Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The hip Victorian silhouette project

I love the trend for Victorian silhouettes that has come up in the last few years but the dull black leaves me a little uninspired and quite frankly makes me think of funerals. 

I also love to make mementos of my children at different stages of their life. Particularly a set of three showing all three girls at the same time. When the girls were little I did a set of their footprints all at once (ages 4 years/2 years/ 3 months) which were the things we most feared getting lost or broken in the move because they are irreplaceable and utterly priceless.

So here is my work in progress and a little (very very little and simple) how to:

You need:
1:  a digital camera and computer.
2:  tracing paper.
3:  a large enough piece of fabric to fit comfortably in an embroidery hoop of your chosen size. I used a 10 inch diameter hoop which is what I will display the portrait in long term as well, but you can mount it in a frame if that’s more your style.
4:  Your hoop
5: two coordinating pieces of felt- I used the acrylic kind that’s really cheap.
6: needle and thread in coordinating colours.
7: a stencil if you wish.

Seat your subject in a chair in front of a white, smooth  background (I hung a piece of paper on the wall) and shine as much light from every direction as possible. Take your photo and upload it to the computer. Size the photo on your screen to as big/ small as you fancy and trace your subjects profile onto tracing paper directly from the screen- carefully don’t press hard!!

Carefully cut out the profile- that’s your silhouette template. Cut out one exact copy from your top piece of felt and an enlarged (by only a ¼ to ½ an inch) copy from the bottom felt colour. It’s okay to be less precise on the bottom copy but try to keep the enlargement even all around the silhouette.
With your fabric in the hoop and your two felt silhouettes placed on top stitch in small even stitches all around the edge of the top silhouette.

If you are going to skip the stenciling- you are done.  Either cut away the excess fabric from your hoop or stitch it back behind and hang your portrait. Alternatively frame your beauty and make it look as proper as you choose!

For the stencilers… I am ashamed to show you the messy back of my work but I feel it is only fair to show you how I am adding pattern to my piece…  My stitching looks great at the front but is a 
at the back….
I used a stencil which came as a set of three for free with a magazine and I traced my basic design onto the back of the outline of my stitching and added embellishment where it looked too bare.  

VoilĂ ! Hip Victorian Silhouette! 

 Use your template for other projects too. 
I used mine to make porcelain silhouettes which I hang in a group. They took (surprisingly) less time to make than the stitched versions. But you could use the template to cut sheet icing for a special birthday cake or to paint a drawer in a shared room  rather than putting names on the drawers.

Have fun!

xx Jo

Monday, August 5, 2013

The place I'm at when I should be doing something else...

Soooooo....  You know I've been busy. With lots of things.

I have the ABC's of busy...

A is for Apples
 in the orchard- more than I can keep up with cooking, canning, feeding to my children, our neighbor's cows or the deer.

B is for Bird-sitting

 our chickens when they are out of their pen in order that the nasty bobcat that ate one doesn't get anymore!

C is for Canning

because I planted too much veg, inherited too many fruit trees and generally got too ambitious when ordering peaches via our friends at Live Power Community Farm with our CSA (Community Sustained Agriculture... its a mouthful to say and eat) box.


The alphabet goes on and on and on (like Gone With the Wind but with no war, elegant dresses or Rhet Butler ... just lots of me looking flustered and throwing tantrums about someone messing up the quilt draped artistically over the back of the couch AGAIN!!!!!) finally ending in:


Z is for Zombie*

...sometimes... sort of... not really...
but M. sometimes acts like one.  He has been really really busy too and starts talking about going to bed the moment the children are up the stairs to go to sleep at 9 p.m. Naturally my instinct is to rebel and go to bed at 3 a.m. so I'm kinda a zombie too some mornings. 

*no photos of "Z" for the protection of the innocent


  but the letter that has been consuming my time and mental space is S.


S is for Sweet Little Wood

and Shop!  I am officially set up in a beautiful shop called Gin'Gillie's Vintage Home Collective in Gyserville California!


When we left England we had some idea of opening a vintage/handmade sales space of some kind but we were uncertain of what exactly we wanted to do and more importantly where! I have a space on Etsy but in order to make it work you need a large-ish shop and really you have to push yourself to be proactive in order to keep your listings popping up because there are so (I cannot stress this enough) SOOOOOOOOO many sellers on Etsy. 

So the reasons Etsy is not really for me are that I am: 
1: too lazy. 
2: too annoyed/terrified by the postal system in the USA. 
3: to lazy

So this is what I enjoy doing. I find stuff. Old busted (sometimes) not really loved stuff. I take it home buff it up and show it I love it and then put it where someone else might pick it up and decide they love it too. Then I spend time with my family and make stuff I love with my hands... while the kids do homeschool... while I wait for the twelve jars in my canning pot to get to the right temperature... while I sit and wait for yet another interminable visit to the orthodontist to end...  while I inwardly gripe that M. has gone to bed at 9:01 and I'm not anything like tired yet.  Then I put that handmade stuff where someone else might pick it up and decide they love it too.

The long and short of it all is that when I should be watering watermelons that are taking over the back acre, keeping my little chickies from going stir-crazy in their pen, or sleeping with my husband at 11 o'clock.:  I can often be seen thinking about, designing, creating, washing, dusting, stitching, drawing or daydreaming about  Sweet Little Wood, my sweet little space that I can play with and make my own.

x(yz)  Jo

P.S. if you have never seen a tiny little baby watermelon...
 they are the cutest darn things ever!!

P.P.S. Does anyone know if apples are bad for cows?!?!