Hope & Gloria - Sewing Inspiration for Children

Hope & Gloria - Sewing Inspiration for Children
Let The Sunshine!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Egham Royal Show - Feeling Like A Winner!

It's been pretty quiet on the blogging front over the past couple of weeks. However, please don't think I haven't been busy.

This summer I decided to do something that I have never done before - enter a handicraft competition.

I am not sure why the time was right this year as I have thought about it on numerous occasions in the past but never found the time or the courage to throw my creations out there for third party scrutiny and judging. So this weekend I took the bull by the horns and submitted three entries in to the Egham Royal Show.

We first visited the Egham Royal Show as a family about four years ago. It always falls on the August Bank Holiday weekend and since then we haven't been around. Knowing that we would be around this year I thought I'd give it a go.

 Excuse me while I give an advertisement for the show but it really is a fabulous day out for all of the family. There is something for everyone - even for the hard to please Richardson clan. This year I was able to indulge my love of flowers and handicrafts in the horticulture tent, whilst the boys admired model boats and aeroplanes, not to mention the guns on the Royal Marine Stall. There were classic cars for Giles to dream about and we could all come together to admire the cute piglets in the livestock marquee and the very clever sheep dogs in the dog agility competition.

So this year I decided to enter three items in to three categories:

My vintage inspired hand quilted cushion complete with home made lavender scented cushion pad.

A cross stitch that kept me occupied whilst on hols.

and my 100% designed by me Summer Garden Fabric Wall Art.

I have to say that I am most proud of the wall art. It's an idea that has been forming in my mind for a long time and it was made over the course of a week this August. Just like a real garden, my Summer garden grew before my eyes and I wasn't sure how it would look and come together as a design until the point that I knew it couldn't grow any further. 

A number of techniques went in to the design - various fabric flowers, felt flowers, applique and embroidery. I added detailing by including mini-beasts and insects amongst the florals. It was described by the judges as a "great show piece using lots of different techniques", which I consider to be praise indeed. I am delighted to have received second place in the judging of the "other handicraft techniques" category and feel very proud that my hard work and ideas were rewarded in this way.

I learnt a lot from entering the show. It was fascinating to look at the prize winners in the various categories and to try to work out what the judges were looking for. Next year I shall begin to plan my entries much earlier. If I had the chance all over again I would add more quilting to the cushion and I plan to begin a cross-stitch project much earlier so that it can be on a much greater scale - I already have a few ideas forming and can't wait to get going. I think these competitions could become addictive!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Laundry Room Mission

Thankfully life is too short to match pairs of socks, well as far as I am concerned it is. Unfortunately, this seems to be the opinion of the four men in my life and the shelf in our laundry room is disappearing under a sea of socks which is added to each time the tumble dryer is emptied. It has become a Mexican stand off of sorts in our house. 

Call me lazy if you will, but I am perfectly happy with my solution - my fabric sock box/tidy. The men in the household can head to the same place to retrieve their socks but now they are kept tidily in one place instead of being strewn across the room.

This is my second project from the list of summer "to-dos". It is made from spare fabric so didn't cost anything extra to make and the label is embroidered on to a scrap of aida. It is both pretty and functional and I for one am feeling like a highly organised domestic goddess (sort of....). Happy Friday Everyone. xx

Thursday, July 31, 2014

My Summer Challenge

It's no secret that I am addicted to fabric. I can't actually walk out of a fabric shop without a bag in hand with at least a couple of half metres of patterned fabric inside it. I have been trying to wean myself off fabric by not visiting too many fabric shops and avoiding looking online for the past couple of months.

Now that the Summer Holidays are here and I have a little more free time I have had to stare my addiction in the face by tidying my workroom. The result being that I have discovered so much spare fabric that I am really not sure what to do with it. Cottons, polycottons, and curtain fabric in a whole fabulous spectrum of colour and pattern have been sitting in plastic storage boxes large and small in my workroom - some of them for up to two years or more.

As a parent I am often setting my children challenges - these range from academic (finish a book or progress a level in maths), to keeping your room tidy for more than one day(!) So this summer I have set myself a personal challenge. I am sure you can hazard a guess at what it is - yes, to use up some (not all as I couldn't possibly empty those boxes within four weeks), and put that fabric to good use.

There are also many patterns I have wanted to try and ideas for projects that I have wanted to make that my Summer resolution is to complete as many as possible before I have to return to full time work at the end of August.

So here is my first Summer project - This Years Beach Bag. This beach hut fabric is adorable and I love seaside themed home decor, however, I always feel that it when it comes to interiors coastal themed fabric works better if you live near the coast. It's just a personal preference and I wouldn't necessarily choose to have seaside themed accessories or fabric around the home. That doesn't stop me loving it and the fabric works perfectly for this bag with the deck chair stripe cotton lining. I can't wait to use it for bathing costumes and beach towels when we hit the beach this year!

Now, to plan the next project....

Friday, July 25, 2014

Hope & Gloria Sewing Clubs - Our Wonderful Year!

So the summer hols have arrived at last. It has been a long half term and anyone with school age children knows just how frantic it can be towards the end of the school year. Along with sports days, swimming galas and parent assemblies there are also numerous parties to attend and teachers' gifts to make/buy.

At Hope & Gloria it is also time for us to reflect on the past twelve months and all of the brilliant things that the children have achieved in our sewing clubs.

A couple of weeks ago I did an assembly for children at a school where we are launching a new after school club in September. I wanted to illustrate what a school year looks like in our clubs. Children were invited to stand at the front and hold up our projects from September through to the end of the school year in July. The idea was to show them the variety of projects they can make and the skills they will learn throughout the course of the year. For me it was a bit of a trip down memory lane as it is so easy to be caught in the here and now and forget all that our fabulous sewing enthusiasts have achieved over the past 12 months.

So here is our review of the year. All of the Hope & Gloria Team have had a truly wonderful year and thoroughly enjoyed working with the lovely children in our school clubs and workshops. We can't show all of the projects that have been made but here is a selection. All of our club members should be very proud of everything they have done - you are brilliant and we look forward to seeing you in September. Until then, "Happy Summer!"

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Marvellous Moustaches

Whilst we may not have been ahead of the design curve with moustaches as they have been around as a design motif for quite a while now, last half term in our school sewing clubs we discovered just how much children love them.

They were easily the most popular motifs to be used on key rings, phone cases, wallets and purses in amongst other choices and I have to say they were huge fun and were loved by both boys and girls.

There have been numerous famous moustache wearers - Salvador Dali, Groucho Marx, and Tom Selleck...., to name but a few, but ours was of the terribly British handlebar ilk.

Inspired by the moustache motif I came up with a fun idea for our make and take sessions at Englefest next Saturday in Surrey - these cute little moustaches modelled above by the gorgeous men in my life. We had a lot of fun with them yesterday as you can guess by the pics. Thank you boys, you make perfect models.xx

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Super-Girlie Tutu

In a house full of boys (even the pet guinea pigs are male), sometimes you just want to get girlie.

That's exactly what I did this weekend when I embarked on a totally new kind of project of me - tutu making. This project was uber girlie - pink and cream tulle and satin ribbon were the order of the day (or afternoon), and the result is perfect for any young princess.

I am sorry to say that I have never had the pleasure of wearing one of these fun skirts as I was never a ballerina as a child and I am now far too old to wear one as a fashion statement(!)

I have been toying with the idea of making a tutu for a while and having a couple of spare hours on Sunday afternoon I decided to give it a go. It was a departure to not have a needle and thread in my hand as I worked with fabric and the tulle that I used is not a material that I have worked with before, but I have to say I thought it was a fun and fabulous thing to make.

New colours are already on order - I think these girlie weekend projects may be addictive!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Cute Little Cakes - A Fabric Fairy Cake Tutorial

Cupcakes/Fairy Cakes, whatever you want to call them, these quick and easy little makes are just adorable.

I was reading a post on a facebook group a couple of days ago where someone had asked what type of present any teachers in the group like to receive at the end of the school year. The unanimous vote seemed to be for something unique and personal that had been made by the children they had taught. Like the previous fabric flower tutorial, (click here to view),  these sweet little cakes would make lovely teachers' gifts and are so simple to make.

Here's how:

You will need:

1 large felt circle approx' 10cm in diameter (this forms the cake case)
1 slightly smaller felt circle 9cm in diameter (the cake)
Your cake decorations - this could be a felt "splodge" to form the icing, a circle of patterned fabric, or try a fabric heart. You can also add buttons, beads, brightly coloured thread.
A small amount of soft toy filling.

Step one:

Decorate the top of your cake. For this cake I added a button "cherry" to the centre and "sprinkles" of brightly coloured thread.

Step two:

Pin the cake circle to the top of the white felt circle and sew small, even running stitches around the outside edge leaving a small gap of approx 3cm.

Step three:

Remove the pins and gently pull the thread so that the felt begins to gather. Lift the top layer at the same time so that you start to form a 3D "cake" shape. Begin to add your soft toy filling to your cake until you are happy with the shape.

Step four:

Sew up the remaining gap and pull on the thread to add extra shape. You will need to smooth the felt around the thread so that the cake is even in shape.When you are happy with the shape of the cake make a strong finishing knot and cup the thread.

Your fairy/cupcake is now complete and looks good enough to eat. Now all you have to decide is who to give it to. Happy sewing!