Thursday, 31 March 2011

Pencil cases...

For the last couple of weeks I have been working on a special present of a pencil case.  I wanted it to be a 'wrap' style case with no zip, and to make it from a piece of felted, embroidered and beaded linen, and to use some Japanese fabric for the lining.

When I do projects like these I always start off with a rough sketch of what I hope it will look like, with approximate dimensions - this becomes the 'pattern' that I work from (although I don't actually use pattern pieces, just measurements).  I generally make two of anything so I can iron out any problems with the design in the first attempt.

Here's my rough sketch:

The first pencil case I made was like this:

It has a pouch for storing pencils and pens...
(the black and cream lining fabric that you can just about see is more from my vintage kimono stash that I got from Kyoto)

...and then rolls up like this.  It's held closed with an 8-tama kumihimo braid.

 Here's a closeup of the front felted area:
Fortunately the pattern worked out ok, which meant I could also make up the second pencil case - this time in my favourite autumnal shades:

 the inside has red kimono fabric:
(I used felt for the lining of the pouch to provide some extra protection for the contents)

The Autumnal pencil case has been given as part of a special present, but I am keeping the blue prototype for myself - and I'm looking forward to using it on our next sketching trip!

Sunday, 20 March 2011


Some paper maquettes for more 3D brooch experiments...

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Another auction for Japan...

I just wanted to let you know that my friend Kasia, a very talented illustrator, is auctioning one of her beautiful limited edition prints in collaboration with Maggy of Red Ted Art.  All proceeds will go to Save The Children and their work in Japan with children affected by the earthquake and tsunami.  

You can find the auction, and details of how to bid, here!

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Auction for the Japan quake appeal

I just wanted to let you know that my sister will be running a series of auctions/raffles over the next wee while, with all proceeds going to the Japan quake appeal.  First up is my 'Sakura' brooch that I posted about here a few days ago.

You can find the auction, more details, and instructions on how to participate in the bidding for a chance to win the brooch here, at my sister's blog.  

Saturday, 12 March 2011


I love Japan.  I have been fascinated by its language and culture for years, and have been lucky enough to visit twice.  Some of my happiest memories are of times spent in beautiful, peaceful temples, or being awestruck at vast cityscapes viewed from the top of skyscrapers.

I watched in horror yesterday news coverage of the terrible earthquake and devastating tsunami that have hit north-eastern Honshu.  The terrifying footage of the tsunami eating up everything in its path is haunting me today.

I'm travelling to Japan this May.  We just booked our flights last month.  We had been looking forward to spending some time in Sendai, and on the Miyagi coast.  I can't imagine what people there are going through right now.

You can donate to the International Red Cross here.  Not only are they providing essential aid in Japan, but they provide much-needed help all over the world following natural disasters.  Other suggestions are Oxfam, Shelterbox or MSF. I will also be donating the equivalent of 50% of the sale price of any items sold in my Etsy shop, until the time of our visit to Japan, to the International Red Cross.

My thoughts are with everyone in the world affected by natural disasters and their aftermath.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011


I'm really ready for proper Spring now.  We woke up to snow this morning!  That just doesn't seem right.

The crocuses and snowdrops are out here at least, but I'm longing for narcissi... and cherry blossom!

This is a piece that has been in progress for some time.  She's my first experiment in slightly more 3D work (she's not hugely 3D but I needed to start somewhere).


Sakura is made from 5 petals made from beaded and embroidered felt:

After making each petal, I gave them a little bit of extra shape:

and then joined them all together...

...into a brooch!