Friday, April 29, 2016

quick - stitch this!

Today I have just a little something to share with you. Actually 60 little somethings....
Mini Embroidery Patterns by SeptemberHouse
It's a brand new pattern collection called, "Quick Stitch". It's a departure from my usual pattern sets but it was born out of necessity (as all great things are, right?) Here is the scoop:
Mini Embroidery Pattern Collection by SeptemberHouse
In a moment of either genius or insanity - I am not sure which - I decided I wanted to add some embroidered embellishment to some canvas shoes. I started rummaging though my patterns to find something I could use but wasn't having any luck - I didn't need a large detailed pattern - just some small elements. 
Mini Embroidery Pattern Collection by SeptemberHouse
Then it struck me that the need for some small designs to liven up a sewing or craft project is something I run into fairly often. If I was running into that I guessed other people were as well. That is when Quick Stitch was born. 

In this pattern collection there are 60 different designs that are about 2 x 2 inches. They can be stitched up quickly using even the most basic of embroidery stitches. There is a huge variety here as well - plants, animals, weather, words, food - so much to choose from. I think (and hope) that people will get a lot of use out of this set and will have fun in the process. 

As you can see I stitched up a few examples myself. I used one of the flower designs on a zipper pouch and made a large embroidered magnet for a friend with the Matroyshka doll design. Need ideas for projects that beg for a bit of embroidered awesomeness? I have a list that I gathered that features fabric projects that would look great with a bit of added embroidery. Take a look at some of the wonderful tutorials here and a big HUGE thank you to all the lovely bloggers who shared these - I am so grateful to you! 

And if you aren't big on sewing you can always add these on to store bought items like clothing, lampshades, table linens, curtains and ...shoes, of course.

potholders from aesthetic nest

fabric wrist cuff from make something special

cord keeper from love to sew

fabric headband from Happy Together

dishtowels from Craftiness is not Optional

key chains from Craftiness is not Optional

bookmarks from the Crafty Mummy

phone wallet from Crafty Little Projects

eyeglass/sunglasses case from Crazy Little Projects

fabric light switch plates from Vicki Howell

fabric banner from Sisters, What?

mini pincushions from Sew Can She

pocket hand warmers from Leaves and Stitches

fabric bins from Birch Fabrics

cloth napkins from Kirtsy

reversible coffee cozy from Love2Create

reversible hat from Martha Stewart

tissue pack cover from Better Homes and Gardens

tissue box slipcover from Go Gingham

potholders from Miss Mary Sews

toddler neckties from Vanilla Joy



Thursday, April 14, 2016

holiday ornaments for 2016 - early bird edition

Personalized Baby's First Christmas Holiday Ornament Woodland Deer design
I realize that at this point in the year we are actually closer to Christmas 2015 than we are to Christmas 2016 but you know how it is around here - it's best to get a jump on these things. Plus, I had started thinking through a re-design last Fall so I was itching to get started on these.
Personalized Baby's First Christmas Holiday Ornament Polar Bear design
I've bumped up the designs this year from 4 in 2015 to 7 in 2016. There were a few more that I wanted to include but they didn't quite make the cut. With some tweaking they might make an appearance at some point though - I hate to just let them go. 
Personalized Baby's First Christmas Holiday Ornament Penguin design
The hoops are gone this year too in favor of a new engraved wood frame that I love. I am so happy with that aspect of these - I just think it gives these such a clean and modern look. 
Personalized Baby's First Christmas Holiday Ornament Woodland Bear design
The new frames make these just a bit larger than the hooped ornaments and they measure 3.25 inches across (with the bump out for the hanger on top the top to bottom measurement is slightly more than that) 
Personalized Baby's First Christmas Holiday Ornament Pink Elephant design

Personalized Baby's First Christmas Holiday Ornament Blue Elephant design
And yes, even though I am so mad at the naughty squirrels in our backyard who refuse to share any birdseed at all with our winged friends, I still felt compelled to make this little guy. And see how he has an acorn instead of birdseed?? Other squirrels take note - an acorn is a perfectly acceptable (and encouraged) snack. 
Personalized Baby's First Christmas Holiday Ornament Squirrel design
These new ornaments can be found in the SeptemberHouse Etsy shop and the SeptemberHouse shop on Amazon. Thanks for taking an early peek at these. And now...back to Spring!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

remember when...

... I used to write posts for my blog?

I suppose I will have to blame my absence on the weather - I like to blame just about everything on the weather. After the holidays when winter really settles in I tend to shift into 'hunker down' mode. It's during this time that I attempt to squeeze in as much as I can while school is still in session and things are relatively slow in the shop.

From the dark cold months spent in my basement (I know it sounds depressing but it's not, I swear) I managed to get the bare bones of a SeptemberHouse website started, I took my first shot at a video for my Etsy shop, I completely re-designed my holiday ornaments for 2016 - stop back and see those later this week, I pulled together a new calendar panel design for 2017 - coming to the shop shelves soon, and I have nearly - but not quite - finished up a new pattern set. Every gap between those projects was quickly filled with self-schooling on all things SeptemberHouse related and experimenting with some projects that may or may not end up turning into anything at all. It may sound like I was hyper-focused but looking back, those months felt more frantic than focused.

Learning some new tricks over these past few months has been exciting and challenging. You know how it goes with things like that though, right? The momentum builds and before you know it you have taken on much more than you originally intended - and then your blog gets neglected. So maybe it's time to scale back a little and take a deep breath.

With that being said I am now going to break the golden rule of blogging - you know the one - "Thou shall not post without photos". I promise I will be back soon with photos of some recent projects and I hope you will join me then. In the meantime I would love to hear how you spent those long winter months and what lies ahead for you in the Spring.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Petite Pups Premiere

Hand Embroidery Patterns Chihuahua and Yorkshire Terrier
It's that time of year again - the time when I get to focus on pattern designs and try out some ideas that have been floating around my head for months - sometimes even years! Something new that has come of all that focusing is a hand embroidery pattern collection called "Petite Pups"!
Hand Embroidery Pattern Chihuahua
This new pattern set features some favorite little dogs  - chihuahua, yorkshire terrier, dachshund and boston terrier. And yes, it was extremely difficult to choose which breeds to include. Narrowing it down to these little guys was tricky but they fit better in a hoop than a great dane would and they are also pretty irresistible if you ask me.
Yorkshire Terrier hand embroidery pattern
I was also inspired to take on this theme by customers who have asked if I have any other patterns of dogs. While I have a couple tucked into other pattern sets here and there I did not really have anything else to offer. So that became my 'square one.' Also, because people's pets are so personal to them I knew this collection was going to need some personal touches and that became my next creative challenge.
Dogs embroidery patterns boston terrier and dachshund
So, while it's perfectly fine to stitch these up on their own, I also included some accent patterns that can be added in to create a more personalized project. Adding a name or other text is easy with the floral banner or abstract dog house frame designs. There are some other goodies in the mix as well so it's possible to stitch these up in so many different variations.
dachshund embroidery pattern for hand embroidery
I hope people will find these designs to be a fun way to celebrate their favorite little pups but I also think they could be a fantastic starting point for some DIY gifts. I know some dog lovers who might just love some hand embroidered cuteness and I'll bet you do too. 
boston terrier embroidery pattern for hand embroidery
Thanks for taking a peek at this new pattern set. To give these designs a go stop by SeptemberHouse where you can find Petite Pups and more!

Friday, January 15, 2016

confessions from a crafty year

DIY Crafts SeptemberHouse

You can read about each of these on my blog: Papercutting, Beadweaving, Stamp CarvingSewingPolymer ClayHand LetteringConcrete CastingGuerilla ArtMicro MacrameNeedlepointPhoto Editing

As I close out my year of Craft Confessions I thought I would take a moment to look back those twelve months and also let you in on some craft confession secrets.

1. Why call this series "Craft Confessions"? 
From the beginning I thought I probably needed a catchy name for this project. In order to make time for these 'extra' projects I knew I was going to have to carve out some of my SeptemberHouse time. It would mean setting embroidery aside for a few hours each month and to me it felt like I was cheating on my partner somehow. Maybe it shouldn't feel that way but it did - it was something I had not allowed myself to do for a very long time. And I am trusting you not to tell embroidery about this - got it?

2. How were projects chosen for each month?
When the idea for this series first occurred to me I actually sat down and made a schedule for what crafts I would try each month. Plus I also made a list of alternatives in case I changed my mind about one when it came time to do it. Here is the truth though - I actually only ended up following my list TWO out of the twelve months! The other months I switched things around or picked new crafts altogether.

3. Which crafts did not make it into the series?
I am not saying that I don't want to try these projects - they just didn't quite make it in 2015 even though I hoped to get to them. They are: weaving, fabric dyeing, quilling, woodworking, homemade soaps/lotion/lip balm, cake decorating. I mean, those all sound like fun don't they? You can see how it can be difficult to decide and to make time for everything you want to try.

4. Which projects were your favorite and least favorite?
This is tough. I ended up using the stamps I carved a LOT so that one wins for most useful (and it was really fun). The one that makes me the happiest was the guerrilla art project (which is actually still going on). That was the one that is probably closest to my heart. One that I plan to revisit is the concrete casting from July - I still have tons of ideas for that one!
The two that make me cringe when I see them are the beadweaving from February - even though I really think I could get that one right if I tried it again - and also the hand lettering project. The hand lettering project was one of the more time consuming projects as well so it's frustrating that it is also one that I am least happy with. It's just really hard to get it right and that's all there is to it.

The crafting confession series was a great way for me to make connections here on So September and I hope to explore some new ways to do that in the coming year and I am looking forward to that. I thank you so very much for following along in 2015 and for joining me for all that comes in 2016!

Did you take on any new crafts in 2015? Leave a comment and share your 'confession'!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

craft confession December - photo editing

I realize we are nearly to the mid-way point of January so a post about my December craft confession is indeed late (and do we need to even mention the absence of a craft confession for November?) 
before
after
November was all about the ornaments and extra crafting became one of those things (like housework) that had to be sadly abandoned for a while. Once that whirlwind passed the idea of making something with my two tired hands just did not appeal. But hopping back on the computer suddenly sounded very appealing so that's what I did.
before

after
I decided that since I had paid for Adobe Lightroom almost a year ago, I should, oh I don't know... maybe actually download it, install it and open it up? Crazy idea, isn't it? I have used Adobe Photoshop for years and am still kind of a 'surface scratcher' with it. I know it's capable of so much more if I would just take the time to figure it out. And I definitely want to do that! I at least know enough about Photoshop to feel like Lightroom might be something I could navigate my way through.
before
after
I was curious about how Lightroom was different from Photoshop. You can make some of the same changes and adjustments in both but the format felt very different to me. What I did learn I learned by pouring myself some coffee and plunking down in front of a long list of tutorials on YouTube and it really was enough to get me started down the Lightroom path. The best way to make what you see on YouTube stick is to dive in and try it for yourself so that was what I did next.

before

after
So I loaded up some photos from the last year or so and started to play around with them and see what I could do. I would like to take a moment to re-emphasize the word "play" here. These are amateur efforts intended to help me figure out where all the buttons are and how they work. And it was really fun to see the changes you can make. Adam came over and watched for a minute or two and then scurried off to get his camera. Not five minutes later he was thrusting the camera in my hands and insisting/demanding that HE be able to edit his newly-taken photos. Even he could see the potential here. 

There are lots of different software applications for editing photos obviously so if it's something that you have always wanted to try, give it a go. It's a pretty forgiving hobby (just always keep your original files of course) and there is always that handy 'undo' option that I love, so you really can't go wrong with this. (Now if only every craft had an 'undo' button!)

Missing one month of my Craft Confession series is disappointing to me but on the other hand, I wasn't sure when I started, if I would make it to month three so I am going to try to not be too hard on myself.

My plan is to post a little mini-wrap up of my craft confession series in the coming week! Thanks for following along in this creative adventure!

Friday, December 18, 2015

2015 favorites flashback


It doesn't seem possible that the time has come to look back on another full year that has passed but here we are. I wanted to take a little time to share some favorite from the past twelve months and invite you to share some of your in the comments section too. It has been fun to do this each year and I hope you will enjoy it as well!

I usually start with favorite books so that's where I will begin this year. My favorite fiction read this year was by the same author who wrote my favorite fiction read last year - Anthony Marra. His newest book, The Tsar of Love and Techno wins that top spot again because it was such an extreme pleasure to read. He has a way of creating such compelling characters - giving them heart and humor and impossible situations. There is a lot of darkness and a lot of light in his books and you can bet I will be reading anything and everything Anthony Marra writes from here on out.

Other great reads of the year were Want Not by Johnathan Miles, Redeployment by Phil Klay and the Jaguar's Children by John Vaillant. I am suddenly feeling so very lucky to have had the chance to read so many great books in the past year! You can find what I am reading and share what you are reading with me over on Goodreads (love that place!)

On the big and the little screen I am at a bit of a loss. I am trying to remember what I saw in the theaters in 2015 and all I can come up with is the Spongebob Squarepants movie. *sigh* It's been easier to wait a few months and catch movies at home so I have been luckier that way. I just sat down and watched "Amy" and really enjoyed that. I am a big Amy Winehouse fan so it was facinating to me to see some 'behind the scenes' type footage. Even people who aren't fans of her music would probably still find her story intriguing.

In tv land my husband and I finally caught up with the rest of the world and watched "Breaking Bad." this Fall. Okay guys - I see what all the hype was about - that is a fantastic series! I was so sad when we reached the end. Even though we missed all the water cooler conversation way back when this series aired, there is some advantage to being able to watch it all at once and for free (thanks St. Paul Public Library!)

My favorite new place I visited in 2015 was Fraconia Sculpture Park. We actually happened upon it by accident and decided to take a closer look. Their website the park as this:
Located in the scenic St. Croix River Valley, Franconia Sculpture Park is a nonprofit arts organization operating a 43-acre outdoor sculpture park, active artist residency, and community arts programming.
We all enjoyed our time exploring there so much and it's an ideal way to experience sculpture. If I can expose my kids to art and watch them have a blast at the same time that is a win-win in my book.

What were your favorites from the last year? And what will you be seeking out in the coming year? Leave a comment and share your 2015 discoveries!