Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Musings & SRE

Well, I haven't been doing much stitching this week; I'm busy getting ready to give a baby shower. It's funny how you look around your house with different eyes when a bunch of people are coming over. It's like, gee, how long has that chair seat been ripped (I have cats) and how long has that pile of books been sitting here in the kitchen (I have kids) and how many sudoku puzzles are laying around (I have husband) and how did my sewing room get to be such a mess (I'm creative? ha ha)

So, since I have no new seam treatments to share, I thought I'd share this small embroidery I did with dyed silk ribbons. I dyed the ribbons myself, just painting the dye along one edge of the ribbon. It looks very wedding-ish to me. Hope you all are stitching more than I am!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Santa Monica Bead Show

Today I went to the International Gem & Jewelry Show in Santa Monica, CA. The show was HUGE! The Civic Center wasn't big enough to hold all the vendors, so there were giant tents stretched out in all directions. It was really hard to make sure you saw the whole thing. But I was on a short time schedule and really just looking for one thing: flower beads for CQ. I went to my favorite booth, Kahn-Fagan (NAYY); they sent me a free coupon to get in and I parked for free (instead of the $8 the city of Santa Monica wants you to pay - outrageous!), so as to follow that cardinal rule: money saved must be spent on beads(or threads or fabric or....) . I can just imagine the Stash Police catching me there, "Ma'am, reports from your husband indicate that your bead stash is quite sufficient. Put your hands up and STEP AWAY FROM THE BEADS. I repeat, Step away from the beads...". Well, when I get tired I get a bit loopy....

Anyway, I did find some pearls in surprising colors to use in seam embellishments and also lots of flower beads. Certain areas were mostly dominated by jewelry booths and others by bead merchants. Sometimes I needed sunglasses to ward off the intense sparkle from the rows and rows of Swarovskis! Even though it was short, it was fun and exciting!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Day 89

Here is my version of Sharon B's Day 89. When I saw Sharon feature this one, I just loved it! This is a horizontal seam near the sleeve that I don't really want to emphasize, so my embellishment is all in the same color as the fabric beneath it. I added in the green bugles to try to make the gold and blue flow together a little better, but I'm not sure I've accomplished that.

Here is another picture showing more context.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Fun Seam Treatment

Here's another seam on my CQ kimono. I really enjoyed all the different beads and threads I used here.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Day 90

Here is my version of one of the seams in Sharon's seam-packed Day 90. This was a quick and easy one - although it was hard to decide what to weave in and out of the running stitch.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Playing with Shrink Plastic

Ever since I saw Hideko's picture with the small charm in it, I've been curious about making my own "charms" out of shrink plastic. I ordered the kind of shrink plastic you put through your inkjet printer. I copied some motifs from some asian fabrics, and had mixed results. You can see the round motif didn't really come out round when shrunk. I kind of expected that to be the case - it seems the shrink plastic doesn't shrink uniformly in all directions. A few other motifs didn't come out because the color became so dark you can't even tell it's a chinese lion, for example.

The "cherry blossoms" came out pretty well - I printed some of the red brocade fabric onto the shrink plastic and then cut various sizes - you can see the original size in the white paper and the shrunken size on top of each paper blossom. I wanted a small charm, so I kept cutting them smaller and smaller.

You do have to adjust the color saturation before printing them, so they will print lightly and then not darken too much when shrunk. I just imported the scanned fabric into an image editor and adjusted the color there. You need to set your printer to print on transparencies and be sure to print on the correct side of the plastic (the dull side). When going through my printer, at first the plastic wouldn't advance, so I had to give it a little push at the start. After printing on the plastic, cutting out the shape, and punching holes, I dusted each one with some baking soda (I think anything powdery will work) so it wouldn't stick to itself during the shrinking process. I used my embossing tool to shrink the plastic; I don't have the patience to wait for the oven. When almost done shrinking, I would turn the piece over so I could see the white back. This way I could tell if it was starting to scorch, since it would turn a little brown. You want to avoid scorching, since the brown can show through to the front. While still hot, I placed a heavy book on the item to flatten it out. When cool, I coated the cherry blossoms with a little water-soluble varnish. I would have liked the varnish to make them a little more shiny.

I think the charms Hideko used are prettier, but that involves encasing real fabric in resin, and I don't want to mess with the dangers and fumes of that. (Not that shrinking plastic doesn't have fumes, too) I think that if there's a great motif on fabric that you'd like as a charm, you could copy the fabric into an image editor, enlarge it, lighten it and try printing that out. I may try that in the future.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Enamel button Eye Candy

Here's another pretty button to enjoy. Hope you have a good weekend.


Here is my latest seam - it wasn't meant to look Christmas-y, really. I'm just trying to bring in the red from above left and the maroon from down below.

And on an entirely non-CQ note, my stitching is slowing down because of another project I've been working on - baby shower invitations. If you're interested, there's a pic further down. I found these baby letters in a magazine a long time ago, but the only letters were T, I and F. I modified them to keep the babies in them, but moved the borders of the letters around. I think it's pretty cute, even if I do say so myself!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Iris seam

I just realized that this CQ has hardly any SRE in it, which I love to do. But then it's not a frilly feminine project like some. So I did a seam of SRE irises. I hope they don't look out of place in the whole....

I was reading another blog (I apologize - I can't remember which one) in which the blogger said she had just taken a CQ class with Judith Montano. Seems JBM has a strict rule about not putting pattern next to pattern when piecing. Strict to the point of ripping out! Hmmm, I like the no-rules "rule" of CQ better.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Day 59

Here is my version of Sharon's Day 59. I'm just jumping all over the place in her 100 details to see what will fit nicely where I am currently working on my kimono. I can't seem to get the short, fat herringbone down, but I think it's just because I only have about 3 inches, if that, for each seam embellishment. There are some pretty motifs on the Embroidery Motifs group over on yahoo. I'm looking forward to seeing more and hoping to work on a few interesting motifs once I'm done with this kimono. I may even get paisley fever! There are some gorgeous paisley prints in the fabric stores.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Day 73 or The Curse of the Red Beading Thread

Here is my version of Sharon's Day 73. (I just can't believe we are this far along already!) I started out using bugle beads like Sharon did, but ended up replacing them with the straight stitches (between the detached chain trios). My "rick-rack" is space dyed with a little glitter in it, so I didn't want to cover it up with zig-zag chain stitches, so I just stiched it on with a thin metallic. I think the "2 bead drop" (sounds like a dance) is so sweet, so I definitely copied that. The fabric above the seam is actually purple, although it looks blue in this picture.

What is The Curse of the Red Beading Thread? I have several colors of beading thread that I bought in San Diego several years ago (when I took a bead embroidery class with Nancy Eha - that was fun!). I'd never before seen so many options for colored bead thread; it's nice to see them in person, so you can choose the shade you want. Well I only have a little of the red left. And every time, I mean EVERY time I stitch some beads with it, I rip it out. Then I have even less of the red thread and I've totally wasted it. Of course, the bugle beads were stitched with the cursed red thread. Maybe I will have to throw it away to escape the curse!!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Another Button

Well, no new seam to show today, so I thought I'd share another button. Pretty, huh? Tomorrow is the first day of school for my girls and I'm having a meeting at my house tomorrow night, so I've been cleaning instead of stitching (What has happened to my priorities!)

Anyway, I was looking through some of my books and found a couple of Evening Star Designs catalogs. Whatever happened to them? I searched for them on the web and they seem to have disappeared into thin air.

Keep on stitchin'...

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Day 61 of 100 details for 100 days

Here is my version of SharonB's Day 61. This was such a small seam to embellish, I was only able to fit 3 flowers in it. The little gold Xs are made using holographic thread. Sounds magical, doesn't it? I'm fascinated by some of Sharon's great lace embellishments, but will have to save them for a future project, as I don't think lace really fits here on a kimono.

It's amazing how when you're creating, you get more creative. Since I've gotten back into CQ, I have sooo many ideas for the next project (or 10 projects). Yet when I wasn't doing anything, I felt ungrounded and was constantly searching for something to inspire me. But then, that's before I had all the great web pictures to look at. It really is great to be able to share photos this way and see what wonderful things other people are doing.
Keep on stitchin'...

Monday, September 04, 2006

The Most Beautiful Button

I haven't stitched another CQ seam, and this being the Labor Day holiday, probably won't get to it until tomorrow. I thought I would share with you some of my buttons. They are like miniature works of art and can be so inspiring, design-wise. This is one of my favorite enamel buttons.
One year my mother came out to visit me from Georgia. I told her I had The Most Beautiful Button In the World and I wanted to show it to her. I proudly went and got it and with much fanfare, presented it to her. Her appreciative response? It was, "I have one just like it!" Blew the air right out of my sails. It turns out that I got mine from my Grandmother(her mother) and so did she. We both had a laugh. Anyway, I just loooove Art Nouveau and the flowiness (is that a word?) of this design, so I stitched a simplified version of it in beads. You may have seen it on Flickr here.

Happy Stitching!

Friday, September 01, 2006

Silk Ribbon Embroidery Heart

I haven't had a chance to work on my kimono, so I thought I would share this SRE project I worked awhile ago. It was for a class to teach at Piecemakers in Costa Mesa. I really like the bird charms and the way the irises turned out. Some close-ups follow. Hope you enjoy the eye candy...