Monday, May 10, 2010

I Love Paris - The Next Steps

After piecing my purse both front and back, it was time to begin embellishment.   My internet research - Googling images for Paris, France, Spring/Springtime in Paris, Eiffel, fashion, bicycles, the Seine, etc. etc. - took place over at least three weeks leading up to the piecing of the purse.  I visited lots of sites and blogs, looked at works of art, personal photos posted, and even did a bit of sketching.  And then I went through all my books and my huge binder of inspiration pictures and bookmarked potential ideas. 

And, unlike many people who begin a project with a clear vision of what they want to portray or accomplish, my muse plays hide and seek during the process.  Often she'll trick me: some "must have" embellishment just doesn't fit, so I try something else, then something else again, and Wham!  She jumps out!  Other times, things develop naturally, step by logical step... just clicking along until I encounter a roadblock or a experience a lightening bolt of creativity.

I work MESSILY.   I must be surrounded by a sea of inspiration in the form of every possible piece of lace, trim, fabric, bead, sequin, button, jewelry - ANY potential inclusion.  So, after gathering my pictures and sketches, I gather the materials.

Lace, buttons, green trims

Pink trims, more lace, bling

Still more lace (I love lace!!), threads, beads (metal containers in upper right)

My work station is NOT a pretty sight when I get going.   I sit in my wing chair, have an empty upholstered sewing bench in front of me, and work surrounded by mess.  I love it.  Not pictured are the piles of books on the floor.  Also - see that remote?  It's to my boombox;  I often listen to music while working, but when I get in a groove, I don't like to get up and down to fiddle with disks, volume, etc.  


One of the first motifs I decided on was a girl walking a French poodle.  I figured I could either stitch or bead the poodle, but the prospect of creating a girl or woman from scratch daunted me.   I had this little wood and wire girl that had been attached to the front of a greeting card I received several years ago.  She was hanging on my studio wall, just right in view.....  my muse suggested I use her!  Here's the "before"...

I drew the lines on her dress to show my DH where to cut her dress with his bandsaw.  If this girl was to become a young lady in Paris, she needed something more stylish.  DH cut off the flare, I gave her a haircut, painted her blouse off-white, and gave her a black lace skirt with a gold belt.  Inspired by Susan Elliot's June Bead Journal lady (check it out here), I made her a fashionable hat (instead of a mere beret!) and placed it mysteriously over her eyes.   I left the wire legs and arms as they were.... we have to have some use for our imaginations, don't we? Here's the "after":

In my next purse post I'll show you the Eiffel Tower beginnings,  working with lace in various areas, seam treatments and various placement dilemmas.
Cathy maroon


  1. Wow! The girl's "before" and "after" is just amazing!

  2. That's the way I like to work, too. I need everything piled around me so I can play with it and do lots of comparing and testing. I like to have my nest in the livingroom, too! That way I can be with my DH while still playing with my stitching. He's gotten used to it over the years and merely trys to gently contain it to only one side of the room. ;0)

  3. Your Paris bag is really beautiful and I really enjoyed seeing the process and how much mess you get into because I get into a mess too. I live in a small apartment so my whole living space is upside down. It's nice to know I am not alone in this. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Ok Cathy, I've got some serious drooling going on now! You're gonna have to replace my keyboard for me, you know that don't you? LOL!!!!

    Oh, love your stash!!! Love your bags! I just love it all! Can I come play at your house?

  5. Chuckling at Pam's comments here...I wish I could come to the States and play with you guys too!
    You have some neat stash, Cathy!

  6. You sure Frenchified that little girl! Cute, cute, cute!


I appreciate your visit to my blog and love your comments!