Friday, October 31, 2014

I've been commissioned to make a custom Priest's Stole

Cool, eh? So y'all get to come with me on my journey from fabric and threads to finished piece. This is for the priest at the church I attend, and she totes adores the stole I made and gave to the church, and gave me the impetus to set my hands to doing this--actually, what she said was, "You could make a lot of money doing these, people are always looking for custom and One of a Kind stoles for friends and family members who are ordained." I'd say money wasn't a consideration, but I looked at the prices for stoles, and the polyester machine embroidered ones go for $150 and up. I mean, like, ChaChing! Uh...and the custom jobs out of silk and hand embroidered etc...CHA-CHING!!! One of the few areas in embroidery where you get paid a decent amount for the labor etc...

Day 1: I typed in and printed out the wording I am stitching on the stole. It is a piece for the Feast of St. Francis, and the Blessing of the Animals, something our priest does with great aplomb, including the time my Mother-in-law's cat (we took him in after she passed away, because he was a vicious rat bastard of a cat that hated all humans EXCEPT MIL, and no one really wanted him. So...ANYWAY) MIL's cat swatted her chin while she was blessing him. Uh, If you look back over previous entries, I have pics of him on here. Because I love stitching, and I love cats...

The main fabric is a Laurel Burch print of animals, from her Jungle line. It is black with colorful animals, and I love the print quite a lot. Oh, and I'm going to be making two of these, because I'll be attempting to sell some of my creations from my Etsy store...just look for the Deranged Magpie's shop in a couple of months I should have at least two pieces up, maybe even three.

Here is a picture of the print. I actually had this because I love Laurel Burch's quirky take on creatures, and also because when you have cats, you occasionally get clawed holes in your clothing. So I use the animals as little patches. Fun is good, fun and cute patches is very good.
 So that is the base fabric for the stole. Then there is going to be a section with the phrase "All Creatures Great and Small" in bright overdyed embroidery floss, in this case Bravo from Rainbow Gallery, two strands, backstitched. Here is a picture of the front of the patch. I have a sandwich of two layers of cotton fabric, black on ecru. The reason is that I needed to be able to see the pattern of the words...
 And here it is. I plan to embroider the cross with the colorful spirals that LB is so very fond of. And yes, I'm stitching from the back... Hey, sometimes you have to suffer for your art. Okay, not really.

I used the Brushscript font on my Mac, but didn't bother doing the thick and thin lines, just a simple outline. 
And here is my cat Gandalf doing his impression of a Jack in the box. This is his absolute favorite toy of ALL TIME. He fits through the hole he has his head out of, but prefers trying to wedge his body into the other hole that he can fit his head out of. I do not know why... Probably because CAT.

The Magpie

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

It has been a long couple of years, filled with a lot of self discovery and tears and angst and too many of my friends and pets dying. But I am starting to come alive again, and I have so, so many projects in mind--creativity is sleeting down like...well...sleet. I lost my beloved Einstein, and a bit over a year later my even more beloved Berkeley--both were due to kidney failure. The daughter is in college now, learning to be a vet assistant, and one of the things she learned is that if it weren't for the thyroid and the kidneys, cats would live forever...and the thyroid is maintainable with medication...

I have two new kitties, both all white, named Galileo and Gandalf. What can I say, I am a total geek, and love the sciency stuff. Here are some pictures of them being totes adorable:

 Galileo, about a month after we got him, and about a year before the next picture...
 Gandalf. Don't you just love those HUGE feet?
 Galileo has claimed the new kid as his personal sleeping buddy...
Gandalf all grown up and exceeding fluffy.

Galileo is a sweetie, and he is also what I call a "caretaker kitty". If you are feeling blue, he will come and try to cheer you up. He has short hair. Gandalf is at least part Turkish Angora--a dead ringer for the pics on the net actually, so...Both have been neutered--there are enough cats still breeding to keep us up to our eyeballs in kittens already. Galileo has amber colored eyes, and Gandalf has bicolored eyes, one gold, one green. They started out much closer in color, but as he has aged, the green and gold have become more distinct. He is also completely deaf--we have learned to stomp on the floor when we want his attention, and he has learned to compensate also--meaning, he tends to hang around the cupboard where we keep the food if it is getting close to feeding time. He is also scary smart--most of my cats are, just lucky I guess, if you want to call it that, The only thing that saves us is the not having opposable thumbs. He figured out how to turn the electric can opener on...

The plan is to get some pictures of my projects up soon. Until then, keep stitching...or whatever your hobby may be.

THE Magpie

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Hi to those still following, I am back--ish. Haven't been doing much stitching lately, but did pick up a couple books on kumihimo (Hi Tara, you inspired me) and tatting. Have to get to an opthamologist regarding my eyes--I have dry eyes and lately it has been affecting my ability to see what I stitch. So I did a lot of gardening this summer, and had a landscaper out to redo the boxes in front of my house. Then I paid my son to plant a couple hundred bulbs in them. Hopefully, this spring I shall have quite the display. Added five plumeria trees to my collection. Sadly, Granny Weatherwax did not make it through the summer. I'm going to try again next spring with a new avocado seed, and am thinking of trying again to sprout a mango.

I also had an eensy psych problem--relating to my childhood and remembering stuff growing up. I have basically cut off half my family as regards being in contact with them. Not that I don't still love them, just that it is bad for my mental health to try to deal with them. Or some such.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Paddy, plantings, and counted cross stitch I have done in the past

Hi to anyone still reading this. The last few weeks of summer got a bit crazy, what with being chosen for a jury, getting a ninth and eleventh grader ready to return to school, an earthquake and two hurricanes (well, technically, only Irene was a hurricane, Lee was just an amazing amount of water with not much wind to speak of by the time it reached us. Caused major flooding in the area, so the kids got two more days off school, in addition to the one they missed due to Irene.

But I am back to stitching, hooray! Spent yesterday afternoon at my Tangle group (anyone in the DC area interested in attending, just let me know), and we were doing salt silk dying. Here are some pictures of the scarf I did.

I love how the fabric looks very watery. Basically, you wet the fabric down, the spray with the colors of dye you want, then spray with water and sprinkle salt over it. I used kosher salt, which gives little tiny pools where the dye gets pulled up by the salt--each of the "bubbles" is around a salt crystal.

And here is Paddy, a couple weeks ago and yesterday--haven't had much "me-time" to stitch on him lately, but now the kids are back in school, hopefully I'll have more time to work on him.
Paddy's right leg, padded and started
Right leg mostly finished.

I had some cotton floche in a bright red which I used as padding, and just couched it down, then I started doing the long and short to cover it. Once I finish that, I'll do the metallic over his tail and then his hind legs.

My tropical trees have done well this summer. I am particularly amazed at the plumeria, she went leaf crazy.

Granny Weatherwax, the avocado tree
Lemon tree. I have two cats who like the taste of lemon. I always thought cats hated the taste of citrus
Castanospermum, an Australian tree
Hopefully, this fall will mark the last time I have to bring all these guys into the house for the winter, as we plan to build a greenhouse for my tropical gardening obsession. I am hoping we can make it large enough that I can set aside a stitching corner and turn it into a conservatory sort of space. It is the one room in stately English homes I really, truly envied.

Here are some of my other embroidery endeavors, in counted cross stitch. I have a couple of large counted projects I am working on, including a wedding sampler chinese style from Pinn stitch (no, I don't have a picture of it in progress... yet...) and a frog by Jo Lynch from the Heaven and Earth website. These are all finished projects, including the framing and hanging...
Teresa Wentzler's The Castle, finished as a hanging banner
 Curtis Boehringer's Queen Anne's Lace, from a series of which I only did this one because my Mum-in-law loves this flower. I was given it back after she passed away.
Anne Orr's pansy banner, inserted into a Sudberry box, also given to Mum-in-law, as she also adored pansies. I did this one ages ago, and she did not give color numbers, you just matched up the floss colors to match her colored in graphs. I used the closest matches I could find, and was quite sure I was getting the colors horribly wrong, but Mum-in-law had pansies in all these color sets.

I also put in an order for a new counted canvas project called Amazing Colors, which I purchased with the money I got for being on a jury. I ordered it from 123 Stitch, and Nancy there was so very nice about putting together all the supplies--except for the Threadworx which she does not carry.  I believe they are carried by Bedecked and Bedazzled, which gives me an excuse to go there--although it is dangerous territory for those of us known for our ability to get high on color.

THE Magpie

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Paddy yet again

I've been working on Padparadscha, although I did take a week off to help the daughter to look for her dragon. Little idiot decided to take Calypso outside... and Calypso decided to make a break for it. We are now going to hope she survives until it starts getting cooler out, then we'll try to recapture her before it gets too cold and kills her. Keep both daughter and dragon in your good thoughts/prayers/whatevers as the one won't survive the winter, and the other would grieve terribly if she doesn't.

Anyway, I have started doing the metallic thread in fly stitch, and I think it looks glorious! Thank you ever so much Rachel for the suggestion. I also did the nostril with a four ply french knot in the two lighter silks, with a small stitch in the center of the metallic, to darken the middle, if you see what I mean. The eye is done with a size 11 seed bead, and I did a small stitch of the metallic thread over the center of the bead, sort of like a pupil.
As you can see in the picture, I added the bottom wing as well. I used the metallic to add the wing struts--what are those called when it isn't an airplane? I still have the tail portion to do with the metallic, but so far it looks lovely. I plan to add a trellis stitch over the pearl in the metallic thread. After that, I really need to get the legs in so I can do some of the vegetation he is standing in.

Okay, here are a couple of pictures that will make you go, "Awwwwww!"

Detente kitties.
Calypso napping in her food dish--with lunch.

THE Magpie

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Dragon noses

So I have been thinking about it, and I think I am going to do the nostril with a colonial/french knot. I am going to use either perle weight or something like it. I studied horse and cow noses, and also peered at Calypso, and I think I want to do something more like the horse. Or not. We'll see how it looks.

THE Magpie

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Busy. But managed to carve some time for Padparadscha

Well, I got a bit more done on Padparadscha. I am starting to feel a bit more confident about my abilities as an embroidress, even to contemplating actually doing one of the Helen Stevens bird pictures, as opposed to just drooling over the photos in her books. I have an assortment of the flat silks, the ones used in the Chinese embroideries that so often crop up in the restaurants, mostly because they are drop dead gorgeous, plus the colors are to die for--or dye for, as the case may be.

Anyway, here is Paddy as far as I have gotten.
I am not sure how I am going to do his nostril, but his eye is going to be a bead--maybe one of my glow in the dark beads--we'll see. I think I am going to finish the mid color overlay, and then do the metallic fly stitch. His legs are going to be silk most of the way down, and the toes and claws I am planning to do in the metallic braid. Here is a close up of the stitching and overlay.
Once I stitch in the legs and finish the body, I plan to add the left wing, which will be tacked down to the ground fabric. After I finish that and before I do the feet, I plan to start the background. I have some fluffy and fancy yarns to use for grass and bushes.

Okay, I have to post some pictures of the other dragon in my life. She is a cutie pie, and sleeps in the most silly positions.

In this picture, she was asleep, but we woke her when we took the picture.
We measured her, and she is about seven inches long from nose to tail tip.

THE Magpie