Rebecca Baer® Artful Living

04 September 2014

Fermenting Cabbage aka Making Sauerkraut

I began my foray into fermenting cabbage four years ago.  The results were spectacular and we were immediately hooked on making our own sauerkraut.  Once you've tasted genuine homemade sauerkraut you will never want the store bought variety again.  With each batch we learn something new and this year has been no exception so I thought I'd share.

As summer winds down I put in a call to a local farmer to see when cabbage will be ready.  Our reserves are low so  I definitely want to make a full large crock of kraut this year.

 Deciding how much cabbage to buy is a guess.  You can fit a remarkable number of heads in a crock as they compact during stomping.  I attribute our sauerkraut success to using a  fermentation crock like the one shown at left.  I have two sizes, a 15 liter and a 10 liter.  (To use the crocks you will also need  stone weights to keep your cabbage submerged in the brine.  In addition to regular kitchen equipment, a wooden sauerkraut stomper is helpful.)  I opted for two crocks over a single, larger crock for a couple of reasons.  First, the crocks are pretty heavy empty and when full are difficult to move.  Second, I can make two different varieties of sauerkraut at the same time or make pickles or other fermented veggies in one and sauerkraut in the other.  I remembered writing in a previous blog post that I could have fit a couple more heads in my crock but neglected to go back and see exactly how many that would be.  Since our reserves were low I planned to use both crocks.  At the farm I decided that fifteen heads of cabbage was the magic number.  As we were washing, slicing, salting and stomping we seemed to have an awful lot of cabbage.  My husband asked, "How many heads did we have the last time?"  This is when I decided to look at my earlier post to discover that we bought seven heads and estimated that we could have added two more to the crock.  Hmmm, fifteen isn't that far off from seven plus two, right?  Anyway, I wanted to use the small crock too this time so really, it's not so much.  Some of the heads were quite large weighing well over seven pounds.  Those seven heads from our previous venture averaged five pounds each.  We had roughly ninety pounds of cabbage to wash, peel, slice and stomp!  Here's how it went:  He said:  I don't know, it's getting pretty full.  She said:  I think we can fit a couple more.  Repeat this a few times and you get the gist.  In the end we ended up with two very full crocks with just enough room to fit the weights in under the rim and one very large head of cabbage left over.  

Note to self:  Read your old post as a reminder of how many heads of cabbage to buy before trekking out to the farm.

At this point all seemed well.  The two crocks were happily gurgling along.  At the (pre) dawn of the second day we discovered water covering a large area of the kitchen floor and were puzzled as to the source.  It seems that our very full crocks were overflowing with the brine from the cabbage.  This is not an aroma you want permeating your living space.  To get things under control I ladled about 24 ounces of brine out of each crock leaving plenty of brine covering the cabbage.  We wiped the outside of the crocks and set them on a towel then proceeded to wipe up the kitchen floor.  All this at four A.M.  Not my favorite way to start the day.

Note to self:  Maybe it is possible to overfill your crocks.  Perhaps twelve is the magic number.

With two crocks to fill I decided that the larger crock would be filled with our original sauerkraut recipe using sweet onions plus caraway seeds and juniper berries for seasoning.  It is important to know the weight of the heads of cabbage you are using so that you can adjust your salt accordingly.

In the smaller crock I decided to experiment with a different combination of seasonings.  

My recipe for a 10 liter crock: 
  • 5 heads of cabbage (roughly25 pounds)
  • 2 Tbsp salt per head-Important: do not use iodized (table) salt.  Kosher (I use this), sea or canning and pickling salt are all acceptable.
  • 2 small sweet onions
  • Seasonings are optional. I decided to use 1 Tbsp. each of Coriander seeds and Black Peppercorns per head (5#) of cabbage.  After the cabbage had been stomped I added five large home grown and dried bay leaves.  I note home grown because the freshness of these probably makes them a little stronger than store bought.  If using commercial bay leaves you may want to add a couple more.
Before you start, you need to make sure everything is absolutely clean.  This includes your crock and weights of course but also the work surface, and any bowls, knives or slicers that you will be using.  I mixed up some food grade, no-rinse sanitizer to clean all of my surfaces and tools. You can find this at home brewer/wine making supply stores if you choose to go this route.

Begin by removing the loose outer leaves and then quarter the cabbage with a sharp knife.  Cut the core from the cabbage quarters and shred the head of cabbage.  To do this you can use a sharp knife, a mandolin slicer, a cutter specifically designed for cabbage or a vegetable slicer. After shredding 35 pounds of cabbage on a mandolin slicer during our inaugural sauerkraut event I decided to invest in a Nemco vegetable slicer and it was worth every penny.  This commercial hand-crank slicer requires no electricity and will breeze through a head of cabbage in a minute or less.  

When one head is finished add it to the crock and top with a layer of thinly sliced onions, 1 Tbsp. of coriander  seeds, 1 Tbsp. of black peppercorns and 2 Tbsp. of salt.  Stomp the cabbage with the wooden stomper to break it down and release the juices.  The cabbage will compact considerably.

Continue the process of shredding the cabbage and adding the salt (plus seasoning and onion) then stomp aggressively to compress the cabbage.  The salt will pull the moisture from the cabbage to create the brine. 

After the final addition has been stomped down you should have enough brine to cover the cabbage and the weights.  

The brine increases.
The filled crock with weights.

Make sure all of the cabbage is off the sides of the crock and below the brine.  Add the weights and press down so that the brine rises to cover the weights completely.

Place the lid on the crock and fill the air lock with water.  Within 24 hours you should hear the "bloop" of air bubbles being released through the water in the rim of the crock. Remember to top off the water in the airlock periodically so that you retain the seal.

The temperature at which you ferment the cabbage will affect the speed of the process.  At temps below 60 degrees the cabbage may not ferment; above 75 and it may become soft.  When fermenting the cabbage at 60-65 degrees it will take 5 to 6 weeks while storing the crock at 70-75 degrees your cabbage should be fully fermented in 3-4 weeks.  

My other sauerkraut recipes:

Homemade Sauerkraut

Homemade Sauerkraut: Sweet & Sour Beet Kraut
Homemade Sauerkraut Using Red Cabbage

17 July 2014

Autumn Painting & Card Projects

It may be Summer but fall is just around the corner.  Now is the time to get started on those Autumn painting projects. I've penned three articles for the October 2014 issue of PaintWorks magazine and each one is designed for your painting pleasure! If you are not a subscriber look for this issue to be on sale July 29th. This squash trio, pictured at right,  is painted on a removable canvas panel allowing you to change your decor with the seasons. You can also find a lovely doqwood design in the spring 2014 issue of PaintWorks.
Instructions for making the burlap pillow shown as well as two companion pillows can be found here.

In addition to the panel featured above you will find two articles on making cards with watercolor accents! The first is a pair of Halloween party invitations with wonderful drippy backgrounds. The party-themed text are separate stamps so even if you aren't planning to throw a party you can use the concept and stamped images to create a fun holiday project.   The second pair is focused on the blessings or heart and home.  They are a great way to remind loved ones that you count them as a blessing especially if you cannot be with them at Thanksgiving.  My color choices for this set are not traditional fall hues so these cards are suitable for anytime you want to make someone feel special.  Both card projects feature beginner watercolor techniques and a great way to try a new medium! 

We've created discounted kits that include the stamps, papers & twine for making these cards the kits can be viewed here and here.

Come as You Aren’t 
Simple to create yet splendidly artful, a touch of watercolor makes each of these party invitations an original no matter how many you make! I’ve used a variety of orange hues on the examples shown but you could fashion others using a range of rich violet or brilliant green hues and still present a contemporary Halloween theme.
Homemade & Handpainted Blessings 
Toned hues of red-violet and yellow-green provide the subtle backdrop for a brilliant pop of watercolor. Incorporating a splash of painting makes each handmade card unique and a special treasure for the recipient. The fast & fun nature of these cards will have you sharing Thanksgiving greetings near and far.

15 June 2014

Easy Lemon Coconut Macaroons with Chocolate

This recipe is based on one I came across online for easy coconut macaroons.  I found the simplicity of the ingredient list intriguing.  It required just three ingredients.  Two cups of unsweetened coconut, one can of sweetened condensed milk and one teaspoon of vanilla.  While the short list had its appeal, I knew these would be much too sweet for our tastes so I modified it for a more balanced profile.  To counteract the sweetness I added lemon in three forms beginning with the zest from a large lemon then adding the juice from half of that lemon.  Using the juice from the whole lemon would have added too much liquid but I still wanted a bit more lemoniness so I added two envelopes of True Lemon.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

To make the cookies use a spoon to stir together the following ingredients in a bowl.

2 cups Unsweetened coconut
1 can   Sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp.   Vanilla
Grated zest of 1 lg. lemon
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 packets True Lemon

Drop, in tablespoon-sized lumps, onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.  Sprinkle with extra coconut.  Bake for 12 minutes or until they start to brown.

Remove cookies to a rack immediately after baking.

For the finishing touch, and a note of bitter chocolate, I coated the underside of each cookie then drizzled the tops.  For this you will need both chocolate chips and unsweetened baker's chocolate or you can substitute a bitter chocolate bar in the range of 70% cacao.
Combine 1.5 oz. each (I measured the chocolate by weight.  To measure by volume 1.5 oz. is about 3 Tbsp.) of the chocolate chips and the unsweetened chocolate in a small, flat-bottomed bowl. Microwave at short intervals (30 sec.) stirring between until the chocolate is melted.

Place a sheet of wax paper on a cookie sheet.  Dip the underside of each cookie in the melted chocolate.  You only want a thin layer so if your chocolate is thick use an icing spatula to sweep away excess.  Place the dipped cookie on the wax paper.

Melt .5 oz. of each chocolate and place in a plastic bag.  Snip the point off the corner of the bag to create a tiny hole.  Gently squeeze the bag to create a thin stream of chocolate as you travel to and fro over the cookies.  Refrigerate to harden the chocolate.

These were a hit and immediately deemed "blog worthy" by my tasters.  Enjoy!

28 May 2014

SURTEX | Art Licensing

Our experience as first-time exhibitors in 2014.

Booth Design
Prior to the show we had to decide how to approach our booth design.  There are varied ways that exhibitors choose to outfit their booth.  Some artists treat it as a singular display with an overall theme showcasing one collection or look.  Other artists and most (if not all) agencies feature a variety of art on their walls.  The more elaborate booths often have every surface decorated--even the corner posts!--and make use of alternate seating, tables and accessories.  We chose to take the simple approach for a few reasons.  First, our primary goal and purpose for attending the show is to license artwork so with that in mind we chose to focus on presenting art rather than creating a pretty and unified booth.  I freely admit that the booths that were all decked out were definitely prettier but keeping things simple worked fine for us. Second, we wanted to be able to pack everything (except the banners) into a single, wheeled tub that could be loaded in the car so there would be no shipping and we could unload it ourselves.  Third, we wanted to keep costs under control and our largest expense to decorate the booth was to order banners.  Another factor was time.  Leading up to the show I wanted to focus on adding to my collections not creating custom decor for the booth when it would only be used once.

I ordered my banners from based on a tip from another artist (Megan Aroon Duncanson) on Linked-in.  I opted for 36" x 72".  These filled all horizontal space on the panels but stopped short of the full length.  I didn't see any reason to go with longer banners since the bottom would be hidden from view.  The banners had grommets at the corners, which allowed us to hang them using hooks provided by SURTEX.  Opening morning I was glad I selected the grommet and hook method of hanging the banners because quite a few exhibitors arrived to find several of their banners on the floor.  Admittedly, this did not provide a seamless look for the booth but each banner featured a different collection so hanging separately was not an issue.  

We took samples of goods featuring licensed art that was also shown on the banners.  One reason for taking the samples was to add a bit of dimension to the booth.  Another is to show that I am already a licensed artist.  The samples proved to be a huge draw as quite a few manufacturers/art directors stopped to inquire about them and then proceed to review artwork.  Print on demand services allow you to create items to add dimensional product to your booth but may not offer the same advantage as actual samples.  Most who stopped because of the samples began by
asking if they were licensed as well as the identity of the manufacturer.  We displayed dinnerware by Certified International, a journal by C. R. Gibson and a few bolts of quilt fabric featuring my latest release from Studio e.

In lieu of a print portfolio we used two ipads loaded with pdf's for each collection.  This worked well and we definitely needed two.  At the busiest times we could have used a third person and ipad.  No one even inquired as to whether we had a print version for viewing.  This saved the expense of printing as well as dealing with several print books to transport.

Rather than order a singular-themed post card to distribute I printed two-sided, half-size tear sheets for fifteen or so different collections.  When a contact expressed interest in specific collections we gave them the corresponding cards for reference.  We used matte photo paper and the prints were photo quality.  These were very well received and much appreciated.  We will definitely do these again.

High Desk vs. Low Desk
The default desk height provided is the low desk.  Exhibitors have the option of selecting a high desk.  We chose the high desk.  Both have their advantages.  Contacts tend to sit down at the low desks, which could encourage a more leisurely review.  On the other hand you may miss out on those who don't feel they have the time to sit.  The low desk blocks less of your booth so more of your walls are visible. The high desk allows you to get off your feet without appearing to sit and you remain at eye level with passers by.  Conversely the higher chairs do tend to obstruct the view of your walls.  After having the higher desk at this event and discussing the pros and cons we did not have a strong preference for one or the other until we realized that the high desk offered considerable storage.  We will stay with the high desk for future shows.

The Results
The show was terrific! We made new friends and met several linked-in connections in person. We gained a large number of new contacts including multiple new contacts for categories we were hoping to add.  I am not even close to being done with the follow up and sending art out but I wanted to take a moment to share our experience with you.

SURTEX is a dynamic market filled with the latest trend-on artwork, designers and licensors from around the world. Diverse art & design draws quality buyers and licensees from manufacturers and retailers of all product categories.  Attendance is roughly 6000.

09 April 2014

Preserving Magnolia Leaves

Magnolia and other types of leaves can be easily preserved using a simple solution of glycerin and water.  In order to create a craft project for a gardening group planning a visit to "Artisan Life & Style" I used the following process on both magnolia and holly leaves with excellent results.

  1. Prepare your solution using two of parts very hot water to one part glycerin and pour it into your chosen container.  A narrow container will require less volume as the smaller diameter allows it to rise higher than in a container with a larger diameter.
  2. Gather your freshly cut branches keeping in mind that shorter branches will take less time to preserve as the glycerin solution has less distance to travel. Mash the ends to expose more surface area and submerge the mashed ends.  These will take several weeks to absorb the solution.  Check the progress weekly.  When the solution has reached the leaves you will see a rich brown color beginning to develop following the paths of the veins on the magnolia leaves.  
  3. Once the entire leaf has turned a glossy brown it has become fully saturated and can be removed from the solution.  Holly leaves become a deep black-green hue.
The preserved leaves can be used for a variety of crafts and home decor applications including wreaths, swags and arrangements.  The leaves can also be used as an art canvas on which to paint.  Imagine a magnolia blossom painted on a preserved leaf.  This would be a summertime beauty to enjoy once the season is long past.

To gild the leaves I used RB Gilded Stenciling Adhesive (it is thick so it does not bead on the glossy leaves) along with Composition Gold Leafing.

21 March 2014

Do I Really Need Duplicate Brushes?

You've been painting for years and are likely to have an enormous stash of brushes.  You've recently decided to expand your horizons and try a new medium.  Or perhaps you are just getting started and aren't sure which medium will speak to you.  You've heard talk that you should have a different set of brushes for each medium but you are hesitant--surely that advice is from a company or individual who wants to sell more brushes, right?  Well, as it turns out, no.  Keeping a separate set of brushes reserved for use exclusively with oils, acrylics or watercolors is good advice.  

For starters, oil and water don't mix so if you use your brushes interchangeably between oils and waterbased mediums you create a compatibility problem.  Residue in the brushes can cause bonding issues or areas of resist. Oil residue can irreparably stain a paper or acrylic coated surface. In some cases the desired hair content or brush shape may differ.  For example, Oil painters and watercolorists often prefer a natural-hair brush while acrylic artists sometimes like a brush with synthetic bristles.  

Classique Angles
"Okay, sounds reasonable but doesn't that mean that I can use my acrylic brushes with watercolors?", you might ask.  After all, these are both waterbased so, no compatibility issues there.  The answer is a resounding yes...and no.  Compatibility isn't the problem, binders (or the lack of) are.  Acrylic paints have a binder which, upon drying, makes the paint permanent.  Watercolors do not have a binder so when more moisture is introduced to dry paint the colors come back to life.  (Let's pretend the following example is not drawn from personal experience) In a pinch you might grab a brush you usually use for acrylics but think it won't hurt to use it for watercolors, just this once.  You just need a quick wash of Ultramarine Blue and it will rinse right out.  But alas, the next time you go to pick up a nice bright white or light hue for your acrylic project you discover that the color has taken on a brilliant blue tint!  The presence of moisture in the brush has caused the residual watercolor to reactivate and change your acrylic hue accordingly.  

Now that you know there there is indeed sound reasoning behind the admonition to isolate your brushes don't be concerned that you need to duplicate every brush you own or plan to purchase.  I use the same brush series (these are a blend of natural and synthetic hair) as these series themselves perform well across all mediums but I have duplicates of certain ones that are reserved for each of the specific mediums. I prefer certain brush shapes depending on the medium and don't need a duplicate for each and every style so I add only as needed.  For example, since I have painted primarily in acrylics for years I have most everything I need for this medium with a few duplicates, some by choice, others by chance.  
Au Sec brush series
My preferred brushes for acrylics include Classique™ Angles 1100 series, Rounds 
1000 series, and Liners 1020 & 1050 series along with the Au Sec™ 200 series for blending and drybrushing. The other brushes in my stash are those I have collected in my quest to discover what works for me.  As I began to dabble in watercolors I added duplicates of the Classique™ rounds and liners to my collection.  I find that I use these most and can add others, like an angle here of there as needed.  For oils, I have mostly the Classique™ angles and liners rather than rounds with an occasional Au Sec™ thrown in for drybrushing or textural applications.  

Since you aren't likely to be using each group of brushes simultaneously it is most convenient to keep brushes for each medium in designated carriers.  If you don't have separate carriers for the brushes then segregate them within the same container and mark the handles with colored masking tape for quick identification.

The brushes that meet my needs are few and can be found on our  Order the sets to save money.

30 January 2014

Burlap Pillow Ensemble

This tutorial provides instructions for creating the companion pillows appearing in PaintWorks Magazine April 2014 Issue.  The magazine article features the rectangular pillow with the hand-painted dogwood blossoms panel.  The decorative panel overlay is attached with buttons allowing you to change it with the seasons.

I have provided you with the total fabric requirements at the beginning then the cut size with each pillow.  The process for each pillow is complete so you won't have to skip back and forth for repeated techniques.
Fabric (enough to make all three pillows)
 1/2 yd. Sage Burlap
 3/4 yd. Paisley Romance/Scattered Dot (Cream Multi)
 1/3 yd. Paisley Romance/Gingham (Grey)

Preparing the Burlap
New burlap is strong smelling and stiff so I opted to wash  mine before creating anything with it. Additionally, the sizing present in new fabrics inhibits paint adhesion and I wanted to stencil on the burlap.  Washing removes the sizing and significantly softens the burlap making it easier to work with.  Wash the burlap prior to cutting to size.  

There are a few things you should consider if you choose to wash your burlap.  First, it is incredibly linty.  Be sure and wash it alone and wipe out the inside of the washer when it is done.  Second, it is a loose weave and will fray extensively.  Be sure and allow extra for trimming to size. The frayed strings will tangle together and you will need scissors to cut these off.  Alternatively, stay-stitch the perimeter of the burlap before washing to reduce fraying. Third, do not use any fabric softener.  You can line-dry the burlap or use the dryer but it will leave a lot of lint in the dryer so be sure and clean it out.  Iron the burlap.  Do not use any starch or sizing when ironing.  This process will make your burlap more user-friendly.  

Cutting the burlap straight
Burlap's loose weave makes it hard to cut straight leaving short strands that fray off the edge while you work.  The simple solution is to pull a single stand from the burlap to define your cutting line.  This creates a visible line along the straight grain of the fabric for you to cut.  I also use this method to mark the fold line for hemming.

Large Pillow
 [1] 16"H x 16"W  Paisley Romance/Scattered Dot (Cream Multi)
 [2] 16"H x 12"W  Paisley Romance/Scattered Dot (Cream Multi)
 [1] 16"H x 11"W Paisley Romance/Gingham (Grey) plus scrap to cover button
 [1] 6-1/4" x 16" Sage Burlap

General Supplies
 16" Pillow Form
 16" 7/8" wide Grosgrain Ribbon Brown 
 32" 3/8" wide Grosgrain Ribbon Grey
 Matching Thread for fabric and ribbons
 [1] 1-1/2" Dritz Half-Round Fabric Cover Buttons 
 [2] 7/8" Dritz Half-Round Fabric Cover Buttons 
 Plastic Coated Freezer Paper
 Chalk Pencil
 Glue stick
Americana Paint
 Shale Green
 Neutral Grey

RB Artiste™ Brush
 #2 Stenciler 500 series

Rebecca Baer® Stencil
 Arabesque Border-Large Stencil ST-302.L

Stencil the burlap panel using the Arabesque Border-Large stencil  (ST-302.L).  To do this,

Iron freezer paper to the back of the burlap to stabilize it.  Place the burlap face down on the ironing board.  Position a piece of freezer paper with the plastic-coated side down over the burlap.  Iron on high using no steam to bond the paper to the burlap. Turn the burlap and paper face up.  You can tape this to your work surface if desired to prevent shifting.

Position the stencil at  one corner of the burlap.  Tape if desired.  Combine Shale Green + Neutral Grey 1:1.  Pick up the mixture on a #2 stenciler and wipe well on a clean, dry paper towel to remove excess paint then swirl gently over the stencil.  When the image is complete reposition the stencil to continue the pattern.  The top and bottom of the border stencil have bump-outs that overlap the last scroll to continue the pattern in either direction.  Repeat the border along the other edge of the burlap as shown.  If you get paint on the segments of the stenciling that extend into the center between the two rows of border it does not matter.  The center will be covered by ribbon.

Fold under and press 1" on each long side of the gingham fabric. Center the burlap over the gingham. Pin or tack using the glue stick.  Draw the brown grosgrain ribbon over the glue stick and center the ribbon on the burlap panel.  Likewise attach the grey ribbons along the edges.  

Position the embellishment off center on the front of the pillow front (the 16" square scattered dot fabric) roughly three inches from the left edge.  Stitch the layers together  sewing along both sides of each strip of ribbon.  Use thread matching the ribbon and keep the stitching as close the the edge of the ribbon as you can.  Using a lighter thread matching the fabrics stitch the gingham to the pillow front 1/4" in from the folded edge.  Fold the pillow front in half top-to-bottom to find the center and use the chalk pencil mark the brown ribbon with a dot.  This is the placement mark for the large button, however, I prefer to construct the pillow with the layers flat so I do not attach the buttons at this time.

Hem one end on both 16" x 12" pieces.  Fold over 1/2" and press. Then fold this over another 1/2" to enclose the raw edge.  Press and stitch.  The finished size of each hemmed piece is 16" x 11".

Position the layers with the right sides together and all outer edges aligned.  This will create a three-inch overlap at the center of the back.  Pin if desired.  Stitch with a 1/2" seam allowance tapering to a 7/8" allowance at the corners.  If you continue straight at the corners rather than tapering inward your pillow will have dog ears.

After stitching, snip the corners diagonally to reduce bulk and press open the seams.  It is helpful to place a rolled hand towel inside the cover when pressing the seams.  Invert the cover.  

Cover the buttons according to package instructions.  Hand sew the large gingham-covered button in place over the dot marking the center of the ribbon.  Visually space the small scattered dot-covered buttons equal distances above and below the central button.  I used a tall, narrow spool as a spacer.  Hand-sew these to the pillow front.

Before inserting the pillow form make sure the fill is pushed into the corners of the form.  Insert the pillow form through the opening in the back.

Small Pillow
[1] 10"H x 10"W  Sage Burlap
[2] 10"H x 9"W  Sage Burlap
[1] 5" x 11"W Paisley Romance/Scattered Dot (Cream Multi)
[1] 5" x 22"W Paisley Romance/Scattered Dot (Cream Multi)
[1] Paisley Romance/Gingham (Grey) scrap to cover button

General Supplies
10" Pillow Form
1/4 yd Paisley Romance/Scattered Dot (Cream Multi)
Paisley Romance/Gingham (Grey) scrap to cover button
[1] 1-1/2" Dritz Half-Round Fabric Cover Buttons 

Americana Paint
 Shale Green
 Neutral Grey

RB Artiste™ Brush

Rebecca Baer® Stencil
 Arabesque Background-Small Stencil ST-301.S

Stencil the front (10" x 10") panel using the Arabesque Background-Small stencil  (ST-301.S).  To do this, Iron freezer paper to the back of the burlap to stabilize it.  Place the burlap face down on the ironing board.  Position a piece of freezer paper with the plastic-coated side down over the burlap.  Iron on high using no steam to bond the paper to the burlap. Turn the burlap and paper face up.  You can tape this to your work surface if desired to prevent shifting. Position the stencil at one corner of the burlap.  Tape if desired.  

Combine Shale Green + Neutral Grey 1:1.  Pick up the mixture on a #2 stenciler and wipe well on a clean, dry paper towel to remove excess paint then swirl gently over the stencil.  When the image is complete reposition the stencil to continue the pattern.  This stencil has a drop repeat so it will not match straight across.  Use the irregular inner edge to align the motif.

Decorative Band 
With right sides together stitch the long sides of the  5" x 11"W scattered dot fabric together to make a tube.  Press the seam open and invert the tube.  Position the seam in the center of the band and press.

Hem one side on both 10" x 19" pieces.  Fold over 1/2" and press. Then fold this over another 1/2" to enclose the raw edge.  Press and stitch.  The finished size of each hemmed piece is 10" x 8".

Position the band, seam down, on the front of the 10" x 10" stenciled burlap.  The band should be centered top-to-bottom with the raw edges aligned at the sides.  The band is slightly wider than the pillow to allow for gathering at the center.  Simply take up the extra at the middle with a fold.  Place the back layers over the front assembly with the right sides together and all outer edges aligned.  This will create a three-inch overlap at the center of the back.  Pin if desired.  Stitch with a 1/2" seam allowance tapering to a 7/8" allowance at the corners.  If you continue straight at the corners rather than tapering inward your pillow will have dog ears.

After stitching, snip the corners diagonally to reduce bulk and press open the seams.  It is helpful to place a rolled hand towel inside the cover when pressing the seams.  Invert the cover.  

Gather the center of the band and hand-stitch.  After stitching through the gathered band as shown, wrap the thread tightly around the center several times.  Finish by stitching through the gathered center again before tying off the thread.

With right sides together stitch the short ends of the 5" x 22" scattered dot fabric together to make a loop.  Press the seam open then fold the loop in half with wrong sides together and the raw edges aligned; press.

Stitch two loose (long stitch length) rows 1/4" apart just in from the raw edges.  Do not snip the threads.  Knot each pair of thread ends on the top side.  Hold the pair of bobbin threads (starting tails--one from each row) and gently pull as you work the fabric back the threads to gather it.  
When it gets difficult to keep sliding the fabric along the threads gather the rest using the threads at the opposite end (ending tails--one from each row).  Gather the fabric as tightly as possible then knot the threads and clip the tails.  At this point the rosette lies flat.

Use a hand needle and thread to further pinch and stitch gathering the center as tightly as possible leaving no hole in the center.   Stitch through the ruffles and across the center to keep everything tightly bound.  The rosette no longer lies flat.

Hand-stitch the rosette to the center of the gathered band.

Cover buttons according to package instructions.  Hand sew the large gingham-covered button in place over the center of the rosette.


Before inserting the pillow form make sure the fill is pushed into the corners of the form.  Insert the pillow form through the opening in the back.