120 zipper pouches in 14 days

Well, I took on something a little crazy recently. I was asked by an event planner to sew 120 embroidered zipper pouches for an event. When I was originally asked I thought I would have almost a month to finish them. However, by the time all the details were ironed out I only had two weeks. But… I really didn’t want to pass up a great opportunity. So I said yes, and was determined I was going to get it done on time. I couldn’t believe myself to be honest. I didn’t even know how I was going to find that many zippers on such short notice (there aren’t a lot of sewing supply stores where I live). But with some help from my amazing family I rounded up all the supplies. I’m lucky I have people who were willing to help me find everything and even pick some of it up for me.

So I basically sewed constantly for 2 weeks. It was hard. They’re pretty simple pouches to sew, but 120 is a lot. Especially when you’re embroidering the same thing on every.single.one. Even though it was super overwhelming, I realized there’s something to be said for that feeling of completing honest, hard work. This felt less like art and more like a one person assembly line, but I made every single one from scratch with my own two hands, and that feels pretty good.

My pouches were for a portion of an event for women entreprenuers sponsored by Etsy Canada. 120 women received a gift card in one of these:

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Thanks for reading!!!

From the bottom of my heart

It has been way too long since I’ve written here unfortunately. Life has been crazy due to moving along with a other busy-ness over the summer. I wanted to check in with a quick post today, and now that things are settling down I’ll be able to share projects here more frequently again.

yesterday I had a really awful end to the the week at work. However, I had a really great week in my embroidery/etsy/crafty world, and at the end of the day that’s where it counts for me. Although I don’t make a living off of my art work, it is truly where my heart is. And I just want to say thank you to you wonderful people who take the time to look at and take interest in my work, from the bottom of my heart.

I will do this for the rest of my life and continue to share it with you even if I knew I would never sell another thing. <3

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A re-newed love affair with painting

For my latest piece I tried a new idea; incorporating acrylic painting into my embroidery. I wasn’t really sure it was going to work out until I actually started working on it. I’ve never painted on fabric before so I had no idea how the paint would go on. However, once I was working on it, I couldn’t believe I had waited this long to do this. I L O V E  it. 

Here’s a little bit of background on my art experience: I started drawing as a child (like most people), then eventually got into acrylic painting. My Dad is an acrylic painter, so basically I didn’t really know there even was other types of painting until I had the opportunity to learn about them in art class. Eventually I discovered that water colour painting was my favorite and dabbled in that for a while – but most of my artistic experience outside of needlework is in acrylic painting. 

As much as I’ve struggled with painting in the past (it’s just not meant to be my main medium and focus), I have to say….wow did it feel good to pick up that paint brush again. It makes me realize that even though it’s not my main focus, that doesn’t mean I can’t still love it.  Something about painting on fabric was just so satisfying. I guess maybe it was the thrill of using a skill I spent a lot of time working on in the past in a way that’s so relevant to my current work.

However, I didn’t use painting too extensively in this piece, it’s pretty minimal. Mostly because it was an experiment to see if this idea would even work, and also because I still wanted the embroidery to be the main focus. Also, I haven’t used my acrylics since the painting class I took about 3 years ago, so I had to work with the colours I still had on hand – I didn’t even have white. Needless to say it was a bit limiting for mixing colour. I am heading out to buy some new paints tomorrow.

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This piece is framed in a 6 inch hoop and is for sale in my Etsy shop here – http://www.ceestitchery.etsy.com

This is what it’s all about. When you have one of those ideas that gets you so excited you can hardly keep your hands still. There will be more pieces incorporating painting into my embroidery to come. This is the start of a new love affair, I can feel it.

 

Singer sewing machine dreams coming true

Ever since I started sewing I have dreamed about owning a vintage Singer sewing machine. Well that day came a couple of weeks ago, and I am now the proud owner of this beauty:Image

This is actually the third one I’ve come across. The first one I stumbled upon at a flea market and battled with myself the whole time trying to decide if I should buy it. It was beautiful and only $50. However when I went back to look again, it had been sold. It was sad, but I guess not meant to be. The second one I  found was at a another flea market. It was in way worse condition than the first one and the man selling it was really pushy. Once again, just didn’t seem like the right one, so I passed it up.

This time my friend happened to find this one at a thrift shop. When she saw it she texted me pictures right away. I was unsure at first but decided it wouldn’t hurt to go look after work. So I did. And instantly fell in love. This one was perfect. It was in great condition, still working, and I love love loved the table. It was a lot more compact than the other ones I’d seen. I honestly probably would buy the table for my home even if it didn’t come with the sewing machine, it was so perfect. I just knew this time. Probably the fact that I had turned down two others already made it easier to say yes this time. So, $75 later and I own a vintage Singer sewing machine! Dreams really do come true.

The Singer website is amazing. It was so easy to date my machine. They have model and serial numbers listed which match up with the year the machines were manufactured in. My machine was made in 1948. http://www.singerco.com/support/machine-model-numbers

Now I just want to learn everything I can about vintage Singer sewing machines! I’m so happy I found the right one <3

Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

 

I miss my bike – Parts I and II

Hey friends!

I feel like I’ve been absent from here for a while. The weather is finally getting nice, and life is getting busy! But I’m back with a drawing and an embroidery piece to share. :)

I’m enjoying my “a-drawing-a-day” journal project so much. It’s become even more than a little something to give me a creative outlet during my work days. It’s become some what of a stress reliever. It’s also really helped me to find inspiration in my every day. Suddenly little thoughts and ordinary happenings from my every day life are becoming ideas for embroidery pieces. I really love this.

I drew this bike a couple of weeks ago when the weather was still really cold. I was dreaming of getting my bike out for the summer. My favorite thing about this one was that I always felt like bicycles were difficult to draw, but when I broke it down and spent some time on it I came out with a result I really like. That’s what this project is all about, learning and becoming a better illustrator.

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I then decided I liked it so much I wanted to embroider it, so it became this:

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This embroidery is for sale in my etsy shop http://www.ceestitchery.etsy.com

I wish my bike had hearts on it in real life. Thanks for reading :)

 

Illustrated Journal / A-Drawing-A-Day

Hi friends! I started a new project yesterday I want to share! I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my job and about what path I hope for my career to take eventually. I really like what I do, but one thing I continuously come back to is the struggle I have with the fact that my day job has no creative aspect. I work in a purely administrative position that involves pretty much zero creativity. I do make up for that by using nearly all my time outside of work creating. However, there are times when it does get to me that my work day is void of artistic expression. I’m an artist at heart, there’s always going to be a part of me that wants to be creating. I realize that these feelings are something I need to consider as I continue my career path. Especially since I notice as time goes on they become stronger and stronger and my longing to work in a more creative atmosphere/role continues to intensify. In the mean time, I think it’s important for my own well being to find a way to nurture my need for some creativity during my work days.

So! I’ve come up with an idea of something I’m hoping I can incorporate into my work day that will give me a small creative outlet to tide me over throughout the day.  Yesterday when I got to work I was looking at some artwork on my phone since I was there early.  Of course after that I had an unavoidable urge to draw something as the morning went on. So when i had a few minutes for a break, I grabbed a notebook and sketched a quick little drawing. Here it is:

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a simple sketch of something funny that a friend had just told me about. I thought the main idea would make a cute drawing, so that’s what I sketched – a girl wearing white socks with red lips on them! Doing quick, cute, simple little drawings like this makes me so happy, it’s like it gives me a boost of energy when I do it.  I thought about how doing one little drawing affected me throughout the rest of the day, and couldn’t help but come up with other cute ideas as I saw things and as conversations happened.  So I decided I want to start a daily illustration journal. Every day I will do one simple sketch, and that will be my journal entry for the day. No rules, it can be anything – something going on that day, something I’m thinking about, a conversation I had, something that just makes me happy, or an idea for embroidering. I have a feeling that a lot of the drawings will turn into ideas for embroidering since that is my main medium and focus.  Not only will this be a creative outlet for me, but my hope is that the practice will also make me a better illustrator. I draw all of my designs before I embroider them, so that is a big part of what I do and I am always longing to improve my drawing skills. I plan for them to be very simple little sketches, sometimes these are the best kind to learn from!

This project is about self care for me and about feeling like I’m working at growing as an artist every day. I’m really excited about doing this. Also, about having a journal that I’ll be able to look back on one day and see what my thoughts and ideas were and what was going on in life!

I will try to share my favorite sketches here on the blog as often as possible! Thanks so much for reading XO

Always turning a new leaf

Hello! Today I want to share my latest embroidery piece:

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I put quite a bit of time and work into this one, and I am happy to say I am satisfied with the end result!! I really wanted to work on something with a little more detail, depth, and density, and this leaf project that I’ve had in my sketchbook for a while seemed like the perfect opportunity to do that. I used a fish bone stitch on most of the leaves, which was really fun. It’s not a stitch I have used often, but I love the look of it. I also used a lot of satin stitch and stem stitch in this piece. My original idea was to use all different shades of green, but once I got started I felt it needed a contrasting color to add some interest. I added the purple and instantly loved the dimension it added to the work. I am always learning in my work and want to always continue learning. I like to think theses leaves represent how every project turns a new leaf and teaches me something as an artist.

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You can see more of my work in my Etsy shop http://www.ceestitchery.etsy.com

A little bit more on my wanting to get into some projects with a little more detail: I recently joined the Embroidery Association of Canada. Basically this is a nation wide association devoted to “preserving traditional techniques and promoting new challenges in the art of embroidery”. I was really excited when I found out that an organization such as this exists, and joined right away. It’s really exciting to be part of a community that is as passionate about this form of art as I am. I am inspired to start trying more traditional techniques and incorporate them into my work. This is something I’ve always been interested in, but I think now more so than ever! I usually focus on quite small scale projects. This type of work seems to suit me the best for some reason. Mainly because when I get a new idea I tend to get really excited about it and want to start on it right away. If I’m working on a large time consuming project, this often results in me abandoning it to start the new idea. However when I work on small pieces I find it easier to finish them before starting on the next one. So, I don’t plan on changing that, but I am making it a new goal for myself to start adding more detail to my work, and to continue experimenting with different techniques and stitches that i haven’t used as extensively before!

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Any Canadians out there interested in the Embroiderers’ Association of Canada you can find out more here http://www.eac.ca/

Something else I want to mention quickly: I have noticed recently that a lot more people are recognizing needlework as art. It IS art, and I can’t even tell you how much this fills me up with joy and pride that more people are seeing that. Over the years needlework somehow developed this reputation of being a pass time hobby for well, your Grandma. And while there is nothing wrong with that (at all!), It can be difficult to feel like you are taken seriously as an artist when people have only that in mind and won’t see past it. The hand made movement is changing that in a huge way and I just want to say – that. is. amazing. I didn’t feel like a true artist until I discovered needlework as my medium, and I’m a true believer that all art is just that – art. Just because you’re not a painter or sculptor doesn’t make your work any less beautiful and important. And with the end of that rant/rave I will leave you with a quote from a VERY talented textile artist:

“Many people disregard embroidery as just a hobby. As an artist you have that extra battle to make people see it’s potential.” – Karen Nicol

Challenge accepted. ;) Read more about Karen Nicol and her work here http://www.etsy.com/blog/en/2012/embroidery/

Thanks for reading!! XO

Spring?! Dandelion Acceptance, Skirts, and the Encyclopedia of Stitchery

I am finally feeling optimistic enough about Spring being potentially on it’s way that I can talk about it out loud. It has been really cold in Saskatchewan where I live. I mean REALLY REALLY cold. If you have been to or heard of Saskatchewan you’re probably thinking Isn’t that normal? Well, yes. But even Saskatchewan doesn’t normally have as much snow in March as we do right now. And -25 to 30 Celsius temps are usually behind us. Not this year. However! The forecast for this week is looking promising – we are supposed to have above 0 temps in our future! So on that happy note here’s what’s been going on lately:

Here is my latest finished embroidery project:
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I have had this idea in my head and then in my sketchbook for along time – so I am happy to say here it is in real life! I’ve always thought dandelions were pretty even though they’re considered weeds. When I heard this quote I really loved the message. I think a big part of being a happy well rounded person is all about seeing the positive and the good in people, things, and situations. Dandelions can be really beautiful if you choose to see them that way.

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This 10″ hoop art is for sale in my Etsy shop! you can find it here http://www.ceestitchery.etsy.com

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I have been really into skirts lately. I should also mention I love dresses. I pretty much always wear them, seeing me in pants is rare. So I’m really excited about incorporating more skirts into my life for spring and summer. What I’m most excited about is finding some unique fabrics and prints to sew my own skirts. This is one that I’ve made recently. I hope to do a skirt post in the near future when I get some more sewn!

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Last but not least – I snagged a copy of “The Complete Encyclopeida of Stitchery” this weekend! It is filled with lots of great illustrations like this one and some stitches I haven’t tried and even a few I haven’t heard of!

Well that’s just a little peak into my latest creative adventures. I hope Spring is starting to show up where ever it is you may be reading from! Keep your fingers crossed for me that one day our dreams may come true and it will come to Saskatchewan too ;)

“No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn.” -Hal Borland

Sometimes I get really nerdy about thread…

Okay. So, sometimes I get really nerdy about thread. It’s just one of those things that happens, so here’s my recent thread obsession story:

I went to a flea market recently and ended up scoring a huge basket full of embroidery floss. I am talking like a ton of floss…you can see a photo of my almost complete stash on my instagram (I couldn’t fit it all quite into the picture but it shows most of it) username –> CeeStitchery. I was excited #1 because I just tripled my stash for $10, and #2 the majority of it was Anchor brand floss, and I always buy DMC, mostly just  because that’s what is accessible to me. So the idea of trying a different brand of floss and adding so much to my color palette was really cool.

 It took me a while to get around to sorting through this messy basket. I separate all of my floss into groups of pastels, brights, and darks. I have slowly been working away at it when I have a few free minutes or decide to take a break from stitching. A week or so ago I came across a skein with a label I had never seen before.  It looked particularly old so I decided to ask my mom if she’d heard of it before. She hadn’t , so we googled it. The label said “Corticelli”.  I found out that Corticelli was indeed a thread manufacturer once upon a time but hadn’t existed for quite a while. And that was it. I was obsessed. I spent more time than I’d like to admit the next day researching it on the internet, but was surprised at how little there was on it. It doesn’t even have it’s own Wikipedia page.

ImageHowever I did discover that Corticelli played a pretty cool part in the history of sewing thread. Basically, it started out as the Nonotuck Silk Company in the 1830’s and grew to become the world’s largest supplier of silk thread during it’s time. The company stayed in business until 1930. They were the first to manufacture “machine twist” thread, and to produce a thread that worked properly in the newly invented sewing machine. They of course, also manufactured other types of thread including embroidery floss.

Here are a couple of links that provide a more detailed account of what I’ve briefly explained above: http://www.textilehistory.org/NonotuckSilkCompany.html   http://www.smith.edu/hsc/silk/northampton.html

I got a huge portion of the rest of the floss organized this past weekend and found a few more skeins of Corticelli! I think what initially excited me the most was finding out that Corticelli went out of business in 1930. Meaning these skeins of thread have to be at least that old. I expected that they were vintage but not quite that vintage!

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I’m so curious as to who this basket belonged to. I imagine the Corticelli thread and maybe more was probably passed down to her. It was a man that sold it to me at the flea market but I didn’t get a chance to talk with him – it was pretty busy! It’s fun to daydream about where all these threads came from, what projects they were intended for, and what they were used for over the years. I live for this stuff.

 

Thanks for reading,XO

 

 

Create

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Hi friends, this is my latest finished embroidery! So I post almost all of my work on instagram (username: Ceestitchery), and I was struggling to think of something clever to say about the word create when the most obvious thought came to mind.  We all create every single day in one way or another.

Some people create art, others create food. Some of us create awareness, support, music, safety. We all create every day in our own way, and that’s what’s so beautiful and inspiring about this one little word. We all provide a balance for one another by creating in a way that we’re passionate about.

I like to think of this piece as a tribute to all of the different ways we create in our daily lives, and how creativity connects people.

This wall art is for sale in my etsy shop —> http://www.ceestitchery.etsy.com

Thanks for reading, XO