I cannot count my day complete
'Til needle, thread and fabric meet.
~Author Unknown

Sharing a common thread with those who love the art of hand embroidery

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Year's Past Projects

The year is just about over, and I am looking back at all I have finished projects and what I am still in the process of finishing.
In January of this year, the icy white days, inspired me to work on my white and cut work projects. Even though this basket is finished, I still want to add something to the corners of this tablecloth.
I also showed you, blogging friends, an easy way to transfer patterns for embroidery.

In February, the little Girl Scouts were selling the most adorable cookies, that reminded me of my grandmother's buttons.

In March, wildflowers were inspiring me to match colors and to get busy stitching.

In April, I decided to use up my stash of assorted cotton yarns by crocheting this granny square afghan. Although I have many squares crocheted, I am still not finished with this.

In May, I showed you all a vintage table cloth, that I removed previous stitching on and embroidered the way I love....this also, I am not finished with.

June found me digging through my stash of scraps and miniature quilt patterns ,

and through July, making a couple to hang on the wall.

In August, I experimented with small pieces of embroidery, making them into pretty buttons.

I also started making embroidered towels with matching wash cloths.

The whole month of September, found me staying up till the wee morning hours, to finish 7 sets of towels for a customer.....which I did complete!

In October, I was in the mood to embroider small coasters.

In November, I fell in love with black embroidery with just a splash of color. I really do love this technique!

In December, I made the decision to start accumulating my embroidered work as well as my crocheted wash cloths, in hopes of selling at the Farmer's Market next July. I am still working on these projects.....along with other great ideas.
Now......how about you????
Do you have a project that you have been working on all year and not yet through? Or have you finished what you have been working on? I would love to hear!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Merry Christmas

May your stocking be filled with linen and floss,

May your home be filled with cheer,

May you find enough projects to stitch,

and to keep you until next year!

Have a blessed Christmas!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

What were you stitching on August 31, 1997?

August 31, 1997.........I remember that day well. I was up at 2:00 AM, stitching on a beaded tree skirt, while my little ones were asleep and my husband was working the night shift. With very small children at that time, I did not get much sewing done, until the wee hours of the morning, when they were not needing my attention, plus, it helped me survive the loniliness when my husband was away.
The reason I remember this date so well is not only was I finished with the tree skirt, which I had started the past June, but as I was watching the news, the tragic news......Princess Diana was gone......tragically killed in an auto accident.....I just could not believe it! As I was getting ready to retire for the night, my mind still filled with the tragic news, I heard my rabbits outside crying. I ran outside to find that dogs had attacked the hutches. What rabbits that were not killed in this attack, were horribly injured and at 3:00 AM, the local vet was at my house, putting them down for me. Such a tragic sad night.

Although I remember these sad things when this piece was finished, when I look at the designs, it reminds me of the the happy Christmas times when our children were very small....
and all Santa had to bring was baby dolls, trucks, and play dough......such sweet, simple times.

I never did cut the piece to fit around the bottom of our tree. I knew it would soon be ruined by small hands and pets. Instead it has always been draped across our old piano and is still in "new condition." On the back is a label that I fixed, stating the dates when I began and finished, along with a small note about Princess Diana. Many years and generations from now......when I am no longer stitching on this earth, someone will have this in their possession and will probably go research who Princess Diana was.
Now how about you? Were you stitching on something or creating when something "big" happened? I would love to hear!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Washcloth Pattern

I have been asked If I would share the pattern for this washcloth.....and of course! I would be more than glad to. Now I kind of made this up as I went based on a gingham afghan design. I am not that good at writing pattern instructions.... the best thing to do is to go to this link and follow the gingham pattern, but use only 2 colors instead of 3. To make a washcloth size, I chained 50, and then worked my wash cloth in single crochet.

Inspired Crochet Design...http://inspiredcrochetdesign.blogspot.com/2007/10/free-pattern-gingham-ghan.html this lovely lady has a lot of wonderful patterns and helped me understand how to do the gingham squares. This is so easy to make and you can use any color combination. So here you go....enjoy creating!!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Christmas turns into country

I decided it was time to make something "Christmasy" or at least with a little bit of Christmas color.

I completed this soft little wash cloth.......

and also played with more "black with a splash of color" embroidery.

When I put the two together, they came out more like "country kitchen", which I love the look of. I am going to make sets like these to sell at the farmer's market in July- October of this coming year. How about you? Do you see red and white a lot in kitchens.....or blue? What colors do you like kitchens do be in most? I would love to hear.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

White Pillow Cases

Although this is the season that I should be stitching on Christmas things,
I worked on my white work pillowcases this week.
I have been working on different sets of white work pillowcases, in between my sewing orders. My plan is to have 3 sets finished to give to each one of my children......maybe when they marry. I would like to monogram them as well when the time comes. I have always loved the look of antique and vintage linens done in white and monogrammed with someones initials. I think it was such a wonderful thing for someone to work on such items and then to hand them down to some lucky recipient. My children, at their young stage in life at this time, will not appreciate any thing like this....so I am stitching and then placing them away for a later date. How about you? Have you had any linens made for you when you were married? Have you made anything for your children's wedded life? I would love to hear!

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Elegance Of Black And A Splash Of Color

On an out of town excursion, I noticed a set of machine embroidered towels. They had vegetable motifs on them embroidered in black thread. Only a portion of the vegetable was done in color. So eye catching, that it stuck in my mind throughout the day.
As soon as I returned home, I dug out my patterns and started to work embroidering on this pea design. Letting only the peas be embroidered in pea green, while the rest of the design is embroidered in black. This got me to thinking about what else would be wonderful with this kind of embroidery?
I have always been fond of this butterfly design with a different butterfly for each day of the week.

I decided on Burgundy's and mauve's for this butterfly.

Finishing the butterfly in full color with the surrounding design in black.

I just love the elegant way it looks? Don't you?

Now I have plans on finishing the sets this way. The corn in the vegetable patterns will have only the kernels in yellow,the carrots, only one done in orange, etc, and the rest of the butterflies in other colors like blues, purples, oranges, and yellows.
What other designs do you think would look great embroidered this way? I would love to hear.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Meaning of "My Life's Work"

In an article I have just written for a magazine to premier in late November, I referred to the embroidery and design work I do as "my life's work". The questions stemmed from this has made me want to clarify what "life's work" means..... Do I earn a steady income to support myself with this "life's work"?.......no
While I do get paid well for the work I do....one piece can take from 6 weeks to months to a year to complete. The payment not being received until that piece is finished. One reason I do not have a website....I cannot handle more than 3 customers at a time.
Am I well known.....famous...for the work I do? No, and I am not worried about "fame" to be involved with my work. I am known for my work by only a handful of folks, who know me or who I have done work for. I do the work I do, because it's who I am, it's what makes me.....
So how can I say this is my "life's work"? Well there is a difference is "life's work" and the term making a living. I have worn many hats in the work field....hanging them all up when I received the crown of motherhood, where I have spent over half of my life, devoted to the care of my family. This is what takes first place in my life. In the spare time.........
I have spent 40 years learning and working with embroidery and design .......my passion....what I would rather do if there were only one thing in the world left for me to do........"my life's work". It is how I express myself,..... my therapy....my happiness, in a world so full of rush and demand.
How about you? What are you passionate about when all work has been done? When all demands have been met? What inspires you and makes your hands want to create?
What is your "life's work"? I would love to hear.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

A vintage cross stitch design

I remember the first time I found these little napkins. Only three in the set, tucked away inside of an antique dresser drawer at one of my favorite "antique hangouts". Small in size and the material yellowed with age, I still had to have them..................for the vintage design, still fresh and colorful as if it were stitched only yesterday. I placed these away and have had them for awhile...........
but have decided to make my own set of napkins with this design. So with pencil and paper in hand, I carefully marked each stitch.........

Even the hems are hand sewn. Someone, whoever she was, stitched away her spare time on these. Did she use them instantly at her table? I always wonder. From looking at the napkin, I think these might have been a stamped cross stitch set. Each one is perfectly stitched.
I now have a pattern for this vintage design.......a little piece of history preserved....for someone........someday.........

I have a set of vintage linen napkins that have never been used just waiting for a design like this to grace their surface.................I can't wait to begin stitching! Probably one day, mine also will be sitting in an antique shop waiting for someone to discover them.
Now, how about you? Do you have some charming little napkins from some other place and time? I would love to hear.

***Please note: I have often been asked if I sell the designs once I preserve them........
no.........I preserve them for my own reference in making new linens with a vintage charm for myself and for customers. The only thing I charge for is the embroidery work I do for a customer.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Embroidery Design To Share

I am in the middle of embroidery orders to finish and don't have much to post on this blog this week. However, I wanted this blog to be a spot to share the passion and love for hand embroidery, by also sharing website information on stitching and patterns. While going through my vintage stash of transfers, this lovely cottage design caught my eye and I decided to share it with those of you who like to embroider. I am not sure where this design originated from and I hope that no one minds I am sharing it with you. If you would like to copy this, just click onto the design and it should come up with a larger size to print for embroidery. Lazy Daisy stitch, outline stitch and french knots are the most common stitches used for this design. But let your creative side go wild and use the stitches you want.For those who aren't quite sure about how to stitch, the Internet is the most wonderful place for instruction, or the library offers wonderful how to books. I would love to see the colors you chose and the finished design if you decide to embroider this! Let me know! My best wishes for your best stitches!

Monday, October 12, 2009

A Basket Of Memories

In my "creative space" there is a vintage wire basket that was retrieved from a weathered falling down farm house, long forgotten and left by the ones who used to live there. It is filled with strips and scraps of the fabric that has passed through my life. Every time, I glance in it's direction, I am not only inspired to create something from it's contents, but I am reminded of the people I love and have known over the years. Some still with me...others who have gone on. There are pieces from a dear uncle's shirt, who celebrated our holidays with us. He had just celebrated my youngest child's 4th birthday, and we were planning on enjoying his visit again for Thanksgiving, just a few days away.......he unexpectedly passed away......
Then there is a pink gingham dress, that my sweet aunt loved to wear..... I remember her well, dressed in it while sitting out on the front porch quilting her blocks.....and I still cannot bring myself to cut it up for quilt scraps......
there are pieces of fabric with dinosaurs, cowboys and Indians, from making my kindergarten son shirts for school......which he cut with his scissors up and down the front, so he would not have to wear them again, because the kids at school laughed at him......a lesson for me to learn.
All of the pretty floral print fabric pieces are also there......from the dress I made for my daughter.....with matching bows.........one dress had 22 buttons down the front. Some of these pieces have already been cut and marked, waiting to be stitched into a double wedding ring quilt that I have always wanted to make. So I love this old basket sitting in my space. It gives me inspiration, and a sense of "home" and "family" .
Now......do you have scraps of material saved from the past? Grandmas favorite dress? Baby's first Easter dress perhaps? I would love to hear!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Embroidered Things I Love

I have always been drawn to vintage embroidered cocktail coasters. Maybe because of their small size and different designs. While looking through a stash of tossed away embroidery transfers from an estate sell that a dear friend had sent my way, I found a cute design perfect for such a coaster.

Of course, I always pull out my pink and burgundy floss first,which reminds me of rose buds and tea parties, I stitched this one........

then I turned to the sunny and cheery colors , which always remind me of daffodils in April, this one turned out nice....I think.

I think these kinds of things dress up a table and make everything so pretty! I am in the process of making several sets of these.......perhaps in sets of 6? In different sets of colors....however, they would also be pretty in mix match colors as well.

I love the way they can dress up a plain plate. Blue and white is always a wonderful way to decorate.

I am already thinking about what to give for Christmas....a set of these with a teacup and some tea in a small basket would be wonderful.....don't you think?
How about you? Do you like little pieces of embroidery...crochet....or even painted things? Do you use coasters and do you decorate your table with linens? I would love to hear.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Still Stitching Along

The towel sets that I am supposed to have finished before Christmas
are ever slowly stacking up.Stitching and trimming each one slowly at a time.

The fall afternoons are so pleasant that I have been taking my stitching outside. If you look closely at the photo, you can see my two helpers, Max and Boo, have given in to a nice nap. Napping will not do for me.....I still have so much more to stitch.
My question to you.......do you like to create your creations in the early morning......middle of the day....or late at night? I would love to hear!

Monday, August 31, 2009

A Busy Time At Yesteryear

An email discussion with a wonderful lady, Liz, wound up turning what I had intended to make for dish washing, into a beauty aide.
Liz had contacted me about my embroidered towels for her guest bathroom and had commented on the crocheted dishcloths being too pretty for dishes. I then told her about my new discovery of this wonderful soft cotton yarn and that the cloths could be facial washcloths instead, to go with the towels.
This wonderful cotton yarn is appropriately named! I love this cotton! It is so soft and yet so absorbant! Wonderful for crocheted dishcloths and soft enough for crocheted wash cloths.

I sold these two sets to Liz. When she received them, she emailed at how pleased she was to have these in her guest bath. (Thank you, Liz ) The darker cloth is supposed to look purple to go with the towels flowers....

here it is...it looks purple in the light...

Today, this shipment of towels just arrived. Another sweet lady I have embroidered for over the many past years wants 7 sets of embroidered towels before Christmas. The sets contain 7 towels each. My needles and fingers are going to be very busy. In the meantime, I will also be making more towels and wash cloths to hopefully sell in my on line shop soon!
What about you? Do you find the approaching holidays a time that you are busiest selling your wares? Which holiday is the busiest? I would love to hear.