Boro Stitch

If I've calculated correctly I've had this textile for 13+ years. It's a block printed textile from India. I've been hard on it. It's been used as my bedspread. The sun has faded it in areas. My cat put lot's of holes in it as a kitten learning how to jump and retract his claws. It's almost used up but I wanted to get a little more life out of it.

I decided to make it my first Boro stitch project. I shared about Boro a little in my Sashiko stitch post. Boro is a Japanese mending stitch and oh did this need some mending. At first I thought I was fixing a couple large holes...

  My first mendings on the piece are in the center and upper left of this image.

My first mendings on the piece are in the center and upper left of this image.

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But nope, tons of little holes from the years of use. In some areas this fabric is basically thread bare. It turned into the perfect project to explore this visible mending technique. My plan was to hang this as a shower curtain when I'd finished so I knew it would be forgiving to my novice skill level.

To mend something it's necessary to back the hole with a piece of fabric larger than the hole.

  To tie off my thread I connected my back stitches securing my ends.

To tie off my thread I connected my back stitches securing my ends.

  The back of my textile is very messy with these little scraps of cloth but in use they won't be seen.

The back of my textile is very messy with these little scraps of cloth but in use they won't be seen.

  Perhaps my favorite little mend.

Perhaps my favorite little mend.

  Mending, mending, mending...

Mending, mending, mending...

It ended up being a much larger project than I expected so I working on it every day for about 10 days. Sometimes for a couple hours, sometimes for 5 minutes. If you're trying this out for the first time I do recommend starting out with your smallest hole first before tackling the larger ones. I wish I had done that myself.

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Now it hangs in my bathroom totally transforming the tiny space! Because it's not backlit the mending scraps don't stand out just the boro stitches themselves.

A decoration switcheroo in autum's golden light

Quick! Save your Halloween pumpkins from the compost. It might be possible to give them a makeover and become your fall decorations. If you carved yours into a jack-o lantern then the fruit flies might have already carted them off to vegetable as decoration heaven BUT if you happened to paint yours like I did you might just be in luck.

Before it becomes full on Christmas in my house I thought I'd enjoy autumn a bit. I was able to salvage most of my pumpkins from my Halloween decor. Because I used acrylic paints I was able to wash most of the eyeballs off my pumpkins. 

I kept the tillandsia greenery and added some fall like branches and blooms. And because in San Francisco we don't get much "fall color" I brought out my water color leaves from last years paper craft project. That makes it two centerpiece elements I was able to repurpose!

On a few pumpkins I just flipped them around to hide their eyes from looking at me. I can also store other fall veggies (squash and pomegranate) in the arrangement until I eat them!

It's really been feeling like fall in the evenings with it's golden light. I've been enjoying these fall arrangements as I furiously work away on projects for two upcoming San Francisco holiday fairs. If you're in the bay area stop on by The San Francisco Center for the Book on Nov 22nd or Pier 35 on Nov 29-30th. 

Evil Eyes for Halloween

It's all about the eyeball this year. As shared a couple weeks ago I came up with some creepy eyeball paper flowers that I wanted to incorporate into my Halloween decor. Coincidently I am taking care of twenty air plants this month for a friend. I have some of my own tillandsias and just adopted a couple more. It feels like they're multiplying like tribbles or gremlins so I knew they would need to be a main feature paired with my other creepy plants. 

I've continued to be drawn to summery colors because just yesterday it started to feel like fall in San Francisco. With the warm weather we've been having I couldn't fully dive into traditional fall colors so I went theme eye ball with a nod to the Turkish Evil Eye (nazar). The symbolism is meant to protect from the evil eye but it is also blue which is one of my favorite colors.

During my blog hiatus I made some placemats out of African waxed fabric. I was drawn to the pattern because it looks a little eyeballish but hadn't yet been planning for Halloween. It was fortuitous that they would work perfectly with this decor. It's because I love blue.

DIY Break Down

My original vision for this lantern was to have a billion eyes staring at you. It turned out less creepy than I wanted but I like the slightly eery look. Maybe it will get used year round since it's not obviously Halloween.

To make the shade frame I created a tube with a length of chicken wire. I then stretched out heavy duty white crepe paper and used alcohol inks similarly to the flowers I made awhile back. Then I painted pupils with black acrylic. The alcohol inks allow light to shine through where as the acrylics block light. I then stretched my already stretched out paper over my frame and secured with regular white glue. To light the lantern I took the shade off a lamp I already had and popped this one over the top. I made sure the shade would be taller than the lamp so it could just sit on my bookshelf without needing to be attached.

The pumpkins were also painted using acrylics. You can't go wrong owning some basic paint colors. I've had my tubes since college and they're still going strong. I did buy one gourd that only needed a couple dots of paint to become an eyeball.

And of course you can make some eyeballed paper florals with my tutorial.

Tillandsia Talk

Now for a little Tillandsia Talk since their such a big feature of my arrangements. I recently went to Flora Grubb Gardens for an event featuring a new book Air Plants: The Curious World of Tillandsias. While I've had air plants for awhile and thought I knew how to care for them I learned even more during Zenaida Sengo's book talk. My biggest revelation is to think of them like a living sponge. It's a misnomer that these plants get their nutrients from the air alone. In their native habitats it rains way more than it does in our houses. You can spritz these guys with water but to get the right amount of water they need spraying daily or a good soak once a week. Just like a super dried out sponge it takes more than a spritz to fully hydrate. For more info and plenty of decorating ideas get the book!

Peeps poppies, paper, and pink

Peeps poppies, paper, and pink. Easter time is peeps time. It's become a personal tradition to craft a Peeps project this time of year. I've been making paper flowers lately so they became the perfect perch for Peeps. You can find my past Peeps projects; Crown of Peeps here, and Tower of Peeps here. 

I recently saw this quote:

I challenge you to find any other food product where a full one-third of the purchases don’t go to their normal, intended use: eating.

— Brian Bachrach, senior marketing manager of innovation at Just Born

Is that not the truth? I've eaten at least as many Peeps as you see on my tree. I found the above quote on the ultimate Tumblr Peepikidia; Peepin it real.

It's a Peeps bush! The flowers themselves are attached using floral wire to a Christmas decoration I've repurposed. In trying to find a storage place for this branch turned ornament tree I realized it could be kept out of a closet if I nestled dried Starflowers in the branches to springify it. 

The wooden box is covered in silver washi tape and is evidence of it's holiday past. Luckily silver is a neutral.

Making fall

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Day light savings is over and Halloween has passed. Sometimes in San Francisco the weather doesn't match up with the season. We're not known for our fall foliage so I made some of my own with watercolors and water color pencils.

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I repurposed my Halloween pumpkins. If you follow me on Instagram you'll recognize the sticks from my Halloween decor. I've been really into sticks lately and have been collecting them on outdoor excursions. 

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