Snarky New Hoop Art

I’ve been friend with Nicole, who I recently visited in Houston, since she moved to Wisconsin in fifth grade. She’s one of the funniest, weirdest (in a good way!) people I know, and also happens to love the embroidery hoops I can’t seem to stop making. So when she started shouting out funny and often inappropriate phrases followed by “Put that in a hoop!” I started taking notes.

get_your_shit_together_1394The first hoop I worked on was actually my idea—one of my favorite sayings actually! A lot of these hoops will be set in my favorite gorgeous calligraphy typeface, I just love the contrast of the cheeky message with the elegant typography—especially in such a traditional medium. It’s been super popular on Instagram, so get it here while you can!

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These little orange numbers are all Nicole. I even sent the “lolz” design her way as a birthday present last week (hopefully it has arrived and I didn’t just ruin the surprise!), but if you want your own (in custom colors!), just get in touch.

dreamcatcher_1402I’ve also made a few non-vulgar hoops, but where’s the fun in that? Anyway, this dreamcatcher one is my favorite. Get it here.

Well folks, now I have some sad news. I’m out of hoops. I went to the local fabric store to pick up some more, and oddly enough, all sizes were about the same price. But that means the smaller sizes cost about 5 times what they cost in the states, so I just can’t swing it. I’m exploring other ways to frame these up (which may end up being cheaper to ship too! YAY!), but in the mean time, I’ll still be stitching away! Here’s a design that doesn’t have a home yet:

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Now go away ;)

Home Improvement

If you’ve been with me on this blog for many years, you might remember that I used to love home projects. I love ripping out carpet, painting walls, upholstering furniture,  I’ve even stripped and refinished original baseboards (although I can’t say I particularly loved that one). Even my three rentals that followed were lovingly decorated with lots of unique furniture and artwork. Having a home filled with pieces that bring me joy has always been important to me.

However, when I moved to Bermuda, minimalism became my new mantra. I was loading a crate onto a cargo ship headed for a tropical island, remember? Plus, we’ll probably only be here for a few years. So anything that couldn’t stand the humidity, that might break during the journey, or that added too much weight to my crate had to go. I sold all of my well-curated furniture, gave away a few special decor items, and put the rest in storage in my parents’ basement. Unfortunately, this made for starker surroundings than I would like. So I did a little soul searching a few months back, and investing my energy into a few small decor projects was one of the things I decided could be easily accomplished and make a big impact on how I feel about living here.

I’ve got a few bigger projects in the works, but right away I’ve added a few small decor pieces. I’ve brought a few things from home and bought a few things when I’ve been back in the states, but the things that make me the happiest are the pieces I’ve made!

12717958_1123524741020732_1256405991863931753_nFirst up, I got my ever-growing collection of embroidery hoops arranged and hung up in our guest bedroom. I love how they look grouped together and I’m sure will be adding to them consistently!

I also hung this pomegranate stunner solo in our kitchen. This hoop took hours and hours, so I wanted to give her a special spot—at least until she sells! Want her in your own home? Available here.

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The other project is one I’ve been thinking about for a little while now. At any given time, I have a fairly good stock of paper flowers in my studio, but I’ve never really made a bouquet just for me. One of the areas in our home I’ve really wanted to do something with is our upstairs landing. There’s a funny little nook that’s not really big enough to do anything with, but looks a bit odd when it’s empty.

I recently moved a side table there, and now I’m working on creating the perfect collection to top it, so of course this was the perfect place to create a bouquet just for me! I wanted a loose, free-form arrangement that looked natural, so I created these poppies with extra long stems and just a few small leaves.

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I’ve also been wanting to experiment with some new techniques for more botanically accurate flowers for a while now, so this was a great opportunity.

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I mastered the curly stamen effect, and on this bloom above experimented with a bit of hand-coloring in the center. wild_poppies_1364

I’ve also added the criss-crossing strips of contrasting colored paper, to give the pleated effect of the poppy center. In this bloom above, I also tried bleaching the centers of the petals, to varying success. It’s a technique I’ll try again with a more saturated paper!wild_poppies_1360

I’ve also seen other paper artists add a bit of confetti to the ends of their stamens to give the effect of pollen. I like how this turned out, although I really need to find a bright yellow paper for it to look real. wild_poppies_1365

After a few tries, I also created a poppy bud I like! Although now after looking at the arrangement again, I’m feeling like I should go upstairs and bend the bud down, as that’s more typical than facing up. Either way, I’m loving how these turned out and super excited about my latest addition to my home!

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Hello, again

Happy January, friends! Sorry I’ve been away for so long! Just after New Year’s, we left on a ten-day trip to the Bahamas. It’s a bit of a long story why we ended up there in January, but it was actually really good to have something to look forward to after the holidays.

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I thought I’d get some blogging done while lounging by the pool, but as it turns out the weather was rainy and the orders were pouring in! While I was away, I designed two sets of business cards and started on two wedding orders! Printing plates should be here soon, I can’t wait to share them with you!

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While we were traveling and since we’ve been back home I’ve been on an embroidery kick. It actually started just before Thanksgiving, when I got a wild hair to make embroidered napkins for all 10 of our dinner attendees. be_brave_0488

The typography was so fun to work on that the first two hoops I tackled were type-based, of course! I just love the way calligraphy looks outlined in thread. suddenly_0499

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My latest two projects are my favorites—of course! The cacti hoop above is super cute and reminds me of an amazing hike in Arizona I took a few years ago. It’s also special because it was completely freehand—whereas usually I draw designs on paper first, trace them onto the fabric and stitch over my lines. I love how it turned out!

And then of course there’s this sweet reminder of home. I love it so much I’m keeping this one and offering them for custom order with any state (or country) and city—plus custom colors! home_sweet_state_0504

New Star

A while back I realized that if I kept creating goods at my current pace (a byproduct of needing to busy my fingers while watching tv), I’d soon become a hoarder, or that friend who only gives gifts she’s made. So I picked up hand embroidery–a craft I hadn’t touched since I was very young. It’s incredibly labor intensive and slow going, so I knew the production line would slow its pace, plus I’ve been really inspired by modern takes on the ancient craft that have been popping up on the Internet in the last few years.

I’m not one for following patterns. Or recipes. Or direction of any kind, aside from my GPS… And even then…

Anyway, one of those cross stitch kits from the craft store was definitely not going to be for me. I knew I wanted to create a starfish entirely from French knots—the texture would be perfect—so I drew 5 lines radiating out from the center and got started!

Project in progress
Project in progress

A French knot is one of those things—like knitting and reformatting a hard drive—for which I always have to rely on YouTube to provide a refresher course. Here’s a great tutorial (skip the first 30 seconds).

I picked my colors at random—I already had a couple skeins of the vibrant poppy in the center of the star and knew I wanted to work my way out to something more muted to tie in to a chair we have in our living room. Not having a pattern meant many trips to the craft store, sometimes just for one skein, but sometimes I need an excuse to get out of the house these days anyway.

Some of the legs are a little crooked, some are a little bulgy, and the overall shape certainly isn’t a geometrically perfect star, but I like her and she adds the perfect touch. These days she’s happily keeping watch over our living room, right next to the window that looks out over the ocean!

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New Embroidery

Sorry guys, I’m officially out of clever puns for posts about embroidery at the moment. But I have been stitching furiously!

I think my stitcher’s block earlier this month stemmed from not having an image of the final product in my head before I began. So lately I’ve been creating free form designs—no drawing on the fabric before hand, no tracing a sketch. I’ve been experimenting with new stitches and techniques, all the while just adding whatever I feel like in the moment. I love the way they’ve turned out, expect more of these in the future! Of course, these are all available here.

Threadbare

My embroidery obsession is waning. I don’t think I’ll ever give it up, but I’m not producing with the intensity I was a few weeks ago. However I have found a few great sources for supplies I thought I’d share with you! First up, I found a craft supply store—Lynn’s—that’s not only locally owned, but it also has a better selection than any chain store in my area. Lynn’s has complete collections from three or four different embroidery floss brands, plus framing supplies, paints, paper, specialty writing utensils and many other odds and ends that are often difficult to find—including the mini easel pictured below, which is a great way to display smaller embroidery hoops!

Before I stumbled across a local venue, I turned to the internet. I ordered bulk hoops from Create for Less so I don’t have to run to the store every time I finish a piece. I purchased three different sizes and I’m excited for the variety they offer!

Hanging by a thread

As promised, here are my experiments in embroidery! I started by finishing a project I had started last winter… beleive it or not those satin stitches took FOREVER. I do love the results and have proudly listed it in my second etsy shop, although I’d be happy to keep it too! My first brand new design began with a monogram. I don’t think it was quite as successful, so I’m going to try the idea with a different stitch next.

But while I was still in love with French knots, I tried a few more things. Though I’ve embroidered before, I couldn’t remember how to do them (I found a great tutorial here!), and once I figured it out I was hooked! I started with my own color experiment in red.

Next up: combining those French knots with other stitches in a less abstract design. I’ve always loved poppies and I thought their black centers would be a fun way to work in texture to a piece. Red Poppy hoop available here! Stay tuned… I’m just waiting on more hoops to arrive in the mail and I’ll show you all what else I’ve been working on!