Archive | June 2009

Tea on Tuesday

Tea For Tuesday

Tea For Tuesday

Good Morning ladies, I have invited myself to Tuesday Tea! I am sitting here having a quiet moment with the cats, Bigelow Pomegranate Pizzazz and a white chocolate macadamia nut cookie (I am going on a walk shortly so no worries about the “cookie calories”!)

The tea service is the Royal Dalton Sweet Pea pattern, it is one of my favorite patterns. I started my collection with a butter dish that had belonged to my grandmother. Over the past several years I have been collecting bits and pieces here and there on ebay.

As I am sipping my tea, listening to jazz and relaxing before my work day begins I am making flowers for an old crochet collar that I found at the thrift store. I am using old spools of crochet cotton that were left over from many projects that my mom had worked on at one point or another.

Well my time is up, must go for my walk, and get back to work! Please join the rest of the ladies in Tea for Tuesday…

Patty
Kimmie
Ooglebloops
Nan

Enjoy your day, spend time with your friends and love what you do! Christen

Natural Redhead- Mixed Media Monday

Bea- the natural Red-head

Bea- the natural Redhead

This is my entry for Mixed Media Monday, the theme for this week was Playful Dolls

Bea was a natural Redhead, with the help of Clairol’s Nice and Easy #16- Spiced Tea, naturally. She had been dyeing her own hair for years, and never thought to read the directions or the warning label, until yesterday. Apparently you really can only leave the dye on for the recommended amount of time if you wish to avoid embarrassing questions from your family, friends and the drugstore clerk who sold her additional products to counteract her slight miscalculation.

Enjoy, play all the time, even if just inside your head! Christen

PS: I thought that it would be fun to know the ingredients for my entry (15″ tall):

  • Body: cardboard jewelry box, fabric, ribbon, machine embroidered net, celluloid buttons, glass flowers from France
  • Neck: hand painted face, dyed cotton fringe for hair, round cardboard ring left over from Hanah silk ribbon roll, fabric yo-yo, dyed Irish lace, machine embroidered net, ribbon worked flowers, glass baubles from old millinery flowers, plastic leaves, costume jewel
  • Arms: round cardboard ring left over from Hanah silk ribbon roll, fabric yo-yo, dyed Irish lace, hors de oeuvres sticks, glass flowers from France, plastic leaves, metal charms shaped like a gloved hand
  • Legs: round cardboard ring left over from Hanah silk ribbon roll, fabric yo-yo, dyed Irish lace, machine embroidered net, rattail cord, glass flowers from France, glass shoes, found objects (I think that the one on the right was a screw driver made by my dad)
  • ATTITUDE

Techniques used, fabric painting and dyeing, a little hand sewing, with the bulk of the assembly being done with glue: Tacky glue and hot glue. Hours spent enjoying the playful fun, 5:30 am- 1:30 pm.

PSPS: I will be teaching a doll similar to this one for Joggles.com for the fall.

Friday’s Favorite: Pincushions

favorite pincushions

favorite pincushions

pin-cushi-ion sounds like pin-koo sh-uhn
noun
description: A small cushion that is used in sewing to store pins or needles until needed.
origin date:1625–35

These are some of my favorite pincushions. From left to right:

  • Marushka is a cloth doll pincushion that I made with a pocket in her tummy for a thimble and a pocket in her back for scissors. I must admit to not putting too many pins in her, ’cause I don’t want to stab her!
  • The cloth bunny was made for me by a friend and is happy to sit with the other pincushions until needed.
  • The embroidered wool pincushion is one of my oldest needle work treasures. It was given to me by my friend Phyllis in the 8th grade. She went on a trip to the United Nations in NY, and bought this at the gift store, it was made in Hungary.
  • Certainly a staple for any needle worker is the tomato pincushion. I use mine for my sewing machine needles, I label each section with a needle size, and try to remember to stick the needle back in the right section! Sometimes just the thought of being organized is enough!
  • The colorful chicken was given as a gift at a luncheon sponsored by a local quilt group. I applaud all volunteers that put in time to do these gifts for their groups!
  • The velvet pincushion is one I made with a pretty ribbon flower.
  • Lastly but certainly not least is a pincushion that no collection would be complete without! I love these happy little people, and I use this one often as you can tell by all of the holes in it!

For further reading on pincushions see the Layette pincushions at the V&A Museum of Childhood.
Here is an excellent blog on every thing that you would want to know about  pincushions, The Domestic Diva.
Here is another one of my other pincushions: Silk Petit Four.

Happy stitching, poking and pinning!- Christen

Violet Gardens- ribbon work brooch

Violet Gardens Brooch

Violet Gardens Brooch

This was one of two entries for the Piecework Magazine’s Excellence in Needlework 2009. This year’s challenge was to make a brooch no larger than 3″, in any needle art category. I chose ribbon work here and silk ribbon embroidery for my other submission Elizabeth’s Garden.

The base of the brooch is 18 gauge florist wire wrapped in cotton batting, then a silk bias ribbon. The brooch was fashioned into a spiral (see the bottom picture), with two loops. Tiny spirals of 22 gauge florist wire wrapped in cotton batting then 4mm silk ribbon peek out here and there, and add more dimension to the design.

The brooch was then covered in hand made ribbon worked flowers and leaves. I used 1/4″, 3/8″, 1/2″ and 5/8″ (folded in half); in a variety of materials including silk bias, rayon hem tape, ombre and taffeta ribbons. A few beads are sprinkled here and there for extra detailing.

back of brooch

back of brooch

The back of the brooch is almost covered with as many flowers as the front. I used a rococo trim to cover the bulk of the stitching, and then added in flowers and leaves here and there.

From this picture you can make out the spiral design of the base. You can see the tiny tendrils quite well here too, and if you look closely the pesky white batting wanted to peep out whenever it had a chance to from the 4mm ribbon, I fixed that before sending it off on it’s journey!

Both of my entries were selected by the judges to be included in a display of the brooches at The National Needle Arts Association’s trade show in Columbus, Ohio, June 13-15, 2009. They will also be on display at the Embroiderer’s Guild of America’s (EGA) museum in Louisville, Kentucky, from July 1 through September 23, 2009. For information contact EGA www.egausa.org (502) 589-6956.

Happy stitching, happy day, enjoy- Christen

Elizabeth’s Garden- silk ribbon embroidered brooch

Elizabeth's Garden Brooch

Elizabeth's Garden Brooch

This was one of two entries for the Piecework Magazine’s Excellence in Needlework 2009. This year’s challenge was to make a brooch no larger than 3″, in any needle art category. I chose silk ribbon embroidery here and ribbon work for my other submission Violet Gardens.

The base of the brooch is a silk chambray fabric, which is covered in silk ribbon embroidery and a few ribbon worked flowers. The top center has two woven roses, with two rolled roses below these. A woven rose in the center and two carnations under the rolled rose.

The outer edge is covered in a rococo trim, with ribbon worked leaves that lead up to the top center with a another rolled rose and silk ribbon carnations.

back of brooch

back of brooch

The brooch was stitched to a padded cardboard base with the back covered in a piece of felt that I hand stitched to the silk front. I embroidered flowers through the holes in the pin back, and stitched in my initial for extra detailing.

This brooch is dedicated to our Elizabeth, who left her earthly body this year, but not our hearts. She was our 5 lb. Bengal kitty, who love all of these colors, fabrics and ribbons. Often I would find her nestled in the basket that held the components for this brooch, purring contentedly. Kitty kisses dear one.

Happy stitching, love what you do and those silent “mewses” who love you back! Christen

PS: Both of my entries were selected by the judges to be included in a display of the brooches at The National Needle Arts Association’s trade show in Columbus, Ohio, June 13-15, 2009. They will also be on display at the Embroiderer’s Guild of America’s (EGA) museum in Louisville, Kentucky, from July 1 through September 23, 2009. For information contact EGA www.egausa.org (502) 589-6956.

To Many Frogs!- Mixed Media Monday

too many frogs!

too many frogs!

This is my entry for Mixed Media Monday. The challenge this week was to tell a story. Either by your entry itself or the story behind the entry, I chose the latter. I took a picture of a few of our frogs, played a bit in “Fireworks”, the frame is made from ribbon that I dyed and I added in pertinent text. In retrospect this would have been a good Father’s Day card, alas as usual I am a day or so late…

To Many Frogs! is a story about a gift gone awry. One year for Valentines Day I gave my husband a stuffed frog holding a heart that said “I love you”, he keeps it on the dash board in his car. My husband’s interests are playing tennis and watching sports, but other than that no hobbies or other quirks. He was so delighted with the frog that I decided to give him a hobby, “collecting frogs”. “Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride” is his favorite ride at Disneyland after all and besides I thought that it would be a funny hobby and make gift giving less of a challenge for my daughter and I.

Well….. our family on a larger scale got in on the act (his mother and my mother to name a few cullprits) and now we have over 200 frogs and a few toads!!!! We have a table shaped as a frog , a frog ocarina, several leaping frogs, a couple of frog boxes, quite a few small frog beads (he-he cause I could use them for something), a counter full of stuffed frogs, a rattan letter holder shaped as a frog, and of course no collection would be complete without a “prince charming ” or two.

We have frogs sitting sweetly on lily pads, swimming in leaf bowls, and leaping off the counters. We have lounging frogs, cooking frogs, serious frogs and happy frogs. But I have to say that the most annoying frog we have is the frog that “ribbits” Merry Christmas on command when you clap your hands. I promptly removed the batteries and hid it in the closet after the holiday was over!

The moral of the story is to choose hobbies wisely and don’t include your relatives in on the secret, or you too may receive a singing frog!

Enjoy, create, live, be happy…. ribbit. Christen

Measuring Up- Mixed Media Monday “Numbers” Challege

Measuring Up

Measuring Up

This is my entry for the “Numbers” challenge sponsored by Mixed Media Monday. A challenge is presented once a week on Monday. There are quite a few entries already, and worth the time to take a mouse click over for a browse.

Hmmmmm…. Measuring Up can mean quite a few things. At 52 (which coincidentally seemed to be the theme for the numbers that happened to appear here), it still means gauging my accomplishments, successes and triumphs by the standards set by my parents and grandparents so long ago.

Earrings

Earrings

Numbers can also be viewed differently by the way you present them, such as “I HAVE 5 weeds!”, or “I only have five weeds…”; vice versa: “I only have five roses…” or “I HAVE 5 roses!”… you get the point.

Here is a close-up of the earrings that I made for the ensemble. The dog tags belonged to my mom’s dog when she was growing up (notice the first two #’s: 52). My dad won the medal in a model airplane contest (notice the last two #’s of the year: 52) for one of his own designs.

Bracelet

Bracelet

Here is the bracelet of the ensemble. I started with a very well loved, and quite grungy tape measure that I got at the thrift store along with the brown grosgrain ribbons and a few of the buttons. Notice the end of the bracelet, there is #52 again. The small button at the left in the middle has my mom’s initials on it. When I found it I thought must save this for just the right project, I think that I did!

Typewriter Keys

Typewriter Keys

The necklace was actually made a few months ago, but I had nothing else to wear with it until I made the bracelet yesterday and the earrings today!

The typewriter keys are actually beads that have been strung on rayon cord and knotted in between each bead. Again, notice the end of the necklace you guessed it 52!

Other images are my dad’s actual dog tags from WWII, coins (from my grandpa) that add up to 52, a wooden nickel I got a Knot’s Berry Farm as a kid and more buttons.

So the number 52 can be how much money you have by the numbers on your coins, how wide you are by the inches on the tape measure, or the accumulation of years that equal your life, for me it is the latter.

Glad to be here, looking forward to making something that celebrates my 152 year…. Enjoy the time that you have! Be happy creating or be happy creatively! enjoy- Christen

Tide Pools Nature’s Treasures-by Christen Brown

Tide Pools Natures Treasures

Tide Pools Nature's Treasures

This is my entry for the Shell Challenge sponsored by Rosie and Linda’s Awfully Big Art Adventure. There are quite a few entries this time, and worth a peek when you get a chance.

The theme was to create anything with shells, and being a native of Southern CA., a shell lover from early child hood, and an avid collector I had really had a wonderful time creating the project.

beach sand

beach sand

I started my project with birch bark collected many years ago from our cabin outside of Toronto, Ontario Canada. This I used for the sand, and the inside of the bowls.

I then crumpled up pieces of cotton paper to create the waves, and rocks. I stitched these together with cotton and rayon threads on my sewing machine. I placed this on an old wooden tray, that had seen better days.

tide pool bowls

tide pool bowls

The next step was to create the actual tide pool rock formations that capture the sea life and shells.

I started with Timtex and more cotton paper. I cut round shapes in three different sizes. I layered cotton paper over these, and cut out round pieces of birch bark for the center of the bowls.

I stitched the layers together on the sewing machine. I then cut darts into the circles, and over lapped these to form the bowl shape. The last step was to cut the edges of each bowl and then machine stitch over these edges.

shells, sea life and kelp

shells, sea life and kelp

I had an abundance of real shells that I had collected over the many years of beach combing. I had a great time selecting which of these would be included into my beach scene.

I also had some old celluloid buttons that were somewhat grungy, but the colors matched and the patterning looked like sea urchins to me, these are interspersed amongst the bowls.

I thought that it would be cool to include shells and sea life that I had made from ribbons, crochet and embroidery. I started to play and this is what I came up with:

  • A crochet length of kelp with cord and pearl cotton, and grape shells at each leaf (these have a florist wire glued in the center to attach to the kelp)
  • Crochet and embroidered snail shells
  • Embroidered sea urchins, sea anemones and limpet shells
  • Embroidered and gathered ribbon coral
  • Ric-rac coral and star fish
  • Plumes of something made from rayon cord (I am not sure what these are but I liked them)
close-up view of three sizes of bowls

close-up view of three sizes of bowls

Happy beach combing and treasure hunting, enjoy- Christen!

Melon Balls Vintage Ensemble

Melon Balls Vintage Necklace and Earrings

Melon Balls Vintage Necklace and Earrings

This entire collection of accessories started with with the coral colored rectangular molded glass pieces set into earring findings, which I found at the Salvation Army for $.99.

The next piece I found was the bracelet (shown below found on ebay), several years later with the same carved glass pieces set into a metal finding.

I wore these two parts of the ensemble for several more years until I came upon the glass beads (used in the necklace, also from ebay) with the same carved floral design. A few months after that I found the lovely melon colored souffle finished oval beads at a quaint little bead store outside of Julian, CA. I mixed these with black bicones and seed beads to create the necklace. I used a vintage glass button for the closure.

Melon Balls Bracelets

Melon Balls Bracelets

The second bracelet is comprised of vintage glass sew throughs (these I had been saving for just the right project), vintage glass buttons for the closure, and the left-over beads from the necklace.

Then I got to thinking about a brooch for this set, and I started to play with my celluloid buttons and ribbons in the same colors of the necklace.

Deco Decadence Brooch

Deco Decadence Brooch

The brooch boasts a lovely display of “buffed celluloid” buttons. I just adore the black and tan combination. It took many years to collect the right sizes and colors for this brooch. The ribbon worked flowers are made from a vintage ribbed cotton ribbon and the leaves are from a taffeta ribbon.

The ribbon buttons and flowers are attached to florist wire wrapped in 1/8″ satin ribbon, and sit in a vintage jacquard ribbon vase. A pin back is stitched to the back of the vase.

I found a great Chico’s jacket at a thrift store to wear all of these treasure with. Finally the hat and purse that I had collected a while back had a purpose.

Melon Hat and Vintage Purse

Melon Hat and Vintage Purse

The hat is a vintage crochet raffia by Laura Ashley found at a thrift store. I trimmed the brim with a textured lace. I made ribbon worked flowers from French wire ribbons, and used a vintage velvet leaf trim for the background of the vignette.

The vintage handbag was found on a treasure hunt. It is from China, embroidered in coral, melon and gray threads with gold work details. The frame is encrusted with pieces of turquoise and coral.

Yeah, I just love it when things like that work out!

Happy searching, I hope that you find a treasure today that will turn into a wonderous adventure like this one! Christen

Bonnie & Clyde- Vintage Collage Jewelry Ensembl

Bonnie and Clyde

Bonnie and Clyde

This neck piece started with a vintage tie stolen from my husband’s closet (he won’t miss it) that is from the 1930’s and an incredible set of vintage celluloid buttons known as “glow bubbles” dating from the 1920’s.

I first fell in love with these buttons because of the colors! Notice the green glow in the bracelet, and the large button in the center of the flower. The buttons are made with a metal base, layered with a piece of shiny foil or tin, then covered with a “bubble” of celluloid that was hollow, semi transparent and often had a geometric design.

I also used matte olive green celluloid buttons in the oval shape (shown around the flower petals). The black buttons are a molded tin, painted black.

The bracelet boasts the “cat’s eye glow bubbles” stitched onto a ribbon bracelet. The other bangle is a green and black swirl I bought at Coldwater Creek’s outlet store.

I wear this set with a vintage silk vest (also from my husbands closet) and a pair of fabulous vintage glass earrings that had belonged to my grandmother.

Quite the “bees knees”!

Happy stitching, enjoy- Christen