2 cats 2 birds finish, and cats….

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“don’t take a picture now, we’re sleeping.” ~lilly and ellis

Lilly’s been feeling that the live feline element has been lacking in my recent posts…..

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“don’t take my picture now, i’m sleeping.” ~otis

I’ve mentioned to her that pictures of cats sleeping leaves some excitement to be desired….

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“go away. i’m trying to sleep.” ~ellis

She told me she’d try to galvanize her cohorts into action…

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“my eyes are open. any minute now, ellis and i will do something photo worthy…. though, we may need a little snooze before that happens.” ~lilly

Thus far, the results have been poor at best…

So, we’ll move on to our 2 Cats 2 Birds project.

first staining

stained

I soaked the finished embroidery in coffee for a while, squeezed it, and let it dry.  But, I feel like this is too much staining, so….

rinsed

rinsed

I rinsed out some of the coffee and let the piece dry again.  I’m much happier with this level of aging.

trimmed

trimmed

Next, I trim the weavers cloth.  I’m planning to use the remaining weavers cloth as the backing.

pressing

pressing

I prefer to have the backing completely hidden from the front view, so I fold and press it back as much as possible.

three sides done

three sides done

For the fourth side, I fold the weavers….

first fold

first fold

…so that when I press the final edge I’ll have a nice, clean finish…

ready to stitch

ready to stitch

I like using this method for my antique-hooked-rug-inspired embroideries.  The back is reminiscent of an envelope which brings to mind days gone by when writing, mailing and delivering letters was something of an art.

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Sometimes, I like to hide my stitches, but this time I think I’ll let them shine.

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all stitched

I give the back a good pressing, then…

a little identity

a little identity

…sign and date the back.

finished

finished

And, we’re done!

antique original

antique original

Above is the original, though a very poor quality picture.  Below is my version…OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

What a fun project this was!  I’d love to see your finishes and share them here if you allow me to!

 

enjoy the day!

 

rebecca

 

 

 

rabbit and sheep colors and coffee….

rabbit and sheep greetings...

rabbit and sheep greetings…

I’ve had some requests for the colors I used for Rabbit and Sheep Greetings.  Here they are….

valdani

valdani

These are all Valdani size 12 perle cotton.  I used two strands of each in my Cameo medium sized needle on the lowest (#1) setting.

jp11 ~ rabbit suit

p3 ~ sheep body

o196 ~ rabbit foot, hand, and head

h212 ~ sheep face and ear

pt2 ~ letters on “greetings” banner

5 ~ rabbit shirt, cuff, banner background

I purchase my Valdani from Snowflake Memories.  You can find their website by clicking here.

I’ve also had some requests for how I use coffee as an aging agent.  It’s really simple!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Take a bowl and add coffee.  It’s nice if the coffee is room temp rather than piping hot as you’ll be putting your hands in it.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Get your punched piece wet.  (“Humble” is a fabulous design from Lori Brechlin! You can visit her site and find her awesome patterns by clicking here.)OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Squeeze out the excess water.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Place the piece in the coffee and push it down so that the coffee covers most of it.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Let it sit until you remember to do something about it. The longer you leave it in the coffee the darker it will be and the color will tend toward a greyish/brown. I prefer to have a brown-er and more water damaged look, so I try to remember to take my piece out after just a minute or two.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Put the bowl in the sink and squeeze/wring the piece firmly, removing most of the coffee.  I use two hands for the squeezing, but needed one hand here to take the photo.  :~>OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

If you want that water stained look ~ that is, patches of brown and patches of not so brown ~ keep the piece wadded up, like in the picture above and let it dry most or all of the way.  If the piece looks too variegated for your taste, rinse it, wring it and let it dry again.  If you want to start over, use a little gentle dish soap or laundry detergent to, almost, free the piece of coffee and then begin the staining process again.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

See how the above has stripes and blotches of stain?  That’s from the wadding/drying part of the process.

ewe and ewe two...

ewe and ewe two…

The above ewes show that strong mottling achieved by wadding/drying.

If you don’t like that heavily aged look and want a more uniform “glaze” of coffee stain, try swishing the piece around in the coffee.  Then, after squeezing out the coffee, un-wad and hang the piece up to dry, rather than leaving it in it’s wadded condition.

I hope this helps!  If you have your own favorite aging process, I’d love to hear about it!

Next time I’ll try to show you how I put the bowl slice together with the rabbit/sheep to make a rocker.

Until then, think warm and happy thoughts!

rebecca

farmer and wife…

Farmer and Wife, a Notforgotten Farm design, is another project, like Rocking Horse from my previous post, that I punched and then took time out to await inspiration.

farmer

farmer

While punching, I had fun trying out a new-to-me Valdani blue, M42.  It’s a color that’s reminiscent of bright blue summer skies and paired beautifully, in my opinion, with the golden straw-colored Valdani H205.  I think a cup of coffee is on the agenda now, both for me and for my Farmer and Wife!

stained and ready to finish

coffee stained and ready to finish

I liked the way the Valdani M42 and H205 took to their coffee stain.  Both colors softened and darkened a bit, and now both Farmer and Wife are ready for their big finishes.  The only trouble is, I don’t have a finishing clue!  I’ll ask Lilly what to do…

go'way

go’way

…Lilly offers me nothing except the fluttering of one eyelid.  Otis and Ellis….?

busy, busy, busy

busy, busy, busy

Evidently, I’m on my own here.

After many days of profound and intense thought (about other things) light dawns and I have an idea.

a good read

a good read

I have two copies of the book Audubon, both hard covered in blue, a blue which gets along famously with the colors in my punch needles.  One of the books is already losing its covers, front and back, so I think I’ll make use of the opportunity and use these salvaged pieces.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANow, Farmer and his Wife are ready to lean just about anywhere.  At the moment they’re hanging out in my etsy shop, if you’d like to take a look!

Until next time, may all your seedlings sprout!

 

rebecca

notforgotten farm…

lilly rests

lilly loves to sleep under this fabulous little rug given to me by the very talented and generous Betty DeKat.

Just a quickie today, to let you know about an invaluable post for hookers…

After catching up on Lori Brechlin’s Notforgotten Farm blog today, I simply had to share this with you!  I’m so inspired!  It’s about hooking a foot rest topper, which is simply awesome by itself, but Lori also has sooo many wonderful, exciting tips for hookers wanting to use fabrics other than wool and wanting to age a finished rug, I just know you’ll find it as valuable as I!  Click here to go to Lori’s post.

where ever you find yourself today, may you find happiness, too!

 

rebecca

what ever happened to stolen broom?…

This is a question that was posted to me, recently.  Yes, what did happen to Stolen Broom?  Like many of my projects, it found itself in the “what shall I do with you” pile.  So, I got it out and decided to keep it simple.

choosing wool

I determined that Stolen Broom would make a nice mat and so, chose some complementary wool for the backing.

Then, things got dicey.

I waffled between coffee-staining and not coffee-staining.  Coffee-staining conquered, as it usually does, and as it sometimes does, it came with disastrous results, which, I did not photograph, being too dismayed to think about recording such a dreadful, yet illuminating, experience.  In a nutshell, “Stolen Broom”, had become, “What is That? I Can’t See Any Details”, instead.  And so, it went into the, “oh my gosh, I can’t believe I ruined it after so many hours of punching” pile for a time.

Reason eventually won out over despair and the next few days found Stolen Broom soaking in a bubble bath.

cleaning up its act

I swished it around in the mild dish-soapy solution every once in a while and changed the water from time to time.  Once the water became mostly clear, Stolen Broom was hung out to dry.

no coffee for you!

Now, Stolen Broom, after being backed and edged with wool, happily resides in my etsy shop, looking forward to the day when new horizons will open and new adventures will await!

Maybe you would like to punch, hook or stitch Stolen Broom ~ click here to view the pattern on Chestnut Junction’s website.

would you like to visit Stolen Broom on etsy? click here

All in all, a good learning experience, but there’s something to be said for cutting back on one’s coffee consumption!

enjoy a caffeine-free day today!

rebecca

details, details ~ making tags…

would you like to visit “little thief’ on etsy? click here

Having finished Little Thief and needing, desperately, to revamp my neglected etsy shop, I decided today it was time to get started, and I chose to start with a seemingly insignificant detail ~ new tags for my work.

I really have no idea what I’m doing when it comes to stamps and ink, but I had a clear vision of what I wanted my tags to “say”.  I wanted them to “say” that they looked old but not dirty, primitive but graceful, I wanted them to be soft on the eye and above all simple to make.  6 hours later, I had my tags all done.  6 hours may seem like a long time to spend on such a trivial detail, but, fortunately, art is about process and journey, and besides this project was FuN!

Here’s what I did:

gathering materials

For someone who knows very little about the stamping/scrapbooking world, I seem to have lots of supplies.  So, I got out my Distress Inks, of which I have a plethora, and narrowed them down to two colors I really like ~ Walnut Stain and Antique Linen.  I also needed plain tags, which I purchased some time ago at an office supply store, and some stamps.  Does anyone else accumulate things like stamps?  I seem unable to resist purchasing stamps, they’re just tiny works of art and so whimsical….  I feel sad for the stamps that are sitting on store shelves unused and unloved, I just have to bring them home!

cinnamon and coffee ~ who can resist?

Coffee and cinnamon are two heavenly aromas, so I use them whenever I can.  For this project, I put a splash or two of coffee in a small frying pan and added the stark white strings from the tags.  They’ll soak for several hours and, hopefully, come out of their bath a pleasing tan color.  The cinnamon will be used to sprinkle on the tags, once they’re stamped, which will add a layer of depth (I hope).

little tag on a big stamp

With my supplies at hand I started stamping.  I have to admit, it took me a good long time to figure out that life would be much simpler if I placed the small tag on the ink-loaded large stamp rather than the other way around.  I’m hoping that the image on this large stamp will lend the grace I’m looking for to the end result.  For these tags, I used Antique Linen on the background stamp.

aging

After trying several different methods of aging, I finally came up with the idea of using shiny tissue paper as the ultimate ink-rubbing tool.  I wanted something that wouldn’t absorb the ink or leave brush strokes or stippling.  I found some shiny tissue in a shoe box and it worked very well.  I dabbed the ink pad with the crumpled tissue and rubbed it onto the stamped tags, starting at the edges and working in.  I did a layer of Antique Linen ink over the whole tag first, and then used the walnut stain just on the edges.

before and after

It was exciting, for me, to see how the rubbed-on ink pulled the stamped bits to the fore.  I’m hoping that the tags now look aged, but not too grungy.

Stamp 2

Next, I centered my custom stamp, which has my info, on the tag.  I used the Walnut Stain ink for this bit.  Though I used the background stamp and aging technique on both sides of the tags, I used the custom stamp on one side only.  Now, I’ll be able to write things on the backs of the tags like the title of the piece and the name of the designer.

cinnamon bath

The final layer is a dusting of cinnamon.  The tags were the tiniest bit damp from the rubbing of ink, so, even though I wiped them well after the cinnamon layer, there was still just a hint of aroma to the tags and a bit of visual softness, as well.

finish

And so, another day passes in simple quiet fashion… a lovely day, filled with lovely fragrances and soft colors, and time ~ time to reflect on how the smallest of details can bring peace into the main…

I hope you found some simple beauty and quiet peace today.

happy labor day,

rebecca