Monday, June 25, 2012

DIY: Crafts that Travel

My Prissy-Presley Poodle inspired by the wall paper I saw at Graceland.
 One of my favorite traveling crafts is embroidery. I love to work on it during our occasional road trips and flights. Surprisingly, I've never had any trouble making it through security with my embroidery scissors and needles. Now that jar of Reese's peanut butter we tried to smuggle to Germany was a different story...

For this trip, I brought along three embroidery projects and I was so excited to finish this one yesterday. This little embroidery is going to be apart of a much bigger DIY that I'll be certain to share with you once complete. For now, here's the back story behind this embroidered piece.
A snapshot of a recent girl's trip to Graceland. You can read more about it here, if you like. That's Emma on the left and Quincy on the right.
Earlier this summer, I had the pleasure of traveling to Memphis to visit Graceland. I had not been to Elvis' crib since college (which was many blue moons ago) so it was a delight to visit again. Especially with Quincy who is the biggest Elvis fan I know.
Elvis outside Graceland, circa 1957. He purchased home and the land for $90,000. The name Graceland came from the original owner who named it after his daughter. Elvis liked the name so much he kept it. All images of Elvis via pinterest.

Elvis with his mother Gladys. Elvis said the most important woman in his life was his mother who passed away shortly after the purchase of Graceland in 1958.
About his mother, Elvis said, "My mother, she never really wanted anything. She stayed the same through it all. There are a lot of things that's happened since she passed away. I wish she could have been around to see them. It would have made her very happy and proud, but that's life, and I can't help it."

Elvis' parents chose Graceland as it had plenty of land (for the animals they wanted) and was off the road and had privacy (for the crazed fans they were trying to keep at bay).

Elvis' parents bedroom which is located on the first floor, to the right of the main staircase at the entrance.
 This bedroom of Gladys and Vernon didn't become open to the public until 1997. After the death of Gladys, the room was occupied by Millie Mae Presley, Elvis' grandmother.

I love this little peek into a world of purple velvet, white French-reproduction furniture (which I totally had in my bedroom as a kid), nifty 1950's lamps, rubber-stamped poodle wall designs and a brassy chandelier.
Emma and Quincy outside of the bed and bath of Gladys and Vernon.
 I immediately fell in love with the poodle wallpaper you can see over Emma's shoulder. It's just darling! So I snapped a couple of close ups in hopes that I'd be able to do something with the design.

 When I got home and started doing a little research, I was surprised to learn that this is not the original wall paper. Apparently a restorator, after studying many layers of paint and wallpaper, discovered that there once was poodle paper in the bath. After chatting with a Presley relative, he was able to get a description of the design. Memphis artist and designer Thomas Malic was hired to recreate the paper. He studied poodle images of the '50s and designed rubber stamp images which he printed with black ink over an off-white background.

Can you find the poodle I tried to replicate?
 I flipped and redrew the image of the poodle on the top left of the wallpaper photo. I'm going for a Parisian Poodle theme, hence the beret. Because of the small scale of the poodle and the fine details, I embroidered this guy with one strand of embroidery thread.
Just a little close up.
 Like I said, I cannot wait to share with you the final result of this project...but that will have to be once I return home and have access to my sewing machine. Until then, I'll be working on embroidery project #2. After some sight-seeing, gelato-eating and souvenir-shopping, of course!
Until then, I leave you with one of my favorite images of Elvis...that shirt! the princess phone! the pink stuffed hound dog! Love.


  1. I keep dropping multiple hints to my husband that we need to take a road trip out to Nashville and stop by Graceland on the way! ;) hehe. Must have been so neat to go with Emma and Quincy too!

    I adore your little poodle! I've always avoided taking embroidery things on plane trips--usually it's just knitting (with bamboo needles so hopefully some cranky TSA person won't take those away since they're not weapon-like at all. hehe!). But I might have to try to do that next time since I've usually got some embroidery project that I've been tinkering at for months going on. ;)

    1. Oh, a trip to Nashville and Memphis is a must! How fun would that be?!

      I've never had any trouble taking my embroidery on the plane which is surprising as my scissors look scary. My knitting needles never seem to pose a problem either. So you shouldn't have any troubles taking your crafts with you! On your flight to Nashville, that is ;)

  2. I love this!!!!!!! That poodle is amazing Cassie, you have to teach me ;)
    That last pic is my favorite too, hehe! I was lucky enough to visit that house he's in on a tour by myself. Fun times! xx

    1. Oh, Q, embroidery is the easiest...which is why I do it! I'd love to teach you. I should have messaged you for some Graceland/Elvis info, you are the Elvis encyclopedia! ;)

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  6. You just made my day! I visited Graceland last weekend - my last visit was before they opened up Vernon & Gladys' bedroom. I loved her bathroom wallpaper. Your poodle is adorable.


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