Category Archives: crafts

Bohemian Flags

I came across these recently on Pinterest. Putting aside any patriotism or nationalism, for me these flags demonstrate the essence of a bohemian outlook on life. They embody the philosophy of recycling and reusing materials, and I love their spirit of insouciance and their hint of rebellion. 

Plus, of course, they are just so darn pretty. 

Bohemian, crafty, artisan, shabby chic, patriotic, prayer flags, banners, Ibizan flags, country, homespun, handsewn, ribbons, lace, pom poms, feathers, sequins, embroidery, beads, tassels.   

Miniature Marvels

I came across this image on Pinterest, which piqued my interest:

I found the whole idea, of miniature terrariums filled with crystals and things found in nature, rather intriguing, so I quickly created a Pinterest Board with the title “Miniature Marvels”. 

And rapidly started filling it up with images of the most sublime, beautiful pieces of miniature art. The year before last, I went through a crazy phase about Terrariums, and last year I obsessed about collecting crystals. Now these miniature marvels married both concepts brilliantly.

I may even try my hand at making my own wearable miniature terrariums. I know I can get the miniature bottles/vials etc at any discount shop, as I’ve seen plenty, and I have several miniature quartz crystal points already. So, I just might create my own miniature marvels.

Meanwhile, feast your eyes on these beauts. If you need more information, please go to my Pinterest Board “Miniature Marvels” and click on the relevant photo.

Artist Inspiration: Akiko Ike

Akiko Ike of Niigata, Japan, is a gentle, unassuming lady with immense talent in the Japanese art of Sashiko embroidery. Her technique is not strictly Sashiko, it encompasses and incorporates the principles of Boro, and the stitches she uses are identical to Indian Kantha, or running stitch. 

Akiko teaches workshops around the world and is happy to share her knowledge and expertise with a growing number of devotees. I’ve never met Akiko myself. When she was in Australia last year conducting workshops in Brisbane, I hadn’t yet discovered my love for Kantha. But I would love to meet this Master of the art someday soon, and if she ever comes to Western Australia, I’ll definitely sign up for one of her workshops.

My own embroidery technique is what I myself have termed “Kantha-Boro”. It uses scraps of fabric, in line with the Boro ethic of reusing/recycling/no waste, or “Mottainai“. Some of my pieces are patchworked in the Western sense, but most are more accurately described as simply appliqued over using running stitch, without being sewn onto the backing fabric beforehand. This is the technique Akiko Ike uses.

Maybe someday I’ll be famous, like Akiko Ike! 

Anyway, I couldn’t find a website dedicated to her, but I did find Akiko Ike’s Facebook profile. Within this are 2 blogs showcasing her work…but they are both in Japanese, and I don’t know how to read Japanese 😕.

I’ve created a Pinterest board dedicated to Akiko Ike, called “Akiko Ike – Chiku Chiku“. Chiku chiku is an onomatopoeic word coined by Akiko herself, which emulates the sound made by the yarn she uses going in and out of the cloth. You will notice that her stitches are bold and huge, and she uses thick yarn to sew her stitches. (I myself use crochet or embroidery thread, and a darning needle).

Here are just a few examples of Akiko Ike’s Chiku chiku work, taken from Pinterest:

 

Kantha + Patchwork Quilt Project

Here’s the result of my latest sewing efforts. I’d found someone’s unfinished patchwork project in one of my local thrift stores. It was basically just some square patches sewn together, without a backing. I liked the uneven, slightly wonky, amateurish feel to the piece and knew I could do something with it. At just $5, it was a real steal. Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth, right?

Inspired by my fascination with Indian Kantha quilts, which are fashioned out of layers of vintage sari cloths sewn together using simple running stitches, I decided to try my hand at making my own Kantha + Patchwork quilt. 

I had amongst my fabric stash a Queen-sized duvet cover in a lovely blue stripe, which would work perfectly with the patchwork piece.

First, I lay the duvet cover right side down on my bedroom rug. (This unassuming rug, a recent purchase, is around 6 x 8 feet and has become my workfloor for my bigger sewing projects, as well as providing a handy template for sizing quilts). 

Next, I lay the patchwork piece right side up, on top of the duvet cover. The duvet cover is larger than the patchwork piece. After making sure all the sides were equally balanced, I trimmed, folded and pinned the excess duvet cover fabric over the patchwork piece.

The laying out and pinning took a long time to get right. 

Next, I took the pinned piece to my sewing machine and sewed along all the edges, to secure both pieces together. Then I pinned the patchwork piece to the duvet cover at regular intervals, to prevent it slipping out of place when Kantha stitching.

The reason I chose the striped duvet cover as the backing for this project was so I’d have a handy guide to sew the running stitches along. 

I decided on a 4+3 pattern, i.e I’d sew along 4 rows of stripes and skip the next 3, then sew the next 4, skip 3 and so on. I used white crochet thread, which is strong and smooth at the same time. 

3 weeks of nights spent “watching” TV while sewing, rolling and unrolling this humongous swath of fabric on and off the sofa, et voila! I give you my first Kantha + Patchwork Quilt!

(Showing the front)

(Showing the back)

Now to show this off outside, in natural sunlight! The previous photos were taken at night, indoors, and don’t do justice to the vibrance of the colours in this quilt.

I draped it over Meep, my little Kia Cerato here, so you can see just how big a project this turned out to be!

This photo shows the rows of stitching and how they simply go over the patchworked squares on the other side. I just love the crinkly effect Kantha stitching produces!

Now for some close-ups:

Here’s what it looks like folded up. I love it! ❤❤❤

I intend this year to sew up a whole batch of Kantha-inspired items, ranging from little to large. These will be my inventory and stock for when I start selling my crafts later this year.

So, watch this space for more Kantha-inspired projects!

Valentine Hearts

Valentine’s Day is coming up next, but rather than exhort the virtues of a consumerist festival, I thought I’d share with you some curated Heart-themed ornaments and Art instead. 

The following have been made by craftspeople and artisans, lovingly shaped by hand, fired, soldered, carved, sewn, assembled, sculpted, painted. Valentine’s Day or not, the Heart symbol is iconic and evergreen.

So, if you’re looking for inspiration this Valentine’s Day, take a look at these ideas:

(Images sourced from: Pinterest)