8/27/12

tutorial: embroidered cards

(I'm bringing home another 30 days guest post for you today. Have a great week, everyone.)


Today I am going to share a quick tutorial for making this sweet embroidered card. It's a great way to practice stitching letters while using up some of your scrap stash.


Supplies:
  • small pieces of fabric
  • note cards
  • embroidery thread
  • not pictured: twine, sewing machine, scissors, Scotch tape, printed letter pattern

My "pattern" for the lettering on my card was made in Word. I just picked a simple font that I thought would be easy to trace and embroider.


Trace your pattern onto your fabric using a light source and a water soluble pen. I have a light box that I use to trace embroidery patterns, but a brightly lit window with your pattern and fabric taped up would do the trick as well. If your fabric is light enough, you might be able to trace it with no light source behind your work.


After you've traced your pattern, it's time to stitch. I just used a simple back stitch, but if you're feeling ambitious, you could try a chain stitch or stem stitch.


Take your stitching out of the hoop, iron, and cut your fabric down to the size you'd like. My card was 4.25" x 5.5" and I wanted a half inch border around the edge of my fabric, so I cut a template (that yellow piece of paper) that measured 3.25" x 4.5". Once I had my template cut out, I used it to cut my fabric.


Stitch down the fabric to your card. I found it helpful to use a bit of Scotch tape around the very edges of my fabric to hold it to the card and prevent shifting while I sewed. Make sure the tape is close to the edge of the fabric so that you don't sew over the tape. Also be aware that sewing through paper can dull your needle, so you may need to change your needle after. I find it useful to keep a designated paper sewing needle so all of my machine needles aren't ruined when I work with cards.


Tie on a bit of ribbon or twine and you have a sweet card ready to send!


Photobucket

8/21/12

almost there









 I'm so close to being finished with this pretty little thing. Like I said before, I don't really know what I was thinking when I chose this project. I won't lie - this is a hard piece.

Side note: You know those cross stitch landscape or portait type pieces that are like 2 feet tall? How in the? I don't even know how I would ever finish something like that. I'd be weeping in agony after a few evenings with a project that tedious.

 To complicate things, this is the first time I have stitched on Evenweave rather than Aida. I have to say, I think I am a convert. The Evenweave fabric lays nicer, it looks prettier, and is actually easy to stitch on once you get an eye for it. Will I still use Aida? Yes, because I have like 3 brand new rolls of it. Also because I think Aida looks better with certain patterns, but mostly because I have a ton of it to use up. 

Once I finish this one, I'll get out my big girl camera and take some proper pictures. Any ideas on framing? Leave it in the hoop or put it in an actual frame? In the magazine I got the pattern from they made it into a pillow, but I would never subject a cross stitch piece that has taken hours upon hours to the hands of my son. All of our throw pillows have either snot, chewed up Goldfish mush, milk, or other unidentifiable stains on them. It's gross. Nope, no way this baby is going to be made into a fluffy napkin for the kid.
 
Now that I've left you with the image of snot covered throw pillows (oh come on. it's not that bad. most of them have a "good" side that faces out), I'll ask again how you would frame this? Hoop? Frame? Fireproof lock box?

Photobucket

8/20/12

how to organize embroidery thread

 As I was going through my drafts folder, I realize I have quite a few unposted posts from guest spots (I didn't want to say "post" again so I said spots) I've done over the past six months. Since the craft well has run dry over here, I figured now is a great time to share them. The content of this post might look familiar as I have already posted about it on my blog here. But guess what? I used the same idea for a contributing post on 30 days and now I am using it AGAIN here. Craft well = dry. Told you. To my credit, the pictures you are about to see are much better than the first time I posted this, and that makes sharing this post 3 times ok. I just made that rule. You can post whatever you want as many times as you want as long as your pictures get better. 

---

I have quickly accumulated a collection of thread and I had to figure out a way to store it all in an organized, space efficient way. 

 
At most craft stores, you can buy plastic organizer boxes and small cardboard or plastic cards to wrap your thread around, but winding all that thread by hand is quite a job. My solution? An electric drill. Confused? Read on...


I found this bobbin winder by DMC at Micheal's (you can also find it on Amazon) with the intention of using this to wind all my thread. It clips to the side of the organizer box and you are meant to hand crank the thread onto the cards. After doing that a few times, I realized it was still going to take me too long to finish. 

I had to think of something that would do the cranking for me. Enter the power drill. 


I dismantled my bobbin winder and figured out that the card holder piece fit into the drill where a drill bit normally goes. Just tighten the plastic piece in there and you are almost ready to go.


Before you start winding your floss onto the card, you will want to write the color number onto the card and loosely unwind your thread. If you try to wind it without loosening it up, the drill pulls the thread so fast that you will end up with a big huge knot of floss. The kind of knot that ends up in the trash because it is just that bad. Trust me. 


Insert your card and secure it with the peg, and wrap your thread a few times to get it started. Now you are ready to fire up the drill. As the thread winds, guide it with your free hand so that it doesn't pool in one area. In about 10 seconds, your floss is wound and ready to be stored. 


Winding and organizing all your floss can still be a big job, but the drill winding method has saved me so much time. I hope this helps you in your embroidery organizing endeavors!
Photobucket

8/16/12

lately...

I feel like I am constantly writing these kinds of posts. You know the ones: "I've been so busy lately, but I have so much I want to share, so keep an eye out..." 

It's true. I started a new job this week so my schedule has been changed and my days have gone from packed to I don't even know what. Hyper-packed?

I've have been so busy lately. Super woman busy. The kind of busy where dinner consists of cheese and crackers and Diet Coke at 8:30 at night. I'm not complaining though. The fact that the house is finally quiet and I have time to chew the food I'm eating makes it feel like fine dining.

It's hard to really share everything that is going on. Partly because I don't want to share too much, partly because there is too much and I get all jumbled when I try to get it all down. My social media efforts have mostly been reduced to Instagram because I am lazy/nosy. There is minimal iPhone typing and reading and I get to sneak a peek into everyone else's lives while I share a bit of mine. It's pretty much perfect. I am allisonmaestri on there if you'd like to find me.  

Somewhere in all the hectic rushing that is our life lately, I've managed to sneak in a few relaxing things. 


Saturday I went to the mall alone. No. Just stop and read that again. Alone. Blessed solitude. The overwhelming freedom of being at a mall by myself was almost paralyzing. I was so excited about my date alone with myself I painted my nails the night before and wore a new skirt and curled my hair. It was a major event in my life, obviously. I started off the morning right. I went to Panera, got the most calorie packed chocolate-y drink I could find and sat there alone and drank the whole thing. Then I oh-so-slowly browsed a few stores, treated myself to a couple things, and made it home for lunch. Let me just say alone one more time. alone.

Sorry for the repeat hand picture coming up, but I want to show you what I bought on my date with me. 


A cute little heart ring. I think the freedom of being at the mall alone made me feel like I was a teenager again because I found myself in American Eagle for the first time in years. I felt old. It's a weird thing when you realize that you are sort of too old for something. I overheard a couple of girls having a serious, important debate on whether they should buy their clothes at AE or Hollister because all the boys at school wear Hollister. Sigh.It really is too bad that perspective usually comes with age.


I also managed to sew a little this weekend. I sewed my first zipper and then I cried because it was so awesome that I sewed a zipper. 


I didn't actually cry. But I did picture myself doing a victory lap around the Olympic track, waving my very first successful zipper pouch proudly above my head. Yeah. Just let the lameness of that sink in. 


I also started a new cross stitch project. I don't know what kind of crazy I have growing inside my head, but I thought that a really challenging cross stitch pattern would be good to start at this point in my life. Despite the tediousness, I am really enjoying it. It is taking longer than anything I have worked on for a while, but it's turning out so pretty that it's worth it. 


And even though I have hours and hours to go before I finish that cross stitch piece, the arrival of a new embroidery book has me itching to start something new. If you like embroidery even a little, you have to get this book. Would anyone be interested in me doing a little review of it? I can do that. It might even inspire me to get out my real camera rather than just my iPhone.


 Oh but thank goodness for the invention of the camera phone. We get to capture little moments like this that would otherwise be lost. Every time Sawyer's tantrums have me feeling like I am going to loose it, I look at this sweet little picture and remind myself that this whole being a mom thing isn't too shabby. I had to remind myself of this tonight after we left Sawyer's preschool open house. On Sawyer's agenda for the night: screaming, pushing down a baby, having a freak show meltdown over someone touching "his" toys, eating too many cookies, throwing about 15 fits, and then crying all the way to the car. He really likes to make a good impression.

That's all I have, honestly. I made cupcakes that were ah-mazing and I have the recipe to share. I did a guest post. I have a few new craft books that would be fun to review. Other than that, nada. 

I'll be here when I can, so (wait for it) keep an eye out. 

Photobucket

8/3/12

inspiration: put a bird on it

1. bird cross stitch pattern from Martha Stewart
2. Yellowthroats fabric by Gollybard on Spoonflower
3. hair pin set by Layla Amber Handmade Creations
4. bird stamp from Norajane

(In case you are wondering where the title came from, click here to watch a clip from Portlandia in which they, well, put birds on things. "What a sad little tote bag. I know! I'll put a bird on it. Did you see this bag before? I didn't. Now there's a bird. It's flying! It's free!" Happy Friday, folks. Put a bird on it.)

Photobucket

8/1/12

inspiration: for the home

a week (or so) of inspiration

I think a few creative round up posts are coming up for the next week or so. I have so SO many projects on my ever growing to do list, but my free time is becoming less and less. I am going to be working later hours at my job, Sawyer is going to bed later, and taking time to run are all eating away at my precious few hours of "me" time I have during the week. When those few hours arrive, I find myself too exhausted to do much else beyond reading a book or maybe cross-stitching. It's not a bad thing, but it is one of those seasons of life that will take some adjusting to.

While I don't have much of my own work to share just yet, I do have plenty of inspiration from around the blog world that I'll be sharing. Maybe I'll have 5 posts, maybe I'll have 10. We'll see.

I have a funny little story to share with you, then we'll get on to the first of the creative inspiration posts (in the next post). Yesterday we took Sawyer on a little outing. He got a new puzzle, we ate Chick-Fil-A for dinner, and he got to play in the kids area for close to an hour. If I were a 2 year old, I'd think that was a pretty darn awesome day. When I'm giving Sawyer his bath in the evening, we always talk about the events of the day. Here's our little conversation:
Me: Did you have fun at Chick-Fil-A?
Sawyer: Yeah. 
Me: Do you like your new puzzle?
Sawyer: Yeah. 
Me: What was your favorite part of the day?
Sawyer: I eated a booger! 
 

Photobucket