Thursday, April 28, 2016

April Pinterest Project - May Flowers

Well, spring has sprung and in a couple of days we'll be ushering in May flowers.  I've actually had a few blooms in the garden with the promise of more to come as the weather gets and stays a little warmer. 

For my April Pinterest attempt, I chose a beading project, the flower bracelet, that goes perfectly with this season.  I pinned this idea a while back and when I watched the whole video, I knew that this would be something to try.  The video and design are by Anchik Martynova and can be found here

I am very happy with the completed project.  It looks difficult, but beginning beaders will be happy to know that it is a fairly easy process.  I used Superduo beads in a pearl finish, 4mm gold beads for the centers, and 11/0 gold seed beads.  I love this color combination.  Also needed for this bracelet are thread and a clasp. 
The video shows Anchik using some kind of thread, but I don't know what it is.  OK, let me back up here.  Yes, I know that the video is in Russian.  Don't panic.  The visual instructions are so clear that you'll see every step.  But the thread?  It looks kind of like nylon thread, although I can't be sure.  Then she does something with a lighter, which I think is the equivalent of tying off the thread.  If I used a lighter that close to my project or my hands, something would be injured. 

First you make the individual flowers, then you'll put them together to make the bracelet.  For the flowers, I used Nymo thread, and used Fireline to assemble the bracelet.  I avoided disaster by tying off the thread ends and then weaving them back into my work. 
The verdict:  YES, I would make this bracelet again, and would encourage my fellow beaders to give it a try too.  It's summery and cute.  I can imagine it in all kinds of different color combinations.  So many possibilities!  It was easy to make; I'm going to say that this would be suitable for beginner/intermediate, with the beginner having some beading experience.  But even if you're a complete beginner, go ahead and try it.  What have you got to lose?  Anchik's visual instructions are so clear and understandable.  Watch the video all the way through first. 

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Friday, April 22, 2016

A Collection Of Collections

As I work on my secret project that I can't show you yet, I thought I'd break from the craftiness and show off some of my collections.  I was reading some of my favorite blogs, and came across this post from the blog Dirty Martini Queen's Musings.  I enjoyed reading about and seeing pictures of her collections so much that I decided to do a similar post. 

Recently I was reading a book in which one of the characters pretty much said that collections are for nerds.  Huh.  So thinking that something is so pretty, fun, or interesting that you want to acquire a bunch of them is geeky?  Oh well, then that makes me one because I have a few collections that I'm enthusiastic about.

My oldest collection is one of miniatures.  I started collecting these years ago, way back into my childhood. 
Some were gifts, some were picked up on vacation.  There are a lot of Red Rose Tea figurines and stuff I got at antique stores.
Yes, I even have the Crown Jewels.

As many of you know, I love beads.  I used to go to an antique market where one of the vendors sold the best vintage beads.  Really cheap.  I put together quite a collection of these and keep them in a beehive-style jar.
One of my collections that I should do more research on is my group of Homer Laughlin custard cups. 
Yes, it's a tiny collection, but these aren't easy to find.  I found most of these at antique stores, and a couple of them are from Ebay.  It's a pretty happy find to see one of these sitting on a shelf in a vintage shop!

Another collection that goes way back to childhood is my collection of tins.  These are also very useful for the crafter as they make great little storage containers for anything small.
This isn't even all of them!
And what about scissors?  I have heard of other stitchers collecting embroidery scissors and have managed to amass a few myself.  I know that some people think this is nuts, but you've got to admit that they are pretty.  And useful.
Did you notice the empty flower frog just waiting for more scissors?
So that is my collection of collections.  Thank you for not laughing at me.  Or maybe you did.  The funny thing is that I'm not really actively collecting any of these things anymore.  At some point, the collection becomes either complete or enough.  Oh, I suppose that if I spied a Homer Laughlin custard cup somewhere, I'd gladly bring it into the fold.  Or possibly an interesting pair of scissors.  There IS that empty flower frog.....

I also have a collection of cross stitch charts, but that's another story for another day.

Friday, April 1, 2016

March Pinterest Attempt - Another Tiny Sewing Project!

What?  Did you think I missed a Pinterest attempt?  As a matter of fact, I did do a project for the month of March.  I'm just a little late in posting.  So no April Fool's Day prank here.

My last post was all about my stitch group's spring retreat.  For the past few retreats, I've created a little gift for each person in the group to commemorate the occasion.  This time, Pinterest yielded a cute little idea for a "Snappy Card Wallet" that was so appropriate for our group.  You see, each month when we meet for our regular stitch day, we do a gift exchange.  Our gifts range from the practical to the whimsical.  We draw numbers for the order in which to choose, and then we're allowed to "steal" from each other after a gift is opened.  It isn't as mean as it may sound, and we all ultimately love the gift we get. 

One of the most popular gifts brought to stitch day is the gift card.  It could be from Starbucks, Joann's, Hobby Lobby, Barnes & Noble, Cracker Barrel, among others.  My idea was to make one of these little card wallets for each of our group members so that they could keep their gift cards in them.  See?  How useful!

I just followed the instructions on the video to make a bunch of these.  In the excitement of getting ready for the retreat I forgot to take a photo of all of them, but have these three with me to show you.  I'll tell you why in a minute.
Yes.  I know.  This one looks like it has eyes.
These are a great way to use up fabric scraps that you may have, which is exactly what I did.  I only had to buy some of the Dritz Snap Fasteners for this project.  The rest I had on hand. 
NEW SKILL ALERT! As I had never tried to attach these snap fasteners before, I found a useful YouTube video here to learn how.  The process was easy, but don't do this on good furniture because it will leave a mark.  I used an old wooden cutting board to hammer these snaps on.  In my misguided attempt to protect the cutting board (?????), I put a piece of felt under the fabric and proceeded to hammer away.  The result was that some of the snaps didn't join strongly enough and pulled right out when opened.  Big mistake.  But it was easily fixed when I just hammered those snaps into the fabric directly on the cutting board.  So two of the wallets you see above were in for repairs. NOTE: I will say that when you're applying the pearl part of the snap, you may WANT to put some felt under that so that it won't be damaged.  Just make sure that you hammer that part in good.  This wasn't the part of the snap that I had problems with.  The little snap fastener kit came with a piece of felt for that purpose.  The kit also comes with a little setting tool that holds the snap in place and makes it easy to hammer in.

This was a fun and fast little project to make.  As soon as the fabric was cut out, the sewing part was easy.  And the snap application was a snap (ha ha), when I followed the instructions.  These little snappy wallets are suggested for business cards, but I don't have a business card for work.  I suppose I could get one that says "Awesome Crafter" or "Accomplished Stitcher".  Or how about "Worthy Blogger"?  No?  I guess I'll use mine to keep my gift cards safe.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Stitch Retreat In The Mountains

Last week our stitch group, Sisters In Stitches, had our spring stitch retreat.  It was a good get-together and long due, since we hadn't had one in a couple of years.  This time the retreat was held at Fort Mountain State Park in Chatsworth, GA.  Previous retreats have been held at other Georgia state parks and all have been wonderful, but this is the first one to be held truly in the mountains. 

Like all of our past retreats, we all had a good time.  It's always nice to be with this group of ladies who have become good friends.  It's also so relaxing -- no laundry, cleaning, bills, or work to think about, except for cooking and the kitchen cleanup.  But that wasn't stressful at all.  As we always do, we signed up for meals and were rewarded with some delicious food and special baked goods. 

Then there was the stitching, of course!
Trish's Stitching Angel.

Thea started this at the retreat and got a lot done!
Angel of Spring by Lavender & Lace, stitching by Peggy.
New start for Sheila, using her own color combination.

Pat is stitching a "Love" Christmas tree, using floss that she dyed herself!
The Sisters In Stitches (missing one) on the front porch of the cabin.
Busy stitchers' worktable.
We stayed in two cabins, but used one of them as our meeting place.  The cabins have full kitchens filled with all of the appliances, dishware, and cookware you could need.  Each has a nice living room area with comfy furniture,  a large table for dining and stitching, and two bedrooms that have their own bathrooms.  All of this made it the perfect setting for a laid-back stitching weekend. 

I'm already looking forward to our next one!

Friday, February 26, 2016

All Cross-Stitch Post

I've made a little progress on my Joyful World Stitchalong project, and on my secret project.  A secret project just isn't an interesting topic for a blog, is it?  I can't show pictures, my followers don't know what the chart is, or even know why I'm stitching it.  I like to mention it because then all of you will know that there is some stitching going on besides what I show you.  And eventually you will see what the secret is all about.

Back to my Joyful World project.  I've done a little stitching on January.  I wish that there was more to show you, but you know how it is.  What I do have stitched I like a lot.
Look!  The fox is taking shape!  And a closer look:
I've decided that I like stitching on this fabric, despite the fabric fuzz that comes through the stitches.  You can see it more in the close up photo.  From a normal distance, it can't be seen that easily.  There is a lot of this fabric, 25 count Davos, in my stash, so I could stitch all twelve designs on it.  Or I could use other 25 count fabrics in different colors.  I'm leaning toward stitching them all on this fabric, but haven't made my final decision yet.  But this is coming out cute, right?  I am still liking the tininess of it and have adjusted to stitching over one.

My stitch group, The Sisters In Stitches, had our February stitch day a couple of weeks ago.  When it comes to new stitching products and helpful ideas, I think that Thea is our go-to person.  At stitch day, she brought in a new and useful product for us to see.  Thea had been reading The Twisted Stitcher blog and came across this new-to-us stitching item there.  They're small stretcher bars and a tack kit that would be perfect for stitching small charts, in particular Christmas ornaments. 

You can see the Twisted Stitcher's pictorial on how to use these stretcher bars HERE.  As an added bonus, I received this set in our stitch group's monthly gift exchange!  Two packs of the 5" and two of the 6" bars, along with the tack kit.  I'm looking forward to using these, and may have to add an ornament project to my current stitching! 

Now on to what I like to call "Other Peoples Creations".  I am always fascinated by other crafters' talents and like to showcase them here on my blog.  My fellow stitcher, Thea, gets two mentions in this post.  She brought her latest stitched completion to stitch day.
Amazing, isn't it?  It's beautifully detailed and quite a large project.  Kudos to Thea for this lovely completion.  Sorry, I don't know the name of the chart, but if anyone out there wants it, I'll find out.

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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! 

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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".