Home is where your mom is

My mother-in-law has stitchings like this all over her house and since embroidery is one crafty skill that I like and am actually pretty good at (those two rarely come together!), I have added to her collection regularly.

When I saw this free pattern from Char over at Crap I've Made (isn't that a fantastic blog name?) the week before Mothers' Day, I knew that this was what we wanted to do for my wonderful MIL. (We really did have other options in mind, but, hey, I work best under pressure...)

I used Char's pattern entirely, with my own little tweaks, of course:
  • Personalizing the family. Char provides several different head/body options in her pattern download, so I opened them up in Photoshop, cloned the bodies, and swapped the heads until I was happy with how the foursome looked. You could definitely do the same thing on a hard copy, but I like me some Photoshop. :) 
  • Subbing french knots (of various sizes) for backstitching in a few spots, most noticeably the curly hair of the girl on the left (love ya, Les!). I love the finished result:

If I were to do this again (which I might, although stitching the 8 kids in my family would be a bit more work...), I would
  • Think about the colors more in advance. I had all of the bodies stitched in brown before it occurred to me that all of the kids in my husband's family have brown hair, more or less. To liven up the stitching some, I mixed floss colors to get their hair colors (i.e., two strands brown, one strand light brown). It worked out okay, but some of the hair just looked funny because the two colors weren't really blending. If I had thought ahead, I could have used a different color for the bodies.
  • Color the stitching in with artists' chalk. I think it looks so great and adds so much color to a simple stitching! First, though, I have to learn how. If any of you know, I'd love some pointers!
  • Dye the muslin with tea before stitching. I always forget how much more character it adds to have that antique-ish finish on the fabric, and I wish I had done that with this one. I'm not sure I'd combine the chalk and the dye, though.
The frame is a $2 thrift store purchase that I sanded, painted, and then sanded again. What are the odds of finding a non-standard frame size that is exactly what you need the only time that you can make it to the thrift store? I must have earned some good crafting karma. :) Everything else (embroidery floss, needles, muslin, thin batting, paint, painbrush, sandpaper) I had on hand, so the grand total was $2. So proud of myself. :)

This is my maiden link-party project! Woohoo! Linking up at the blogs listed in the left sidebar. 

UPDATE 5.24.10: In response to Amber's question, I transferred the design to the material (in this case, plain ol' muslin) on a makeshift light box: (hardware lovers, avert your eyes!) my computer screen. I displayed the design at 100%, tipped my monitor on its side, and then just laid my fabric over the top and traced the design with a regular pencil (I've never had a problem using just a regular pencil, but the fabric pencils are awesome, too!). I usually spare my computer screen the trauma and print the design and trace it using a window and the bright sunshine outside, but I started this project on a dreary day after what little sun we had was gone. :)


    Tera said...

    So cute! I love the idea. I may steal it for next mother's day. I have eight kids in my family too, so I better get started. :)

    Char @ Crap I've Made said...

    That turned out darling! What patience you have for all those French knots (and you're way better at them than I am)!

    Char @ Crap I've Made said...

    And I'd love it if you'd add it to the Flickr group!

    Erica said...

    Too cute! Stopping by from Fireflies and Jellybeans party.
    -Mama E

    Fawnda@Fireflies and Jellybeans said...

    Bea-U-Ti-Ful! I am soooooo empressed! :)

    AlMcLeary said...

    It is perfect! French knot, perfect for curly hair.

    Laura said...

    This is adorable!!
    I'm hosting a blog party on Saturday and I'd love it if you linked up! http://www.iamalongfortheride.blogspot.com

    Laura said...

    Thanks so much for coming by and linking up to Saturday is Crafty Day!

    Amber said...

    I am wondering how do you get the design on to the material?

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