Friday, February 12, 2016

Two New Cross Stitch Starts

That's right.  I started two new cross stitch projects in the last week or so.  One of these projects is top secret and I can't show any photos of it on my blog.  It's going to be a gift so eventually I will be posting photos.

The other new project is The Snowflower Diaries Joyful World.  It's described as a primitive cross stitch calendar.  You can find the link to this stitch along HERE.  This Facebook group now has almost 4,000 members enthusiastically stitching these adorable monthly patterns.  Did I mention that these patterns are free?  Maja of The Snowflower Diaries is offering each month's chart to you for free just for joining the group.  She has already posted charts for January, February, and March and each one is so cute and thoughtfully designed with beautiful color combinations.

As I'm a slow stitcher, and I have another priority project going on, I have just started January. 
I'm stitching this over one on 25 count Davos fabric.  This is a new fabric for me, and I am finding that it's very soft, thicker than most fabrics, and it tends to fuzz a little.  But I do like how tiny this design will be (right around 3" X 4"), and once I got going the "over one" got easier and easier.  Of course, I had to bring the magnifier back out. 
I plan to stitch these, get a frame, and then switch them out each month.  The same frame can be used because all of the designs are the same size.
Can you see the fabric fuzz coming through on the crow?  It's not so noticeable unless you look really close.
So I'll slowly stitch along, even though many members of the group seem to be long done with January and are on to February.  And it amazes me that some stitchers have already completed March! 

Thanks for visiting my blog.  I appreciate all of your comments.  If you're not yet a member, please consider joining CraftyCat. 

Friday, February 5, 2016

A Crochet Pinterest Project For February

This novice crocheter chose a slightly more ambitious crochet project for the February Pinterest attempt.  That would be, more ambitious for me.  It was all done in double crochet, and was a technique I've never tried.  Not a big deal for the crochet expert, but it was all new territory for me.

You'll remember from a previous post that I received some gorgeous yarn from Stephanie for Christmas.  It's a beautiful, soft, wool in a deep red.  She bought it on a trip to Ireland, so this is some pretty special yarn to me.
There is a series of crochet videos on YouTube from Fiber Flux that are so easy to follow, even I can understand what's going on.  I always thought I had trouble learning different crochet stitches, but maybe it was because I was attempting to learn them from printed material.  So thank goodness for modern technology because good clear videos make crochet a breeze to learn!

I selected the Fiona Button Scarf because after viewing the video, I knew I could do it.  It's also more of a cowl and they give instructions for two different lengths.  Plus, it's just really pretty.  The instructions call for thicker yarn, but I wanted to use my Ireland yarn.  And it worked out well.

First I had to wind that yarn into a ball.
Surprise!  Not a pull skein!  I'm positive that there was a nice, neat, organized way to do this, but I chose the road less traveled.  Yeah, it was a mess, but I owned that mess and before long it was a legit yarn ball.

And the result:
Looks a little different from the video because I used a thinner yarn.  But I like it.
And finally, me in the scarf.
I pronounce my February Pinterest project a huge success!  I love the way this turned out.  It was easy and quick to make, and it inspired me to try out some different crochet stitches.  I've already pinned more projects to do.  And there's a lot more cold winter weather ahead that will make me glad that I have this soft, cozy cowl.  Do you want to try some new crochet projects?  Then just go to YouTube, and search for "Fiber Flux".  You won't now which one to choose first!

Now I'm on to stitching.  It looks like I have a free afternoon so I can make some progress on my "secret cross stitch project". 

Friday, January 22, 2016

New Projects For The New Year

I've been given some good advice about whether I should make 2016 crafting resolutions, and won't be making any formal resolutions this year.  Instead, I'll just work on what I feel like working on.  And there are some new projects on the horizon.

I really liked this chart that a Facebook stitching friend posted.  It's called Christmas Sentiments by Stoney Creek.
After seeing it stitched up so beautifully, I knew that I wanted to add this chart to my collection.  Not only add it, but to actually stitch it this year.  It's been ordered, but hasn't arrived at my door yet.  That's all right with me because I'm in the midst of planning some other new starts!  You can find this pattern HERE if you're interested in ordering it.

Another Facebook friend of mine, Kirsten, showed some stitching she was doing as part of a stitch along right there on Facebook.  The group is called "Joyful World" and features a chart representing each month.  Kirsten was kind enough to add me to the group and now I'm looking forward to stitching these sweet charts.  The icing on top of the cake is that the charts are free!  You can link to this group right here.  This is a not-very-good photo of the first two charts along with a little peek of the fabric I'll be using for January.  Believe me, the finished stitching is beautiful!
I've already decided to stitch these separately and then get a frame so that I can change them by month.  My only remaining decision is whether to use DMC or the suggested Gentle Arts threads.  Going through my floss, I discovered that I only have one of the Gentle Arts colors listed for January and February.  Grrrrrrr. 

One more new project is something that has to stay a secret for a while.  I can't show any of it because it will be a gift.  A really pretty gift.  Yeah, that's not any fun to read about on a blog with pictures, so sorry about that.  I promise to post pictures when I can.

Not a new project, but definitely one I like a lot is my Kaleidoscope WIP.  I've made more progress.
As for my other WIPs, they'll be waiting for me to work on.  I figure that adding some new stuff to the rotation will be a good remedy to keep my stitching mojo going. 

I've also found a good Pinterest project for February!  Yes, already!  Amazing, isn't it?  I'll be getting started on something this weekend, so all I have to do is figure out which one. 

More updates to come.  Thanks for all of your kind comments!

Monday, January 11, 2016

CraftyCat's January Pinterest Project

Hey, I did pretty well getting this month's Pinterest project completed!  I had bought a new front door Christmas wreath, but after Christmas I realized that I didn't have anything to put on my door for the winter season.  (In past years we would get a real pine wreath for Christmas and then I'd just take the red bow off and leave the greenery up until it didn't look good anymore).

In search of some kind of winter-ish door decoration, off I went to Pinterest.  I quickly found exactly what I was looking for. 

The first inspiration source was from diy inspired.com.  Below is the photo from her blog.
I also found another one I liked that was linked to Etsy.  Here's a picture of that one.
They're slightly different from each other, but the same idea. 

I knew that I had almost all of the materials for this project right there in my craft room.  Yes, I'm the one who moved a large box of pine cones from my old house to my present one, so no shortage of those!  Then I remembered a pine cone project that I did about a year ago. These silvery pine cones would be just the right thing for my door hanging. 

And this is what I came up with.
What I thought would be the most difficult part of creating this was putting the eye hooks into the top of the pine cone.  It was actually pretty easy because I have a sharp metal "pointy stick" that I use for making jewelry.  This stick makes a great starter hole into the pine cone, and then I just screwed in the hooks. You can also try to use a large needle for this step.  If you're using very small hooks, you can use a pair of jewelry pliers to twist them in.
What the top of the pine cones look like.  I used 11/16" eye hooks.  
You can decorate the pine cones or just leave them as is.  One of mine is glittered -- I brushed white glue on the tips of each pine cone segment (or whatever they're called) and sprinkled on fine silver glitter.  Then get some ribbon and loop it through each eye hook.  Make them different lengths. 

I had some straw snowflake look ornaments that I bought a long time ago, knowing that some day I would have a good use for them.  I painted them with white acrylic paint and then gave them a coat of Mod Podge Extreme Glitter.  After tying some narrower ribbon on these, I tied all of the pine cones and snowflakes to a one inch split ring (or a key ring).  A bow made a good finishing touch.

Some final thoughts about this project:  Pine cones can be sharp, so be careful when handling them.  Wear gloves if you have to.  If you have pine cones that you've just picked up, you may want to bake them to get rid of any critters hiding in them.  Instructions on how to do that can be found HERE.  I would also suggest cutting the ribbon pieces first.  This way you can see the different lengths before you attach them to the pine cones.  Allow some extra ribbon for tying to the pine cone and to the ring or whatever you're attaching them to.  Also, you can omit the extra decorations, like my snowflakes, and only use pine cones.  Or just add whatever you think would look with them - jewels, beads, whatever. 

So there you go!  An easy, inexpensive way to brighten up your front door for the dreary, cold winter season.  Any questions about this?  Just ask. 

Thank you for all of your kind comments on past posts.  Keep checking back to my blog for more crafty fun.  It's going to be a great year!  And if you're not yet a follower, please consider becoming one!

Monday, January 4, 2016

How Did I Do Resolution-Wise?

I've been dreading this post because I didn't think I did particularly well at keeping my 2015 crafting resolutions.  Don't get me wrong.  I normally like posting.  Owning up to my crafty shortcomings was what I didn't want to face.  However, looking at my 2015 resolutions post, I realized that I did a little better than I thought!

Let's see, first I wanted to finish some WIPs.  Does one count?  Jasmine Mix by Just Nan was my only WIP completion of the whole year.  It is one of my smaller WIPs, so I'll have to give myself a C.
Next up was stitching one Christmas ornament per month, which I quickly changed to one every other month.  I fell waaaaaaay short on this one.  I completed a total of 2.  Not a total fail, but I think I deserve a D for this. 

I also wanted to attempt some crafting ideas I'd been saving on Pinterest.  Guess what! This was a complete success.  What, you say?  You totally skipped December's Pinterest project!  Yes, I did not complete a December project, but what can I say?  It's DECEMBER.  I'm lucky if I get anything done in December.  Anyway, 11 out of 12 months of Pinterest projects is pretty darn good.  I'm giving myself a generous A!  By the way, my August project was my favorite Pinterest attempt.
My next resolution centered around crochet.  I was supposed to learn new stitches and attempt a crochet project.  Did it happen?  Nope.  I'll do better this year.  For Christmas, Stephanie gave me some beautiful yarn that she got when she was in Ireland.  This will be great inspiration to pick up the crochet hook.  Then I might feel better about the F that I earned for this.

As if I needed more resolutions, here's another one from 2015.  I intended to learn new Christmas cross stitch ornament finishing techniques.  Pretty much a "no" for this resolution.  I did finish one though, so can I have an F+?  It is cute and it has a charm on it.  Maybe a D-?  I think I just forgot about this one.
And last but certainly not least, there was the resolution to organize the craft room.  I did amazingly well with organizing and cleaning.  Here it is January, 2016 and I can still find stuff!  It makes me so happy to have really succeeded with this resolution.  Definitely an A+! 

So now what?  Do I make more resolutions?  I don't know.  I know that I do want to spend more time with the cross stitch this year.  And I still intend to pursue my Pinterest pin collection and attempt my one-per-month again.  In fact, I started one today.  It's far from done, but I think it has a lot of potential.  So stay tuned to see what my crafty self creates. 

I hope that you all have a very Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

And A Merry Christmas To All

Here we are in the happiest time of the year, and as usual, I'm finding myself saying "how did Christmas get here so fast?".  Do you do that too?  Well, today is the day that I can finally relax and enjoy the day.  I plan to bake cookies and make a couple of dishes to take to our family Christmas celebration tomorrow.  But I thought I'd start by posting a short blog.

Do you have a favorite Christmas memory?  Or a gift that you remember so well that you received as a child?  I have one in particular.  It's a sewing basket.  I realized early on - maybe at about 8 years old - that I loved to sew.  I started with tiny patterns to make clothes for my Barbies.  My mom knew that my interest in sewing was not going away, so for Christmas when I was 10 she bought a sewing basket for me.
Christmas, 1968
I loved this gift.  I could have my own supplies and keep them in a special place.  And I used it.  And used it and used it.  Now, many years later, I still have this sewing basket.
There it is, displayed in the craft room.  It's missing a foot, the lining is a bit torn, and the rattan is coming apart in a couple of places, but it's still cute and usable.  Now, that's a special gift.
Looks good for 47 years old!
Here's one more cute, nostalgic picture taken many, many years ago. It looks like it's Christmas in 1964.  Pictured are my brothers, John and Jim, and my sister, Sheila and me.  Love this picture.
So I hope that you have a very Merry Christmas and a happy and blessed New Year.  And I hope that some beautiful memories are made for you.  I'll leave you with a photo of our Christmas tree in all its splendor.


Saturday, December 19, 2015

Wrapping Up The Year

I'm still here!  Thank you for sticking with me at the amazingly busiest time of the year.  And I don't even have school-age kids! 

A lot has happened since I last posted.  We went to Virginia for Thanksgiving and had a lovely time with our son's future in-laws.  It was a very good trip all around and I'm glad we got to do it.  Also, our little Ozzy cat has been sick. Luckily, we boarded him at the vet's over Thanksgiving and they figured out just what to do for him and he's getting back to his normal self!
Last Saturday was the Sisters In Stitches annual Christmas extravaganza.  We bring food to share, do our gift exchange (yes, we do that part every month), bring little gifts to hand out, and enjoy the day as we usually do.
Some of the little gifts I received.
Our gift table, extra special.
Lunch is served.
Whoopie pies made by Peggy.

I made some little gifts for everyone.  They're the quilted look ornaments that I made for my October Pinterest project.  These are fun and quick to make and they turn out so cute.  I even made a few extra for some special people, but they're not pictured here.
We had a wonderful stitching day.  It was so good to catch up with everyone.  And I actually got some stitching in, which reminded me how much I like this hobby.  Now I'm itching to get through all of the Christmas preparations so that I can sit for a while and stitch. 
A little more progress on Kaleidoscope.
 Last Sunday, our neighborhood had its annual Night Of Lights.  Luminary kits are sold and most of the homes glow with lights and other decorations.  Hot chocolate and cider stands are spaced throughout the neighborhood.  All proceeds go to a special cause.  We had so many visitors drive through that traffic was messed up on some of the roads around the subdivision.  Maybe it was because of the addition of a camel in the live Nativity.
The camel thinks he's the star, but there were also lambs and goats.  And maybe a donkey?
And that same night there were a bunch of car break-ins in our neighborhoods.  If the car was locked, they broke windows. We lock our cars every night, but on this particular day we didn't.  The hooligans must have thought they hit the jackpot when they found our car unlocked. Hah, nothing in our car but an outdated GPS, some power cords for...something, an ice scraper, and a road atlas from 2003.  So nothing was stolen, but creepy nonetheless.

I'm almost done with everything I've had to do for Christmas.  Almost.  I'm just going to enjoy the season, especially when our son, Matt, and his fiance, Stephanie, arrive tonight!  I hope that you also can enjoy this special time of year.  

Like these guys, with peace, love, and harmony.