Thursday, September 20, 2012

September BBA Challenge: New Technique

The September Blogging Business Artisans challenge is to attempt a new medium or technique. We did this challenge earlier in the year, and Nancy liked it so much that she brought it back. As some of you know, I've been fascinated by sewing with paper this year. I've also been taking my photography to a new level. I love mixed media, but I've never done much with it myself. I have mention that I saw this post this summer and haven't stopped thinking about it since. Finally, I've had this yearning for a few months to do something with turquoise and red decor in our house. It was time to bring all of that together for a brand new project.

A couple disclaimers:
  • This is not a $5 or less DIY project that comes together in half an hour.
  • This is not a comprehensive tutorial with step by step directions and photos. I will walk you through my basic creation process, which will give you most of the tools that you need to attempt a similar project on your own if you wish.

This project started with this simple photograph. I took this during the summer. This is what it looked like straight out of the camera, unedited. It's a piece of playground climbing equipment.

It is extremely rare that I take a photo with the intention of doing a major editing job on it, but this was one of those occasions. I played around with about half a dozen different edits before I settled on these three for this project.

Crazy transformation, right? It is so hard to know when this kind of editing feels "done," but at some point, you have to feel satisfied and leave it alone.

I chose to have my pictures printed elsewhere in an 8x10" format. You can print them off yourself at home if you like. Once I got them back, I set to work gathering my embroidery thread.
I have a fair amount of embroidery thread stashed away finished cross-stitch projects and the good old days of friendship bracelets so I didn't purchase anything new.

I was extremely nervous about sewing on a photograph. I was worried that it was just going to come out a big crumpled mess. Thankfully it didn't at all. My best advice is to GO SLOW and to brace the photograph against something flat. I used a clipboard.
I went into this without much of a game plan. I mixed thread strands as the inspiration struck, and I did my best to keep working my way all the way around each circle.

These large circles were pretty easy to complete. Some of the smaller ones were tricky, especially around the edges of the photograph. I was worried that I'd puncture a big hole right on the edge somewhere. I didn't, though.

I only added embroidery detail to the black and white print. I left the red and blue as is. The next step was to frame them.
I wanted silver frames, but I didn't want to spend months hunting for the perfect ones and then spend a lot of money when I finally found them. I got these frames at Michaels for 55% off with a sale and a coupon. They were about $7 each.

I know that many of my readers use spray paint way more often than I do. If you haven't done something this before, it's pretty simple. Take your frames apart and lay the wooden pieces on newspaper in a well ventilated area. Follow the directions on your spray paint. If you are using a metallic spray paint like I did, beware that you will end up with silver sparkles everywhere. Not a problem, right? We all need a little more sparkle.

When the paint was dry, I put the frames back together with the new prints.

I thought you'd like to see a close up of the embroidered piece in its frame.

I hung them up in my little office area of the basement. Does anyone else still have some of those little prints from university art sales? Those pieces have been with me through a lot of moves.

I can't even begin to tell you how excited I am at the success of this project. I'm also really happy that Jake is psyched about this new wall art. Of course I jumped right in and attempted an 8x10 photo with a lot of stitching and a customized frame job. This is how I usually roll. Now that I've completed a big project, I have some idea for smaller, simpler photo embroidered pieces.

When I ordered these 8x10 prints, among other things, I also ordered some 8x10 prints from our recent trip to the Wisconsin Dells. We have tons of pictures up all over our house, but I haven't added many new ones since we moved here. It was way past time to do that. I got these new prints hung right after I hung my project.

What have you been working on lately that has challenged you?

If this challenge appealed to you and you enjoy blogging on a regular basis, consider joining the Blogging Business Artisans.


  1. This is such a cool project. They turned out great. I always love mixed media art, it's so cool. You did a great job, can't wait to see what you have planned next.

  2. I am really impressed! Your initial image was so graphic and visually interesting, I wasn't sure you could improve on it, but it looks great. What a cool idea!

  3. Wow! I'm pretty impressed Rose! Not only did you challenge yourself in one media, but 2! And it's such a different piece from what you usually create I love it!

  4. A-mazing. I love your idea. Nice presentation. I felt like I was there listening to you tell me all about it. I love the colors you chose!!

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  7. Those turned out great! I would never have thought of that but they look so cool together on the wall like that! Fabulous job Rose!

  8. Rose. oh my gosh. They are stunning.
    I have missed so much lately... i won't get into my woes here.. but I saw this post on FB and I had to tell you just how amazing these are.
    They take my breathe away with how unique and beautiful... really, Rose.. wow.

  9. Sooo coool! Are you going to start marketing and selling these? I think that could be a GREAT niche market for you!!

  10. Rose! They are fantastic! The sewn one is absolutely brilliant!! I could go on and on, but suffice it to say -- I love them!! Great job!

  11. So great to see something different! Excited to see what else can be achieved with this technique. :)

  12. The edits are fabulous and I love the stitched version! So cool!

  13. Awesome project, I love how your prints turned out! I love it when you find a project that inspire you. I always seen to do my best work when I am inspired.
    Everyday Inspired

  14. That turned out great! I love when you just go for a new project and everything comes out good :D
    Nice work, and congrats on having the bravery to tackle it in the first place :)

  15. Very cool project and it turned out great.

  16. Those are so cool! I love the way it turned out.

  17. These turned out SO cool! Your embroidered piece is awesome! And I love how you paired it with the colored prints. Great job on the challenge this month!

  18. Rose, this project is cool and looks terrible. Great job.

  19. Wow, you did an awesome job on this. You are so very talented.

    Have a terrific day. :)

  20. that turned out great. That's one thing that I'm always worried about - too many punctures makes one big hole! Slow but steady is a good recommendation! And your Dells pics are pretty too. The house looks beautiful, by the way! {:-D

  21. This turned out beautiful! So striking! Me? I guess I am into the
    "sameold" stuff!

  22. I'm so glad that I found you on Delicate Construction! I love this, very clever. Looking forward to reading the rest of your blog:)


  23. Very cool! Love the blue edited photo. I would have never thought to add needlework. You are so creative!

  24. So fun and different thanks for linking up!


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