Bringing It All Together: I’m Making Cards!

I had to wait awhile to post pictures of this so my daughter wouldn’t see her birthday card ahead of time. I’m having a lot of fun using my mono prints and stamps to make impromptu cards (anyone else out there boycotting purchased greeting cards and all they stand for? UNITE!).

So here’s what I made to celebrate my daughter’s offspringing…

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I added beads to the embroidery then used double-sided tape to attach it to a piece of scrapbooking paper.
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Then I glued a mono-printed page to the inside top and stitched my needle lace to the bottom (I like how the cut threads added to the wave motion).
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close-up of the mono print
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close-up of the attached needle lace
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Back of the card – I like how the blue silk stitches seem to interact with the gold grassy marks.

I really enjoyed adding beads to my embroidered patterns and I suspect that technique might make another appearance. I especially enjoyed finding a use for my needle lace pattern AND avoiding the greeting card industry. It’s evil y’all. Buy card stock on sale and draw a picture. Your loved ones will love it even more than that $7 card that sings.

P.S. I used my mono prints recently to create a thank you card (plus two bonus bookmarks I included…that could be used to create two new cards…). It’s the gift that keeps on giving, as well as a gift that’s fun to give. I highly recommend purchasing a cheap gelli-plate and going to town. It’s kind of a “no wrong answers” situation: even your least favorite print can be turned into your favorite bookmark.

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Embroidering My Stamps on Cloth

I’ve been having a lot of fun carving my own stamps since my class with Jane LaFazio. I decided to make a stamp from the wave pattern I used for my last needle lace design. I’m thrilled with the results.

The carved stamp is on top of the needle lace pattern it came from. Ink stamps and needle lace results surround.
The carved stamp is on top of the needle lace pattern it came from (you can see the needle holes if you look closely). Ink stamps and needle lace results surround.

I’m digging the rubber stamp carved “chatter” inside the waves – I tried to let this flow while I was carving instead of doing a full excavation. (There were so many unintended puns in there that my fingers got sparked off the keyboard for a second. Unintended y’all, I promise.)

Close-up on the wave needle lace. I love the shadows at the top of the waves. I was really going for motion with the different thread choices.
Close-up on the wave needle lace. I love the shadows at the top of the waves. They add to the motion of the ocean (couldn’t resist – I’ll try to stop).

I especially like seeing the end products next to the pattern. So different when it’s transferred to ink on page vs. needle laced. If you’re digging that, wait til you see what’s next!

This is my first embroidered stamped pattern...I learned a lot.
This is my first embroidered stamped pattern…I learned a lot.
close-up on the shiny thread...and spooky eye
close-up on the shiny thread…and spooky eye

So I really like metallic and silk thread…and they’re very finicky. I think Seahorse Dude is kind of gnarly as a result, which makes sense when you think about his time underwater in the ocean…moving on…

WIP
WIP – loving the direction of the daisy chain stitches
Finished product - yay metallic thread!
Finished product – yay metallic thread!
Turtle gets a close-up...he's on the move!
Turtle gets a close-up…he’s on the move!

Earlier today…I was getting a smog-check on my car next to a craft store…so I spent my time wisely.

Super cool frame idea (way too much $$ for purchase...even with a coupon)
Super cool frame idea (way too much $$ for purchase…even with a coupon)
And a close-up on our favorite wave (pre-embroidery!)
And a close-up on our favorite wave (pre-embroidery and in a borrowed frame!)

It’s fun to see my rubber stamp patterns come to life in stitching!

Crafting/Sailing Away…

Art Quilting: In Progress

This weekend I took another wonderful class with Jane LaFazio and I’m having a great time finishing my small art quilt. Following Jane’s suggestion I took this opportunity to commemorate a fun trip in an art quilt. My family was fortunate enough to visit Turkey a few years ago and I *just almost* finished the scrapbook from the trip. So I raided the box of leftover souvenirs and I’m creating this art quilt as a final homage and memory creation of that travel experience.

Jane taught us how to incorporate paper and cloth into our base quilt, then we began embellishing each quilt square in anticipation of putting them back together again. Here’s a few shots of my WIP…(I’ve wondered more than once how this will all come together, but I’m seeing it now and getting more and more excited with each finished square and re-working of the pattern).

We'll start with squares I think are close to finished
We’ll start with squares I think are close to finished. I captured the city of Foca in this map segment because it was a favorite for us. The beads are from a bracelet we found on the street there.

 

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Museum ticket, beads, cloth, various threads (the first name of our guide appears in this quilt block “Marina” – her last name is on another block.) First I tried a new zig-zag stitch across the bottom in crewel yarn that I didn’t really like so I wound up the thread with the stem and outline stitch around the feather (better)…then worked up the beads with some metallic thread (they’re cool – turquoise inside and copper around the edges)…and wound up back on the weird zig-zag stitch with more beads. I think it comes together pretty well…it took some time though…

 

The paper at the top of this quilt square is from a bag of nuts we bought at a wonderful store on the coast of Turkey. A whole store dedicated to dried fruits and nuts - so yummy!
The paper at the top of this quilt square is from a bag of nuts we bought at a wonderful store on the coast of Turkey. A whole store dedicated to dried fruits and nuts – so yummy! More embellishment is probably in store for that bottom piece of material…we shall see what happens after I attach everything. This piece of paper makes me very happy in this quilt. It might get center billing…

 

We have another patch of blue here that may or may not get further embellishment. I enjoyed bringing the scroll pattern down into the green on this one, and the red thread is a variegated gift from a class member - so it needed to jump on board. :)
We have another patch of blue here that may or may not get further embellishment (it doesn’t show in the picture but the material is silk with blue on one side and pink on the other – the sheen is amazing). I enjoyed bringing the scroll pattern down into the green on this one, and the red thread around the “Turqui” logo is a variegated gift from a class member – so it needed to jump on board. 🙂

 

Unfinished Business

I thought this one was done in class, but it's starting to look like it needs some more...
I thought this one was done in class, but it’s starting to look like it needs some more. (The Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts was wonderful and highly recommended.)

 

Lots of options here...the bracelet is an example of Turkish crochet called "oya" that I bought there.
Lots of options here…the bracelet is an example of Turkish crochet called “oya” that I bought there.

 

Last quilt square that hasn't been finished. This is another oya piece I bought there - looks to me like it needs a little needlework closet to hang in...
Last quilt square that hasn’t been finished. This is another oya piece I bought there – looks to me like it needs a little needlework closet to hang in…

I’ll share finished product when I get there.

Making and crafting to my heart’s content and hoping the same for you…

Needle Lace: Waves

I’ve been working on a needle lace pattern I created to represent a set of waves and I really like how it turned out. I enjoy in-process pics so I’m posting a few.

How It Started

I stitched a few free-drawn leaf patterns first that I liked and didn’t like (yes on silk thread outline, no on structural veins that don’t connect because lace loses its shape).

So then I tried this wave pattern sketch of mine…

my base pattern
my base pattern

 

a few waves stitched: 2 threads per wave
a few waves stitched: 2 threads per wave

 

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Silk and metallic thread combinations

 

Finished product

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left side
left side

 

right side
right side

 

next to the pattern
next to the pattern

I’m really loving how this wave pattern came out matching my expectations for movement in thread. And now an artist friend has suggested that I abstract this pattern and go bigger…I’m hooked and thinking….how can one abstract a needlelace pattern…I have ideas….

 

 

Hand-stitching a garment

So this is what I’ve really been up to in the past few days.

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Alabama Chanin stitching – left side has been cut out and right side hasn’t

 

Chanin stitched corset pieces
Chanin stitched corset pieces (some are backwards so you can see the knots on each leaf)

 

Geranium in the mix
Geranium in the mix

I bought some great beads a few days ago that I think will make great embellishments. I’ll keep you posted…

Petit Point – Needlework from long ago

Today I attended a Cyber Security talk with my local ISACA chapter (blah blah blah what I do during the day blah blah blah), but there’s an amazing set of needlework art on the walls of the college where we meet. And that’s what we’re going to talk about here.

Petit Point: Bird detail 1
Petit Point: Bird detail 1

The plaque describing where these come from was gold and shiny and defied all pictures. And my brain was filled with cyber security details related to  my work, so I didn’t even write down the details or take a rubbing (now that’s a good idea for the next meeting! the plaque is engraved!). I promise I will write this down at my next monthly meeting – specific credit is due!

The mixture of small and large needlework stitches fascinates me on these works (and they’re not even behind glass y’all! I didn’t touch the stitches – I swear – tho I wanted to…). So here’s the best visual I’ve found so far of how this is created: Petit Point . I believe these items are from the early 1900’s.

Mastery to the Nth degree, in my book. Reality: This artist started with long blank canvases and stitched complex three-dimensional patterns on them with different threads in different material:stitch parameters. I’m just beginning to imagine how to create this kind of diversity in my threading.

A close-up of another bird
A close-up of another bird

I love being a part of this long history of tapestry, embroidery, needlework and crochet. We are making pieces of love that last the ages (on this topic: Please please check out what Amy Meissner  is doing with historic handcrafted and found pieces. She is a huge inspiration for me, and I love to see how she is incorporating sewn pieces from our cultural past into a new future. I also love how she uses found items in her art. Very thought-provoking for me…).

Serendipitous Sewing

Greetings after a quiet weekend here on the annabella blog. Craftin’ was a-happenin’ in the interim, just no postin’. I continued to follow the sun around the house and garden, take pictures, contemplate (my navel and others’), read and think about my current art path.

Here’s a quote from the Tom Robbins book I mentioned that I’d like to share:

That’s the value of artists, isn’t it? Even when they aren’t aware of it, they’re dreaming our dreams for us.” (I would argue this might better read, “that’s one of the value of artists…,” but I’m taking this out of context, plus who am I to split hairs with Tom Robbins?) The bottom line is that we are all, as artists, dreaming our own dreams as well as those of the collective conscious. What we do with all that energy and content is up to us.

Embroidering Escher

I spent some time with the embroidery quilting square and tried out another outline stitch.

on the left, the beginning of Whipped Running Stitch, a.k.a. cordonnet stitch); base stitches are yellow
on the left, the beginning of Whipped Running Stitch, a.k.a. cordonnet stitch); base stitches are yellow (they’re kind of covered by the thread in the needle)

 

1st round finished: the metallic red thread doesn't have enough punch the first time around
1st round finished: the metallic red thread didn’t have enough punch the first time around; book suggests going back over everything to get a heavier wrap (will do!)

 

(I flipped the image for this pic so the comparison isn't as easy) Here's the double sewing of red metallic thread - better I think.
(I flipped the image for this pic so the comparison isn’t as easy) Here’s the double sewing of red metallic thread – better I think.

The swirls are slightly different from this angle, and it becomes obvious how the consistent outline stitch brings the curves forward more than the broken overcast stitch.

And a side image

Interesting effect to use the much smaller metallic thread with the thicker no. 8 base thread
Interesting effect to use the much smaller metallic thread with the thicker no. 8 base thread

I have my next outline stitch picked out, but I think I should add beads to those blue dots on the first “L” so I can get a balanced view of my next stitch. It’s a fun project to pick up from time to time to push my free form skills.

On the patterned work front (also related to my upcoming Art and Soul Retreat…plus the reason for today’s serendipitous title…):

This weekend I started sewing the arms, legs and body as pre-work for a doll I plan to make at the Art and Soul Retreat. This would be quick and easy work with a sewing machine, but alas. I got an awesome sewing machine as a gift recently, and I’ve read the manual front to back (with the machine in front of me, identifying each part), but I’m very intimidated when it comes to threading this bad boy and engaging that foot pedal with some cloth involved. I’m on a waiting list for a class in which I get to bring my machine, pick out a pattern, and pay an expert to walk me through the process.

Until then, here’s my hand-stitched version (front and back). Hopefully this holds up in the “stuffing” process for an appendage so skinny. Please note strategic positioning of hearts – at least one of those are gonna be a tattoo y’all!!

Arms for my doll, hand-stitched to look/act like machine-stitching
Arms for my doll, hand-stitched to look/act like machine-stitching

I’m working on the legs and body next, but the serendipitous part is that I found what appears to be a machine-sewed skirt at the very dimensions of this future doll!!! I was unfolding the material to lay out the arms and legs and found this!

pleated skirt in complimentary material, created by someone else's sewing machine!
pleated skirt in complimentary material, created by someone else’s sewing machine!

I can’t decide if I’m more pleased by the triangle of sunlight on my dining room floor or the ready-made pleated skirt. They’ll each get reused multiple times…it’s a skinny doll.

Here’s what we call “stress flowering” in a plant we got from a neighbor. (Get that baby in a better pot with auto-watering asap!)

String of Pearls plant and its other-wordly bloom
String of Pearls plant and its other-wordly bloom

There’s lots of wackiness going on in the garden these days – I’ll try to capture some better photos to share soon.

Embroidery in the Sun

[First of all: Look at me trying new site templates and stuff! For those of you following me: how ya’ diggin’ it? Suggestions for improvement? I LERV that top photo. I found several logs fallen that had been drilled by woodpeckers in another life. Alongside a bunch of fun acorns with stems. I couldn’t stop until every hole was filled!]

ON TO TODAY…

This morning was kind of weird because my power went out right after I made my ceremonial morning latte (Krups has started my days for the last 19 years, which is – not coincidentally – the age of my child. Making a good latte before venturing out into the world became important early on…and early in the day…).

It was weird at first because my kitchen electronics started beeping at me while I was making my coffee. My stove beeped and flashed a cryptic “PF”* message in the digital display. Huh. Moving my purse strap from the surface of that, in case it decides to turn itself on later. Steaming milk on my Krups. Microwave beeps and flashes. OK, need to reset the clock – must be a power surge. Then, as soon as my milk is steamed and my latte machine is cleaned and put away – all power in the kitchen goes off. What timing! Thank you Coffee Gods! (* “PF” = Power Failure; I thought I would have to consult the manual but I figured it out all on my own!)

Shoes=wonderful Christmas present; Socks=Attempt to trick daughter out of stealing my socks (P.S. It didn't work. Thus the mismatch.)
Shoes=wonderful Christmas present; Socks=Attempt to trick daughter out of stealing my socks (P.S. It didn’t work. Thus the mismatch.)

A quick trip outside (in my house shoes and star socks, because I work from home and have no shame) tells me that one of those transformer electrical thingies attached to a nearby telephone pole has stopped working and they have to “call in a crew.” Bummer. Huh. What now?

I’ll remind you in this moment that I work in IT from home, so I’m pretty much reliant on every electronic device in my house – including that stupid WiFi router whose plug now means nothing. If I’d had a bunch of meetings scheduled I would have hoofed it to the nearest Starbucks, but today was a magical no-meeting day, so I informed everyone of my electronic tragedy (via text – my only way out!) and hunkered down.

Then I actually wandered around the house in a strange fog thinking: what shall I do next? How will I communicate with anyone? Who might have started following my blog while I was asleep and how can I thank them?!?!

Oh dear – dire straits. So I drank my coffee, read a little (Tom Robbins, Tibetan Peach Pie is the book du jour – I recommend it if you can handle his brand of zany. I think it’s entertaining, especially in smallish bits.) Then I went really crazy and walked the Scruff-Man over to Marge’s to pick up some new wooden spools she recently found in a drawer. (Apparently “morning sun” smells different in the neighborhood than “evening breeze.” I was equally entranced and sad that “morning smells” seemed like distant memories. Maybe I should be getting up earlier again – instead of hitting snooze – and hitting the streets with the dogie. It was quite lovely and not too hot at all.)

The wooden spools are great, but here’s what really caught my eye.

Crochet Rose by Marge
Crochet Rose by Marge
It unravels to a crocheted string!
It unwinds to a crocheted string!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Like the hero and mentor that she is, Marge asked if I brought any of my current art with me to show her. Like the artistic coward that I am, I admitted that I didn’t think any of it was “good enough” or “done enough” to “show anyone.” Silly rabbit. I promised I would get over that and bring her something soon. I’m Girl Scout Promising and Pinky Swearing on this y’all.

Girl Scout as youth - GS Leader as adult
Girl Scout as youth – GS Leader as adult

Make new friends, but keep the old

One is silver and the other gold.

A circle’s round and has no end,

That’s how long I will be your friend.

[I had to stop my Pandora Lauryn Hill radio station to remember that song enough to web search it. Audio-multi-tasking-challenged]

So here’s one of the things I could have/should have taken to show Marge.

Overcast stitch around the first "L"
Overcast stitch around the first “L” – caught in the sun (I followed this sun spot around the house this morning. Sewing in the sun is more satisfying than I could have imagined – plus easier to see stuff for us near-sighted folks sporting the goggles.)

The previous versions of this were here and here. I’m having a lot of fun with these pre-printed quilt squares my mom sent me as a package. It’s puckering a bit because I don’t have it in a hoop – not sure how to solve that problem (believe you me, I have imagined several self-made “square hoops” that are exactly this size – some made of twigs and pine needles. Is there a market for this?! I doubt it. Is it even possible?! Probably, but why?)

After the basic French knots I looked to my favorite embroidery pattern book for some outline stitches (another amazing Christmas gift…that I requested):

My favorite embroidery dictionary
My favorite embroidery dictionary

I used yellow thread for the base stitches and I’m using the dark orange for the overcast stitches.

Not the greatest lighting, but progress persists...
Not the greatest lighting, but progress persists…

I’m planning to add beads at some point, but I may put more outlining in place before I do that.

Nighty-nite for now. See you in my AM.

Palms and Patterns

Today I was kind of all over the map. I worked crazy hours in meetings and also seemed to manage some interesting art in my breaks. Sometimes it seems that one feeds the other…

On my lunch break I took (daylight) pictures of the palm pieces I’ve gathered over the last 5 years. These are pieces of palm trees (usually really tall ones) that fall to the street in wind storms where I live. These storms aren’t necessarily “rare” here, but they happen seasonally and for the most part we don’t see this kind of stuff in the streets on a regular basis.

But then there’s a crazy wind/rain storm that happens for a couple of days (if we’re lucky) and people tend to leave them in the streets and sidewalks for awhile. So the last storm is responsible for my cool eucalyptus leaves hitting the ground from so high up (poor worms/bugs who were feasting on their edges! They’re left with the remaining leaves I guess.). That recent storm also left some new palm pieces I came across in a recent dog walk.

Current doggity pic - he's not happy here because I'm heading out of town
Recent doggity pic – he’s not happy here because I’m heading out of town. The scowl is obvious.

Which inspired me to post a bit of a gallery here, of my palm canvas finds. The first two I came across were way too big and intimidating for me to start painting on, but I have a vision for this medium, and the smaller pieces I came across recently seemed like a good testing ground.

My first palm canvas
My first palm canvas – I imagine a giraffe on this one
close-up of the grain
close-up of the grain

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This one sits in a corner of my office, by turns mocking and inspiring me.

my 2nd palm canvas - sitting in a rocking chair It's huge y'all
my 2nd palm canvas – sitting in a rocking chair – It’s huge y’all

This one arrived at a craft fair as possible table decoration, and when they didn’t have room for it they said out loud, “I guess we should just throw it away.” And my supersonic-craft hearing kicked in and I ran across the room to say, “I’d like to stow that in the backseat of my car, if that’s ok with you?” So now I have a life-size palm frond on which to paint my next masterpiece. Get started already, huh?

my 3rd palm canvas(ses); the small middle piece is for test paint
my 3rd palm canvas(ses); the small middle piece is for test paint
close-up of the cool grain
close-up of the cool grain

Is it just me, or do the 3rd palms look like Alien casings? I’m not sure if I’ll be painting on the front or back of those (which is all relative, in relation to the tree right?).

So I’m excited about the 3rd palms because they’re not as big as #1 and #2, so whatever I paint on them can’t possibly be as serious as what happens on #1 and #2, right? Anyways, I picked up a stub palm frond that I can try all my acrylic pain on first. So nervous I am, with these palm fronds. I see the possibilities but I’m not sure how to get there.

[Brief Interlude]

I tried to use my lunchtime sun to also capture some better pictures of my drawings without much luck. But I did capture this, which I like. The wind kept blowing the paper off the stump I was using, so I grabbed this glass orb to weigh it down (used to be part of a solar light in the garden). Turned into a nice shot, I think.

Reflections: Going, Going, Gone
Reflections: Going, Going, Gone

[End Interlude]

During lunch I also separated (OCD fashion) all the quilting squares mom sent me recently. Turns out there’s lots of similar patterns in different colors, and that got me thinking about free-form embroidery options.

So I picked a square and decided to start sewing French knots in the loopy pattern. Turns out there’s a cursive capital “L” in the loopy pattern that I didn’t see when I started.

I started with red French knots and saw the pattern; ready to continue with yellow "L's" on the next row
I started with red French knots and saw the pattern; ready to continue with yellow “L’s” on the next row
I just realized these "L's" are visible when this is right side up and upside down. Escher!!
I just realized these “L’s” are readable when this is right side up and upside down. Escher!!

This is one of my first free-form embroideries – what fun! I have big plans for these L’s involving beads and outlines of other colored threads. Stay tuned. It was fun to free-form on this square, but it’s interesting working without the tension of a hoop. By the last “L” I think I finally had it figured out.

the other patterns in different colors
the other patterns in different colors (see the cursive “L”?!)

I wish I could sew all night, but time for bed. See you in the new creative AM.