Tuesday, November 25, 2014


 a few years back, for my annual sale, i wanted to make the invitations extra-special
something that would give people a taste of what they could expect to find

that year i made little embroidered stars and attached them to tags that i coffee-stained and stamped, tied on with pretty bows in the palest shades of icy blue

 i embroidered "wish" on the back and called them "wishing-stars"

as i worked on them i thought about some of the things people might wish on a star for...

it wasn't long before i decided i would like to make them for people, people who read my blog, people that might have a wish they needed to make

the response was fabulous - i think i made about twenty... the recipients thought i gave them a special treat, but really, the treat was mine
time stitching is always wonderful
 reflective stitching is an even greater gift
each little heart i made caused me to ponder the recipient's word, why they might have chosen it, what that same word might mean for me, whether it might come true for them, what it meant in the world, and on and on...

it was a wonderful thing

and in addition to stars, i also love to make hearts

the little fabric-knot heart that graced the front of a book i made

 the heart that became a pocket-holder of dreams

 monthly word hearts

 a paper, lace and silk heart

and last year, tiny wool hearts with vintage buttons and scraps of lace

i have several of these, and still more i want to make

so i think it's time for word-hearts...

 if you would like a word-heart, with your very own special word embroidered on the back,
leave a comment telling me your word, and what colour you'd like your heart to be

pale neutrals, soft pastels, bright purples or aquas, rich red or burnished brown

lace or no lace

just say the word

Sunday, November 23, 2014

personal rules...

 when it comes to all things creative I have a few personal rules that have kept me in good stead over the years...

i only make things that are flat

i don't make things that need facings

i don't make anything that requires a rolled hem

although I have been known to have a glass of wine whilst machine quilting, i never do when cutting out a quilt... nor when buying fabric

and darts are out of the question

i've just added another no-no to the list

 karen's latest class "doodle, gather, create" intrigued me from the day she announced it
i loved doodling in high school
and i certainly like to gather bits and pieces of this and that

first task was to choose an inspiration fabric - the one above is mine

pale beige with blue branches, random smaller white ones thrown in for good measure

i set to work the other evening, dithering over pen choice... black too harsh, my usual dark brown colour of choice too dark as well

i finally found a nice lighter brown one and began doodling on heavy watercolour paper
it wasn't long before i became completely absorbed and progressed well, delighting in the design that emerged - smaller branches, the curve slightly exaggerated... similar, yet different

i was three-quarters of the way finished when, after holding it up at a slightly different angle than before, i realized to my dismay my light brown pen was red!


new rule - no more choosing pen colours at night

i couldn't bring myself to toss it and start over and so here it is, in all it's glory

after the drawing was completed i started in on the next part
isolation and definition

 getting side-tracked along the way with other circular ideas

putting this here and that there to see what other ideas take hold

embroidering on mulberry paper
slowly and oh, so carefully!

loving how they look, together and apart

thrilled with this paper-work

i have a notebook beside me where i am busily jotting down the ideas as they flow
karen said there would more inspiration in this work we produce than hours in the day, that it would inform future work and be an amazing reference to look back on
i am already seeing that and i've really just got started on this piece

 pen-work becomes stitch-craft

 i've finally decided what comes next with this and hope to get at it soon

in the meanwhile, i'm just shuffling all this paper around and about, entertaining myself in the most delightful way!

Friday, November 14, 2014

how do you choose?

choosing what to work on, what to create, what to teach...

some days with so much choice in front of me i would be mrs. dithers herself, tapping my fingers, looking at this fabric, that lace, thinking on it, over and over again

at times i would walk out of my sewing room and pick up a book instead

lately i read about warren buffet's method for creating focus and thought it might just work for me, for what i do

simply put, you list twenty-five things
things to make
things to do
whatever things you like...

when the list is complete, you choose five,
and those five are all you do until all five are done

thinking this would not only sharpen my focus, but also prevent me from adding more to my pile of things not finished, i decided to give it the old college try

my list ranged from projects years old to those yet to be
some for gifts, some large, some small, quilting, needlework, lace-making, painting, sketching - no limits

choosing five from that list wasn't quite as easy as i thought
wanting to have variety, with nothing terribly complicated or daunting for the first go-round, i chose those that had been haunting me for while but were near and dear to my heart

it took me almost three weeks to get them all done, and by the end of the last one my thoughts were turning to the next list of twenty-five
paring that second list down took even more thought than the first time 'round - i knew the limitations of it now, but also the benefits, and my choices became more conscious

"if i can only work on five, what matters most?"

the simplicity of this method is that i am always choosing from a smaller pool, and with that narrowed field of possibility has come a greater focus

in the narrowing, comes an expansion

i like that

and i like that these wool and flannel pillows for store samples are now finally done!

love the combination of wool and flannel

charming rural scenes

embroidered details



 there was a great satisfaction in writing the date completed by each item on list of five

and great excitement at beginning the process all over again

Monday, November 3, 2014

the accordion rose

 bet that title caught my friend marjorie's attention... she's an accordion player extraordinaire
and a very sweet, kind person, so she certainly is an "accordion rose"

there's another kind though, of the ribbon embroidery sort...

i love it - my favourite ribbon flower of all

 pretty in any width of ribbon, any colour

the design below is a free one from di van niekirk
i changed the flowers on her design to accordion roses, clumped tightly together they remind me of a carnation

a single one in pink for effect

this has me dreaming up all manner of monograms...

love the heaviness the wrapped ribbon gives - that technique is also on my "i want to try more..."
 that never-ending-always-being-added-to list of mine

in the meanwhile though, i've been adding a little bit to this in my spare time

more gimp

 i did a small cluster of french knots at the top of this bit of gimp and then - well, i just couldn't help myself - i had to add a few tiny beads

it was positively, definitely, undoubtedly hard to stop there

i consoled myself with french knots - a multitude of them, spilling along the length of two different edges

when all else is said and done, i will add beads here and there along the length of these french knot edges

looking at the other edges now, thinking of what choices there are - much as i love the french knots i don't want each seam to be the same

i'm also contemplating the size of these roses - they seem a little weighty to me, a tad big
i used the widest ribbon for them but am now considering removing them and re-stitching them with a narrower ribbon

i just can't bring myself to cutting them off on a whim - what if i'm wrong and once everything else is added - what if then they're just right?

when things niggle at me like this i usually get no peace until i do the deed - they're just so pretty...

roses, and gimp, and silk and beads
i'm in my glory...