours of the bunting flags to perfectly coordinate with your own decor!

Merry Christmas xx

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Creative Christmas ~ New Bookazine!

Appliqued Felt Christmas Tree Decorations

This year has rushed by as I have been pretty busy being part of the sandwich generation!  In other words caring for elderly parents-in-law whilst still having children at home.  My blogging has sadly diminished to practically nothing but, with Christmas just around the corner, I thought I really ought to share my festive makes featured in a lovely new bookazine 'Creative Christmas' which is available in shops now.

I was asked to design a number of projects the first of which is these retro inspired applique felt baubles evoking memories of vintage glass ornaments.

There are seven different designs in the set and they're the perfect way to add a touch of retro glamour to any Christmas display! 

The designs feature both hand and machine stitched elements for a lovely homespun feel!

Stitch the whole range in just one colour of felt for a sophisticated look or pick your favourite design and repeat it onto baubles cut from different coloured felts for a more relaxed family friendly effect!

The magazine contains full sized patterns, easy to follow instructions and clear step by step colour photographs

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Leather Corner Clutches With Tassel Trims

Leather and Linen Trimmed Pouches ~ As Seen in Sewing World Magazine!

The September issue of Sewing World Magazine featured my SewforSoul leather trimmed zipper pouches, which I stitched up in a selection of gorgeous colours and textures.  Their handy size makes them suitable for lots of different uses and they would make great Christmas presents!

As they only use tiny amounts of  leather, I didn't bother using a leather needle in my machine and they're also an ideal first project if you haven't stitched leather before.  The only thing to remember is that you can't use pins to baste your layers together as this would leave permanent prick holes behind - To overcome this I simply used a glue stick and paperclips! 

The pouches are so easy to make I got a little carried away and ended up stitching up four of them!  My absolute favourites are this 'William Morris' one and the green version stitched up in a gorgeous 'Liberty of London' cotton print.

As ever, the magazine features an easy to follow tutorial with full step by step accompanying colour photos.  The little matching tassel is such a cute finishing touch and 'bang on trend' rocking that boho vibe!

Happy Stitching!

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Appliqued Sunglasses Cases

Sewing World Magazine August 2016

It's been an extremely busy summer for the Larkin household and family commitments left little or no time to blog and I'm now beyond behind in my posting!  Some of my work was published so long ago there now seems no point in sharing it, including an article about my notebook covers in the May 2016 issue of the Australian Homespun Magazine, "Australia's No.1 Craft magazine!" 

One slightly newer project however was in August's Sewing World Magazine, for a set of appliqued sunglasses cases.

There were four designs to chose from and whilst the magazine is no longer on the shelves the lovely folk over at Sewing World have made the project available to download for free over at their Inspired to Make page.

Happy Stitching!

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Appliqued Paris Pouch

Eiffel Tower Embroidery

I've been pretty busy at the moment renovating a flat for my elderly parents-in-law to move into, so blogging has taken a backseat.  I have done a little bit of sewing though, mainly finishing the last of the teacher appreciation gifts for the wonderful educators who have guided my son towards his GCSEs.  This Paris themed pouch was, not surprisingly(!) for his lovely French teacher.  The lovely Paris map fabric was kindly sent to me in a online swap by 'Quirky Hannah' who blogs here.

Thursday, 30 June 2016

Time Flies! - Appliqued Clock

Sewing World Magazine July 2016

The July issue of Sewing World Magazine is in the shops now and I was delighted to see that my appliqued linen clock made the front cover.  I took my inspiration from the gorgeous bookplates found in antique Victorian texts, when entomology was a popular pastime for the educated middle classes!    

I used a 30cm diameter clock making kit which made the whole process very straight forward and the resulting impressive timepiece would look really elegant displayed on the wall of a lounge or garden room. 

I also gave designer credit to my lovely son George who whipped out his protractor to draft the seconds increments at perfect 6 degree spacings - I hate maths and he loves it!

In keeping with most of my projects, the main technique used was free motion machine embroidery which is basically drawing with thread!  I love this type of raw edge applique as it is so adaptable and suitable for any design, modern or traditional.  I don't lower my feed dogs to achieve this result as I prefer to simply use an open-toed foot, so I guess strictly speaking mine isn't actually 'free motion'!

Friday, 17 June 2016

Suede and Fabric Pencil Pouch

Our Next Teacher Appreciation Gift


My latest zipper pouch is for a rather wonderful music teacher, who I previously wrote about in this post when I made him a gift thanking him for his triumphant school production of 'Guys and Dolls' - As you can see that journal had a somewhat 'quirky' feel to it, so this time I wanted to stitch up something rather more sophisticated!

SewforSoul Fabric Portrait

I chose a fabric with a lovely antique pen nib print, which cried out to be a pencil case, and for some added texture and interest contrasted it with a suede panel along the bottom.  I then whipped up a matching tassel for the final finishing touch. 

 Thank You Mr Grehan-Bradley!

Friday, 27 May 2016

'Grandad's Shed' Appliqued Journal Cover

Sewing World Magazine June 2016

The new June edition of Sewing World Magazine is in the shops now and is packed full of lovely summer projects, including my fabric journal cover featuring a very cute applique garden shed!

As it's nearly Father's Day, it's themed as the perfect present for a much loved Grandad (or Dad!) but could be easily customised by embroidering any name above the door making it suitable for your favourite gardener or horticulturalist!  

The back of the cover features a cute little watering can and personalised gift label.  Some jaunty summer bunting is the finishing touch, let's hope it encourages the sun to come out soon!

Happy Father's Day!

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Upcycled Shabby Chic Tin Cans

Vintage Book Page Pen Pots

I took a little break from sewing this week and instead indulged myself with lots of lovely cutting and sticking, making these vintage style pen pots from old tin cans.  I used the same basic technique as my decoupage book page eggs, which remains one of my most popular posts of all time.

Would you believe they started out as cheap and tacky plastic eggs?!  

As the tin cans are intended to be used as desk tidies for stationery supplies, I decided to theme them around novelists and works of literature.  Not surprisingly I was unable to source any suitable printed paper napkins, so instead I stamped plain white serviettes using the stamp sets below;

I used an old book of quotations, which had seen far better days, for the script background and then gave the cans a quick colour wash of watered down brown paint to enhance their 'foxed' antique finish. After this I carefully trimmed the stamped tissue images before sticking them to the cans with thinned white PVA glue (USA - Elmers).  This is sooo much cheaper than Modge Podge, just add water until the glue is the consistency of thin single cream.  The final step was to give each can a couple of coats of polyurethane varnish.

Unique upcycled craft storage tin cans!

Monday, 16 May 2016

A Gift For A Geography Teacher

Appliqued Globe Zipper Pouch

Our eldest child left school last week and that old cliché 'it only seems like yesterday he was a babe in arms' has never felt so true!  We have been incredibly lucky with all his teachers and we wanted to show our appreciation to the wonderful educators who have given him so much over the last five years.

This little applique zipper pouch is for his Geography teacher, who also teaches our daughter History and they both love him!  In fact Geography is one of the subjects George is hoping to continue for 'A' level in September.

A few years ago I made this pencil case for a friend, who had been promoted to Head of Geography, and the children suggested that Mr Mitchell would like a similar design.  

I took the children's idea (but made it a bit less fussy as it's for a man!) and whipped up a personalised pencil case.  I find it quite challenging stitching for men but hopefully he'll like it - And as a Geography teacher he will at least appreciate the fact that the fabric for both the main case and the lining came from upcycled work shirts which had seen better days!

Good luck to everyone sitting exams!

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Linen Zipper Pouch

Appliqued Violin Pencil Case

My son has taken violin lessons at school since Year Four (he's now in Year Eleven!) and sadly his lovely violin teacher is leaving this week.  He wanted to give her a personalised gift to thank her for all those wonderful years of lessons, so I designed this linen zipper pouch featuring a cute little violin applique.

The beautiful sky blue linen was a gift from my bloggy friend Jude and if you haven't visited her page then get there now, you're in for a real treat!  She posts far more regularly than me and most months can also be found published in lots of  magazines.

The brown linen was salvaged from a pair of Mr. Larkin's shorts which had seen much better days.  The initials were then cut using some old table napkins, carefully avoiding the more marked patches!

Thank you Ms Jones ~ You'll be missed!

See More SewforSoul Pouches Here