Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Life, Love and the chaos of everyday

Thought I had abandoned ship?  Stopped sewing? Moved to a land with no electricity? Well, no.  But I did get divorced, I got to be a brides maid for the first time, found out I have pre-diabetes.  I moved into my parents house.. move back out into an apartment, my first on my own.  Lost my apartment and am back living in my parents home.  So my crafting space it pretty limited.  In true crafty fashion I never stopped making things; I made bookmarks for a friends wedding, I have been cross stitching a project for someone.. (top secret) and I made holiday ornaments for gifts.  I have pictures of lots of this stuff but today I'm going to ease back into stitchy blog land with the wedding bookmarks for my dear friends Kristy and Brian, their wedding was book themed. (Love!)
The project itself was fairly easy, Kristy approached me with an idea she found on this blog: Simple Serendipities I was happy to take it on.  Over one hundred book marks later I was tired of felt hearts and was trying desperately to make sure they were finished for the big day.

Start by cutting out 2 hearts of equal size.  Pick a pattern to stitch in, one you like or one that means something to you.  If you are going to do these in volume then pick something simple.  My hands would cramp after stitching very many, holding the heart and stitching it was tough on the fingers.  I suppose you could stitch a pattern on both sides but that would have been insane for the quantity that we needed to get finished, so one side was left blank.

We went with the lazy daisy and french knots in groups of three, pretty, simple and for her it was reminiscent of the Holy Trinity.

Next you want to stitch the hearts together, we went with the blanket stitch.  This was a little tricky because while I could stitch the bottom point all together the tops of the hearts had to be stitched separately so there would be room for the page to fit in.

What I found worked best was, I needed to start at one side of the opening.  Stitching over the back heart top, then when I reached the same spot on the other side I stitched both halves together down to the point and back up the other side.  Then switched back to single layer for the front heart top, creating a pocket.

*Note, It is important to try to keep the stitches even when doing the blanket stitch, otherwise the heart won't sit on the page right.

I made a bunch of these, I forget the actual number now but it was in the neighborhood of 130 ish.. I think.

There they are, a little army of bookmarks ready to be handed out as wedding favors.

 All packed up and ready for delivery!

I had plenty of time for this project but I didn't manage my time well in the beginning which created a crunch later on.  I had them finished and delivered on time but it was a little stressful as the wedding date drew near.

Keep stitching my stitchy friends!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The bright side and a promise

The last I posted there had been 0% completed on the craft room/pit of despair.  Much has changed since then and I'm happy to report that I'm in my craft room right this second making this blog post to you now!  About 2 but could have been 3 weeks ago now I got up one Sunday morning, the husband was off hunting, it was still bow season here.  As I sipped my tea I wandered around the house thinking about how I would spend my day, I found my-self standing outside the pit and thinking about how I just really wanted room to make my own private woman cave.  My commitment of 15 minutes a day had not panned out at all, I took a deep breath and dove in.

I started mucking out at 8:30 AM and worked all day till around 7:30 PM, sorting, stacking, recycling, a save box turned into 4 save boxes.  One box of recycling turned into 3 and many, many old dilapidated card board boxes crushed down for the recycling bin.  One box of things to burn turned into 5.  I found pay stubs from 2001, old electric bills from the apartment that my husband and I lived in 8 years ago!  What on earth have I been saving that crap for and why had it moved here 7 years ago?!?  And the boxes to give to Goodwill.... numerous.  6 boxes of old VHS alone, old toys, cloths, gone!  I purged this room and ended up feeling extremely good about it, out with the old, the things that held me back from doing and making the things that I love.  The room is not yet finished, there is still much to do but I think that you deserve a look at the project that I put off entirely too long...

First the way it was..  (The horror! The shame.)

Now.... .. .. . .!!!

Can you even believe it!  Useable space!!
 Shelves for knick-knacks, things that I treasure.
 Shelves for projects and ideas and supplies.
Imagine me sitting here now smiling and typing away.  There is much more to do, more shelves to hang, art to put up and more organizing to do.
 My woman cave, I can paint again, sew again, make all kinds of crafty goodness!
Speaking of sewing, I need curtains for these windows.  Think I'll be pulling out the old machine. (old picture, this baby just moved into the room last night and is not set up quite yet.)

I had a request to share how to thread it so I will post a little tutorial for how to thread and use the machine I have.  Before you begin if you have an older machine like I do be sure to start off by oiling the machine's working parts if it hasn't been used in a while, that will keep it working smoothly.  Many modern machines don't need to be oiled but the older ones do.

Sigh, I feel so good about my room, about myself.  Take a breath and enjoy the sights of autumn... my favorite!  It was so pretty in the morning light had to take a picture of it on my way out the door to work.  I just love that dogwood tree, lovely in the spring and so fiery in the fall.

Now I can get back to it, keep on stitching my stitchy friends. 


Monday, July 16, 2012

The 4th and beyond.

I hope everyone had a lovely 4th of July, I found myself across the street at my friend and neighbors home having some amazing tacos and burritos.  I didn't bother to check and just made a tart for the occasion along with lil' smokies in grape jelly and chili sauce.  The tart is easy and really good so I thought I would share the recipe and also share the latest batch of crafty goodness that my same neighbor friend and I engaged in just a weekend or two ago.

First the recipe I made it from a book called: "Land O Lakes Treasury of Country Recipes"  I have used this book many, many times over the years and I love everything I have made from it.  I kidnapped this book from my mother's book case of cook books and have never looked back (she never used it anyways).  This edition was printed in 1992 the tart I made can be found under the section titled : Desserts, Cakes & Pies on Page 401.

Starts & Stripes Tart


1 Cup butter or margarine, softened
1/2 Cup sugar
2 1/2 Cup all-purpose flour
1/3 Cup milk

3 3oz cream cheese, softened (I could not locate the 3 oz size so bought 2 f the 8 OZ with many bagles in mind)
3/4 Cup powdered sugar
1 Tsp grated orange peel
1 Tbsp orange juice

1 Pt strawberries, hulled. sliced or * raspberries or alternate favorite fruit: kiwi, mandarin orange segments, pineapple, ect.
1/2 Pt blueberries
1/4 Cup apple jelly, melted

Heat oven to 400F. In a large mixer bowl combine butter and sugar.  ( I use the pastry cutter first before I break out my mixer, got to give the old girl a break now and again)
Beat at med. speed, scraping bowl often, until light and fluffy (1 to 2 min). Add flour and milk; beat at low speed until well mixed. press dough on bottom and 1/2" (ish) up sides of baking pan.  Prick bottom with fork.  Bake for 14 to 18 min. or until lightly browned.  Cool.
In small mixer bowl combine all filling ingredients; beat at med. speed, scraping bowl often, until light and fluffy.
*Careful to fend off husbands and boys during this step, fingers will be wanting to sample.
"Mom are there any eggs in this?"
"Can I try it?"
 Spread over top of cooled crust. (see above crust not cooled) Spread over top of cooled crust.  Refrigerate 1 hr. or until firm.

Just before serving, arrange fruit on filling in design of American flag using strawberry slices for stripes and blueberries for stars.  Brush fruit filling with melted apple jelly.  I made an alternate design, I didn't want to just have pieces with just strawberries or blueberries, little of this and a little of that. Yum!

Onto the fun of crafting, As I had mentioned before about how I had enjoyed the tutorial that Knickertwist had shared with the understanding that items would not be sold I had my favorite neighbor to make our own fairy habitats. Making Cotteges and mushrooms is so relaxing and calming, lovely little gifts for fun.  Here are some pics of our handy work:

We've got stumps, stones, moss, rocks, lovely found items, twigs, mushrooms, magic beans.

Teeny pine cones and a fairy pool in an acorn half.

Keep on stitching, I'll get back to mine soon and take more progress pics once I have made some... progress.  >^_^<

Monday, July 9, 2012

Other things - like JAM!

I certainly hope that everyone has been doing well, keeping busy with projects and ideas.  I've been busy but really have little to show for it.  Almost no stitching going on at the moment, this I'm sure is due to my recent addiction to Diablo 3, a game for my PC.  My dear hubby and I play together after our son has gone to bed AKA my stitching time... Anyhoo last I posted I was determined and very motivated to clear out my craft room.  Yeah, not so much activity in that room.  For the most part (honesty is the best policy) I have not followed through with my deceleration of 15 minutes a day.  In fact the hubby added some more "items" to the mess though my son removed a few so I figure I'm still at ground 0 as far as progress.
Then things started to ripen, Raspberries in particular.  This is the first year that they are not only doing okay but that there are enough of them to use for things.  I present Raspberry Rhubarb freezer Jam.  Woo Hoo!! I pulled my trusty Betty Crocker book out and made us some jam.  I'm rather proud of myself, I'm a jam first timer and I feel very good about my end result.

Rhubarb-Raspberry Jam  (Better Homes and Gardens 12th edition P.189)

6 cups fresh or frozen unsweetened sliced rhubarb
4 cups sugar
2 cups raspberries or one 12-oz package of frozen lightly sweetened red raspberries
1 3-ounce package of raspberry-flavored gelatin (not sugar free)

* I know, Jell-o!?!? Say what?  That's what Betty called for so that's what I did.

Lookie, the raspberries are lovely fresh from my yard.

The rhubarb also from my yard, I love this stuff.  Lots of people hate it but I really like the tartness of it and it is a vegetable, I love to make pie out of it and now jam.  
I sanitized my new jars by boiling them, waited for them to cool a little then I flipped them over until I was ready to use them.  Can't run the risk of stuff falling into them.
 So here they are, lovely and fresh and ready to use.
 1. In a large heavy kettle combine rhubarb and sugar.  Let stand 15-20 minutes or until sugar is moistened.  * really it was almost magical how it went from all dry to this...
 Bring to boiling.  Boil, uncovered for 10 minutes, stirring often.
 Add berries; return to boiling.  Boil hard 5 to 6 minutes or until thick, stirring often.  Remove from heat.  Add Gelatin and stir until dissolved.
 2. Ladle into half pint freezer containers, leaving a 1/2 inch headspace.
 Seal; label.
 Let stand at room temperature until set.  Store Jam up to 3 weeks in the refrigerator or 1 year on the freezer.
I made 3 batches of this kind and have made 1 of the strawberry jam recipe on the same page.  I plan to make some more and once the pears in my parents yard ripen I'm going to can those too.  Free is the best price so this year I'm making the most of what I have at hand, it's too bad I didn't get my garden in though.  Weather has not been cooperating and we just could not get the garden plowed, was just too wet.
  Oh well, guess I'll find time for stitching once the weather turns again.  It's supposed to go back to rain next week.
Keep on stitching!  >^_^<

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Yeah, it's like that...

In this wonderful and weird world of the internet I'm positive that you've seen amazing spaces.  I like to visit a Flicker group called My Craft Room Crafting rooms beyond your wildest fantasies and ones that are more realistic but not mine either way.  And as much as I love to pick up ideas and inspiration from these lovely rooms my craft room is ... disappointing to say the least.  I had a craft room, I did.  A space that I could walk into, trip over a few things and close the door and go off into the little world of making things that I enjoy so very much.  We had my brother in-law move in for a while (ages ago mind you) and I gave up that space.  He moved back out (also forever ago) and my son switched rooms, you might think that; Hey! you got your room back! Yay, now do all those wonderful things you see on the internet and have your dream crafting area. 
Yeah, not so much.
The spare room as I have taken to calling it is a mound of stuff, filing from forever ago, holiday decorations (from all the holidays we have had this year)  old stuff from my son's old room and all the extra things that have no where to go.  As well as things that we are storing for my brother in-law that really have nowhere else to go. 

It goes without saying, I will however put it into words anyways that I do all my crafting in alternate locations across the house.  Meaning that I spend some time tracking down the supplies I need for whatever project I'm working on.

I'm going to show you something but you have to promise not to judge.... okay well if you do just don't tell me that you did.  Deal. okay.

This is my spare (crafting) room. . . *sob.

This room is not only filled with crap but it is filled with all of the what I call "I used to"s I used to paint, I used to have my sewing machine all set up.  And the "I'd like to"s, I'd like to work on that project if only I had my CRAFT ROOM in use....  breathe.

See the windows... great light for painting, for sewing, for having my woman cave of craft.  See the floor space, no?  That's okay I don't either. 

So here is my mission, my goal, my fate.  I will spend 15 min a day on this rat hole.  15 min a day to sort, move toss, organize and re-claim my room.  So that I can some day have a room that looks like this, or this one makes me drool... okay, okay.. one more for the road here.

I have been making some really wonderful little things though, really I have see..

If you have not had a visit to Knickertwist you really should.  I just love her work and she gave some wonderful tutorials on how to make these teeny fairy homes. 

So there you have it the big and bad and ugly truth of my craft spare room.

Keep on stitching I'll be back with updates as to how this monstrosity is turning out.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

New project... sort of.

Is it really a new project when you've been chewing it over in your mind for several years?  What the best execution of it would be, what methods and techniques to use and most importantly the time to actually embark on it.  I have embarked on my new project journey and have been on this road for around 2 months, give or take.  

How about some back story, my husband is very funny he likes to poke at me (sometimes in the most literal sense) and one day in 2009 he was poking at me, finger and all.  I had responded with something like "I'm almost mad." and he said something to the effect of "well poke it till it's almost mad, then stop."  We rolled and laughed, we may have been inebriated slightly at the time but I had jotted it down in my sketchbook and thought it would make a funny embroidery.  I worked it up and had an idea of what I wanted but no real plans to do it anytime soon.  In 2009 I had plenty to keep me busy with the kitchen curtain project I was working through.
So every now and again I flip through the sketch book to think over ideas or to make changes to ideas that I've been chewing on in my mind.  Earlier this year I was finishing the cross stitch Wizard and decided that I was going to take on the poke it project.  Here is my thoughts/diabolical plan...

Cross stitch phrase - Stitched on 22 count Aida fabric and used my own typography.
*Sadly the lettering is a bit close on one of the lines- I've decided that the imperfections are something that I can live with and I've gone so far I refuse to pull it out and re-space them.
Stitch border around phrase - I Chose Black-work designs
Trim project and secure all around cross stitch fabric to prevent it from unraveling *this has already begun  (piece A)
Place piece A on top of 2nd fabric - I've chosen a natural linen and trace out second border

The second border will be like little windows, 4 longer and 4 little corner squares.  Inside each I plan on embroidering things that you would not want to poke with a stick till mad.  Bear, Bees, Red Ant Hill and a Skunk.  The second border will offer more diversity for stitches and techniques and will add the spice of humor to the piece.  It's been a long time in my brain, turning over and over as I considered how best to assemble it and create something worth hanging onto and something that will be funny.

Who loves progress shots?  Anyone, anyone... yeah me too.

You can see how the fabric is unraveling, I will put in a row of white cross stitches all around once I've finished this part to prevent it from going any further.  That will keep it from falling apart more and will connect it to the base piece of fabric.

I could pull out the A and move it over, that would give the 3rd line a bit more breathing room.  It is alas only the beginning of this project and I've a long road to sew.  Feel free to click the images, they will enlarge for your viewing pleasure.

Keep on stitching!  >^_^<

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Painting again

I feel like I have my hands in all sorts of wonderful things at the moment. I think I have the attention span of a 3 year old sometimes. Been stitching of course, hopefully will be able to share that project at some point (going to be epic, epic I say!)  Been drawing and capturing ideas, I've also been playing around with clay, Knickertwist shared the most wonderful video tutorial on her blog "Pixie Hill" about how to make her sweet little mushrooms and a second showing the amazing teeny fairy houses... so cute and so fun, this can go in a million directions. I'll have to get a few pics of what I've done so I can share also. If you want to see (and you really should) click Here for the tutorial on how to make the mushrooms. Go ahead, click I'll wait...
Great right? I love her blog and her artwork is just inspiring, I want to fill an entire wall with it!

Anyhoo, onto the painting. A friend and co-worker had her birthday and so I decided to make something for her. Though now I've realized that there have been a few other birthdays that I missed completely or could have gone bigger on. I'm going to have to remedy that I think... right the painting. Lookie.

That is Micky and Minnie skipping off into the sunset hand in hand. It took me around 20 hours overall = all 4 Twilight movies (looking away), the 6 hour BBC version of Pride and Prejudice followed by Kate and Leopold and rounded off with the newest episode of Eureka off of the SyFy channel website. About 2 days and one evening and I fit just a tiny bit of yard work in there too (pretty sure the neighbors were glad about that one) though more time needs to be spent out there too.
Overall it was a very quick painting for me, usually I'll spend ages or years sometimes just because I'll set it to the side and never get back around to it.
I have to say that I've really, really missed painting.  Now I want to paint more but how can I paint when the (epic) embroidery sits and waits, the clay houses are begging for paint and moss roofs and I have people actually wanting me to make things for them. When did I get so busy with crafty things and when will I fit the dishes and laundry into this busy crafting schedule? I've so much to do and so many things that I would rather do. Guess that is the plight of any artsy/crafty person.


Keep on stitching my stitchy friends!  >^_^<