Friday’s Favorites: Hankies!

What more can I say? I have a selection of pieces to show you today, from my upcoming book, Creative Embroidery, Mixing the Old With the New, by C&T Publishing. Some of the pieces are gallery examples, some are examples of the projects included in the book.

Vintage hankies can be layered to create a collage base or can be combined with other fabrics. These are often made from cotton, cotton batiste, linen, and silk fabrics.

Bella Fleur Mouchoir (Beautiful Flower Handkerchief): The base of this wallhanging is made from vintage hankies that had belonged to my mother. I combined the hankies with scraps of vintage feed sack and new cotton fabrics, and satin ribbons. I embroidered stitches around the edges of the hankies and ribbons and the seams of the pieced fabric. I made ribbonwork flowers using vintage cotton bias tape and woven ribbons. This piece is adorned with vintage and new plastic buttons.

Tea Cozy: This is a Stash Project that uses hankies, ribbons, and bits of fabric. Three embroidered hankies and one printed hanky were combined with vintage feed sack fabrics to create the front and back of the base. Vintage jacquard and satin ribbons were used to cover raw edges and to make ribbonwork rosettes. The embroidery is worked in perle cotton, cotton floss, and silk embroidery ribbons. Vintage mother of perle buttons are sprinkled throughout the front and back of the cozy.

Hanky and Lace Collage: This is a Project by Design, and starts with a printed fabric, a hanky, and varying widths of vintage lace and jacquard ribbons. The collage design is embroidered with silk embroidery ribbon, silk, and rayon floss. Embellishments include rosettes, buttons, sequins, and beads.

For Elizabeth: This is a Stash Idea Inspiration piece, that started with a white cotton batiste handkerchief embroidered with the letter “E“, pieced with two colors of moire fabric. I dyed vintage lace and appliques with Colorhue dyes. I made ribbonwork flowers from vintage velvet and hombre woven ribbons. I worked silk ribbon embroidery stitches around the flowers and appliqués.

Hankies and Rosettes: This is a Stash Idea Inspiration piece, that stared with two cotton hankies, one with a crochet trim. I cut the hankies into quarters, and layered them on a vintage knitting pin. I covered the pin with an hombre ribbon, so that it would match the colors of the crochet trim, embroidery stitches, and the ribbon rosette flowers.

Here is a video that I shot at the C&T Publishing Studios, that focuses on the new book, and some of my favorite pieces.

Happy Stitching! ~Christen

Friday’s Favorites: Flowers and Buttons in Baskets

What more can I say? I have a selection of pieces to show you today, from my upcoming book, Creative Embroidery, Mixing the Old With the New, by C&T Publishing. Some of the pieces are gallery examples, some are examples of the projects included in the book.

Doilies, appliqués, and wide flat lace can be used as a starting point to make a pretty basket that you can then fill with ribbonwork flowers, buttons, embroidery, charms, and beads.

Notions of Spring: A Stash Idea Inspiration piece. I cut a large doily in half, and used one half for the base. I cut a smaller doily into four sections, which created the heart shaped pieces in each corner. I filled the vase with the flowers and leaves included in the chapter Altering the Past. I even used and old tool that belonged to my mom, called the “Daisy Maker” which was used to make a flower from yarn. I substituted a lace hem tape for the yarn, and it worked out perfectly! I embellished the piece with several sizes of rickrack, a vine trim, a coronation cord, sewing notions, buttons, charms, and bells.

Lace, Doilies and Appliqués: Is one of the Projects by Design. I combined ribbonwork flowers, with fabric yo-yo’s, buttons, charms and beads to create a floral display. The project has two block designs, which are repeated, and then stitched into a 4-block wallhanging.

Flowers in a Cuff: Is a Stash Idea Inspiration piece. I hand-dyed the cuff, and the grosgrain ribbons that I used to stitch the ribbonwork rosettes. I had been saving those fun character buttons for years, waiting for just the right project to come along. I also used vintage dyed mother-of-perle buttons for the centers of the flowers.

Aunt Murt’s Garden: Is an example of the Stash Project called Scrap Pins. I used a section of vintage crochet lace for the basket, and stitched it onto a dyed silk base, finished with vintage flat lace. I stitched machine-made appliqués, vintage buttons, plastic leaves, glass roundels, and glass beads into and around the basket. I used a vintage knitting pin for the hanger.

Hoop Frame: This is a Stash Project. The base is a piece of decorator fabric set into a vintage hoop frame, which is adorned with a beautiful lace doily, and another piece of vintage crochet lace. I embroidered stems with the feather and couched stitch, leaves with the lazy daisy stitch, and French knot stitch details. The flowers are vintage mother-of-pearl and muscle shell buttons, with ladybug and dragonfly charms sprinkled throughout the bouquet.

Happy Stitching! ~Christen

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: 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

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: Fall Colors

14 3/4″ x 13 3/4″

Batik Galaxy by Christen Brown

This piece started with the a group of batik fabrics in dark mustard, teal, and cranberry/rust. The cranberry/rust fabric reminded me of the red ring around Mars, so I created a galaxy in the center of the piece, using a wholecloth reverse applique technique. The copper and antiqued brass finishes of the celestial-themed charms added an extra color element. This piece can be found in my book, The Embroidery Book by C&T Publishing.

11 1/4″ x 12 7/8″

Umbria by Christen Brown

This piece started with four printed fabrics in rich browns, rust, and cranberry colors. I found a variegated perle cotton that picked up all of those colors. I then chose the remainder of the embroidery and embellishments to match the thread. Embellishments include vintage shell buttons, copper charms, and glass buttons that are sprinkled around the fiber and metal leaf trims. This piece can be found in my book, The Embroidery Book by C&T Publishing.

17″ x 16 3/4″ (close-up)

Autumn Ribbons by Christen Brown

The base of this piece started with a linen napkin, and added bits of vintage lace that I hand-dyed with Colorhue dyes. I then added in loads of rust, orange, and brown flowers and leaves that I hand-stitched from Hanah silk bias ribbons. I used techniques that can be found in my book Ribbonwork Flowers by C&T Publishing. The embroidery was worked with perle cotton, Wildflower threads, and silk embroidery ribbon, using many of the stitches that can be found in my book Embroidered and Embellished by C&T Publishing.

24″ x 23″ (close-up)

Harvest Quilt by Christen Brown

The base of this quilt was strip-pieced using Hoffman cotton batiks, in rich autumn colors of rust, umber, cranberry, maple, and olive. The embroidery stitches are worked in perle cotton #5 and #8, Wildflower threads, and cotton floss. This piece was featured in the gallery section of my book Embroidered and Embellished by C&T Publishing.

Enjoy! Happy Stitching! ~Christen

Recycled Blue Jeans and Denim Fabric

JEANS, when did you get your first pair? I grew up wanting to be the “ballerina” in Elton John’s song “Blue Jean Baby”. I can hear you singing, “can’t you see her, tiny dancer in the sand”.

In high school I embroidered jeans and work-shirts for friends and family. In fact the reason that I now wear a thimble while stitching is from being poked so much by working on the heavy jean fabric. I have recycled a pair or two (that did not fit anymore), and used them in various projects. I also like to work with denim fabric (sold by the yard), because it provides a nice firm base to work on.

“Blue Jean Baby” is stitched onto a pant leg, from a pair of old jeans. I removed the pocket first, and used it and the pocket from the other leg in the examples below. I appliqued a lace heart, and many hand made flowers into the heart vase. I added vintage and new beads into the centers of the flowers. I embroidered ribbon down the side edges using traditional embroidery stitches. The little cat (made from a quilt from 1880’s) was a gift that came along with an eBay purchase, and Marcia Marcantonio is the creator. Thank you Marcia, I think that your gift is quite at home here.

“Butterflies and Snapdragons” (a pocket from the pants), was featured in my book Ribbonwork Gardens, by C&T Publishing. The middle embroidery was worked on another portion of the jeans. “Flower Child” (a pocket from the pants), was featured in my book Ribbonwork Flowers, by C&T Publishing.

These two pieces begin with the same pair of jeans (cut from the other pant leg), and one of my favorite fabrics, the vintage floral print that the hearts are cut from. The heart shapes are bordered by a dyed leaf trim, and are surrounded by silk ribbonwork flowers and leaves, and silk ribbon embroidery.

“Country Hearts” Wall Hanging was featured in my book, The Embroidery Book, by C&T Publishing. Each square was cut from the same pair of jeans, and I used the vintage rickrack trim to cover the raw seams. The embroidery stitches are worked in perle cotton threads. The embellishments include vintage tatted lace, ribbonwork flowers, vintage buttons, and glass beads.

“Denim and Dresden” is featured in my book, Creative Stitching, Mixing the Old with the New, by C&T Publishing. I used jean fabric for the base of the piece, and I think that it compliments the vintage feed sack fabric so nicely. The embroidery is worked in perle cotton, cotton floss, and vintage tatting threads. The embellishments include yo-yo’s and vintage buttons.

Happy Stitching to you! ~Christen

PS: If you are looking for inspiration or ideas, check out my PDF Classes and books.

Friday’s Favorites: Spiders and Webs

This time of year brings to mind spooky things, and to me the spookiest is running into a spiderweb and wondering if you are wearing the weaver of that web! We have quite a colony of orb weavers in our garden, and I am amazed by the intricacy of these woven wonders.

Ugly Bug Ball, by Christen Brown

The base of this piece is a cotton twill fabric. I pieced and stitched the web using a vintage embroidery ribbon, and rickrack trim. The web holds a host of ‘’ugly bugs’’ stitched mainly from old sewing notions and vintage glass and hand-blown glass beads. This can be seen in my book, Creative Embroidery, Mixing the Old with the New.

Spiders Hide in the Dusk, by Christen Brown

The base of this piece is a cotton batik, that I machine quilted, and then framed with a rayon cord. The embellishments include vintage glass and shell buttons, glass seed and larger beads. The webs, spiders, and button flowers are worked in bead embroidery stitches. This is a project in my book, Beaded Embroidery Stitching.

If you know my work, you know that I sneak a spider and a web into many of my crazy-pieced creations. I am in awe of the beauty of those delicate structures, and I try to capture that beauty either with beads or threads.

Charlotes Webs, by Christen Brown

This project started with the reproduction cigarette silk print in the center, whom I named Charlotte. The center section was crazy-pieced with tiny and tinier pieces of precious silk scraps left over from a few other projects. Satin ribbon was machine stitched randomly to create sections for the vignette embroidery which was worked in silk embroidery ribbon, woven ribbon, perle cotton and beads. Additional embellishments include vintage buttons and glass charms.

As much as I love to look at the webs, I am deathly afraid of real-life spiders! When I embroider the spider, I try to create a more whimsical version to somehow confront my fear! It works, until I run into a web, and then wonder…

All Friday’s Favorites posts.

Thank you for looking, and Happy Stitching to you all! ~Christen