red flannel pantry

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Archive for the tag “needlepoint”

ahoy 16-year-old matey


Yet another dear friend of Daughter #2 turned 16 this week. She and D#2 took driving lessons together, so they have a special automotive bond.

This friend is fond of nautical motifs, so D#2 and I thought it’d be fun to design a keychain spelling out her name in nautical flags. We decided to orient them vertically as if they were on a flag hoist. So these flags signal echo mike mike alta–EMMA!

Happy Birthday, Emma!

new doodle journal

IMG_1674I found this little (5″ x 8″) journal at Target yesterday and couldn’t resist. I love the bright-colored floating half-square triangle (HST) blocks.

The best part? It’s filled with graph paper, so it’s perfect for sketching needlepoint and quilt designs. Time to begin filling it up . . .

pachyderm party

IMG_1673Yet another of Daughter #2’s friends has turned 16, so we needlepointed a special keychain in honor of the occasion. She is fond of elephants, so we made sure one landed here.

800px-STL_Elephant[1]We are awaiting the arrival of the fourth baby of this big guy, Raja, at the St. Louis Zoo. Ellie, the mother, is due any day now, so a needlepoint elephant is timely.


Happy 16th Birthday, Sarah!

color inspiration

SilkBrights[1]Daughter #2 and I have a keychain in the works for one of her friends. Although we have the design somewhat worked out, we were stumped by colors to use. Time to look at Design-Seeds!

Design-Seeds is the work of Jessica and features photos with corresponding palettes of colors pulled from the photo. The photographs and their palettes range from luscious with rich, deep tones to meditative with calm, cool hues. Jessica posts a different photo everyday, so the website offers a daily treat for the eyes and mind. It’s a great way to start a creative day.

My daughters and I find the website helpful when seeking color inspiration and when searching for complementary colors when our hearts are set on using a particular tint.

In this case, D#2 and I are taken with these sari-inspired, jewel-saturated tones. Jessica named this palette silk brights.

IMG_1662Here’s our interpretation based on our tastes and what was available at the needlepoint store–lovely.

edelweiss keychain

IMG_1366To celebrate the 16th birthday of her running partner and pit orchestra friend, Daughter #2 and I collaborated on yet another keychain design. It had to have some yellow and should be clean and bright–and wouldn’t it be nice to incorporate some little flowers? Edelweiss anyone?

So we came up with this little pattern. Its subdued palette and sweet stylized flowers (although not white) suggest retroSound of Music.

Happy Birthday, Susanna!

happy accidents in design

danielle keychainDaughter #2 and I have often found that mistakes inspire improved design. This keychain was made for a long-time soccer teammate/fellow band-geek friend of Daughter #2’s. Her family is from Australia (which is where she was born), and she now lives in the United States. We thought working the Australian flag on her keychain would be perfect, especially after our success with MK’s Union Jack keychain. Flag_of_Australia_svgHowever, despite many tries, we could not get the miniUnion Jack that appears in the flag’s upper left quadrant to work–the diagonals on this small scale were a killer and our attempts looked plain goofy. We carefully seam-ripped it out and considered other options. We finally settled on doing her initials in red and white in the upper left quadrant, which suggest the Union Jack, and keeping representations of the Commonwealth Star (in the lower left quadrant) and the Southern Cross constellation. We like how the design ended up as a personalized mash-up of the US and Australian flags–just right for Danielle.

peyton keychainFor another special friend, Daughter #2 and I came up with a modern aqua/coral palette and chose a font and layout that emphasized the serifs and descenders. After D#2 needlepointed the name though, we realized the design was skewed to the right (rather than centered as intended) and there was too much empty space beneath the name. Hmm. . . .so for balance and fill, using ecru floss, we added rules beneath the name and a geometric pattern to the left. In the end, it looks better than if we had finished it as intended.

Happy Birthday, Danielle and Peyton!

sixteen candles

MK's keychainYet another dear and special friend of Daughter #2 hit the driving-age milestone, so we worked up this Union Jack keychain for her. We learned that the Union Jack is a superposition of the flags of St. George (for England), St. Andrew (for Scotland) and St. Patrick (for Ireland)–no wonder it is so complicated. The diagonal stripes posed a challenge in needlepoint interpretation, but we think it came out well. As is our way, St. Christopher was added as a passenger.

MK is as old a friend as a 16-year-old can have–the two girls used to nap together in the same crib. The first time I made MK a pillowcase, I asked for her input: what was her favorite color? Rainbow! I made her a pillowcase with tie-dyed–looking fabric, which happily suited MK’s 5-year-old design sensibilities. Several years later, this well-worn pillowcase accompanied MK to sleep-away camp where, during a pillow fight, the cuff with her name was torn from the rest of the pillowcase. I carefully detached the cuff, found new material, and fashioned an updated version.

MK's pillowcaseDaughter #2 and I decided that it was time for MK to have a pillowcase with all new parts. We thought this bright, modern print would be perfect: it matches MK’s room and remains in keeping with her colorful tastes and vibrant personality.MK's 5th bdayHere’s a photo from MK’s 5th birthday–note the tie-dyed tablecloth!

Happy 16th Birthday, Mary Kate!

happy, happy

keychain for s

Sixteenth birthdays continue to tumble from the calendar. Today is the 16th birthday of a long-time friend of Daughter #2. She loves anchors as a design motif, so we worked one into her keychain. St. Christopher is going along for the ride.


I made her a personalized pillowcase years ago, and we decided it was time to replace it with one that was more grown up. We found this ikat fabric (oh so hip) with green highlights, which will match her bedroom–perfect.

best soccer buddies

Here’s to best friends. Happy Birthday, Sarah!

16th birthdays and safe journeys

This week the state of Missouri has issued driver’s licenses to two more 16 year olds we know and love, so Daughter #2 and I designed and made them keychains. We are in full production mode these days.

We added the St. Christopher medals for a little extra spiritual insurance. St. Christopher, the patron saint of travelers, is rather versatile: he is also the patron saint of gardeners, sailors and athletes–my kind of saint. He is said to have unknowingly carried the Christ child across a dangerous raging river. That’s why the image on St. Christopher medals is typically St. Christopher, staff in hand, wading through water while hoisting the Christ child above his shoulder. I grew up Catholic, and one of my earliest memories is sitting in the backseat of my mother’s station wagon watching the St. Christopher medals dangle from rusty safety pins attached to the car visor. Somehow we were kept safe despite the lack of airbags and seatbelts. I figure that adding this talisman for a safe life’s journey can’t hurt.

And since they didn’t have personalized pillowcases yet, Daughter #2 and I picked out fabric and colors that we thought reflect them and stitched up a couple.

fifteen going on sixteen

Daughter #2 and her friends are beginning to celebrate 16th birthdays. This weekend is Alyson’s birthday. Alyson has been a carpool buddy since preschool days, which means practically their whole lives–easy to say when you are 16. Given Alyson’s soon-to-be licensed driver status and their years of bonding while strapped in a back seat, Daughter #2 thought a keychain would be the perfect gift.

We buy the leather and canvas keychains at a local needlepoint shop for under $20.

The shop will draw on a standard monogram if you ask nicely, but we have watched Daughter #1 create her own clever needlepoint keychain designs for a couple of years, so Daughter #2 thought she’d try something on her own (with a little help from me!).

We began by xeroxing the blank canvas keychain at an enlarged size, making multiple copies, and then messing around with pencils in hand.

Since this was only the second keychain Daughter #2 has made, the two of us came up with a simple design that was easy to map out and stitch. Creating your own design involves a lot of counting, measuring, and figuring, so patience is required, especially when a teenage daughter and her mother are working together.

She stitched the background with DMC floss with blue/purple color variations using the basketweave stitch. It resulted in a pretty variegated pattern.

The car keys don’t come with the keychain!

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