Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Finish: Jar Topper

When we were clearing out my parents' house, we found a bunch of small stitched pieces. My mother thinks I stitched them, and I say she must have because I have no recollection of doing them. It is, of course, possible that I did. No matter where these little pieces came from they need to be finished! These mushrooms seem like they will be happy on top of a mason jar.

Here's how: 
  • Vonna's pincushion finish.
  • If you are using a mason jar with a two piece lid (like me) instead of one (like Vonna) Amy Sinibaldi shows you how on ehow. (I used this one.)
  • The Seasoned Homemaker has a useful tutorial as well.

And there are literally hundreds of things you can put in the jar to give as gifts:

I went with a sewing kit that was filled with the seventies--avocado, orange, and harvest gold threads and flosses. Because seriously, they are bringing mushrooms back into home decor from the seventies. (Trust me people, I was there!)

Monday, March 02, 2015

Finish: Tuck Pillow

I made this little squirrel in a class with the Bent Creek sisters before I left Los Angeles in 2005. Not right before...I have no idea how long before. Oh, yes I do: 3/15/01.

I totally cheated here, and used a premade tuck pillow. (Yes, for the past fourteen years this little squirrel has lived thisclose to a tuck pillow. It could have been inside the tuck pillow and living large in the smalls basket. But no...) (Okay, I don't know when or where I acquired the tuck pillow, but I'm pretty sure it was on sale.)

If you are ambitious (or want to match your stitched piece perfectly by selecting your own fabric) you can make your own tuck pillow:
  • Debra at All About ME offers PDF instructions on making a square, rectangle, and diamond shape tuck pillows. (And, frankly, the squirrel and I would both be happier with a rectangular tuck pillow.)
  • Focus on Finishing has been moribund for a while, but you can still get Anne's instructions on making a tuck pillow.
  • Cyberstitchers can help you here too.
  • And if you want to be inspired, Karen has made 156 of them!

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Finish: Scissor Fob

This poor little scissor fob. I don't know why I haven't gotten to this sooner. I completed the stitching in July 2005. And according to that post I took the class with Lauren Sauer of Forget-Me-Nots in Stitches in 1995 or 1996. So this has taken 20 years. (I need to let that sink in!) You can see that it has a companion pincushion which has been finished since at least 2004, perhaps even earlier. The scissor rest and the needlebook still need to be finished, but we may or may not see them this month.

This finish uses an overcast backstitch. (If you click through, you will see how to make a piece of stitching into a bookmark. Jen is very clever.) I like this method because all the finishing is on the outside and is decorative. (I plan to show you a couple of even more decorative ways to do this.) Even better, I don't have to do any blind stitching. I'm so bad at it, it usually distorts my finished object.

If you'd like to see more action shots of this finishing technique, check out these blogs:

This type of finish is often coupled (as I have here) with twisted cord. There are loads of tutorials for this.

  • Vonna can show you how, using the Krienik Cording Drill.
  • DMC shows you how to do it with just a pen.
  • Head here if you want a video.

I do intend to add to the knowledge here, but not just yet.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Craft Month Reveal

Ooh, what can it be?
I'm stitching away (a little unhappily) on my February small. I hope to have something to show you tomorrow. 

In the meantime, I've been thinking about Craft Month. It starts Sunday. I had a plan. I've had it for most of the last year, but I wasn't feeling it. So I posted on Facebook, "Nine days left in February which means it's almost Craft Month. I have NO plan.

I got a handful of responses, but nothing approaching an answer. Then someone responded, "Why would we need a craft month? Don't we all have the ongoing projects we never quite finish?" (She's a potter, but we're all the same, right?)

Anyway, she said a magic word. Can you guess?

Some of the 32 ornaments and smalls that need finishing.
It was finish! Did you get it?

I dug out all my completed but unfinished projects and there are 85, give or take. Removing the 20 or so that I definitely want to have professionally framed, that leaves me plenty of options for the 31 days of Craft Month. I'm going to try to do 31 different finishes. Now, I'm no Vonna Pfeiffer, so don't look for loads of creative and unique ideas here...although I am not above using some of her tutorials (with proper links of course!). 

I'm pretty psyched about this new idea, and I hope you'll join me for the ride!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Happy Birthday to (Lots of) You

Thank you for your kindness toward my grandmother. I'm not sure we're going to be able to do much in the face of her stubbornness. We'll see.

I don't know what has been taking up all my time. Oddly, last week's calendar looks pretty clear compared to this week's (poetry event at Bryn Mawr College, hair appointment tonight, Neil deGrasse Tyson tomorrow night) and yet, I've still found time to blog today and not last week...

But the cards I am sharing were made last week, so there is that.

This is a little hard to see. It's a Post-It Note holder made with an acrylic frame. The stand on the back allows the holder to stand at an angle to make it easy to write on. (You can see me in the reflection doing the pinky wave I do when I take a photo.) I should make another with colors to match our living room so we can put one by the phone! Of course it will get buried under the mail just like the notepad we have now...

This is the banner card I started last month at stamping night and finished this month after I bought the framelits. I like this card a lot, though I am not quite sure why. It's a gate fold, and the inside is stamped with the grasses. Nice little touch.

Since I had spent so much time making all these masculine cards, I had to whip up a card for my niece who had a birthday two Sundays ago. (Sissy's birthday was last Sunday, but I forgot to take a picture of the card I made for her.) I guess this one could have gone both ways. I love this paper from Stampin' Up, and I borrowed the stamp set from my sister. I guess I should make a few more and then return that to her.

Another set of fun cards for boys of all ages! I was very pleased to get all the boy cards made for the year. This is "In the Wild" (retired) with the hats and balloons from "Owl Together Now." Inside, there's a crocodile wearing a party hat. 

Phew! This month, I'll spend some time making some more feminine cards because I have four coming up in the next two months (and I've already had to wing it on two). Why did so many people in my family have birthdays in the beginning of the year?

Monday, February 16, 2015

Maggie Monday: Be On the Lookout

My aunt wrote to tell me that Maggie has taken to listening to the radio since her vision is so bad. The other day, she called my aunt, who lives in Merrimack, N.H., to tell her police there were on the look out for a guy with pointy teeth. "Lock your door and lay low," she said. Apparently, she only caught the end of the story...

This is the guy they're after.

You've probably seen that in light of the seven feet of snow they are buried under, the Merrimack police have put out an arrest warrant for Punxsutawney Phil. (You can read about it here.)

I know so many of you enjoy stories about my grandmother, but she is having a terribly difficult winter. She's not able to get out as much, and she's starting to feel lonely (plus two of her regular '"rides" are in the hospital). I sort of wish she'd consent to assisted living because then she'd be stuck inside with a bunch of other people and occasional entertainment. I wish there were something we could do, like all drop by. Sending cards--and you know how she likes to open cards--doesn't seem like it will work because her vision has deteriorated to the point my aunt has to read things to her. She describes herself as "not much of a phone person" (it's genetic), or I'd start giving out her phone number, I swear. If you have any bright ideas, let me know!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Happy New Year...Yeah the Card was Late Too

A million years ago, there was some interest in seeing my recent card crafting. This was my New Year's card. It may not look like much, but the swirls are heat embossed onto the blue stock and the snowflakes were diecut from glitter paper. I know it looks like I just used fancy ribbon and stickers...At any rate, if the number of these cards that showed up in New England presaged the snow, I apologize to all my friends and neighbors up there.
I have about a dozen man/boy cards to make each year for family members, and all but two of my guys have a birthday before June. Kinda sucks, but that's the luck of the draw. I wanted to make at least nine cards so I could be ready, but I only made six (plus two that were nearly complete). I want to do another four male cards at our next session, but I have to do cards for Yay-o and Sissy. And a valentine for my valentine. I guess I have a plan for this Friday!

I made these for the two younger boys. Fingers crossed that I am not a day late on these...they grow up so fast and their tastes are so mercurial.