So, here is a primitive stitchery I just finished. It is a star (in case you can't tell). It was one of those "I need a tree topper, but I don't feel like driving to the store and wasting gas because I live in the boondocks" moments. It is the origin of the modern day "make-do's". 'Gas prices are so high that I will make it myself and "make-do" '. It is not about hitching up the horse anymore.
The impetus for said star? I redid one of my trees that I keep up year-round. And by "redid", I mean I took everything off, stripped it bare, nothing on it, nada, zilch... Oh, wait. Everything except the country garland. And the lights. Okay, so semi-bare. I thought the tree looked busy and cluttered. I had a bunch of little home-made stitcheries of mine on it. The rest of the hodge-podge was a few sewn birds and those tree ornaments that look like old kitchen utensils (the tree is near my kitchen). There was no theme. It was "put country cute stuff on the tree" kind-of look. As I take pictures for this blog, the pictures help me to see areas of my decor that are too busy, don't fit in, aren't balanced- you name it. I highly recommend taking pictures of different areas of your home from different angles to see how they may appear to others.
Anyway, back to the story. My old Singer sewing machine needs repair (Disclaimer: The following may or may not be considered a "squirrel" moment). My mother gave it to me, and it is the old metal kind that would sit in a console. You flip open the top of the console, bring up the sewing machine, and WALAH! You have your machine and a work table. The problems are: it isn't portable, and it takes up room. So, I removed the machine from the console. Since it is metal, it weighs like a "bagillion" pounds. Seriously, if a Mack truck ran over it, the truck should worry... But it is a classic pistachio green, it is well-made, and not made of plastic. But right now, it needs a Singer repair person give it some TLC.
So, all of that to say- I do a lot of hand-stitching. Which isn't bad. It certainly is portable. I sew on the porch, on the couch, in the house, with a mouse... Ooops, how did Dr, Seuss get in this discussion? Ugh. ANYWHOOO, so I decided my tree needed a new topper.
I had a medium-sized prim angel at the top. The angel, although cute, dwarfed the tree. So, to the prim star: I used black and beige embroidery thread, two strands at a time, a piece of antique crochet-work that came from an old bedspread, osnasburg fabric, a piece of backing fabric for the inside, and instant coffee. Lots of instant coffee.
- After I had sewn the star (which is obviously not precisely sewn, as you can see), I put it into a bowl of dark instant coffee. I let it sit there for hours (not too long or it will rot or look like a science experiment gone wrong).
- Two things that I like to do to give it that really "grungy look" is to sprinkle some of the coffee crystals right on any pieces of the project that are close to the surface of the staining liquid or sprinkle it on the project while it is damp and sitting in my dish drain. If the spots are too dark, I just rub the fabric together to blur the stain a bit.
- After it has drained a while, I put it in my oven on low heat to dry. You need to really supervise this. Starting a fire in your stove trying to "grunge" something and having to explain this to the fire department or a spouse may not be understood by non-primitive crafters and decorators. It would be frowned upon. But, doing it this way gives it a hard, starchy feel and a darker color.
- When it feels dry, I let it sit in the oven (after it has been turned off), and I crack the door a bit. I just leave it that way for a while. And then- tadaa! It is ready to put on the tree!
WELL, that was so much fun! My next project is to use a similar technique and create some grungy pincushions. Do I need pincushions? No. Do I want an excuse to coffee-dye things and put them in the oven. Yes. If they turn out well, I may try to sell them on eBay. We'll see. Maybe ya'll can give me some feedback on them when I am done. My stitching is primitive. But it may appear to others as "Cool, this looks primitive. It is like it was made in the good old days" or, how embarrassing, "Woah, this looks primitive. Like a five-year old made it. Yikes."
Coffee Talk for Today: What are some grunging techniques that you use? What are some unique items that you use to create "make-do's"?