Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Stitching Is Sublime!

It really is, you'll see! Ok, this was the last of my Swap-bot embroidery swaps from August. The theme of this swap was Sublime Stitching. Everybody already knows about Sublime Stitching, right? Right!Looking back, I was cranking out some serious stitchery in August! It's no wonder my garden went to pot, I was inside on the couch stitching away the summer... 

I'm excited to show you this one guys! Turns out the partner chosen for me on this swap, was none other than Snifferoski, aka Keni, (Hi Keni!) who was the first person I swapped with when I joined Swap-bot. I sent her this piece, remember?

Check it out what Keni made for me!
First, there's this hot little dish!
Ack! Isn't she adorable?? I want to call her Trixie for some reason. I love her, she's perfect!

And as if that wasn't enough...

Keni also made me something so super special that I had to sit down when I opened the package.
Oh my. Not only do I love mermaids, which I really, really do.

This was my VERY MOST FAVORITE book as a kid.

When I was in the 4th grade, every day after the lunch recess my teacher, Mrs. Diohep, would read to us for a few minutes. Those precious minutes were my favorite of any day. I think she did it to calm us down and return our focus to the classroom after our playground antics. I don't know if teachers still have the time and/or freedom to do such things. I sure hope so, but it seems like they have such a tight schedules to keep. To me, that time was so valuable. Twenty-seven years later, the clearest memory I have of the 4th grade is listening to Mrs. Diohep read to us. I can still imagine it, I'd put my head down on my desk and close my eyes... and just listen... Where The Sidewalk Ends was one of the books she read to us. She also read us A Light In The Attic (another of my favorites) Tales Of A Fourth Grade Nothing, and Indian In The Cupboard. These are classics, right? Even kids today like these books... don't they? I still do.

I'm getting a little sidetracked again, I do that a lot... sorry about that. I was reminiscing...

If you are a dreamer, come in...

The first line, of the first poem in Where The Sidewalk Ends.
Thank you Keni, this means so much to me!

♥ ~ ♥ ~ ♥

The piece I stitched for my partner was also from Sublime Stitching's Krazy Kitchen transfer set. That's the same set where Trixie, up there came from. I made my partner, Amanda who loves vintage kitchen goodies and who loves to cook, a pretty dish towel. I also sent her some cute napkins and a new set of measuring spoons that, while not vintage, kind of had a vintagy feel. I love that Tang orange!
{Sorry for the badly lit picture... it really was a cute dish towel, I promise.}

All righty then kiddos, this just about wraps up my summer swaps! Thanks for all your wonderful and always encouraging comments along the way, and thanks again to my bloggy friend Jacquie for turning me on to Swap-bot, in the first place. This has been a fun thing to do. You never know what surprises you'll end up getting in the mail! It's more fun than bills, I can tell you that much! I'm a little sad to say that this is probably the last Swap-bot swap I'll do for a little while... cuz, you know... "that" time of year is coming. Don't get me wrong, I love "that" time of year, but it requires time when you make all your gifts by hand.
Lots and lots of time. 

Speaking of which, it's already past my bedtime, so this happy blogger is going to hit the hay and dream for a while.
Sweet dreams, my friends!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Embroidery In Yellow

Was the theme of another of the swaps I participated in recently. Let's get right to it!

Because yellow can be so light, I choose a fabric that would make the embroidery jump out against the background. I chose a bright aqua blue! I've always been partial to that color... psst... come in real close, I'm gonna tell you a secret... my whole prom dress in high school was aqua. Like, entirely aqua. Bright! Aqua. Taffeta. And tulle! All of it... aqua! {shaking head} It was not good people...

Sniff... I'm getting side tracked aren't I? Hm. Well, moving right along!
Where was I?
Oh yes, jumping embroidery. 

A big ol' yellow flower!
Filled in with lots of chain stitching.

Extra spiffy on the backside too, if I do say so myself.
I finally found a way to finish "hooped" pieces that I'm happy with. Firstly, I took a simple wooden hoop and painted it white, then I layered another piece of the same fabric against the back of the embroidered piece before placing it in the hoop. Next I closely trimmed the excess fabric from the back of the hoop, then finished it with some pretty yellow trim. Lastly I added a ribbon to the top of the hoop so my partner could hang it if she wants to.
I had a little trouble with the trim. This stuff frays like crazy! Just for future reference, how should one cut & apply this stuff so that the edges stay neat? Fray Check?

I used seven different shades of yellow in this piece.
I was happy with the end result, I think it pops!
My partner, Julia (Hi Julia!!) who is one heck of an embroiderer too, tells me that she really likes it, yay!  

The partner who sent my piece (Hi Perla!!) was SO on top of her game, she rocks! Her piece arrived just a few days after the start of the swap, I was so impressed! I was like "last minute lisa" rushing to the post office just a day before the last day of the swap.
Looky~looky what I got!
Isn't it great?!? Look at all those French Knots! Oh, I love this little birdie!! I haven't decided what I'm going to do with this little beauty just yet. I'm thinking I might like in incorporate it into a quilt... maybe a quilted pillow. Wheels are a'turning...

These swaps are super fun! I really enjoy this swappin' business!

Hey! Did you know that today is the first day of fall?? Yup, it sure is! And I didn't need to hear it on the NPR this morning either, I knew it as soon as I got out of bed, touched my cold tootsies to the floor and wondered for the first time in months
"Where are my fuzzy slippers??"

Happy Fall Y'all!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Creative ADD

Yup... Creative Attention Deficit Disorder. I've got it.  My brain is a hive, a buzz with creative plans right now. Each one fiercely pulling in completely different directions. Argh!

I'm going to a baby shower tomorrow... gotta make a blanket tonight, that fabric is sitting on the guest bed waiting. I have another bunch of fabric sitting next to it, waiting to be made into another something and mailed as soon as possible, to a very homesick college student. Mom's birthday is in two weeks, I started her present, but I got distracted, and that project is all over my sewing table. I have one more embroidery swap to complete on Swap-bot... it's due in less than two weeks... I haven't even chosen a design yet. I've also been fiddling with some little craft's for two tea parties that I have booked next weekend, both Saturday and Sunday (oye!)... stamping and die cutting are involved, so that stuff is also spread around my *tiny* crafty area. {I'm making a big effort to keep that stuff contained to one room, it's getting budgie in there} Then there's still the matter of that unfinished quilt to be dealt with, and holy cow! It's already past the date I promised myself I'd start my Christmas projects. Oh, and did I mention that I'm going to a baby shower tomorrow and I have to make a baby blanket tonight? Oh, I did? Bah! I'm corn~fuzed.

Too much, too much. I do this to myself all the time... Why do I do this? Do you guys do this? I think I usually work well under an element of pressure, but right now I just feel scattered. So, in my infinite wisdom, and as the minutes tick by, I'm stopping to have a chat and a show & tell with you guys. I love you guys by the way... you're the nicest bunch of folks ever. You keep me inspired to keep making and doing. You're the bomb.

This show & tell is a little birthday gift I made recently for one of my best friends, Lorna. Lorna and I go WAY back. Time and obligations have taken us apart at different times over the years, but we've always managed to stay in each others lives. We're strong right now, maybe stronger than we've ever been. We've been meeting once a week at the Farmers Market all summer. A quick beer at our favorite place, a little "girl time", some heart to hearts. Then it's a hug & a kiss, I love you's and "see you next week"! It's not a lot of time, but we're not greedy. We take what we can get. I love that girl, she's an amazing soul and so beautiful, inside & out.

This picture is from my birthday last summer (2009), left to right is Lorna, yours truly and my sister-in-luv, Apryl.

Where was I? Oh! Show & tell...

A book mark for my friend, so she won't lose her place.

With some fancy embroidered flowers...
And magnets inside so there'll be no slipping from between the pages.

Ahh... I feel better, I always do after sharing with all of youts... I can feel my focus returning. I better take advantage of it and get that blanket made, only a few hours left!

Bye~bye chick-a-doodles!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Over The Rainbow Whimsy Jar

More swappy goodness coming at'cha! Another swap I recently participated in over on Swap-bot was one called "Over the rainbow" and this was a whimsey jar swap.

Whimsey jar? What's a whimsey jar? I had no clue... do you guys know? After some quick Googling, I discovered a whimsey jar is a jar packed full of whimsical {go figure} things usually based on a theme...

Aaaaall righty then! So we had a couple of rules, the jars had to contain at least one Wizard of Oz item, and you must include rainbow items in the jar, everything else was senders choice. I'm really lucky that my partner Leah is easy going and smart, because she has a nice long list of little things that make her happy listed on her profile. This made my job very fun & easy-peasy!

Leah emailed me today to let me know she recieved her package. She loves her jar! That makes me so happy.

Shall we begin?
Here is the top of my jar. I used fabric reminescent of Dorothy's iconic dress and embroidered a rainbow across the top. Fitting, no? I had one heck of a time with this pouffy-jar-lid-thing, you guys. I read several different tutorials, and was pretty sure I did it correctly, but I. COULD. NOT. get this darn jar to screw closed. I eventually gave up and *taped* the lid to the jar. How lame is that?? Rrrrrrr!
Seriously, how hard could that be??
{banging head on desk}
It still frustrates me... I better move along.

The first thing I aquired for my partner, and what guided the colors of everything else in the jar was a little zippy bag. I found this on Etsy, it was made special for Leah by Bibi Rodriguez at funkygoodstuff. I fell in love with the fabric, so bright and cheery and totally different than the Wizard of Oz themes and colors that I'm used to.
It's got yellow polka-dots inside! So cute!
Also pictured, a bright rainbow of DMC embroidery floss and an extra little scrap of the blue-check fabric.

I made a little strawberry pin cushion...
and stuffed it with cute birdie & flower pins...

Colorful erasers in fun shapes... check!

Chubby little dinasaur pencil toppers, not on the list, but too cute not to get... check!

Pretty paperclips...check!

Various office goodies. Highlighters, little sticy notes, big ol' binder clips, a kitty cat hole punch and some really cute scotch tape from the Farm Chicks store... check, check, check!

All stuffed into a standard mason jar, Tetris style!
I also added some bright fabric samples in fun & funky colors and patterns to the box. It was pretty cramed.

Sadly... it seems as though I've been "flaked" on for this swap. The partner chosen for me seems to have disapearred off the face of the planet. I'm not alone, it looks like she's signed up for a LOT of swaps and isn't responding to any of them... her account has been suspended. That's not very nice.
Karma... it's everywhere you're going to be.
~ ~ *EDIT* ~ ~ 
Just to clarify, this was a "one way" swap, the person that I sent to was NOT the same person who was supposed to send to me.
The swap coordinator offered to "angel" for me, that means to make a package for someone who was flaked on. It's very sweet of her, and I sincerely appreciate the offer, but I declined. She lives in the United Kingdom and postage is beastly. Not to mention it's probably rather a pain to have to put together, and mail out another jar. She's a gem for offering, but I'd rather her not spend her hard earned cash, it's not her fault.

I really enjoyed putting Leah's jar together and since this was my first whimsey jar, it's good practice!
I love these whimsey jars though! Don't you think these would make terrific Christmas presents?? Oh, the wheels are turning... it's mid September already... have you guys already started your handmade Christmas presents?? {ducking!}
Heehee... me neither! I better get moving!


Monday, September 13, 2010

Phat Quarter Movie Swap

Recently I participated in an embroidery swap hosted by the group Phat Quarter over on Flickr. This was my first swap with this group, and one I was particularly nerve wracked about. Have you visited Phat Quarter before? There are some seriously talented stitchers who contribute to that group. Like seriously talented, and smart and funny and so on, and so on...

I know my stitchery is, you know... ok. I mean, I'm usually happy with how things come out, and I don't think I'm a schlep or anything, but I'm not overly confident either. I'm not a pro, I don't have an Etsy shop nor do I have any formal training in art or embroidery. I just like to stitch fun stuff. Shoot, it was only a year ago that I first picked up needle and thread. I'm not fishing for compliments here, this was a real concern for me, I didn't know if I was going to be able to produce something on par with the standard of talent over there. Tiny fish/big ocean... See? But you'll never know if you can swim if you don't get in the water, so into the ocean I plunged!

The theme of the swap, movies!

I was partnered with a really cool chic-a-dee who gave me freedom, carte blanche, to stitch what I liked for her. Yippeeee! I love movies! Ooooh, what to make, what to make? When in doubt I turn to my favorites!

Folks, if you haven't seen this movie do yourself, and your funny bone a favor and rent it straight away.
Forget about renting, buy it.
It's that good.

But how to interpret "a romantic comedy, with zombies"? Hmm.
When in doubt, I also turn to Google. Twenty-five pages into an image search... and viola! Sadly I can not take credit for the design, but I take total credit for the execution!
(LOL... Get it? Execution? Aim for the head!!)

You've got red on you.
I took a simple wooden hoop and used the Minwax pen that's usually used to touch up my furniture when it's been banged into. This worked *perfectly* I really loved the results! I think I'll buy a couple more of these pens in different colors just for staining embroidery hoops. Woodstain in a pen, brilliant! The stain took to the wooden embroidery hoop like magic.

Originally I had planned to cover the back of the piece so that Bethany wouldn't have to see the wonky business on the back. I chose red, natch, and made a bouquet like the one Shaun gives his mum in the movie.
Alas, sometimes I can't measure worth a darn and I ended up cutting the circle too small, then couldn't affix it to the back properly, so I didn't use this piece in the end... ce la vie.

Bethany and I had joked about her mailman a little, so I wanted to give him something "interesting" to look at when he made his deliveries this day. This is the mailing label that I made for the outside of her package.
The Zombie goodness over floweth. Into the mail it went.
I waited with baited breath for my partner to get her package. What if she hadn't seen the movie, what if she'd seen it and thought it was lame... what if she opened the envelope and was like "WTH?" 

But my little Fingerpistol is much too rad for those fears, and  joy of joys she LOVED it! Wheeeeeeew! Bethany sent me what is seriously one of the best emails of my life.
No joke, I've probably read it 30 times, I get all weepy when I read it too.

As it turns out, Shaun of the Dead is also one of her favorite movies!
Bethany, I'm SO glad you love your piece. This was really fun to stitch, and I couldn't have had a better partner, you're so funny and ridiculously awesome. I think I love you.

About a day after I had mailed off my piece to Bethany, I received in the mail the piece that was made for me by my partner, Joanne Donn.

Holy smokes!
Whoa! That's David Bowie!! Swoon!
I ♥ Labyrinth!!
This beautiful piece looks deceptively simple, but it most certainly is not. Joanne drew a very intricate labyrinth on the fabric then embroidered Jareth, the Goblin King's image and the title of the movie over the labyrinth itself. You can read about the steps she took on her blog, A Crafter At Sea. Joanne finished the piece on the back with the softest, camel colored felt. I love to hold this piece, it's wonderful. It now hangs over my sewing desk.
Do you guys remember this movie?? I bought it on Amazon today! I can't wait until it comes in the mail and I can see it again!

That about wraps up this movie swap, whadya think?

I think what I gained (in addition to two new stitchy friends) was a whole bunch of confidence. I am happy to report that my/Bethany's "Shaun" piece was well received in the Phat Quarter photo pool. I am so glad that I metaphorically jumped into the ocean!

I have a few more swappy things to share with you guys this week, so stay tuned!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Lazy Daisy Madness...

It's true, I went a little nutzo with the lazy daisy's recently. One evening about a month ago, I was in between projects (read: avoiding a certain project) and I got the urge to stitch, so I grabbed some fabric and my crazy nest of a floss basket and started making some flowers... nothing special, just some simple lazy daisy's... which over the next week or so expanded in color and size until I had a plethora of them stretching into a rainbow (side note: I LOVE rainbows! A couple of you have had this convo with me already, teehee.) in the shape of a diamond. I was going to show this to you guys, honest to peanuts... but since it was just a doodle, and not really made for any purpose other than to alleviate my evening boredom (I hate it when Sean works on swing shift), I just stuck it in my Flickr account where it has been sitting until today...
 when it was featured on Feeling Stitchy!

This is the third time one of my pictures has been featured on this blog, and I have to tell you I feel SO incredibly honored and flattered. I don't feel like the things I do are anything too special, not when there are so very many talented people doing so many mind blowing things out here in Bloglandia.  When something I've made gets picked up by the folks at FS... well, gosh I just can't hardly believe it.
This girl is rarely speechless.
Here's another couple of shots from farther away.

Thank you Feeling Stitchy, you totally made my day!
Have a great weekend everyone!


Thursday, September 2, 2010

Stitching In Public Day

I betcha didn't know that Friday, September 3rd is
"Stitching In Public Day"
 Yup, it's true... check it out, the fine folks over at Feeling Stitchy used one of my pictures to represent!

Wooohooo! Maybe I oughta come up with a new motto for the occasion, something like...

1.  WWAPS? (What Would Alicia Paulson Stitch?)


2. I fear no stitchery!


3. Honk if you want to see my Lazy Daisy.


4. I carry needles!
ooh, maybe that last one's too much...
Anyway, get out there and stitch lovies, let's share our mad skillz with the world!
Have you stitched in public?
Tell me about it, I'd love to hear your stories!