Let’s Flock Together

11 Apr

Remember last month when I mentioned my grandmother’s peacock feathers, and the corresponding peacock embroidery project? Of course you do. Either way, here’s the link to my prior post, Birds of a Feather, to refresh that memory.

I finally completed the entire project. Ha! I finished something. Not part of it, but the whole thing. From first stitch to final nail. In actuality, it ended up being a 3-parter:

1.Setting and framing the embroidery

2. Setting and framing the peacock feathers

3. Accurately measuring and hanging the two frames on my wall

So, be patient my crafting grasshopper, this is going to be a long post.

Part One: The Embroidery

My boyfriend was away on business for 3 weeks, which is the equivalent to 17 months in girlfriend and cat time. So, it was the perfect opportunity for me to complete this project. It was also a chance for me to test run some newly learned stitches. I used the stem stitch, and it went beautifully. It works the curves of a pattern much better than the split stitch. I also used the satin stitch for the bird beaks, which honestly was hit-and-miss. On one bird the satin stitch looked great, but on the other bird, it looks a bit more like a wadded-glop of thread. I’ve resolved that it is live-and-learn, and it makes the project a bit more ‘home-made.’

One of these is not like the other

Once I finished the embroidery, it was time to buy the supplies necessary to frame and hang the project and the peacock feathers from my Gram. I went to Michael’s, where they were having a 60% off sale on frames (hurray!). I found two muted coppery frames that I thought would compliment the copper in the peacock feathers. I bought batting for the back of the embroidery, and a 32 count Aida cloth to serve as backdrop for the peacock feathers.

My loot from Michael's

When you are ready to take on a project of this magnitude, it’s crucial to set up a good work station. That includes a ironing board (the perfect height to stand for cutting fabric, gluing items together and framing pieces of art), an iron, and my Annie-get-your-glue-gun.

Portable workstation where I could watch Investigative Reports while crafting. Nothing says wholesome like murderous programming.

I started with the embroidery. I ironed out the creases, trimmed the fabric down to size, laid out the batting, and glued the whole thing to cardstock for the frame.

Ready for the final trim.

And… framed!

Boy, this project looks a lot less janky now!

Part Two: The Feathers

First step in this part of the project was assessing the feathers. My first realization was that they were awfully long and unkempt.

One of them has a cowlick.

I spent the next 20 minutes acting like a peacock barber, trimming down the feathers to something workable. End result:

Looking so dapper now. But we never did solve the cowlick issue.

I didn’t want to glue the feathers onto the Aida cloth, so I just laid them out in hopes that they won’t cave to gravity anytime soon. I’d rather have them set where I can move or re-do the project in the future.

So far, so good... Except for the errant one.

Good thing I didn’t glue them down – it took me about 4 tries to get the layout and direction just right.

A work in progress...

And completed.

Love how the different colors appear depending on the angle of my camera

The final trick was getting this into a frame. I laid the glass over the feathers, then used the pressure of the glass to hold the feathers in place while I flipped the whole contraption over into the frame.

Now this is a legitimate wall-worthy item.

Part 3: Wall-E

I decided the perfect place to feature these two pieces of homemade art (I’ve come a long way since macaroni collages) is in my dining room.

Given that the frames where two different sizes (8×10 and 11×14) I used some funky math.

First, I measured the wall. 79 inches. I then measured my two frames, factoring in 3 inches of space between. 27 inches.

Subtracting 27 from 79 I came up with 52, which I then divided in half to determine how many inches in on each side I should go.26 inches each side.

From there, I measured the frame edge to the nail hook on the back to know where on the wall my two nails would go.

Whew – despite my unease with all the math a six year old could muster, I got my frames centered on the wall.

Let's be honest, the 1991 Barbie who said "math is hard" wasn't exaggerating.

I’ll bet there was a much easier way to figure out hanging these pictures than my 5 step mathematics solution. But, I like a good challenge.

Challenge accepted and conquered.


3 Responses to “Let’s Flock Together”

  1. Jasmine Woodjack April 14, 2011 at 9:00 am #

    I forgot to tell you how amazing they looked when I was at your house on Sunday! I totally mentioned it to Heather when you were in the other room! It’s adorable and fits perfectly in your house! LOVE!

  2. Jess April 12, 2011 at 2:24 pm #

    In. Love. With. This.

  3. Jackie April 12, 2011 at 8:53 am #

    I find it so ironic yet hilarious that you worked on wholesome crafts while watching investigative reports regarding murders, rapes and the like. You’re my kind of girl!

    The project turned out ever so lovely! I’m jealous of your crafting/sewing abilities. Anytime I try to make “homemade” decor it usually comes out looking like something a blind four year old would craft.

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