Lots of interesting things today!
Keren, who runs the vintage graphics blog Free Pretty Things For You (which is actually where I got the background for my Stitchy News logo, coincidentally), recently posted a photograph of an absolutely awesome embroidery cake! White icing was used for the base, and then coloured straight sprinkles were used to make 'stitches' on the surface, in a pretty pattern of flowers and vines! I bet that it would be really fun to do something like that, adding in regular round sprinkles, specialty sprinkles - like those little silver balls - and little candies perhaps :) I was also super excited to find out, while searching the Wilton cake decoration website for sprinkle pics, that there is now such a thing as edible glitter! Yummy bling!!!
Good ES Friend CrazyStitcher has an absolutely gorgeous blackwork card finish posted up! You may remember her first blackwork card she completed a while ago. This time, she used one of designer Jeanne Dansby's free Blackwork Smalls patterns - Rosa - and worked with red, black and gold on a white background. The perfect finishing touch is the gold thread couched around the border, which she kindly states was inspired by my Stitchy Adventures in Couching! CS has also put together a phenomenal slideshow presentation; you can really follow the progress of each stitched element from start to finish. Bravo CS! Wonderful work!!!
Speaking of Jeanne Dansby and WyrdByrd Designs, Jeanne recently posted an excellent pictorial tutorial (I love saying - er, writing - that!) of the basics of blackwork called Back to the Beginning. I've seen quite of few instructions on how to work blackwork stitches in my time, and this is by far the most clearest and concise.
I honestly wish I had seen instructions like this back when I first started cross-stitching, quite a few years ago. Back then, before the stitching community took off on the Internet (I'm talking like mid-1990's, not 1890's, LOL), my only pattern guide and stitchy technique references came from stitching magazines. At that time, blackwork was quite exotic, and not often included. When I was lucky enough to find a pattern I liked, the instructions were for finishing, not for stitching.
This leads me to a bit of a stitchy confession, I'm afraid: I'm a blackwork fraud! No, really! Because I never knew the difference when I started, I stitched the few small blackwork patterns I liked in backstitch, which I was familiar with from outlining cross-stitch, naturally. I'm ashamed to say that I never discovered that there was a proper way to stitch blackwork until many years later, and by that time, I liked working with backstitch, and so I kept at it. And I still do! ;)
Speaking of different ways to do something, another good ES friend, Rainy Day Crafter, of the always-interesting Dancing in the Rain, has a very cool new post up about the Being Creative project, which is completely new to me (and might be to you, too!). Run by UK artist Julia Crossland, the Being Creative project provides inspirational themes each month, and encourages participants to post up their creations, in virtually any medium. The whole idea is just to make whatever moves you, in any way that you want, which is a very good idea, I think.
Most of us get stuck on one project, or on a certain project we want to do, or on a certain technique. The idea of taking a general theme and just creating something - for just the joy of making something - with no pressure, no need to be "perfect" is neat. Participation is free! There is also a Newsletter you can sign up for, and a free e-book with tips on being creative if you do; you don't have to commit to the project right away. I signed up for the Newsletter, and look forward to seeing future mailings. You can see all the July entries in this post on Julia's blog.
While surfing along aimlessly on the Internet last night, I stumbled across a really neat free photo manipulation site called PhotoFunia. com. Intended as an App for cellphones, Photofunia was launched in 2007. The website is free to use and doesn't require any software download or membership registry. It lets you upload any photo of your choice and inserts that photo into one of many very unusual templates. And one of those templates, called Fancywork, lets you render your photo as a virtual cross-stitch, in progress between a model stitcher's hands! For example,
Recognize these flowers? They're the Victorian Roses from the ES banner!
Here's a before and after, featuring some real-life roses (copyright free image):
Isn't that neat? You can upload any photo smaller than 10 MB (megabytes), and you can save your file - in various formats, from low quality to high - and even send your image as a postcard, directly from the site. Lots of fun things to play around with!
I'm also quite taken with the Vintage Stamp set:
(Again with the ES Victorian Roses; only the top two change. Clever, yes?!)
Also, you can do the reverse, and upload photos of your stitching!
For example, this Antique Book effect:
(Can you guess the work? It's Floral Teacup!)
I can foresee lots of experimenting with some of these effects in the near future :) Although it's really intended to portrait photography (faces) and some effects have Facial Recognition technology, the effects can be adaptable to other images as well.
Before you leave PhotoFunia, make sure that you go to one of the effects and bring up the Choose File box and click the line of text at the bottom left that says "Delete All Images" to clear your photographs from the site, just to be safe :)
If you decide to have a go, feel free to leave links to your creations in the Comments!