27 apr 2010

Unfolding chairs...

I'm so proud and happy to unfold this brand new project today! I have worked on it on-off for the past two weeks and, to tell the truth, I wasn't sure of its result...

For a year and a half, boyfriend and I have shopped wherever possible to find the perfect chairs (and table, of course!) for "La Dépendance", the small cottage we rent during summer. We wanted something beautiful, sustainable and durable. But we were also looking for a bargain and for easy to store during the winter items.

Three weeks ago, while doing our grocery shopping, we spotted a folding table and chairs. Beautiful, affordable and, last but not least, made from a fair trade company with FSC wood. A dream came true. As soon as I saw these beauties (I know they're pretty basic chairs, but I have seen so many ugly ones that these are just perfect) I knew I had to make the best seat cushions ever!

Easier said than done, as always my mind figured out a great project that took long efforts to become reality... I used a striped cotton that I thrifted this winter at a market stall in Avola, some foam rubber, velcro, two spools of thread and a lot of patience!!!

They are far from perfect but they look great and they will do a great job during summer!
From now on, our guests will have a nice table to eat, read and play outside!!!

p.s. if you'd like to see more of our small cottage, click here and take a look at what I do daily...

23 apr 2010

Wild flowers

Spring in the countryside is definitely the best season of the year. I should add that, in fact, Spring in Sicily starts at the end of January and the countryside has already been blooming for a couple of months. Anyway, time doesn't matter.

My favourite spot of the day, during this season, is my morning walk with Billy, my partner in crime (e.g. the dog). While he sniffs, barks and marks the territory, I wander and wonder, loosing myself in my thoughts. It's the perfect way to start the day, I rearrange my ideas and draw inspiration from this beautiful countryside.
As it is full of flowers, I often come back home with some of them, picking randomly or by colour.

I'm sure many of you do the same thing but this is how I do it:
1 - take your dog on a morning walk;
2 - pick the flowers you like most (do not pick endangered species);
3 - shake them to leave ants and insects where they belong (wild flowers are full of sooo little creatures);
4 - walk back home trying not to be eaten by all those ants;
5 - arrange your flowers in a vase;
6 - enjoy them for a lot of days, they will bring so much happiness to your house!

p.s. try not to do that while it's raining... as I did this morning... some of the poeasy of the moment could be replaced by a sniffing nose.... :-)

18 apr 2010

Some yellow in a gloomy day...

While the sun is shining in Northern Europe, we experienced a real gloomy Sunday, very near to the typical weather in Milan. As moody weather affects me, I woke up this morning knowing I had to find a way to turn this gray day into something more colourful. So, without hesitation or tutorial searching, I gave myself a try in making stuffed animals.
I'm not very good when it comes to drawing but I always trace animals shapes and I love them. Today, a duck came out of my pencil!

I used some yellow felt and a printed cotton from Ikea I used a few years ago to make curtains. I embroidered the eye, the wing, the beak and a little white tail. Up to that point, huge success! Then, as I am calling myself an ungoddess for a reason, I did the wrong thing while sewing together the two parts... I used a straight stitch and a zigzag stitch because I wanted the sewing to be extra hard but, when I turned it inside out I found that, due to the zigzag, the stitiching was visible... and the beak was nowhere to be found... it stayed on the inside...
I stuffed it with an old Ikea duvet and hand-stitched the opening.

The duck is cute but it is not as beautiful as it was in my mind when I started this project, which is something that happens quite often to me... But I found it to be so relaxing and funny that, with the right amount of reading and searching, I will for sure be back soon with some other stuffed animal! Any links n this topic you'd like to share? Advice? Experiences?

14 apr 2010

Origami Jewellery

Green Origami Butterfly Brooch, inserito originariamente da Satokos Origami.

As a child I loved to make Origamis. I loved to fold tiny coloured squares and give life to small animals.
So, imagine my wonder when I found this girl that makes origami jewellery. The butterfly pictured above is actually a brooch!

13 apr 2010

Feel like swapping?

Spring is in full bloom and for me, it's the season of happiness!
So, I decided to celebrate it by joining the Hand Embroidery Network Swap!
The theme is Spring and I will have another chance to practice stitching!
If you love to stitch and would like to receive a small embroidered card from someone you don't know, here's the link to more infos.
As for me, I'm now off looking for inspiration!

p.s. that messy bundle contains some of my threads... maybe I should arrange it... or not?!

Edible flags

While browsing through my Google Reader, I found this and couldn't overcome the temptation to share it.
These flags are just perfect, as is the use of iconic food for each country.

Head over to Trend Land and see more of them!

12 apr 2010

Here she goes!

The second assignment of my embroidery course was harder. We had to mix embroidery and paper. At the beginning I was very excited because I knew from the first moment that I could finally use those Impressionists stamps that I bought a few years ago at the Musée d'Orsay in Paris. As I mostly love the Charing Cross Bridge by Monet, I chose to stick to that palette and go for a soft pink hat profile and gray hair.
Stitching on stamps paper was difficult because of its thickness. It breaks if you pierce too hard with your needle. That's why the right bottom part is not perfect...
I decided to do a side braid and I am really pleased with the result. It has been my first time filling and I think it's really beautiful (and also my teacher says so!).
Altough I love the result, I feel it is not done yet. I feel it lacks something. My teacher says I have to think of her as a character and, as I used stamps, as a traveller. What would a traveller wear on her hat?
I'm mumbling over the asnwer... if you'd like to share ideas they would be highly appreciated!

8 apr 2010

In my pocket...

Can you consider yourself a real crafter if, while wearing your trench for the first time this year, you put your hand in your pocket and find pins???

7 apr 2010

Guess what?

Linen, doilies, embroidery thread and some blue polka dot cotton... can you guess what's coming?

6 apr 2010

A doily a day...

My grandmother and great-aunt have not only been two of the most stylish ladies I've ever known (and at 90 my great-aunt still is), they also happened to left a very big collection of lace doilies to my mom and me... together with a ton of vintage hand-woven linen and cotton...
I managed to bring some of this amazingness here in my new house in Sicily but the largest quantity is still in my mom's house in Switzerland.
The question was simple: what to do with all these doilies?
I mean, I love them and am daily inspired by their shapes and intricate patterns but I'm not the kind of girl that puts doilies under a vase...
I wanted to find the cutest and most modern way in which to use them without loosing the vintage feel they have.
After months of searching and a lot of brain exercises I finally came up with something I just adore and which will only be the beginning of my doily project. I'm inspired to make more goods both for the craft room and for the house.

Please welcome my doily pincushion! It's made with a vintage hand-woven piece of linen and all the doilies have been hand sewn to it. I used a pretty big one for a face to give it a geometric pattern and for the other face I used four different round doilies. I stuffed it with an old duvet from Ikea. Everything was found in the house!

I'm in love with the result. I think it is really modern, chic and vintage, all at the same time!
I love the slightly dusted whiteness of this creation and I really feel that this was exactly what I was looking for!
I need to make another one for me as this one already took a flight to London together with my lovely friend Denise...

What do you think? Is it only vintage or has it a modern vibe? Would you love to use it?