Thursday, 28 April 2011

Brit Brit Hooray! Union Jack Cushion

With all eyes on London this week in anticipation of the Royal Wedding, it seems the perfect time to tell you about my latest project... the Brit Brit Hooray! Union Jack cushion

The Union Jack has become a staple of interior fashion over the past few years; regardless, it seems, of your patriotic origins. There have been art prints, rugs, cushions and all manner of crockery donning the mark of the British flag; everywhere from your local high street store to the highest fashion houses (all hail Ms Vivienne Westwood!)

Liberty Jack quilt by Janey Forgan

My Get Smitten™ version - the Brit Brit Hooray! cushion - was very much inspired by the fabulous quilt by Janey Forgan I saw last spring at the V&A exhibition of quilts. I love the use of the Liberty prints to depict this emblem and as an avid collector of vintage fabrics there was no question about where this project was heading! The difficult part, as always, was narrowing down the fabric selection!

Having been inspired by the quilt I decided to tackle this project from a patchwork perspective - rather than my usual approach of mixed media, free-style embroidery techniques - and so began the head-scratching to work out how to piece the design together in a coherent order.  Being rather 'experimental' by nature in my textile work (that's art school training for you!) I am quite fascinated and even awed by the technicalities required for designing patchwork - it's almost a science and requires a disturbing (for me anyway!) amount of mathematics and pre-planning

I started by sketching out the design full size so that I could determine the finished size of the cushion - this is important as I planned to use a pre-bought insert. I then divided it up into the obvious strips that the design dictated and calculated the required seam allowance. Having decided on my 4 fabrics I worked on joining the strips into blocks and then joining the blocks to make the cushion front. The tricky part - and it took several attempts to get this right - was to get the middle diagonal strips to line up with the corner of the block and in turn the corners of the main central cross! I got there eventually

And so with a little bit of quilting (I just used a piece of fleece fabric on the reverse) and a  simple envelope closure for the back, the Brit Brit Hooray! Union Jack cushion was born! I love it and I keep coming up with new fabric combinations I'd like to try! This one is in subtle muted tones to sit amongst the other furnishings in my lounge (as seen in the pic) but I think there is a bolder, brighter, Get Smitten™ colours version itching to be made very, very soon! I'm thinking yellow, turquoise, pink and grey

Want to make your own version of this modern design classic? Be my guest... the pattern with full instructions is available here as are a range of vintage fabrics here in the Get Smittenonline boutique. Oh and for those of you on my workshop mailing list.. stay tuned for the announcement of the Brit Brit Hooray! workshop in May

Let's see what you made! Feel free to upload your creations made with any of my Get Smitten™ patterns to the Get Smitten™ Flickr group or the Get Smitten™ Facebook page. I hope to see you there!

Lisa x
{Liberty Jack quilt postcard bought at V&A Museum London, all photos by Lisa Pocklington for Get Smitten™}

Monday, 25 April 2011

Joyeux Pacques!

Are you stuffed with chocolate? Did you have a lovely Easter? I hope so...

We had a quiet time here at Get Smitten HQ; no Easter Egg hunts or big family gatherings and roast lamb dinners for us. We are currently confined to one room whilst the roof is being repaired (a little nerve-wracking when you actually live in the roof of a mid 19th Century period building!) and so, with having no-where else to go, we stayed in bed! Thanks to the Easter Bunny and a bake-tastic friend, we breakfasted on home made hot cross buns and Cadbury's Mini Eggs. I spent a very happy few hours reading the winter edition of Sew Somerset magazine and chatting with family on the phone.

We ended the day with what was supposed to be a short hike, to locate a derelict barn that is for sale in a nearby valley. Armed with only 2 picture from the agent's website - one of the barn itself and the other of the view so that we could guess-timate that we were in the right area. 3 hours later, and after asking directions from a friendly local we stumbled we found it! Sadly, it is not quite the dream pile of stones for us... (why? I hear you cry... well, because there is actually another building in front of it blocking the incredible view and also because the neighbour tried to set his dogs on us as we peered around it!)...  and so the adventure continues!

How did you spend your Easter?

Lisa x

{Original Easter Egg artwork by Miss Emeline-Rose Pocklington-White, aged 2 and a half. Photos by Lisa Pocklington for Get Smitten}

Monday, 18 April 2011

Spring Clean Your Handbag!

I'm sure I'm not the only one who frantically rifles through her handbag looking for the ringing phone, the car keys when you're late or the pen you know is in there somewhere. I would say my handbag is generally of average size... until of course the moment I require something urgently; and then it instantly transforms into a Mary Poppins-esque, never-reach-the-bottom, infuriating carpet bag of everything under the sun other than the item I'm looking for. It is not unusual in these moments to hear me say very bad words and tip the whole thing upside down until said item is located. Not very classy... especially in public!

And so, I decided to rid my bag of all the unnecessary clutter that I have been dragging around with me on a daily basis. Here's what I found...
  • some loose coins
  • scraps of fabric & thread
  • 2 packs of biscuits reduced to crumbs
  • 3 tags used in a photo shoot last winter!
  • empty paracetamol packet
  • a used stamp
  • 2 hair bobbles (been wondering where that Japanese fabric covered one was!)
  • the band from a ball of wool
  • a Champagne cork (either New Year or another stray styling prop)
  • a flat, striped pebble
  • a chewy sweet so old it would pull your teeth out
  • 3 business cards
  • entry tickets to an art exhibition
  • litmus paper sticks (???? I have no idea... seriously!)
  • a tape measure keyring (yay for Christmas cracker gifts that no-one else wants!)
  • a pen that doesn't work
To spring clean my handbag and get rid of all that rubbish quite literally is a weight off my shoulders... and I mean that both physically as well as metaphorically; it's a little alarming the clutter we allow to build up around us. In our homes, our work spaces, our car and even our handbag. It feels enlightening to be free of items that serve no purpose in our day to day life and to have a proper home for those items that we choose to keep

Beauty items are now in a cute zip purse, phone lives in designated phone pocket, spare fabric shopper lives in side pocket (no plastic bags for me thanks!) while main items such as purse, diary, cheque book and car keys happily sit in the main pocket without getting tangled amongst rubbish. Ah, bliss

Life's clutter can weigh you down and it's both therapeutic as well as necessary to keep check on what negative items we allow to accumulate. I'm pretty pleased with my lightweight, junk-free, very organised handbag. You should try it!

Lisa x

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Spring Colours Week on Poppytalk

You may have noticed from my Facebook and Twitter snippets that I took part in Poppytalk's Spring Colours Week over on Flickr last week. I'm enjoying the process of being involved in community projects at the moment - perhaps because a lot of my time is spent cooped up alone with my design work!

I was a real pleasure to grab a camera and pull together something at short notice... it's been quite some time since I was the one behind the lens with control over the buttons! I used JW's Sigma SD14 with an old Olympus lens if you are interested in the techy details (can't say that means a whole lot to me but I love the look it gives, so I'm a happy bunnie)

The premise of the project is that for the duration of a week, you take a photo of anything that is Spring related in the colour specified for that day. You can only submit shots in that colour on that specific day so that the Flickr gallery remains in colour order for a stunning visual impact, look at the week's round up at the top of the post or the whole gallery here to see what I mean. Isn't it gorgeous?

I joined the party a day late and so missed the first colour which was green but the rest of the week went like this...
Tuesday - Yellow
Wednesday - Pink
Thursday - Lavender
Friday - White

I used items that I have lurking around the studio and the house (ok so they're much of the same thing!) and here is what I came up with. The full details and little story behind each item can be found on my Flickr photostream here

 As you can see I got more into the flow of things toward the end of the week! Judging by the fabulous selection of photos uploaded to Poppytalk's Colours Weeks gallery this is an ongoing, seasonal focused project. I'll certainly be participating in the Summer Colours Week when it happens... and this time I'll be more prepared!

You can view my Flickr photostream here I'd love to hear what you think of it!

Lisa xx

{gallery images by Poppytalk, yellow by Jeremy Wilson, Pink, Lavender & White by Lisa Pocklington}

Thursday, 7 April 2011


I made the difficult decision to cut back on caffeine this year - something I never thought I'd enjoy doing but I have to confess that so far, so good! A 'real' coffee once in a while is now a treat rather than a necessity!

For the sake of my health, I now start the day with a cup of warm water & a slice of lemon (which is surprisingly enjoyable - seriously!) and I have found a few herbal infusions to replace my normal cuppa throughout the rest of the day. The French have an impressive array of 'tisanes' for health benefits and so it is easy to find something to suit whatever is ailing you at your local pharmacie.

Whilst on my quest for a tasty brew, I came across Yogi, a brand of Ayurvedic herbal infusions which really uplifted my spirits. In addition to the benefits of being made with all natural ingredients with specific well-being properties, each tea bag contains an inspirational quote - it's like a super healthy fortune cookie!

And what's more the interior of the box is simply gorgeous... naturally my magpie instincts kicked in & said box is currently in my paper supplies pile for making cards & mixed media artwork

So, before I totally hippie-out on you here, I'll leave you with today's cup of spirituali-tea...

I think this quote speaks wonders for the health benefits of tea on the mind, body and the soul. And if it is true that you reap what you sow, I wholeheartedly look forward to cultivating my well-being one tasty cup at a time!

Lisa x

p.s -  I am so totally in love with this vintage tea cup!
{© all images by Lisa Pocklington for Get Smitten}

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

*FREE* Pattern for Crochet Easter Eggs

I was designing a simple project for the lovely ladies in my Get Hooked workshops to teach them how to increase and decrease in crochet when I came over all generous and thought I'd share the pattern here for you to try yourself! This is a really simple project, perfect for using up small scraps of coloured yarn and hopefully I've left you plenty of time to get them finished in time for Easter!

You will need:
  • oddments of yarn and corresponding size crochet hook (I used double knit yarn and a size 4mm hook)
  • small amount of stuffing material
  • yarn needle to darn in ends
  • ribbons, beads and buttons to decorate
Please note that instructions are written in UK crochet terminology (but to help out my lovely American friends a UK dc is a US sc!)

Round 1: make a magic ring and 8dc into it. Pull the short end tight and slst into the 1st dc
Round 2: 1ch (represents 1st dc), 1dc into the same space, *1dc into next st, 2dc into next st. repeat from * to end of round & slst to close
Round 3: ch1, 1dc into same space, *1dc into next 2 sts, 2dc into next st. repeat from * to end of round and slst to close
Round 4: ch1, 1dc into same space, *1dc into next 3 sts, 2dc into next st. repeat from * to end of round and slst to close
Round 5: ch1, 1dc into same space, *1dc into next 4 sts, 2dc into next st. repeat from * to end of round and slst to close
Round 6: ch1, 1dc into same space, *1dc into next 5 sts, 2dc into next st. repeat from * to end of round and slst to close
Rounds 7-11: ch1, 1dc into each st to end of round and slst to close
Round 12: dc2tog all the way round, slst to close
Round 13: Insert stuffing then dc2tog all the way round, slst to close
Round 14: dc2tog until gap is closed, cut end leaving enough to darn in and pull base into desired shape

Attach a loop of embroidery thread or yarn to the top if you plan to suspend the eggs from branches

Once you've mastered the basic shape (you are starting at the top of the egg, by the way!) you can start to incorporate stripes into the pattern simply by changing colours at the beginning of a new round. If this sounds too scary then why not try using a variegated yarn instead and let the colours form their own pattern?

And when it comes to decorating your eggs with ribbons, buttons and beads; the only limit is your imagination. 

 I'd love to see the eggs you make with this pattern - feel free to add your photos to my Crochet Easter Egg gallery on Flickr!

Lisa xx

You are welcome to sell any crochet eggs you make using this free pattern but please respect copyright and do not sell the pattern on in any form without my permission. All images by Lisa Pocklington for Get Smitten

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

Today is Mother's Day in England... funny how it differs from country to country. My Mum has a lot to answer for; she is pretty much responsible for nurturing my creativity from an early age - dressing up was only part of all the fun, creative stuff we did together but she did make me the most amazing dresses to play in. I remember feeling so special in this little bride's costume... there was a plastic bouquet of flowers that I had to go with it too. I think it was my big grey teddy bear that played the part of the groom. He was called Steve

She has the best stash of patterns and supplies (now superbly vintage!) that she has always been generous in sharing with me. She has taught me so many techniques and skills over the years, from embroidery to crochet and accompanied me to countless fabric stores and in more recent times, trade shows. Her support & enthusiasm is unwavering. She helps me source supplies, she does market research and she helps me tweak ideas. And when it comes to talking fabrics - no one can out-do us, we are unstoppable!

In short, I would not be me without her!

I love you Mum, Happy Mother's Day!

Lisa xx

Friday, 1 April 2011

Happy April Spools Day!

Wishing you all a very merry April Spools Day!

I have a collection of vintage wooden spools here at Get Smitten HQ and had planned a quick photo shoot for today's post. Then I came across this print on Etsy and realised it was Sew Perfect for what I had in mind, plus I thought it would be nice to showcase someone else's talents & artwork for a change! I love the addition of her Grandmother's thimble; just beautiful. I'm totally earmarking this for my studio wall

Sew Perfect image by Silver Horse Photos available for purchase here. Visit their gorgeous Etsy store for more vintage inspired fine art photos
Lisa xx

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