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

 

 

 

fancey that! day 5…

Fancey Blackett took her coffee bath on Day 4, and now, on Day 5, I think she needs a bit more stain.

walnut stain

I got out my walnut stain for this second layer of aging.  The jar on the right has a dark mixture of stain, while the jar on the left is a much lighter mix.

dark stain

I brush the dark stain all the way around the edge of the punching.  I want the floss on the outer edges to soak up a good quantity of color, and, since I’m planning to leave the weavers cloth exposed, I want it to get a good dose, too.

light stain

The lighter stain is dripped on the weavers cloth which, when it dries, will appear as nice water-stain-splotches.

“hornbook”

While Fancey is drying, I pick out this lovely piece of history to use as the mount.  It’s a piece of wood taken from a very old, very well-loved tool box.  I think the soft edges and heavily textured surface will do nicely for Fancey!I cut the weavers cloth around Fancey, leaving about an inch or so exposed.  However…

Visit my Fancey on etsy by clicking here

…after gazing at Fancey and her weavers cloth edge for some time, I decide that the extra fabric detracts, for some reason.  So, I fold it back and affix Fancey to her new perch using a non-toxic acid-free adhesive.

 

Fancy Blackett ~ The Gathering Basket is a Pineberry Lane design.  You can find her and other wonderful patterns and things at Pineberry Lane’s website by clicking here.

 

Now, we can move on to more important business.  So, following Ellis’s lead….

quiet please

zzzzzzzzzz……

 

:~>

 

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

 

 

 

 

fixing flubs and finishing…

If you are like me, punching invariably includes, for lack of a better word, flubs.  If you’ve never encountered a flub, here is a poor photo with a difficult-to-see flub:

white flub on bottom flower just above the pink ring above the dark center

Can you see it?  It’s a big one!  Here’s another not-so-great pic:

flub, again

I could just cut it off at the surface using a sharp pair of scissors.  However, I know if I do that I’ll be left with a SPOT ~ that is, a small area that will appear darker and different from the surrounding punches.  So, unless I absolutely cannot fix a flub, I don’t cut it off.  Instead, I treat a flub with gentle kindness and patience:

gentle kindness

Using the tip of my punch needle, I gently and patiently prod the flub back down, pushing it either into the weavers cloth or under the adjoining punches.

all gone!

I find fixing flubs is another advantage to using pearl cotton as opposed to 3 or 6 strand, for me at any rate.  It’s easier for me to prod two strands, but you may have no problem prodding 3 or 6 strands.

Once all my flubs are fixed, I’m ready to coffee stain.  I’m using the same method on Magdalena Horses that I used on Two Horses Six Birds.  If you missed that post and would like to see how I coffee stain you can click here to go to the post entitled, “colors and coffee…”.  I stained Magdalena Horses twice.  The first time I used more water and less coffee, and I let the piece air dry.  The second time, I used light brewed or watered-down coffee and baked Magdalena Horses in a 250* oven for a few minutes.

When I bake my pieces, I put a sheet of waxed paper on a cookie sheet with the piece to be baked on top of the waxed paper ~ weavers cloth edges tucked under the embroidery.  I put all that in a cold oven, set to 250*, as soon as the oven reaches its temp I shut it off and leave the punched piece in the oven until its cooled.  My oven runs a bit on the cool side and doesn’t hold it’s heat like your oven may.  If you want to try this method, I’d recommend starting at a lower temp and checking your piece periodically after you’ve turned off the oven, just to make sure your punching isn’t getting crisped.

baked and ready to finish

I’ve been thinking about how to tackle the lamb’s tongue edging.  I considered punching it around the top and bottom edges, but that opened up a whole other line of questions that I didn’t have the answers to.  So, I’ve decided to try a version of lamb’s tongue using wool.  Here are the bits of wool I’m contemplating.

wool options

The top wool is a piece that I marbled.  I love marbled wool, but I think this piece may distract from the punching.  My hand dyed brown, on the right, works really well with the pearl cotton colors, but I think that may be too much brown.  So, at the moment, I think the soft grey-blue that I dyed might be just the ticket.  The question now becomes, what is the best way to attach the wool to the embroidery, and just how will I create the tiny lamb’s tongues?  Time will tell!

 

until next time, be cool and happy!

 

rebecca

 

 

catching up and a freebie…

I’ve had a delightful couple of weeks traveling hither and thither ~ staying at my sister’s with Duke, spending time in San Diego with my beloved Randy ~ now, I get to come home to roost and find joy in some simple tasks.

While away, I’ve been able to punch a few things and I’m ready to catch up on some finishing. I’ll be working on some little strawberries and a sheep make do for the approaching Primitive Handmades Mercantile update the third Friday of this month. I also have a special order to complete and Lori Brechlin’s, “Horse on the Hill” to finish. I’ve done the stitching in preparation for the strawberries to become ornaments and the sheep to become a make do…

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Now for the aging. A little coffee for staining and because it’s only 90 degrees outdoors, I’ll turn the oven on briefly and let things bake for a bit.

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Out of the oven, dry and ready to transform. I’ll be sharing the finishes as they evolve.

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FREEBIE!

This freebie design is “Wytch One?”. Because we are experiencing technical difficulties at our house, this pattern is in the form of a simple sketch, which I’m hopeful you can drag from my blog onto your desktop and subsequently print. Let me know if you are unable to drag the design onto your desktop and I will attempt something else, like a link….Please feel free to enlarge or reduce this design as desired, and sell your finished projects, up to 10 pieces. Please, no copying or mass production of the pattern or finished projects. Please give me credit for the design, and I would LOVE to see pictures of your work!

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until next time….

rebecca