Monday, April 30, 2012

I'm smitten with these small velvet shapes. I've tinted them using several steps. I want to preserve the embossing, because it is the three-dimension of the velvet this is so appealing. There are many possibilities to explore. Hand-tinted pieces may be purchased from our Etsy sites or the white velvet pieces are available on our site.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Velvet Birds and Butterflies

I had these little velvet jewels made for RibbonSmyth. I simply cannot wait to dye them with our Rainbow Dyes. The little velvet bird and two sizes of velvet butterflies, will look smashing used on blocks, or jewelry, dolls or in altered journals and scrapbooking. Can't wait to add seed beads to the butterflies.

The pieces can be purchased through our Etsy sites as well.

Watercolor with silk ribbon and flower pot buttons

This is a watercolor sketch creating a simple landscape to feature the flower pot buttons. I used a bit of glue stick on the back of each button and then stitched silk ribbon flowers for each pot. I worked from two different silk ribbon combo packs using ribbons from the Fucshia and the Smokey Blue packs and added 2mm silk ribbons flowers near the fence. Straight stitches using Scalamandre threads

were added. Once the flower pots had been "filled" with silk ribbon flowers, they were stitched to the fabric ground.

In assembling things to play with, I thought I had packed a piece of white fabric, packaged in a poly-bag, but discovered that I had a pair of white cotton pillow cases instead. I cut a piece out of a pillowcase and taped it to an acrylic cutting board. I "quick sketched" a simple landscape onto the cotton with a pencil. I wanted the pencil lines to show through the watercolors. This little 10-inch piece could be a shabby chic pillow.

Art Nouveau Block Two

This pieced block is #2 in a series of three blocks. The image appears pale in the scan compared to the fabrics, but appears vibrant in person. Most of my blocks are pieced by hand, since they are usually assembled while travelling. This block was pieced onto baby flannel. Some of the blocks have a fusible  backing. I'm beginning to add a fusible onto the back of the doupioni silk pieces, to reduce wrinkles. 

Tinsel Trading

If you love textiles, any visit to New York, probably includes a visit to the garment district.
The area has sadly shrunk dramatically. It seems now, fabric staples are being acquired from off-shore sources. Hopefully, in time, we will see it turn around, but that will be decades away. The picture shows a bit of metal ribbon that I buy, every time I get to visit Tinsel Trading.

 I included a post card of the hotel where we stayed. The photo features the hotel in 1923 in all it's glory. The hotel now boasts a wild, eclectic "Euro" decor that reminds me of stepping into a Dick Tracy/Jessica Rabbit cartoon. A massive crystal chandelier with large framed cartoon drawings on the walls and over-stuffed crimson velvet chairs; greeted us as we entered the foyer.
  I can't recommend The Paramount enough for its location. Only a few blocks away from Port Authority and six blocks from the garment district. An abundance of theatres on the street. Matthew Broderick was appearing at the theatre across the street from our hotel. The hotel is across the street from Restaurant Row; so dinner found us at a small outdoor trattoria.
 I was lamenting to the owner of Tinsel Trading, on how all the stores I had hoped to visit, were gone. She spent time drawing a map of the stores that had moved, so I could alter my route. Very kind and gracious of her to be so generous with her time.
If you get a moment, please visit

Martha Stewart Television Show

Last week we went to New York to attend a taping of the Martha Stewart Show, which airs on the Hallmark Channel.  My friend, Anne, crossed off one thing on her "bucket list" by attending the taping. She drove in from Detroit, Michigan, and off we went to New York. The show featured 6 chefs from the new James Beard cookbook.  The most organized TV taping ever! Martha was gracious and answered questions after the show. The audience was given an abundance of gifts and since we were #5 & 6 in line, we were seated in the audience first row seats. A perfect experience! 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Chihuly Art Glass

Last Week we were in St. Petersburg, Florida.
We attended a banquet at The Vinoy Renaissance and in the banquet hall was the most amazing Chihuly chandelier, that must have been twenty feet in length. We were in a ballroom that was restored to its turn-of-the-century beauty and the Chihuly glass melded beautifully with the decor. And I took several photos with my phone, which did not begin to do the piece justice. Across the street from the hotel, was a Chihuly exhibit. I was allowed to photograph pieces displayed in the gift shop. Please visit to be inspired.
I remember the first pieces of Chihuly I saw, were on the ceiling at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, Nevada. The reception area is filled with massive art glass flowers.
At this exhibition, the most striking display, was a room, completely dark, except for an old wooden row boat. And the boat was filled with blown glass orbs in sizes ranging from 8 inches in diameter up to 18 inches in dameter in every color and finish you could imagine. And of course, no photos were allowed.

Chihuly Art Glass Bowl

Dale Chihuly Art Glass

Pink Blossoms

I was afraid we would be out of town when this tree blossomed. It is a tree in our side yard that blooms with hundreds of beautiful pink pom-pom flowers. And we have no idea what type of tree it is, except that it is old.  The blooms are beginning to wilt.  I can see these flowers recreated in layers of China silk and silk organza. The blooms remind me of miniture peonies.  We visit a manufacturer this week that is going to create butterflies and small flowers for us out of velvet. I think I will take a picture of this with me.
 I would like to pull out the watercolors or the colored pencils and try to capture the shades of pink. 

Spring Blossoms at the Farm

I don't know the type of tree that produces these beautiful blossoms, but every year I look forward to the beauty the tree shares with us. It's magic!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Titanic Anniversary

This is a photo of a mural that graces the ceiling of the dining room at The Boscolo Hotel in Rome. I used another photo of a wall mural, in this same room, for the collage made for Stephanie ~"You are a Gift". Each morning during breakfast, I spent time taking photos of the murals gracing the walls. The photo, even though eerie, seems appropriate as we note the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic.
 I just finished the book, "The Dressmaker", which is classified as historical fiction. It details the voyage through the eyes of a couture dressmaker and a British maid, that left her home, seeking passage in the eleventh hour by agreeing to be the dressmaker's assistant. The facts of the book were taken from Senate hearings, on the sinking of the Titanic, which began one week after the ship sank.  Not enough life boats; no lifeboat drill; no binocular available to the crew to even view an iceburg; too great a speed of the ship as it lumbered through the ice fields; inexperienced seaman; lifeboats that could have held more passengers than just the wealthy elite; all the makings of a disaster.

  1912 would soon offer a new invention for clothing ~ the zipper, which meant freedom from buttons! Women in America were clamoring for the vote. (Women were not allowed to testify at the Senate hearings, due to their perceived fragility and yet it was women and children that were allowed to board the lifeboats first.)  Mary Pickford was bursting onto the Hollywood scene and anything Isadora Duncan wore, became a fashion sensation, remember that famous scarf. An upstart designer, by the name of Coco Chanel, was beginning to design clothing.
Horse-drawn carriages were now sharing the streets with Ford's Model T.
 Now with long skirts in the way, Women were finding it difficult to catch a street car. Times were changing quickly. The thought of shortening skirts to show a bit of leg above the boot and offer ease in walking, was now a possibility! And in a few short years, the 20's would usher in the birth of the flapper!
And as another ship currently sails the same route, with it's share of problems, we will always be mesmerized by the Titanic.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Fuchsia Jewels Fabric Pack

This is a new fabric pack that has been selling well this week. The possibilities are endless for creating an elegant block.
I think every order this week has shipped with fabric packs. I am looking forward to making a pillow out of this kit for a birthday gift. This fabric pack would make a lovely purse. The embroidered lace will look perfect layered on top of the fuchsia fabrics. The photo does not do the embroidered netting justice. On top of the embroidered netting, are small pearls and seed beads. The ten piece set includes 10 inch squares of muslin, two assorted sizes of embroidered netting, gold faille, floral print pink silk organza, rose and fuchsia taffeta pieces, 2 yards of vintage rayon tape, one yard of wire-edge ribbon and a plastic box of pearlized purple heart beads.