Re-introducing myself

It’s been such a long time since I introduced myself and talked about the background of Shirley Rainbow, I seem to do it regularly on other social media, but for some reason not here on my my blog!

So here goes…

My sidekick Nancy not impressed with me catching her in a selfie!

I’m Teresa, and I run an online shop called Shirley Rainbow. It’s mostly filled with embroidered products, but there’s a bit of crochet in there too. I set up my shop with Folksy in 2014 and I have enjoyed selling on there ever since.

I have always been interested in drawing, painting and sewing. I wrote and illustrated a series of books when I was 7 or 8 (I still have them somewhere!) and I still cherish vague ambitions to write a real book, but maybe not illustrate it myself! I was taught to sew and knit by my mother and grandmas, and I still have the first pincushion and needle case that I made from felt.

Fast forward a few years and I went to Nottingham Trent University and studied Textile Design, and specialised in embroidery. I really enjoyed learning so much more about embroidery and how to design a collection of work. Our tutors placed a large emphasis on haute couture embroidery, and we certainly worked with some sumptuous materials; my final collection was made from silk, vintage sequins and real gold thread!

After I finished university I ran a small business with a friend, selling fabric and haberdashery to university students, driving about in a blue van and sometimes singing, because we couldn’t get the radio to work. Unfortunately it wasn’t a sustainable business for both of us and we had to get other jobs to pay the bills. I did a dressmaking course in the evening which was great and boosted my machine sewing skills no end. I also made some curtains and cushions for my new house. Gradually, being creative became less and less a part of my life, until I was pregnant with my first baby and I knitted a pair of very wonky mittens for him! I also made the curtains for his room and a matching cushion. After my daughter was born two year later I was really craving something creative to do. (You know, when I had probably the least free time I’ve ever had, with two small children to look after!) I bought some felt and started doing some small embroidered hearts for Christmas decorations. I also used some of these for greetings cards, and hand printed little messages. With a bit of encouragement from my husband, family and friends I opened my online shop and tentatively listed a few items. It took a couple of months to make my first sale, it really was a very exciting moment!

My workspace

I now have a proper workspace in my attic, and have gradually spent more and more time working on Shirley Rainbow. Having both of my children at school gave me 5 hours 4 days a week which felt fantastic to have so much time (the other day is spent with my husband, or doing housework!) The last few months have seen me working evenings and occasional hours here and there as I can. My children are amazingly supportive, which I really appreciate!

A recent product photo shoot my children helped me to set up!

So if you are wondering why I’m called Teresa, and my online shop is called Shirley Rainbow I’ll try and explain. Shirley Rainbow is a name I heard years ago and loved. When I worked as part of an duty admin team for a busy Child Protection Social Care team we gave ourselves fun name to make the worst days feel a bit better, and I was Shirley Rainbow. I thought at the time that it would be great for my proper job to actually be Shirley Rainbow, she sounded like she had lots more fun than me! So when I came to set up my online shop I decided to call it Shirley Rainbow!

My lavender bag range

I have experimented with lots of different styles of products that I make, however I finally feel like I’m on a good path with my products. I love to work with bright colours, especially in felt, and use brightly coloured embroidery to embellish purses or wall decorations. I particularly enjoy making my lavender bags, and have many more little characters I’d like to make.

Thank you so much for reading this far, and I hope you’ve enjoyed finding out a bit more about me and Shirley Rainbow.

Shirley Rainbow News

Hello everyone, how are you?

We are all okay at Shirley Rainbow, taking each day as it comes and trying not to fall out with each other. I’m very grateful that all I have been asked to do during this pandemic is to stay at home and home school my children, however it’s a lot easier than it sounds! At the beginning of the lock down I shared a few online places that you can access free colouring in, patterns and so on, I’ve included more of them today, and some creative projects I’ve done with my kids too.

First up though, I’m taking part in the Home and Family Online Market, hosted by Pedddle on Sunday 17th May, from 10am to 10pm. It’s full of lovely products for your home or to share with family. All products in my shop will be available to purchase at the market, and I’m running a 10% discount on the day of the market too, use code HOME2020 at checkout.

Can you tell who coloured which doll?!

I’ve certainly been very grateful for all the resources the internet brings over the last few weeks, its been a great way to entertain the children with colouring sheets and school work. Through Instagram I came across Of Unusual Kind, who have some beautiful paper dolls to download for free, colour and cut out; my daughter and I have really enjoyed doing them. I also found a great website which has lots of fun colouring in pages to download (some for adults only!) called the Together Gallery. Project One features the work of loads of fab designers and illustrators sharing their work for us to colour in at home.

One quick project we have done at home was making rainbow fridge magnets, using card and magnets that originally were stuck on the back of notebooks for the fridge. They cut into smaller pieces quite easily so with a bit of glue we were pretty pleased with the new magnets and sent some in the post to friends and family. I also had a lot of fun making origami stars from this method on Pinterest and we have hung them in our living room window.

I’ve got a couple of new products heading into my shop over the next couple of days ready for Sunday’s market, here’s a preview of one of my favourites!

I love their little faces!

I also hit 101 sales in my Folksy shop this week! Feeling proud of me!! Thank you so much everyone for your support and sales!

Teresa x

Random Acts of Kindness Market TODAY!

Just a quick hello to say that the Pedddle Random Acts of Kindness Market starts today!

It’s an online market to buy a gift for a friend, loved one or anyone you’re missing right now! All purchases will be gift wrapped and a hand written note included.

My Lavender Bag gang will be available, with gift wrapping and postage included in the price.

It’s open from 4pm TIL midnight today, the 19th of April. Happy shopping!

Teresa x

Project Bag Giveaway!

How are you all? I hope you’re okay.

This is just a quick blog post to say that over on my Instagram page I’m running a giveaway! The lovely people at Love Crafts asked me to decorate and embellish one of their new project bags for their Instagram page, and sent me another one to give to a follower!

This is the project bag I did…

Embroidered Project bag from Love Crafts
Close up!

The giveaway prize is:

A cotton Project Bag from Love Crafts for you to embellish

Two pin badges from Love Crafts

A rainbow tassel to add to your bag -made by myself!

Aaaaaand, a Shirley Rainbow hand embroidered necklace.

Giveaway prize goodies!

If you would like to enter, please pop over to my Instagram account and follow the instructions there, thank you!

The project bags are available to buy at Love Crafts here. If you fancy decorating your bag like I’ve done, I’ve given basic details of the embroidery stitches used, in the images below:

I used DMC Etoile Embroidery threads for all of the embroidery. Good luck with the giveaway,

All the best, Teresa

Creative Ideas When You’re Staying at Home

Well it’s the start of the second week at home, doing some home schooling and I thought I’d share some patterns and tutorials available online. Most of the patterns are on my wish list to buy, and make! Most of them are also from small businesses and independents, my favourite businesses to support, other links I’ve shared are available free.

Zeens and Roger Fit to Burst Mitts- beautiful lacy fingerless mitts made with 4ply yarn, and Rosina has a discount available til the end of March, so be quick! Ravelry shop link here

Cozamundo Rainbow Cushion– a super cute little cushion crocheted from DK yarn, I know I have some of this in my yarn stash!

If you fancy a simple dressmaking project, here’s a free dressmaking pattern for the Stellan T-Shirt, by French Navy Patterns. (You will need access to a printer for this one to print the pattern out.)

There are 100’s of free embroidery and cross stitch patterns on the DMC website, you’ll be spoilt for choice. This one by Holly Maguire might be the next one that I tackle…

Ann Wood’s Very Nice Mice have been on my Pinterest to-make-list for ages, they have such cute faces.

Maura, aka The Messy Brunette has just released some beautiful PDF Embroidery Patterns. I really like these flowers.

Lots of independent illustrators and designers are sharing free printable colouring in sheets, including Berylune who have just opened a colouring competition, for more details click here. It’s for grown ups too, and there’s a lovely prize!

There’s a couple of other links here for free colouring pages that I’ve come across. Rachel Mahon’s Rainbow Thank you Postie is a good one for the kids, and I think this self portrait will be fun for everyone! Viktorija Illustration

Cloud Craft (my favourite website for embroidery supplies and felt) are still shipping twice a week and also have a lovely blog full of creative ideas for children and grown ups!

Two tips for keeping creative-

Try small quick projects that are simple and easy to achieve. You get a quick sense of satisfaction with out using too much brain power! Do you have a stash of freebie kits that have come with magazines?

Don’t worry about having too many works in progress on the go. Pick them up as the mood takes you- one day you might relish the challenge of something small and intricate, the next day you might want chunky yarn that works up quickly!

In other Shirley Rainbow news, my shop is remaining open, however I’m only posting to UK addresses. Most of my shop items fit into card envelopes which are letter box friendly. I’m more than happy to gift wrap an item and send directly to the recipient (if you don’t mind my wonky wrapping skills!) As and when I get the time, I’m going to try and keep sharing things online. I love seeing what projects other people are up to, it makes me feel more connected with our lovely online crafty community. It’s going to be a strange few weeks and I feel like I need all the normality I can get.

I hope this has been helpful, love to you all and take care

Teresa

Free! Daffodil Coaster Crochet Pattern

This pattern was originally published in Take A Break Makes Magazine March 2019.

Perfect some basic crochet stitches, colour changes and the Invisible Fasten Off method and add a splash of cheery sunshine and colour to your kitchen table by making these simple coasters. Made using Aran weight cotton yarn these coasters work up quickly and are a great beginners project. The yarn recommended will be enough to make a set of four for you, and a friend!

NOTE: Aran weight yarn often recommends a 5mm hook or bigger to work with. By using a 4.5mm hook the coaster will be a firmer and sturdier piece of fabric when finished.

You will need:
4.5mm crochet hook
Rico Creative Cotton Yarn, Aran weight in
49 Green, 40 Light Green, 68 Banana, 63 Light Yellow, 72 Smoky Orange,
Scissors
Tapestry Needle
Coaster size when finished: 4” / 10cm diameter
Stitches used: (UK terms)
Chain – ch
Treble crochet – tr
Treble 2/3 together – tr2tog / tr3tog
Double crochet – dc
Slip Stitch – slst

How to make an invisible fasten off:
The invisible fasten off is a useful method for the last round of work, and as the name suggests makes the fastening off invisible! After the last stitch is worked, cut the yarn about 15cm from the crochet and pull it through the last stitch. Thread the yarn tail onto the needle and sew it through the first stitch worked. Then take the needle over the last stitch worked and pull the yarn through the middle. Pull the yarn through carefully so that it looks exactly like the top of the crochet stitches. Weave the ends in.

Method:

  1. Using Smoky Orange, ch 4. Slst into 1st ch to make a loop. Ch 3 (counts as the 1st treble in this round and throughout the pattern). 11 tr into loop. (12 stitches) Slst into the 3rd ch and fasten off.
  1. Join Banana into any stitch, ch 3. Work one tr into the same stitch. Do 2 tr into every stitch, (24 stitches) slip stitch into the 3rd chain and fasten off.
  1. Join Pale Yellow into any stitch and ch 2. Treble 2 together by pulling yarn over hook, inserting the hook into the next stitch, yarn round the hook and pull through.(3 loops on hook) Now put yarn round the hook and insert into the next stitch, yarn
    round the hook and pull through, (4loops on hook). Yarn round the hook again and pull through all 4 loops on the hook. Ch 5, then tr 3 together using the next three stitches. Repeat ch5 and tr3tog 6 more times. Chain 5 and slst into 1st ch of 1st ch5 and fasten off. (1 tr2tog cluster, 7 tr3tog clusters, 8 chain 5 spaces).
  1. Join Light Green into any ch5 space. Ch 3. 4 tr into ch5 space, ch 1. Work 5 tr into the next chain space and ch 1, 6 more times. Join with a sl st into 3rd chain and fasten off. (8 5 treble groups, 8 1ch spaces)
  1. Join green into any treble stitch. Ch 1 and dc into the same stitch. Double crochet
    into every st around, working around the chain. When you come to the last stitch
    use the invisible join method to fasten off. Sew in all ends.

If your coaster is a little curled up at the edges you can wet block it to make it lie flat. Gently wet the coaster in cool water and lay on a folded towel to dry. Shape the coaster when it’s wet and use pins if necessary to hold it into shape. Allow to dry naturally and then your coaster is ready to use, time to pop the kettle on!

Washing Instructions
Pop your coasters in a small laundry bag when you need to wash them, wash at 30°C and reshape them afterwards as with the wet clocking method. You could change the daffodil yarn colours for other spring bulb colours too!

I hope you enjoy this free pattern! If you make any coasters I’d love to see them, please tag me on social media @shirleyrainbow_tb or send me an email! Any problems or queries, please get in touch.

You are welcome to sell items made from this pattern, however please credit Teresa Bettelley at Shirley Rainbow as the designer, thank you.

The Ness Skirt by Tilly and The Buttons Pattern Review

This skirt has been a real case of slow fashion! I was given the pattern in 2018 for Christmas, along with the fabric and its taken me until this year to finish it!

The Ness Skirt by Tilly and The Buttons is a fly front skirt with pockets, designed to be made from woven fabric with some stretch.

Resting worried face…

I used a stretch needle cord from Fabric Godmother, with a large vintage style floral pattern. The fabric has a silky feel to it, which is rather luxurious, and it has plenty of stretch. I tried to place my pattern pieces carefully to make the most of the floral print and I’m fairly happy with how that has turned out. For the pocket bags I used some thin cotton I had in my fabric stash. I also used a lovely vintage button from my button jar that was the perfect colour.

This is probably one of the trickiest garments I’ve made in a long while, however due to the (as usual) excellent instructions it never felt like it was too hard. The online video tutorial on how to do the fly front zip was fantastic; as I’ve never done a fly front before I watched it once before starting, then just paused the video as I sewed along. Really helpful stuff!

I made the Ness skirt in my usual size from TATB, a size 3, and its come up a bit too big. It sits on my hips rather than waist, as intended which is a bit annoying. I don’t knowing if its my fault for not understanding the sizing (maybe there is negative ease at the waist) or whether I have stretched the fabric out a bit whilst making. It is wearable though, and also not too short to wear without tights when the weather eventually gets a bit warmer.

I’ll definitely make it again, at some point! It’s such a handy style of skirt. I don’t think I would use fabric any thicker than needle cord as it all started to get a bit too thick at points when sewing the waist band on, which my machine wasn’t too happy about. For that reason I didn’t turn the waistband under, I overlocked the edge and did a ‘stitch in the ditch’ to hold it in place. I also used the Teflon coated foot on my sewing machine to help the fabric slide better, as going against the pile was hard going too.

Slightly less worried!

The Ness Skirt was a very satisfying make, something to get stuck into after a bit of a dressmaking break. My next dressmaking project lined up is the Winslow Culottes from Helen’s Closet , really looking forward to making them!

Teresa x

Creative Fun

When you run a creative business it can be quite tricky at times to actually enjoy doing the creative side of the business! For example, when you are making a batch of 80 hand stitched badges it’s pretty easy for creative fatigue to set in. The run up to Christmas is very draining this way, and I always try to set aside some time in January for some fun, experimental creativity and making. This January didn’t go quite to that plan, with three commissions quickly lined up at the start of January- obviously that is not a bad thing! But at the end of January I was still feeling a bit dull and fed up that I hadn’t had the time to have some creative fun.

So, February then! I took one day last week to make a little project completely for fun, and I really, really enjoyed myself. Here she is…

(Quite a while back I started a Pinterest board called Little Dolls, with the vague intention of creating a little doll at some point. That’s half the problem with Pinterest though, you spend loads of time getting ideas for projects and pinning them, but never actually making them. However, I have now made a tiny, doll shaped inroad into my Pinterest wish list.)

Making her certainly got my creative juices flowing again so I made a pincushion out of English paper pieced hexagons. EPP is something I tried last year and never got around to picking up again, even though I enjoyed it. It’s a great way to use up small scraps, of which I have many.

I did a punch needle workshop last spring; its taken me until this week to actually try doing punch needle again. I rather enjoyed getting the hang of it again, I think I need to choose a more tightly twisted yarn than the DMC Natura I did use, which is loosely twisted. I love the colours though!

So I guess the moral of this blogpost is to take the time to have fun creatively, just one little project can give you the confidence to try some others!

Teresa x

FREE! Valentine’s Hoop Art Tutorial

Last year I created a tutorial for Take a Break Magazine with instructions on how to make an embroidered Valentine’s Decoration and I can now share that with you here on the blog! It’s very simple, combining stitch details and a handy bit of glue to keep everything in place.

You will need:

7” Embroidery Hoop, available in craft shops

Fabric measuring 11” x 11” (If your fabric is thin you might need 2 layers.)

Felt

Buttons, ribbon, lace and decorative trims in colours that match your background fabric.

Needle, sewing or embroidery thread in contrasting shades to the felt and buttons.

Glue

Scissors

Piece of card at least 18cm /7” square

Pencil

Instructions:

1. Start by drawing round the outside of the inner ring of the embroidery hoop onto the card and cut the card circle out.

2. Secure the back ground fabric in the hoop by laying it over the inner hoop and pushing the outer hoop down over the fabric. Tighten the screw and check the fabric feels taut.

3. Cut 2 lengths of lace and ribbon 20cm/ 8” long. Cut 7 triangles of felt that measure 4cm/ 1.5” long on each side (or as many triangles as you need). Lay the lace and felt triangles onto the hoop and adjust the position until you are happy. Secure the lace with a tiny bit of glue, letting the ends hang over the edge of the hoop. Add a dab of glue to the felt triangles to secure them in place.

4. Thread the needle and use running stitch to stitch around the lower edge of each triangle. Fasten the thread off by weaving it through the back of the stitches.

5. Lay the ribbon over the lace and top edges of the triangles. Secure each end with a tiny dab of glue. Stitch buttons onto the ribbon.

6. Using another shade of thread stitch your message on to the bunting triangles. You could do initials and a heart, or a cheeky Valentines message!

7. Push the fabric out of the hoop. Tuck the ends of the ribbon and lace under the outer hoop and push the outer hoop back into place again.

8. Cut two little hearts out of felt and a length of lace and ribbon each 15cm long. Fold the ribbon and lace in half and stitch into place on the bunting. Stitch the felt heart on top of the folded lace and ribbon and add a button to decorate.

9. To finish the back of the hoop cut the background fabric to an inch away from the hoop all the way round. Put a thin layer of glue around the inner hoop and press the fabric into pace. Doing this in small sections makes it easier.

10.Finally, put a line of glue around the edge of your card circle and press into place.

And you’re done! If you make one I’d love to see it, either tag me on Instagram or send me an email, shirleyrainbow@outlook.com. You are welcome to sell products made to this design, please credit Teresa Bettelley at Shirley Rainbow as the designer and if possible link back to the blog post.

Teresa x

Still wishing you a Happy New Year

Happy New Year! Is it too late to say that now? I said it to my hairdresser yesterday and it still felt right! It’s been a bit of a slower start to the year than I expected, the two weeks off the school routine definitely made my brain go all fluffy round the edges and its taken a while to get back into action.

Here’s a little update on the world of Shirley Rainbow. I had a great time during craft fairs in the run up to Christmas, it was, as ever, great to spend time with other stall holders who run their own small business and have a good chat between customers. Doing the fairs is also a great way to get instant feedback from customers, which I will definitely be paying attention to. I’ve also popped a couple of new embroidery pieces in my Folksy shop and updated my Lavender bag collection, the link to them is Here.

Unfortunately a shop that I stock my work in (The Shop at Sneinton Market) will be closing this January, due to many changes behind the scenes. So I’m on the look out to apply for some new bricks and mortar opportunities- any suggestions for shops would be welcome!

As usual I’ve been working on some projects in the background, just to keep me ticking over, and also to have a break from making items for my Folksy shop. I finished a very long term project over Christmas, a tiny model of a kitchen. It was very fiddly, and very rewarding, to make it, and see everything come together. Sewing tiny curtains is certainly a lot easier than full size ones. Have you ever tried making anything like this?

I started a piece of embroidery from a free pattern on the DMC website, really looking forward to framing it up over the weekend. Sewing with metallic thread is such a pain though, I did it in small sessions so my fingers didn’t hurt too much!

I have also decided that 2020 is a year to try and do a bit more dressmaking. I hardly did anything last year- a skirt and a pair of dungarees, both un-blogged as yet! For Christmas 2019 I received a beautiful piece of cord fabric and the Ness Skirt pattern from Tilly and the Buttons, which I cut out and then never got round to sewing up. I have made a start this year! I am hoping to squeeze in time to finish it very soon.

So on that note, I’d better go and actually start doing stuff,

Thanks for reading,

Teresa