Monday, March 21, 2011

A Birthday for Frances {Faux Embroidery Project Preview} - Read Along with Me

If you're like me you LOVE so many of the embroidery patterns out there, but don't feel like you have time to use them.  Well, Twin Stitchers and I are hoping to change that!  I've been experimenting with some new techniques using her embroidery patterns for projects other than embroidery. 

Firecracker saw my first project and wanted to try one too.  Here she is with hers (and our Read-Along book)...

And here's mine...

I used the (My Sister My Friend item #OU813 from Twin Stitchers found here.) The pattern comes with a bunch of different heads/hairstyles for personalization. I adjusted the size of one sister to make her smaller to match my girls' ages better. The original pattern also comes with a cute border that I didn't use because of my frame dimensions, but it adds a lot to the design.

Since Sweet Pea's birthday is coming up at the end of the month, this turned out to be the perfect chance for Firecracker to make her a special birthday present.

I'm still experimenting with different kinds of pens and such to see what works best, so a full tutorial will be coming in a weeks or two.  But I thought I'd include a few pictures of the current process in case you're anxious to try your own.

We used muslin for the fabric, painters' tape to secure it to the table, an ultra-fine tip Sharpie permanent marker (I suggest the grown-up does this as you need to do it quickly since it bleeds...I'm experimenting with other pens that will work better), and regular crayola crayons.  I printed the PDF pattern from Twin Stitchers with my slight changes, and put it underneath the fabric to trace.  Muslin is thin enough you can see through just enough to trace.  Then I taped it to the table, so it wouldn't move around while Firecracker worked.

Even the white crayon works on the light brown muslin.

I tried to get Firecracker to stop here once she'd colored the picture in...

But she had plans for a whole background.

She was super happy with her finished piece. 

I especially love the roots she added...they've started learning about seeds and plants in school.  And of course an artist MUST sign her work.

I went looking for a good read-along book to go with our project.  I just couldn't wait two weeks until our Read-Along is over to share this!  (I'm having so much fun with the Read-Along, but there are days when I miss the crafting posts too.)  I remember all the Frances books from when I was younger.  Our library system didn't have A Birthday for Frances (can you believe it!?!  It's a classic!), but Firecracker's teacher was able to let us borrow it.

A Birthday for Frances by Russell Hoban is a classic.  Frances if feeling jealous that her little sister's birthday is coming.  Despite her jealousy, she loves her sister and decides to get her a present.  She asks her parents for two weeks of allowance to buy some gumballs and a chompo bar.  Through the book, she's struggles within herself and wants the chompo bar for herself, but ultimately decides to give it to her sister.  I'd forgotten about the cute rhymes and little songs that Frances makes up in all the books, and it was fun to read a book I remembered from my childhood with Firecracker. 

Our situation isn't quite the same since this project didn't require much sacrifice...and the hardest part is that Firecracker wanted to give it to Sweet Pea IMMEDIATELY instead of waiting for her birthday...but I've convinced her to wait.  Firecracker is so loving to Sweet Pea, that I don't think she'd ever be jealous of her having a birthday...which makes the centiment in the picture so perfect for the two of them.

They really are great friends.

Twin Stitchers is having a special right now to celebrate the brand new patterns that just came out.  Any order of $10 or more is half off...that means you get $10 of patterns for only $5.  Since her prices are super reasonable ($5 or less for many of her E-patterns) this is a great value!

If you're just now joining us, be sure to visit our Read-Along Archives to see the books we've already read.


  1. I love embroidery patterns - thank you for the link. Frances is one of my favorite reads. Even as a mom, I never got tired of reading Frances books over and over again.

  2. Cute Cute CUTE picture! I love this idea! great for kids.

    I would love if you came over and linked this project to my weekly Round Tuit party at:
    Have a great week!
    Jill @ Creating my way to Success

  3. I love this!!! This is such a great idea for those like me who can not do embroidery or any type of sewing! Thanks!

  4. I love to embroider, but its difficult to find the time to complete a project. I have been 'cheating' by mixing digital prints with simple outline stitching. Love your idea

  5. What a darling thing to do! A gift to be cherished forever!

    I am having a giveaway on my blog. $35 + free shipping to get a custom trendy backpack for your kid from Paige Holliday Designs. All you have to do is leave a comment. ends 3/23.

  6. Super cute! I just got some watercolor crayons and they are supposed to work great on fabric. This would be the perfect project to try it!

  7. So cute!!!!!!I would love it if you added this to my new link party!

  8. That is beautiful! Of course, giving a Chompo bar (or however it's spelled in the story), even to a much loved sister, might be harder :)

  9. It's been so long since I've embroidered anything. I like the idea of the faux technique.

  10. Very very cute!

    Blog hopping! I'm your new follower and would love a follow back! Thanks!

  11. This came out so cute. What a great idea.

  12. That is so great! One of my favorite childhood books too... Love it!

  13. So cute and I love that book! I would love for you to link this to my Sew Crafty Party! And while your there check out all the Spring Fling Giveaways including my Bustle Back Spring Dress! Hope to see you there!

  14. Charming! What a great idea, and what a sweet big sister! Have a great day!

  15. LOVE it!!! Thanks so much for linking up with For the Kids Fridays at Sun Scholars.

    :)rachel @

  16. Thanks Polly for such a sweet posting! I love your work and I love your creativity in the use of TS's patterns!


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