genevieve – print and pattern

print and pattern


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pretty peacocks

wedding peacock - genevieve blog

It was a brilliant bonus to our rural wedding venue that there were all kinds of interesting animals around, including camels, wallabies and peacocks. The peacocks apparently liked company, and were quite happy to join in the ceremony with their squawks, as well as show off their feathers to everyone. Having never seen one before, I thought the patterned display was pretty damn impressive actually, and they know it too!

peacock - genevieve blog

peacock - genevieve blog

peacock - genevieve blog

peacock - genevieve blog

I find the quizzical look on his face slightly comedy in this one

All credit for the pics goes to my friends Hannah and Laurence, with the exception of the first one which was taken by Camera Hannah.


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mexican papel picado

mexican papel picado - genevieve blog

Before I even knew where or when I was getting married, before I had planned anything at all for the day, I knew I wanted papel picado. It was pretty much the first decision I made. And not the plastic stuff either – the proper, authentic, tissue paper version from Mexico.

mexican papel picado - genevieve blog

papel picado, “perforated paper”, is made by cutting out intricate patterns from layers of tissue paper with chisels

Mexico has been a bit of a theme in my life – I’ve lived there twice, visited twice more – and I love the traditional banners Mexicans put up at celebrations. I love how beautifully delicate they are, and the elaborate different patterns on each one. A bit like a Mexican version of British bunting.

It was a bit of a mission to get the strings of banners up at the venue, as they can tear so easily, but I was chuffed with the result.

mexican papel picado - genevieve blog

I bought a brightly coloured string of them a few years ago from eBay shop Beyond The Trees, which I was very pleased with, so I didn’t have to look far to buy the wedding version. (Having said that, I can’t seem to see them on there now, perhaps they are re-stocking). I had the coloured ones up for my hen do, and only just managed to bring myself to take them down. They are so cheery.

(Photos by Camera Hannah)


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week-night sewing with ray stitch

sewing at ray stitch - genevieve blog

Although I know my way around a sewing machine, it’s not quite second nature yet and there are a lot of techniques I don’t know. So when I saw a six-session crash course ‘sewing school’ on at my favourite fabric shop, Ray Stitch, I signed up in a flash. I was loving the claim that by the end, I will know how to do: “zips, darts, piping, elastic casings, pleats, gathering, hemming, facings, handmade buttons and machine buttonholes”. My reaction to that list is still an incredulous ‘really?!’ but I’m keeping the faith!

ray stitch fabrics - genevieve blog

I’m two weeks in now, and what I’m enjoying most is the guaranteed two and a half hours of quality time with the machine each week, and a highly satisfying ‘thing-I-made’ to show for it at the end of each session. Moyna, our teacher, is great – it could so easily be stressful but she sets us all at ease and the hours fly by in what feels like a second.

wine and brownie - genevieve blog

wine, snacks and killer chocolate brownie come as standard

In the first week, we made a good old tote bag – a staple of beginners machine sewing classes – but it was a better than usual pattern, and I liked using tape for the handles rather than the same fabric, aesthetically and practically. I chose a slightly heavier fabric with an owl pattern. I liked the way the fabric was very soft and strokeable, which made it feel more luxurious than the standard cotton.

tote bag - genevieve blog

tote bag - genevieve blog

owl fabric - genevieve blog

owl fabric - genevieve blog

Our next challenge was a lined zipped pouch, which definitely upped the difficulty stakes. The zip was the trickiest bit, as you would expect, but it’s a nice hurdle to have overcome finally.

pinning the zip - genevieve blog

I wasn’t in love with the fabric I chose, which pained me, as life is too short for less than amazing fabrics, right? But we only have (free) access to the ‘sale rail’ fabrics, and a lot of the ones I liked were too ‘big’ a pattern for them to work on a small pouch. I’m looking forward to the last project where you have to buy the fabric, as I intend to lay aside plenty of time to ponder / drool over Ray Stitch’s lovely selection, in order to choose the perfect one.

lined zipped pouch - genevieve blog

lined zipped pouch - genevieve blog

Talking of amazing fabrics, I’ve fallen in a big way for this range of soft brushed cotton, ‘pyjama’ fabrics (as I like to think of them), which wink at me from across the room while I’m sewing.

brushed cotton fabric - genevieve blog

One day, I will sew a pair of perfect pyjamas with one of those. I actually have to – I have no choice now I’ve seen them.

A great perk of the course is 15% off Ray Stitch fabrics as well as a copy of the Merchant and Mills sewing book, which is a thing of beauty. Merchant and Mills have really nailed the utilitarian chic, practical-but-beautiful market in sewing, and I, along with the rest of the craft world, am head over heels.

merchant and mills book - genevieve blog

I’m dying to go to their new shop in Rye. Along with Rye’s many antique shops, it’s an excuse for a weekend away if ever I saw one. The patterns in the book are all flawlessly stylish as well as practical (fisherman’s top anyone?) and I want to make all of them. So many patterns, so little time…

the maker's apron - genevieve blog

Stay tuned for more sewing school updates.


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sewing and snowing

janome sewing machine - genevieve blog

Well, after agonising for many months, I decided to bite the bullet and get a brand new sewing machine. I’m very pleased with it. It sews like a dream and everything just seems so easy. Shock of shocks, even the product manual was simple to follow.

It was like a snow dome outside last Sunday with big fat flakes falling all day so I when I got back into the warm, it seemed an idyllic moment to crack out the new machine.

snowy view - genevieve blog

I decided to test run it on an easy project: two tea towels with hanging loops.

When I was in Japan, I found some lovely linen (in an enormous craft shop called Okadaya) which had ‘cute kitchen fabric’ written all over it. It was the perfect cloth for the job. It’s quite unusual in that it has a different pattern on each side – spots on one side, stripes on the other – which in my eyes is the best of both worlds. You get the double-sided pattern without having to line it separately. It also means there’s no ‘wrong’ side on a tea towel. In fact I actually prefer the ‘wrong’ side as it has the thin line of contrasting fabric around the edge, in a bias binding effect.

tea towel - genevieve blogpinned tea towels - genevieve blogsewing tea towels - genevieve blogI followed the instructions from Simple Sewing by Lotta Jansdotter but barely needed to, as tea towels are as simple as it gets really. A great quick win for adding some colour or pattern to your kitchen.

hanging tea towel - genevieve blogtwo tea towels - genevieve bloghanging tea towel - genevieve blogI have quite a bit of the fabric left over and, if I’ve interpreted correctly, it seems to be saying  ‘make me into an apron’. I’ll post the results in due course!


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printspiration #7: snow sunday

snow in stokey - genevieve blog

I couldn’t resist posting the obligatory snow pictures from our white weekend in the UK. Snow has a lovely way of accenting the intricate patterns in tree branches and plants.

I have to admit though that these were taken from the comfort and warmth of my flat. Rather than frolicking in the white stuff, I succumbed to the cold and admired the pretty scenes from the train window on the way to see friends. Essex looked beautiful with its flat expanses as we raced through.

No snow angels for me this year though – must do better next time.

snow in stokey - genevieveblog

footprints in the snow - genevieve blog

snow in stokey - genevieve blog

bicycles in the snow - genevieve blog

 

Also, thanks so much to What Taylor Made, for nominating me for The One Lovely Blog Award / The Very Inspiring Blogger Award! 


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wild flower cigarette cards / rubber stamps

I’d been searching for a good copy of The Observer’s Book of Wild Flowers but I was thrilled to get one better than that for Christmas in the form of a set of Wills’s wild flower cigarette cards.

I used to press wild flowers as a child in Cornwall and I love them all the more now, as they remind me of a time when I lived closer to fields, hedgerows and streams. But nostalgia aside, the mini flower cards are just so pretty. I’m hatching a plan to display them somehow, perhaps all lined up as below, or perhaps in a smaller batch.

I’m known as a bit of stamp fiend (of the craft variety, although I’m rather fond of old postage stamps too), so I was super chuffed with these knitting-themed rubber stamps and assorted ink pads I got as well. My love of stamps and knitting all brilliantly rolled into one.

They are by Skull and Cross Buns, a make I’d never heard of, but having checked out the Etsy site, I already want at least half of them. They are so nicely made, and the stamp comes out clean and crisp every time. I also really like the way the rubber stamp is raised quite far from the wooden ‘handle’ bit, which means no nasty accidental marks.

So that’s my print/pattern Christmas present round-up. I reckon I did pretty well! I can’t wait to put them all to good use.


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liberty print note cards / button tin

liberty print note cards - genevieve blog

I got some great Christmas print/pattern presents this year. First up, check out these gorgeous Liberty print note cards.

You can’t really go more decadent in pattern terms than a classic Liberty print but I love the way they are unashamedly bold, covering both the front and back of the cards. I find myself just staring at them, drinking them in – who knows how I’m supposed to give them away! Can’t I just keep them for myself so I can gaze at them? Hmm, thought not…

liberty print note cards

prints in order: pelagia, amarylis, nesfield, clementina

prints in order: pelagia, amarylis, nesfield, clementina

My fave is the Amarylis print – those little blue and red flowers are so satisfying and neat – with the Clementina in second place. Even the inside of the box has a great design.

inside of note card box

For some reason, I haven’t yet blogged about my love of old tins. I collect them, which wasn’t a decision, more the product of not being able to leave behind beautiful tins on a market stall or in a shop. I used to try and justify my regular tin purchases by finding uses for them around the home (“but I really needed a tin for my pins/knitting markers/sugar…”), but now I’ve given up and I’m content to buy them simply because I love them. After all, they’re not expensive and they don’t take up much space.

I do love it when I find the perfect use for a tin though, and when I was given this lovely and unusual one for Christmas from my mum and dad, I saw it immediately as the ultimate button tin. Both my grandmothers had enormous circular tins full to the brim with buttons of every kind you can imagine, and I think it’s time to start mine 🙂

patterned tin

patterned tin