When a birthday is approaching (or any special event actually) everyone thinks about what kind of present to give. Going to a shop, browsing without an idea to start with and see what I can find (just to give something, anything) never felt right for me. Where is the love in that? If I DO have just the right idea at the beginning, or know what that beautiful soul needs or would like to have or benefit from, that is different and in that case practicality wins and I buy a present.
BUT: I do prefer creating gifts, given three factors:
- The time for making the present can be arranged (family, friends and job demand their time)
- The right idea has to come into my mind (I must be convinced that the presentee will like it)
- The little gift has to be appreciated (and I am the judge of that… no point in spending hours/weeks/months in making something and then it vanishes in a cupboard, never to be seen again…) 🙂
Soon it will be end of August and another beautiful soul, a lovely friend of mine, is going to celebrate her birthday. Luckily Jo is someone who appreciates the little things in life. She recognises the value of and how much love is being put into “Handmade”, which makes it fun to bestow a self-made gift on her. 🙂
I met Jo some years ago through dancing. She is also an author and deeply connected with nature. This year Jo is incredibly busy with several projects, having to do with her being a Druid (e. g. writing books, several blogs, making videos and running Druid College UK) and I wanted to create a present for her that reflects her current experiences.
The representation of the divine energy (simply because of Jo’s spiritual being) had to be the centre piece and I wanted it to be related to female divine energy. I also had to connect that with a tree (in recognition of Jo being a druid – I know there might have been lots of other ways, the tree seemed the most obvious one). Ideally it would be a tree goddess, or something like that. This was the idea I had at least and pencil and paper were ready. For inspirational purposes I decided to have a look online and searched for “tree goddess”. One of the designs caught my eyes instantly, it felt right the moment I saw it, and I knew I couldn’t draw it better.
The next step was to decide for a fabric. Could it be something different than a print with trees and in green (one of Jo’s favourite colours)? So that is exactly what I went for. I bought it at the Knitting and Stitching Show in London last October, knowing it would fulfil a special purpose some day…
I knew I wanted to make a book cover for Jo. With her busy lifestyle she needs a diary to write down notes, ideas, inspirations and have her appointments accessible, all in one place.
The work also needed a written message I felt. Something Jo could relate to and that I could convey, something that would make sense. The one thing that didn’t want to leave my head was “I see you…” which I inserted at the bottom of the design. For me it was about the spirits of nature, seeing Jo for who she is, a beautiful spiritual being, while she goes for long walks outside, as well as Jo being aware of her surroundings when in nature. Interestingly “I see you” is used in the movie “Avatar” to express a deep connection between two beings, to express that these two really see each other with their positive characteristics and their “dark” sides, and love and accept each other just the way they are. I love that interpretation of this sentence. All of us should strive to see who our loved ones really are (and not just how we would like to see them) and accept each other with unconditional love and ideally with lack of judgement. What a beautiful message! It couldn’t be anything else, it was perfect! 🙂
As Jo is flying home and I won’t see her on her birthday I gave my present to her last Saturday. This is “part 2”, the making of and the story behind it. You will also find out how the gift, in the end, did not want to be a book cover…
Happy birthday Jo!! May your dreams take off and may you have the strength to live them! 🙂 <3
I see you… 😉
THE MAKING OF
Beautiful fabric, printed with leaves and trees:
I cut the fabric into the right size and shape, washed and dried it and sewed the edges (with my sewing machine) so the fabric wouldn’t fray. Shape for book cover done:
I chose this thread for the work as I knew Jo would love the colour combination:
The stitched work (all by hand and all with split stitch) is done (I used brown and green DMC embroidery thread additionally to the Rayon Boucle). Half way through my work I discovered it couldn’t be a book cover… “Why?” you may ask… well… I stitched the design upside down onto the fabric!!! The front cover all of a sudden was on the back!
I am nothing but inventive. Jo likes wall hangings, so here we go. It was late at night (hence the darker pictures) and I went through my creative stash (I could possibly not go to sleep when I just had so many ideas coming up!). I knew I had a metal ring and tested the size, it fit perfectly! The DMC satin threads loose colour when washed, so when I washed off the stabilizer with water the colour of the green leaves started to “run” which gives the tree the beautiful effect of a fuller crown:
Preventing the edge from fraying by (again) sewing the edge with my sewing machine (marking of the ring is done with a pen that vanishes after 48 hours):
Then using the running stitch with a double thread on top of that:
Pulling the double thread together really tight so the fabric forms an even tension around the circular metal frame:
And another fun bit. 🙂 I used hem stitch with a golden metallic thread to really secure the fabric and the frame. Then I embellished the golden thread with another brown thread by stitching in between the golden stitches. Then I attached a brown ribbon (for hanging) and painted the very outer edge with golden acrylic paint. This is how it looks close up:
To make it look better and a little bit more elegant I chose black cotton fabric for the back side:
This is the finished wall hanging:
Something missing… ah yes, a little golden crocheted flower with a french knot in a contrasting colour in the middle. A tiny little masterpiece in its own right… (for anyone wanting to try crocheting with embroidery thread.. let me know… lol). It had to be made to complete the wall hanging.
A last close look at the stitching (picture before the sticky fabri-solvy was removed):
It was a fun project and I loved every (even painful) second of it! 🙂
I learned (again) how to rethink a plan (and why it is indeed good to start projects with a deadline well ahead of time – I am THAT organised now! Boom!), how a tool from the garden shed is more than useful for embroidery (I wonder if I am the only one using pliers while stitching?) and that it is always good to have a stash of random things at home. 🙂
Please comment if you would like to share your thoughts or your own ideas and subscribe or like my facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/CreativeCatriz/) if you would like to read more about being creative and my funny projects.
Lots of love,
P.S.: The design I chose is from urbanthreads.com and can be purchased on their website (without the written message).