Tuesday, December 19, 2017

My Christmas Embroidery Project

I was awol last week as we went and picked up our new puppy, Baxter!  He's a darling now 9-week old English Shepherd who takes quite a bit of time, but is so fun that we're glad to give it!  In between naps, training, supervising him with the cats, and lessons on not nipping, I have actually gotten a little bit of time to work on my embroidery project inspired by Dorothy Tucker's work, that I wrote about here.  I hoped to finish it last week (ha!!) and am now not sure I'll be done by Christmas, so I wanted to at least show you what I was doing.

I downloaded a botanical photo of holly, printed it onto fabric made to go through the printer (most craft stores carry this now), found thread colors (some that matched, some that added some "pop"), and began using an outline stitch to outline leaves, stems, and berries and other stitches to fill in and add interest.  If you're new to embroidery, I have a tutorial here on a few basic stitches.  If you already have these mastered, grab an embroidery stitch book or go to an internet site such as Sharon B's and just let your imagination go.  That's one of the nice things about doing embroidery this way - there's no right or wrong and you don't even have to plan ahead, just stitch what you feel like at the moment!  And a little more about where I got the photo - if you haven't yet discovered The Graphics Fairy, be sure to take a look!  Karen finds and posts vintage images that are great to use in needlework and crafts.  The botanical holly image is here.

I'm going to work hard at getting a Friday Inspiration up this week (fingers crossed and pup willing!), but after that I'll be on hiatus until after New Year's.  

Happy Holidays!!


Friday, December 8, 2017

Friday Inspiration - Frost and Natalia Margulis

We've had a few magical mornings here this week - those days when you wake up to a sparkling, glittery fairy land of sun and heavy frost!  True, it does make things a bit slippery, but oh so beautiful.

I've been looking at Natalia Margulis' work since last summer and the more I look, the more I'm amazed.  While I like realistic fiber work and tromp l'oeil, her pieces take these genres to a new level!

Fine Ice

It's really easy to believe one's looking at a photograph, but everything is hand and machine embroidered with a variety of materials, including hand dyed ribbons and fabrics.

Patriotic Devotion

Her textures are amazing!

Laces at the Curb

Be sure to look at all her work (there's lots!) on her website here.  It's definitely worth a leisurely look with a cup of something hot!

Happy Creating!  Deborah


Friday, December 1, 2017

Friday Inspiration - Christmas Embroidery on Sweaters

Okay - it's now December and time to come to grips with reality.  The Christmas sweaters that in June I was sure I would be able to finish by now are .... not even started.  They're not going to happen!  But all is not lost - there is a really cool way to quickly (and securely) embroider on already knit sweaters.  Susan B. Anderson has a great YouTube video showing a chain/wrap stitch combo that can be used to make about any design.  And to get a thinner line of embroidery, use a smaller thickness yarn such as fingering or lace.  If the video below doesn't work for you, the video is here.

If your creative juices are flowing, this is probably all you'll need to take off on creating some fun designs.  And then if you're like the rest of us, still in a post-Thanksgiving fuzz, here are some places to find fun ideas.

The Spruce has 10 free Christmas embroidery patterns, several of which would work great on a sweater!  Find the links here.

Craftsy has several designs, some of which translate very well into the chain stitch technique and some that will require knowledge of a few more simple embroidery stitches.  Patterns are here.

And this Pinterest board has a lot of simple line Christmas embroidery patterns that would work great with a chain stitch!  See it here.

I have another Christmas embroidery project going that I'm hoping to show progress on next week!  Fingers crossed for some quiet, peaceful embroidery time!

Happy Creating!  Deborah

Monday, November 27, 2017

November Bead Challenge #3

This month, Sarajo Wentling's jewelry challenge was a photograph taken by her husband Eric of a stained glass window at the old Schlitz Brewery Building in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Eric Wentling

I love this window!  When I saw it, I immediately thought of the bubbles in beer and thinking about beer led me to hops.  We have beautiful hop vines on our front garden gate arch - in the summer they're full of bright green flowers/seed cones that turn more golden in the fall.

 Last summer I made sprig molds from some of the hops so I decided to make some jewelry components for this month's challenge.

For my jewelry piece I went with one of the spacer bars and made a bracelet with glass beads (representing beer bubbles!) attached.  It's great fun to wear, with the beads bouncing around!

You can see how others interpreted the challenge photo on Sarajo's blog here.

I've added the hops pieces that I didn't use to my on-line shop at stoneypointstudios.com.

Happy Creating!  Deborah

Friday, November 24, 2017

Knitted Owl Hat

No Friday Inspiration this week - unless you are inspired by owls, which I do think are quite inspiring!  

I've been working on the first of three owl hats for awhile, caught up in what buttons to use for the eyes.  They really need a 1/4 inch button , but the only ones I could find were white, which sorta made them look like zombie owls to me.  Nothing wrong with zombie owls if that's what one is going for, but I wasn't!  Finally I realized, wait - I make buttons, I should make them.  So .... about 40 clay buttons later I got 18 that had holes big enough for a needle and that I didn't break while sanding!  It was worth it, though!

I have another hat ready for more eyes and a third planned in snowy owl colors - I'll either get good at these or go crazy!

About the pattern - it's an older one by Penny Straker and available here on Ravelry or her website here.  The pattern itself is pretty easy, but (and it might just be me) I had trouble on some parts understanding exactly what was being said.  And if you're making it and absolutely cannot find where the cabling instructions for the hat are (I spent WAY too much time looking for them!), they are at the bottom of page one under "Shape Armholes."  Also, I almost converted it to a knit in the round pattern and then read the comments of one knitter who said she did and regretted doing so because it was very hard to sew the buttons on a completed hat.  So I left it and am glad I did!  One has 18 of these tiny buttons to sew on and it would have been way too fiddly if the hat was not flat.

So, on to more buttons and the snowy owl!

Happy Creating!  Deborah

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

November Bead Challenge #2

The Art Bead Scene Studio challenge this month was The Bouchardon Mill at Crozant by Armand Guillaumin.  I immediately fell in love with the colors of this impressionist painting!  The blue/purples, the red and orange poppies, and enough black to give a nice contrast.  I knew I wanted to make beads that captured this palette.  

This is what I came up with - the background is many colors of ceramic stains washed and rubbed together, then fired to set them.  I added black for contrast, fired again, put on the poppies, fired again, and finally fired a last time with a clear glaze.  They are about 13 mm in diameter.

And after admiring them for a couple of days, I laid claim to two of them and made this pair of earrings - one of my favorites among what I've made lately!

You can read more about the challenge here and look at how others are interpreting the inspiration piece in beads and jewelry here.  And if you'd like to create your own masterpiece with these beads, I've put four of them up in shop at stoneypointstudio.com  

And to celebrate my successful Holiday Studio Open House Sale this past weekend (it was truly soooo much fun!), I have a coupon code for those of you that live too far away to have joined in.  From now through Sunday, November 26th at 12 midnight PST, use the code OPENHOUSE to get free postage within the US.

Happy Creating!  Deborah

Friday, November 17, 2017

November Bead Challenge #1

Erin Prais-Hintz's November challenge on Earrings Everyday was to interpret one to four of these inspirational quotes:

Okay - of course I chose "Stars can't shine without darkness."  It's about stars!  I knew I wanted to go with a matte black background, so as little light would be reflected as possible, and white stars and hit it on the first try - well, a couple of tries to get the chalkboard feel.  This is a study in dark and light/black and white - I had the idea to make an old black slate chalkboard and do the stars like chalk drawings.  I remember (with several friends) covering my third grade teacher's, Mrs. Fieldler, blackboard with stars when we figured out how to make them in one motion without picking up the chalk!

I added a clear crystal for sparkle!

I've been hard at work on the next two challenges and also my first Holiday Studio Sale and Open House.  Stay tuned on Monday or Tuesday for the release of the next shop update of holiday and winter beads - and a special offer for you blog readers who aren't local enough to come to the sale!

Be sure to check out how other's interpreted this month's challenge here.

Happy Creating!  Deborah

Friday, November 10, 2017

Friday Inspiration - Dorothy Tucker's Kantha Inspired Embroidery

I've been getting the embroidery itch lately - a deep desire to pick up some cloth and stitch!  It's been quite awhile since I've done any, knitting taking a forefront in my fibers work lately.  So while looking at contemporary embroidery artists, I came across UK artist Dorothy Tucker.

Her works are inspired/informed by the Bangladesh and Bengali embroidery form of Kantha.  Pieces of old fabric (like sari silks) are pieced together with stitching to form cushions and quilts.  Dorothy uses found fabrics and a running stitch to both draw them together and draw pictures.

In her artist statement, she also talks about using digital prints of landscapes, adding layers of fabric and areas of stitching, in creating her works.

It was this that got my imagination going! I'm just beginning work on a piece using these techniques - it should be ready to show you in a week or two!  And I may have finally found something to do with the old botanical print files I've been collecting!

In the meantime, be sure to check out Dorothy's work at the Textile Study Group here.  And she does give workshops in Kantha - the classes for 2017 appear to be finished, but keep an eye on her page here for next year. 

Happy Creating!  Deborah

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Looking at Grays

With the idea in mind of "if you can't fix it, feature it," I went out this morning looking at all the grays outside.  Now this is Northwest Oregon and while we've had a beautiful autumn with lots of blue skies and color, it looks like the grays are starting to set in.

What I discovered while editing the photos, though, was that very little of what I photographed was actually only gray.  I would've told you it was while I was taking pictures, but some of the grays actually turned out to have very light shades of pinks or yellows in them.  And even the truly gray grays had a little bit of green peeking out between the cracks, a piece here and there of reddish brown, or a sliver of blue sky.

I'm starting some ceramic work focusing on grays and this has changed how I'll be approaching it!

Happy Creating!  Deborah

Friday, November 3, 2017

Friday Inspiration - The Warm Fires of Autumn

Mmmm ... few things are better than curling up in front of the fire when the weather outside turns nasty!  By the end of winter, it's gotten a bit old, but now in mid-autumn it feels wonderful.  With the tough summer of wildfires we had here in the West, it's also nice to have fire be for warmth again.  This seems to be a more common inspiration for fiber artists - I found several nice pieces that really capture the magic and comfort of winter fires in the hearth/fire ring.

I've had Terry Grant's campfire themed quilt saved for quite awhile - one can almost hear the crackle of the sparks rising and feel the excitement of being around a fire outdoors!  And I just recently discovered that she's an Oregon fiber artist who actually does not live very far from me.  Small world!  Be sure to look at the other work on her website here.  It's wonderfully composed and detailed.

Next I have two works with the same name!  The first is Fire and Ice by German artist Claudia Pfeil.  I love the motion of the flames in this quilt and the juxtaposition with the snow flakes falling outside.  Perfect day for a fire!  Fire and Ice won many quilting awards and, if it looks familiar, graced the cover of Quilters Newsletter some time back.  Claudia creates beautiful, intricate pieces - her fractal quilts are amazing!  Check out her website here.

The next Fire and Ice is by another Oregon artist, Barbara Walker.  This piece was created using the centuries old technique of ply-split basketry - and she has a wonderful explanation of it on her website here.  This basket is absolutely stunning!  The thin line of blue ice jumps out from its complementary color of orange fire in a way that seems to move - it makes me think of ice melting near fire.  I know it's not really in my theme of hearths/fire rings, but the way it's a contained basket reminds me of the containment of fires we light for warmth.  Barbara teaches workshops in several weaving techniques - the 2018 schedule is not up on her website yet, but I know I'll keep checking to see what it offers!

Okay, time to go put another couple of logs on the fire to stave off the rainy day!

Happy Creating!  Deborah

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Easy Cotton Flannel Scarves

Okay - these scarves are really, really easy.  I love the coziness of cotton flannel scarves - not the thin printed kind that works great for pajamas, but the little bit thicker, woven designed ones with the same pattern on both sides.  And I love my cotton scarves big and fringed - but not too long on the fringe.  So .... when one is that picky, it's better to just make it!!

*1 square of cotton shirting flannel  - depends on how big you like your scarves.  Mine is 44 inches square, but you can also make it a rectangle
*seam ripper

First, iron your fabric and cut off the selvages.  These are the two sides of the fabric that are woven - you don't need to cut off a lot, just enough so you can unravel the threads.

Next, using a seam ripper (or a pin will do), start separating out the threads on one side of the scarf.  Pull each thread all the way down the length of the side and take it out.  At first, it's easier for me to start at one end and just refind the thread when it breaks, but after my fringe is about a quarter inch I find it easier to start pulling the threads out from the middle of the side.

Keep on taking out threads until you have the length of fringe you like!  Mine is 3/4 inch.  Continue on to the next side.  You can leave the fringes as is or if you like those twisted fringes, just grab a few of the fringe threads and give them a good twist.

You will have a huge thread pile!!

To stabilize your scarf so you can wash and dry it without the fringes continuing to grow, sew right along the scarf edge of the fringe - I use a small stitch count (2) on my machine.

And that's really it!  On to the next two and I'll be set for a cozy winter!

Happy Creating!  Deborah

Friday, October 27, 2017

Friday Inspiration - The Tiny Embroidery of Eira Teufel

I used to embroider a lot - I still love picking up a needle and laying the different colored threads out in front of me, but somehow I don't seem to get to it very often.  And when I see amazing embroidery like that of Russian embroidery artist Svetlana of Eira Teufel, I'm inspired to start a new project!

Svetlana creates beautifully intricate pieces that range from small to impossibly tiny - pendants, brooches, motifs for sewing onto clothing, cufflinks, .... it's truly fascinating.

The German embroidery site Pumora has an interesting and recent interview with her that I highly recommend reading - you can find it here.  And after you get hooked on her work and try to decide whether or not you want to buy a giant magnifying glass and create your own tiny works, you can look at her Etsy store here.  I know I'm looking at those fish brooches!

Happy Creating!  Deborah

Friday, October 20, 2017

October Jewelry Challenges

With September's challenges under my belt, I felt a little more relaxed going into October's ... I don't know, but it seemed like while I had more ideas for these ones, they were harder to actually get to where I was happy with them!

The Art Bead Scene Studio bead challenge was the one I had the hardest time coming up with an idea for - and I even had a head start as the artwork for October was posted in September.  Roccoco is not a style I typically use.  It's a 17th century design movement that is intricate, elegant, and ornate.  There was a lot of use of plant and flower motifs, though, and that does sound like me!

The inspiration artwork was Francois Boucher's 1756 painting, Madame De Pompadour.  Madame De Pompadour was the mistress of King Louis XV and the patroness of Boucher - he painted many portraits of her.  I love the rich colors of this painting, so I decided to take the apricot roses and the teal silk and come up with a bead.  It didn't sound hard, as I had made a few red rose beads for my Day of the Dead update - those were painted with stains on a surface of stain, though, and I wanted to use something along the lines of a majolica technique to get that silkiness.  Long story short, these are try number three and the ones I entered.  It's terra cotta clay under a satin white glaze that I used stains on top of to get color and the roses.

You can see all the jewelry and beads created for October's challenge here.  And when you go look at them, be sure to check out the ads on the right-hand side.  Yep!  One of them is mine - I was actually chosen in a drawing for a free month of advertising!  I don't usually have beginner's luck - thank you ABS!

On to the second challenge.  Erin Prais-Hintz's theme for this month's We're All Ears challenge on Earrings Everyday was .... the harvest moon!  Read about it here.  I thought this one would be easy as last month I made harvest moon pendants and then a handful of small charms to go with them, but I still had to decide on a design.

Actually, I thought that September's full moon was always called the harvest moon, but nope, I was wrong.  It's usually in September but it's the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox, so this year October's full moon fit the bill.  I wear my harvest moon pendant all the time, but hadn't done anything with the charms.  After going through several tries with different beads, I decided I liked them paired with my gourd inspired beads and shell stars, bringing in two of my favorite things about October - it gets dark earlier so you can see more stars and the ripening pumpkins and gourds.  And after several versions that kept getting shorter and shorter ( I apparently do not have a long enough neck to wear the long, dramatic earrings that I love), I decided on this design. 

You can see everyone's harvest moon inspired earrings here.

On to SJDesigns challenge!  Sarajo's husband, Eric, gives her a challenge each month and this month's was a photograph he took of a painted lady butterfly.  We have a lot of them around here during the summer and they're one of my favorites!  You can read about the challenge on her website here.  

Eric Wentling
This is the challenge that stretched my creative thinking the most this month!  It's a gorgeous photo, but after working on butterfly wing shapes last month for the ABS bead challenge, I didn't feel like returning to them.  So I decided to go with the orange and black color scheme.

I've been playing around with some crawling and lichen glazes and there's a black one that's working particularly well - so I used pigments to color a couple of discs and some odd spiral twist beads I made for fun and then glazed them with the crawling black.  

At first I thought, oh my gosh - what am I going to do with these?  They turned out looking so bold - I usually work in the more subtle range and these scream!  And screaming reminds me of Halloween, so I made a dramatic Halloween necklace.  It's sooo different from any other piece of jewelry I own and I love it!!  I used one of the spiral beads, the two ceramic discs, large black crystals, black glass beads, and some rust colored pearls that have been sitting around for a few years.  

Check out others interpreted the challenge on Sarajo's site here.

The rectangular rose beads are up in the shop, there are a few harvest moon charms and gourd-inspired beads left, and I did not make more of the orange/black crawl beads but have a listing in the shop for them as Made To Order.

Happy Creating!  Deborah