(I get no revenue from any products I mention. I simply mention products and stores to let you know where I got something and what it is.)
Hi all! Well, I’ve done it again. I’ve managed to let months and months go by without a blog post. I guess what I need to do is put a reminder in my phone calendar because that is literally the only way I get stuff done. If it’s not it my calendar, I forget.
I have recently finished some projects that I will now share. And as I state at the start of nearly every blog post, I don’t have any affiliated links. I don’t get paid for including links to patterns I’ve purchased or products I’ve used to complete projects. I just add them so you can quickly find what you need if you’re interested.
So this cross stitch piece is certainly not my first cross stitch, but it is the first piece I’ve ever stitched on 40 count linen. The linen is called Tin Roof and it’s by Weeks Dye Works. I purchased it at my local needlework shop (LNS) called Stitchville USA. The pattern is called Crow Friend, although I believe at one time the designer called it Wicked Siblings, as it is so named in the PDF pattern I purchased from them. MamaWitchxStitch is the designer, by the way. And here it is! Ta-da!
I framed this piece myself, having been given a crash course tutorial by the owner of Stitchville USA. I used foam board, two pieces of extra loft quilt batting, silk pins and double-sided archival quality tape. I purchased this frame online at Custom Frame Solutions. I am very happy with the quality of the frame. I think it’s perfect for this piece.
I also started and finished a project that I’m so happy with, as it is a sweater for me! I made this sweater using Blue Sky Fibers Woolstok brown wool, a raw wool I purchased from the NY Sheep & Wool Festival in 2019, and a Knitpicks wool blend (shown in the gold color). The pattern is from byKaterina but I did edit the pattern as I made the sleeves. If you’re interested in her free pattern, you can find it here. She provides wonderful instructions as well as a video tutorial of the entire make! This sweater is made using Tunisian crochet, which some say is a mix between knitting and crochet, but I don’t know if I would describe it that way.
The designer, byKaterina, designed her sleeves with no taper. I wanted a tapered look so I just did some decreasing to achieve that.
I am already working on a second sweater for me, using the brown wool again but this time, I’ve joined in some beautiful Malabrigo Rios. Wow, I am kind of designing this as I go! I purchased all of this Woolstok and Malabrigo at a local yarn store in Edina, Minnesota called Harriet and Alice. Love that place!
Also, here are a few stitching WIPS that are nearly finished. I work on all of these here and there. Every single day I work on projects. It’s what I love!
Ok, lastly, I would like to share with you my list of cross stitch projects that are either in progress, kitted, or simply purchased:
Thanks for stopping by! I hope you got some inspiration today!
*please note there are no affiliate links in this blog post. I simply add links to patterns or tutorials that I used to make things.
Fall and winter of 2021 was a season of so much crafting for me! It was really fun and productive. Many projects were to spruce up my home for the holidays. There were also a few gifts made!
Starting from upper left corner, here is my finished Three Witches by Barbara Ana Designs. This was so fun to stitch and I finished it onto a board from Michael’s with some spooky ribbon, a wooden mushroom from Germany, some large rick rack, and mounted the stitching on a piece of chipboard with a fabric covered board behind it.
The next two photos are three punch needle ornaments from an issue of Punch Needle and Primitive Stitcher Magazine. I used floss I had on hand, including some fancy flosses and finished the ornaments with wool trim. I have a little pencil style artificial tree I keep up year round and I had it all decked out with autumn decor.
Middle row left is a photo of my spooky owl lantern, designed by Christopher Hiedeman. I love watching his YouTube videos, whether they’re about his beautifully decorated Victorian home or a tutorial on making something vintage-looking. I found his video on how to make this paper mâché looking owl and loved creating it. The eyes are so brightly colored in this photo because there is a battery operated tea light inside the lantern. It looks so neat on the front porch with other autumn decor.
In the very center of the collage is my finished and framed Feast of Friendship cross stitch by Blackbird Designs. I am in love with this piece and am so happy with the framing. I purchased the design and flosses at Stitchville USA in Minnetonka, MN and also had them do the framing. I had coffee-tea dyed the 28 ct. Monaco fabric myself and I’m very happy with the overall look of the piece.
The little heart ornament on the bottom left is just a creation I made after browsing thru Pinterest and seeing a similar felt and needlework ornament.
Bottom row middle pic is my finished Merry Chalkfull cross stitch which is one of several design collaborations between Priscilla Blain of Stitching with the Housewives and Cathy Haberman of Hands on Design. This was a gift for my mother-in-law. I’m trying to make all of the Chalkfulls for her.
And the last pic is of my Christmas tree cones made with poster board and yarn and some little pom poms. I see these in stores and I refuse to pay for something I can easily make on my own with supplies I have on hand. I did have to buy school grade poster board, as the only board I had was too heavy to be manipulated.
Seems like a lot of crafting, right? It was! But that wasn’t all. In my next post, I will go into detail how I made a painted sign for my bedroom for Christmas decorating.
I’ve been terrible about blogging lately because I keep so busy working on various projects!
However, it is time that I took advantage of the WordPress app on my phone to assist me with some posts. So let this be my first post written and published on my phone.
The title of this post may confuse some people who are not makers of things. A WIP is a work-in-progress. And I have a lot of WIPs. Many people who do what I do also have WIPs in excess of 2 or 3. That’s why you’ll sometimes see a YouTube video titled WIP Parade or a blog post about WIPGO which I have never participated in, but stay tuned.
So today, on this gray and chilly Sunday, I will post about my WIPs. But first, let me share with you a few finishes that I’m very pleased with.
The blackwork embroidery shown here is my first ever. I stumbled upon the designs at The Steady Thread on Etsy, and purchased the pattern here called Deco Cornflowers. I tried this on 28 count Monaco fabric and completed nearly one side of the intricate border then it all fell apart because somewhere I miscounted and therefore made a mistake which threw off the entire thing. I tried fixing it by picking out the mistake but it led to confusion, anger, heartburn, and a general malaise so I put it in time out. And I realized that the designer called for Aida cloth, not an evenweave such as Monaco, so I began again. And this time, I began from the very center out, and voila! It was a pleasure to stitch and I ended up visiting The Steady Thread website and purchased 4 (eek!) more designs.
Next finish is this quilt, which is called a string quilt. I started this within the last 5 or 6 years when I lived in Illinois. It’s another first for me. I had never been involved in a string anything–quartet, theory, bikini–okay maybe string cheese but I digress. I pieced this quilt in Illinois and then neatly folded it and placed it in a corner of my closet. So here in Minnesota, I dug it out and went, gee, Jenny, it’s time to finish this quilt cuz it’s really pretty and very nearly finished! So I attempted to quilt it on my regular old sewing machine and I literally couldn’t even manage a straight line. So I just happened to mention this project to a crochet acquaintance and she said her mom had a long arm quilting machine and she would do it. So I shipped it off to Nebraska and probably started 10 more new projects, because that’s what I do!
When the quilt came back from Nebraska, I purchased some binding fabric (twice, because I used the first fabrics for yet another project). I made a non-bias binding because I needed the stripe to line up in a perpendicular fashion to the quilt and I finished it. And man oh man, I love it.
Next up is an Easter quilt that I started and finished within a very short amount of time for me. My mother-in-law was mentioning that she didn’t have a wall hanging quilt for spring or Easter so I decided to get to work planning one using fabrics from my dear friend and talented designer, Sharla, and other fabrics I purchased at Joann’s. I discovered the amazing foundation paper pieced designs by Made By Marney and purchased a few bunny poses. This was so fun to put together and quilt
Next up is a small foundation pieced and hand quilted project, also for Easter, for my dear friend. This was yet another bunny design by Made by Marney that I modified to have three dimensional ears and “grass” in the basket. This was really fun to make. I simply affixed a ribbon to make it into a little wall hanging.
One more finish is one of the Chalkfull cross stitch patterns by Priscilla of Stitching with the Housewives and Hands On Designs called Hip Hop. This is also for my mother-in-law who has already received two other Chalkfulls mentioned in a previous post.
Okay, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, I present to you my cool WIPs…
I’m also working on Feast of Friendship by Blackbird Designs. I’m nearly finished but when I took it out to work on it last night, I realized I overstitched because that Dutch method of stitching is so nicely repetitive, I find I stitch more than I needed to. So I need to fix my error. I will have plenty of time to finish this and get it framed by Thanksgiving, which is my goal.
I have a few other cross stitch designs that have small starts but not a lot of talk about here. Basically my days lately have consisted of some English paper piecing, a little work on Bloom Chalkfull, and also work on the Inkcircles design as well as Feast of Friendship.
Next post I want to cover more in depth the English paper piecing I have only recently learned about. It’s so cool. It adds even more “cool WIPs” to my life.
(I get no revenue from any links. I simply add links if you need to see a pattern or product or video I have used.)
Hello there! I hope you are all doing well. We are doing just fine here in my household. Life is certainly strange and precarious, isn’t it? For a homemaker like me, staying home all the time is not a big deal. I have been cooking a lot more for my family, and also crafting a whole bunch. I realize my situation is ideal for my family, but it’s not for so many millions of others. Hopefully we can all keep doing what we can as individuals to stop the spread of Covid so we can eventually get back to what we once knew as a state of normalcy!
In the past several months, I have been infected with a different sort of bug. It’s called the cross-stitching bug, and it works its way into your system and doesn’t let go! Before you know it, you are digging through long-forgotten supplies, purchasing instant downloadable patterns online, and attempting to coffee/tea dye fabric. It’s a doozy, I tell ya.
So yes, there’s a partially completed knit cardigan on needles, there are two partially crocheted blankets, and who knows what else! This type of ailment seems to get me every once in a while, and even though it causes more “mind clutter” and sometime more physical clutter, I just end up embracing it, and not beating myself up over it. Since my last post, when I showed off a cross stitch I made for my mother-in-law, I really didn’t think at that time that I’d be doing a lot of stitching projects. But I can tell you what happened. It’s called “Flosstube.”
Flosstube is the name given to YouTube videos that are about cross-stitching, or I suppose any type of stitching with floss or threads. You may know how YouTube works: you view a video about cross-stitching, it suggests a bunch more. And the people who make Flosstube videos always talk about fellow stitchers and their Flosstubes, so this is essentially the most fun rabbit hole I’ve come across this year! I now subscribe to many Flosstubers and there’s never a shortage of things to see, techniques to learn, and in general, time spent with genuine people, albeit through my computer monitor. It’s quite a community!
Above you will see the Halloween or fall themed projects I’ve either completed or am working on. I made my first dye attempt with the Monaco fabric in It’s Halloween. First, I dyed the fabric orange with Rit dye, set the color in the oven, then I coffee/tea dyed the fabric and set it in the oven again. I learned to do this wonderful thing from the Real Housewives of Cross Stitch, Priscilla and Chelsea! Here is a link to their video tutorial on dyeing fabric. It was easier than I thought it would be, and I love the results you get by scrunching up the fabric on a cookie sheet (lined with parchment paper) and setting the color in the oven at 200 degrees.
The punch needle project is a wonderful design by Teresa Kogut, a lovely artist and designer who resides in Michigan (where I’m from!) I really enjoyed punching this design, and I used an Ultra Punch Needle. I find I punch very close, or tight, and I like the way it looks. It probably took longer than it should have, but I am happy with the results.
The little pillow design by Silver Creek Samplers was stitched on an Aida cloth called Fog I purchased at Fat Quarter Shop (online). I had some scraps of homespun fabrics from a thousand years ago that worked perfectly to finish this pillow.
And lastly there’s Three Witches by Barbara Ana Designs. I just love her designs and wonky alphabets. This project would be going better had I chose a better fabric. But it’s nearly done so I must go on!
I am also working on some random stitching projects, as seen in the next collage.
A lot of people are stitching Feast of Friendship. I actually purchased mine (before I even knew how popular it was) at my local needlework shop called Stitchville USA in Minnetonka, MN. I also purchased the floss for it. I learned that there’s more than just DMC floss for stitchers. There are many wonderful overdyed flosses out there, and they give such wonderful texture to the overall design. It’s very evident in Feast of Friendship.
The very graphic A Night in India is going to be a biscornu, which is a lovely decorative pincushion or little pillow in a geometric finish. I have the other side to finish stitching, then I can turn it into a biscornu.
The little winter scene with houses is just something I stumbled upon while looking at my Pinterest feed. The pattern seems to be from a German magazine. I was able to figure out what colors it called for, but in some instances, I chose my own colors. I am a sucker for winter scenes!! I love them so much. I finished it using a piece of sticky board and some batting, and stuck it in a little shadow box thing most likely from Target’s dollar spot, that said something, I cannot remember what! I had the tiny rustic snowshoes in a drawer with other random crafty things, and they turned out to be a perfect addition to the piece.
Lastly, the stark black and white stitching is called “Blackwork” and I love it so much. I found the design on Etsy and the shop owner has so many intricate designs to choose from. I am working on the border to the design, which is quite involved. So what you see in my photo is just a small portion of the entire design. If you click on the link in the caption, you’ll be directed to the Etsy shop where you will see so many great Blackwork embroidery designs. I can’t wait to finish it and get it framed. It’s gorgeous. I’m using one strand of black DMC floss.
And lastly, I’d like to discuss how I did not purchase any Halloween candy to pass out this year. I knew in my neighborhood, the kids were going to a few houses then congregating down the street in the cul-de-sac to visit for a bit. I decided not to pass out candy this year because we all had colds in my house, and I know if I had kids of trick-or-treating age, I wouldn’t want a sick neighbor handing out candy. I knew the neighbor kids would get plenty without me. Besides, I always buy candy that we like, and frankly, I don’t need to be eating all those Reese’s peanut butter cups, as much as I’d like to.
So to get myself in the Halloween mood, I ended up making some “haunted” Putz houses! I got my ideas from Lucy at Paper Glitter Glue. She is a very talented maker of Putz houses and other amazing crafts. I learned so much from her website, like how to push modeling paste through a stencil to get stone and brick textures. I also learned how to make the sweet twisted trees. My workspace was a total mess, as was my floor. But I ended up making three houses, although the first one was my attempt before consulting Lucy’s website for helpful tips and tutorials. I am so pleased with how these little miniatures turned out. A simple battery-operated tea light gives them the perfect aura of spookiness.
I did splurge and purchase a Sizzix machine to die cut rows of shingles for the roofs. This was a great idea, and not only did I end up with dies for shingles, I purchased some dies to make cards and such. I actually think it’s amazing that I have been crafting all my life, and I only just bought some type of die cutting machine in 2020. I have cut out a lot of little detailed things with an X-Acto knife, but I knew my right arm would never hold up to cutting out shingles from cardboard. For the windows, I used transparency film for inkjet printers but instead of printing on the film, I used black fine tipped art markers to draw images. This was so fun, and one of my favorite things about the finished houses. I also lined the inside of the houses with varying shades of torn yellow and orange paper that really make a bright glow when the tea light is on. I used air dry stone clay to make the little pumpkins, and I purchased some moss from the craft store for the shrubs.
I hope you saw something in this post to make you smile! I also wish you the very best in these trying times. I know I will miss seeing my family at Thanksgiving and Christmas, but it’s just not possible and could be quite dangerous to expose older folks and people who are more vulnerable to illness. Please take care!
(I get no revenue from any links. I simply add links if you need to see a pattern or product or video I have used.)
My mother-in-law just had a birthday! And I was so thrilled to be able to stitch this piece quickly, get it fully finished and mailed to her in time! This is one of several lovely design collaborations by chalk artist and all-around fabulous stitcher and decorator, Priscilla Blain, and one of my favorite designers, Cathy Habermann of Hands On Design. I’m not a super fan of country decor, but I do love a Mason jar here and there. And these Chalk Full designs by the two women are perfection in my eyes.
Behold, Chalk Full Harvest!
I am so happy with how this turned out. I stitched mine on 14 count black Aida fabric with the called for “fancy floss” by Classic Colorworks and Gentle Art threads. I was concerned I didn’t have the right fabric to embellish the piece but I kept searching in my fairly small fabric stash and found this kind of batik-with-dots-style fabric I once purchased to make myself a night shirt. Well thank God that didn’t work out! (I am not a seamstress, after all). I simply cut strips of fabric 2 1/4″, attached them to become a longer strip, folded in half the long way and pressed. Then I used a good old needle and thread to make a large basting stitch along the unfinished edge and pulled gently to ruffle the fabric. Next, I glued it along the back of the finished stitching, which was wrapped and glued onto a piece of mat board.
Next, I crocheted a little sunflower and then added darker brown accents to the center of it with DMC floss and French knots. I cut some burlap, as well as a few ribbon pieces to make a bow. The bow and the stitching have magnets glued to the back so they can be easily removed from the metal cookbook stand, which I purchased at Hobby Lobby last year. This way, when I stitch more Chalk Full designs, I can put magnets on the back and my mother-in-law can simply swap out the designs as she sees fit.
Trash to Treasure
Pinterest, you sultry gal, I got sucked in again (happens daily) and this time, instead of a new idea popping up on my feed, I was browsing thru pins I already added to my Garden and Yard Board and found this: Giant Garden Alliums! I don’t remember when I added the pin that led to this delightful website, but it didn’t matter. The way my brain works is this: I looked at the photo of the crafted allium, I clicked to get to the instructions, I saw that a softball was needed, then my brain went: there’s a softball rolling around on the garage floor. Someone drew all over it with Sharpie. Your boys don’t play ball. GO GO GO!
So I went to my local hardware store, masked and hungry for supplies, and purchased nails, a 3 foot long threaded steel rod, and spray paint. And I made this!
And it’s super cute but one isn’t enough. So I put out a call for more used softballs on Nextdoor and was able to get 11 more. Yay!! I also returned to the hardware store for more nails, rods and spray paint.
Next up, something old. Not as old as me, but still. I don’t always finish projects right away. I may have mentioned this before. This first little gem is probably one of my very first attempts at piecing a patchwork quilt. I began this process when my first son was an infant. That was 20 years ago. Twenty.
I didn’t do a great job piecing and matching up all the angles, but it’s not terrible either. I was brand new at all these triangle pieces. Truth be told, I will always be brand new at it. I love the way they look but don’t really enjoy the process so much. Then at some point, I made it into a quilt sandwich and let it sit. I haven’t decided yet how to quilt it, but I did notice that I started hand-quilting it, which I don’t really remember…
This is sized for a baby. I must have been thinking it would be for MY baby, who was just a wee little babe back then. Now he’s twenty! I love the variety of calico fabrics in this quilt, and maybe I will continue hand-quilting it at night while watching something good on TV.
The next UFO/PhD (unfinished object/project half done) is a larger, more modern string quilt! I made this when we lived in Illinois, so that means between 2009-2018, or something like that. String quilts are fun to me. You just grab some fabrics you like and piece a bunch of strips, or “strings” together, and then there are literally endless ways to incorporate blocks into a quilt. Again, get lost on Pinterest when you search for string quilts. I wish I could remember where I got the idea and/or inspiration for this one. It’s really fun, and it is a quilt sandwich now, meaning quilt top + batting + backing material. I dragged it out last month and then last week, I cleared off the ping pong table and set up my machine, thinking I was just going to quilt lines in one direction, maybe about 3/4″ apart. Well guess what. I haven’t quilted something this large before and thus I had a very difficult time managing that much fabric, even just to sew relatively straight lines! I did maybe 5 or 6 lines, then looked at my work and it was crap. It was not going to work out. So I painstakingly used my seam ripper and picked out all those stitches. Then I began again. And that’s where I left off. At the beginning.
I guess stay tuned??
Lastly, I want to share with you some cards I made. I was in need of some birthday cards for some dear loved ones and since I have a ready supply of basically everything paper craft-related, I consulted Pinterest for some ideas. (Do you detect a pattern?) Here are the cards I made most recently.
I like the simplicity of these cards. This is a great way to use different papers from the same collection, as well as mixing and matching to see what works. In some cases, I distressed the edges of the papers with an antique brown ink designed for such a purpose. I love to add tiny flowers or buttons as embellishments. You can see also that I added some hemp string as embellishments. This does make the card bulky in the envelope. I may need to get some thinner material next time. I used rubber stamps to add the words.
Oh one more thing
I ordered a custom paint-by-number kit of my younger cat, Dewey. It took a really long time to arrive but it did! And I unrolled it, gasped, had a bit of buyer’s remorse, then sucked it up and began painting. I cannot let this take twenty years. I work on it a little bit each day.
That detail! The kit of course came with tiny pots of all the colors I will need, which amount to shades of grey, brown, beige. I maybe should have thought more about which photo to submit to the company. In the photo this kit is based on, Dewey is in front of my stone fireplace. Hmmm….
Well, time to get back to work. Those softballs aren’t going to get filled with nails themselves! Thanks so much for stopping by, and I hope you are all safe and well. — Jenny
(This beginning was written pre-pandemic, and I must say, it’s a bit ominous!)
I have been extremely ambitious in my crafting, and not too monogamous, which can cause some issues. I can’t even recall everything that I’ve made in the past year or year and a half! It’s been a lot, and there’s more to do. It may sound morbid, but sometimes I get anxious thinking about how much more I want to knit, crochet or stitch before I die!
Okay, so here’s another beginning. I am not sick with coronavirus, and if I die tomorrow from some thing, I think I will have knit, crocheted and stitched about enough stuff. But there’s no reason to stop now. 😉
So yeah, we moved to Minnesota from Illinois in August 2018. We knew we would be moving for an entire year prior to physically moving, and we chose to do it this way so our oldest son could finish high school in Illinois. Then we had our last summer in IL, moved our son into college in another state, then moved here. Pretty seamless actually, but then it wasn’t. I won’t get into all that here because it’s still a bit painful. Maybe I’ll get into it some other post.
Anyway, I really want to get back to blogging about things I make. Currently, right now, today, I am fulfilling a commitment for 50 masks to be distributed to health care workers. I have until tomorrow to get them finished. I have already made about 100 masks, for family, friends, and the Alzheimer’s/Dementia care organization I used to volunteer at. So I have the process down, and this is a link to the wonderful YouTube video I found that taught me how. I purposely searched for a how-to for a mask that does not involve elastic, because as strange as it is, elastic is hard to come by right now, since so many folks are using it for masks. I am very accustomed to making the masks with fabric ties, so that’s the way I’ll keep making them.
I started up by using fabric I had in my stash, which is 90% quilting cottons, which is perfect. I did end up purchasing more fabric by shopping online and also physically going to Joann Fabrics with my mask on and practicing social distancing. I also have a lovely long-time great friend who happens to be a wonderful designer of things including quilting cottons, and she was kind enough to send me 3 full bolts of fabric. I won’t run out for a while now.
I have also made some felt flower bouquets for the nursing home, my elderly aunt, and a friend recovering from a hip fracture and subsequent surgery. I had some felt in my stash but not quite enough so I ordered some from Amazon, as well as green straws for the stems. Here are some pics. If you’re interested in learning how to make felt flowers, there are plenty of resources on Pinterest. Here is a link to my Crafts board if you want to see some good ones.
I have also knit and crochet so many things, and completed some cross stitch and needlework as well. I came across new YouTube channels to inspire me like Priscilla and Chelsea, the Real Housewives of Cross Stitch, Grocery Girls Knit, and The Crochet Circle Podcast. There are even more, which I will list at the end of this post.
One of my biggest problems is that I have too many hobbies. I do love to knit. And I love to crochet. And I really enjoy cross stitch and needlework. I just love all the textile things, and since I’m fortunate enough to not have to work outside the home, I don’t need to focus all my time and energy on one particular craft. I am so very lucky, this I know.
Eventually, I would love to own a camper, and I mean it will have to look vintage, if not be vintage. I know that I don’t have the knowledge, skill nor strength to refurbish a vintage camper (like a 60’s Shasta, for example) and some manufacturers are producing modern travel trailers with a vintage look and feel. I actually used to work in the manufactured housing/recreational vehicle industry and I know that many interiors from the 80’s on up are not my style, at all.
So, when I make certain things like blankets, or I’m spending hours on Pinterest, I am often looking at things from the standpoint of, will this look nice in my future camper? The blankets I’m working on as of late are potential candidates. Behold, the matelassé style crocheted blanket. Patterns are by the talented Priscilla Hewitt, and you can peruse and purchase there. I purchased the collection of matelassé crocheted blankets and throws from her after purchasing a design for a baby blanket I made for a friend. I loved the way it turned out. It’s one color, but full of beautiful texture that is undeniably gorgeous.
Ok this is enough for now. Here are some photo montages of things I’ve made. I hope you are all doing well, and thanks for stopping by!
Here are some additional YouTube channels I love to watch! Enjoy!!
How does the time fly by so fast and I haven’t written a blog post? I guess it doesn’t matter because here I am now, attempting to write a post!
Spring has finally arrived in the midwest after a few stray snowfalls that sent most everyone into a depressive rant. Back in February, my husband and I took a work trip (HIS work) to Newport Beach, California. It was so nice to get away but because we have no family here in Illinois, and no family members from Michigan could come to stay with our boys, it was a bit worrisome for me to leave them with friends and neighbors. While my older son was fast approaching 18 years old, he can’t seem to get up on his own for school, so there was no way I could leave him in charge of himself and his 12 year old brother.
It all worked out though, and husband and I had a really awesome time in California even though it was a little bit chilly. It was sunny and seeing palm trees and green grass instead of the brownish-gray frozen midwest was quite nice. Plus, the resort we stayed at (Pelican Hill) was amazingly beautiful.
While we were there, we went kayaking, we went on an Art Walk in beautiful Laguna Beach, we did a super fun cooking class at Manassero Farms in Irvine, and we dined with colleagues at lovely restaurants as well as danced and had a great time at the Lyon Air Museum in Santa Ana.
In terms of MAKING STUFF, I have been very busy making things because that is what I do. I love to make things, as I may have mentioned before. 😉 I also attended Vogue Knitting Live in Chicago for the first time and took a class on Japanese Knitted Fingerless Mitts.
So as you can see from these collages, there are a lot of things that have been crafted since my last (so long ago) blog post.
Then my younger son gave me absolutely NO time to come up with a costume and items for him for Patriot’s Day at school. I crafted him a tricorn hat thanks to a wonderful template and instructions I found at Pizza By The Slice!
The muskets were made with thick foam core board that I layered and glued three thick and then cut out with a reciprocating saw. Then my son and I did some carving and sanding and painting and adding paper bits as well as some hardware to get them looking realistic. It was a ton of work but they “sold” fast in the colonial market. Too bad he didn’t think to keep one! Oh well.
These photos aren’t everything but I would say they represent the majority of what I’ve been up to. More to come!
Often times I go to a craft store with something in mind I need to purchase. Need is a loosely defined term in my life. If I grab a shopping cart, it’s only because what I need to purchase is too big or heavy for me to carry. If I don’t use a shopping cart, I’m likely going to buy only what I came for, and maybe one more thing. I have shopped at Costco for two items and did not get a cart. People look at me funny. But if I get a cart there, I end up getting things we don’t really need and in most cases, I have no freezer space or pantry space for. Oh and the bill. It’s too much!! One can only fit so many dozen bags of snack items on top of one’s refrigerator. And let’s face it, I’m the only one who will eat the seed-filled, whole grain, gluten-free, non-GMO crackers in the 64 oz size. This is NEVER a good idea. Yet I’ve made the mistake more than once.
But what I really enjoy is checking out the clearance areas at my local JoAnn’s, Michael’s, and Hobby Lobby. I have even scored some low-priced clearance yarn at my Meijer grocery/everything store.
About 4 months ago, I was shopping at Hobby Lobby for yarn for the ABC Baby Blanket, and I came across these painted needlepoint canvases in a clearance section. I found three that I really liked. I figured I would work these needlepoints and have them framed or somehow finished for whatever house we end up getting when we move next year*. They’re very vibrant — different than what I usually go for.
I decided to get DMC embroidery floss for one of the canvases on that same shopping trip, so I could get started someday. I could have purchased perle cotton or Paternayan Persian wool (if it’s still made??) but I knew that would cost more than I wanted to spend. Besides, the canvas had a little sticker on it with a guide for colors in DMC, and I didn’t know if I wanted to spend the extra time picking colors in another thread that were close.
That day, I left Hobby Lobby thinking that was the most expensive three skeins of yarn I ever bought! I DID get a few other items, too. You see, I had a shopping cart. I never needed it, I probably should not have gotten it….Oh well.
I began working on one of the needlepoint canvases yesterday. Actually, I began by cutting floss and transferring the cut pieces onto these handy organizer cards.
This took more than an hour, and I still haven’t cut and organized all the floss but I certainly have enough to get started. And in typical Jenny-fashion, I am usually chomping at the bit to get started.
So I began stitching, and followed the very simple illustrated guidelines of the cardboard header that was attached to the canvas (I had removed it and set it aside). I was not happy with how the stitches were looking and began to wonder if I was 1.) using the correct number of strands of floss, and 2.) if I was stitching the half cross stitch correctly.
I had difficulty concentrating on this project because, well, I AM a mom, and my twelve-year-old son decided to hang out with friends, and they wanted to bike, so I had to have my seventeen-year-old son help me put the hefty bike rack in my trailer hitch before he was off and running with his friends. I took the boys where they needed to be and came back home.
Then, I had to go get them a couple hours later and I don’t even know what I did in between! I think it was laundry but it’s all a blur now.
When I went to pick them up, they were greater in number by one goldfish. I did not see that coming. We aren’t even keeping this fish as it’s for some other friend. I still don’t understand all the whys and wherefores but luckily I had a fish bowl and gravel in the basement so we could get the poor thing out of the plastic bag. Then this happened.
This is super-cute, I know. But it was soon to be a real-life illustration of the circle of life if I didn’t get that fish out of my house. (As of this post, it’s been over 24 hours and I still have a goldfish, albeit in a cat-free zone)
I tried working on the needlepoint into the evening, but I was tired and cranky and wondering if we were keeping the fish because my son named him….so I went to bed.
Today, I got my coffee and started working on the project again, but I was still unsure of the stitches and coverage of the canvas so I decided to do some research. I learned that I was following the instructions of the card and making the half cross stitch which doesn’t provide good coverage of the canvas. That’s why I didn’t like it. I changed to the continental stitch which leaves long slanted threads on the back of the work and good coverage. I decided there was not a large enough difference to rip out what I already did. I also learned that I was using an embroidery needle that was just a tad too big. I went to Michael’s and found the size I needed. I was surprised at how much quicker I could stitch with a needle one size down. One last thing: I learned that I should separate the six plies of the embroidery floss and rejoin them together before stitching. This makes for better coverage, too. Yes, it does take a little longer to separate the plies but it’s worth it. I honestly don’t know if I can get three canvases completed in a year, because I know me. I have a short attention span when it comes to all the different things I can make!
Look, a cute quilt fabric!!
But in all seriousness, I want the piece to look nice, but I am not entering it into a needlepoint contest, so I can live with some imperfection.
It’s coming along nicely but I have a secret project to work on and hopefully complete in time for a trip to Germany!! More on that in a future post.
By the way, you should know I was checking out the clearance items at Michael’s when I went for the embroidery needles. I ended up with paint brushes, markers, a piece of wood, and somehow a hula hoop. I did not buy any yarn, but I did look.
Oh. And I didn’t have a cart. 🙂
Thanks so much for stopping by! Next post I will show you how the little baby sweater turned out!
*(Husband’s new role in his company is why we are moving, but we will still be in the Midwest)