Sunday, 31 October 2010


I've been very excited this week at the arrival of my Kindle e-reader.  Of course the first thing I had to do once it arrived was to make it a protective case...!

I decided to make a two-part case - a padded protective one for everyday storage and a 'hardback' case to protect the screen when I'm carrying it around in my bag.

For the inner soft case I used some of my precious vintage Japanese kimono fabric that I got at a temple market in Kyoto back in 2007 - this is one of my favourites with stylised Japanese clouds in cream on burgundy.  I sandwiched in a layer of wadding, and lined it with beautiful hand-dyed viscose felt from Sassalynne:

For the 'hardback' case I padded pieces of very thick card with more wadding, and then slipped them into a fabric case made with wonderful hand-dyed cotton fabric from AngelicaV.  

I added a lovely big coconut shell button, and some couched threads, hand embroidery, tiny 2mm sequins and glass beads.

I braided a thin 4-tama kumihimo braid and added this as a tie for closing the cover.  The inner 'cloud' cover fits into the hardback cover for extra protection if required!

My first ebook is 'Frankenstein'!

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Autumn winds...

I've been working on another fibre art piece inspired by Autumn.  The season is in full force here - this week we've been having wonderful light especially, and the smell of falling leaves is thick in the air.

'Autumn winds' is a piece worked straight on to heavy-duty vintage upholstery linen - first of all with my embellisher and then with hand beading and embroidery.

To start, I felted abaca tissue, metal organza, wool waste, cotton scrim, linen scraps and silk fibre onto the linen:

Then I added tiny 2mm sequins, lots of glass and metal beads, including some vintage beauties, and then finally lots of hand embroidery stitches:

seed, colonial knot, bullion knot and detached fly:

running stitch in the form of Japanese stylised wind:

and detached chain stitch (the tiny gold ones in the middle top):

to make the finished piece:

I have rather enjoyed working on the vintage linen with its stains and faults - it is very satisfyingly thick and I think the irregularities add to the texture and feel of the piece.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Etsy packaging...

Another thing I have recently revamped slightly is my Etsy order packaging.  As a buyer on Etsy I really appreciate lovely packaging and I have always tried to make the packaging for my own work pretty but as sustainable as possible.  I've recently tried to update everything, and here is the latest incarnation that will be rolled out with all new pieces:
The large box is for brooches and necklaces, the smaller for earrings and bracelets.  The boxes are recycled, and reuseable - I used to stamp my 'KT' logo on boxes but have decided instead to go with a sticker to decorate the box, which I hope makes it more reuseable.  Around the box is some black organza ribbon, folded into a bow and secured with thread and some small beads.  With the box goes an origami crane, a moo minicard, and a recycled kraft card on which I write a short thank you message.  These all go into a wee glassine envelope.  Finally it all goes into a pink and white striped paper bag (the sort you used to get penny sweets in!).  I send it all off in a Jiffy Green padded envelope, which is recyclable.  

I'm always on the lookout for new packaging possibilities, and have had some wonderful inspiration from many fellow Etsy sellers who come up with some beautiful and original ideas.  My favourite packaging so far has been from tinctory (no longer on Etsy but now here) and bullfinchbarbury - both were for beautiful pieces of jewellery and the packaging was the icing on the cake!

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Bosket and Namida... and believing in your own work!

I'm beginning to gear up for fully reopening my Etsy shop with revised photos and pricing.  It's something I've been thinking about (and struggling with) for a long time - the different ways to value one's work and having the confidence to do so.  After some while, and many helpful discussions with myself and other friendly ears (you know who you are - and thank you!) I have decided that it's time to support my own work more strongly.  

One of the main ways to do this unfortunately involves money - price often being construed to equal value (although often not actually the case) - but when your work is in the public sphere I do think this has to be taken into account.  There is so much information and advice available on the internet regarding pricing - what factors need to be taken into account and so on.   By the time you have factored in supplies and time often the numbers just don't add up to a feasible amount.

When I first started out, I couldn't believe that anyone would actually want to buy my work - I loved making it, but the process was the goal for me and the end result it was sort of extraneous in a funny kind of way.  Now over the months and years, I feel my skill has developed and so has my confidence (in myself and in my work) which means now that I can better value the time, care and skill that I put into the pieces that I make - pieces that I feel are beautiful and original.  This isn't meant to sound like blowing my own trumpet (so apologies if it does!) but rather it's an understanding that is very significant for me personally as well as for my work.  If I don't believe in it, who else will?!

It still feels all rather nerve-wracking though, particularly as another goal that I have set myself is to approach some galleries and boutiques in Edinburgh to see if they would consider selling some of my jewellery... *gulp*! I plan to do this after my shop is sorted out... and I'll let you know how it goes!

So anyway, back to the crafting - amidst all of this soul-searching I have actually been making things too :P - today I finished two brooches:
(loving this word - just learned it today - it means a clump of small trees or bushes :D)

and Namida (which is Japanese for 'tears')

Monday, 11 October 2010

Birthdays and inspiration...

The big project I've been working on recently has been a fibre art piece for my sister's birthday, which was on Saturday.  

My sister chose the general colour scheme - a mixture of blue-grays and greeny-turquoises with a hint of pink - inspired by some beautiful silk laps we picked up from the Oliver Twists stall at the Festival of Quilts.

So, first of all, using a natural linen background, I felted the silk laps along with cotton scrim, silk/metal organza, silk throwsters waste, abaca tissue, silk fabric, silk cocoon fibre, wool nepps, silk carrier rod fibre and silk threads.

 I left some silk threads loose so that I could stitch them afterwards:
Then I added my current favourites - tiny 2mm sequins...
...and very many glass and metal beads:

 ...and finished off with lots of hand embroidery - running and detached chain stitches:
 bullion and colonial knot stitches:
 detached fly stitch:
 seed stitch: make the finished piece:

Apart from working on this project I have been busy being inspired on a short trip to Skye - breathtaking!

Saturday, 2 October 2010


It's truly feeling like autumn proper here in Edinburgh now, with dark mornings, chill winds, falling leaves and beautiful colours.  I love it :D

It is inspiring lots of autumn-themed projects!

Yet another autumnal work in progress!