Sunday, February 25

Another peaceful Sunday

I love a rainy Sunday. So relaxing. My husband was working today so today was a girl day. Which means I sat on my bed watching movies that made me cry while working on these dolls.

I watched Cora Unashamed which made me cry four times. A wonderful, touching movie. And I watched Door to Door which was pretty good. Only one small cry though.

I think the smaller doll will have black hair. And I have big plans for both their clothing. The little doll was made using the large doll pattern from Edith Flack Ackley's Dolls to Make for Fun and Profit. I borrowed her face and hair techniques for the larger doll.

Edited to add this link to some of Bettsi's (TenderArts) EFA dolls. They're precious! And they were my introduction to, and what made me fall in love with, this style of doll.

This site is also fun.

There's a bit of crochet going on here too. I started work on what will eventually be a blanket of granny squares. I was going to mix up the colors in each square, but then I got lazy smart and decided to make each square just one color. All pastels.

I'm also working away on my end of the Redwork Swap as well as a birthday present for a cute little boy who is turning, I think, four. You'll have to just wait for pictures of these since they're surprises. :-)

Tuesday, February 20

Oh! I almost forgot! You know how I've been whining about how I am rarely able to reply to the comments you have left through email? It seems I used to be able to with most every comment left. Now it's rare that I can.

Well, I was reading Sarah's blog and it appears that the mystery has been solved. Click here for a full explanation. The short version is this: Edit your blogger profile and click to select "Show my email" if you would like people to have the opportunity to respond to your comments via email.

Thanks, all!

Yet another finished cross stitch project. I hung all the stitcheries I've made in the hallway today. I'm not quite sure how I feel about it yet. I'm so used to the wall being blank, I guess. I'll live with it a bit before deciding if I love it or if I need to tweak it.

I used these cool velcro picture hanging strips to hang everything so when if I change my mind, it can all be rearranged easily.

Here's a little peek at how it turned out. I apologize for the weird angle but it is a hallway after all.

In addition to playing with my new free motion quilting foot for my sewing machine, I'll be working on making a lil' something for the redwork swap I'm participating in. The deadline is fast approaching. But that's ok. I've pretty much settled on what I'll be making.

And before long I'd better get back to my business. I'm sure everyone must be thinking I've quit or died or something. Things do tend to slow down after Christmas but I think I've gone a bit overboard in taking advantage of the lull. Perhaps March will be a month of business productivity. It could happen...

Monday, February 19

Things I love...

(Lots of pictures today so I uploaded them all small. Just click on them if you'd like a larger version.)

I am head-over-heels for these Yazzii bags! I am always on the lookout for ways to bring organization to my craft supplies. I am really picky though. I have no interest in organization that looks nice but is actually more work than being a slob.

My former method of organizing my embroidery and hand-sewing supplies worked well for me in some ways. I kept my embroidery floss seperated into baggies and the baggies lined up in a basket. And I have a tray basket that held my other supplies (scissors, thimbles, marking pens, needles, etc). This system worked pretty well but it was definitely not all that portable. And my stash of needles had grown far beyond my needlebook. My needlebook works well for my loose needles, but I really needed something to hold packages of needles.

Let me tell ya, these bags are dreamy! And I was able to use 40-50% off coupons for each of them at! The small bag has four "pages" of zipper pouches. Each one holds a particular variety of needles (embroidery, tapestry, quilting, and a misc category for yarn/doll/bead/chenille needles). And there are pockets on the front and back "covers" that hold my often used supplies (scissors and such) and seldom used supplies (tape measure, marking pens).

And then there's the big bag. There are 2 main compartments. One has pockets and space for holding the current project and it's supplies (how amazingly handy-dandy and portable is that!). The other big compartments has pages of pouches that have been filled with all my embroidery floss. And I have quite a bit so that is truly impressive!

I am also still loving cross-stitch, though I'm not so sure I love working with linen. I'm trying, though. My new glasses certainly help. (Which, by the way, arrived in a different color than I ordered. But they go surprisingly well with with my new darker and grayless hair.) Here's my current work-in-progress, nearly finished.

And here are my future projects. I purchased these patterns from Handcrafts Online. When I'm finished with them they will live in my new sewing/crafty room. My husband is in the process of finishing the basement and it's really starting to come together.

We just tiled the part of the basement that leads to the walk-out. There's a hallway there that has the washer/dryer closet on one side. Since it's a small area we went with what we loved rather than what was most practical. We both instantly fell in love with this travertine. It took us about an hour of discussion, in the store, before we decided that we did, indeed, need to have it.

Please overlook the stray bits of construction debris. This is the only bit of the floor that isn't hiding beneath a piece of plywood at the moment.

Oh yay!! UPS just arrived with my new free motion embroidery foot for my sewing machine!! I was all pouty that there isn't any mail service today. I had forgotten all about UPS.

I can't wait to use it on the winter quilt. But first I plan to practice using it a bit. I plan to use this Martha Stewart slipper pattern as practice. I intend to use denim for the soles and quilt the pieces before stitching them together. I think the seams will have that cool raggy look. I wonder how many pairs of slippers I'll make before feeling brave enough to tackle the quilt!

And how can ya help but love a cutie boy at the sewing machine! He hasn't sewn anything of consequence yet, but he loves sewing little scraps together!

Wednesday, February 14

It seems I might actually finish this winter quilt while it is still winter. As much as I love the look of hand quilting (even my bigger than ideal stitches), I am beginning to appreciate the efficiency of machine quilting.

I thought it would be fun to piece the back of the quilt. Why didn't anyone tell me that it is almost as much work as piecing the front?! My reason for wanting to piece the back was that I could fold the quilt with the back side out during non-winter months and it look ok. We don't have a lot of storage space around here and I love a stack of quilts as a decorative element.

I'm in the process of pinning the layers together. I thought I was just about done until I flipped the quilt-sandwich over to take a picture of the back. I seems I have some smoothing and re-pinning to do.

I won't actually get to the quilting part for a few days. I ordered some quilt clips last night and I won't be tackling the quilting until they arrive.

What color do you think the binding should be? I've had a plan from the very beginning. I've bought that color for this quilt too. But when I showed it to my husband he said it doesn't go. I think he's mistaken. ;-) So, how does a thin 1/2" red binding sound to you? (You can click on the picture for a larger version...there are red houses and some people dressed in red)

Hope everyone is having a love-filled Valentine's Day!! I've declared it "self love day" (since romantic things just aren't my husband's nature) and am celebrating by waxing legs and eyebrows with yummy lavender wax, doing my hair all pretty with hot rollers, and going in for a manicure/pedicure this evening. My first pedicure EVER! I'm excited :-D

Sunday, February 11

A tea party for Valentine's day

I can post this now since I'm pretty sure it's been received. I took part in a Valentine's day tea basket swap at Amitymama. This is the basket I sent off. Hidden in the back are a couple Mary Englebreit craft books (the recipient likes Mary Englebreit).

I sewed the basket's liner-my very first attempt at such a thing. It looks like something is missing to me. More gathers maybe. I never could quite figure out what looks off to me. But not too bad for a first attempt, I thought.

I should have taken a picture of the swap package I received yesterday. But the box's contents all went their separate ways pretty quickly. It was full of things I've never tried...always fun! Chocolate covered blueberries, a big raspberry-chocolate bar, some vanilla-macadamia Luna tea cakes (very yummy!), tea, of course, (rooibos and chai), a bit of heart covered fabric, and some marvelous magazines (dollmaking and some on Early American living/decorating!).

Speaking of magazines... In the past week I have received three magazines (with my name and a year long subscription on the label) that I did not order. One is for Better Homes and Gardens. I had subscribed to it but I didn't love it so I didn't renew my subscription. Another is for Family Fun. I had once signed up for a free subscription online. It ran out long ago. At least I know where those two magazines got my name and address. The third is for a magazine called Wonder Time. I had never even heard of this one. It's a parenting magazine that seems geared toward parents of babies and toddlers. It's a neat magazine but I don't appear to be part of their target audience since my youngest is six. It just seems weird that I keep getting all the magazines in the mail that I didn't pay for. And it's difficult to get my husband to believe as I do get quite a few magazines that I have paid for. I can't blame him. It does sound like a big lie when I say, "oh no, I didn't buy all those magazines. Those three just showed up at the house. I didn't ask for them. I didn't pay for them. Heck, I never even heard of that one."

I have some more swaps coming up soon. One is a redwork swap. I was at the store today and stocked up on red floss. The other is a space-theme quilt square swap. I have my fabrics already. I just need to wash them and cut them into squares. I already have the other fabrics that will be used with the squares I receive to make a quilt. Mason and I have big plans for those squares!

Also, I have a little question that you might know the answer to. Should I prewash linen that I'll be using for cross-stitch? I've always been an aida girl but want to try moving into linen. But it seems so stiff. And it's much harder to know where to stitch (could have something to do with my need for new glasses though...going to the eye Dr on Tuesday).

Saturday, February 10

Cheater, cheater, pumpkin eater!

Yes, it's a cheater quilt (I got this fabric in a trade so I have no idea where it can be purchased. The selvage says "Faye Burgos for Marcus Brothers") The "patchwork" part is printed, not pieced. Since I'm trying to teach myself how to quilt from books I'm taking baby steps. Machine quilting that is. Hand quilting I grasp. It moves slowly enough for my lil' brain.

I stitched in the ditch (or rather, where ditches would have been had the top of the quilt actually been pieced together) to make it look more "real". And it does look more real.

The big, scary part was the binding. I totally failed at my last attempt at mitered corners. Not only did I want to succeed at that, but I also wanted to do the continuous strip of binding so the beginning and end of the binding are stitched together before attaching them to the quilt. My goal was to learn to manage the binding so I went easy on the quilt part.

It's not big. Just 30.5" square. But it's a nice size to use as a table topper. It's going to live on top of my nightstand since I'm going for the shabby-chic look in there.

I bought a new sewing machine a couple weeks ago and I've been having a lot of fun playing with it's assortment of stitches. I love blanket stitching and had to fit it in somewhere so I used it to finish the binding.

In all, I'm pleased. Most especially with the perfectly mitered corners! YAY!

Friday, February 9

Even more wee...

I had to go smaller. I just couldn't help myself. I had this little rectangular scrap of aida cloth and it spoke to me. It said, "I, too. I, too. I, too, could be a biscornu!". Weird how that aida cloth speaks in rhyme, huh?

Of course, the teensiest biscornu had to be a fob for my teensiest scissors. And for those not in the know (*ahem*Becka*ahem*) ;-)

fob 1 (fŏb) Pronunciation Key

1. A small pocket at the front waistline of a man's trousers or in the front of a vest, used especially to hold a watch.
1. A short chain or ribbon attached to a pocket watch and worn hanging in front of the vest or waist.
2. An ornament or seal attached to such a chain or ribbon.

I also couldn't help but notice that at this size a biscornu would make a really neat pendant for a necklace. It's also on 14ct aida. The backstitched square around the design is 15 stitches on each side.

I found that it helped to paint some white glue on all the raw edges. When I made my first one, the raw edges were awfully ravelly. This might not be a problem with linen though. It did make a huge difference when stitching this one together.

Thursday, February 8

A wee biscornu

It's called a biscornu.

And here's a wonderful tutorial for them. I get the impression that they're just a fancy pincushion.

But I do have a *thing* for tiny things so I had to make an itty-bitty biscornu which became a fob for my scissors. This one was made using size 14 aida cloth. The backstitching is 23 stitches on each side.

I think I could get addicted to making these. It was really fun and much easier than you'd think.

Monday, February 5

I still have cross stitch on the brain. This little mini-sampler is 4" x 6". It won't be long before I have enough framed stitcheries to arrange them on the wall.

I've got quilting on the brain too but it's having a hard time making the trip from my brain to my hands.

We're having friends over Tuesday and Thursday this week so I don't expect I'll get a whole lot of crafting accomplished. As much as I enjoy my crafty time (and you KNOW I do!), visiting with friends is always better!

Sunday, February 4

And the winner is...

Kimberly AKA APKimbermama. Your name has been drawn as the winner of the sachet heart.

Woo-hoo! Throw confetti! Do a Snoopy dance!

Thursday, February 1

I've finished all the sachet hearts. They smell so nice. I can't wait until they're done being holiday decorations and can go to my closet and drawers.

The heart with the cherub is my favorite, I think. The small heart with the bird is a close second.

And, of course, I had to pull out the walnut ink and give them that old, distressed look.

For now they're in the top bowl of the iron stand thingie that holds my potpourri. And I'm so glad my friend, Melissa, suggested I back my winter table runner with red checked fabric because the red side makes the perfect Valentine's Day table runner. All together I think it makes a nice centerpiece.

Oh, isn't this the cutest? Mason really likes the way they are scented. But he knows that they're pretty girlie. So he asked me if I could make him some lavender sachets for his clothes. But in robot shapes instead of hearts. That kid just cracks me up!

Be my Valentine?

It's giveaway time!! You know the drill: reply to this post and I'll do a drawing Sunday night.

Blogger is often troublesome when it comes to giving me access to the email addresses people leave when responding. I used to be able to click reply when reading responses in my email. I can hardly ever do that anymore. Such a pain.

Anyway, be sure to check back Sunday night or Monday morning just in case I wasn't able to email you that you've won.

I've been making scads of these heart sachets the past few days. I'll post a picture when I've finished them all. I've been embroidering some of them using the free Valentine's Day patterns Vicki has over at Pattern Bee. I've been filling them with lavender buds and crushed corn cob scented with my favorite "Green Tea" fragrance oil, as well as a bit of fluff.

Good luck! I hope you win!