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Inspiration: Mexican Texiles. Loom work, ikats, bold embroidery, weaving, tassels, tufting, clashing colours and folk imagery. All things that inspire our love of Mexican and South American textiles and perfect craft inspiration for a chilly Monday morning in Brighton uk! If like us you are seriously excited about traditional craft practices then you may also like our previous inspiration post featuring Santiago based Weaver and textiles artist Karen Barbe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bright, clashing and woven. Mexican textiles are a visual feast and totally inspiring. All images are sourced from Pinterest which you can find here. Let’s hope this brightens up your day a little more!

Recipe: Cocoa Beetroot Cup Cakes with Coconut Icing. Are you craving a sweet treat with a healthy kick? Our Cocoa Beetroot Cup Cakes with Coconut Icing. This recipe combines two favourite things, cake + veg. Its vegan, gluten free and topped with the best  coconut crème frosting.

For the cake:

175g Doves Farm gluten free self raising flour
1tsp xanthem gum
1tsp Agron no egg
2tsp cocoa or cacao powder
1 medium sized fresh betroot peeled and grated (approx 50g)
100g golden caster sugar
100g dairy free butter spread, eg Pure
100ml almond milk

Icing:
1 tin coconut milk (full fat)
3tblsp icing sugar

electric balloon whisk

Pre heat your oven at 175oC. Place sugar and spread in a mixing bowl and whizz till fluffy. Combine flour, cocoa, gum and no egg and sift in to the bowl together little at a time adding a splash of almond milk as the mixture thickens. Stir in the beetroot and watch your batter go a lovely pink colour!

Spoon mixture into a greased and lined muffin tin and bake for 20 mins. Whilst the cakes are baking whisk together your coconut milk and icing sugar, cover and place in the fridge until your cakes are baked and cooled. Spoon a generous amount of coconut cream onto each cake before devouring!

Happy Friday folks! Today we have the perrrfect project for any cat lady or gent its our DIY: Embroidered Animal Doorstop! This will be the third and final project taken from our newly released book Embroidery and comes with a free template! You can find the others here and here!

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what you need

Plate, approximately 8in (20cm) in diameter

Tailor’s chalk

Thick fabric

Pinking shears

Embroidery floss in pink, light blue and dark blue

Machine thread in light blue (to use as couching thread)

Sewing machine

Needle

White rice

Toy stuffing

Pins

Scissors

Template

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Inspired by the many plush needlework projects of the 1970s, our feline friend is a great project for mastering the couching technique. We have used scraps of upholstery fabric to toughen this fellow up, but you could just use any standard nice quality wool mix felt.

1 Using a side plate as your template, mark out two circular pattern pieces on your chosen base fabric with tailor’s chalk.

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2 Add an extra 58in (1.5cm) seam allowance for hemming.

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3 Cut both the pieces out using a pair of pinking shears. Keep the remnants to make the cat’s ears. Select the colours of floss you are going to use.

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4 Trace the template of the cat’s face onto tracing paper and copy it onto one of the circles by drawing over it on the back to transfer the pencil marks. Make it clearer to follow using tailor’s chalk.

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Animal door stop template.
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Copy this at 100%.

5 Lay your light blue embroidery floss on top of the fabric and, using your needle, sew the end through the fabric and knot at the back. Do the same with your thinner couching thread so they both start very close together. Pin down along the length of your thicker thread to keep it flat and the tension even.

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6 Working in one direction, couch along the length of the thick thread, taking time to navigate curves neatly by adding more stitches where necessary (see below). Try to keep your stitches evenly spaced. Sew the thread through to the back of the fabric when you come to the end of the motif and fasten off by sewing over a couple of times.

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7 Repeat this process with dark blue embroidery floss for the bottom of the eyes, bearing in mind it may be a little more fiddly as the thread is much shorter.

8 Change to pink embroidery floss and use a backstitch (see below) to sew on the mouth detail. Couch on a small circle with the dark blue embroidery floss. Fill this with satin stitch (see below) in pink embroidery floss, and then the tip of the nose in the same way.

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9 Use a very thin strand of light blue embroidery floss to sew running stitch (see below) for the circular eye detail. Then sew a single chain stitch (see below) in dark blue embroidery floss for the pupil.

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Tip! Experiment with different fabrics and animal faces to create a whole door-stop menagerie for your home.

10 Use long running stitch to add a couple of whiskers and then turn the cat face over. Place on top of the other circle of fabric so that the right sides are together. Pin in place. Cut two ear-shaped pieces from your leftover fabric and lay them on top of the circles to decide where they look best. Once you’ve decided, pin the ear pieces in position.

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11 Using backstitch or a sewing machine, carefully sew around the edge of your pinned shapes, leaving an opening at the top between the ears for stuffing. Snip into the seam allowance all around the edge at regular intervals.

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12 Turn the door stop the right way and get ready to stuff!

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13 Pour approximately 7oz (200g) rice into the bottom of your cat cushion to give it weight. Use a sheet of paper and tape to make a funnel so it’s easy to pour the rice into your door stop.

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14 Fill the rest of the shape with synthetic toy stuffing until your door stop has the desired plumpness. Pin the top closed and then hand stitch together with a running or over stitch.

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Ta Da! Though this is one of our more tricky projects and might take a few days to complete, once its stuffed its a retro chic home-ware treat!

running stitch

This is the most basic stitch, so a good one to start off with.

1 Thread your needle with embroidery floss and knot the end. Stab your needle up from the back of the fabric to the front. Stab back down through the fabric a little distance to the left, then bring the point up again a little way along. Continue along like this.

2 To work faster, weave the needle through the fabric in a wave-like motion as far as you can.

3 Pull the thread through when there is no more room on the needle.

backstitch

This is a strong and flexible stitch, very good for seams.

1 Knot or secure the end of your floss and bring your needle up through your fabric from the back to the front. Take the needle back down through the fabric at point A and then back up again at point B.

2 Pull the floss through. Now take the point down very close to point C, the left-hand end of the first stitch. Bring the point of the needle back up a similar distance along from point B.

3 Continue in this way, repeating this up, backwards and through, forwards and back up again motion to get your lovely backstitch.

chain stitch

This pretty stitch is so useful it has inspired a whole list of variants.

1 Bring your needle up through your fabric from the back and pull the floss through. Stab the needle back into the fabric next to where it came up and push the point up a little to the left. Loop the floss under the point before you pull the floss through.

2 Do not pull the floss too tightly so that your loop lies flat on the top of the fabric.

3 Now stab the needle back in next to where it last came out and up again a similar distance along to the left, looping the floss under the point as before.

4 Repeat this sequence to make your chain as long as you want. When it is complete, finish off by securing the last chain with a small stitch.

satin stitch

This is perfect for blocking in large pattern areas. You can add height to the area by filling the shape with scattered seed stitches before you start. You can also outline the shape in backstitch to add height and to use as a guideline.

1 Mark the area with tailor’s chalk and bring the needle up from the back of the fabric at the edge of this area. Take your needle down at the bottom of the shape and up again at the top.

2 Stab the needle back down next to where you pushed it down before, and up again at the top. This will form a long stitch on top of the fabric.

3 Continue stabbing in at the bottom of the shape and out at the top, forming long stitches that lie next to each other. Keep your stitches close together and regular so that they lie smoothly. Fasten off your floss on the back of the work.

couching

Couching is where you secure a length of cord or thick floss onto fabric using a thinner thread. You can use the same colour to hide the stitching.

1 Lay your cord or floss to be couched onto the base fabric in the shape required. Having secured your thinner thread at the back of the fabric, bring your needle through to the right side of the work just below the cord.

2 Now attach the cord to the fabric by stabbing the needle into the fabric above the cord along to the right and then bringing the needle out under the cord further along.

3 Carry on along the length of the cord, anchoring the cord securely to the fabric.

4 Make sure to keep your stitches even, especially if you are using a contrasting colour of thread.

Inspiration: Karen Barbe. For several years we have followed the amazing work of Santiago based weaving, embroidery and textile artist Karen Barbe.  Her imagery and playful lifestyle shoots combine her love of colour, traditional craft and are very on point with trend … Her homeware items are hand made treasures. Everything about her style and technique is inspiring, you must go and take a look at her work we promise if you are a craft enthusiast you will be thrilled.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Karen Barbe in Santiago by Leela Cyd Ross)

 Recipe: Banana Cake with Blueberry’s (vegan)

This banana cake with is possibly the fluffiest banana cake we have ever made… all the extra mixing with that balloon whisk attachment has really made all the difference! We hope you like it as much as us… Why not make it for your next crafternoon or weekend tea date with friends. Surely every crafty get together deserves delicious baked goods!

You will need:

300g self raising flour
200g golden caster sugar
200g dairy free spread such as Vitalite or Pure
2 tsp Argan egg free powder
3 very ripe/brown bananas
A handful of fresh blueberry’s
Hand whisk

Pre heat your oven at 175oC. Mix the butter and sugar together in your bowl for a good few minutes to get it all light and creamy! Next add your egg free powder and bananas and mix them in thoroughly. Lastly add flour at intervals whilst whizzing with your hand mixer. Pour into a lined and greased cake tin and push your berrys onto the surface of the batter. Bake for 20 mins until golden on top.

This is a super simple recipe and lovely with a pot of Darjeeling tea!

DIY: Utensils Apron. Inspired by a love for all things retro, this two colour project will push your screen printing skills to the next level. Why not play around with different colour combinations to change the look! We hope you enjoy getting stuck in to a spot of printing.Super + Super printed apron tutorial

What you need

  • Plain cotton apron
  • Craft knife or scalpel
  • 2 sheets of brown paper about A3 size 
  • 2 sheets of tracing paper
  • Pencil
  • Adhesive tape
  • Fabric ink in black and red
  • Cutting mat
  • Silk screen Squeegee Spoon

Super + Super printed apron tutorial

1. Trace the design onto a piece of tracing paper with a pencil (templates on pages 112–113). Label different sections of the template A or B, depending on whether they will be black or red. Stick it onto your first sheet of brown paper using a small piece of adhesive tape in each corner to secure it. Now, on the cutting mat, cut out all shapes marked ‘A’ with the craft knife.

2. Remove the tracing paper to reveal your brown paper stencil for the black areas. Where any pieces have become separate, use staples or tape to hold them in place.

3. Stick the tracing paper template onto the second sheet of brown paper and cut out all shapes marked ‘B’, as before. Take off the tracing paper to reveal your red ink stencil.

Super + Super printed apron tutorial

4. Lay your apron right side up on a protected flat surface and place the first stencil on top.

5. Put your screen on top, making sure all unmasked areas are visible so you can avoid inking the wrong spot. Spoon a line of black ink onto the screen at the top of your stencil covering the length of your design. Pull the squeegee towards you firmly and smoothly.

6. Remove the screen and check that the print is OK. Hang the apron to dry.

Super + Super printed apron tutorial

7. Remove the soggy brown paper stencil from the screen and discard it. Wash and dry your screen and make sure your first print is also dry. Line up the red ink stencil so that the pattern looks like the original image and place it on top of the apron as before.

8. Place the screen on top and repeat the printing process using red ink.

9. Remove the screen and brown paper stencil and dry the apron. Wash the screen. Once the apron is dry, iron your print on the wrong side to seal the design and make the apron machine washable.

Tip: Use some ink on a fine paintbrush to fill in any areas of the print that you might have missed. If you’re after a pair of presents, try the apple print tea towel tutorial.

Printmaking and Embroidery by Claire Culley and Amy Phipps and published by GMC (£12.99, www.thegmcgroup.com) and on the S+S website here!

We are easing ourselves into 2015 gently. After a very busy and creative past 18 months we felt a bit frazzled and have decided to take things a bit slower for the first few weeks of the year… With this in mind we wanted to share with you a few things on the web that keep our hearts inspired and our heads focussed. So here is a list of Blogs We Love  peruse!
Lifestyle and Mags
Foodie and Vegan
Creative Pals
Specialist and Makers
Happy 2015!