Friday, August 28, 2015

August Pinterest Project!

It was time for a little sewing when I chose my Pinterest project for August.  Ever since I pinned this tutorial, I knew that I wanted to create one of these cute tote bags. The tutorial is generously offered by The Inspired Wren and you can find the instructions here.  Here's a photo of the bag on The Inspired Wren's blog.
The bag pictured in the tutorial.  Not mine.

Selecting fabrics for the bag meant a visit to Joann.  Oh darn.  Ha ha.  I'm actually a frequent shopper at Joann, and never, ever consider going there a chore.  It's a veritable wonderland of crafty stuff.  The store that's nearest to me is a smaller Joann, but there's a giant one that's a little bit of a drive.  When you go there, the amount of fabrics can get your head spinning if you're not careful.

OK, back to the project.  So I selected my fabrics.  I liked the one for the main body of the bag so much, but found that other than black, it would be difficult to match or coordinate a third fabric.  The lining/trim and handles would all be the same black patterned fabric.
THIS one is my tote bag.
I also had to get some fusible interfacing.  I chose a heavier weight one when the pattern called for a medium weight.  The woman at the fabric told me that she had recently sewn a makeup bag and had used a heavy weight interfacing and wasn't happy with it.  She told me this story a couple of times as she cut the fabric and I didn't realize that she was trying to tell me to get a medium weight.  I wish that she had just come out and said that, but I think that she was trying not to be too bossy.  She was right, though and I'll know that for next time.

Above is another view of the tote bag.  This is the shape it actually is - very rectangular, about 9-1/2" wide and 12" tall, and 2" deep.  I can see how I can easily change the dimensions of the pattern pieces to make a larger bag.  This one, however, is the perfect size to carry a few books back to the library.

One thing I re-learned by sewing this bag is how to make a French seam.  I had to do a refresher course since the last time I sewed a French seam might have been back in high school sewing class.  Do they even have those anymore?  Anyway, that was long, long ago.  I went to trusty Youtube and found this tutorial (although there are quite a few of them).

One thing I added to the tote bag was a shaper/strengthener piece at the bottom of the bag.  I cut a piece of foam core board the same size of the bottom of the bag and then covered it with fabric.  I used the main fabric for contrast, but you can also use the lining fabric.
Use some double sided tape to adhere this piece to the bottom of the bag. 

I would highly recommend this project!  It can be done in a day, or probably an afternoon if you're a quick sewer, have all of your supplies organized and don't get distracted by stuff in your craft room or something going on out of the window.  Would I make another one of these?  Yes, definitely!  I'd say this project was a success!

Thank you for visiting today.  If you're not a follower of my blog, please consider becoming one.  Also, thanks for all of the nice comments!  Please visit often!

Monday, August 17, 2015

A Cure For A Stitching Slump

For me, stitching is usually an all-year-round pastime.  But for some reason, I could not get into cross-stitch this summer.  Who knows why.  (Maybe it had something to do with all of those books on my library request list coming in rapid-fire twos and threes.)  I happily attended my stitch group's Stitch Days in July and August, where I did a little stitching.  I finished an ornament.  And looking at new cross stitch patterns online was something I enjoyed, but none of these things inspired me to pick up needle and thread all summer.

Even though I love all of my works in progress, I felt that a new project was needed to kick me out of this slump!  What better thing than starting something new, right?

And I knew the exact one I had in mind:  Kaleidoscope by Sheena Rogers Designs.  It's part of her mini cushion collection and is just beautiful.  And most importantly, it was already in my stash!
Admittedly, I don't stitch at top speed.  In fact, I am a slow stitcher.  There.  I admitted it.  But just look!  You can already see the design forming.  I just love this design and the colors in it.  When I first started seeing Sheena Rogers' designs on Facebook, I thought they looked familiar.  Then I remembered why!  When we were in London in '09, we went to this gigantic bookstore and I bought a book of her designs!  So maybe I just need to get more of those done. 

So a tiny project was all I needed to get back into stitching.  Happy solution!

It's now time for Other Peoples' Creations!
At our August Stitch Day, fellow Sister in Stitches, Thea, brought some finishes she had completed.
We'd seen the finished stitching and now she presented the completions, all in a patriotic theme.
Just look at the creative ways that Thea finished all of her stitching!  Wall hangings, ornaments, pillows, and a door hanger with flowers!  And I'm pretty sure that Thea used fabrics, trims, etc. that were already in her stash to complete all of these.  Lots of ooh's and ahhh's for these!  Aren't they pretty?!
A closer look.
The door hanger has a handle to go over the doorknob.
And for something a little different, my sister, Sheila, has started to work with wire in her jewelry creations.
For the necklace, she used a purchased chain and added her bent wire and bead charms.  And the bracelet is made of her own wired sections with beads.  Try clicking on the photo for a closer look.

So there it is.  My return to stitching and being a better blogger!  Thank you for sticking with me and for all of your kind comments.  See you soon!  

Monday, July 27, 2015

July Pinterest Project

For my July Pinterest-inspired project, I chose to do some beading.  I currently have 217 beading projects pinned, which is the most pins I have on any of my boards.  So my choice was based on that bit of data, along with the fact that I needed to make a small ornament for a gift.

I found this cute little beaded star that I made in one afternoon.  It's called Starlight and it was designed by Deborah Roberti at  Once again, I found everything I needed in my bead stash and you know how happy that makes me.

All that this project needed were:  Superduo beads, 11/0 seed beads, some 3mm round beads, and some 4mm beads for the center.  I chose the combination of silver, crystal and seed beads in purple, blue and green.  All I had to do was add some silver ribbon for a hanger and I was done!

This is a good beginner/intermediate beading project.  Around The Beading Table has such good illustrated instructions that someone who has minimal beading experience could make this pretty star.  Check them out.  They have lots of different free tutorials for all kinds of things - bracelets, necklaces, earrings and more.  Have some fun looking through all they have to offer!

Imagine all of the different color combinations you could do!  I will definitely make more of these.  I declare this Pinterest-inspired project a success!

Monday, July 20, 2015

An Ornament Finish

I finished this cute little chart, "Be Merry" by Little House Needleworks, a few months ago.  And now it's a completely finished ornament!  Everything used in this finish was from my stash.  I really like when it works out like that.

For the front, I cut a piece of heavier cardboard to the correct size and centered the stitched piece on it.  The excess fabric was folded in the back making an effort to have as little bulkiness as possible.  Everything was taped up with double-sided tape. 

Taking a look through my fabric stash I found a good coordinating fabric.  I did the same folding and taping technique to the back and used a lighter weight cardboard.  I have some comic book backing boards that are perfect for this.  I found this idea somewhere on Facebook and was happy to find a good, inexpensive board that's easy to cut to size.  Who knew?
Then I took the back and front and applied some Alene's Tacky Glue.  Carefully aligning both pieces, I stuck them together and gave them a few hours to dry.  I put two heavy boxes on top of them during their drying time.  More rummaging through my ribbon and cord box proved successful when I found some red and gold twisted cord and some sheer ribbon for a little bow.  I used some more Alene's to apply the cording.  Yes, you can also stitch this on, but I've had lots of luck using glue without too much slopppiness.  A cute little bow on top and a teeny gold snowflake are the perfect finishing touch!

When I have a successful finish like this, it makes me want to make more ornaments!  It's so satisfying to complete a project in a relatively short time.  This little ornament will be a gift even though it is so tempting to make it mine!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Where Bloggers Create 2015

Welcome to my creative space, which I simply refer to as my craft room.  I'm happy to be taking part in the Where Bloggers Create 2015 party again this year.  I've enjoyed joining in during the past couple of years.  It's so much fun to see other peoples' studios and crafting spaces.  This event is hosted by Karen at My Desert Cottage.
 I consider myself very lucky to have a dedicated space to call my craft room.  I didn't have one in my last house, and when we bought this house 6 years ago, I called dibs on this small bedroom.
I just made the window valance.  I'm glad I chose colorful fabric.
Almost all of the furniture in it is second-hand from used furniture places, online garage sales, or just stuff I re-purposed from my own house.  The only thing I splurged on was my craft table, which I love.
I like to cross stitch, make jewelry, do beadwork, and sew, but also do other crafts.  Storage is really important to me as I've amassed quite the collection of cross stitch charts and beads over the years.  A pine bookcase that belonged to my son is now a good place to store and organize my charts, magazines and books.  It also serves as a display case for cute things.
I recently organized the whole room, finally sorting through the crazy bead collection.  Yes, there are a few more beads than what you see here.  All right, maybe more than a few.
The closet is now solely a storage place for stuff rather than clothes, thanks to my husband Mark.
A little thing that made me really happy.
More storage is found in an old armoire that I found for cheap at a used furniture place.  Mark added an extra shelf and fixed the back.  Then he and my brother in law, Fred, moved it upstairs.  They both agreed that the only way it's coming out of the room is through the window.  OK, it will stay where it is.
A comfy sitting area is a welcome addition.
And what would a creative space be without little things you love?
Part of my tin collection.
A bulletin board I made.

Mirror made by my niece Grace.
Flower frogs make great scissor storage and display.
My husband does lathe work and made this lamp and pencil holder for me.
One more shot of my happy place!
Thank you for visiting my blog and my craft room. I hope you enjoyed visiting! I had a very busy June and hardly spent any time in there, but have recently gotten back to my favorite hobbies and working in this special space in our house.  And I am so glad.

I hope you'll come back from time to time to see what's going on at CraftyCat! 

Monday, July 6, 2015

Get Ready For The "Where Bloggers Create 2015" Party!

It's time once again for the "Where Bloggers Create" party!  This year it will happen on July 11 at the blog My Desert Cottage.  This event is a great opportunity to take a peek in the studios, craft rooms, and creative/artistic spaces of other bloggers, as well as showing off your own space.  So if you're a blogger, go ahead and take some photos of your creative space, including your favorite organizational ideas and whatever else you want to show off, and join the fun!  All of the instructions on how to join are right here. If you're not a blogger but still love all things creative, you can enjoy the party by clicking on each of the blogs participating.  Just go to My Desert Cottage on July 11 and take a look around!  I'll be there!
My Desert Cottage

Friday, July 3, 2015

A Case of Vacation Brain

I'm still here, even though it might look like I've abandoned my blog.  The month of June pretty much meant minimal crafting of any kind.  Our normal vacation schedule in any given year is usually just one, but not this year.  Oh no, this year we (mainly me) crammed in three vacations, and all were in June.  First to Boston to see our son, Matt.  Included in our trip was a tour of the Samuel Adams brewery.  And a necessary feature of that tour was a tasting.
Then I was lucky enough to go with Mark to Amelia Island, FL, where he had to attend a conference and I got to loll around all day. 
A sunset cruise was an added bonus to this trip.

Finally, my sister, Sheila, her daughters, and I did a girls' vacation to Daytona Beach, FL.  Lots of fun and we didn't get lost!
Those two little dots in the ocean are my nieces, Emily and Grace. 
So, all and all, a wonderful June, but I didn't get much time to stitch, sew, or bead.  Now I'm finding myself itching to pick up needle and thread and search the beading videos on Youtube for new projects!

I did have a finish that I haven't blogged about yet.  I found a store on Etsy that sells patterns for beaded pen covers.  Having seen some of these on Facebook, I knew that I wanted to give one a try.
Basically, I followed a very easy to read pattern to make this rectangle.  It's done in the even Peyote stitch.
Then I zipped it up by sewing through the interlocking ends forming a tube.
The finished tube fits perfectly on a Pilot G2 pen. 

The finished product (above).  I enjoyed this beading project so much that I made one for my niece, Emily.
You can find these patterns and more like them on Etsy at Fun Pattern Designs. You might find it difficult to choose just one!