Monday, September 29, 2008

Felt Article Link

Gosh I have a lot of felt in this house! I reviewed it for Craft Critique and my article runs today. I still like the wool stuff best even though it shrinks considerably in the wash and is more expensive. Michaels synthetic felt is nice and opaque. That was a surprise! It's synthetic, so it resists cutting and hates hole punches, unfortunately.

Check out my observations HERE.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Determined-looking Wolves

Yesterday I had the news channels on all day listening to Capitol Hill Bailout Plan Drama while I worked with my felt. Interesting that I finished eight wolf appliques and zero Little Reds...

Wolf/Riding Hood appliques

These will be for a batch of pouches which I will either list in my Etsy shop or sell locally at a craft show.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Chicken Scratch Embroidery


PAT and VIP are super excited about their embroidered gingham! I was relieved to finally find this McCalls booklet. Grandma had saved it since 1962 and it came to me when she passed away 5 years ago.

This has illustrations and pattern information for sewing patterns McCalls sold at the time and then on the opposing page is the gingham pattern:
McCalls Gingham Cross Stitch Booklet

There is a lot of retro charm here:
McCalls Gingham Cross Stitch Booklet

Most of the cross stitching is really simple:
McCalls Gingham Cross Stitch Booklet

In case you have never cross stitched, it is easy to learn. Here are some instructions:
McCalls Gingham Cross Stitch Booklet

I like these simple geometrics:

McCalls Gingham Cross Stitch BookletMcCalls Gingham Cross Stitch BookletMcCalls Gingham Cross Stitch Booklet

McCalls Gingham Cross Stitch Booklet

Unfortunately, I don't think the charm of chicken scratch embroidery really shows in this booklet. It would benefit from some actual photographs. I did a "chicken scratch embroidery" search at Flickr and found some wonderful projects HERE.

I bet someone has these pattern packs offered by McCalls in the early 1960's. I sure wish Grandma had these!
McCalls Gingham Cross Stitch Booklet

I have a few more photos of this booklet at my flickr HERE. You can see the full sized patterns if you click on a photo and then click "All Sizes".

I have done some aprons with some embroidery like this along with rick-rack. I actually think this was from a modern McCall's apron pattern. This is an old photo taken with my old, bad camera:
Apron yellow detail

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I love gingham, but....

This is like Holly Hobby on crack:

Vintage Gingham Cross Stitch linens

I found my grandma's stash of embroidery on gingham patterns. They were hiding with my cross stitching stuff. This was an article from the June, 1979 issue of Better Homes and Gardens.
The patterns they included were very simple geometrics:
BH&G Cross Stitch on Gingham

Even better is the 1962 McCall's booklet, "Cross Stitch on Gingham":
McCalls Gingham Cross Stitch Booklet

This one has good simple patterns I'll share with you tomorrow.

ThankYou Mr. Electrician!

Thank you Mr. Electrician!

Hooray! All the brass fixtures have now been eradicated from my home! We also got 2 new fixtures in the bathrooms and a new ceiling fan as well. I know this is a pretty ordinary unglamorous light fixture, but let me tell you, it is a HUGE improvement!

Next I'll change out the brassy dented doorknobs, but there are a LOT of doorknobs... I hate hiring contractors. I always forget to ask my neighbors and local acquaintances for recommendations, so I just look in the yellow pages for medium sized ads for companies in my community or very close-by. I do get several estimates, but I never can really tell who to hire. So far this has worked out okay for me, but it really isn't a good method.

My problem with hiring contractors helps me get to projects on my own. My husband is totally and completely hopeless about home improvement projects. I'm not sure he knows how to open a ladder and I know for a fact that he is at a loss as to how people hang framed pictures on the wall. Husband has many other wonderful qualities, so this has not been a big problem for us.

Friday, September 19, 2008


Mr. Squirrel welcomes fall.

Felt Squirrel

He wears a red neckerchief because, like all squirrels, he is an outlaw.

Felt Squirrel

Mr. Squirrel is very small, although I have large hands.

Felt Squirrel

He is from a pattern in one of my recently purchased Japanese books, ISBN978-4-8347-5728-6.
This was a very fiddley pattern. Not nearly as easy as another squirrel I made last year for a swap with Alex. Now that he is done, he is telling me that he feels lonely and needs a squirrel companion, but I may not ever get to that. Meanwhile, he'll be hanging out learning to spread agreeable happiness with with my Unazukin.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Pegasus Embroidery

I call it Pegasus Dreams of Cupcakes. This is my latest contribution to our International Tea Towel Tour:
Pegasus Dreams of Cupcakes

It's for Sewsew-a-gogo's 4-year old daughter who likes monsters and baking. I hope she also likes green horses with luxuriant purple hair and pink wings. In case you were wondering, I do all chain stitching with 2 strands of embroidery floss. I think I did a very small amount of back stitches on the nose and there are just a few french knots.

The pattern is available HERE with a Pegasus from Andrea Zuill. I added the cupcake.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Life's Mysteries

So SNL finally came back and the Sarah Palin Hillary Clinton sketch was spot on. At our house, the real discussion of the night was how in the world does Lil Wayne keep those pants on? It's all even more mysterious because they are belted. It was 2 days ago and I'm still wondering. Google searching the issue revealed no answers.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Clover Yo-Yo Tool

Last night was Open House in my daughter's classroom. I was embarrassed when the teacher got to the part about the nightly reading and math logs and let out an "Oh God" sigh that was audible to most people in the classroom including the teacher. The PTO president sitting next to me laughed out loud. I didn't realize anyone could hear me. Oops! In my defense, most people hate reading and math logs, but I think it is a district or state requirement or something. Also, I am loud because my husband is hearing impaired and he really needs new hearing aids. Um, yeah... I blame my husband.

Fabric YoYos

Check out this Clover Yo Yo maker. I can't wait to share my enthusiasm for this gem of a tool. I want to do a review of it for Craft Critique, but since no one has gotten back to me on that, I'm not waiting to share my project. Seriously, if fabric yo-yos have ever tempted you, run don't walk to the craft store (with your newspaper coupon) and get one of these. They come in several sizes and there is even a heart shape and a flower yo-yo tool you can use as well.

Clover Yo Yo Tool
I know how to make yo-yos without the tool, but I never seem to get to it. Sunshine is my yo-yo making idol. Recently, she mentioned that her kids like using the tool so I picked one up and gave it a try. I use thick button and carpet thread on mine. This thread holds up to the gathering you will do on your yo-yo.

Clover Yo Yo Tool

I roughly cut a pile of circles larger than the tool template. This fabric was bandanas that I made into 3 pairs of adorable capri pants for my daughter when she was in preschool. (Martha Stewart tute HERE). I hated to toss out the outgrown pants and decided to reuse them for this project.

Making these is pretty simple. You put your fabric between the 2 plastic circles so that the ridges on the inside part line up with the little nobs on the outside part. Trim your fabric to between 1/8 and 5/16 seam allowance.

Clover Yo Yo Tool

Sew in and out of the little grooves provided on the tool. Lazygirl has a better tute, but once you have the tool, it is pretty easy to figure out what to do. Go all the way around overlapping the first stitch when you get to the beginning of the circle. Do not backstitch because you will need to gather the stitching.

Clover Yo Yo Tool

Even though this pic is blurry, you can see that you pull the thread as tight as you can and knot it as closely as possible. In the past when I've used regular sewing thread, this is the part where my threads break. Straighten out your delicious piece of fabric perfection.

Fabric YoYo

And that's it! It goes really fast once you get going. I made a large pile a lot faster than I did that cross stitch from the other day.

Fabric YoYos

Now I have to connect them and I'll have a little coverlet for my daughter's doll bed. I did want to have her make some of these, but I was so excited I used up all the fabric before she got home from school.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Cross Stitching

I dusted off my cross stitch things to do this motif for UrsulaDiamond in our Tea Towel Tour. It has been at least 15 years since I've done any cross stitch. Ursula's towel (actually it is a rectangle of what I think is weavers cloth) was totally blank and she was very open about preferences. She suggested cross stitch and I was itching to get going on this all weekend when I was away with my family.

Cross Stitch Revisited

I used 14 count waste canvas for this. I found the free pattern online HERE at Alita Designs.
Cross Stitch Revisited
I did 4 repeats of the pattern. It would be incredibly lovely going across a whole surface. My daughter was trying to pay me a compliment by saying that it looks "store boughten". She hasn't quite learned that that isn't really what we are going for with our hand stitching, but she's sweet.

Stitching this was fun, but I remember why I quit doing cross stitch. It is very detailed and small. In the time it takes to do a small project like this you could sew up an entire quilt top. I did watch several fun movies on TV. Have you seen Waitress?

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Go Cubs!

Kent Brockman: Springfield is once again overrun with fair-weather fans.
Homer: The Isotopes are winning? To the bandwagon!

Cubs Crochet

Much a my husband's consternation, I cannot maintain interest in sports for the entire duration of a sport's season. I am always happy to know that our teams are winning and I do get interested toward the end of the season if Chicago or Indiana University are doing really well. I guess the Cubs have been having a good year , although I think I read today that someone important may be injured.

To celebrate (their wins) and hopefully send them some good mojo (for the injury), I crocheted these little things. The small one is a patch and the larger one is a coaster. Both are thread crochet done in double crochet concentric circles. The coaster is 2 layers with a royal blue back.
Cubs Crochet

The White Sox are also doing well, but they do not inspire me to take up my needles. Apologies to any south-siders reading my blog...

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Ikea Greens

I've been wanting to replace my faded brick colored curtains for a long time now. I even bought some crummy polyester fabric to stitch some up, but I never got to it. Finally it occurred to me that it would be simple to just get something fun and funky at Ikea to use until I someday get around to something new.

Here's the pillows I sewed up from the bottoms of the curtains. This fabric is a very nice thick cotton/linen blend and the panels came with a nice cotton lining fabric, so these pillows have that lining
Ikea Fabric Pillows

I also made 2 very large tote bags. One of these might be a gift if I can keep myself from using it:

Again, I used the curtain lining fabric for the lining of the totes. I might add a button closure to the front, but I need to get some large red buttons:

Lastly, here are the curtains. I still haven't hemmed them, but you can't tell in this photo. There is a matching set on an opposite window. They don't exactly distract the eye from my sewing mess on the table. I plan to change out the wooden curtain rod for a black iron one.
New Ikea Curtains

One of the nice things about this fabric is that it has several shades of green so it fits well with my greenish carpet. The red fruits likewise have a few shades of red to make it easier to coordinate your things.

I'm thinking these are very fresh and fun, but will also work through Christmas. I did like my dark red curtains at the Holidays...

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Awarded and Tagged

Reading Carina just now(from whom I stole the title of this post), I remember that I also was awarded by Martha and now I've been tagged.
Here are the award rules:
(1) The winner can put the logo on their blog.
(2) Link the person you received your award from.
(3) Nominate at least 7 other blogs.
(4) Put links of those on yours.
(5) Leave a message on the blogs of the people you’ve nominated.

Thanks Martha! I like your blog too. She just redecorated her house in some lovely greens. I promise I didn't copy you, Martha, but I changed out my brick red curtains a couple weeks ago for some new leafy green ones from Ikea.

Other blogs I like are Mom-O-Matic - She could only stay away from blogging for about 2 weeks and is thankfully back to keep us updated about the ups and downs of her family life.

Rebel's Work In Progress- She knits, but most notably, she abruptly quit her job to take up language studies in Thailand and is sharing her adventures.

Lily's Block-a-Day- I think she really does quilt a block a day. So inspiring!

Syko- Colorful charming whimsies from Finland

Welcome to Girl Land
- Vintage adorables from my old stomping grounds in Metro Detroit

Feeling Stitchy
- All the coolest embroideries are featured here.

Crazy Mom Quilts - Inspiration from another fabric junkie like me!

And then Carina tagged me (Carina, I love your blog too!)

The rules are: Post rules at the beginning of the post. Answer all of the questions, tag 6 people, go to their blog and leave them a comment to inform them that they have been tagged and asking them to read your blog for rules. Let the person who tagged you know when you've posted your answers.

1) What were you doing 10 years ago?
2) What are the 5 things on your to do list today?
3) Snacks you enjoy
4) Places you have lived
5) What are 5 things you would do if you were a Billionaire?
6) People you want to know more about

1) 10 years ago, I was caring for my 18 month old baby boy and living on a very tight budget working my way very slowly through graduate school in Michigan.

2) I just got over a migraine, so my to do list has already gone to hell.... I would have gotten something homemade cooked for supper, folded the rest of the laundry, finished sewing up the cut off bottoms of those Ikea curtains into tote bags and pillows, purchased some underwear that fits for my daughter, and retrieved my watch from the inside of our tent which is already compacted into it's nylon bag. I'll do that stuff tomorrow or maybe this evening..

3) I enjoy hummus, chocolate brownies, crackers and cheese, Japanese rice snacks, and cookies of all kinds

4) I have lived in Arlington Heights, Illinois; St. Louis, Missouri; Winnetka, Illinois; Bloomington, Indiana; San Antonio, Texas; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Commerce Township, Michigan (this area is known as Metro Detroit and is quite distinct from actual Detroit); Grayslake Illinois, (which we sometimes refer to as "Almost Wisconsin"). I actually despise moving more than pretty much anything else, but you would never know it from all the times we've moved... (edit: Yipes What a dull list! We love the midwest!)

5)Honestly, I'm not sure I want the responsibility of being a billionaire. We are pretty happy already... I don't want my life to be about managing money so I think I wouldn't want people to really know that I was extremely wealthy. First we'd get hubby the new hearing aids he needs. For sure we'd finally take that dream trip to Alaska. We'd probably get a home in this same community that would have an office for my husband, a craft room for me, and a nice extra bedroom for visiting friends and family. I do not want to live in a giant house! And then there are all the charities we'd give to, and the tithe to the Presbyterian Church. We'd probably go a little bit wild with some extravagance, but wealth wouldn't make us suddenly not like camping or anything like that.

I tag anyone who is looking for blog inspiration!


Gadzooks! I really want to rant about my seething hatred for the frozen-faced, scrawny, sexless, speech impaired actress Nicole Kidman, but um... dang.. where is the camera?!

I crocheted some cute thread crochet Cubs logos. Go Cubs! But I have to deal with my camera first.

Seriously, I really hate NK and her ex-husband is no better. She's probably sort of a nice person, but she's ruined every movie she's beeen in (except "To Die For", "Dead Calm" and "Flirting". I liked those from long ago) I've hated Tom Cruise since Risky Business...

These are the things I obsess over when I'm alone in the house. I just accidentally watched "The Invasion" and it was already terrible before they cast Ms. Kidman in the lead role. How does that woman have an Oscar? Her way of acting distressed is to cover her eyes with her bangs since the expression doesn't register on her face anywhere. She is the same age as I am and I don't really have any wrinkles so what is her problem?

So I've ranted anyway... Anyone else have inexplicably popular actors or actresses they avoid watching like the plague?

Monday, September 1, 2008

Felt Mascot Book With Squirrels

Ahh camping. No critters in our equipment, thank goodness. I didn't plan our meals carefully enough ahead of time so we brought too much food, but still had to stop at the grocery for various essentials. This time of year it gets dark a bit earlier and our kids are too old to send to bed at 8:30 so we played some rousing games of headlamp Uno: everyone needs a headlamp to see our own cards. Now we are home to piles of gritty laundry and ashy cookware, but it was a great weekend!

Here is another Japanese book I got last week at the Japanese store here in Chicagoland. This is ISBN978-4-8347-5728-6 and features my favorite, miniature felt mascots! It even says so in English on the cover:
Japanese Felt Mascot Book

Mainly it has these fun squirrels that adorably present the various projects throughout:
Japanese Felt Mascot Book

Here the squirrels seem to be having a yard sale. I like the birch tree reindeer in the background:
Japanese Felt Mascot Book

Here are mini bags and purses: Japanese Felt Mascot Book

Fun country houses:
Japanese Felt Mascot Book

There are various themed dioramas. I particularly like this Christmas one because it reminds me of my favorite childhood ornament:
Japanese Felt Mascot Book

Your mascots can have tea with teeny tiny cakes and fruit slices:
Japanese Felt Mascot Book

Here are some fun refrigerator magnets. I like the jam jar and the eggs and sausage:
Japanese Felt Mascot Book

This book has no pattern insert. All the patterns and instructions are on pages like this in the back of the book. This might look intimidating, but it isn't really that hard if you know the basics of hand stitching and working in three dimensions:
Japanese Felt Mascot Book

Patterns also include felt baking equipment, garden vegetables, miniature felt flower bouquets, and ice cream treats.

I did a haphazard search and I found it at Yes Asia, so if you want to order your own and don't have a Japanese store in your city, HERE it is!