Friday, February 21, 2014

Dusting Off The Sewing Machine

As you may or may not know, last week the Atlanta area experienced its second major snow/ice event of the winter.  The big bonus for me was a couple of unexpected days off.  Not one to waste a free day by watching bad Lifetime movies and eating junk, I made the decision to work in the craft room.  OK, I'll come clean.  I HAVE wasted a few quite a few days off watching bad Lifetime movies and eating junk.  But last week, as I watched the snow fall from the safety of my cozy craftroom, I completed a couple of sewing projects.

I've been wanting to try my hand at stitching up a zippered project bag.  I found some good basic instructions for one on LuAnn Kessi's blog.  Over the last couple of years I've collected lots of pretty fabric remnants from the tote bags I've made.  My goal is to create something from these remnants, and little project bags would be just right.  So I followed the instructions for sewing the bag.  You'll notice that I didn't do the quilting part, even though I think the quilted finishes on her blog are gorgeous.  I'm just not a quilter, but I love seeing other crafters' quilt finishes.  Anyway, I chose a cool brown print and a coordinating polka dot fabric for the lining. 
A fun, easy project that goes together quickly.  And a great use for all of those nice fabric pieces that I have.  I'll definitely be making more of these now that I have the hang of it.  More zippers are on my shopping list.

I also made another little ort container and matching scissor fob for a gift. 
I love these colors, and was happy to find that I had beads that matched the fabric exactly!  I'm glad to say that the recipient was delighted with these!  Another good use for fabric remnants, don't you think?

Thank you to all of my followers who have left kind and encouraging comments on my posts.  And thank you to my new followers!  I'm getting closer and closer to that 200 follower mark.  Hmmmm, do you think I should have a "200 Follower Giveaway"?  I'll have to think about that!

So I think I used my snow day pretty well.  I just need some more snow days.  No, I take that back.  No more snow, please!  I have to figure out how to get some snow days without the snow. 

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Grow Your Blog Giveaway Winners!

It was a pleasure taking part in the Grow Your Blog event once again!  I met some wonderful people, both bloggers and non-bloggers.  I also added quite a few new followers and received some kind comments on my blog.

So today's the day!  I am announcing the winners of my Grow Your Blog Giveaway!

Winner #1 of the beaded needlecase:    Kay

Winner #2 of the Christmas cross stitch book:  Ann C. from Colourful Cross Stitch

I will be sending each of them an e-mail letting them know about their wins.  

A couple of surprises for me today:  I am also a winner!  Two of the giveaways I joined announced today that I have won their lovely prizes!  Wow!  I never win anything, so this is pretty cool for me.  I'll post pictures as soon as I receive them.

So I welcome my new blog followers and hope that you'll visit often.  Keep watching for more random giveaways right here at CraftyCat!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Cross Stitch Card Mini Tutorial

Recently I joined in a Valentine card exchange in a Facebook stitch group that I'm a member of.  The card had to be a stitched card, something I'd never crafted before.  I know that there are ready-made cards with apertures already in them, but my crafty stash contained some pretty red cards which I thought would be perfect for this project.

First, I had to stitch a little Valentine chart.  I found the cutest little Winnie the Pooh freebie online, and then I substituted a red heart for the balloons he was carrying.  The finished stitching would fit nicely into the blank card I had. 

Now to cut the aperture.  All I needed was a ruler, an X-acto knife and a pencil.  Then measure.  And measure again just to be sure.  Draw the outline and then using the ruler and point of the knife, cut out your opening.  Be careful not to cut beyond the corners.  HINT!:  Begin your cutting in the corner, cut to the middle of the line, and then begin at the opposite corner and finish your cut in the middle where you left off.  This will eliminate the possibility of cutting too far into the card.  If you want to cut out a circle or a heart by hand, you're on your own.  So far, I've only mastered straight edge openings.  If I ever figure it out, I'll let you know.
Next, trim the stitching.  It has to extend beyond the opening, but doesn't have to be too big.  You just want to get rid of the excess fabric.
Start to center your stitching within the aperture.
I just taped it in.  You can't see this but I put some of my very favorite double-sided tape (Terrifically Tacky Tape) around the inside edge of the opening. 
Next, in goes some pretty scrapbook paper to hide the back of the stitching and to dress up the inside of the card.  I would recommend folding the paper, taping one side, and then taping the other side while closing the card.  This will keep the paper smooth and the card will close easily.
Tape in a piece of paper for the message.  I used watercolor paper.  Pretty fancy, huh?
I added a couple of old-fashioned Valentine cut-outs, and the card was done! 

So my first attempt at making a cross-stitched card was quite successful.  There are a lot of other decorative elements I could have used, like decorative edging, punch-outs, stickers, rhinestones.  The craft stores are just full of wonderful ideas.  Maybe next time I'll pay one of them a visit for inspiration!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Stitching Questions Because I Know That Your Inquiring Mind Wants To Know

For me, it's always interesting to hear the opinions of other stitchers.  I ran across some questions about my favorite craft at the blog Thread Garden.  Jan at Thread Garden found them at Serendipitous Stitching, another blog, who found them on another blog.....etc. etc.  I thought I'd have a go at them just for fun.

1.  Which fabric do you prefer?  I like the result I get on Jobelan or Lugana.  Nice and even weave, and easy to stitch are the features that make these fabrics my favorites. 

2.  What is your favorite fabric count?  28 count is my choice, but I'll go as small as 32 count.  My eyes cross when stitching on anything smaller than that.  Especially if it's linen.  And then I make mistakes.  Bad mistakes.

3.  What color fabric do you most enjoy stitching on?  Neutrals -- off white, white, beige.  I get out of my neutral comfort zone often though.

4.  What is your favorite fiber?  DMC for its beautiful range of colors, softness, and easy availability.  I do use some overdyed floss and like those for certain things.

5.  How many of the 450 DMC colors do you own?  Probably most of them.  Don't judge me.

6.  Of your last 5 finished projects, how many used DMC/Anchor as the main floss?  Three.  I think.

7.  Of the last 5 projects, if you didn't use DMC/Anchor, what did you use?  Either Crescent Colours, Weeks Dye Works, or Gentle Arts.

8.  What needles do you prefer?  Bohin size 26.

9.  What is the ugliest design you've encountered?  Now, now.  I'm not going to be hurting anyone's feelings here.  There are things that I don't like, but then probably other stitchers don't like some of the designs I stitch.  I mean, if I really answered this question, then people might not visit my blog anymore.  And that would be sad.

10.  What is the most beautiful design you've encountered?   Too many to name.  And it doesn't help that I like a lot of different kinds of designs.  I'm an avid collector.

11.  Who is your favorite designer?  I gravitate toward Little House Needleworks, Blackbird Designs, Prairie Schooler, New York Dreamer, Drawn Thread.  There are more.

12.  Least favorite designer?  I don't have a least favorite.  Nope, not going there.

13.  Would you support a designer whose personal beliefs offended or angered you?  I can't imagine what that would be, but probably not.  I guess.

14.  Do you have a lamp specially made for needleworkers/crafters?  I do!  I have a standing Ott Light in my craft room, a tabletop Ott Light, and a teeny tiny Ott Light.  I use the tabletop light the most.

15.  What brand of stitching light do you have or prefer?  I already spilled the beans on that one, huh?

16.  What kind of environment best suits you when you are stitching?  Anywhere with a semi-comfortable seat and good lighting.  And I need a place to have all of my supplies at hand.  My favorite environment is when my stitch group, The Sisters In Stitches, gathers and we all stitch together.

17.  Have you stitched any design more than once?  Yes, it was a Noah's Ark chart that I found in a magazine.  I first stitched it for some friends, then when I wanted to stitch it again for my sister, I had to hunt the magazine down.  Finally found it on Ebay.

18.  Favorite design you have stitched and finished. 
Peppermint Twist by Blue Ribbon Designs
It's called Barn Dance and I found the chart in a magazine.  I don't remember which one.
19.  Least favorite design you've stitched and finished?  Any wedding sampler.  Don't know why, but I really dislike stitching these.  Sorry.

20.  Last, but not least, what's your longest running WIP?
That would be Teresa Wentzler's English Cottage Sampler.  It's beautiful, but it's sooooo detailed.  See all of those little flowers in the border?  Almost all of them require backstitching -- yes, backstitching on each of the stitches.  And I don't think all of the little flowers are stitched yet.  And the blended threads!  I really should work on this.  Maybe I can leave all of the backstitching until very last and then I'd be more motivated to do it. This might be a 10+ year old WIP.

That sums up the questions.  Now you are enlightened about all of my stitching preferences.  Aren't you glad?  Go on and try it on your blog.  It's kind of fun.