Sadly this week our lovely weather has finally disappeared and it is definitely autumn. It has been fantastic to be able to enjoy the beach in warm sunshine for so long. Today is very windy and a little wet. We had a busy summer, especially with our daughter’s wedding in the very picturesque Lake District. Everything came together beautifully for her vintage and handmade style wedding in the gorgeous Cragwood Country House hotel on the side of Lake Windermere. (Highly recommended for anyone wanting a wedding venue up there!) A photo later. Now it is back to my daily sewing and beside the sea life.

The Embroidery Crazy website has been updated with six new designs this month plus two designs free to download as usual. We have three designs especially for dog lovers, a new snowman design, a cute little fox and a cupcake design for those making kitchen items.

Walkies PugLove Labrador WinterSnowman Cupcake LittleFoxI said I would post a photograph of the wedding venue, so here it is.

 

Cragwood House

The stunning wedding venue

The next photo is one of my beautiful daughter in her vintage style lace wedding dress, accompanied down to the outdoor pagoda for the ceremony by my two very cute grandsons. The eldest one, who is only five, was very proud to walk his mum along. Two year old Ben was not so sure and started to cry!

The beautiful bride.

The beautiful bride.

 

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Well the changes to our website took far longer than expected so apologies for the big gap in blogging. The new shop software was so different it presented challenges to get it all working properly, but my lovely hubby has done an excellent job and the new site is finally up and running. It doesn’t look very different on the surface, but the shop format has lots of changes and we do hope customers will find it a lot more user friendly. We felt the site update was also time to increase our prices for the first time, so to compensate we will be having a launch sale, starting tomorrow, until the end of September.

The September free embroidery downloads reflect the arrival of Autumn and are our popular silver birch leaf, and a black bat. The new embroidery designs this month are aimed at children. There is a large design for young football fans.ILoveFootballAny child who likes the circus will enjoy this colourful clown. ClownThis cute little starfish would look lovely on any make for a baby or toddler.

LittleStarfish-352x352Finally a humorous design for the ‘little monkey’ in your life. I know who I am going to use this one for!LittleMonkeyI think his mum would agree with me!

We have had a really lovely summer here on the Essex sunshine coast. It has certainly lived up to it’s name! Our little town has been bursting at the seams every day for the last couple of months, which is great news for the local traders. We had our eldest two grandchildren to stay without parents for a week and had a lovely time taking them out and about. Of course we spent lots of time on the beach too. It all went far too quickly.

One of the highlights of the summer was the air show on Clacton seafront. As usual this was a fantastic show. My favourite is always The Red Arrows, photographed below.

Red Arrow formationI was also very impressed by the huge Vulcan bomber. This seagull must certainly have got a surprise!

Vulcan and seagull

We hope you like the new site software and changes. Do let us know what you think.

We decided our website needs an update and so my other half has been working hard on using new software to run the site. It won’t look too different, but hopefully will be a lot more user friendly and more informative. The new site will be ready to publish very soon. Meanwhile I have added some new designs and will be adding more once the site is updated. We will also be having a sale to launch the new changes.

Our new designs this month are varied. This bright red dragon comes in two sizes so is suitable for a variety of projects.

RedDragonLargeIt looks great with the gold parts done in metallic thread. I am going to put one on my jacket.

This floral design is pretty and would look lovely on a T-shirt. FloraThere is one for cat lovers in this little brown cat with lovely green eyes. BrownCatFinally I have added a large flamingo as they are a current trend. I think it would look gorgeous stitched on to a cushion.

Flamingo

I have not been out with my camera very much recently as we have had so much happening so I am posting a few old favourites for my photos  this time.

First of all on our pier we have the oldest carousel in the country, and I love the colours in the horses, so here is my photo of one of them. The painted detail is so beautiful.

Carousel horse

The next photo was taken on the backwaters. I just love the contrast in colour between the dark skies and the jumble of rowing boats on the quay.

boats

 Finally I just like the reflections in this one. I have no idea what the old wreck is or if the man actually lives on it!

old wreckHappy summer days to all my readers.

I can’t believe it is April already. It is still so cold in the UK that it seems like summer will never arrive. Here we are a week in to April and we are still going out wrapped in scarves, hats and gloves. Last weekend we went on an Easter egg hunt with the grandchildren in the gardens of  beautiful  Chippenham Park, near Newmarket. It was dry but really cold. The grounds of this stately home are lovely and it was great fun trying to find hidden wooden rabbits, which are then swopped for a  chocolate egg. I even managed to find a golden rabbit, which gave my granddaughter a star prize of a large Lindt Golden Bunny. She was thrilled. Chippenham Park  I love these bronze boxing hare sculptures by the side of the lake.

Boxing hare sculptures

The Embroidery Crazy website has been updated with new machine embroidery designs for April and the  downloadable free designs for April are available. There is this spring flower trug design, perfect for home decor items. FlowerTrug

There is a new butterfly design which would look pretty on both clothing and home makes.

BlueLilacButterfly

There is also a castle in the fantasy section and some fish. The free designs are this pretty campanula flower design.

CampanulaFlowers

I love the blue bell shaped flowers. There is also a cute little duckling.

As it is still so cold of course I was busy sewing yesterday. I made this backpack for my pirate loving grandson, who will be four on Friday.

Jo's backpackAlthough I make lots of bags, it was quite challenging as I have never sewn piping round a bag before and I also had to make the piping first. I am quite pleased with the end result though, as I like the red against the blue of the pirate fabric.

At least while it is freezing outside I have lots of time to sew!!

Spring time is all about my favourite colour, green. I love watching the new green leaves start to appear on trees and bushes. Maybe it’s to do with my roots, (I was born in the ‘green’ island of Ireland), I just love green. Now spring is on the way I feel more energised. The new machine embroidery designs on my website this month are mostly linked to the spring and nature thoughts I have as I watch winter brown trees turning green. ‘Spring is in the air’ is this pretty bird design. SpringIsInTheAir   There is a bouquet of flowers that would brighten up any home items or look pretty on clothing.BouquetGirls will love this silver winged fairy sitting on a mushroom. I shall be using it on something pretty for my granddaughter.

MushroomFairyI haven’t forgotten the boys either as there is also a new plane added to the transport designs.

Our free designs to download for March are a little daffodil and a colourful kite.

I have been trying out a new sewing skill and made a Victorian style rag doll this week. She is made from felt and I am quite pleased with how she has turned out. Emily2She has a lace trimmed petticoat and bloomers under her flowery dress. I will also make her some boots, and a wool coat and matching bonnet.

I’ve enjoyed making something different from my normal sewing. I thought the hardest part was getting the stuffing right, not floppy or lumpy!

Finally having started my post with the onset of spring, here are some spring photos taken in my garden this morning, which cheer me up. First some lovely bright yellow crocus, one of our first spring flowers here in England.

crocus

Next my favourite spring flower, the beautiful primrose.

primroses

Finally some of those new green leaves I mentioned that make me feel renewed by their colour.

new green leaves

Today I thought I’d share some tips to help those of you who are not so confident using their embroidery machines or perhaps new to this addictive hobby. These are things I have found useful to know or have discovered through time and experience.

  1. Your machine needles are your most important piece of your machine embroidery equipment. You need to change your needle regularly! If it is blunt it won’t give you a decent result and machine embroidering blunts your needles fast. I change my needle after about 10 hours of sewing or if I am having problems with thread breaking, stitches not looking right etc. Buy the best quality needles for your embroidery machine. Schmetz are excellent and are my recommended choice.
  2. Stabiliser can be tricky to get right but as a basic rule of thumb the lighter your fabric the more you need to stabilise it, so for lighter fabrics like cottons use cutaway stabiliser as it is thicker than tearaway. If you are sewing on a heavy fabric such as denim or canvas you can use tearaway or may not even need stabiliser, but light fabrics always need stabilising. There are of course many other kinds of stabiliser for particular projects but I am just giving a basic rule here.
  3. Sewing with metallic thread can be tricky if you are not used to it. Always use a special metallic needle as it has a bigger eye for the thread to go through, and turn your tension right down. I have mine on 1 when I sew with metallic thread. Also slow your machine down and sew on the slowest speed.
  4. The tools I find the most useful are a pair of embroidery scissors with  very small, fine blades and also tweezers. These are used for trimming jump threads and any other bits of thread that are left poking out. By holding the end with tweezers you can cut very close. Decent lighting is also a must! If your eyesight is not great I would also invest in a large magnifier to hang round your neck too.
  5. Cheap thread is NOT an economy. It will break easily and give you lots of problems. Buy a good quality machine embroidery thread such as Madeira, Janome, Guterman Sulky, or Robison Anton, to name a few reliable brands you could use.
  6. Bobbin thread can be an issue as embroidery machines are temperamental and may not like every brand! For example my Janome 350e will not tolerate Madeira bobbin thread, although this is a perfectly reliable make!! It happily uses Janome or Brother bobbin thread. Although I now use so much of it I buy a very large cone of fine bobbin thread from an online supplier, which works out much cheaper.

I hope you find these tips useful. Most of all have fun with your machine exploring all the possibilities. It can quickly become an addictive hobby once you get to know your machine and how it works.

Finally, because I don’t like to post without adding a photograph, here is the sunset I took the other night. Isn’t it beautiful!

My embroidery machine is away being serviced, which as we live in a remote area could take up to three weeks. This means I can’t test stitch any designs so I am having a holiday from digitising. It would be bad news but I decided to use the time profitably. I have just bought a lovely new sewing machine, the Janome Horizon 7700. It is aimed at the patchwork and quilting market and, as I am really hopeless at patchwork, I decided to use it to learn how to do it properly. The machine has lots of excellent features to help, including a built in walking foot, and a quarter inch guide sewing foot. So having cut out squares using my rotary cutter I have been making patchwork ipad cases. This is my first one The middle two sections are my pieced squares and I then quilted it using a built in stitch from my lovely machine. I was pleased with the result.

I then made a blue version of the above and also this little patchwork purse.

Little patchwork purse

I need to work on lining the squares up perfectly, but it’s quite pretty.

I also love making bags so I’ve also made a few, some with panels I’d embroidered earlier. I really like these embroidered hobo bags. I love this Mandarin duck design, not mine but from Embroidery Library, and this one with a colourful parrot.I made a little shoulder bag with bright fiery fabric. Hmmm, not my best sewing on that one! But I love the fabric.I love purple so made this in lilac and purple hues. The next one has a Dresden flap, which was quite tricky to do with my mediocre patchworking skills. I really like making personalised bags for children too, so this is one I made just before my embroidery machine went off, for a little girl called Sophie.

She loves it! I can be contacted via my website if you would like a quote for a personalised child’s bag.

Today I am making a dinosaur backpack for my grandson. I think I will then further my patchworking skills by making a lap quilt.