Sunday, September 4, 2016

Decisions for your dogwood tree world travel adventure
Designing on the fly
How is everyone doing? I haven't heard a peep from anyone yet. Labor Day weekend is here and I'm sure lots of you are busy with family and/or getting ready for school to start. Our charter school started class last Thursday. There were lots of happy first graders happily starting their first day of school. The joy in their voices was enough to make anyone smile.

You may not have noticed but I did not give you step-by-step instructions for your tree or flowers. This was on purpose. Don't groan because I want to encourage you to play. Play with abandon which means play wildly and without limits! You did this when you were young and all through grade school. You didn't worry about the outcome. You just played because it was fun playing. I want you to dig deep and step back into your youth and grab that curiosity you had. 

What if I (you):
  • used bias fabric for my tree and tree branches.
  • used a combination of fabric and thread
  • used knitting yarn and hand embroidery stitches
  • didn't put a tree on it at all
Originally, I had a pattern for your tree and exact placement for each and every flower. After I printed it out and stared at it, I decided that you should make your souvenir unique and different from mine. You can make it look exactly as mine if you wanted to but maybe it would be better to give you the road-map but allow you to take detours along the way.

I love my flexible ruler. It allows me to play around with shapes that I would not be able to do freehand with my chalk pencil. I had no idea where to start so I just started at the bottom corner on the left side and made a curve with the ruler that I thought looked nice. I drew it in with my pencil and made another curve. I made curves off of curves. Look at your trees and how limbs jet out from limbs. Remember you cannot see the whole tree in this scene. I've caught only a snippet of the branches in the photo. Capture that foreground and it will give you a more dimensional, natural look. I thought the scene without the tree was too flat. It was pretty, but the tree brought it to life.

Once you have drawn your tree shape, it's time to make flowers. I used some precut 2-1/2 inch strips that I had in my stash. Three of the strips had the same colors but different patterns. I chose to use all three so that the sizes of the flowers and voids of colors would be all different but similar. 

Apply the paper back fusible stabilizer to your fabrics and draw your flower on the paper side and cut out the shapes. I did different sizes like the pattern you have. I cut a few, laid them out on my drawn lines to see how it looked. Cut more, played more, repeat. I repeated the process until I liked the fullness of the flowers on the tree. I ended up with nearly 50 flowers. It took me a little while to do this part but don't despair.....the results are worth it.

Now you must decide what your tree will be made of. If you choose fabric, you may want to glue baste your branches in place first. Then apply your flowers.

Since I decided to hand stitch my branches, I fused all of the flowers in place, then went back and stitched the branches. I used a heavy chain stitch and knitting yarn. I love the look of the heavy chain stitch. It is an easy stitch to learn even if you have never done any hand embroidery. And if you want to learn how to do it, Mary Corbet is my hero on any hand embroidery stitch you could ever want to learn. She is my go-to hero and I am pleased to introduce you to her if you didn't already know her.

Here's a close-up of the stitch for my branches:

And because enough is really never enough, I decided to add in some hand embroidery to every single flower. I love how it looks.

The stitch I used is called a daisy stitch in two colors. Mary's how-to link is HERE.

When I was all done, I added in some paint to each flower. The paint I mentioned in this earlier post is what I would consider similar to applying shimmer eye shadow. There is a color but if you are light-handed, it is mostly shimmer with some depth. I started off adding it to only a few, but then the others looked sad and left out so everyone got a little color!

What do you think? Are you having fun?

Next it's quilting time!

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