I actually finished panel fifteen of my "A Perfect World" embroidery project a couple of weeks ago. Needless to say, with the holidays quickly approaching, I haven't had very much opportunity to work on it. However, I am getting to the end, and getting pretty excited about it at that. There are seventeen panels in all, and I am half way through with panel sixteen as I write this. Once the panels are completed, I only have some details in the corner pieces and the quilting along the trellis and then the difficult decision as to whether I want to frame the piece and hang it or make it into a pillow. I am leaning toward a pillow because with the small place we have along with the moderate amount of woodworking we do here in our home, I fear that it will become a bit dusty. If I put it under glass, I think it will hide all the beautiful detailing, and there will still be no insurance that it won't keep it dust-free. Then I am stuck with a semi-sealed piece that is full of dust. I really don't think I will convince myself to allow that.
Besides – I don't really have a place to hang it. It was done more for the learning experience and while I will certainly cherish it, I don't think I will wind up keeping it out on a daily basis. Our decorating 'theme' if we have one is a bit more modern and streamline, with few floral accents. We both like what is referred to as "Steampunk" and while I may attempt to embroider some future pieces to match this, I don't think that this will go with that.
But a pillow would be something nice that I can keep wrapped and clean and pull out when I want to gaze upon it. I will be able to keep it safe from dirt and dust and cats chewing on the delicate wings and antenna of the creatures, which I am sure they would do. As I work on it, I have been keeping it on the hoop in an old pillow case and that has protected it very well. After almost a year I have never forgotten and left it out and it is in perfect shape.
In any case, I can figure this all out later. Without more chattering on, I'll get to Panel 15. I'll begin with the small field mouse, that was done as an add-on (stumpwork) piece.
I embroidered him on a separate piece of fabric, then attached him to the main panel. His body and head are stuffed with light padding and his ears and hands left free. His hands were later placed over the flower underneath, appearing as if he is peeking from behind. His tail is a wire which was wrapped in silk thread and then also attached to the main piece. He looks wonderful and cute and stands out nicely on the real piece.
The next picture is that of the beautiful Protea flower:
This took quite a long time to finish. The two leaves were separate stumpwork pieces, embroidered on a separate piece of cloth and then carefully cut out and appliqued to the main panel. The leaf on the left has wire inserted, so it can be shaped around the mouse's tail. The flower itself has a beautiful bulb shaped center, which was (again) stitched on a separate piece of cloth. It was then lightly padded when appliqued to the main piece to give it dimension. You can only see the tip of it peeking out from the flower petals, and I can't help but thinking of the hundreds of stitches that are covered. But I suppose that is part of the process – knowing that things are done correctly even if they are not seen.
The flower petals themselves were also done separately. Each one was traced on a piece of 35mm light pink silk ribbon and I did a blanket stitch around the edges of each shape. I used dissolving fabric as a base for this while stitching, and then dipped each piece into warm water to remove the backing fabric. I was then able to apply each petal individually over the aforementioned bulb to make the beautiful flower. I finished by embroidering an stem from pretty green organza ribbon. I must say – this is one of my favorite panels to date. I did find a stray petal under the couch a week or so after I finished this flower, but if you won't tell, I won't. I think it looks pretty good the way it is, less one small petal.
Finally, there were a couple of pretty little silk beetles to fill in the corner of the panel.
They were each completed by using single strands of silk thread. I think that sometimes because of the large and detailed photographs that I show people expect the piece to be much bigger. But most of the embroidery is done using a single strand of silk thread. I have become so used to using it that way that when the pattern calls for using two strands, I feel it to be quite thick and cumbersome. I suppose the training is working.
Overall, I think it is a beautiful panel.
As I said – I have been working on Panel 16 and have made good progress. The finish line is in sight after nearly eight months of working on this in my spare time. I have really, really enjoyed it though and I have learned a great deal. I plan on using more and more of this technique in my other designing. (Don't ask me how – I am still figuring!)
I am working on a new project for an online magazine these days, as there are several new online publications that have come up in the last year with the demise of the All American group of magazines. It is a good chance to re-evaluate where I want to take my business and explore new possibilities. Things are evolving, and if Keith and I don't evolve with them, we will certainly be left behind, no matter how much people like our work. It takes some serious thought and planning, and while it may seem that I have been backing off a bit by not writing every day, I think pretty much the opposite is true. Still waters run deep and sometimes the less you hear from me, the more I am planning. I am just trying to wait until I feel the time is right to present my new ideas. So stay tuned to see what I am up to. I hope you won't be disappointed.
While I have been doing some organizational things, Keith has been making some more new word art for you all. He has completed six new plaques with an "America" theme that he has available. Here is a photo of set 1 (SLDK520)
. . . and Set 2 (SLDK524)
Each of these beautiful plaque patterns are sold separately, or in the two sets shown. They are both available on our site.
I am sending out a newsletter today, for those of you who are on our mailing list. Our discount is still good for our mailing list subscribers, and we will keep it in effect until the next newsletter is sent, about two weeks for now. I wanted to keep it past Christmas so that you can have some time to look things over when the holidays are behind us and things are a bit more relaxing. We want to keep you all scrolling and painting throughout the year, and with the long winter season just beginning, I think it is a good time to turn to our own creative abilities to learn new things and spend our time enjoying the process of creating. I can think of no better way to chase away those 'winter blahs'.
Well, that about does it for today. I have a full day ahead of me. I am working on some new and fun surprises and while it is hard for me to not talk about them here as I create them, it will be just that much more fun when I do.
I wish you all a wonderful Thursday and hope you have a happy and productive day. Be sure to remember to enjoy the day as well as the season. Before you know it, it will be a memory.
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"