ribbon candy ornament

My MIL and I attended our first embroidery guild meeting in March. The project for the meeting was a ribbon candy ornament by Calico Crossroads using perforated paper. I hadn’t heard of such a thing! But, I signed up for it and worked on it here and there since. Mostly, I did so when I was waiting for the rain to stop in Zelda: Breath of the Wild (❤️).

It was quite monotonous and not my favorite: it uses so much thread, and only about two inches gets done within 45 minutes! (I didn’t time it, but that’s how long the TV show is that I used to get me through when I wasn’t playing Link.)

I did mess up here and there: to make it double-sided, you must make each slash twice before moving on to the counter-slash that forms the “X” or cross (also making that one twice). Sometimes I forgot if I had done only one, or already two. And the backside is a bit messier because I did not always catch my tails neatly, as you can see in the above photo.

It’s sewn paper – hello! I cringe at the thought of what will become of this piece of paper in the years to come! In the end though, for now, I have a dangly ornament that matches my craft room. And, I did finally perfect the double-stitch, so there is that!

cat + toilet paper

I have two cats. Sasha is the kitten of the family, and her spunky personality often gets her into trouble. Maya, three years older, is like a little old lady cat, prim and proper, and she rarely does anything wrong. The one thing she does (and Sasha actually doesn’t!) is eat the toilet paper. We have two bathrooms, but one rarely gets used unless guests are over, so that toilet paper was never safe (we can hear her usually going at it in the other bathroom to yell at her). Sometimes, we’d discover an entire roll had been unwound, with her little nibbles all along the side. Yikes!

I eventually decided I had had enough of that, and just kept it in the bottom drawer. However, nice guests thought we had just ran out and restocked it, or they were too polite to poke around and dealt with tissues rather than discovering where the TP was (since I did not always think to let new guests know). If it went restocked, the TP enjoyed a short adventurous life. If it went unstocked, I felt like a jerk for not mentioning it. So, I came up with this ugly idea:

That worked, but I wanted something much more awesome. And a bit explanatory. Eventually, I came across this image (which may or may not have originated here):

For the record, we did try hanging the roll the other way, but she just tore into it, the little bugger! So, I took that image, photoshopped it, added some words, and embroidered this:

I added some home decor fabric to the back to give it some heft.

And then sewed it around a roll to have the proper size. Dare I say, it looks so much better than the original! And, my guests get a kick out of it, too:)

cross stitch bunny

So in yesterday’s post, I mentioned that the embroidery guild gave us a needle book and a pattern to make a bunny on the cover. Well, ta da!

I added my own little details: french knots in the top and bottom border, eye, and nose; a two-color vertical line at the spine; and rather than long stitches, I made some Turkey work for a puffy tail (I learned how in the Craftsy Stumpwork class videos).

[P.S. I no longer have Aperture for photo editing, (thank you Apple – NOT!)  and to be frank, I have not had a chance to learn more than the very introductory basics inside the replacement, Lightroom. Aperture had a handy auto “quick fix” feature that I haven’t located yet in the new program (fingers crossed it is there somewhere!), hence the somewhat less than stellar images of late. I just cannot get myself to care about photography or real photo editing – I miss my auto button, bah!]

cross stitch 101

One of the things I’ve done this year is sign up for some creative classes. Craftsy was offering a buy-one-get-one event in January so I enrolled in my first two: Embroidering Texture and Dimension by Hand with Sue Spargo and Stumpwork: Raised Embroidery Essentials with Celeste Chalasani. I like to only work on one major project at a time (otherwise my life would be chaos) so I started with Sue’s but it is still a work-in-progress so I will have to share that with you later.

In the meantime, I found a somewhat local embroidery guild, Needle Artisans of Northwest Indiana, and they happened to have a free cross stitch class at my county library this last weekend so I asked my MIL to go with me (she’s done cross stitch for a good chunk of her life but is interested in what the Guild itself might offer). I have never tried cross stitch because I am self-taught and thought cross stitch might be too… uncompromising? Additionally, a lot of the patterns are boxy and though pixelated images are in vogue now since Minecraft and whatnots, it just isn’t my style. Yet, I do appreciate and adore antique cross stitch, so there’s my conundrum for ya.

I was very pleased with the event! The library had some books set aside related to cross stitch and embroidery. There were two table areas set up; one for members who brought projects to work on during the class (a nice variety!), and one for the class itself. They had several volunteers acting as teachers for us newbies and ran through the basics of needles, threads, cross stitch fabrics, and tricks. There was a third table set up with show-and-tell projects, too, so we could see some finished handiwork.

I was not sure I would learn much other than whether I liked cross stitching (cross stitch seems rather simple and I know about threads and whanot through embroidery) but it is so true you can learn something new every day! I learned three things that is ridiculous I never knew. First, I’ve been separating threads wrong my whole life! I always peeled them apart, like a Twizler pull-n-peel (and mumble at the occasionally knot). Instead, you just grab one, and hold the rest between forefinger and thumb as you gently pull. Duh! The other thing I learned is that the thread brand I use most, DMC, tags one of the paper loops with a handy little symbol (pun intended!) so you know which end to pull from so as to avoid knotting it up. And last, I don’t need to make knots, because I can just capture the tails under my other stitches. Why did I not know these things?!

The guild provided us printed directions, fabric, thread, tapestry needle and wooden needle case, and a baggie to take it all home in (each table also had scissors and a metal needle threader for us to borrow). We began learning with this tiny little “I like you” balloon image which I adore because it is something Boy and I often say to each other.

We were given a choice of needle book size, small or large, for a bunny pattern. I picked the large one to get more practice since the smaller one would not fit the border. I am working on it now.

On top of that, there was a pile of free sample kits to choose from when we finished. I chose these little picnic ants and finished it the same day, on our way to Chinatown (my brother was in town so my husband and I went with him and our Chinese friend for the Lantern Festival).

Overall, I was quite delighted and will probably become a member even though they aren’t located as conveniently as I would like. Their mission is focused on education, and that’s what I want out of it! There are two local area shops they mentioned, as well as a convention happening this spring in Chicago. Super excited to see where this takes me!

O hoop

As I mentioned last time, I purchased my first pattern off of etsy from KnottyDickens and printed it directly to the fabric via a short tutorial at NeedlenThread. I never intended to stitch the phrase on it, so before I printed it, I edited the image and made the center blank. My first go was just to be a test; then, if it worked, I was going to find a cool font and use a phrase I liked. I hadn’t spent much time deciding what that would be because I was a little doubtful of the magic I was hoping for.

It worked though, and brilliantly, I must say! And so I began stitching immediately. Only about half-way through did I realize, oops, I should have printed this out on a separate piece of fabric with a phrase to follow. Of course, I could always do it the old school way and trace the words onto it, or just simply write them in my own handwriting. But I came to really appreciate the lack of words. And, for reasons untold, an elaborate O just seemed to fit, so I’ve decided to leave it as is.

I don’t know where I will hang it, so for now it is on a temporary hook. Thank you, 3M! (Disclaimer: 3M has no idea I exist.)