Tuesday, January 24, 2017

January

Hello!  How is everyone?  De-Christmas-ed, de-cluttered, etc?  I have been working away the past few days getting my pictures and projects in order to load onto my blog.  I wanted to make sure I had some finished things to show, and not just a parade of works in progress that seem to be trailing all over the house!

I have been fortunate to be able to spend a lot of time with my crafts lately, and I have to tell you I love it.  My mind is consumed with what I am making or want to make, and it is a nice change from thinking about light fixtures, and hardware store sales, and scouting out all sorts of trades people.

My kids went to school right up until the 23rd of December, so pretty much all of their time off was after Christmas.  While it felt weird at first, it made the break seem extra long as none of the time was taken up with pre-holiday preparations.  We spent most of that time at home, mostly in our pyjamas I'm afraid, but we all felt really rested when it was all over.

I wanted to get some up-coming card occasions taken care of, so December 26 found me with needle and thread stitching away.  My friend moved to a new house on December 27 (can you imagine that?!) and I wanted to stitch a New Home card for her family.




I used a design from a French magazine and I loved the bright colours of the birds.  The original pattern only has two birds charted, but I added a third because they are a family of three.

This same friend celebrates a birthday in February, and I knew if I didn't stitch something now it was likely not going to get finished and mailed on time.  She loves to garden and I know she is spending this time dreaming of what she can do with her new yard.  I thought this little gnome motif from a previous issue of Cross Stitch Crazy was just perfect for her:


I happily started the New Year with a new cross stitch project:  Country Cottage Needleworks 'Winter Welcome'.  This has been on my wishlist for a long time and I am really happy how it turned out.  The frame is one I found at a thrift store, and given the amount of compliments I received on it in my Instagram feed, I think it was the right choice!


I took a bit of a break from cross stitch when I re-discovered a Cath Kidston book on needlework in my collection.  I stitched up this pretty little pin pillow with bits of thrifted tapestry wool I have.


I filled it with polyfil and a bit of dried lavender;  the backing is the fabric you see underneath.

While I could have spent all month stitching away on new things, I realized I have quite a bit of cross stitch on the go already, and it was time to finish some things off that have been languishing around in bins and baskets.


 These stars are not so old, but they were started before Christmas and I thought it would be better to get them finished before next Christmas!  I haven't glued them to the wooden stars underneath yet, because I am still deciding whether or not I want to put something gold between the fabric and the wood.  Once I decide, they will be attached to a garland to spell 'Peace' and decorate my craft room next Christmas.

This little heart only needed a few more stitches to be completed.  I wonder why I ever put it away when it was so close to being called a finish?


Same goes for these two:  I started the spool this summer and only finished it the other day.  The second design only took an evening or two to stitch up, so what was I waiting for?


Getting things off my plate has been applied to my other hobbies as well.  After many months of sitting around I finally finished off my crochet linen stitch scarf:


Becki of Field Lilies had shown some of these last year and I was so excited to make some.  If only I could be so excited to finish things!

In an effort to work down my yarn stash a little bit, I joined a Ravelry group called  'The Biggest Loser Stash Reduction Challenge'.   After each finish you weigh your project and record the grams lost.  You also have to record the grams gained through purchases.  It has been a motivator for sure, and I have had fun hooking up some quick, stash busting projects:



114 grams lost so far!

Finally, as if I didn't have enough crafty goodness to keep me happy, I have taken up knitting!  I had learned the stitches before, but never made anything.  I discovered a cross stitcher on Youtube, who is making knitting tutorials for beginners.  We start off with knitted cowls worked in the round, and move our way to ribbed cowls; house slippers; socks; a pull over sweater and finally a cardigan.
 So far I have to say I am not in love with knitting:  I find it slow and I haven't really seen any projects I am gung-ho to make that I couldn't replicate in crochet.  I keep going because I really want to make the socks:  if those turn out to be a bust then I will retire my needles!

  Here are the two cowls I have made so far:


(Charisma yarn in 'Mulberry Bush' colour way.)


(Charisma yarn in 'Chocolate Cupcake')

And with that, we have come to the end of another lengthy blog post!  I have hopes to update here in tandem with my podcasts, roughly every two to three weeks,  but I will just have to see how that will all work.  I am still finding the right balance between the social media outlets I use, but I know I definitely do not want to walk away from this space.

Thank you all so much for dropping in: I really appreciate the time you take to do so.
 I am anxious to get back to my projects so I will have lots to show you (again!) next time!

Happy Days!

xo, Jenn

Monday, December 19, 2016

Christmas Makes

Oh, it's been such a long time since I visited my little bloggy space:  I have actually missed it.  I have not even been around to read all of your lovely posts too; something that I love doing with a cup of tea and something sweet to eat.  I am going to try and catch up with all of you over the Christmas break.  I refuse to let Christmas be over on December 25th, and am planning on much slow-ness and craftiness and happy things over the days after.

So!  Can you believe it's almost here?!  I can't at all.  I am prepared for it all I think:  gifts are bought, the most important cards are sent; cookies have been made.  It will only be the four of us this year in our new house and I am really looking forward to a different feel to the celebrations.

Of course I have been crafting away for the past few months:  I hope you are prepared for a long-ish and picture heavy blog post!
I'm glad that last year I made so many gifts because this year I made none!  Too much upheaval and home improvement in the latter half of the year didn't really make me feel like putting pressure on myself to make gifts.  Or cards for that matter:  I only made two this year :


(The rest were from the store; I didn't actually only send two cards!)  These are stitched on paper with embroidery floss.  There are free patterns and downloads to buy at www.stitchingcards.com.  It was nice to do something different, though I wouldn't say you save a lot of time by doing these over cross stitch.

I got two more ornaments stitched up:


This is a Dimensions kit I ordered as my "payment" for painting the house!  It came with the hanger and jingle bells, though I substituted some evenweave from my stash for the very stiff aida fabric it came with.

Over the course of our house move my rolling pins have gone missing.  We don't understand how just these things can be gone when we don't seem to be missing any other kitchen stuff, yet there you have it.  Whenever we can't find anything we say, "It must be with the rolling pins!"  I am telling you this so you understand why I stitched this as our 2016 ornament!


Here is a little 'line-up' of all the ornaments I stitched/finished in 2016:




Not the twelve I was hoping for, but pretty good I think!

My last little cross stitch Christmas finish is just something fun to display some of the fimo pins I made a few years ago and to use the cute little wicker sleigh:


The floss is called "Peppermint" by Carrie's Creations.

On My Hooks:

Not a lot of crochet has been going on here lately.  I find it bothers my shoulder quite a bit so I can only do this in small doses.  I started on a peppermint stripe tea cosy last year, so this year I added some white Christmas roses and holly leaves to it.  My teapot isn't a typical design so pictures are always a little hard to take of it:


Sewing:

A fun afternoon was spent doing some free motion embroidery on this little picture for my craft room:


This is a combination of two different patterns from Bustle and Sew magazine,

Project bags!  Can I just say I found these pretty addicting to make, and I want to make more! Truthfully though I don't think one should have this many projects on the go...



Six more days until Christmas and I still have plans to make more ornaments and sew more things and I still feel like I can get it All Done; which of course I can't but it's so much fun to think so.

I want to say an enormous THANK-YOU!! to all of you who visit me here in my little crafty space and leave me such lovely messages here, and on Instagram and my little youtube channel.  It's so nice to be able to connect with other crafty minded folk, especially when you don't have any such souls in your immediate area.  I hope you all have a lovely holiday with good things to eat, and pleasant things to do; and snow (if you want it), and pretty lights, and laughter and all the good stuff there is to have.

Merry Christmas!

xo Jenn

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

October Update


Hello again!

I'm so happy to be able to share a Big Finish with you today:  Brooke's Books Stitcher's Alphabet is complete!!


Last time I left you I think I was at the letter R and saying I should just knuckle down and finish it.  So I did!  I worked like gang-busters and finished the last eight blocks in less than two weeks.  Here is a little close-up of the last eight:


'S' for Sampler and 'T' for Tatting (and thimble).

'U' for UFO (unfinished object); 'V' for Variegated threads and 'W' for Wool.

'X' for X-stitch: 'Y' for yarn (isn't that cat cute?!) and 'Z' for Zig-zag.

I am happy, happy, happy to be finished this one.  It was fun to work on:  each block had new colours and motifs and it didn't get boring.  I am hoping to frame this one, I just want to work out a mat/frame combo.  This will take centre stage in my craft room for sure.

And speaking of finishes, I have another!  Much smaller of course, but a finish all the same:)


This was a little DMC kit I kept in the car.  Every time the kids have an activity after school where I need to pick them up, I work on a small kit.  It helps pass the time, and sometimes I even show up a little early just to get a little uninterrupted stitchy time!  I think I will count this as one of my Ornament-a-Month projects.

After my 'reveal' of Vintage Christmas in my last post I decided to turn it into a wall hanging.  I found a quilting store really close to me and found this fabric which is just about perfect I think.


On the crochet front I am ashamed to say my One Button Wrap is still not finished.  I have ripped out the last side three times and right now I don't want to see it for a while.  At least cross stitching has kept me busy!

One new thing I tried was making a floss tube video.  Scary! Thankfully it was met with many kind words so I will probably make another.  I pretty much talk about all the same stuff I do here;  there is just more content on what I'm working on at the moment.  If you fancy having a look here is the link:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9uZRDSC2uaA

So it's almost Halloween, can you believe it?  I put out some of my things; cross stitch first of course!


This isn't all of it, but enough for this part of the house anyway.  This is a long wooden bowl I found at the thrift store a while back, and it has been great for displaying all sorts of things all year long.  I have not done any Halloween stitching this year so it was nice to see I had quite a few things already.

I decorated my mantle:


The clock looks out of place but I need to keep it there or else we won't know what time it is!  This is the biggest collection of Halloween decor out in one place.  I have a few things elsewhere but I have really cut back on my decorations.  The kids are growing up so they aren't really into it anymore, and it isn't a heck of a lot of fun to pack too much stuff away after just a few weeks.

Well I think that's enough of a ramble for today.  Thank you so much for your kind comments and visiting me here in my little space.  I hope you are all having a wonderful Autumn:  ours has been very colourful and very busy, but at least the weather has been pretty great.

Take care my friends and I will see you next month!

Jenn

















Friday, September 16, 2016

Playing Catch-up

Well H-e-l-l-o!  Gosh it's been a while hasn't it?  I hope you all had a lovely summer!

Mine was good, all things considered.  As I mentioned we moved house in the first week of July.  I had forgotten how much work and time that all takes up.  I also realized just how much stuff we had tucked away in all those nooks and crannies of our last house.  It sure is something to see everything you own, out in the open, all at once!  All our previous moves generally went off without a hitch;  this time there were a few glitches, including the fairly major contract snafu nobody noticed until our things were being packed up.  For a few weeks we ended up owning two houses, which was really rather stressful at the time.   With the help of some good friends and former neighbours  we were able to leave the old house in safe hands until the new possession day.  Thankfully that is all over now and we are able to enjoy our new home and explore our new surroundings.

 (One of the many works in progress I have going on!)

Craft wise I have been starting a lot of things, which has been fun, but I need to focus on finishing some more things.  I had a bunch of works in progress and finishes I wanted to show you, but it was taking me so long to get everything organized for a blog post I decided to just sit down and put in what I could think of right now.   I can see now that I have forgotten to photograph some things, but that will just have to wait for another time.

I'll start with the cross stitching:  I have some finishes to show you!  Vintage Christmas by Country Cottage Needleworks is all done and I will be able to frame it up for this Christmas.


I love this design, but truthfully I'm feeling a little "meh" about the finish.  I think it might be the fabric colour that is putting me off.  I said I would frame it up, but I guess I'm not so sure yet.  I think I just need a little distance from it and maybe when I take it out in December I will love it all over again.

I wanted to dedicate July to Christmas stitching, so in addition to Vintage Christmas I stitched a few ornaments as well.  I only did two:  the seagull and snowmen trio, but with the house move in there and also the bigger design I am happy with what I accomplished.  Both of these designs are also by Country Cottage Needleworks.
 The mistletoe ornament is a recent finish, and it's a Lesley Teare design from Cross Stitch Collection, November 2015.


My Stitcher's Alphabet has not seen the light of day since we moved, but I did complete two more letters after my last post here and before we pulled up stakes.  'O' for Overdyed thread and 'N' for Needle:


This was my favourite row to work on so far.  I loved the colours and all the motifs.  After this there are only two and a half more rows to go, so I really should just knuckle down and get it finished.


This next design is from the September 2012 edition of Cross Stitch and Needlework, by Ursula Michael.  I took a photo of the finished stitch using a fall napkin as a back drop.   I liked the effect so much I  stitched the two together and turned it into a pillow cover!  Now I'm down to three napkins but I'll think of something to do with those.



On My Hooks...

 It was such a hot summer I didn't do too much crocheting.  Thankfully I was able to track down one more skein of the yarn I needed to finish my corner to corner blanket:


 I was hoping to gift this to my niece for her new baby this month:  wouldn't you know she had a sweet boy instead?  Off to the cupboard it goes, waiting for the next little girl to arrive in the family someday.

I made some new dishcloths for the new house:


 I am trying to reduce the yarn stash a little bit and these are always great stash busters.  I am finding though, that with the ever-shrinking skein sizes, pretty soon one skein will not be enough for a dishcloth.  I suppose if I learned to knit them instead I could stretch the skein out a bit more.  If you are a dish cloth knitter, do you find you have a decent amount of yarn left over?  These are all made with Bernat Handicrafter cotton, and in most cases I only have a few inches of yarn left over.  I have already had to reduce the foundation row count, and the border size.

I made a companion apple pot holder to the red one I made in 2014:


 This is a free pattern, available here.  The pattern makes one apple:  I crochet a second one in the skin colour so I can stitch them together and have a double thickness.

One nice discovery here was a lovely yarn shop where I have added significantly to their coffers!  On one trip I found this hand painted yarn by Briggs and Little called "Eggplant".  If you follow me on Instagram you will have seen the other colour way I couldn't leave behind called "Flamingo".  I am making the One Button Wrap out of the eggplant and am getting close to finishing.


 I have since pulled out the four inches on the right side:  you can see how the colour changes in that skein are much darker than the rest.  I didn't think it would be so noticable but once I took the photograph I could really see it.  I have another skein that should work better, and I can use the darker one in the border.

OK, that's all for today!  Thank you for sticking around and visiting me here in my little crafty space.  I see I am pretty far behind in my blog reading too, so I hope to visit you soon if you have a blog.  If you're on Instagram let me know!  I don't post a lot there but I love my daily dose of crafty goodness and pretty pictures.  My moniker there is Jenn's Crafty World as well.

Take care my friends, and,

 Happy Days!

Jenn

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

June Happenings

Hello!  Did you have a lovely June?  I think I did:  it felt busy and yet at times it felt like it was dragging along.  I think the waiting around we have been doing before our house move accounted for the dragging bit.  It's a bit difficult for a big homebody like me to be unable to feather her nest.  I'm in my current home, but now all my thoughts are already in the next one.  Soon the transition will happen and Home will consume me for a while with all its unpacking and putting away and feathering and nesting.  I have tried to use this quiet time for crafty pursuits, because I know for the next couple of weeks I won't get much opportunity.  I had so many plans for this time, but when faced with all the choices I didn't know what to do.  I decided to just pick up my cross stitching as that seemed the easiest.  Suffice it to say my Stitcher's Alphabet is growing:  I worked on three letters this month.  'P' for Pins;' Q' for Quilt and 'R' for Redwork.  I probably could have completed another one but the background for 'R' was so boring I kept putting it down.


Here we are to date:


I also made some progress on 'Vintage Christmas' by Country Cottage Needleworks.  


I have to frog the birds because they are supposed to be white.  That makes much more sense than pink, and at first I thought they were supposed to be pastel coloured cardinals!  I think I just did too much cross stitch that day and couldn't read the pattern correctly.  I decided I would like to work on Christmas designs only in July when I have the time, so hopefully I can get this completed and get to work on another larger seasonal design.

This next little design was a freebie with Cross Stitch Crazy magazine and I loved the colours of course!  I switched out the aida for evenweave and I thought it would be a perfect stitch for my new home.  I believe the designer is Emma Congden on this one.


Another cute magazine freebie came with The World of Cross Stitching magazine this month too.  There was a little booklet of cross stitch alphabets with two free skeins of Madeira floss in pink and blue.  As soon as I saw this Union Jack alphabet I knew just what I wanted to make:


I keep my loose tea tins in this basket and thought a little label would be so cute.

I made a few little accessories for my stitching as well.  I have seen a lot of needle minders on various You Tube stitching videos and was intrigued.  I have a beautiful one from Kelmscott, but it never occurred to me I could make my own!  This is proving to be quite addicting I tell you....


Some pretty autumnal coloured beads at the dollar store inspired me to make a scissor keep for Fall:


I saw these charms at the craft store and I think I actually squealed with delight.  (According to My Favourite Girl I did and that's why she ran the other way)  How cute are these?!  


You had better believe I scouted out a coupon tout de suite in order to buy these.  I attached the little charms with jump rings to one of those necklace extenders, then hooked it on to a larger lobster clasp.  Now it's a cutie-pie zipper pull for one of my project bags.

My crochet hook saw some action in June as well.  I first saw this corner to corner baby blanket on Becky's blog.  I am always finding projects there I want to make, and since I had half of the required yarn already in my stash I could get started right away.  This is called the 'Spring into Summer' blanket and it is a free pattern you can find HERE.  


This was nice to work on in the hotel room and car while on our house hunting trip.  The first half seems to take a while, but I noticed the second half just zipped by.  My issue is now this:  if you look in the top left corner you will see I ran out of yarn just as I was about to finish the main section.  The pattern says it takes three balls of this yarn to make the blanket with a border.  My crocheting must have been pretty relaxed because what you see here took three balls.  I went to two stores to get another ball and both are out of stock.  Talk about frustrating!  Now I have to wait until we move to our new town and hope I can track one more ball down there.  It would have been nice to have it all completed before I move, but I suppose there are worse things to do than having to source craft shops in a new city aren't there?

Now, I'm sure you will have a hard time believing this (!!), but sometimes I need a creative project I can really sink my teeth into.  Well, this time it was a sander, but you know what I mean!
Our current kitchen table will be too big to fit into our new kitchen, so I ended up buying a smaller one from a friend.  I spent an enjoyable day getting dusty and making lots of noise by sanding down and refinishing the table top.  I left the bottom alone because I like the painted part.  If there was such a thing as a craft nerd, I think I would definitely make the cut.... Moving in three weeks?  How about re-doing a table? 

 Yes please!!!


Well my friends, I am finally at the end.  I have said a lot of goodbyes this past month, and in the next week there will be many more.  This is likely the last update I will post before moving, so next time you hear from me I will have a new base for my Crafty World.  Thank you so much for visiting, and I look forward to seeing what you are up to in the next few weeks.  Have a wonderful summer!!

xo Jenn





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