Jigsaw Puzzles!

Birds of Beebe Woods jigsaw puzzle

I’m excited to share the news that jigsaw puzzles are now available in my Etsy Shop! For a long time, fans have suggested that my work would translate well into puzzle form. I thought so, too, but was too busy stitching to do anything about it. After years of searching for a high quality product and an economically feasible manufacturing arrangement, I’ve finally decided to test the market with two puzzle designs; Birds of Beebe Woods and Harvest Time.

Birds of Beebe Woods jigsaw puzzle

The 300 piece 12″ x 16″ puzzles are suitable for older children as well as adults. At this size, the puzzle pieces can easily spread out on a card table instead of taking over the dining room table. And it won’t take an interminable amount of time to piece together the image. Of course, some people love nothing more than to get sucked into a seemingly never-ending puzzle. I’m kind of like that and have to regulate my puzzle time, lest my obsessive nature takes over.

Birds of Beebe Woods jigsaw puzzle, box front and back

After our Thanksgiving meal, my family put together the Birds of Beebe Woods puzzle. It was more challenging than expected!

The puzzles are exclusively available through my Etsy Shop. They were just listed a few days ago and are selling so well that I’m having more made.
A note to my international fans: I’m really sorry, but due to the high cost of shipping overseas and unreasonable delays, I now only ship within the US and to Canada.

Is there a particular piece of mine that you would like to see in puzzle form? I’m planning to have more puzzles made and would love to hear your suggestions. Illustrations from my books MY BED and Pocketful of Posies can’t be reproduced, but other stand alone pieces are a possibility, if I have hires photos. Please leave a comment with your suggestions.

Harvest Time Jigsaw Puzzle
Harvest Time jigsaw puzzle, box front and back

BIRDS OF BEEBE WOODS is a hand-stitch tableau of birds common to North America. I made the piece to celebrate the town forest in Falmouth, MA. Birds pictured: cardinal, nuthatch, warbler, crow, wren, downy woodpecker, blue jay, cedar waxwing, gold finch and robin.

Birds of Beebe Woods jigsaw puzzle

HARVEST TIME is the fall scene in a series of seasonal landscapes that capture the wonder and magic of the natural world, both real and imagined. The piece is entirely stitched by hand and incorporates a variety of materials, including driftwood, wool felt, beads and wire.

Harvest Time jigsaw puzzle

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Harvest Time – Part 2 (turkey tail mushroom)

In this Part 2 in the series about making Harvest Time, I share photos, commentary and a stitch-minute video about creating the turkey tail mushroom overhanging the doorway in the stump. In the coming weeks and months, I will post more stories that focus on different aspects of the process of making the fall scene, including the toad stool mushroom, wee folk figures, tunnels, roots, stones and foliage of all kinds. Part 1 featured moss making.

Harvest Time is the fall scene in a series of seasonal landscapes that capture the wonder and magic of the natural world, both real and imagined. Harvest Time and 2 other scenes I’ve completed and written about, Frosty Morning and Mossy Glen, are available as note cards in my shop here.

Harvest Time Puzzles are available in my Etsy shop.

Turkey tail mushrooms or shelf fungi are found all over the world. They usually grow on dead hardwood stumps and downed hardwood trunks or branches.

Turkey Tail Mushrooms

I love how Glen Carliss used shelf fungi for the roofs in “Glendell Towers”, which he made for The Fairy Houses of Highfield Hall, an outdoor exhibition that I curated in 2015. Glen told me that he’d been eyeing the mushrooms growing on trees along his road for years, imaging what to do with them.

Glendell Towers by Glen Carliss

I didn’t use actual mushrooms in Harvest Time, but I was inspired by their fanciful appearance. My photo search came up with multiple color combinations, from earthy hues to shades as garish as 1960’s fashion. I chose a more subdued mixture of fall colors for the mushroom roof.

To make the striped concentric pattern, I chain stitched rows and rows of different shades of green and orange DMC cotton flower thread to a piece of felt. It took two tries to get the shape and colors the way I wanted it.

In this Stitch Minute video, I demonstrate chain stitching the stripes and adding wire.

After we filmed it, I wasn’t happy with the overall shape and color combo, so I started over and made a new one that was more curvy and included orange and yellow.

I stitched wire around the outside edge and covered it with white embroidery floss.

Then I made a smaller mushroom and a really little one that looked like a pompom on top of a hat. It’s been a year since I started working on this piece, so my memory is a bit foggy. I can only guess at how I formed the layers into a roof shape and attached it to the driftwood. I do remember that the mushroom wasn’t very cooperative and I had to torture it into shape. Most likely, I glued felt to the wood and then sewed the mushroom to the felt.

During the process, I constantly measured the depth of the trunk to make sure that it would fit behind the glass when the finished piece was framed. After the mushroom roof was added, there was just enough clearance!

My use of found objects is mostly limited to individual items that are sewn in place and incorporated into embroidered scenes. This trunk was different because it was made up of several driftwood parts that created a fairly large mass that stuck out from the background. Its depth and breadth would determine how I created everything else in the landscape.

Now that the trunk was finished, I could start building the other parts of the scene, including the ground at its base.

Next time, I will show the process of making the felt and stitched foliage growing on the ground at the foot of the tree trunk.

To keep up with new posts, please subscribe to this blog (top right column on the home page). Your contact info will not be sold or shared. If you’d like to see more frequent photos tracking the projects in my studio, please follow me on Facebook and/or Instagram

Harvest Time – Part 1 (mossy tree trunk)

Do you ever see little hollow openings at the foot of trees and wonder who could live there? In this Part 1 of the series about making Harvest Time, I share photos, commentary and a stitch-minute video about how I created such a place. In the coming weeks and months, I will post more stories that focus on different aspects of the process of making the fall scene, including the turkey tail mushroom roof, the toad stool mushroom, wee folk figures, tunnels, roots, stones and foliage of all kinds.

Harvest Time is the fall scene in a series of seasonal landscapes that capture the wonder and magic of the natural world, both real and imagined. Harvest Time and 2 other scenes I’ve completed and written about, Frosty Morning and Mossy Glen, are available as note cards in my shop here.

Harvest Time Puzzles are exclusively available in my Etsy shop.

A project like this generally begins with a concept in my head, where it germinates for a certain amount of time until the image is compelling enough to translate into something real. Sometimes I can visualize an idea right away, but other times it takes months to develop a thought into a clear picture in my imagination. I mulled over this fall piece for a while before hitting on the idea of creating a cross section of an underground root cellar. Then, I was ready to put something down on paper. I made a bunch of thumbnail sketches, which helped solidify the composition. At this stage I didn’t bother with the details. They would come later, when I formed the individual parts.

I enlarged the drawing on the lower right to full size (19″ x 24″), which gave me something to go by throughout the months-long process of making the scene. I thought of it as a guide more than a pattern or template because the design changed, depending on the objects I used and construction techniques I figured out along the way.

To make the tree trunk, I searched through my supply of driftwood and played around with the pieces until I came up with a plausible arrangement. Once I found a curved arch of the right size for the doorway, I could relax and build around it.

Moss covered trees
Last year, when I made Mossy Glen, the spring scene in this series, I devised a method of showing moss growing on wood. It involved using glue, which I don’t normally use because it’s messy and undependable. I also don’t use a glue gun because it’s stringy and shoddy looking and I don’t trust its holding capabilities. But, how else was I going to provide a surface that a needle could catch onto? So, out of necessity and with a fair bit of trepidation, I tried gluing pieces of felt onto the driftwood. And it did the job, without being visible! Aleene’s glue makes a variety of fabric embellishing adhesives that all work well. 

Now came the gloriously obsessive part, when I spent at least a month stitching moss “knots” onto the felt. It might appear tedious, but to me the act of repetitive stitching is heavenly! I’d also like to mention that no fingers or joints were harmed in the process. Here’s a Stitch Minute video that shows how I stitched the knots.

French knots/Colonial knots
It’s been pointed out by people who know such things, that I’m actually making a Colonial knot, not a French knot. It has something to do with the twist at the end. Being self-taught, I’ve never paid attention to the names of different stitches or doing them the “right” way. I just use the basics in combinations that work for me.

Thread
To make the moss, I used DMC cotton floss. The naturalistic appearance comes from combining different shades of green in groups of 3 or 4 strands.

I made doors out of an old wooden sail batten that had washed up onto the beach, sawing and sanding it to fit the opening. The doorknobs are beads sewn through drill holes. I glued felt to the back of the wooden doors and sewed them to a piece of felt. Then, I filled in the area around it with seed stitches.

To open the door a crack, so a little guy could peek out, I layered (glued or stitched, perhaps?) extra felt pieces behind the door. Then, I stitched moss to the felt on both sides of the door.

My work is made up of several parts that eventually come together, so the whole time I worked on the tree trunk, I planned ahead and thought about how it would merge with the other elements yet to be made.

I also wanted to create an inviting entrance for the wee folk to step onto when coming and going.

Stay tuned for more posts about making Harvest Time. Next time, I’ll share photos, commentary and a video about creating the turkey tail mushroom roof over the doorway.

To keep up with new posts, please subscribe to this blog (top right column on the home page). Your contact info will not be sold or shared. If you’d like to see more frequent photos tracking the projects in my studio, please follow me on Facebook and/or Instagram

Harvest Time – overview

Fall, the glorious time of year that reminds us it’s time to prepare for cold weather, has arrived in New England. Over the coming months, I will be sharing a series of posts with commentary and videos about making Harvest Time, which is a fall themed piece I finished earlier this year. Each story will focus on a different aspect of the process, from stitching moss to needle felting to creating the busy little characters. Part 1 – mossy tree trunk, Part 2 – turkey tail mushroom

I know that many of you refer to the season between summer and winter as “autumn”, but I’m partial to calling it “fall”. To me, saying “autumn” feels as if I’m trying to make a correction when none is necessary. Just saying.

Harvest Time is the fall scene in a series of seasonal landscapes that capture the wonder and magic of the natural world, both real and imagined. Harvest Time and 2 other scenes I’ve completed and written about, Frosty Morning and Mossy Glen, are available as note cards in my shop here.

Harvest Time Puzzles are exclusively sold in my Etsy shop

From the start, I imagined the fall landscape as a cutaway view, showing both above and below ground. Future posts will give a close look at making the moss covered stump, the area around it and the earth underground, including the tunnel and storage areas.

I will show the process of making the industrious wee folk…

and the storage containers for them to transport their harvest.

There will be a whole post devoted to making this purple mushroom…

and another about creating the underground root cellar.

I’ll write about different ways I embroidered plants…

both flat and 3-dimensional.

I’ll explain how I covered driftwood with mossy French knots…

and filled the felt sky with delicate foliage.

I look forward to delving into this multi-part series with you. Right now, I’m sifting through about a gazillion photos I took along the way. Just like with Frosty Morning and Mossy Glen, there will be a lot of little details to cover!

Harvest Time posts: Part 1 – mossy tree trunk, Part 2 – turkey tail mushroom

Harvest Time was the newest piece to be included in my retrospective exhibition, What a Relief, this past summer. It, and the other landscapes in the seasonal series will be some of the artwork shown in two solo shows in 2023:

SALLEY MAVOR: Once Upon a Stitch
Feb. 18 – June 4, 2023
Upcountry History Museum, Greenville, SC

SALLEY MAVOR: SOCIAL FABRIC
Sept. 30, 2023 – Jan. 7, 2024
Southern Vermont Arts Center, Manchester, VT

Harvest Time 2022

To keep up with new posts, please subscribe to this blog (top right column on the home page). Your contact info will not be sold or shared. If you’d like to see more frequent photos tracking the projects in my studio, please follow me on Facebook and/or Instagram