26 April, 2013

new crop of rose towels and some other recent photo successes

Today I photographed the rose towels:

And I loved the way they turned out!

Photographing my work is never as easy as I want it to be. Although we're high up on the third floor, and we get lovely bright light in most of the front rooms, the light is rarely *right* in the places where I need it to be.
My studio is usually way too cluttered and chaotic to set up any sort of photo-shoot, and our kitchen doesn't get enough even light, the bedroom has less-than-ideal green walls which don't make a good backdrop (though the color is lovely in that room, it's not one I would have chosen...), and the living room is usually too bright for photos... So that leaves the laundry room/B's man-room.

Although I do my best to present our home and the photos that I take of my work as all nicey-nice and beautiful, this is the reality:

Ha! I do the set-up on top of an inherited ironing board (with a reeeeaaally ugly cover), with a backdrop of printed paper, in a corner against the doors of the laundry closet. B's weight sets are on the floor at my feet. How's that for a little honesty? My friend Melanie and I used to joke about doing a blog where, instead of showcasing photos of beautifully curated spaces and carefully cropped images of perfection, we show what things REALLY look like. Like: Well, you see I've been doing all of this wonderful stitching work; in the meantime, here's what I didn't get to -- picking up the pile of dirty clothes next to the bed! Heh-heh... I think I'll stick to curing the photos to keep things nicey-nice.

Also this morning, I managed to take a couple of other photos I like of recently-completed work:

Continuing my purple/violet kick, I did the L.O.V.E. letters in lilac. And the Shakespeare quote is a custom piece for the nursery of one of the sweetest little baby girls I know. I'm thinking that I might add that one to the shop, however, as a regular stitched-to-order option.

Last week I updated the photos for two other regular shop items - I'd been using the same photos of these for years and felt like it was time for a little spring cleaning.

Oh, and I'll leave you with one more of those "honest" photos; here's one catching a piece mid-fall as I was trying to photograph it. (Instead of constantly putting holes in my background surfaces, I use masking tape or that sticky tac stuff -- it usually causes some frustration and borderline disaster.)

Have a beautiful weekend, friends!

23 April, 2013

roses redux

A few years ago, i was on a kick where I was really into stitching roses. (See this post here and this post here.)

Well, I'm back on that kick.
I don't know where it came from, or how it started, but my goodness, I'm feeling it. The last time I was stitching these, I was doing mostly light and bright pinks. This time around, I'm really into purples with my bright pinks. It could have started with the Calico Flower pattern that I first stitched up on (sadly discontinued) purple aida cloth:

(I wish I had more of this color aida cloth, and could offer it as the color for the Calico Flowers kit!)

And then I did that rose piece (bottom of this post here), and I loved it so much that I did it again, but bigger. Darnit, just realized that I don't have a photograph of that one... I'll have to post/write about that later.. But that's maybe where I got into the bright pinks, and then the purples were still in my head. One day I was at the fabric shop and I came home with a bundle of flosses in these colors:

And I was thinking that I would create a new kit/pattern using them. Instead, however, I started stitching roses. First I did some tea towels, as I had done before. Then, however, I started stitching on linen, with the intention to frame the little embroidered pieces in hoops. I'm glad that I did, because I'm really pleased with these pieces:

I really enjoyed styling these photos with so many of the little flowers that we have growing all over the yard. Our yard has been amazing these past few weeks for little wildflowers and weeds and long-ago cultivated bulb flowers. Last month, our back lawn was blanketed in siberian squill and now it is covered in beautiful violets. I can't imagine that that my current landlords planted these things - I like to think that these flowers (along with the daffodils and forsythia) are still here from the days in the 60's when this big old farmhouse was a nun's convent.
Hmmm... maybe it's all of these flowers in tones of pinks and purples that have me on this kick.. Wherever it came from, I'm thankful.

Since I'm feeling like this is a bit of a spring theme that I have going on, I went carved some block prints last night to decorate my mailing envelopes and bags (for upcoming craft fairs - Art Star Philly and Renegade Brooklyn).

I really like sending out my envelopes with a bit of decoration, you know? I wish I documented (more for myself) the various envelopes I've done... there were these and these and these but then there have been a lot since then. It's so much more interesting to me than sending out plain-old boring envelopes. In fact, I even avoid doing the automated mailing labels, which Etsy has made so easy that I don't even have to enter the addresses, it pulls everything from the order -- because I prefer to hand-write the addresses on my packages. Call me old-fashioned. Or a lover of details.

I'll be posting more rose-related projects soon, as soon as I have the tea towels photographed.... The embroidered pieces are in my Etsy shop, and they're one of a kind, so if you want one, snap it up!

09 April, 2013

to market to market

when i was little, i went to brownie or girl scout camp for a week or two in the summer. i think i did this for two or three summers.... for the occasion, my mom made me a simple cotton drawstring bag, to carry my belongings. (she also sewed tags with my name on it into all of my clothes.) i still remember that drawstring bag, with its strawberry print, and i think that was something of the inspiration behind my latest project.

who doesn't love a sweet little drawstring bag?

i'm marketing them as, well, marketing bags --- with the idea that you throw a few into your everyday or market tote and then as you're out and about shopping, you use these instead of taking and using (and throwing away - or maybe recycling) a plastic bag.

i photographed them as they'd be used at a farmers market, but these would also be great to have for clothes shopping, or for using as a shoe-bag when traveling, or as a little beach tote, or a snack bag to bring to work, or, or, or..... really - they work for a whole lot of uses.

currently, i'm using up my yards and yards and yards of printed (and some solids) cotton fabric that i've been collecting and hoarding for years - so i don't yet have standardized prints or sizes. on etsy, i've got them listed in sets of three of various sizes and prints, but i think, eventually, i'll work out some constants and offer them individually. these are going with me to clover market this weekend (ardmore, PA) and then i'll continue to offer them at my spring and summer sales/events (art star philly, renegade brooklyn).

07 April, 2013

dotty for doilies

For the past few months, I've had a bit of a thing for doilies.
I suppose I've had a thing for them for much longer than that, but during this recent span of months, doilies have been on my mind kind of a lot. That's a little weird, no?

It started some sleepless hour in the middle of a night, when I was struck by, and very excited about, an idea for a project. I still haven't made that project happen, but it's in the works. That was the beginning, anyway, and then I got on a kick of looking up images of them (google image search "doily" - there are a lot of images....), trying to draw them (no real success yet, and if my studio weren't such a mess, I'd be able to find the drawings and share them with you), and poking around antique shops for them.

I have found one that I love, so very much - you can see it in this photo:

(That little doily actually set the tone for that whole photo session... I was smitten.)

The thing is, I am so particular about the doily styles that I like, that I'm not tempted to buy many. This, I think, is a good thing. I really don't need more stuff in my studio.

I do wish I knew how to make them! Years ago, I attempted to teach myself tatting, but I didn't get very far... And crochet, while on my list of things I'd like to learn, is still something I can't quite grasp.

But I do know how to cross-stitch, and so that's how I'm making doilies these days, and I turned my stitched doily design experiments into a new kit!

I was going a little nuts trying to come up with a name for the new kit. The word "doily" is so weird, don't you think? I just think it sounds awkward and I had the hardest time coming up with some cute title/name that worked... darling doily, sweet little doily, doily dot -- ugh, none of them worked. Plus, I'd recently visited the modcloth site, as I sometime do when I'm thinking I'd like a new dress (I've only actually ordered from there once - but it was a good experience) and I was so annoyed with the names of the dresses (come ON - they're stretching those puns and alliterations just a lot too far) that I opted to stick with simplicity for this one. The Doily. That's it.

So - the kit is now in the shop in two different color variations - the bright pink on ivory and the white on blue-grey. BUT - the cool thing about this one is that the kit comes with four design variations, so, while you only get materials enough to make one, you get to choose the doily design you like best. And, if you happen to have access to the materials (you'd need additional hoops, and aida, and floss), you could easily stitch up all four of the designs; maybe in a grouping of different colors, like I did in that top photo?

Also doily-related: After hearing about my doily-inspiration, my dear friends Charles and Hana bought me this book as a gift while I was out in CA visiting:

It's written in Japanese and French, so I'm not going to be reading it cover-to-cover anytime soon, but the photos are FANTASTIC. It'll make my little doily-and-lace drawing attempts much easier, having something to copy right in front of me. While so far, I've really only been looking at the pictures, my understanding is that there was a found box of doily and lace samples, along with the patterns, and that this book documents/shares that wonderful find. Someday, if I do learn how to crochet, and if I do get further in my studies of French - I'll be chaining my way through this book.

I've completed a few x-stitch pieces that go along with this whole idea/theme, but I still need to put them all together and photograph them.
And, the opening event of my Spring/Summer market season is ONE WEEK from today, so I gotta get jumping on making more product. While I've got another idea for yet another kit, I think I'm going to have to let that rest for another week or two... More updates soon! (PS -- Anyone else out there watching Mad Men tonight?! I'm geeking out with excitement about that.)