Sunday, January 15, 2017

A Few Questions For A Sunday Afternoon

As I've continued my craft room organization and decluttering this week, several questions have come up. Nothing earth-shattering, just things that have popped up while going through things.

1.  What is this for?
I found a zip lock bag with these four items in it: a piece of 25-count Jobelan in pale blue, and a skein each of DMC 3889, DMC 115, and DMC 3051. What's going on here? At some point in time I put these things in a bag for.........what? Was there a chart that went with it? Why was it so important to place it in a bag? Did I mean to kit up something? If this combination of colors/items looks familiar to you, please let me know.

2.  What should I do with this?
We received a really cool goodie assortment at Christmas and it was all packed in this basket. As soon as I saw it, I called dibs on it thinking it would be a useful addition to my craft room. The question now is how should I utilize it? It's about 21" wide, 8" deep, and 6" tall. It's very sturdy and has a cotton liner.

3.  Does DMC floss ever get too old to use?
Good question, huh? A discount fabric store near me was selling all of their DMC floss for ten cents each a while ago. All of the floss had the old-school floss tags on them, but I didn't care. Ten cents each? Load up a bagful! And I did just that. So during the floss organization portion of my project, I saw that I still have a bunch of these oldies but goodies. Does DMC floss ever "go bad"? I keep it in containers, so it's clean, and each skein still feels soft and has that DMC luster. But is there any reason why I shouldn't use them?

4.  Why are there birds on my blog? Go to the very top of my blog. Look all the way to the right. There are birds flying.....somewhere. Why are they there? Did I put them there unintentionally? I have seen them on other blogs, so I am guessing that they have something to do with Blogger. I don't know. I mean, they aren't bothering anything, and they're cute. Just look how my cat is watching them. (That was unintentional!) And at least they're not spiders or cockroaches or something. But I'm just curious as to why they're there.

That sums up my current question list. If you have guesses or suggestions for any of my queries, please comment! I'd love to hear your ideas. I'll be posting soon with more about the craft room progress and my WIPocalypse rotation. Thanks for visiting today. Check back again sometime!

Friday, January 6, 2017

WIPocalypse Time!

I mentioned in my last post that for me, this was going to be the year of the WIP. I've got some pretty nice projects going and it would be nice to finish one for once. A kind commenter, Kay from the blog "Kitten Stitching" suggested that I join the WIPocalypse SAL at Melissa's Measi's Musings blog. Great idea! So here I am writing my first post for this adventure. I liked Melissa's description of the SAL as "a very easy-going, low-key stitch-a-long". That sounded perfect to me.

So let me introduce myself to the group. I'm Cathy and I've been stitching for about 35 years. I live in Georgia, just north of Atlanta with my husband Mark. We have a grown son, Matt, who just got married to Steph and they live in the Boston area. I work for our local library system. Two cats live in our house and think they're royalty. Besides stitching, I like to crochet, make beaded jewelry, and do general craft projects. I belong to an amazing stitching group called the Sisters In Stitches which meets once a month for a day of stitching and talking.

While Matt and Steph were here for Christmas, I found my old, old WIP, "English Cottage Sampler" by Teresa Wentzler to show Steph. I told her that I really liked this project, but stopped stitching it for several reasons. One of those reasons involved blended threads. But now, just looking at it made me want to forge ahead and complete this gorgeous piece.
I've also identified the other projects that I'm including in my WIP quest. Here goes:
--Tulip's Praise by Gracewood Stitches
--Kaliedoscope by Sheena Rogers
--The Joyful World monthly series by The Snowflower Diaries. (This project is available on Facebook HERE. Look in the files. All of the charts are free courtesy of the talented designer Maja. Go on. You know you want to. I'm such an enabler.)
--Angel of Divinity stocking kit by Dimensions.

I'll be showing photos of the rest of my list in future posts. 

Will I start anything new? It's not out of the question. If When I do, I will add it to the above list and stitch happily away. It's all for fun and maybe, just maybe completing some stitching projects during 2017. 

Monday, January 2, 2017

Year End Wrap-Up And New Years Plans

Looking back at 2016, I think it was a pretty good year for crafting. I managed to post a Pinterest-inspired crafting post each month and made some pretty cool things. I wasn't as busy a stitcher during the year however. The wedding piece was completed, as were the four squares I pledged to do for the Rainbows For Peace and Comfort group on Facebook. But that's it. No other stitching completions.

So this year I plan to do things a little differently stitching-wise. I pronounce this as the Year of the WIP! I'm going to identify and yes, even unearth, all of my stitching works-in-progress and put them into some kind of rotation. I will put more thought into this and update you soon.

As I said, I'm happy that the squares for the Rainbows group are finished! I'm going to get them packed up and into the mail this week.
As soon as those were finished, I picked up my Kaleidoscope and continued working on that.
I like this chart so much. The designer is Sheena Rogers and it's meant to be completed as a little cushion. The chart has a lot of different colors so artfully blended, and that's what makes it so pretty. And happy. This will be one of the projects in my rotation.

Other People's Creations alert!! We had a wonderful Christmas. Our son, Matt, and his wife, Steph, came to visit us for about 10 days. It was so nice to just hang out with them. Steph is a talented knitter and worked on two projects while they were here. She also knitted me a pair of socks for Christmas!
She made these! For me! Just look at how beautifully made these are.
The color is gorgeous, and they're so soft. As I always say, we crafters/stitchers/knitters/quilters, etc. know how much love and work go into projects, and we are especially appreciative of the special-ness of a handmade gift. I just love these!

Back to 2017 planning. I've come to the realization that my craft room has gotten a little out of control. I need to get better organized and get rid of stuff I don't use. Do I really need that serger that I bought used and only worked for about 5 minutes? What about the miscellaneous junk that I never use? Yes, it's time to tidy up.
Really, does this look like a good way to store ribbon? No. No, it's not.
Above is a photo of my "inbox" which is a shallow basket where I put stuff before I put it in the place where it needs to go. Did that make sense? Looks like that would be a good place to start. I've been watching "craft room tours" videos on Youtube for organization ideas. There are a lot of them, and even though most of them are geared toward paper crafters, I'm getting helpful ideas for organizing my necessities. Plus, they are pretty fun to watch.

Other than that, I do plan to continue my Pinterest quests because they have been enjoyable and educational, craftwise.

So check back from time to time. I think this is going to be a good crafty and stitchy year!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

December Pinterest Gifting

Each December, our stitch group, the Sisters In Stitches, has a Christmas celebration at our stitch day. We have our usual gift exchange, but it seems like everyone brings a little something to give to each one of us. It can be candy or a small gift, and is always appreciated. I love creating something for each member of the group. This year I came across a tiny beaded Christmas tree on the Fire Mountain Gems website.

The original pattern is for earrings, but I decided to make mine a simple pendant (or a very, very tiny Christmas ornament). You can find the specifics HERE.
The pattern calls for three different sizes of Swarovski Lochrose flower beads, but I used four, substituting the 10mm one on the bottom for a 12mm one. I already had some bicone and cube beads that worked well with the design, so I didn't have too much to buy.
Because this project is so easy, it's a great beginner beading project. I just threaded the beads onto a head pin and made a wire wrapped loop at the top. I am in no way an expert at making wire wrapped loops, so this was an excellent way to practice.
Everyone liked their little Christmas trees. I have worn mine several times, getting compliments on it each time. Probably because of that special Swarovski sparkliness!

BONUS! In this post, I'm also including a segment of "Other People's Creations"! Last month I received a beautiful gift from my friend Timothy. Timothy is an avid stitcher and also does cross point, which is a combination of cross stitch and needlepoint.
Just look at this pillow! It's done with the softest wool and has such pretty detail even though the stitches are bigger than most cross stitch.
It now has a place of honor on the chair in my craft room. Looks good there, doesn't it?
What a nice gift to receive! And as a crafter, I truly appreciate it because I know what goes into handmade gifts.

I hope to post again before the year is done, maybe doing a "wrap-up" post. But in the meantime, I hope that you have a very Merry Christmas!

Monday, November 21, 2016

November Pinterest Project

I haven't been very crafty OR stitchy lately. I'm thinking it's because my head is starting to spin a little bit because of the upcoming holidays. My December calendar is filling up with all kinds of stuff from appointments to actual fun events. Good reason? Probably not.

I did take some time to work on a project that I've been wanting to attempt for some time. It's called a captured bead chain maille bracelet and you can find the video instructions by Beadaholique right HERE.

I bought all of the supplies to make this bracelet at Michael's. I needed some 10mm jump rings, 6mm jump rings, 8mm round beads, and a clasp.

And there it is. It took me about an hour and a half to make this and that includes cat interruptions and ringing phones. I'd describe this as a good beginner project because it's all a matter of opening and closing jump rings, as well as inserting the beads.

I did take note of some comments on this video (and another similar video) about the rings moving around and then the beads falling out. Ugh. Who wants that? But I decided to try it anyway because I liked the look of this so much.

When I wore it to work I didn't have any problems with it, but earlier this week I wanted to show it to my sister, Sheila. Instead of wearing it, I stuck it in my jacket pocket because I was having trouble clasping it. (Note to self: use magnetic clasps whenever possible!). Here's what happened.
Somehow a bead worked out of it while it was in my pocket. So there was some truth to that comment after all! I've come to the conclusion that this bracelet will be ok A.) If you wear it and it fits well and B.) If you store it in a place where you can keep it straight and it won't get jostled around.

Next I wanted to know if it could be fixed by removing and replacing a couple of loops. The answer for me was "no". As soon as I removed the necessary loops, the next bead would fall out, and so on. I ended up re-doing the bracelet from the mishap to the end. And that wasn't too bad as the one that fell out originally was only the third one from the end. But after I thought about this for a while, I think there might be a easier repair method. Hmmmm, I'll try it if this happens again.
If it fell out in the middle of the bracelet, I would have had much more work to do.
Yay, it's repaired!
Would I make this bracelet again? I would, but only after buying different gauge jump rings. In the comments section of the video mentioned above, there is a link to some information on the recommended materials for a similar (more elaborate) project that uses some of the same rings. Honestly, I don't know what gauge jump rings I used; it didn't say on the package. So I would definitely look into that.

To sum it up, it's a really pretty and unique bracelet, and I'll keep wearing it. I'll always be on alert for escaping beads though.

I'll be back soon to show you the stitching I've (kind of) been working on lately!

Friday, October 28, 2016

Spooky October Pinterest Adventure

I'll admit that I haven't done much in the way of Halloween decorating in the past 10 years or so. This is especially true of the outside, where it's more of a fall theme, with a couple of potted mums and a pumpkin on the porch. But it seems that each year we get more and more trick-or-treaters at our house, so I decided to do something about the outside decor.

I saw this idea on Pinterest one day and thought it was so cute.
Some of you may recognize this little guy as Cousin It! And for those of you who don't know, he was a recurring character on a 60's TV show called The Addams Family. I know they made at least one movie about The Addams Family, but I don't know if Cousin It made an appearance.

Here's a picture of the little guy from the TV show.
I found the idea to make this on the Halloween Forum and you can get the really, really easy directions HERE. It's more of a list of stuff you'll need, but easy enough to figure out what to do. I improvised a bit and used three tomato cages, a Hawaiian party table skirt, sunglasses and a hat. The instructions say to use a wig head, but I didn't see a need for it. The hat perches perfectly well right on top of the tomato cages.

One other thing that I did was to attach both the hat and sunglasses to the tomato cages with yarn. We've had some pretty windy days and I could just see chasing that hat down the street! And for extra security, we anchored him to the ground with some things that looked like giant two-pronged metal things that look like elongated staples. I have to apologize for not knowing what they are, but right when I mentioned that he's probably get knocked down on a windy day, Mark said "We can use these!".

So not too spooky, but rather fun and cute, right? The kids who see him may not know who he is, but it's still something that might make them laugh. Oh, and I also mummified my front door with some bandages. Just a little more Halloween silliness.

Friday, October 14, 2016

I Can Ikea!

Ikea is well known for its creative, unusual furniture, and also for its determination to make us all expert furniture assemblers. I didn't get any furniture, but instead placed an order for a Raskog Utility Cart. I had seen this particular cart in a lot of blog posts, especially ones which featured crafters' work rooms. This little cart looked like a practical and useful addition to my craft room, and at $29.99 (plus shipping) was a pretty good bargain.

So let the assembly begin! The box it came in was packed securely which kept all of the pieces in good condition during shipping. I quickly found the instructions, which, in true Ikea form, contained no words. There are only pictures with helpful arrows and close ups.

I started by making sure all of the parts were there and laying them out as I needed them. I also got out my trusty tool kit that I keep in the craft room.
Determined as I was to put this cart together by myself, I soon realized that for some of the steps, an extra pair of hands was necessary. So I enlisted Mark, who was happy to help. I do have to say, though, that I did most of the assembly myself. Yay. And it ended up being a very easy project, thanks to the good quality of the pieces and to the well-drawn instructions.
And there it is! The completed cart is sturdy and functional. The wheels roll easily on bare floors. I believe they'd also roll well on carpet, but I haven't tried that yet. The cart is great for storage, or for holding materials for a current project. That way you can keep your work table clear.

I am very happy with this cart and would recommend it if you need extra storage or just a handy organizer. The Raskog cart also comes in beige and reddish brown. I liked putting it together, but I don't know if I'm ready for a major piece of Ikea furniture!