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:

20131212-102842.jpg

Thanks for reading!!!

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.

Image

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.

 

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:

Image

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

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!

Image

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

 

 

Farminista

I have mentioned a couple of times lately that I was working on an order for Farminista – an online store that is an extension of a local shop where I live. The embroidery I did for them has been posted and I just wanted to share the new items and their website! The following are all for sale and can be found here http://www.farminista.com/collections/handmade

ImageBird Hoop Art $40.00

Image

Tea Cup Hoop Art $40.00

Image

“Shine on” Hoop Art $40.00

ImageFloral Embroidered Pouches $30.00 Each

Farminista is “A craftily curated collection of vintage inspired fashion and home decor.” There’s a lot of really cool stuff to browse through on their website – they sell lots of gorgeous dresses and accessories as well! I feel like my style is fitting for this website. My work often has a vintage feel to it, and my obsession with stitching floral motifs fits right in!

More of my embroidery can be found in my Etsy shop http://www.ceestitchery.etsy.com

XO

 

 

 

 

That’s a Wrap, February!

It’s so hard to believe February will be over tomorrow! I think I say that every month.  I’ve been on vacation for a week, and was working furiously to get a project done before I left so I feel like I’ve been MIA from here for nearly half of February.  Here are some highlights from the past couple of weeks to end off this wintery month:

ImageI made my first Etsy sale to another country! I sent the purchase off to the States, so definitely not too far but it was still pretty exciting.  Now that I’m back from vacation I’m working hard to get some new items posted in the shop very soon! You can find my Etsy shop here http://www.ceestitchery.etsy.com

Image

The weekend before I left for my trip there was a huge flea market here in Saskatoon. It was fantastic and I found some really great things. My favorite find was this huge basket of embroidery thread. $10 later my thread stash has tripled! I was so excited. I also found some amazing vintage needlework magazines, as well as some vintage hand bags and a belt. Not a bad haul!

ImageI mentioned a few weeks ago that I was working on a wholesale order for a new website which is an online extension of a local shop here. I was really down to the wire trying to get the order done before I left for my trip. It was a little stressful, mostly because I don’t like to rush my embroidery/sewing. It’s important to me that I take my time to do my best possible work. However, I was really pleased with how everything turned out, and shipped the order off just in the nick of time! Above is a sneak peak at some of the products. I can’t wait to share more once they are up in the online store 🙂

Image

A week ago today I headed off to Vancouver B.C. for a vacation with two of my best friends.  It was much needed time away, and I always treasure quality time with these two girls!  As you can see, it was a pretty rainy vacation (to be expected for Vancouver in Feb). But the weather certainly didn’t stop us from having fun.  Here is an Etsy treasury I created in anticipation of the rainy city before we left: http://www.etsy.com/treasury/MTg2NzI2MTB8MjcyMTQyMDEwMQ/rainy-city-vacation?index=0

ImageI love this Walt Whitman quote we spotted as we strolled along the seawall. Such a beautiful thought in such a beautiful place. ❤

ImageWe got tons of shopping time in Vancouver (my kind of vacation!), this is just one of my new outfits. It was so much fun getting to shop with two of my best friends, we encouraged each other on a lot of purchases and therefore spent a lot of our hard earned money – so worth it though!

Image

I even found a fabric store in our travels. I snapped this photo of a vintage Singer sewing machine in a shop on Granville Island called The Cloth Shop http://theclothshop.com/ .  I found some amazing fabric there that I can’t wait to start creating with.

Image

This gorgeous piece of embroidery was hanging as a window covering in a bathroom of a restaurant we visited. I absolutely love spotting beautiful hand embroidery in random places, it was definitely a highlight for a needlework fanatic like me. The restaurant was called the Naam – fantastic vegetarian place. Definitely try it if you’re ever in Vancouver! http://thenaam.com/

ImageI’ve been to Vancouver a few times, and have always wanted to but never gotten the chance to visit the Vancouver Art Gallery. I got the opportunity to go this time, which was exciting. There was an Emily Carr & Charles John Collings exhibit which was so fantastic. I am a bit of a secret art history nerd. Although I don’t know a ton, it’s something that really interests me. In fact I almost pursued a degree in it once upon a time, but that’s a story for another time. The Vancouver Art Gallery is a great one to visit. http://www.vanartgallery.bc.ca/  And the two Canadian water color painters I mentioned are definitely worth checking out. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emily_Carr  http://www.vanartgallery.bc.ca/the_exhibitions/exhibit_hope_at_dawn.html

February was a great month, jam packed with lots of projects and fun times with friends. Hopefully March brings more of the same! Hope you enjoyed some of my snapshots from my creative and other adventures this month.

XO

 

Bringing Joy

Image

Just a few notes on being an artist and trying to sell your work.  Sometimes it can be really discouraging, so these are just a few things I try to focus on when the negative feelings creep in.

What I need to remind myself is that selling or not selling doesn’t change the fact that this is my passion. It  doesn’t change that this is what I am. When it comes down to it, I do this because I love it. Of course I would do it for free for the rest of my life. No question. It’s what I love.

The way I see it, if you’ve found something that you do that brings you joy, well then you’re doing pretty good already. Having a true passion for something, be it art, music, writing, teaching, or anything, is a treasure. Us passionate people, we have a blessing that some people never find in their life time.

Don’t forget to enjoy life, don’t forget that you’re doing this because it brings you joy. If the stress starts to overwhelm you, unlpug for a while…trust me it’s okay. What I tell myself is, even if I never sell anything, I tried. Guess I will just have to cover every wall in my home with embroidery 😉 But also don’t give up, have faith in what you do and work hard. It’s not a race. Your success will be there for you when you reach it.

Van Goh only sold one painting in his life time – Red Vineyard at Arles.

I sell my work here:  http://www.CeeStitchery.etsy.com

XO