Thursday, March 22, 2012

Guest Designer and All Things Altered Blog Hop - "Sewing Bird" House

Here it is ... I call it my "Sewing Bird" House.

I covered a bare wooden bird house with DCWV self-adhesive fabric paper (blue collection), then cut three gears from handmade copper-colored paper using the Spellbinders Sprightly Sprockets die, toning down the copper color with a wash of Walnut Stain Distress Stain. When dry, I adhered the gears around each opening in the bird house.  Next, I hammered the metal roof on the inside, then applied Baroque Art Gilder's Paste (copper, rust, and verdigris) to the outside.  Before reattaching the roof to the bird house, I punched a small hole in each crease and inserted Tim Holtz Ideaology antique gold chain through it.  I ran two sizes of Graphic 45 metal butterflies through a Vintaj Deco Motif embossing folder, applied copper Gilder's Paste and Vintaj Patinas in blue and green before adhering to top of roof.  I used Tim Holtz Sizzix mini dress form and thread spool movers and shapers die to cut them from real wood paper, then adhered another matching piece of DCWV fabric paper to the dress form.  Next, I wrapped floss around the thread spool and waist of the dress form and adhered both to the base of the house, along with some Tim Coffey (K & Company) and Prima flowers.  I also used the copper paste to color the vintage (replica) sewing bird.  It was a bright, brassy gold color.  I finished the bird house off with a few sewing-themed embellishments.  Look closely at the scissors in the lower left ... they are etched with a cute little squirrel, who appears to be watching the sewing bird above.  The scissors are also a replica, but I can always remove them to use, if I choose to.

In case you are unfamiliar with sewing birds, I am including a picture of one below.  It was used as a "third" hand.  By clamping the "bird" onto a nearby table, you would  insert your fabric into the mouth of the bird, and holding the fabric taught with your left hand, you could then continue working with your needle in your right hand, and vice versa, of course, if you are left-handed.

This particular sewing bird is a replica of an antique sewing bird, and I was able to find it inexpensively at  It was blemished, so I purchased it for a "song", and I'm still looking to find what is wrong with it.  Being inexpensive, and not an actual antique, I was able to allow myself to alter it without a sense of destruction to an otherwise beautiful Victorian tool. 

The All Things Altered Blog Hop is hosted by Pam Bray, so you will want to visit her blog Scrapbook Flair to start hopping in the right direction.  There you will find the links to the many talented artists participating in the blog hop.  Enjoy your hop, and thanks for stopping by.


  1. Lovely Sewing Birdhouse Barb, I just love all of the details to it. I didn't know the history behind the Sewing Bird and found that quite interesting. Thanks for being a Guest Designer today. Hugs Pammejo

  2. Thanks Pam for allowing me the opportunity, and for your sweet comments.

  3. Wow Barbara! This is absolutely gorgeous! I love it! Thanks for the information about the sewing bird too - I think I have heard of them before but had forgotten! Absolutely gorgeous!

  4. Fantastic bird house, Barbara! I love it!!!

  5. Totally awesome! Love it! Really enoyed the information about the sewing birds, thanks for sharing the information.

  6. Thanks for sharing this gorgeous project and for the Sewing Bird history lesson. I had never heard of it. I'll add this to what Larry calls my "head full of useless knowledge" and incorporate it into a project that's been floating around in my head for the last year or so. I've been collecting sewing ephemera, so this tidbit will be put to good use.

  7. Barbara! This turned out amazing! Oh my! I love it! So gorgeous! ...and now your little bird has a home! Beautiful, Beautiful!

  8. Oh Barbara your Sewing Theme Bird House is beyond AMAZING! I am so glad I found your blog through the Altered Hop!!! I love all the detail that you put into your bird house; the chain, scissors, sewing bird, all the metal pastes (of which I knew nothing about, but now have to have!) etc! I love to sew, so naturally love this and have been hunting antique shops for sewing theme items of which one is a Sewing Bird! Thanks for all the wealth of info you provided also in this post. I am going to check out the one website you mentioned right away..... Oh, I now subscribe to your posts through google, but with them my name is buckskinbelle.

  9. Thank you, one and all, for your wonderful comments. You know, it makes it all worthwhile when you can make others happy, and I appreciate ever so much your kind words.

  10. Barbara, this project is stunning! Wow- Candice was right :-) You are amazing- so cool how you combined all of these elements. I did know about the sewing birds- a lady in my quilt guild had a collection and brought them to a meeting one time and talked about each one. Very cool :-) Thanks...

    1. Thanks so much, Eileen. It was one of those epiphanies when I decided to use a sewing bird tool (instead of a bird) for my bird house. It just all seemed to come together. I've collected vintage sewing implements for years now, and this was one more way to display them.

  11. Barbara,

    What an AMAZING idea!!! I love your sewing theme! I could use one of those sewing birds. ;)

    Thank you so much for sharing (I am excited to be following your blog now!),

    partridgelu at yahoo dot com

  12. Thank you, Jennifer. You are so kind, and I am so glad to have you as a new follower.