I decided to start with the small stuff and work up. The Burse came first. This is a stiff, book-shaped object that holds extra altar linens, in case the ones in use during a service get soiled. I had never even looked at one closely before, but lo and behold, I googled "how to make a burse" and directions (with photographs!) came right up. I dyed and painted some silk canvas, used foamcore for the stiff base, and made the burse in a day. Of course, I didn't accomplish anything else that day.
Here's the Burse. The Celtic cross and spine are silk dupioni. It's about 10" square, lined with darker green satin.
My camera (or maybe the monitor) makes it look bluer than it is in reality.
Bursting with new confidence, I'm now tackling the Chalice Veil. This is a silk square, about 24" square, that is draped over the communion cup when not in use. In keeping with the Piney Woods theme, my design features pine trees against a light blue sky. Right now it's in process, not ready for photos, and I'm struggling to keep it flat while adding a lot of threadpainting. If I had planned better I'd have used a heavier stabilizer to prevent distortion--ah, hindsight! The next day or so will tell me whether to start over on that piece.
The project did give me an excuse to go fabric shopping in Houston, seeking several shades of green silk and some heavy cotton to back the altar frontal and lectern hangings. I do love looking at the myriad bolts of silk in variations of blue and green. I wanted them all, of course, but managed to narrow it down to three separate yards of silk. The cool thing about using the woods as a theme is that nothing has to match, it all just has to relate and blend together. So lots of varying greens, a river on the frontal echoing the blue tones, browns and blacks in tree trunks, stones made of dyed cotton lace. I'll show more as it develops.