Saturday, February 26, 2011

A little bit of everything

It's been a little while, hasn't it? These past couple of weeks have been very busy, and I just haven't had the time update my blog. But I did get a bit of creating done. In fact, I finally finished my Italy album! I also had time for some stitching, and a little trip to the potteries at Seagrove. More on each further down in this post.
But first, here's one of my last layouts for Italy:

I think all the product on this layout except for the stick pins, pearls, and the letters are from Graphic45. I was inspired for this layout by this Pencillines sketch:

As you can see, I turned the sketch on its side and scooted the elements to the right a bit. I used some of Graphic 45's flowers, and in order to give them some more dimension, I folded the tips of each petal under just slightly, and then bent each one in the middle. I think it makes the flowers much more intersting, don't you? (well, if you can tell from this photo anyway)

And here's my last double page layout, about some of the interesting things that we saw as we wandered the streets of Rome:

Finally, I made my title page:

This layout contains most of the ephemera I collected during our stay. The image is a postcard I bought, my museum pass is in the top corner, and my train and airplane tickets are tucked under the postcard:

I popped up one of my letters and some of the Graphic 45 cutouts to create a little dimension for the page:

Now for my stitching progress on Sarah Hatton McPhail. Here's where I was back on the 12th:

and here's where I am now:

Today, Alton and I decided to make a visit to the NC Pottery Center today. I have been wanting to check it out for years, but never quite had the time. Friday morning, I read that they were having a special exhibit of teapots and teacups, and I decided it was time to visit. There were some amazing teapots on display. Some were simply gorgeous, and some were amazingly bizarre. We were handed a map to all the local potteries, so we picked out a few to visit, and off we went. I exercised what I consider to be an incredible amount of restraint and only bought two pieces from two different galleries. First there's this beautiful little vase:

I loved the color, of course, and the little crystal blooms are so pretty.
Bot Alton and I decided that our favorite pottery was the Whynot Pottery (located in the town of Whynot, of course). We both made a purchase there. Mine was this scrumptious swirly bowl:

I haven't decided where to put either of my new treasures, or how to use them, but I'm really looking forward to figuring it out! This week promises to be another crazy busy one. I may be in trial, I may not. We'll find out Monday morning! Til then, happy crafting everyone!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Counterfeit Kit Challenge

Last month I mentioned that I have started following and participating in this blog. I wanted to share what I've been doing for this challenge so far this month. The first challenge was to create a kit from my own stashed based on this monthly kit club's February kit:

The kit is from a club called Scraps of Darkness. I have to admit, I was a little intimidated by the dark and pink/heart themes of this kit. But I certainly had tons of stuff to throw into my own kit:

Phew! Now what am I going to create with all this? I've been sitting on it waiting for some of the mini challenges to get me going. And the first one is quite a challenge. We were challenged to create a layout with no photos, using hand journaling as the focus of our layout. While I have several layouts for my Egypt trip that I will be creating without photos, it didn't 'feel' right to put those layouts on the papers from this kit. And I am soooo not in a sappy, romantic mood (which these papers would be perfect for). What to scrap, what to scrap. Then I decided to focus on the 'dark' element of the papers and tell a story from my teenage-hood that is certainly worth preserving. The layout is entitled "Home Invasion", and here she is:

I knew when I assembled my counterfeit kit that I would be altering the heck out of most of papers when I got around to using them, and that's exactly what I did for this layout. I sprayed the white and pink (roses) paper with some pink and black glimmer mists, distressed the edges and inked them with black. I colored the black velvet damask paper with some 'haunted shadow' glimmer mist, and I just love how this turned out. So yummy and sparkly (the sparkly is hard to see in the photo).

I splatted the entire layout with some black acrylic paint to symbolise the terror I felt on that crazy morning. And I used some more Glimmer mist and some silver glimmer glaze to alter my little chipboard element. While I was waiting for it to dry, I covered it with a paper towel to keep it safe from my cats. The towel created a surprise texture on the chipboard... I think I might cover more chipboard with towels while they dry, cuz I kind of love how this turned out.

The only pieces on this layout that aren't from my counterfeit kit are the journaling papers (because none of my kit papers were journal worthy) and the strip of vintage lace to the left of the journaling. When all is said and done, I'm glad we had this challenge and that it inspired me to create this layout. And in case you can't read the journaling in the photo, here's the long and short of it: I was home alone for the weekend and someone tried to come in the back door while I was trying to close it. I was terrified. It turned out to be my dad who'd come back home unexpectedly to pick up a few items from the storage building out back before he returned to the convention he and the rest of the family were at. Happy crafting, everyone!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

A Bird in the Hand

Look what I finished!

I'm so bad about finishing things up, so I'm really pleased to have this pin pillow done. The pattern is "A Bird in Hand" by Blackbird Designs. I stitched it into a pillow, stuffed it with a mix of crushed walnut shells and bamboo filling, and then trimmed it with some vintage lace from my scrapbooking stash.
Now that I've finished the pillow, I've had to decide what to work on next. I have an order in for some linen to work on a couple of new patterns. In the meantime, I've decided to devote my stitching time to finishing one of my samplers already in progress. This sampler is already about halfway done, and it's one I got in an Essamplaire class two years ago. High time I got around to putting some more stitches in her!

I was originally planning to go home this weekend, but circumstances changed, and I decided to stay in town. So today will be a long chain of loading the laundry, working on my sampler, and hopefully getting some more scrapbooking done. The cats are wrestling with one another, and I'm looking forward to a big box of Prima flowers landing on my doorstep later this afternoon.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Festival of Broken Needles (and some stitching photos)

Today is Hari Kuyo (the Festival of Broken Needle) in Japan. As best I understand, this is an ancient tradition where women lay their broken needles to rest in ceremonies at Buddhist temples. They take the time to thank their needles for the service they have given, and reflect on the importance of the little things in life. After all, where would we stitchers be without our needles? I don't have any broken needles, so I took the above picture of some of my needles in honor of today.
I also have a finish!

I put the last stitches in my North Wind project on Sunday. I love how it looks on this brighter blue fabric. Now to get it framed (which usually takes me a verrrry long time to do). For the rest of the week, I'm working on stitching together a pillow I stitched up a few months ago. Pictures will come as soon as it's finished!
This weekend, I went to Jeanine's Gathering of Embroiderers . I had signed up for the "Glittering Floral Lattice" class with Tricia Wilson Nguyen, and I was really looking forward to the experience. I wasn't sure I was going to make it, because I was sick all week, but with a little help from Alton, I managed to slog my way through the weekend. This is the project that we were given:

And this is what I accomplished in class:

Not much, huh? We spent the entire class learning new stitches, and looking at slides of the antique clothing that inspired the piece. Can I just say, "wow." I've never tackled anything like this before. I need to get a few supplies together before I start working on my actual project, but I very much want to finish this piece this year. I have to say, I don't think that I will become a dedicated goldwork stitcher. The finished pieces are truly swoon-worthy, but I don't see myself relaxing while I'm working on this piece, and I think relaxing is a big part of what I love about stitching. Don't get me wrong, I'm not sad to have taken the class. I love learning new things. I just don't think I've found a new lifetime love.
Alton and I spent the rest of the weekend enjoying some great dining, including dinner at Chownings Tavern (peanut soup, anybody?), and exploring the colonial Williamsburg site. We visited the Folk and Decorative arts museums, and toured the Palace, Capitol, magazine, and Charleton's Coffeehouse. It was a pretty miserable weekend, weatherwise, but we still enjoyed our time away. The only non-stitching photo I snapped was of this cow:

The cows were hanging out in a field near the museum. I was excited that they were still there when we left the museum, and Alton was sizing the poor thing up for a steak! (never fear, the fence kept the cows safe from both Alton's fork and my desire to pet them).
Well, off to work on my pin pillow. Happy stitching (or scrapping) everyone!

Monday, February 7, 2011

No, I'm not dead

... but I have been under the weather for the past week and a half! Yup, got sick just in time for the weekend before last, and I haven't felt right ever since. But before it got too bad, I did manage to get several layouts finished. This first one was for a challenge to scrap your dreams over on the Two Peas website:

This photo is going to be the last page of my Rome album. I used a picture taken at the top of the Spanish Steps at sunset, and journaled about my longing to see new places. The patterned papers are resist papers from Pink Paislee, and I used some Glimmer Mist to add just a kiss of color to the page.
This next layout has tons of color. I made it for another challenge, this time to use red as the predominant color on a page. I think I got that covered! I used products from WebstersPages new Spring Market line. The picture is of me and my brother riding with our PaPa on his tractor. I thought it was just the coolest thing to get on that tractor when I was a little girl!

This next layout documents our visit to a carpet making factory on the outskirts of Cairo last fall. We visited here on our first full day in Egypt. I love, love, loved the gorgeous silk rugs that were on display there. Sadly, I could not afford one, but Alton did buy me a gorgeous handmade wool rug from the same factory as a birthday gift. I haven't put it on display yet, but I think the plan is to maybe stitch a bar of fabric across the back and use it as a wall hanging eventually.

I used papers from the Basic Grey "marrakech" line. I cut motifs out of one sheet and layered them around the photo of the young rug maker. I added blue bling and some sequined centers to the cutouts to finish off the look:

This last layout is about how much I loved the weathered texture on the buildings in Rome. I started with a plain sheet of cardstock, and then I inked and painted away. I was trying to recreate some of the look that I saw on the walls. I didn't quite catch it, and if I had to do it over, I wouldn't put the crackle paint over the top (too shiny). But I like the finished look. It's messy and distressed, and I had a lot of fun creating it.

Needless to say, I did not meet my stated goal of finishing my Rome album by last Thursday. Oh well, that's how it goes! I'm very close to getting the rest of it done, so the new goal is to finish the album by the end of this week. Tomorrow, I will share some pictures from my weekend visit to Williamsburg, Virginia.