I’ve been looking at a lot of embroidery lately online and especially on my good friend Pinterest, and have been thinking about doing more myself, not necessarily to try and sell but just because I really enjoy it. I’m limited to french knots and backstitch mostly these days, which really barely counts. Maybe a split stitch or whipped backstitch if I’m feeling super fancy. If I’m not interested in selling it I can always work from other people’s patterns and vintage patterns (there are so many amazing ones out there!) although I really like making up my own.
I thought I’d share a little view of my very first piece of embroidery and also my first original pattern, made back around 2003. To prepare, it was sketched freehand in pencil, then painted with washes of acrylic on artists canvas, which I had just chopped a piece of from my painting stash and taped the edges with masking tape so they wouldn’t fray. Then I went to town with my stash of floss (no hoop, the way I still sew) and the book The Embroidery Stitch Bible, using pretty much all the stitches I could to fill in. I didn’t have much of a plan, I just picked a stitch that I wanted to try and used it. I loved the process and the result and was hooked on the needle and floss. I never mounted or framed this piece, and it currently resides in a desk drawer where I often pull it out just to run my fingers over all those little stitches I spent so many hours on just for the joy of it.
I think I concentrate so much on crafting for sale on Etsy and craft shows that I don’t take much time at all to craft for me and for the love of it any more, without worrying that every stitch be perfect or stressing over what the end recipient will think of the piece and how it was made and all the million little businessy things you think about when you’re hand making things to try and sell. So if I have New Year’s resolutions, that is going on the list! Make things for me, with love and joy!
Inspired by a custom order, I made this yummy leafy kale bunch a few days ago. I never actually tried kale until I was on camera for Save the Kales! if you can believe it, but I was an instant convert! I wanted to be sure and include the thick rubber band that usually binds the leaves together (that you should remove from all your veggies when you get home & let those babies breathe!) and it ended up being the perfect place for the face. Kale will be showing up in my shop in January, along with the avocado ornaments I repeatedly sold out of at my holiday shows.
Then it will be away from edibles for a little while and on to other things I think. I have been doing some reading from my growing little library of craft business-related books (Handmade to Sell and Grow Your Handmade Business are the latest two additions, both excellent) and taking stock of what I need to do and work on and improve for the new year.
I can’t wait until Christmas (which is a two day affair in my family beginning on Christmas Eve)!!!!! But until the 24th at least, it’s back to working on my mission statement and updating my product list for 2013. I’m going to do it to the sounds of holiday music though.
My daughter got to see Santa ride in to grandma’s office with lights and sirens blaring for the second time in as many weeks today and I think forever she will think that fire trucks exist solely to cart him around. We happened to be walking by as he made his entrance and she had a quick minute alone with him. My sweet 2 year old looked right at him and said “I love you, Santa!” as I fumbled with my phone’s camera and smiled from ear to ear.
Tonight I’m listening to my 90-song Christmas playlist, eating my aunt’s famous cookies and kiffles and wrapping some presents by the lights on our four foot tall lime green tree.
I know its not here yet but I’m feeling very Christmassy today, so I just wanted to wish everyone a wonderful holiday whatever you may celebrate.
Craft shows are over for the year! I had a great season and want to thank everyone who came out, and hope you all enjoy your purchases. I met some awesome new crafters and customers and had a great time at the shows and sewing frantically for weeks! I’m so appreciative of the response to my pieces and the materials I have started using. It is great when I tell someone about the recycled plastic felt and they get just as excited about it as I do.
I’m on to preparing for the new year, and working on new designs already. Inspired by a custom ornament order I did over the holidays, I’ve been working on a dog plush. Still needs some tweaking but here is a peek:
I have some other dog sketches and cat ideas in the works. We are allergic to cats in this house but here’s Odie, our beagle/basset mix. Providing inspiration for plush and barking allll the time.
I can’t say one word against this dog, he is really the best. He came from a local shelter with a bad case of mange to the dog day care I was working at and he was such a sweet heart I knew he had to come home with me. After lots of vet care (clearing up a concurrent severe ear infection finally kicked the mange) he has a clean bill of health and is the most loving and patient dog with our 2 year old. She can poke him and hug him and love on him and pet him and he just lays there as still as can be. He is a great hiking buddy and loves lounging and cuddling in front of the tv just as much.
We are off to take him to my parent’s house for our weekly Sunday dinner where he gets spoiled and fed like a king!
I’m so excited that these are finally available! We first talked about doing these over the summer, so it feels like I’ve been waiting to see them all finished for a long time. They were a lot of fun to work on, and I’ve further discovered I really love figuring out ways to make fancy little food in felt. After sketches and about 3-4 draft versions of each style (had to get the proportions on that donut hole juuuuuust right!), I came up with ones I was really happy with and set out making batches of them using tons of tiny stitches and lots of Netflix.
Check out the Holiday Ornament set of 4, hand sewn by me exclusively for Vegan Treats bakery and available through their online shop! Vegan goodies made with vegan materials – Ecofi felt made from recycled plastic bottles, soy paint, and are stuffed with a bamboo stuffing mix. Limited quantities available!
I must say I enjoyed every stitch of this project and Vegan Treats was wonderful to work with. It is super exciting and energizing to continue to be collaborating with such awesome and inspiring locals who are doing what they love and are passionate about. And I can’t help it but I’m already drafting patterns in my head for that killer Halloween red velvet eyeball cake Vegan Treats does!
For more vegan goodies made with vegan materials with lots of local love, check out my Save the Kales! Jaime K tofu plush if you like that sort of thing. That thing being adorable little cubes of plush tofu wearing eyeliner and glasses!!!
…and I (and my house and craft room) have mostly recovered. Despite a storm that quickly blew in, ending the fest a few hours early it was quite a lovely day! The Fest was so well organized and well run and there was an army of volunteers there which was greatly appreciated, as was the fact that they helped us all load out before the storm came rolling through! I got to meet and speak with some really wonderful people and try some amazing food. I’ve been thinking about the Vegan Treats marshmallowy-magic-filled s’mores donut every morning as I eat my bran cereal! It was a great day and it made me so glad that I’ve decided to take my work (and self!) in this new direction. And for some reason I really got a kick out of seeing kids loving the felt veggies!
The following day was nice and sunny so I managed to get lots of photos taken so everything could be listed in my Etsy shop. I did a bit of a shop makeover while I was at it. Here’s a peek at the new look – lots of bright colors:
I’d love to make some veggie ornaments before the holidays but time may not be on my side. I think I can manage a few at least! I’m leaving for a week in Ocean City, Maryland in a few days, and last year spent part of vacation frantically sewing Halloween ornaments for my fall shows. This year I decided no sewing allowed! But maybe… just a little!
Would it be bragging to say that I’m sitting in my living room next to a tower of bins that have all been sorted, priced, and neatly packed full of felty goodness and are ready for VegFest, and that I did this on Monday afternoon??? This means I was pretty much ready a week early! I’m trying to stay away from the veggie patterns until then lest I start some huge project I can’t finish in time. I’m trying to make it so that my biggest worry for the day is not having enough room or time to eat all the food I want to!
I wanted to let everyone who is looking for fruits and veggies in my Etsy shop know that they will be showing up there soon! I will be adding them right after VegFest, during a bit of a shop makeover.
In closing may I present the best video, that makes me LOL!