Pocketful of Borders: Hey, Diddle, Diddle!

board book version

The next border  to finish up for Pocketful of Posies: A Traveling Exhibit  is the illustration for the rhyme, “Hey, Diddle, Diddle!”. The new book includes all of the rhymes from my board book series, but they are represented by new illustrations. I really liked compressing the scene into one image, instead of stringing out the action over several pages. Most of  the main characters from “Hey, Diddle, Diddle!” are similar to the ones in my board book version, with the exception of the cat, which is made in a different style. The plate is made from polymer clay and the spoon is a doll house miniature.   

detail from " Pocketful of Posies" Houghton Mifflin 2010

cat from "Pocketful of Posies"

The new book, Pocketful of Posies: A Treasury of Nursery Rhymes includes many cats made in my new Halloween costume style. The head is a wooden bead, with face painting and a felt hood with ears attached. The cat’s paws and chest are whitened with acrylic paint. The fiddle is felt, with a thread-wrapped wire neck and bow. The illustration’s existing brown border was wide enough to cut in a wavy pattern, so I didn’t add another felt border. After several tries with different colors, I chose a blue pima cotton for the blanket stitched edging.   


I then embroidered my initials and the date with some variegated dark purple raw silk thread. It called out for embellishment, so I started doodling along the border with light blue raw silk thread.  


The light blue line lacked contrast, so I outlined it with a single strand of orange embroidery floss.   


For the corners, I added  spirals and unintentionally doodled a pattern in the Celtic style.  After outlining a few sections, I decided that the orange floss attracted too much attention, so I ripped it all out. That’s what is so great about stitching, you can change your mind mid stream. Borders, like any kind of framing, should compliment the artwork, not compete.  


I thought that a little height and firmness would perk up the border, so I added 32 gauge florist’s wire to the outside edge.  


I then covered the wire with 2-ply orange/red variegated embroidery floss.  


At this point, I was glad that I’d removed the orange outline around the doodles and saved the color for the outside edge, which defined the border against the upholstery fabric background.  


I bent the wavy wire so that it lifted up the outside edge.  


Here is the finished “Hey, Diddle, Diddle!” piece, ready to frame for the traveling exhibit of original art.  


My husband, Rob, has been making shadow box style frames in the basement. He’s doing a beautiful job and the 51 cherry wood frames are about half way done. We are both making progress toward the Sept. deadline for the first show in Falmouth.

Note: See other posts from the Pocketful of Borders series here.

12 thoughts on “Pocketful of Borders: Hey, Diddle, Diddle!

  1. your work is incredible. i love that you share your process here. it is so sweet that your husband is working on the boxes for you. i love teamwork! 😉

  2. Fabulous cherry boxes for your work! My own husband has filled our home with cherry paneling and Shaker furniture that he has made. We are so LUCKY to be married to skilled woodworkers–even though that is not their actual professions. Those shadow box frames are drool-worthy!

    Well, the new book is on pre-order for ME. I have given away Mavor books for years as gifts and the only Mavor book I have here is the Wee Felt Folk. I cannot wait to receive the new book–and see the exhibition when it comes to UCONN. I am worse than a kid!

    Thanks for sharing the process. The Cat and the Fiddle are just perfect!

  3. I can almost hear the music from the Cat’s violin, this piece of your inspired needle-art is a great example of your abilities to astound us all with your beautifully wrought artworks. How fortunate you are to enjoy the support and talents of your husband in crafting the cherry wood picture display frames that will accompany your traveling Pocketful of Posies exhibit.

  4. I love the cat and the fiddle…can one order your book yet? Does Amazon carry your new book? I am dying to hold this in my two hands and read to my grand daughter :O). Beautiful! Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

  5. The orange outside border just makes it pop off the tapestry fabric. I just love that adorable little spoon LOL! What a nice hubby you have to make all those boxes.

  6. I can’t believe this fantastic body of work! Wow, that border was wonderful! Oh, the SPOON and this dish, the adorable cat wearing it’s kitty ear hat..so darling!!!! Can’t wait to see all this soon!!!! What a job your husband is doing…amazing!


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