Gardenpinks' Blog

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Archive for the tag “embroidery”

“Writing Contest”

Leslie over at messageinafold has set a Writing Contest to encourage us to write about how long we have been crafting. She set 10 questions and is hoping that we will write more than a word or two about how, when and why crafting entered our lives.

How long have you been crafting: I have been asked this question quite a few times in the past and I always shrugged my shoulders; I couldn’t recall crafting until I started card making approximately 14 years ago. Many crafters reel off all the crafts they have done from the time they were old enough to hold a needle but I couldn’t remember having done any crafting when I was younger but these questions of Leslie’s cranked my brain into dredging up memories. Primary schools back in the day were very hot on art and craft, sadly this has been pushed aside, and we small children were encouraged to knit and sew. My mother taught me to knit; she was always knitting some garment or other for one or other of my sisters as well as making clothes on her sewing machine for us so knitting at school was no big feat for me and I can vividly remember the doll we had to make, before the age of 9 we also knitted a basic sweater at primary school. On the sewing front we had to make a needle holder from felt, blanket stitch was one of the things we had to learn. I still have that needle holder! I also remember the young girl next door…she was a few years old than I but Gwen was willing to spend time with me and she helped me make dolls clothes.

The first item I created on my own and bought all the products was a school bag! This was towards the end of the sixties; I went to an all girls secondary school and stockings were very much de rigueur but when tights appeared us girls were so thankful however tights were very expensive and school desks and seats were very hard on tights. I can’t remember now who started the fad but it became a fashion to turn ruined tights into knitted bags. Every female of our acquaintance was inveigled to save their tights for our very busy knitting needles…a newspaper round provided the money to buy large wooden needles. The tights were prepared by having the feet and panty part cut off then the legs were cut in spirals and these spirals were knitted up. Those bags were very stretchy and could accommodate many books also the many shades of brown were very attractive….we would be considered very ‘green’ now 🙂 Break times were spent sitting on grassy banks gossiping whilst our needles were busy clicking away!

The other bit of recycling I indulged in was during a spell working part-time at a grocery shop in my teens; the shop owner had been given some dead rabbits for eating and I asked him for the skins. I cleansed the two skins as best I could and dried them out, I cut them into rectangles and stitched three sides together and added handles. I was so proud of my handmade shoulder bag but it attracted the attentions of various dogs! In desperation I bought some spray that used to be used on lady dogs when they were in season but it had a most pleasant lemon scent! That bag was my most used possession for some time until I finally abandoned it. Great fun and no one else had a bag like mine 🙂

Before I started paper crafting I had knitted garments particularly for my own children and husband, more usually gloves, hats and scarves but cardigans and sweaters. The last items I knitted were hooded capes for our twin babies..over 25 years ago…and I haven’t knitted since. I used to do a lot of crocheting too, again something I was taught as a child and did through my school years but haven’t done any for many years. I have also done cross stitch samplers, embroidery, pulled embroidery napkins and smocking. The one thing that has stayed with me since my young days is writing and the collecting of paper; I loved paper and spent my hard earned cash on pads and pads of writing paper…there were reams of beautiful writing available in the late 60s/early 70s. I also had a passion for pens, pencils, embroidery thread..anything with colour.

I now cannot recall what started me on the rocky road of crafting; not so much crafting as card making. In the early days (late 90s) our daughters and I used to card make together, two of our early forays was in Iris folding and Tea Bag folding:

iris folding book

I bought several of the above books in the early 2000s ..there were a few with different iris fold templates also one on tea bag folding plus all the folds that are lurking in a folder somewhere that I downloaded off the internet and another book in this series I purchased was this one:


At last something I could use some of that accumulated embroidery thread on. Meanwhile we all explored quilling and decoupage then the CDs that several crafty people were bringing out. After making what seemed like hundreds of decoupage cards I was decoupaged out! I wanted to explore other avenues and not necessarily card making and so I ventured into stamping and have gone downhill from that point. Here was I standing on the threshold of stamping and purchasing my first rubber stamps and ink but I was never, ever going down that slope. Now I play around with stamping in some form…ATCs, canvas, collage, mixed media, altering items and this is where I am happy. I still make cards but it doesn’t consume me and I occasionally revisit ‘old’ techniques but not decoupage/pyramage and I sold all the ‘design’ CDs; not that I possessed many as they bored me from the start. I prefer to do my own thing if possible.

What have I made that I don’t want to let go? Well I usually set out with an idea of making something for me anyway so this question doesn’ arise; there is a collaged canvas hanging in our bedroom, several quilled figures hiding in a box waiting to be put on display, a book I have altered that is for me to flick through, a junque journal still in progress and an altered box – these will be staying with me!

Here are a few cards made in our early days of card making:


Tea bag folding


Note the use of ribbon Leslie 🙂 The only craft thing I haven’t done is scrapbooking and although I bought two albums several years ago it doesn’t actually call to me but then who knows!

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