Sunday, July 31, 2016

July Pinterest Fun!

I'm just squeaking in here on the last day of July with my monthly Pinterest-inspired creation. Several weeks ago my stitch group held our annual Birthday Party. On this special stitch day, we all bring a dish for our luncheon and we celebrate our group members' birthdays all on one day. I like to bring a little handmade item for each of the ladies in our group.

This month I tried my hand at making needle minders. There are quite a few different kinds on Pinterest, so I chose: 1) fabric covered button needle minders. This video is by Stitching Mae and can be found HERE. 2) DIY magnets using glass flat marbles and Mod Podge. The tutorial is by Crafts By Courtney. 3) Alcohol ink magnets also done on flat glass marbles by Sarah Jane's Craft Blog.

Some of these were intended to be refrigerator magnets, but they can also be used as needle minders with the addition of an extra magnet. I'm going to start with the ones I like best, which were Stitching Mae's fabric covered button needle minders.
These were extremely easy to make and turned out the cutest and most practical. Because the button forms you use are made of metal, the needle sticks firmly to the minder.
I used a Sew-Ology brand button kit that I bought at Hobby Lobby. Pictured above is the form (the white thing), the pusher (blue thing), and a pack of additional metal buttons. Please follow the easy-to-follow instructions on the video, which I've linked above. I used regular round black magnets for these, but have since learned that these can leave a mark on your fabric. In the comments section of the video, someone suggests using clear nail polish on the parts of the magnets that will touch the fabric. I haven't tried that, so can't vouch for it, but might be worth a try with a test run on some scrap fabric.

Next I tried to make the flat glass marble and scrapbook paper needle minders using the tutorial from Crafts By Courtney. I bought a bag of clear glass flat marbles from the dollar store and used stuff I had in the craft room to make them.
These were fun to make. The glass has a magnifying effect on the material you Mod Podge to the back, so the effect was really pretty. The marbles I bought weren't perfectly round, so I couldn't use any kind of puncher. Rather, I had to trace onto the paper using the marble and do some careful trimming. I started off using the regular round black magnets on these and quickly found that while the needles stuck to them, they didn't stick very well and would fall off easily because of the thickness of the glass. So I substituted some rare earth magnets and solved the needle-sticking issue. But that brought on a whole new issue: those little rare earth magnets are strong! If you have any kind of hand weakness or pain, these are pretty difficult to pry apart to use on fabric. In addition, prying too hard will rip the magnet right off the scrapbook paper.
Rare earth magnets all stuck together. 
One more that I made. I got to use glitter!
I think that these glass ones would be better used as fridge magnets as originally suggested in the tutorial.

The last one I attempted was again using the clear flat marbles. This time, though, I used alcohol ink to make a "pretty" design.
Confession time: this was my first time using alcohol inks. I think they turned out just ok. I need a lot more practice with the inks! These never made it to actual needle minders, but I will glue a magnet on the back and use them for refrigerator magnets.

Speaking of glue, for the glass ones I used E-6000. It's a good, strong glue and it's used by crafters for many things. However, the stink that this stuff gives off is awful. And yes, I did use it in a well-ventilated area - my garage with the doors open. Even after using the glue and removing the stuff I glued, it took a few days for the stench to disappear from the garage. (I also noticed that the needle minders retained some of the smell even when I gave them as gifts!) So I got out the tube of trusty 527 Craft Cement and used it on the fabric needle minders. It worked perfectly and with very little "glue smell".

So the winner here is clearly the fabric-covered button needle minders. So fun and easy to do, and a great way to use small fabric remnants. By the way, I usually cross stitch in hand (no hoop or Q-Snaps), so I don't use needle minders on my fabric. I still use them though. I just put one on the table and deposit my needle on it when not in use.

I don't think I'll be using these glass marbles for needle minders anymore, but I did find some little thinner glass squares that are used for jewelry, and I'll see what I can do with those. That's the fun of crafting. Figuring out what works and what doesn't can actually be fun!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Let's Talk Stitching

I'm happy to say that I've been stitching more lately, having a little more time after completing some other projects. My problem is that I keep coming up with more projects to do! But isn't that what crafters do?

Back to stitching, I finally completed my first square for the Rainbows For Peace And Comfort group.
You can see my original post explaining what this group is all about HERE. In addition, if you're interested in learning more, you can go to this Facebook page. Thank you to Loretta at Stitching the Night Away for the free pattern. I did change it up though. In the chart, the letters are white (the color of the fabric), and the background is in the rainbow colors.

I'm going to stitch at least three more squares. I started with one of the Rainbow Butterflies (from the Etsy shop called ClimbingGoatDesigns), but was stitching it on evenweave. The group asks that the squares be stitched on Aida. Then we were told that evenweave is ok. So in my state of confusion, I decided to buy some Aida and stitch this design on it. Now I know why I don't stitch on Aida. This cloth was particularly stiff to the point of being scratchy. And even though I was using a small petite needle, I had to work to pull it through which left my thumbs pretty achy. I already have thumb joint issues, so this wasn't an easy, quick stitch.

So now that I've finished this square, I'm going to go back to evenweave. I want to stitch more squares and contribute to this worthwhile project! Do you have a favorite or not-so-favorite fabric for cross stitch?

At a recent stitch day with my stitch group, the Sisters In Stitches, I decided to work on a WIP which you have seen in past posts - Kaleidoscope by Sheena Rogers Designs.
I made a lot of progress on this. As you can see, I completed the inner flower motif and am now working on the outside section. And it was a pleasure working on the buttery-soft Jobelan I chose for this project! Also, I noticed that I could stitch a lot faster on this fabric because I wasn't having a tug-of-war with the needle!

My birthday was several months ago, but I never posted about the little gift I bought for myself - a set of DMC Coloris floss! It's their brand new line of variegated floss and is a little different from their traditional variegated colors.
They're a blend of different color combinations and would work beautifully in designs using one floss color. I think that this Ink Circles design, Flower Power, would look good stitched with one of these flosses. What do you think?
I just bought this chart and may be stitching it with Coloris thread.
There are 24 different color blends, everything from Christmasy, one that looks autumnal, a red, white, and blue combo, several springtime looks, deeper color blends, and more. The pack also included some charts that would be appropriate for these variegated threads. Use this link to see more about Coloris threads.

I hope you enjoyed my all-stitching post. I'll keep you updated on my progress in the stitching world. Thanks for stopping by. If you're not already a follower, please consider becoming one. And I love getting comments, so please tell me what you think about my blog!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Where Bloggers Create 2016

I'm really happy to be participating in the Where Bloggers Create event for 2016. Thank you to Karen at My Desert Cottage for organizing this event.

Among the creative things I do are cross stitch, jewelry making, beadwork, sewing, and all kinds of miscellaneous crafting. I consider myself very lucky to have a designated space in my home that's just for working on projects and storing supplies. A small extra bedroom became my craft room as soon as we moved into this house seven years ago. It has evolved over the years, when I move things around and added things here and there.
This is what you see when you walk in.
I've worked on making my creative space as comfortable and organized as possible. Fun second-hand finds make up most of the furniture in here. Below is a bookcase that we bought for our son's room when he was young. Now it houses craft books, cross stitch charts and magazines, jars of important crafty items, and odds and ends.
Jars are recycled to hold buttons, wine corks, scrabble tiles, and other stuff. And that is indeed Mr. Peanut holding a lot of orts (cross stitch term for thread ends), which you might be wondering why I keep. I don't really know.
On the right in the picture below, you can see my armoire. This used to be a TV cabinet that I got a great deal on. Getting it home and into the craft room was another story. My husband and brother in law say that the only way it's leaving the room is through the window in pieces. I don't want to think about that. I like it too much!
Here's a look on the inside. Thanks to my husband, Mark, it now has extra shelves and a closed back. And it really does hold a lot. I keep cross stitch threads, miscellaneous craft supplies, and even a little tool kit in here.
On to the closet. This room has a standard bedroom closet in it, so we got rid of the hanging space and added extra shelving. Perfect for bins with ribbon, yarn, fabric, more cross stitch thread and fabric, paints, pine cones, and more. That thread holder makes me so happy. And I'm filling up a second one!
This bead cabinet is one of my few "new" purchases. It just is the best use of space for organizing beads and jewelry supplies. The little table to the right of it is an auction win and is my first chalk paint project.
This is what an organized bead drawer looks like. You should have seen how I used to "organize" them.
Let's go to my craft table. It's one of my favorite things in the room. I found a local furniture maker who makes rustic furniture and he made this simple piece. I like that it has two drawers that go almost the width of the table. You can see it in my first photo waaaaay at the top of this post.
Antique store metal three tiered display shelf.
Metal parts bin from a hardware store spray painted a copper color. Great for misc. items.

Also on my craft table are a couple of items that Mark made for me. He does lathe wood working and created this lamp and pencil holder.
Below is an old ladder display shelf that has seen better days, but it does a wonderful job of holding sewing baskets and boxes.
It's not wonky. That's just my photo taking.
There's a little seating area in the craft room. I'd wanted a comfy chair to sit in and stitch or do some beadwork and watch TV. Yes, there's a TV in the room. Don't laugh. Sometimes a little mindless television watching does wonders for the creative process. Anyway, the chair issue. The problem is that the doorway to this room is so narrow that many really comfy chairs are impossible to get in! This is the second one I've tried. It's ok, and it's cute, but not a chair you just want to sink into. Still on the lookout.
See that cushion? It's from a 1970's Avon kit and I embroidered it in, well, the 70's!
Here's one of my favorite projects from a while back - my fabric bulletin board! You can barely see it with all of the stuff on it, but take a look anyway.
Thank you so much for visiting my crafty space today. I appreciate it and welcome any comments, feedback, or suggestions you'd like to give. Please come back to visit my blog sometime and consider becoming a follower of CraftyCat! Now, I can't wait to see all of the fun creative spaces when I start my own visits to "Where Bloggers Create 2016".

Friday, June 24, 2016

A Little Bauble - Pinterest Project For June

I really like the idea of "floating necklaces".  They just have a light and airy look, especially for summer.  So when a tutorial for one popped up on Pinterest one day, I took it as my opportunity to learn how to make one.  This project comes from the blog "A Little Love Everyday!"

It seemed especially easy, using pretty basic materials - wire, beads, and a clasp.  This one in particular was done with two strands of wire, which would secure the beads to give the necklace its floating look.

Here's what I came up with:
I like it, but my necklace refused to do the alternating bead thing that the tutorial shows and describes.  Look at the next photo (from the tutorial) and see how the blue and white beads alternate?
Not my photo.  This is the photo shown in the tutorial.  Pretty, isn't it?
In one bead set, the white bead is on the bottom, and in the next, it's on the top.  Then they alternate.  I like the way that looks, but my bead sets of three refused to do that.  I'd get it right, and the next thing I knew, they were jumping back to what THEY wanted to do. 
Talk about stubborn. 

I used 6mm faceted beads in a blue/purple blend color, and 6mm beads in silver-lined clear.  If you look closely, you'll see that I used a mix of faceted and non-faceted silver-lined beads.  I had to roll my eyes at this goof because I didn't even notice it until the necklace was finished.  I figure that if I didn't notice, then not many people would either.  And if they do, they'll just think I was being artsy.  Yeah, that's it.

Would I attempt this project again?  Yes, but I would try it with a heavier gauge wire.  Maybe that's my problem. I used .012", 12#, 7-strand beading wire.  Also, I could possibly use lighter weight beads.  Or less beads.  That's the fun of jewelry making.  You can create and re-create to see what happens.

I have worn this necklace and will continue to because I like the way it turned out.  No matter that it doesn't look exactly like what I was attempting.  Thanks to "A Little Love Everyday!" for this tutorial.  You can find the tutorial HERE.  Try it, have fun with it, and see what you can do!

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Want To Stitch For A Good Cause?

A Facebook group called Rainbows For Peace And Comfort has been started.  The goal of the group is to stitch enough squares to complete two quilts and numerous banners for the victims, survivors, responders, and others involved in the Orlando tragedy that happened last Sunday. 

To find the group, please go to:

It is a closed group, so you'll have to join.  To find out what the group intends to do, go to "Files" and then click on "Quilts And Items Being Made".  To get more info on the stitched square specifics, click on "Square Guidelines".  Also in "Files" is the Sign Up List, where you can edit the document by listing your name and what you'd like to stitch.

One chart in particular is called "Rainbow Butterfly" and can be found on Etsy HERE for $3.97. This will be a recurring square in all of the projects so many are needed to be stitched.  If you decide to stitch one of these, please use the colors recommended by the group - 321, 720, 444, 700, 995, 208, and black or white for the body depending whether you're stitching on black or white fabric.
Here's mine so far.
Other designs and motifs can be stitched too.  There are a few additional designs in the Files section, plus you can stitch an appropriate chart you already may have - something like hearts, peace signs, doves, butterflies, etc. - as long as the finished stitching fits into the square guidelines.

Do you only have time to stitch one square?  That's great!  All help is welcome!  Can you stitch two, or three, or even 4?  That would be wonderful too! 

As I write this, there are 179 members.  That is amazing, but more are needed and appreciated.  Do you have questions?  You can post them to the group.  There are a lot of helpful people there. 

Thank you for taking the time to read this.  Please consider stitching a square for this worthwhile project.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Victorian Motto Sampler Shoppe Giveaway!

Nancy at Victorian Motto Sampler Shoppe is having a giveaway and it's a good one!  Actually there are two of them going on.  First is the Patchwork Quilt Floss Collection Giveaway, a collection of beautiful, rich colors perfect for Halloween stitching.  Then there is the Star Spangled Banner Floss Giveaway with a selection of reds, whites, blues, and golds.  So click on the links to go over there and enter!

I'm happy and excited to say that I have completed the stitching portion of my secret stitching project.  I still have more to do to complete the entire project, but getting the stitching done is a major accomplishment.  It will be a while before I can unveil it, so I appreciate your patience!

But look!  I am back to stitching on Kaleidoscope.  It's fun to dig out the WIPs and decide what to work on. 
Do you like this design?  Check out Sheena Rogers Design website.  You'll find a huge selection of her mini cushion designs along with others.  I can't decide which is my favorite!

Have a great remainder of the week.  I'll be back soon to show you my progress.

Monday, May 30, 2016

May Pinterest Fun!

I have really been on a crochet kick lately, haven't I?  In an attempt to expand my crochet horizons, I've been pinning small crochet projects to teach myself new stitches and techniques.  The project I chose for my May Pinterest attempt is something I've been wanting to do since the first time I saw it.
I found this pattern on Starting Chain on Facebook.  Starting Chain offers tutorial videos for all kinds of crochet projects and stitches.  So if you're on Facebook, take a look at their page.  I will put a link to the actual project below.

Back to my project. 

Is that not the cutest thing you've seen in a long time?  Look at his adorable face!
I used Sugar N Cream cotton yarn (the same yarn that I used for my cat cup cozy) in an off white color.  This is supposed to be a trivet, so you want to use cotton yarn because it will be able to withstand the heat of whatever you put on it.  Synthetic yarn might melt, so please take note of this. 

The question is:  Would I want to put something on this and cover it up?  Maybe not.  I might just hang this up somewhere.  Either way, he will be my kitchen mascot.

You can find the link to the Chicken Hot Pad project HERE

To sum up, I liked the easy-to-follow instructions for this crochet project. The instructor tells you how many stitches you should have at the end of each row.  That really helped me.  I think I had a little miscount right at the end, but it didn't seem to have much of an impact on the cuteness of this finish.  The instructions also are very clear on how to make each type of stitch and I appreciated that reminder. 

See how I'm breaking out of the "I can only crochet things that are square or rectangular" routine?  Now I can crochet things that are chicken-shaped.