Monday, December 1, 2008

Vintage Holiday Postcard

Vintage Holiday Postcard

Here is an Elegant Postcard that can be created quickly and offers a beautiful small gift. Purchase a small gold metal easel with the little postcard, so it may be displayed. RibbonSmyth has all the components! One small RibbonSmyth RicRac Pack will embellish several postcards.
Adding glitter to your card offers an "Old World Feeling" to your creation. This is an optional step.

The card measures 4"x6"
Click on the highlighted word to be directly linked to the supplies

Supply List
One Fusible Fast to Fuse Postcard shape
One French Fusible PostCard Back
One Cherub Vintage Image
One Vintage RicRac Package
One pack Victorian Miniature buttons
One tub of Antique White Gold glitter
Any type of clear-drying craft glue
One Fantastik or cotton swab
Four 6" fabric scraps
Fabric scraps or RibbonSmyth
Velvet and Doupioni Assortments
I used one gold piece of moire fabric
2 pieces of doupioni silk and one maroon velvet piece
Nymo beading thread -champagne color
4 1/2" x 6 1/2" piece of muslin
Rotary Cutter and ruler

1. Hand-piece the fabric using Nymo thread onto a piece of muslin
2. Using a hot dry iron, trim the white edge off the image and fuse the image to the pieced fabric.
3.Tack assorted ricrac and metallic trims over the seams and around the vintage image using Nymo beading thread.
4. Using a Fantastik, paint brush or cotton swab, lightly dab around the vintage image with a mixture of white glue and water. Sprinkle a tiny bit of White Gold glitter around the image and a bit on the velvet as well. Shake off excess glitter into a piece of paper that has been folded. Now pour the contents of the glitter, in the paper fold back, into the glitter container. The glitter is ultra fine and offers a gorgeous vintage touch to your card.
5. Using Nymo thread, tack two small loops of RicRac in the top right corner of the image on top of the velvet. Stitch 3 small buttons in place.
6. Place the finished stitched piece on top of the Fast to Fuse postcard shape and using a hot iron, fuse the piece to the Fast-To-Fuse using a press cloth.
7. Position the French fusible Postcard onto the back of the Fast-to-Fuse Postcard shape and fuse to the card.
8. Using the rotary cutter, trim the card to 4"x6"
9. Using metallic ricrac and thread, place the metallic trim over one edge of the postcard and stitch the trim around the card with Nymo thread taking small stitches. Allow one end of the metallic trim to overlap the other end. Tack into place and trim the end of the trim.
10. Sign your card with a Christmas greeting!

We wish you a very Merry Christmas!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Crazy Quilt Purse

This is another side of the small crazy-quilt purse. I used several pieces of silk doupioni from the RibbonSmyth Doupioni Silk Pack. Simple seam treatments using Buttonhole Silk Twist or 4mm silk ribbon, stitched with a Feather Stitch or a Herringbone Stitch, quickly cover the seams. I used torn pieces of lace and appliqued them onto the silk pieces. The torn pieces were the focal for adding small Mother of Pearl Disks, 4mm silk ribbon stitches,and finished with bead assortments. I used a Scalamandre curtain tie-back for the cording for the draw-string closure.

Crazy-Quilt Silk Purse

This is a an easy little 6"x7" embellished purse that will be great for the holidays!
Any-time a vintage look is desired when embellishing, add Mother-of-Pearl disks or beads among the ribbons, beads and trims. Our Mother-of-Pearl embellishments are from the 1950's and acquired in Japan. Stack a grouping together or randomly stitch among the silk pieces.


Another photo of our sunflower group.

Sunflower Petals

This Summer we planted a few sunflower seeds, placed in peat pots back in January, next to a pasture fence.

The on-going threat to their survival came from the little goats and the donkey. The sunflowers were mere "snacks" for our guys.


The following few photos feature sunflowers here at our farm. Since Nature is the ultimate design element, here are a few of Her Summer Stars!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Vintage Black Velvet Purse

This is a small Vintage black velvet clutch probably from the 1940's. It has peach satin lining which was popular in the 1940's. On the inside, I've edged the lining where it meets the brass fitting, with Japanese rococo ribbon. The purse was embellished with hand-dyed rayon tape using a gathering stitch and ruching stitch. I ruched 1/4" wide pink velvet ribbon to form a small flower and added an old pearl for the flower center. All the flowers were created then stitched to the velvet with Nymo beading thread. A vintage rhinestone flower button was added among the ribbon flowers. Brass leaf charms were added. Different glass pearls that I purchased at a French "Puce Marche" were added to the flower centers. To create a bit of movement within the piece, Indian copper bullion was couched among the flowers. All the hand-dyed rayon tape was dyed with RibbonSmyth's Rainbow Dyes. The Ribbons can be purchased in the Outlet section. Way too many years of gathering velvet purses has resulted in a significant stash residing in the studio. Each velvet purse will be embellished and begin a new search for a new home via our etsy site ~

Ruching Ribbon

This is a primitive sketch of ruching ribbon.

Photographing the ribbon in the process of ruching is difficult to see. Use thread that matches your ribbon or my preference is to use champagne Nymo for ruching any type of ribbon.

Do not cut the ribbon. To Ruch simply begin on one end of the ribbon, at the ribbon edge, and stitch zig zags with small stitches stitching from side to side. Slightly pull the thread to gather the ribbon. When a flower has been formed, usually five petals, tie off the thread and stitch the two ribbon ends together. Or to create a ruffle or seam treatment, ruch(pronounced roosh) as much ribbon needed for the project.

I end the ruching stitch with the last stitch at the ribbon edge where I began. Check out the ruched flowers on the black velvet purse in the next post.

Dyeing Results

Yardage of Rayon tape dyed with a variety of RibbonSmyth's Rainbow Dyes
The sheen of this ribbon cannot be caught with a camera. Some of the ribbon offers a mottle appearance which adds to the vintage aspect.

I had left yardage of rayon tape outdoors to dry overnight. During the night we had a storm and some of the ribbon did qet wet although they were hanging beneath a tree. On some of the yardage, the dye would migrate to one place on the ribbon. I liked the effect.

Hand-Dyed Lace

This pic shows a few yards of rayon lace that was dyed with three colors using our RibbonSmyth Rainbow Dyes. I used Antique Gold, Victorian Rose and Pansy and probably added some Topaz to the Victorian Rose. I do not keep formulas but do test what is loaded on my brush on a white paper towel or foam paper plate before I touch the lace. Wet the lace first but the lace should only be damp. Use a one inch foam brush loaded with dye and swipe different areas of the lace until all the lace has been dyed. Do not move the lace. Allow it to air-dry, then heat set with an iron. I dyed this lace outside on top of a shower curtain. Probably spent a couple of minutes dyeing this batch. This is old vintage lace probably purchased at an estate sale years ago. I think now it will trim a denim jacket.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Falling Leaves at Nutkin

This is a small landscape that is still in the process of being embellished. I was inspired to create the landscape using the RibbonSmyth "Earth" Fiber Sampler.
For a year, I taught ribbon workshops every five weeks in a wonderful shop in Surrey. While in the UK, I would stay at the shop owner's manor house named "Nutkin". It is a fabulous home and reminds me of the vintage image I used in the landscape. The landscape was built with pieces of burned doupioni silk basted to a muslin base. The image was fused to the silk pieces. Pieces of shredded spark orandy was layered over the sky-line.
The tree is created with couched fibers and RibbonRuffles leaves are scattered among the branches.
Gold metallic Ric Rac, RibbonRuffles, Fluff and Rococo lace are couched over the layers. A two inch silk doupioni border was attached to the landscape. The couched tree trunk fibers trail into the border. Burned silk leaves were attached to the border and small twigs from our "Shrieking Tree" were attached among the burned leaves. There is a layer of FiberFusion beneath the Fluff and a small antique gold frog resides next to the trunk.
Difficult to see, but there is a small gold sparrow sitting in one of the branches and a tiny antique gold dragonfly is nested among burned silk leaves.
Now to continue the embellishing! The piece is approximately 10 1/2"x 12 1/2".

Falling Leaves at Nutkin

This is a bit of detail in the landscape illustrating the use of RibbonRuffles and Rococo lace in the Earth Colorway. Gold metallic braid and ric rac ambles across the torn and burned silk doupioni pieces that are layered for the landscape. Torn pieces of Cluny ivory lace were attached above the RibbonRuffles. The detail of the tree trunk was created with couched threads.

Victoria Initial Ring Bearer Pillow

This initial was stitched on a purchased pillow using the Bride's colors of teal and winter ivory stitched with the rubber stamp initial "C".
The pillow was nestled in the center of the altar and the rings rested in the center of the inital.
A matching wedding album cover made a great wedding ensemble.
The pillow was twice the length as featured in the photograph. I opened the pillow on one end, removed the pillow form and tassel trim. Measured the pillow for a length that would balance the initial, and with a rotary cutter, trimmed away the excess fabric. Then the initial was stamped to the pillow and stitched. Then I reconfigured the pillow form, inserted it into the cushion and stitched the pillow closed. Finished the pillow by reattaching the tassel trim.

Initial Pillow Grouping by Mary Engells

Here is a pic featuring a variety of words created by Mary Engells.

Mary's Initial Pillows

Here is Mary's pillow "Joy". Are the colors fabulous? And the aubergine eyelash trim is a perfect compliment to the peach moire fabric.

Mary Engell's Beach Pillow

Here is the Pillow by Mary ~ "Beach".

Friday, June 13, 2008

Two Inch Victorian Initial Monogram

This photo illustrates the RibbonSmyth 2" Victorian Alphabet Rubber Stamp used in a monogram. This monogram was created for an ivory silk evening bag with a tortoise handle. The purse was duplicated from a 1940's purse in my collection. This purse was featured on Aleene's
"Creative Living" television series.
First I stamped the initials onto a piece of silk fabric. Then I satin stitched the initials using Silk thread and finished with variegated 4mm bone/ivory silk ribbon roses and buds, moss silk thread vines and leaves.
I added vintage three-cut brown beads among the flowers.
Very easy to create a personalized piece using hand embroidery.

6" Victorian Silk Ribbon Initial

This is a silk ribbon embroidered "W" initial that was featured on a Carol Duval TV segment featuring the RibbonSmyth Victorian Rubber Stamp Alphabet. Stamp your fabric using water-erasable stamp pad ink, then using 6 easy stitches, embroider the initial. When the stitching is complete, simply remove any of the ink marks with a damp cotton swab. With this being the month for Brides, ribbon embroidered initials make beautiful ring bearer pillows.
A few years ago while teaching in the UK, the store owner loaned me a 17th English Garden Alphabet book. I returned to the States and created ribbon embroidery Initials for each letter in the Alphabet. We developed a Victorian Initial rubber stamp line and water-erasable stamp pad ink. I returned to Surrey to introduce the initials. These initials are a great way for a beginner to enjoy the ease of silk ribbon embroidery.
We later introduced both sets of initials to the world of cake decorating. I spent a wonderful week in the kitchen creating wedding cakes, cookies, cupcakes all festooned with initials using our Victorian Rubber Stamps. I then embroidered white vintage bridal hankies, cocktail napkins and a tea cozy. The end result was an article in Bridal Guide Magazine. The hardest part of the entire job was travelling on the train to New York for the photo shoot with multiple cake boxes!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Straw Purse Trimmed with Crazy-Quilt Button Cover Flowers

Trim out this inexpensive straw purse and flip flops with French picot-edge wire-edge ribbon and crazy-quilted button covers. What a great way to trim out summer accessories! Can you see your favorite little girl with her "girly girl" flip flops and matching purse?!
Remember Button-cover Brooches make great holiday gifts and are always a hit a church bazaars. Check out a beautiful assortment of button covers creatively embellished at the yahoo group Silk Ribbon Heirlooms.
The picot edge French hot-pink wire-edge ribbon is gorgeous with a beautiful sheen that does not appear in my poor photograph. I found this ribbon on a buying trip in Paris and loved the color.
1. Using a few small pieces of RibbonSmyth's hot pink paisley rayon fabric, crazy-quilt piece small circles 1" larger than the metal button cover. Piece the fabric pieces using Nymo thread and a running stitch. On top of the seams, I stitched, using lime green buttonhole silk twist, either a cretan or herringbone stitch.
2. Cut the fabric into circles and following the button cover instructions, snap the back of the cover onto the fabric-covered piece.
3. Using Nymo beading thread, gather a 12" length of picot ribbon on one side and pull the gathering stitches so the picot edge ribbon ruffle encircles the button cover. Tie off.
4. Stitch the gathered ruffle to the edge of the fabric-covered button cover. Allow the two ribbon ends to slightly overlap 1/2".
5. Using a glue gun, glue the three button-covered flowers to the straw purse. Glue the center button cover to the purse first. Then add a button cover flower on either side.
All the supplies are available at RibbonSmyth. I used the large button covers for the purse and the Medium size for the flip-flops.
Flip Flops
To trim out the flipflops, stitch two lengths of ribbon together and then pulled the gathering stitch to fit the flip flops.
Using a glue gun, glue the ribbon ruffle to the flip flops. First divide the ribbon in half and glue the ribbon to the thong at the half-way point. Then glue one side of the ribbon to one strap followed by gluing the remaining piece of ribbon to the other side. Turn under the raw edge of the ribbon and glue at the base of the thong strap.
Try the flip flop on and place the button cover onto the flip flop, making sure that the button cover will be comfortable over your toes.
Using a glue gun, place glue onto the back of the button cover and glue on top of the ribbon.
These flip flops look great on your feet!
This is a PinKeep created for our latest swap at
The the theme was "Under the Sea" using two CDs for the Pin Keep. Once the "PK" was completed, I inserted glass head quilting pins in between the two stitched fabric covered CD's that had been stitched together using variegated green silk buttonhole twis.

1. I covered the CD with craft felt. Then I pieced three pieces of fabric on top of muslin, making the stitched piece one inch larger than the CD
2. I fused a RibbonSmyth mermaid vintage image a bit off-sided onto the fabric ground.
3. I used fabrics and pieces from an Aquatic RibbonSmyth fabric pack and shredded several strips of holographic organza into 12" x 1/2" wide strips.
4. I tacked those strips folded in half beginning at the top left corner and allowed them to twist and curl over each side of the vintage mermaid image. I tacked the organza with Champagne Nymo. Then I took a 12" Peacock with gold edge Ribbon Ruffle ribbon and tacked that over the organza strips.
5. On the left side of the Mermaid Images, I added assorted 7mm silk ribbon loops stitches cascading down the length of the image. Added gold seed beads into each loop stitch.
6. Tacked down lime green FiberFusion fibers beneath the image.Stitched in several little shell beads on top of the FiberFusion and then added two antique seahorses.
7. Added groupings of seed beads and rondells through-out the collage.
8. Finished with a bit of celery green Scalamandre Silk Feather Stitches.
Using the Nymo thread, stitche a running stitch 1/2 " from the finished fabric circle. Inserted the felt covered CD inside the fabric circle and pulled the gathering thread to gather until the CD was snug.
9. Covered another CD with Peacock Doupioni and then stitched the two CD together.
10. Thanks to Ani in the UK, the PinKeep swap was a huge hit!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

RibbonSmyth Studio

Thanks for visiting the RibbonSmyth Blog ~ Its Only Ribbon...

Each week I try to offer a simple project in our RibbonSmyth Newsletter. We have received queries on the step-by-step descriptions of the projects. And the only way I know to share the projects, design tips and RibbonSmyth news is through a blog!

This is a photo of our Studio Parlor.
The RibbonSmyth Studio is located at our farm, "Shrieking Tree Farm" in Bucks County, Pa. We offer classes and workshops at the studio. The studio space is also where we pack and ship all orders for our RibbonSmyth e-commerce site ~ And it is the best space for creating and designing with ribbons, trims, and an assortment of my favorite embellishments. I'm surrounded with vintage textiles, and as many old things as the space will allow!