Thursday, February 28, 2013

Close quarters call for fat quarters

Teacup doll rescues cracked cup
We have had so much snow in the past few days there is nothing to do but acquire some cabin fever. For me, that means I make some things and then order some European sized FQs. (I also made the mistake of watching Hoarders, but let's push that aside. If you only order FQs, then it is not actual fabric. Everyone knows that...)
Among my new acquisitions is the new Tilda summer book.
It is in Norwegian, but once you know how to do a Tilda figure, all you really need is the pattern. Also, Google Translate does an excellent job in clearing things up when I can't figure it out.
I decided to also get some actual Tilda fabric to do the Princess and the Pea wall hanging, and there is a seaside girl in the summer book holding a toy boat. It reminds of me of visiting my family in Eastern Canada and playing in the ocean in Nova Scotia.
The howling wind and swirling snow convinced me that I needed the toy boat, so I ordered that too. And, said a fond farewell to the last of my Christmas gift card.
As always, I ordered my stuff from
Learning Norwegian
I like to support small web shops when I can, and as I have written before, I believe this is one of the best around. Rian has a good selection, and is always ready to offer a helping hand if you're stuck on an instruction or technique.
Ours is a big world, and it is nice to have a reliable source to buy the things you love. Lots of people miss having a little shop where you can pop in and find what you need, along with friendly service. I really can't stand being forced to shop in big box stores that offer a disappointing selection. My only other experience with a North American Tilda supplier was disappointing, frustrating and very unsatisfactory. (she gingerly gets down from her soap box ...)
Sailing away
As I wait for the weather to clear, I will get busy on "dressing" my mannequin. I started on it the other day, but the mojo wasn't quite right. I set it aside.
I am learning slowly that sometimes, that's the best course of action.
Have a great weekend, y'all!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Here's the hoop-la

I have been working on my hoop-la design.

I have spent the past few days having fun with the kids, who have been on their Reading Week break from school. Even though they are quite mature -- and they frequently tell me I am not -- we  have been enjoying our time together.
What with the shopping trips, having a nice dinner out, and watching movies on TV, my creative time has been a bit sidelined.
However, I did finish sketching out the hoop-la design for the CreativFestival in Toronto this April. I will be showing people how to do embroidery stitches and other surface embellishments at A Needle Pulling Thread magazine's booth.
 This is a lot of fun for me, since I enjoy talking with people, and showing them how to do something they think they can't do. In just a few minutes, they usually gain confidence and after they try a few stitches, they are eager to try more. This is how our ancestors taught the skills we were slowly losing, and certainly, I learned at the elbows of talented older needleworkers. I am glad to be part of the renewed interest in embroidery and surface design, and happy to share what I know with others.
 I like the way my little Tilda bunting flags dress up the design. The next step is to trace it onto linen and tack down the flags using fusible tape. I plan to fix just the very tops of the flags, to create some texture and allow the bottom flags a little "movement". I am considering which colour to use for the script. I was leaning toward red, but I think a deep pink might be nicer on the cream coloured linen.
Have a wonderful weekend, y'all! Who knows? I might even get my mannequin dressed -- as soon as everyone gets back to the books.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Not quite in the pink

These past few weeks have been difficult for a number of reasons. However, last week, I redecorated a thrift store mannequin in preparation for my appearance demonstrating embroidery and embellishment techniques at A Needle Pulling Thread's booth at the CreativFestival this April in Toronto.
Each designer is allowed to bring a small example of their work. I wanted to show abit of what I like to do beyond sewing and other textile frolics.
I found the mannequin at Value Village, just after I received four stamps for donating four bags of stuff. My card full, I was then eligible for a 30 per cent off discount on my next purchase. I was headed for the door when I spied this torso.
At first glance, it was a challenging bit of kitsch. However, my re-create brain was engaged at that very moment. (Sometimes that doesn't happen) I could see the whole transformation in my head. Also, I have a policy of leaving no mannequin behind. So, I picked it up and headed toward the cash. It was marked $9.99 -- which is quite a lot for a thrift store -- and Pepto Pink. However, I had the magic 30 per cent off coupon.
Now, I admit, $7 is still quite a lot for a thrift store find -- and let's not forget the challenge of the PINK! As I reached into my pocket for my car keys, I found $20 in my coat pocket. (I had not worn that coat since last spring.) I know that doesn't make my mannequin purchase free, but it sort of felt like it was because of the hidden $20.
When I got the mannequin home, I disassembled it from its stand and took stock of what I had to do. The fabric flowers had to come off with the assistance of pliers. Ditto the shiny braid. I was left with a reasonably good substrate. I gave it a quick sand to get rid of any residual glue and got to the real work of getting rid of the PINK!
The PINK! was so vibrant I decided to use a dark umber as the base coat before the crackle medium. In my mind's eye, the new colour scheme was going to be a lot more subdued. If you have ever visited Evelyn and Rose, you will understand the vibe I was going for.
Susan has a colour palette that uses white in many incarnations, along with lovely blues and greens. I love the tranquility of that -- it feels like sand, sea, home and happiness to me. Also, I get sort of lost in her blog. Be warned. It is pretty there.
My mannequin was looking much better even with its dark brown basecoat. Once it was dry, I put on the crackle medium. When the medium was dry, I did the first coat of off white paint -- white mixed with antique white. The first round of crackling was quite violent. To tone it down, I added another coat of off white. When it dried, I decided another coat of off white would make the mannequin appear old, but still in good shape. Sadly, I don't think this is the case with humans, but I am willing to suspend all disbelief...
After three coats of off white, the crackle effect was quite subdued. I let the paint dry for 24 hours before using permanent ink to stamp the images on it. This way, the images would stand up to the three coats of satin varnish I used to seal the surface. I am pleased with it so far.
The next step in the process is to create a ribbon, bead and button skirt. I am working on that later on today, but I thought I'd share the WIP.