Archive | March 2009

Floral Pastoral Tassel: ribbonwork

Floral Pastoral Tassel

Floral Pastoral Tassel

I love flowers, I love spring-time and I love tassels!

The Floral Pastoral Tassel showcases the many different types of ribbon and their versatility. I used 5/8″ and 1″ French wire ribbon; 3/8″ picot edge ribbon; 3/8″ vintage grosgrain and jacquard ribbons; 2mm silk embroidery ribbon; and Hanah silk bias ribbons in sizes 7/16″, 5/8″ and 1″.

The tassel top was made from machine stitched cotton paper, reinforced with Timtex, the technique much like the one used in Aurelia’s Garden and Fairie Tea Party. It was then embellished with hand made flowers and leaves, ribbon embroidery with beaded accents.

The tassel skirt is a lace that is made from a cotton/rayon blend. I dyed the lace with the Color Hue dyes, which were the same ones that I use in the Scrumptious Scraps project.

Enjoy your life, love lots and create when you can! Happy stitching! Christen

Tied in Knots: crazy pieced, tatted and embroidered needle case

Tied in Knots/needle case with tatting and embroidery

Tied in Knots/needle case with tatting and embroidery

Tied in knots — that’s the definition of tatting! At least it is until you get really good at it, which I have to say I still have a long way to go!!!

Tatting is a form of lace that is comprised of a series of knots made onto a loop of thread that is wound around your hand. The stitches are simple: basic knot which is a square knot, a loop (referred to as picot) and chains (single knots) are added for design interest.

My mom taught me how to tat using a red plastic shuttle that I still use. I also have used the long needle designed for tatting, and have used a basic milliner’s needle such as the designs used in the Tandledons.

This crazy pieced shuttle holder is adorned with traditional embroidery, tatted bits and pieces and silk ribbon stitches. I have started collecting shuttles to put in the holder, along with a few thread winders. I have a few shuttles made from celluloid; one from metal; one from Mother of Pearl; and one from abalone shell. But I have to say my favorite is the red plastic one that my mom gave me so many years ago.

Happy Stitching! Christen

Aurelia’s Garden: silk ribbon embroidered treasure box

Aurelia's Garden

Aurelia’s Garden: treasure box by Christen Brown

The title for this box came from the movie “Love Actually” which is a favorite with my daughter and myself.

Aurelia is one of the characters, and I just love her name and am happy to report that she has a happy story and a new beginning to her life.

This box is 3″ wide by 1- 1/2″ deep and is made by ironing Timtex to cotton paper. The shape is created by machine stitching the folds of the box and the edges with cotton threads. I also used this technique on the Fairie Tea Party.

The top and sides are blooming with silk ribbon embroidered flowers and leaves with a few ribbon worked flowers added in. The colors Briar Rose and Cabernet from Hanah silk were the starting points for my pallet. I also used a vintage cotton jacquard and an ombre ribbon. The rest of the garden is stitched with 2, 4, and 7mm silk ribbon; silk and cotton threads.

The treasure box rests on a ledge in my work room with the dolls and the pillows, and I smile every day looking at all of the wonderful colors!

Happy and joyous stitching to you all! Christen

Tandletons: Embroidery, Tatting, Needle Lace Buttons

Tandletons- hand made buttons stitched with needle lace, traditional embroidery, tatting

Tandletons- hand made buttons stitched with needle lace, traditional embroidery, tatting

These little threaded works of art are just so much fun to make. I start with Hanah Silk bias ribbon, create a form and stuff it with Polyfil.

I then take a few strands of Wildflowers from the Caron Collection and start stitching.

All of the stitches are created with a milliner’s needle, and a little imagination.

The techniques that I used here are:

  • Embroidery: buttonhole stitch, French knots, lazy daisies. I have also used silk ribbon embroidery stitches like the woven rose with the feather stitch
  • Tatting: basic picot flowers and the closed double knot
  • Needle lace: buttonhole stitch, woven star

I created a set of buttons for the May/June 2008 PieceWork Magazine, and there is a free article that you can download to create a few of these for yourself. The article is called: Buttons to Embroider and Needle- Tat (scroll down the index towards the bottom of the page).

Buttons to embroider and needle tat

Buttons to embroider and needle tat

I wish you hours and days of Joyous and Happy Stitching!

Jean’s Summer Garden- silk ribbon-work and ribbon embroidered pillow

Jean's Summer Garden by Christen Brown

Jean’s Summer Garden by Christen Brown

When I was younger my family spent summers in Canada at our cottage on Chandos Lake. My grandparents and many of their friends had “summer gardens” planted in pots and boxes around their cottages. These gardens started from bulbs that were planted in containers in basements and nurtured through the winter and spring months.

Jean Beck and her mother Myrtle always planted lovely petunia’s and the colors that I used in this pillow remind their lovely gardens that were planted amongst the rocks around thier cottage.

This pillow is a sample of the stitches that are covered in my class “Elegant Additions”. The stitches used include traditional, free-form and silk ribbon embroidery. I also stitched flowers and leaves from Hanah silk ribbons, and tacked these in place on the pillow.

Happy and Joyous Stitching! Christen

French Bouquet-silk ribbon embroidered pillow

French Bouquet by Christen Brown

French Bouquet by Christen Brown

This pillow is made from a silk fabric remnant that I found at local fabric store. I really thought that the champagne colored silk was so pretty, and saved it for this project.

The silk ribbon embroidery is stitched with 2, 4, and 7mm widths of ribbon, some of the ribbons were hand dyed. I used Mokuba ombre ribbons for the rosette flowers. Silk and cotton threads were also used in the embroidery stitches. The ribbon rose at the top of the pillow is made from Hanah Silk ribbon and leaf is made from wire ribbon.

This pattern was also used on a purse which is called “Ellen Matilda’s Rose Garden”. This was my father’s mother an immigrant from Sweden, who never had the time or luxuries for a rose garden, so I embroidered one in her memory.

Happy  and Joyous Stitching! Christen

Vintage Buttons- by Christen Brown

Renaissance Maiden by Christen Brown

Renaissance Maiden by Christen Brown

I LOVE buttons!!! As a kid my mom kept a wooden cigar box full of buttons in the sewing closet. When we were sick, or sometimes just bored she would pull out the box and let us play with them.

At first I just loved the sound that the buttons made when they fell on the table; then I loved just looking at the colors; then I started imagining what I would do with them all. I learned a lot about color, shapes and sizes by playing and arranging these little treasures on the rug in the living room. My mom in her quiet wisdom gave us our own self taught course on design.

Today I collect vintage and antique buttons, some I keep on display because they are so beautiful but mainly I use them in the projects that I make. Examples include “Renaissance Maiden” which is encrusted with vintage metal and glass buttons and “Autumn Leaves Must Fall” a short sleeved jacket that is covered in celluloid, Bakelite and Thermoset buttons.

I hope that you will be inspired to look through your own “Button Box” and that you find a hidden treasure in there. And remember that even if the button’s worth is measured only by the special memory that it brings to you, that is priceless.

Happy Stitching, ~Christen

Dolls of Distinction- fiber art cloth dolls

Many years ago I was fortunate enough to be a part of a special group of ladies that were involved in an Cloth-Art Doll group. The name of the organization was called “The Imitation of Life Construction Company”. We met once a month, shared our creations, ideas, friendship and time with each other.

These are a few of the dolls that I made during the time period when I belonged to the group, and that are included in my gallery section “Dolls of Distinction”. Many talented women were part of this Southern California group, that still has a yearly exhibit at the San Diego Quilt Show which is usually held in August.

Happy Stitching! Christen

Fairie Tea Party- cup and saucer

Fairie Tea Party by Christen Brown

Fairie Tea Party by Christen Brown

When your fay guests arrive, one must be properly prepared. I have been collecting books, stories and images of these gentle folk, and now with this cup perhaps I will be rewarded with a visit!

This tea cup and lily pad saucer are made from cotton paper that is cut, manipulated and machine stitched into shape. The cup is adorned with ribbon worked flowers and leaves made from silk, rayon and French wire ribbons.

Happy and Joyous Stitching! Christen

Shiraz- grape themed necklace ensemble

Shiraz by Christen Brown

Shiraz by Christen Brown

I love the shapes and forms of grape clusters and their leaves. My parents had a concord grape arbor, and the vines with the little curly tendrils were fascinating. I have used these shapes for inspiration in “Shiraz” and other pieces like the “Grapevine” ensemble. Of course the wonderful wines, dolmades and dried “yummies” that can come from this marvel of nature are certainly benefits one cannot ignore!

I added color to the silver toned vintage buttons, earrings and pin with Pinata Paints. These paints are formulated to paint metal objects. Pretty cool stuff!

Bracelets by Christen Brown

Bracelets by Christen Brown

Happy Stitching! Christen