santa and snowman….

I haven’t had a tremendous amount of help this week….

"crinkly paper rules!" ~ otis

“crinkly paper rules!” ~ otis

Otis has been busy….

 

"i'm awake, i'm awake, i'm aaawaakzzzzzzz..." ~ lilly

“i’m awake, i’m awake, i’m aaawaakzzzzzzz…” ~ lilly

…Lilly’s been busy….

"i'm not even going to pretend.  i'm not awake, i'm asleep and i want to stay asleep!" ~ ellis

“i’m not even going to pretend. i’m not awake, i’m asleep and i can’t think of a better way to spend the day!” ~ ellis

So, I’ve had to manage on my own.  Finishing is always difficult for me… why?  I don’t know.  Is it the commitment?  The responsibility?  Whatever.  Actually finishing a punch needle project, big or small, is always painful.  However, I was able to get my Santa and my Snowman completed last week.

Here we go.  Snowman first:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

My Wynter Snowman features a freebie design from Bird in the Hand Primitives.  He was punched on weavers cloth with my favorite Valdani Floss.  wynter snowman PicMonkey Collage

He balances on a vintage Shower/Tub porcelain knob and is backed with lovely wool.

"whoa, whoa, Whoa, WHOAAA!"

“whoa, whoa, Whoa, WHOAAA!”

He wobbles fore and aft, and side to side.

"s*n*o*w*"

“s*n*o*w*”

And, he wears a “snow”-covered skirt.  woohoo!

Now, Santa rides through a winter’s night ~santa's christmas PicMonkey Collage

Santa’s backed with wool.  His rocker is covered in holiday homespun, while decorative antique clock bits adorn the ends.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASanta, too, was punched with my Valdani favorites.  I’m always astonished by the beauty of Valdani, the depth of color and the character Valdani brings to my projects ~ I never tire of using this exquisite floss!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASanta carries a simple Christmas tree and jingles all the way.

"ho, ho, HO!"

“ho, ho, HO!”

Here comes Santa Claus!

What have you been working on?  Have you had someone to lend a paw?  Or, do you have to make all you decisions on your own, too?

 

happy weekend to you and yours ~ be warm, safe and content!

 

rebecca

 

 

 

getting ready….

are you ready for the holidays?OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

whilst i’ve been feverishly punching winter-themed designs….

"really? you can't punch any faster than that?" ~ lilly

“really? you can’t punch any faster than that?” ~ lilly

…lilly’s been keeping her eyes on me.  she’s the head elf, making sure all the subordinate elves (me) stay on task.

ellis has been….

"call me kris crinkle" ~ ellis

“call me kris crinkle” ~ ellis

…wrapping gifts in crinkly brown paper, and otis has been….

"i could've sworn i was climbing a tree" ~ otis

“i could have sworn i was climbing a christmas tree” ~ otis

…practicing his christmas-tree-garland impersonation.

 

what about you?  how are you preparing for this season of JOY?

 

peace, my friends!

 

rebecca

 

 

phm update, november….

merry christmas in november!

merry christmas in november!

If you’d care to scoot on over to my Primitive Handmades Mercantile shop you can see the ornaments I’ve been working on this month ~ I’ve had so much fun!  Click here to visit.  But, if you’d prefer to spend your time napping…..

go ahead and snooze....

go ahead and snooze….

…Oatbran will sure to join you.

Happy November!

 

rebecca

thanksgiving day parade and antique dog and cat…

otis finds a good spot

otis finds a good spot

Some of us have been busy this week….

ellis finds a good spot

ellis finds a good spot

…trying to find the perfect resting spot…

"i can't sleep in there, it's full of water!" ~lilly

“i can’t sleep in there, it’s full of water!” ~lilly

Lilly works a little harder than the boys to find just the place….

comfy lilly?

comfy lilly?

…to get comfortable?

I’ve been finishing more projects, some for Thanksgiving, like….

thanksgiving day parade

thanksgiving day parade

…this chamomile stuffed pillow.  It’s a design I adapted from the Notforgotten Farm pattern called, “Turkey Shoot”.  You can find more of Lori’s designs by clicking here.

I also worked on a Thanksgiving Day Parade of my own….

silhouettes

silhouettes

I punched a turkey, four pilgrims and a pumpkin on weavers cloth using Valdani #12 perle cotton…

"i love a parade"

“i love a parade”

…attached them to salvaged book fronts, painted black, and clipped them to a piece of twine using clothes pins.  A rusty bell between each silhouette adds a bit of rustic charm.

And, FINALLY!, I finished the Antique Dog and Cat punch needle that I started in July.  If you’d like to see where this piece started, you can click here.  This embroidery was inspired by an antique hooked rug…

original antique rug

original antique rug

…and, here’s my finished version.

punch needle version

punch needle version

If you’d like to see more pictures of my Antique Dog and Cat or of the Thanksgiving Day Parade pillow, you can visit my etsy shop by clicking here.

What have you been up to?  Are you decorating for Thanksgiving or moving directly from Halloween to Christmas?

Whatever you may do, may you enjoy it to the fullest!

 

rebecca

 

 

 

 

 

finally finishes….

woolly sheep

woolly sheep

I’ve been punching and punching, and not finishing, for several weeks.  Finally, the last few days have been devoted to completing and updating my etsy shop.

all things autumn ~ bird in the hand primitives

all things autumn ~ bird in the hand primitives

If you stop by etsy, you’ll find a little woolly sheep and a chamomile stuffed pillow.  And, you’ll find…

patriotic gentleman?

patriotic gentleman?

‘scuse me, Otis.  You’ll find…..

"what, me?"

“what, me?”

Toot, toot Oatbran, I’m trying to show the folks my Patriotic Gentleman….

"where?"

“where?”

Looks like Oatsy needs a kitty catnip toy to distract him.  If you stop by my etsy shop, you’ll find…

patriotic gentleman

patriotic gentleman

a Patriotic Gentleman and…

crow 1 and 2

crow 1 and 2

a murder of crows.  Though Otis was ready to lend a paw all week, Lilly and Ellis had other events scheduled.

zzzz

zzzz…

Lilly, in particular, was busy because I introduced her to a new spot…

lilly's spot

lilly’s spot

which consists of a futon mattress, a kitty heating pad and a wool quilt.  What do you think, Lilly?

ahhhhhh.....zzzzzz....

ahhhhhh…..zzzzzz….

 

Wishing you all a Lilly of a day!

 

rebecca

 

 

 

 

 

 

supplies: hoops, floss, needles, kits…

This morning I was stocking up on some punch needle supplies.  I’d recently broken one of my Morgan hoops while pulling my weavers cloth taut and needed to replace it.  I’m something of a homebody (huge understatement) so I do most of my shopping online, plus the Joann’s/Hobby Lobby closest to me is a half hour away… half hour there, half hour in the store, half hour home again, that’s an hour and a half of punch or nap time.  If you’re like me and prefer to do your shopping from the comfort of home here’s a reference guide to where I buy ~ fyi, I’m not affiliated in any way (except that I spend a lot of $ there!) with any of these shops…

morgan hoops

morgan hoops

I like the Morgan hoop.  It’s sturdy and allows for virtually no cloth slippage.  Today, I ordered a hoop from punchneedlemarketplace.com ~ click here.  You can also find Morgan hoops at joann.com ~ click here, and amazon.com ~ click here.

weavers cloth

weavers cloth

Weavers cloth is available in many colors.   I almost always use neutral because I can see the pattern I’m tracing through the cloth.  I buy mine by the bolt from Joann’s online ~ click here.  I also buy from Lori Brechlin (Notforgotten Farm) who sells beautiful weavers cloth by the yard on her etsy shop ~ click here.

valdani

valdani

I love Valdani perle cotton size 12 floss and there are lots of reasons I use it instead of DMC or other 6 strand flosses.  The main reason is because it glides through the weavers cloth much more easily for me than other floss, limiting hand, wrist and forearm fatigue.  This means I can punch for long periods of time, which means I can accomplish more, which means I can sell more finished pieces, which means I can buy more Valdani.  Yes, it’s pricier than other flosses… much pricier, but in the end it saves me time and pain and it is also gentler on the earth than other floss, which is a big deal for me.  Snowflake memories is my go to for Valdani.  You can visit snowflakememories.com by clicking here.

cameo needles

cameo needles

I use Cameo punch needles (lots of them).  I like a medium needle tip and I set my length at the lowest (#1) setting for most projects.  I buy Cameos whenever I see them on sale.  You can find them by clicking on any of the following links:  Notforgotten Farm on etsy, Amazon, punch needle marketplace.  Also a “cameo punch needle” search on ebay and etsy will often yield results.

patterns

patterns

I typically purchase my patterns from Notforgotten Farm ~ click here and Bird in the Hand Primitives ~ click here.  I also like Chestnut Junction ~ click here, Need’l Love ~ click here, and Patternmart ~ click here.  In addition, I find lots of patterns on fellow bloggers blogs.  Every couple of years or so I check in with my favorite designers to see if their policies have changed.  For example, I’ll ask if I can use a cross stitch pattern to make a punch needle piece.

lavender and chamomile

lavender and chamomile

I like to stuff my punch needle pillows with things organic and fragrant.  I find most of my herbs on etsy ~ click here ~ by simply searching for “organic lavender” or “organic chamomile” or whatever the case may be.  Balsam is a wonderful stuffing material, too, and Lori Brechlin offers organic sawdust at her etsy shop (which I am going to be ordering soon!) ~ click here.

with thy needle and thread ~ brenda gervais

with thy needle and thread ~ brenda gervais

As far as kits go, I don’t usually purchase any, but if I were to I’d head straight to Brenda Gervais countrystitchesonline.com ~ click here.  Mrs. Gervais sells her gorgeous patterns and Valdani thread kits separately on her website.  Even if you don’t purchase anything from her, it’s so worth visiting her website for some eye candy or her blog, With Thy Needle and Thread ~ click here.  Other kits can also be found at Joann’s ~ click here.

from top to bottom:  lilly, otis, ellis

from top to bottom: lilly, otis, ellis

No punch needle project would be complete without a friend or three.  Where does one find a lapful of kittens?

from left to right:  otis, ellis, lilly

from left to right: otis, ellis, lilly

Sadly, cats and kittens (and dogs and puppies and a multitude of other creatures) are often abandoned by their people.  In the case of Lilly, Ellis and Otis, my husband and I found them left on a road to fend for themselves.  At less than one pound each, they didn’t stand a chance on their own.  The person who dropped them will never know what jewels s/he threw away, for three better, kinder companions could not be found!

 

happy punching!

 

rebecca

crow and jack….

ah, autumn...

ah, autumn…

Is there anything lovelier than the brilliant Fall sun cascading over a patch of pumpkins?

notforgotten farm

notforgotten farm

One of my favorite Fall patterns is the above, Crow and Jack, by Lori Brechlin.  This particular design is from her Wytches Stytches booklet, which I don’t think Lori sells anymore.  However, she has many other wonderful Autumnal offerings that you can see if you visit her blog by clicking here.

fall flosses

fall flosses

The colors I’m planning to use are, from left to right:  8112, 8111, H212, PT2, O505, H205 and P5.  These are all Valdani perle cotton size 12 which I use in my Cameo punch needle on the lowest setting.  I purchase almost all my Valdani from Snowflake Memories, which you can visit by clicking here.

one more color!

one more color!

As I punch merrily along, I decide to replace the brown H212 with the ecru 5.  Isn’t that O505 a lovely pumpkin color?  Valdani makes things so easy by creating such gorgeous variegated flosses!

done punching...

done punching…

Time to add a little age…

forever plaid...

forever plaid…

and a bit of wool for backing and edging, and we’re ready for the reveal…

ta da?

ta da?

Voila!…?

ta da!?

ta da!?

ahem….

"tra la la" ~ ellis

“tra la la” ~ ellis

"it's all about me, me, me, meow!" ~ ellis

“it’s all about me, me, me, meow!” ~ ellis

What do you think, Lilly, any chance of getting Ellis to understand that this post is about punch needle embroidery and not about him?

"not a hope" ~ lilly

“not a hope” ~ lilly

One more try…

voila!

voila!

Ta Da!  You can see more photos of Crow and Jack (sans Ellis) by visiting my etsy shop, if you’d like.  Click here.

Wishing you a hearty guffaw, today!

 

rebecca

 

 

 

 

 

 

.

the butler did it….

lilly in her spot

lilly in her spot

This is Lilly’s little corner of the world.  There’s a heating pad under the chenille cover atop a cushion… what more could a wee cat ask?

otis and lilly

otis and lilly

Otis thinks it’s quite the spot and, occasionally, usurps Lilly’s domain, though not without a bit of a tussle….

*sigh*

*sigh*

“life is good”

When Randy and I were in Ireland, we met a gentleman named Richard.  He was more the gentleman than Otis ever shall be… he would never turn a lady out of her favorite nook.  Richard was at the wedding we attended and was a good friend of the bride.  As it turned out, Richard had been a butler at one time, a vocation that intrigued us.  We don’t meet many butlers, especially in West Michigan…. if the truth were told, the closest I’ve ever been to a butler is reading about them in P.G. Wodehouse, E.F. Benson and the like.  So, I was inspired.  Inspiration can be a double edged sword.  I mean, on the one hand, it pushes the edges of one’s creativity, which is a good thing, but it can also push the edges of one’s skills….

a poor beginning

a poor beginning

Above, you see the photo of my first attempt at a butler ~ just look at that pathetic creature.  His hand is still stuck inside his arm, his head is misshapen, and his back edges will never meet behind…  While the butler himself isn’t so different from other projects I’ve done, (see this post, and the last part of this post.) he is the first piece I’ve ever done where the man is standing on his own.  In the past, I’ve always had men atop horses, riding to hounds or whatever.  A wide bodied horse is very easy to turn (turn right side out after stitching the embroidery to the backing, that is), a narrow legged man is….well… impossible.

poor little feller

poor little feller

I. simply. could. not. turn. him.  nope, no way, no how.  There’s a possibility that I can salvage this poor guy, but whether I can or not, I learned a very valuable lesson from him.  That is, “leave yourself some wiggle room”.  Instead of sewing the backing stretched taut against the embroidery, I needed to leave some excess backing ~ a little gusset, if you will ~ so that there was more backing than fronting.  Does that make sense?

rear of butler.  can you see the seams?

rear of butler. can you see the seams?

It might be difficult to see in the above photo, but there are seams on the back of the bell pull and arm, there’s also one on the body of the butler.  If you were to open those seams you would find a fold in the backing fabric which allowed me to pull the thick embroidery through the seemingly narrow opening of the backing.  All you seamstresses out there know what I mean, I’m sure, but seamstress I am not, so I had to work this out as I went, punching two butlers to make one…

ring *4* service

ring *4* service

Now, Richard’s butler is right-side-out and ready to serve.

the best butler

the best butler

The real Richard was every bit worth the extra effort it took me to make the embroidered version…  He used words like, “reverie” of his own volition ~ be still my heart!  As a lover of language, (that’s me!) Richard was immediately endeared to me and Randy… plus, Richard loves to laugh ~ what could be better?  I’ll never employ a butler, but my life, and Randy’s, is richer for meeting the best butler… Richard.

 

may you meet new friends….

 

rebecca

 

 

 

 

post op….

ellis comforts me

ellis comforts me

Well, hello!

A couple of weeks ago, I had a little surgery to remove a “mass”.  “Mass” is never a word one wants to hear regarding the internal workings of ones body.  However, this particular mass was, probably, nothing to worry about (I find out for sure tomorrow, but I’m not concerned).

lilly shows me how to get comfy

lilly demonstrates how to get comfy

But, surgery of any kind, whether riddled with anxiety or not, is exhausting.  So, for two weeks, I’ve been living the life recommended by Lilly, Ellis and Otis.  Let me tell you, it’s not a bad way to live.

"otis! you're on my side of the chair..." ~ellis

“otis! you’re on my side of the chair…” ~ellis

Sleep is very therapeutic and so is punching.

little wytch

little wytch

I’ve been having a ball punching silhouettes throughout my recovery, and witches have been  my creative go-to.

warty wytch

warty wytch

I’m working on updating my etsy shop and my Primitive Handmades Mercantile store with lots of fun, wicked silhouettes.  I’ll keep you posted and let you know when the updates are ready.

For those of you who have sent me questions during the past fortnight, I apologize for the delayed response!  I’m slowly catching up with my correspondence, so you should be hearing from me soon!

"my motto is, 'if you snooze, you DON'T lose!'" ~lilly

“my motto is, ‘if you snooze, you WIN!'” ~lilly

peace to you…

 

rebecca

 

 

 

 

silhouettes…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Silhouettes are so much fun, don’t you think?OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I would like to collect antique silhouettes, but, for now, I have a very special silhouette collection of my niece and nephew.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

My sister had the kids silhouettes cut every year while they were growing up, until the very talented lady who created them decided to retired.

I wonder if Lilly, Ellis and Otis would sit still long enough to have their silhouettes cut…

lilly

lilly

Lilly might sleep long enough to have hers done, but she’s never in a silhouette-ish position.

otis

otis

Otis, too….

ellis

ellis

Ellis, himself, looks a bit like a silhouette already…

I’d like to learn how to cut silhouettes, though my live in models may not be the perfect subjects for practicing the art.  The next best thing to being able to cut my own silhouettes has to be punching them.  I started two silhouette projects this week.

witch 1

witch 1

Witch 1 is an average silhouette size.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAShe is starting to come together nicely.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJust the background to do and then, maybe, she’ll have a companion join her… a warlock, perhaps? or possibly a cat of her own.

witch 2

witch 2

Witch 2 is just a little bitty thing, about an inch and a half across.

mini tart tin

mini tart tin

She fits perfectly into a tiny vintage tart mold.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Coupled with a wee spiral of wool and a vintage rhinestone…OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

…she makes a very elegant adornment!

 

rebecca