Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Of Cushions and Bees

Hello everyone and thank you for all your lovely comments on my Chelsea post! 

It was a great day out and the sun shone, but since then the weather seems to have changed for the worst so I have been spending a lot of time focusing on lots of cushion making for my Etsy shop.

I am pleased that I have completed three or four WIPs - I often have an idea for a cushion, and make a cushion front, but then it takes a while for it to be made up into a finished item. One or two fronts have been hanging around a while, and another couple were made more recently but just needed finishing off.

I have had this lovely vintage blue French Toile de Jouy in my stash for a couple of years now, and finally got around to making a cushion from it, with a large blue and cream checked vintage French cotton fabric to the back.

I like how this one looks and I think I'll make a couple more, as I still have some fabric left.

Remember this post?

These two chicken scratch embroidered gingham pieces, my more recent WIPs, have now been made up into cushions and have made their way into the shop.

The red and white chicken scratch flower front has been mounted onto vintage white linen, and the back is trimmed with a pretty piece of vintage white embroiderie anglais.

The blue and white chicken scratch embroidered heart has been appliqued onto a lovely piece of natural Irish linen, and the back trimmed with wide French shelf trim.

I also had a couple of French vintage style graphics that I'd printed onto fabric a while ago that were waiting to be made into cushions. 

These are now finished and in the shop too.

The first one is a Paris graphic which I have matched with white linen and backed with vintage unbleached metis.

The second french style graphic cushion has been made up with white linen and backed in a dark grey striped ticking.

Then finally, this patchwork and quilted cushion front that I stitched several years ago from recycled striped work shirts, and then hand quilted and tied with brightly coloured embroidery threads, has been made up into a cushion with a pale peach vintage linen back.

The back has a trim of pleated and frayed linen, and a strip of grey vintage braid.

It is edged in recycled striped work shirt binding.

All the above are now finished and in the shop so I feel quite pleased that they are finally completed. I don't like having too many WIPs and half-finished things hanging around as not only do they take up space, but I get a little cross with myself that I had an idea and then didn't see it through to completion.

So now on with some more unfinished items!

What are you working on at the moment?

* * * * *

A few weeks ago when the sun was shining brightly, the days were hot and long and I was wearing summer dresses and sandals for a good few days in a row, I discovered that our house was becoming rather popular with the local wild life.

Not only did we have sparrows nesting  in the eaves at the back of the house, but over a period of a few days I noticed wasp or bee activity at first one, two, then three different parts of the roof at eaves level, as well as activity in a window box planted with geraniums.

After a day or two I was able to identify the visitors - Bombus Hypnorum or tree bumble bees. They apparently like to nest in trees, bird boxes, and house eaves.

Sorry about the poor quality fuzzy photo, but you can see the reddish brown head and the white tail that identify it.

The jury is out as to whether this species of bumblebee, new to the UK since 2001 and spreading rapidly here, is good or bad news for existing bees, but they certainly seem to like our garden flowers here in the South East of England and are surely good for pollinating at a time when there is global concern over declining bee populations and their importance as pollinators for crops.

For a couple of weeks the males were busy outside the nests, waiting for the queens to emerge, but last week when the weather changed it all went quiet. Since then there has been little or no activity, so I'm not sure whether the nests are dead or whether the occupants have all flown away now. 

Apparently the males don't sting, and if you leave the bees alone they won't bother you. As they were hovering way up away from any entrance way we were happy to leave them be.

I shall keep looking for signs of activity, especially as the weather is supposed to warm up by the weekend.

Watch this space!

And finally, last but certainly not least, do make sure you pop over to France to visit Stephanie at her blog Millefeuilles where she is having a Maytime Giveaway, this delightful Hare named Spring Chick!


  1. Gosh you've been busy Gill and what a tempting lot of cushions you've made, all so gorgeous. We've had bees in the roof eaves too, better than bats in the attic, no?

    Jean x

  2. Your hand work is really remarkable Gil but I 'm crazy for those French country style cushions in blue and white! Perfect and so rare, at least here..

  3. Oh I do hope they're not dead, we really need to take care of our bees, don't we! I hadn't heard about the new bees, there is always a big of controversy when a new species arrives!
    You make the most amazing cushions Gill. :)
    V x

  4. You've been busy making cusions Gill! I love the French ones. They are perfect for a long lazy day on the French country (or the country anywhere else)!

    Margriet x

  5. You were really very busy!!!!! I love the blue Franch one beautiful...

  6. Your cushions are so pretty. I'm sure they be snapped up quickly.

  7. Great post and I have been loving the cushions you are currently making :)

    Bee happy x

  8. I love all of your cushions, especially the chicken scratch ones, the blue heart in particular. I hope that they all do really well in your shop and find new homes very soon. I heard something about these bees recently, I just hope that they are the good news story that we need on the bee front. xx

  9. Love the cushions, the French print are fab my favourite has to be the patchwork with the hand tied quilting. :-)

  10. Goodness you've been busy. I noticed some of those bees in my garden the other day. Very industrious they were too. Hopefully it will turn out to be a positive to have them around. x

  11. Superb cushions gill, I love the chicken scratch, vintage toile de jouy and the recycled striped shirts, especially. Fingers crossed the bees are not there because they've moved on. See you soon.
    Jane xx

  12. Hello Gill
    My oh my what a lovely selection of cushions. I like them all and such a variety of different designs ....beautiful!! I think its the patchwork one I like best though.
    I do wish people would realise just how important bees are!!!!!

    keep well

    Amanda xx

  13. Gosh your work is just lovely, and so inspiring. The shirting cushion is my favorite!

  14. I'm loving the shirt fabric cushions ... all your work is lovely but those really speak to me.

    We're seeing a lot of tree bees to, I wonder if we have a nest somewhere.

  15. You've made such beautiful things, as always, they are all lovely. I hope you have a good weekend. CJ xx

  16. Oh, I want to be just half as talented as you. Your work is breath-taking . . . every stitch is perfect and delightfully charming.

  17. Wow, you have certainly been busy. The cushions are delightful, I love them all. Have a great weekend.

  18. Wow Gill, you are a whirlwind with your beautiful cushion making - and such a wide variety - your talent blows me away, so much so that I'm almost lost for words! WELL DONE YOU!!!
    Your wildlife is going wild - how exciting to experience such activity in and around your home! Happy weekend to you! xoJoy

  19. Hi Gill,

    I have to tell you I just love these new cushions you've made!! They're really lovely! My favorites are the toile fabric and the chicken scratch embroidery with the French shelf lace on the opposite side -- gorgeous. This makes me want to start sewing again. :)

    Your bees are interesting. Several years ago, a large colony of bees appeared at our home and entered a large hole near the top of one of our tall trees. They were quite a sight when they flew in and out. We haven't seen them in recent years, so I guess they never nested here again. I'll be interested to hear whether yours are still around or if they've moved on.

    I hope you have a great weekend, Gill!

    Warm Hugs,

    Denise at Forest Manor

  20. Your pillows look beautiful Gill! Wishing you and your family a happy weekend!

    Madelief x


Thanks for visiting and for taking the time to leave a comment - I love to read them!
Gill x