The Giving Tree

One of my favorite authors was Shel Silverstein; he was truly one of a kind.  In addition to many books, poetry and artist, he wrote the music and lyrics for "A Boy Named Sue."  You can read more about him here.

As a teenager, my daughter was really touched when she read The Giving Tree.  It is one of his most famous books, and was a modest success when it first arrived on the scene.  Since that time, it has sold more than 5.5 million copies in 30 languages as a best seller that is likely to be on the shelf in your local book store right now. 

When I saw an embroidery design called "The Tranquility Tree", I felt like it was something I wanted to use in a creative project with The Giving Tree in mind.  This is what I came up with.

I had wanted to use an unusual fabric/material/textile in its design.  I did not have to look any further than my laundry room.  I selected the dryer fabric softener that I use.  There were a couple of things that I did not realize about that cloth.  First was that a ‘used' cloth was not necessarily a ‘completely' used cloth.  There were still chemicals left in that cloth.  The second thing was that when I used water paint on the cloth that I used in several dryer loads, it still would not take the paint evenly.

So, I spattered on some paint because the paint was an afterthought anyway.  The main concept was the tree and the dryer cloth.


The next consideration was a strong color for the background.  I checked out several colors, including brown, red and green.  I selected the green for my background.



I sewed out the design and wanted to use a ‘frame' along with the tree.  With 34 different and unusual designs, those frames supersede those on my machine.  In the end, I used an oval - - so much for innovation.

I wanted to showcase the interesting design so I made the frame a little smaller than the design.  You can just see the sun and two roots peeking out from the embroidered frame.


After trimming to the frame, I was pleased with the outcome.  The only thing I would change is to have used more vibrant colors for the sun, water (horizontal lines) and roots. 

What do you think??


I like the smoky affect the dryer cloth gives.  Using net, organza, voile or other delicate fabric may be even more beautiful.

Comments (10) -

marysewfun 8/7/2010 9:58:24 AM

That is neat!  I never would have even taken a guess that was a dryer sheet.  Good job!


tourlady522 8/7/2010 10:51:16 AM

Another great idea Pat.

Got to try this one myself. Now to save all my dryer sheets.

Very pretty.  I would like to know where did you buy the tree design and what size hoop did you use to embroider it in?

Thanks!  I enjoy doing something different.  You can find that tree, and many innovative designs at:

Just don't use those dryer sheets as stabilizer.  It is not firm at all.  You can tell by the very soft hand of it.

Pat - You all inspire me to do more and more. . . and I love you all for it.

Ooops, I did it in a 5" by 7" hoop.  It was tricky because the design was close to 5" by 7."

I reduced the design size, and of course, the frame is totally adjustable.  I have been experimenting with using smaller frames for a different look.  I also use a smaller frame if I need to 'baste' my design, ie., slippery fabric or intricate detail.  The baste does not have to be larger than the design.


Recycle, reuse, rejoice in another neat idea.  Love the way it came out.

cakelady448 8/7/2010 1:59:17 PM

Beautiful idea.  I love the look.  I am going to try this out for Christmas presents.


It looks wonderful. I loved loved loved the giving tree. This tree most definately reminds me of the giving tree. I agee about making the sun more vibrant.

Beautiful!!!, Mary

I have been putting 2 dryer sheets together and use them as stabilizer under the fabric when embrodering with my machine.  It works just fine...try and see.  Next time I will try your ideal.

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