box of birds 3rd panel

Panel number three is the pied wagtail, balancing on a fence post.

The fence: lollipop sticks cut to size with a craft knife and coloured with wax crayons. Posts connected with craft wire. The fence is held in place with a few stitches and a spot or two of fabric glue at the base of the posts.

The purple flowers/grapes: see yesterday’s post.

Tendrils: thread dipped in fabric stiffener solution then wrapped around a wire. Uncoiled when dry and stab stitched to fabric.

Grasses: Chopped up scraps of free-machine embroidery from a few years ago.


box of birds robin

More than half the robin is sewn and I’ve already sorted out threads to stitch a blue tit simply because I’m enjoying embroidering birds at the moment.

I don’t want to use the traditional stumpwork needlelace method to make three dimensional branches for the birds to perch on so I’ve sorted out a few bits and pieces to try something different.

box of birds nuthatch

I’m calling this latest project ‘box of birds’ so that I can look back through my posts easily to remind myself how I solved any problems and to no-one’s surprise, there have been problems already! The bird on the left in the image below shows quite clearly the difference between having padding on the head, throat, and breast, and none on the wings, and when I’d finished them I thought the wings looked too flat. I had followed Lala’s instructions but her wings don’t look sunken so I’m not sure why mine do.

I’d already ripped out the throat and breast stitching once but only when I’d stitched them for a second time did I realise that the difficulty I’d been having with the roumanian couching was because I’d been attempting to stitch it with my left hand in the same way that a right-handed person would. (If you’re left-handed like me, you’ll appreciate the confusion between brain and hand that this causes!) Rather than rip them out again, it was quicker to just restart, stitch the couching correctly as a leftie, and omit the padding altogether to avoid the sunken wings look. The plan has always been to pad the birds when they’re being appliquéd to their eventual background as a slip, so the initial padding shouldn’t really be necessary.

If you’re interested in learning about the ‘slip’ technique, this video by Malina GM embroidery shows a slip being stitched and attached to a mitten, and The Floss Box also has a very good written tutorial.

box of birds plan

My new project is a box with embroidered panels on the sides and top. Nothing like being ambitious – in three different ways no less! Raised embroidery slips will be appliqued to hand-painted and embroidered backgrounds, and last but not least, make the box itself. In my mind’s eye, it will all work out beautifully but the reality might fall a long way short.

I bought a sheet of greyboard from a local art shop to test my box-making skills and you can see the result below. I liked the construction method (a YouTube video) but my measuring was slightly off, even though I thought I was being extra careful – measure twice, cut once and all that, but for a first attempt it’s not all bad and I do have a usable container even if the lid is a bit wonky.

I like birds and I like stumpwork, so the box panels will each have a raised embroidered bird on them as well as some greenery. The first bird is a little nuthatch from Lala Ward’s Countryside Embroidery book again but I’m going to attempt to wing it (excuse the pun) and draw the rest myself.

Sunday sewing

Two more key fobs – one for the electricity meter cupboard key and the other for a set of house keys.

key fobs 2


I made the mock water lily this morning and then painted the papier maché box with acrylic paint. I know that my lily is botanically incorrect but it was only a bit of fun. I haven’t permanently affixed it to the lid and I like the idea of a big blowsy flower on a box lid so I expect I’ll soon make another.mock water lily

triangular box update

I added more leaves to the lid top and sides. I hope you’ll agree with me that it’s a vast improvement on the original!triangular fabric box

triangular box update

triangular box update2

triangular box

A triangular box this time, with leaves and berries applied because the box was so dull with nothing added. The application of the leaves taught me that with a three-sided box, it would have been easier to embellish the lid before it was constructed. Ah well. I live and learn.

triangular fabric box