Tag Archive | Challenges

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

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!

Aunt Rosina Amongst The Posies- by Christen Brown

Rosie and Linda’s Awfully Big Art Adventure:

I came across this site today, and found this wonderful adventure waiting there. These ladies create a monthly challenge by giving you a theme, and you can run and play with it to your hearts content. I especially liked this one, as I could use my budding digital skills and have some fun. This is what I created with the image of Aunt Rosina:

Aunt Rosina Amongst The Posies

Aunt Rosina Amongst The Posies


If you are interested in participating here is the link: Photo Challenge