sewingseed discount!

Earlier today, I shared this pretty cross stitch piece I made from a pattern found at Sewingseed.

I am pretty excited that Tina, the creative mind behind Sewingseed, popped in to offer a discount to my readers. Use code LITTLELOVELIES for 10% your patterns in her shop. It's an open-ended code, so make sure you pin/bookmark/take note of this discount for future use. 

p.s. If you do stitch up one of Sewingseed's fab patterns, make sure to share it on her facebook page for a chance to win her monthly pattern giveaway.


love birds cross stitch

I have been enjoying my little self imposed blog break, spending lots of time stitching and watching tv. It's not the most supremely productive way to spend my afternoons and evenings, but it's been just what I needed to rest and relax. 

This sweet pattern comes from sewing seed on Etsy. I love her cross stitch pattern shop and wish I had more time to work on a few more of her patterns - there are just so many cute ones to choose from. 

 Usually I leave my cross stitch or embroidery work in the hoops, but I decided to try something a little different this time. 

After finishing my work, I used my hot glue gun to "wrap" it onto a canvas I picked up at Michael's. 

Center your work and glue down the fabric, pulling taut as you glue. I glued the top, then bottom, then left and right sides of the piece. I was left with the corners, which I just folded neatly and glued down. 

I really love this method of finishing - it really seems to make this simple needlework into a piece of art. 

The canvas I bought is thick enough to stand on its own, or can also be hung on a wall. 

I don't know what my next project will be, but I am really loving cross stitch these days. Are you working on any stitching? Share in the comments - I'd love to see!


Tip Junkie handmade projects  Today's Creative Blog


family pic saturday: instagrams

1. My most recent cross stitch. I'll share more pictures this week, including how I finished it. 
2. Tree carving embroidery I made for a friend. 
3. My favorite way to spend the afternoon while Sawyer naps - Netflix and stitching. 

1. We took Sawyer to a petting zoo. Sawyer + camel = not friends. 
2. Yes, yes I did take a picture of my bathroom. Because I had to document the fact that my bathroom was spotless, if only for an evening. 
3. My hybrid embroidery - half fake flowers, half embroidery. 

1. Napping with a car sale magazine he got at the grocery store. 
2. Birthday roses with a pretty bokeh filter.
3. Trains, trains all the time. Trains with creepy faces. 

Are you on instagram? It seems that everyone is these days. My handle is allisonmaestri if you'd like to follow along. I share sneak peeks of my crafts, pictures of Sawyer, and most importantly pictures of my bathroom. Now I know you want to follow. 

Happy weekend!



family pic saturday: just because...

Just because I have no other family pictures to share this week. 
Just because I am feeling a bit weepy and nostalgic at how fast Sawyer is growing. 
Just because I am missing our happy place so much my heart aches. 

This is Sawyer's first haircut at almost 14 months old. Yes, we waited that long. Yes, he had a mullet. Yes, he looked like a girl (in which case his mullet would then be referred to as a shmullet.) 

See? It was out of control. 

But we waited and tried to comb it over and accepted the compliments on our pretty little girl so that we could have his first haircut IN Disney World IN the Magic Kingdom. There is a teeny tiny operating barbershop on Main Street where you can make a reservation to get baby's first haircut. Since Disney World is our most happy place, we knew it would be a great spot to have that memory. 

 A few snips and more than a few dollars later, all the baby curls were gone. One of my many favorite Disney memories with my family. Sigh.

I realize I could have shared pictures of our actual Saturday, you know, for family pic Saturday, but I figured no one needed to see photo documentation of the fact that we stayed in our pajamas most of the day, ate leftovers and take out, and watched too much Thomas. 

Hope your Saturday has been wonderful!



where i've been (and a giveaway winner)

I always wonder if people notice that I haven't been posting for a week or two. Maybe you have, maybe you haven't. Either way, I am okay with. We all have our own lives and my little life over here has been interesting, to say the least. Last week started off with a stomach virus brought into our home via Sawyer. Let's just say he wasn't throwing up. ohmyword. It was disgusting (and heart breaking, of course. My poor baby.) After 5 days of a sick kid, I thought we had gotten by with only one sicky in the house. Nope. This week, I came home from work on Monday with a fever and some killer nausea. I don't know if it was the same thing as what Sawyer had, but I have not been able to eat, smell food, look at food, think about food, or be in the kitchen without wanting to puke. Today is the first day that I have felt better and ready to face the world. Plus, I am a few pounds lighter. Score! Just in time to go into psycho cleaning mode to get ready for company this weekend. Today I get to tackle cleaning, grocery shopping, cooking, and paying bills all with the last bits of illness hanging on. 

So, in case you wanted to know (and you probably didn't) that's why I haven't been posting or making or stitching or social media-ing. I literally couldn't stomach anything other than laying down and doing nothing. I have to say, the time "off" has been nice. I may be ostracizing myself, or I may be relating to a lot of you, but I sometimes get tired of the constant barrage of pictures, tweets, links, posts, projects, and on an on. I appreciate the hard work of others, but sometimes I just need to get away from all of the creativity overload. When it comes to social media, I find myself feeling inadequate or left out, when the whole point of me starting a blog was just to share my work with others. I have a full time job, a family, financial obligations, an almost non-existent real social life that need more tending than my twitter account. So I am working on arranging my priorities. I want to sort-of purify my intentions with this blog and try really hard not to get caught up in the whole business of being "big". I'd love to hear your thoughts on blogging, social media, etc. Tell me I am not alone in feeling overwhelmed by it all. 

Onto some business...

I have really appreciated all of your comments on my last few posts, but have not yet had a chance to respond to all of them. I will be working on it this week, so if you get a random response for a comment you left 2 weeks ago, that's why. I am also going to finish up my How to Cross Stitch series, but it might be another week before I can fully get it together. 

Speaking of How to Cross Stitch... I have to announce the winner for the huge cross stitch giveaway. 

Chosen by random.org:

Congratulations to Ashley! I will be emailing you shortly about getting your prize to you.



family pic saturday

I am beyond thrilled with our most recent round of family pictures we had done. One of my friends did the pictures for us and I can't speak highly enough about her. She was so patient with the less-than-cooperative Sawyer, and she is just so laid back. (I also have to add that she is the prettiest person I've ever met. Seriously. Talented, creative, beautiful, and hilarious. I want to be just like Tara when I grow up.) 

While I pretty much hate the work that goes into getting ready for our pictures, I love that we have them forever. I don't enjoy trying to find coordinating clothes, choosing a location, and let me tell you - getting this girl all polished up was a chore. This is the first time in a loooong time that I have had highlights, a tan (yes, that is me "tan"), mani/pedi, AND my legs shaved all at the same time.  Of course I probably haven't shaved my legs since (gross), the nail polish started to chip the next day, and the spray tan was scrubbed away. But for a glorious moment in time I was shiny and new. Thank goodness its captured on film, because hello, high maintenance. 

I am so proud of my sweet family, and so thankful to have these pictures to look back on. And I just have to add that I have the cutest little boy in the whole world.



five things friday: random

Hallelujah, it's Friday! Which means that tomorrow is Saturday, which means I get to sleep in. I get up at about 4:45 every week day, so Saturday is my day to sleep in til the late hour of 7:00 - or sometimes if I am feeling really lazy - even 8:00.

My mind is in about a million places these days, so I thought I would share five random things I am loving this week.

1. Somebody That I Used to Know cover by Pentatonix.

The video is nothing extraordinary, but the music is amazing. It's all a Capella, which blows me away every time I listen to it. If you are viewing this in a reader, click over to the post so you can watch the video. You won't be sorry.

2.I know Easter is way over and the blog world has moved on, but you have to see possibly the best collection of Easter photos in the history of the earth at Awkward Family Photos. They are real laugh out loud (RLOL) funny.

3. We got our family pictures done and I am going to be sharing (over sharing?) more of them tomorrow. Photo heavy post coming your way!

4. 40 Books that you won't be able to put down. I am looking for a new book to fill the empty hole in my heart that finishing Harry Potter and the Hunger Games has left behind. Maybe I'll try one suggested in this list. What are some books that you love?

5. Shut the front door. This Hunger Games embroidery is crazy good. It's even got a tiny sponsor gift embroidered on it. Maybe someday I'll tackle something like this. Maybe...

Have a great weekend, friends. 



spring floral embroidery

I came up with this half embroidery/half fake flower piece for my monthly guest post at Thirty Handmade Days. I really love how it turned out and I love the sunny burst of color it is in our otherwise beige-y living room. Get the tutorial for this pretty spring project here at 30 Days.


cross stitch giveaway!

In celebration of my "How to Cross Stitch" series, I have put together a fab giveaway for one lucky winner. 

That's pretty much everything you'll need to get started in cross stitching. Aida cloth, a book full of patterns, hoops, needles, and thread. Even if you are already a stitcher, this is a great stash building prize. And if you don't like cross stitch, the book also has so many great embroidery patterns in it. In other words - this is a prize for stitchers of all kinds! 

This giveaway is open to continental U.S. residents only and ends Tuesday, April 17th at 10:00pm CST. I'll catch all you international folks in the next giveaway, promise.

To enter:
Be a follower of this blog and leave me a comment telling me why you'd love to win. 
Want to try your hand at cross stitching? Want to build up your supply? Want that book? Want to win so you can resell it on ebay for extra cash? (Maybe don't tell me that one as your reason.) Whatever it is, leave a comment.

As always, please make sure that I have a way to get a hold of you in case you win. Leave your email address in your comment or make sure it is linked to your profile. I am seriously serious. Make it easy for me to give you stuff!

Good luck!



how to cross stitch: index

I thought it would be useful to have a list of all the cross stitch topics in this series. This would be a great page to bookmark/pin for future reference!

Outlining (coming soon)
Waste and Water Soluble Canvas (coming soon)
Finishing Your Work (coming soon)


how to cross stitch: fractional stitches

Today we are going to go over something that sounds hard but is actually pretty easy - fractional stitches. In some patterns you may run across something that looks like this: 

See those half white/half beige squares? That indicates that the pattern is calling for a fraction of a stitch - in this case 3/4 of a stitch. This is the cameo pattern that I stitched here, and you can see how the fractional stitches around her hair and profile give a nice curve to the edge of what would otherwise be a jagged line.

Making a fractional stitch is simple - in fact you probably only need to see a picture to understand. From left to right: a whole stitch, 1/2 stitch, 1/4 stitch and 3/4 stitch. These are stitched on Evenweave. 

Here are the same stitches, this time stitched on Aida. The only difference is that when stitching a 1/4 of a stitch on Aida, you have to insert your needle between the threads in the middle of a square. 

It's not difficult - just try to make sure you insert your needle right in the middle of the threads. 

This article from Needlework Tips & Techniques has good, in depth explanations of when to use which kind of fractional stitch. I tried to explain it in my own words, but her explanation was so good that I wanted to share. 

I have only a couple more cross stitch posts to share, and a big cross stitch themed giveaway coming up. I am really excited about this giveaway, so make sure you keep an eye out for it. I think you're gonna love it!