Monday, 12 December 2011

Unique Heart Ornaments, Tutorial

As a child my mother every year got my sister and I to make Christmas ornaments in the weeks leading up to Christmas. We had little store bought ornaments and I believe that my appreciation for unique handmade ornaments started there. I cannot help making Christmas ornaments, and being able to list them in my Etsy shop: SewDanish has been great. I love giving the old Danish/Scandinavian traditional ornaments an updated twist as well as designing new.

I developed the technique for these Christmas ornaments, while I was having fun experimenting and making samples for Fibrefusion recently published book ‘Muslin’, which is an inspirational and experimental work book about creating lovely fiber art using thin, inexpensive, loose weave fabrics.  

For the hearts start by layering 10 -12 layers of muslin/calico/turbin cotton in approx. 6 x 8 inch (15 x 20 cm) oblong. The muslin can be any colour you like. If choosing white/off white you have the option of coloring the hearts after stitching. 

Draw 2 hearts (or any other simple shape) on a piece of cartridge paper or ‘stitch and tear’. Don’t cut out. Pin the pattern along the 4 edges of the muslin bundle. If stitching the hearts free hand on the machine, you may skip drawing a pattern.

Thread your sewing machine and stitch the hearts either by following your pattern or drawing the  shape in free motion on your machine.

When free motion stitching lower the feed dogs, release the top thread tension and zero the stitch length. Now you are in control of moving the fabric creating the stitched lines.
OR you can leave your machine ‘normal’ with the feed dogs up, normal top tension and stitch length 2.5 – 3. Both will work. I prefer free styling it for a more relaxed look, but have a play and see what suits you.

Stitch, following your first out line, by going over it at least 4 times. You can stitch these bands as wide or as narrow as you like. The stitch lines need to be very close and partly on top of each other.  Now repeat these stitch lines inside the heart. Depending on the size of the heart repeat once or twice (or more).

Remove your fabric from the machine. With a pair of scissors cut very close along, but not into, the outermost stitched band.

Now look at your heart and decide what areas you would like to cut away between the stitched lines. The aim is to create higher and lower areas. With a fine pointed pair of scissors carefully cut through only the 5-6 top layers of muslin. It is easier to cut a few layers at the time than doing it all in one go.

The heart can now be further embellished with hand embroidery and or beads. Add a piece of string, twine, raffia or ribbon to hang your hearts.

If you aren’t too keen on the slightly raw, frayed edges, you can seal the edges with a bit of acrylic paint like shown on the stars.
These stars have a different look to the hearts, as they were sewn on white muslin/calico and dyed afterwards. The stars were then embellished with hand embroidery and the surface was ever so lightly dry brushed with acrylic paint for added texture.

Please note the boring bits:
These instructions are for personal use only. You are however welcome to use a single photo and a brief description, linking them back to where you came across the instructions.
These instructions may not be republished in their entirety without the permission of me, the author, Birgitte Hendricks. I can be contacted here  J

Monday, 21 November 2011


I'm currently, for a limited time, offering worldwide free shipping from my Etsy shop SewDanish - Scandinavian Textile Art from 19th -30th November 2011.
It is only the second time that I have offered free shipping, so this is your chance to get unique handmade gifts for the upcoming festive season.

Browsing my shop  SewDanish , you will find lots of inspiration whether you are looking for hostess gifts, stocking stuffer or Christmas gifts. Most of my items are either one of a kind or made in very limited editions. If you are looking for unique handmade Christmas ornaments, then please take a look at my Christmas section. Lots to choose from. I like using the old traditional Danish/Scandinavian Christmas ornaments techniques, giving the ornaments a modern twist, as well as designing new ones.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Minimalistic Muslin Cards from SewDanish

Recently Fibrefusion Contemporary Textile Art Group, the textile group that I belong to, published their 5th book, Muslin, a Stitched Exploration of Loose Weave Fabrics  . While exploring the potential of muslin, I worked quite a few samples that I absolutely love and that I’m planning on exploring and taking a lot further.

I have for a (long) while been fascinated by working white on white. I have been focusing on and challenging myself to see how minimalistic I can go before there is ‘nothing’. In a busy life where I’m constantly swapping in and out of ‘my’ three cultures the Danish, English and American, working rather minimalistic gives me a bit of breathing space (if that makes sense). J

Removing the color from a design puts emphasis on texture and shading and something very exciting starts to happen. Don’t get me wrong I love color, but currently in my work, I prefer to use it quite restrictive, as an accent to the design.  The cards in this blogpost are made as a result of my Muslin, white on white exploration. The small collages are stitched with strips of muslin on to torn pieces of Khadi (cotton rag) paper. Due to the ‘relaxed’ technique all the collages are slightly different and very organic.  All cards are avaiable from SewDanish - Scandinavian Textile Art

Monday, 19 September 2011

FibreFusion' new Muslin book!

I promised in my latest blog post that I would post a picture of 'my' textile group Fibrefusion's brand new book, Muslin, a Stitched Exploration of Loose Weave Fabrics'. Well here it is :-)
It was so much fun being part of making this book. A new and very exciting process and challenge to see a book take shape.
FibreFusions exhibition at Art Van Go in celebration of our new book will be on display until the 15th of October 2011. On most days Fibrefusion members will be there to meet you and demonstrate various muslin techniques. Looking forward to see you there :-)

Sunday, 11 September 2011

NEW BOOK! by Fibrefusion - Contemporary Textile Art Group

Seed heads from Belstead gardens

This is so exciting! The textile group Fibrefusion that I belong to, has just had its 5th book published! The book ‘Muslin, a Stitched Exploration of Loose Weave Fabrics’ is an inspirational workbook using the lovely fabric Muslin throughout the book. The book can be seen and purchased from Fibrefusions website. On the website you'll as well find our 4 previously published books.
In celebration of our new book, Fibrefusion will be exhibiting from the 10th September to the 15th October at Art Van Go There amongst others, you’ll be able to see the samples and finished work shown in the book.

Belstead weekend: Muslin samples galore

Muslin, calico, scrim is such a fantastic, but also quite often an overlooked medium, which is why we chose it as the subject for our book. This past year we have had total fun working, exploring and stretching the boundaries for what can be done with Muslin and scrim. The result was an amazing amount of colourful, stunning samples many of which can be seen in our book. A big THANK YOU goes to Pauline Verrinder Fibrefusions mentor, who has done a huge, wonderful job in writing the text, keeping us honest and pulling it all together.

Belstead weekend: Fibrefusion girls at work.

In August the 16 group members met for a working weekend at Belstead house (link). We partly worked on the tying the last bits up for the book and exhibition at Art Van Go and partly on a new body of design work for upcoming exhibitions. We had a superb time and the weather was beautiful.

Belstead: Beautiful wall design

Saturday, 20 August 2011

The missing Aminals :-)

'Animals'.... hmm... that's quite a challenge. 'Animals' is the theme for our monthly blog hop in the 'Unique Women In Business' (UWIB) group. Looked at my shop SewDanish - Scandinavian Textile Art to see if I could find anything remotely resembling animals or animal prints.

I knew that I wouldn't find any. I don't think that I have ever used animals neither as a design source nor as inspiration for a piece of work. Some years ago I made a quilt, and on the finished quilt (which I didn't like particular) I stamped cat paws, as if a cat just had strolled over the quilt 'I was here and left my mark.....' It was actually rather cute and made the quilt slightly more interesting. Unfortunately that quilt is in storage in the US, so I'm not able to show it to you. I like animals and love watching nature programs on the television, but in real life I have little experience with them. Mind you, we have our lovely old, ginger Maine coon cat who just turned 18 years old last month, so that's gotta count for something :-)

On a recent vacation we stopped at the Greek island of Mykonos. Quite a busy and touristic place, but it definitely still had a lot of Greek island charm.

I spend a lovely afternoon by myself wandering the back streets and ally ways of the main town. Took loads of lovely photos of white painted houses with their colorful trims.
In the lazy heat of the afternoon I came across this family of two adult cats and their 4 tiny kittens. They were semi feral and lived in an abandoned shed. They quietly accepted me hanging out with them and I had a lovely time watching them.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

The Arches and Lights of The Grand Bazaar, Istanbul, Turkey

I have to say I would LOVE to go back to Istanbul. What a fantastic city! So much to see, so much to do.....and we had so little time. Istanbul has definitely made it on my list of places to revisit.

The following photos are all taken in the Grand Bazaar. A wonderful maze of intense color, sounds, patterns, lights etc. It took a while for us to accept that we would probably get lost in the this maze and just 'let go' and be absorbed. We did get sort of lost, but that actually didn't matter. Eventually we found our way out with our heads buzzing with impressions. I could have spend so much more time there.
Eventually :-)

I absolutely loved the architecture of this covered bazaar. Maybe we were lucky, because it wasn't particular crowded and it wasn't sizzling hot day. I can imagine that both these factors could make it a bit claustrophobic. The vaulted ceilings with bands of decorations were absolutely wonderful. In other parts of the bazaar it almost felt as if you were in a cellar even though still on the ground floor.

A truely amazing place.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Copenhagen, Rosenborg Castle and IPhone

Over the summer one of my trips went to Denmark to visit relatives. Had a lovely time catching up with family. I love living here in England, but one of the downsides are that one just cannot pop in for a short visit. I do miss that, but hey ho life is still pretty good :-)

While staying in Copenhagen we spend a lovely morning playing tourists. Despite all the years I've been living and visiting Copenhagen, I had actually never visited Rosenborg Castle. The castle is in the middle of Copenhagen in one of the lovely parks Kongens Have/The Kings Garden and I have walked passed it hundreds of times, but I never made it inside.

So we spend an absolutely lovely morning visiting the castle before heading back to England. What was a lot of fun was that 1600th century culture mixed with 2000th century technology. While I was paying for the entrance tickets, my husband picked up a little slip with info about downloading the app 'neoreader' for Iphone/Itouch. Relatively new to these gadgets we just had to try. And it was totally amazing. Had our own private tours on our devices, scanning the square pixilated (bar) codes that were on lots of the 400-500 year old artifacts. It was so cool! Anyway before I get carried away, as I do love my Iphone :-) I better show you some of the photos that I took. More design inspiration. I absolutely love the ones from the mirror room!

BTW If you want to read a good novel then I can recommend  'Music and Silence' by Rose Tremain . It's a  historical fiction set at Rosenborg Castle during the reign of King Christian 4th. Excellent book!

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Summer Fun Bloghop With SewDanish and Unique Women In Business

Denmark, June 2011

We are now well into July. Amazing how quicky the time flies when one has fun :-)
After lots of travelling (Italy, Turkey, Greece followed by a trip to Denmark) in Juni and July having a wonderful time, I'm now back home in Britain for at least a little while.

Effesus, Turkey, June 2011 

Shortly after returning back home, we went on a hiking trip to Wales with friends. Had the most superb time, and for Wales, we had the most amazing weather. Did about 25 miles up an down the mountains over just about 3 days, so not too shabby.

Wales,  July 2011

Ever since the weather hasn't been all that fantastic. Actually it's been rather cool with a lot of rain. All the rain we didn't get in the spring with the beautiful weather we had for weeks on end has now caught up with us. At least the garden is happy :-)

Back home in GB :-)
 But to be honest I don't mind the iffy weather that much as it gives me more time to stay indoors, catching up on heaps of stuff that has been postponed with me not being home and not feeling guilty about it.

Freshly dyed threads and fabric

What a great feeling to being almost on top of things. Have done a lot of fabric and thread dyeing this past week. I now have this wonderful pile of color piled up on my worktable. Some of the dyed threads will be listed shortly in my little shop SewDanish others will be used in some of the many project that I'm itching to get on with and finish. 
Hope you are all having a lovely summer where every you are and enjoying what ever you are doing. Take care and stay safe.

Friday, 10 June 2011

Canterbury Cathedral, stunning light and structures.

On a recent vacation my husband and I were due to fly out from Gatwick airport just south of London. Since we were down that way we decided to add a couple of days exploring for us an unknown area of England before flying out. The days were spend visiting Canterbury and Canterbury Cathedral and hiking several beautiful trails in Kent. The trail along The White Cliffs of Dover was totally beautiful.

Other peoples vacation photos are sometimes not the most exciting to look at, but I do love the way these photos from Canterbury Cathedral came out. The Cathedral was an amazing place. It was a very bright day with the sun keeping appearing and disappearing, and thereby constantly changing the light and the colours in the cathedral. The blue gray colours were just so lovely and added a completely different dimension to the stunning architecture.

The ceiling in one of the side chapels was just amazing. Everywhere you looked there was the most wonderful interplay between the light, patterns and structure. I might have to have a play with carving some printing blocks. Such an inspiring place.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Scotland, Bury St. Edmunds and SewDanish

Well, here we are almost two month later.... Life is great and so busy! I have to confess that I haven't done much sewing, crafting, designing nor computering lately. And I do miss it. Other hand there is a time for everything and sometimes it is good to take a step back and change direction for a while.

What recently has been taken my time are lovely visits from relatives and friends from Denmark. I'm always so happy when dear ones come to visit and are willing to spend their precious vacation time to come visiting. Lots of time is spend catching up (in Danish, my native language, bliss! :-) . And while showing and sharing my beautiful surroundings, it so makes me appreciate the beautiful corner of the world where I'm currently living.

As I didn't get around to do any blogging, I never properly advertised our recent OutOfTheFold exhibition at The Castle Inn, Bungay where we all had made a 12 x 12 inch piece framed in identical frames. I know I'm biased, but it really looked stunning! If you missed that exhibition, the same collection will be on display at Denny Brothers Art Gallery , Bury St Edmunds, England the whole month of July 2011. My piece is the one featured in the blog post.

Currently my other textile group FibreFusion is exhibiting at Sew In Stitches , Scotland with our 'Touchy Feely' exhibition. A selection of other pieces are on display as well.

Before I go, I want to share my happy dancing with you.......Last week I celebrated my 150th sale in my shop SewDanish . Thank you to all my wonderful customers. I really appreciate it :-) Thank you! 

Monday, 28 March 2011

'Spring' - 2nd UWIB Blog Hop

Welcome to this second blog hop, initiated by the Unique Women In Business group (UWIB). Please enjoy all the lovely 'Spring' posts and blogs.

People often ask me: which is your favorite season? To be quite honest, I'm never able to give a straight forward answer. I simply love all the 4 seasons and their characteristics. Having spend most of my life in Denmark and England, living with four distinct seasons, they simply get in your blood.
Some years ago I spend +3 years in the Middle East. A fantastic time from a cultural point of view, but I did miss my four seasons. There it was hot for 6 month and then slightly less hot the following 6 month. It was actually a rather strange feeling, as it was such a different rhythm to the year. It was lovely not having to wear loads of layers and winter boots, but still.

I find the transition between the seasons very exciting. You start to get small tasters of what is to come. Spotting the first snowdrops in the garden, a slight warmth in the air, the birds singing in the morning etc. Those subtle changes that spring is definitely on its way, are just so wonderful.

My husband and I went the other day for a long hike in beautiful countryside of Suffolk, England. On our way we discovered the first tiny violets and buttercups flowering like small bright dots. When out and about I instinctively look for natures sure signs that the winter is soon to be over. When I grew my mother, sister and I always went out for long walks. One of our favorite past times, were spotting the first wild flowers in the early spring. Very fond memories. The spring photos in this post were taken last week in the Abbey Gardens Bury St. Edmunds where I live. I just love Bury St Edmunds and the Abbey gardens VERY old and colorfull history! 

Unique Women In Business: UWIB Etsy Team Page and UWIB Blog
Participating blogs in this second Unique Women In Business blog hop:
Enjoy your hop :-)

Rita Wetzel       |
Jenn Nolda       |
Ann Rinkenberger  |
Robin Koehler       |
Linda Reynolds:     |
Audrey Fetterhoff  |
Wendy Kelly         |
Janet Bocciardi      |
Linda Stranger       |
Karen Terry/McDuffie  |
Judy Woodley    |
Trudy Miller       |
Cory Trusty       |
Nancy Pace       |
Lois Stifel          |
Jenn Brockman |

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

New Listings in SewDanish

Fabric covered box
A couple of weeks ago I was lucky that the light was just right. For quite a while I had been wanting to take photos of new listings. I have had  this wonderful pile of colourful items waiting to be processed into new listing in my Etsy shop SewDanish , but it was either too dark, to bright or I simply wasn't home. Finally the there were a few days of overcast but still bright days and I got my little photo corner set up.

Stab bound journal w/ raffia
So I've been busy listing and was really happy when I finally listed my item #200. That has been a distant goal for a long time and now I've finally reached it. A great feeling :-)

Covered books, recycled newspaper

I thought, I would share some of my new listing with you, and I hope you'll enjoy them.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

SewDanish: Celebrating w/ a week of FREE SHIPPING :-)

Fabric Covered Box
I so fortunate to belong to several great teams. One of the teams is the Etsy Twitter Team which is a team dedicated to using twitter to its fullest, as the powerful networking and marketing tool it is. The leaders behind the team are working very hard in the back ground and I'm full of admiration for all they do for the team.

Cell Phone / Camera Flowers
A returning feature of the Etsy Twitter team is to be chosen as The Shop Of The Week (SOTW). This week, from the 28th February - 6th March I'm the lucky one!
Please visit the Etsy Twitter Team Blog and read the lovely interview edited by Judy from wellspringcreations Its an interview about my background, textile art and shop. I hope you'll enjoy it!

Key Ring, Mini Hexagon
To celebrate being the Shop Of The Week I'm offering a week world wide FREE SHIPPING from England in my shop SewDanish - Scandinavian Textile Art  from the 28th February to the 6th March 2011 (GMT)