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The Vulture has landed…(almost!)

Well this has been a challenge I can tell you!

Coming up in August is the Leamington Spa annual ‘Art in the Park‘ now in its fifth year and this year the theme is ‘trees’.  Now, what do you find in trees?  Birds of course.  So, as part of this wonderful celebration of all things creative, one of the organisers (Ali McKellar) has arranged for a number of local groups and a few individuals, to create a whole array of knitted birds and everyone has really got on board with this.  Grace Cafe (one of the groups I volunteer with) are also joining in and  Ali is shown below with some of our group and a few of the birds we’ve made.  The birds are a very simple design constructed from a single knitted square.

During the course of the morning Ali mentioned she’d love to have a vulture like the one in the book,  ‘The Ugly Five‘ (by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Alex Scheffler) too, but sadly no one had taken her up on this.   Muggings here, always up for a challenge (or so I thought!), found myself saying “I’ll have a go for you,” having absolutely no idea  this wasn’t going to be as easy as I thought.  No knitting patterns fitted the bill.  No crochet patterns fitted the bill and I couldn’t even find a sewing pattern that fitted the bill either!  I said I’d do it and so I had no option but to figure this out…so (eventually!) I did 😉


Having recently invested in a Cricut Maker cutting machine, I managed to find an SVG file with the right shaped vulture.  Now I’m neither a designer nor a computer buff so I didn’t really know where to start but I couldn’t just cut it out like this because I wanted to use different colour materials.  To do this I used Design Space and the ‘slicing’ feature to create separate the parts. Continue reading The Vulture has landed…(almost!)

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Instructions for Catherine-wheel Decoration

Well, this took a little longer than I had expected!  Still,  plenty of time for you to put some of these lovely hanging decorations together.  They are really simple to do –  no sewing, no gluing, no mess 🙂


  1. 8cm Polysterne discs
  2. Ribbon in contrasting colours (approx 4cm x 2m & 0.5cm x 20-25cm)
  3. Sequin pins
  4. Ruler
  5. Scissors
  6. Decorative bows/flowers/discs for the centres.

I’ve attempted videos this time to give you a visual (no sound though).  Bear with me, it’s not brilliant but hey, we all have to start somewhere 😉  Comments and/or suggestions will be gratefully received.  Hopefully the more I do the better they will become.  Here goes: Continue reading Instructions for Catherine-wheel Decoration

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Cards: New baby!

This took a little working on because of the text I wanted to include.  One way of doing text transfers is to use a mirror image that is either printed or photocopied using a laser printer.  I only have an inkjet so the usual way of doing this either left too much paper on my mount board and/or I ended up smudging the print…grrr!

So, what do most of us do when we’re flummoxed?  You’ve got it, I Google it!  I found a number of tutorials about transferring text or images using an inkjet printer and the one I tried was printing on to wax paper.  You have to be quick with this otherwise the ink dries and won’t transfer (hence a few botched attempts!) but when it works it’s great.  I have a little name plaque to do for our new baby niece, so I’ll let you know how I get on with that when it’s finished.  For now, here’s the ‘Congratulations’ card I created though the poem on the inside isn’t mine, I found the verse online but I don’t know who wrote it.

Oh yes, and my Sizzix Big Shot (die cutting and embossing machine) arrived this afternoon so I’ll be trying that out over the next couple of days and no doubt boring the pants off you with my excitement at being able to cut new shapes, borders and embossing pretty patterns.  I’ll try and remember to give you a ‘yawn alert’! 😂

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Lacy Bowl 2

It’s been quite an eventful week so I tried something different with the machine embroidered lacy bowl this weekend to help me relax.  It started as a ‘spaghetti’ jumble…

And finished as another pretty bowl…

I really like the addition of a fabric flower and butterflies.  I should have fully centred the flower in the bottom of the bowl to help keep it level thoug, this is a good lesson to learn and next time I shall be more careful.  That said, I love the colours and shall attempt this again, hopefully with even better results.

Thanks for stopping by 😌

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Machine Appliqué

I am very new to appliqué and my first proper attempt was under instruction during a workshop at the Handmade Fair in Warwickshire earlier this year.  Needless to say, like most crafts I’m trying lately I loved it!

This cute bunny bag is the result of that workshop

The HOPE cushion below is the product of a training course I attended (also earlier this year) which just happened to be an appliqué task.  I was training as a facilitator so that I can deliver a course called Peaeced Together , I will run our first one in September as part of an initiative by a local charity, Helping Hands Community Project.  You can find out more about these Organisations by clicking their names.  More on both will also be posted during September.

And this one was part of an activity from a pilot drop group called Esther Days (another vision by Helping Hands) which will also begin this September.

You will be able to follow the story of the courses on my other blog Simple Joys but the crafts we do will be posted here.

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday wherever you are 😊



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Folk Art

This is a small selection of some folk art pieces I have completed using one of the Folk It! kits.

The techniques are very easy (they have to be for me!) combining dot-painting with  simple brush strokes, and designs which you can mix and add to, to create your own unique designs.

The possibilities are endless and this is one of my favourite crafts at the moment, I can’t wait to learn the more advanced techniques.   You can find workshops and kits by following this link:

Enjoy 😊

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Lacy Bowl – Machine Embroidery

I have recently discovered a love and real passion for some very easy, but beautifully effective crafts which I’d like to share with you under this new page “Cooper’s Crafty Corner“.  I came across this gorgeous little bowl at the Handmade Fair held at Ragley Hall recently, and it’s so easy to do!   The workshop was run by Jayne Emerson, who is a textile designer and you can see more of her work and products here.  If you ever get the chance her workshops are well worth attending.  Right, here we go.

To create your bowl you will need the following:

  • Soluable fabric (do not get this wet)
  • Selection of embroidery threads
  • Cotton
  • Fabric flowers/sequins/gems (all of these are optional)
  • Embroidery hoop
  • Bowl/plate
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine


1.  Decide on your desired bowl size (I used a small pudding basin for this one), turn it upside down and measure from the rim to rim. See image.

2.  Find a plate with the same diameter, measure square of soluable fabric – double the amount required (or x 2) as you will need to fold this over and draw your circle on it.

3.  Next you’ll need to ‘spaghetti’ your chosen threads (and extras if using) all over, but within the line, of your circle.

I found the easiest way to avoid tangling the embroidery thread was to put the whole thing over my wrist and unravel it straight onto the fabric (whole skeins).

4.  When you’re happy with your ‘spaghetti’ layout you will need to fold over the top layer of soluble fabric (or place your second square on top), pin and tack.  Note you are only ‘tacking’ to keep it in place so you don’t need neat tiny stitches.

5.  Next you need to place this in your embroidery hoop and it needs to fit nice and tight (hence the extra fabric around your circle).  Note:. You are going to be sewing on the inside of the hoop not the outside as you would with hand embroidery, so lay your fabric over the larger section then place the smaller section into it.

6.  Now, this is the tricky bit – but it’s only tricky because no one was around to take a short video of me doing it, so I hope my explanation will be clear enough?

You need to set your sewing machine to a normal size straight stitch length/width and lower the feeder teeth.  This is really important otherwise you won’t be able to ‘free-hand’ the hoop and you risk snagging the fabric and tangling the the threads in your machine.

Raise the sewing foot as high as possible (most machines allow you to push up a little further than it’s natural stop point) and insert the hoop.  It can be a bit awkward depending on how far up you can raise the foot.

When you’re ready – and take it at a steady pace, not too fast, but not too slow either – start sewing in squiggly, circular movements by holding the hoop and moving it as if you were sifting.  Do this until all the threads have been caught, you need to go over and over it making you sure you stitch the threads near the edge too, but not your tacking (see image).  The beauty of this is it doesn’t matter how you do it, you’re not aiming for perfect straight lines, you’re stitching is supposed to be in a ‘messy’ random manner, what’s important is that you catch as much of the threads as possible so that there are no large stringy gaps at the next stage.

6.  Once complete, take everything out of the hoop and trim off the excess material, reasonably close to your tacking.

We’re nearly there!

7.  Now the fun bit 🙂  Dip your embroidery into a bowl of clean lukewarm water and gently swish until all of the material has dissolved – this only takes 30-40 seconds. Squeeze out any excess water,  gently open out your threads and while they’re still sticky, mould then over your chosen bowl.

(It is not usually necessary to then sit your upturned bowl on top of a cheese grater, but I wanted a loose frilly edge so I raised the bowl and while still wet, played around with it.)

Now leave in a warm place to dry – a sunny window is always good but you can speed the process up by placing in a warm (not hot) oven for half an hour or so.  Once it’s completely dry use a blunt knife (e.g. palette knife) to gently release the threads from you bowl and…



So that you can see a comparison in both size and density, below is my very first attempt. It was a smaller bowl and I used much more thread which gave it a more solid feel once it was dry 🙂

Have fun experimenting and if you have any questions, or need to clarify any of the above, comment or message me and I’ll do my best to help you further.  It would be fab to see how you get on, so when you’re ready, please do come back and showcase your own creations 🙂

Happy sewing ☺️🌺