Wednesday, December 12, 2012

"Børk! Børk! Børk!"

No pictures at the moment, but some to come soon.

  We've been pretty busy. I'll be able to talk about it next week but it's hush-hush at the moment. In the mean time, we're working hard to get things ready for our upcoming Christmas party. We're hosting a white elephant gift exchange which should be fun. Neither of us have ever attended one, but I hear they are fun and  would love to make it an annual tradition. I was able to score some extra tree trimmings for free at a local Christmas tree farm so I've spent the last two afternoon making garlands for around the house. Total cost $1.99 for some floral wire at Joann's, plus the cost of the hooks to hang them from. I made a paper angel last night and cut out the aluminum shapes for my embossed Dala horses. They'll be going on the taper candles.

I signed up for a sock making class. (knitting). Holy moly four needles take some getting used to. I'm waiting to hear if I can get a rain check on the next class. I bit off more than I can chew in the last two weeks and my  sock project has been deemed  "lowest priority". I'm also working on a knit scarf for a Christmas gift and have plans to crochet a couple of pairs of fingerless gloves.  But first, beaded earrings and and a Christmas party, as the earrings will be going to a party guest.

For the party, we're going to have a Scandinavian smorgasbord in one room and all of the desserts and sweet treats in another. I've not made most of these recipes before, so keep your fingers crossed for me!

The way I see it.... If I serve enough glogg, the food won't matter.  Happy Holidays!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Chicken scratch table cloth

As usual, I'm playing catch up. The good news is that despite my absence online, I've actually been finishing up some projects.
  We've had a busy couple of months. We have a horrible drainage problem in our back yard. We put in a french drain a year or so ago but that provided little help. Unfortunately  our yard doesn't slope towards the drain so it continues to pool in the center of the back lawn.  So, we ripped out the grass, built a small retaining wall, brought in 20 cubic yards of soil and created a slope towards the drain. (whew!) We also relocated the vegetable gardens on to the back patio so that we could get the dirt delivered as close to the back yard as possible. It was a much more laborious and expensive undertaking than we anticipated. Isn't that always the case though?  The grass is finally coming in (albeit a bit unevenly), and we under-planted with crocus bulbs so it should look pretty in the Spring. In the mean time, Autumn is in full swing here and everything is just gorgeous at the moment!
  But back on topic... Chicken Scratch Embroidery
Chicken scratch table cloth, from "Embroidery Companion" by Alicia Paulson

I loved the Chicken Scratch Shelf Edging in Alicia Paulson's "Embroidery Companion". Unfortunately I'm not lucky enough to have open shelves that I can show them off on, so I opted instead to make a table cloth for my pre-schooler's little table.
  I knew that I wasn't going to have a lot hanging over the edge so I made the table cloth as wide as the fabric. I just counted the squares across, and then counted the same number across the other way and trimmed my fabric, making sure that I had a white square in the center.  I worked from the center out and stopped when I got close to the edge. What I then noticed was that I couldn't line the motifs up perfectly in the corner. (sigh).  I ended up stitching a simple, smaller motif where the sides lined up and I'm pleased with how it turned out.
Chicken scratch table cloth.

    I liked working with the gingham fabric, and loved that I didn't have to transfer a pattern. This was also a very affordable project. DMC floss is less than 50 cents, and I used my Joann's coupon to purchase the fabric. Anya was excited to see it finished but it is rarely on her table. She's decided it makes a much better "princess cape".
   So, there you go.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Blue Dandelion Felted Bag, a Clare Youngs Design

I finished making the "blue dandelion felted bag" in Clare Youngs book "Scandinavian Needlecraft." I'm pretty pleased, although I did make a few changes.
The embroidery was pretty straight forward. I used Dritz Tracing Paper to transfer the design on to a piece of felt. I then embroidered it with navy blue DMC embroidery floss. The embroidery design calls for using bullion knots, daisy stitch,whipped backstitch, detached chain stitch, chain stitch and backstitch. Instructions for all of the stitches used can be found in the book.

The bag is not rectangular in nature. It's a trapezoid.  Prior to embroidering the dandelion I drew my initial pattern on a piece of freezer paper, ironed it to the fabric and then cut it out. I was worried about my symmetry and things not lining up. To combat that I used my initial piece of embroidered fabric as a template. I just stacked everything up, set the first piece of felt on top and then used a rotary cutter to cut them out.  

When it comes to sewing, I'm a novice. This is the first bag that I've made that included a lining and handles. I'm pleased with how it came out but as usual I did make a few changes. These are the changes that I made.
  The pattern calls for two 19x1.5 inch pieces of blue suede for the handles. I have no idea where to shop for suede so instead I used some navy ultrasuede. Ultrasuede is expensive so I purchased the smallest amount that I could. 1/8 yard. Fortunately it was a long piece of fabric. I cut the appropriate pieces for the bag but I did not at all like how it stitched together. Instead, I folded what was left in half (wrong sides together) so that I had a crease along the center of the strip. I opened it up and then folded the edges (also wrong sides together) towards the center so that the edges met in the middle along the crease. I then folded it half again so that the center crease was along one edge and the folded edges were along the opposite edge. I was unable to pin it, so I held it together with clothes pins until I could get it stitched down both sides. I have fabric to make a second bag and I'll try to have the forethought to get pictures of that step the next go round.
  The result was a nice thick, suede like handle. I didn't have enough fabric to make the handles as long as the pattern indicated. My handles are also thinner, but I think it worked out ok.
  For the liner, the pattern calls for folding over a small double hem and then slip stitching the lining into place. Instead, I followed the instructions for the stortotget bag on the following page. I then top stitched around the top edge.

This is going to be one of my project bags. I've always got a handful of "works in progress" projects lying around the house. Now I have someplace cute to store one of them!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

What a long week. I'm currently having a ton of issues with my websites. I can't seem to upload photos to any of them, with the exception of this one.  I'm sure Geek will sort it out soon enough, but we're on opposite schedules. With limited time together we have to prioritize what gets done. We got our official, but gentle hand slap from the HOA reminding us to get rid of the moss on the roof. So Geek spent his last day off up on the roof brushing off moss and applying the Moss Out . Boy were we tempted to just go the Tide route. To reward ourselves for his hard work, we went to the zoo

because Kitty hadn't seen the seals yet, and that's more important than web stuff.
We stopped to see some of the big kitties too. We didn't know it at the time, but I think this picture was taken the day after the lion tried to eat that baby dressed like a zebra.  Same zoo I think.
Instead, we got photos of Kitty feeding the Lorikeets. Not as exciting, but she was pretty happy about it.

My garden is blooming and the sun was out when we got home so I didn't get much done inside the house. Kitty had a fun time building a huge birds nest in the middle of the back porch though.
   I also spent a good portion of Monday on the phone with our internet/telly/and phone provider trying to figure out why they pulled $250  out of our checking account. We're used to something more in the $119 range, so color me grumpy. I guess there was a price increase. Needless to say, we've got someone coming out tomorrow to hook us up with a new provider.
  I have gotten some projects done though. I made two pairs of earrings and
finished an embroidered bag, an embroidered laundry bag and am most of the way done with a third bag. I hope to have photos of them tomorrow along with the embroidered table cloth for Kitty's table.
  Busy, busy week.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

border Throw, from Clare Youngs' book "Scandinavian Needlecraft"
Valentine's blanket
Under the needle category...
I finally finished my Valentine's Blanket. I hit a few snafu's so it ended being a birthday gift for Geek instead. You can read about the project at one of my other site's here.  
 I'm hoping for some serious rain so that I can catch up on some projects. I've spent the last few days out in the garden prepping beds for veggies. I still have a ton to do but I'm just absolutely beat. Sunny days are such a treat this time of year. No matter how tired we get enjoying them, they simply can't be wasted.
  If it rains, I'm going to prop my feet up and get some needlework done. I'm plodding along on a cross stitch project, I'm crocheting a  blanket for Kitty and I'm just about done with Red's laundry bag. I just need to finish the felt details. I've got a tourmaline bracelet on my board. It'll take me all of two minutes to add a clasp so I hope to have that wrapped up tonight.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Tourmaline Jewelry

gemstone jewelry
I had a fairly busy weekend but I was finally able to finish a bracelet that I promised to a friend. It seems as though lately I've been working mostly on seed bead projects so I really enjoyed getting to play with stone beads and silver.

These are the earrings and bracelet that my friend got. She was expecting the bracelet, but not the earrings so that was a nice surprise for her.
tourmaline and silver jewelry

I made a bracelet for myself
designer jewelry

and a necklace too.
   I'm not sure what I'm going to tackle next. I'm currently working on an embroidered fleece blanket, an embroidered laundry bag, a few pairs of earrings and a crocheted blanket for kitty. I've also just about finished the table cloth that I made for kitty's play table. I think I can have that one done by tomorrow. Yay!