Sunday, January 3, 2010

Bling a ding ding

I could not resist quoting Ruth Schmuff's latest shop newsletter in the title of this blog entry. As you probably know, Ruth loves sparkle and shine and is probably single-handedly responsible for the new craze of using hot fix crystals on NP canvas.  Now she's taking this one step further with a crystal bead collector's club that she announced in her e-newsletter.  Details are on her website.

I hope Ruth will consider selling a little boxed multi-color set of Swarovski faceted beads for those of us who just want a few pink or blue or yellow beads to attach in a tiny area.  I couldn't ever use up a huge number of Swarovski crystal beads but I would invest in a box that had a few of most colors to use gradually on many canvases.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow
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Surfin' Santa All Stitched

Joan Thomasson's Surfin Santa is all stitched, glued to his felt backing and ready to be made up.  You can see the finished lei I talked about yesterday in the photo of the completed ornament.  The small angel and small Santa kits that Joan sells are really fast stitches.  I know this was a holiday week and I had more stitching time but still, he came to life in just over a week.

The kits come with felt backing, a long length of gold metallic thread to use as trim and to make a loop to hang this ornament, and finishing instructions.  It is really easy to do.

Step one: Put your long hair up.  This is essential unless you like glue in your hair.

Step two:  Cover your work surface with waxed paper.  This is essential unless you like glue on your dining room table.

Step three:  Lay your felt good side down on the waxed paper and lay Surfin Santa, also good side down, on the paper next to the felt.

Step four:  Put glue (I used Aileen's Tacky Fabric Glue which dries clear) all around the edge of the ornament's back side.  You won't be able to get too close to the edge but that's ok.

Step five:  Smear the glue line to the very edge and beyond a bit to the unstitched canvas with your finger.  Note that I did not put glue on either hand as I plan to attach a loop of metallic to each hand to hang Surfin Santa.  I'll have to sew the loop inside the needlepoint and felt and then add more glue with a toothpick to seal the hands tight.  Then he will have to dry overnight again before I dare hang him anywhere.

Step six:  CAREFULLY flip Surfin Santa over and lay him right on the felt's back side and mash hard.  You have not trimmed the canvas at all, mind, but since Joan includes a piece of felt the size of the entire canvas, you can easily center Santa on the backing fabric.

Step seven:  Wash your hands to get the wet glue off your fingers.  Dry your hands and mash down on Santa again.  Put waxed paper on top of him and weigh him down with a heavy book or something similar for at least 3-4 hours to dry.  I left him overnight to dry myself.

Step eight:  Cut out the glued ornament right to the edge of the stitching.  Don't use your good scissors because cutting through NP canvas glued to felt will dull your good embroidery scissors right quick.

Step nine:  Trim any little bits of bare canvas or not totally cut felt with your good scissors.  I am going to do this today after having left Surfin Santa to sit overnight.  The photo above shows him cut off but not carefully trimmed yet.  Note that I did not cut out around his hands as there is no glue there.  That will wait until I attach the two ends of the hanging loop.

Step ten:  Attached the gold metallic cord all around the edge.  Joan says to glue it but I prefer to hand stitch the cord on.  I'll be working on this today.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow
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Santa's Lei

I'm reposting yesterday's photo of Santa on his surfboard because I'd started on the lei in this photograph.  See how I have done 5 "spokes" on the painted flowers?  That's how I start on each flower. I used three colors of ribbon floss for the flowers.  This thread is ribbon-like and does twist so I used a laying tool to keep the "petal" stitches flat when I did the first 5 or so stitches.  They are spaced out so that I can see exactly the margins of the flowers.  I'm doing these stitches like an eyelet stitch, coming up at the outside edge of each flower and then going down into the same center hole for each stitch.  Ribbon floss is thin, so the center hole isn't enlarged much but if I was using another thread, I might have to poke the tip of my scissor blade into the center to make room for all the threads before starting to stitch a flower.

The next step is to fill in the flowers by adding more petals.  This time I didn't always use the laying tool as a twisted stitch adds dimension.  You can see that one flower was made using both orange and yellow stitches.  I only wanted one multi-colored flower and I stuck it in the back side so that it wasn't prominent.  I tried to space out my three colors of flowers so that I did not have too much of one color in an area.  The flowers are the focal point of this design and brighten it up since I muted the Hawaiian shirt colors and Santa's got a white beard and rides a brown surfboard. Even the waves and water don't add a great deal of color as green is a neutral.  So I needed LOUD flowers.

This is an earlier photo of the lei but it shows the French knots I put in the centers well.  I also did two bullions, but they are harder to do with ribbon floss and also a bit too much to be in every single flower in my opinion.

By the way, I forgot yesterday to add that I'd put a sleeve cuff on Santa's Hawaiian shirt.  It's just a long stitch wrapped over and over again in the same purple DMC floss that I used in the shirt.

Tomorrow you'll see a finished photo of this ornament including the lei and after that I'll talk about how Joan Thomasson says to finish it.

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