Saturday, April 28, 2012

Catching Dreams + Embroidering Trees

{Don't forget about the giveaway...plenty of time to leave a comment.}

This past week I was solo parenting again, and while I felt far more capable heading in than I did a month ago (thank goodness; I'm not used to feeling incapable), not much got done in the crafty/making department. I made lots of lunches, and dinners, and breakfasts. I made dirty dishes clean again. You know, that sort of thing. But I do have a couple of things to show you from the past week, both somewhat inspired by Mighty Girl Art activities.

First off, my daughter's dream catcher.

Many years ago, well before my daughter came along, I made dream catchers with my boys. They are still hanging over their beds, and they look remarkably like this one, because we used the same grapevine circles, twine, colored beads, and colored feathers. Not too natural looking, I know. My craft aesthetic may have been a little different then, or (I think this is more likely) I let the boys pick out the beads and feathers in the craft store.

When I saw the dream catcher activity as part of the Might Girl online course, I thought I'd bring it up with my daughter because it's probably time she has one, too. She's been in her own bed for almost a year now. But she brought it up first, and while Wendy's version suggests a pliable branch and natural materials, my daughter of course wanted hers to look like her brothers'. One day this past week we made it together, which her choosing beads and feathers as we went. She asked if she could add anything else. "Like what?" I asked. "A shell," she replied. Easy enough. I found my stash of small quahog shells with holes, she picked one out, and we added it. Then we hung it over her bed, of course.

The second project was inspired by the idea of a talisman necklace. This isn't truly a talisman necklace, but I had the idea of a meaningful necklace in mind when I decided to embroider yet another tree, this time a small one, with red buds. I was thinking of the red maple trees and the way their small red flowers, which bloom before the leaves bud, brighten up the sky in spring.

This is what I came up with, after several discarded attempts. It's hard to photograph because of the glass in front, so this first image has some glare.

But I included it because it shows the red rice paper I used as a backing. Here's another image. The background isn't as nice (the dining room table, thankfully out of focus), but there's less glare.

You can see, in this one, that I had some trouble closing the metal case flush. I think my piece was a wee bit too wide. Some of the glass crumbled a bit, but you can't really tell unless you look really close (or I give you a close-up photo and tell you about it). I don't have photos of my rejected versions, but I'll tell you about them.

(First, though, I'm using the pendant kids from Wendi Gratz, but my own stitching pattern. Also, I completely lost a split ring trying to get it on the top circle of the pendant, but I'm assuming I can easily find another one of those locally. That sucker flew.)

So, first I embroidered a tree using stem stitch, like this one. Or maybe it was outline; I can't ever keep those straight and am too lazy to look it up. Then I tried backstitch, but didn't like the look of it. Then I tried one in sort of long straight stitch, but I didn't like that as much either. So I went back to the first and added the buds with French knots, like you see here.

Then I had to get it into the pendant. Wendi uses spray starch to keep it stiff, but I didn't want to, for boring reasons. (I can't identify what kind of starch it is, don't want to spray wheat starch around, am too lazy to make my own. Anyone know what the starch in spray starch is?) (Also, someone once borrowed my iron, used spray starch, and ruined it. This was twenty years ago, but I haven't used spray starch since.) So I decided to try double sided fusible interfacing, but it was way too thick. I tossed the whole mess.

I rummaged around in my under-craft-table storage and came up with heat-n-bond. Tra-la! That stuff is awesome. I'd never used it before, but I'm making the next boy-knee patch out of this stuff. I embroidered a second tree and used the heat-n-bond, sticking the embroidery right to the rice paper backing, with the bond in between. The result seemed thin enough, and I don't think my troubles with the glass was due to thickness, but width.

Also this past week, I received my April Whimsey Box (love it), signed myself up for a summer weekend workshop on mixed media techniques through Rhode Island School of Design continuing ed, and read Tina Fey's Bossypants in no time flat, laughing out loud about 2.3 times per page. So all in all, a pretty good week, considering, if a little heavy on the dishes.


Jen said...

Both projects came out great!

GirlAnachronismE said...

Gorgeous pendant!

Wendy said...

so lovely and wonderful

Michelle said...

What a perfect pendant! I love it!!!! (The embroidery from the other day is gorgeous as well, I'm a little late, but it's lovely, too.)

I have heard people making their own spray starch with a plastic spray bottle . . . I don't normally use the stuff so I've never tried, but you should be able to whip some up easily, I'm thinking.

Yes, all the craft stores should have them in a bunch of sizes . . . look for jump rings.

And yay for the Whimsey box!!!

Shell said...

I love how your pendant turned out .. its gorgeous :)

Bells said...

so pretty. I see dream catchers at markets and I just think the idea of making your own (or for someone else) is much nicer.

The pendant is lovely. Very pretty.