I found the most amazing vintage Chinese sewing basket on Etsy last month and had to pick it up for myself. I use it to hold my embroidery tools and floss for each current project so I can carry everything from room to room without dropping stuff on the floor or losing it. Besides--it's just so darned cool to carry stuff in a pretty basket!
So, in addition to collecting pretty tools to put in the basket, such as the Chinese carved bone needlecase, the Chinese scissors from Sublime Stitching (I made the tassel for them myself) and the pretty vintage gold and enamel thimble, I decided to line the bottom of the basket so that the floss wouldn't get caught in the woven bottom.
I could have just used regular fabric, but I decided it would be more fun to embroider something for it. And I knew exactly what design I wanted to use--the Chinese Acrobats from Sublime Stitching.
Since I wanted the embroidery to look vintage like the basket, I used a piece of hand-dyed quilter's cotton for the fabric. It looks age-stained. Then, after I ironed on the design, I colored it in with Prismacolor colored pencils in a color palette reminiscent of the 1930's--because the basket looks very like it is from that era. (Whether it is or not, I have no idea--it just looks like it to me.) Then, I stitched up the little girls using 2-4 strands of regular cotton embroidery floss, and had a great deal of fun with their pretty costumes.
All in all, I think that the embroidery took me about three evenings to finish. Then, I mounted the finished embroidery on a piece of cardboard cut to fit the bottom of the basket that was padded with a bit of quilt batting. I admit to using packing tape to affix it to the cardboard--I decided I didn't want to use any glue or anything permanent in case I decided to frame the little girls later. But they are so cute in there, I might just glue them anyway.
Then, I popped them into the basket and they get to go with me and my embroidery wherever I go, and they are just so cheerful and pretty to look at while I'm reaching for my scissors or Thread Heaven or what have you....