Thursday, May 30, 2013

Say it with Flowers!

I'm so happy to be participating in my second blog hop. This one is about my favorite design! Thanks to Madame Samm, who continues to bring us these great blog hops, and to Carol of Just Let Me Quilt for cheering us on!

I use flowers in my designs quite a lot. Here are some of my patterns in this theme:

 For this hop, I've done three small projects; I wanted to use up some of my ever-growing stash of wool felt!

For the first, I designed and hand-stitched (with DMC floss) this 12" orange tulip candle mat. It's backed in green and finished off with an "x" stitch around the edge of the inner circle:

For the second, I got inspiration from a book I've had for years. It's produced by Dover Publications, and is called, "Geometric Ornaments and Designs." The graphic that caught my eye for this project made me think of cherry blossoms.
I decided to do another candle mat using different shades of pink and copper wool felt. The background is a piece of straw felt, and then the whole top is backed in copper canyon felt cut into a scallop shape. It's all hand-stitched with DMC floss and the candle mat measures 12" square. Here's the finished piece:

For my third project, I designed a floral pincushion. It's simple, but pretty (I think lol). It's made from silver grey wool felt which has been gathered around the rim of a mason jar cover. It's then adorned with a layered white flower and green leaves, and stuffed with polyfill. The finished size is approx. 5", and...

...if you leave me a comment, you can win it! The pincushion is part of my giveaway, which also includes some floss and some needles.
Thanks for visiting, and commenting, and be sure to visit everyone else on today's list!

May 30th
Elizabeth Coughlin Designs (that's me!)

Friday, May 17, 2013

For the Birds Giveaway!

I had so much fun with the "For the Birds" Blog Hop. Big thanks to Madame Samm and Mary!

Using I've selected a winner for my giveaway...

Congratulations to Vickie H, who has won:

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

It's for the Birds Blog Hop!

First, let me say thank you to Madame Samm for all she does to bring us these wonderful blog hops, and to Mary from I Piece 2-Mary for cheering us on in this one. This is my first blog hop, and I was enticed to jump in and give it a try by the theme of birds. So many possibilities! After thinking about it for a while, the image of a bird's nest popped into my mind. Of course, I knew I needed to include actual birds in the project as well. And I wanted to include yo-yos in my project...but more on that later! I played around with the design and finally settled on the concept of birds protecting their nest. At first, I approached it from a standard side view, but wasn't happy with the look of it. Then I thought, why not do something from a bird's eye view, aka from above?

The final design for "Protect the Nest" is an appliqued table mat which shows a nest with eggs nestled in the branches of a tree, with two birds circling above keeping everyone safe. I drew the pattern up in Photoshop and then printed it out.

Eventually, I would trace the pattern pieces onto freezer paper to cut out...but first I needed to decide on the medium for the project! I usually work in wool felt or wool, but I decided to use Maywood Woolies Flannels which give the look of wool but have the cost of fabric.
Working with the flannel posed certain difficulties for someone like me who is not used to worrying about fraying edges. So I had to figure some things out along the way. First, I cut a 14.5" circle from the Soft Gray Tiny Houndstooth fabric. I used this for the background of my applique. 

The next big decision was how to create my bird's nest. I considered various fabrics, including burlap, but finally decided to embroider the nest using a taupe six-strand floss and a chain stitch. I love the way it came out, but it certainly took a while to stitch!

Next, I applied fusible web to the rest of my fabric as I cut out my pattern pieces, (a necessary step when doing raw-edge applique!) I used the following fabrics from the same line: Rich Chocolate Brown Shadow Play (branches and part of the birds); Green Herringbone (leaves); and Cream Herringbone (bird bodies and eggs). I used three strands of six-strand DMC floss in colors that matched or complemented the fabrics. Everything is hand appliqued with blanket stitches. I also used a fly-stitch to put veins on the leaves.

After appliqueing, I pressed the top. I cut a piece of cotton batting the same size as the top, which now measured 14". (I started with a 14.5" circle, as I mentioned earlier. There was about .5" shrinkage that happened to the top when I did all the applique.) I cut a slit in the batting, and then placed it on the right side of my appliqued top. I then sewed a .25" seam around the entire edge. Finally, I turned the piece right-side out through the slit in the batting. Using this method, gave me a finished edge all around.

Next, I cut a circle of wool felt for the backing and layered it behind the finished top. I then blanket stitched all around the perimeter with green floss to attach the top and backing. The final top measures 13.5".

I was happy with the result, but still wanted to add a little something more... and that's where the yo-yos came in. I simply love yo-yos and use them a lot in my designs and projects. And what do you know, 22 extra-large yo-yos (made with the Clover Yo-Yo Maker) fit perfectly around the edge of my project (OK, I did plan that from the start lol, but wasn't sure if my math was correct, how it would work, or if I'd stick with the idea.) I made the yo-yos from the same grey fabric as the background, and then whip stitched them on from behind with the green floss, sewing through my edge blanket stitching. Then, I whip stitched them to each other. I think they're the perfect finishing touch! (One note about making yo-yos with a heavy fabric...use strong thread and double it!)

And here's the finished piece on my kitchen table. It measures 18". I hope you like it!

I'm doing a giveaway in honor of my first blog hop. I stitched up this "tweet" pincushion using a pattern from the book, "Bags, Pillows & Pincushions" from Better Homes & Gardens. I added a yo-yo and a little medallion to their pattern. The cute little bird in the medallion is from the book, "Stitch with Love" by Mandy Shaw. The pincushion measures 6".
In addition to the pincushion, the giveaway includes a 4" wooden embroidery hoop, and DMC 498 Floss Size 8. If you would like to be eligible for the random giveaway, please leave a comment. And I would love for you to follow my blog, but that's not a requirement for the giveaway.

Thanks so much. And, please be sure to check out and support everyone else in today's section of this blog hop!

Wednesday, May 8 (that's me!)