I made this a while ago for my husband. He is a really great cook & was just ruining his shirts so I thought this would be a practical but fun gift. I took a 4 pack of IKEA dish towels & just sewed them together to create the base than cut out the shape of the apron. The straps are linen & all the patches & embroideries were made by hand & then sewn on. I made my own stencils out of plastic sheets. This really is a one of a kind apron made especially for him. I must have had a lot of patience back then as I’m not sure I’d have the time any more to create such a detailed piece.
Recently when I went down to Texas “treasure hunting” , I came across a booth just piled to the sky with hand embroidered vintage table cloths. When you started to dig through the stacks, you could just imagine the hours & hours involved in sewing these. The fact that all that love was selling for just $20 a piece kind of broke my heart. I tend not to buy fussy patterns or even florals for that matter but I just couldn’t resist the personal touch in each one. Here are 2 of the examples that I got. You’ll notice the backside is just as clean looking as the front. What amazing work this is & it’s definitely a craft of a by-gone era. No one these days would actually take the time to embroider such a large piece to just put on their table.
This tote is made from a great waxy leather. I really liked the natural finish to the edge of the skin so I incorporated it into the front patch pockets. By adding just a tiny cross embroidery to the front it gave it just enough interest & detail for it to stand out. The designs I create are never very complicated or fussy. It’s the material that their made of that make them unique & special.
Over the past year & a half I have been dabbling with bracelets. Sometimes it’s just for fun & at other times I feel like a bracelet factory. I tend toward using leather pieces that are floating around my office. I like the old, broken in straps with lots of character. I also like breaking in the leather myself though & so I can see the transformation happening on my wrist. My latest love is a 2″ wide natural leather braided cuff that started out a very light, light tan color & now, after 2 months of wear is a beautiful caramel color with a broken in sheen.
I recycle horse bridles, old belts & random vintage accessories. I paint, punch holes, embroider, sew & wrap. I like that it is a project I can typically finish in 1 sitting & can wear out in the evening. I like to take big pieces of thick natural leather & dye, cut, wash & oil them. You never get the same results twice. Each bracelet is unique with it’s own character. Occasionally, someone will say,”I want one just like the one you’re wearing.” I wish I could fulfill that wish but then I would have to take it off my wrist & give it to them (which I have done happily.)
Today I’ll spend my time playing with tools, leather & trinkets in hopes of creating a fabulous new bracelet.
I love my job…..
Why is it that when I make things to sell I never have one for myself? I’ve had my business cards floating around loose in a pocket in my bag for so long it finally dawned on me that I could easily make a very simple case for myself. Ah, to be (slightly) more organized!
Have a great weekend! And a quick Congratulations to all the Graduates who will be celebrating over the weekend!
Just wanted to share some pictures of some hand painted metallic leather totes I made a while ago. I wanted to contrast the silver & gold outside with a heavy linen on the inside. I also found these bags a great vehicle for a little added embroidery. The stitching gives each bag a unique look that contrasts to the shiny leather. The straps are horse bridles & for a pop of color I carried the embroidery detail onto one side of each strap.
The second class I was fortunate enough to take last weekend at the Makerie Retreat was “Painting-with-Stitches” taught by the lovely Marisa Anne. Marisa was a very relaxed teacher that let us student really have our way with the needle, thread & paint. She was full of helpful hints but really encouraged everyone to interpret the project as they like. Most people used her really adorable print as a starting place & it was so interesting how every one ended up looking very unique. I decided to wing it & try a design that I sketched out on the spot. I feel like I ended up channeling a 1960′s funky kitchen. All in all, the most enjoyable aspect of this class for me was the zen nature of embroidery. It was the perfect antidote to a very hectic week.
Thanks Marisa! You are a great teacher & I’m glad I got to meet you over the weekend. Please check out Marisa’s blog Creative Thursday for more inspiration.
After painting the tips if so many leather handles & clutch tabs I thought it was time to apply the same concept to the leather bracelet. To make it more interesting, I also added a small contrast embroidered cross stitch. I’ve been wearing a silver tipped one with a red “X” amongst other contrasting wraps on my wrist. Snazzy! The closures are the antique shirt studs of course.
Oh, what fun I’m having getting ready for the next market! In the next couple of weeks there will be small sneak peaks on all the things I’m working on. It will become obvious if you stick with me that I have a hard time sticking to one concept or product. YES! I do like bracelets & have stuck to them but they are morphing in all different directions & I keep wanting to “try one more technique”. I also realized that as much as I appreciate all jewelry, I get instant satisfaction out of bracelets because when you wear them you can actually SEE them on yourself. A necklace & earrings are essential but I tend to wear the same ones every day. It’s the bracelets that I look at all day as I’m using my hands. Sometimes I’ll even change them halfway through the day.
This group of bracelets came about when I bought a perforated belt that was just begging to be cut up into bracelets & covered in bright embroidery threads. The warmer weather is surely here & I’m all over colors. Lots & lots of colors mixed with neutrals, textures, finishes….. eclectic.