Mar 162011

I’m an embroidery designer.

I have always been an embroiderer, and more recently a designer, and have always felt that I couldn’t possibly get involved in any other type of craft because I was so focused on fabric and thread. I used to call anything to do with scrapbooking ‘the dark side’ and sit and scoff at those who were enticed there.

The rot set in about a year ago when I discovered cartonnage – the French art/craft of making cardboard boxes and covering them with fabric. I told myself it was OK because those clever French  girls (well, mainly girls, but I bet there are boys who do it too) also include lots of beautiful embroidery in their finishing. So … my studio expanded a little to include glue and board and lots of lovely patchworking fabric and I was happy for a bit.

Then I happened to need a little manual machine to cut circles which meant I had to go into a scrapbooking store. I REALLY tried to not look too closely at all that lovely patterned paper, and ribbons and stamps and glitter and, and, and …  I did, really! I bought my little manual machine and headed home. I played with it. I cut lots of circles with it. I looked it up on the internet and found out what else I could do with it. I was reasonably content that it wouldn’t take over my creative life, but it was there if I needed it.

I continued to design embroidery, and cartonnage projects and blend the two together. But then I decided I needed something a bit different. I needed an edge to what I was designing. I signed up for a wonderful on-line magazine which was full of the most amazing mixed media projects. I devoured every new issue as it was published. My creative juices started to run. I began to see possibilities. I could see how I could put a bit of an edge on my future design work.

And now it’s happened. I have crossed over to the dark side!

I have ordered (and eagerly await) an amazing machine which interfaces with my computer to design and cut fabric, paper and 1mm cardboard (chipboard) into anything that I might fancy designing. The only restriction is that it has to fit into a space 12″ wide x 24″ long.

My mind is full of ideas … journals, bookmarks, things to hang, things to sit, the basis of things that I can then cover with fabric and stitching. Did you notice I said stitching? I can’t let the stitching go … but now I feel as though I can include it into this wonderful world of mixed media which I have discovered lurking just over on the dark side.

Do I now sign up for classes at my local scrapbooking store? I’ve already signed up for two monthly newsletters from two stores close by to where I live. I think it’s only a matter of time …

Off to Sydney

 Posted by on March 2, 2011  Janie Hubble Designs
Mar 022011

I’m off to Sydney next week to check out the Craft Expo at Rose Hill.

This is by way of preparation for my inaugural attendance as an exhibitor at the Craft and Quilt Fair in Sydney in June.

I’ve never done a retail show before. I’ve only ever exhibited at wholesale shows.

I’m taking my DH with me next week. He SAYS he’s interested in how a craft show is organised. He’s never been to one before. I need him to come and look at how exhibitors set up their stalls so that he understands what I am talking about when I describe my display ideas to him.

I’m not going to be flying solo at my first retail show. I’m going to be sharing with two other Australian designers – Yvette of Vetty Creations (the author of the wonderful stitch dictionaries I talked about last week) and a friend of hers who is starting up a quilling company. I know we’ll have fun.

I have a third of a stall to fill. I have to be able to carry my entire display requirements in one extra case because I’ll be flying from Perth to Sydney for this show. I have spent weeks looking at amazing pop-up displays that spring out of fabulous travel trunks. Those display-making chappies are extremely clever! Some of the displays I’ve seen are so amazing they’d knock your socks off! I think I’ve decided on a kiosk style display … now I have to decide what I want to include in the kiosk. How many shelves? Do I want to include a screen with a video loop? Do I want wrap-around signage? Decisions, decisions!

It’s going to be fun designing exactly what I want in the way of displayware. It’s also going to be fun to design a couple of new designs for promotion at this event. I’ll keep you posted on progress with my display!

And now I’d like to do a quick survey. When you go to a craft expo do you like to buy kits and books directly from the exhibitors at the show. Or do you like to gather information from the various exhibitors to take home, so you can make a considered purchasing decision at a later date? Or perhaps a little of both?

I’d love to hear you thoughts on this.

And next week I’ll let you know if my DH will ever volunteer to come to a craft show again!

Feb 232011

Hands up all those readers who are left-handed stitchers!

I am waving my hand around madly … any more of you out there?

Have you ever had trouble trying to interpret diagrams in stitching charts? Or sat in a class wondering what on earth is wrong with your brain because everyone else is busily stitching away at a new stitch and you just can’t seem to make your stitches work?

Well, for those of you lefties who struggle with new stitches that were obviously charted for the right-handed majority … salvation is at hand! (oh dear … sorry about the pun!)

Yvette Stanton of Vetty Creations (another left-handed stitcher, and fellow Aussie) has written and published a wonderful left-handed stitch guide called ‘the left-handed embroiderer’s companion’. With over 170 embroidery stitches explained in ‘left-handed’ speak it is the best book purchase I have made in a long time!

If you head over to Yvette’s website here and click on ‘lefthanded’ on the top navigation bar, you’ll even be able to flick through several pages of her book to see how amazing it is. Full of wonderful diagrams and photo examples of stitches, Yvette gently and efficiently guides even the most challenged left-handed stitcher through both easy and complicated embroidery stitches.

Now, I know all of you right-handed embroiderer’s are now starting to feel a bit left out. Well don’t feel down, because Yvette has thought about you too! Due to the success of her left-handed stitch guide, and the constant nagging of right-handed stitchers for their own version of this wonderful publication, Yvette has also published the ‘right-handed embroiderer’s companion’.

When I teach class I bring these treasures with me. I am now able to show stitchers, whether they be left or right-handed exactly how to execute the perfect stitch.

You don’t have to be a teacher to enjoy these books. You just have to be a stitcher!

Feb 162011

When I think of stitching, I normally think about stitching on fabric, or paper, or canvas, or maybe plastic. I’ve never, ever thought about stitching on bread! Have you?

Em, who does a lot of net surfing, found the most amazing link and passed it on to me the other day, so I thought I’d share it with you.

Catherine McEver, a mixed media artist living in Oakland, California, who spends her weekends dumpster-diving according to her bio, obviously decided that stitching on most normal mediums was a bit boring, and thought she’d try something  a bit different!

‘Wonder Bread’ was her medium of choice, and her finished stitched pieces are ‘wonder’ – ful! She says in her blog entry that she stitched very, very carefully! I had to chuckle when she said that some of her pieces are 4 years old. They seem to look every bit as fresh and good as the day she made them. Perservatives rule, obviously!

How cute is the little bird in the garden. And then there is a piece which pays homage to Vincent Van Gogh’s ‘Starry Night’ (this is my personal favourite)

There are more amazing bread embroideries on Catherine’s blog. You might also like the other things she’s done with Wonder Bread – check out her sidebar!

I read some of the comments under these pics on Catherine’s site. Most were amazed at her talent, but I noted one person who commented on the actual execution of the stitches involved. The comments weren’t very favourable. I think it must be very, very difficult to stitch on bread, and perhaps the person who left the derogatory comments should have a go themselves before being so picky.

Would you be tempted to stitch on bread? Or cake? Or perhaps a crepe? And then what would you DO with it afterwards?


 Posted by on February 9, 2011  Janie Hubble Designs
Feb 092011

By now you have probably all gathered that I live in Australia -‘Oz’ to those in the know.

And because every country has it’s own little quirks when it comes to language I thought I’d share a few of my favourites today. This lesson will also come in handy in future posts in case I inadvertantly slip into the venacular without realising it!

Mel in the Swan Valley (down the way from me) already knows all of these words … so I guess she’ll just yawn at this post, and go off and stitch another bookmark. ‘Onya Mel.

Ahh … there’s the first little Ozzie word for the day. ‘Onya’ … obvious really! It’s really ‘Good On You’. But in true Ozzie fashion why waste time actually saying it all when you can shorten it to just one succinct little sound. As an aside, but  still on topic – Ozzies will lengthen short words and shorten long words if they can. Especially names of people and things. So, if your name is Barry, we’ll shorten it to Bazza or, better still, Baz. You might live in Subiaco (pronounced Soobiakoh) but you’d say you live in Subi (Soooby). Or if you lived in Mosman Park, you’d say you lived in Mozzie Park.  My friend Rosamund shortens her name to Ros (pronounced Roz) but of course we all call her Rozzi … Get my drift?

Anyway on to more Ozzie words and phrases.

We keep chooks (hens) that lay googies (eggs) up the back (in the back yard/garden). Now I know I’m a bit of a dag (endearing term for silly person) but I love nothing better than putting on my bathers  (swim suit) – also known as a cossie over east (east coast of Australia) – having a bit of a swim, and then throwing a few snaggers (sausages) onto the barbie (bar-b-que) and downing a few tinnies (drinking some cans of beer).

Actually I don’t like beer very much, but it worked with the sentence so I went with it. Give me a nice drop of red plonk (wine), preferrably a merlot and I’m a happy little vegemite (pleased).  And I’m a bit partial to a glass or two of bubbles (champagne). White bubbles not red bubbles (sparkling shiraz). Did myself in (got drunk) on red bubbles one night and haven’t touched them since!

Interestingly, most of us ‘educated’ Australians think that we don’t use slang all that much. Wrong! I realised that it’s just part of our normal every day vocabulary when I started to talk to friends over in the US. Often they would ask me what I meant when I said something which I thought was perfectly clear and not at all ‘Australian’.

My daughter Em (Emily), who lives in Montreal, came up with a funny situation just before Australia Day this year (which is Jan 26 for anyone who is interested). Her french-speaking Canadian friend Tash suggested that they do something for ‘Aussi’ Day. She had left the ‘e’ off Aussie accidently when she was typing. Em, who is learning French saw the connection immediately and asked Tash if she meant ‘Also’ Day (‘aussi’ in French means ‘also’). So, the pair of them celebrated ‘Also Day’ on Jan 26, and Australia Day will be forever known as Also Day at our house in honour of Tash.

It’s not until we talk to others in different countries that we realise that even though we might speak the same language, we all have words that are specific to our own regions. I love discovering new words and their meanings – what about you?

G’day from W.A.

 Posted by on January 26, 2011  Janie Hubble Designs
Jan 262011

Western Australia that is – where the weather is rather hot and extremely dry and we are wondering how on earth we can re-direct some of the water that seems to be engulfing the eastern half of Australia at an alarming rate!

Hi – my name is Janie Hubble and I have just been appointed to Team S4L’s blogging team … I think that makes two of us now … Jen and me! I was thrilled to be appointed – and I’ll be in charge of the Wednesday posts from now on.

Some of you might know me from the embroidery design company I previously owned (but have subsequently closed down) – The Cat’s Whiskers Design Studio. Some of you might know me from the embroidery company I now operate – Janie Hubble Designs. Some of you might not know me at all!

So, I thought the best way for you to get to know me a little was to use this first post to show you around my studio here in the Perth Hills. This is where I am sitting when I write my posts for this blog. This is also where I dream, concoct, design, stitch, and write for Janie Hubble Designs. In fact, I spend rather a lot of my time here … so it’s a bit like a home inside a home (because it is in fact a home studio).

So, as I usher you in through my studio door – this is what you will see. My very tidy (errrrm … I tidied it because I knew you were going to come for a visit) bookcase full of fabric and project tubs. It’s a Billy bookcase from Ikea – and there’s another one to your right … also very tidy and very full of books and raw materials for making fabric covered boxes and for bookbinding.


Now, turn to your left and you will see my desk, and Marie Antoinette. Marie does rather dominate the wall, doesn’t she? I guess you could say she was my muse … I feel her looking at me quite be-mused on occasions, and quite a-mused on other occasions. Yes, well … moving right along! There is my desk, and my chair, and my computer. And another bookcase (lovingly crafted by the husband) filled with reference material and magazines, and office type stuff. 

Keep turning and you will be facing the wall to the left of my computer. There’s the framed needlework piece sent to me by my dear friend Father Nick, who lives and works in New Orleans. Father Nick attended a class I taught in NOLA in 2007. He stitched all the little kitties I designed over the next couple of years into one sampler, adding a stitched version of my Cat’s Whiskers logo and a wonderful verse which reads ‘a kitty brings comfort throughout the year’. It is one of my most treasured possessions. And there’s my 2011 Year Planner on the wall – it’s going to get very full this year – lots planned, very exciting! Oh, and there’s a new project all ready to be stitched laid out on the cutting board, and more needlework reference books – no room for another bookcase – so they are taking over the benchtops!

Well – that’s my studio! It’s only small, and I’ve run out of wall space – but it’s home and I love it. I hope you enjoyed the tour.  So, this is where I’ll be writing my post for next Wednesday … see you then!