I found it was one of those patterns that I could get into an easy rhythm with and could readily stitch as I watched something on tv. I'm pleased with the effect that alternating threads of darker and lighter shades in the background achieved. As I sit looking at it on the wall it really did give it dimension that makes it look like a piece of porcelain. Though I'm sure that using just one shade would also work well.
Do you find that you associate a piece with the programs you watched while you stitched it? I surely do and for Iris Celadon I'll always think of two wonderful series I stitched it to called The Victorian Kitchen Garden and the Victorian Flower Garden. They are available on Dailymotion and some are on you tube - here is a taste!
I originally created my pattern, Sanctuary, at the time of the terrible tsunami that hit Japan in 2011 and dedicated it as a pattern that would be sent to anyone who requested it for free, though I do ask that a contribution be made of any size to the charity of your choice to benefit whatever disaster is currently taking place.
That pattern was made on the first software I used when I began designing and it needed to be redrawn into my new software. Since I've been working on new designs I've kept putting off taking the time to move Sanctuary. But viewing the terrible devastation of the tornado that hit Oklahoma this week I decided it was definitely time to make the effort.
I did change the colors for the design to three shades of delft blue and added a title and the verse that inspired the pattern. If anyone has the original Sanctuary and would like the newer one as well, just send a request to me firstname.lastname@example.org We moved here to the inland northwest from Oklahoma and knowing what wonderful people they are and how terrible their ordeal is right now, I hope everyone will keep them in their prayers and if possible make a donation for their relief.
I must be nutz!!! Truly, I'm afraid to introduce this next design since it means there is no turning back I HAVE to do it! Lol, thankfully I believe it will be worth the effort in the end, but OY! the time it is going to take, please don't expect to see as many patterns from Gracewood Stitches as I introduced in the last two years. I stitch my own models and I don't go on to the next design until the one I'm working on is almost done.
I guess I shouldn't be so intimidated though, I thought Iris Celadon would be a killer, but here I am almost done - pictures next weekend, Lord willing! - and it went much faster and easier than I had anticipated. So I'm hoping that 'Beauvais', which is just slightly larger will also pleasantly surprise me, I HOPE!
See what I mean? LOL
My inspiration for Beauvais comes from my love of textiles. From far Eastern intricately woven silks to vintage utilitarian cottons, linens and wool fabrics, I am mesmerized by the patterns that can be achieved. I wish I was a sewer, quilter or weaver so that I could have the joy of diving into textiles from modern to vintage and creating some remarkable items, but I'm afraid I never learned those things in my youth and all attempts since have left me more than frustrated and annoyed at my lack of such abilities.
But! Thankfully, I can create them in the way I know best by designing my own 'fabrics' for cross stitch or needlepoint. I love vintage French fabric so for my first 'cross stitch textile' I created one with a French flavor and chose the name, Beauvais, for the lovely city in northern France. I also like the fact that 'beau vais' translates to Goodwill.
This design uses the Assissi technique of stitching the background and leaving the design area open. On an 18 count aida fabric the pattern will measure 14.5" square, stitch count 263 x 263, in two colors of floss, a dark delft blue and a lighter sky blue.
I need to seriously take a break now, glad it is a weekend, hope all of the mothers among you will have a lovely Mothers Day tomorrow!
All of our seasons here in the northern Rocky mountains tend to be dramatic, but spring can be especially so. Maybe because it is our briefest season it is cherished. Weather can change not just in a week or day but hour to hour as systems come in from the Pacific and this last week was a perfect example of 'typical spring' weather in the Rockies.
This particular day we had rain, hail and snow and the sky was full of colors, from deep violet shades to bright pinks. When these clouds finally lifted the mountain tops they were hiding were white with deep new snows.
Struggling against all the elements new growth is coming on everything from roses and fruit trees to explosions of color from bulbs we've scattered in the forest over the years. And one who is enjoying all of this with us is our waif from the winter, 'Buddy' whose story I told you about in January. The poor half dead, half frozen tabby cat who wandered down our drive is now, thankfully, well enough to begin enjoying exploring Gracewood.
The vet thought he might have a number of health problems, but he certainly is flourishing at the moment and has begun bringing 'gifts' of mice to express his thanks, lol Lately his favorite pastime has been annoying squirrels as they chatter at him for limiting their access to the firewood.
This weekend is the Lilac Festival in Spokane and while theirs bloom far earlier than ours do, I can already get whifful hints of their heady fragrance.
Speaking of fragrance :) The winner of the drawing for a 5 ml decant of Sous le Toit de Paris is Carolyn! But since only three people commented asking to be included, I'd like to send Pat and Christine a sample of the fragrance as well. If you three ladies would send me your address at email@example.com I'll get them mailed off to you.
Spring also means more time required outside and a little less stitching time but Iris Celadon is further along and I hope to be able to devote some time to the next design soon. Until them, here is this week's progress.
If it is spring where you live, I hope you are enjoying it as much as we are!
Yea!! The center motif of Iris on Celadon is complete and now I can settle into a nice rhythm of stitching the background pattern. I'm very happy with this design, it has the movement and balance I always seek and since I'm always weak for purples and greens together I'm very satisfied with the colors I chose for it.
I've decided to add a new feature to the blog that I hope you'll enjoy. Our lives need to include things for the sheer delight they give us and I plan on sharing some of those things that make me smile and add some beauty to my life. They are things I feel great enthusiasm for so this feature will be called -
For my first post I want to tell you of something particularly lovely that I've only recently discovered. I've mentioned in the early days of this blog that I love fine fragrance, Heart Note Alley being born of my affection for them. Most of my life my knowledge of scent was minimal and it wasn't until a friend visited Paris and sent me some really lovely scented Roger & Gallet soaps that I began to learn more. Thanks to the internet I was able to discover the story of the company and how I might order more soap and that is when I fell down the fragrance rabbit hole! LOL
To my amazement I found that there was now a whole new world of perfume that did not depend on big department stores and million dollar marketing programs to sell their creations. Products that were not focus group studied to create a concoction a big company deemed marketable, but liquid magic in a bottle that a true artist created. Artists gifted in creating formulas using everything from ancient recipes to modern innovative manipulation of molecules.
If your fragrance frame of reference is only the bottles you've sniffed with familiar names on store counters, I'm happy to tell you that there is a whole wonderful world out there of 'niche' fragrances that will take you to places you'd only dreamed of. Scent is the most immediate of the senses, going directly to our brain and its effects can be so profoundly felt it can have an incredible influence on how we feel. Many people have what they call their 'comfort scents' and I assure you I have mine. :)
One of the notes that I particularly love is violets and their lovely leaves and while quite a few of some of the best 'noses' have created some very nice violet fragrances they all suffered from being too light weight and too fleeting. When you spend good money on a fragrance you want it to possess two things - longevity and good sillage (sillage is the French term for the wake of a boat, in other words the scent you trail as you pass by) So it was with some trepidation that this could truly be achieved with that lovely note of violet that I obtained a sample of a new fragrance by one of the best niche perfume companies, Atelier Cologne.
Atelier uses natural substances for their fragrances but they incorporate some very unique ways of manipulating the molecules to create some of the most unique and beautiful scents you'll find anywhere. They received a challenge to create a new fragrance to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Galleries Lafayette in Paris. A stunningly gorgeous place crowned by a purple glass dome.
Thus was born Sous le Toit de Paris which translates to 'under the roof', a most appropriate name for a juice inspired by such a setting!
After reading the reviews I had my hopes up that I might finally find 'my violet' scent and when my sample of Sous le Toit de Paris arrived I was NOT disappointed. I think I actually heard a chorus sing when I applied that first spritz to my arm. There it was, THE violet I was seeking, like a soft deep moss lined bed in the forest I fell into the most beautiful soft pillow of violet I'd ever dared to hope for.
Hours later I would sniff my arm so it could happen to me all over again, and it never let me down. Violet fragrances are very calming and quiet, some find them a bit melancholy and only wear them on rainy days, and while this has a lovely romantic tinge to it, it is to me a place of escape into beauty and peacefulness.
I've shared my latest enthusiasm and I'm going to offer a 5 ml decant of Sous le Toit de Paris as a giveaway! Post a comment with a request to be included in the drawing and next Saturday I'll put your names in a hat and pick a winner. I Hope you'll share some of your own enthusiasms )
What do you think of when I say cross stitch? My bet is most would say it is something done for holidays, special occasions (weddings, births) or samplers that have infinite versions of the types of pieces young girls did long ago to show their stitching skills. Let me say first of all that all these things are great and I've done my share of them. However it is just this kind of mindset about cross stitch that led me to begin making my own designs.
I wanted to stitch patterns that weren't designed to meet some 'industry market focus group' findings. Truly, I've seen in various design forums that there is much discussion about such studies in order to find out what is selling. Take a look at any large retailer of cross stitch patterns and I'm sure you can figure out what the outcome has been. To me there is a rather mind numbing sameness that is being offered in the market today.
I want to give stitchers an alternative and hopefully a new way of seeing what cross stitch can be. It can be art that comes from inspiration and I don't mean famous or not so famous works of art that have been photo imaged into software. It can be something unique that hangs on your home or office wall that people don't even recognize as needlework until they get close enough to see the threads.
But changing that concept of what cross stitch can be is not simple or easy, some are just resistant to it because it challenges their view of what it is and to many minds should remain, usually something small, sentimental and familiar.
I've been blessed to have found Creative Poppy and its editor, Pascale Dejardin, who took a chance on my designs even though they didn't fit the mold. Pascale has been a great source of encouragement and I want to extend my thanks for her willingness to feature my designs and hopefully help some to see that new concepts of something so familiar is possible.
Work on Iris on Celadon is progressing and I decided that in order to give it a look of being a piece of pottery that it needed some dimensional feel especially to its background. I'm using a few shades of one color and alternating them through the background pattern to give it a feeling of depth and I'm happy with the result.