Monday, February 23, 2015

Sunday, August 31, 2014

My Paper Pieced Butterfly Challenge

Now for something a little creatively different.

My very talented friend Juliet from TartanKiwi, designs the most amazing paper pieced patterns. She set a challenge a wee while ago and I signed up tentatively. I've never ever done anything quite like this and I'm not a quilter (still haven't made one!!) and I don't sew very much at all but I love creating, love this pattern and had ogled at Juliet's cushion on her couch a couple of times!  
She told me I could make my own ;-)so I made plans to!

She issued the challenge to change it up a bit, I know she was probably 99% referring to the PATTERN, but since I was more than a bit frightened of this paper piecing business I decided to make a the simple 5 " butterfly pattern, enlarge it to 200% and embellish by free-hand stitching with gold & blue metallic threads and beadwork clusters and lines. 

I did the whole thing with my trusty old sewing scissors as I don't currently have a cutting mat to use my cutter on! So its certainly not perfect on the back, but it can be done! When I held it up to the light you can see how all the intricate pieces are sewn together, with just one bit to trim. This image was taken after I removed all the paper.

I looked at lots of tutorials and watched a few youtube videos and then was confident to try! There were lots and lots and LOTS of unpicking, cutting off the wrong pieces by mistake (only did that once!) and sewing the wrong sides of the fabric together! The white background fabric pattern was very tricky to see the pattern when sewing in brilliant sunshine! 

I fussy cut the panels of the upper butterfly wings trying to get the circles perfectly lined up, and the body of the butterfly. I loved this peacock print range, the intricate designs and beautiful blues, greens, purples and gold hues suited a butterfly design perfectly.

And I put the strength of the stitches to the test and those teeny tiny pieces of fabric through the wringer by using my embroidery hoop over and over as I did my stitching. 
It all held together - YAY! I was able to find everything I needed from my mum's stash for my beadwork and stitching.

 I also had a go and made my own freehand paper pieced patterns for the back panel of the cushion, again doing fussy cut for those triangles. They remind me of the 'eyes' commonly seen on a butterflies wings.

Then decided to do a random freehand quilt pattern for the top half of the envelope back. I made it up as I went.

When the sunshine hits the free-hand gold hand stitched thread its quite divine! I wanted to emulate the intricate designs of a real butterflies wing, tying in with the beautiful pattern that Juliet designed.

I throughly enjoyed the whole process, took hours and hours on top of the fabric sewing with all the beadwork and hand stitching, but it was a wonderful investment of my time. From a distance and also from up close its a pleasure to look at.

So now I'm hooked!! I LOVE paper piecing, have already downloaded several patterns to make. Who knew it would be so easy, it really really was! I've also signed up to the #igminiquilt swap so can see a paper pieced quilt on the horizon too!

Thanks Juliet for issuing the challenge, I enjoyed learning a new skill and doing a bit of handwork again and I FINISHED a project!
( And I hope its unique enough to build up my stash )

x Gill

( Excuse all the crazy colours & contrasts, photos taken on different days with different camera's & light levels )

The Tartankiwi

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Mudbird website service announcement

Hello friends, if you've been looking for my shop website you'll find it's not there. For most of this year I've been a bit unwell & since June I've had to stop making ceramics... I know, I'm really sad! It wasn't expected and hopefully only a season. Every now and again I'll hold some sales on my Facebook page with my remaining stock. I do have a limited amount of Emerge jewellery left so if you are in need, please email mudbird(at)

 xx Gill

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Mudbird & Tiny Eyes, a winter collaboration.

 I'm proud to introduce my Mudbird doll, made by the incredibly talented, homeschooling Mum of 5  ... Dee from Tiny Eyes. A few months ago Dee asked myself and 6 other creative people to design a doll as part of her Winter 2013 Collaboration, to be auctioned off for sale!!  I showed pictures of my fabrics and ideas here ( if you need to refresh your memory) I was honoured to be asked, and I hope I have done her Doll designs justice.
Piece by piece Dee made each detail of the doll designs come to life and I just love them all.  The details on mine are fabulous, the mini puffed sleeves, the tiny little collar - so pretty dont you think? And the glasses.... so cute!

 I also made 3 mini Doll sized dishes for my doll, made with the same woodblock design I used to 'print' onto the denim for her skirt. These wee dishes can be used for tea parties... or Mum can use them in the kitchen or anywhere in the house! ( they made beautiful little ring dishes next to your bedside or sink.)
To get an idea of the size of the doll, my dishes are 2.5inches wide!
So... how do you get to buy this doll or any of the other designs? Dee is running an Auction over on her facebook page that starts TOMORROW at noon. Details below...

If you already follow Tiny Eyes on FB, you'll have seen the special event Dee has created. Once you join you can bid on the Mudbird doll, or any of the other beautiful dolls. The auction starts on Friday lunchtime ( 12pm, NZT), and finishes on Sunday at 12pm. I'm absolutely sure it will be a very exciting event, I've got my eye one particular doll... so watch out!

The dolls are also on display at the Walton Street Cafe in Te Awamutu TODAY, from 8-2pm. Dee has created a stunning exhibition, so if you live near by, please pop in for a visit.

I also want to say a HUGE Thank you to Dee ... you have done the most beautiful job and I'm in awe of your talents. I hope my doll does you proud and goes to a loving home.

xx Gill

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A little parcel of happiness

Last week I was captured by a mini journal & 
treated myself to one of a kind treasure.

It arrived just as I imagined... 
A visual feast of the senses.
Emerald green leather, tea stained pages.
Beautiful vintage lace...
Details of an ornate verdigris patina frame.

Florentine paper, Linen, leather & lace
Ready to fill with mini thoughts or leave blank...

So much love, patience and a steady hand.
Experience and fine craftsmanship.
Handmade goodness at the fullest.

Thank you Louise from BIBLIOGRAPHICA for bringing 
these gorgeous journals to the world.

You can find her beautiful one of a kind work on Etsy & Felt

xx Gill

Monday, May 20, 2013

The Tiny Eyes journey begins!

2 weeks ago I was SUPER excited when Dee from Tiny Eyes invited me to be part of her Winter Collaboration Project for 2013! At first I was honored, then excited, then nervous... 
I mean look at the line up folks! Some amaaaazingly creative designers and crafters. It's not a competition but its funny when you are working alongside some clever people doubt creeps in about abilities, choices and designs when doing something completely different. Will my designs be too boring, can I seriously match fabrics together... eek!

But.... one night I lay awake in bed and then it HIT me...  BAM! The idea train came a rollin in and I could not get back to sleep. Images, fabrics, techniques and designs came flashing up in my head, I think I even suppressed a squeak or two of excitement & a few leg kicks in case I woke hubby. Now we all know brilliant ideas come to us in the night and only the clever people have a note book to write these night-time ideas into. I do not, so I willed my brain to retain the ideas and slowly went to sleep dreaming of this Doll. 

My main idea for the clothing part of my Doll was to screen print some fabric for her skirt. I have some screens in the garage and thought about designing a print, but then my awesome hubby suggested I use my favorite woodblock... which happens to be my Mudbird Ceramics signature print/pattern. That was just far to fabulous of an idea, being a Mudbird vibe doll it made perfect sense. I've never used it for its original purpose (it had a long life as a fabric printing block before I bought it in 1995)and was excited to give it a go last week. My first print was perfect!

 It was a busy Wednesday indeed... shopping for fabric, printing fabric and meeting a real life Tiny Eyes doll.
Thank you Juliet from Tartan Kiwi for lending me your daughter's doll while we had coffee!

 I chose a pale turquoise/aqua colour fabric paint and experimented on dark denim and also a light grey denim. Dark denim won. I went to the Make Cafe to get the contrasting fabrics & paint and compared my print alongside the doll to get a sense of scale. I think the block print will make a perfect skirt for her.

After much deliberation with fabrics I chose 2 from the shop and added another fabric I had at home. I'm not a great planner, more of a spur of the moment type of person I have discovered when choosing fabrics!

Packed them all up for Dee and couriered them off 2 days after printing the fabric.

You'll have to wait to see how its all put together and Dee will work her magic for sure.

I'm now going to make some itsy bitsy Mudbird products for this lovely Doll - this part I'm really looking forward to. Nothing like a challenge that's out of the box to make you look at other styles and ways of creating. 
You can follow my visual idea journey over on Instagram.

Thanks Dee, this is fun

x Gill

You can follow a few of the other designers 
who are joining in too!

Emma from Emma Makes
Rebekah from Bliss in a tea cup
Rhiannon from Croutons
Melissa from Tiny Happy

Monday, May 6, 2013

Drum roll please.....

If you know me well, or even just a little, hopefully you'll 
know I just love to give my pieces away...

So this year for Mother's Day I thought I'd host another little giveaway on my Facebook page just because all my likers are amazing, nothing was needed to be done to be in the draw and I was blown away by all the lovely comments, shares and likes - I totally didn't expect it all !

Originally I wanted to offer up just ONE gift, but I decided to offer up THREE instead. One for a Facebook Business page who likes my page and two for Facebook fans old or new!

So without further adieu... the winners are:


You can choose 1 ROUND DISH {top row of pics}

Ana Lydiate

You can choose 1 BIRD dish {middle row of pics}

Aimee Teddy

You can choose 1 TEA or JAM tag {bottom row of pics}


C O N G R A T U L A T I O N S !

Please make contact with me ASAP via email with your address & mobile number (incase I need to call) and I'll get your gift sent off to you! Or if it's a Mother's Day present, then send me a message and I'll send it direct to your Mum with a note!

Please feel free to pop over to the post on FB to make yourself known as one of the winners.

Till next time... I can't wait to share with you whats been happening over the last 3-4 weeks so stay tuned for the next blog post 

xx Gill