shaded embroidery, fabric scraps & vintage eyelet lace

If you love embroidery -- and I do! -- you must pick up this book:

Clare Hanham explains shaded embroidery so well with her wonderful pics and directions.

So after paging through this, a huge dose of creative inspiration surges through my body (this is when my family tries to quietly escape out the front door....)

And I start scrounging through my fabric scraps, embroidery thread and found pieces of vintage eyelet lace...

.And begin.

In her book she starts you out with very basic 3 shades of pink embroidery floss and simple long/short stitches to make this flower.

The piece becomes so vivid with just the subtle changes of colored thread.

I was pleasantly surprised --okay, shocked really -- with these results.
Quite easy. Quite do-able. And when becoming so frustrated with having to count out stitches in a cross-stitch pattern, well -- this may be the answer!

And now I must figure out how to finish off this tiny piece.


crocheted peony brooch tutorial

I have had requests for the pattern for the crochet peony brooch I made here.
I used a size G hook and Caron Simply Soft yarn. Of course, you could use any size hook or yarn/thread for this flower.

Begin with a slip knot.

Chain 6.

Join in a ring with a slip stitch.

Round 1: Chain 1 (counts as first sc.) Work 14sc into ring for a total of 15 sc.
Join with slip stitch.

Round 1: Chain 3 (counts as first dc), 2 dc into base of 3 chain, 3 dc into each sc.

End with a slip stich in top of 3 chain.

Round 2: Chain 3 (counts as first dc), 2 dc into base of chain 3, 3 dc into each dc, ending with a slip stitch into top of chain 3.
(edit: 12/07/09 -- Thank you to a very insightful email -- I see that the original tutorial had a mistake on round 2. The mistake has been corrected and I hope no one else was confused with my directions for this step. And a *huuuuuuuge* thank you to Marion for pointing this out to me!!)

Round 3: Ch 3 (counts as first dc), 2 dc into base of 3rd chain, 3 dc into each dc, end with slip stitch in top of 3ch.

Round 4: Work same as round 3.

Fasten off and weave in end.

To make fabric leaves:
Trace circle onto fabric choice for leaves. I used a jar lid.

Find center of circle by ironing a crease down the middle.

(Does this all seem familiar? Yup. It's just like the petals from the fabric flower tutorial I did here.)
Using a rotary cutter, cut down the center for 2 pieces.

Fold piece in half, right sides together. Sew a seam down straight edge.

Turn right side out.

Hand sew a running stitch on open edge.

Gather tightly. Secure with knot.

Hand sew to backside of crocheted flower.

I have a collection of vintage earrings. Loooooove to collect these, by the way!

By gently pulling apart the back from the front, I can easily use the perforated earring top to sew to the center of my flower.

You could also use a button, beads for the center -- or even leave it plain.

Trace a circle onto felt and sew to cover the backside of flower.

Attach a pinback.

A gorgeous, crocheted flower brooch.
I would love to see yours if you make one!


peony table

The peonies in our garden have opened their glorious, heavy bonnets of pink petals. These must be some of my most favorite flowers.
And can you believe it? Recently rifling through a pile of musty linens at the thrift store, I couldn't believe when I unearthed the three items above! -- the variegated pink crochet dresser scarf, and two delicate hankies.
And with the warm breeze of summer coming through our windows, I was furthered carried away -- and inspired! -- with the beauty of hand-made flowers when I paged through this book:

Page after page of gorgeous ribbon flowers! I never knew of Celia Thaxter before, but am enthralled with her!

All this time the lovely day was slowly changing its early delicate colors and freshness for the whiter light of noon.--Celia Thaxter

Oh my. Such a romantic, heady feeling of inspiration?
My kids (okay. and maybe my husband too.) think I'm pretty weird getting all googly-eyed over such things, but I loooooooove stuff like this.

And yes, I'll continue to get carried away when I see stuff like this.

Maybe just not as loud.

This also from our garden.

The kids were giddy when we found this tiny bunny scurrying through the flowers. And of course, our cat must inspect all new visitors. Or, so she thinks.

But then after marveling over the cuteness factor, we gently placed the bunny down & watched him/her scurry back to his home underneath the leafy cover of safety.


daisies & doilies

The Field Daisy
I'm a pretty little thing,
Always coming with the spring;
In the meadows green I'm found,
Peeping just above the ground,
And my stalk is cover'd flat
With a white and yellow hat.

Little Mary, when you pass
Lightly o'er the tender grass,
Skip about, but do not tread
On my bright but lowly head,
For I always seem to say,
"Surely winter's gone away."
Ann Taylor (1782 - 1886)

Yes, indeed.

A little yellow hat.

Daisies picked from our garden, wearing little yellow hats.

They surely announce spring, don't they? And the pureness of the white petals -- so easily mimicked in this pale crochet thread. So, of course, I must get started on yet another doily...

The doily is called Garden Party and once again -- is a pattern found in the no-longer-published-Magic-Crochet magazine. I am using #7 steel crochet hook and size 10 thread.

And the vase? Oh, my! A thrifted find at a rummage sale. A mere 50 cents.


A perfect color of blue.


butterfly in knots

Seeing a wonderful project involving french knots, I asked myself just how hard can it be to embroider a 'few' french knots!? Keep in mind that I had to get this done in about a week.

And after about the billionth french knot -- and yes, I saw them in my sleep -- I swore I would never make another french knot. Ever. Who knew making these things could take soooooooo long! Phew.
Anyway. I do love french knots and got the delightful pattern from this book:

I used a little bit of a different color scheme -- love the periwinkles! Then raided my stash for some sort of complimentary fabric for the border. And finished it with machine quilting in a pearly meandering.

I purchased a ornate candle holder from the Dollar Store and had my husband clip off the candle
part of it and was left with this whimsical hangar. Because the candle holder was a dark burnished color, I aged it all vintage-y looking with white paint dabbed on with a sponge.

Whimsical and blissful. Even if the french knots were almost the death of me.....



The busy-ness of school winding down in our house has left all of us scurrying here and scurrying there trying to get. everything. done.
But I can find time to sew. And even tho I seem to have this love-hate relationship with fabric lately -- ugh -- I love the picking out of fabrics. The putting together of complimentary colors, but oh, the absolute physical reluctance to sew it into anything -- it has become such a love/hate relationship for me.

So, I will stick to smaller projects. Projects that make me smile with ease and not cringe with overwhelmingness -- is that a word?

Choosing pastel prints and trying to think of something pretty to applique, I decided on a birdhouse. I merely drew this from my head onto fusible web and ironed it to muslin.

And what's a birdhouse without wild roses winding their way around the post?

A gift for my sister-in-law. Her entry way is decorated with so many birdhouses. You just can't have too many birdhouses welcoming your guests when they enter your house. Right? Well, I hope she agrees!

A bit of simpleness with a vintage, white button.

A birthday birdhouse for not only for someone who is my sister-in-law, but for someone who has become a dear, dear friend.