Sunday, January 31, 2010

someone get me a tissue

I always come late to the party - always - but here I am walking in anyway just say "have you guys seen vimeo?! It's like this website with all these cool videos." I know, I know - this is probably not ground breaking information for you all but I will put my embarassment behind in order to say - "you gotta see this!". I think I may have shed a little tear or two when watching this because I was just that blown away. Then I pulled myself together and started buggin other people to watch it too. So, here is Firekites

Firekites - AUTUMN STORY - chalk animation from Lucinda Schreiber on Vimeo.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

available now in travel size

So, how much fun are these babies??
I found (and loved!) these pendant settings way back in November when the holiday season was in full swing. It was a little like torture having to set them aside and wait to turn them into these cuties. Then when I had a chance after Christmas I made a bunch that were just plain ugly, got frustrated and set them aside once again.
FINALLY I have something I am happy with. I have been wearing my little embroidered pendant for a few days now and love it, even though I am generally not much of a jewelry wearing type gal.
As a funny side note I just have to share the dream I had last night. I dreamt I was attending the State of the Union address (as if you could do that) and was waiting outside when Barack Obama himself walked by and gave a nod to the hideous handmade Obama necklace that I was wearing (seriously, it was BAD folks, really bad). Then, because he was so moved by my creative gesture he came over and spoke to me. So, there you have it. Creativity can pay off - even if it's just in your dreams. Needless to say I think I was subconsciously working out some nervousness about a) the new items in my shop and b) the actual state of the union. Only one of those, however, is probably worth getting worked up about.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

swap sharing

I just finished up the first of 6 embroidered pieces for the swap I am in over at flickr. The theme for this one was a city or country interpreted in an Ed Emberley style. The Ed Emberley book, "Make a World" was our guide through this process. (what a fun theme!)
I chose Tokyo, Japan but it was tough choice. Also in the running were Havana, Prague, and Mumbai - all of which I would have loved to do. But, I figured Japan is sort of a crafting mecca, what with their cutest fabric in the world. Oh, and it is the birthplace of zakka and kawaii too. So, I went with it.
It turned out to be harder than I thought to try to design and draw in another style. I had to adopt the mantra "What would Ed Emberley do?" (W.W.E.E.D.) in order to keep myself from drifting off into my own style and preferences. I know I wandered a little here and there but I hope it isn't too noticeable.

It felt like a bit of a risk but I decided to invoke the playful spirit of Ed Emberley and add Godzilla into the mix. Just add scales and fire to Ed Emberley's Tyrannosaurus Rex and there you have it. I wasn't sure if I had crossed the silliness line there but it seemed to go over okay on flickr, much to my relief.
Thanks, Beth, for a chance to stitch this super fun city! Can't wait to see the rest!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

sharing some book love

Oh I have had some good luck at the the library lately. These two gems left with me on my last visit and it's going to be really hard to bring them back. The first is a musty smelling book published in 1964 called The Stitches of Creative Embroidery.
This book covers over 200 different stitches as well as lots of history about embroidery from all over the world. The photos are awful but it doesn't even really seem to matter. Check out the intricate stitches illustrated here. This book goes way beyond your basic chain stitch and blanket stitch and shows you how to combine stitches together to make the most amazing configurations.
Even though it was published in 1964, so much of it seems to fit right in with 2010. Don't these stitched napkins look like something from the front page of Etsy?
One last note about this wonderful book: In the biographical notes on the back flap of the dust jacket - way at the very end - it says about the author, Jacqueline Enthoven: "She loves to help restless people, especially young mothers, discover the peace and joy of creating beautiful things with stitches." Are there any other "restless" young mothers out there who are as amused by that as I am?

Moving on. Fast forward to 2009 and take a peek at A Rainbow of Stitches. Oh my goodness, you are going to like this one.
This is the embroidery book that people have been waiting for, in my opinion. Tons of delightful patterns cleverly divided into color-themed chapters, beautiful photography, great ideas for what to actually do with your embroidered projects. All around wonderful!

What crafting books have inspired you lately?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

all aboard!

So, here's my new pattern set, my labor of love for the past few weeks. I think having a two year old boy in the house makes me have trains on the brain (and all over the floor, on the dining room table, and scattered all over the backseat of the car). I have grown quite fond of them though and I thought it would make a cute embroidery pattern. I decided to go a little less Barnum and Bailey and a little more old world Italy but still overall cute (hopefully!)
I really did have to stop myself before the train got to be 20 cars long. I had visions of monkeys and elephants and acrobats and clowns and... well, you get the picture.

Thanks to everyone who commented on Peter's embroidery! He was over the moon seeing everyone's encouraging messages. You guys rock.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

that's my boy

As promised, here is Peter's first completed embroidery. And yes, it does say "tough love" on it - an expresssion he overheard me say on the phone as he was stitching. I guess I should be glad I didn't say something worse in my phone conversation or I might have found it documented in floss by my six year old.
He posted this photo on his own blog but added the text, "tip: make your needle go up and down up and down". Now that's good stitching advice if I ever heard it. You just can't go wrong with that, am I right?
ah, crafty kids say the darndest things.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

scatterbrain

I swear my brain has been going in a million directions lately and I haven't been able to figure out how to organize them into a readable blog post. Thankfully the Antarctic weather we were having has given way to something much more hospitable. The warmer temps has meant a lot of fog overnight and as a result we have been waking up to flocked and crystallized trees as far as the eye can see. It's as if Jack Frost himself has been zipping around with his little wand or something. Pretty spectacular.
On the creative front I am working on a new pattern set and also some other new items for the shop. When I have so many things going at once it just seems to take forever to get any one thing done and that can be frustrating. Still, I can't help but work that way.
On the home front I have been wringing my hands a little as we try to make a decision about school for Peter next year. We are applying to a different school but I have been so torn up about it. I have a lot of guilt about the idea of leaving our neighborhood school. I am kind of big on community and it feels like such a betrayal to walk away from that. Also, I love the idea that Peter's classmates are our neighbors and are people you run into at the grocery store and the post office. I really hate to change that. The other school has so many more fun and creative learning opportunities though and I know that if we didn't give Peter a chance to have those experiences we would regret that. The application deadline is the end of the month so we are having to make these choices pretty quickly as well which hasn't helped my stress level either.
Like everyone else I'm sure I have Haiti on the brain too. So many emotions are conjured up every time I see the images or hear about the devastation: horror, sadness, helplessness, frustration, guilt, shock. I don't know why I am even typing this, I'm sure everyone is feeling the same way. Still, I feel compelled to at least acknowledge this catastrophe that is weighing on everyone's minds and hearts.
sorry to close on such a sad little note but I guess that's just the way it is today.

Monday, January 11, 2010

sampler sample

I finished up my sample for the swap I am in this weekend. This was a really fun project. I loved learning so many new stitches but definitely need some more practice with others. A rather sizable section of long-short stitch filling had to be torn out and replaced with something else - I just couldn't seem to get that one right this time.
I am very excited about seeing what the other swappers come up with. And just wait til you hear the other themes. I'm not going to reveal them all now and spoil the surprises of course but you'll see over the next few months. I can't wait to get started.

Oh yes, and an amazing thing happened while we were housebound most recently. Peter apparently fell in love with embroidery. He had tried it in the past but didn't seem too interested but this time he really got into it. He has been requesting his own set of needles and his own floss box. I think it's pretty cute but I don't imagine it will last too terribly long but it will be fun while it lasts. As soon as he is done stitching his fireworks on his latest project I have permission to post a photo so stay tuned for that of course.

Friday, January 8, 2010

first post of 2010

Even though I am really really good at it, I am going to try to refrain from complaining about the weather. I'll just state the facts - we are currently in the midst of a super deep freeze - cold enough that they have canceled school for the third day in a row. Cold enough that you really shouldn't take your wee ones out into the elements unless you absolutely have to (not even to the fabric store for heaven's sake!). This, after yet another round of snow. I mean, I just have to share that, right? Now I can move onto other things but that was absolutely NOT a complaint - nor a 'gripe' - please don't be misled. *wink* Anyway, I am actually pretty excited about some of the new projects that I am starting off with in 2010. This one is some doodle stitching I am working on for a swap I am in. Each participant picks a different theme and then each member stitches something in that theme for them. I loved the doodle stitching and sampler stitching I saw by joyofjess and some other flickr stitchers and wanted to give it a try. Turns out being 'random' is a little bit difficult for me - which probably means it's a really great exercise for me to try. I am using the Reader's Digest Complete Guide to Embroidery Stitches as my bible as I stitch along. I just flip through the pages picking out new stitches to try and go for it. I have really fallen in love with a few of them and have definitely fallen in love with that book.

So I will have lots of stitching of my own as well as bits from some other extremely talented women to share over the next few months. yea!

Yes, by the way, we do have a sanity saver, er, I mean a trampoline in the middle of our living room floor, so what?