Last week I made a collage band for the outside of a copper can I am transforming into an urn for my departed dog Red's ashes. This week I'm tricking it out with thread, buttons, and whatever other whimsical doodads I find in my toolbox.

I straight-stitched (like this: -----) along the edges of the 3-D images with some of the Aurifil thread I purchased for Project 8 (Project/Picnic Bag). I stitched around a shot of Red at my wedding, right before I tossed the bouquet. I switched to deep-red thread and stitched around our Holiday Family Portrait, circa 1998. Flipping to the zig-zag stitch option on my machine (like this: zzzzzz, but vertical), I stitched around Red (looking a little lit) at my 25th birthday party. I switched thread once again to catch her midway through a dog-wash debacle. I stopped switching thread and stitch-style when I ran out of images.

I used the McGill Border Ribbon Stitch Punch I bought at Collage ($9.95, 1639 NE Alberta St., 249-2190, to punch a few practice holes on scratch paper. By overlapping two of the lines in the diagram at the top of the gadget each time I progressed forward (as it only punches six holes at a time), I prevented inconsistent spacing along the length of the band. I wove lime-green gingham (yarn-dyed, plain-weave cotton fabric, usually striped or checked) 1/8" ribbon through the holes along the bottom and a stripey cantaloupe-orange 1/4" ribbon along the top.

To highlight my favorite photo of us together, I poked a few antique copper brads ($3/100) through the corners and hand-stitched an orange heart around Red's beautiful, wise face.

I sewed a few colorful buttons randomly about the band and was ready to attach the collage to the can. I brushed a layer of Golden Acrylic Gel across the middle and carefully lay the band in place. I moved slowly, about 2 or 3 inches at a time, trying to avoid air bubbles and to get serious contact between the two surfaces. I put a few hair bands around the diameter of the can to apply constant, even pressure while it dried overnight.

Next Week: Top and Tag

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