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1  My Christmas gift embroideries - picture heavy! in Needlework: Completed Projects by mojouk on: January 08, 2011 03:34:59 AM
Last year (can't get used to writing that!) I decided to save money on Christmas gifts since I am unemployed. So, for most people I just made an embroidery with a personal design for the recipient/s. Here is what I came up with:

A portrait of Diaghilev for my grandma:

Heart & arrow for my cousin and his wife:

Family tree branch with birdies representing each member of my stepsister's family:

Old school Chelsea FC logo for my stepdad:

Anatomical heart design for my other cousin and his fiancee: ( My aunt commented that they couldn't figure out what it was at first - do you think it needs more detail to make it obvious that it is a heart?)

Another heart & arrow for my stepbro and his wife (this is using a white cotton whereas the previous one was natural cotton):

Salt and pepper pots for my aunt and uncle whose initials are S & P:

And finally, a cookie monster for my sister who has a killer sweet tooth:

Let me know your comments and criticisms! And Happy New Year  Smiley
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2  Portrait of Jean-Luc Godard in Needlework: Completed Projects by mojouk on: November 08, 2010 02:52:38 AM

A detailed hand-embroidered portrait of French director Jean-Luc Godard. For added texture his jumper has been filled in with chain stitch and split stitch in a variegated red floss. The background behind him is filled with a decorative freestyled design of swirls and spikes.

C&C very much welcome  Smiley
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3  NSFW: F--kin' magnets - HOW DO THEY WORK in Needlework: Completed Projects by mojouk on: November 01, 2010 12:57:20 PM
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This is an original design based on the lyrics of the ICP (Insane Clown Posse) song "Miracles". It is stitched on ivory white cotton using black, grey and red floss.

To fully appreciate the sentiment of the design, you might want to read this amazing article: http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2010/oct/09/insane-clown-posse-christians-god. Then go watch the video for Miracles on YouTube, and after that the SNL parody too if you can find it. After all that you will definitely understand why I was inspired to make this embroidery  Wink
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4  Embroidered portraits - Herzog, Sellers, Bacall, Andula in Needlework: Completed Projects by mojouk on: October 20, 2010 02:32:04 AM
It has been a while, Craftster! I kind of forgot about this place and it is so nice to come back and see all the awesome stuff people have been stitching.

Lately I have challenged myself to do more portraits since they can be so difficult in terms of keeping the faces recognisable and, well, human looking. So here are a few of my recent projects, let me know what you think.

Werner Herzog

For some reason he is coming up really low quality so you can't see the stitches, so go to my Flickr/Etsy if you would like to see him in better resolution. Anyway I think this is my best work so far, it has definitely been one of the most time-consuming. I <3 Herzog films.

Peter Sellers

Dr Strangelove + Lolita... need I say more? Just a nice simple black portrait.

Lauren Bacall:

This was kind of an experiment to see how it would look on grey. I added the white eyes because the lips dominated the piece too much otherwise. However, it is a bit... startling? I think in the future I will try just doing simple black portraits on this colour fabric.


I adapted this portrait from a movie poster for "Loves of a Blonde" aka "A Blonde in Love" by Milos Forman. The character is called Andula, I highly recommend to film to anyone who is into new wave/the sixties. Anyway I am happy with how this turned out, was originally going to add some black into the hair for shadows/depth but decided it would have more impact if only the face and neck had black stitching.

Well, I hope you like my work. Comments and criticism are VERY welcome. Now I am off to look at what everyone else has been up to while I was gone....
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5  Help me to re-create my great-grandmother's beaded wedding headpiece in Beads: Discussion and Questions by mojouk on: May 20, 2010 05:50:00 AM

This is a picture of my grandpa's parents on their wedding day, back in the 1920s. The groom was a tailor, and he met the bride because she was a bead embroiderer by trade and was often used by his company. My grandpa said she probably made the headpiece in the photo herself, but unfortunately we don't know what happened to it.

So I thought it would be great if I could re-create one to wear at my wedding (years in the future when I have a fiance), and pass it down to the next generation of our family.

The problem is: I have never done any bead embroidery. I do normal embroidery among other crafts, but never anything to do with beads. So, I have no idea how to even start such a project.

Since I am totally new to bead embroidering, I would love any input and advice from more experienced beaders.

Here are a few of the issues I am unsure about:

1 - What to construct the headpiece from -

Presumably I will need to cut the shape from something stiff like card, and attach the embroidery to it after I have done the beading? I have no idea what materials to use for this and how to go about attaching it whilst keeping it neat and professional looking.

2 - How to make it wearable -

I can see the shape and how to do the beading etc, but how does it stay on the forehead like that? Would it have some kind of strap that goes around the head like the band of a hat? Or attach the sides to an alice-band? Other??

3 - Size and proportions -

I am afraid of making something and then realising that it looks too big or tall. Perhaps there is some way to measure the face to get the proportions right for something like this?

4 - The bead embroidery itself -

I've bought some beads and thread to practice with on a pre-made disc of silk. I will look up techniques on how to do the actual bead embroidering online, but any links to tutorials or tips you can provide would be much appreciated. For instance, would you start with the outlines of patterns and then fill in? Leave the edges till last or do them first? Would you do it all in a simple backstitch or are there better techniques for something like this? Any ideas on what kind of beads they are in the original, what sizes? Do they all look like beads or do you think some of them are sequins/rhinestones/other? Here is a close up picture:

My plan is to make a mock-up using cheaper materials first before making a real version with high quality beads. There is no rush since neither I nor my sister is engaged or will be for a few years, but I would like to get started on it soon.

Thanks a lot for reading if you stuck with me this far, I know I wrote a lot  Smiley This project means a lot to me so any help or input would be hugely appreciated.
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6  Embroidered Baby Sampler for a Doting Grandad in Needlework: Completed Projects by mojouk on: April 29, 2009 02:37:33 PM
My mum's boyfriend became a grandad last year and he is absolutely enamoured with his new grandson. I wanted to make him a nice gift for Christmas/his birthday/everything and was inspired by LilyVanilli's amazingly beautiful baby sampler. I wanted to make something similar, but was challenged by the fact that this was to be a gift to go in the grandad's house, not in a nursery. He wouldn't want anything feminine or cutesy with pastel colours and cute animals.

This is how I decided to combine his two favourite things: his new grandson, and Chelsea Football Club. I drew up a design including the baby's birth information, the Chelsea logo, a football on some grass, and filled in the dead space with 'bubbles' which I thought were just cutesy enough to be suitable for a baby sampler. Once I drew up the transfer I decided to make the lowest bubbles into flowers by drawing in stems, and at the last minute I added in petals and leaves to make it clearer that they weren't balloons or bubbles with tails.

This is how it came out in the end:

The writing on the logo was a challenge. The 'Chelsea' part came out well, but the smaller font was much fiddlier and if I did it again I would use less strands (oh the joys of hindsight).

The regular text worked great though, and the font seemed to match with the baby sampler theme:

In this close-up you can see some of the stitches I used to do the 'bubbles' in different shades of pale green and blue. You can also see the fiddly little icons which are part of the logo (the red flower and football), which were very difficult to sew and came out rather uneven when you compare the 2 sides of the logo - oh well!

Here is a close up of some of the flowers, which came out much better than I had anticipated. I used different shades of green for the stems to make them stand out from the grass. You can also see that I ventured with a new stitch, taking the "checkered chain" element from LilyVanilli's sampler and using it as my border. I had trouble deciding what colours to do, and decided to use similar colours to the logo to tie the whole thing together. I'm not 100% happy with it, but once it's in a frame I don't think the border will stand out so much anyway, so I'm not too disappointed. I am proud to have learnt a new stitch though, and it was surprisingly easy (if you want to learn it, the video on the Needle'N'Thread website taught me to do it in just a few minutes). I need to take more care to make my stitches even, and would definitely do the checkered chain smaller next time. I've been embroidering for over a year now but I'm still learning  Smiley

Finally, here is a close up of the football (or 'soccer ball'). The satin stitch didn't make for nice crisp hexagons, so I went around the edges with a stitch for each side to tidy it up. The result is a happy accident in my opinion - the ball looks cuter with the slightly rounded hexagons. You can see in this picture the trouble I had stitching the tiny letters - the 'B' in 'club' should have some blue in the middle but I couldn't fit it in. That will teach me to outline small details in two different colours (the logo has white letters with a gold outline on a blue background).

I decided not to fill in the logo because I didn't want the dark blue to overpower the whole thing.

Overall I am very pleased with the outcome, and I think it will be a big hit with my family, especially the recipient. Despite a few flaws, the design really came together. I love the way the flowers and 'bubbles' look, the logo is clearly recognisable, the text is legible, and I think it is just masculine enough to be displayed on the wall in my mum's boyfriend's house.

Comments and critiques welcome, as well as any advice you have for improving on my mistakes  Wink
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7  Fifi Coyote! My 'cowpunk' aunt embroidered.. in Needlework: Completed Projects by mojouk on: February 05, 2009 06:48:46 PM
Back in the 1980s my aunt was in a band called 'Yip Yip Coyote'. They were part of the short-lived 'cowpunk' genre - they dressed rockabilly and sang cowboy themed songs, but they definitely weren't country music. My aunt was the lead singer, 'Fifi Coyote'. If you want to see their music video, look up "Yip Yip Coyote" on YouTube, it's pretty funny.

I made this design using elements from their album artwork. The name 'Fifi' is her autograph, the band name is copied from their single cover, and the cowgirl is my aunt, stylised from their album cover  Cheesy

I wanted to make it a little more colourful and detailed, although of course I can't tell what the original colours and patterns were from the terrible quality black and white picture. I also added some Sheriff stars and a cactus, all enclosed in a big lasso.

Close-ups of details:

This is my first embroidery of a real person, and even though the nose came out kinda big and it doesn't look completely like her, I think she will love it! I intend to frame it for her and give it to her on my birthday in June.

Please let me know what you think! Compliments and criticisms welcome and encouraged  Smiley

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8  Re: The Book-Lovers Swap Gallery! in The Swap Gallery by mojouk on: November 06, 2008 11:15:32 PM
I'm so glad you got the parcel safely, and that you liked the contents too  Smiley

That 'book' box was the bane of my existence. Painting the 'pages' a different colour than the cover meant endless mess ups, cover ups and fed ups. Then I tried to decoupage the top and it went horribly wrong, so I had to rip that off, repaint and seal the top, then decoupage anew. I picked a foresty background because we both like trees, and for some reason made some incredibly fiddly little maize stalks to represent the rural focus of Steinbeck's literature.

The other item that held up the swap was the handpainted tote bag. I bought the bag for embroidering onto, but decided painting would be faster. Well, it may have been faster, I don't know, but it wasn't fast. Noted for posterity: don't try to paint on a bag with a diagonal weave, it makes straight lines almost impossible. In this picture the bag is not at all flat, so the lines aren't quite as warped as they look here:

I hand made the 3 bookmarks and tried to personalise them all in a unique way, including doodling some little flowers and copying out a poem. I was looking for inspiration right at the beginning of the swap and read some of the poems by Billy Collins who was mentioned in the swap questionnaire. I loved his style and this poem in particular jumped out at me. I think it will be a great reminder of how to approach poetry while you are reading.

And of course the necklaces - of which I have a matching set because I loved them so much  Wink When Norah told me she was making me a naughty t-shirt I guessed she might have picked the 'assterisk' and was glad to know she is game for cheeky apparel. I could tell we have a similar sense of humour, so when I saw the kitschy picture of Kurt with angel wings I knew she would find it as charming as I did. It's my favourite of the three also:

Thanks for being such a great swap partner, Norah, it's been a lot of fun. It was lovely to have a swap partner that I had so much in common with Smiley
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9  Re: The Book-Lovers Swap Gallery! in The Swap Gallery by mojouk on: October 22, 2008 07:10:57 PM
I received my loot a couple of days ago and now I have finally gotten around to taking pictures and posting them here:

Here is everything all laid out on my bed:

A green shirt with a Kurt Vonnegut illustration on the front  Wink Green is both of our favourite colours and we are both huge Vonnegut fans

A scarf with iron-on transfers from The Phantom Tollbooth, one of my favourite books from my childhood

Three homemade bookmarks

Two of her favourite books which I can't wait to read - East of Eden by John Steinbeck and The Drifters by James Michener

A bookmark, library card holder, and a book cover which she didn't finish but sent anyway. I love the star shaped stitching on these, it's so pretty and delicate looking

Her letter to me and a notebook for writing down books I want to read

She even commissioned some promising local artists to draw illustrations in the notebook  Wink

And last but not least, a book tote made from lovely blue corduroy

I can't believe how many different items she sent me! She clearly put a ton of effort into this swap and I really appreciate it. Hopefully she will love what I send her too  Smiley I'm still not quite done crafting but I'll be getting a move on as soon as I've finished my history assignment (due tomorrow morning, I'm such a procrastinator).

Thanks Norah! And just to show I'm not resting on my laurels, here are some teasers for what you are soon to receive:

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10  Memorial collage for an ill-fated fish (5 big pictures) in Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: General by mojouk on: September 30, 2008 09:15:43 PM
One of my Tri Delta friends (she lives next to me in my dorms) got given a betta fish by her 'sorority mom' a few weeks back. She named it 'Chloe', fed it every day and it was all fine and happy until she changed the water. I heard this awful screaming and came to see what was wrong, and she said that it was dead and they were going to flush it. Apparently the water was too warm and she burned it alive...

So a few days later she asks if I want to go to Walmart and Target. On the way to Walmart she says she is going there to buy another fish, and she asks me if I think it's a good idea. Honestly, of course I didn't think she was a good fish owner but I was too polite to say no, so I said "If you want it, get it". We went in and she immediately fell in love with one of them and it became 'Chloe 2'. This time she got drops to put in the water to clean it, and we discussed how she could change the water safely.

Today, about a week afterwards, I got home and saw this on my door:

Not exactly a huge shock, and I am sure she isn't too sad about it, but I thought it would be funny to make a little memoriam to give to her:

It doesn't photograph well due to the metallic elements, so I will explain the different parts:

* First I drew the fish with red and blue sharpies, it was crimson and blue so it's true to life
* I made the wing from glittery white card and drew the feathers in a silver marker (it doesn't photograph well)
* I made the tank in 3 parts: the water is green card with green mold drawn on it. There is a red patterned seahorse figurine on top, and then a tracing paper 'fishbowl' over both. I drew on text and stars to decorate the bowl
* I drew the banner and RIP sign free hand
* I cut out letters to spell out the name, backed them on tracing paper squares and drew around them to make them stand out
* The background was a blue paper with silver stars already on it, I bought it in Michaels

So far it is a big hit with the other people I have shown, and I think she will love it. I'm going to put it on her door as a surprise.

Edited to add some close ups:

I hope you guys enjoy my kitschy collage as much as I enjoyed making it  Cheesy
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