giovedì 30 luglio 2015

Simple happy things - July 2015

Last year I worked on a little project and documented every single day of July (I've called it "July in 31 photos").
Not the same, this year. 
July is very hot, I feel like I'm very down on batteries and I am not doing special things to capture with my camera (although I think that there's something special for us everyday and that happyness is hidden into simple things). 

But of course I took some snapshots here and there.
They make a sort of visual diary of this month. Simple things in my life.

Critters around the house...

A super secret project I can't wait to share with you...

Some hard and satisfying work at the sewing machine...

(completed this month: 5 bags + 2 wallets + 1 moleskine cover)
(bags 1 e 2 uploaded in my esty shop)

Summer yumminess...

Important birthdays and lovely birthday gifts by the kids...

Testing new tools (rivets!)...

martedì 28 luglio 2015

5 Pinterest boards to follow: adventures!

Summer... for me this season is for outdoor living, exploring nature and having some adventures and a pretty dose of wild life.
Is this true for you, too?

My life is keeping me far from nature and adventures, lately. I really miss some things I was used to in the past, like trekking on italian mountains (Alpes!), exploring the country by bike, camping, spending time in the garden or on the beach.
So I've recently opened a new Pinterest board to help me in staying connected with the wild side of me the same. 
I'd like it will remind me to add some adventure in my daily life, when I can, because it's very important for my soul.

The board is called "Wild life & adventures"; take a look!
I've collected images like this, a strong but funny invitation to add adventure in life:

Of course I've started to follow other Pinterest boards about this theme, like:

The explorer archetype, full of inspirational quotes about adventure.

Somewhere on Earth - travel, with stunning images of places to visit in the world, where Mother Nature is at her best.

Appreciating the Earth, a beautiful expression of the need to go in the woods.

The wild outdoors, very interesting for mountains lovers!

Follow these boards, or mine, if you need like me some visual reminders of your need to add adventure in your life!

[previous posts of "5 Pinterest boards to follow" serie: making toys, modern rustic style]

martedì 21 luglio 2015

New Etsy Team + Christmas in July sales

I't's July and it's hot. Super hot here in Sicily (more than 35° C everyday), but I'm into handmade Christmas ornaments again, because it's time for Christmas in July sales!

15% off handmade ornaments by MadameRenard

I'm offering a discount of 15% on all my handmade ornaments: you can find them in "Rustic home and holidays" section of my shop.
All you have to do is to add the coupon code FRIEND15 before payment.

[for my blog's readers only: I'm going to tell you a secret... you can use the coupon code to have a discount on any item in my shop, even on bags, moleskine accessories and wallets... the coupon code works on all my shop, not only on ornaments! It's a secret!!!]

The idea of Christmas in July is a bit odd for me, because I'm italian and we haven't this tradition here in Italy. 
But I decided to be part of Christmas in July sales thanks to the new Etsy Team I've recently joined: Rusty Dusty Team (blog - page).
It's a lovely team and perfect for me: the members run shops with a rustic style, like mine.
They often sell vintage, objects for home decor inspired by farmhouse living and all sort of handmade goodies with a country/rustic look. 
Eye candies for me! :)
You can find other Christmas items on sale in this thread of the team's forum.

martedì 14 luglio 2015

How to display little embroidered works (the not professional way)

In my latest post I wrote about the fact I've decided to display my little embroidered fox and showed you the result.
While working on this project I've taken some snapshots of the process. What do you think about converting the whole bunch in a sort of tutorial?
Great idea, I know :P

I'm calling it "How to display little embroidery projects". It's not a professional way to display or frame pieces of embroidery. Only my way.
Hope it will inspire you to pull out the drawer some unfinished embroidery projects (I'm sure they are lovely) and display them in your home.
I think it can be a smart idea to give a new life to some old/vintage pieces of fabrics.
What I like of this process is that glues are not included. Only fabric, felt, needles, thread and recycled cardboard!

Let's go!

framed cross stitch works

First thing to do: cut a recycled cardboard and round the corners (it will help to get a finer result). The cardboard has to be a bit smaller that the piece of embroidery you are working with, of course.

cross stitch fox framed

Second step: place the carboard on the back of the fabric and fold each corner in the way you can see in the photo-collage below.
Help the fabric and the corners to stay in their place with some hand-stitching. You can notice that I've connected the opposite sides of the folded fabric with some long stitches. This trick made on the back helps to have a tight effect on the front.

embroidered fox in a frame

Step 3: cut a square of felt (synthetic in my project) and decorate it (optional; I've embroidered '2013', because I was sure I've completed my fox two years ago, but I was wrong).
Fix the square with some stitches made by hands. I suggest to use blanket stitch (love its delicate look), but you can use different methods if you prefer.

madamerenard tutorial

Step 4: it's time to hang up your work of art. Simply fix a little noos on the back and find a nail on the wall.

adding a noos to the  back of a fabric card

But if you (like me) are in the mood for arranging it on a shelf you can alter the shape of a paper clip and insert it between the felt cloth and the cardboard. It will do the work of a frame foot.
Interesting, uh?

tutorial by madamerenard

Love to have my fox in my studio's bookcase :)

cross stitch fox

Other methods to display or frame embroidery used by other people (but a bi tmore expensive than mine):

Let me know if you like this tutorial and share with me your embroidery masterpieces leaving a comment!

sabato 11 luglio 2015

My embroidered fox as a work of art

I wrote a long summer list of things to do at the beginning of June and I wrote the word "done!" beside a lot of my aims this week. 
Very proud of my self and my productivity!
The funniest thing in the list was to give a purpose to a little work of cross stitch I finished last year: it's a  fox face, important for me because foxes are a sort of totem for me.

I could make a soft key-chain, like I did with other little squares of embroidered fabric (here the tutorial, if you're interested), but I was in the mood for something different: my will was to transform that little piece of embroidery in a work of art, something I can display in my studio and see everyday.

I'm going to write something about the process soon (I've taken a lot of snapshots while working on this projects that I can write a tutorial), but today I'm showing you how cute my fox is.

cross stitched fox

I've arranged it on a square of recycled carboard and finished the back with a square of red faux felt. Then I added a cord to hang it on my studio's walls, but I decided soon to like best a different solution: I found the way to make it stand-up on one of my bookcase's shelves, near Carina and Lucia.

how to frame embroidery

This isn't the only one fox who lives in this part of the home, because there is also Felix the fox paper doll near the door!
Love this tiny piece of art in my studio! :)

mercoledì 8 luglio 2015

A parade of handmade spring/summer tops!

This summer I'm not working only on bags and other accessories to improve my shop's offer!
Since it's summer I'm into tops making! :)
I really like to make fresh and comfortable t-shirts and tops using knit fabrics and cotton jersey (I usually buy them at our outdoor market and are very cheap - they are leftovers - but high in quality).

I have three of these handamade spring/summer tops to show you today.

The stripes + flowers top

striped and floral top

A very simple design. It's a self-drafted top, t-shaped, without sewn sleeves, but with a curved hem on the bottom.

curved hem top

The things I like about this top is that it's very fresh and soft and it has some of my favourite peculiarities for clothes: the colours (blue and white!), the stripes, the floral pattern (climbing my left side)! :)

I sent these snapshots to my mum and she said she liked it very much!
The inspiration for this top came from this pin: I realized I could place the floral part of the fabric on one side, to create a lovely asymmetrical look.

The grey petal sleeves t-shirt

Some weeks ago I finished a more complex top: one in grey with petal sleeves and mother-of-pearls bottons.

how to make petal sleeves

how to make petal sleeves

I learned how to modify a basic t-shirt pattern to make a petal sleeve thanks to some tutorials I've pinned in my Pinterest board about "sewing clothes" (this one for example).
I've altered the pattern I've previously used for this cardigan and the work has been simple. 
But I'm not 100% satisfied about the final result, I see too much folds here and there and the t-shirt is not so good on my body shape :(

how to make petal sleeves

However, I'm going to try again, because I'm in love with petal sleeves!

The knotted blouse
There another thing I like when I make/buy tops, t-shirts or blouses: knotted necklines! I'm a bit obsessed.

So this spring (in april) I decided to make a blouse of this kind.
I have only one photo of me wearing it, because now it's too hot (july!!!) to take other images of me with a long sleeved blouse!

how to add a knotted neckline

To make the blouse I've altered this pattern (yes, again!) and self-drafted the neck band.
I think I made a good work!

Since I'm obsessed by knots, I'm going to make other blouses with this caractheristic: I'd like to test the "Mimosa blouse" pattern by SBCC: it's a .pdf pattern for a t-shirt with raglan sleeves (love it!) and a flat knot. I like it because it's sporty and feminine at the same time!
If you like knotted blouses, but you are looking for something more elegant the Lottie blouse (free pattern!) is for you!

Some notes
If you have suggestions about handmade spring/summer tops (or want to share with me the tops you've made), please, leave a comment!
If you're looking for some inspirations, you can take a glance into my Pinterest board about sewing clothes.
Speaking about my future projects... I'd like to go on with asymmetry making something like this or this. But also the Harper blouse (free pattern!) by Spit Up & Stilettos is a good choice for my body shape (I'm a curvy hourglass).

Hope I've inspired you to make some summer tops for you! :)

domenica 5 luglio 2015

New in the shop: bags with crocheted bottom

In my last post I mentioned my plans to make bags with crocheted bottoms. 
I worked on them in the last two weeks and now I can show you the final result.

I think mixing fabric and crochet is an interesting idea, expecially if you are interested in something informal, quite rustic, strong enough to carry your essentials, but with the romantic accent given by crocheted details.
I don't now why I've abandoned this idea after my first (good) experiment more than 4 years ago.

Anyway, I made two different bags, starting from two similar (in their shape) bottoms. I like to be various when I create :)

The first one I finished is this shoulder bag:

eco-friendly bag by madamerenard

It has a crocheted plastic button + a strap for closure.
Inside I've fully lined it with a vintage striped fabric (it comes from an italian tailor's shop closed in the 80s).

eco-friendly bag by madamerenard

Here a close-up of the bottom made by AuntFran:

eco-friendly bag by madamerenard

Then I made this tote:

eco-friendly bag by madamerenard

The peculiarity of this bag is the white fabric used for the exterior parts: a recycled upholstery fabric, saved from the workshop of a friend here in Sicily (he was going to throw it in the trash can, because the pieces were too small for his work).
This fabric has a pattern of leaves you can see if you look closely at it:

eco-friendly bag by madamerenard

Do you like the stitches used by AuntFran? 
I do, I do. This pattern is probably my favourite. She often uses it, expecially for her pencil cases and pouches.

This bag's design is quite simple: a "regular" tote with two straps. 
But I gave attention to some details, like the zippered closure and the inner pocket:

handmade white bag by madamerenard

Very proud of me and of the skillness I've reached after years and years of sewing bags! :)

My plans are to going on making complex bags, with pockets, zippers, adjustable straps and other details that make the bags more "professional" in their look (although I want to save also their handcrafted peculiarities).

AuntFran made for me a crocheted bracelet, too!

handmade braided bracelet by madamerenard

I added a recycled mother-of-pearls button and voilà... listed in the shop, ready to be matched with one of the white bags!

*     *     *

I'd really like to hear your opinion about these bags in the comments.
Someone said me they are beautiful, but look too delicate for everyday use.
What do you think?
I do not agree, because I know how the fabric and the bottom are strong. And the white surface can be washed without problems in tepid water by hands and then ironed. No difficult manteinance!
Leave me you thoughts in the comments!

I'm visualizing a young woman with one of these bags on her shoulders while having a short holiday in the country, this summer. Or having it as a good company while exploring little ancient villages in Europe...