tutorial: hybrid embroidery

(This was a contributing post I did for Mique at 30 Handmade Days.)


I always come across these fake ranuculus flowers when I am craft shopping and wanted to create a project so that I could display them in my home without having them in a floral arrangement. I'm not a big fan of fake flower arrangements, plus floral arrangements and a grabby two year old just don't mix. Instead I came up with something that could be safely hung out of reach:

 I call it hybrid embroidery - part fake flowers, part embroidery.

I just love how it came out! Let's go over how to make your own.

 What you'll need:
  • embroidery hoop (mine is 8")
  • fabric (I used about an 11" square)
  • fake flowers
  • embroidery thread/needle
  • water soluble marking pen
  • not pictured: hot glue gun, scissors 

Lay your fabric flat and trace inside your embroidery hoop so you have a circle marked to help you place your flowers and leaves. Sorry it's so hard to see some of the blue pen marks in these pictures. If you click on the picture to enlarge it you might be able to see better.

Using your circle as a guide, arrange your flowers how you like them.

Without moving your flowers, you are going to carefully trace around the flowers to mark where you laid them out.

Once you have traced your flowers you can draw your leaves on wherever you like.

Put your fabric back in your hoop and stitch the leaves. I used 4 different shades of green to back stitch all of the leaves. (Here is my tutorial for the back stitch.)

After you stitch your leaves, carefully wet the fabric to remove the water soluble pen lines. I don't completely submerge my fabric underwater to do this - I just get a q-tip and some water and gently wipe the pen away. After the water dries, you may need to press your finished work.

Before you glue your flowers down to your embroidery, you'll want to cut the stem on the back of the flower down as close as possible. This way it will lie flat on your finished work.

Use a generous amount of hot glue to adhere your flowers down.

Once the glue has cooled, trim your fabric around of the edge of the hoop and hot glue to the inside of the hoop. 

I love the three dimensional look that the flowers give. It's such a cheery, pretty thing to have hanging in our home. This is a great project to customize and make your own - pick you favorite flower and get stitching.  



running update

Hello there, readers.

I know things have been somewhat sparse around here lately. Today is the first time I have even been on my computer for about a week. To say life is busy is an understatement. We've cleaned out our laundry room, had a yard sale, had guests last weekend, and will have company again this weekend, I'm going through a job transition (a good one!), and all kinds of other things that add up to CRAZY. I'm not apologizing for the lack of posts because I cringe when other bloggers do that. I just like to share and let you know what is going on in my life. You know, in case you were wondering if we had a yard sale. We did.

One of the things I shared with you guys is my new found hobby interest thing I do - running. (Read a little more about it here.)

A few of you expressed the desire for me to keep you updated on how my running is going. I will humbly oblige.

Let me start by saying that none of this is meant to be braggy (it's a word) or come off as vain or however else it could be taken. I actually skip over pictures, tweets, or blog posts about other people's running. I am a chronic comparer (also a word), so reading about the fact that someone just ran 10 miles in an like 30 minutes makes me feel inadequate and a little panicky that I am not at that level. I want to share my journey to encourage and also for my own selfish reasons - when I become an Olympic runner I want to look back at my humble beginnings.

Let's start with my goal: Zero to 13.1 in 9 months. I am going to be running a half marathon in February '13. When I go, I go all in.

Now onto the training programs:

I just finished the 5k training program by lolo. It uses Jeff Galloway's run, walk, run method. It has been perfect for me. I had this idea that I was going to have to run 13.1 miles, non-stop, and if I walked I would be a failure. Training with this run, walk, run method has helped me realize that walking in the middle of a race is good for your muscles and there is nothing to be ashamed of. It's an 8 week, 3 day a week program, with 2 of those weekly runs being "short" runs. As I said, I've finished the 5k program and I've moved on to the 10k program by the same developers. This one is a 13 week program, following the same 3 run pattern of 2 short runs and 1 long run. The first long run of this program calls for a 5 and a half mile run, so there is no messing around. 

How do I fit in running? As most of you probably know, I am a full time working mom so fitting in a regular exercise regimen requires some time crunching, and let's face it, sacrifice. My every day work routine involves getting up at 4:45am to make it to the office by 6. I work a full day, come home, get the kiddo up from nap and play with him until Anderson gets home from work. Then we all head to the gym. I hit the treadmill while Sawyer plays with Anderson in the pool. If Anderson is working late, I take Sawyer by myself to the gym and put him in child care. I do that twice a week for my short runs. As for my long runs, I get up at 5:30 on Sunday morning and sneak out to run while everyone else is still asleep. By the time I get home, breakfast is served and it is time to get ready for church. As I progress through the program and the runs get longer and longer, I have to carve out a few more minutes here and there to keep up. I won't lie. It's not easy and I'd rather sleep in on Sunday mornings.

After that lengthy, wordy post, there wasn't much updating being done, now was there? Here's a nice short update. Eight week 5k training program done with about 55 miles run over that period. I am in week 2 of my 10k training program and I successfully ran 5.45 miles for my first long run and I felt really great afterwards. For the first time I really think I can run a half marathon. Oh, I feel a cliche coming on...  And if I can do it, you can too. 

I'll update the 6 people who are hanging onto my every word next time I have a worthy running update, so probably a couple months from now. To those 6 - you are the best for making it through a post that only has an app icon picture.



missouri cross stitch

A very good friend of mine moved away this weekend and I wanted to make her something as a reminder of her time here in Missouri.

I'm really not a mushy sort of person, so I wanted it to be fun and sort of quirky and maybe even a little random. I think I got it.

That's the shape of the state of Missouri, just in case it was a little too random for some of you. 

I came up with the pattern on my own using a Google image of the state and some graph paper. I just laid the graph paper over the print out of the shape of Missouri and traced. To finish it, I painted a frame to match the grey Aida cloth I used. Since I decided to make this only about 3 days before she left, it was a quick project for me - maybe 6-8 hours of work?

While I am sad to see a friend move so far away, I am happy for her and this big change. Plus I made sure she had a weird, random gift to remember me by.



bedroom update: curtains and a headboard

It's been a while since I've given you an update on our bedroom redo. In case you are curious, click here for all of my prior posts on our bedroom. 

Last time I mentioned the bedroom, I was whining about sewing the curtains. I finally finished sewing them and I have so say I am not totally thrilled. 

Meh. They block the light enough that we can sleep in on Saturdays, they are thick enough to contain the heat that seems to be pouring in from the windows, and I love the length of them. I am not loving the color, so we are going to live with them until I work up the courage to sew 9 more yards of fabric. 
I think if I do decide to tackle another set of curtains, I am going to go the peach route for color. We'll see. If I know myself at all, and I think I do, I'm not going to be making new curtains. 

I also mentioned a Craigslist headboard I found for only $10. 

I love it. It has 2 areas where the wood is messed up. Bad enough that it needs filled and refinished, but I don't know how to do that. Our pillows cover the messed up spots so until I work out how to fix it this is how it will stay. I've considered painting it but it so closely matches the nightstands that I am hesitant. Decisions, decisions. 

I tried to get a shot of the whole room so you can see what we are working with. (a gigantic tv. ahem.) The white fabric thing on the left is Anderson's closet. That little alcove with the desk in it is where my closet is. I love having a desk in there, but it is freakishly hot in the summer because it is all windows, so it's not getting much use right now. 

I still have quite a few things I'd like to do in here like put art up in the walls, find some stylish storage boxes for on top of Anderson's closet, get a new desk chair and lamp, and a few other odds and ends that I can't settle on. It takes time to find just the right thing (like my nightstands and headboard) so I'm not in a hurry. These things take time.



reading and running

I have been a busy lady lately, and unfortunately (fortunately?) it doesn't have much to do with making stuff. 

A few months ago, a friend and I decided to do a half marathon. Isn't that awesome? Hah! Guess who's never run a race of any length before? Me. Guess who couldn't even run 2 miles? Me. Guess who decided to run a half marathon with someone who has already successfully run a half marathon? I don't even have to tell you. Nevertheless, I am going to do it. It's not until February, but I have already begun training. I am going on 7 weeks of running, which is the longest I have ever kept at an exercise regimen. I'm proud, but still intimidated by how much farther I have to go. I'll get there, one run at a time.

Fitting in runs is a challenge. For my short runs, we go to the gym after my husband and I get home from work. I get in a 2.5 mile run while I watch 30 Rock on Netflix. It's actually pretty luxurious to be alone for a little while, as long as I can tune everything else out. I am battling my social anxiety over running in the fitness center. You guys. People can look at my butt. The gym is set up to where the two rows of treadmills are in the front of the room. That means all the ellipticals, bikes, weights, etc. are behind me. I have this thing about people being behind me and looking at me.  Chronic back-of-the-class student here. Inevitably, I get a wedgie while I am running and I get so fixated on if the person behind me can tell I have a wedgie (they can) that I don't concentrate on breathing or pace or whatever else nonsense I am supposed to be thinking about. I'm learning to push through it though. Not only do I get in exercise, I battle my social problems and learn how not to care what people think. One, two, three birds with one sweaty stone. I can really tell the difference in how I feel. I have more energy and I just feel better. I set a goal, I am working towards it slowly but surely, and that's a good thing (said in creepy Martha voice).

 I've also been spending quite a bit of time reading. It feels good to read for the sake of reading and to give myself permission to just curl up with a book. I don't know how many of you know about Goodreads, but I am kind of obsessed with it. It's like Facebook for book lovers. It's basically a log where you can keep track of books you've read or want to read. I always do the "I want to read that, but I'll pick it up later" thing and then never get back to reading a book. Now I can just save it in my Goodreads to-read list and I won't forget about it down the line when I am ready to start a new book. I also like to switch genres or topics every so often, so having a big list of books I want to read is nice. You can have friends, read and write reviews, and search topics and lists. I use it mostly on my phone, but you can use it online too. If you are a reader, I would highly recommend it. 

So if you're ever wondering why you haven't seen a post from me for a week or two, just picture me red-faced and sweating on the treadmill or curled up in a ratty t-shirt and gym shorts I've had since high school (they still fit!) catching up on a good book. Either way, you might not ever gonna want to think about me again.