Friday, February 25

My kitchen window & a bit about an awesome book

This is (a little bit) of one of the windows in my kitchen. Now that cup looks familiar doesn't it? Anyway, my husband recently painted all the windowsills and the door frame that leads to the garden in the awesome grey shade you see in the photo. Now I need to think about how to 'dress' the windows. I don't like the idea of long curtains and I'm not a big fan of blinds. So last week I stumbled upon this picture in Alicia Paulson's Embroidery Companion.

The Scandinavian looking bird design and the gingham curtains would look great in my kitchen! At least that's what I think but I'm not sure my husband feels the same way about these curtains. This reminds me that I also have a book full of Scandinavian Cross Stitch Designs which I bought on Ebay a little while ago. More about that another time!
Embroidery Companion is a great book. The subtitle is 'Classic Designs for Modern Living' and that's exactly what it is. The book is thoughtfully made with information about the basics of embroidery  (for those just starting out) and many, many lovely projects and lots of pretty inspiring photos. I would say most of the projects featured are best suited to those with some experience in embroidery. And some require, relatively easy, sewing skills too (skirt, curtains etc) Besides 'regular' embroidery and cross stitch, there are also some crewel designs in the book. What I especially like about the book is that Alicia's love for embroidery speaks so clear from the text but also from the photos and the projects themselves. If you are attracted to Alicia Paulson's fresh and timeless style you will certainly be not disappointed in this book.
Wishing you all a wonderful crafty week(end)!

Tuesday, February 22

Crazy Fill Stitch Project: Circus Rabbit Portrait

I was in doubt whether I would share this when it's so nowhere near finished but on the other hand I wanted to let you all have a peek at what a crazy fill stitch project looks like when it's only halfway done. It doesn't look all that great at the moment and I'm not even sure if it will look great when it's finished either. I think I've done about 8 hours of stitching on this scene already. Two strands and tiny stitches....crazy right?

Oh and if all is right *keeps fingers crossed* British peeps can look forward to some new Follow the White Bunny Patterns coming to a news stand near you in the near future. I will tell more about the 'what' and 'where' once I have seen it myself! :)

Sunday, February 20


Today we wandered through the oldest remaining part of my hometown of Rotterdam. It's called Delfshaven (literally it means Port of Delft) and it has the typically Dutch Canal Houses. Not very typical for Rotterdam by the way, as large parts of the city, especially near the center, were bombed during the second World War. Luckily Delfshaven escaped the air raids.

This is the Pilgrim Father's Church, also located in Delfshaven. We had some yummy coffee and Apple Pie in a brewery-cafe nearby. Perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon. :)

Friday, February 18

And the Cozy Embroidery Murder Book goes to....

Mimi! (as chosen by the Random Generator) Congratulations on winning Amanda Lee's Embroidery Mystery Stitch me Deadly! Gayle (Amanda's real name) let me know that she very much enjoyed reading all your great title suggestions. Mimi said: "There are some great titles submitted!! Here are some more:Sew Deadly, Cut to Pieces, Thread of Death"  Mimi, I will contact you for your home address.

Wishing everyone a wonderful weekend and many thanks to those stitchy friends who responded so kindly to my last post.

Thursday, February 17

Happy stuff

Even though there are some things right now that I'm not too happy about and that concern me a bit (health issues which I may share on this blog at some other point, or not) I try to stay positive and appreciate other stuff that does make me happy. Like this box of DMC floss. I had never bought a whole box of floss before and it's a little bit like opening a box of chocolates (but all with the same flavour). I have already taken one out to use but I'm not telling yet what for. This actually reminds me of that famous quote from Forrest Gump "life is a like a box of chocolates, you never know which one you will get". Well life just handed me a chocolate with orange or liquor in or some other not very tasty filling...

Oh and another 'happy' thing: the sun came out today, it almost felt like spring. Autumn and Winter are my favourite seasons but even I am happy to see a bit of sunshine now. :)

If you haven't already, please check out my Stitch me Deadly giveaway which ends tomorrow! And if you are quick you can enter a giveaway on the Crafty Bird blog of some Sublime Stitching Patterns. Next Thursday I will close my shop for a bit (at least a week) so if you think you soon will need a chatty Squirrel and Bear, a Sleepy Fox  or perhaps some stylish Stitchy Postcards   go visit the shop in the next few days.

Sunday, February 13

Blocks from scraps & a finished embroidery

For the last two weeks orso instead of being glued to the couch with my laptop at night  and when I'm not embroidering, I try to do a little bit of quilting. I started making these blocks from the scraps I recently received in the mail and what was in my scrap basket. This quilt is perfect for my oldest daughter. She is 10 and needs a funkier quilt on her bed than the shabby chic one I made her two years ago. I think it's amazing how well all these different fabrics and colours 'work' together. I am mainly using (hot) pink, yellow, orange and many shades of purple as well. To 'tame' the vibrant colours and mix of prints a tiny bit I have added grey dotted and white borders to the blocks. I also have revised my opinion on the colour orange. Orange is actually a great and easy colour to combine with many other colours.

I finally finished my Ophelia embroidery for the Phat Quarter Swap too. Again I'm assuming my swap partner does not visit my blog. I did a lot of the embroidering free hand, sometime I used a water soluble pen to draw some details though.

And the cords of her headphone are 'loose' threads only connected to the headphones themselves and the Ipod she holds in her hand. So it's a bit different from the embroideries I usually do but I still think she turned out rather well!

Don't forget to enter the Embroidery Mystery Book Giveaway! Comments close this Friday.

Saturday, February 12

Embroidery Mystery Book Give away!

Mr. Fox loves crafty mysteries!
Amanda Lee (pen name of writer Gayle Trent) has just published her second Embroidery Mystery book Stitch me Deadly and I'm giving away one copy to a lucky reader! All you have to do is leave a comment before Friday the 18th of February noon (Central European Time) and tell me (if you like) what you think would be an exciting, funny, mysterious or creepy title for an Embroidery Mystery Book! Intriguing plots are also allowed. :) Winner will be chosen at random from the entries. One comment per person please!
Ed. I have now closed the comments winner will be announced later today!

If you want to know a little bit more about Gayle/Amanda read the interview I did with her a couple of months ago. Good luck everyone and thank you Gayle for sending me a copy of Stitch me Deadly to give away on my blog! :)

Thursday, February 10

Winner of Beetle Bug FQ Bundle!

I think the Beetle Bugs giveaway was a success! Lots of entries, some new followers to the blog *waves* and the comments were so much fun to read!

The generator did all the hard work for me and it chose Wendy as winner! Wendy said: " have to say I'm not an insect fan, though I do like butterflies (are they actually an insect??) and ladybirds. Having said that, I think snails can look cute when they're drawn - though in real life they're monsters who ate my entire garden!"   Congratulations Wendy! I will get in touch with you for your address so I can send the bundle over via... ahem...Snail mail!  :)

Monday, February 7

Sometimes when I send mail...

...the envelope might look something like this....but more often it features a hedgehog in a cup!

And what's in the envelope varies... but I like using my own postcards and the pretty baker's twine I purchased recently. :)

Saturday, February 5

Meet Saffron & a chance to win a FQ bundle of Beetle Bug fabrics!

You can see that the White Bunny feels right at home among those awesome soft furnishings made with Saffron Craig Fabrics! If you have been following this blog since 'the early days' you will probably know that I became friends with Australian fabric designer Saffron Craig back in 2009. After a few mails we even got to meet at my house when Saffron and her family visited Europe! I want you all to get to know Saffron a little bit better too and I hope you will enjoy the mini-interview I did with her. Be sure to read the details about the Beetle Bug fabric giveaway at the end of this post! (ed.  giveaway has ended, comments are now closed)

To me, Beetle Bugs is one of the most stylish and original lines of fabric for kids that I have seen in recent years. Could you tell a little bit about what inspired you while you were designing this line?
SC Wow, thanks Nicole, stylish is what I was hoping for! The Beetle Bugs came about when my customers kept asking me to design a boys range."Saffron there is really not many boys fabrics out there!" kind of thing. 
So I kept an eye out for inspiration, which came while playing with my daughters and her friend Matisse. Together they would look for snails and lady beetles for hours in the garden and we had every milk and yogurt container, tin can, match box, you name it filled with them  (recycle recycle I say when you have kids). 

We would then often sit down and draw them together until I got a sense for the style I was going to go with. Once I'd drawn the main elements such as the snails and the bugs I had fun playing around with them putting them into patterns and repeats. The colours took quite some time to decide, I wanted them to be easy to live with and harmonious so I went with a more muted, neutral colour palette with highlights of colours to add some funk. 

A lot of the contemporary Australian fabrics I see (on Etsy for example), seem to have in common that the design is quirky, clean and almost graphic in design. Would you say your style is influenced by the place/country you live?
SC I think this particular style is influenced by the colour limitations of screen printing in small quantities, something a few of my fellow Australian designers seem to do. That's how I started myself before I was able to expand to commercial printing with 5 and 6 colours.

Living in Australia definitely influences my designing, I've always had a strong love and connection to the Australian landscape, heritage and culture, I studied Australian Aboriginal fibre arts at Uni. The colours here are so bright and intense and the landscape can be dramatic and there's abundant wild life, even in my backyard, so I draw inspiration from that.

Fairy cushions

Which (line of) fabric by another designer did you wish you had designed? 

SC As a designer I am hoping to one day create a design which is as instantly recognisable as Orla Keily's work, her stem print is inspirational. I also think that Unikko for Marimekko is a design I would love to have created. It is timeless and works on any surface in any colour and in any scale. Also Florence Broadhurst, an Australian Designer from the 70's, had a team of designers who created really amazing wall papers and fabrics, she is a cultural icon here and her work so wonderful, you can still buy her papers from here

What do you have in store for us this year? 
SC I have a few more fabrics ranges coming out early this year. The first one is Magical Lands, a range which depicts my mental snap shots from around Australia and is due to arrive soon. Following that I have a range of fabrics called Imaginary Flower in plums and vanilla, which is sure to be a favourite of mine. Then we'll have some new softies and recolour the Beetle Bugs with orange (having a Dutch husband we love orange). Later on we will also be printing second colourways of Magical Lands and Imaginary flowers and maybe some new designs later in the year.  So by June we should have about 40 new fabrics in total, better make some room in my studio!

I have also set myself the task of introducing a new product each month. Some ideas I am playing with is a collaboration for an embroidery pattern with yourself (ed. yes, working on that!), dress patterns, cushions, more downloadable paper designs, birthday card invites, the list goes on!

A busy year for little me.
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Thank you so much Saffron for answering my questions and donating some of those gorgeous Beetle Bug fabrics for this giveaway. If you want a chance to win a Beetle Bug FQ bundle leave a comment on this post and be sure to tell me what your favourite (or perhaps most feared) bug is (of the garden variety I mean)! On the 10th of February 14.00 Central European Time I will close comments and draw a winner shortly after. Be a snail and leave a trail (website/email), so I can find you back just in case you should win! You can check out all Saffron's available fabric ranges, quilt kits and patterns here.