Tuesday 15 November 2011

Purple Phase guest blogger: Kirsty Neale


If you've been reading me a while you'll know that my special guest today is one of my most favourite of favourite people. So much of a favourite that:
  • I've co-hosted a blog with her [during which time I generally referred to her as 'my blog-wife' and, if I'm honest, I still do call her that when she's not listening - so let's hope she's not listening right now ... ] ;-)
  • I've delivered online workshops with her;
  • And also regularly pestered her for advice, joined with her in ridiculous chat and plotted world domination with her.
On top of all that, she still finds time to be a writer, illustrator, designer and maker of great things!

And as if being my guest wasn't a big enough excitement for her ... ;-) ... she's just learned that she's one of the brand new Design Team members for Hambly!

So, allow me to introduce you to Kirsty Neale:

... and now I'll let her speak for herself ....

Kirsty Neale:

Around ten years ago, I worked for a girls’ magazine. Along with pink, purple was one of our signature colours, and although I adored the job, I was never overly fond of either colour. When I moved on, both of them were left well and truly behind, in a drawer marked ‘hues to avoid at all costs’. I’ve since sort of made my peace with pink – in certain shades at least – but purple has never really recovered.

Then, a few weeks ago two things happened that made me think it was time to put my purple prejudices aside:

  1. First of all, Julie asked me to join in with her Purple Phase project. She’s talked me into colour-loving once before, so saying ‘no’ was never an option. I was all set to go ahead with a colour-scheme picked out of my yarn basket (purple, navy, grey and yellow – so gorgeous!)  ...
  2. when I had a second request – to make a birthday present for a little girl who loves anything pink and purple.
After switching my attention from yarn to felt, I finally came up with a set of colours which I think made everyone happy, even me.

The pink and purple shades are all quite muted, which makes them easier on the eye, but it’s the splash of green which I love the most.

It makes the bolder colours feel more natural and somehow closer to the tones in a real flower. Not that my flowers were supposed to look real, but it’s maybe reminded me that the colours I don’t like are the ones which feel plastic-y and artificial.

Fake flowers good, fake colours bad.

If you’d like to make a similar set of coat-hooks for a child’s room (or maybe your own – I’m not here to judge), here you go with a quick how-to.

wooden peg rail |  acrylic paint | paintbrush | PVA | gluepaper | scissors | felt | pins | fusible (iron-on) interfacing | needle | embroidery threads

  • Download the template pdf here.
  • Copy the templates onto paper and cut out. Check that the hole in the centre of each flower fits over one of the pegs on your rail. Adjust to make larger or smaller, if necessary.
  • Pin the templates to felt and cut out pieces, as noted on the template sheet.
  • Cut out interfacing (again, as noted) and iron to each flower and leaf to stiffen. 
  • Sew the leaves and the larger flowers together in pairs, back to back. Add the smaller pieces of felt on top to decorate, sewing with a variety of stitches for interest (I used running stitch, back stitch, whipped back stitch, French knots, straight stitch and two-colour couching).
  • Paint the peg-rail in colours of your choice – I used green for the backing section, and yellow for the pegs.
  • Fit your flowers over the pegs, and add a leaf behind each one. When you’re happy with the way they look. Fix into place using PVA or tacky glue (if the peg rail has pre-drilled holes, take care not to glue over the top of them).
As for that first purple-inspired project, I’m still hoping I might squeeze it in before the end of the month. I might not have fallen quite head-over-heels for purple just yet, but the fact I’m planning to use it again so soon can only be a good sign.



Thank you so much Kirsty!

And ... speaking of a 'good sign' ... how about this one Kirsty drew a few weeks ago. Here I am complete with animal print cape, purple frock and my Autumn/Winter manifesto!
Now tell me, who wouldn't want a friend who sends them adorable illustrations of topics which came up during ridiculous Twitter conversations? Who?

If you'd like one of Kirsty's whimsically wonderful illustrations without having to indulge in such nonsensical chatter, then have a browse around her shop in peace!


I'll be back on Thursday with a little 3D project to share, so until then ...

Julie x


  1. Aw, shucks - am blushing an appropriate shade of purple at such kind words. You're a doll and a treasure and a favourite-favourite, too.

    Thanks again for inviting me over to play. Can I come again soon?

    Lots of love,

    Blog Wife


  2. Lovely project share, thanks so much.

  3. Both fabulous projects! The coat hooks and the illustration too :D

  4. That colour palette with the yellow is wonderfully vibrant!

  5. Great project!! Thank you Kirsty!

  6. A really cute gift for a little girl!


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