Stitch Floral Snowflake Mandala

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:)

Smallest Forest

This post is late and is really a memorial for an artist that I’ve been following for a few years, Nat at The Smallest Forest. I also want to honor her friends who took up her mantle.

I discovered her through an annoying news article – in my eyes, the “journalist” invaded her privacy by scouring her personal art blog to find juicy details for his/her story about Nat’s significant other (who was part of a sailing rescue). I was appalled by that rude act, sent her a note of commiseration, and found her art to be so beautiful that she immediately joined my other favorites in feedly. When she posted with excited trepidation about starting a Patreon page, I knew I wanted to support her. She is the only person I have supported in this way so it was a big deal for me, and I justified it by buying her subscription for Boy – her monthly letters were about exciting new places so I thought it would be fun for him to get a mini vacation in the mail since he can’t ever go anywhere himself.

Her first letter was delayed, and she apologized for it and shared her struggle with a personal issue. No worries or ill feels; life happens and I knew she needed to take care of herself. I think every supporter sent on kind words of encouragement. The letter, when it did arrive, was fascinating from the envelope to the story inside, and Boy really enjoyed it.

The second letter didn’t come as scheduled, but I wasn’t concerned. Art cannot be rushed and if she was still dealing with issues, those certainly outweighed any concern of mine about getting something in the mail. As the months passed, however, I popped back onto Patreon and discovered another supporter’s comment to the group. She also had been wondering about things and discovered the quite likely possibility that Nat had passed away. In shock, I googled what I could to prove or disprove this stranger’s comment. Sadly, she seemed to have been correct.

Therefore, I was quite surprised when one day a second letter showed up in the mailbox. Maybe we were wrong about her passing? I wish I could say so.

As we opened the letter and found an additional note to explain its delay, we both felt loss for someone whom we’ve never met. A group of her artist friends completed the last round of letters Nat had been working on and sent them on to us. There is so much love and honor in that, my heart wants to explode every time I think of it. 

Needle Felted Christmas Pickle

I needle felted a Christmas pickle! I realize not everyone knows what that is, so let me explain. My MIL introduced me to this concept many years ago, which is apparently German-American, though I don’t think I ever heard anyone in my family using the tradition. Online rumor has several reasons why the tradition started, but my favorite is that the pickle gets hidden somewhere in the tree on Christmas morning, and the first to spot it gets a special little gift; this is meant to prompt admiration of all the ornaments and shift the focus away from all the shiny presents. I just happen to love dill pickles so I approve of this regardless of the reason! :D

I needle felted some green wool and tried to shape a little wonky dill; for my second needle felting trial (see the first here), I think I did alright! I added some colonial knots to represent the little prickly things. Then I cut out some wool felt and embroidered simple designs using gold metallic floss to mimic the classic ornament top. 

Yay, pickles!