Adorable dachshunds

I was lucky enough to snap up a Dachshund printed fabric off-cut from a Sophie Allport shop last year and was itching to use it in a new artwork design. Finished and mounted before Christmas, I have only just found time to photograph and list in my online shops. I did however remember to take a few in progress shots and thought I’d share these with you to give you an insight into how the picture came together.

Initial design colours for dachshund textile artwork by Ellie's Treasures

Having chosen the light turquoise blue/green felt as the background, initial colour scheme ideas came from the dark red of the Dachshund’s collar so I started by sourcing buttons in complementary colours.

Initial design ideas by Ellie's Treasures

My next stage was to play with fabrics and trims, building a balanced piece with interest from different patterns and textures.

Embellished hound artwork by Ellie's Treasures

Tiny embellishments are added last to give additional interest and prettiness to the artwork before being mounted on a white canvas and finished with my logo on the reverse.

Embellished mounted artwork by Ellie's Treasures

As with most of my products, I try to use as many donated and recycled fabrics and decorations as possible to save materials ending up in landfill. For this particular picture, many of the additional fabrics, dark grey paper, buttons and sequins were all repurposed.

mixed media Dachshund artwork by Ellie's Treasures

To finish, here’s a few interesting facts about these adorable hounds:

* with their German origins, the correct pronounciation of the word “Dachshund” is “Daks-hoont”, with the word “dachs” meaning “badger” and “hund” meaning “hound” or “dog”;

* they have quite a few nicknames, the most endearing to me are “sausage dog” and “doxie”;

* in 1972 Waldie the Dachshund was the colourful mascot for the Munich Olympic Games.

Ref: youdidwhatwithyourweiner.com iheartdogs.com

Bring on spring!

Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a fabulous Christmas with time to relax and rejuvenate ready for 2020. With the weeks after my last market whizzing by in a whirlwind of commission sewing, it meant the home didn’t get the festive sparkle until the 22nd December! Waiting until then did mean I had two extra helpers in the form of my adult children who had come home from uni, so it wasn’t all so bad! I have given myself a couple of weeks off “normal” sewing to endeavour to finish my own new fabric wallet (started about 3 years ago) – I’ll pop photos on when it’s finally finished (hopefully not in another 3 years).

Ellie's Treasures, Deepdale Christmas Market, Norfolk
Deepdale Christmas Market, Norfolk (2019) – credit to Jason for the snap shot.

Both Christmas markets were very busy – thank you to all who dropped by, it was great to meet you and I hope you enjoyed the fairs as much as I did taking part. I picked up a selection of lovely commissions but thought I’d show you this special one … a bespoke science themed artwork for a customer’s daughter. I have to admit, I did dig out my son’s GCSE chemistry textbook for this one, just to make sure I was getting the element details correct!

bespoke mixed media artwork by Ellie's Treasures
Science themed mixed media artwork commission.

Looking onwards to spring and my first new item for the shop is this cute hedgehog charm. With the lobster clasp clip, it’s perfect for attaching to a handbag, set of keys or spiral bound notebook. Sewn in striking lime green felt and decorated with lots of pretties, the idea of using a hedgehog charm came from another commission request – I can’t believe I hadn’t added hedgehogs to my range before this.

hand sewn hedgehog bag charm, hedgehog notebook charm, hedgehog key clip in lime green by Ellie's Treasures

Hedgehogs are the cutest – we don’t often see them in our garden, but when we do, they are usually scurring away from danger – it’s amazing how fast those little legs can carry them.

Did you know hedgehogs are known as the “gardener’s friend” as they enjoy eating garden pests that could otherwise munch through a patch of prized blooms and veggies? An adult hedgehog can have around 5000-7,000 spines, which are keratin stiffened hollow hairs. These come in handy to ward off predators, rolling themselves into a ball and sticking their prickly spines out. In recent years, the baby hedgehog has been given the name “hoglet”, which is adorable! My husband was a big hedgehog fan during his uni years, calling them hedgepigs and finishing off his signature with a rough hedgie sketch.

Festive fairs and Christmas spirit

With my last Christmas market on the horizon I’m keeping my needle threaded, my charms and beads at the ready, and boosting stock levels whenever I have a spare hour!

hand sewn angel bag charm by Ellie's Treasures
hand sewn angel bag charm/key clip – “hope”

Last week’s fair at Pensthorpe was amazing! The weather actually stayed dry (in fact the sun peaked out for a short while), the line up of independent sellers was fabulous and the organisation was brilliant. I’m looking forward to my final fair of the year, and as it’ll be my third year at Deepdale, I know it will a lovely weekend with a great atmosphere.

Ellie's Treasures Norfolk craft markets and fairs
Pensthorpe Natural Park, Fakenham, Christmas Market 2019

If you are in Norfolk (or surrounding counties) and fancy a trip out to start or finish your Christmas shopping, then do consider dropping by Deepdale at Dalegate Market, you won’t be disappointed. It’s free to enter and free parking, and with vast selection of stalls, in marquees, barns, pop up sheds and the church too, plus delicious grub to enjoy, you won’t be disappointed.

Ellie’s Treasures will be inside the Brick Barn and I’ll be accepting commissions over the weekend should you be looking for something specific.

Dachshund mixed media canvas artwork

Happy Christmas shopping!

Norfolk Christmas markets

With my first 2019 fair under my belt, I thought I’d pop a post with details of upcoming Christmas Markets where you’ll be able to find Ellie’s Treasures.

Ellie's Treasures Christmas Craft fairs 2019
2019 Christmas market venues for Ellie’s Treasures

You may have read my past posts on tips for selling at craft fairs (over four parts), and I think I should have had a little catch up read before the market last Sunday as I felt a bit rusty packing everything up and making sure I hadn’t forgotten anything. I’ve updated my to do list with a few things that came to light this time.

Ellie's Treasures products
It can take a remarkable amount of time to prepare for a craft market

The pop up event on Sunday was lovely, although the weather was atrocious. The heavens opened from dawn to dusk and driving an hour and a half to Reepham in Norfolk at 7 in the morning wasn’t fun! Having said that, the venue was superb, warm and undercover, and it was great to meet and chat with such a wonderful bunch of sellers. We were all amazed how many people braved the weather, despite talk of local roads being closed and cars being abandoned in flooded areas. A big thank you to the organisers, Kerri’s Farmhouse Pine – a fantastic venue to visit at any time with plenty to browse and buy, wonderful tea room and country walks right on the doorstep.

Ellie's Treasures at Kerri's Farmhouse Pine October Pop up 2019

Textile and mixed media artwork

During GCSE years (or O’level as it was in my day), one of the subjects I took was Fine Art.  I always remember feeling I wasn’t very good at it but did, on my third attempt, secure a grade B having previously received two grade Ds!  I seem to remember we were taught to draw or paint in a particular way and could never quite master it. I have since realised that art isn’t about conforming, there is no right or wrong, it is your own personal interpretation, your way to express what you see and how you feel.

mixed media flamingo canvas artwork by Ellie's Treasures

Texture has fascinated me since junior school, my first memories are of making paper collages and weaving materials by using a hand made cardboard loom.

beautiful textures in nature: rust, feather, wood
gorgeous textures: rust on burnt steel, feather and wood

I have finally rekindled this love by sewing tactile and colourful artwork for Ellie’s Treasures.  I have to admit, it was daunting at first and actually quite frustrating, as I knew how I wanted things to look, but didn’t have the confidence to get there. All I can say is, if this sounds like you, whatever you long to do, keep practising, keep experimenting and you’ll be surprised how quickly you progress.   

After initial fabric and charm framed pictures I moved on to sewing with material scraps, ribbon, trims and embellishments to “build” my first mini canvas.  It took me an absolute age!

hand sewn mixed media picture

Now I love the planning stage and really get stuck in trying this and that until I begin to see something lovely develop. Although there are many times when work is put on the back-burner for a few weeks, I know I will return to it with fresh eyes and be able to finish and be happy with the end result.

Ellie's Treasures mixed media artwork

When a piece comes together, the sense of achievement is wonderful.  That feeling grows even more when someone else shows an interest in your hard work by way of comments and sales – it boosts your confidence no end and pushes you to keep doing what you love.

Ellie's Treasures