Saturday, December 20, 2014

Yummy!

Just a few minutes ago while the boys were snuggling by the fire...


I made these egg-less, flour-less and sugar-less cookies.

Do you know what?  


They're good!...the cookies, I mean.  The boys aren't bad either.  *wink*




Here's the recipe...

3 mashed bananas (ripe)
1/3 C apple sauce 
2 C rolled oats
1/4 C almond milk
1/2 C raisins
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon

Bake at 350F for 15-20 minutes.


Happy stitching!

 

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Freebie Design!

Who doesn't love cardinals?

They are one of the most beautiful species of birds that frequent our feeders. 

Did you know that cardinals mate for life?  They always come in pairs but take their turn at the feeders.  If you see one then you know that their mate is not too far away, waiting patiently for their turn.


My gift to you this Christmas season are the patterns for these two cardinal ornaments I made last night.


I made mine from wool but you can certainly make them from cotton fabric if you so desire.  Another option would be to make some in shades of blue as well because blue jays have a similar shape and size.

Click HERE for the patterns/line drawings.  

Enjoy!

Happy stitching!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Punch Needle Tutorial

The title of my post is not meant to mislead you because it's not me who is going to teach you how to do punch needle embroidery.  I'll leave that to the "experts" who took the time to make the You Tube videos.  

They're the ones who taught me and I encourage you to watch and "study" what they have to say because I'm sure that you'll find the process just as easy to learn as I did.




To watch Part 1 by Julie Thomas of The Old Tattered Flag, click HERE for the link.

Part 2 continues HERE.

Did you watch them?  Piece of cake, huh?  

All you need are the proper tools...a punch needle tool of your choice (mine is a Cameo), floss or thread (I used Valdani 12 wt for mine for the actual punch needle design and Valdani 6 strand embroidery floss for the whipped edge), the proper hoop and weaver's cloth.  Weaver's cloth was recommended to me because it can withstand the punching or piercing without breaking the threads or weave of the fabric and leaving a hole.

I watched both Part 1 and 2 a couple of times until I felt comfortable with the technique.  The thing to remember is that you're working from the reverse side of the fabric so that's where your pattern has to be traced and in reverse as well.  The "loops" or texture of the punch needle appear on the front and what you see on the back are the close-cropped "stitches" as you can see in my sample below with the sheep's curls. 




My tutorial is going to show you what I made with my finished punch needle design.




I first trimmed the weaver's cloth to about 1 1/2" away from the outer punched edge.




I then took a piece of scrap cording that I use for whipping the edges of my hooked rugs...anything similar will work just as well because you're not going to see it... to use as the "piping" for the outside edge.  The width of the cording will determine the size of the finished whipped edge.




Working from the reverse side and using just your fingers to hold the cord in place as you travel along the perimeter,




baste the cording as close to the outside edge as you can, easing the fabric as you proceed, all the way around.




When you get to where the two ends of the cording meet, trim them so that they butt together and bind off.




Using all six strands of floss and a # 22 or 24 chenille needle, whip stitch around the cording, coaxing the theads to butt up and lie against one another so that the background doesn't show through.  I  find it easier to work from the right side as I have better control as to where to place my needle.


I used a variegated, hand-dyed Valdani floss for this step.


This is how it looks on the reverse side when finished...



and this is the top or "good" side.



I decided to use my finished design to adorn an 8" x 3" papier mache box that I purchased from a local craft store a couple of years ago.  Actually, any size will do.  This just happened to be the size I found in my stash.



I gathered my paint brushes, craft paint, water based varnish, some scrap fabric and was good to go.




First I painted the outside lid a light tan color and added some dark brown shading around the outside edge.  At the same time, I painted the outside rim with the same dark brown. 




I then cut a piece of fabric the width of the box and just long enough to go all the way around and allowed for a slight amount to overlap.


Using a sponge brush and the water based varnish which I diluted with water at a ratio of about 1:1, I 'painted' on the varnish first onto the side of the box, laid the fabric on top of the wet varnish and then coated the fabric with more of the varnish, working my way around the entire perimeter of the box, smoothing out the bubbles as I proceeded.

Although I've never used it, I would imagine that you could always use a product like "Mod Podge" to get the same or similar results. 



I then allowed it to dry then lightly sanded it.  I painted a 1/2" rim around the bottom and at the same time, painted the bottom of the box with the same color.  To get a nice clean edge, I used Scotch Brand Magic Tape to tape off the upper edge of the band to be painted.




After the paint dried, I glued on some buttons, just to add some color and interest.


I also painted some numbers and letters around the perimeter of the lid.  If you feel that you can't paint the letters or numbers, you can always use a Micron Pigma permanent pen and 'write' them on instead!



To add a little more color, I painted the inside lid of the box red,




then centered the punch needle design and glued it to the lid.




I wanted to line the inside of the box so I used the bottom of the box as my template then traced a circle onto a piece of cardboard.  I cut it about an 1/8" inside the drawn line and used it as my guide to cut out a piece of batting.


I cut the fabric about 3/4" larger than the template,



then sandwiched the three layers together.  

First came the fabric, right side down, then the batting and lastly, the cardboard template.  I used a glue gun to secure the fabric to the cardboard.



I laid it into the bottom of the box...




and then hot glued a piece of fancy cording around the perimeter to hold it in place. 


You can also use rick rack, decorative ribbon or even lace in lieu of the cording.



And voila...your finished box!  


Don't you think that these would make wonderful gifts?



And if you'd like to use the same thread that I used, I sell sets of both the Valdani 12 wt thread and and 6 strand floss in my Etsy shop HERE.


Click HERE if you'd like to download my line drawing for the little sheep.


So if you like the look of punch needle and you've always wanted to give it a try, I encourage you to take the plunge.  The supplies and equipment are relatively inexpensive and I found it to be a pleasant diversion.  And even if punch needle isn't your 'thing', you can always use my tutorial to make other decorative and functional things.

Have fun and enjoy!


Happy stitching!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Home at last!

After travelling from Nova Scotia to the head office of Primitive Quilts & Projects magazine in West Virginia then on to Houston to be displayed in their booth at Fall Market and then back again to West Virginia, my "A Vintage Christmas" quilt arrived safely back home today...just in time to be able to enjoy and display for the Holidays.


I'd almost forgotten what it looks and feels like!


And...I just received the best Christmas present ever!

My doctor's office called about a half an hour ago with the results of the CT scan I had on Monday.  

"NO SIGNIFICANT CHANGE" were the sweetest words we could possibly hear.  That makes three years CANCER FREE...and counting! 

Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers!  They really mattered!


Happy stitching!

 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Counting the Days!

You all know that I L-O-V-E working with wool!

Well, not even an hour ago, I sewed the last stitch on my newest design called, "Counting the Days".

It's so new that I haven't even had time to stuff it yet!




I chose to make my sample into a seasonal, decorative pillow but the pattern easily lends itself to a wall hanging or can be used as the center medallion for a Christmas themed quilt.  When finished, it measures 19" x 13".

I stitched mine entirely by hand using over dyed wool and Valdani 12 wt threads.  However, the design is easily adaptable to cotton and machine applique. 

Included in the pattern are easy to follow detailed instructions as well as a full size, ready-to-use line drawing and a 4" x 6" color photo for easy visual reference.

The pattern is available for purchase in my Etsy shop HERE.



In about an hour, I leave for the hospital to have my yearly follow up CT scan.  

Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers that I remain cancer free.



Happy stitching!