Friday, July 4, 2014

Something different...

Lately I have been obsessed with Russian designs (again). This time with posters and graphic design used on advertisements, especially those on vintage matchbox labels and stamps. These pieces are available on eBay for just a few dollars, and are lots of fun to collect.

I have been busily collecting mid-century graphics on ephemera such as these, and boy is it addictive!
The simple, bold and somewhat abstracted designs are just perfect for transferring to quilt design.
I have also been wanting to appliqué text to quilts for a while and this project is the perfect opportunity to give that a go!

Mid-Century Soviet Russian Matchbox Labels, these are a collection of folk toys
My choice for transfer to quilt design - I think the word means dolls,
anyone know?
sketch up of how to piece the quilt
Applying applique 
the finished block with chain stitched faces


Well, it is by no means perfect but I really enjoyed making this block and am keen to start some more to eventually sew together into a quilt. Have you ever designed a quilt around an object of ephemera?
Do tell me about it, I'd love to hear!
xoClair

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Nautical Cross quilt

Here's my latest finished quilt, a stash-bustin' cross quilt with a nautical feel (for me at least).
I used a mixture of vintage and new fabrics and winged the pattern.

I based my colour choices on Red, Yellow and Blue and made sure that they were all warm toned colours so that they wouldn't clash. When I had pieced my crosses together they had a nautical feel, like signal flags or perhaps flags of scandinavian countries.

This one is for my sweet Little Ms B, who is now a big 7 year old girl and growing more independent each day.

The quilt is hand quilted using DMC Cotton Perle in two colours.

xoClair
Nautical Cross Quilt
the patterned fabrics are vintage finds and the solids are modern, except the lighter yellow  crosshatched fabric which is Caroline Friedlander (LOOVE her designs!)
a huge mixture of stash fabrics from Lincraft, vintage, old clothing and on-line purchases.
The far apart hand stitched quilting leaves the quilt soft and pliable.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Clouds quilt

I had a little idea spring into my mind the other night, just as I was falling asleep.
In the past when things have come into my thoughts at that time of night I've thought to myself "I should really write this down, but I'm solo comfy and warm I don't want to move - I'm sure I will remember it in the morning!"
Of course, I never do. So now I keep a pencil and paper in my bedside drawer and I turn the light on and write it down, even if I risk waking hubby and lose that beautiful moment of comfort.

This is my rendering of the idea I had the other night, a revision of the scrawl made at the moment of inspiration:


I bought these FQs at my local quilting shop last week and have been pondering what to do with them. I broke my rule in buying them, as I had decided to not buy any more fabric until I use up some of the ridiculous stash I already have. But just look at those colours!!! How could I have resisted??

I have been slightly fixated on Russian Film posters from the 1960s (I can hear my friends snorting my use of the word slightly) and the bold colours and halftone shading used in them. I really want to incorporate some big ol' halftone dots into this design.



As you can see from the images above, the clouds are made up of dots but when you zoom in,the colours completely change from being tones of green blue and yellow to being process colours. 

The plan is to have Spoonflower print up some enlarged halftone dot fabric for me to use on the appliqué clouds. I'm thinking about using their linen-cotton canvas or their new ultra suede and leaving raw edges on the clouds, what do you think?

xoClair

Monday, June 9, 2014

Still here


Wow, it has been a while since I last posted on this blog.
It wasn't intentional but I have been offline for many weeks now just enjoying the real world with my amazing family.
My children are now 5 and 7 and I have been enjoying every little conversation, smile and joke that is formulated in their gorgeous little brains. They have been making discoveries this week, the one which they are most excited about is Barbapapa.
When I was little one of my favourite books was Barbapapa's New House by Annette Tison and Talus Taylor. In case you don't know, the Barba family is made up of colourful blobby creatures that can change their form at will. The family faces challenges in each story and work together to creatively solve problems and complete tasks.

Barbapapa's New House was my absolute favourite of the series. I remember my siblings and I trying to make a Barbapapa house in the backyard with mud, unfortunately we lacked the stretchability that the Barba family has and the mud just cracked and fell off!

I am glad my two children had the same response to the book as I remember having when I first read it.
First the delight in the eccentric but beautiful house that the Barba family first move into and renovate, then the sense of injustice when the wrecking machines destroy the house, then finally the delight in the new house that they build together and the joy in defeating the wrecking machines that have come to destroy their home.

It's no wonder that this book is a classic and has become highly collectible. Copies of original editions are on eBay for almost $100! Luckily it has been re-released and you can purchase it for around $20 new.
new copy of Barbapapa's New House and some vintage editions of other Barba books.

The New House! 

other half of the New House.

love, love, love the Barbapapas!!!
xoClair




Friday, April 25, 2014

Come on in... We are OPEN + Coupon Code!

The Bee & Lotus Etsy shop is open for business!
So far I have listing the Frida Embroidery Kit +Starter Pack (everything you need to make your own beautiful wall hung artwork), the basic Frida Embroidery Kit (for those who already have some sewing gear), and the Frida Embroidered Pillow Kit (with or without starter pack).

I have been quietly developing these products for a while now, though those who follow me on Instagram would have seen a few sneak peeks. I adore the finished Frida Pillow that has pride of place on my bed, and I'm considering spreading the pom pom love to the curtains (if hubby would ever agree!!). Anyone else out there loving pom poms right now?

To celebrate this occasion I'm giving you all 20% off your purchases until May 11th 2014, just use the following coupon code FRIDALOVE2014  when you check out to receive your discount.

Bee & Lotus Frida Embroidery Kit - Available in my Shop
Bee & Lotus Frida Embroidered Pillow Kit - available at my Shop!
Back of Frida Pillow
You can also find a range of co-ordinating fabrics and wallpapers in my Spoonflower shop


Hope you loves it.
xoClair

Friday, April 18, 2014

Crafted Hand Towel Revival?

Remember those hand towels you used to see at every fete and local market stall? The ones with the embroidery in pastel shades and crochet edges? Well, they have NEVER been my cup of tea.

But the other day I finally hung up some art in the laundry, an old pair of small watercolour paintings of Russian peasants in their folk costumes, reframed into the original moulding. My laundry is ugly (ugly tiles, paint colour & bench top), but it has lots of room and storage and one of these days we'll get around to renovating it but for now cheap quick fixes are the order of the day.

It made the room feel so much nicer! I couldn't believe I'd chosen to go so long without art in the laundry. Then my eye was caught by the grotty stained hand towel hanging on the rail next to it......blughr. "Something must be done about this" I thought.

So I bought a charcoal coloured hand towel (great for hiding stains!) and sewed a scrap of my Mexican Blanket fabric in Tamale from my Frida Collection onto the bottom. Then I added some pom pom trim in teal - is it just me or are you a little smitten with pom pom trim?
I think some gorgeous ribbon would also work great or a strip of vintage embroidery perhaps?

At last! Something nice to look at in the laundry
close up of my up-crafted hand towel and a vintage linen one I thrifted
Festive clothes Kaluga province Late 19th Century - watercolour, artist unknown
Festive costume Oryol province Late 19th Century - watercolour, artist unknown
Much Better! Now my ugly laundry is a little cuter and definitely a nicer place to be.
So hows about starting a little crafted hand towel revival?

xoClair



Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Make - $10 DIY Woven Planter

Last week I finally got my hands on a lovely fiddle leaf fig for the lounge room. I tracked down a nice sized one (around waist height) for a really good price online at Hargraves Nursery and it arrived just a few days later by post! Who knew you could post a tree?!

I've been drooling over some woven planters on Pinterest lately but I'm not quite prepared to pay $60+ for one just yet, so I rummaged around in my brain and came up with a cheap alternative:


And it only took 2 minutes to make it!



I'm sure you can get these stripes lined up better than i did! 

All you need is a small rug/bathmat that is nice and thick or stiff so that it holds its shape quite well.
I found mine at the Reject Shop for $10. Make sure the width of the rug is more than half the size of the circumference of the widest part of the pot. If you have a sewing machine it will take you 2 minutes to make the planter, if you need to sew it by hand it might take a little longer.
Simply fold the rug in half, good sides together and sew up both sides leaving the top open.
Turn your planter bag inside out and shape as required. I pushed the corners in a little so they don't stick out so much, you can get a really nice crumpled bag effect if that's your style.
That's all there is to it! Just make sure you have a bucket/tray/bowl under your plant pot, inside your planter to catch any water overflow.

Turn that cheap scatter rug (who the heck scatters rugs?) into an on trend woven planter. (You can see my before and after curtains in this shot too, hopefully it's obvious which is which).

Some other ideas for sprucing up a plant pot:

  • Use an old hessian/jute sack, potato sack or coffee sack, roll the top over.
  • Have an old kilim rug with stains you can't remove? Use it to make a planter bag and position the stains under the pot so they don't show, or cut it up and use just the good parts.
  • Use a flat woven bath mat and add to it by doing gigantic cross stitch patterns into it!
  • Try using a plain/"logo free" Kraft paper yard waste bag rolled down at the top.
  • Want a shabby chic look on a budget?  Sew a cuff of floral fabric to the top of a plain sack.
  • Don't like the print on a feed sack? turn the sack inside out and add your own artwork with stencils, stamps, Sharpie pens or dip it into paint.

There are so many things you could do, the possibilities really are endless.
Get inspired then find your materials and try it! You might be really surprised at what you come up with.

xoClair