Thursday, January 27, 2011

Dear God this was difficult

Two years ago I was contacted by a seminarian at Church Divinity School of the Pacific and asked to create a banner for the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Ohio. Having grown up in the Episcopal Church as the daughter of a priest (now bishop), I'm very familiar with the Episcopal shield so I agreed and got to work making this:

Nice, right? I was pleased with it. The problem though, is that we seemed to have some mis-communication. See, I thought I was being asked to recreate the Episcopal shield in fabric form, but instead, what she was asking for was the Diocesan Seal, which is very different. After boasting to my father that I had nearly completed the banner, he realized my mistake and sent me the image I was supposed to recreate, which was this:

At which point I felt a little sick. No offense Diocese of Southern Ohio, but that is quite a random assortment of symbols you've got there. A bale of wheat? A plow? Is that water flowing through it? And that crown! Those letters! My head was spinning thinking of all the applique and embroidery it was going to entail. So I took some time to think it over, about two years in fact. Although I always had it written on my to-do list, other projects and jobs and moving came up and the seminarian and I lost touch. But, this past November she contacted me again and said she was still interested so I promised I would have it finished by the end of January. On January 2nd I got to work. First, since there was no way I could do this freehand, I blew up the image 450% in photoshop and printed out 18 pieces of paper like a puzzle and taped them together to make this:


to use as my template. Next, I pinned the template to heat-n-bonded fabric and carefully cut out each section.

Then I cut out all the letters and nearly gave myself arthritis.

Then I forgot to take pictures, but I slowly cut out each section and ironed them down onto the banner canvas. It took about two weeks working a few hours every day.

 Next it was time to embroider. Unfortunately I don't have a fancy commercial embroidery machine, so I just shoved the whole thing into my Janome and outlined everything with black thread in a wide and close zig-zag stitch. This part took another two weeks working a few hours every night (about 45 hours total so far). Here are some close-ups:

Next, all I had left to do was turn it into a banner, the easiest part by far, though ensuring it will stay flat and hang straight was tricky. I attached the embroidered panel to a rectangle of red canvas, stitched together the edges and made a channel at the top for the rod (with a hidden buttonhole in the center for a hook to attach it to a pole, if needed), then added some decorative trim along the bottom:

And Praise the Lord, it was finished!


kokoleo in Croq

I recently received the Fall 2011 Issue 12 of Croq:


It's an indie craft zine put together by Heather Mann who also heads and the always amusing Craft Fail.  Croq is chock-full of tutorials, crafty superstar interviews, essays, comics, small business advice, zine reviews, and all sorts of DIY goodness. A while back I submitted a piece I had written after surviving a crazy season of craft shows entitled The Dos and Don'ts of Craft Shows and to my surprise, it was published in this issue.


Sweet! Click on the pic to enlarge, or better yet, purchase a copy to keep from the Croq website.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Kokoleo Personalized Banners and Pillows are back!

A year and a half ago I announced that I would no longer be making personalized kokoleo items.  During my hiatus though, I made a few for some friends and longtime customers. Like these banners:

and these pillows:


and these pillowcases:


One of my kokoleo banners was even on t.v. last fall! My friend Susan and her husband were featured on the show Property Virgins and at the very beginning, for a few seconds you can see the banner I made for their daughter Lily. Cool! Here's a screen shot I took:

Now that I'm settled in a new studio I've decided to start offering them again. I'm not advertising this service so I don't get too swamped with orders and burn out again, but I'm happy to make them for my loyal customers, blog readers, Facebook fans, and friends. (Become a fan of kokoleo on Facebook and I'll give you 15% off your order.) Thanks to everyone who has appreciated my work over the years, I'm happy to be making these again.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Tutorial Tuesday: An Earring Organizer

Another of my new year's resolutions is to be more organized. Sometimes there are those moments when you suddenly realize that the way you've been doing something for as long as you remember just isn't working well for you, and come to think of it, it really hasn't ever worked well for you. I had one of those moments when we were running late for Erik's work Christmas party. After quickly making dinner and showering and picking up the babysitter and making myself look presentable I needed just one last accessory, earrings,  before I could head out the door.  I reached in my jewelry box, rummaged around,  found the earring I wanted to wear, but not it's mate. I rummaged some more, untangled jumbles of wire and jewels, found other mateless possibilities, and finally gave up and went to the party with naked earlobes.

The next day I decided to make an earring holder. I'd seen them before somewhere, a flea market or craft show display perhaps - they were simply screens in a frame, perfect for keeping dangly earrings organized and easily accessible. I had a big wooden frame left over from the embroidery piece I turned into this doll. I didn't have a screen but I have a ton of fabric so I chose a vintage print with a loose weave that I could poke earrings through.


I ironed on some thin fusible Pellon to make it a little more sturdy.

Then I stapled it to the frame around the inside edges.

and trimmed the fabric and added a hanging wire.

And now, in seconds flat, I can grab my earrings and I'm out the door.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Happy New Year!

Man, am I happy to put 2010 behind me. What a year! This time last year was a low point - Erik was getting ready to move to Phoenix for work, Sage was having a rough time in school, and I was working a job that made me miserable. L.A. was quickly losing it's luster for us and our future there looked bleak.  So we set our sights on Seattle and simply made it happen. Okay, not simply at all, but we survived months apart, house buying, house selling, moving vans, road trips, six summer weeks in a hotel... and finally, thankfully, here we are! 


My #1 new year's resolution is to never take this happiness I feel for granted. I have a feeling 2011 has good things in store for us.


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