Free hand embroidery

I spend a good portion of my day planning, but when it comes to embroidery, I like to improvise. I go by feel and look.

Sometimes I’ll draw up the basic layout and let my imagination fill them in.

That’s what I did with this project, my Octopus’s Garden piece!

I’ve had this idea in my brain for years!

When I first started practicing embroidery, I tried a design I’ve had a lot of practice drawing – the mandala.

The mandala, meaning ‘circle’ in Sanskrit, represents the wholeness of the universe. The act of creating one represents the transformation of suffering to enlightenment.

They’ve become trendy lately, but I believe that is because their message is universal and they possess a unique beauty. They bring about feelings of completeness, synchronicity, and tranquility.

Just look at my doodle in a notebook from college. The practice of creating mandalas helped me focus and relax during class. I have an entire sketchbook that’s mostly filled with freehand mandalas. I filled it during a tumultuous time in my life. Drawing became my therapy. Maybe one day I’ll share those, but for now they are tucked away in storage.

When it comes to free hand embroidered mandalas, I’m sharing one of my first embroidery projects ever.

Nope, it’s not perfectly symmetrical. but nature isn’t perfect. Letting go of perfectionism was a big step for me. Free hand mandalas really helped!

It’s another piece I’m not sure I’ve finished. I originally started this to put on a backpack. I may still do that, but for now I just like seeing it on my wall.

Current projects – welcome spring!!

The gorgeous spring-time weather we’re having in New Jersey right now is inspiring! I am full to the brim with ideas and I’ve gotta jot them down before I overflow!

Embroidery has been my go-to project lately. Over the winter, I worked on a larger piece that took months.

Can you guess the song that inspired me to make this?

I’m not 100% sure if it’s finished yet. I spent about 15 hours on it, so I need a break. I’m setting it down and moving on to other projects until I feel inspired again. Eventually, I want to create a whole series of song lyric embroidery pieces to put in my child’s room. It’s an idea my fiance and I have been excited to work on for years! He has some great ideas and I’ve for the hands to create them! (Syd Barrett’s Effervescing Elephant anyone??)

As for right now, I’m focusing smaller projects while I wait for some supplies to ship for a beach bag I’m making for a regular client.

Tiny little embroidery designs have been my go-to. They’re quickly satisfying and perfect for practicing new stitches. They will be made into little teabag wallets, inspired by Just Jude Design’s pattern that can be found here. I LOVE her tutorial! It’s simple and easy to follow. Even as an experienced seamstress, I enjoyed the instructions and photos. The simple design allows for easy editing. I need to reach out to the pattern’s author because I’d love to use the tutorial in a beginner’s sewing class.

So far, I made one tea bag wallet for my friend’s birthday gift. Unfortunately I sent it all the way to Texas before taking any photos of it! Anyone else do that?? I get so excited that forget to document it. Oh well. For now, I’ve finished these four little designs. I have a few more at various stages of completion.

I’ve draw enough tea cups, so now I’m moving on to windows. I love windows! I never knew until I started drawing them.

I’m not the best artist, but I think they’re coming out well!

Once I master the basic shapes with pencil, I’ll move on to embroidery. That reminds me – I need graph paper, a light box, and a washable fabric pen.

Bag-making is being moved to the back burner for now. I have a few orders on deck, but I’m enjoying the little break while I wait for the supplies to arrive at my doorstep.

Well that’s enough about me! What are you excited for this spring? Any creations or plans in the works that you’re loving? Anything you’re not particularly looking forward to?

Here’s a photo of my bubby enjoying the later sunrise – thanks day light savings!!

This bag-maker’s first

Take a lil peek at the first bag I ever made! I made this with the help of my grandma when I was probably 5 or 6.

Well she made the bulk of it; I picked out the patches 😂

Whenever she’d watch my sisters, cousins, and I during the summer I’d beg and beg to be brought down into her sewing room.
I ALWAYS wanted to make bags. No idea why. I’ve been obsessed with bags for as long as I can remember.
Of course, while watching me and 3-4 other young kids, she couldn’t just bring me downstairs to sew and leave the others alone…so getting down there was rare but those memories are imprinted in my brain. The yellow walls, piles of fabric, so many patches, and being so fascinated with how she worked the sewing machine. How she taught me the purposes of the different stitches and good fabric choice based on weight and texture and not the print.
I thought this bag had been lost in time..sold in a garage sale or donated at some point over the past 20 years. But I found it in my closet at my mom’s house last month!
I am so happy I found this ✨
Thanks for reading ✌️
This is a repost from my personal Instagram account @chr.is.tin.a

Introduction

Hi I’m Christina and I make bags!
That’s the quick definition. I make other things too, but I’ve always been a bag lady.
I come from a family of crafty women, so I feel my creative path is only natural.

My day job can be described as the opposite of creative. It is so extremely unimaginative that I’ve found the need to fill the entirety of my free time with creative activities.

This blog is going to be a bit of a challenge for me. I get caught up creating and forget to share what I’ve made and the process behind it. I hope to inspire and teach as well as share what I’ve made.

A few topics I plan on focusing are: sustainability, sharing work of other makers, sources for materials, reviews of patterns, and general happenings from my creative castle.

Here are some photos from my life.

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