Saturday, January 24, 2015

Grow Your Blog

Welcome to the CraftyCat blog!  My name is Cathy and I am once again taking part in the Grow Your Blog party sponsored by Vicki at 2 Bags Full.  I had an amazing time participating in this event the last 2 years, so I'm thrilled to be a part of it again.

As you can tell by the name, CraftyCat is a blog about all kinds of crafts.  One day you might see photos of my latest cross stitch project, and another you'll hear about the beading project I just took on.  Other things I love to do are sewing, crocheting, and general crafting.  I'm constantly on the lookout for new things to make.

Tiny beaded snowflakes
As you visit, you'll see that I don't take myself too seriously.  I make mistakes and I admit when I make them.  And I post pictures of them!  Little failures and mistakes are all part of the process.  But I do always set out to make something beautiful.
Just one of my current cross stitch projects.
Learning new things in the craft world is part of the fun of creating.  I'll occasionally post a tutorial for my readers to learn how to make something I've created.  I also post links when I use someone else's tutorial.  It's my goal to make the CraftyCat blog a place where I can share useful information.  I've even done product reviews!
The room where the craftiness happens.  Well, some of it.

One of my frequent features is "Other People's Creations", where I'll post pictures of the craftiness of non-blogging friends of mine.  I'm constantly amazed at the artistic endeavors of other people, and so I am happy to give them a little blog time.

I've decided to have a giveaway as part of the Grow Your Blog event!  The winner will receive a mini project bag in a graphic black and white pattern with a pink lining.  Also included is a handmade beaded bracelet which is in a red and gold color scheme with a magnetic clasp.  Both items are made by me!  The mini project bag can be used for carrying your small crafting items.  Or use it for a purse organizer, as a cosmetic bag, or for coupons.  You can even use it for a small project!
I will have a drawing on February 15th and will announce the winner here on that same day.  All you have to do to enter the giveaway is leave a comment on this post by 9:00 p.m. EST on February 14th.  Please also make sure that there is a way I can get in touch with you.

During last year's Grow Your Blog party, I found so many new and interesting blogs!  I'm constantly adding to my blog list, and this event is a wonderful way to find new blogs.  And for me that means new friends and new ideas and inspiration.  Like all bloggers, I like to know that people are reading - and enjoying - my posts.  So please consider becoming a follower of CraftyCat, and leave a comment for me once in a while to let me know how I'm doing blog-wise.

Thank you for visiting today!  I hope to see you in blogger-land!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Ready For "Grow Your Blog"

The Grow Your Blog party for 2015 is coming up next Sunday, January 25th.  If you like blogs about everything in the creative world, then you'll almost certainly enjoy this!  The event is sponsored by Vicki at the blog, 2 Bags Full.  Here's what you do:
-On Sunday, January 25th, go to Vicki's blog.  Just click on this link.
-You'll find the list of participating bloggers sorted by how many followers they have.
-Begin visiting blogs!  You will definitely find blogs that interest you in the group of 400 participants.  Plus, a good number of bloggers offer giveaways in honor of the event.  I've been lucky enough to win a couple of beautiful handcrafted items created by bloggers during the Grow Your Blog party.  I also have begun following many blogs which I visit often!
-Maybe become a follower of some blogs.  Remember -- bloggers love followers!
-And just know that you don't have to visit all of the blogs on the 25th.  Vicki keeps the list up on her post so that you can visit at your leisure.  Have fun!

I will be participating in the Grow Your Blog party, so please pay a visit to the CraftyCat blog!  I've been busy during the past couple of days getting my giveaway prize ready for the event.  I'll post a photo the day of the party so it will be a surprise. 

Aside from that, I haven't worked toward any of my 2015 crafting goals.  At all.  I'm participating in a Valentine's Day exchange and have been working on that.  I'm not sure if the recipient of my exchange gift reads my blog, so I'll just show you a little bit of my progress.
There.  Just a little hint of what I'm doing.  And it doesn't give the finished project away.  What will it be?  You and my exchange recipient will just have to wait a little longer. 

So get ready for the Grow Your Blog party!  Have some fun visiting creative blogs from around the world.  I hope to see you there!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Resolutions... Or Are They Merely Suggestions?

I'm not a big New Year's resolution-maker.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but a resolution is just a decision to do something, right?  If my memory serves me, then I've made resolutions in March and September.  And every other month of the year.  For some reason, though, the new year has me thinking up new ideas for stitching and crafting and they've kind of turned into Stitching and Crafting Resolutions.  Here are some of them:

**Finish some WIPs.  This is my #1 goal.  I only have about 5 WIPs.  Two of them are very small. 
                   Is this an attainable goal?  Yes!

**Stitch one Christmas ornament every month.  Wouldn't it be wonderful to have a dozen ornaments stitched by next Christmas?!  
                   Is this reasonably do-able?  I should probably change it to one every other month, and if I happen to stitch more, then Yay!

**Actually attempt some of the crafting ideas I've been saving on Pinterest.  I have a lot of craft-oriented pins -- what am I waiting for?  One per month?  
                   Is this a realistic goal?  Depends on the project.  

**Learn to crochet items that require something other than single crochet, and don't panic if the project is not rectangular or square.
                   Can it be done?  Of course.

**Attempt some new ornament finishing techniques.
                   Can I do this?  Yes.

**Organize the craft room.
                   Is this a realistic goal?  This one is an absolute necessity.  

That last one.  The craft room.  Lately I've misplaced several things, only to find them later in places that made no sense.  Sure, my craft room may look clean and relatively neat.  But stuffing items into boxes just to make the place look tidy is no solution.  I've got a great craft closet, but without some organization, I have no idea what's in those boxes until I open them and look.  So a lot of organizing  and some labeling is in order.  That will be a day of fun.  Ha ha.  I'm pretty sure that the end result will be worth it!

So what do you think of my list?  Am I going to stick to these resolutions?  I'm thinking of them more as suggestions for enriching my craftiness.   I like that -- "enriching my craftiness".  If I keep these in mind, I'll be likely to act on them and have fun in the process.  So let's see what happens in 2015.

Speaking of getting things done, here is my progress on the Summer Garden Pincushion.
That's right, ALL of the embroidery is finished!  I worked on it at Stitch Day last Saturday and finished it up yesterday.  Now to assemble the pincushion.  You can find all of the instructions for this project at the Fiberluscious blog

Now I'm off to get dinner into the crockpot and then enjoy the rest of this gray, typical January day working on some stitching. 

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Odds And Ends

This post may be a little picture-heavy, so hold on to your adorable knitted stocking hats.  I've taken quite a few photos of things I wanted to post about here, and I can't let them go to waste!

First of all, "Song Of The Seasons", the LHN mystery sampler, is finally completed.
That's big news, considering it's taken me a little while a really long time to complete the stitching.  Someone just posted a picture of their framed "Song Of The Seasons" on Facebook, and it was gorgeous!  I'll have to think about how I want to do that.

Here's something I've been wanting to show off but couldn't because it was a Christmas gift.
I stitched this for my son's girlfriend and used the finishing instructions "The Ornament Cording and Hanger 1" from the blog "Learn To Finish With The Twisted Stitcher".  The pattern is from the Just Cross Stitch 2008 Christmas ornament issue.  And yes, Stephanie loved it.

Our family gathered at Sheila's house for Christmas day.  It was a wonderful celebration, full of food and laughter.  I noticed that Sheila had hung up a Santa that I stitched for her probably about 10 years ago.  It's in the top ten of my favorite things I've ever stitched.
I don't have all of the info about this one at my fingertips, but I think it's called "All American Santa" and it's from a book of cross stitch Santas by (I think) Leisure Arts.

We have an antiques market close by that opens up one weekend per month.  It's fun to walk around a few times a year to see what they have.  I went to the one in December to see all of the vendors' Christmas gift ideas.  I was pretty restrained in my purchasing, only picking up a pair of these interesting scissors.  The brand name engraved on them is "Spear Brand".  I don't know how old they are, or if they're even old, but I like them.  After Mark gave them a good cleaning, they work great!
Let's move on to "Other People's Creations", where I show you the crafty endeavors of friends and acquaintances.  First up are the adorable little owl pendants that Sheila made for each girl who attended her daughters' birthday party.
What fifth grader would not be delighted with one of these?!  They're made from polymer clay and painted with acrylic paint.  Sweet little goodie-bag gifts! 

Our office Christmas party was a couple of weeks ago.  Almost everyone contributed to the food offerings and they were all delicious.  A particularly creative addition to our feast was the veggie Christmas tree made by one of our volunteers.
Cute and delicious all at the same time!
She used a styrofoam tree shaped form and LOTS of toothpicks to stick the veggies in.  Please note the jicama "candy canes" and star.  Totally crafty and unexpected!

And last but not least, Mark's gift to Stephanie.  He hasn't had a lot of time to spend in his woodworking shop lately, but he did make some time to create this wonderful little Christmas tree.
The tree's not crooked.  I am.
Forgive the lopsided picture-taking.  The tree was worked on the lathe and is made of pecan wood.  I especially like the little hammered wire star.  It was another successful gift!

And there you have my long-winded and photo-heavy post about all kinds of things.  As we head into a new year, what are your crafting and stitching resolutions?  One of mine is to finish what I've started and that means getting to work on those WIPs!  And that is exactly what I'm going to continue to do this afternoon.  So I'm signing off to get some stitches in!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas With The Sisters

As many of you know, my stitch group, the Sisters In Stitches, has been meeting each month for a few years now.  We've started a Christmas tradition of having a special stitch day, complete with decorations and special food.  You see, we usually bring our own lunches to stitch days, so our Christmas stitch day is a little bit of an extravaganza.

We have a gift exchange every stitch day (yes, every stitch day!), so exchanging gifts is a tradition with us anyway.  But how festive is this gift table!  And note the peppermint ornaments made by Peggy!
Peggy is also our resident baker and more often than not makes us a delicious dessert for our stitch days.  But for Christmas we were the happy recipients of TWO desserts:  a gingerbread cake and a scrumptious pudding wrapped in meringue.  Add to that some colorful cookies and Christmas crackers and you have a pretty cheery dessert table!  We also feasted on lasagna, salads, and crackers and dips, and of course, that awesome dessert selection.
We always bring our completed or finished stitch projects to show off and were in awe of this one.  Peggy stitched this Santa a while back and it's just gorgeous.  I was particularly fascinated that she included family names on Santa's list!  Isn't that a wonderful touch?  Sorry about the glare on the photo.

I wanted to bring a small gift for each of my "sisters", so I made some little beaded snowflake ornaments which can also be used as pendants. 
A special Christmas card seemed like the way to showcase and give these snowflakes.  I had some one-sided cards and attached one ornament to each along with a poem about friends and snowflakes.  No, I didn't write it.  I found it on the internet and credited the author.  It was actually kind of sweet and maybe a little schmaltzy.  But that's ok.
So it was a wonderful day, spent with friends doing what we love to do - stitching.  I was glad to be able to concentrate on stitching for a day.  In this busy time of year, it's hard to find time to spend on our favorite pastimes.  

A beautiful day of stitching made me think about what my stitching goals are for 2015.  I know for sure that I'd like to complete my WIPS.  I don't have that many.  Also on the list are some grand plans for ornament stitching.  I'll have to think about that a little more. 

I want to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a blessed, Happy New Year!  Thank you for reading, following and commenting on my blog.  Stay tuned in the new year.  I have some things planned that I think you'll like.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

A Pinterest (Not Too Bad) Fail

Pinterest is so much fun, isn't it?  You can find cool ideas and photos of anything you're interested in.  In my case it's cross stitch, crafts, beading, and food.  And who knows what kinds of boards I'll add in the near future.  One little crafty idea that caught my eye was a bowl of pine cones painted with a silvery finish.  How festive!  How Christmas-y! 
Look at how shiny they are.  Remember, this is the picture from Pinterest.
All you have to do is get a can of Krylon Looking Glass Mirror-Like paint!  Well, and some pine cones too.  Funny story about that:  The house I used to live in was surrounded by pine trees.  Before we moved, I picked up a bunch of pine cones and stuck them in a box.  I actually moved a box of pine cones from my old house to my new house.  My husband never said anything about that, but he probably shook his head a little. 

I found the Krylon paint very easily at a big-box store.  Then I got out my box of Rockbridge Drive pine cones and went to work.  And this is what I got.
OK, they're pretty enough, but they just don't have that "mirror-like" finish that the ones in the Pinterest photo have.  See the difference?  I have a funny feeling that I could have bought the much bigger, less expensive can of regular silver spray paint and got the same result.  And yes, I did follow the instructions on the can and shook that thing for 2 minutes. 

To be fair, I decided to try this paint on a glass object to see the real mirror like finish.  I chose a simple glass votive holder.  And the result:
The colors you see are just reflections of me and stuff in the room.
Again, I can't get super-excited about the finished product.  Maybe I could try another coat? 

So, all in all, I like my silvery pine cones even though they weren't exactly what I was expecting.  They're displayed in a bowl on my sofa table.  My Rockbridge Drive pine cones look pretty good and festive.

Thank you for all of your kind comments and for following my blog!  Please leave a comment if you like this post or if you can give me some additional tips for using this paint.  I'd appreciate it!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

And The Garden Grows

Even though summer is a distant memory, there have been some new flowers blooming here.  I continue to work on my Summer Garden Pincushion.  The ongoing tutorial is featured on the Fiberluscious blog.  Mums highlight the latest section.  I'm learning and re-learning many embroidery stitches by participating in this project.  For example, the fly stitch is new to me and is excellent for little leaves. 
I like the relaxed pace of this tutorial.  I don't feel pressured to get something done really quickly or to "keep up".  It's a project I can easily pick up and work on when a new section is posted, and then put away until the next part of the tutorial.  No hurrying is fine with me.

New product alert!  Well, new to me anyway.  I started using a Frixion pen for marking my stitching area.  The pen mark is a lot thinner than the disappearing ink marker (the blue lines) I was using.  This is especially handy when working in such a small space.  Best of all, the Frixion pen markings disappear with heat! 
My progress so far.
So far so good.  It will be fun to see the next installment's flower selection. 

On the stitching front, I finished an ornament that I'll be giving to someone for Christmas so it will remain a secret for the time being.  I used a finishing technique that I learned on the blog "Learn To Finish With The Twisted Stitcher" and I'm extremely happy with the result!  I'm also very close to finishing the stitching on the "Song of the Season" mystery sampler that I've been working on for quite a while.  I expect to be able to post pictures of that very soon!