Friday, December 23, 2011

"You are a Gift" Fabric Collage

This fabric collage is approximately 16" x 22". The design is one inch smaller at the top than it is at the bottom. I wanted the piece to be wider at the bottom. The wool border is a brilliant pale lime green and is edged with aubergine metallic beads using the picot bead stitch. Hopefully a better photograph taken, with the piece hanging, will capture the true colors. The techniques were developed for a fall workshop.

"You are a Gift" Embellished Vintage Image

This image is taken from a photo of a mural in the restaurant of our hotel in Rome. We were surrounded with murals of a fabulous party set in the 1920's. The wonderful use of "light" used in the murals is not translated in this image, but the gowns and the paintings are fabulous. I wanted the flapper beauties to be "gazing" at the words "You are a Gift". I've couched gold bias-cut silk around half of the image. I added hand-dyed Venise lace on the other side of the image. And finished with old metal buttons and Victorian mother of pearl buttons.

"You are a Gift" Hand-dyed Rayon Tape Rococo

This close-up features a vintage metal and mother of pearl button collage with a seam treatment of RibbonSmyth hand-dyed rayon tape in the Merlot colorway used to create a  rococo trim. Above the trim is more of my marbelized fabric. To create the rococo trim using approximately 24" of rayon tape, twist several inches of the  tape tightly and couch into place on top of the fabric. Using Nymo or a matching thread, run a gathering stitch down the center of the tape, gathering approximately 6 inches. Pull to gather, tie-off the thread and cut. Twist another 3 inches of the tape and couch into place. Continue the above steps until the desired length has been achieved. I added a metallic vintage orange sequins and beads to the center of each "fluerette".  7mm Ribbonsmyth moss silk ribbon leaves were added to each side of the little flowers. 

"You are a Gift" wall-hanging Marbelized fabric with velvet pods

This is a close-up photo showing marbelized fabric, created from a class I taught in Vermont that blended beautifully with the colorway I chose of rust, gold, and aubergine. The technique for the seam treatment features velvet pods peeking from the inside of bias-cut silk leaves. RibbonSmyth variegated moss 7mm silk ribbon is added among the pods. Vintage 1920's French metal thread is couched among the silk ribbon. Vintage metal threads are too fragile to use for embroidery, but they couch beautifully.

Christmas Blog Winners!

The winners of the Christmas Blog Give-away are Debbie Hembree, Marjolein and Karen Mallory!
Congratulations and Merry Christmas!
Each of you will be sent packages with fabrics, fibers, beads and embellishments, mailed during the week of December 26th! 

Gift bags with home-made marshmallows and shaved chocolate cocoa

A quick  kitchen photo before these gift bags were delivered! I made as many gifts as I could for Christmas ~ 24 gift bags filled with home-made marshmallows and hand-shaved cocoa. The remaining 4 bags will be delivered tomorrow; as I make my last run to the post office with orders.  I shipped allot of these little bags and I hope they survived! Using a plain craft gift bag, I attached a lacy paper napkin to the front of the bag with spray adhesive. The recipe is printed onto holiday paper and attached to a tag that hangs beneath the spoon. A polished vintage silverplate teaspoon was added with jute twine. Great fun!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Baking and Desserts

Just a note about baking cookies! My goal was 30 dozen cookies for my husband's two plants.  Does not sound like much...but.... The guys work in airplane hangers and in the summer, the heat is unbearable and in the dead of winter, they can't sufficiently heat an airplane hanger, and these are hard-working guys that work with highly combustible gases. I "marathon" bake and usually have several recipes going at one time. I  will bake for several days straight. My husband took in the platters of cookies (and we did not want the guys to know where the cookies came from) before the plant opened and he said in one hour, the trays were empty. How fun is that?!
 I'm not an advocate of using Teflon or Sugar; so broke the rules for the cookies. I think a Teflon cookie sheet is the only kind to use.
In the photo, is a sampler of desserts that we had two weeks ago in Rome. The presentation of the small bites on a slab of slate, was a novel idea. From left to right - creme brulee sitting in little spoons, raspberry gelatin, custard topped with black olives, biscuit and a lemon cookie.
This past week-end, I made gifts of home-made marshmallows with bags of shaved chocolate for cups of hot chocolate.  I'm using a recipe from a Belgian Chocolatier and a 25 year-old Martha Stewart marshmallow recipe. I've shaved pounds of chocolate blocks with a potato peeler.  Mix the chocolate shavings with half and half. I'll post a picture once the sugar in the air, settles! My husband thinks the only way to get through the long, dark months living here in the Northeast, is a cup of homemade hot chocolate with those "killer" marshmallows.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Free Freight, Free Blog Give-away and Free fabric and bits packets

Blog Give-Away for December
Women are amazing and at this time of year, they perform miracles! To show a bit of appreciation for all the women I am fortunate to work with; we are offering Free Freight on any order over $ each order will receive a  bonus  packet with fabric, a box of beads and satin rosebuds...
For the blog give-away - just say "hello" and leave your email! I will make up several packages and will notify the winners on December 23rd. The packages will ship the week of December 27th.

I told my husband that I would bake cookies for all the guys at his two plants. Two week-ends of baking and no telling how many dozens of cookies my husband and I sampled, he was off early this morning with platters of cookies. He called at 9 AM and said the trays were empty! How much fun was that! This was my small effort in giving "hand-made" this now down to some stitching!

So time to share stash, whether it's fabric or the sugar and flour kind.

Have a wonderful Christmas!

Jackson and Santa

Had to share a photo of Jackson having his picture made with Santa. This Santa is a girl!  I took him to our local farm store where we purchase goat and horse chow. All money donated for pet photos goes to a no-kill shelter in our area. In line with Jack were two little miniature horses having their photo taken. He was surrounded with kitties, and an assortment of big dogs, all patiently waiting. How lucky we are to have pets in our lives.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The passing of Francois Lesage

This is a photo I took of Monsieur Lesage while attending classes at Maison Lesage. The Couture world lost one of its own on December 1st. He was charming and gracious and I will always be grateful for the time he spent with me.

Every day he came into class wearing a different embroidered waist coat. Here he is holding a metier with an interpretation of Van Gogh's Sunflowers created in sequins. In his left-hand is one of the French cigarettes that he was famous for. Behind me was a dress form with a beaded gown he was designing for the Queen of Thailand, a photo I've never posted, as he requested that the queen be the first to see his creation.  I was fortunate to spend the day with him photographing 120 years of beaded couture samples beginning with the House of Worth up to his present collection. I zipped through thirteen rolls of film while Monsieur Lesage told amazing stories about his life, the couture designers he worked with, and the women he clothed. He said his business thrived due to Texas socialites and Arab princesses. I was mesmerized. His favorite beauty to wear his designs....Grace Kelly.

The House of Lesage is responsible for 85% of all couture beading. His office walls were lined with cork, sporting a variety of sketches and every single sketch was done in pencil, by him.  After returning from Paris, I compiled a slide/lecture presentation of beaded samples; a presentation that I continue to present to guilds. He showed me  a room in his private atelier, filled with over 2 tons of sequins, in every color you could imagine.

 All of us have "fairytale" moments in our lives and being in Paris, attending couture beading classes, was one of mine. During the time there, I took gold metal thread classes, classes on working with metal strips, raffia, silk chenille and padding leather strips, techniques that can be seen today on any Paris runway. Our classes revolved around tambour work, a technique using a tambour needle, gold thread and thousands of sequins. This is an extremely difficult class to teach and equally difficult to master in a classroom. Tambour work is most evident today on evening tops beaded with sequins and produced in India.

Due to Monsieur Lesage, I became smitten with sequins and couching gold metal threads.

When I returned, I created a small silk etui in his honor, using gold metal threads and couching. Will photograph the piece and post.

There are several books on the work of Lesage. The coffee table book "The Art of Lesage" by Palmer White will undoubtedly inspire. I had Monsieur Lesage sign my copy and if an inscription could make a girl swoon, his certainly did.

Chanel purchased the House of Lesage several years ago and hopefully the art of beading will continue.

Adieu Monsieur Lesage...

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Quilt Display at Barn

This is a beautiful display of Pennsylvania quilts, many from the 19th Century, that were on display at a recent barn show. The show was to raise monies and awareness for land conservation in Bucks County, PA. Old Pennsylvania barns are becoming rare in our county as age takes it's toll on these amazing structures.  I had a booth at this event and across from my table was a knitter and next to my table were two New York designers creating Fascinators. We all demonstrated different techniques. There was a wine-maker in the center hall, fly-fishing demos, an apple pie bake-off and a wonderful jazz quartet playing in the barn during the event. A fabulous fall day in the country!

Green Crochet afghan

This is a simple, truly quick afghan to make. I am certainly a beginner when it comes to crochet techniques. Tomorrow this piece ships to my uncle in Virginia. He will be 90 on Wednesday and if there was ever a true gentleman, it would be him.
Vanna White came out with a 9 afghan pattern book several years ago. This is one of her patterns and it uses a size P hook and two colors of yarn in the hook. The colors for this piece were determined by skeins I picked up at a thrift store.  Due to the large hook, the piece can be crocheted quickly, but using two yarns at the same time, the piece is also warm.
I now have an ecru one in the works for my Mother, using 9 different shades of ecru and ivory yarns. Hopefully it will get to Texas before Christmas. If you can purchase yarn at thrift stores, grab those skeins. The older lots of yarn are a nice weight and quality.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

FREE FREIGHT WEEK through November 6, 2011

It's a FREE FREIGHT Week at RibbonSmyth!
Perfect time to grab a few embellishments before the holidays and we pay the freight on any order of $25 or more. All US orders ship via first class with delivery confirmation. Global orders are shipped via airmail.

This photo features a button collage created for an ArtBra titled "My Father's Ties". The bra is covered in a base of navy/gold/ivory silk pieces from men's ties. I made this piece in a remote area of New Mexico and forgot my needles! Closest store was a 45 minute drive down a mountain and lucky  that my Mother found a small sewing kit. All the glass pearls, beads and buttons were stitched over an intersection where several pieces of fabric intersected. Stacking beads and buttons in small clusters "anchors" a design. I layer the collage embellishments over simple seam treatments.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Jewel Embellished Cuffs

Here's a photo of my lastest cuff designs. Grateful for a sunny day for a bit of picture-taking! Sunny days become a rarity in the Northeast, now that fall is here.
The cuffs are made of  clay and on top of the clay, gems are nestled in painted silk carrier rods, painted with our Rainbow Dyes.

I  recently met a costume designer and seamstress  for the Met. She had wonderful opera stories. These gems came from the opera Carmen.  The cuffs I kept for myself were too large. The cuffs are lined in Ultrasuede, but the ones I kept, are lined with  thick wool blanket pieces, that had been felted. Took up the slack beautifully.  A new addiction!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Silk Ribbon Embroidery on Cinnamon Velvet Dress

Came across this picture while cleaning up files. With just a couple of stitches, it is easy to embellish a simple dress for this year's holiday parties. This is a purchased velvet dress, that I bought many years ago. The cut of the dress is so simple, that I continue to wear it. It's been to weddings, rolled up to fit in a suitcase and has visited the dry cleaners several times and the embroidery is surviving.  I used variegated 4mm silk ribbon from our Old Rose silk ribbon assortment pack, and created a variety of spider web roses over the front and back shoulder of the dress. I then added padded straight stitches for buds in the same ribbon. Each bud has celery green Japanese Ribbon Stitch leaves. Using gold Krienik thread, I added a straight stitch into the tip of the buds and feather stitches among silk ribbon work for a bit of sparkle. After  stitching, fuse a fusible interfacing to the inside of the dress to protect the embroidery . If any of the roses need refreshing, I swipe them with a damp cotton swab.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

A Queenly Collage

This collage was created for the queen in all of us! Now available for sale at

Again the base of the piece was a RibbonSmyth vintage fusible image fused on top of ivory damask. Lace pieces were layered around the image. None of the collages feature machine stitching. I think the stitches detract from the beauty of the lace. The bottom lace piece features a glass Czech gold button. French metal medallions and a French pearl, rest over lace bits on the side. In the top left corner I've added a small gold glass Czech button and a 1950's Japanese mother of pearl "deco" sew-on. At the puce (flea market) in Paris, there was one vendor that had a tent full of embellishments, beads, purse frames, everything to set a girl's heart aflutter...vintage heaven! You purchased a "goblet" (tea cup) of embellishments and paid by the goblet, which was 8 euro per goblet. I hope she still has her stand at the market.

Shabby Chic English Cottage with Feathers

This 5"x7" collage starts out with a RibbonSmyth fusible vintage image. The piece is bordered on one side with beautiful feathers and the iridescent greens and turquoise shades are not captured by the camera.  I added layers of lace around the image and finished with a Czech glass button, French metal medallions, and wood and brass buttons. The lace medallion at the bottom of the piece is beautiful. I don't know all the  names of the laces; simply have appreciation for the artistry.  

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Shabby Chic Lace Collage

I've started a series of Shabby Chic Lace collages using all vintage lace.
 I've used one of Rengin's oyas at the bottom of the image.
The small metal findings are French. There are 50 collages in various stages and many are going to an art event and some will find their way to etsy. It was frightening to see the amount of lace I've collected over the past 20 years! It's great to see the laces finally displayed in small vignettes instead of residing lonely in plastic totes.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Dyed Silk Carrier Rods in Mermaid colors

I dyed these silk rods last night to use in the Mermaid Collage. I wanted to match the Sea Cove bias-cut silk ribbon, so I used Silk dyes in Evergreen and Teal, blended with Rayon dye in Cinnabar. Just received silk cord in the color-way Abalone and plan on using these bits for a "bolo" lariat with the silk cord.

Dyed Silk Carrier Rods

This  is the result of dyeing the carrier rods in fall colors. Pulling apart the pieces, yields "duck down" soft silk bits.

Dyeing Tutorial Step Eight Silk Carrier Rods

Dampen the silk carrier rods with water. Using a paint brush, brush each side of the silk rod with dye, allowing the two colors to flow into each other. Again, rayon dyes in Olivine, Antique Gold were mixed with the silk dye Cinnabar. I wanted to dyed specific colors to be used for embellishing the clay cuff.  Microwave for one minute, allow to cool. The rod is a by-product of reeling the silk off of the cocoon. The rods are not de-gummed, so after dyeing, they may be a bit sticky. The luster is brilliant. Pull these pieces apart and they have a "feather-like" quality. Once they have dried after being dyed, they will dry into a curled, wrinkled shape.

Silk Tutorial Step Seven

Dyed Fibers
Once the fibers have dried, the ribbons are ironed on the back, then wound onto spools and placed into plastic containers. Left to right ~ bottom left corner is the over-dyed brown velvet ribbon, upper left corner is the mauve over-dyed mauve velvet ribbon, top of the photo is the 2mm silk cord, top right corner is 30mm double-sided silk satin, bottom right corner is the 3/8" glitter single-sided velvet ribbon. All the dyed fibers can be purchased in our OldElements etsy site and the undyed fibers are available in the Dyer's Ribbon section of our site. We have an assortment too of velvet ribbon that can be over-dyed.

Dyeing Tutorial Step Six

Wet nylon velvet and silk satin yardage ready to go into the microwave. The nylon velvet will dry to pastel shades. I used rayon dyes on the fibers in Olivine, Antique Gold, Victorian Rose. Some of the velvet was brown or mauve and over-dyed, which adds more of a vintage flair to the finished product. I normally microwave everything for 2 to 3 minutes and then air-dry. I do not rinse the fibers when they come out of the microwave. Fibers can be gently hand-washed or dry-cleaned but as a rule I do not machine-wash any of my hand-dyed fibers, since I use them for embellishing. All embroidered wearables are dry-cleaned.

Dyeing Tutorial Step Five

All of the silk cord has been painted with dye. The color looks very vibrant. But since I used rayon dyes on silk cording, and the cording is very wet, once dried, the cording will dry to soft vintage tones. The silk will only absorb so much dye. When the cord is removed, there will be puddles of dye in the foam plate.

Dyeing Tutorial Step Four

Since I am always in a hurry, my favorite method of dyeing, is to use a pipette to apply the dye. I draw up a pipette of dye by squeezing the bulb on the pipette, and then spritz the dye onto the fiber, in several locations. Allow it to bleed into the other colors, which creates a vintage palette.

Dyeing Tutorial Step Three

With the fiber damp, randomly brush on dye in three-inch sections. The colors used were Victorian Rose and Pansy in the Ribbonsmyth Rayon Dyes. 2mm silk cord is the fiber. Since the cord is damp, the colors will flow into each other and create new shades. Once the top is dyed, flip over the cord and continue adding dye. Normally I would not dye so much yardage at one time. This was cording I had stored in a plastic bag and instead of detangling; dyed all the cord at once. I don't wear gloves when dyeing, which at times, has me wearing dyed finger-tips for a day or so. Our dyes are non-toxic and wearing gloves leaves me clumsier than usual!

Dyeing Tutorial Step Two

Dye fibers in a foam paper plate. This prevents the dye from seeping into a paper plate.
I dye a variety of fibers using one combination of dyes. Supplies - water,  foam paper plates, pipettes, brushes, paper towels and an ice cub tray for mixing dyes. In this photo, approximately 30 yards of silk cord is dampened and placed onto a foam plate. Wet the fiber and wring out all the water. The more water left in the fibers, the more pastel the ribbon. I keep a paper towel beneath the plate and use the paper towel as a palette, to test the color before applying to the fiber. If you are new to dyeing, keep a small notebook, notating the drops or teaspoons of dyes combined with other colors. Once the dyeing process is finished, tape a swatch of the ribbon or fiber to the page to note the outcome. All of this information is in my book "The New Ribbon Embroidery". An entire chapter was dedicated to dyeing. The book is no longer in print but copies do come up time-to-time on Amazon.

Dyeing Fibers Tutotial Step One

Here's a simple tutorial on dyeing fibers. All of these were dyed in less than 30 minutes using Ribbonsmyth non-toxic dyes. Once dyed, they were heat-set in the microwave.
I mixed silk dyes and rayon dyes together.
In this photo: double-sided silk satin, brown and mauve nylon single-faced velvet, a gray rayon motif, 2mm silk cord, glitter velvet, white silk ribbon and silk carrier rods. Whatever you have on-hand, dye it!
Nylon fibers will dye only in pastel shades.

Mermaid Collage Close-up

I was hoping to capture the luster of the silk carrier rods, but the sheen is subtle. I pulled one of the rods apart while still damp and one rod can be pulled into several pieces. When pulled apart the rod is almost feather-like. I'm probably the last person on earth to discover silk carrier rods, but thrilled I found the bag among my drawers of silk fibers. Once the rods were dyed, I microwaved them for 2 minutes, which dried the rods. After I embellished them, I dabbed Gilder's paste onto the rods as well as onto the fabric. I hoard old brass buttons and now is the time to use those buttons! Above the Mermaid head, I twisted and tacked into place, bias-cut silk ribbon. Since I wanted raw edges for the collage, the raw-edge ribbon added a bit of texture to the piece. I added a piece of Mica over the mermaid face to add a bit of texture.

Mermaid Collage with Carrier Rod and hand-dyed fibers

This quote is great and it can be interpreted in many ways.
"And I said, with rapture, here is something I can study all my life, and never understand".
Samuel Beckett, Moloy
Since I've not read the book, I would like to think the quote can be used in describing women!
And since mermaids hold much mystique for us; thought the 1920's Mermaid image would work for this collage. The collage is approximately 4"x6" with uneven edges. It has been finished with a wool back.

I used Key West hand-dyed rayon tape to make an uneven fringe. Trimmed the sides of the image with silk carrier rods that I dyed to match the Sea Cove bias-cut silk ribbon.
These are elements taken from my new Mermaid CQ Block kit.

Clay Cuff with silk rod top view

Here's a top view of the cuff with a bit better detail.
Still have not been able to capture the luster of the silk rod! 

Clay Cuff embellished with silk rod

Silk rod embellished clay cuff finished!
Gotta love that E6000 glue! I have allot to learn on how to photograph cuffs, but taking the photo outdoors is a good start. I roughed up the clay surface with an emery board before gluing the silk carrier rod to the cuff.
Glued to the rod are two Victorian buttons, one large honeycomb faceted copper bead, a gold metal cage bead and a brown pearl. Once that was completed, I added small bits of gold metal thread I purchased at the factory in Lyon, France,  harvested from gold bars used to create metal paillettes and bullion. The silk carrier rod now looks like it is sitting in a nest of gold metal bits.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Clay Cuff, FiberFusion and a silk carrier rod

I'm still playing with clay and can't wait to see this cuff finished. The cuff is nestled on top of FiberFusion and beneath it is a silk carrier rod. I have a large bag of Japanese carrier rods I picked up in New York. Just dyed this piece and it is still wet, thus the brilliance of the rod. The luster of the silk is amazing. These will be super to work with as they can easily be stitched, pulled apart into layers, etc. Will dye a few more and get just the right color to use on the cuff. Will tone down the rod with gilder's paste and then fill with different copper tone glass beads and probably a bit of wire.  Waiting for a spool of silk cord to arrive and then will use a rod on the silk cord as a focal for a necklace.

Crazy Quilt Vintage white block kit

Crazy Quilt Vintage White Block Kit
I have a few of these kits left and am sending some to Japan today, so thought I would take a picture while packing the kits. The components because they have so much potential. I know I would throw all the contents into a  pot filled with tea and tone down for a vintage block. The white lace motif is harvested from a wedding gown bodice. The beautiful, green tamboured embroidery came from a formal gown and I'm sure it originated in India. I've added a white vintage 12" dinner napkin, velvet, ivory and green toile fabric, complete with yards of braid, a muslin base fabric, and topped off with silk ribbon. I know it speaks "Bridal" but it reminds me too of a winter "Ice Queen"!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Lacey Cuff Closeup

When I have booths at trade shows; I spend time doing dyeing demonstrations. Last night I came across a bag of demo samples and found this lace motif.  The piece was dyed with RibbonSmyth Rainbow dyes using dyes in Olivine, Antique Gold, Lilac, and Victorian Rose. Dyes that have been heavily diluted with water. Use a damp motif before applying dye, so the dyes will flow into each other and create additional shades. Once the motif is dry, iron the back of the lace piece to heat-set. I cut the motif into 3 pieces and then reassembled. I added  vintage 1920's amethyst rhinestone sew-ons for flower centers.
The metal-coated glass rose is a 1920's flat-back piece. I have several hundred and will get them loaded, as well as strands of assorted rose montees,  onto my etsy sites, once the studio rehab is completed.  The base of the cuff has been finished with gilder's paste in bronze and olive green. This piece is neutral and could be  dressed up or would look good with  jeans and a cashmere sweater.

Lacey Clay Cuff

This is a cuff I made last night  using a dyed lace motif attached to an aluminum cuff blank.
The edges of the lace have been tipped with German iridescent glitter and the cuff has quite a bit of sparkle, that I've not been able to capture with the camera. I added RibbonSmyth  1920's vintage amethyst rose montees, (rhinestones) finished with a 1920's metal-coated rose cabochon and two pearls. The base of the cuff was finished with gilder's paste. Can't wait to make more!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Needlepoint Floral Rose Cuff

Here is the completed needlepoint cuff. I've still not mastered the best way to photograph cuffs. The piece is lined with a cinnamon Ultrasuede. I discovered in using a 2" wide cuff blank, that the end result offered a  2 1/2" wide piece. I thought the cuff was too large for my wrist, but once the needlepoint piece was completed; it fit perfectly.
These are components for making a Needlepoint Cuff that I just finished stitching until the wee hours of the morning. The needlepoint canvas is very old. I found the piece at a thrift store for $2.50. The canvas is printed with the words "British Hong Kong". There are enough floral repeats for a few more cuffs. I bought wool skeins in a variety of colors for $.50 a skein. Each color background will offer a different look.

 A student that often frequented my classes, gave me the hank of glass Victorian Jet beads. The beads are hex-cut and offer just the right amount of "flash". I ordered in the cuff blanks, which are a great quality, and will fit a variety of wrists. The cuff blanks can be ordered from my etsy shop OldElements.

Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square, PA Bell Tower

Today and everyday, may we feel fully the love in our hearts and act on that love by believing rather than doubting, embracing rather than judging, and celebrating diversity rather then seeking safety in sameness. May we reach deeply within and widely without and together create the world we envision.

Silk Ribbon Embroidered Beret

This is a gorgeous wool beret embroidered by Laurel Mazziotti of Virginia. One year Laurel was here at the studio taking classes, and I had just received a shipment of wool berets from New York. We  were all  stitching them for gifts. Laurel used RibbonSmyth Variegated Silk Ribbons for her work.

Isn't this piece lovely? Her embroidery is beautiful.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Crazy Quilt Initial Banner

This is a RibbonSmyth Victorian Initial crazy quilt banner  that I just discovered in a trunk of class kits and projects.  I taught this class in La Bouboule, France, and was lucky to find a Versailles Cigarette Silk. It brings back great memories. I stamped the initial onto the fabric and used RibbonSmyth buttonhole silk twist for the Satin Stitch. I gathered 3" pieces of RibbonRuffles to make the little hollyhocks growing out of the clay button pot. Love those little clay pot buttons. They add so much dimension and embellishment to any piece.

Mokuba Cuff Kit

This is a doupioni silk cuff kit I made during one our recent rain marathons. We have had 16 inches of rain in two weeks. I wish I could send the rain to Texas! 
When finished with the ribbon work on the mauve doupioni; I added Mokuba trim for the edges. It is a  "girly" piece. Not an easy piece to photograph. I used hand-dyed lavender rayon tape to make the roses, added a rayon-tape gathered flower and finished with a gathered trailing rayon tape tendril. Filled in around the design with silk ribbon stitches, pearls and flower sequins. I added a rhinestone button closure with a seed bead toggle. These would make great Christmas gifts. I put all the components, with instructions, into a kit. The pattern/kit offers a cuff for a 7 1/2"  length wrist, but simply shorten the fabric or extend the fabric length to accommodate any size wrist. The kits are $19 and we have a few left. Great Beginner basic kit.

I purchased a large piece of Needlepoint in reds and black poppies. I've ordered in the cuff blanks and can't wait to make some Needlepoint Cuffs.

Mokuba Cuff Kit

This photo is a bit washed out. And hope to replace it, when we see sunny weather again.
This cuff is 1 1/2" wide and I decided to turn it into a Beginner class kit. I've used Japanese Mokuba braid around the edges. The embellished roses are stitched onto rose mauve doupioni silk. Fun to blend in rayon-tape roses with 7mm silk ribbon stitches.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Jackson with his Elizabethan collar

This is a picture of our little papillon, Jackson. He had surgery yesterday and now he has to wear an "Elizabethan Collar" for two weeks. The vet said they did not have a collar large enough to contain his ears!
I feel so bad for him, that I doubt he will be in that collar for two weeks! He's getting lots of snacks and pain meds for a week!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Wool Cuff full-length piece

This is a wool cuff I made using a piece of a pink wool blanket that I felted and then dyed with our Rainbow Dyes.
 There is a pic in the blog of the large piece of wool I dyed last week. I layered the cuff with RibbonSmyth FiberFusion, added strands of RibbonSmyth's Rayon hand-dyed tape and over that added one of Stephanie's cabochons. Added beads around the cab and embellished the piece with gold metal thread, vintage brass buttons, crystals, tiny green round sequins and finished the piece with a beaded picot edge. The cuff is lined with Ultrasuede. I wanted pieces of the ribbon to hang off the back of the cuff for a bit of extra visual appeal. This will be great to wear this fall.

Wool Cuff Close-up

This is a close-up and not a very good photograph; but was hoping to capture the cabochon used for the center focal of the cuff. The cabochon was made by Stephanie Novatski, the most creative woman on this planet,  using her technique with Friendly Plastic, the hot pot and Angelina film. The cab is flexible and I pierced holes around the piece to anchor to the wool. Beneath the cab are wisps of FiberFusion and on top of that, rayon tape that has been tacked to the wool. I've layered gold metal strands across the cab anchored with Nymo and tiny green sequins.
 Willa and I were in a factory in Lyon, France, watching gold bars being reduced to metal thread, metal bullion, metal sequins and other metal pieces ordered by Arab Sheiks for their clothing. I was not allowed to take photographs, but was entranced by the process at the factory. Michel, the owner of the company, was the most gracious host! I purchased a large ball of gold metal thread and finally used some of the threads in the design of this cuff. Willa and I were both amazed that I bought gold metal "trash"!

Wool Cuff with Cabochon

Wool Cuff

This is a close-up of the wool cuff on my wrist. I hoard small brass buttons and these two lovelies are mixed in with rayon tape and beads.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Halloween Post Card with bats and pumpkins

Already in our local village, there are stores filled with Halloween costumes. I don't want summer to end, although fall  in Pennsylvania, is spectacular, it means five months of winter, and a very cold studio!

  So here is a post card to celebrate fall!
I used 3 pieces of fabric - rust doupioni, orange Ultrasuede and orange silk. Scraps are perfect. Once those were pieced onto a 4 1/2" x 6 1/2" piece of baby flannel, I fused 3 small pieces of Angelina fibers together using wax paper or a small Teflon sheet. I used Copper, Enchanted Forest and Brass fibers. I placed the small fused piece  on top of the fabric and then fused the Halloween Vintage image on top of the Angelina, which is on top of the fabric. How easy is that?

Baste the pieced fabric to the fast-to-fuse postcard shape. Cut the piece to 4"x6".

I used the Firecracker colorway in the Rayon tape and rococo lace selection. Using champagne Nymo, tack rococo lace around the edge of the vintage image.
Make small loops or "half-bow" loops with the rayon tape, simply by gathering the ribbon and taking a few stitches in the ribbon to hold the loops in place; starting on the right side of the vintage image. I let one end of the rayon tape hang 1 inch below the bottom of the post card.

Clip several bats and pumpkins from the satin bat and pumpkin garland and tack the small motifs in place with Nymo.

Using 4mm silk ribbon in yellow and orange, add one-wrap French knots on the left side of the vintage image, on top of the rococo lace. Add several Ribbon Stitch flowers in 4mm yellow silk ribbon, among the pumpkins. Fill the center of the flowers with gold seed beads.  Stitch miscellaneous beads and buttons among the rayon tape and the French knots.

Tack gold lurex fringe around the outside edge of the card using Nymo thread. Using some of our cotton picot trim, which I dyed burgundy, tack that trim down next to the gold as a finishing touch.

Fuse a RibbonSmyth French Post Card back to the back of the card.  Add your greeting! Ready to a padded envelope! 

RibbonSmyth Rainbow Dyed Wool Pieces

This is dyed wool using the left-over dyes from dying rayon tape. Isn't this wool gorgeous? Love recycling.
Because wool applique is so popular, finding wool blankets is becoming more difficult. I purchase my wool blankets at thrift stores.

These are two pieces from a bubblegum pink wool blanket. I cut pieces to use for cuffs or for purses. Because the wool is so heavy after it's been dyed; keep the pieces small. Wash the wool blanket in hot water and dry in the dryer to felt. I usually wash a blanket several times.

I used our RibbonSmyth Rainbow Dyes for rayon and cotton and the dye worked well on the wool. I used a pipette and drizzled dye onto the damp wool pieces, which I laid on top of a plastic trash bag. After dyeing, don't move the wool.  Let it dry outdoors. While it is still wet, I roll up the wool pieces in paper towels to aid the drying process, but I also collect the paper towels.  Loving the colors. That's what's great about dyeing. I never know the outcome until the fabric is completely dry! And I am always happy with the outcome!

Dyed paper towel rose

When I finish dyeing rayon tape and trims, I am never able to throw away the dye. All the dyes I use, I mix just for dyeing that day. So a little bit of dye left in about 20 containers has to be used. This photo features paper towels and  a paper towel rose laying on top of wool fabric. Stephanie Novatski taught me to save paper towels, used for sopping up dye. Stephanie is beyond generous in sharing her tricks and techniques. After dyeing, let the paper towels dry and then I iron them and put into a 2 gallon zip lock. Dyed paper towels are great to use as fabric in your machine. They layer beautifully on top of fabric, can be used in the Embellisher, and are perfect for collage work. Coat them with Paverpol or Diamond Glaze to create jewelry pieces. I plan on using some of my dyed paper towels on wool cuffs.

I have to "see" everything. If it is not in a clear see-through tote or zip does not exist.