Sunday, 8 June 2014

Owl Mobile

Hi everyone. Hope you all have had a good weekend with plenty of sunshine. This is my latest craft project: the little knitted owls. My first knitted toy and the first owls I've ever knitted. I'm very pleased how they turned out. They had been on my to-do craft list but my work colleague motivated me to have a go at them as she couldn't read the pattern. The owls turned out to be easy-peasy to make :) I have a feeling I will be knitting more of them in the future!

The owls come from a lovely book Baby and Toddler Knits made easy. I bought it at my workplace from a bookman and it only cost me a fiver! Bargain! Funnily, this book turned out to be a selling hit among my colleagues and quite a few of us got their own copy. The book is published by DK - one of my favourite publishing houses. They are good at releasing handbooks and the instructions and photos in their books are always clear. There's also a knitting guide at the back of this book too. It's a hardback with glossy paper and beautiful photographs. Another lovely add-on to my crafty book bookshelf. I just love the knitted pattern on the cover!

The whole project is an owl mobile for a baby :) My owls are more of a key ring type. Actually I've already given them away to people at work. 3 went to my colleagues who have a special liking for owls and one went to an autistic boy who loves his book about baby owls - he always brings it to school from home :) 

I had to take a few photos before I let them fly away :)

They came out pretty small, about 7-8 cm high. Very light as stuffed with polyestre. They don't take much yarn, literally scraps and some tiny amount of felt. They are also fast to knit. Just finishing off the bits may take a bit longer but I always like to get my details right :) I didn't have the same yarn as recommended in the book so I used grey yarn to combine with different colours. I think it combines very well with all sorts of colours. 

I hung them on my seasonal tree just to see what they would look like:

This gave me an idea: I'm going to knit my own owl gang, just using different colours to match my mantlepiece decoration :)

A few photos outside :) I even made a crude rustic mobile for them using garden stitcks ;)

My cat Cookie aka Mr Nosey was "helping" me take the photos outside. He's got to be everywhere where something is going on. His job was to hang around the bushes and check if any stranger is approaching :)

But after 5 min. he was ready to take a chilling break :P

Cooling down with his leg sticking up in the air ha ha

Ready with my knitted owl gang for Handmade Monday blog hop. Do join in and have fun reading about other crafters' doings. Have a good weekend and thank you for your comments. x x

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Hello Japan

I've had quite a few books joining my craft bookcase recently so this is going to be another post about a book :P Hope you're not bored to death:P Last Thursday this landed in my mailbox:

 - a parcel from Japan! Inside a quite unusual book in Japanese:

And a lovely piece of origami was attached with a few words of explanation. How cute!

The book is a collection of simple cross stitch motifs - just as I like them!

Here are few exemplary projects to stitch.
A nature-themed and home-themed stitches, lovely in natural greens and browns:

Something for the kitchen:

American style, sort of West Country look: (I love these!)

Rustic stitches for nursery:

There are plenty of botanical motifs in the book:

... in various styles...

Some projects for celebrations, cards and tags:

I spotted a couple of spelling mistakes. It's been pointed to me that the Japanese people are famous for misspelling English words and not paying much attention to it. Well, this book is a perfect proof of it.
Kitchen and food theme again:

Monochromatic samplers. I love simple stitches like these!

Floral borders:

Hearts and wreaths:

Sweet borders for various projects:

All the instructions are in Japanese, which is of course illegible to me. But I'm already familiar with the cross stitch techniques so I'll give these instructions a miss.

Basically this book is divided into 3 parts. 1st part shows the ready stitches, middle part is all about the explanations and how to stitch and the 3rd part is black and white charts for these projects.
I really like this funny Japanese collection of cross stitch patterns. I'm hoping to use some of these designs in my stitching projects in the future. 

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Books, books, books... and a musical :)

The half term has ended. The time just whizzed past so quickly. I really don't know where it is flying. It was a good week with some good events, crafting and some nice weather. The biggest event of the week was of course when last Tuesday me and T. went to the Liverpool Empire Theatre to watch the famous musical - The Lion King. I've never been a big fan of ( esp. telly) musicals as such but this one was simply AMAZING!!! What a spectacular display of music, choreography, costumes, scenery and acting it was!. We were truly impressed and if I were to watch it once more, I would have goosebumps again too! If you ever get a chance to see it, do go. I can guarantee you will be impressed. 

As we were waiting for the evening performance at the theatre, we also had a walk around the Liverpool centre and we found that nice second hand shop which we couldn't resist. It was a place like those many years ago - a stuffy dusty shop packed with the book shelves right from the top of the ceiling right down to the floor, stuffed with thousands of books. Perfect place for book hunters and bookworms. T. went to look for his books and I was rummaging upstairs among the shelves with crafty books. Here are my finds:

Each book was priced £2-3. What a bargain! What real treasures these book are I only found out at home when I had a chance to look at them closely, in peace and  with a cup of tea :) These books are, as I like to call it: an older generation of craft books - big album-like hard-backs with a pretty much vintage stuff inside. Too old? Nah, "old" means stuff you can't find these days in modern craft books and anyway this vintage has got its own charm, doesn't it? So, very pleased with that buy.

Jóna Sparey: "Icelandic Patterns in Needlepoint. Over 40 easy-to-stitch designs from the Land of Ice and Fire" - when I spotted this book I knew straightaway it would be going home with me :) Anything about the Scandinavian heritage interests me :) I know of needlepoint technique but I've never tried it myself. This book convinces me to do so. 

Here are the most interesting projects from this book. Have a peek :)
I'm loving these floral tapestries more and more. These folky patterns are really growing on me with time. You can see such motifs on national costumes of the Scandinavian people, particularly Swedish. I just love the way they are stylized. Plus the blue shades make it look so cool... literally too! 

I also love the floral motifs standing out against the dark background. This seem to deepen the colours. It's a common practice in the Polish folklore too. 

A tapestry in natural earthy tones? Why not? It all looks toned and in harmony. Very pretty design, I think.

I'm also loving this one too! Actually I'd love to see this one on my walls :) There's something appealing in these shades of purple. The flower heads are just beautiful. 

Must not forget about the Scandinavian stars when talking about the Scandinavian heritage. This is one of my favourite projects in this book. I just adore how this eight petal rose (apparently a name for this type of Norwegian star) is stylized with the florals inside. If I don't get a chance to stitch it in the needlepoint technique, I will definitely stitch it in cross stitch. Notice the characteristic use of white and shades of blue, typical of Scandinavian art. Gorgeous!

The book features quite a few borders to stitch too! The cleverness of the folk people - amazing!

Book no. 2: Melinda Coss "The Cross Stitch House". This book is all about creating a pretty vintage home with lots of feminine accents. Go for it if you like sweet pretty adornments :D

My faves from this book: a vintage rose bell pull:

Tablecloth and napkin adornments. Love especially the colour shading on the butterflies :)

Gorgeous folksy projects with birds. Love it! Love it! Love it! According the author this is American folk.

A nice way how to jazz up a bit plain beige curtains! :) Mind that picture in the background too! A perfect match! 

A central piece for a shadowbox:

And the big picture itself! Don't they all look good together?

There are some stitches for the farm animal lovers too! This chicken stitched on a basket napkin reminds me of the Easter basket blessings straight away.

Can't stop at stitching just one hen! Get a chicken sampler with this lovely carrot border! How cool!

And a lovely tile clock for your kitchen. It is supposed to remind you the Dutch Delft chinaware but I find those snowflake motifs quite Scandinavian :P It would look great stitched in reds too! 

The book no. 3: Dorothea Hall "Cross Stitch. A Beautiful Gift" I like a few projects from this book too. 

Just love these 3 cross stitched characters!

Lovely rabbit, perfect for a rustic decor.

Tartan combined with a Nordic star, why not? I love how the Nordic star is stitched a few colours.

Gorgeous reds for your table! :) Mind that beautiful plate with the checkered border!

I just drooled at the sight of this border for a kitchen shelf. How beautiful it looks! Nordic stars again! I love how they used white ric-rac on it too!

And how about a beautiful basket cover? Not only it looks pretty, it also protects your yarn from dust and playful kitties :) Love the pearls added for more of a wow factor :)

Fragranced sachets as gifts? Who wouldn't want? Looks pretty and smells good!

The book no.4 is definitely my favourite among these 4. It just got me spellbound. Folk spellboud of course. "Mary Norden's Needlepoint. Fifty Folk Art Projects for The Home" I fell in love with it the moment I opened it at the shop. It's a book with American flair in it  - vintage, folky and colonial.

When I see folky patterns, my eyes just go wide open, my jaw drops.... ooooooh! aaaah!

But when I saw these Nordic style photo frames my heart skipped a beat. ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS! Must, must, must stitch them! I find these patterns so beautiful and the whole collection on the wall just looks STUNNING! Definitely a must-do on my craft list. 

Again, notice the choice of colours, typical of Scandinavian art - lots of red and white with blue.

Gorgeous little bag to stitch:

And even more gorgeous pillow covers. This book has got me drooling, page after page!

Beautiful purses, gift bags, favour bags, name them all... they just look so pretty arranged on this shelf.

Or... hanging on a peg...

A pretty project for a cover. Kinda similar to those from the "Icelandic" book.

And the cushions are an absolute hit in this book! I particularly love this version with the dusty blue border.

A bit of retro here...

And a bit of the colonial style...

Mrs & Mr Washingon:

Now here's a question for million dollars: 

When on earth am I supposed to stitch all of that? 

I think this will do for today. I hope I got you interested in these books. Feel free to comment or ask. Or just feel free to head over to Amazon to order your own copy ;)
Take care and thank you for your comments. x x