Thursday, March 29, 2007

Embroidered Heart Exchange

While I was away this past weekend I received this little gem in the mail. It is from an exchange I am participating in for the hand embroidery yahoo group I belong to. This is the first exchange I've done. I'm hoping to do some more in the future. I would love to do a wallhanging pieced with mementos from my Internet stitching friends. I have to confess I am running a little behind doing mine for the exchange and you won't see it here until a few days after it has been mailed. I don't want to ruin the suprise just in case she stops by.

I'm Back, Adhesives and a Contest

Well, I'm back in the big city where I once again have computer access and cell phone service. I've actually been back for a couple of days but I had to finish an article for Craft Critique. I will let you know when it gets posted.

I had a great time visiting family and attending the Sewing Smorgasbord. I have so much to share with you that I will be doing several posts on what I saw and what I learned. I just wish I had more pictures for you. I was so excited to go that morning I left my camera in my suitcase at my sister's house. But, I will have pictures of the goodies I bought and projects I've done as a result of the classes.

Just in case you need some more reading and you are into or would like to get into scrapbooking or other papercrafts, check out Craft Critique. While I've been gone they have been cranking out articles on all kinds of adhesives for mostly paper. It's a great resource and there are too many to list here.

Also, Craft Critique is holding a contest. All you will have to do is send a photo of a fabric inspired papercraft or paper inspired fabric craft. Check out the guidelines and get the email address on the right side of the home page to get some free goodies.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

One of Those Crazy Weeks

I'm having one of those life balance dilemmas this week. I have so much going on between home, work and trying to keep up with my extracurricular activities that I'm exhausted and exhilarated at the same time.

Recently I whined to my husband that I wish I didn't work. If I didn't, I could get so much more done. He doesn't believe me because when I stay home with our sick daughter it all seems to fall apart more but when he stays home with her he gets things done. My argument is that if I were to stay at home while she is in school then I could get more done. Unlike him I find different tasks to do and my daughter is much different with me than him especially when she is sick. I'm sure all moms have stories like that.

Anyway I have been working on several projects and hope to show them soon. I will be going on a trip for a few days so I won't be posting anything until I get back. My sister and I will be attending the Ohio State University Perry County Extension's annual Sewing Smorgasbord in Thornville, OH (see this PDF for details) this weekend. They have several demonstrations and workshops and I hope to get to try the needle felting class. Hopefully I will have something to show when I get back. Hope everyone has a great weekend and I will be back next week.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Using Fabrics in Your Papercrafts

Fabric and fibers are a great way to add different textures and colors to your scrapbooking and card crafting. This week at Craft Critique has been all about adding fabric to or how fabric influences papercrafting. Today's article is my book review on Scrapbook Styles: Fabrics and Florals by Jill Miller. Other articles includes Beyond Paper: Fibercraft and It's Influence on Scrapbooking by Julie Fei-Balzer and Stiffy Fabric Stiffener: Add Texture to Your Papercrafts by Michelle Laycock. Also check out the Fabric Challenge Carnival to get more inspiration for your own crafting adventures.

Monday, March 12, 2007

So Easy Decoupage Candle Holders

I have been inspired by my 6 year old daughter. This past weekend in a church class, she made a little decoupage candle holder with a small glass globe, tissue paper and glue. It was so pretty. I have not done decoupage since middle school art class but I wanted to do it too. So today we worked together to do one.

I happened to have a medium glass candle globe and tissue. I bought some Modge Podge by Plaid this weekend. We cut up pieces of tissue paper. We used a brush to apply the glue then pressed the paper in place overlapping them as we went. After the globe was covered we apply an extra coat of glue and let it dry. I added some specialty yarn to my globe and the smaller one she made. I added some beads using 28 gauge wire to secure them to the hanging lengths of the yarn on the larger globe.

Now I have two special candle holders that look as if I purchased them at a boutique and my daughter is ready to make more for gifts. Quick, cheap and gorgeous! Can you get any better than that?

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Crochet Buffet

Yesterday I attended a small event called the Crochet Buffet presented by the Northern Illinois Chapter of the Crochet Guild of America. If you thought crochet was all about Granny Squares and afghans you would be surprised at the different kinds of crochet there are and what you can do with it.

The delightful and informative ladies of the guild showed quite the variety of items you can make with a crochet hook and yarn or thread. I might not even remember them all! They all had their hooks out happily displaying their skills and giving insight on crochet in general and in the different applications. Of course, you had the very traditional items of afghans, scarfs, hats and the Granny Square. There were also handbags, lace, clothing and jewelry.

My favorite items were purses made using freeform crochet and jewelry. Freeform crochet is a very liberating art form where you don't follow a pattern and simply let your hook and yarn take you on a journey. It is like crazy quilting for crocheters. It makes fabulous purses and abstract art pieces. Click here to see a site with multitudes of examples. The jewelry they had made actually was made two different ways. There was beaded crochet which I have done before and they also made jewelry and art pieces using wire as their yarn. I actually bought some wire today to do a little playing. I will post a piece when I do. I found a great tutorial at the Lapidary Journal site - check it out.

I really want to join the guild so I can take advantage of the upcoming classes and workshops they will be doing. Oh, how I love to learn new things and meet people with the same creative disorder I have because then I don't feel so crazy after all.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

8 1/2" x 11" Photo Collage

I'm discovering something I really like about scrapbooking/paper crafting. I can make my own photo collages that the photography studios at department stores try to get you to buy. I took the four poses we received from the studio and made paper frames for the wallet size. I glued the portraits to the frames and then to a piece of 8 1/2" x 11" piece of The Paper Studio Christmas paper. I embossed the year on a piece of cardstock then layered it on another piece of cardstock to glue to the center. To finish it off I tied a bow and glued it to one of the corners just to make it interesting.
Although I envisioned this to be fitted for an 8 x 10 frame I think I will keep it this size and simply hang it on my wall at work. Wow! I've actually finished an item from 2006. By the way, it originally said 2007 until I realized Christmas 2007 hasn't happened yet. I don't need this year to be over yet! Good thing I caught that. I wish the photo was a little better but this had the least glare. I really need to stop doing this late at night and wait for some natural light but I get so excited when I finish something I just can't wait to get it uploaded.

How to Re-fashion a Kid's Sweatshirt

For some reason my dear daughter does not like to wear a plain T-shirt or sweatshirt. They are just too plain and boy-like. So, she has to have something a little more fashionable. The problem is that fashionable shirts can cost more than I want to spend. I found an alternative. I purchase gently used shirts at thrift stores and jazz them up like the one in the photo.

For this particular shirt I used an iron-on applique that I purchased on clearance earlier this year. After ironing it on I used a narrow zigzag stitch in a matching thread. I wanted to make sure this would last through washings. Then I used a Gemagic Rhinestone Setter (similar to the Bedazzler) to set some colored rhinestones around the applique.
This is such an easy project to do. If you don't have the rhinestone setter you could purchase some metallic fabric paints and simply add dots around the applique but make sure you do not use fabric softener before applying the paint.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

My Very First Cards in Papercrafts

It seems I am having a lot of firsts lately and it has been loads of fun. Here are my first handcrafted cards I have made using strictly paper and cardstock. Many years ago I made cards by simply stamping and coloring an image on premade cards or postcards. This time I simply cut out pieces of paper and glued them to cards I made from cardstock using my new Cutterpede paper trimmer.

The first card is hard to see it as pieced together in the picture. In fact it is hard to see it is pieced together in person. Since I am just starting these paper projects and I have limited tools and trims I wanted to do something simple but I think would still be sophisticated. I simply took two coordinating papers - one striped and one with messages. After cutting a piece of card stock and using my score blade so I could fold it I cut the striped paper and glued it to the front of the blank card. I cut out the words I wanted from the other paper, arranged them and glued them down. This was my husband's Valentine's card and he loves it. He thought it was one of those fancy Hallmark cards at first.

The second card started out the same but I chose to only go with one print and a coordinating blue cardstock. After cutting the front piece of paper for the card and gluing it in place I cut it with the scallop blade so the cardstock would show behind it and then cut the back to match. I still wanted simplicity but I also wanted some pizazz. After seeing projects done with the Crop-a-Dile I decided adding an eyelet would be an excellent idea but I didn't have that snazzy tool but I did have a Dritz(R) Eyelet Plier Kit in my fabric tools. So I added an eyelet on the front and back and bought some ribbon. The ribbon is attached by making a knot in the middle of the length of ribbon to secure it when threaded through both eyelets. After threading it through the card simply tie it in a bow. I'm definitely going to make more of these for birthday and thank you cards.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

A Little Yarn Shopping

Last time I ventured into a knitting shop several years ago it didn't take me long to walk back out. The women who worked there didn't even give me the time of day which I found odd as quilt stores I would visit would mostly have the most personable and helpful people in the world and I had worked with people who wrote knitting instructions for a living and they were nice people. I had visited one other knitting shop before that and the ladies were nice but at that time everyone was on the older side and the selections of yarn were minimal. The shops just didn't feel like me.

Thank goodness times have changed. Now that knitting and crocheting are growing in numbers among all ages of people the knitting shops are not only traditional but becoming very hip. There are several in the Chicago area and I plan on visiting them all and I will share what I find here. Today took me to West Dundee and East Dundee, Illinois.

The first shop I stopped by was The Gifted Purl on Main Street in West Dundee. This is a quaint shop in an old downtown storefront with a creaky wooden floor. The staff is super friendly and very helpful. There are comfy chairs and a sofa to sit and stitch at any time you would like to stop by. My 6 year old daughter was with me and took advantage of a box of toys from which she built a town from Lincoln Logs while I browsed. You can choose from several classes including knit and crochet although they specialize in knitting. Their signature activity is Friday Night Stitch In which they do every Friday beginning at 5:30 and ends whenever. The shopkeeper said last night they were there until midnight! They have been in business for 2 years and have a great selection of specialty yarns including cottons, wools, silks and blends.

The second shop was across the Fox River in East Dundee on River Road also in an old storefront. The Fishbed Knitting Emporium has only been open for 3 months but looks like a lot longer with the great inventory of yarns especially wools. There were so many colors it definitely was like visiting one of those candy shops with the rows of colorful candies along the walls. My daughter was impressed with this one because there was real candy to sample and the owner was very sweet to her. The coolest items in the shop were not even knitted. The owner, a fashion design major in college, had a couple of fiber art headdresses on display. One was made with wire springs, cut out pieces from scrap CDs and old computer parts. I wish I had had my camera with me.

Of course I couldn't leave either store without buying something (see the photo). At the Gifted Purl I purchased a handcrafted kettle-dyed wool by Manos del Uruguay and at the Fishbed I purchased a 100% corn fiber (yes corn like you eat) called aMaizing by the South West Trading Company. Now I just have to make something. I am a new knitter but have been crocheting since I was 5 so I will probably choose crochet over knit for now. I want to do a felting project with the wool and I'll have to see with the corn. I'll share with you what I discover with both of these. Corn! I still am aMaized.

Friday, March 2, 2007

My Crafting Wishlist

Can one ever have enough stuff or gadgets? As I have been re-energizing my self into my love of crafting I find things I need. Well, okay maybe not exactly need buy definitely some strong wants.

I am currently working on a photo layout of my daughter's Christmas portraits. I used my new Cutterpede paper trimmer to cut the rectangles for the matting but I had to use a ruler and exacto knife to cut the opening. If only I had one of those cool paper punches to easily cut the hole in one fluid movement I would be done a lot sooner.

This got me to thinking about all the things I want to have within easy reach to make my crafting better and more efficient. Here is my list. What would you put on yours?

  • A new fancy, schmancy sewing machine with decorative stitches. I love my old machine (my mom bought it for me 15 years ago) but I really want to be able to add different stitches to jazz up my projects.
  • Embroidery machine. Again I would love to do some embellishing especially for customizing our wardrobes and home decor.
  • One of those quilt frames where you don't have to baste your layers together. Since I don't have a quilt frame at all this would eliminate my reasons for not quilting my big quilt tops.
  • Long arm quilting machine. I would have even fewer reasons for not finishing quilts and it would be much easier than machine quilting on my regular sewing machine. Plus, these machines would have as Tim Allen would say "More Power (insert grunting sounds)."
  • Better digital camera. I love photography and love to put photos in my crafts no matter what medium.
  • Better color printer. I really need this. I bought a cheapo just to get by when my good one died. I haven't done any memory quilts or photo crafts since.
  • A knitting machine. I just learned how to knit but I want things faster darn it. It could help out with bags I want to felt.
  • A nice looking OTT floor lamp. I have a small portable one but it just doesn't work in the living room very well.
  • Oh, and a new house so I can fit everything in it without taking over the living room, the dining room, the bedroom, the garage, etc.