Happy New Year!

I always make a resolution to simplify my life and say "no" to things that I don't have time for. Well, I guess I screwed up already... again.

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to wander around a railyard and photograph some fun, colorful graffiti. I have no idea if I was trespassing or not... but nobody yelled at me so I take that as in invitation to come back anytime. :) I've had an idea in my head for a while to create a collection of photographs of graffiti that make it seem less grungy and "offensive". I've never considered it offensive (I actually scope out passing trains to find the coolest examples), but it is technically vandalism and most communities frown upon this type of artistic expression.

My original goal of this project was to soften the harsh texture of the rusty steel coated in layers of spray paint with soft, shiny embroidery stitches. Also... I've heard that cross stitching is "coming back"... whatever that means.

While I was sorting through my photos, I decided to get them printed to look at them laid out together. Then I thought, "Hey, wouldn't these make awesome New Year's cards?!?" and I ordered multiples of many of the graphic close-ups. The fact that Snapfish was running a deal on 100+ prints really helped that decision as well...

Of course, I needed to try out some of the techniques I'd be using on my art photos, so I attempted to construct a sort of "needle stamp" to punch a series of holes in the pictures that I could then stitch into. It didn't turn out too well.

The pins are too long and bendy so they don't make a nice grid pattern...

I then resorted to drawing out my shape on graph paper and individually poking holes with a pin taped to a pen. Tedious and time consuming? Absolutely. Worth it? I think so. I actually even got my hubby to help poke holes in the greeting card parts, which I embroidered then stuck on with 1/8" thick foam tape.

I love how these turned out. Each of the 27 cards is unique, and it was actually kind of fun deciding who got which one. Some of the colors in the photos reminded me of this friend or that relative, and some of them were much more manly. Everyone who has received one so far has thought the were adorable... and the message of "beauty is everywhere" really resonates with me. Beauty comes in all forms, and can be found even in the most unexpected places... like on the rusty side of a beat up old train car.


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