Archives

Woodland Roses- necklace

Woodland Roses- necklace

Woodland Roses- necklace

I have been collecting buttons for as long as I can remember, nothing really fancy or too expensive, just colors and shapes that I liked and thought that I could use. At first all buttons ended up on garments, my imagination being somewhat limited to their use I guess.

Several years ago when I started to create jewelry that was more complicated than stringing beads, I started to look at my button stash as a source for more creative designs.

This particular group started with the lovely carved Bakelite roses, which took me several months to collect on ebay. During this time I had found a wonderful collection of celluloid buttons in taupe, maple and chocolate with great patterns and shapes. I then looked into my tagua nut collection, these carved beauties come in such lovely understated tones that I new they would blend in nicely. A few carved horn buttons fell into place here and there.

Other treasures I found to carry out my theme here are the clip-on earrings which are a pair of vintage rosewood discs with celluloid roses. The pin shown below the earrings is an old Bakelite “Deco Era” buckle that I glued a pin back to.  The base of the necklace is made similar to the “Vintage Bling Bling” pattern; gathered and stitched with a silk cord for the tie. The buttons and the rose charms are stitched to the base with pearl cotton.

Woodland Roses- bracelets

Woodland Roses- bracelets

The first cuff bracelet is pierced with a lovely design and made tortoise shell. The second bracelet is made using my “Bohemian Button Bracelet” pattern. I used many vintage tagua nut buttons from my stash. The last bracelet (vintage) matches the first set of earrings (shown with the necklace), being made from rosewood discs with celluloid roses.

The pierced earrings are a collection of charms that didn’t end up on the necklace. The dangles are made from: rosewood with celluloid roses, wood discs, and carved Bakelite roses.

This was a fun ensemble to collect for, actually the collecting, hunting and gathering took longer than making the piece. That was the fun part of the adventure.

Happy stitching, make every day count, and enjoy- Christen

Santa Fe Talisman- necklace

Santa Fe Talisman- necklace

Santa Fe Talisman- necklace

The inspiration for the colors of this neck-piece came from the wonderful colors in the abalone and Tahiti shell buttons. Other buttons include hand carved jade, turquoise and shell. The base of the necklace is comprised of two vintage velvet ribbon stitched together, using my Vintage Bling Bling pattern.

All of the components: the buttons; glass and shell charms; seed and novelty beads that are encrusted around the base took a lifetime to collect. The vintage carved tahiti shell buttons were a gift from a friend; the abalone buttons I made myself in high school; the turquoise buttons were bought at the Palace of the Governor in Santa Fe, New Mexico a few summers back.

Other treasures include shell discs that came from an old necklace I wore in high school; fresh water pearls, vintage trade beads and new glass beads I have collected from many bead shows and fairs.

Santa Fe Talisman- bracelets

Santa Fe Talisman- bracelets

The first bracelet “Anemone” is loaded with dangles of all kinds. These are stitched to a base of large seed beads with a vintage button for the closure. The second bracelet is from the “Button Brigade” pattern with carved floral pua shell buttons.

The treasures of the summer and the sea bring a life time of joy and beauty. Enjoy your stitching adventures…. Christen

Victoriana- silk ribbon embroidered vest

Victoriana- silk ribbon embroidered rvest

Victoriana- silk ribbon embroidered vest

This is a collaged montage of a few of the embroidered sections from my Victoriana vest. This vest is shown here in it’s second incarnation. The original was a solid piece of fabric with the manipulated ribbon work sections, lace sections, and ribbon embroidery, similar to The Edwardian, and was the original sample for Vintage Redressed pattern. Sadly the vest had an accident with the iron, and several sections of ribbon work melted! Yikes!

So I cut out the sections that I could save, found a compatible fabric to the original, and crazy pieced the front sections with the saved embroidery, and simplified the back by just using the dyed lace pieces, buttons and beads.

The silk ribbon embroidery sections were worked with 2mm, 4mm, and 7mm silk ribbon, vintage ombre ribbon, and buttonhole twist thread. The ribbon worked flowers are made from satin ribbon. I added in seed beads in sizes 6,8, and 11 for details. Metal charms and vintage buttons complete the details.

Victoriana- vest

Victoriana- vest

The beret and purse that I wear with this vest are made from the original fabrics, and the Lady Alexandra is the jewelry that is worn with this outfit.

Enjoy your day, happy stitching… Christen

Strawberry Fields- crochet purse

Strawberry Fields- crochet purse

Strawberry Fields- crochet purse

This crochet purse was so much fun to make. It is stitched in rows of double crochet using bits of this color and that, added in when one color ran out. I stitched a row of treble crochet close to the top for the cord to run through, and ruffled the top edge.

I am a fairly neat person but when it comes to skeins of pearl cotton, I tell myself I must wrap it in to a ball before I start stitching, but I rarely do. So the odd bits and messy balls end up in an old glass candy jar, at least they look pretty while stuffed in there.

So this was a project meant to untangle my bird’s nest full of pearl cotton #5 skeins. They were hopelessly tangled and mangled and seemingly knotted beyond recognition.

I spent a few nights in front of the TV, and a few long car trips (I was a passenger, not the pilot) and untangled and sorted the mess that I had created. I think that the untangling process took longer than the crochet stitches.

Hope that you too can create something from your tangles and mangles! Happy Stitching, enjoy- Christen

Mariposa- free form crochet shawl

Mariposa- free form crochet shawl

Mariposa- free form crochet shawl

This shawl started out as a learning project. I was taught how to crochet in high school, but never really experimented with it until much later. I always had a problem following a pattern, a common enough problem.

The shape began as a circle in the center, and I stitched in a circular motion adding thread as I ran out. The yarns that I used in Mariposa are the Watercolor yarns because they are so soft. Watercolor is a 3-ply yarn that I split into single threads (tedious yes, but worth the end result) and just started stitching.

Often I switched direction, working my way around the shape using single, double and treble crochet stitches. I just loved the freedom of not working with a pattern, and soon I had a piece that grew into a butterfly shape. It took about four months to finish the shape.

I folded over the top portion to fit around my shoulders as a shawl. In a sweet, serendipitous moment I found a hand dyed metallic rayon fabric that matched the Watercolor yarns. I stitched four rolled roses from this fabric, and several leaves from French wire ribbon. These I added as a front detail, and use as a closure for the shawl.

Vintage Crochet Gloves and Embroidered Handbag

Vintage Crochet Gloves and Embroidered Handbag

I found these vintage cotton gloves at the Rose Bowl Flea Market that is held once a month at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA. My husband gave me this monthly trip for my birthday last year, we drive up, have lunch and just look at the goodies. I dyed the cotton gloves to match the shawl.

The vintage cotton purse is embroidered with lovely shades of rose and magenta, with olive colored leaves. The frame is decorated with peach and carnelian pieces of glass.

I have a program titled Vintage Redressed where I have created ensembles using vintage and new pieces, giving them new purpose, this piece is included there.

Happy stitching to all, enjoy your day. Christen

Kelp Scarf- free form machine embroidery

Kelp Scarf

Kelp Scarf

Pictured here is one of six examples of what you can do with a little time (about a weekend), a little imagination, a sewing machine and bits of this and that.

This scarf is from my Kelp Scarf class which I only taught once. The base was a strip of Solvy fabric. I machine stitched ribbons, yarns, threads and bits of this and that for about 12 hours. After the Solvy was washed away, the ribbons appear to float on air in a pretty lacy effect. For the fringe I hand tied and sewed in lengths of ribbons and leftover yarn.

With a little bit of imagination, you can recycle creatively, and have fun while you are doing it.

Happy Stitching, make it count! Enjoy- Christen

Shabby’n Stitched- recycled cotton vest

Shabby 'n Stitched Vest

Shabby ‘n Stitched Vest

This was a wonderful project to work on, just me, 12 colors of pearl cotton, a needle, a thimble, a pair of scissors, and about 75 hours of stitching.

I wish that I had had the for site to photograph this vest when it came in the mail. I bought it on ebay and the listing said that it was a shabby chic vest.

So I imagined that it was a little rough around the edges. The pictures were not clear, so I took a chance. When I opened the package I thought to myself, “Must ask for better pictures next time!”, as it was more than just a little rough.

The red cotton of the vest had either ripped or had been torn by more than a few rough washings, most of the satin stitch embroidery had unraveled, and many of the mirrors were broken. I had my work cut out for me, to save my $4.99 investment.

I picked through my embroidery thread stash, and found some colors that I thought would liven up the vest. I started to embroider, and really just had a great time enhancing someone else’s creative stitching.

I stitched right through the lining, not worrying about burying the stitches or knots. I plan to add additional lining to the front pieces (to hide my stitches on the wrong side), and add seam binding around the collar and center edges (as the raw edges are showing).

With a little bit of imagination, you can recycle creatively, and have fun while you are doing it.

Enjoy, and see you at the thrift store! ~Christen

Donna Reed’s Tea Party- collaged jacket

Donna Reed's Tea Party- jacket

Donna Reed’s Tea Party- jacket

Embroidery, a needle art that I learned at the age of seven from my mother is a skill I continue to develop and is the technique of choice for many of my creative and artistic expressions. The first embroidered item I made still in use to this day is a short handled tote bag that my mother designed as a project for my Bluebird group.

This jacket is comprised of two card table sized tablecloths, one large rectangular cloth, and many napkins, tea towels appliques and additional pieces of embroidery that I have been collecting for years. This is part of the Donna Reed’s Tea Party Ensemble.

My favorite piece is the card table sized tablecloth with the large flowers shown in the front center corners. The embroidery for each corner was stitched in four different color combinations.

The large tablecloth, probably vintage 50’s early 60’s, was embroidered with a pink vase and colorful flowers in several sizes. The cloth did not survive a red wind dinner party and was promptly discarded to the thrift store. Lucky me!

After all of the pieces were attached to a muslin base, I added in satin ribbons to hide the seems of these sections. I then added additional embroidered details with traditional embroidery stitches with left over strands of floss and on the ribbons.

The collar is made from a wonderful cotton print from the 50’s, which was our old bird cage cover. The lining is made from additional embroidered items, a linen fabric that was left over from my kitchen curtains, and other cotton prints.

Happy Stitching! Christen

Days of Wine and Roses- silk ribbon embroidered vest

Days of Wine and Roses close-up

Days of Wine and Roses close-up

The inspiration for the colors of this vest came from the main fabric itself, which is from one of my favorite fabric companies, Hoffman Fabrics. The champagne-mushroom dyed background is liberally sprinkled with chocolate and rose colored ferns and leaves. I used these colors and added in a sage, celery and dark green for the ribbon worked flowers and leaves and the embroidery.

The front of the vest has a raw silk panel stitched in at a slightly off kilter diagonal angle. On either edge of the the cotton and silk seam seam run a display of whimsical floral vignettes. The ribbon worked flowers and leaves are made from a variety of new and vintage ribbons including: Hanah silk bias in 2-1/2″, 1″ and 5/8″; vintage cotton grosgrain and velvet ribbons; double sided satin ribbon; cotton and moire fabrics. The vignettes are embellished with silk ribbon embroidery in sizes 2mm, 4mm and 7mm silk ribbon. Silk and cotton threads were used for details and traditional embroidery stitches.

Days of Wine and Roses- vest

Days of Wine and Roses- vest

Happy Stitching! Christen

Winter Symphony- French wire ribbon corsage and headdress

Corsage and Headdress for Winter Symphony

Corsage and Headdress for Winter Symphony

Collaged Memories is a new category that I have added both to my blog and my web stite. It is dedicated to re-cycled, up-cycled and re-purposed creations. Winter Symphony is listed there.

This French wire ribbon worked ensemble was made to accessorise an embroidered silk shawl and purse, images below.

Both the headdress and corsage are made from 1″ and 1-1/2″ French wire ribbon with gold stamens for details. The headdress is stitched to a vintage millinery leaf, and wrapped floral wire. The corsage is backed with three leaves. I wore my hair in a bun at the back of my head, and the headdress fits on top and around it. The corsage I used to keep the shawl closed and around my shoulders.

The shawl and purse accessories were purchased separately, one on ebay the other at a thrift store. The embroidery and coloring were great but the colors needed some help to match the rest of my ensemble. I added in ribbon worked flowers and embroidered silk ribbon leaves on the shawl, using 3/8′ and 1/2″ ribbons with silk ribbon added in for the leaves. I added in ribbon work flowers on the purse, leaving the embroidered leaves and vines and beaded centers to show.

Happy Stitching! Christen

Winter Symphony Shawl

Winter Symphony Shawl

Winter Symphony Purse

Winter Symphony Purse