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Drawn & Quartered

May 12, 2010

My latest stitching project was a set of flour sack dish kitchen towels for a very good friend of mine. She is an excellent cook who LOVES meat, especially pigs… She believes in animals as food, not pets. I remember seeing this lovely photo on the flickr embroidery pool a few months ago, and thought it would be a perfect thing to stitch on a set of towels. It turns out there is a cow and a sheep by the same illustrator on-line, so I decided to stitch those up as well. The result was a drawn & quartered pig, cow, and sheep set of flour sack towels:

I had to reinforce the towels with interfacing to hold the stitches as the weave on the towels is rather loose. I tossed these in the washing machine to make the stitches could handle it, and it looks like a few stitches came out on the cow…I will have to fix those. I hope my friend likes! My other recent stitching project was a gray denim casual handbag that I got on super sale at Old Navy. Found a pattern I liked in the Hoop Love Vintage Transfer pool on flickr (you may have to be a member of the flickr group in order to view the pattern, I’m not sure). Since the fabric of the bag was gray, I couldn’t use a water soluble marker to transfer the image, and I hate using transfer paper because it always rubs off, so I ended up using tracing paper:

Tracing on tracing paper is rough…can’t see the stitches, it’s annoying. I recently read about using a water soluble interfacing type stuff for predicaments such as these, I will have to find that stuff because I’m sure it’s better than tracing paper. Come to think of it, the tear-away interfacing I have would probably work better than tracing paper, too. Will have to try it next time… Anyway, here’s how it turned out:

Left detail:

Right detail:

And here’s a little something I started tonight just for funsies:

This is a super cute retro pattern from doe-c-doe found (again) in the Hoop Love Vintage Transfer flickr group. I’m stitching it on this retro sheet I found thrifting while visiting my parents in San Diego last month. I think it will look very cool…gonna try to keep the colors very 60’s: bright orange, yellow, blue, green, and brown.


Antiquing, San Diego style

April 29, 2010

Antiquing is my mom’s favorite thing to do, and making fun of her for doing it is one of my favorite things to do 😉 I asked my mom to take me while I was at home because I wanted to see what was so great about it, and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. I thought antiques were all frilly, girly things, but no, there are also things like this:

My mom took me here specifically to see this booth in a very cool antique mall in Ocean Beach. This booth is run by two women who call themselves “The Kitchen Ladies,” and it ROCKS! I wanted everything. They had their merchandise displayed by color. Blue:

Red & green:

See that super cute white and red polka dot bowl at the top left? $90. Yes, I said 90 bucks. Cra-zay! But it is cute, right? There was a crazy collection of vintage pastel tupperware:

I loved these canisters:

Pink & blue, my new favorite color scheme:

I discovered that I love vintage Pyrex and other Pyrex-type stuff. My mom bought me this set of 4 Cindarella (with a handle and a spout) Pyrex bowls in the pink Gooseberry pattern:

Matches the other stuff I picked up at other shops. For example, check out this adorable hand-stitched (and sewn!, well it’s machine-sewn, but  by a regular person, not in a factory) mini-tablecloth/dresser scarf thing:

Adorable vintage pattern, with a cat on one side, and a dog on the other. Blue napkins next to cat are from the Kitchen Ladies, a full set of eight vintage cloth napkins with not a single stain on them. They look like they’ve never been used. Dog:

My mom said they look “smug.” Also picked up a few pieces at another antique mall, in a guy’s booth who clearly doesn’t know how to price his stuff. These custard dishes were only $3.50 a piece:

I saw a set of four at another place for $20. Matching “lunch tray” was only $4:

I plan to use this to serve cheese or sliced bread. Check out the back:

Crazy, huh? Of course I had to have the matching small casserole:

And finally, an 8 cup pyrex measuring cup:

What I love about all this stuff is that it’s durable enough to be used on a regular basis, so you can enjoy them a lot rather than only on “special occasions.” Now, when I go to thrift stores, I will have my eyes open in a whole different way, on the hunt for pieces to add to my tiny, but well-begun collection.

Adventures in thrifting: the San Diego edition

April 24, 2010

Today my mom and I went thrifting in her part of town. I found a San Diego thrift store directory online, which gave mini-reviews of each store along with address and phone number. The first store we went in was the Disabled Veterans of American Thrift Store. WOW. It was huge, it was clean, it had everything…it was awesome. Hands down the best thrift store I’ve ever been in. They had a huge collection of linens, including cloth napkin sets, aprons, tablecloths, table runners, sheets, on and on and on. I was really intrigued by the apron collection. There were so many great vintage and hand-made aprons, but unfortunately the majority of them were too stained to be worth purchasing. I took pictures of my favorites:

These were all hand-made, some with embroidery on them. It was awesome to see all the hand-stitched stuff, so much of it vintage/retro. This was on a table cloth:

This was a crazy card table cover:

The following are all pictures of hand stitching on tablecloths, all too stained to be of much use:

Someone, a very long time ago, in teeny-tiny stitches, stitched up this delicate handkerchief:

And, probably not so long ago, someone stitched up this pillow:

There were some WAY retro things:

I loved the tie, but my husband would never wear it, so it’s there for some hipster to snag for a buck. Lucky them. The seagull thing was a shower curtain that reminded me of some crazy brown and orange stripey lion sheets my mom had when I was a kid. We went to a couple other thrift stores and saw more great stuff. Sadly, I could not buy all of it. Happily, my mom paid for everything, yay for moms! Here’s what I came away with:

A gaggle (I don’t think you’re supposed to use this word this way, but oh well!) of embroidery hoops of various shapes and sizes:

The giant oval hoop at the bottom was $2.65….$2.65?! Crazy, just crazy. Most of the other hoops were .95 – 2.50, and there are 2 “sets” of 3 that were about a dollar. Love it, love it, love it. I got 2 polka-dotty scarves, the blue and white one was 3.95 and the navy and red dotted one was .95:

I scored 5 sets of vintage cloth napkins, the red and white ones were about $5 each, and the white with yellow birdies were .95:

These will be cute stitched with some small design, like a monogram or something. The birdie ones really remind me of someone in particular… A few vintage patterned sheets for $1, $2, and $3 will make interesting stitching fabric:

And finally, the piece de resistance…a vintage hand-stitched table cloth:

This is really reminiscent of several vintage patterns in the Hoop Love Vintage Transfer flickr group. When I saw this, I couldn’t believe it. It was 1) a completed piece, 2) clean, 3) free of holes and snags, and 3) $9! Here are some close-ups of the stitching:

Except for a few lazy daisies with french knot centers, the entire piece was done in tiny split stitches. And I mean tiny. So, I am super excited, I consider my first San Diego thrifting adventure very successful. It was a throw-back kind of day all around. I went for a jog at my old high school this morning, it was a trip. The track there is very nice, it’s made of that spongy stuff…it used to be gravel. It was funny because running on the track was something I never did in high school, and here I am going there just to use the track at age 27. Never too late to start I guess.

Baby wall hanging

April 23, 2010

One of my oldest friends from back home (San Diego) just had a baby girl last week and of course I wanted to stitch something up to honor the new bundle of joy. They are a pretty unique couple in that they waited to find out the sex of the baby until the baby was born (how many people do you know that do that any more?! Pretty cool, I thought). So, I guess they planned on gender neutral decor for the nursery….anyway, I was sort of confused as to what colors/motifs I should pick. I mean, it’s a bit presumptuous to stitch a wall-hanging for someone because you’re kind of saying “hey, i made this for you, that means you should hang it up.” Right? So, I just decided to go for it and if it doesn’t match the decor/she doesn’t want to put it up, that’s o.k., maybe it can just be a keepsake. I decided to go with more feminine colors: pinks, purples, light greens, and I got to use some really fun color variation floss from DMC and Clover LETO, so that was really fun. For motifs, I used a combination of patterns. I used half of the Sublime Stitching Dutch Russian pattern sheet, the bit with the love birds and heart vine, and then I traced some flowery capital letters from A Rainbow of Stitches. I had a giant embroidery hoop that I got at a thrift store for like 30 cents, which was perfect for framing the large pattern. I bought some pink checked ribbon from Michael’s in the dollar ribbon display…sweet! Here’s how it turned out:

A used a variety of stitches for this project, including: back stitch, chain stitch, fern stitch, satin stitch, and a few french knots. Detail of “EMMA” text:

I love these letters from A Rainbow of Stitches. They are extra feminine with leaves and flower detailing on the ends of the letters. I used DMC color variations floss # 4220  for the letters, and DMC color variations floss # 4040  for the leaves details.  I switched back and forth between solid colored lavenders and pinks for the flowers. I love how the color variations looks using the satin stitch….so pretty 🙂 I especially enjoy the letter “M”… 😉

The “E” is also very pretty, I think:

I actually did the letters yesterday in the car on our drive down to Southern California. There were definitely bumpy times, but overall it was pretty successful and a good way to pass the time in the car. So, if you ever wondered if you can stitch in the car…you can! But I would really only recommend it if you’re on a 2-line highway for hours and don’t anticipate much lane-changing, stopping/starting action, etc. Here’s a detail of the bottom of the Dutch Russian motif:

I actually ended up removing the french knots over the pink heart, I think those were done on a bumpy road portion of the trip and they just came out looking too uneven.

I used a lighter shade of green for the leaves of the vine, and it looks kind of yellow in the picture. In real life it’s not that yellow, I promise. I neglected to take a picture of the hoop I framed the piece in, which is sad, because it was really cute with the ribbon on. I used a water-soluble marker to transfer my pattern onto the fabric (a sheet I bought at a thrift store, which is the best fabric ever to stitch on…that I’ve tried…), and when I tried to dab the marker off with a q-tip, it just smeared the blue marker stuff all over the fabric. My mom had a really great idea though, she suggested I fill up the sink with warm water and a bit of dish soap,  hand wash, and toss in the dryer on gentle. Worked like a charm. I ironed it, stuck it in the hoop, and was good to go! Sometimes, you just need mom advice, you know? I am down here in my hometown til Tuesday, and I am excited to go thrifting! After I hit the “publish” button on this here post, I am going to do some research on thrift stores in San Diego (it’s a big place, there’s got to be a lot of options, right?!) so I can go hunting for vintage crafty goodness, hurrah!

I’m still stitching…

April 18, 2010

It’s not really necessary to say it, but I’ve been absent from the blogging world for quite a while. There aren’t really any good reasons why, just haven’t felt like it I guess. But, not to worry, I have been stitching in my absence. There are quite a few projects I haven’t blogged about, the most recent of which I’ve been working on for the past three weeks. If you recall, a few months ago, I was working on a series of vintage Silver, Glass, China patterns for my mom for mother’s day, but then decided to scrap it after I couldn’t quite get it together for the China piece. I decided to instead stitch up a pillow case using the “antique bouquet” pattern from the A Rainbow of Stitches book. I didn’t take any pictures of the project in stages, so these pictures of the almost finished product will have to do. I have finished the bouquet pattern, but am not quite finished with the pillow case.

You will notice that I used a variety of stitches, and that everything is filled in, which took a very, very long time…Fill stitches on all the small flowers:

The color-scheme was chosen to match a patchwork quilt that my mom uses on her bed. This was my first time using the chain stitch as a fill-stitch:

I love using french knots for filling in, even though it takes forever and can make the wrist ache:

I also used a variety of flosses. I used DMC floss for most everything, but I also used Clover LETO floss that I bought online a while back, and DMC variegated perl cotton floss (the above french knotted things are stitched with this). I don’t know if you can tell from the picture, but the LETO floss (the large blue and purple flower is LETO and everything else is DMC) has a more matte finish and looks a bit more woolly than the DMC floss:

I’m still not quite finished though. I will be adding a border I found on the Hoop Love Vintage Transfer group on flickr. Hopefully that will not take me another three weeks to get through…I’ll also hopefully post more often 🙂 Here are the projects I did while I was away. Dish towels for a friend’s bridal shower:

Easter treat for my friend who loves Easter:

Finished tropical piece

March 18, 2010

The tropical piece is finished!! Here’s what it looked like after I ironed it:

So you may notice the blue streaks in places. That’s the water soluble marker….bleeding onto the fabric. Ooops. Tried to fix it, didn’t work.  When I asked Eric what he thought, he said “why don’t you make the whole thing blue so that you won’t be able to tell?” Hmmmm….I have seen people “tint” their work on the flickr embroidery pool, so I knew it could be done. I just wasn’t sure how. I thought about what I had on hand that could be used to “tint.” Watercolors…I thought, I do have watercolors…So, I set out watercolor my stitchery. It was an interesting process. The watercolors definitely bled outside the “lines,” and got on the floss, so…here’s how it turned out:

So you can see how the watercolors dried…interestingly…Here it is framed:

What do you think? It’s going to its new home this weekend, I hope she likes it! In other news, I printed out my Spring cleaning list so Eric could “get used to it,” in the hopes that we can get started on some of it soon. One of the biggest things on the list is to weed our yard, which is a daunting task. Today, when I went into the backyard to take pictures of the tropical piece in good light, I noticed that we have what appears to be plumeria/freesia-looking flowers amongst the weeds:

That really got me motivated to weed…who knows what else is in there!

Finished sea shells

March 12, 2010

Wanted to pop in and update on the shells…I finished them! They were not as big of a pain as I thought they would be, and in fact, I rather liked stitching them, especially experimenting with using different color strands.

You’ll notice that for the large shell at the far right I used pink and orange instead of the color/ecru floss combo I used on the rest of the shells.

I kind of wish I had done more color combos like that for some of the other shells, but overall I am happy with how the shells turned out. This means that the piece is nearing completion. All I have left to do is the outline around the whole piece, the text reading “Greetings from Blue Bay,” ripping out and re-stitching those nasty wonky chain stitches at the bottom left of the purple sun, and then dabbing unwanted water soluble market off with a wet q-tip (my sources say this is how to get the marker off your fabric once you’re done stitching). Oh, also may do a few more waves. And then I will attempt to frame it. My goal is to have this all done by next weekend so that I can hand-deliver to my friend for whom the piece is for. Yay. I think it’s easily accomplished. Then, it will be on to planning my new mother’s day project, etc.