some nice things

A beautiful book by Yumiko Higuchi

IMG_6180When I first began Lilipopo it was zakka sewing that interested and encouraged me.  I love the way very simple designs can be beautiful with a little care.  So over the Easter weekend I had a little time to do some personal stitching and pulled out my zakka embroidery book by Yumiko Higuchi.  I have had this book  for quite a while now.  I did stitch one design when I first received it, loved it and then put the book in my bookcase and left it.  This week my train pass wallet fell to pieces in my hands so I decided that, rather than get another ugly plastic one from Great Western Rail, I would stitch my own pretty one and I remembered this book

IMG_6181 (1)There is a card wallet pattern in the book but I wanted a different design on it so I used the wallet pattern but spent some time working out where to put elements of the botanical design onto the wallet pattern.  I think most of the designs can be put onto most of the projects.  I love this design!  Flowers and insects are fabulous for stitching.  


this little bee is stitched with stem or outline stitch in the book.  I got ahead of myself and misread the pattern and stitched it using backstitch.  But he still looks great.  I had to use double my normal number of strands but I love the way it stands out from the fabric but it still has the details.

IMG_6184I really wanted to stitch this flower!  I was a little wary of all the chain stitch and at first I did have to do some undoing until I had a chain that seemed a good size but, once I got stitching, it was a dream to stitch.  I love love love the effect of the chain stalk and the running stitch petals.  I'm not too sure why I put the bird where I did other than that I wanted to stitch the bird!  I think he could be elsewhere but I still love the simple design.  The final wallet is perfect for my train pass and library card.


and I am so addicted to these designs that I have started another tile pattern.  This is a little lavender or pin cushion, I haven't decided yet... I just wanted to stitch it.  Lots more chain stitch practice.  I think chain could be my new addiction, which surprises me because it's not a stitch I would normally use very much.

I absolutely recommend this book, it's perfect for making small projects that you can carry around anywhere with you.  The focus is on one or two colours so you don't even need lots of threads to take about with you.  The projects would make beautiful gifts too. 

I would love to hear about your favourite embroidery books, after all you can never have too many!

Now I'll hide this stitching away for the weekend and get on with my work!



caravans and colour

Finished first caravan

I have been working on a new caravan pattern, one that fits into a hoop to be framed but could still work as a cushion centre or in a square picture frame.  Last weekend I would have loved to have had this little caravan as we danced in the mud and rain at WOMAD.  Our little tents kept us dry but I think this caravan might have been a little more luxurious!  

WOMAD was absolutely fabulous despite the rain, it's hard to complain about a bit of rain when there are musicians from Syria along with the Survivors of the Khmer Rouge making the most beautiful music.  It really is such a positive festival that reminds you that we are all just people striving to be as happy as we can be, no matter where we are from.  Music always seems to me to be the best art form for crossing boundaries and bringing people together.

Since getting back my youngest has turned 17!  I can't quite believe that next year all my children will be adults.  

Colour and pattern

And so now I can get back to a little bit of stitching.  I've been choosing the colours for the final version of the caravan.  I had to change a few small details, the cups and saucers were just too tiny to see properly once stitched so we are drinking tea out of mugs.  And my original handwritten 'happiness' was a little messy so that has been adapted along with a few other details.

I am leaning towards a palette with a lot of pinks, reds and peaches although I think the main outline colour will still be blue and I might add a little purple if I can find the right one.  Choosing the colours is always my favourite part, although I do sometimes change or add to them as I go along if something isn't working or something else is needed.  I have been known to unpick a lot of stitching because a colour that looks beautiful on the bobbin simply doesn't work in the embroidery.


I'm also having a bit of fun with stitches in this pattern, trying to fit a few more in.  I love couching and am really happy with the way the knots turned out at the end, there's also a bit of satin stitch using quite long stitches.  Satin stitch is not a stitch I use very much so I'm challenging myself to include it more as it's a great filler for certain kinds of areas.  I will be adding some stitch tutorials to the blog as I go along over the next month or two.

I also have a winter sampler plan in my head but at the moment it is only in my head!  I'm feeling quite excited about the idea of working with more stitches and I love old samplers so hopefully more of that to come.

Finally I have a couple of fab resources for you.  

Marna Lunt is an English embroiderer and tutor (as well as a snow globe collector)  I love her style of stitching and she has the most fabulous free introduction to stitching course.  It is packed with videos of lots of stitches and she is just lovely.  You just need to sign up to her newsletter to have access to the course.  She also has more advanced courses that you can pay for and she does workshops.

The other thing I have been having some fun with is Creative Bug I think you can try it for free for a couple of weeks then it costs about £3.50 (it's in dollars so it changes) a month and there are just so many art and craft videos.  There is a lovely embroidery sampler tutorial by Rebecca Ringquist that is lots of fun to do.  I particularly love all the 31 day drawing challenges as I am not particularly good at making sure I draw every day but there are all sorts of classes on there.

Now I'm going to plan a party to celebrate my and my friends big birthday.  We are having a Hawaii theme due to the particular age that we have reached...  I will leave you to work it out!

Have a fabulous weekend


blog hop Modern folk embroidery

Cover picture 2

A few weeks ago I received an email asking if I might be interested in reviewing the new Nancy Nicholson book 'Modern Folk Embroidery'.  I am a big fan of Nancy Nicholson's colourful embroidery kits and already have her beautiful cat sampler waiting to be stitched up so I jumped at the chance.

I was sent a copy of the ebook.  I have never had a craft book as an ebook before but I really enjoyed using it.  It printed well and easily and I could just print out what I needed.

the book is really beautiful, she has a fabulous way with colour and I immediately wanted to stitch at least five of the projects but I didn't have any felt so I had to wait!

The projects are relatively simple in terms of stitching together.  They range from pin cushions to full size cushions, hanging decorations to tote bags and even a table runner and a little folk doll.  There are quite a few embroidered pictures for framing and some useful hints and tips.

I particularly loved the  stitch library which groups the stitches into 'families' such as running and herringbone.  She begins with the basic stitch and then gives you lots of ways to embellish the stitch.  The diagrams are nice and clear but I would recommend practicing  any unfamiliar stitches before stitching them onto your final project.

There is also a practical guide to tools and materials.  Nancy favours an air removable pen which may be wise for felt but I have a water removable pen so that's what I used.  The pilot frixion pen that I use for the fine lines of my patterns on linen/cotton wouldn't really work.


There are lots of beautiful projects in the book.  It was so difficult to choose just one to stitch.  I am absolutely going to have those beautiful hanging decorations all over the house!

I already had a whistle fish square white frame so I decided to stitch the bird on the cover because it fits the frame beautifully and because  I LOVE it!

Bird cut pieces

Once my local buttons and bows had opened up the next morning I stocked up on gorgeous felts in beautiful colours.  Once home I settled in with a coffee and Cerys on 6 playing on the i player radio to read through the instructions and start cutting pattern pieces and stitching.

-folk embroidery bird 3

The stitch instructions were easy to follow and I enjoyed feeling as though I was making it my own by choosing my felt and thread colours.  

Nancy suggests tacking the pieces in place first and then removing the tacking afterwards which I did with the smaller pieces.

I normally stitch with a hoop (because I normally stitch on linen) but for this I decided to do without and it which was fine because the felt I used was quite stiff enough.  I would recommend the good quality wool felt that she suggests (the white in my project isn't wool felt and was a little see through)

I drew lines and circles where I wanted my stitches using a water removable pen as I have a tendency to 'wander' when I am stitching

Bird stitching

I loved the feather stitching on the tail.  I did draw lines to follow so I didn't stray too far.  

Eskimo laced

and, just like Wild Olive I loved the Eskimo laced feather stitch.  The variations on running stitch are my favourite as they are so simple and yet so effective.

-folk embroidery bird full close up

The eagle eyed among you may notice that the flower stalk is missing from the picture!   I measured the bird and got so excited that it fit perfectly in my frame that I forgot about the flower!  But I still love it, even without the flower. 

I followed the stitching diagram quite closely but there are the most beautiful stitch pattern illustrations all the way through the book showing lots of combinations of stitches so you could use all kinds of other stitch combinations to create other birds.

There are diagrams for putting the projects together along with written instructions.  I found it easiest to use both together.

I have already started on a second project from the book and have a list of Christmas presents and decorations to make from it too


This is the start of the cuff bracelet...

I love the fact that this book opens embroidery up, especially for the beginner.  Once you've made all the beautiful projects that are in the book I think it will be difficult not to go on embellishing every textile surface in your home.  Which is probably what I'm going to do 

I'm hoping that if you click on this widget you will be able to look through the book but just in case my techy skills have failed me here is the link that should take you there.  The book is available for pre order on both Sew and so and Amazon (where you can have a look inside).

I bought all my threads from Sew and So and my felt locally.  There are a few suppliers of felt listed in the back of the book that I will be trying.

And now take a look at the other fab stops in the blog hop to see more pics from the book and what my fellow stitchers chose to make

Monday 17th October - Sew and So
Wednesday 19th October - Wild Olive
Thursday 20th October - Kate and Rose
Friday 21st October - Right here at LiliPopo
Monday 24th October - Anna Scott Embroidery
Wednesday 26th October - Carina Crafts


some nice things


This week I have had a bit more time to peruse lots of lovely stitching and food blogs, my favourite kinds.  And I thought I would share a few finds with you here.

Firstly I noticed that over at &stitches there is a new back to basics series going on.  Today they have kindly suggested the neutrals that every embroiderer needs in their stash.  There is a rather lovely looking charcoal grey that I am quite sure is missing from my stash, what a shame I will have to go thread shopping in the morning.

Karen Ruane whose work I absolutely adore!  is starting a new shorter class that has caught my eye.  It's a class for making a pillow and includes ledger pages too.  I adore her ledger pages  and am very tempted.

Finally I have been informed that Mollie Makes , a lovely English crafting and vintage magazine is setting up a US version and they have a blog (only just started) over here that is looking rather nice.


finally a nice sunny (!!!) birdwatching photo from a beautiful day earlier in the week with one of my sons.