Friday, December 23, 2011

"You are a Gift" Fabric Collage

This fabric collage is approximately 16" x 22". The design is one inch smaller at the top than it is at the bottom. I wanted the piece to be wider at the bottom. The wool border is a brilliant pale lime green and is edged with aubergine metallic beads using the picot bead stitch. Hopefully a better photograph taken, with the piece hanging, will capture the true colors. The techniques were developed for a fall workshop.

"You are a Gift" Embellished Vintage Image

This image is taken from a photo of a mural in the restaurant of our hotel in Rome. We were surrounded with murals of a fabulous party set in the 1920's. The wonderful use of "light" used in the murals is not translated in this image, but the gowns and the paintings are fabulous. I wanted the flapper beauties to be "gazing" at the words "You are a Gift". I've couched gold bias-cut silk around half of the image. I added hand-dyed Venise lace on the other side of the image. And finished with old metal buttons and Victorian mother of pearl buttons.

"You are a Gift" Hand-dyed Rayon Tape Rococo

This close-up features a vintage metal and mother of pearl button collage with a seam treatment of RibbonSmyth hand-dyed rayon tape in the Merlot colorway used to create a  rococo trim. Above the trim is more of my marbelized fabric. To create the rococo trim using approximately 24" of rayon tape, twist several inches of the  tape tightly and couch into place on top of the fabric. Using Nymo or a matching thread, run a gathering stitch down the center of the tape, gathering approximately 6 inches. Pull to gather, tie-off the thread and cut. Twist another 3 inches of the tape and couch into place. Continue the above steps until the desired length has been achieved. I added a metallic vintage orange sequins and beads to the center of each "fluerette".  7mm Ribbonsmyth moss silk ribbon leaves were added to each side of the little flowers. 

"You are a Gift" wall-hanging Marbelized fabric with velvet pods

This is a close-up photo showing marbelized fabric, created from a class I taught in Vermont that blended beautifully with the colorway I chose of rust, gold, and aubergine. The technique for the seam treatment features velvet pods peeking from the inside of bias-cut silk leaves. RibbonSmyth variegated moss 7mm silk ribbon is added among the pods. Vintage 1920's French metal thread is couched among the silk ribbon. Vintage metal threads are too fragile to use for embroidery, but they couch beautifully.

Christmas Blog Winners!

The winners of the Christmas Blog Give-away are Debbie Hembree, Marjolein and Karen Mallory!
Congratulations and Merry Christmas!
Each of you will be sent packages with fabrics, fibers, beads and embellishments, mailed during the week of December 26th! 

Gift bags with home-made marshmallows and shaved chocolate cocoa

A quick  kitchen photo before these gift bags were delivered! I made as many gifts as I could for Christmas ~ 24 gift bags filled with home-made marshmallows and hand-shaved cocoa. The remaining 4 bags will be delivered tomorrow; as I make my last run to the post office with orders.  I shipped allot of these little bags and I hope they survived! Using a plain craft gift bag, I attached a lacy paper napkin to the front of the bag with spray adhesive. The recipe is printed onto holiday paper and attached to a tag that hangs beneath the spoon. A polished vintage silverplate teaspoon was added with jute twine. Great fun!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Baking and Desserts

Just a note about baking cookies! My goal was 30 dozen cookies for my husband's two plants.  Does not sound like much...but.... The guys work in airplane hangers and in the summer, the heat is unbearable and in the dead of winter, they can't sufficiently heat an airplane hanger, and these are hard-working guys that work with highly combustible gases. I "marathon" bake and usually have several recipes going at one time. I  will bake for several days straight. My husband took in the platters of cookies (and we did not want the guys to know where the cookies came from) before the plant opened and he said in one hour, the trays were empty. How fun is that?!
 I'm not an advocate of using Teflon or Sugar; so broke the rules for the cookies. I think a Teflon cookie sheet is the only kind to use.
In the photo, is a sampler of desserts that we had two weeks ago in Rome. The presentation of the small bites on a slab of slate, was a novel idea. From left to right - creme brulee sitting in little spoons, raspberry gelatin, custard topped with black olives, biscuit and a lemon cookie.
This past week-end, I made gifts of home-made marshmallows with bags of shaved chocolate for cups of hot chocolate.  I'm using a recipe from a Belgian Chocolatier and a 25 year-old Martha Stewart marshmallow recipe. I've shaved pounds of chocolate blocks with a potato peeler.  Mix the chocolate shavings with half and half. I'll post a picture once the sugar in the air, settles! My husband thinks the only way to get through the long, dark months living here in the Northeast, is a cup of homemade hot chocolate with those "killer" marshmallows.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Free Freight, Free Blog Give-away and Free fabric and bits packets

Blog Give-Away for December
Women are amazing and at this time of year, they perform miracles! To show a bit of appreciation for all the women I am fortunate to work with; we are offering Free Freight on any order over $ each order will receive a  bonus  packet with fabric, a box of beads and satin rosebuds...
For the blog give-away - just say "hello" and leave your email! I will make up several packages and will notify the winners on December 23rd. The packages will ship the week of December 27th.

I told my husband that I would bake cookies for all the guys at his two plants. Two week-ends of baking and no telling how many dozens of cookies my husband and I sampled, he was off early this morning with platters of cookies. He called at 9 AM and said the trays were empty! How much fun was that! This was my small effort in giving "hand-made" this now down to some stitching!

So time to share stash, whether it's fabric or the sugar and flour kind.

Have a wonderful Christmas!

Jackson and Santa

Had to share a photo of Jackson having his picture made with Santa. This Santa is a girl!  I took him to our local farm store where we purchase goat and horse chow. All money donated for pet photos goes to a no-kill shelter in our area. In line with Jack were two little miniature horses having their photo taken. He was surrounded with kitties, and an assortment of big dogs, all patiently waiting. How lucky we are to have pets in our lives.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The passing of Francois Lesage

This is a photo I took of Monsieur Lesage while attending classes at Maison Lesage. The Couture world lost one of its own on December 1st. He was charming and gracious and I will always be grateful for the time he spent with me.

Every day he came into class wearing a different embroidered waist coat. Here he is holding a metier with an interpretation of Van Gogh's Sunflowers created in sequins. In his left-hand is one of the French cigarettes that he was famous for. Behind me was a dress form with a beaded gown he was designing for the Queen of Thailand, a photo I've never posted, as he requested that the queen be the first to see his creation.  I was fortunate to spend the day with him photographing 120 years of beaded couture samples beginning with the House of Worth up to his present collection. I zipped through thirteen rolls of film while Monsieur Lesage told amazing stories about his life, the couture designers he worked with, and the women he clothed. He said his business thrived due to Texas socialites and Arab princesses. I was mesmerized. His favorite beauty to wear his designs....Grace Kelly.

The House of Lesage is responsible for 85% of all couture beading. His office walls were lined with cork, sporting a variety of sketches and every single sketch was done in pencil, by him.  After returning from Paris, I compiled a slide/lecture presentation of beaded samples; a presentation that I continue to present to guilds. He showed me  a room in his private atelier, filled with over 2 tons of sequins, in every color you could imagine.

 All of us have "fairytale" moments in our lives and being in Paris, attending couture beading classes, was one of mine. During the time there, I took gold metal thread classes, classes on working with metal strips, raffia, silk chenille and padding leather strips, techniques that can be seen today on any Paris runway. Our classes revolved around tambour work, a technique using a tambour needle, gold thread and thousands of sequins. This is an extremely difficult class to teach and equally difficult to master in a classroom. Tambour work is most evident today on evening tops beaded with sequins and produced in India.

Due to Monsieur Lesage, I became smitten with sequins and couching gold metal threads.

When I returned, I created a small silk etui in his honor, using gold metal threads and couching. Will photograph the piece and post.

There are several books on the work of Lesage. The coffee table book "The Art of Lesage" by Palmer White will undoubtedly inspire. I had Monsieur Lesage sign my copy and if an inscription could make a girl swoon, his certainly did.

Chanel purchased the House of Lesage several years ago and hopefully the art of beading will continue.

Adieu Monsieur Lesage...