Thursday, December 31, 2009

digging our way out of 2009

Well we are in between family whirlwinds right now so I am popping in quickly to say hello. It has been a fun and slightly crazy week. We got blasted with another foot of snow on Christmas so that made everything a little more complicated. I must admit I have been feeling a little negative about Winter lately but I am going to try to stop myself from complaining about it here. It's just that... oh never mind.
Anyway, I want to wish everyone a safe and happy new year! I'm not really one for resolutions* but I do like to dream a little on new year's day about what I hope to do and learn in the coming year. I won't laundry list all the creative projects I want to try - there are far too many for that. What ever projects I do get a chance to try though, will be shared here with all of you and I am so looking forward to following everyone else's projects as well. If I did make resolutions I think a good one for me would be to take the time to leave more comments on other people's blogs. So often I am inspired and awed by someones work but don't take the time to let them know. Perhaps I will get better about that in 2010 - but I am NOT making a resolution, really, I'm not, I swear.
* stating you are making a resolution usually sabotages any attempt you may make to actually follow through on it in my humble opinion.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

ghost of Christmas past

Just wanted to stop by and wish everyone a very Merry Christmas! Please excuse the bad scan of a scan. That's just what happens when you use a photo that is...probably 29 years old. That's me on the left in the saddle shoes with my slip showing! Those dresses my twin sister and I are wearing - handmade - don't you love 'em? I do! I don't know if we were posing for a Christmas card or on our way to midnight mass. We look too awake to be on our way to midnight mass so I have my doubts about that.

I hope everyone has a peaceful holiday filled with friends and family and good food!

Monday, December 21, 2009

okay so here's me

I dug this out of an old Holly Hobbie book I had when I was a kid. Yes, I loved Holly Hobbie. I had the metal lunchbox, the sleeping bag, various other goodies. The verse that is printed with this illustration reads:
Making a dress for your dollie
in a pattern that's bright and gay
Is a wonderful way to fill your hours
on a very bad-weather day.
I couldn't agree more and that is just what I have been doing.

I am working on a gift for my niece and am trying my hand at sewing doll clothes. I managed to get this simple dress finished but there was an unfortunate pair of doll-sized jeans that I ended up throwing in the trash - boo! My sewing machine and denim don't always get along so well. It has been fun though and I do want to try some of the other items in the pattern set. Any advice on making doll clothes is welcome too as I am still figuring all this out.

I still have some other gifts I'd like to make but we'll see how it goes. I recall staying up VERY late and sewing right before Christmas last year and this year might just be the same.

Solstice Stitching Giveaway Winner....

#57 (thanks, Caitin T. who shared:

"love, love, love this giveaway! i'd love to experiment with silver thread. one of my favorites things about winter is visiting my parents in snowy new england. thanks!"

Congratulations Caitin!

Thanks to everyone who stopped by and entered either here or through my facebook page. It was so wonderful to hear from so many enthusiastic fellow stitchers. I must say I was surprised but inspired by how positive everyone was about Winter overall. I hope the season brings lots of fun, creativity, good reading, mugs of hot tea, coffee, and cocoa to everyone! (to those in warmer climates I wish all that minus the hot drinks!).

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Solstice Stitching Giveaway!

I received a lot of sympathy and good advice when I recently posted about the trials I suffered when using the silver embroidery floss. A number of people suggested I try "Thread Heaven" so I thought I should give it whirl. And if I'm going to try it why not give some away to another reader too? And if I'm going to give that away why not include some other goodies? And if I am going to give away a number of goodies why not have a theme? Thus the "Solstice Stitching Giveaway" was born. This is a fun one - lots of lovelies for embroiderers including:

* A pair of Gingher Embroidery scissors *gasp!*
* A 5 inch embroidery hoop from a recent thrift store score (so it's the good kind with the better wood)
* Some Thread Heaven
* A skein of the infamous silver floss might as well put that Thread Heaven to the test, right?
* A skein of cool blue satin floss
* A skein of glow in the dark floss because, hey, it's DARK out there!
* A skein of icy blue and snow white variegated floss.
* Some other little surprises I cannot disclose (wink)

Just leave a comment for a chance to win. Feel free to use that opportunity to either curse or sing the praises of Winter.

I will ship anywhere - even to those lucky folks in the southern hemisphere. The winner will be chosen randomly on Monday the 21st (the Solstice of course) Good Luck!

Monday, December 14, 2009

paper is cool

I am not responsible for that profound statement I used for my title. Those words were spoken by Peter as we were cutting paper snowflakes last week and I just could not agree more. I love cutting paper snowflakes. I could probably do it all day even though it feels sort of like a childish activity so I limit myself to a degree and put down my scissors after one or two flakes. Watching Peter's eyes light up as we unfolded our creations was a little bit magical which makes this an activity I highly recommend to all parents. No, I take that back I recommend it to all people.
Anyone interested in having their minds blown by other people's creativity and skill with paper should also check out Between the Folds from PBS's Independent Lens. Several contemporary origami artists are featured in addition to some historical information about the art of origami. I didn't catch the entire show but what I saw was ... was... see, I can't even find the words. It was amazing but that just doesn't do it justice.
And finally, if I have inspired you at all to grab your scissors and craft some snowflakes but you don't want all those bits and scraps of paper all over your house, I suggest this site where you can make a snowflake online and even download it and keep it forever in pixels. FUN!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

cold snap

It happened all over Omaha this morning - snap snap snap - folks with the time, the inclination and the camera were taking gorgeous photographs. On Tuesday we got slammed by snow and the winds howled all night but then this morning the sun crept through and revealed shimmering drifts as far as the eye could see. I had about 1 minute to take advantage of the situation. I could hear Adam awake in his room but I grabbed my camera and threw on some slip-on shoes (no socks at all of course) anyway and headed out to the porch for some quick clicks. (poor Adam!) I didn't get much but that's okay. I'm sure there will be another barn-buster storm to capture in pixels this Winter.
our front steps are under there somewhere I swear
I don't know for sure how much we ended up getting. I stop keeping track after 6 inches. I mean what's the difference between 9 and 10 inches? At that point who cares?
Somehow the boys and I have made it through 2 days of being home bound without strangling each other but they did just cancel school for tomorrow. By the way - three snow days in a row? - that totally never happened when I was a kid! no fair! So... wish us luck.

Oh yes - and do stop over here for a chance to win a SeptemberHouse calendar panel :)

Monday, December 7, 2009

wishing you a 'good enough' holiday

I am thinking I might just get Christmas cards sent this year. *crossing fingers* I have missed a year or two along the way and I feel bad about that. Here is my 'good enough' photo of the boys that I will be sending out:
They aren't looking at the camera, Peter has his hood up, they aren't wearing matching clothes or even have their hair combed and there is no sparkling tree in the background. I took this in the Fall during a trip to a local park. I like it and I'm just going to go with it. The thing is, that's pretty weird for me. I held onto this ideal in my head of a perfect Christmas card photo of my children for a long time. Sadly, the years I skipped cards were most likely due to the fact that I could not get that great shot. I usually ended up with something like this gem from 2007:
Yep, that's what primping and posing will getcha. Well, that's what it got me at least. So, I'm learning to let go of some of those sometimes unrealistic holiday expectations and it's actually quite a relief. I am still extremely jealous when I get a card from a friend or family member that contains a "perfect" holiday photo (how do they do it?). But I'm learning to let go of that as well.
What are you letting go of this holiday season?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

beware the siren song

Oh silver floss you look so tempting and enticing sitting there on the fabric store shelf. Your sparkle calls "stitch me, stitch me". Who can resist? But then...
You shred when threaded in my needle, you snarl up and crumple in impossible knots mid-stitch. You evoke a string of vile words from the mouths of otherwise docile embroiderers. You are kind of evil you are.
I did tame this beast eventually but it was not easy. It turned out very pretty but I had to take it at a snail's pace to get it to cooperate. Has anyone had any luck with this stuff? Anyone??

Enough complaining from me. I also wanted to share a photo of the back of one of my ornaments to show how I finish them off. Emily had asked about it in my last post so I thought I would go ahead and share a bit more about that.

I use an acid free glue and brush it along the inside rim of the hoop then just wrap the fabric around the back. It's pretty easy and really holds so I am pretty happy with that method.
On the holiday front I...
1. am excited about Christmas
2. need to start shopping/making
3. am feeling a crazy powerful urge to ORGANIZE even though I think January is the time to do that - anyone else feeling that too?
4. wish I had been on the ball enough to participate in the Sew Mama Sew Giveaway day tomorrow. Don't forget to check it out though, I know I'm going to. Good luck!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Argyle Applique Ornament Tutorial

I think I have already expressed my love for plaid but I'm also quite fond of the equally classic argyle. These were so much fun to make and it would be a perfect first project for someone who wanted to try applique. The stitching is so basic that embroiderers of all skill levels could take this on. Plus, it is simple enough that you could stitch it up while watching "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’ some evening this holiday season. So, without any further delay here’s how it’s done:

You will need:
A pattern printout (available here)
Three different cotton fabrics (I used red and aqua kona cotton and brown corduroy)
Fusible web (I use Wonder Under but heat n’ bond works well too)
Stabilizer (optional)
A three-inch wooden embroidery hoop (I can usually find these at my local Hancock Fabric store but they are also available on-line)
Embroidery floss in two colors of your choice
An iron, scissors, and pencil

On the printout you will find a pattern for the appliques, a number list for organizing your pattern pieces, and a stitch guide template. You can configure your colors any number of ways. When I made mine I searched around online quite a bit for an argyle "rule" about how the colors should be arranged and found that there was a lot of variety out there. So I just picked a configuration that I liked and went with it. You can use the same or come up with your own.
You will need to decide which fabric will be the base fabric (I chose the aqua for mine) upon which you will iron your appliques and which two fabrics will be the appliques. For the base fabric I use a square that is about 7 x 7 inches. For the other two fabrics you will really only need about a 4 x 4-inch piece.
Once you decide which fabrics you want to go where you can use the number list to help keep track of your pieces. Next, you will be tracing the applique pieces onto the fusible web. If it’s easier for you to cut out your pattern pieces and then trace them, do that. If you prefer to just trace them directly from the pattern that works as well.
(normally you would reverse your pattern before tracing but for this design it doesn’t matter)

So, now you have a piece of fusible web for each of your two applique fabrics. Follow the directions that come with the fusible web and iron the two pieces onto the backside of your two different fabrics.

Once the fabric has cooled carefully cut out your pieces.

Now this part is fun. Peel off the paper backing and arrange your pieces in their correct configuration. Of course you don’t have to peel off the paper backing first but I always hate to get things positioned correctly only to have to pick them back up again to peel off the paper on the back.
Carefully iron your appliques pieces. This activates the adhesive and bonds them to your base fabric.

Next use a lightweight stabilizer and trace the stitch guide onto it. Position it onto your fabric and pin (or iron, depending on the stabilizer) it into place. Then you are ready to stitch your lines.
* You can also use an air erase fabric marker to draw you lines on too – whatever method you prefer will be fine)* blogger insists that this photo be inserted sideways and no amount of futzing on my part could fix it - I apologize for that!
I used three strands of floss in two colors. I used one color for the lines going in one direction and the other color for the lines going in the other direction but again, you can decide how you want to do that part.
After you stitch your lines carefully remove the stabilizer.

You can be done at this point but I like to add some backstitching along the edges as well.

Finally, you can place your embroidery in the 3-inch hoop and trim the excess fabric.
I usually tuck the edges under and adhere them to the hoop with some adhesive.

Add a ribbon and you are done! You did it!
I hope you will enjoy this project, I sure did. Let me know if you have any questions or problems with these instructions. I’m still learning how to put tutorials together so if there is anything that is not clear just let me know and I will do my best to correct it. Thanks!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

so much to be thankful for

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Thanksgiving is one of my very favorite holidays. It's not the food that makes me say that (although my sister is bringing a marble cheesecake - yum!). I have always liked the fact that Thanksgiving is all about family but isn't complicated by gift-giving like Christmas can sometimes be.
I also love that people might take a moment on this day to reflect on the things they are thankful for. I know I should do that everyday but I don't. A healthy, happy family, an awesome husband, a chance to stay home with my boys, a little creative space squeezed into all of that - what more could I ask for? I mean, 'for what more could I ask?' Yep, it's going to be a great day.
I will be back tomorrow with a tutorial - yea!
And stop over at my friend Amy's blog then too for a SeptemberHouse giveaway!

Friday, November 20, 2009

tips for teeny tiny text

I promised a post about stitching text based on a questions posed in my comments section by ‘JennyCNo3’. I thought it would make a good topic because I stitch a LOT of tiny letters on my Christmas ornaments and figured it might be helpful to share some of my trial and error experiences and results. Another friend, Glenda also referred me to a wonderful series over on all about stitching text. Check it out – it is so helpful and the stitching will amaze you.
As the title implies this is focused on small text (like less that a half inch tall - whoa!) Stitching small text has it’s own unique challenges and it can be enough to make you want to skip it all together. But since so many embroidery projects are small and so many patterns lend themselves to the addition of a verse, quotation or name, it's worth it to at least give it a try.

1. Choose the right font
For text that is large (1.5 inches and up), I think just about any font will work fine.
For smaller text, consider how complicated the letters are before choosing. A sans serif font is going to be easier but a serif font is not out of the question either. (serifs are just those little extra bits on the letter ends - I circled one in my image below) It’s not a bad idea to try stitching a few letters on a piece of scrap fabric before you decide on a type style. Good sources for free fonts online are fontgarden and dafont. Do you have a favorite source for fonts? Share in the comments section, won't you? I also recommend keeping notes on fonts you have used and liked. It can be hard to remember months later what exact font it was you used on a project.

2. Layout your text in a favorite software program.
I use Adobe Illustrator.
Font size: If you can stay above 20 point that is ideal. Anything lower than that can be too small (depending on the font) to be readable when you stitch it. But if you aren’t sure print it out and take a look.

Be bold: When you embroider your letters the width of the floss is going to be thicker than the line width you see on your screen. I recommend changing your type to bold to get a better sense of the line thickness.

Track and Kern: Now is when you are going to start to see letters that might look too close together or some that might look too far apart – especially if your text is not laid out in a straight line. If your software program allows it, you can adjust this right on screen making the spaces between letters larger or smaller based on you needs. In the screenshot above you can see where this function is available in Adobe Illustrator. (click to enlarge)

3. Print and transfer your text to your fabric
I am pretty religious about using solvy stabilizer when I stitch letters. I can trace my letters right on to the stabilizer, iron it on (depending on the type of stabilizer), and stitch. I have tried a lot of methods and I honestly feel like I get the best results this way. If you are going to do this here is what I recommend: Use a very sharp pencil with a thin line and take your time and trace slowly and carefully – you will be glad you did.

4. Choosing your stitches
For text this small I almost always use a backstitch. With larger letters a stem stitch looks beautiful but for letters this small a stem stitch can look a little awkward.
Also, I never use more than 2 strands of floss.

Now after you have stitched your letters you have to carefully and slowly remove the stabilizer. If you use the tear away kind then you will have to carefully pull away the stabilizer from your stitches. This can be tedious but it's important to take it slowly. Try to go too fast and you can end up really yanking at your stitches. It is time consuming but worth it, in my opinion. There are also water soluble and heat soluble varieties of stabilizer available.

So there you have it – my tips for itty bitty stitched letters. I hope this is helpful for anyone stitching up little tiny letters!
If you have any tips to add to this please feel free to contribute in the comments section. I would love to hear what has worked for you!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

my favorite gift so far...

I am so excited about giving this gift this Christmas! I am going to just take a leap of faith and assume my two and six year old boys do not read my blog so I won't be spoiling the surprise but I have to trust you all not to tell them, okay?Vince said this gift is "nerdy" but I think what he really meant was "brilliant". Back in October I gushed a little here about the Ken Burns series, The National Parks: America's Best Idea. Peter and I watched the whole series and fell in love. I don't think you could watch it and not feel a sense of urgency about seeing the parks and more importantly, taking your children to see them.
In one of the episodes they spoke about the stamp/seal program. You see, you just get yourself one of these handy dandy guides and inside there is space to collect stamps from each park you visit. I knew right then as I watched that episode that my boys would each have one of those books.
So, am I just asking to be pestered about visiting these destinations? Probably, and to that I say, "bring it on". Sometimes I need to be prodded a little in these matters. I need to be pushed outside of the day to day once in while in order to do some of the 'big picture' things that I know need to be done; things that I will regret if I don't do them.
Is this the gift that will send them jumping and hooting for joy in their jammies on Christmas morning? um, big fat 'no'. Is it one that they will still treasure decades from now? I hope so!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

snow dinos and sore fingers

What does a little boy who loves dinosaurs do on cold snowy days?
Build snow dinosaurs of course. This little guy was part of a custom ornament I made recently. I am especially in love with the scarf. I have wanted to make something that had chain stitch "knitting" ever since I saw it in a children's book illustration and I finally got my chance.

I just finished a whole batch of ornaments and am working on another group. My fingers are a little sore and my eyes a little tired but I am still loving it. What keeps me stitching at all hours these days? I think it's a combination of love for embroidery, my kids' Halloween candy (don't tell), Pandora, and a LOT of coffee. My 5 month old coffee maker even bit the dust this week (over-use perhaps?) So if anyone can tell me exactly how much money I need to spend to get a dependable and durable coffee maker I would appreciate it!

Even though the ornaments are keeping me busy I still want to make sure I pop in here once in awhile. I am working on a post about stitching text so look for that soon.

Friday, November 6, 2009

sweet little dress for a sweet little girl

This was just too much fun. I definitely see more teeny tiny embroidered dresses in my future. This one is just about two inches tall so those were some itty bitty stitches. This is one of the custom ornaments I have been working on this week and what fun it has been. I just love having a chance to make girly things like this once in awhile - probably because I live in a house full of boys.
And umm... tiny dress embroidery pattern anyone? Oh I would love to do that!!

I also wanted to share some ideas I posted over on the HEN (Hand Embroidery Network) blog recently. I was thrilled to be invited to post there as a guest blogger last week. It's a list of ideas for handmade holiday gifts. There are lots of tutorial links for fun things to make and embroider. Now if only I could find the time to actually do some of them myself!

While you are there look around at some of the other great information. You can also learn tons of new embroidery stitches. It's a wonderful resource.

(Speaking of sweet little things check out this giveaway over at my friend, Ellene's blog!) Who's feeling lucky??

Sunday, November 1, 2009

and so the torch passes

I don't remember every Christmas morning we celebrated when I was growing up, or every first day of school or even every family vacation. But I do remember every Halloween costume my mom sewed up for me. Every October (and then again at Easter) my mom turned into a sewing superhero - staying up until who-knows-when stitching up costumes for her four girls. Admittedly I grew up dreaming of sewing costumes for my own children. I would have to say that it became part of my very definition of motherhood. As my sewing skills grow a little each year the costuming has become more fun and more laborious.
here are this year's efforts.
Aang, from the show, Avatar. That's the answer to the question you are all asking right now. And to answer your other question, yes, we did shave his head just for Halloween. For some reason that seemed to shock a lot of people. We didn't even give it a second thought, I mean it grows back, right? In a previous post I referred to this project as a fiasco and here's why. I had such a confidence crisis in my own clothes-sewing skills and I tried so hard to make this in the easiest possible way. I had it in my head that all I needed to do was alter some sweatpants, a sweatshirt and a turtleneck shirt. As I scoured (and scoured and scoured - ugh!) the city for those things in the right colors and sizes and came up empty handed I knew what I needed to do - start from scratch and without even a pattern to guide me.
I was terrified.
But for some reason, it all worked out. Call it crafting karma, call it the power of love, call it the Halloween spirit. Whatever it was, it was guiding my sewing machine as it probably guided my mother's all those late October nights.
Don't worry everyone, Adam's turn is coming soon too. One day I'll be fretting and sewing and fretting and sewing for TWO little trick or treaters. But this year he got a costume from the Goodwill. And boy was he cute!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

as if I don't have anything else to do...

but I just couldn't help myself. Found this via How About Orange (there's always something good there, I swear!) Go ahead, try to resist, I dare you.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

in praise of the day-date

I'm happy to report that I did in fact get to spend a little time with my husband this past weekend without two little ones in tow. We decided to get a babysitter and leave for our adventure during the day instead of at night. I have to say, that just might be the way to go, folks. We went hiking, out for lunch, did a little snooping in some favorite antique shops. It was wonderful! By the time we got back it was time to make dinner and put the boys to bed. Thinking about it, I really can't believe we have never done that. I give that idea five stars.

In crafting news I am stitching ornaments like mad. It really feels like the holiday season is here and right now that is okay with me. Ask me again at Thanksgiving and I might feel differently. Here is my latest bit of sweetness:

I love that little rabbit and I love those colors. I do think it has a little bit more of a country western feel than I anticipated or planned but I guess that's okay. Vince's response to that was, "hey, even little cowpokes need Christmas ornaments". I guess so.

Oh, and I have completed the first of what I hope will be many handmade holiday gifts but guess what?! I can't share it because I believe the recipient stops by here every once in awhile and I don't want to spoil the surprise. That's no fun at all, I know. Oh well, what I will be revealing soon is my halloween costume endeavour!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

the big 1-0

My my my what an awful scan of one of my very favorite photos!
What can I say, I have been married so long that my wedding photos were taken on film! No really, I love that I have been married this long, especially since I picked such an excellent partner for this adventure. Vince says it was his plan all along to marry me but honestly I think we both would have been pretty shocked if we had been told back in high school that one day we would be celebrating our ten year anniversary. It's true that we are, as a lot of our friends and family tell us, very opposite people. The good girl and the bad boy, the introvert and the extrovert, I could go on and on, seriously. But we are also great compliments to one another and somehow it just works - much to our surprise and delight.
Oh, and how exactly will we be celebrating this event? Ummm...I'm not sure. Terrible, isn't it? When it became clear that we wouldn't be able to fly off to India, or Scotland, or even Minnesota for that matter, we failed to come up with a plan B. I can hear all the romantics out there gasping in horror right now. Don't worry, we'll come up with something! In the name of love and romance I swear we will come up with something!
But right now, I really need to put in another load of laundry.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

This might have been the most creative fun I had all week. We had a birthday celebration for my sister last night and I was in charge of dessert. (yea!) So I dug out my good 'ol 'Hello Cupcake' for some decorating ideas and decided on this. love that book!
Peter was able to help out with the leaves so that made it even more fun. We made them by using real leaves that we had collected, washed, and dried. Then we melted some colored candy melts and sort of 'painted' the backs of the leaves with it. Some were just solid colors but on others we swirled the colors together. They cooled in the fridge for a day or so then I peeled the candy off the leaves and that's it. I did lose quite a few leaves in the peeling process though so I am glad we made a LOT. The acorns are just carmels that have been rolled into an egg shape then dipped in chocolate and chocolate sprinkles. Really easy, really fun.
In other creative news Peter's Halloween costume is going surprisingly well I'm happy to report. Oh I hope I didn't just jinx myself. I don't have any photos to post yet so I'll try to take some this weekend. Plus, the forecast is calling for sunshine - hooray! I think it's been over a week since we have seen the sun and it's making everyone grouchy!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

the first flakes have officially flown

I truly love snowflakes (they are right up there with trees in my book). I can, however, wait until oh, I don't know, December perhaps, to see them in my yard. Yes, it's true, it did actually snow here this past weekend if you can believe that. I should have taken a photo as proof but I was too busy pouting about it and keeping an eye on Peter who was, get this, sledding. sigh.
I just prefer to have fall before Winter is all, that's not too much to ask is it? I was sport enough to dig out "Wonderful White World of Winter" by Bing Crosby and play it loudly as is the tradition in our home whenever the first snow of the season falls. See, I can be a big girl when I need to be.
In the end, the day turned out quite well and I was able to attend Craft Night with some other Omaha Etsy Street Team members. I got some stitching done AND met some wonderful women as well (like this one and this one and this one) - yea! Go ahead, click the links and see just a small sample of the amazing talent right here in Omaha, I promise you will be impressed.
I also just finished up a little pattern set (pictured above). I have another one I was hoping to have complete by now too. This pattern contains some text and I realized as I was almost done stitching my sample that there is a spelling error in it!!! ACK! I cannot believe I did that (wait, yes I can) but luckily it will be an easy correction. I sort of feel like I need some space from that project for a few days though, do you ever feel that way? Besides, I have plenty of other things to keep me busy like the Halloween costume fiasco I'm right in the middle of right now. I'll save that for another post :)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

i'm not the only one around here with WIPs

Oh yeah, um, have I mentioned this?
It doesn't look like much now but we are all hoping this room will save all of our sanity - crossing fingers folks! It was never really finished and always seemed like the previous owner threw paneling up in some attic space and called it a bedroom right before he put it on the market. For a while it was my studio but that didn't last long. Two kids later we decided to tear into it and make it a real room for the boys. Once that is done we will have a nice room for the little ones and their current rooms can be converted into an office-y guest room-y type place and... a studio for me. I cannot express in words how happy that would make me. Everyone is so tired of my stuff taking over the rest of the house anyway so we will all be thrilled to see it find a home. As you can tell we (and by 'we' I really mean Vince) have a LONG way to go.

Besides sharing that little project I'm also sharing some recent loves today. 1) these fantastic stamps commemorating the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade:
I love the illustration, the colors, and the parade itself as a matter of fact. They look gorgeous on colored envelopes too - like, ANY color, it's amazing, they have this bizarre super matching power.
and 2) This book:

Printing By Hand by Lena Corwin. Oh my how I would love to try every project in this book. The only thing that intimidates me a little about printing on fabric is the cruel unforgiving nature of it. I can always tear out stitches when I sew or embroider, or erase pencil lines when I draw. But if you screw up your print on fabric - it's back to square one. If I can get over that I think I can have some real fun.
What scary projects are you taking on these days?

Friday, October 2, 2009

Off they go

Eventually I did finish these Zinnias for my friend's birthday. I am pretty happy with how they turned out but I am a little unsure about that blanket stitch around the leaves.
I do really love a nice blanket stitch but I'm not 100% sure it really works here. These will most likely be my last blossoms for the year as it seems more appropriate to stitch leaves and snowflakes right now. I am working on some patterns right now which is always an extremely long but oh so enjoyable process for me. One of them will be the free pattern I promised in September (oops).
Oh, and who is sewing up a costume (or costumes) for wee trick or treaters this month?? I'm still debating on that one but my guess is that costume making will be penciled in on the "to-make" list very soon.
Hoping to be back later today for the last instalment of the Autumn Colors photo week!