Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas one and all!

Thanks to Pam Kellogg and her request to participate in her 2016 Crazy Quilt calendar, I had a Christmas Card this year.

I looked at reviews of various card companies that would print out my own design.   I narrowed my search to TinyPrints, PaperCulture and Minted.

I chose Minted even though they were a tad more expensive because their Silver-Foil Merry Christmas design worked best with my embroidery.

When they arrived, I was extremely delighted with the quality of the card, envelope and packaging. I ordered the cards made from recycled paper.

The envelopes had a substantial feel and were perfect for stamping and embellishing...

I tucked in a little card that explained the embroidery...
It may seem old-fashioned...but I enjoy the process of making, addressing and sending Christmas cards.  

 The time it takes to address each one is time I take to reflect on the person to whom I'm sending the card...remembering our time together, sending gratitude for their friendship and lots of love and well wishes for the New Year.

And so from our house to yours...

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

P.S.  Pam Kellogg is having a contest for her calendar next year.  Anyone can enter and the theme is "My Secret Garden".  Entries are due by July 1, 2016 and you can read all the details on her post here.  Maybe I'll see you in next year's calendar!

P.P.S.  Take a moment to enjoy this video Christmas card I received from Hand & Lock...

P.P.P.S.  I had a three-year hiatus from sending Christmas cards 2012-2014 but here are my cards from other years past...


Monday, November 23, 2015

Baltimore Goes Crazy


You have six days to get to Baltimore to see the best crazy quilt exhibit I've ever seen at the Baltimore Museum of Art.

Run, walk, drive, take a's absolutely worth your effort.

A small show of seven quilts...

What it lacks in size it makes up in quality.

The quilts are in amazing condition...

Anita Jones, the textile curator at the BMA, has outdone herself this time and we should all send her a thank you note!

The quilts are approachable and well-lit...

And you can get your face right up close and personal to see all their glorious details.

It's the best way to view a crazy quilt.

Even better, photography is allowed.

Here's just one detail to whet your appetite...what I believe to be a painted Baltimore Oriole and bee next to a sunflower.

The quiltmaker moved to Baltimore so it's possible that she included the Oriole to honor her new home.

There are so many beautiful details to these quilts that it will take me days to share the hundreds of close-ups that I was able to take.

That's the consolation prize for those of you who can't come to Baltimore.

The show is over next Sunday, November 29,  so I wanted to get this posted so that anyone who can go before next Sunday will make the push to do so.  I wouldn't steer you wrong!

Will try to post more tomorrow but it's a busy week.

Stay tuned...

Friday, November 20, 2015

Shell Wax


Last Fall when I went to Chincoteague, VA to stitch with friends, Jim came and joined me for part of the weekend.

We had never been to Assateague Island so one morning we woke before dawn and headed East to the beach for sunrise...

The sun held promise for a new day and for warming the salt spray chill that blanketed the beach on that crisp November morning.

Except for a flock of terns and gulls...

We were quite alone.

So Jim fell into his tide line ritual of walking the wrack line...a beach intent Sherlock Holmes looking for clues in the interstices between sand and sea...

What he found that day amid the shells of oyster, atlantic clam and cockles...

Was a predominance of black scallop shells.

"Let's take some home", I said, inspired by our good fortune and taking their plentitude as a sign that I should use them in some special way.   I had been wanting to make a gift for my stitching friends that gather in Chincoteague, to honor our friendship and the special time we share together every year and these scallops were just the inspiration I needed.

So we collected 20 or so of the black scallop shells and took them home where they sat in a jar for almost a year until it was time once to return to Chincoteague this past week...

I took two of the largest and deepest shells...

And pressed them into a silicone putty that I'd found at a craft store in order to make a mold.

To prepare the putty, you have to mix a 1:1 ratio of Component A and Component B together.  It has a limited working time and you can see in the mold on the left below that the compound had already started to set before I pressed in the shell.  I was quicker mixing and pressing the second time around, and used the impression on the right as my final mold.

I found a candle making supplier for microcrystalline wax online and melted the pellets on low heat in a $2 saucepan I'd found at the thrift store [Note: area must be well-ventilated]...

In searching for microcrystalline wax, there are two types available, a soft, tacky version and a hard version.  I bought the hard version.

I had taken beading classes from Diane Dennis and from Laura McCabe over the Summer and both artists used microcrystalline wax exclusively to condition their fireline beading threads.  Laura McCabe spoke very highly of the archival properties of microcrystalline wax, mentioning that she had used it previously in conservation work.

In the past, I have used beeswax to condition threads for bead embroidery and for goldwork but I liked the microcrystalline wax a bit better.  It was less tacky resulting in a smoother thread than beeswax so I thought it might be nice to share my newfound favorite with my stitching friends.

I poured my melted wax into my little silicone mold...

Twenty times...

Et voilá!

A wax shell thread conditioner to place in their stitching workboxes.

A gift from the sea and from me.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Related Posts with Thumbnails