Friday, August 27, 2010

Embroidery Show & Tell + Questions for Ya


So I just finished my first embroidery piece using a Sublime Stitching pattern - yay! I am so happy with how it turned out. I really enjoyed working with this pattern and saw it as a fun design challenge. I taught myself a couple of new stitches from The Embroidery Stitch Bible (a must-have reference book if you like embroidery!) and geeked out at the craft store picking out tons of new embroidery floss in beautiful colors.

The pattern I used is from the lovely Roaring Twenties set if you'd like to get it for yourself. It's super-cute! These stitched examples here are from Sublime Stitching.

What I love about these brilliant patterns is how easy they are to customize. They're just a guideline for the picture, but the colors & variety of stitches used are totally up to you. You could give a group of people the same pattern to work with & each one would come up with a different, equally awesome, finished piece. Compare & contrast my flapper girl with the one at left - quite different! They've added a beauty mark; I've added eyebrows & fill-in stitches to the feather. We've used very different color palettes, and I used a paisley fabric scrap that I happened to have hanging around.

Being a beginner at the whole embroidery thing though, I have a few questions for other stitchers out there:

How do you get rid of the hoop marks? Is there a trick to removing those? Or is it just a hazard of using thin fabric?

I steam ironed the bejeezus out of this fabric before framing it up, but the creases from the hoop are still faintly visible in the corners.

What's your favorite method for displaying your work? Do you typically frame a piece like this? Or do you just leave it in the hoop (eliminating the need to remove the hoop marks)?

I have seen this great Purl Bee tutorial for finishing a hoop piece, but haven't tried it yet. I'd love to learn more from those of you who've been embroidering for a while - please share your tips & tricks!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A Look at My Messy Desk


Here's what's been accumulating on my desk lately: a giant jar of recycled wool stuffing, a refreshing glass of root beer, a plethora of needles & scissors...


a huge pile of fabric scraps (which I save for use in future toys and fabric collages)...


and this adorable parade of toy elephants in various stages of stuffed-ness!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Inspiring Places: The Blanton Museum of Art

I recently visited the Matisse as Printmaker exhibit at The Blanton and fell in love. I hadn't set foot in this lovely little gem of a museum on The University of Texas campus since I was an art student at UT, and I'm really glad I've rediscovered it.

This collection of etchings, lino-cuts, lithographs & other prints by Henri Matisse was phenomenal! I've been a big admirer of his work since I first saw his Woman in a Purple Coat at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston on a high school field trip. Getting a long look at that wondrous painting up close & personal had a powerful effect on me and influenced my decision to pursue an art degree.

What has always astounded me about Matisse's work is his extremely adept handling of line. He had an uncanny ability to capture the essence of his subject matter with a few perfectly placed, wonderfully expressive lines. Matisse's magical way with line holds true for all of his artwork, be it a seemingly simple painting of lemons in a bowl or one of his colorful paper collages, but I find it especially lovely in the portraits he drew.

His Young Woman Contemplating a Goldfish Bowl (below), one of a series of etchings of women gazing at goldfish in a bowl, really knocked me out. I love the little details: the curls of hair, the overlapped hands and the way the ladies' chins rest on them, and of course the shapes of the goldfish themselves, all suggested by a few carefully observed lines. These lines by Matisse never seem over-worked. He placed them confidently & gracefully, without regard to perfection, which imparts so much energy and expressive character to his work.

Unfortunately, the Matisse as Printmaker exhibit at The Blanton is now closed & will soon be heading up to Canada for a showing at the Art Gallery of Alberta. But The Blanton has tons more to offer! They have very impressive & renowned permanent collections as well as an ongoing variety of temporary exhibitions.

And get this, admission is free every Thursday! How great is that? Get on over to The Blanton & treat your eyes to some fabulous art! Find all the details on their Visit page.

Young Woman Contemplating a Goldfish Bowl

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Awesome Austin Fashion Week Parties!

Re-posted from Get Crafty, Austin, 8/11/10.

Lots of great events going on during Austin Fashion Week, so I thought I'd share a few of our EtsyAustin teammates' events. There will be goody bags, special sales, raffles, delicious local drinks & eats and fashion galore! All of these parties sound like a lot of fun & a cool way to meet some of our talented local designers. Don't miss the fun!

Camille Jackson, the designer behind Diamonds & Guns by Action Jackson, will be throwing a retro-glam Pin-Ups & Pastries party at JR Salon on Sunday, 8/15. Cupcakes, cocktails, fabulous pin-up inspired fashion, plus an amazing gift basket to be raffled off! And I can't tell you how excited I am that my new lingerie boutique,, is sponsoring Camille's event - it's gonna be marvelous!

Also on 8/15, join Merritt Gade for Shear Decadence at Salon Intuitions. There will be tons of delicious treats there, too, plus another awesome raffle and of course, Merritt Gade Fine Handmades. Come see Merritt's beautiful jewelry and bridal accessories in the mini runway show - it's sure to be stunning! Snag some Merritt Gade earrings at 20% off, a gift bag from local businesses, and don't forget to capture the fun of the evening in the Booth 66 photo booth!

As if all of this fun on Sunday weren't enough, you can keep the party going on Monday, too! On Monday evening, 8/16, Jetset to Style with fabulous handbag designer Anne Marie Beard. This one takes place at a shoe salon - be still my beating heart! Stella Says Go is the destination for an evening of fun with cocktails & nibbles from great local sponsors, gift bags for the first 25 & a fashion show. Plus, part of the proceeds will be donated to 1 House at a Time.

Know any more great Fashion Week parties we should all check out? Leave the deets or a link in the comments!
Blog Widget by LinkWithin