Monday, December 14, 2009

Tea Towel Tour 5

The Susie Can Stitch family is still around, but I've been busy and a little bit overwhelmed by various things lately. Only one more week of school and the kids are home for the holidays! The craft show I did a few weeks ago went well and I think it is one I may do again since both times I've done it have been successful.

I realized that I never shared with you the lovely Tea Towel that was stitched for me in our Tea Towel Tour 5 swap on Craftster!
As you can see, there is a large area for me to add my very own motif. I plan to get to that sometime. Probably after Christmas when things settle down a bit. Ugh.. those colors are all messed up in the above photo. The towel is white, not greenish and pinkish... Cloudy day with artificial light makes for bad pictures. I did want to share an ironed towel with you. THIS PHOTO has better lighting, but the towel needed to be pressed.

First, this is the stitching by Pearliepie. She used rich colors to stitch these beautiful stylized flowers for me. I love their folk arty feel and that outlining stitch is amazing:
Tea Towel Stitching by Pearliepie

Next is the stitching by j-q-adams. He uses variegated floss to great effect! I love the french knots and a bird motif was a theme I was thinking of going with until I decided not to specify a theme for this towel.
Tea Towel Stitching by j_q_adams

This is the stitching added by Kitten Wrangler. She did a Hungarian motif not even knowing that I am 1/4 Hungarian! This is amazing satin stitching and there is an unusual sort of weaving done on one of the flowers:
Tea Towel Stitching by Kitten Wrangler

Here is the motif by SarahJ2001. I adore Hollyhocks, but I haven't been able to get them to grow here in my Chicagoland clay soil. Her stitching is full of charm and warmth and I love the pretty variety of colors she chose:
Tea Towel Stitching by sarahj2001

Finally, this is the stitching by Ritaizza. This is a design from a crewel work book she has. Crewel is a tapestry embroidery done in wool, but the desings are easily adapted to cotton floss. I think she has done a sort of twisted stem stitch on some of the flowers which adds a cool texture.
Tea Towel Stitching by Ritapizza

I absolutely love my towel! Thanks so much to my talented swap partners who kept up with our demanding swap!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Winter Whimsy Sale

Tuesday night I'm doing a fun craft show with my friend's neighborhood in Evanston, Illinois. This is a group of very talented women and the show is busy!

Usually it is held it at one of the neighbors houses, but the show has outgrown that space! This year Winter Whimsy is Tuesday, December 1 from 7-9pm at the Robert Gold Salon, 2942 Central Street, Evanston, Illinois.

I'll be selling my embroidered pouches:
Mushroom and 'Doh Cloud
Cupcake Pouches

Hand Dyed Crochet Flowers including red poinsettias
Crochet Flowers
Poinsettia Pins

And a big selection of cute embroidered felt hairclips:
Hair clips

Come on by and say hello if you are in the area! I'm baking butterscotch brownies and there will be other refreshments too.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

It's getting close to mealtime around here! We are just waiting for the rest of the family to arrive.


I resurrect my Grandma Nelson's favorite Bob White dishes for this special holiday. For years and years this was the holiday we spent in Iowa visiting our lovely relatives. Actually, for a long time as a child I thought only old people lived in Iowa and the kids I saw were just visiting like me.


Roasting the turkey in a bag is a great method as is having one of those thermometers you can read from the countertop. Our turkey is now resting peacefully in the kitchen awaiting the carving and gravy prep.


Enjoy this wonderful holiday!


Monday, November 23, 2009

Geekery with Quilters Interfacing

1-Up Mushroom

Check out my article at Craft Critique to see what I made with Quilters Interfacing. It's a really fun and easy product to use. The only hard part is trimming and ironing the seams on the back to reduce bulk.


I also spent some time listing inventory at my Etsy shop. Click through to see some great gift ideas! I have lots of new pouches, felt hairclips, and hand dyed wool flowers.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Snowflake Crochet Pillow

I stitched this Snowflake Crochet Pillow this week. Fortunately, it isn't that cold here yet, but it's time to retire some old holiday pillows I have for some new winter decorations.

Snowflake Crochet Pillow

The pattern was in Crochet Today last winter, but I found the pattern online. Click HERE.

Snowflake Crochet Pillow

The snowflake was kind of hard. I kept getting mixed up and ripping it out until I started using the chart provided with the pattern. It took a long time to applique it onto the pillow!

Snowflake Crochet Pillow

Crochet Today is published by Coats so the projects are mostly using their inexpensive yarn like Red Heart acrylic or Aunt Lydia's Crochet Thread. I'm coming around to the Red Heart Acrylic. It isn't nice for stuff next to your skin, but it is inexpensive, sturdy with no dye lots. It's nice for amigurumi, home dec., and scrubbers.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Sharpie Tie-Dye

You have to do this project. I saw this on Happy Things. She saw it on Steve Spangler Science.

Sharpie Tie Dye

You draw on fabric with Sharpies (I suppose you can also use other types of permanent markers. I happen to have a lot of Sharpies.) Draw a design that is at least an inch in diameter. More ink bleeds more. Drip rubbing alcohol into the center of the design and watch the ink bleed out to beautiful effect. More highly concentrated alcohol works better. Look for 70% or more concentrate at the drug store. This is probably what you already have in the cabinet.

Sharpie Tie Dye

I probably have a medicine dropper somewhere, but we just used a straw as a dropper for the rubbing alcohol. Let them dry completely. After a few minutes, we laid ours out on an old towel to dry. To set the color, they must be heat set, but be careful with the iron or the clothes dryer because alcohol is extremely flammable.

Sharpie Tie Dye

We were totally mesmerized by the process and could not stop. I had some white muslin that I cut up to use, but we used that up quick, so I also cut up an old sheet.

Sharpie Tie Dye

We had to quit when the alcohol smell got to us. My daughter already cut up some of our creations to make a card for her teacher. I think we might put some beads onto some of these and stitch them into pretty ornaments. We haven't decided. They would look great in a quilt too!

Sharpie Tie Dye

** Edit: How fun! I was contacted today by Sharpie and Steve Spangler about this project!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Gift Mascots

It was my birthday over the weekend. My daughter found a project in my felt mascot books and made this for me:

Mascot by Emma

Cute! I love her running stitch in a contrasting thread! I'm wearing it on my jacket for fall. My mascot books are all in Japanese, but we aren't intimidated!

A few weeks ago I helped her make this elephant as a gift for a little sister of her close friend:
Emma's Elephant

The little girl reports that she sleeps with her little blue elephant every night.
Here is the creator with her creation:

Emma's Elephant

My husband and son got me some Gingher embroidery scissors and water soluble transfer pens. Husband has learned to go into JoAnns and just ask the ladies for help. He says he is totally unable to navigate the fabric, which I completely understand.

Gingher scissors are expensive, but they do seem like they are touched by a heavenly enchantment to cut fabric beautifully. I also have a nice spring green LeCrueset enamel stock pot! Yay for soup and stew!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Kawung Style Embroidery

I reviewed Dritz Mark-B-Gone Marking Pens for Craft Critique. Click HERE to read my article.

I also finished my last stitching for my Tea Towel Tour swap at Craftster. Click HERE to see our gallery. Find the "See Images Only" tab to edit out the chit-chat.

Kitten Wrangler indicated that she was interested in traditional Indonesian design so I did some research. I found mostly batik designs, but a motif I thought would translate to embroidery was this style of interlocking circles called "Kawung".

Embroidery for Kitten Wrangler

It is a beautiful loose weave linen cloth, so the circles came out very slightly wonky. Batik motifs are also imperfect, so I'm being authentic, right? I used DMC Color Variations embroidery floss for the circles. It is lovely floss! Note to family: Good Christmas gift for Susie is the multipack of Color Variations Floss.

Embroidery for Kitten Wrangler

Here is Kitten Wrangler's finished towel. Actually it is a napkin, but in this swap I call everything a towel regardless if it is an apron or something else. Click on the photo to go over to Flickr to see the labeled photo. I didn't do most of this lovely stitching!

Embroidery for Kitten Wrangler

Monday, November 2, 2009

Halloween: The Aftermath

It was cold here! My son has decided that he is too old to trick-or-treat, so he stayed in and handled the door while we watched a "scary" movie. (Poltergeist made him jump a couple times, but he declares he wasn't scared t all.)

Lots of people were out-of-town, and we live on the side of the street that gets less trick-or-treaters. I have never ever had an impolite kid come to the door. My husband took my daughter around and it seems she knows every kid in the neighborhood. She's our little extrovert in an introverted family! I let her design our doorway display. Her costume is a vampire bat styled after one of her stuffed toys. At the last minute I made the ears from some polar fleece so that she could have her chilly ears covered.
These are my stand-by costumes for my husband and me. One year my husband was a skeleton with our son. I am a candy corn, but some kids think I am a fried egg. People totally laugh at me, but I think it is fun! I got the most laughs when I went as a giant duck. That costume has deteriorated, unfortunately.

We are rationing our candy! Hope your Halloween was a fun one!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Have any of you noticed that completely new movies are running on cable TV? This excellent horror film House of the Devil was on one of my HD channels this week. It was very creepy. I didn't know it was a new film until I looked it up on IMDB. It faithfully recreates the feeling of the "girl in peril" films of the early 1980's. The suspense got to me. I was watching it alone when everyone was asleep and I kept having to switch on the guide to minimize the picture to get some relief.

My husband and I watched this classic The Devil Doll this week. It was good! Lionel Barrymore cross-dresses to foil his enemies.

I tried to go through the guide on my tv and find old movies to tape. TCM is showing a LOT of Boris Karloff. They aren't so great..

Here's another really great classic. Ever seen Haxan? It is a 1922 Danish "documentary" about the legends of witchcraft in western Europe. The imagery is unforgettable. Since it is such an old film it has this weird authentic look. Calling it a documentary is pretty much a stretch since it seems to me an excuse to stage creepy and shocking stories of superstition through the ages.. Anyway, it plays on IFC pretty regularly and it easy to get at Netflix.

Is it just me or is everyone sick of vampires? I got through just two of the Twilight books. What a pathetic girl. Those teenagers are supposed to be smart and they have the dumbest conversations ever... Zombies are way more fun. Did you see Zombieland?

I'm not into the popular torture movies that are out lately. I also don't like it when these are stories of real life murderous rampages, that's too upsetting. I like ghosts, hauntings, good vs. evil, foreign horror, classic horror, and horror with comic relief. I also experience movies intensely since I am a strongly visual person, so I like to see this genre on my television where it isn't nearly so scary. Also, feel-good movies all the time are too saccharine.

Click HERE for an interesting article about why people sometimes choose unpleasant experiences.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Felt S'more Needlebook

These are some needlebooks I made for a beginning Brownie Troop. Their leader contacted me and since it happens that she is from my hometown and these Brownies go to my very own elementary school, I took on the project.

Felt S'more

I used that Ecofelt which is made from recycled soda bottles. I also machine stitched the components because it went a lot faster and I had only a few days to finish them.

Felt S'more

They each have a chocolate colored monogram. The closed needlebook can also be used as a pincushion.

Monogrammed S'mores

These were fun to make! I have a couple left that just need to be handstitched together.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Flirty Taco Chips

These are the flirty taco chips I stitched up for ritapizza in our Tea Towel Tour on Craftster. This is a pattern by Jacque Davis that she made available free in the Hoop Love group on Flickr. Get it HERE.

Taco Chips Embroidery

They are bathing in guacamole. I decided that if Rita doesn't like guacamole, then it is spinach dip. Rita reports that she does like guacamole so all is good! I used chain stitch throughout, except on the eyes and boys' faces. The chain stitch gives the ladies puffed up collagen lips which I like (in stitching, not in real life..)

Here in Chicagoland we have the best, most delicious corn chips ever in the history of taco chips. If you eat Tostitos, I am sorry for you. These are in every store in Chicagoland in big displays. They are so fresh they taste like they are right out of the fryer. They only have four ingredients: corn, lime, corn oil, and salt. They are made locally by El Ranchero. We call them "Chips-in-a-Green-Bag" at our house. I don't know if other people call them that, but it seems like when I say that everyone around here knows exactly the chips I refer to.

Interestingly, their price seems to fluctuate with the price of corn, but they are always a better price than commercial brands. My son is one of those kids who really likes very crunchy snacks. If we don't have green apples and Chips-in-a-Green-Bag in the house, I better get to the store quick!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Maurice Sendak

Watching the hype about "Where the Wild Things Are" has me reminiscing about the books I loved as a child. Do you folks who were kids in the 1970's remember the Really Rosie specials that aired on TV? My mom had a record of these stories in her classroom and I would always listen to them and read along in the books when I went in to her school to "help out".

Here's the catchy "Chicken Soup With Rice":

I especially loved "Pierre". Yes, that's Carole King singing:

Let me know if you remember these too. Once when I was a teacher I had the Chicken Soup With Rice book and I talked to someone about the song and they thought I was totally crazy and didn't remember it at all.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Wolves on T-Shirts

I suppose you've heard about the Three Wolf Moon shirt phenomenon. Last May it was all the rage. You can still get the shirt on Amazon but it isn't the #1 selling item anymore. It is a really stale internet meme, but Dwight wore the shirt on The Office, so I share a video I shot with my family months ago.

We went to the Wisconsin Dells way back in early May (and didn't know about the Three Wolf Moon shirt) . The Dells are home to gorgeous upper-midwestern scenery, excessively fun waterpark hotels, and tourist trap souvenir shops. This shop was near the Ripley's Believe It or Not! museum, which we had just visited for laughs. We found several other versions of this shirt. Our favorite was one we called "Purple Wolves in Love":

These are all extremely elaborate designs for t-shirts. They are all quite um.. distinctive. Please note, I know the plural of deer is not "deers". It was just a slip of the tongue.

Also: This article at the Onion seems relevant: CLICK HERE.

Friday, October 9, 2009

More of Quilts from the Village

These are quilts shown at the Lake County Fairgrounds by the Village Quilters of Lake Bluff/Lake Forest, IL.

"Stars in the Night Garden" by Kathy Stuart. This one was one of several of my favorites. She has crystals adhered here and there adding to the beauty.
Quilts from the Village Show 2009
Quilts from the Village Show 2009

"Sisterly Flower Celebration Quilt" by Ginny Moore. These are watercolor quilt bocks.
Quilts from the Village Show 2009

A whole wall of Sudoku quilts:
Quilts from the Village Show 2009
Quilts from the Village Show 2009
Quilts from the Village Show 2009

Three Roman Stripe quilts:
Quilts from the Village Show 2009

Another wall of quilts done in the same pattern. I don't know what pattern this is!
Quilts from the Village Show 2009

Amazing! I still have more photos from this show, so stay tuned! It's an icky rainy day here, perfect for cutting up fabric and making something new of my own.

Edit: I never got to that quilt, although I am planning it in my head. Instead, I have a migraine and am going to nap.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Quilts from the Village 2009 Show

There was a great quilt show right here in my town! This one was put on by a local(ish) guild: Quilts from the Village XI by the Village Quilters of Lake Bluff/Lake Forest, IL. That guild is a little bit far for me, but I think I really should join a local quilt guild.

"Stephanie's Quilt" by Sandra Lewis
Quilts from the Village Show 2009

"Museum Rose Sampler" by Caren Pfaff. Hand quilted by Nancy Pederson. This quilt was a finalist at the International Quilt Festival in Houston. It was on the cover of Quilters Newsletter Magazine and it made their 2004 calendar too.
Quilts from the Village Show 2009

"Savannah Sunshine" by Linda Warren
Quilts from the Village Show 2009
Quilts from the Village Show 2009

"Dreamcatchers...A New Beginning" by Wayne Sneath. This pattern is called "Montana Cartwheel"
Quilts from the Village Show 2009

"Erica's Snuggle Quilt" by Kris Johnston. It's all flannels and I think the border was that very soft snuggley stuff. My daughter and I really had to restrain ourselves from handling it.
Quilts from the Village Show 2009

I have more pictures that I will share later. It's a good thing I am not a professional photographer, I always come home from these shows with blurry photos. I take the pictures really quickly because I don't want to get in anyone's way and I don't want to draw attention to myself, although I did check and photos were okay at this show. Once my mom told a booth operator at a quilt show that I have a blog and the woman got very pissed off about bloggers. I calmed her down, but I don't like confrontations when I'm just trying to look at pretty things. I was going to buy stuff from her, but I hightailed it away after making nice-nice. Attention Bloggers! Make every effort to credit artists! Also, that lady needs to get with the times...

Also, What what the heck, Safari? Why do you always mess up my font sizes in Blogger. This is super irritating.