Thursday, November 12, 2009

From an idea to an embroidery

It is an interesting feeling to create some thing and see it through to the finished project. Ideas come from so many random places that although there is usually one thing that starts the creative process, you never know what the end is going to be. Often I get an idea and it stays in my head for a while doing what I call kind of wandering around. Then one day it gets the chance to pop out and gets put down in concrete form in a design. I never know how the idea is going to change between the fist thought and the final form. They rarely look anything like the original thing that I saw that started the whole process.

Sometime the oddest things are the genesis of a design. One pattern was created to fit a frame that I found and another started because I bought some yellow glass-headed pins.

I have been stitching on a new piece and it is finished. The few that I have shown it to seem to really like it so hopefully others will also. Here is a part of it, Ican't put the whole embroidery on since it isn't ready for sale yet.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Summer season

Summer has slipped away and Fall with cold crisp nights is here. Summer has been a busy season for me. I was able to attend the Utah Shakespearean Festival in Cedar City, Utah. The Tony award winning festival was a lot of fun. We saw two of the comedies, As you like it and Comedy of Errors. Nothing in them to challenge the mind but just laugh and enjoy the words. The plays are performed in an open air replica of the original Globe Theater. We were able to tour the backstage area of the theater and visit the costume shop. Which was fascinating since I have done costuming in the past and for a while thought that I would get a degree in theater costuming and work in the local theater scene.

While there I was able to join a group of fellow stitchers for an Amy Mitten class. For those of you who don’t know Amy, she designs embroidery that is part of a mystery story. As you read her story, parts of the sampler is revealed. Her hand dyed threads are a dream to stitch with and they have names like murder and dirty rat. Our story was actually a play with a wonderful Elizabethan embroidered band . My favorite part of it was the tent with the embroidered lady.

The next week I went on a quilt retreat in the mountains of Utah. While there we went to visit a few of the surrounding towns - Mt Pleasant and Spring City. As I looked a the houses I thought of some great ideas for embroidery. The houses were the most wonderful color of limestone.

Spring City is developing as an artists community. We visited a fabulous potter. His name is Joseph Bennion and runs Horseshoe Mountain Pottery. He uses a wood fired kiln to fire his pots. His wife Lee Udall is a painter who does some interesting portraits. They are a bit modern for what I usually like but on hers the spirit of the person comes through and I like them. I bought a pot there - he made the pot and she painted it. It is shaped like a Bundt pan and we have actually used it to make monkey bread.

Here is the recipe for those of you who have never had it. It gets it name because to eat it, you just pull it apart with your fingers or a fork.
Monkey Bread
2 tsp
Butter (or Margarine)
a Cup
Brown Sugar
1 Tbsp
1 tsp
Lemon Juice
¼ tsp
1 pkg
Refrigerator Biscuits (10 oz)
While preheating the oven, place butter in an 8-inch cake pan and put in the oven.
Mix brown sugar, lemon juice and water and cinnamon in cake pan with butter.
Cut biscuits into fourths and place over sugar mixture.
Bake at 400 Degrees for 15 to 20 minutes.

Sunday, August 2, 2009


An interesting thing happened to me last week and it still has not quite sunk in. Several weeks ago we visited Park City Jewelers and entered a contest. If you guessed the closest to the total carat weight of the necklace then it was yours or you could choose store credit instead.
I went in and studied the necklace and made an educated guess. My father has for years been a silversmith and I have learned bunches about gems and their sizes.
The necklace was blue topaz briolettes with a pendant of blue topaz, black opal with orange sapphires set in white gold.
I put in my guess for 238.58 carats and the true weight was 237.98 carats.
I was at work and got the call that I had won. I wanted to dance and celebrate but work didn’t seem to be quite the place to do that so settled for calling lots of people to share.
I went up to the store later that week and tried on the necklace and wore it for about 45 minutes while I decided what I wanted to do. It was stunning but I realized that for the few times that I would have a chance to wear it it would be better off going to someone who could show it off. So in the end I decided to take the store credit instead so it will be an adventure to see what fun things I end up with.

Thursday, July 9, 2009


A couple of weeks ago we were able to spend a few days at our cabin in the rocky mountains. It is not far from where we live but just getting away is difficult with all of the things that need to be done.
It took a day to unwind but then the peace and unhurried pace took over as all of the demands and stress melted away. I usually have a To-Do list as long as my arm and never seem to get any of them crossed off but those few days were so wonderful. I had time to set and think and create and get a few of the To-Do’s finished. Here are a couple of pictures of the beautiful area around the cabin.

Later I had an opportunity to go to a seminar and spend two days stitching with out all of the daily tasks demanding part of my time and attention. I was able to finish stitching this bird while I was there. Once the base stitching was in I was able to take threads of the colors that I wanted and use them like paint to get the final embroidery.

Friday, May 1, 2009

When I was in Minneapolis last week we had some free time and so on Saturday afternoon we were able to attend the Arts and Crafts show. It was full of wonderful things to purchase.

There were so many creative ideas for wearable art, pottery, jewelry and much more. We spent about 4 hours wandering from booth to booth gathering ideas for color combination and textures. I found a booth with the most interesting pottery and bought a yellow pot. It has a wonderful crackle glaze. The shape and color reminds me of a pear.

Also at the show, I saw a jacket that had great cut and color. So I asked if I could take a picture of it. I have some unique fabrics in my stash that would be great in this design so after I get back from traveling ... I think that a new jacket should be in the works.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Spring time in Utah

I have been spending quite a bit of time teaching the last few weeks and the weather has changed from place to place but even with staying at home this is a very uncertain time of year. I love the spring flowers and applaud their ability to survive whatever mother nature throws at them. Here are two pictures taken just 5 days apart of the tree by my front porch. When we first moved in to the neighborhood it was so empty with out large trees and birds. Now I love it when I can see a quail.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Travel and more travel

This is going to be a most interesting month coming up. I am leaving town to head to Minneapolis to teach for two days and give a lecture on antique needlework tools. Then head home for one day and then to Cedar Rapids Iowa for 4 days of class. I get a small break for a few days but am going to take a class on dimensional surface embroidery. Then Jim and I are going to Orlando where we travel to meet the cruise ship which will take us to the Bahamas. Finally back to Disney world to spend a couple of days before we head home.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Life and all of that

Interesting how there is a sometimes strange convergence of bits and pieces from out past. All that we have experienced through our life keeps popping up in places that you least expect.

When I was a high school and college student, it was the era of the Beetles but I was more into folk music -- Limelighters, Chad and Jeremy and Peter, Paul and Mary were a few of my favorites. A song from the Limelighters was called Seven Daffodils. I love the song and when it came time to start my business I used a daffodil as the symbol of my company - so the flower along with yellow paper has been for many years a symbol of my business which I named Carolina House. How it came to be called Carolina House is another story for another day. U=I found that as I did embroidery I could not resist changing it and ended up designing original work. The daffodil embroidery had only 6 flowers in it so I added the seventh.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

About Me

My name is Carolyn Standing Webb

Sewing has always been a part of my life. Some of my earliest memories are of playing under the quilt as it was being stitched by the women of the neighborhood who had gathered together to quilt and visit.

My parents met in college in art class so art has always been a part of my life. My father still oil paints, carves decoys and makes jewelry. Mom sewed for us, drew paper dolls for me as a child, and quilted and embroidered.

I sewed for my dolls and embroidered dish towels at an early age and have been working on one project or another ever since.

My parents gave me a treadle sewing machine when I was 10 years old, a machine that I still have, and I started sewing clothing for myself not long after that. I continued to sew clothing for me and my friends through out high school and although my degree is in education I created a business to do custom sewing so that I could stay at home with my children and work. I worked on costuming some plays and a couple of movies before ending up for several years as the costume mistress of Old Deseret Village, a living history museum that recreates the years 1847 to 1869.

During this time I was still hand embroidering for my own pleasure and to create clothing for my daughters. I hand stitched and embroidered the christening dress for my first girl from the left over fabric of my wedding dress. I did a number of pieces of crewel embroidery and discovered that there was a whole world of beautiful embroidery to be explored. My first cross stitch sampler worked at about age 11 was a piece printed on linen and I hated it so much I vowed that I would never cross stitch again. It was impossible to get the stitches to look as even as I wanted. Later, I saw examples of counted cross stitch and loved the way that it looked. I hunted for fabrics to stitch on and could not find anything. Finally I bought a pattern stamped on cotton that I liked but didn’t want to stitch the stamped design. So I used a flour sack for a background because it was an even weave cotton and counted the design on the flour sack, stitching over 5 threads each way to get the design the size that I wanted. I was thrilled later when I discovered Aida fabric so that stitching went much faster.

I started teaching embroidery in a local needlework shop in 1979 and was told about EGA by a framer that I met. I joined in about 1988 and loved it. There were so many new things to discover and learn. Everyone was so friendly and willing to share their knowledge. I attended regional seminars and took classes when I could. I took several correspondence classes and then signed up for the Master Craftsman program in counted thread. I thought that I knew a lot about counted thread until I started working on the pieces. Several years of concentrated learning, re-stitching and perfecting later I receive my Master Craftsman in Counted Thread.
One day when I was teaching a class, I shared one of the pieces that I had designed and stitched and was talked into teaching that blackwork piece to some of the women in class. That started my career in teaching at seminars and for guilds.

I collect antique needlework tools and have had a fun time finding wonderful old treasures.

My problem now days is find enough time to explore all of the choices in front of me. If I could fit about an extra 10 or 12 hours in a day, I might get everything done. Well maybe not.....