Tag Archive | creative

Friday’s Favorites: Numbers and Measures

Measuring Up
Measuring Up Montage

The montage has a collection of a few of my favorite things. The jewelry pieces are just fun, with both new and old typewriter keys, and charms. The dog tags belonged to my mom’s dog when she was growing up, my dad won the medal in a model airplane contest for one of his own designs. Other images are my dad’s actual dog tags from WWII, coins (from my grandpa), a wooden nickel I got a Knot’s Berry Farm as a kid and more buttons.

Shown here is the bracelet close-up. I started with a very well loved, tape measure that belonged to my Grandmother. I paired it with grosgrain ribbon and a few buttons that I found at the thrift store. The small button at the right has my mom’s initials on it. When I found it I thought must save this for just the right project, I think that I did!

The first bracelet was found on eBay, it was made with vintage typewriter keys. The necklace is made from new two-hole beads, with typewriter symbols, that have been strung on a rayon cord. The last bracelet, is made from new charms, that are attached to a vintage chain bracelet.

Favorite collection of measuring devices

Numbers can be viewed differently by the way you present them, such as “I HAVE 5 weeds!”, or “I only have five weeds…”; vice versa: “I only have five roses…” or “I HAVE 5 roses!”… you get the point. Numbers can also relate to how much money you have, or how wide you are by the inches on the tape measure, or the accumulation of years that equal your life.

Measuring up can mean quite a few things as well. With New Year’s Eve looming, and resolution lists waiting to be written, for me it means gauging my accomplishments, successes and triumphs. Did I spend my time wisely, did I make a difference, did I contribute?

Whatever your answers are to these questions, I hope that you enjoy the days, hours, and minutes to come! Be happy creating or be happy creatively! Enjoy- Christen

Tide Pools Nature’s Treasures

Tide Pools Natures Treasures

Tide Pools Nature’s Treasures

Being a native of Southern CA., a shell lover from early child hood, and an avid collector I am drawn to the ocean, the sand, the waves, the tide-pools and all of the treasures that you can find.

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.

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!

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.

Stitched Adornments

Vintage Floral Embroidery

Vintage Floral Embroidery

Floral embroidery is a descriptive term that was used for both thread embroidery (silk, wool or chenille); and ribbonwork flowers (a piece of ribbon or fabric that was stitched with a needle and thread). The flowers were arranged in sprays, or as a single bud on men’s waistcoats, ladies gowns, shawls and other accessories. Popular stitches for the embroideries were satin, long and short, and stem. The chain stitch that could also be worked with a tambour needle is often used as the only stitch in the design.

Ribbon work flowers such as aerophane or crepe floral embroidery (used in the late 19th century) had the details of leaves and stems stitched in with thread embroidery. The ribbon, a thin silk gauze or crepe would be cut then gathered with stitches to form each petal of the flower. Narrow silk “China” ribbons were available in shaded colors, and were first used in ribbon work floral embroidery. This narrow silk ribbon could also be threaded into a large eyed needle and stitched into flower shapes (usually a straight stitch) with added silk thread embroidered accents. The combination of ribbonwork flowers and silk ribbon embroidery gave the design dimension. The top image is from a satin purse, with the ribbonworked flowers and leaves of stitched chenille. A gift from my husband for my birthday, probably circa early 1900’s. It is incredible in person.

Vintage Floral Sewing Bag

Vintage Floral Sewing Bag

The second image with the whimsical floral vignettes was made, I believe as a sewing or knitting bag, but I use it as a purse, circa 1940’s judging from the fabrics used. Some of the flowers are made with ribbon, some with fabric scraps, some with added felt details. Primitive embroidery and beading were used to enhance the floral sections. I found this lovely treasure on eBay, and I adore it.

Happy Stitching! ~Christen

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

Creative Embroidery, Mixing the Old with the New

Sage and Cornflower

I have a new book coming out in March 2023 called Creative Embroidery, Mixing the Old With the New, by C&T Publishing. The book has 17 projects: 3 Projects by Design with step-by-step instructions and 14 Stash Projects with creative ideas, and minimum instructions for using your stashed bits and precious treasures.

It includes loads of information on vintage stash items, embroidery stitches, embellishment stitches and tips on dyeing. There will be plenty of inspiration to help you create with your stashed, hoarded, and handed down bits and pieces of special treasures!

There are plenty of examples of innovative uses for all kinds of embellishments ― like lace, vintage linens and hankies, trims and ribbons, buttons of all sorts, and vintage notions ― through techniques and projects.

I just finished this piece Sage and Cornflower, which is an adaptation of one of the Projects by Design, Lace, Doilies, and Appliqués. The base started as half of a stained doily, which I dyed (sage), with Colorhue dyes. The (blue) lace and rickrack trims were dyed, as well as the embroidered (ocher) lace. I embroidered the piece with Finca perle cotton, Valdani carried by Rusty Crow Quilt Shop, and a wonderful colorway called Wild Rice, by Laura Wasiloswki of Artfabriks. I embellished the piece with seed and larger glass beads; vintage glass and celluloid buttons; and brass charms.

Happy Stitching to you! ~Christen

Beaded Embroidery Stitching Blog Tour: My Turn!

Next stop on the blog turn is ME!

Here is my new book, Beaded Embroidery Stitching, which includes 125 bead embroidery and bead woven stitches, using beads, buttons, charms and more. Once you practice the basic stitches, there are 8+projects for you to work your magic on!

I have included a section on the types of beads and embellishments that you will be using for the stitches, and the other items that can be included in your creations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Many of the stitches included in the book are interpreted from traditional thread embroidery stitches.

I have included a look into my Design Process, and how a project will start.

I have included several versions of a design in different color ways so that the reader could see the possibilities.

Champagne and Pearls

Welcome Home

Spider Webs

Along Came a Spider

There are loads of inspiration for you to look at, with examples ranging from wall hangings, sewing caddies, pillows, bracelets, brooches and more.

I want to thank all of the magnificent participants that were kind enough to leave a post on the blogs. You can read the past posts here, and see what they thought about the book.

If you would like to win a free ebook version of my book, just leave a comment below, you will need to check in tomorrow to see if you have won. Good Luck!

Happy Stitching and Enjoy~ Christen

Embroidery Stitching Handy Pocket Guide: New!

Let me introduce you to my latest book:

Embroidery Stitching the Handy Pocket Guide!

There are over 30 stitches included, with suggestions on materials, threads and ribbons, embellishments and more. Other important sections are Defining a Stitch, Working the Stitches, and What, Where, When with stitch placement ideas.

This diminutive book is 4″ x 6″, and will fit easily into your sewing basket or pouch. It is the perfect size to bring to class, or when stitching with friends.

I just finished this project, which is a version of my class Hankies and Lace Wall Hanging. I used every one of the stitches included in the Handy Pocket Guide, which include traditional embroidery stitches as well as silk ribbon and beaded embroidery stitches.

The bulk of the stitches were worked in these colors of cotton floss.

For some of the stitches I used my Embroidery Stencils, I suggest that you use an air erasable pen to mark the lines and images.

The hankies that I used came from my mother’s collection of her tour in Europe where she met my dad. Several other hankies and table linens found there way into the project, along with some vintage rick rack trim. I used quite a few buttons, both old and new, and of course I had to include my lady bugs and bees! I also embellished the piece with beads, two celluloid acorn charms, and glass and acrylic flower charms.

You can find the book at C&T Publishing, and on Amazon.

Happy Stitching to you all! enjoy~ Christen

The Embroidery Corner

The Embroidery Corner

embroidery corner

The Embroidery Corner is a 16-week course that will introduce the student to hand embroidery techniques including traditional stitches using perle cotton and cotton floss; silk embroidery ribbon stitches using silk ribbon especially made for embroidery;  and bead embroidery stitches using seed beads, buttons and charms. It is required that you buy my book Embroidered and Embellished as I refer to the book during each class.

Each class will cover one embroidery stitch and it’s variations; or several related stitches and variations. These stitches included border row, decorative and detail stitches. The stitches will be worked on a muslin sampler that you can turn into a book of samplers. You will receive a handout for each class, which explains the stitch, how to use the stitch, and the variations of the stitch.

embroidery corner

The first day of the series I will have a 15 minute lecture that covers the Embroidery Basics for the first 12 classes. I will also have a basic lecture for bead and silk ribbon embroidery stitches.

Here is a list of the classes that are offered:

  1. Embroidery Basics/ Knots and Detail Stitches
  2. Outline and Stem Stitches and More
  3. Lazy Daisy Stitch and Variations
  4. Chain Stitch and Variations
  5. Fly Stitch and Variations
  6. Feather Stitch and Variations
  7. Blanket Stitch and Variations
  8. Blanket and Buttonhole Shapes
  9. Cross, Herringbone and Chevron Stitches and their Variations
  10. Modern Fern and Cretan Stitches and their Variations
  11. Looped Stitches and Variations
  12. Bead Embroidery Basics/ Beaded Stitches and Variations
  13. Ribbon Embroidery Basics/ Ribbon Embroidery Stitches
  14. Woven Ribbon Embroidery Stitches and Variations
  15. Whip-Stitches and Variations
  16. Couched and Embroidered Trims

These classes are $20 per visit, you can attend any or all. The class fee includes a picture of the sampler and the written instructions for the class.

Date and time: This class is not currently scheduled.

For information on the series, please contact me: thestoreonthecorner@gmail.com

Happy Stitching! ~Christen

Jacket full of Ribbonwork Gardens and Flowers

I also just finished embellishing this jean jacket that I found at a thrift store. The front and back panels are embellished with the leftover ribbon flowers that I have made over the past three years for my two ribbonwork books: Ribbonwork Gardens and Ribbonwork Flowers, by C&T Publishing. Here is a complete list of all my books.

jean jacket with ribbonwork flowersI included a variety of flowers and leaves from my books, in additions to some prototypes that I just liked, but didn’t get into either book.

jean jacket embellished with ribbonwork flowersHere is a closeup of the front, and then the back.

ribbonwork jean jacket

ribbonwork jean's jacketHappy Stitching my friends, and may your gardens always bloom! ~Christen