Sunday, March 29, 2009

If Only I Got Paid To Hoard

My sister got involved while I was snapping shots of my orts jar. And, no, she's not giving me the finger. She was making a sideways peace sign. (See next post down if you want to know why I was taking pictures of a jar full of pieces of leftover embroidery floss.)

Say, what does that Monetize tab up above, in between Layout and View Blog, do? Let's click it and find out...nah, nothing exciting. It just shows you how to set up AdSense so you can add Google ads to your blog. Dang. I was hoping it was a way to make my blog look like a painting by Monet. For what's it worth, I have never clicked an ad on a blog before, and most likely, never will. (Links to Etsy shops do not count.)

Ok, moving on...guess what I did last night? Besides catching up with several episodes of "Burn Notice" on the DVR, I also hoarded more patterns. I promise this will be the very last time I mention my addiction -- I'm sure everyone else is getting as sick of it hearing about it as I am. I will do something crafty or fun or even illegal over the next few days so that when I am ready to blog again, I will have something else to talk about.

My latest hoards:

Prairie Schooler's little house with rain falling on it cross stitch freebie

Easter Egg Trio Tea Towel embroidery freebie from Bird Brain Designs

Redwork hedgehog embroidery pattern from a Flickr member

Pretty Posie Pushpins from Polka Dot Pineapple

Elephant pull toy embroidery pattern from So September

Embroidered Pint-Sized Pocket Pillows from Goody-Goody

Elephant quilt block from Miri

Pretty much everything from Wee Folk Art (join their Crafting Club so you can see all of their freebies)

Hopefully, I will be back later in the week to tell you about something I made from one of these patterns. Have a great Monday!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Totally Useless Stitch-A-Long

After Jennifer shared her very cool orts jar last year, I started one of my own and have been tossing all my pieces of embroidery floss that are too small to do anything with in it. It's nearly full now and I was thinking it was time to dig out another jar. (Not that I have a small collection under my bathroom sink or anything.) (OMG. I'm a jar hoarder too.) and get another one going. Here's my first orts jar. (Nice water spots. Someone's not using Cascade.)

Today I came across the Totally Useless Stitch-A-Long. Talk about perfect timing!

This fun SAL is a little different that the other ones. Just start putting all your floss leftovers into a see-through container of some kind and then share pictures of it every time there's a new moon for the rest of the year. (The next date to share pics is April 25th.) It's open to everyone and you can join in at any time. Bonus: there will be a prize for one of the participants at the end.

Link to SAL via Wahroonga.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

There's Got To Be A Morning After

Earlier today, some guy knocked on the front door and I was ready to jump up from the computer and go answer it when I realized it was after 2:00 in the afternoon and I was still in a robe and pajamas. How did that happen?! I seem to remember coming up with a plan, while I was eating breakfast, to give my bedroom a good spring cleaning -- I was even going to move furniture so I could vacuum everywhere -- and then next thing I know, it's early afternoon and I'm still in my PJs and playing on Facebook. Have you tried the Pick Your 5 application yet? It lets you make lists of your five favorite whatevers -- movies, bands, TV shows, beers, sports teams, books, slopes, dog breeds, etc, and then share them on your page. I love doing that kind of thing, and also seeing what other people put on their lists. And, making fun of people who think Hannah Montana is one of the best shows ever always cheers me up.

And, it wasn't just Facebook that kept me busy today. I also wasted a ridiculous amount of time trying to get a pattern to print. Normally, I'd give up after the second try but it's for this adorable donkey on Etsy's blog and I HAD to have it. Who knows why but I couldn't get the pdf to open no matter how many times I tried, and printing the page only gave me the sidebars -- the entire middle section with the pattern itself was blank. Signing into Etsy didn't make a difference and neither did using Firefox instead of AOL's browser. To make it more fun, my computer kept freezing up when I was trying all these things so I had to keep starting over. The weird thing is I had the same problem a few months ago while trying to print another pattern from The Storque blog. I would love to link to that other pattern now but I just got stuck on Etsy again and had to re-start AOL. Anyway, the donkey is cute and I am sure you will have no issues printing the pattern. I think I'm just special that way.

On to the good stuff . . . You can win a copy of either The Apron Book or The Kitchen Linens Book by EllynAnne Geisel from The Apron Goddess. All the details are on this post. You have until midnight, Saturday, March 28th, to enter.

Kandra & Renee at Sibling Craftery are holding their first giveaway for some great prizes. (fabric! a pincushion! floss!) You have until Sunday, March 29th, to get in on this one. And, I know I've linked to them before but in case you missed it, be sure to check out their fun embroidery patterns too. I heart the Valentine's Day one.

There's another way to win one of EllynAnne's books but it's a little more involved: EllynAnne, along with Colonial Patterns Inc., is giving away six prize packages (full of Aunt Martha embroidery transfers, some towels to stitch them on, and copies of her books), over at Apron Memories, but to enter this not-a-contest giveaway, you need to create something using vintage household goods, (fabric, handkerchiefs, toweling, embroidery, doilies, place mats, napkins), and then post it in their Kitchen Linens Flickr pool. The deadline to enter is April 30th.

I am really in the mood to stitch something now but first I must print out even more patterns. I wouldn't want to get kicked out of Hoarders Anonymous any time soon. They're all are for embroidery except the felt Easter cone, which is now on my to-do list. (I'm considering joining Felt Anonymous as well.)

Bunnies and chicks at Orange Flower: Patterns and Tutorials [via Meet Me At Mikes]

Springy Chicken Day, flower for Spring, and (my favorite) Itty Bitty Circus and (even more favorite) a felt Easter Favor Cone at Tangarang

Henry the Hedgehog and Padraic O'Malley (links are in the right sidebar along with a few more) at Chichiboulie

Bunny pattern for March from Bad Birds (thanks, L&L!)

Have a great Thursday!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I Am Certifiable -- Now with an added link for all you pattern geeks

Last night, I stumbled upon a stitch-a-long sampler on a French blog with four parts, which were all released last year, that I thought was really pretty. There are two versions, one in reds and another in pale pinks and greens, and it's a true sampler with a variety of different stitches that I have absolutely no clue how to do. So, guess what I did? I printed out all four parts in both color versions. As if I was going to someday stitch up BOTH versions.

Between all the WIP's I have going and plans to make "things" for at least eight friends, I am totally insane to keep printing out more and more patterns.

How many trees have I personally been responsible for destroying this past month thanks to all the paper I am using?

And, before you suggest I save the charts and patterns on my computer, let me say I can never find pdf's after saving them and I already have a busload of embroidery patterns saved.

Off to go find a few more three ring binders to store all of this crap!

Edited to add: Look at what Arizona made with the terry cloth bathrobe she was going to toss out. What a great idea!

I'm sharing this link because I think it's a cool way to reuse something and because it reminded me that I've been keeping a few old towels because I have instructions from Martha Stewart on how to make a rug with them. Yes, IT'S YET ANOTHER PATTERN IN MY VAST COLLECTION!!!!!!!

Edited to add #2 -- I've added a link to the SAL.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

I Once Shellacked A Butternut Squash

Ok, I've never shellacked a butternut squash. I was just stuck for a title.

As usual, I'm behind with my blog reading and with answering email but I've completed 157 quizzes on Facebook. Go, me! Seriously, I am truly addicted to them. And, you can call me by my nickname from now on. That would be Junior Braniac, thank you very much.

It's been awhile since I posted some links to free patterns and tutorials so here ya go!

Over at Orange You Lucky, you'll find some really cute cat book labels to print out.

If you missed "The Party's Over" embroidery freebie from Pimp Stitch last year, you have another chance to download it at Craft now. I love this one.

Molly is sharing a vintage DOW transfer pattern with cute kitties at Molly's Place.

There's a cross stitch chart and also an embroidery pattern of a chicken on the French blog, Cachounette.

On Martha Stewart's site is a project for embroidering t-shirts but you could use the templates for any kind of embroidery. They include an elephant, a giraffe, a dragonfly, a firetruck, and a tractor that I believe is really a skip loader. (I think heads are going to roll over this!)

Want to make an adorable little felt coin purse with a cupcake on it and Johnny Depp inside? Ok, he isn't really in the purse but there is blanket stitching involved. And, also a zipper which freaks me out a tad. Thanks to paper-and-string for the tutorial and to Craft for the link.

Also via Craft is a felt bunny card how-to from One Crafty Mumma.

And, at Wild Olive, Mollie is posting some sweet embroidery patterns (think pirates, cowboys, mushrooms and a tree stump).

I'm hoping to have something finished and ready to share by Friday. Have a great week!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

I Might Need To Break Up With Facebook

The new Facebook layout is ugh-worthy.

The "news feed" is now supposed to be streaming live so every time your pal Joe Blow sends Peeps to 57 of his closest pals, your news feed lets you know about it. (I'd like to know who the loser was who thought someone using the Peeps application was newsworthy.) Meanwhile, my news feed doesn't bother to tell me when Michelle adds new pictures and no longer lets me know when my sister becomes friends with someone. Yeah, I could click on their FB pages and see what they've been up to since I last logged in 37 minutes earlier, but I don't want to have to do that for everybody, or at least not for the seven Facebookers that I actually like and consider real friends. I'd rather see it all in one place, like it used to be. Dear FB: if you're going to stream it live, then post everything we all do, not just the stupid gifting of the Peeps. Or at least let us choose what we want and don't want to see on our news feeds. It seems many people don't like how things are now so maybe our complaints will get FB to reconsider the changes. And, I believe in unicorns too.

Did you know that March was Adopt-A-Rescued-Guinea-Pig-Month? To mark the occasion, here's a super lousy photo of a felt guinea pig I made sometime last year (what's up with that white mouth? They look like teeth.) and my version of Jenny's Shamrock Pin, which I made the other night and then pinned on to a sweater that was left on top of a pile of clothes on a chair in my bedroom for all of St. Patrick's Day. But, hey, my shamrock is all ready to go for the wearing of the green next year.

If adopting a guinea pig sounds like a plan but you don't know where to find one that's been rescued, try Petfinder. They have a search feature on the home page where you can put in your zip code and the kind of pet you're looking for and get a list of available animals in your area.

And, thanks so much for all the comments on my pillow! That totally made my day year!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Meet My Pillow

Look at my little pillow! I am so in love with it. Now that's it's finished, I can see there are things I would have done differently but I'm just so freaking happy with how it turned out.

Felt pillow

Around Valentine's Day, I saw this adorable stitchery on Jenny's blog and it got me thinking about doing something with embroidery and felt, involving dogs and a big heart. I even drew my idea on paper. And, of course, a sun and a cloud were added because when I, ahem, draw -- and I use the term loosely -- it's always a picture of a house with a sun and a cloud in the sky, and maybe a tree and some flowers next to it. I'm nothing if not consistent. Or maybe I always draw the same thing because this is what I hope to have in my life some day: a house in a sunny spot with a tree I can climb and flowers I can pick and put in a glass jar on the kitchen table to be enjoyed while I'm sitting there reading the morning paper and discovering I chose the winning lottery numbers the night before, and, oh look, there's Johnny Depp at the stove, frying up some bacon...mmm, bacon. Mmm, Johnny Depp.

Um, where was I? Oh, yeah, I was describing my attempts at designing an embroidery project. Since drawing a halfway decent dog was way beyond my ability, I cut one out of an embroidery pattern from Meet Me at Mikes and just flipped it over for the other dog. So, I came up with this plan for a stitched picture and then forgot all about it. Until I saw the cute felt heart with a bunny that Michelle made, which I just love, by the way.

Michelle's bunny reminded me that I never got around to making the dog embroidery so I tracked down my drawing and figured out which parts to stitch and what to cut out of felt. The original plan was to use hoops as a frame when it was finished but none of my extras were the right size, and since the end result was a little too big to be an Xmas tree ornament, I now have a little pillow.


Monday, March 16, 2009

Maggie For Diane

Not exactly exciting You Tube material.

Jenny's Cute St Patrick's Day Pin

I'm in the middle of writing a post but I just saw Jenny's cute shamrock pin over at Stitcher & Scribbler and wanted to link to it so y'all could whip one up tonight and wear it tomorrow for St. Patrick's Day. I love it so much, I may wear mine for the next month. Well, first, I have to go make one...

Monday, March 9, 2009

I Made A Doggie

After I posted a picture on Facebook of my Scottie, my friend asked if I could make a Beagle. I went through my stash of patterns and a year later, I found a doggie one -- yes, it took me a year since I have so many due to my Hoarder's Disease -- and made this little guy.

His front feet look like flippers (I don't know what happened to the stuffing I shoved in them), his right eye is larger than his left, and my blanket stitching makes me think of Frankenstein but I still love him the same. And, really, could I iron my hankies before using them for pictures?

I confess the pattern came from that Portuguese blog that I swore I was never going to link to again because I think her posting practices are questionable. But the little dog was too cute and I couldn't help but print out the pattern. I did modify his face somewhat but I still feel guilty using that pattern.

The good news is I found a video with instructions on how to draw your own stuffed animal patterns, and I plan to give that a shot one day. I had been searching for a tutorial on attaching button eyes to a softie once it's stuffed -- I do mine beforehand and wasn't sure if that was right or not -- and instead found a very helpful video for embroidering the eyes & nose and that led to discovering a whole series of videos on making stuffed animals.

Did I ever mention The Toy Society? I heard about it from Kellie and thought it was such a great idea. It was started after a woman saw her artist friend leave his work in public places and she decided to do the same with handmade toys. The idea has spread worldwide and now more people are making and dropping off toys in their cities and towns. Now that I've made a few stuffed animals and know what not to do next time, I think I'm ready to make one for The Toy Society. And, now that I will soon be driving again, (I'm waiting for the insurance guy to call me back), I can drop it off somewhere in town.

Friday, March 6, 2009

I Once Shellacked A Hamster

I think I forgot how to blog.

I admit I've been spending far too much time on Facebook but looking at profiles of people I once knew has prompted me to go through lots of old pictures and boxes filled with things I've saved over the years, and that's brought back a lot of memories. Since I haven't finished anything this week, I thought I'd share what might be considered my very first craft project.

Meet my third grade teacher from University Park Elementary School: Craig Ritter. Thanks to Mr. Ritter, I learned how to play soccer. Except in his version, there were no positions like forward or fullback. Everybody got to be on the team and play, and the entire field was fair game. He called it Jungle Ball.

I had my first Rice Krispie Treat because of Mr. Ritter. I don't know how many batches we made the day before we went on Christmas vacation but all the kids in my classroom, and the one next door, ended up with a treat the size of a softball. I can remember gnawing on mine -- it was too huge to take a bite out of -- while waiting in line for lunch that day and thinking it was the greatest thing ever. My sister and I still tease my mom that if it wasn't for Mr. Ritter, we never would have known about Rice Krispie Treats since she never made them for us.

My first and only experience with shellac was in Mr. Ritter's class. He had asked us to bring pictures of something we liked to school. I had a thing for hamsters back then and I think I cut mine out of a how-to-take-care-of-your-hamster type book. Our project started off by gluing the pictures to a piece of wood. Then we got to shellac the hell out of it. I'm not sure if his lesson on using varnish fell under math, spelling or creative writing, but I remember I really enjoyed coating that piece of wood with shellac. (Can you get high if you inhale shellac fumes?)

Mr. Ritter eventually left my school and went to teach in Japan. He later came back to UP Elementary and became the principal. I'm sure he did a wonderful job in that role but I feel bad for the kids who missed out on making giant Rice Krispie balls or playing Jungle Ball or shellacking a hamster because they didn't get to have Mr. Ritter as a teacher.

Fun shellac fact from Wikipedia: Dried shellac is all-natural and is often used as a candy and pill coating.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Get Your Motor Running

I am so dang happy right now. Yesterday, I FINALLY got my drivers license renewed. (It had expired while it was suspended so it still needed to be renewed once the suspension was cleared.) I still need to get insurance coverage before I get back on the road but I am thisclose to being able to go down to the high school and doing donuts in the parking lot. Boy, I have missed that!

Then, yesterday afternoon, my foot doctor and I had a conversation about doing surgery on my deformity, (it's actually an enormous bunion), and she suggested operating on it now since I don't have anything major going on in my life at the moment, other than plans to drive all over Southern California in the next few weeks. The recovery could take anywhere from two to four months (six months for some people, she said) but the end result would be totally worth it. If I have this done, I could go back to wearing "normal shoes" (her words). Upon hearing that, I was immediately sold on the idea of having a triangular chunk of bone cut out of my foot. Hey, if it can get me back into my Chucks and my sandals and my red Mary Janes and my Keds, I say sign me up. It would have to be approved by the county medical program I'm in and that might take awhile but I told her to put in a request and start the process.

Did I mention how freaking happy I am? Pardon me while I go skip down the hall and maybe do a cartwheel or two.