Sunday, December 10, 2017

The Christmas Three-Tier Tray

It all started when a little ad popped up on Facebook. You know how it does that? Ads from different stores and websites show up on your newsfeed, all with the purpose of tempting you with their wares. This particular one was from Pottery Barn and it was their three-tier tray all dolled up with Christmasy goodness. It had Santa mugs, candy canes, sprigs of greenery, and festive fabric. Simply adorable. The first thing I thought is "I have Santa mugs!". Well, two of them. One big and one tiny.

I admit that I became a bit obsessed with this three-tier tray thing. It's not much to look at on its own, especially since it's made of galvanized metal. But oh, the possibilities! Off I went in search of an affordable version of it and found it on Ebay. Easy enough to assemble, it took all of a few minutes. Then I left it in my craft room so that I could ponder how I would make my creation a thing of joy and wonder! Here's what I came up with.
First, I wrapped each tier with some mini holly strands which I already had. More things I didn't need to buy: the Santa mugs, bottle brush trees, pine cones, tiny candy canes, a Santa polar bear, tiny Santa salt and pepper shakers, and some little figures I owned since I was a child.
I bought both reindeer at Joann's. I will also use these for my winter tray.
The little ceramic basket was a thrift store find! I did purchase the Christmas fabric and berry picks and the evergreen picks.
Another purchase I made was the larger size candy canes and the all white Santa mug. It found those at a local antique store. The white mug used to be painted, but almost all of the paint is gone. I did like the look of the paint-free Santa!
The whole thing just makes me happy.
It has a place of honor on the sofa table.

So here I was thinking that I was pretty clever doing this, all with just a little idea from a Pottery Barn ad. But nooooooo! It seems that the three-tier tray is a thing. Yes, I Googled three-tier tray and so many different photos of them came up! Well, at least I can say that I didn't copy any of them. I even found out that one of my favorite Flosstubers and blogger, Priscillas2000 (that's her blog name), decorates her tray seasonally. So no particular originality for me, but I do get points for creating a cute little scenario.

I already have plans to use my three-tier tray for winter decorating to cheer up the place during those bleak winter months. But there are still several weeks to enjoy my Christmas-themed creation.

So what do you think? Can you imagine the different things you could put into the tray for different times of the year? If this is something you'd like to do, just Google "three-tier tray" and "three-tier tray decorating", and you'll not only find different sources for the tray itself, but also wonderful decorating ideas! Have fun! I hope you enjoyed this little tour!

Sunday, November 26, 2017

WIPocalypse For November

I haven't updated my blog since the last WIPocalypse, but at least I'm posting for this SAL on the correct day. That counts for something, right? It's just been a busy fall from the start. My goal is to spend more time stitching and crafting, starting.......well, maybe after Christmas.

Stitching is something I've been doing pretty often, but my rotation is not rotating. I seem to be stuck on my Thanksgiving WIP and my Christmas WIP. Understandably so, considering the time of the year. My main problem is that I keep seeing new charts and new potential projects. They're everywhere! I can't escape them! I've also joined the Stitch Maynia group on Facebook. Talk about enabling! I've seen so many gorgeous things there and have gotten numerous ideas for what to stitch next. So. Is that a problem?

I am enjoying stitching "Be Ye Thankful" by the Cricket Collection.
I know. I really should be farther along with this. But in my defense, there's a little confetti and more little confetti-like things in this chart that make it adorable but at the same time slows me down a bit. That's all right because I am liking the way this is turning out. I am very confident that I'll have this done for next Thanksgiving!

My current Christmas chart is another one that I like a lot. It's "Christmas Sentiments" by Stoney Creek.
I love everything about this - the design, the colors, the threads. And the last step will be some beading to add a little sparkle. This is another one that I know will be done for next Christmas. As in Christmas of 2018. I'm stitching it on 28-count Jobelan in lambswool.

I completed "Snow Much Fun At The North Pole" by Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery and actually finished it into an ornament. Loved stitching this and had fun creating the ornament!

And now for the forgotten WIP (actually a finish) from a long-ago decade. Yes, stitchy friends, I finished stitching this in 1997.
It was packed away in my "finished stitching" box, which is where projects that are finished but not fully finished (FFO'd) are stored. I showed this on a recent Flosstube video that I did and someone commented that it would be cool if I fully finished it in 2017. So that's exactly what I did. The pattern is "Nutmeg Santa" by Schoolroom Samplings from the Just Cross Stitch 1997 Ornament Issue. It only took 20 years. That cracks me up for some reason.

I feel a new start coming on. I'm joining the Linen & Thread Mystery Sampler SAL with Holly & Anita on Flosstube. The sampler was started in January, 2017 and a new section of the chart was released each month. It's a free chart and is gorgeous. It's going to be a huge project, but I'm almost ready to go. I've chosen the colors for mine, and believe me, it wasn't easy to do!
To find out more about this stitch along, go to Holly & Anita's channel on Youtube (linked above) and watch their video #2 and #3. They're calling it their #haajourney. I'll be stitching mine on 32-count Jobelan in antique white.

For more information about the WIPocalypse SAL, please see the Measi's Musings blog. You'll find info about the 2018 WIPocalypse as well.

Question of the month: What finishing style have you never tried but would love to do?  My answer is very much affected by my Flosstube viewing. I would love to finish my stitching in the style of Priscilla & Chelsea, who are fellow Flosstubers and who do the most amazing and creative finishing. If you've never seen them, and want to get some new finishing ideas, go and visit their channel, simply called Priscilla & Chelsea. Seriously. You will not be disappointed.

All right, friends. On to December. I just saw that the next WIPocalypse check-in is on December 31st. That puts it all into perspective, doesn't it? Yikes. Where did this year go? Next month we will also recap our stitching endeavors for the year.

I hope you all had a happy Thanksgiving, and hope that you'll take the time to come back and visit.

Monday, October 30, 2017

It's Time For October WIPocalypse!

So I was looking for something in the closet in my craft room and guess what. I found a WIP, all kitted up and started! I have no idea when I started this or why I stopped stitching it. I do like it though, and it's perfect for this time of year.
It's "Be Ye Thankful" by The Cricket Collection. When I unearthed it, only one side of the house had any stitching on it. I added a few more stitches the other night. Yes, this is going into the WIP pile!

At Stitch Day this month, I worked on "Scaredy Cats" by Mill Hill. How optimistic I was that I would have this done by Halloween. Ha ha ha. Oh well, one can dream.
I'm a stitcher who doesn't mind stitching Halloween things in February and Christmas things in June. I'll keep up the stitching on this for Halloween 2018!

I also put a few stitches into "Christmas Sentiments" by Stoney Creek.
Now that I have all of the threads for this, I can keep going.

Finally, I have an almost-finish!
It's "Snow Much Fun At The North Pole" by Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery, and can be found in the 2017 JCS Christmas issue. A few more stitches and I'll be ready to do some finishing. The fabric is pale blue, but looks white in this photo.

And that's what I worked on this month. All of my other projects fell by the wayside temporarily. That's ok. They'll get back into the rotation.

Question of the month: How did you begin stitching? I got interested in needlework at a young age when my mom taught me how to embroider, mostly things like pillowcases. Then I found embroidery and crewel kits. When cross stitch started becoming popular, I jumped on the bandwagon and haven't jumped off!

I'm posting this as part of the WIPocalypse, a WIP rotation SAL hosted by Measi's Musings blog.
I just saw that the WIPocalypse will happen again in 2018, so if you want a little push to get working on those WIPs, you might want to consider joining. Click the link to find out more!

Friday, October 27, 2017

Pinterest Project - Project Bags!

Since I joined Flosstube, I noticed how popular project bags are. Stitchers are either making them or buying them. One stitcher said that she uses dollar store zipper bags for most of her projects, but wants a few pretty ones "just because". I get that.

I've made small zip bags in the past, more of a size for accessories.
These were fun to make, and they turned out really well. One thing that bothered to perfectionist seamstress in me were the unfinished edges inside. I knew that there was a neater alternative out there somewhere.

So I set out to find a tutorial for a pretty, lined project bag that was fairly easy to make. First I found The Twisted Stitcher's tutorial for a project envelope. I like the way this one looks. Instead of the zipper, this one closes with a flap. I must have been in a pink mode when I went to Joann's for the fabric for this.
This was so easy to make thanks to Vonna's instructions. She doesn't leave anything out, showing the viewer all of the steps used in making this envelope. I really like using the fusible fleece which gives the envelope body.
And on the inside, more pink. Ha ha ha. But look at how nicely everything is finished. No raw edges or fraying threads. I even made the pattern for this out of poster board so that I can make more of these. And I did make another one!
I absolutely will be making more of these. They are very easy to make and you don't have to be an expert seamstress to put these together!

Let's move on to zip bags. "Whitney Sews" is a Youtube channel that has a lot of fun and useful sewing ideas. Whitney's video tutorial for an "Easiest Lined Zipper Bag" is quick, but clear. She solves the problem of unfinished raw edges inside the bag by using French seams on the side seams. This is actually a great idea. My mistake when making this bag was using super-heavy interfacing. The tutorial instructions don't say anything about using interfacing, but I do like the bag to hold its shape. However, I should have used a lightweight interfacing to avoid bulk in the seams.
And wow, did that heavy interfacing create a LOT of bulk in the seams. I also cut the fabric to a weird size resulting in an odd-shaped bag. But that's all right. I can use this one for smaller projects. No problem.
Yes, I would definitely use this technique again, but of course with lighter interfacing. So if you want to sew an easy, uncomplicated bag, check out Whitney's video.

OK, now for something slightly more complicated. Averyclaire Needlearts has an online tutorial for a zippered project bag which looked promising. Then a fellow Flosstuber, Lisa, AKA Kindred Stitcher, went one step further and showed us how to make this particular bag in a video! You can find her video HERE. I'll admit that I had some problems with this project despite the clear instructions and Lisa's step-by-step video. First of all, I had trouble sewing the zipper in because it wasn't visible during the sewing process. That resulted in my sewing line getting too close to the zipper teeth in some places. Also, when I made my top stitch line by the zipper, I didn't catch the lining material. Both of these errors caused the zipper to get stuck because both the main fabric and the lining fabric kept catching in the zipper. Ugh. Definitely user error.
Cute, but yes, stuck in the closed position.
My sewing machine also balked at sewing through so many layers of fabric and interfacing at the top (the side seam above the zipper). It pretty much said, "uh-uh, not doing that". And my machine isn't particularly wimpy. I finally got a seam sewed up there, but it wasn't easy and it definitely wasn't pretty. So I had to put my problem solving skills into play and figure out a fix to this mess. Right now I'm in the process of removing all of the top stitching by the zipper and removing some of the stitching where the zipper is sewed in to close to the teeth. My plan is to restitch it and see what happens. I'll let you know in a future post.

Would I use these instructions again? I don't know. I definitely like the detail of this bag in that NO raw edges show on the inside! None. Now that I'm aware of the sewing-too-close-to-the-zipper-teeth problem, I can be more careful with that. But I don't know how I can get my sewing machine to neatly go through all of those layers.

And that, my friendly readers, is my project bag review. I have to admit that I did have fun making these and learned by making some goofy mistakes. How about you? Do you feel like getting crafty and making your very own project bag? I've provided several different options for you, all of them good. Which one do you think you'll make? Let me know if you do!

Monday, October 23, 2017

Some Sad News

We lost our sweet little Cosmo cat last Thursday. When he was diagnosed with cancer last November, we had no way of knowing how much longer he had to live. His life since then had been pretty good despite the diagnosis. He still ate, drank out of the faucet (his favorite), sat on laps, and trotted for treats. Then about two weeks ago, we noticed a decline. And last Wednesday, a further decline told us it was time to see the vet. After a long talk with her, we came to the decision that all pet owners dread. He lived a long, happy life and that is what we will be glad for. We'll have many happy memories. Even so, it's just a sad time. Thanks for listening.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Stitching Update

I've been happily stitching away lately, and I'm here to show you my progress. The amazing thing for me is that I have a finish and two starts since I last posted.

First of all, the finish. It's Joyful World November by The Snowflower Diaries.
I'm very happy with this finish because: a) I actually finished something, and b) It's stitched in time for the appropriate month! Yay! I continue to enjoy stitching these, but I think that I need to use some different color fabrics for some of these. I was determined to use the 25 count linen that I have a ton of, but the white stitches are extremely difficult to do on it. I can see the white flower outlines and snowflakes in this photo, but in real life they barely show up. So which one do I, as a slow stitcher, do next? March? April?

Scaredy Cats by Mill Hill is coming along nicely.
This picture was taken at stitch day for my group, The Sisters In Stitches. I worked on Scaredy Cats exclusively last Saturday, and got a lot done.

So for the starts. I started "Christmas Sentiments" by Stoney Creek last week.
I'm stitching it on 28 count lugana in the color lambswool. This is the fabric color that it calls for. Now for this one, I'm really happy with the way the white is showing up on the fabric. Plus, the white thread is #8 pearl cotton. Love it. You can see I've barely started, but I know I'm going to like stitching this one.

My next start is "Snow Much Fun At The North Pole" by The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery. The chart can be found in the 2017 JCS ornament issue. I'm stitching it as part of a SAL in the Facebook group Candy Cane Stitchers.
I just started this one last night. The fabric is 28 count pale blue linen that I had in my fabric stash. I think it was in one of those ornament fabric packs that you can buy so I don't know the exact fabric name or color name. 

So I've been making some pretty good stitching progress. Yes, I do have some projects that I haven't touched for a few weeks, but I'll be picking those up again soon.

Also, Victorian Motto Sampler Shop blog is having an awesome giveaway! You can find out the details HERE!

Thanks for visiting! I can also be found on Youtube, where my channel is CraftyCat Stitcher. On Instagram, I'm craftycat_stitcher. Check back soon. I hope to have a Pinterest attempt post up in the next week. 

Monday, October 2, 2017

September WIPocalypse!

I'm here! I'm here! September proved to be a weird month in many ways, and thankfully it's over. I did get a bit of stitching done and moved through my stitching rotation pretty well!

This is the September installment my WIPocalypse progress. WIPocalypse is a blogging community group which encourages rotating our WIPs in an efficient and enjoyable way. You can find out more about it on the Measi's Musings blog.

I did a little more stitching on Rainbow Row. I think the thing that amazes me most is the ease with which I'm stitching on 32 count fabric! It's two over two, but I always thought that 32 count was too small for my eyes. Nope. I like it a lot and will use 32 more in the future.
It's starting to take shape, with the perspective of the tree in front of the building. I've made the decision to stitch one page at a time, and that includes all of the backstitching. That will give me a sense of completion as I work on this big project.

My little Halloween/fall project, Mill Hill's Scaredy Cats, had some stitches added to it.
Awww, aren't they cute? Working on this one slowly but surely. The beads will be last, and I am looking forward to adding those! I like having this project in the rotation because it's such a change from anything else I'm working on.

A few more stitches went into "The Light Upon The Lawn" by Blackbird Designs.
I'm stitching this on the fabric that I dyed with tea and coffee, and baked and basted. When I originally started it, I was stitching 2 over 2. But I quickly figured out that the stitches looked weird, kind of big and just strange. So I converted to 1 over 1 and like it a lot better! I love the colors in this.

My November Joyful World (Snowflower Diaries) is coming along nicely. I really want to complete this by November! Do you think I can?
I am pretty sure that it will be done in time to display in November. I like these monthly designs, and am happy with my method of stitching these - not in month order. This will be my "priority stitch" in October.

Goals for October: Definitely make "November" a priority, with the rest of my WIPs taking their turn. I plan to add at least one new project. I've joined a SAL on Facebook in which we choose an ornament from the JCS 2017 ornament issue. The FB group where more info can be found is Candy Cane Stitchers. What a great SAL for a slow stitcher like me! I also may start another Christmas project, but we'll have to see if that happens.

Question of the month: Which floss (or color of floss) do you adore and want to stash constantly? I am a big fan of DMC. I have most of the colors and just enjoy stitching with them. Another favorite is Gentle Art Sampler Threads. I have a pretty good collection of them, but definitely not all. They're wonderful to stitch with, and the colors are gorgeous.

I may be late posting to this group each month, but I am truly enjoying being here. It's very motivational and encourages me not to get "stuck" on a particular project. Plus I like seeing what everyone else is stitching!

Thanks for visiting today!