Saturday, 24 March 2018

Elephants -- Shaped mugs

There were so many elephant themed mugs when I started searching that I've had to split this category into two. This month it is elephant shaped mugs and next month, the best printed designs. What I love about these elephant shaped mugs is how, similar to the elephant tea pots, the shape of the elephant seems to fit perfectly the shape of the object.

Source: Pinterest
1. This mug comes with a handy tea bag holder.
2. 'Pink elephants on parade'
3. Folk art inspired mug.
4. This is just so cute.
5. The simple bronze detail make this one stand out.
6. Lovely raised detail.
7. Uses the trunk as a handle in a different way to all the others.
8. This is rather scary, definitely unusual.
9. It's all about the ears with this mug.

For more elephants visit my Elephants board on Pinterest.
All links above are to Pinterest as some of the items pictured may no longer be available at their original link.

Saturday, 10 February 2018

Crochet teardrop earrings tutorial

Crochet teardrop earring :: Embellished Elephant

One of the first craft blogs I discovered was Un Jardin de Hilo. Sadly Olivia no longer blogs there, but it's pages are still a wonderful source of crochet inspiration and some tutorials and free patterns are available too. Inspired by this Olivia's creations, I've designed my own pattern for some crochet teardop earrings.

You will need:
Thin thread, I used two strands of embroidery thread. (Thread of a different thickness will alter the finished size of the earrings)
2 x Earring hooks, I used silver plate
6 x Wire headpins, I used silver plate
8 x Beads, I used some silver plate rectangular tubes from my stash
Small gauge crochet hook appropriate for your thread, I used 1.5mm
Wire cutters
Small round nose pliers 

ch - chain
dc - double crochet (US sc - single crochet)
tr - treble crochet (UD dc - double crochet)
htc - half triple crochet (US hdc - half double crochet)
dtr - double treble crochet (US tr - treble crochet)
sl - slip stitch
st - stitch

Crochet Teardrop Pattern (UK crochet terms) 
Please note the pictures shown here are using a thicker yarn to allow you to see the stitches more easily.

Round 1 - Make 6dc into a magic circle, sl st into first Dc. Pull the loose end tight to close the hole at the centre of the piece.

Crochet :: Magic loop :: Embellished ElephantCrochet :: Teardrop earrings round 1 :: Embellished Elephant

Round 2 - ch 1, 2dc in each dc around, sl into first dc (12 st)

Crochet :: Teardrop earrings round 2 :: Embellished Elephant

Round 3 - ch 1, 2dc in each dc around, sl into first dc (24 st)

Crochet :: Teardrop Earrings round 3 :: Embellished Elephant

Round 4 - ch 1, dc in each of the next 4 sts, htc in each of next 3 sts, tr in each of the next 3 sts, 2dtr in each of the next 3 sts, tr in each of the next 3 sts, htc in each of next 3 sts, dc in each of the next 4, sl st in first dc. Fasten.

Crochet :: Teardrop earrings round 4 :: Embellished Elephant

To put together the earrings:
1 - Crochet two teardrop shapes.
2 - Sew in all the loose ends and trim any excess thread.
3 - Using the round nose pliers, open the loop on each earring wire sideways.

Teardrop earring :: opening an earring wire :: Embellished Elephant

4 - Thread the crochet teardrop onto the earring wire, making sure that the side facing forward matches (there will a a slight but subtle difference between each side of the crochet teardrop).
5 - Carefully close the loop on the earring wires and check that the crochet hangs the same way on both earrings, adjusting if necessary.
6 - Thread the beads on to the headpin wires, as shown in the picture, leaving about 0.5-1cm to create the loop, cut off any excess wire with the wire cutters.

Adding beads to wire headpin :: Embellished Elephant

7 - Using the round nose pliers create a loop on each headpin.

Creating a wire loop :: Embellished ElephantBeads on headlines with wire loops :: Embellished Elehant

8 - Open each loop sideways and pass through the crochet teardrop.
9 - Carefully close each loop and check that the beads hang the same way on both earrings, adjusting if necessary.

Saturday, 3 February 2018

Stripy crochet scarves

On a trip to Manchester a few years ago I came across a lovely yarn store - Purl City Yarns by accident. We were there for a football match and it was just across the road from the pub we were all meeting in.  I could have spent a fortune there but I finally chose two yarns. It seems that this shop has closed down in the time since my visit, which is a shame.

My first purchase was two balls of Louisa Harding Amitola in blue/grey colours called 'seascape' and my second choice was Schoppel Wolle Zauberball Lace in a red and pink colour way. Both of these were self striping yarns - not something I had ever tried working with previously.


I knew I wanted to make a lightweight scarf out of the blue yarn. I found this pattern on Ravelry and adapted it slightly.

I just love the intricate detail of this pattern and the gradual changes in colour.

As for the red/pink lace yarn I wasn't sure what I was going to do with it when I bought it but when I saw this pin and found the pattern was free on the Lion Brand website, I knew that was the pattern I wanted to try with this yarn.

It also made a beautiful and delicate item and was the perfect yarn for this item because of the longer lengths of each colour before a colour change.

Saturday, 27 January 2018

Elephants -- Living room cushions

This month's elephants are inspired by a cushion I bought on my travels to Sri Lanka. On our trip we stayed in Kandy which had a great traditional arts and crafts centre where I bought a pair of cushion covers and was advised that the elephants must always face towards each other otherwise it is bad luck.

Source: Pinterest
1. This cushion brings a bit of sparkle.
2. Beautiful felt appliqué really stands out on this red background.
3. A simple elephant shaped cushion using a stunning patterned fabric and contrasting piping.
4. This cushion feels quite elegant with its combination of pattern and colour.
5. Traditional style design with a brilliant pop of colour.
6. It's unusual to see a word cloud on a textile item but this really works.
7. Beautiful block print style detail on this elephant shaped cushion.
8. This mid century modern style cushion really stands out.
9. Crewel embroidered cushion, with two elephants facing.

For more elephants visit my Elephants board on Pinterest.
All links above are to Pinterest as some of the items pictured may no longer be available at their original link.

Saturday, 20 January 2018

Basquiat inspiration

I first came across Jean Michel Basquiat's work not in a gallery but on film. Although the biopic is flawed in places, it captures the energy he put into his work and the world in which his work came to prominance. Central to the film is the superb performance of Jeffry Wright (it also features David Bowie as Andy Warhol).

Source: IMDB
I've travelled extensively but have rarely come across his work in galleries until a couple of Summers ago in Bilbao where there was an exhibition of his work at the Guggenheim. The Guggenheim Bilbao's website has some great information about his work along with some images of his work.

I almost left it too late to see the exhibition at the Barbican, it's in its final couple of weeks and weekend tickets are already sold out as are a large number of evening tickets so I took advantage of a gap in my calendar, booked an afternoon off work and headed to the exhibition. Even a horrid cough and an oncoming cold weren't going to stop me.

I find his work interesting and inspiring because of the he way he combines text and images, his naive style, he puts himself into his work, literally through self portraits, references to SAMO© or though painting his influences. But above all I think his personality comes through in the work. Here are a couple of my favourites from the exhibition.

Source: Flipped Again
Source: Flickr - Tim Evanson

Saturday, 30 April 2016

Elephants -- Fabric

This month's selection of elephants was inspired by the safari print fabric I picked up on my trip to Hong Kong at the start of March plus my current obsession with sewing. Most animal and elephant print fabrics you see around are designed for children so I looked at a selection of more grown up designs.

Embellished Elephant :: Fabric print elephant selection

1. This fabric is called 'serengeti' and isn't really a children's design but still has some of the sense of fun of some of those designs.
2. The single colour way on this design makes it stand out from some of the others. Combined with the geometric shapes gives it a different edge.
3. The black and gold of this upholstery fabric gives it a sophisticated edge. I'm not sure you'd want a sofa or curtains in this design but it would make an interesting feature on some cushions.
4. This is another upholstery fabric that I can see in a grand sitting room on a chaise-longs.
5. I can imagine making a summer dress out of this fabric, the palm trees give it an exotic feel.
6. This is probably the most nursery like design that I've picked for this selection but I think the monochrome silhouettes make it a little more grown up.
7. The rows all have a different motif in this design which give a great safari feel without being too overpowering.
8. It's a bit difficult to see on this image but the elephants all have text on them with gives this design a more grown up edge.
9. The combination of elephant shapes and zebra prints make this fabric stand out.

For more elephants visit my Elephants board on Pinterest.
All links above are to Pinterest as some of the items pictured may no longer be available at their original link.