Everything is better … 2

Shortly after making my first “Everything is better with” sign, I put this one in the queue. I gifted it to my sister-in-law, who contributed “sunshine” to my list.

I wanted this to be light and “sunny”, so taking inspiration from the sky, I chose a light yellow fabric with small white painted stars against a vivid teal-esque blue with white polkadots. The shades really “pop” each other! And per my M.O., I used stem stitch for the text, in the same shade of blue.

The sun rays are teeny chain stitches and straight stitches in about six different colors (yellows through oranges), topped off with a vintage button combo; the orange button has a nice texture that reminds me of fire! I used bright yellow ricrac to set off the front from the back, and a light yellow paper twine for the hanger. The back sports the same felt as in the original sign.

What I am learning for myself in all this is how much I love foamboard and thread with a twist! Because floss is what is widely available, and many embroideries do call for stranded floss, it is what my collection is mostly made of. However, the more I sew, the more I turn to my Sulky petites or pearl cottons instead. I have both of Sulky’s petites dream assortments and the color choices are pretty stellar. I also have Coats & Clark’s 50 pack assortment of dual duty quilting thread, and am always fascinated that I can find nearly the perfect color match for any of my fabrics when I need to hide a seam (I mention this here because I had just the right yellow and just the right blue on hand). Now, if only I had more foamboard… :D

Woolly worm on a leaf

At one of my guild meetings, I picked up a small dimensional embroidery kit by A Candle In The Cellar, aptly named “woolly worm on a leaf”. I put it away for a time because at a glance, it looked like it used bullion knots to make the worm and I wanted more practice since the threads in the kit are specialty (EdMar’s Iris and Bouclé). But, when digging through my stash for a small project, I read the directions and actually this only involved wrapping threads around a straight stitch – not bullion knots!

The pattern asks to sew the leaf to a piece of fabric in a hoop, but I wanted this to stand on its own. I used floral wire and there was enough felt to cut out a second leaf to hide all the knots between. Doing the feather stitch on the leaf without a ground fabric was a bit tricky, but when I whip stitched the two leaves together in a matching green thread, I was able to anchor the feather stitch in place for the most part.

It was a little fiddly because it is quite tiny, as you can see with my cat Maya for scale (she was very interested in this little bug!), but I am happy with it!

Everything is better …

I’ve been tossing around this idea to make a couple of “Everything is better with ___ ” signs so I asked around for some input and have a nice list to start with. This doesn’t mean I will actually make them all, but if there is something you think that fills this statement with only a single word or two, let me know! In one of those conversations, a direct commission was asked so it gave me the motivation to put thread to needle and here I deliver: 

Everything is better with Bea.

It is a gift for a loved one, so I pulled together a “romantic” theme. The sign is outlined in pearls and a vintage brooch represents Bea herself. The decoration posed a problem for me but inspired a wonderful solution! You see, it was part of an ornate necklace of multiple strands of pink beads and other gold accents. The lady herself is on a pin, meant to be fastened on clothing to keep the necklace in its correct position (she would otherwise be too heavy and hang at the bottom). I removed the necklace brackets off the back with a pair of plyers, but the pin mechanism itself could not be removed so easily – and if I were to remove it, I wouldn’t have a good way of attaching it. Instead, I used the pin to lock in place a very thick cord so that the brooch would lay flat rather than teeter across the pin mechanism. Of course, this means that the brooch is quite raised off the sign so I needed a way to ground it all together. Enter vintage wedding veil! I have this lovely set of lacey scraps from an old wedding dress – the sleeves, collar, and veil. It is stained and with some tears, but the fabric is otherwise beautiful. I felt it appropriate for a gift of love.

My go-to stitch of choice, stem stitch, makes an appearance. And, I really only need to change one letter for my own version of this sign: everything is better with tea! :D

For the backing, I used a piece of felt. I do like using these printed felt sheets because they are stiff like paper and add a bit of surprise whimsy to any project. And, I am not sure if the person will choose to rest the sign on a surface, or hang on the wall, so I did add a chain. It is an old necklace chain that I think matches very nicely with the gold on the brooch. And of course, as a gift of love, I added a little “Made with Love” charm.

I hope the gift is well appreciated, but I loved the opportunity to make it regardless. I know a few things I will want to do differently for the next one. If I had more time, I would have redone a part of this, but birthdays wait for no one!