Archive | February 2009

Antique Autumn Roses: neck-piece

Antique Autumn Roses- by Christen Brown

Antique Autumn Roses- by Christen Brown

This necklace was started in a class using my pattern “Entwined Roses”. The design grew with the addition of the wonderful wrapped metallic gold center piece given to me by a friend.

I had also just acquired a collection of vintage celluloid buttons, which found there way into major focal areas around the hand made silk ribbon flowers and leaves. Almost all of the buttons are made with vintage materials such as Bakelite, brass, molded glass, and cinnabar. Two other special components are the porcelain leaf button by Rama in the front, and a large flower shaped yellow bronze button from Worldly Good Buttons.

The other stunning components are the gold reflective glass flower shaped roundels, that really make the rest of the colors stand out. I used the peyote stitch to add in the vintage and new glass beads and charms; carnelian, Pyrex, cloisonne charms and dangles; and wrapped metal dangles.

Happy Stitching! Christen

Summers by The Sea: neck-piece

Summers by the Sea by Christen Brown

Summers by the Sea by Christen Brown

After graduating High School, I spent one glorious year on Catalina Island working as the Crafts Director at a YMCA camp. This was the perfect place for someone who enjoys the ocean, the creatures within, and the treasures that often wash ashore. Not to mention that it was a great place to think about what I wanted to do for the rest of my life!

Many of the bits and pieces in this neck-piece were gathered during that year. The most prominent shells are the “button shells” which are from the cowrie shell family. They are very rare, and only found in certain locations, one being at Button Shell Beach, which was the name of the cove where the camp was located.

Summers by the Sea was created with the free form peyote stitch in a pallet of soft colors provided by the sea, air and shore. Vintage and new glass seed beads and novelty shaped beads are stitched to simulate rivers and clusters of treasures washed up along with the sea foam. Other beads and items that I used were: fresh water pearls; “tiny” green abalone shells (these I purchased at a store in Avalon); brown muscle shell charms and beads; abalone shells and chips.

A few years ago my husband and I attended a Jazz festival held in the Casino ballroom. This was the first time that I had been back to the island in 32 years. I found the island still lovely, quiet and quaint, with some new growth which was to be expected. I still felt the old attractions of my longing for the sea, the shore and the solitude that I found here so many years ago. I have this necklace as a reminder and inspiration to never let go of my dreams!

Happy and Joyous Stitching! Christen

Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride: necklace with vintage buttons

Mr. Toad's Wild Ride by Christen Brown

Mr. Toad's Wild Ride by Christen Brown

“It’s never the wrong time to call on Toad.
Early or late he’s always the same fellow.
Always good-tempered, always glad to see you, always sorry when you go!”
excerpt from The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

I really loved the illustrations, the title and the characters of this book. Oddly enough though this happens to be my least favorite ride at Disneyland and my husband and daughter’s favorite ride. I am not sure what comment this makes about us, (perhaps it is the fact that they both deal with chaos better than I), but I still think that it is a wonderful book.

This entire ensemble was created to display the gorgeous black glass buttons, one from the Victorian era, mixed with vintage sterling buttons and new picture buttons Dorothy (for my daughter) and Albert (for my husband) at the top of the picture.

The vintage green glass leaves were made in Japan and the round red glass beads were made in Czechoslovakia. Other beads and charms add a fun color mix which was actually inspired by an old set of bark cloth curtains that my grandmother owned. I wear this with a short sleeved jacket that was made with the bark cloth which also bears the name, “Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride“.

Bracelets: Toad Greens, Czech It Out, African Stripes

Bracelets: Toad Greens, Check It Out, African Stripes

“Toad Greens” is chock full of vintage glass beads from Japan and Germany. “African Stripes” is made with vintage African Trade beads. The beads in both bracelets were strung on Soft Flex, with crimp beads on the end.

The middle bracelet “Check it Out” is made from the “Chantilly Laced Buttons” pattern using vintage Czech glass and Victorian “mourning” glass buttons with glass seed beads. I had been collecting these buttons for both the necklace, where I used my “Vintage Bling Bling” pattern and this bracelet for many years, and am happy to say they are at home now.

Happy Stitching! Christen

Rose Garden Pillow

Rose Garden by Christen Brown

Rose Garden by Christen Brown

The design for this pillow is very similar to the La Vie en Rose, the purse that I created for the November/December issue of PieceWork Magazine.

This actually was the first design, but I did not use an embroidery hoop, and the fabric puckered TERRIBLY! So I turned the shape into one that would look like a pillow and stuffed it to a maximum density, and voila: no more puckers!

For the embroidery design I used pearl cotton in 6 shades of pink, and 3 shades of green. The stitches I used were: bouillon, woven, cast-on, lazy daisy, feathered leaf, French Knots, and Peking knot.

8-1/2″ W x 7-1/2″ H

May you have many hours of Happy Stitching! Christen

Scrumptious Scraps Wall Hanging: silk ribbon embroidery with silk ribbon worked flowers and leaves

Scrumptious Scraps by Christen Brown

Scrumptious Scraps by Christen Brown

This wall hanging truly covers all of my passions, embroidery, ribbon work, vintage lace, and dyeing! Scrumptious Scraps was a labor intensive project, but well worth the time that I spent on it. In fact this piece is one of my favorites, and I have used it throughout the design of my website.

The base fabric is comprised of all of those precious scraps of handmade lace and fabric that you can’t throw out! The base was created with a layer of Solvy over the scraps of lace and fabric which was then machine quilted fusing all of the pieces together. The base was then dyed with Color Hue Dyes, along with the ribbons that I used to embroider the flowers and leaves.

The ribbon worked flowers are made from Hanah silk bias ribbons, cotton grosgrain ribbons, and dyed silk satin ribbons; the embroidery was stitched with silk ribbons and embroidery threads.

size 12-3/8″ W x 9-1/2″

Happy Stitching! Christen

Silk Gardens Purse: silk ribbon embroidery and ribbon work purse

Silk Gardens by Christen Brown

Silk Gardens by Christen Brown

This purse appeared in the March/ April 2007 issue of PieceWork Magazine. I wrote an article on silk fabrics, and this piece was included as a project to make. I enjoyed working with these lovely spring colors, and as always the silk ribbons that were used in this project.

The pattern is similar to the “Climbing Wisteria Vines” purse shape. The base is made from a silk dupioni fabric. The ribbon worked flowers are made from Hanah silk bias ribbons, and Mokuba picot edged ombre ribbons. The embroidery is done with 4mm and 7mm silk ribbons and 4mm Mokuba ombre ribbon.

A vintage reproduction Czech glass button is used for the closure, with reproduction jacquard ribbon. The edge and the cord handle are made from Hanah silk bias ribbon.

Happy  and Joyous Stitching! Christen

Cranberry Craze Purse: bead embroidery

Cranberry Craze- by Christen Brown

Cranberry Craze- by Christen Brown

This purse is a sample from my bead embroidery class Beadazzled Somemore. The beads are added to the fabric in a free form peyote stitch, attached at intervals throughout the beading process. Traditional embroidery stitches were also used to attach some of the beads.

The base fabric is a cotton batik by Hoffman Fabrics. The glass seed beads I used are in sizes 6, 8, 11, and 15 in round, square, bugle and triangle shapes. I also used vintage glass buttons; novelty leaf and butterfly shaped beads; rondelles; and vintage sequins.

Back of Purse

Back of Purse

Happy and Joyous Stitching! Christen