Archive | November 2009

Friday’s Favorites: Silk Ribbon Embroidery with Ribbon Worked Flowers

Friday’s Favorites (and every day for me) are silk ribbon embroidery projects that include ribbon worked flowers and leaves. This type of work incorporates two different techniques, embroidery with silk ribbon and flower or leaves stitched from ribbon. If you are unfamiliar with these techniques it can be confusing to identify one technique over the other.

In the above image I have used both silk ribbon embroidery and ribbon worked flowers made from silk habotai and silk satin ribbons. The base of this particular piece is composed of precious bits and pieces of lace that are stitched to a base of silk fabric, then dyed along with a few of the ribbons used for the flowers. The silk ribbon embroidery was stitched with 2mm, 4mm, and 7mm silk ribbon.

silk ribbon embroidery
Marie’s Boudoir Pillow

This pillow is an example of silk ribbon embroidery. In this technique a needle (chenille) is threaded with silk ribbon, and is then stitched through the fabric to create the embroidered designs. All of the stitches were stitched with silk embroidery ribbon, in sizes 2mm, 4mm, 7mm, and 13mm, and silk buttonhole twist and stranded floss.

ribbon worked flowers and leaves
Violet Gardens

This brooch is an example of flowers and leaves made from ribbon. These ribbonworked flowers are stitched from ribbon in sizes 1/4″ to 5/8″, in a variety of styles and fiber content. Ribbonwork differs from embroidery because the individually stitched flowers are created by threading a needle with sewing thread, cutting the ribbon the exact length for each flower, then stitching the ribbon to form the flower. Each flower or leaf  is then stitched in place with a needle and thread.

silk ribbon embroidered brooch
Elizabeth’s Garden

This is an example of a brooch that is embroidered with silk ribbon and silk threads, with a few ribbon worked flowers and leaves added to the top outside portion of the brooch. I have also incorporated a rococo trim around the outer edge of the brooch.

silk fabric with silk ribbon embroidery
Summer Blossoms Purse

This purse is an example of silk ribbon embroidery on an embroidered silk fabric with silk dupioni fabric on the outer edges. One of the wonderful qualities of silk is that it takes the dye so beautifully, and is very vibrant, yet still feminine. What makes silk embroidery ribbon so lovely is that it is beautiful even when worked in the most basic stitches such as lazy daisy, straight, and French knot stitches.

silk ribbon worked flowers and leaves
Silk Gardens Purse

This purse appeared in the March/ April 2007 issue of PieceWork Magazine. I wrote an article on silk fabrics, and this piece was included as a project. Here I have combined both ribbonworked flowers and a few silk ribbon embroidered stitches.

Happy Stitching to you! ~Christen

Cameos and Lace

cameos and lace

Cameos and Lace

The vintage sleeve was found at an antique store, I don’t know who wore it, but she must have looked very lovely if the lace and embroidery on her sleeve are any indication. I added in cameos because I always thought that they represented the best of a proper ladies jewelry. One set that was a brooch and a pair of earrings that had belonged to my husband’s grandmother; the other pieces are shell and resin that I gathered from here and there.

The lace around the picture was a gift from my husband’s brother’s wife’s mother’s husband (whew!), and there is a lot more where that came from and will be used in many projects to come. The Mother of Pearl buttons are all vintage; the tiniest of them are whistle buttons, the larger have a pink and green shimmer. The glass flowers add just the right amount of color here picking up some of the rose color of the cameos. The velvet milliner’s leaves are from an old hat and the ribbon flower is of my own design.

Happy Stitching! ~Christen

Friday’s Favorites: Jewels from the Sea

small shells

Tiny Jewels from the Sea

Friday’s Favorites (a day late) is all about my favorite shells. Growing up in Southern California we visited the many miles and miles of sand, rocks and surf often. We also frequented the tides pools off of the Palos Verdes Peninsula. Some of the earliest art and jewelry that I made was from shells.

The collection above are some of the tiniest shells that I have. Below I have added in the ruler with the millimeter edge up so you can see just how tiny they are.

tiny shells sized

Sized

When gathering the small shells I have no real favorites, just the size is what draws my attention. I do Love the colors and the variety of shapes.

abalone shells

abalone shells

button shells

button shells

I found all of the larger black abalone shells at the tide pools off the Palos Verdes Peninsula.  The smaller red shells were purchased in a bead store, and these are really tiny as you can see.

The button shells here were all found  on Catalina Island, which is the only place that I have found them except for the very center pinkish one, which I found in San Diego.

It is remarkable to think that these jewels make it safely to the shore intact!

sand dollars

sand dollars

sea urchins

sea urchins

abalone shells

abalone shells

cowrie and button shells

cowrie and button shells

With these photos I have tried to give you an idea of the variety of sizes the shells come in.

Most of the larger shells pictured I have found except for the large abalone shell which I purchased on Catalina Island and the different variety of  sand dollars. I did find the four that are similar in the center of the line-up.

metal leaf full of shells

metal leaf full of shells

This display sits on my dining room table most of the year. I love the subtle colors, and the shapes of the treasures that reside in here.

sea urchin's in a bowl

sea urchin's in a bowl

The sea urchin’s here are for the most part purchased, but the green ones I found here in Southern California.

So what wonderous tiny jewels have you found beach combing? Perhaps you should take a walk along the shore today and enjoy! Christen

Friday’s Favorites: Tagua Nut Buttons

tagua nut buttons, Bakelite roses

Woodland Roses

Friday’s Favorites is all about “tagua nut buttons”. The vintage buttons on the necklace and bracelet are made almost entirely from tagua nut (the necklace has a few celluloid buttons). I have used mostly natural colored buttons, but a few have a darker brown dye added to the carved ones, some even have a cross-hatch pattern which is quite pretty. I used a variety of buttons on the necklace, two hole, four hole and shank; in designs such as “fish eye” and whistle; where as on the bracelet just shank buttons. The vintage roses on the necklace are carved Bakelite, and the round discs on the bracelet are wood. The necklace is a variation of my “Vintage Bling Bling” pattern, and the bracelet is the “Bohemian Button Bracelet” pattern.

Vegetable Ivory- or Tagua Nut from the Corozo Palm (except from Button Identification and Cleaning)

This nut comes from the Corozo Palm that grows in South America. It is a hard, versatile nut that can be carved and dyed. It has been used since the late 19th century s an alternative to ivory because the striations of the nut resemble those in ivory. It is softer than bone. The dye only absorbs on the surface layer, so the carving is left as the natural color of the nut. The tagua nut was popular from 1890- 1920, but has found resurgence since 1990.

vintage tagua nut buttons

Tagua Nut Buttons

All of these buttons here except for the red button are vintage.

What is amazing about tagua nut buttons is that each vintage one is made, one at a time, hand carved, hand dyed. Pretty remarkable.

The colors are so pretty close-up, rich natural browns; when dyed the colors tended to be greens both dark and light; black (which I ask what is the point because it is hard to see the beauty of the nut); browns from light to dark; and red as seen in the group that is tied together, notice the carving and how it shows the nut underneath. Some tagua nut buttons were inlaid with shell, or metal, some were dyed, carved and another color rubbed into the carving.

For further reading may I suggest “Button Button Identification & Price Guide”.

Enjoy your day, play in the button box if you have time! Christen