basket of goodies….

I was looking around today for someone to share secrets with…

otis is busy

otis is busy

Otis had hung out the “do not disturb” sign….

ellis is busy

ellis is busy

Ellis evidently had plans to spend the day in my work chair…. alone.

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lilly is busy…

Lilly’s mind was clearly elsewhere…

whatever she sees, it might just deserve investigation...

whatever she sees, it might just warrant investigation…

engaged in critical contemplation of something…

and, she's gone!

and, she’s gone!

apparently worthy of closer scrutiny.

I’ll have to entertain myself, today, so I turn my attention to a diminutive basket I brought home from my mother’s house this weekend where my sister and I paid a visit.

antique basket

antique basket

This little work basket was made in Germany and has been collecting dust for 20 years on a shelf.  I don’t suppose it’s been opened for a decade or more.

pandora's box

pandora’s box

I love how it looks a bit like a tufted armchair when it’s open.

treasures await

treasures await

Inside, I find a jumble of possibilities ~ things look very promising, indeed.

needles and more needles

needles and more needles

I find needles, lots of needles,

old and worn

old and worn

a darner and wood spools of thread,

mother's handwork

mother’s handwork

my mom’s scissor and thimble keeper,

embroidery punches

embroidery punches

some very interesting tools,OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAa fabulous old hoop,OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAa tape measure I remember playing with as a child, and…

oh my! can it be?

oh my! can it be?

be still my heart, this antique bird pin cushion.

lovely patina

lovely patina

I was looking for one of these, just the other day on etsy.com.  It’s one of those things I really don’t need, but really, really want.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI don’t know why I want one, except that I love birds and these little creations are so intriguing.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI wonder in what quiet rooms this enchanting bird has served.  How many times has it sat in front of the fire whilst its mistress stitched with the family cat curled at her feet or, more likely, on her lap.  What secrets could this little bird tell?OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy mother also gave me this fabulous old paper box, filled to the brim with…

heaven!

heaven!

silk floss ~ oh, lovely, lovely!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJust look at those neutrals ~ yum!

The last thing I came home with is my favorite thing.

c is for...

c is for…

I just love this pillow my mother made years, and years, and years ago.  The neutrals simply sing to me and the quiet design speaks to my heart, reminding me of days gone by when my mother was my mother and the most creative person in the whole world.

May your day be filled with joyful memories and thoughts of blessings to come!

rebecca

how i make a make do…

beginning...

my design and a slice of wood bowl I’ll use for the cow to perch upon

I was, at one time, really intimidated by the thought of making make dos.  Now, they’re my favorite projects.  Though time-consuming, make dos are just good, clean, fun!

valdani color selection

valdani color selection

Today’s project is The Cow Jumped Over the Moon.  I’ve chosen to keep my color palette simple, using three of my favorite Valdani perle cottons: 6, P3, and H212.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I start out punching the cow….

ever faithful

ever faithful

…and Ellis helps things along.  With his kind attention, I’m able to complete the cow and the moon.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I’d like all my colors to blend into one another, so…

cuppa joe

cuppa joe

…into the coffee bath, where my cow and moon will soak over night.

squeeeeezzzzeee

squeeeeezzzzeee

I want the coffee to add some mottling to the lighter parts of the cow and moon, so I squeeze the punch needle.  Squeezing allows some of the coffee to remain ~ more in parts and less in parts.  I’ll hang the embroidery up to dry naturally and then sew it to some backing.

stitch

stitch

I chose a ticking fabric for the backing, pinned the right side of the fabric to the right side of the embroidery and got my sewing machine into the ready position.  When I sew a make do or pillow I try to catch the outermost row of punching with the needle, instead of sewing along outside the edge of the punch needle onto the weavers cloth.  That way, when I turn the piece right side out I see embroidery next to backing rather than embroidery, then weavers cloth peeking through, and then backing.

inside out

inside out

Now that the stitching is done, I cut the excess fabric away from cow and moon and snip-snip all the way around.

right side

right side

I left an opening in both the cow and the moon for stuffing purposes.  I’ll use some left over quilt batting that my mother-in-law saved for me to stuff both pieces.

spool and dowel

spool and dowel

I have this spool, that has a hole all the way through it, into which I’ll glue a dowel.

glued

glued

concept

concept

My thought is that I’ll attach the spool to the slice of bowl using a screw.  Then, the cow will sit on top of the dowel, if all goes well.  First, I want to cover the bowl slice with clip art.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’ve decided to use images of cows and moons which I cut out and Mod Podge to the bowl.

all covered

all covered

Now, I’ll sand the bowl and distress it heavily.

distressed, crackled and antiqued

distressed, crackled and antiqued

Next step, attach the spool/dowel.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’m using a 2″ drywall screw and I start it from the center back of the bowl.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe screw goes all the way through the bowl and a good ways into the dowel, ensuring a stable and secure make do.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI drive the screw into the back far enough that the head of the screw is deeper than the surface of the back.  I put a little bitty bit of batting into the hole, cover the batting with a little piece of clip art, distress and antique the clip art, and then step back to take a good long look…… and, OH, MY, GOSH…. I HATE it!

lilly

lilly

I look at Lilly and Lilly looks at me.  She knows the base of my make do, which I just spent HOURS making, is all wrong….

otis

otis

I look at Otis, and he can’t even meet my eye.  He knows.  It’s awful.  It just won’t do.

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om…. om…..

So, I spend a few days meditating….

*sigh*...

*sigh*…

a few days feeling sorry for myself….

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zzzz…..

and, a few days snoozing.  And, now I’m ready to start again.  This is not atypical.  I usually encounter at least one moment of despair along the yellow brick road to make do land.

new clip art

new clip art

I removed the spool and dowel and covered the base in one item of clip art.  I found this particular piece on the New York Public Library site.  I like the soft colors and the vintage feel, also, the font that was used is very appealing.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This combination feels like a much better fit to me.  I’ve added some metal bits from a salvaged antique trunk and I’ve covered a plain wood dowel with the same clip art I used on the base.

dowel into cow

dowel into cow

Now, the dowel is fitted into the cow and the edges are ready to be hand stitched together.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Add the little moon, and ….

ta da

ta da

There you have it, my journey through the creative process.  You can visit the Cow on Etsy by clicking here.

 

What are you working on today?  Whatever it is, I hope it sails along swimmingly!

 

rebecca

united inspiration…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe last time I mentioned United ~ this fabulous design from Notforgotten Farm ~ I’d completed the punching, pressing, and covering the back with a protective layer of fabric.  Now, I’m ready to complete it somehow.

piece of salvaged wood

piece of salvaged wood

I decided to use a piece of salvaged wood, complete with its original paint, for finishing United.  I love all the evidence of use this wood shows.

gluing

gluing

I spread my Elmer’s craft glue all over the back of my punched piece, using the side of the tip to smear the adhesive around.  I used to use a paint brush for spreading the glue, but, the paint brush absorbed much of the glue, it also had to be cleaned when I was done, and it always had to be found in the first place.  So, using the tip to smear saves me time, glue, water and frustration!

let it dry

let it dry

The next part is easy ~ just smooth the punch needle onto the surface of the wood and walk away.  I let my pieces dry overnight.

done

done

You can visit United on etsy if you’d like.

Now that I’ve finished United, I’d like to display it somewhere, like on the mantelpiece.  But, United, sitting up on the mantel all by itself probably won’t be very exciting so I decided to do the whole mantel in a patriotic theme.

mantel

do you love this “america” banner? i got it from Ivonne of the crackling crows

However, now the mantel sort of sticks out like a sore thumb in my quiet, sparse living room, so I decorate the whole fireplace area…

fireplace

fireplace

Of course, you can see where this is going, can’t you?  Now the living room needs a makeover, so I get to work.  I make pillows for the chaises and add lots of my punched and stitched pieces here and there.  I cut out paper bunting and string them together, strewing them hither and thither, I even find a pair of fabulous, chippy shutters at our local antique store, and of course I must have them! Well, anyway, I’ll just show you the pictures and you’ll get the idea….

fireplace

fireplace

usa pillow and little birdie

usa pillow and little birdie

usa oil cans

usa oil cans

flags

flags

peep on a wheel

peep on a wheel

bunting and had-to-have shutters

bunting and had-to-have shutters

love birds

love birds

oatbran thinking about those love birds

oatbran thinking about those love birds

love those chippy shutters

love those chippy shutters

punched bird and rabbit on wheels

punched bird and rabbit on wheels

 

Trouble is, now that the living room is decorated, the dining and kitchen areas are looking a little slack ~ there’s definitely a disadvantage to having an open floor plan!  So…OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I made these slip covers for the dining chairs…OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

These are just lengths of left over linen hopsack from the slip covers I made for the living room a year or so ago.

there's ellis in the background!

there’s ellis in the background!

The dining table has a sort-of-English-Country-Garden thing going on, with a vintage paper-cutter as a base (perhaps the “lawn”), a cake plate and glass dome as the center (kind of like the fountain or statue in the garden, maybe?), and my moss/spoon filled antique custard cups ~ which I made last year.  Can you believe the moss still looks green?! ~ They can be the shrubbery in my tabletop garden.

pretty moss

pretty moss

pretty kitty

pretty kitty

I’m growing rather weary, but I do want to add a little something to the kitchen so that it looks a little fresh, too.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I found this fabulous vintage dish drainer on etsy and thought it would be just the thing.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It has this awesome little round utensil holder.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I think a crisp, white orchid adds a touch of whimsy to such a humble piece.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANow, my decorating is complete and I can return to what I really love ~ my punch needle.

 

Wishing you joy and happiness!

 

rebecca

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

phm update…

Hello there!

Just a quick post to let you know that it’s time for April’s Primitive Handmades Mercantile update.  If you’d like to check out my offerings or any of the other talented artisans on PHM, click here.

I’ll be back soon to tell you about some decorating I’ve been doing around the house.

Until then, think happy thoughts!

 

rebecca

one way to finish…

lilly...

lilly…

Here’s Lilly, and when she’s finished playing with a toy she simply falls asleep.

When I finish punching a piece I sometimes take a nap, like Lilly, more often, though, I try to move on to the next step.

Here, I’m all done punching United, a design by Lori Brechlin from her American Folk pattern book.

stained and drying

stained and drying

And, here, United has been soaked in coffee, squeezed and wrung, and now hangs out and dries over night.  United will be ready for steaming in the morning.

rowenta pressure steamer

rowenta pressure steamer

I’ve had this Rowenta pressure steamer/iron for about five years ~ love it, love it, love it!  I use it for hooked rugs, punch needle pieces and for steaming clothes ~ fabulous for getting wrinkles out of dress shirts!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

First, I steam the back of United, including the weavers cloth.  I move rather slowly over the back, giving the steam time to do its thing.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Then, I steam the front.  I use a much lighter hand when steaming the front, moving the iron very quickly over the surface.  It’s actually not necessary to steam the front ~ I just do it because I do it ~ and, in fact, using too much steam and/or pressure can flatten the loops.  My loops are so short to begin with (because I set my Cameo needle to the lowest setting) that there’s little danger of flattening.

Now, I let the piece rest until cool and dry.

snip

snip

Because, I’m planning to mount United on a piece of wood, I’m going to turn the edges of the weavers cloth back.  I’ll trim around the whole piece leaving an inch or two or three of excess fabric.

folding corners

folding corners

Now, I fold in and press the corners.

edges

edges

Then, I fold and press the edges.

elmer's fabric and craft glue

elmer’s fabric and paper glue

I like to use Elmer’s Craft Bond when I adhere.  It’s non-toxic and acid-free, so shouldn’t yellow over time or cause my Valdani floss to change color.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I put some glue under the turned back weavers cloth so that it will lay flat against the punch needle.  Now, I want to cover the exposed punched bits with another piece of weavers cloth.  By covering the entire back of the piece with fabric, I feel safe.  That is, I feel safe that if I should ever want to remove United from its final resting place (the piece of wood I’m planning to mount it on), I will be able to do so without pulling out all my punching.  When, in the past, I have adhered an unprotected punch needle back to a piece of wood or other surface, then changed my mind and pulled my punch needle off said surface… *pphhhrrrrttttt* …it’s been like pulling out a row of knitting.

under wraps

under wraps

So, I keep it covered.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANow, United is dry and ready to get together with a piece of wood.  I’ll use the same Elmer’s Craft Bond to adhere the two together, and next time I’ll show you the finished product.

 

Until then, be well and happy, and thank you for stopping by!

 

rebecca

 

 

the cow jumped over the moon….

 

home again

otis and ellis

Returning home from my sister’s, I find things much the same.  Quiet and warm and very little rushing about (until we feel like rushing about, of course).

I’ve been thinking about a little cow I made a few years ago that I gave my sister.

the cow jumped over...

the cow jumped over…

I think I’d like to make another capering cow very similar to this one, but perched on a rocker rather than a knob.

broken bits

broken bits

I have an antique wood bowl which has split into several pieces.  I think this piece will make a nice base for my new bounding bovine.

simple colors

simple colors

I’ll keep my color palette simple ~ just Valdani 6, P3, and H212.

What are you dreaming of, today?

 

rebecca

 

herbs…

spring break with my good friend duke

spring break with my good friend duke

Here am I, vacationing with my friend, Duke.  If you were with me over the winter holidays, you know that Duke is my sister’s little yorkie-poo, and whenever she and her brood head south to escape the bitter northern clime, I get to spend a week or so dog-sitting.

While staying at my sister’s house, I’m working on a Lori Brechlin design from a booklet she released a few years ago entitled, “American Folk”.  My progress is slow because I’m having too much fun playing with Duke to do much punching, so I’ll talk about “United” another day.  (Also, I’m suffering an attack of Sciatica which is rather distracting and which makes sitting/standing/walking/lying/breathing for any length of time ~ ahem ~ uncomfortable.  “Uncomfortable” may be the biggest lie I’ve told in my life, which, if you’ve ever had Sciatica you will shout, “Amen!”, but enough about me and my pity party…)

So, instead of telling you about, “United”, I’ll tell you about, “Herbs”, another fab design from Lori Brechlin.  This is from Lori’s Herb Tyme booklet and it’s a design I’ve been wanting to do for several years.  I’ve been afraid of it, however, because of the little bitty details, like the flowers on the herbs.  Little bitty detail designs have never been my strong suit and, in the past, I’ve shied away from these patterns.  However, recently I’ve come up with some “cheats” that make bitty details easier for me and less frightening.  Before I get to my cheats, I want to let you know what colors I’m using for this design:  These are all Valdani #12 Perle Cotton ~ PT2 (green perle tweed for the “HeRbS” and stems), 8101 (Withered Mulberry) for the flowers, H205 for the peeps and bee skep, p4 for the background, and a touch of H212 for the peeps eyes, bee skep entrance and bee detail.  I get my Valdani from Snowflake Memories.

dragging

“dragging” the line under the word HeRbS

My “cheats” may not be cheats at all, they may be common practices amongst all you punchers, but I remember reading in a punch needle book, when I first started out, that one must never lift the needle and drag the thread to a different position on the weavers cloth.

dragging seen from the front

dragging seen from the front

I decided, after a time, that just because a book told me I shouldn’t drag didn’t mean I couldn’t drag. I mean, who’s to know.  As you can see from the front, there’s nothing to indicate that I’m a cheating punch needler.

clipping after dragging

clipping after dragging

After I finish dragging the line under HeRbS, I clip the long bits so that I can punch the background color in the proper places.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASeen from the back, now, it looks as though I were an upright, law-abiding, puncher who never even considered cheating.

Now, about those little bitty flowers…

background before flowers

background before flowers

Here, I’m working on the little clump of herbs under the “S”.  It has more background than flowers, so I fill around the stems, loosely, with my Valdani P4, which is my background color.

from the front

from the front

This photo of the front shows how many spaces there are around the stems.

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flowers done

Here, I’ve gone in with my Valdani 8101 (Withered Mulberry) and filled in the spaces with flowers.

flowers first

flowers first

Where there are more blossoms I punch those first, using the same method, and then fill in with the background Valdani P4.

done with the details!

done with the details!

Working details using these cheats makes punching these wonderful patterns so much more fun then when I would try to punch one little flower, snip my thread, punch a little background, snip, punch a flower….

back

back

I made HeRbS into a little pillow stuffed with organic lavender ~ oh, Heaven!  The pillow is backed with a reproduction fabric which I coffee stained, a tiny pocket in the same fabric sports an antique bone button and a tag with a bee skep stamped on each side.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

From the front, my cheats don’t give themselves away!

giving me the look

giving me the look

Time to get back to Duke!

 

May all your dreams come true, today!

 

rebecca