Thursday, January 19, 2017

Working with Shibori Ribbon

"With time and patience the mulberry leaf becomes a silk gown"- Chinese Proverb

Who doesn't love silk? Any of you who know me or follow my blog will know that I love working with silk ribbon. Recently I came across picture of a project made with Shibori silk ribbon. I had never seen, or heard of it before, and it is not surprising that I had to try it.

According to Wikipedia the earliest example of the shibori technique dates from the 8th century, in Japan.

The modern method is to wrap  ribbon around a pipe, tightly wrap a cord around it, scrunch the fabric together, then apply cold water dye with a sponge.

I ordered  ribbon from Etsy and waited patiently for it to come across the pond to Scotland. Unfortunately I had a little shock when Royal Mail popped a card through my door advising that I owed over £11 custom duty in addition to £11 postage! I have known for years that you pay duty if your order is above a certain level, unless your package contains a gift (from a residential address in the US) or is samples.

....I grudgingly lol paid the money and received some beautiful ribbon.

After having made a couple pendants (see above pictures) I decided to make a bib necklace

This type of work, along with beading is normally worked on a specialist backing material such as Lacy's Stiff Stuff.  I was sure there must be a cheaper alternative that could provide the same benefits.

I discovered I could use Vilene Heavy duty Interfacing and, guess what? It had all the qualities I was looking for - it can be coloured with permanent markers, cut to shape, pieces can be butted together and it can be painted with DecoArt So Soft Fabric Paint  so that any parts not embellished will blend in.

For this necklace I cut out a template, interfacing and suede backing material,  then painted the  interfacing with a 60/40 paint/water mix of So Soft paint. I then left it to dry overnight.

My beading needle went through easily and I had no problem gluing on the suede backing when the project was complete (I used Crafter's Pick glue)

 In the picture below you can see where the backing is showing. Most of this will be covered with beading, cabochons or rhinestones but, if there is a part showing it will now hardly be noticeable.


I am loving working with this medium and, already I have been inspired to try new things to embellish the projects. I have just about mastered beading Swarovski Rivoli chatons and am working on learning the soutache technique.

This piece of sea glass and pearls is encased in soutache cord 
The possibilities are endless with shibori and the sewing is something you can really get absorbed in - the only down points are pricked fingers and picking up dropped beads which seem to get everywhere!

Thanks for your visit - I would love to know you have been and it would be lovely if you leave a comment

Bye for now


Thursday, September 22, 2016



this post was going to be about how I transformed a shabby linen basket into a lovely nautical themed one to go with our bathroom BUT I can't find the before picture!                                   

So I thought I would show just how many projects can be completed with one 16 FL oz (473ml) jar of Americana  Decor Chalky Finish paint

The colour I used is called Yesteryear - it is the most beautiful shade of grey which seems to go with almost anything.


These are the three projects I completed - using a sponge I applied 2 coats of paint to each item followed with 2 coats of DecoArt Americana Ultra Matte Varnish. 

I downloaded an outline image for the seahorse and transferred it using graphite paper and a stylus. I then drew around a shell I had and, finally, glued on a rope braid to add to the nautical theme.

The lace corners on this large mirror were done with DecoArt stencils as we're all the other details except the roses which were painted freehand.

I added shimmer to the drawer fronts on this mirror with DecoArt Metallic paint in silver

.........and I have enough left for another project

I just love this paint and it is so easy to use. 


Sunday, June 26, 2016

How to Stiffen Tatting with DecoArt Fabric Stiffener

I first used home made stiffener many many years ago when I crocheted baskets, snowflakes and doilies.

I made my own stiffener by dissolving sugar in boiled water. Although this did work it had certain disadvantages such as it being sticky and messy. There was aleays the risk of burnt fingers too! Also the sugar can attract pests......not a good look!

Another method you can use is making up a mix of white glue and water, but this entails measuring, mixing and mess.

I was delighted to test  DecoArt  Fabric Stiffener and it worked a treat on my tatting  - no more messy pots, bowls, measuring or burnt fingers!

Americana Fabric Stiffener can be used to shape and stiffen silk flowers, appliqu├ęs, lace, fabric, ribbon, crochet and tatting. It gives a long lasting finish and dries clear. You can add paint to it to change the colour if you can paint it when dry.

To use it simply either pour some into a bowl and immerse the item or apply to both sides with a small brush. 

I prefer the brush method for tatting as it so delicate and the spaces could get clogged.

 Although one  coat   would suffice I applied two coats to each side allowing it to dry overnight

You can see on this two layer piece how well it worked and how the centre stands up nicely.


I am not posting before and after pictures as it would be difficult to show how stiff the pieces are.

These hearts are a tatting pattern by Decorama

I stiffened pieces tatting with cotton crochet thread and c-Lon nylon thread and it worked well on both
This product is:
water based
Soap and water clean up

If you have never tatted before but would like to try there are lots of tutorials and videos online. It is a very nice craft to do and I like the fact that it is so transportable (is that a word?)

Please feel free to contact me if I can help with links etc


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Make it Shine Metallic Dresser


We recently decided to turn our spare bedroom into a snug/TV room, I painted the wall with a lovely Laura Ashley chalk pink paint to go with their peony curtains and cushions.

We looked for a small piece of furniture to sit in the corner but nothing caught our eye so I thought "why not paint the existing piece we already had?"

This was not a great piece of furniture but I thought it was with a try. I used Americana Chalky Finish Paint from DecoArt and, because it is such a quick and easy paint to apply.

We are really pleased with the finished result and it is perfect for the room - it is now an elegant dresser with burnished silver drawers and crystal drawer knobs 

To do something similar you will need:
DecoArt Dazzling Metallic Paint (I used Shimmering Silver)
DecoArt Media Satin Varnish (or alternatively Wax) 

You will also need: 
A foam roller
A small flat brush
A dragging brush
A piece of lint free cloth

Step 1.
Remove the handles
and apply two coats of Yesteryear to the carcass and drawers allowing it to dry between coats


Step 2.
Once the paint its dry apply two coats of varnish and allow to dry

Step 3.
Mix some Shimmering Silver paint and Glazing Medium in a bowl. Stand the drawers on their ends and apply a fine film of the mixed glaze to each drawer with the flat brush. 
To achieve the dragging effect pull the dragging brush across from one side to the other, in a continuous stroke using the sides rather than the tips of the brush. if you find the glaze building up in the brush wipe off the excess on a rag.

It is difficult to show the beautiful elegant effect in a picture but I would describe it as a soft burnished effect that catches the light rather than a solid mass of silver.

Step 4.
Attach the drawer knobs

The reveal......da da da dah

I had lots of cushions in the attic along with the faded quilt which is just right for the new daybed - I bought a few of the cushions in France and made or painted a few, with linen, also bought in France

 Even if you have never painted a piece of furniture before you will never believe how easy it is. 

Easily refurbish flea market finds with Americana Decor® Chalky Finish™ paint. This ultra-matte chalk paint requires no priming or sanding before using. No special skills are needed to achieve looks from shabby chic to boho modern. Customize with waxes or varnishes to finish and protect the paint surface. Unlike Annie Sloan waxes, Americana Decor wax does not need to be reapplied to upkeep the protective finish

Thanks for your visit


Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Tatting with C Lon Micro Cord

 I recently made a pair of earrings with Lizbeth 20 thread but
I was not happy with my first attempt and felt disappointed as it takes ages to thread the beads and tatt it up. No matter what I did the beads would not lie flat aaaargh! I have used Lizbeth thread dozens of times and it is my favourite thread, but, for me it is too soft to work with so many beads.

So.......for my second attempt I used C Lon Micro cord which I purchased from Marion at Jewels in Fiber and the difference was amazing! Marion has a wealth of knowledge and even sent samples to me.  

You can see the difference below with the micro cord on the left


The beads now lay perfectly (well almost!) and I was happy enough to try a matching necklace

I would highly recommend using this thread for tatting, although it does take a bit of getting used to. My results are not perfect but will, I am sure improve with practice.  


These (for me)  are the pros and cons and cons of using nylon thread:

Easy to thread seed beads
Beads slide along thread easily whilst tatting
Easy to tighten rings
Nice shiny finish

Picots on chains can be difficult to find if adding a second chain over the first one
More difficult than normal to stretch a picot if it is too small

The pattern for the earrings is by Emelie beads (

......and the Toho #15 seed beads are from

ps steam press with the iron at medium temperature (test first). I sandwiched the earrings between two pieces of kitchen towel. This gave a great result as they did not need starching but were very crisp 



Friday, January 29, 2016

Tatting, silk ribbon roses and French knots on felt hearts

I love combining techniques to create OOAK items.

 I make these felt hearts in two different sizes and they look beautiful as door or drawer knobs, hanging on coat hangers or as pin cushions

I use Sizzix dies to cut the hearts and use polyester filling. My preferred embroidery floss is DMC and I like size 20 thread from Lizbeth for shuttle tatting  

Once I have completed the embroidery and/or tatting I sew two hearts together using either a running stitch or blanket stitch. I find it is best leave approximately a one inch space to insert the stuffing (it's a good idea to measure enough floss to sew around the heart without a join)

Please see the index on the left for tutorials for making silk ribbons and fork bows?

This is an example of a heart I teach as part of enrichment programmes on cruise ships -  
it takes about 60-90 minutesto complete one. It is a simple design and good for beginners. Most of us learned to do lazy daisy (chain) stitch at school and it's like riding a bike! 
Here I have combined silk ribbon roses and leaves with a tatted edging pattern by Mary Konior and French knot wisteria 

 ....more tatting with seed beads

Hollyhocks and cottage garden flowers with a tatted butterfly

......scattered French knots around  roses and added a seed bead to each stitch around the edge

 These are fun to make and you can make them as simple or busy as your hearts desire!

I hope you enjoyed seeing these and please visit again



Saturday, August 15, 2015

a visit to a French Flower Shop - a fleur d'emotion

Today we were walking through the town of Nancy in France when I saw a beautiful flower shop called Le Liseron -

I must admit that, when we are travelling, I can not pass flower shops - there is just something about their ambience that I enjoy.

 Le Liseron certainly has ambience by the bucketful, right down to the bridal salon where brides-to-be can take  time choosing their floral arrangements


 The stars of the show were, of course, les fleurs and no words are needed to describe them. They were exquisite






Nancy is more wonderful than I could have imagined and our visit to Le Liseron was a real highlight - tres Jolie!  I was even invited to see the "back shop" where flowers are dried and also the ancient cellar

I could not refuse an invitation to see "the back shop" 
and the ancient cellar


Thank you Sylvain