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.