I’m working on the Gingerbread Lane counted cross stitch sampler from Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery – a small company that sells super adorable counted cross stitch patterns. Week #2 came out last Friday, and it’s super cute! Another gingerbread house with adorable little residents.
So technically I haven’t started on the Week #2 pattern yet… but I’m updating my progress pics below. I wish I had more time to stitch… my day job is getting in the way of my cross stitching progress! But I’m still hopeful that I’ll finish by Christmas if I keep plugging away.
Stay tuned… I’ll keep you updated with my progress!
Somehow (through social media, I’m sure) I stumbled upon Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery – a small company that sells super adorable counted cross stitch patterns. Seriously, they are so cute… lots of tiny creatures, kawaii characters, fun borders, and modern motifs.
They also have “mystery” samplers, where they send you a part of the pattern over a period of time. I love the idea of getting a small, manageable piece at a time, and finding out the whole picture as you go. I missed the woodland creature sampler which is all the rage on Instagram and spans the entire year of 2013, but I jumped on the chance to tackle one of their new holiday samplers.
I haven’t cross stitched in a while… in fact, you may remember my last feeble attempt at starting a huge project two nights before leaving on a trip… yep, that project was obviously doomed to failure due to poor timing.
But this time I’m ready to go! I’ve got my floss, my cloth, and my brand new needle minder ready to go. Last Friday I received the first installment of Gingerbread Lane. I’m so excited!
I’m trying to work a bit every day so that I can keep up with the timeline… but if I don’t, no big deal. I’ll keep you updated with my progress… hopefully I’ll have it completed by Christmas!
My sewing machine has been packed up again to make room for guests. Our little one bedroom apartment is pretty crowded, but I love having family to visit! I only wish we had more trips planned for fun instead of emergency medical events (that’s an understatement)… but I’ll take what I can get. A couple weekends ago I made a new mini quilt for the nautical wall, and finally had time to get some pics and words together into a post.
This is my second mini quilt inspired by the Ticker Tape quilt from Sunday Morning Quilts and the Crazy Mom Quilts blog. There’s something so satisfying about using up tiny scraps from other projects, and this method of fitting them together like a puzzle is especially fun!
I went for a bit of an abstract ocean scene, with darker blues at the bottom shifting into lighter blues that meet the sun. I even put a little red boat on the water.
In the water, I fussy cut a few ocean inhabitants.
My obsession with all things nautical continues… of course this made it to the wall!
And just because one of my favorite things ever is watching the progression of a collage wall, here are the many rearrangements of the nautical wall so far:
First, I found a bunch of awesome prints on Etsy.
Then, I won a free print from Kate Thomas’s Little Things Studio.
Next, I made a nautical mini quilt.
Then I made two more!
But I still had two empty spaces.
I filled one space quite unexpectedly, when my parents gave us this gorgeous glass seascape hanging.
I found two trinkets that I love too – a seahorse hook and an anchor medallion. I found a quick DIY method for making braided rope (blog post here) and hung them up to complete the picture.
Then I decided to take down the Sail On mini quilt and do some rearranging. I made a string art anchor to fill some of the space.
Then I pulled my two DIY canvases from the living room onto the wall. And now my newest Ticker Tape Seascape has a little spot of its own, with some more rearranging. First I tried it one way, but decided to switch these two items…
And now I’m happy!
I have a feeling this isn’t the end of the shifting around… there are still a couple blank spots, but I’m not sure if I want to bring back the seahorse and anchor medallion. We shall see!
This project felt like playing the whole time, and took me about an hour to complete… win-win! I’m linking up to Finish Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts, the blog that inspired me!
A couple weekends ago I felt the urge to play with my scraps and make something quick and fun. So a little mini quilt emerged, inspired by Sunday Morning Quilts. The Ticker Tape quilt from the book is one of my favorites, and it’s super easy – no piecing required, just attaching the scraps directly on top of the quilt sandwich.
When you wash the quilt, the edges will curl up and fray… but this mini quilt is so mini that I probably won’t ever need to wash it. I used all scraps – the grey background came from the border of the Modern Wedding quilt, there are bits from Road to Tennessee, and even a few remnants from my Thanksgiving bunting. Scraps always bring back memories of past projects!
Instead of rectangles, I used triangles since I have an abundance left over from cutting other shapes… like hexis or half square triangles or bunting… it was nice to actually find a use for them!
My little mini is only 8′ x 9″, and it’s such a small size that I don’t really have any use for it… other than just looking at it and smiling. The rainbow colors just make me happy! Maybe I’ll hang it up somewhere or use it as a big coaster… we shall see!
And in the meantime… the ticker tape idea had the wheels in my head spinning… it’s so much fun to play with scraps and so easy to put it all together in an hour or so, I already have another mini quilt to share next week!
I’m linking up to Finish Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts, which just so happens to be the blogger and author of the quilt book that inspired me!
Doodling makes me happy… so I challenged myself to a doodle a day. Any scrap of paper gets a doodle before I throw it away… it makes the little moments of my day a little more fun!
A little update to my Doodle a Day page… more daily doodles!
Last week I had an itch to make something for Halloween. So I went to my two favorite places: eBay for some novelty fabric and Pinterest for some inspiration!
I wanted to do some sort of string block, so I looked up ideas on Pinterest for making something like a spider web. Below are a few of my favorite pins (sources link to the original blog post):
I could spend all day just pinning and planning, but after a while I just want to step away from the computer and start doing something! So even though I didn’t have a clear plan, I started with an idea and went from there.
Earlier in the week, I ordered some Halloween novelty fabric jelly rolls (pre-cut strips of fabric) from eBay… and wow, the prints are like a Halloween explosion! In retrospect I wish I had also gotten some more muted oranges or blacks for more balance, but it was also kind of fun to go full speed ahead with the busy Halloween kitsch.
Halloween Wall Hanging
I used this tutorial from PS I Quilt for making a 6 ½-inch string block. Four together equals a 12 ½-inch finished block. I’ve been intimidated by using a paper foundation, but I was happy to find out that it’s super easy!
There are lots of great tutorials online, but here are a few pics of the basic steps:
Cut as many 6 ½-inch squares as you need out of paper – any kind will do; I used regular computer paper, but I’ve also seen scrapbook paper or even phone book pages.
Attach the center strip across the diagonal with a dot of glue stick on each end. I used a white strip as the center for each block for some cohesion, but of course you can do all scrappy too.
Plan out what strips you want to cover the rest of the square, and cut approximate sizes. I did a pattern of orange-black-orange on either side of the white strip for two blocks, then black-orange-black for the other two blocks.
Lay the first strip right side down on top of the center strip and sew together with a ¼-inch seam. Make sure to change the stitch length to 1.5 to perforate the paper.
Press to the side and repeat!
When your blocks are all done, trim the edges using the paper square as a guide.
Then tear out the paper between each strip. Sew the four 6 ½-inch blocks into one 12 ½-inch block.
I knew I wanted to make some kind of wall hanging that could later be used as a table topper/runner (when I actually have a dining room or table that seats more than two), but after making two string blocks I decided I wanted something different for the center block. I went back and forth trying to decide between a spider block to go with the webs, or maybe a black cat… and then I remembered a cute patchwork pumpkin pin and decided to use that as inspiration.
In retrospect… I like how the inspiration pic’s colors weren’t necessarily “Halloween” prints. And I was a bit limited by my 1 ½-inch jelly roll strips, so the pumpkin turned out pretty tiny since I couldn’t use bigger squares.
But I made it work anyway! I added more strips log cabin-style until I had a 12 ½-inch block.
I attached the three blocks with a strip of white sashing, then I started scrounging around for some backing fabric. I settled on one piece of grey because I didn’t want to bother with a pieced back, but it made me realize that it would be nice to get a few yards of fabric just for backings… I have tons of fat quarters, but hardly anything bigger. I’m also down to batting scraps… time to do some more shopping!
After layering the batting, backing, and quilt top, I used the pillowcase method to turn the right side out. I sewed a ¼-inch seam around the perimeter to close the gap. I quilted each block separately – a big X first, then spiraling squares like a spider web.
The quilting was my favorite part, which is unusual! Generally it stresses me out, but it was actually fun to think up the design and I love seeing the spider web on the back.
Oh! And before I forget… since I intend to use this as a table runner eventually, I didn’t want to add hanging pockets. So I rigged a no-sew hanger with a piece of ribbon and some mini clothespins.
It actually works pretty well! (I leave the 3M hooks up year round, I love those things!)
And there you have it – a fun Halloween project that took me a leisurely weekend to complete.
And in the process, I…
- tried paper foundation string blocks for the first time
- combined patchwork and log cabins
- actually enjoyed the quilting part, and
- reveled in a riot of crazy Halloween prints.
I call that a win! I’ve got a couple weeks left before the holiday to enjoy my wall hanging, and I will definitely look forward to pulling it out again next year to add to my decorations.
I’m linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish Friday!
My childhood friend Sarah was married last weekend, and I was lucky enough to return the favor of being her maid of honor just like she was for me four years ago. The couple did not want any gifts, but I couldn’t resist making a quilt for the occasion… after I put away my craft table for a couple months, I was itching to start a new project and this was just the ticket. I experimented with a few new “modern” quilting techniques and am really pleased with the outcome. The end result is quite a bit different from my original vision (you can see my inspiration for the red/grey/yellow color scheme blogged here), but it developed organically during the process.
I’ve dabbled a little bit with improvisational methods – I learned how to create wonky letters for Cora and Tali’s cat mats and nautical mini quilt, and wonky log cabins for my extra mini nautical quilts – but this is my first bigger quilt. This quilt never left my mind… whenever I wasn’t working on it, I was sketching as the quilt evolved… and grew.
Originally I wanted a wall hanging or small baby size, but somehow it grew to the finished 50 x 55 size!
Let’s start in the middle, since that’s where I began too. I went through a few different ideas for the central message… Unity (reference to Unitarian Universalists), Bliss (as in wedded), Merge (too weird), etc… but in the end, it felt like too much of a “statement.” I liked the mirror image of the initials S and Z, so I went with that.. and a little patchwork heart in the middle (easy tutorial found here). I’m still learning how to control the wonky words (inspired by Word Play, by Tonya Ricucci) and play with the balance of color.
I thought I would do all red, but it was looking too boring, so the initials became yellow. The S turned out way bigger than the Z… so to balance it out a bit, I added a scrap (cut off from the 3 below) on the Z side. That addition actually led to the inserted squares later on in the borders… this quilt definitely evolved as it was created!
Next comes a border of “stitch and flip” blocks (inspired by Quilting Modern, by Jackquie Gering and Katie Pedersen). They’re basically wonky half square triangles, which you know I love (here’s an example of my HST obsession).
I used a random combination of yellow and cream background squares and red scraps. These also ended up bigger than anticipated… I was originally envisioning a narrow border, but two rows of 4.5-inch squares were a lot easier to manage. Plus I like the look… you can see that the “zig zag” pattern wasn’t consistent up top, but I’m fine with some imperfections.
Next came the cornerstone blocks – wonky log cabins with fussy cut centers (cats!). Here again, my original plans adjusted as I went along. Instead of log cabins around the entire border, I just made four for the corners. I used randomly cut strips of red and yellow, with fussy cut images of cats in the centers. This was my favorite part of the quilt top!
I really had a lot of fun putting the log cabins together – I loved playing with the colors and not having to worry about being too precise. They’re not as “wonky” as the inspiration from Quilting Modern, because I didn’t worry about creating angles and just added strips regardless of the width.
To connect the corners, I brought in more grey from the background as borders. I didn’t want huge swaths of grey so I inserted two rows of squares on each side.
Easy peasy, and I love how it brings everything together. And then the quilt top was all done!
When it comes to finishing up a quilt, I can admit it… I’m scared of binding. I will do almost anything to avoid it… so I avoided it entirely with my favorite pillow case method… and let me just say it upfront: it was NOT a good idea with a bigger quilt! It works quite well for quilts up to a baby quilt size, but it just doesn’t give enough leeway for shifting fabric during quilting. I dealt with some major bunching issues and it was not pretty… boo! It’s just so upsetting to put so much work and effort into a quilt top, only to have it marred with bunching and wrinkles that will never iron out.
But anyway, that’s what I did: layer batting on bottom, then backing and quilt top right sides together (the quilt top will be on top, with the right side down), then pinned all layers together (Cora helped).
I sewed a ¼-inch seam all around, leaving a 5-inch gap for turning. After trimming the edges flush and clipping the corners, I turned the right side out. I poked out the corners and sewed another ¼-inch seam all around to close the gap.
For the quilting, I drew inspiration from Crazy Mom Quilt’s honeycomb quilting.
Whew! This quilt was quite a journey, but I really enjoyed putting it all together for the occasion.
I was going for modern and unique, just like my lovely lifelong friend. Congratulations again, Sarah and Zach!
I’m linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish it Up Friday.
I am way late on this Pinterest craze… along with subway art and melted crayons, string art has faded from the front page. But then I saw it in a recent Country Living magazine (I know, I know, I am nowhere close to living in the country, but a girl can dream) and it sparked my interest once again. However… I have no planks of wood available and I don’t feel like messing with a bunch of nails (which is probably why I don’t live in the country), so I decided to tweak the idea a bit. But first, I went to Pinterest for some inspiration… below is a handy dandy collection of some of the most popular string art ideas:
After perusing the many (many, many!) ideas, I planned out a new addition to my nautical wall with a few requirements: no nails, no new purchases, and it had to be completed in an afternoon. Let’s get started!
Nautical String Art
Time: Maybe 1-2 hours
Cost: $5 – $10
- poster board
- embroidery floss and needle
- pointy device (awl, paper clip, scissors, etc.)
- image of an anchor (or any other object or word)
- hoop or frame
1. Lay the hoop on a piece of poster board, and trace inside the opening.
2. Center and tape a copy of the anchor (or other image) onto the poster. I just Googled “anchor” and printed the one I liked (you can see where my ink ran out); if you’re interested: here is the link.
3. Mark dots on the outline of the image – I would say every ½-inch or so, maybe closer together on the curves.
4. Poke holes through each dot with your pointy device (I used an awl). This is definitely the most annoying part, probably just like nailing is the most annoying part if you were using wood. But don’t worry, the next part is fun!
6. Thread an embroidery needle and backstitch around the outline (just knot the floss on the back to start and stop). I used three strands of green and three strands of metallic blue for the outline.
7. When the outline is complete, then you will start filling in the middle with criss crossing lines. I used one strand of green and two strands of metallic blue for the inside lines.
8. Criss cross until you’re satisfied with the results.
9. Cut out the hoop outline, and pop it into the hoop. It might help if you cut about ¼-inch bigger all around, so you can fit it snugly in the hoop.
Ta da! I removed my Sail On mini quilt from my nautical wall, and now I’m rearranging and thinking of new ideas to fill the empty space.
This is a good start, and it was super fun/easy/quick… my favorite kind of project!
I say it every time… Hooray for Pinterest!
ATC is an acronym for Artist Trading Cards, with a neat story at its origins: Swiss artist M. Vanci Stirnemann put 1,200 miniature pieces of art on exhibit and on the last day of the show, every single one was given away to the audience with the entreaty to make their own tiny works of art and trade them with other artists. And thus the Artist Trading Card movement was born! Once you delve into the world of ATCs, it’s amazing to see the tiny masterpieces that people can create on a little card – the same size as a baseball card or playing card – and swapping with other artists all over the world.
I found out the history after I’d already become intrigued by a few different sources… my Mom loves a vendor in Alabama who shows up at all the craft fairs with her notebook full of ATCs, and my mom has given me a few over the years that have become my favorite book marks. I’ve also seen references on one of my favorite elementary art blogs, Art Projects for Kids. Then I started looking on Pinterest and youtube (for tutorials)… and wow! There is so much inspiration to explore. Below are two of my favorites from Pinterest.
There’s so much information out there that it can get overwhelming… but the actual 2.5×3.5-inch space isn’t supposed to be intimidating. So I sat down and just started going to town. You can use what you have on hand or you can buy a bunch of fun supplies… either way, it’s addicting!
Artist Trading Cards
Time: Maybe 10 minutes
Cost: Free to Endless (you can use only what you already have, or you can go crazy with embellishments)
- playing cards, thin cardboard, baseball cards, etc. that measure 2.5×3.5-inches
- magazines or paper images
- mod podge or glue stick
- optional: stickers, stamps and ink, paper or fabric scraps, ribbon/lace/paper doilies, markers/metallic Sharpies/glitter, scrapbooking accessories, etc.
You can go at it any way you like. There were a few tutorials I found helpful – this youtube video by Mad Mystical Creations shows how to use magazine clippings., which is what I did for my first batch.
I’m just starting out, and there are a billion different techniques, but I like to start slow and simple. I spent an hour or so going through a magazine and clipping interesting images and words.
I also looked for interesting backgrounds – water or mountains or fun textures and patterns. I used old playing cards as the base for my ATC, but you can cut up any thin cardboard to the right size. I have a bottle of mod podge from an old project on hand, but you can use anything from a glue stick to fancy tacky glue made specifically for paper crafts.
Then… just go for it!
Layers are generally a good idea for some depth – add the background first, then whatever images or words you like on top.
I like to focus on a special word to give meaning to an image, whether it’s cut form a magazine, typed and printed, or written by my own hand on a scrap of paper. Glue everything down, then maybe look for extra ways to embellish your card… maybe a sticker, or outlining an image with a metallic pen, or glitter (I haven’t ventured that far yet…) Turn the card over and trim the edges, so there is nothing hanging over the edge. If you’re using mod podge you can apply a thin layer over the entire card to seal it, but it’s not necessary. If you plan to swap your cards, you can add your name and date and/or contact info on the back – I used stickers with my initials.
I don’t want this new craft to get out of hand… so to corral all the supplies, I’m using a cheap plastic two-pocket folder to stay organized. On one side, I keep bigger sheets/cutouts (mostly for backgrounds), and on the other side all my stickers and a baggie of smaller cutouts. Of course, the playing cards and stamps don’t fit but I already have them stored somewhere else.
I can admit I’m slightly addicted… part of the fascination is the size of course (I love anything mini), but also because ATCs are so collectible AND easy to store… I bought myself a few sleeves of baseball card organizers and I’m officially starting a new collection!
Over a couple nights, I made ten ATCs… the perfect activity to do in a few minutes with easy cleanup. Below are the cards from my first batch… I can’t wait to make more!
Hooray for Pinterest! If you’ve ever been intimidated by collaging or scrapbooking, this is the perfect no-pressure craft to start… I don’t have time for a bunch of fiddly projects, but this is super easy!
Doodling makes me happy… so I challenged myself to a doodle a day. Any scrap of paper gets a doodle before I throw it away… it makes the little moments of my day a little more fun!
I like easy challenges… especially if it reminds me to do little things that make me happy! Recently I set up a new page under the Craft Chat tab for my Adult Coloring Pages that have been popular on Pinterest, and today I set up another page for my Doodle a Day. I’ve been sharing my random doodles on Instagram for quite a while, starting around this time last year. So to kick off my new Daily Doodles page, I’m sharing past doodles below that will also be on the page (you can access the page in the drop down menu under the Craft Chat tab above). I’ll update the page periodically with new doodles… just to remind me (and you?) to make a daily habit of doing little things that bring me joy. Doodle away!