Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Remember how I said I wasn't going to do any more swaps?

Well, then this happened.

And this.

So far I've stayed strong, but man it's tough. Chances are I'll enter these swaps in an unofficial capacity- meaning I'll be crafting right along with everyone, without actually being responsible for finishing/sending anything by a certain day. But it's always nice to have a theme.

I guess they weren't kidding when they warned me they were addictive!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Sugar Skull Embroidery

I'm officially finished with all my swaps, and I'm taking a break! Sent off and received for the Dia De Los Muertos swap last week, expect pictures of all that goodness to come- in the meantime have a teaser: 

random free-hand sugar skull embroidery, that was becoming an applique at this stage. 
I think he's kinda cute. 

I'm noticing a pattern in my embroidery however, and that is a lack of a pattern or template of any kind. It's laziness really. To find a pattern I like, and then to transfer it onto the fabric, and then stitch it, all the while freaking out every time a teeny smudge of the transfer disappears. It's too many extra steps. I know my pieces would improve though if I used a pattern. 

What are your preferred transfer methods for embroidery? Or, are you like me and just go for it and hope it turns out ok? So far I've tried tracing a design over transfer paper (so messy! blue smudges everywhere!) and sketching a free-hand design with a fabric pen. Haven't yet explored the world of iron-on patterns, but I'll probably explore that next. 

Life has been so busy lately, I'm not allowing myself to sign up for any more swaps until July, or until the next Hoopla swap- whichever comes first. In the meantime, I may have to be selfish and make a few things for myself. We'll see. ;) 

Go and make things- W

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

When did it become June?

So, it's June already. How did that happen? Well with June comes the beginning of summer, though its been hot enough here for months.

But June brings other things as well, including the 30 Days of Creativity Challenge.

I have to say I'm intrigued by this, and very tempted to join in on the fun. The problem is I don't always have time every time to create something, and I feel like I can only count "dinner" so many times. The challenge starts today, and its after 6pm and this is the first chance I've had to even blog, let alone craft. Guess that's why they call it a challenge. :P

Well I may be starting late. But in the meantime, I bought a yard of this fabric for $2 over the weekend, but I still don't know what I want to make with it.

I really like it. I'm thinking something beachy or summery would be good, but I still haven't decided. Any one got any suggestions?

Friday, May 27, 2011

Weekend Update!

It's a long weekend! I can't tell you how excited I am to have Monday off, and I have lots of plans formulating for the weekend. Tonight the boy is taking me to dinner at a fabulous tapas place in town, as his way of apologizing for giving me plenty of extra craft time tonight leaving me all alone so he can hang with his boys. Saturday I have a wedding to attend, and Sunday and Monday will be filled with plenty of cookouts and time with family and friends.

What I'll be making:

I am loving this tutorial on starch method applique- makes it look so easy, and I definitely want to try it out

These necklaces make me want to learn how to crochet, but that will likely never happen. Looks like I'll be stalking her etsy store!

What I'll be eating:

A different take on egg nests/egg in a basket

something new to grill, WW friendly

What I'll be wearing:*

Really obsessed with prints like this right now

*This category should actually be titled, What I would be wearing if I had a lot of extra money/time to shop and/or sew

OK, and with that, I'm off to enjoy my long weekend!

Go and make things- W

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Can you guess?

Half of the time, I don't even know what I'm making.

Any guesses?

Here's some additional examples- unfinished of course. These designs don't go together, but they're all the same thing. sortof. Hoping to get them to a more finished product tonight, as I'll be at a special weeknight edition of CCC! (Can't figure it out? Theres an extra hint in the tags!)

I'll be using my awesome groupon at one of the fabric stores in town after work today. I get to pick out $60 of fabric and notions, so you can expect some shopping pictures up this week as well. I'm hoping to not get too distracted though, and I'm actually pretty excited about this current idea!

Here's hoping it all comes together.

Go and make things- W

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

What I Sent

Oh I've been neglectful. I have been running around like a mad person, fighting multiple illnesses and a crazy busy work week(or two) before making it back to all my crafty duties.

I'm still hard at work on my swap items for the Dia de Los Muertos Swap, hoping to finish on Thursday so I can mail Friday. Tuesday is the last day to mail, but thankfully I don't have too much left to do.

I did send all my goodies for the Fabric Scavenger Hunt Swap and my partner received, so I can share with you what I sent her:

A reversible sewing machine cover(left) to fulfill something cozy. For senders choice some fabric(top center) and for something green I sent four FQs with green in them(bottom center). Embroidery scissors on a necklace for something sharp(right), and fabric weights for something bumpy(right).

The sewing machine cover was tougher to make than I anticipated. I read a couple of tutorials on it, looked at a couple of patterns and thought, "please its two rectangles sewn together, how hard could that be?!" and then attempted to proceed without a plan, resulting in many errors. Thankfully all were fixable but I wasted a lot of time redoing things because I didn't have a step by step plan. It's still a super simple project, though, and I'm planning to make one for myself, probably with a tutorial for you, sharing all that I've learned. :)

As for the fabric I sent, you'll see some of that pop up later. I ordered a lot of it online and had to cut my own fat quarters, since most stores won't send them to you that way, so I saved a bit of it for myself. Especially excited about that tea pot fabric.

The package that she sent me in return was absolutely amazing! I've had the pictures on my camera for a while, so I still need to post them, but let me tell you, I was blown away! Everything was perfect for me, she clearly did her homework, and I was especially impressed with the neatness of her sewing, as that's still something I have to work really, really hard on. But that's for another post. In the meantime, I'll be hard at work making ________ and some coordinating _______ ______ for the Dia de los Muertos swap, and hoping I finish in time!

Go and make things -W

PS- go RIGHT NOW to Sew, Mama, Sew's blog page and check out the absolutely amazing giveaways happening all across the internet right now! They started Monday but most are open through Wednesday and some even through Friday. There's some really awesome stuff up for grabs!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Ode to A Tulip

Dear ugly lumpy blue thing on my much overdue spring themed embroidery,

I don't even know who you are anymore. You certainly didn't start out this way. First, you were a lotus flower, big and proud. But your petals looked like seaweed and you were a hideous orange color that didn't match. I ripped you out. Next, you became a cattail like plant, purple and green, matched perfectly with your twin on the other half of the hoop. But you were droopy and your constant pity party drew too much attention away from your flowery sisters. I ripped you out, too. Now, you are an ugly lumpy blue "tulip," and I hate you even more than your predecessors. You are not a tulip. You aren't even a flower. Your "petals" are lopsided ovals and there's an empty space where your stem should be. You obviously have no respect for personal space, the way you crowd the other flowers. You alone have been holding me back from completion, but I won't stand for it anymore. I will rip out your stitches, erase you from my memory and start again. In your place I will put a simple leaf, extending out from a nearby plant. And maybe then I will be finished. Please don't take this personally. The rose next to you could be next. It's clear I'm not meant to make pretty, happy things.



Friday, May 13, 2011

oh the huge manatee!

Life is so exhausting when you're a kitty. I've kindof felt like this all week, too. Work has been emotionally draining lately and by the time I get home theres no more room in my brain for creativity, only more nyquil.

But I am improving.

Today I sent off my Craftster package to my awesome awesome partner, and now get to play the waiting game until she gets it. I hope she likes everything, these swaps can be intimidating! As soon as she receives I'll post pictures of everything I sent (and what SHE sent!) I will give some clues in the meantime- the categories I fulfilled (we picked 5 out of 10) were:

something bumpy
something green
something cozy
something sharp
and sender's choice

the last one is kindof a freebie but I think she'll be ok with that.

Also I made the first item for my Dia De Los Muertos themed swap, but as my wonderful partner is now a follower of this blog (welcome!) there will be no hints! Starting on another item for her hopefully soon. Until then, I leave you with the following gratuitous cat photo, because I'm sickly and I can.

Monday, May 9, 2011

A couple things

1. Thor was excellent, I highly recommend it. Makes me excited for The Avengers, and I'm already thinking of some great fun things to stitch up from the movie. And Asgard was very pretty.
2. This design from Mr. X Stitch makes me want to try blackwork: (click the photo for a link)

Beefranck Series 004 - Oh Hai

3. Being sick and stuck in bed does not mean you get extra crafting time. (Though my next project is to craft Day of the Dead themed items, and I feel like death. So at least that's appropriate.)

4. I need to learn how to crochet so I can make this: (click the photo for a link)

That's all for now. I'll have a longer post in the week when I'm feeling better, but for now my bed and a cup of tea are calling me.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Weekend Update

Things I want/need/should do this weekend:

Work on my last knitted potholder
Craft something for Mother's Day (oops!)
Finish my swap on craftster
Get some quality couch time with my boyfriend and cat
Celebrate not one, but THREE friend's birthdays
Sleep in

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Taking out my frustrations

I have been really fed up with embroidery the last couple of days. A while ago I started working on a couple of mini hoops just sitting in front of the tv, working with the supplies I had right in front of me. I free handed them, expecting to just kill a little time and keep my hands busy. For whatever reason, I ended up being really inspired and worked on them diligently, loving the outcome. For a while anyway.

Now everything I stitch I pull right back out. Nothing looks right and the most frustrating part is it's not the stitches themselves, it's the design. I guess that's my punishment for not planning ahead.

So I've temporarily abandoned them for some knitting, in addition to the projects I made for my swap partner on Craftster (to be revealed at a later date). It's been therapeutic to feel the work progress in my hands as it grows, and working with a totally different color palette will hopefully help the creative juices flow once more. If not, I can always waste several hours a day on Pinterest.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Button Mania

Lately I have been completely and totally obsessed with buttons.

I don't really have a button collection, but I'm interested in changing that very very soon. There are some seriously amazing things that people are creating/embellishing with buttons.

This is made entirely out of buttons. How cool is that?!
I've been browsing a new blog, Bonkers About Buttons. As the name suggests it is full of amazing button related projects, and even some tutorials, which is always a plus. Now, while I'm dying to make my own incredible button mosaic, some of the other projects on the blog have me inspired for Mother's Day.

My grandmother collected buttons that now my mother collects. This year for Mother's Day I'd love to make her something that honors both her and her own mother using or displaying some of the more special buttons. Here's some ideas that caught my eye from flickr and craftster.

There were other button shapes I found as well. Hearts and bunnies and a million others, but I think I like the tree the best so far, unless I can think of another image that means something
special to my mom or grandma. The image on the left is part of a button book. I love that idea too!

Got any other creative ideas?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Feast your eyes...

...on my haul from Crafty Feast! I really wanted to photograph and blog the whole thing, but there was so much wind and rain I kinda just had to run through and pick up a few of the things I had my eye on.

love love love these cute tiny earrings from 17 Dove Street! My girlfriend and I could have spent an hour or more looking at all the different colors of earrings and bobby pins they had. Resin is a craft medium I have never mastered, so I'm always in awe of all the teeny little details on stuff like this. Plus, these were only $8! I've been wearing them almost every day since I got them, probably going to have to order another pair.

This tote bag from Not Made In China is my favorite purchase of the day, and one of my favorites from the day overall. I love the phrase thats printed on the bag. They also make pocket mirrors, bottle openers and magnets, and I couldn't resist picking up this one:

What can I say, I'm a sucker for puns. She had local themed choices as well which were all hilarious but somehow too realistic/close to home for me to buy.

I wanted to pick up A LOT of other stuff, but I had to draw the line somewhere. Plus I'm told most of the vendors have online stores as well, so I'm not totally out of luck if I remmember something that I can't live without.

I love browsing craft shows/fairs to see what kinds of awesome things people are making. There was so much variety this year, I can't believe how much its grown! Even the boyfriend browsed with me for a little bit when he wasn't trolling the city for stores participating in Record Store Day.

He even brought me a little freebie!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Mailbox Love

Look at what I got!!!

OK, so I'm guessing you don't care so much about my embarrassing obsession with teen fantasy novels, but what might interest you is this:

Hooray it's here! I've been borrowing my mom's stitch dictionary for so long I decided to get my own. This is a pretty good one so far. I do wish it explained a little more *how* to do some of the stitches, but regardless it is a handy reference tool, especially when you want to play with texture and need some inspiration.

I also like the thread explanation at the beginning of the book, as I'm pretty loyal to the standard dmc cross stitch floss, but am looking to branch out and try something new.
I already started practicing some new (and relearning a few old) stitches:

I'm obviously still struggling with french knots :p

Monday, April 11, 2011


The 30 Rock sampler is finally finished! Check it out:

My boyfriend and I loved the quote when we saw it on 30 Rock embroidered onto a pillow in Jack Donaghey's office:

Didn't want to make a pillow, however, so went with a snarky sampler style project instead. I am actually really proud of this. I wanted to design and stitch this project from start to finish, so I even charted my own script alphabet based on a font I liked. Here's a close up on the design across the top and bottom of the quote:

I also like that the design and color scheme makes this look almost traditional at first glance. Can't wait to pick out a frame for it this weekend and hang it up on the wall. 

Friday, April 8, 2011

All Work and No Play

OK, maybe some play. I've been dying to bust out the sewing machine this week thanks to oodles of pretty spring fabric I've been eyeing from my stash. When it comes to sewing projects though, I'm mostly drawn to small-ish things that I can finish in an evening or a weekend, generally while parked in front of the TV. I needed a new fun little something to stitch up- here's what I ended up with:

It's a skinny little wallet, or (and this is totally what I intend to use mine for) a business card holder! I got coordinating fat quarters from the fabric store and some lightweight interfacing and went to town.
This is the outside. Then I decided to modify a little and created a different version:

This one just has the one pocket, and the fabrics for the outside and pocket are reversed. I also used more interfacing on this one to make it a little more sturdy, which I definitely prefer.

On the next one I'd like to add some elastic and loop it around a button so that the folding wallet will stay closed and you can use it for additional things. I can make three or four of these guys (depending on if you go big or small) with just two fat quarters, so its a great stashbusting project as well.

I think they are pretty darn cute, and I definitely plan to make some more, especially since they are done start to finish in about half an hour. Can't beat that!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Cake Pops! (finally)

OK So I know this isn't a baking or cooking blog, but I just feel like I have to share the cake pops I made last weekend week. I'll justify it to myself with the excuse that I took them to our last impromptu craft/movie night, and they were totally easy and delicious!

I'll start with the recipe I used, which is pretty much exactly the same as every other recipe I've seen for them, including on the Bakerella website, which I'm told is responsible for the phenomenon to begin with.

1 box of cake mix (I used vanilla)
1 tub of buttercream frosting
chocolate to melt for the outside (I used dark chocolate candy melts from the craft store)
popsicle sticks
wax paper

that's it. seriously.

I baked the cake according to the directions and let it cool completely.

normally the cake looking like this after flipping it onto the wire cooling rack would be cause for concern, but the next step is to crumble the cake up completely, so I wasn't worried.

I mixed in just about the entire container of frosting and let it chill in the fridge for a while, which makes it much easier to roll into little balls.

And then I rolled. and rolled. and rolled. Be warned you'll need to rinse your hands every 5th cake ball or so, otherwise it all sticks to your hands and the cake won't roll properly and you'll get really frustrated.

Once you have all your little balls, chill again. The picture shows them in the fridge, but I cheated this time and put mine in the freezer.  I was getting impatient. But its important for them to be chilled for a couple hours or as long as you can stand, or you'll have problems with the next step.

um... please ignore the really pathetic selection of food in my fridge

Then I stuck popsicle sticks in each one and melted the chocolate, adding a little bit of paraffin wax to smooth it out a little more, and in retrospect I could have used even more than I did.

Here's the stuff I used, candy melts and short popsicle sticks I got at the craft store. Next time, I will probably use regular chocolate chips, I just prefer the flavor.

I used a double boiler to melt the chocolate and this is 100% what I recommend. Candy melts say you can use the microwave and that's true, but unless you're pouring into a mold right away and don't need the chocolate to stay melted for long, the double boiler is really much easier and there's less of a chance of overheating the chocolate.

I dipped each ball into the chocolate, using a spoon in some cases to help get it on the top. Since this was my first try I wasn't overly concerned with how they look, I just wanted to make something that was edible and presentable.

my attempt at an artsy cake pop shot

I put them right back on the wax paper and chilled them quickly to let the chocolate harden back. Again, I'm impatient and I wanted to eat a few one. After that though they can and should be stored at room temperature. I lined mine up on my favorite carrying tray and headed over to craft night!

They were pretty popular! I'll definitely be making them again sometime, perhaps being more ambitious and subbing in a favorite from scratch cake recipe now that I know they'll turn out. I'm also tempted to sub in something else for the frosting that's a little healthier, like pudding, but I don't think its sticky enough to keep the cake together. I'll have to brainstorm!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Procrastinating and Pretty Fabric

OK, I clearly need to stop promising upcoming topics on this. This is the third time I've failed to deliver what I intended to blog about.

Last time I promised tales and photos of my first experience making cake pops, which was actually successful and pretty easy and stress free. I took pictures the entire time, and last week I even wrote the blog post in advance, thinking I'd just upload the pictures and add then in the appropriate places when I was ready.

And then a week went by. No uploaded pictures, no blog post. Why? I hate uploading photos. Normally I take blurry and awful pictures on my phone and upload them immediately to the blog and it's simple and easy. But these pictures generally kinda suck.

This time I decided to use my actual camera. Which means I have to pull out the memory card and put them on my computer. And then from the computer to the internet. And from the internet to the blog. Obviously this still hasn't happened. But I haven't given up, some time soon I will get around to uploading those darn photos.

In the meantime, check out this freaking adorable and amazing fabric I just bought from Sew, Mama, Sew!

A good bit of their fabric is on sale right now, so you should consider snatching some up before its all gone! You can purchase in 1/4 incriments or even buy some pre-cut fat quarters of select fabrics. Got a couple projects I want to try out soon, can't wait to get this and some of the other stuff I purchased in the mail.

Next Time: HAH. I don't think so. lesson learned.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Shopping Trip!

Last Thursday I had a little too much fun. The sale section at Michael's is always a little dangerous for me. Here are a few of the things I found and picked up:

I'm pretty excited about these. Stretched canvas with awesome designs already around the edge. Could easily stitch something in the center, and most of the work is done for you! The designs are the fuzzy felt/velvet similar to what you find on the posters I used to color as a kid. They had a couple different colors and designs, though I'm told these have been here for a while and may not be available anymore. $2 each

Pretty scented soap!

This will be the perfect addition to those washcloths I knitted not too long ago, though I'll probably change the paper to something that matches a little better. $1

Also going in the washcloths will be:

A monogram towel/whatever hook!
The one on the left is the one that actually has the hook and hanging parts already attached, but I like the look of the one on the right so much better. They were only $1 each so I got them both and I'll just move the hanging equipment and hook to the other wooden letter and wrap it in some pretty yarn.

There were countless other cute sale items but I had to show some restraint. Plus I had a baking experiment to work on over the weekend, so I didn't want to get too distracted. Once I get those photos added I'll be detailing my experience with these tasty noms:

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Introducing Alabaster Farnsworth

No St. Patty's Day crafts for me this year. After working on that dang zombie I never want to see the color green again. Instead, I'll be showing you something so terrible, so gruesome that words can't even decribe!

My what big teeth you have! Actually, they're quite small. I had a lot of fun making this guy at our last CCC night.

One of the ladies got the template from online somewhere, and several of us got caught up in the cuteness and neglected our other projects for our own little felt monster. It was quick and easy too, with good results- my favorite kind of craft. I'm thinking of making another one for the cat with a little surprise nip inside, but maybe I'll make hers a fish.

I'm hard at work on a snarky sampler with a 30 Rock theme- look for some progress photos sometime next week!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

What are YOU doing at work today?

Lately I've traded in my teeny tiny stitches for some slightly bigger ones:

I am IN LOVE with this yarn color. Blues and yellows and greens, its the definition of spring! I know New England is still getting snow and a variety of winter mixes weather wise, but down south things are warming up and the pollen is in full force.

Seriously these pictures don't do it justice. The colors are so bright! It's Lily Sugar N Cream- Summer Prints
Work is unusually slow so far this week, and so I'm taking the opportunity to get caught up on some reading (this series is addictive!) and do some knitting/crafting. A friend made us all wash clothes which she gifted with quite possible the most amazing smelling soap I've ever owned as a Christmas gift, and since then I've been itching to give them a go. Then last week another friend showed me ones that she'd been working on, then my swap partner (more about this later) on Craftster said she was making them too, and I simply couldn't take it any more.

I'm not much for following a pattern when knitting, but I decided as long as I stayed in my familiar square or rectangle format I might make it through. I found this pattern on Ravelry (an amazing site, BTW) and so far I can't believe how simple it is! Not to mention I LOVE the practicality of this project. I have a feeling I'll be addicted to these babies for quite some time.