Category Archives: 2015

Projects finished in 2015

Flower of the Month: December

The tenth installment of the flower of the month series is here, with December’s poinsettia. The patterns from the series are from Ellen Maurer-Stroh, who has some great free patterns.

The poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima) is native to Mexico and Central America. It has been associated with Christmas since the 17th century. Around this time of year in the U.S., there are poinsettias everywhere: doctors’ offices, grocery stores, banks, etc. In fact, today, December 12, is National Poinsettia Day here!

photograph of cross stitched red poinsettia flower

Like the other squares, I added the month name in the border (with DMC 935), using the chart I posted.

The stitching is done in two strands on 18 count antique white aida cloth.

Next month: the carnation.

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Flower of the Month: November

The ninth installment of the flower of the month series is here, with November’s chrysanthemum. The patterns from the series are from Ellen Maurer-Stroh, who has some great free patterns.

cross stitched chrysanthemum flower

The chrysanthemum, or mum, is native to Asia and northeastern Europe. Mums were first cultivated in China in the 15th century. As well as being pretty to look at, the flowers are used to brew a sweet chrysanthemum tea, and the flowers can also be processed to make a natural insecticide.

The mum is the symbol of the Japanese Imperial family. In the United States, it is the official flower of the cities of Salinas, California, and Chicago, Illinois.

Like the other squares, I added the month name in the border (with DMC 3362), using the chart I posted.

The stitching is done in two strands on 18 count antique white aida cloth.

Next month: the poinsettia.

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Finished Project: Adventures in Bookmaking

When I was growing up, I was fascinated by a local bookbinding company that we would sometimes pass on the highway, Wert Bookbinding. My mom would tell me about how she went to school with one of the Wert sons who now was running the bookbindery, and I would think, “Wow! That must be such a cool job! I wish my family made books!” But now I can say that I, too, can make books, though probably not a quarter as well as an actual bookbinding company.

I wanted a small journal with a map-print cover but didn’t want to just go buy another thing, so I figured out how to make one with materials I already had around the house. Behold, the fruits of my first adventure in bookmaking:

front of handbound map journal

The front cover

back cover of handbound map journal

The back cover

handbound map journal spine

The spine

A side view of the handbound map journal with covers and pages slightly open

Mmmm, blank pages

I knew some of the basics of making books before I started (you need paper, and something for the cover… and there’s sewing involved) but I found some great tutorials on the interwebs that helped me through. I mostly followed this tutorial from Trumpetvine Travels. It is actually about how to put different paper in a Moleskine notebook, but it had the clearest instructions on putting together signatures and sewing the binding. Then I used this Instructables tutorial to guide me through the rest of the process (starting around step 6).

For this journal, I used stuff I already had. The pages are 24-pound letter-sized paper (8.5 by 11 inches, or close to A4 size if you’re not in the USA), folded in half. This weight of paper is slightly more substantial than the typical printer paper — it is what you’d use for resumés or nice letters — but I’m sure regular printer paper would also work.

The cover is cut from a very thick shopping bag from some fancy store, it is about as thick as cardstock. I used a gluestick to glue the map onto the cover, then carefully folded the edges over and glued them down. One thing that was super helpful in this process was a bone folder; it is great for getting really crisp folds and for smoothing out bumps when you’re gluing down paper.

Since I wanted to use this book as a daily journal, I used a date stamp to put dates on the pages.

close-up of date stamped on inside page of handbound map journal

open-pages

Now it is all ready to be filled!

Have any readers out there tried to make their own journals or books? How was your experience?

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Finished Project: Get Schwifty

I had the idea for this tiny cross stitch project and brought it to fruition in the span of an evening. I just had to have a break from the giant Simpsons couch project. And who couldn’t use more Rick and Morty in their lives?

gold-painted embroidery hoop with "get schwifty" stitched on black fabric with golden metallic thread


embroidery hoop that reads "get schwifty"

photograph of back of embroidery hoop finished with grey and white-dotted cotton fabric

For some stupid reason, I subjected myself to both metallic floss and black aida for this project — thank goodness it was small and simple. I painted the hoop with metallic gold paint to complement the stitching and finished the back with a grey piece of printed cotton with white dots. It is pretty schwifty!

This piece is for sale in my Etsy shop — get it before it’s gone!

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Finished Project: Leopard print Fold-over Clutch

This was a productive week for me; I finished two commissioned sewing projects, most recently this fun leopard print foldover clutch:

leopard print foldover clutch standing on table

leopard print foldover clutch lying on wooden table with a glass of water and vase of small flowers

leopard print foldover clutch lying on table next to a matcha latte with leaf-shaped milk art

leopard print clutch folded open to show the purple satin lining

And yes, I did take the clutch to a local café for a photoshoot. The light in my apartment has been miserable since autumn has fallen; we had so much rain yesterday I forgot the sun exists.

The leopard print, lining fabric, & the zipper were from Joann Fabrics. I made a little wrist strap from a strip of the leopard print folded over some stiff interfacing. I used lightweight interfacing on both the lining and the leopard print, so the bag is nicely sturdy and can stand up by itself. There’s also a little pocket inside for a phone.

The customer was very pleased with it and is excited to take it out on the town this season. Are you making any new accessories for fall?

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Flower of the Month: October

Happy October everyone, make way for the calendula flower! The patterns from the flower of the month series are from Ellen Maurer-Stroh, who has some great free patterns.

photograph of cross stitched calendula flower for October's flower of the month square

The calendula is also known as the pot marigold, and typically refers to the species Calendula officinalis. The flower has been used medicinally for treating acne and irritated skin, as well as for treating stomach cramps and constipation. It is also used to dye fabrics and to give a golden color to butter and cheese.

Like the other squares, I added the month name in the border (with DMC 987), using the chart I posted.

The stitching is done in two strands on 18 count antique white aida cloth. Here are the eight squares so far, 2/3 of the way through the year:

Photograph of 8 flower of the month squares, March through October

Next month: the chrysanthemum.

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Flower of the Month: September

September’s flower is here, even though it’s a bit late! For the seventh installment of the flower of the month series, I humbly present the aster. The patterns from the series are from Ellen Maurer-Stroh, who has some great free patterns.

photo of cross stitched aster flower with large purple blooms

The aster is an ornamental plant that grows in Europe, the United States, and Canada. These asters are light purple, but the blooms can also be pink, dark purple, and nearly white. They grow best in cooler climates.

Like the other squares, I added the month name in the border (with DMC 936), using the chart I posted.

The stitching is done in two strands on 18 count antique white aida cloth.

Next month: the calendula.

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Finished Project: WIP & Floss Bags

I have so many cross stitch works in progress going at the moment; I had them spread all over the coffee table, in dangerous proximity to open cups of tea and such. So I decided to make a nice case to hold all my supplies, keeping them safe, clean, and easy to pick up and take with me!

picture of exterior of large rectangular bag with zipper opening

I made the bag from five fat quarters that I got at the Stitchin’ Post in Sisters, Oregon, plus some interfacing I had lying around and a zipper salvaged from a bag that I bought a pillow in. Like the cat & woodgrain bags, I used the basic technique from this Design Sponge tutorial.

picture of interior of bag showing the three compartments stuffed with cross stitching supplies

For the lining, I sewed three fat quarters together and folded them up to divide the inside into three sections. I put one project into each compartment, and I still have a bit more room. And the bag is big enough to fit a clipboard for pattern pages.

If I had to do it over, I would have put some more/thicker interfacing in the lining so it wasn’t as floppy. The bag stands up alright on its own, but the dividers would be better if they were stiffer.

I also made some more floss bags to hold the flosses for the Steotchalong project (which I still haven’t finished, oops), and for another surprise Christmas present project that I’m working on.

small zippered bag made from pink and white bird print fabric

small zippered bag made from colorful, red, blue, and yellow geometric tribal print fabric

They’re so pretty and useful!

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Flower of the Month: August

August’s flower is here! For the sixth installment of the flower of the month series, I humbly present the gladiolus. The patterns from the series are from Ellen Maurer-Stroh, who has some great free patterns.

fotm-august

The flower for August is the gladiolus, a genus of perennial flowers that is part of the iris family. Cultivated gladioli grow in tall spikes with pink, reddish, or light purple flowers. The leaves are sword-shaped, from which the genus gets its name from Latin gladius, meaning sword.

Like the other squares, I added the month name in the border (with DMC 987), using the chart I posted. I also altered the bees from the original pattern, and added the top-right bee. This pattern was much easier and stitched up faster than July’s; there were larger patches of the same color and there were not so very many different shades.

The stitching is done in two strands on 18 count antique white aida cloth.

Next month: the aster.

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Kitten & Woodgrain Zippered Pouches

About two weeks ago I spent the day making some cute and useful zippered pouches out of fat quarters. I learned how to make these pouches from this Design Sponge tutorial and they are really so simple that I think anyone who can thread a sewing machine can make them, too. It was so fun picking out fat quarters from the quilt shop to use. Here’s what I made:

picture of zippered pouch made from colorful cat-printed fabric with red zipper, with markers and pens spilling out

Cat printed pouch; click here to buy now

picture of zippered pouch made from purple woodgrain printed fabric with black zipper, with markers and pens spilling out

Purple woodgrain pouch; click here to buy now

picture of purple woodgrain zippered pouch turned partly inside out to show the purple printed lining

Fabric: purple/violet woodgrain print from Joel Dewberry’s True Colors collection lined with purple printed quilting cotton from unknown designer

If you don’t want to make your own bags, you can buy the ones pictured above in my etsy shop. Supplies are limited (at least until I order more of that adorable cat print)!

I cut my fabric into rectangles that were 9 by 6 inches (22.9 by 15.2 cm). At that size, two fat quarters will give you 3 lined bags, or 6 unlined bags, with very little waste. Two whole yards of fabric would yield 12 bags — that’s a lot of bags, but I have found infinite uses for them. Pencil cases, holding sewing and cross stitching supplies, bags for toiletries and makeup, &c. What would you keep in a little pouch like these?

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Filed under 2015, Finished Projects, Sewing