Super Cute Cactus tutorial……

This week I want to give you a little tutorial on how to create this super cute cactus design! It’s a simple design which can be used to accessorise clothing or just as a pretty picture to frame. Using the techniques found here: https://gracesheldrick.wordpress.com/2019/03/14/embroideryadaywithgrace/  in my previous blog post you will be making beautiful designs in no time!

For this design you will need:

  • a copy of the cactus design (however large you like)
  • good quality tracing paper
  • 6″ embroidery hoop and needles
  • Fabric of your choice- I have used a lilac cotton blend.
  • 3 green threads (various gradients), black thread and 3 bright colours for the flowers. I have used DMC threads: Black (310), Light Green (701), Mid Green (699), Dark Green (890), Pink (601), Blue (995), Yellow (743).

 

The first step is to transfer the outline of the Cactus design onto your chosen fabric. There are a few different ways this can be done but I have my own, slightly unique way of doing this.Copy the outline from the image below onto a piece of tracing paper using a thin black pen, then place the tracing paper over your fabric and pin down.

EPSON MFP image

Now using one strand of embroidery thread (pick a colour that will blend into your design e.g green for the cactus) sew a split stitch around the outline of the design sewing through the fabric and tracing paper. Once this is complete you will be able to easily tear away the tracing paper leaving the outline on the fabric. Obviously this is just my own way of transferring a design, you can also free hand draw it onto your fabric or use some fabric transfer paper which is similar to tracing paper but for fabric. Personally I have found both of these options have problems but there is no harm in giving them a go.

Right, now you have your design its time to start sewing!

Start by threading up 3 strands of your dark green colour, starting in the second section of the cactus sew a satin stitch across ways working your way up the design. Make sure you only sew between the two lines you created earlier with the split stitch, this will give your cactus more detail. For a neat edge bring your needle up on the left of the split stitch line as close a possible and place it back down on the right of the other line. This will keep your stitches neat and give you a nice edge.

Repeat using your lightest colour for section three working (right to left). Finally using the mid green colour on the fourth section starting for the outside and working inwards (right to left).  Then use the same mid green colour for section one, work from the outside working inwards (left to right).

Next up is the flower, lightly draw a petal design on the fabric using pencil. Fill this in with 3 strands of your chosen colour by working a satin stitch from the outside inwards. Add some details by using 2 strands of your bright colours. Super simple!

Finally is the pot and outline. I kept the pot design very simple, its just a case of going over your original outline in a thicker black thread. Using 2 strands of black sew a split stitch around the design. I like to outline my designs in black to bring out the colours and its a good way to hide some bad stitches! take 1 strand of black and go around the design, you can also use the thread to create the spikes of the cactus ( little cross stitches).

And…… BAM its all finished! To complete your Cactus you could add a nice frame, or if you want to add it to clothing I would suggest embroidering straight onto the fabric of your item.

Thank you for having a read! I would love to see your finished Cacti just add the #embroideryadaywithgrace. Hopefully you are able to follow my instructions! If you need any help please just give me a shout!

Have a good day! Happy Sewing!

Grace x

 

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Keepsake buttons……

Off on another tangent today…. did you know I offer a keepsake button pendant service! I came up with the idea a few years ago after brainstorming how I could make my button pendants more unique. The idea of memory keepsakes has become very popular in the last few years. Making toys from old shirts or quilts from your babies first outfits its a lovely idea to remember a late relative or the first years of your child, its also a brilliant way of upcycling old items. It’s as easy as sending me a precious button in the post and I will cast an exact replica in silver.

I have had some of the loveliest comments from previous clients, They each had a button cast from their grandmothers button box.

“The most beautiful memory gift that I have ever been given! One of your wonderful silver cast buttons, moulded and fashioned from one of the many hundreds of buttons that she collected over the years!” – Maureen

“So many treasured memories wrapped up in one little button that I now wear around my neck with pride. Who would have thought that something so small could mean so much.” – Julie

“I was speechless when I received it, and still am now. You can just see the care, love and attention that has gone into it”. -Sarah

Photo 15-07-2017, 15 35 55

If you are interested in having a bespoke pendant made please contact me at gracesheldrick@yahoo.co.uk. Price start from £40 depending on size.

Grace x

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#embroideryadaywithgrace

Embroidery basics for beginners! When I first started embroidery all I knew was how to cross stitch and it wasn’t until I was doing my degree did I discover a whole library of different techniques and stitches to be explored. I was lucky enough to be taught by some very talented, RSN ( royal school of needlework)  tutors and they taught me the correct way to work stitches. Over the years I have developed my own way of doing things, much like you would drawing or painting and I would like to share some of my favourite stitches with you. Over the next year or so ( I am currently planning a wedding so bare with me if it takes longer) I plan on writing a book based on my embroidery a day series I started a few years back (I will explain more about that in another blog) but for now I am going to start with some simple, fun tutorials on here! I would love to see your finished pieces so please share the with the hashtag #embroideryadaywithgrace.

Firstly you need to get the right equipment! You don’t need much to get started, an embroidery hoop is very handy but not essential- it helps to hold your fabric tight and the size of your embroidery determines the size of your hoop. You will also need some embroidery needles- I like to use needles with a sharp point, Hemline needles will say what they are for on the packet so just check they are listed as embroidery or crewel needles. Your fabric and thread are the most important bits! For fabric I tend to use cotton but obviously it depends what type of embroidery you are doing. I often work on a Gray colour (I really hate white its scary) if I am doing a simple design but its completely up to you. Finally lets talk thread, you will need to buy embroidery skeins- a skein is a bundle of 6 strands of embroidery floss and is about 20m long.  I personally LOVE DMC threads over other brands as the colours are more vibrant and the threads are softer.

Photo 14-03-2019, 19 11 27

Once you have all the equipment you are ready to go! One of my favourite and most used stitches is Split Stitch. I mainly use it for outlining a design or adding detail and it is so easy to do. With nearly all embroidery stitches you separate out two threads from an embroidery skein, sometimes a pattern might ask you to use more. When cutting thread only use about 20-30cm at a time, any longer and it can get tangled (which can be a nightmare). To start a stitch i always tie a knot in the end of my thread, doing this means the back of your sewing can get quite messy but I would rather that than it falling apart!

Working from left to right bring your needle up at A.  and down at B. pulling the thread firmly. Then bring the needle back up at C. through the centre of the thread (creating the ‘Split’ stitch). Repeat until you have finished your design.

The next stitch is Chain Stitch, it can be a little fiddly at first its hard not pull the thread all the way through the fabric. Again this is a good outlining stitch or it can be used as a decorative stitch. Bring your needle up at A. and place back down into A. making a loop with the thread bring the needle back through the fabric a short distance away at B.  Then insert the needle back into B., repeat making sure all the stitches are the same size.

French Knots are one of my favourite things to do and you will see why when I start to share some patterns with you. Some people find them hard to understand but persevere you will get it in the end. Bring your needle up at A. Holding the thread taut with your finger wrap it around the needle once or twice (sometimes even more, it gives you a bigger knot- you can also use more threads for a fatter knot) Still holding the thread to the side insert the needle down very close to point A. and pull through. the twist will lie nicely against the fabric.

My final stitch is Satin Stitch (Silk shading) this is my main filling in stitch I use in all my work. You can use it to cover larger areas with colour. Bring your needle up at A. and down at B. then bring your needle up at C. and down at D. repeat until you have filled in your design. Some embroiderers like to start in the centre of a design and work one side first and then the other, this ensures all the stitches are neat and regular. Depending on the size of your design you can sometimes use more threads for a fuller effect.

And that’s it for my quick guide to the basic stitches. Enjoy experimenting and keep practising. In my next blog I will run through how to transfer an image onto fabric ready for stitching and I may even give you a cheeky pattern. I find writing instructions quite hard so please message me if you get stuck. Obviously this way of stitching is my interpretation and you may find an easier way that suits you but as long as it does the job that’s all that matters.

Anyway that’s all from me, please share in all the usual places.

Grace x

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Creative spaces…..

I have been a little quiet lately but I thought today I would quickly share with you the story of how I got to where I am today. And the incredible places I have been lucky enough to study/create in.

In 2010 I started my degree with the Royal School of Needlework in Hand Embroidery, I didn’t fancy doing your average degree and its still great watching peoples reactions when they ask you what you did (it is also based at Hampton Court Palace, the coolest campus).

The degree allowed me to explore many different ways of using stitch which lead me down the jewellery path! To help complete my FMP I needed some expert jewellery help, I had never worked with metal before so it was all new! I was looking for courses local to me and stumbled across Aileen Hamilton.

Aileen has her own beautiful workshop in her back garden, and once a week on a Wednesday I would go over and she would help my create my designs. Without Aileen’s help I wouldn’t be where I am today. I still pester Aileen for help with difficult projects and its great to pop over on Saturday and discuss new ideas in her cozy workshop. Aileen has since expanded her workshop allowing her to have more students for classes. If you are interested in starting a new hobby or would like to upcycle an old family heirloom visit Aileen’s website for more details: http://www.aileenhamilton.co.uk.

After my degree finished I spent a year on a residential jewellery/silvermithing course in Reading. Bishopsland is based on a beautiful old farm in the South Oxfordshire country side. The course allowed me to continue to experiment and learn from some of the best crafts people in the industry.  Even though things don’t always go to plan being a creative person I am still very lucky that I have worked in some of the most beautiful places in the south east.

And this is where I am today! I am extremely lucky to have my very own workshop. Myself and my Dad built the Shed back in 2016, its the perfect quiet space to experiment and make my jewellery. The Shed is complete with electricity and flamingos!

The Shed is based in my parents back garden and after moving out last October it has been a little neglected. Spring has sprung and its time to start making again! Maybe next time I will show you what I’ve been up to.

If you like what I have to say please start to follow my blog, I promise to make it a little more interesting next time! And obviously please follow me on all the usual places.

Have a good Saturday.

Grace x

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A handmade tale……..

A few months ago I was asked how much one of my pendants would cost without the chain, this is a reasonable question and I have been asked this before. The necklace was on sale for £30, this is a handmade, solid silver hallmarked one of a kind piece. I replied and told them I would be happy to sell it for £20…..they never got back to me. Now they either decided it wasn’t for them or they thought that price was too expensive. This got me thinking am I over pricing things? I had a chat with a friend we decided that many people may not be aware of all the hard work and time that can go into making a bespoke piece of jewellery. So today I thought I would give you a little insight into my creative process from start to finish………………..

I very rarely draw out my designs before I begin making a piece of jewellery, drawing is something I have never enjoyed and I would rather just get stuck in experimenting. For one of my swirl design pendants it starts of life as a piece of goldwork embroidery.

2014-05-28 11.00.08-2    DSC02568

I use a technique called Delft clay casting, this involves making a two part mould using the delft clay. This can be a very time consuming process, the object is placed into the mould and the sand is compacted around it. You have to be careful when removing the object so you can get a perfect replica and you also have to create a sprue hole to pour the silver into, I love using this way of casting as every piece is unique and personal.

Once the mould is ready its time to cast! The silver blobs are melted in a crucible and then poured into the mould. The action of pouring the silver instantly cools the metal creating the finished copy. When the piece is cool its time to start filing! The swirl will emerge from the mould with a sprue which has to be removed. The brilliant thing about this casting process is there is very little waste, you can use the sprue and the sand all over again for the next cast!

Filing is the boring part! The back of a cast piece can be very messy, It can take for ever to get the perfect finish (I’m a perfectionist) the back of a piece should be smooth and flaw free. The final part of the process is attaching the fittings for either and necklace or earrings and then its onto polishing! I tend to use a barrel polisher, this is a machine with steel shot inside that basically batters your piece shiny (this is not the technical term for it).

And just like that you have a handmade piece of jewellery! On average from start to finish this could take me about 1.5hours to make, which may not seem like a long time to some but when you charge £30 for the finished item its a big part of the profit. So after all my rambling I hope this post makes you think the next time you go and buy something handmade please consider all the time and love that has gone into that one piece.

Anyway until next time!!

Grace x

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Creative evenings..(impulsive creative disorder)

Having recently settled in my first home with Harry it has given me the perfect opportunity to finally start finishing off some of the many, many projects I have started over the years. The first project to be completed is this beautiful, simple silhouette cross stitch pattern the Frog Prince from a wonderful book called Story Land Cross Stitch by What Delilah Did. It’s a counted cross stitch pattern which took a lot of patience but I got there in the end. I love a book and it is very hard to find good patterns for cross stitch, by good I mean not hideous country cottages or tiger pictures! The patterns in this book are really simple yet effective and its super easy to follow.

photo 24-01-2019, 12 28 26

My next project from this book are a pair of silhouette images called The Knight and The Princess. As you can see from the picture below its coming along slowly!

Photo 03-02-2019, 10 17 51

When most people get in from work they like to relax in front of the telly with a nice big glass of wine, but not me!! I find it extremely hard to keep still and I always like to be doing something! I like to call this ICD Impulsive Creative Disorder (this is not an official term) I find it easier to concentrate on a program when I am sewing, painting or writing. I find this is my way of releasing my built up creative tension after a long day at work, and just because I am not currently using my skills in my day job does not mean I should just ignore them. As I said in my previous post I am finally beginning to balance my work life and creative life even if its just a small change by finishing off projects in the evenings.

Anyway please follow me on all the usual places.

Grace x

2019…….

New year, New blog. I have not done this for a very long time so please bare with me! I am going to start by introducing myself, I am Grace. I have a degree in Hand Embroidery ( a weird one so everyone tells me) I finished my degree back in 2013 and since then I have been trying my hardest to stay creative but unfortunately the daily grind of a full time job in retail has started to take its toll. So my focus for this year is to try and get my work life and creative life perfectly balanced and really give this self employed/dream job idea a go.

Even though I have a degree in embroidery my main business focus is jewellery. I have been making silver jewellery for the past 5years, I have tried my hand a craft fairs and have my own Etsy shop but I need your help!!! The most important tool for becoming successful is social media, I have the ideas and the products I just need the love!! I am going to use this blog to keep you all up to date with all the exciting things that 2019 will hopefully bring!

You can find me here: https://www.instagram.com/grace_hannah_jewellery/

here: https://www.gracesheldrick.com/

here: https://www.facebook.com/gracesheldrickjewellery/

and here: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/gracesheldrick/

Please share my posts, like my pictures and follow me!

Speak to you all very soon. Grace x

 

photo 20-09-2017, 16 42 45

 

 

St Catherine’s Hospice Fundraiser

Tomorrow myself, Aileen Hamilton and Vicky Cox will be demonstrating and selling our work at a fundraiser event for St Catherine’s Hospice in Bletchingley. Please come along and have a look around, I will be donating 10% from each item that I sell.

Saturday 17th August
1:30- 5:30
Bletchingley Garden Fete at The Barn, Springbottom Lane, Bletchingley, RH1 4QZ.

http://www.stch.org.uk/howYouCanHelp/JoinanEvent/WhatsOn2default.asp

Hope to see you there.