Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Fabric Dyeing For Beginners

I've been seeing all of these cross stitchers dyeing their own fabrics with wonderful results, so I wanted to give it a try. I already attempted coffee/tea dyeing and talked about that right here in my blog. But the many colors of Rit Dye were calling me.

I started with Peacock Green, Royal Purple, Sunshine Orange, and Teal. Please understand that I'm a beginner at dyeing and haven't yet attempted the blending of colors. I tend to start out slow and figure out my limitations with a project like this. Therefore, think simplicity.

Purple was the first in this experiment. I used 28 count Monaco fabric, and did a few different dyeing times to get some varied results. I mixed the dye with warm water and some salt. The salt part isn't in the dyeing instructions on the bottle, but I have heard that salt can help to set the color.
I ended up with three different shades after dyeing them 5, 10, and 15 minutes. Also, the colors are slightly darker in real life than you see in the bottom photo. The top photo shows the fabric wet, and the bottom pieces are dry. I was very happy with the mottling I achieved, especially in the largest piece of fabric.

Next up were the green, orange, and teal.
I used both Jobelan and Monaco for these. The orange was dyed on a pale yellow color Jobelan. The Monaco took the dye better and that resulted in a darker fabric. The teal is next to the orange. And the other color? The one that looks blue? Well, that's the Peacock Green. Yes, you read this right - green. I don't know what happened! Maybe I didn't shake the bottle enough, or it could have been a mismarked bottle. But it was a happy accident because I like the color, kind of a purply blue.
This photo shows the fabrics dry.

So fabric dyeing was a good experience, and yes, I would do it again. Maybe some multi-colored fabric is in my future. All of these fabrics will be good for future cross stitch projects. A few tips:
--I used a plastic tablecloth to protect my countertops. Dollar store tablecloths are perfect for this.
--I used a plastic storage container for the dyeing solution. Just one of those storage things that   you can buy at Wal-Mart.
--Get some plastic gloves unless you like blue hands. Or purple.
--To get the mottling effect, scrunch your fabric up in different areas before putting it into the dye.
--Wear old clothes.

Let me know if you have any questions. Keep in mind that I am no expert at this, but it really was a fun project. Thanks for visiting today!

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Three Tier Tray, Autumn Style

Recently I brought my three tier tray out of hiding and spruced it up for the fall. I thought I'd share some pictures of it in all of its autumn finery.
I bought my tray on Ebay, but a lot of stores have them now. I've seen them at Hobby Lobby, Wal-Mart, and Amazon to name a few. I lined the two bottom trays with plaid cloth napkins in fall colors.
Let me tell you a little secret. Most of the items in here came from the Dollar Tree. Yes, the Dollar Tree. These owl salt and pepper shakers, for example. The fabric leaves too - a pack of 50 for $1? I'll take it!
The glass turkey candleholders were found at an antique place, and that art glass pumpkin was something I had for a while.
Only one stitched piece?, you might ask. Yes, and I didn't even stitch that. I think I got it as an exchange, or maybe a giveaway. It's cute though. I will be working on some fall-themed smalls for future displays.
Who can resist a sparkly beaded pumpkin? Yep, another Dollar Tree find! And so is the mirror-glass one behind it.
And just because it's cute, a dough bowl filled with faux gourds and leaves. That little owl seems pretty interested.

I hope you liked this little three tier tray tour. Before you know it, it's going to be time to fill it with Christmasy things! Thank you for visiting, and thank you for all of your sweet comments! Til next time.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

A Trio Of Finishes

After I finished the first of the Little House Needleworks' Christmas Farmhouse series, I wanted to finish (FFO) it right away to see how it would turn out. Using The Twisted Stitcher's directions on Youtube, I gathered my supplies and went to work. Here's the result.
It was stitched on 30 count natural Northern Cross linen using the called for threads. I purchased the backing fabric and the ribbon for the bow at Hobby Lobby, and I got the jute trim at Joann's. The rusty jingle bells were found at Factory Craft Direct online. If you haven't visited Factory Craft, I urge you to - they have so many fun and useful supplies for crafting!

Next up is a FFO for a finish I stitched a couple of years ago. I found "Snow Birds" by Country Cottage Needleworks in the 2013 issue of the Just Cross Stitch Christmas issue.
I used the same basic pillow ornament finishing technique and added some fluffy white chenille trim on the edge. The hangers were left off because I'll probably display this one and the Farmhouse Christmas ornament some other way than hanging them on the tree. 

Finally, a Halloween finish! "Scaredy Cats" by Mill Hill was a recent finish and I knew I wanted to frame it. I purchased some unfinished frames from the Etsy store Nice Frames. Using some acrylic craft paint, I mixed up a kind-of rusty orange and put a couple of coats on the frame.
The color is actually darker in real life. I had a very bright orange paint and I wanted to darken it a bit and tone the brightness down. So I added black. Big mistake. Don't do it. It turned into a really bad, unusable color. So I did what I should have done in the first place. I Googled it and found out that to make a rusty orange, you need to add BLUE to orange. It worked. You can still see the knots in the frame, but I like that.

And those are my finishes for this post. I hope you liked seeing them. If you have any questions, please let me know. Today I'm doing some fabric dyeing. It's a fun, crazy, messy experiment. So tune in to my blog again because I'll be posting about that soon!

Monday, October 1, 2018

September WIPocalypse - Mega Stitching Edition!

Let's just say that September was a big month for stitching. I attended two stitching get togethers, with one of them a two day event. So I had a lot of stitching time to make some progress on a lot of WIPs. It's always like that, right? We either make a little progress on a lot of WIPs, or we make great progress on a few. In my case, it's the former.

I started with Blackbird Designs' "Salute To Abigail", which is in the "Sweet Land Of Liberty" book.
This is being stitched on R&R linen in the color "mink". The chart calls for silks, but I substituted overdyed floss that I already had in my stash. As it's coming together, I can see that it's a very good substitution!

Next was a new start. I joined the Facebook group "Halloween March Stitch Along - Teresa Kogut Design", which is a SAL. I know, I know. I said I'd stay away from SALs because I'm the Slowest Stitcher In The World. But this design is so adorably vintage.

This is going to be a challenge for me because it's a LOT of confetti, but I'm diving in. I will be putting this into the rotation more often in an attempt to try to keep up, but I'm not locking myself into a finish date. I'm stitching it on 30 count "Tin Roof" linen by Weeks Dye Works.

I have another new start.
Little House Needleworks' Farmhouse Christmas "Horsin' Around". Just a few stitches in.

My favorite project is next. It's "Life Tree" by Rovaris, which is my birthday start.
If I could only stitch one project, it would be this one. I just love everything about it. I'm stitching it one over one on 25 count Lugana in the color "potato". I did a quick tea dip (not really a dye) on this fabric to give it some very subtle mottling.

At my last stitching get together, I worked on "Be Ye Thankful" by the Cricket Collection.
Also in my September rotation was "Rainbow Row" by CW Designs.
I am really appreciating how beautiful this chart is with all of its detail. I worked on the green house, but noticed a few confetti stitches undone in the area of the blue house! I'll get to them. I'm stitching this on 32 count antique white Jobelan.

Lastly, I worked on "Light Upon The Lawn" by Blackbird Designs.
Talk about teeny-tiny stitches! This fabric is the one I coffee/tea dyed and seemed to expand in the process. The result is that the 28 count fabric turned into maybe 27 or 26 count! The stitches seemed too big for me so I started stitching one over one. It also distorted the fabric a bit, but the pattern is still looking good, so I'm happy.

I even had a few finishes, but since this post is so photo heavy, I thought I'd leave those for the next blog post.

For more information about the WIPocalypse, go to Measi's Blog.

Thanks for visiting me today! Thank you for all of your comments. I appreciate each one. See you soon!

Monday, August 27, 2018

August WIPocalypse!

Well, August hasn't been my most productive cross stitch month, but what I HAVE done makes me very happy. And I enjoyed stitching it!

I got back into my rotation (initially), and found myself back in my Stitchmaynia projects. I started with "No Bees No Honey" by Birds of a Feather.
I'm stitching this on 20 count fabric so it's pretty tiny which I like. A little more of the beehive was accomplished before I moved on to a different project.

Then I moved on to "Quaker Diamonds" by Rosewood Manor. Let's face it - this is a big project for me and for some reason takes a LOT more concentration to keep myself in the right place when stitching.
This is one of those "I hope it matches up" projects with all of the borders. Pretty though, don't you think?

Next came Little House Needlework's "Farmhouse Christmas" series. Yes, I'm still stitching the first one, but am enjoying it immensely!
At this point in the stitching month, I had the sudden urge to attempt to actually finish something. And what could be more appropriate for the upcoming fall than "Scaredy Cats" from Mill Hill.
This tiny project has a LOT of beading. I know, I know. That's the idea of a Mill Hill kit. I'm talking a ton of beading though. The half stitch-attached beads go pretty quickly, but the tiny petite beads are attached with a full cross stitch and they take me much longer to do.
For example, the green beads on the cart are attached with a half cross stitch and they lay at an angle. The beads that make up the cart wheels are attached with a full cross stitch and lay horizontally. But just look at those cats! So cute! I think I'm about 2/3 of the way done with the beading. I just might have a real finish in time for fall!

I think I'm going to complete this project before moving on. August was full of travel, being sick, and just general busy-ness. But now I'm ready to go and get back into the stitching mode.

Question of the month: Which is more satisfying to you and why - the process of stitching a piece, or the finish?   Although I like having a finish, I like the process of stitching a piece a lot more. Just seeing the pattern form with thread and needle makes me happy. Adding a new color and seeing how it looks with the others is a really satisfying part of the process.

Please go to Measi's Musings for more info about the WIPocalypse.

Some good news! Some of you may know that I've been having trouble with commenting on my blog, both commenting on other peoples' blogs and replying to comments on my own blog. The issue seems to have corrected itself and I was able to comment on a couple of blogs that I haven't been able to in a long time! Yay!

Monday, August 13, 2018

Garden Art

We like to attempt a garden every year. When I say "attempt", I mean we never know what the garden is going to do from year to year. Weather, chipmunks, bugs, etc. all have an impact on our garden success.

Last year's garden was pretty sad. Bitter cucumbers, buggy and split tomatoes made us question if the cost of the plants and all of the watering was worth it.
A past year's garden.
The above picture is from 2014, I think. We have two of these and usually plant tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and maybe some herbs. Not wanting to give up on the idea of growing some veggies, we decided to plant less this year. So of course, everything is delicious! This year, we've grown some of the tastiest tomatoes and cucumbers we've ever had!

So fewer plants means less deliciousness. No bumper crop, but enough to enjoy fresh and try something new.

If you are a follower of the blog Priscillas 2000, or if you watch Priscilla & Chelsea on Flosstube, you may be familiar with Yard Sauce, Priscilla's recipe for roasted tomato sauce. I decided to try it for myself.
Basically you roast your tomatoes on a baking sheet along with some onion, basil, and salt. Other veggies like zucchini can be added if you want. Roast it for about an hour. The photo above shows the results of the roasted veggies already in the blender. I did not get a photo of the roasted tomatoes. I regret that because it was beautiful.
You then blend all of that goodness up and instantly you have something resembling a sauce.
I managed to get three cups of sauce from this pan of tomatoes. Now remember, I didn't have a lot of tomatoes. It was pretty much a single layer of tomatoes and the other ingredients.
And when I tasted it, it was good!  Right into the freezer it went, to be enjoyed in the future. Do I wish we had planted more tomatoes? Yes! Mark went out and bought some "late in the season" tomato plants and they're doing well. So maybe I'll be able to create more of this lovely sauce before growing season ends.

What about the cucumbers? They are absolutely yummy, and we did have a few extras so I used a tried and true recipe for spicy refrigerator pickles.
These are so good and easy to make. A mixture of seasonings, some pickling liquid, and sliced cucumbers go right into your clean jar. Take that jar and shake it up every day, and in a week the pickles are ready to eat. I like this recipe because it contains no sugar, but I guess you could put some in if you want to. The best thing is that these can keep in your fridge for 6 months. That is, if you don't eat them before that!

That sums up my garden arts and crafts for this post. I was hoping to get enough jalapenos for pickled jalapenos, and I still might. I hope you liked this slightly different post. I figure that being crafty with food is crafting nonetheless. And these are super-easy recipes that you can use if you have a bumper crop of veggies, or even if you just have a few extra. Let me know if you try it!

Sunday, August 5, 2018

WIPocalypse, Late Edition

I've been making an effort to become more organized. Last week I went through my cross stitch fabric, sorting it according to count. The plan is to make me think before I go to buy fabric because I might, just might, have it "in stock". The result is oddly satisfying, knowing what I have and where I can find it when needed. So going beyond that, last Friday I went through my jewelry. Now before you start thinking that I have a collection of Tiffany baubles, let me set you straight. Most of my jewelry (about 99% of it) is of the costume variety. You know, fun stuff and things I made myself. Again, I now know just what I have and I know that it's stuff I'll wear. I'm even keeping this blog more organized, with my goal to be a better, more consistent blogger!

That brings me to organizing my WIPs, and keeping a record of my rotation. This is something I've been meaning to do for a while. I even have a nice journal-y type of book that I can write in. But so far I haven't gotten around to actually doing any kind of record-keeping, relying on my memory to keep me organized. So this will be my next organizing project! For now, let's see what I've worked on, willy-nilly style!

I had a fun stitch day with my friend, Dena last month. I stitched on "Tulip's Praise" by Gracewood Stitches. Whenever I stitch this one, I don't want to put it down. The design is so pretty, and just look at those colors.
Never mind the wonkiness of the photo. It's a fairly large chart, so I'm not even halfway through. I'm stitching it on 18-count off white Jobelan.

Little House Needleworks' "Farmhouse Christmas" was up next. I'm still working on the first one, but am making progress.
These little designs are so cute, and I'll be stitching each one separately.

I spent quite a bit of time on "Scaredy Cats" by Mill Hill. My goal is to get this one done in time for fall. I'm about a third of the way through the beading.

Yesterday, I picked up "No Bees" by Birds of a Feather. This is one of my Stitchmaynia starts. I'm stitching it one over one on 20 count Jobelan.
As you can see, I made just a tiny bit of progress. But I'll stick with this one for a few days.

Question of the month: Half year recap: How are you doing with your goals so far this year?  I guess pretty well. I've stitched on all of my WIPs, finished a few, and even brought one back from UFO-dom.

WIPocalypse is a SAL designed to keep us rotating those WIPs. It's hosted by Melissa at Measi's Musings. We post once a month, or in my case, a little less. For more info, click HERE.

Thanks for visiting my blog today. I continue to have commenting issues and don't know if I'll ever figure out what the exact issue is. If you have any questions for me, just put them in the comment box and I'll answer them right here on my blog. Please come back often! I appreciate all of my subscribers and commenters!

Friday, July 27, 2018

Sew Fun!

I have a confession: I really don't like to sew clothes. I used to. In high school and college I sewed many of the things in my wardrobe. But I do like to sew, and use my machine a lot for other little projects like project bags and totes. Recently I found a like-new sewing machine for sale online, and after doing some research, I found out that the price was right and it had only been used once! I'll take it!
I already have a sewing machine, but it's pretty basic. This one is computerized and has many features that I know I'll use. So time to try it out!

One of the first things I wanted to make was a project bag. I had watched Calico's video on Youtube for a vinyl-front bag. Her idea for the bag was inspired by Dina at Making Life Count on Youtube. I like both of their instructions, but decided to go with Calico's. Here's what I came up with.
The vinyl was a bit of a challenge to sew with, but Christine (Calico) gives you some tips on how to handle it. My edging is a bit wonky, but I will say that the zipper portion of this bag is super easy. I like how it turned out and love the summery fabric. Yes, I will make more of these. I figure that practice makes perfect.

I had some of that cute paisley fabric left, so I sewed some scroll rod covers for my Rola Frame.
I used instructions from Tricia The Left Handed Stitcher on Youtube. It's a good tutorial. Just stick with it if you plan on making some of these. The video shows measuring instructions after the sewing instructions so just stay tuned.

Next, I wanted to try a really easy basic bag. I found Na T's Zipper Bag Sewing Tutorial on Youtube and thought it looked pretty easy. The beauty of this bag is that it has no raw edges showing on the inside. (Neither did my vinyl fronted bag, by the way). I used fabrics that I had in my stash from other projects.
This one has a basic top zip. I wasn't sure what size fabric to use, and my bag came out kind of square. It'll work though. I added interfacing to give the project bag more body. Next time, I might use some fusible fleece. And maybe try to make it a little more rectangular.

I'd say that I gave my new sewing machine a good trial run and have some more projects planned for it. I've also used it to edge some cross stitch fabric. All in all, I'm very pleased with my purchase.

Thank you for all of your comments on my last post. I still can't figure out what's wrong with my commenting abilities. So if I subscribe to your blog and you don't see comments from me, it's because I simply can't. Again, some blogs let me comment and some don't. No rhyme or reason. Also, I found out that I can't do replies on comments on my own blog!! 

So I'm going to answer Mary's question from my last post right here. Mary, here's how I do my stitching rotation: I stitch on one project for about three days, and then I switch to the next one and stitch that one for three days. And so on and so forth. If I have something that I really want to finish, I'll add it to the rotation more often.

Thanks for all of your comments! I'll be answering any questions right here in my blog. And meanwhile, I'll try to figure out what the deal is with my commenting ability. I hope you'll come back to visit and see what I'm up to.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Stitching Update

It's time to refresh my blog. I've been on Flosstube for a year now, and I realize that I have been ignoring the blog a bit. But I've come to realize that I like blogging - the writing, photo posting, and arranging. My question is: Is blogging going away? I've noticed that a lot of the blogs that I follow haven't had new posts in a long time. Not all of them, but many.

So my intention is to post regularly to keep you updated on what's going on in my crafty and stitchy world. I also have a technical question, but we'll talk about that later.

Let's talk stitching! I am on a stitching project rotation that I'm really enjoying. I have 13 WIPs right now and I'm working on each of them for three days. Then I go to the next one. I need to start writing down the order because I'm finding that using my memory for this isn't the best plan. Ha ha.

I'll start with "Forest Snowfall" by Country Cottage Needleworks.
I'm stitching this on 28 count Winter Wishes by Fabrics by Stephanie. This was originally a SAL started in the winter months. Maybe I'm just dragging it out to finish it next winter. Yeah, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

I also worked on my Linen and Threads 2017 Mystery Sampler.
You're seeing this right - I'm still stitching the January portion. My excuse is that it's a big section compared to the others. And you know what I always say: I'm not in a race with anyone. I am enjoying stitching this. It's being stitched on 32 count antique white Jobelan.

"Frosty Forest" by Country Cottage Needleworks got a little attention.
It's the center square! All finished! Only eight to go! I'm stitching this on a light gray 28 count linen.

Formerly a UFO, "Angel of Divinity Stocking" by Dimensions is another one I worked on lately.

 I started stitching the blue area, and then went to her halo with blended threads, including metallics.

I also had two finishes recently! The first is a chart from the Lizzie Kate chart "Coffee Time".
I framed it in a coffeepot trivet! So cute, right? I used threads I already had in my stash and stitched it on 30 count Tin Roof linen.

Next is "July" from the Snowflower Diaries Joyful World monthly series.
I stitched this one over one on 25 count celadon green Jobelan using mainly the called-for colors. I think I switched out a green to show up better on the green fabric. It looks a little gray in this photo, but it's a pale green.

My rotation is working well, although I don't know when another finish will happen. I guess if I really had to get one of my projects done, I'd just work on that one and ditch the rotation for a while. But I am not in any hurry for a finish so it's all good.

OK, now for my technical question. I like to leave comments on blogs that I follow. So I get signed in to Google, and for a great majority of blogs, I have no problems leaving a comment. On these, it shows my name, my email address, and the fact that I'm signed in to Google. However, on some blogs, it says "leaving comment as" and then a dropdown box gives me the choice of Google, Name/URL, or Anonymous. Even though I'm signed in to Google, my comments never show up on these blogs. I've even tried using the Name/URL with no luck. Does anyone know why this is? It's sad because I can't leave a comment on some of my favorite blogs. Any help will be appreciated.

Thank you for visiting my blog today. I'll be back soon with more crafty updates! If you'd like to visit my Flosstube channel, go to CraftyCat Stitcher on Youtube.

See you soon!