Friday, January 30, 2009

"Sunday's Fun Day, Charlie Brown!"

Do you remember this old Peanuts comic book? I've had it in my book stash since 1965 (...ahhh, those were the good old days...)

Anyway, I pulled it off my bookshelves because I was feeling just like Lucy and Snoopy last Sunday - ready to do something FUN!

And you know what that means for stitchers, don't you? Yup. I STARTED SOME NEW PROJECTS! (Never mind that I currently have an undisclosed number of projects already started, needing to be finished - that's soooo not relevant.)

I had such a FUN DAY last Sunday, pulling out threads, cutting canvas and attaching it to assorted scroll bars and stretcher bars.

Once that was done, I sat down and figured out the basic composition of the pieces I wanted to stitch next. And that meant browsing through some of the stitchery books on my shelf - for pattern inspiration, of course. [Aside: Have you noticed the current Bargello trend that is popping up in all the stitchery magazines recently? Well, hint, hint...guess what I'm going to start stitching next? Just wait and see where I'm going with THAT....]

I've also got another floral collage started, but I put it aside to get my Barbary Coast projects done, so I need to get back to stitching on that piece. AND I've had an idea for creating a butterfly piece (another trend I keep seeing in stitching and design magazines) so I think it's time to get started stitching a butterfly design, too.

Oh boy, oh boy.... my favorite thing in all the world - starting a new project!!
And I've got several that I can't wait to begin. Well, those new projects are calling to me, so I've gotta go now and get to stitching... Talk to you later!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


If you've been wondering what I've been stitching on this month, I'll tell you, but you have to promise not to tell anyone: I've been busy marathon stitching on two projects I'm planning to submit as proposals for the 2010 EGA Seminar in San Francisco, which has a theme of "stitching on the Barbary Coast."

I've been thinking about this theme for many months now, and finally got down to stitching. I've spent the whole month of January working on two TOP SECRET projects that I hope will be accepted for the big 2010 event.

I finally finished both stitchery projects last week - WOO HOO, HOORAY FOR ME!!!

The only thing I'm going to show you is the color palette I used for both projects:

I decided to settle on this particular palette of reds, greens, golds and browns because it seemed so evocative of that opulent Victorian-era style that must have been so prevalent in circa-1850 Barbary Coast San Francisco....

But that's all you get to see. The finished projects are hidden in my studio, not to be revealed until 2010.... and my lips are sealed.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Introducing: Ribbons of Hope

I thought it would be most appropriate for my first new offering of the year to be RIBBONS OF HOPE. It's the next design in the ribbon series (the first one being the tan & aqua RIBBONS OF HARMONY I showed you a few months ago) and my new design looks like this:

I was soooo "tickled pink" that the Caron Collection came out with a beautiful new variegated pink thread color last year called "Primrose" (248) because it was perfect for this project! I especially liked the colorway of "Primrose" because it contains all types of pinks - from a coral blush to a zingy magenta. I chose to use a basic pink palette for my model, but you could certainly pick out a coral version or even a darker magenta version.

I stitched three of my most favorite "fat ribbon" patterns (i.e.: ones that are wide enough to do allow some really fun loopy-de-loop fancywork stitching with metallic ribbon threads, beads and the usual assortment of pearl cottons)....

I also planned the ribbon design so that it included special pink ribbons sprinkled throughout the design. Can you spot the little pink Very Velvet ribbons in the first big ribbon?

How about the middle ribbon?

And then again in the big ribbon on the right?

In this ribbon design, I've included some big gold beads with the pattern that I've used very sparingly. But there are LOTS of other places that smaller, secondary beads could be added, if you so desire.

This design was a very fun one to stitch and I enjoyed it immensely! In any case, as a breast cancer survivor myself (6+ years), this RIBBON OF HOPE pattern holds a very special place in my designing heart, and I'm very happy to share it with you. Please visit my website if you're interested in ordering it....

Also, in a personal aside: I'd like to highly recommend that you visit and click on the "Free Mammogram for Women" space, so you can give free mammograms to women who need them. I have the website on my Favorites list, and go there every day to add my click to the tally. It's a fast and easy way to make a difference in someone's life.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Just a Peek...

In my previous posting, I showed you my PINK CYCLAMEN design.

It reminded me that I had started a companion piece to it last year, so I went looking through my project box and pulled it out.

Here's how much I have started:

It's done in #8 pearl cotton thread in blues and greens, and again, it's stitched on 24 ct. Congress Cloth.

Can you guess what type of flower will be going in the middle of the design?

Hmmmmmm.... I'll definitely have to pick this up and start stitching on it again, and (hopefully) I'll have it ready for you to see in the Spring.

Till then, let's all pick up an old project and get back to stitching on it.
There's nothing so satisfying as finally finishing up a project that you started long ago, don't you agree?

(Because of course, it means that AFTERWARDS, you can give yourself permission to start something new - which is even MORE satisfying, right??)

Sooooo, happy finishings, everyone!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Spring Preview

Here in northern California, the past few weeks have been very spring-like. I took these photos of the few cyclamen I have in pots on my deck:

I get a craving for cyclamen in the winter, and when I go shopping for a few plants, I look longingly at all the luscious colors available (red, white, lavender, fuchsia and pink) but I'm always drawn to the same pink ones. I simply can't resist those soft pink petals with the blush of darker pink at their base.

Several years ago, I created a stitched version of these lovely flowers, called (surprise, surprise) PINK CYCLAMEN...

I took a colored pencil drawing I had done of a basket of cyclamen and tent stitched it in the center, and then used it as an excuse to stitch lots of lovely border patterns around it. (I stitched this design on 24 ct. Congress Cloth, a finer type of canvas, with an assortment of #8 pearl cottons and flosses.)

Here's the stitched basket in the center:

I often think, when I look at this piece hanging in my bedroom, that it would also look good stitched just out to the thick scalloped border, and then made into a box pillow.

Anyway, I share these pink cyclamen with you.... just to give all of you in the midst of winter a little preview of spring!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Happy New Year!

It's a new year, and time to re-dedicate myself to the proposition that all sorts of new and interesting designs are waiting to be created in the coming year.

I'll begin by looking backward: to an old favorite blackwork piece I stitched for myself (not published) 'way back in 1994. I took an Art Nouveau illustration that had the Three Fates (the three women) stitching on a long cloth (someone's life). It worked beautifully for a blackwork sampler, because it has lots of large areas (the clothing) where different patterns could be inserted.

Here's an up-close look at the lower lady stitching at the bottom of the design.
You can see several of the lovely blackwork patterns used in this design.

I especially enjoyed putting small round ivory pearls in several pattern areas (see the dress cuff and the upper flowered skirt). That added a bit of discreet texture to the piece.

All the skin areas were stitched in a plain diagonal row of backstitching, except I used DMC Fil D'Or (a very fine gold metallic). Not the funnest thread to stitch with, I admit, but it gives just the right warm golden glow to the skin areas.

I particulary love the symbolism of this piece.... it reminds me that no matter what kind of project you're working on right now, it's still a part of the overall design of your life. Each piece of the puzzle belongs in its own place, and is just one building block for what comes next -- whether it be another stitching project, or perhaps a major stepping stone in the path of your life.

May the coming Year be happy, healthy, prosperous and peaceful for all of us....