- I'm Doing...
- About Me/Contact
Dutch Canal Houses - Table Topper for St. Nicholas Celebrating
Submitted by Pam on Tue, 07/17/2012 - 20:45
Believe it or not - until I set foot inside the Dutch Store last year, I had never even heard of a Dutch canal house! Seeing all those charming Delft blue and white ceramic canal houses lined up side by side on a shelf - well - it was love at first sight and I instructed my Muse to begin thinking of a way to incorporate Dutch canal houses into my St. Nicholas celebration.
We settled on an embroidered table topper!
Notes were taken as ideas popped up for the shape - round, square, rectangular. I finally settled on a long narrow white linen table topper measuring approximately 20" wide and 36" long with a row of four houses embroidered in shades of blue at each end - and plenty of room between for displaying wooden shoes!
Table toppers that would require 12 or 16 houses were rejected almost as soon as they were sketched! It would take me F-O-R-E-V-E-R to embroider 16 houses! I am pretty sure I have my hands full with 8!
Since white and blue ceramic canal houses were what enchanted me in the first place, I turned to this site for architectural details that could be incorporated into my designs. I didn't copy them exactly, of course, but used them as a guide in designing my own.
And in the process of exploring the site I learned that each gable shape has a name that reflects it's shape - stair gable, bell gable, neck gable....
The gables I settled on: Zaanse, stair, pointed, and neck.
At the time I was designing, I had this crazy idea that all my lines had to be straight, so my houses were drawn on graph paper. If you are into straight - graph paper is definitely the way to go.
Designing your own houses is fun - it really is! And you might be much smarter than I am and NOT make so many lines to be stitched! But if anyone wishes, I can certainly make a PDF available of the drawings I made.
I cut the completed drawings so that the houses could be arranged in any order, and once I was happy with an arrangement, I taped the houses to each other and to the surface of my light table. The light from the light box makes tracing designs very easy.
NOTE: Before I taped the linen over the house designs, I made certain that all four sides were cut along the grain. If you do not know how to do this, you can follow this excellent tutorial on Wee Folk Art.
Linen has lovely, large warp and weft threads that are very easy to see and this makes it much easier to line up the fabric threads over the house design lines so that the placement of the design is perfectly straight along the bottom and sides of the table topper.
Once the linen was cut to size, I used masking tape to secure it over the design on the light box. I used a LOT of tape on three sides to make sure the fabric did not move while I was tracing.
My tracing tools? This magic pen - the color washes right out with a little cool water. And a transparent straight edge.
Tracing the details of each house took much less time than I expected - only about an hour per side!
I used an old trick I learned in architectural drafting and traced all the horizontal lines - beginning at the top and working toward the bottom, and then traced all the vertical lines - beginning at the right and moving toward the left.
I hope the embroidery goes almost as fast as the tracing! But I have a feeling I am going to be at the embroidery phase for a good long while!!
For the past several weeks, I have been thinking I am miss smarty pants for coming up with the design for my canal houses - until today. As I was preparing this post, I googled images for Dutch canal houses so I could share the link with you and right there in the middle of the images offered I saw...
Image found on Crafty Crow of Dutch canal houses made by Anne (10 years) and shared on Kids Artists
...this adorable sketch on Crafty Crow who found it on Kids Artists! These charming houses were drawn by Anne, age 10, as part of a classroom assignment! Don't you just love Anne's drawing? (Be sure to scroll to the bottom of the post for a classsroom drawing.)
So first of all I am NOT miss smarty pants after all. (Another excellent example of the points I made in my post about intuitive consciousness! The similarities between the houses drawn by me and Anne - uncanny. My jaw dropped three feet when I saw the image above. Three feet!)
Furthermore, I am loving the not so straight lines! (I am committed to my own straight line design now, but next time - freehand! I totally love the look of these houses.)
And most importantly - the drawing clearly demonstrates that no one need feel intimidated or feel they can not make a charming Dutch canal house design to use as a table topper or pillow cover, or wall hanging!
And don't miss seeing this very colorful and charming classroom version of canal houses on Kids Artists! Wouldn't this be a perfect project for kids celebrating St. Nicholas Day!
Back to my own little project - time to begin the embroidery. I will keep you posted!