Tag Archives: Embroidery

Shopped til I dropped

Well, not really, because there was plenty of public transportation between stops. But I did find my embroidery stores, except for one that moved. I was going to take L’Open, but Mary persuaded me that the Metro would be faster. Glad I listened to her! 

The cell phone photos: https://goo.gl/photos/wgi2LKJtYoDFxTPt6


La Mercerie Parisienne

lovely, lovely haberdashery, La Mercerie Parisienne

My first stop was near the Bastille, La Mercerie Parisienne. What a treasure! A lovely little haberdashery set off the street in small courtyard. Very French, very tasteful, lots of buttons and trims, some fabrics. There were some lovely patterns that I rather lusted after, but given that I have a very full box of them at home, I didn’t buy any. There were some adorable clothing patterns for dolls too, but I couldn’t find the doll pattern so I didn’t get any. By the time I got some help from the sales clerks, I totally forgot about the patterns. Not that the clerks were rude at all-on the other hand, they were very sweet and helpful. The first one that went to help me didn’t speak so much English, so another lady helped me. I asked if they knew what crazy quilting was, and the one didn’t, but the lady that ended up helping me gave me a name of a very well known French crazy quilter, Lea Stanzaltz. I haven’t had a chance to look her up yet, but if I can find a website or something, I’ll add it here. So, I bought some buttons, some trims, and some fabric. Bias tape is way different here; I imagine you can find the typical packages we buy in the U.S., but so far all I’ve seen is small lengths of it wrapped around wooden spools or loose in small packages. It’s also patterned, not plain like in the U.S. The same is true of piping-so much more fun than at home. I didn’t buy out the store, but I had a great time and came away with some nice additions to my collection at home. And the clerk assured me they do mail order to Alaska. Something to think about… Those patterns for instance.

I also forgot to ask about couture fabrics; I had this fantastical idea of stopping at one or more couture houses and coming away with scraps they were going to throw away, for this trip’s crazy quilt project. I brought the start of another chatelaine, and now that I have something to work with, I can get started on it. 

This is the one I made several years ago: 


crazy quilt chatelaine

A chatelaine I made several years ago; the center of the flower on the left is a pincushion, and on the right the flower holds a pocket for scissors

By now it’s 11:30, and there’s not enough time to get to the next store and still meet Mary at the Notre Dame Cathedral. I opted to walk from the Bastille, where I’d gotten off the Metro, to Notre Dame. Lovely day and it was maybe a 20 minute walk, according to my iPhone. So I followed the instructions until I got close enough to see the cathedral, and then just wandered around. There was an outdoor exhibit in front of the Hotel de Ville (city hall), so I took a couple pictures with the iPhone (forgot the camera this morning, darn it!). I wandered across the Seine; Notre Dame is on an island in the Seine so I just walked over one fork (and yes, there is a bridge!). Lots of small souvenir shops and I stopped and got a dish towel. Figured I had one from Ireland so I should get one from France too. 


Art exhibit in front of the Hotel de Ville, Paris

I took photos of just the Alaskan animals

I walked over the other fork-the island is very small-and continued wandering. On this side were lots of restaurants and some small shops. I found my way back to the river and stumbled across Tapisserie de la Bucherie, a needlepoint shop. I had to take a look; I love the canvases even though I have no desire to do needlepoint. The woman running the shop was so nice. I didn’t realize she was even French, she had such a mild accent. I even found some fabric to buy! 

By now it was getting close to 1 p.m., when Mary and I had agreed to meet, so I walked back over to the cathedral to look for her. I sat for a few minutes, then decided to visit the toilette. I expected one of those nasty garbage encrusted holes in the ground that I encountered on my first trip to France and was pleasantly surprised to find a clean, attended series of toilet stalls. It cost me a euro, but I appreciated the cleanliness and privacy greatly.

I got back upstairs and almost immediately spotted Mary talking with one of the visitor guides. These young men, outfitted in green with yellow smocks, are supplicants? Priests-in-training. They have to do three days at the cathedral sharing God’s word and information about the cathedral with tourists. Mary and the young priest peer-pressured me into going into the cathedral, which is absolutely gorgeous. The stained glass… Bright and clear and stunning. I do think it’s sacreligious to treat the cathedral as a tourist attraction, but it is still used as a church. Besides, I’m not in charge! And I would have missed a stunning building if tourists weren’t allowed inside!

Mary and I enjoyed a long lunch at a nearby cafe and then went our separate ways. She to a medieval history museum and I to more fabric and notions shopping. Poor Mary’s morning trip was a trial. Her bus driver dropped her off at the wrong end of the street she needed to be on, so she watched bus after bus go by while she limped her way to where she wanted to be. And by the time she got there? It was time to come meet me. So she was tired and bummed by the time we caught up with each other. 

After lunch, when we went in opposite directions, Mary went to her museum and I caught the Metro to Basilique Sacre-Coer (Basilica Sacred Heart), near two shops I wanted to visit. This turned out to be fabric-mecca! I found the first shop, Petit Pan, with no problem using my trusty iPhone instructions. A tiny, delightful little shop with adorable baby clothes and these fantastic tissue covered lamps in a variety of shapes and sizes. I got some more quilting cottons, fat quarters, and some more bias tape. I would have loved to bring home a lamp too, but oh dear, the logistics! So I didn’t even look seriously at them. 

Petit Pan

such an adorable store! I want one of those tissue paper-covered lamps someday!

When I got out of the store, the phone couldn’t find a carrier, so I just started walking. Luckily I was going in the right direction and I must have passed a couple dozen fabric shops on the way to my next stop, Marche St. Pierre. I found it, it was tables and tables of dress making fabrics, and nothing interested me. I figured it was like Ireland and you had to buy one meter lengths-far too much for me. So I turned around and went down to Frou Frou, which I’d passed 4 or 5 stores before my destination. 

Another find! This store was much busier than La Mercerie Parisienne, perhaps because of the time of day? Late afternoon as opposed to midmorning right after opening. Tons of bias tape along with matching fabrics, two revolving shelves of DMC thread-made me wish I had a list of colors I needed, until I looked at the price, 1.5 Euro each. Quite a bit higher than the $0.25 you usually pay at Michael’s or Joann’s. There were some gorgeous books, patterns, and a small home decorating section. I would have loved to get a book or two, but since I don’t read French and they weren’t like the Japanese magazines with tons of illustrated instructions, it didn’t make sense. Maybe in my next life I will take French instead of Spanish. 

Walking back to the Metro I passed more fabric stores-again, all dressmaking fabric. On the main street to the Metro, lots of young men with small cards or watches or other small things for sale. I think the cards were phone minutes? But I didn’t investigate. The train station was full of the same. A somewhat grittier side of Paris than I’ve seen previously. 

By the time I got to Gare Austerlitz, my Metro stop, I was hot, sweaty and badly in need of a toilet. And I wouldn’t have been opposed to a nap as well. I beat Mary home, so I hopped in the shower and dressed in fresh clothes, catching a second wind. I wanted a handbag that I’d seen in a small shop close to the hotel, so headed down there. I bought this gorgeous, fun, bright red flowered bag to haul my iPad, maps, iPhone, pens, sewing and probably an elephant or two as well. 


I feel sorry for people that don't like seafood!

Shrimp, oysters and whelks. Yummy!

Mary was waiting in the small hotel restaurant for me, so after a glass of wine for me, and orange juice and cold medicine for Mary, we dropped off gear in the hotel room and went to dinner at the cafe next door, Le Baratin. Yummm…. I got this giant seafood platter with whelks, shrimp and oysters. And I did not take any shells home with me! My first time eating whelks; they were chewy and good. Some delicious mayonaisse-based dip that I mainly used on the rye bread that came with my dinner; should have asked what was in the mayo. Mary went upstairs to our room, while I went back to the handbag store, as the control tag had been left in the bag and I wanted it removed. Darn, the store was closed already! So I wandered around a bit in search of chocolate and went back to the hotel empy handed. Another day… 


New wristlets

I just finished these today! My desk at work has a thin metal edging that is really cold, plus my mouse pad has a nasty sharp edge. With these wristlets my tender arms are protected.

I used my favorite Cooperative Extension Service mitten pattern, cut down to expose the fingers. The polar fleece is scraps that needed to be used up; I love the cheerful bright yellow-not a color I normally wear, but as a small accessory, it’s fun. Inside the mittens on the bottom that slides along the desk, is another layer of bright blue polar fleece. The fabric flowers are motifs from a flowered fabric by Blank Quilting; apparently it’s discontinued because I couldn’t find it.

The flowers are edged with my typical chain-stitch-and-tight-buttonhole stitches and then attached to the mittens with beads. Simple, quick, and I think they’re attractive!

New venture, maybe

embroidered barrettes and pony tail holders

Images of each individual barrette/pony tail holder on Flickr.

I’ve been embroidering hair decorations. No idea what else to call these things; they’re for holding long hair back. Barrettes and those things with a chopstick; pony tail holders? I can get printed felt… hair decorations… from Beads and Things (downtown Fairbanks, on Two Street; no website or blog unfortunately). They’re intended for beading (the beautiful Alaska Native style of beading), but I love the designs, so I’ve been using embroidery thread that I tie-dyed last summer and then attaching a barrette to them, or sometimes embroidering the holes for the chopstick. Since my hair isn’t long enough for any kind of barrette or pony tail, I am thinking of opening an Etsy shop and selling them there. So far they’ve made great gifts. They’ve been great fun to play with and quick to work up. I’m about ready to start using designs from a book of Alaska Native beading designs, and eventually I’ll branch out with designs of my own.

From foam to fish

My latest project is Man Fishing. A friend gave me a styrofoam fish mount-you ugly stryrofoam fishknow, when you catch a fish and want to hang it on your wall? Anyway, she wanted to see “what I could do with it”. And this is what I did:

styrofoam fish mount, embellished

It was a really fun project; all guesswork! I laid a piece of white sheet over the fish and marked an approximate outline on the sheet. Then I did all the crazy quilting and embroidery and beading (staying up until 1 a.m. two nights in a row to finish the beading). I sewed the two sides together at the topline and draped it over the mount. And was I ever happy to see that my approximate outline was pretty much on target! I stuffed the fabric under the head with the help of a butter knife, and the bottom is all pinned on, as are some of the fins and tail. The eyelashes and yarn hair over her eyes are attached with hot-glue, the fishing pole is attached with some industrial-strength glue, and the man she is fishing for is attached with thread to the fishing pole. I figured a hook would be too tempting to play with…

stryrofoam fish mount, embellished, left side
The fish was displayed at the Fairbanks Pioneer Home, for their Art Walk on Friday, September 21. I entered it into the 64th Parallel show at the Bear Art Gallery, but sadly, Man Fishing didn’t get in.

Naturally there are more photos on Flickr.

Tanana Valley State Fair, 2010

select image to enlarge, or check out my Flickr site

iPad case – made from an old daybook. I removed the insides and covered it with some fabric I’d previously used as curtains. The velcro strap keeps it closed, and there are two small pockets inside to keep the iPad from sliding out.

Trio of black quilts – each tiny quilt is made from silk samples purchased many years ago; I got a whole bag for $8.00. Little experiments in embroidery and beading.

Hearts to Sleep By – made from scraps left over from a big quilt. I wanted to play around with embellishing by machine.

Irish hat – I did all the embroidery while I traveled through Ireland in March 2008. All the buttons and embellishments were purchased on my trip, although the seed beads came from my stash at home.

Green flowered hat – I found this really fun flower fabric and couldn’t resist cutting out individual flowers. They are edged with a very tight buttonhole stitch, completely done by hand. I found both the ribbon that makes the flower stems and leaves, and the lining fabric, at Value Village. Serendipity!

Tanana Valley Fair, 2009

Well, I was surprised to round up seven things to enter in this year’s Tanana Valley State Fair, and even more surprised to get two class champions, three firsts, three seconds, and a third. I also won the Bob Hage award for the most unusual piece of needlework in the Needlework Division.

There are larger images on my Flickr site, if you’re interested…

Dinosaur’s Garden

Flowers were drawn freehand and colored with wax crayons, then embellished with simple embroidery. The grass is a silk hanky, separated into a single layer, covered with netting, and embroidered. The green felt at the bottom is stitched onto the quilt, covering the edges of the silk hanky. The tiny dinosaur at the bottom right corner is a commercial applique, as is the dragonfly. The butterfly-gosh, I can’t remember what it really was; a pin maybe? This was just a fun little experiment with crayons on fabric. Made in 2007. Class champion and first place in the art quilt division.

Blue Fish Reef

The block print in upper right corner was made in a print making class at the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 1992 or 1993. It’s my own design, and I’ve used several variations of it in different quilts. The kelp bed in the lower lefthand corner as well as the print fish, are embellished with ribbons that are folded, embroidered, and beaded, with some buttons attached. The small fish and the star fish are entirely hand embroidered. Made in 1998. Third place in the quilt division.

Photo box

I found this field box in a pile of junk at work, and kept it for a couple of years before figuring out what to do with it. I think it was originally used for taking field notes; data sheets were stored in the box and it was a good surface for taking notes and filling out data sheets. I liked the rough weathered finish, so I didn’t do any re-finishing of the wood but just washed the dust and cobwebs off. I used the peeling bark off birch trees in my yard to cover the sliding cover, gluing them down with a lot of diluted acrylic gel. There are two small clothes pins, painted a flesh color, to hold a mounted photo. Made in 2009. Second place in the reduce/reuse/recycle division.

Embroidered pillow

The pillow cover was constructed several years ago by machine. The folded fabric flowers are based on designs found in Fabled Flowers by Kumiko Sudo. The design and placement of the flowers and leaves is my own plan. The flowers are embellished with chain stitches and french knots; the leaves are embellished with feather stitches, and cotton and metallic threads. The stems are feather stitches in three shades of green cotton embroidery thread, or chain stitch and back stitch. Made in 2003. Class champion, first, and winner of the Bob Hage award in the needlework division.

Black lace hat

This hat was an experiment to see if I could make a full-brimmed hat that was stylish and comfortable to wear. It was a challenge to make the brim stiff enough so that it didn’t flop into my eyes! I used a discarded skirt, and a bolero vest I found at the transfer station. It’s based on a baseball cap, and I drew the brim pattern to fit the cap pattern I’ve used on many, many hats. The seams on the crown are covered in ribbon and embroidered with black feather stitches. The lace drooping off the edge of the brim was the hem of the skirt. I purposely left flowers off, as I couldn’t decide which ones to use! Any color that compliments the outfit worn with the hat will work. All the stitching was done by hand. 2009. First in the sewing division.

Needlelace hat

I’ve written about this hat earlier; it was entered in a competition in England two years ago, but didn’t garner any awards then. I made it in 2007. This year it placed second in the needlework division.

Bra bag

I found this black lace bra along my road while walking the dog; it must have escaped from someone’s laundry basket. And who’d want it back? But it was too pretty to just throw away. I added some Chinese style black on black fabric to the top, lined it with white cotton fabric, and embroidered small leaves and flowers on it. I also added a couple of silk flowers. The drawstring handle fits over my wrist, dangling alongside my leg. All the stitching was done by hand. Made in 2009. Second in the sewing division.

Journal cover and a small what if

Chinese butterfly

Chinese butterfly, journal cover

Now that I’m back home again… ran out of oil, heater wouldn’t restart, so I stayed at a friend’s for three days. Finally got the Monitor oil stove going again-yay!!-after working on it for 4 hours in a 40° below cabin. I couldn’t sew at my friend’s house due to poor lighting, otherwise this would be finished. But hey! I was warm, the dog was warm; that’s what counted!

Symbol of hope, freedom, renewal, for a new journal, which happens to coincide with a new year. Lovingly attached with metallic threads to the black felt, backstitching along the inside edge of the wings and body, and inside the blue thread on the tail. A small what-if I don’t attach the tail edges? Let them fly with my hopes and dreams for future. Let them fly with happiness and a tiny bit of freedom.

The design is from Oriental Designs CD-Rom and Book, a Dover book. I used metallic threads to attach the butterfly to the black felt, backstitching along the inside edge of the wings and body. I did the same thing on the tail, but instead of backstitching along the buttonhole stitch edge, I did the backstitching along the inside of the blue chain stitch, and then did a herringbone stitch over the orange.

I’ll add a line of yellow beads on the yellow wing edge, and then it’ll be done and I can attach it to the cover of my next journal. If it’ll look nice, I’ll do it in such a way that, when I’ve finished the journal, I can remove the butterfly and use it in another project. I keep my journals of course, but I don’t want to hide away my covers!