Thursday, April 29, 2010

A week of stitching

This week has been all about stitching. I spent the weekend working on a model for mom's upcoming classes in Nashua. And then a prize that I had won from Shakespeare's Peddler on Facebook arrived in the mail and I really got inspired:

The pattern in the photo is called "Jenny Bean's Halloween Sampler." It uses some specialty fibers with fabulously creepy names like "sarcophagus" and "zombie flesh". I'm placing an order for those fibers soon, as well as a piece of hand dyed fabric from Stitches and Spice called "gravestone". Sounds like it will all go together well, huh?
I spent most of the week working on this little freebie from Blackbird Designs called 'souvenir de france'. I wanted it to be super tiny, so I stitched it over one with one thread of the new Sampler Thread color "Rose Garden" on 28 count Porcelain linen by Silkweavers. I have a couple of other solid red patterns on order, and I think I'm going to put them all on this same linen. I haven't decided whether I'll finish it as a pincushion, or come up with something else strange to do with it. Beside it, you see another small piece I finished recently, February's make-do by Shakespeare's Peddler. I loved the sentiment and the little bird cage, and I just had to have it!

I've moved on to another smallish design I got last month. It's called "Love & Be Loved" by With Thy Needle and Thread. I've replaced all the original fibers the designer called for with overdyed threads, and I'm stitching it on 40 count lambswool linen. When I finish the stitching, I'm going to finish the piece by making it a part of a scrapbook type banner to hang on the wall. This one is probably going to take quite a while to make it from concept to finished piece! And speaking of things taking a long time, I am notoriously bad at actually framing/finishing my stitching. Here are two ornaments I just finished 'finishing' last month. As you can see, one of them was actually stitched almost 3 years ago! I wish I could say that's the oldest finished piece I have lying around, but alas, that is not the case. Happy stitching and happy National Scrapbook Day (two days early).

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Spring Tray

I've spent most of my creative time this past week working on a project for Webster's Pages' monthly challenge. The challenge was to make a piece of spring decor for the home using WP products. I had been wanting to play with one of 7Gypsies' printer trays for a while, and when I found one at my 'local' big box craft store, this challenge came to mind.

I repainted the tray white, fussy cut away, and voila! I also played a little bit with making my own flowers out of some of the WP trims. I love how this one turned out:

My other experiments didn't turn out so well. You can see one of them in the top right corner of the tray. It looks okay, but it's not exactly what I was going for. I had originally planned to have a little straw nest and a bird sitting on the top of the tray, but then I realized that I wouldn't be able to put the tray up against a wall if I did that. Oh well! I think it turned out okay in the end. It's not perfect, but then again, neither am I! Ha ha ha. Hope everyone had a great weekend.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

D.C.'s Cherry Blossom Festival

Alton and I met up in Washington, D.C., a couple of weekends ago to check out this year's Cherry Blossom Festival. We did the same thing last year, earlier in the festival, only to suffer through a miserably cold and foggy weekend. We were hoping for better luck this time around, and the weather did not disappoint.

I was suffering from a cold, so we had to keep things pretty low key. Still, I managed to haul myself out of the hotel early enough for us to catch the parade. I think that was the first time I'd ever had the chance to see a parade balloon in person. We weren't positioned to catch the greatest photos. This is by far the best one I ended up taking:

After the parade, we wandered over to where the Japanese street festival was being held. We watched a few weapons demos, a strange musical performance, and then perused the offerings of the vendors.

Several stalls had gorgeous paper crafts on display. One vendor had roll after roll of gorgeous washi paper. I bought a kit to make an "oshie" flower. It's supposed to go on a notecard. I think we all know that it will eventually find its way onto a scrapbook page documenting our weekend adventures!

And what would a street festival be without street festival food? We enjoyed some chicken satays, egg rolls (okay, Alton had the egg roll), and a funnel cake. I think we both might have sampled more of the Asian fare if the lines hadn't been so darned long. We saw several people walking by with some interesting food. The most intriguing to me was some sort of dessert served inside a tiny pineapple. Wish we could have found that stall!

Next, we wandered over towards the Washington Monument and watched a local tap dance group perform, then headed back to the hotel to prepare for round 2 of our adventures. That evening, we went back out and had dinner at an Ethiopian resaurant in Georgetown. Yum! After dinner, Alton wanted to try to get some photos of a couple of the monuments after sunset. Unfortunately, the GPS on his phone kind of sucked. Let's just say that we saw a lot of our nation's capitol that night, some of it several times! In the end, we did make it to the WWII Memorial. It was the first time either of us had seen the monument, and I enjoyed taking it all in while Alton took some images. I tried to take a couple of snapshots too, but I do not have the skills to take a decent nighttime photo. Yet. Cold or not, it was a nice weekend hanging out with my man.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Family gatherings (and a little Tim Holtz)

I love those gorgeous tags that Tim Holtz is always sharing on his blog. So today, I tried to channel a little Holtz into my scrapbooking. Okay, I'm no tag genius, but I do think these two turned out pretty cute.

That blending tool works some real magic, doesn't it? I love how softly it pushes the colors against one another. Of course, I probably should have done a better job of figuring out ahead of time whether my creations were going to fit on the page I was making them for. I barely squoze (squeezed?) everything together!
Sometimes scrapbooking is just about having fun "making pretty pages." But sometimes, as I put picture to paper, and think about what the photographs represent, I get a smidge more introspective. For example, this photo got me thinking about family:

I love getting together with my extended family. Which makes me wonder why we, as a family, don't make an effort to do it more often. I don't live all that close to the majority of my family, so I end up seeing them one or two times a year, max. And yet, it's always a happy occasion. There are those family members that I chat with year after year, even though I get confused about their exact relationship to me. I mean, I learned about the difference between 2nd cousins and 1st cousins once removed a long time ago, but promptly forgot again. And really, does it matter? They're kin. They're always glad to see me, even if I'm not a part of their everyday life. And the best part of these kind of gatherings by far is the stories.
In this photo, my grandmother, one of her sisters and neices are looking at some old photos and reminiscing. And, as usual, I learned something new about my grandmother. She made her own clothes, and, apparently, she also made a lot of the clothes her younger siblings wore as well. And back then, they didn't use patterns. She would just look at clothes that she thought were pretty, and if she could get her hands on them, turn them inside out to see how they were put together. And then, she'd make her own outfits! Now that, to me, is a truly impressive skill! All too often, I find myself too busy thinking about the future, or worrying about the present, to take the time to ask my grandmother for stories about her childhood. Resolution: make a point of asking about her younger days at least once each time that we visit.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Won't be trying this again!

Today has been a nice, relaxing day for me. I cleaned the bathroom (yippee), and I've worked some more on my grandmother's birthday album. I had this really bright idea about stitching on the canvas. After all, I'm a proficient needleworker. How hard can it be to just push the needle between the two layers of canvas so that my stitching only shows on one side of the pages? Ha ha. As little stitching as you see here, it KILLED my fingers. And I was afraid the whole time that I was going to break the needle trying to push it between those stiff, stiff layers. Ah well, live and learn, right? I kind of like the way the bright pink threads look on my canvas, but I doubt I'll be trying it again any time soon!

And here's the page that will be facing my canvas page when I finally finish:

Friday, April 16, 2010

Bloomer play

I've been waiting anxiously to get my hands on some of Webster's Pages' new Bloomer ribbons. Finally, finally, a big package of Webster goodness turned up on my doorstep last week! I immediately pulled out the Bloomers and started playing.
I'm using Prima's 8x8 canvas album for this project. I colored the page using Mimosa and Sweet Pea glimmer mists, plus a glimmer screen. I wanted to edge the bottom of the page with some of the Bloomers, but the color wasn't quite right. Here's what the original color of the Bloomers looked like:

I began altering the piece by saturating the Bloomers with Mimosa. It worked okay, but some of my favorite roses are the ones that have a "kiss" of another color on the tips of their petals. I especially love those peachy roses that have hot pink hints of color. Sooo, I sprayed a little Sweet Pea onto my workspace, and gently rubbed the tops of the Bloomers into the ink. I liked the result, but in retrospect, I wonder if the pink might have been more stark if I had allowed the Bloomers to dry from their original spraying before I added even more moisture to the fabric. I'll have to try that next time. But here's what the Bloomers looked like when I was finished:

Finally, I trimmed one individual Bloomer off of the ribbon and used it as the center of an individual flower. I used the same mimosa/sweet pea technique to color the flower.

When I went to stick my page into the protective sleeve, it looked really ugly all squished inside the plastic. So I borrowed a trick from an SEI class I took ages ago and attached the flower to the outside of the protective sleeve. It retains it shape much better that way.

And here' the page that goes to the left of the page above, with the row of Bloomers that I've been talking about:

I've had a lot of fun today making a mess with my Bloomers and Mist. My next couple of pages are going to involve some experimentation with gesso and stitching. Have a great weekend, everyone!

My first post

Well, I've been talking about starting a blog for ages. And, eek, here we go! I intend to use this place to keep track of my creative efforts in scrapbooking and in needlework. This first post is really just a chance for me to figure out how to use this bad boy. And to see if I can post pictures the way I want. This first layout is one I did a while ago. It's a picture of my little brother and I when we were kids. I was inspired from a sketch on the BadGirlsKits message board. Later tonight, I hope to post about my latest experiments with Glimmer Mist and WP's new Bloomers