Meant to Bean

My friend got married in October and I missed the deadline – even though work began in April! They set up a webpage for the wedding information with the tagline “Meant to Bean” (it makes sense for them) so that was obviously part of my inspiration. My friend also used a custom puzzle to propose, hence the shape.

I used a combination of embroidery stitches (namely woven roses and colonial knots, but also some back stitching on the fall leaves and to tack down the vines), buttons, sequins of varying shape, beads (round and leaf-shaped), scrapbooking paper flowers and leaves, and jewelry items (#bestdayever and floral beads). 

This project was actually restarted multiple times, if I am being honest. Mostly, I think, because of the size. I tried a large round hoop and also stretcher bars, but I wasn’t getting the fabric stretched well. In this final iteration, I basted a stiffer interfacing with a lot of stitching rows because I was super over the distortion problem. Grr! Then, instead of trying to get it all inside a hoop, I only used a hoop for the stitching of “Meant to Bean” (chain stitch with rayon variegated thread) and carefully freehanded the rest.

As far as pulling it all together, that is an experiment that I hope holds up to the test of time! I didn’t stop to take photos but I will describe what I did. I found wooden puzzle cutouts and glued them together. I cut the fabric to be a little larger than the puzzle pieces so that I was able to wrap the edge around (clipping along curves as needed) and used thread to snug the fabric tight against the wood by lacing it back and forth. Then I glued a large sheet of felt to cover the backside.

I also wanted to edge the piece somehow, so I once again dug out the copper trim I’ve used in other projects. I tested a short length of it on fabric and it holds remarkably well! So, I went ahead and used it here. I love that it is subtle but wow, the difference before and after is intense! I wish I had taken a photo to share. In fact, the copper was something known from the start, which helped me choose the overall color palette itself. Though, I must also admit the added teal blues were an afterthought but it really pops!

I’ve added a way to hang it on the wall and it is now in possession by the newly weds. Congrats guys! :D


Milk Glass Pin Cushion

I don’t remember where I scored this milk glass dish, which I think is an Indiana pedestal candy dish with a daisy design, but I could not part with it. I don’t eat candy, and had no idea what to do with it, so it just sat in a closet for years. One day, a blog I followed posted about egg cup pin cushions (I would link here, but I can’t seem to relocate it). I loved this idea – vintage dishes with a modern remake, and so simple!

Alas, I do not have egg cups, and I am generally not the type of gal to go buy things. I use what I have, because, truly, I have so much already. But then, as I had to move my sweet milk glass dish out of the way to reach something else, the idea returned to me in a flash. So, on Christmas day, I treated myself to some sewing-for-me and without looking at a pattern (because #me), I figured out the way I wanted to go about doing it. It was pure felicity and serendipity that my gramma had just recently given me some cardboard circle templates that were exactly the right size. I didn’t take any photos of the process, but I want to remember how I did this so here goes.

My idea for this was to have a removable pin cushion that would hide a compartment beneath it, so I needed to make a little dome that would fit snugly in the top of the dish.

I basically cut a circle about an inch and a half larger than the dish opening. This, I ran a running stitch around the edge to bunch it up a little and stuffed with regular stuffing (if I had had anything else, I would have used it instead). I slipped a cardboard circle in, tightened up the fabric and stuffed around an edge until I was satisfied with the stiffness of the dome, then I secured my thread. I wanted the dome to be really sturdy, and survive a possible tea-spill someday in the future, so since I had extra circles on hand, I added another one on the bottom. However, first, I used an awl to poke a big hole in the center of the dome (fabric, stuffing, circle – all of it). On the second circle, I poked two holes near the center. Then, using a tapestry needle, I inserted a small strip of grossgrain ribbon up through one of those (keeping about an inch of tail rather than tying a knot), through the hole in the dome, and out of the fabric. I placed a pin across the dome to fold the ribbon over, assuring that when I took the needle back down into the cardboard, a loop the size I wanted would remain. It wasn’t easy, and Boy helped me with pliers. Then I tightened the ribbon up until the loop was stiffly standing on its own, and I glued the two tails of ribbon to the second cardboard circle.

On a third circle, I wrapped some felt (cut about a quarter-inch larger) around it and laced it back and forth until I had a nicely covered base. I used a paintbrush to apply glue to secure it to the middle cardboard. Then I hid tiny little stitches all the way around, connecting the felted third layer to the fabric dome. Because I wanted this dome to be removable, I wanted it to also look pretty on its own, so I tacked on a little bit of trim as well.

I am over the moon with this little idea! I should share a before and after scene of my craft room because when it’s clean, it’s clean, but when I craft, it is like a toy section at the mall after a troop of misbehaving unsupervised toddlers camped out for a year. It’s bad. I lose my things so easily and am always super annoyed for cleanup because I have bits of thread and whatnot all over the place, clinging to everything, mixing in with good thread pieces. Ugh, I can’t stand it! You’ve heard me say before I’ve tried organizational methods, from a big tray to this awesome book box (can confirm; is awesome), but I’m still so undisciplined, it’s near shameful. I made a little ORT bag (“old ratty threads” – the little pink-bottomed red bag in this post) but it doesn’t do it for me – I lose it just as easily because it’s soft and gets smashed by things, and also clings to good threads when I push everything around in a flurry so I don’t use it much anymore. This candy dish? Firmly unsquishable, unclingable, and rises above the chaos. As you can see, I began training myself whilst making the project!

Now I have my eye out on all kinds of lovely dishes I could transform!


Pretty Birds Flamingo

While I still had Pretty Birds laying around, I made a flamingo. I wanted to see how goofy the long legs would be. Instead of using just fabric, I stuffed each leg with two pipecleaners; I love how they turned out with this trick!

It isn’t too noticeable, but because I shrank the pattern down to roughly 70% and used felt, I had a heck of a time turning the head out through the neck. It tugged the felt more than I would have liked, so lesson learned! I must think more critically when shrinking pattern sizes.

The embroidery isn’t included in the pattern; I just decided to dress it up a bit. I gave this one to my mother-in-law since she enjoys beach-y things. She also really liked the cardinal I made, but didn’t win it in the ornament swap.