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Friday’s Favorites: the Junk Drawer

Well in this case, well organized boxes of junk, collected ephemera: some new, some found in the street, some found in the craft section of my favorite haunts.

And more boxes and containers of the stuff I just can’t seem to discard, and thankfully no one has asked me to yet either!

Junk-Man Series: All manner of collected ephemera, cast away junk, and fun stuff.

Junk Jewels: Gathered and collected bits, odd singles, old earrings, watches, zipper pulls, and other treasures.

Junked-Up Mixed Media: Assorted small wall decorations, made from paper, glue, and found treasures.

Happy Stitching, or in this case, searching, gathering, and gluing! ~Christen

Friday’s Favorites: Color Episode 1

Color, color, color and more colors. I love them all. When I work, I let the fabrics and other components tell me what they want to be when they grow up. Today, I am going to share two pieces from my cream and beige collection.

9″ x 10 1/2″

Creme de la Creme

This piece was featured in my book The Embroidery Book, by C&T Publishing. It was an example of a monochromatic color palette. There are shades of cream, off-white, candlelight, beige, and pearl. The base of this piece is a doupioni silk, layered with many treasured bits of lace, that I had collected over the years. The embroidery was worked in silk ribbons and perle cotton threads. The embellishments include, beads, mother of pearl buttons and charms, and fresh water pearls. The frame is comprised of carved bone purse handles.

13″ x 13″

Splattered Scattered Tatters

This piece is from my new book, Creative Embroidery, Mixing the Old with the New. I crazy pieced the base using odd scraps of muslin, added batting to the back and quilted a random pattern with perle cotton #12. I gathered small bits of machine made lace, tatted and crochet lace, and appliques. Some of the tatted and crochet pieces were made by my mom and myself. I also found a home for a collection of crochet and thread woven buttons, mother of pearl buttons, and bone underwear buttons. The embroidery is very minimal, so that the lovely components could speak for themselves. To bring all of the shades of cream together, I spatter dyed the base with Colorhue dyes.

I hope that your day is colorful! Happy Stitching to you all! ~Christen

Tips and Tea on Tuesdays

On Tips and Tea on Tuesdays, I will cover a topic and hopefully provide you with some tips that will be helpful! And just as an afterthought, tea may occasionally be a cup of Joe!

kitchen christmas tree

Tea today is “Yogi Green Tea”, sipping and smiling as I nibble on the shortbread that I just made. I use the recipe in the Joy of Cooking, which was a gift from my friend Jeri (many, many, years ago). The book is falling apart, and the binding is no longer attached to the cover, but I wouldn’t trade it for all the world. It is special to me.

Another thing that I find special, are the memories of making sugar cookies, using aluminum cookie cutter molds as a kid. I have been collecting molds from thrift stores, garage sales, or on eBay, where ever I can find them. I decorated this wire tree with cookie cutter molds and old Christmas light-bulb ornaments. The bulbs had belonged to my mom and dad, and were used on our tree when we had growing up.

My tip today, is to use an item/s that you find special to you, and incorporate them into your daily life.

vintage cookie cutter ornaments
vintage cookie cutter and Christmas light ornaments

Tip: Ornaments from Recycled Treasures

Note: Always practice safety when using a glue gun. Keep a glass of water on hand to dip your finger into just in case you burn yourself.

Cookie Cutter Ornaments

Gather together a collection of vintage aluminum cookie cutter molds. Follow the directions below for each ornament.

  1. Cut an 8″ length of 1/4″ ribbon. Fold and tie this into a knot, for the loop.
  2. Glue the center of the loop on top of the cookie cutter mold with a low temp glue gun.
  3. Cut a 12″ length of 5/8″ ribbon. Tie this into a bow.
  4. Open up the loop of ribbon, and glue the bow on top of the center of the loop.
  5. Glue a purchased ribbon flower on top of the bow.
  6. Use the loop to hang the ornament.

Light-bulb Ornament

Gather together a collection of vintage tree bulbs. Follow the directions below for each ornament.

  1. Curve one end of a metal ornament hook to fit over the top metal portion of the bulb.
  2. Glue the curved portion of the hook to the bulb with a low temp glue gun.
  3. Glue one or more purchased ribbon flowers on top of the curved portion, with a low temp glue gun.
  4. Use the hooked end of the ornament hook to hang the ornament.

Happy tea drinking and stitching to you! ~Christen

PS: If you have any questions or thoughts, just leave a comment! See Tips, Tricks, the Basics, for more helpful ideas.

Tips and Tea on Tuesdays

On Tips and Tea on Tuesdays, I will cover a topic and hopefully provide you with some tips that will be helpful! And just as an afterthought, tea may occasionally be a cup of Joe!

cup of coffee

Tea today is as you can see, a mug of coffee. It is cold out, and I just wanted to have a sip of JOE. As I was sipping in my workroom, I came across some cardboard cones left over from a weaving project. I got to thinking about the shape, and thought, hmmm, this looks like it wants to be a tree. So I pulled out my ribbons, trims, lace, buttons, and started to play.

Tip: Wire Ribbon Cone Trees

  1. Buy a cardboard cone at your local craft store.
  2. Select the ribbon or ribbons that you want to use.
  3. Start at the bottom of the cone. Wrap the ribbon around the cone, cut off the length needed plus 1″.
  4. Place this onto the cone, with the bottom edge of the ribbon even with the bottom of the cone.
  5. Glue this end to the cone. Fold the remaining end over 1/2″, and pin.
  6. Wrap the length around the cone, remove the pin, and glue this end over the beginning end.
  7. Repeat this step, with the same ribbon or a variety of ribbons, slightly overlapping the previous row, until the cone is covered.
  8. Add a bow to the top, and small ornaments, or whatever strikes your fancy.

Tip: Lace and Rhinestone Cone Trees

  1. Buy a cardboard cone or a Styrofoam cone at your your local craft store.
  2. Select a 2 – 3 yard length of lace with one edge that has a ruffle.
  3. Start at the bottom of the cone. Pin one end of the lace to the cone with an appliqué pin, so that the ruffle is even with the bottom of the cone.
  4. Wrap the lace around the cone at a slight angle, slightly overlapping the previous row, and spiraling up the length of the cone.
  5. Cut off the excess lace at the top of the cone, plus 1/2″. Fold the edge over, and pin this to the cone.
  6. Using straight pins, decorate the tree with a length of rhinestone or pearl trim for a garland, or substitute an old rhinestone necklace.
  7. Pin a ribbonworked flower, or and old dress pin to the top of the cone as the tree topper.
  8. Pin buttons or old earrings in place with straight pins for the ornaments.

Happy tea drinking and stitching to you! ~Christen

PS: If you have any questions or thoughts, just leave a comment! See Tips, Tricks, the Basics, for more helpful ideas.

Friday’s Favorites: Decorating with Lace and Jewels

I love to decorate for the holidays. I have quite a collection of lace, buttons, and old jewelry bits, and try to find ways to incorporate them into my holiday decorations.

The first tree here, is actually a metal jewelry holder, with a bowl to catch your loose bits of stuff. I have used it to display my collection of vintage mercury glass ornaments and garlands. I placed vintage tinsel garlands in the bottom of the bowl, then nestled a collection of vintage swan shaped clip-on tree ornaments around the base of the tree. I gathered together a collection of vintage dress pins and single earrings, and added these throughout the branches.

The Lace Cone Trees, are resting in a silver leaf tray, with a garland of bells wrapped around the base. There are two vases flanking this group, filled with vintage mercury glass ornaments and vintage glass beads. See my Tips and Tea on Tuesdays post December 6, 2022, for directions on how to make a cone tree.

The Lace Christmas Tree hanging at the top of the picture is comprised of bits and pieces of lace that had been a salesman’s sampler. I added additional pieces of lace, and some vintage buttons. This project is a free handout that I am offering to my readers as a gift, from me to you.

Happy Stitching to you! ~Christen

Lace Christmas Tree: Free Handout

This felt project is fun, fast and easy to make for yourself or someone you love! Use up your tiny bits of precious lace, appliqués, and trims to create a hand-sewn collaged tree. The lace tree can be embroidered and embellished with stitches, buttons and more. It can be used as a pillow, or you could add a piece of ribbon to the top, for wall hanging.

You can download the free PDF handout here.

Happy Stitching ~Christen

Friday’s Favorites: Old Doors, Knobs, and Keys

I have always loved old doors. The more worn the better, because this signified that they had been used, traveled through, experienced. And then of course, I love the accessories that a door needs, such as door knobs and keys.

This is picture, was drawn by a friend. He drew it as a wedding gift for my husband and I. I framed it with this old music sheet, that I found on The Graphics Fairy.

The romantic in me thinks of castles, and knights and damsels in distress. So I to created an image of an old castle door that had been weathered, with a big door knocker, a brass knob and big hinges. I found this old, large key on eBay, and used it for the hanger. I also found a few old skeleton keys to add in here and there, and grouped them with my newer keys and heart shaped locks. The base is machine pieced and machine quilted. The charms, keys, and buttons are attached with embroidery floss.

This is a digital image that I created, using many images that I had found on Pinterest. If you like to look at photographs of old doors, windows and Greece may I suggest the artist Tolis’s Flickr photostream with this door as my favorite.

I gathered this group of batik fabrics that varied from rust to brown, and thought, well this would make a cool door! I found these wonderful blue buffed celluloid buttons, which I paired with brass buttons, buckles, and both vintage and new keys. The rust and vintage blue ribbons just keep the colors flowing. The base is machine pieced and quilted, and the hand embroidery is worked in perle cotton.

If you like fairies, old doors, and wonderfully illustrated books may I suggest “A Knock at the Door” by Angi Sullins and Silas Toball.

All Friday’s Favorites posts.

Enjoy your day, go on an adventure through a door that you have never been through! Imagine, dream, knock and enter! ~Christen

Friday’s Favorites: Thanksgiving Decorations

Fridays Favorites is all about the Thanksgiving Decorations. I decorate for fall at the end of September and leave the decorations up until the end of November. Here in California, we really do not see the colors of turning leaves, and experience only the occasional crisp cold weather mornings. That said, I still appreciate the change of the season.

Here is a collection of my pumpkins, and other fall ephemera.

I love these wine cork pumpkins, what better way to use up all of those wine corks! I also love these wooden spools, so cool! The aluminum tins on top hold wax candle pumpkins.

Here are a few more vignettes, the first showing a collection of bird nests and paper wasp hives, along with Indian corn and mini pumpkins. The second shows Oliver and Aubriana, two art dolls that I have made. The third, a host of pumpkins, flowers and other fall ephemera.

And more owls, candles, gourds, and a turkey or two!

These images and poem encompass this time of year for me:

Dirt roads lined with
brown dusted bushes
and autumn colored trees
Leaves falling with even prettier colors
than last year.
Crackle air smells
of snow and cooked
turkeys and pumpkin pie.
Family days spent with
distant relatives, loved ones
and Thanksgiving.

Christen, 10-15-79

All Friday’s Favorites posts.

Well I hope that this inspires you to be creative with your decorations, and that you are enjoying this time of year.

Happy Stitching! ~ Christen

Tips and Tea on Tuesdays

On Tips and Tea on Tuesdays, I will cover a topic and hopefully provide you with some tips that will be helpful! And just as an afterthought, tea may occasionally be a cup of Joe!

tea on tuesday

Tea today is chai, with a lovely aroma, accompanied by a homemade oatmeal cookie. I am looking around at our decorations, and enjoying the colors, and the imagery. The piece below, Big Leaves was featured in my book, Hand Embroidery Dictionary, by C&T Publishing. This piece hangs over my computer, and just makes me smile.

Big Leaves

I created this project, with this small section of fabric that I had saved for just the right project. I love the colors in the linen print, but didn’t find any fabrics that I thought coordinated with it. So I decided just to work the embroidery stitches over the sections of the leaves. But what colors would I choose for the embroidery threads?

In this case, this large print fabric already came with the colors swatches printed on the selvedge edge. Wow, if only the rest of life could be so easy! This made it a breeze to pick out the thread colors. I chose solid colors in perle cotton, and variegated colors from Valdani.

Tip: Documentation

I put together a swatch card of the threads that I will work with for every project. On the back I list the color numbers, brand name, and the size of the threads used. The swatch card contains all of the information that I need and stays with the project until it has been completed. This way if I need to buy more thread, I have the color numbers right there. I also use my Embellished Art Embroidery Project Planner to keep all of my projects on track.

Happy tea drinking and stitching to you! ~Christen

PS: If you have any questions or thoughts, just leave a comment! See Tips, Tricks, the Basics, for more helpful ideas.

Friday’s Favorites: Rust, Wood, Bark

Fridays Favorites is all about natural rustic decorations. I love to collect things, and I am sharing some of my favorite treasures with you today.

This is one of my favorite boxes, it rests on our mantel year long. I change the decorations according to the season. Here I have lots of wooden spools, keys, dyed gourds and cool treasures.

The first image is a grouping of rusted tools, in a really cool woven container. The second is an old wash board, with a very well used wooden pole.

This is just a collection of more of my treasures, and all of them make me smile!

All Friday’s Favorites posts.

Well I hope that this inspires you to be creative with your decorations, and that you are enjoying this time of year.

Happy Stitching! ~ Christen