A while back I was at a discount bookstore and picked up a book by Virginia Lindsay, Pretty Birds. It has very simple patterns to make a range of different little birds and was just the thing I needed to find an idea for the handmade ornament exchange my embroidery guild hosts. Since it is a winter holiday, I chose her cardinal bird and downsized it to 75%.
Don’t tell anyone, but I couldn’t find two buttons that looked like eyes, and that were the right size, and that matched… Really, though, if someone notices, it just adds to the handmade effect, no? :)
To dress up the wings, I added some rows of stacked fly stitches in a chunky pearl cotton.
I have a few ideas on how I might change this bird if I were to do it again. That is my real joy in making – always trying new ideas. People constantly tell me “you could sell these!” but tell me, where is the fun in that? Making the same thing over and over is a superbly boring idea to me. Let us not forget, too, that almost everything you see here is someone else’s pattern.
I know it will look great against an evergreen tree limb, though! I hope it’s new owner enjoys it:)
I made some more mini felt cacti (see the originals here, and my last round here). I needed a gift and it never makes sense to only make one since they are pretty easy so I was experimenting with a few options.
You’ll notice I tried painting the terra cotta pots. One includes the copper strip I have used before (once on a cactus, and also on my needlepoint V). I like the thickness and shine of house paint more than the acrylics I’ve used. It is also more fun to very their sizes. And, I dug out some scrapbooking supplies to add paper flower elements.
If you live in a place with actual cacti, you might see the obvious fact that I don’t really know anything about them and I just make mine to look cute. Which ones have big flowers, or small flowers, or fruit melons? I don’t know and didn’t care enough to google for facts. But, I did recall seeing cacti that look like little pickles attached to each other so I tried something to get that effect out of this type. I like the new design much better and I am always pleased that every rendition of these things gets cooler and cooler!
Amina at Stitch Floral graciously posted a free pattern she calls Snowflake Mandala. It looked Scandinavian to me, so I decided to try it in a bold red. I love how it turned out, so thank you very much, Amina!
I chose a tea towel as my base and hid the back stitches by adding a sharp matching red ground cloth that doubled as binding.
I think it turned out beautifully, and the design really lends itself to your own interpretation in stitch choices and color combinations. I tried to follow her design for the most part, but here are the stitches I chose: satin (diamond-like points and central circle), straight stitches couched at their intersection (every other flower), stem stitch (straight lines and flower outlines), and chain stitch (leaves, big and small).
I will be giving it to my friend to sell in her Scandinavian shop (with Amina’s permission, of course). I might not see the fun in making things with the sole purpose of selling them, especially because I know as a crafter I will never get paid a worthy wage for the time it takes, but I do appreciate the arrangement where I can test new ideas and recoup a little loss here and there:)