Thursday, January 30, 2014

Award winning Reindeer

If you are looking for the Grown Your Blog post- click HERE. But feel free to leave a comment on any of my posts. I have the monitoring off for the next week to make it easy to comment. Thank you so much to everyone who has visited! I am so grateful for your help, compliments, suggestions, & follows!

My mother & I have belonged to the Daughter's of the American Revolution (DAR) for about 10 years. Last year we decided to enter their art competition for member daughters. In a way it is also an essay contest. So, this year we spent a bit more time in composing our essays that accompany the photographs of the art.

Since this years entries have just been submitted on the state level, I thought I would share my award winning entry from 2013. The theme was something like honor our heritage today... I don't recall the wording. This is what I wrote:

In December 2004, I was at a friend’s house for a holiday party. My daughter Fiona, then 3 ½ years old, & another little girl were bored, so our hostess brought them some paper & crayons. One picture Fiona drew was of the stuffed reindeer toy sitting on the couch with her. I am always on the watch for new embroidery patterns, & had just started embroidering my daughter’s drawings. I immediately thought this one would be perfect. Deciding to use a basic outline stitch in only two floss colors, I tried to mimic the simplicity of the line drawing in embroidery. The child-like fabric bordering the embroidery is subtle. The fabric on the back of the pillow is bold and graphic.
This pillow now graces the living room sofa every holiday season as a family heirloom in the making.

Blue ribbon redwork reindeer embroidered in brown & red

Showing the backing fabric of the pillow

I won the blue ribbon for NY State in embroidery, & advanced to national, but did not win at national. Maybe this year! The above 2 images are of the blue ribbon pillow. & it won a red ribbon at our county fair this past August.

This is one I did in traditional redwork

Redwork is a style of embroidery. Though, traditionally, rendered in red (hence it's name), you can stitch it in any color you want. In the reindeer below, I used 3 colors.

Wall hanging using brown, tan, & red

This one is stitched in blue...

Given to my daughter's grandmother- This reindeer was stitched in blue

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Grow Your Blog 2014- Redwork portraits

I began embroidering in 1998 when I started a summer job at the Saratoga Battlefield in upstate NY. All of the other interpretive Rangers had skills when we were stationed at stop 2 on the tour road (the Nielson House), except me. I read for a few weeks, but I had a difficult time putting my book away when visitors arrived. Plus, my introverted nature would allow me to use the book as a crutch. I needed something else. As a kid I did long stitch needlepoint, & remembered enjoying it. Therefore, I decided crewel work & embroidery would be perfect.

Me as an Interpretive Park Ranger in 1998

Now, here I am, nearly 16 years later, still embroidering, & writing/blogging about it! Sharing my work on Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram...

My current love is embroidered portraits. Ones that I completed recently are of 2 of my favorite singer/songwriters.

I have loved Richard Marx's music since I 1st heard Should've Known Better on Fly 92.3 FM (Albany, NY) at the ripe old age of 13. I have seen him in concert 3 times, & have all of his albums. I sing along in the car, & on my ipod while I embroider in my room.

Portrait of Richard Marx traced on muslin
I typically trace the pattern, either one I create, or one I buy, on bleached or unbleached muslin using a no. 2 pencil. As I did in the above image.

Generally I watch movies or listen to music while I stitch. Here, I had a night of music movies while stitching.

About half way through embroidering Richard Marx

The finished redwork portrait below. I'm thinking of creating a bunch of embroidered portraits of singers that inspire me & make a quilt out of them...

The finished embroidered portrait of Richard Marx

I re-discovered Gavin DeGraw when he appeared on Dancing With the Stars. I bought his current album then, & started listening to his 1st album that I got when I worked at Borders in Saratoga Springs, NY. (Oh, how I miss Borders.) Now I have all of his albums & listen to them almost as much as the a fore mentioned Mr. Marx.

Traced out and ready to stitch- Gavin DeGraw

 I love redwork embroidery for 2 reasons.
1.) Red is my favorite color & that's why I was originally drawn to it.
2.) it is very simple & clean. By simple I mean crisp, uncluttered, unpretentious, not easy. There is still a certain level of mastery required, though it is great for beginners because it, typically, only requires mastery of 3 different stitches (back stitch or outline stitch, french knots & lazy daisy).

I love the way this portrait came out. It is casual,  & slightly primitive, but modern in its own way.

Gavin DeGraw portrait completed

Thank you for visiting!

For the complete lists of blogs participating on Grown Your Blog 2014 click here.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Redwork Tree Skirt- Part 3: Finish-Along is coming along...

Well, I have finished panels 5 & 6 for my sistar's tree skirt. Hopefully I can get 7 & 8 done this weekend. I have book club Saturday with 3 of my closest friends & should be able to start 7 there, as I have it already traced out. I'll have to stitch early on Sunday because my Seattle Seahawks play the 49ers in the evening & there is no way I can stitch during that game. Too crazy!

Oh, follow me on twitter to see what I am stitching in the moment & what I am watching while I do it. Twitter- @aprilsongstress with the hashtag #MovieToStitchTo...

Panel no. 5 completed

Gathering the tools of the trade to start stitching

Panel no. 6 is finished

I'll keep you updated on my progress! How are you doing on your Finish-Alongs?

Click here for an UPDATE!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Redwork Tree Skirt- Part 2: Finish-Along here I come...

So... (Wait. I start a lot of blog posts with "So..." I really need to fix that. It's so boring.)

Here we go...

I have decided that 2014 is my year. I will turn 40 in April, & I am sick & tired of waiting for my life to start. I am living it right now. It is nearly half over, right? What am I waiting for? Change isn't coming. Change happens all the time. Whether we are expecting it or not.

This year I have already started another blog that I have been meaning to start for a few years now. I've started keeping a diary again. I re-worked my Etsy shop to focus only on embroidered portraits, child's drawings in embroidery, & embroidered hand prints. All custom orders. I'm continuing on the weight-loss/ healthy me journey I started in Sept 2012. (Thanks for the gym membership Mom & Dad!) & today, I am starting the Finish-Along project hosted by &Stitches!

What UFOs of the embroidery kind do I have lurking? Lots! The 1st requiring my immediate attention is the UnFinished Object know as my sistar's Christmas present.

Last night I finished the 4th panel of 8. 4 down, 4 to go! I think I may add some turquoise (DMC #3846) to the 2nd panel too!

Finished panels 2, 3, 4

Next step: tracing out panel #5 & get stitching!

BTW: There is no antonym for procrastination.

Click for an UPDATE!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Now that gifts have been handed out...

I can share some of the things I have been working on this holiday season! 1st up... Owl tea cozy for my friend Julie.

Julie is an adjunct English professor & she seemed very envious when my daughter, mother & I went on a trip to Massachusetts to see the mills at Lowell, the Minute Man at Lexington & Concord, the Wayside house museum, &, specifically, Orchard House in Concord. So, we decided that she & I would take a trip & see Orchard House & bash about Concord. We had a lovely tour of Louisa May Alcott's home, browsed through the Concord Museum, & bashed about the small village of Concord. In one shop, Julie found some adorable cookie cutters that screamed "buy me," & so she did. The owl tea cozy that caught her eye gave me an idea for the Christmas gift I will discuss here.

Fabric, embroidery floss, patterns ready to go
I found this adorable owl fabric at Joann Fabrics one day this fall while I was out shopping with my mom. I thought it would be perfect for the tea cozy, so I bough enough to complete 3 potential projects. Then I chose 3 of the owls & made embroidery patterns based on the designs on the fabric. I made them larger on a copier.

In process of embroidering the owl in orange
Julie and her tea cozy
My daughter decided that Julie should get the orange owl. The other two, one redwork, the other embroidered in turquoise, were made in to mug rugs!

Redwork owl is being stitched up

Completed redwork mug rug prior to washing

Having tea while embroidering with turquoise floss

Finished turquoise mug rug
I've created embroidery designs from the fabric I am using many times. For more on that click here.