Wednesday, May 27, 2015

May Smalls SAL

It's that time again! Time for the Smalls SAL check in. If you'd like to stitch something small and join the fun each month, pop on over to Heather's blog, Stitching Lotus.

Here's my Small for this month:

I know, I know. You're probably thinking to yourself "ANOTHER CLUNY??"
Yes, it's "Sight" and measures 1.5x1.5 inches.  It's a kit from Bobbie Schoonmaker's Micro-Stitchery. With any luck, I'll make it into a footstool.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

I Work as Little as Possible

That's the motto of NAME - National Association of Miniature Enthusiasts (click here to find out more).

Our local chapter/club, Metro Mini Makers hosted a show a few weeks ago. My BFF, Barb, and I went to the show and were immediately smitten by the small stuff. I purchased a sewing box that required some gluing and assembly:

 It's kind of cute, isn't it?

Here are some of the displays we saw -

A lovely house with a wrap around front porch

A Fairy Garden

A display of rugs and pictures stitched on 28 Ct linens

And a beautiful water garden

Hmmmm… there a miniature room I need to design coming in my future??? Watch this space….

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Portrait Painting on Porcelain

One thing I don't do much of any more is painting on porcelain. Stitching has caught my attention…but I still plan to go back to painting, as well, some day.

I thought you might enjoy seeing how the portrait takes shape. Each one is a challenge. I can push an eyeball around for an hour before I get it "just right" ;0)

I use dry, crushed mineral paints and mix them with an oil, called an open medium. This means the paints don't dry, they stay open or wet, until the porcelain tile is fired in my kiln - from 1380 degrees up to 1517 degrees F.

I make an outline of the portrait I want to paint using a fine-pointed stencil and graphite paper. Once the outline is on the tile, the first step is painted. Once fired, here's what it looks like.

First Fire:

Looks kind of spooky, doesn't it?  The graphite lines fire out, leaving the paint. It's important to smooth the paint so you don't see any harsh lines. Even the smallest one draws your eye and it looks, well, bad.
(The design you see around this portrait are holding spots for raised paste, enamel and gold work that I wanted to do - this would consist of three steps/firings - once the portrait is complete).

Second fire:
You can see how I've built up the colors, giving her more depth and life. Adding the pupils takes away the spookiness, doesn't it?

Third fire:

Again, I've built up the colors, enhancing her features.

Fourth fire:
This shows the final fire for this portrait. I painted this at a seminar. Depending on the subject, some portraits can take up to 7 or 8 fires to complete.

If you have any questions, don't hesitate. I hope you found this interesting.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

We Will Never Forget

This is the start of Memorial Day Weekend here in the USA. My father was in the Navy in WWII, a gunner.  My step-father served proudly in the Air Force for 27 years, retiring as a Lt. Colonel. Both were amazing men.

This past week, "The Eyes of Freedom - Lima Company Memorial" visited our hometown, Davenport, IA. In a nutshell, it honors the twenty-two Marines and Navy Corpsman of Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 25th Regiment, who perished while serving their country in Iraq between May and August of 2005. My husband and I went to see the exhibit. It was a very moving experience.

The semi truck that carries the exhibit around the country is painted with the portraits of the men who died.

The exhibit consists of life size portraits painted by Anita Miller, and Ohio artist. The portraits are so life-like, the eyes look right at you. There's also a video that tells the story of Lima Company and how the exhibit came to be. The Marine flag was on display as we walked in and each visitor was asked to sign the flag. We had a difficult time finding a free spot - there had to be thousands of names! Isn't that wonderful? The flag was left with the community as a "Thank you" for bringing the exhibit to our area.

The portraits - I swear, each and every one looked like they could start talking at any moment. The tribute of the boots, helmets and lighted candles by each man was very emotional for both of us, though we didn't know any of these fine young men personally.

It reminded me of when we visited the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C. years ago. There were people everywhere, but you could have heard a pin drop.

If you have a minute, please visit the Eyes of Freedom website here. You won't regret it.

"There is no greater love than this: than one lay down his life for his friends."

Monday, May 18, 2015

Vintage Embroidery Monday and Stitchery Link Party

My mother started to do needlepoint when she was about 70 years old. Here is a pillow I inherited from her. I remember being with Mom when she spotted the canvas in a tiny needlepoint shop in Bloomington, IL. She was so excited and laughed so hard when she read the saying. Now, it makes me smile and fills me with warmth and love, thinking of her.

Pop on over to Super Mom - No Cape! and check out other stitching from other bloggers. I love being part of this Link Party! So many inspiring things shared by so many talented people.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Decorative Thimble Exchange and RHN Clarification

I wanted to share the delightful package from my Decorative Thimble Exchange partner, Glenda. Glenda lives in New Zealand - and she spoiled me rotten!! I felt like a little girl on Christmas morning! Tea, chocolates, an ornament of New Zealand, beautiful sewing-themed fabric (in BLUE - my favorite color), lovely handmade ornaments and the thimble from North Elmham, St. Mary's Church.
Look at this darling teeny-tiny box that contained my thimble. It sports a cross stitch of a wee Palace guard - the same pattern that was on Prince George's vest.
 Glenda made these ornaments using dry air clay - aren't the amazing???
 The package was wrapped in the fabric and tied with this blue ribbon - complete with a horse (yes, she knew I love horses)...
 Here's what I sent Glenda - the Marie Antoinette sewing tin with a fleur de lis pin cushion and a thimble that has the Iowa state bird (gold finch) and state flower (wild rose).
 Some cross stitch kits I love -
I had a blast hosting this exchange - I hope to do another one next year.

Now - I need to clarify something from my previous post on gold work. I took the class/seminar from RHN here in the USA - not at RHN in the UK. I provided the link to RHN so you could see the wonderful work they do and the classes, seminars, etc., they provide. My apologies for the confusion.
It still was a dream come true…..

Monday, May 11, 2015

Vintage Embroidery Monday and Stitchery Link Party

Several years ago, I had the experience of a lifetime - at least, for me. I took two seminars from The Royal House of Needlework.  The first was a beginner course that covered all sorts of different stitches and some beading. The class was scheduled to take all day. Another participant, Nancy, and I finished before lunch and the instructor asked if we would like to do something else. Our eyes lit up, we looked at each other and said in unison: "Goldwork!"

Our instructor looked a little - shall we say - reluctant. She left the room and came back with two kits from the beginning gold work class - that was it - I was hooked.

Here is the project from the class. It was a bit difficult to photograph, since it's behind glass - but I think you can see it pretty well.

I've started another gold work project - it's currently in my UFO stack in my closet. One of these days, I'll get it out and finish it.

Pop on over to see other Vintage Embroidery Monday and Stitchery Link Party creations at Super Mom - No Cape!