Tuesday, December 6, 2016

A Custom Pincushion

I'm back!  We've had family from Scotland staying with us so I've been distracted from writing and sewing!  This is the best kind of distraction though.  My little Etsy shop is busy with people buying Christmas gifts and I've been working on several custom orders.  

I just popped this one in the mail today.  My brief was to make a cat pincushion from some photos sent to me by my customer.  The colors and design were picked in collaboration with  her.  As usual I began with a sketch, moving on to making paper pattern pieces.  I keep all my paper pattern pieces in little labeled ziplock bags but I'm getting so many different ones, I really need to come up with some system for filing/storing them.






The cat is a long haired black cat with some brown here and there too.  To embroider the cat and get that variation in color I used my regular DMC black floss and also some hand dyed black floss which by nature has a variety of shades.  



This is my box of hand dyed floss.  I don't used it often for pincushions because it is a lot more expensive than the DMC floss I usually use but for a project like this it is perfect.  


The side band is red, a lovely proper Christmassy red with white flowers and green leaves and swirls.  It is very pretty, the colors all work together beautifully.  The underside of the pincushion is dark grey.  



These colors are hard to photograph!  I always have trouble with reds and I also had to lighten the photo a good deal so you could see the embroidery stitches on the cat itself.  It is prettier in real life!  My customer is happy which is the most important thing of all.  











Monday, November 21, 2016

Post Rain Walking

It rained here this weekend.  I know we badly need it but I still don't like it.  My kids like the smell but not me.  I just look at it and see wet, muddy shoes tracking in all kinds of mess into the house, a miserable soggy dog, miserable walks with said sad soggy dog and wet coats dripping puddles wherever they've been hung to dry.  


An early morning walk after the rain rewards me with lots of color and sparkle from the water droplets.  Tia always likes walking when the rain has stopped, I think the rain must wash away the stale smells and make everything fresh and interesting again.  Our first walk after rain is always slow as she needs to stop and check everything out.  As she does, I have time to look at details.





There are lots of berries on trees and bushes this Fall.  In England we always used to say that would be a sign of hard Winter to come....I wonder if the same is true here?


And then I came across this tree full of Springtime blossom.  So strange, it is one in a row of the same trees and all the others are shedding vibrant red leaves.  





Sunday, November 13, 2016

A Folk Art Pincushion

A while ago I was finally able to find a copy of this book of American Folk Art for sale.  I'd borrowed a very tattered copy from our local library multiple times (always I sign I should really buy a copy!) and really wanted to translate this inspiration into a pincushion design.




I did my usual sketches and then picked out colors.  


I didn't cut pattern pieces for this but simply cut the shapes freehand.  I like that the shapes aren't all perfect.  This is the difference between handmade and mass produced.  



I'm very happy with how the colors all worked out in this design, that light coral color can be tricky to use but it looks right at home next to the pale blue.  I added this finished pincushion to my Etsy shop and it sold quickly but I will be making some more soon. 










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Thursday, November 10, 2016

Sometimes My Car Is My Sewing Room

I often sew in the car when I'm waiting somewhere for my daughter.  The light is usually better than in the house but it is not quite as comfortable or as spacious.  I spread everything out over the dash, the center console and the passenger seat but I'm always afraid I'm going to knock over my box of embroidery threads.  

Today I was sewing up a batch of Union Jack pincushions while my daughter had her riding lesson.  I'd forgotten about the time change though, and I lost the light too quickly.  It was an hour of unexpected loveliness, I watched the sun sink behind the hills followed by the subtle changes in the sky as the evening settled into twilight...so peaceful after the turmoil of this week.  












Sunday, November 6, 2016

Improvising - A Snowman Pincushion

Last weekend I headed up to the mountains.  My goal was to deep clean our cabin after the bathroom remodel we'd been working on.  A weekend in the mountains, surrounded by beautiful old trees and deep quiet is a blessing.  I almost never get to do this by myself so when I do, I treasure every moment - the sound of the heavy rain on the roof and the occasional falling piece of tree debris, the crackling of logs burning in the wood stove and the gentle hiss from the steamer on top of the stove (shaped like a dragon with the steam coming out of its nostrils!), the speedy scampering of bedraggled squirrels along the deck and the drilling of woodpeckers in the trees.  The clouds hang low, pierced by the trees.  All sounds are softened, the colors muted.




I clean and tidy and sort.  It is satisfying.  In between I sew, watch some Netflix and sip cups of tea.  

I had planned to sew some of my fairy door tree stump pincushions.  I'd carefully packed everything I'd need ...... except the herringbone felted wool fabric I use for the actual tree trunk!  I had to have a re-think.  I had limited felt with me so I did some sketches and came up with a snowman design.  After some conversations on Instagram about working with metallic threads, I'd purchased some to try.  I usually dislike working with metallics, they split and tangle and cause me to mutter things I wouldn't normally.  I was looking forward to trying this white sparkly thread and a snowman seemed appropriate.  

I used the sparkly thread here and there, not for all of the white, and it didn't split or tangle!  This is such a happy little snowman, snowgirl really.  The whole time I was stitching this pincushion, I had the snowman song from "Frozen" stuck in my head!   






When the rain eases and the sun makes an appearance, I drive further up my mountain to the lake.  It is quiet up here this time of year, in between the summer lake season and the winter snow season.  I like not having to share my view!  The mountains in the far distance have a lot of snow on them but my mountain is still green.  The lake level is low as it always is at the end of the year.  Soon it will be frozen over and people will drive noisy snowmobiles  over it but today it is all mine. 



   






Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Hello November


It's been a busy few days around here.  I was away in the mountains for a couple of days to deep clean our cabin but also to recharge.  I got lots done as the rain fell and bits of tree debris blew down and it felt good.  The sewing projects I'd taken to work on didn't pan out as I expected but more of that another day.   On Sunday evening my daughter and I went to see the first Harry Potter movie shown on a huge screen with a live orchestra playing the soundtrack.  It was just completely wonderful.  I love how young the actors look and I never tire of watching Professor Snape who I think is my favorite character!  I worried the live orchestra might drown out the talking but it didn't.  It really was an amazing experience.  



Then of course Monday was Halloween.  Not only Halloween but one year since we got Tia, yep she's pretty mellow these days. 


On Monday afternoon we carved some pumpkins.  We didn't have a lot of time so we kept it simple.  There was a horse, a rather strange looking scaredy cat and an evil face.  Our neighborhood was pretty quiet though compared to previous years and we had a good bit of candy left over which I've thrown out so I don't eat it!




We burn candles a lot, nearly year round except in the middle of summer when all the ceiling fans are on.  Halloween is one of those times when it is fun to spend a candlelit evening.  We ate dinner by candle light and I had some on the counter by the front door so that trick or treaters would be greeted with a warm glow.  Someone commented it smelled of fresh cookies but I think that was the vanilla candles!


November 1st and the early morning mist hung over the fields on my way home from school. It was really beautiful.