Sunday, March 30, 2008

Felt Food Swap

I don't have to keep the secret anymore! Here's what I made my partner Kiiss over in Malaysia for our Craftster Play Food Swap:

First, this hamburger, with embroidered sesame seeds on the bun:
Felt Hamburger
Here's an inside view. That is supposed to be ketchup on the burger:
Felt Hamburger3

The pattern was in this book ISBN 9784529042659 (or maybe 4529042650 at YesAsia..).

I also did some felt strawberries which are super easy. You just use a half circle of felt and stitch up the straight sides.. maybe I'll do a tutorial on that. The cherries are made from wool roving. I would have made more cherries, but I hardly had any red roving left!

I also have always wanted to make felt s'mores and here was my chance:
Felt S'mores

I also sent her the toast I made a few weeks ago for my Using Japanese Books Tutorial.

I am totally loving felt right now. I spent all day nursing a headache and stitching little monkeys and pirate island appliques.

OOh.. must quick hit "publish" John Adams is starting on HBO.

Edited to add: Abigail Adams is one of the most significant American women to ever live. She participated in many rich intellectual discussions with her husband and advised him at all aspects of his very public career. Why then in this HBO movie is she relegated to lovingly gazing at her husband (or longing mournfully at his absences) as he performs his political duties? This really irks me.... I know it's a film series about John Adams, but really... Why put her character in the story at all if they wont be fair about her contributions? Anyone else watching this on HBO? What do you think? My husband read most of the biography on which the film is based, but he didn't finish it. He observed sheepishly, "Um.. it's really really detailed about John Adams..."

Friday, March 28, 2008

Shop Update

New stuff for the etsy shop:

This sock monkey pouch sold really fast. I have to make more of these soon:

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Lilacs or Grapes?

Grapes or Lilacs?

This embroidery is for GatsbyGirl in our tea towel swap. I found the motif at under "geometric". I picked it because has an art nouveau feel and she likes The Great Gatsby.

I had a little bit of trouble doing the transfer. I had some transfer paper from an old project, but I don't think I had the right pen to go with it. I found my red transfer pencil, but after I traced the design and ironed it on, the red marks were way too light so I went over it in pencil. I think maybe pencil is a big no-no, but it seems to work for me. If I use disappearing ink, sometimes it disappears before I finish stitching.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Spring Applique

New hair clips for my shop made possible by my circle die cutter:

Snap barrettes are stitched inside 2-inch felt disks:


My daughter test drove a version of these and I was pleased with how well it stayed in her slick straight hair. The felt really helps keep things secure.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Easter is Early!

Mr. Duck was my first crochet animal. Isn't he cute? Have I shared him before? I can't recall.. He's from a free pattern that unfortunately is no longer available.

My son just turned 11 yesterday and we celebrated by spending the night at a local waterpark hotel. Unfortunately, now my daughter seems to have the flu, so I don't know what we'll do tomorrow for Easter. I'm sure she'll be able to get herself into the kitchen to dye eggs, but otherwise, it's napping and TV for her. All my limits on media time go out the window when fevers are involved. Like lots of folks in the midwest, we have 8 inches of new wet snow, so we are staying inside in denial all day.

I shared these last year, but they are still cute!
Easter Swap Package

Here's some spring cotton flowers I've made as well:
Cotton Crochet Flowers

Thursday, March 20, 2008

March Madness

So do you all get into the NCAA men's basketball brackets with your friends? We do and let me tell you, it is a sweet, sweet victory to choose teams virtually at random and do well in a bracket pool against people who do tons of research and obsess over the sports pages. My children enter and for 2 years in a row, one or the other of them has made the top 5 in our group of about 20 participants. My now 7-year old daughter picks schools based on the appeal of their school name. We are getting a few more of our friends to go ahead and get into it with us. Winner gets to be first in line for bratwurst at our summer cabin weekend in Wisconsin. Here's the message in my inbox from Kat:

Ok, I am going with the Emma/Sam style of reasoning...have I been to or near the named state/place? Which is the prettier name? I would like a butler, so I will choose Butler. Kim and Jim are from Kansas, so I will pick Kansas. Cornell puts out cool internet ornithological info such as birdsongs and id's, so that trumps that my brother went to Stanford, etc. etc. Fun!

My husband and I attended Indiana University back in 1987 when they won the tournament under legendary Coach Bob Knight (who by the way, hates the press, but is now a new, entertaining commentator for ESPN) therefore we feel this is the greatest moment ever in sports history:

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Etsy Shop Update

I made some new hair clips and updated some of my listings at Etsy. I have some cute happy sunshine pouches and my favorite monkeys in various incarnations. I use similar velcro pouches in my purse as organizers and they are very sturdy and fun to use. Anyone else with an Etsy shop want to tell me the secrets of selling?

Etsy: Your place to buy & sell all things handmade

Monday, March 17, 2008

New Horizons

Too difficult for me Swatch Happy Saint Patricks Day! This was a failed attempt at a complicated thread crochet pattern.

Good news for me today! I've been accepted as a reporter for Craft Critique! The site is mostly reviews of products that come out for papercrafters, stampers, and scrappers. I'm going to be the "Fabric Specialist" with occasional reviews of products that fall into the fabric and fiber arts realm.

I think people are drawn to certain types of crafts and I hope to encourage some paper addicts to try their hands at some stitching and fabric crafting. Who knows? They might even convince me to stop using Elmers white glue and copy paper when I (rarely) make handmade cards..

I also just realized that I'm coming up to my one-year blogiversary! I'll have to dig up a giveaway and see if that gets some of my readers to come out of hiding and comment! I know you are out there. My Stat Counter goes up all the time, but I lack the internet savvy to actually stalk you based my feedburner statistics...

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Guilty Pleasure Movies

Today we take a break from cute or pretty little sewing projects for the trailer for the latest DVD we rented.

Yes, it's that CGI animated Beowulf that pretty much bombed at the box office. My husband and I thought it was great fun and totally not serious in any way. We recommend viewers get in touch with their inner 13-year old boy in preparation for viewing it. I am able to do this pretty easily given my interest in video gaming and that Conan the Barbarian is one of my absolute all-time favorite movies.

Here's a clip from Conan The Barbarian and yes, that is California Governor Schwarzenegger delivering one of my favorite movie lines ever:

Actually, I think this and Terminator are the only Schwarzenegger films I really like.

I truly mostly dislike action movies, but not as much as I detest courtroom scenes of any and all kinds. I am an insatiable film lover. I want to see pretty much everything good or bad, highbrow or lowbrow, foreign, domestic, philosophical, pulp, historic, melodramatic, silly, fun, even boring because boring movies help me get to sleep at night if I can get past the inexplicable questions about why the director made this total nonsense. We do have to wait for these things to come out on television or DVD because of the demands of family and it is important that we watch our budget.

My search for those video clips reminded me that my husband's best friend from childhood became a professional wrestler, Twin Cities Legend Rick Rice. He's the one with the mullet haircut and long spandex pants.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

New Napkins

It seems that ever since I rescued Princess Peach in Super Mario Galaxy and released the Twilight Princess and restored peace to the realm in Zelda Twilight Princess I've been sewing more than ever. Swordfighting on the Wii is a funny shake of the wrist. If you press the buttons willy-nilly and shake the controllers wildly, you'll find yourself to be a very talented swordfighting warrior on Zelda.

I purchased some glorious fabric from I was looking through their clearance fabric choices and the had this cute vintage style stripe in a linen cotton blend manufactured by Yuwa Fabrics in Japan. It seemed like my package was already being shipped to me hours after I ordered it. This stuff has pretty much the exact feel of vintage table linens. In fact my husband's aunt sent me a nice everyday tablecloth that was her mother's in this exact type of fabric, so I am quite excited!

Stripey Napkins

I got two 1 1/2 yard cuts of the only 2 colorways they had left. It would have been awesome to have a yellow stripe and a red stripe too, but this is a dozen napkins and two table runners, which is plenty for now. The napkins measure about 19 inches square.

Napkin set

Here you can see how I took the time to miter the corners. I'm very happy with how this turned out!
Mitered Corner Napkins

We don't care for paper napkins around here. I found that when we had kids, they just use them up way too fast. They also take up too much space in my very limited pantry. Now I keep a stash of cloth napkins in a drawer on our kitchen table and we each get our own color. I never iron them. You can reuse cloth napkins from one meal to the next, but we usually use fresh ones at suppertime.

Here are our old napkins which are still good, but they are getting a bit stained after about 6 years of use. I always wished I'd mitered the corners of these when I sewed them, only because this type of square corner is bulkier when folded up.
Old napkins

These new prints make me feel like we need some homemade ice cream sundaes for supper tonight!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Hooty Owl Embroidery

I embroidered an owl for Fruitloops in my Tea Towel Swap on Craftster. She's passing around a lovely square of linen and it was very nice to stitch on.

Owl Embroidery for Fruitloops

This pattern is called Hooty Owls and is available from Aunt Martha's. The leaves took forever on this one! I use mostly chain stitch with 2 strands of embroidery floss. I also did some couching stitches here and there. I think he's got a funny, hapless look on his face. You never quite know how faces will turn out until you stitch them!

Emma's Doggie Mascot

My daughter tried her hand at mascot making. Here's the result! She did great with keeping her whip stitches just close enough to the edge. She's a little bit older than she was the last time we tried this and it went much more smoothly. Obviously I helped a lot, but she really did most of the stitching and I did the cutting. This mascot is in THIS book ISBN 4834764184.

Doggie Mascot
I asked her if she wanted to attach it to a barrette or a pin, but she said she simply wants to keep it like this because, "It's so cute and I just want to have it!" As they say, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree...

I purchased this glue because I saw on a craft show, maybe Martha Stewart, that they swear by it. I can't tell you how much I hate this messy stuff! It does cure practically immediately, but it leaves long stringy trails and it gets on everything. We used it to attach the nose on this project and you can see the mess it left in that area...

I prefer this other glue or Sobo, but Sobo isn't washable.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Sleep Masks

This morning I made His and Hers sleep masks for my husband and me. He picked out the fabric he liked from my stash (the stash in the active pile in the dining room) and I chose the pink on pink because those are my favorite shades and pink is flattering on me. Yes, that is a prerequisite even for a sleep mask.

Sleep masks

Here are the undersides with more great fabric:
Slep Masks- Lining
We really need these, because I get migraines and I have to lie quietly for a few hours in the dark and migraines can come day or night. My husband goes to sleep before I do and I always need to watch tv, stitch, or read before I can get to sleep, so he uses a mask.

The pattern was a truly easy one from the book "Amy Butler's In Stitches". My mother-in-law got me this book last Christmas and while I've drooled over the projects for a long time, this is my first project so far. It was very easy and I even fired up the walking foot on my sewing machine to do the quilted outside section of the mask.
Nice sewing book

Anyone else read the Martha Stewart 's blog? It's called The Martha Blog which always confuses me because I know an actual person named Martha who also has a terrific blog. I read blogs through Google Reader and the banners don't come up, so it's easy to get confused. Seriously... there have been so many times I read The Martha Blog and think, "Gee, Martha (the friend) seems a little bit young to have a nephew who is a successful opera singer." or "What the heck is Martha doing with so many equestrian blankets she has a pile to give to charity?"

It is refreshing to see that Martha Stewart has trouble with lighting in her photos just like I do. See HERE or HERE. At first I was pretty sure that Martha Stewart didn't really have anything to do with that blog, but now I think maybe she actually does take the pictures, but someone else fiddles with all the writing and uploading of photos and such. I'm not sure...

Anyway, yesterday I read this utterly absurd post by Martha S: My fabric Collection and How I Organized It. She had an underling wrap all he fabric bolts in white paper and cellophane. The are labeled with a little photo, but mostly look all white and sterile. What is the point of having a fabric collection if you can't see and touch the fabrics? Where is the rush when you pull out a sample and take in it's glorious expanse of color and pattern? Although I am domestic, I am sooo not Martha Stewart, but I do enjoy her blog and TV show when I can catch it.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

3 dimensional sewing adventures

I'm a pretty good sewing machine sewer. I'm best at quilts and other things that lie flat. I've tried sewing clothes for myself and my daughter, but it just didn't work out. It's much easier to go into a dressing room and find out that things don't fit and look unflattering than to spend a whole weekend making some dumpy dress or bad blouse....

My mantra is that I sew things, not clothes.


Anyway. This Better Homes and Gardens "Quilts and More" magazine is my new favorite. It comes out quarterly at the newstands and it always showcases projects using the latest in beautiful fabrics. This Spring 2008 issue has a feature on fabric Designer Anna Maria Horner, some terrific quilts, funky bags, and this incredibly cute pincushion. It says it's "Quick to Make" So I thought I'd use some of my new Kaffe Fasset fabrics to make a pincushion of my own.

Cutting the templates went easily. At first the seams were all easy, gentle curves. I may have run into a little bit of trouble with my habit of doing a scant 1/4 inch seam instead of a regular 1/4 inch seam, but it was looking okay.

Sewing on one of the circular pieces was extremely tricky. I even hand basted it on just like the directions said.

Eep! What a mess! Maybe it looks better when I turn it out...

Um.. no.... it still looks bad and really wonky. At this point, last night I went to bed and thought about tossing the whole thing.

Well, the first thing on television this morning was artist and fabric designer himself Kaffe Fassett on the HGTV show, "Simply Quilts". You can see video clips from the show at that link, but I was unable to link specifically to the Kaffe Fassett show. HGTV should do something about that. After seeing the show, I decided to try again with that difficult circular seam.

I ripped all the basting out and started over using pins.
I'm already feeling better about this. This time I stitched a very nice looking circle, but I didn't take a picture of it for you.

Can you see the difference? P1010159
One set of petals overlaps.. I think I ended up with petals that are too big because my seam allowances were too small. Otherwise it looks much better. I'm telling you.. the seam ripper is the machine sewer's best friend.

Now I need to handstitch the bottom on and stuff this thing. It's sort of big for a pincushion. I use a lot of pins so maybe that's okay.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Cupcake Picks


I worked for awhile today making something really cool for my food swap. It's something I've wanted to make for awhile, but it's a secret!

These are supposed to be cupcake picks which seem to be really popular. Nevermind that none of us are big cupcake eaters around here (they are too messy...). I like these a lot! I used some die cuts I have around and fabric glue, so they were super easy to make, although the cutting technique I have to use for the little flowers is sort of a pain...

These make me feel like spring is around the corner! It is right? Today it's still really cold, but the sun was shining brightly so I felt productive. There are very small patches of grass starting to emerge and I fixed our broken mailbox myself. On cloudy days, my husband and I fall into an existential funk. Holy moley! It's snowing again! This feels like the longest winter ever...

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Pink Poodle

Pink Poodle

This is my first embroidery for our Tea Towel Tour. I did this poodle for amyracinrose on Craftster. She wanted a sweet poodle and I thought this would be a good choice. I matched the color choices to some stitching she'd already done. Unfortunately, I picked a lightish sort of rose color and I felt the pink areas needed to be filled in, so I did swirly chain stitching and I'm happy with how it turned out. The pattern for this poodle is in the Sublime Stitching Stitch-It Kit.

Everyone in the swap has a "towel" and we pass them around in small groups and stitch for each other. "towel" is just our label for whatever item people like to stitch. Aprons are quite popular and at least one stitcher is sending around a blank for a pillow.

This is my 5th tour. Sadly, the first one I did was for Sublime Stitching and the towel went missing after 12 stitchers worked really hard on it. Details on the missing towel and the culprit who made off with it are sketchy... It was one of those "I was moving and it got lost in the mail" stories. Mostly swapping goes along without any problems apart form a few postage delays. Last round of this swap, my group was first to finish! It's not a race though. We just like to keep everyone stitching on time and posting their pictures.

I did this pattern before on a t-shirt for my daughter. She's outgrown the shirt and I've been meaning to trim off the poodle and applique it onto a new item for her.

Poodle Stitch T