Saturday, February 28, 2009

A Gnome And A Guinea Pig Walk Into A Bar

Thanks for all the recent comments! You guys always say the nicest things about my little craft projects, which makes me wonder if you need your eyes checked. No, really, it makes me smile big time. And, I totally appreciated the comments about my recent low blood sugar episode. Thank you!

Have you seen Barbara's tutorial on turning an embroidered piece into a lovely needle case? It's a terrific way to use something that might be stained or torn but that you can't bear to part with because it's just too pretty. I knew I couldn't make one the way Barbara did because I don't machine sew and the only bias tape I have is white (boring). But then I heard a little voice inside my head ask why not just blanket stitch the edges together? And, I thought Boy howdy! I am so doing that!

(I swear if the blanket stitch were a person, I would be its biggest stalker.)

Well, I couldn't find the right embroidery to morph into a needle case so I was thinking I should just stitch a little design on some fabric and go from there. I'm about ready to go do that right now. But first, let me show you what I made for my sister last year since I never got around to taking any pictures of it until now.

On one side of the little bag, I embroidered a gnome . . .

gnome embroidery

. . . and, on the other, his pal, the guinea pig.

guinea pig embroidery

Susan chose the patterns, which explains why there's a gnome and a guinea pig. If I had made this for myself, there would have been a puppy on one side and a wombat on the other. And, a picture of Johnny Depp inside.

The gnome pattern was the January 2008 free pattern from Bad Birds. I had stitched him once before and thought he looked like he was wearing a uniform of some kind so this time I got out the crayons and gave him some color. By the way, the current freebie from Andrea Zuill is an elephant on a ball holding an umbrella in his trunk. I love it.

The guinea pig design is from a coloring book that you can find at Dover Publications (possibly this one) but I had saved the image from one of their sampler emails. If you haven't signed up for that by now, you should. You'll receive a weekly email with links to free illustrations, clip art, and stories from a wide variety of their books. Some of the black & white drawings and coloring pages work nicely as embroidery patterns. (At least that's what I tell myself every time I download yet another one even though I know I will most likely never get around to using it except for this one time that I used the guinea pig page.) Register to get the sampler here.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Do You Recognize This Poodle Chart?

UPDATE: It looks like the chart is from a Leisure Arts cross stitch booklet by Mary Ellen called Best Loved Dogs: The 13 Most Popular Breeds. Thanks, Google!

I found this Poodle cross stitch chart in an email someone sent to me a few years ago. I don't know if it was a freebie or one she had purchased. I was hoping someone might recognize it and know the designer or website it came from. Thanks!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Meet My Scottie

A little while ago, I won a book called "Knitting Pretty" from Protector of Vintage (great name for a blog, huh?). Learning how to knit has been on my to-do list for some time so I was really excited about winning the book. It was even better when I opened the box from Ann and discovered she had included three skeins of yarn and a heart shaped box of yummy chocolate-covered caramels. Armed with a 40% off coupon, my sister and I headed for Michael's so I could get some needles and get to stitching.

Well, it did not go as well as I had hoped. After pouring over the diagrams in the book and watching several online videos for hours and hours, I still had no idea how to knit or purl. I think I figured how to cast on but who knows if I was doing that right. I knew how to knit when I was a kid and thought it was would all come back to me when I picked up those needles but no such luck. I was really discouraged by the whole thing and thought I should stop obsessing over it for now and move on to something I kind of knew how to do: make a small animal out of felt.

I decided it was time to finally make a Scotty/Scottie dog from All Sorts. The pattern was one of the first online craft freebies I stumbled upon. It's just felt and a simple blanket (or whip) stitch so how difficult could it be? Well, hello, there's a head gasket (or is it gusset?), and two underbody pieces, and I wasn't sure which part to sew together first. He turned out cute, (how could he not be cute thanks to a great pattern), but there are quite a few mistakes. If you could see him from a different angle, you would see knots in the floss that I did not hide well enough, and the places where the pieces of felt came together that I had to stitch over more than once because I had left holes. I also cheated on his collar because I cannot tie a decent bow to save my life, so for now, the ends are attached by a straight pin.

I love that he stands up. That was worth dealing with the underbody pieces and head bustle(basket?).

Felt Scottie

I plan to make more Scotties in the future and I'm hoping to get better at it.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Fun Times In Diabetes Land

I had a post with several links to embroidery patterns all ready to go and accidentally deleted it the other night. I've been trying to learn how to knit and have not been at all successful. And, yesterday I spilled Cherry Coke Zero all over my ecru colored floss so now I don't know if I can finish the felt Scottie I had already half blanket stitched together. In other words, I have nothing craft related for you people so please enjoy this entry about my most recent experience with low blood sugar.

I was on Facebook yesterday and it kept running through my mind how I needed to type "OMGWTFBBQ" somewhere on my profile. After a few minutes of this, I realized my blood sugar was starting to drop since goofy thoughts usually mean low blood sugar in my world. Even though I was kind of out of it, I decided to get my camera and snap a few shots while waiting for the glucose tablets to bring me out of my hypoglycemic stupor. I'm not sure why I wanted to take pictures but I may have been worried I had told someone on Facebook to eff off and thought I might need proof later on to show I wasn't thinking clearly at the time.*

Since anything below 80 is considered low, this number explains my goofy thoughts.

Hey, Mr. Doggie Door Stop, mind if I just sit here while I wait for the glucose tablets to kick in?

In addition to eating a few glucose tablets from the large bottle, I also ate this entire tube of them. Usually four is plenty to get my blood sugar back up to a normal level, but sometimes I go overboard when I feel like they aren't working quickly enough. This tube was orange flavored and tasted like baby aspirin. Ugh. I had discovered this bag of cookies on my bed and scarfed them down too.

Over twenty minutes and at least 15 glucose tablets later, I was still not out of the woods.

Thanks to the cookies and all that sugar, my blood sugar had climbed into the 400's (that's way too high) about an hour later. And, I felt like crap.

What a fun day.

The end.

*Fortunately, I did not tell anyone on Facebook to eff off.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Unfortunately Meme

I saw this funny meme on Llyn's blog. Google the phrase "unfortunately _____" and put your first name in the blank. Be sure to enclose it in quotation marks. If you do this, let me know so i can read your answers. I love this kind of thing.

Unfortunately, Patty didn't know any magicians who performed at children's parties

Unfortunately, Patty loses her friend to the war and when she reaches the age of 18, she wants to go in search of a familial link to him in Germany.

Unfortunately Patty moved to New Jersey a year later and my heart was broken.

Unfortunately, Patty leaves Marcy in charge of getting the eggs ready.

Unfortunately, Patty, for one day in her career, had decided to wear a dress.

Unfortunately, Patty broke her arm on the trip down, but she seemed to be enjoying things when I spoke with her.

Unfortunately, Patty had John's day all planned out for him - lined up full of chores.

Unfortunately, Patty still managed to sit in a bit of sheep poo!

Unfortunately, Patty decided to shut down her blog, so you can't click over to see what she had to say about it.

Unfortunately Patty is pregnant again pretty much because they were too horny and we were too slow.

Unfortunately Patty and I had no idea what was causing the changes in my personality or my terrible and unusual behavior.

Unfortunately Patty was injured during the mischief last night.

Unfortunately, Patty has no skills whatsoever, and yet again, fails miserably.

Unfortunately, Patty is wild, vicarious and ill-suited to take on the role of care-giver.

Friday, February 20, 2009

My Blue Elephant

The other night, after printing out three more embroidery patterns that I will probably never ever stitch, I realized I had a serious disease and needed to go Hoarders Anonymous. I would love to show you the seven (or is it eight? Or nine?) binders I have filled with cross stitch charts, embroidery designs, and tutorials on making all kinds of things but I haven't Swiffered my bookcase in a quite awhile and wouldn't want you to see the dust-covered shelves. Some of the patterns and charts have been purchased by yours truly but the majority are freebies from different blogs and websites. The thing is I could live to be 200 years old and still never get around to making every single project in those notebooks.

Since I had no idea if Hoarders Anonymous even existed, I decided to stop searching for more patterns and start making something from one already in my collection. I've been wanting to make an elephant since forever so I whipped up this little guy (over a two day period).

Blue felt elephant

I love my little elephant.

He's made out of acrylic felt and I enlarged the pattern, which puts him close to 7" from trunk to tail, if he had a tail, that is. (Oops. Looks like somebody forgot the tail.) I made the mistake of saving the stitching around his legs for last. I should have done that first to make it easier when it was time to stuff him. There are two smaller elephants in the pattern that I plan to make as well so I can have a little elephant family to play with. Uh, I mean so I can pose them on a dust-covered shelf in my bookcase.

About the pattern . . . I had printed it out a couple of years ago after seeing it on this post on this Portuguese blog. But it looks like it originally came from, which is a Korean site that I cannot navigate at all. I'm pretty sure they offer free patterns but I can't figure how to get to them since Google's English translation doesn't cover everything there. The Portuguese blog has lots of free patterns too, but it appears they all came from other sites. I have issues with this. It's ok to link to a pattern but it's not ok to re-post those patterns on your blog even if they are freebies. (Apparently I'm not upset enough to keep from using one of the patterns though.) If I could locate the elephant pattern on the Feltzzang site, I would link to that instead of to the blog.

Update: After looking at more of the posts on that blog, I'm not so sure all the patterns are freebies from other blogs. Take a look at this one. That's from a book, isn't it? I have mixed feelings about this blog now. Someone once told me copyright laws are not the same in other countries -- she was trying to justify sending photocopies of x-stitch charts in a swap -- which may be true, but I don't think anyone should be posting photos of patterns from books or magazines.

If you know anything about Feltzzang and if they offer free stuff, please let me know. I feel bad for using a pattern from them that may not have been offered at no charge.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Butter Box Peep Show

So, I was catching up on some blogs earlier and discovered Average Jane Crafter's latest project, which I thought was hilarious. I knew there was a Land O Lakes box in my fridge so I decided I needed to make a peep show for myself.

Yes, I am 12 years old.


I can't stop giggling.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Bunny Cross Stitch

I knew I wouldn't finish anything in time for Valentine's Day -- I didn't even post all the project links I wanted to -- so I decided to just move on to the next holiday and make something with a bunny. I've been wanting to do this "Rabbit with Hyacinth" for years. You can find the pattern here. I used all the suggested floss colors, except I substituted something similar for the outline of the hyacinth, and stitched it on 18 ct Aida.

bunny cross stitch

Since my iPod cozy was nearby when I was snapping a photo of the bunny, I took a picture of that too. Let's just say this was an early craft project and I pretty much winged it. I made this a couple of years ago with some felt from a wool sweater I washed and an embroidered puppy that I had no idea what to do with. As you can see, I knew nothing about applique. I chain stitched the embroidered piece to the felt and went around twice because once wasn't enough to hide the frayed edges of the white cotton material. This was before I had tried crayon tinting or else the puppy, flowers and the ball would all have been colored in. Some day, I'll make a new one and do it differently but this works for now. You can find the puppy pattern here.

puppy embroidery

Saturday, February 14, 2009

A Warm And Fuzzy Valentine's Day To You!

Back in 1991, I wanted to send out announcements to family and friends to let them know my family had a new Shih Tzu puppy named Samantha. I found these cute Puppy Love cards, which I thought were perfect. (I can't remember why I punched holes in this one -- I guess I wanted to hang it up somewhere.)

I added some pictures of Sammi inside the card. (I was quite the crafter back then, wasn't I?)

Happy Valentine's Day, everybody!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Happy Friday The 13th

I was born on a Friday the 13th and sometimes when I tell people that, they say "Well, that explains it." Explains what? I don't get it.

Guess who won a knitting book from Protector of Vintage? I'm so excited! And, now, I have no excuse not to learn how to knit. Actually, someone taught me how when I was kid but I didn't keep up with it. I remember I had really cool blue needles and would always get them out when we played Little House on the Prairie.

Speaking of giveaways, Amy is having one at Early Bird Special and she's giving away lots of cool prizes, including a squirrel tea towel that she embroidered herself. You have until Wednesday, February 18th to enter.

LollyChops just did an entire week of embroidery and she shared some really cute patterns. We're talking hedgehogs, whales, birds, mushrooms, frogs, and my personal favorite, Hank the Tree Stump. Go check them out.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

I Spend Way Too Much Time In My Bathroom

I started highlighting my hair years ago. It's naturally a mousy boring brown so with some help from Clairol, I'd brush in blonde highlights every few months. I switched to L'Oreal somewhere along the way and now I use their Couleur Experte. It's kind of a pain because first you dye your hair with the all-over color (good for covering up the gray) and then you do the highlighting, and you have to rinse out your hair after each step, and dry it too. But I'm happy with how it turned out. I even took before and after shots. Because I'm a geek with a camera these days.

I finished my Obama cross stitch the over the weekend. Here's a picture of it right before I did the last few stitches. Yes, I was standing up in the bathroom, soaking my foot. And, yes, I almost did drop the cross stitch in to the water bin at least once. This had to be one of the most monotonous things I have ever stitched. I felt like I was doing stitches in red for hours and then blue ones for hours. Probably because that's just what I did. I wanted to get it finished before he left office so I kept at it until it was done. Now, I need to figure out what to do next with this sucker. Would it be wrong for me to turn it into a pincushion? I have an idea for some Shrinky Dink pins to go along with it. Yeah, little Joe Biden heads. (I'm kidding.)

I'm hoping to have it finished by Friday, whatever I end up doing with it.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Handmade Help For Bush Fire Victims

There's a new button in the right sidebar that will take you to the Handmade Help blog. They have listings there for eBay auctions, Etsy sellers and others who will be donating portions of their profits to the Red Cross and Wildlife Victoria to help victims of the bush fires in Australia. If you're a seller who would like to get involved, please read this post for more information.

Anyone is welcome to add the Handmade Help button to their site or blog to help spread the word.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Pay It Forward

I just found out that Kellie was doing Pay It Forward and since she still had room for one more person, I left her some comments and told her to count me in. This means that Kellie will send a handmade goodie sometime over the next 365 days to me and two other people. How fun is that?!

Would you like to be a part of this? I will send a little handmade something to the first three people who leave me some comments on this post. (Hey, would caramels count?) By signing up here, you're agreeing to then Pay It Forward to three more people. The goodies you send do not have to be elaborate or expensive. The only rules are that it's handmade by you and must be sent out within the next year.

Update: Suzanne, Llyn and Elizabeth have all signed up to play. Yay!

Help For Victims Of The Victorian Bushfires

Meet Me At Mikes has a whole list of ways to help victims of the fires in Australia. Donating money is probably the best way to go, but read this post and also check the middle sidebar for other things you can do. My thoughts and prayers are with everyone who has been affected by these horrible fires.

I Made Caramels

Patty just made caramels and licked the spatula, the candy thermometer, the pot and the wooden spoon...somedays I am really happy not to have kids.

Yes, I'm pretending this is Facebook and giving you my status. The caramels are cooling off in the fridge but based on what I was tasting off of various kitchen items earlier, they are really good. I used a recipe from Ina Garten (thanks, Jenn) for fleur de sel caramels and just substituted a couple of pinches of kosher salt in place of the "hand-harvested sea salt collected by workers who scrape only the top layer of salt before it sinks to the bottom" (thanks, Wikipedia). I would like to try making the caramels with the fleur de sel sometime though.

So, let's see...I've made marshmallows, English toffee and now caramel candies. I think peanut brittle is next on the list. Or butterscotch candies. Or maybe pralines. In case you were wondering what the differences were (and so was I so I had to Google it), it depends on the temperature the syrup, that will eventually become your candy, must reach when you're cooking it. For example, if you're making butterscotch, the boiling syrup is cooked to the soft-crack (270°-290°) stage, but for toffee, it's cooked longer and until it hits the hard-crack stage 300°-310°).

And, before you guys send the Diabetes Police to come and arrest me, yes, I admit I am eating this stuff (in moderation), but I really am interested in the whole experience of making it from scratch. I'll probably try pasta, (homemade ravioli is on my to-do list), once I work through all the candy recipes.


Here's my big slab o' caramel when it came out of the baking dish. Lining the pan with parchment paper made it super easy to remove it.

I did not finish the caramels the way you're supposed to once they've cooled. I just cut my slab into one inch wide strips and then cut the strips into bite-size pieces. I also did not wrap them up individually the way Ina does for her pals in the Hamptons. I placed them in a single layer on some wax paper and then stacked the layers in the fridge. They should be fine that way.

And, of course I had to taste one several. I even ate the one I knocked on to the floor as I was cutting them. (Three second rule!) These caramels are SO GOOD! Chewy, gooey and buttery. If you're a caramel fiend like I am, you must make them.

That's a horrible picture but my camera is about to die so it will have to do.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Some Projects For Valentine's Day

I was hoping to have something to show today for Finished for Friday but I don't. (Hopefully, I will have a few things to show off next week.) I'm not even done with wearing that stupid Frankenstein shoe on my foot. The infection in my toe is gone but my doctor still wants me keep it on for now.

You've most likely heard of EllynAnne Geisel who wrote The Apron Book a couple of years ago. And, if you own a copy of the book, you know it came with an apron pattern. You know, the one I take out every so often and look at, and then tell myself I MUST LEARN TO SEW!! Well, EllynAnne has a new book coming out called The Kitchen Linens Book and guess what's included with that one? A vintage Butterick transfer pattern from the 1940's. Score! How do I know this? Well, EllynAnne is my friend and she told me all about it the other day. Really, she did.

Ok, so she is my Facebook friend, and I have never met her in person or talked to her on the phone or even exchanged an email with her, but she did send out a note about her latest book to her FB friends the other day, including me. According to her publisher's website, The Kitchen Linens Book (with free embroidery pattern!) will be out in March. I'm sure I'll love it as much as I do the one about aprons.

I found a few Valentine's day projects in my recent internet travels that I wanted to share. You still have time to whip one or two out.

First up, is a Conversation Heart Garland at The Cupcake Goddess. A mix of felt hearts, embroidery floss, vintage valentines, fabric yo-yos, buttons and rick rack come together to make a Valentine's Day garland. Oh, and you can use the blanket stitch too, woo hoo. If Johnny Depp was somehow involved as well, I would marry this project since it contains some of my very favorite things.

I love love love the No-sew Valentine Garland from Scraps in Progress. And, look at this super cute Valentine gift bag/card holder over at Plum Pudding.

And, a HUGE thank you to Suzanne for hooking me up with some embroidery floss so I can now get that Obama pattern done. Woo hoo!! Then I have to come up with a plan for finishing it. One that does not involve me adding a felt back and stuffing it, and it then becoming my 753rd ornament.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Vintage Thingies Thursday -- Valentines

For Vintage Thingies Thursday, I thought I'd share some valentines. (My scanning techniques still need some work.)

This card cost me a dollar at the local antique store. I had discovered a box of valentines in one of the booths, and went through them, hoping to find some with puppies or dogs. This little lion king is not a puppy but I thought he was really cute and had to get him. His happy face reminds me of some of the bears from vintage embroidery transfers.
On the back, it has "from Charles Millslagle James." I wonder if the person who received this card from Charles thought it was as adorable as I do. I guess it could also be from a trio of brothers, but then the middle one's name would be Millslagle and what kind of parent would do that to their son?

I had to get this one because of the three doggies. It also came from the same shop as the lion king and was left unsigned. The little hearts around the middle dog (let's call him Millslagle for now) are glittered and the larger hearts have glitter borders. And, unlike the glitter of today, none of it is flaking off.

This large card was part of a lot of ephemera that I picked up on eBay a few years ago. I specifically bid on the auction just to win this one. The puppies ears are made of felt and the card doesn't open, but there's a piece of heavy paper on the back that I thought might have functioned as a stand at one time. I played around with it and figured out how it works.

Here it is standing up. In small print on the back is "A Hallmark Card" and also "Hall Brothers, Inc." with a copyright of 1946. You can see how big the card is compared to the lion king next to it.

Thanks for looking at my vintage valentines! (I wish I had more to show.) You can find out who else is joining in on the Vintage Thingies fun over at Colorado Lady.
P.S. This week, both Suzanne and Elizabeth are sharing vintage valentines too, so go check them out!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Your Mother Was A Hamster

Guess what I received in the mail yesterday? A jury summons. Yay. And, it wasn't the kind that has you call on a certain date and see if you're needed; it was the kind where you have to show up in person on such and such day. (Guess that's why they call it a summons, huh, Patty?) Oh, and it's for Superior Court. The one time my mom was on a jury at that courthouse, it was for a rape case. Ugh.

I've had jury duty twice: once for a civil case where a man was suing the owner of the car that rear-ended him on the freeway because his injuries kept him from working and doing things like play basketball with his kids. The car was driven by a teenager but the plaintiff was going after the father since the dad owned the car. (What kind of money could he have gotten if he sued the 17 year old driver?) The guy also claimed he wouldn't be able to participate in the upcoming LA Marathon because of the injuries he sustained in the accident. As soon as we all went in to the jury room to deliberate, everyone started laughing at the idea of this fat guy running a marathon. It would be like me announcing I was going to run a mile around the track tomorrow. You would all be rolling on the floor in hysterics. It seemed very unlikely this guy even owned a pair of running shoes, let alone was ever going to run 26 miles. There were other factors involved, like a workers' comp doctor who seemed kind of shady and did not convince us the marathon-er was truly hurt when his car was rear-ended, and we ended up deciding that the guy did not have any lasting injuries from the accident so he was not entitled to any money from the father. [insert sound of gavel banging on desk here]

The other case was similar: a guy was suing a female driver who had bumped him with her car in a mall parking lot while he was bending over to put down traffic cones or something, and hit him in the butt. He wasn't seriously injured when it happened but he wanted damages for whatever injuries he was claiming he still had. A physician whose name was pronounced "kee-ster" was brought in to refute the testimony of the doctor for the guy who had been hit in the hiney, so as soon as we got in to the jury room, we were all giggling over that. We didn't award that plaintiff any money since we didn't believe his keester or any other body parts had suffered any longterm injuries from being hit by the car.

Anyway, the whole point of this long story is that I was able to go online and postpone my jury service until September. That's reason #72 why I love the interwebs.

I have two giveaways to tell you about. But, really, you can skip entering them since I would love to win both, and with less participants, my chances of winning will be better.

Over at doe-c-doe, you can win one of G's sweet little embroidered dresses.

Urban Threads is having a Crafty Love Giveaway and the prizes are pretty nifty (an embroidered tote bag, some fabric, a crafty bunny, and a $100 gift certificate) . There are four questions to answer, but never fear. You only need to answer at least one question to get in on the giveaway.

Thanks to the contest questions, (one is What is the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow?), I've been watching clips from "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" on You Tube. I can remember my mom taking my sister and me to see some Burt Reynolds movie in 1975, and since we arrived really early for it, we went into the theatre where the Holy Grail was already playing and we sat down, not knowing anything about Monty Python. The movie was half over so we had no idea what was going on, but when I watched the knights "riding" across the screen and realized they were using coconuts to make the sound of horses' hooves, I decided it was one of the funniest movies ever I had ever seen. We came in right before the killer rabbit scene.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

CPSIA Gets A Delay

In case you haven't heard, the CPSIA has been delayed for one year. Woo freaking hoo!

Senator Jim DeMint from South Carolina will be introducing an amendment to reform the CPSIA next week. We should all send him a thank you note.

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