Wednesday, July 13, 2011

B is for baby

Is there anything sweeter on a sizzling hot summer day than resting indoors with needle in hand?  No iron, no pattern pieces, just one careful stitch after another after another after another.  And did you know that mama can mind the children while stitching?  Most definitely.  So, really, I vote to find a comfortable perch on the couch and stay put. 

Thanks to a pregnant friend, you'll find me doing just that most evenings.  A few weeks ago, Nancy and I flipped through Anna Maria Horner's book, Handmade Beginnings, for ideas on what I might make her.

My first-time pregnant friend already has a crib set for her gender-neutral nursery.  She's a very practical person, so I had this tiny fear that there may be nothing I could make her that would really meet her needs.  But, when she saw this

Writing on the Walls from Handmade Beginnings

she completely fell in love.  Which makes sense - wall decor can be so hard to come by.  I about jumped up and down to see she'd chosen Anna Maria's "Writing on the Walls" project.  Embroidery!  Applique!  Yes, please!!!

Nancy and I love the way Anna used differently shaped canvases and both lowercase and capital letters.  We're also going to make the word "baby" so that Nancy can keep the same decor for future children.  Basically, we love everything about it, so all I need to do is recreate this charming design!

B is for baby

After all of the creative work I've been doing lately for the book proposal, it was such a treat to simply follow Anna Maria's lead.  Albeit in a completely different color scheme.  Going with gender neutral, Nancy chose brick red, pale yellow and bark brown for her colors.  To be honest, these colors are well outside my comfort zone, and I was pretty nervous during the process of making this "B" that my embroidery floss was all wrong.

a gender-neutral color scheme

But, placed beside to the beginnings of the next letter I'm thinking it works after all.  Right? 

Please just nod.  I asked my husband if it worked and then realized it was like asking him "does this dress make me look fat?"  There's only one right answer ;)

transfer tools

The best part of embroidery is the stitching part, of course.  But first there's the pesky work of transfering the design to your fabric.  In this case, I used Photoshop to create a capital "B" in the desired height.  Using the stroke tool, I gave the "white" letter an outline in black so that I could print it without using a lot of ink.  Next, I used Saral transfer paper to transfer the letter.  Saral is paper that you place between the design and your fabric.  Then you trace the design with a stylus (I used a ballpoint pen) and the pressure transfers the design onto the fabric.  Saral can be washed off or rubbed off and doesn't become set when ironed.  I love it!

in stitches

The sparkles are my favorite part! 

33 comments:

  1. rest assured this is going to be gorgeous! and your hubby is right this time--they look great together!

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  2. Looks great, Rachel! Your friend is going to love her gift and baby's room will be blessed to have some handmade goodness from you.

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  3. I hate that lurking feeling that it's not quite right while you're working on something! Usually it turns out that my first instincts were good and I'd say it was definitely the case with your embroidery - it's gorgeous! I particularly love the yellow against the grey. Can't wait to see the rest of the letters!

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  4. I love the B. The yellow is perfect! Stitching is definitely a good summery project.

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  5. It look beautiful! I'd love to know what stitch you used for the yellow. It is perfect!

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  6. LOL, yes there is only one answer.

    I think it will be just lovely.

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  7. The embroidery looks great. I think the finished product will be beautiful!

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  8. It's very very pretty! I love your thread choice...

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  9. look at those nice even perfect stitches!! omg.

    will you do Jesica's quilt border for me!??

    : )
    ~Monika

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  10. Oh my, your embroidery stitches are gorgeous!

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  11. Beautiful!! The colors match perfectly and the way you embroidered the B is so lovely. Congrats! It is going to be a fantastic present, for sure!

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  12. I have got to get that book... The color scheme is lovely and your embroidery is fabulous!

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  13. Those are not colors I would EVER put together, but you made it look lovely. To the point where I might actually reconsider my firm stance on brown in the house. Maybe.

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  14. You did a great job echoing the colors from the first letter in the second letter, but highlighting the brighter side, The colors in the letter in the first - a yellow and white - become the background for the "a" and the highlights for the background become the letter colors. I just can't guess what the next letter will look like. Surprise me. I will be thrilled to see what you choose.

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  15. Beautiful... What color is the background fabric for the "B" it's such a pretty color! Kona?

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  16. It looks great, I really like your color choices, and yes, sparkles are the best.

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  17. The background color is Kona Sable.

    Goodness, why did I ever ask my husband? I'm 100% reassured now. Thanks so much for your kind comments!

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  18. Jenny - the yellow is a chain stitch. It takes some getting used too, but it's actually easier to make look even than your basic running stitch!

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  19. What a great idea. I have a friend who is also going gender neutral in her nursery. Its made it tough for me to make a gift w/out green/yellow. You've just inspired me.

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  20. I love this project so much -- it looks great!

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  21. I love your B! Looks fantastic.

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  22. How funny to see this! I'm getting ready to start on a version of this project for my little girl's room. Isn't it a lovely idea?! I love the colors you're working with - it's going to be perfect!

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  23. Your stitching is perfect and I love the color combinations. Your friend is one lucky gal to get this custom made gift for her new little one. Isn't nice when you don't have to try and guess what a person wants-especially for a nursery!

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  24. What a gorgeous gift - any first time mum would be thrilled to recieve it, I'm sure!

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  25. Perfect stitching, perfect gift for the mom to be. Well done and thank you for the tip on the Saral paper.

    Have a super great sewing and stitching day.

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  26. L-O-V-E this book by AM. Bought it during my 3rd Trimester so wasn't able to finish any projects before my DD arrived. Tempted to have Baby No. 3 just to use all these ideas (tempted, but not crazy, yet!).

    Your B is perfect! Doesn't make you look fat at all ;). Can't wait to see it finished...

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  27. Love it! I think the colors and your sparkles look great! It makes me want to embroider the letters of my kids' names since they're not babies anymore!! And I just might do that...

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  28. This looks amazing! LOVE the B!

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  29. So cute. I am really going to have to try some applique. I can do simple embroidery but cross-stitch is about my limit. Those letters really look nice along with the sparkles.

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  30. Lovely work! I recently did the same with my sister in preparation for my new little niece. Unfortunately for me she chose the diaper bag and I had one HECK of a time struggling through THAT project!!! :)

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