Thursday, January 26, 2012

A New Challenge ~ The Middle and the End

Earlier in the month, I wrote about the January challenge on my Etsy team, Blogging Business Artisans, where we were to work on a new technique that we have wanted to try.  I decided on punch needle embroidery and found a kit which had all the supplies and instructions to get me going.

If you'd like to read about how I decided on punch needle embroidery, you can go here...

I love all forms of needlework and have done quite a lot of counted cross-stitch, hand embroidery, and crewel embroidery -- even tried my hand at needlepoint once but that didn't work out so well! But I had never tried punch needle embroidery. Well, this was my chance!

Punch needle embroidery is different from anything I've done before in that you are punching from the wrong side with your design outline facing you. It should look like tiny neat stitches, but mine weren't exactly neat!

When you punch with the specially threaded needle, it forms loops on the back side (which is the right side when all is said and done) which, in turn, creates your picture. My loops look a bit scraggly....

You use that little wire gizmo to thread the punch tool -- down thru the point, out the back end, then thread again thru the hole in the point from outside to inside.

And, believe me, that "specially threaded needle" is SHARP!! We won't go into details.....

I got a bit better as time went on....

Backside/Working side

Front side

I had problems with the loops not being a uniform height....

 The loops are kind of bumpy -- they should be the same height. 

It's extremely easy to pull the thread out and also you have a tendency to lift the needle point from the fabric which is a definite NO NO!! I guess practice makes perfect, but I want everything to come out perfectly the FIRST time!!

So, here it is finished. With all its warts and bumpy loops!

I just put it in a wooden embroidery hoop to show here, but I may decide to make it into a tiny pillow, maybe with some sweet smelling lavender inside!

I think it turned out pretty good and will definitely do this again. I like my DMC floss that I use for cross-stitch much better than what was supplied in the kit, and I want to work with my own designs. I think you'll eventually find this showing up in my Etsy shop!

I enjoyed participating in this challenge and look forward to February's where we will create a love-themed item. Stay tuned!

PS ~ Guess what I had in my vintage hoard inventory!! This (and I quote) "Easy Punch Automatic Embroidery Machine" which I found in a garage sale for $1.00! It's from 1985.

Uh-oh, it says it may be harmful to small children so I'd better be careful! Probably more lethal that the one that I was just using, since it uses battery power.... no doubt I'll be needle punching my fingers! But it does say on the package that the "automatic 'walking' needle ensures close, even stitching" so I guess that takes care of that not-so-neat stitching of mine!! (If you would like to read about this nifty machine, you'll find it on my Magnolia's Attic blog!)

Anyway, gotta try it out!!

By the way, did you notice Oliver's new kitty pal over there on the side bar? What a cutie!  >^.^<


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Special Olympics Scarves

Have you heard of the Special Olympics USA Scarf Project? It began in 2009 when Red Heart Yarns sponsored the project for the Special Olympic World Winter Games that were held in Boise, Idaho that year. The call went out for 5000 Red Heart Delft Blue and White scarves -- they ended up receiving almost 60,000 scarves from all the states and 12 different countries!

I have looked and looked for a photo of the scarf I made that year, but it's just not to be. I guess I lost it when my computer crashed. I made one that was the Delft Blue with white stars appliqued to each end.

In 2011, the scarf project went national and participating states hosted their own events, and put forth their own guidelines and "wish list" for the number of scarves they would like. Texas participates and I just sent off my scarves to Austin.

I was only able to make two scarves this year -- I think I waited too long to get started! Next year, I'll look for the color information earlier so that I can crochet a few more.

This year, the official colors were Cherry Red and Soft Navy in RH Super Saver, or Navy and Really Red in RH Soft which they added this year. I already the Super Saver on hand so went with that! I'm glad they added the RH Soft though -- I like it much better and will use it for future scarves.

This is an excellent project for knitting and crochet groups, church groups, Girl Scout Troops -- the list could go on and on. I hope that any of you who knit or crochet will consider becoming involved in this worthwhile project.

Information on the scarf program
If you click on "Media Resources" you will find photo galleries from this year and last year.
If you click on "Project Guidelines" you can see whether your state participates. This list might change from year to year.
The colors for the 2013 state games will be announced later this year.

I hope you will participate!!

♥♥♥ Today I am linking my scarves to Rednesday! hosted by It's a Very Cherry World. Hop on over to see some more awesome reds!


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A House of Cards

She's so proud of herself...

I showed Noli how to build a house of cards

and after several tries, she did it!

What a sweetie!

♥ I'm linking Noli's House of Cards over on Rednesday. Hop on over and check out more Reds! ♥


Monday, January 16, 2012

Do You Remember Grover?

Do you remember me, Grover?

You do?!! Grover is glad, 'cause I remember YOU!!!

Oh, yes, I remember Grover. I must confess, when my kids were little (and they're 31 and 28 now....) I loved watching Sesame Street with them. Especially when Mr. Snuffleupagus was on. But Grover always held a sweet place in my heart.

So now, he holds a place of honor in my office/craft room on top of a bookcase. He loves to dangle his legs down and pretend he's on a swing. He looks down on me and I look up at him, and we smile.

Today I'm sharing Grover on Blue Monday over on Smiling Sally -- lots of blues there, and not the sad kind... the GROVER kind!!

Who was YOUR favorite on Sesame Street?  'Cause I know you watched...


Friday, January 13, 2012

Introducing.... Priscilla Peace!

Remember the little skateboarder that I made for Noli for Christmas? (Click the link and you can catch her again before she zooms down the street!)

Well, I was so excited that one of my Facebook friends, Krafty Max, wanted one of her own for her daughter!

So she picked her clothes and hair colors and I got my hooks clicking! She said that Aye loved peace signs and I was able to find some cute peace sign buttons and used a purple (Aye's favorite color) one on the shirt.

I heard from Max today -- she has entered a lovely post on her blog today with THE MOST FABULOUSLY EXCITED photo of Aye and Priscilla Peace! I am just thrilled with Aye's big smile! You just couldn't ask for a better smile than hers! (and isn't Priscilla Peace a great name?!!)

Go see, go see!! You'll love that smile!!

Max also has some great news for herself -- an honor for her beautiful Celtic Beaded Sun Catcher -- one of my personal favorites! Go see it and her other gorgeous designs in her ArtFire shop -- Crafty Max Originals.

A Rainbow of Peace Handwoven BraceletHmmm, I wonder if Max gave Aye a peace sign bracelet like this one for another time she was on the honor roll.....

Oh, and get yourself over to Max's shop -- she's got a freebie going on till the end of the month -- a pair of Swarovski earrings! Well, for any purchase over $20.00, but still... : )


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A New Challenge

One of the requirements on my BBA (Blogging Business Artisans) Etsy Team is to participate in at least six monthly team challenges over the course of a year. The challenge for January (brought to us by Deb of Storybeader) is to set aside time to work on a new technique that you have wanted to try. (the "uh-oh" part of this challenge is that the project also needs to be COMPLETED! I always have trouble with that part....)

So, I'm thinking about what I want to do for this challenge and decided on ribbon embroidery. I've wanted to try it for a long time, even have a leaflet with "teach yourself" instructions and designs, bought in 2006 from Half Price Books for goodness sake!!

My plan was to make the little heart shown in the middle of the pillow.

Yesterday I went to Joann's where you know they'll have everything you've ever wanted to buy for any project you can come up with....  well, I look in the needlework section, I look in the sewing section, I look in sections you absolutely know ribbon embroidery won't be in. No luck. I ask if they have it anywhere -- turns out they don't carry it anymore!

So down the strip center I go to Hancocks -- of course not. Across the street to Michaels -- nope. Hobby Lobby is across town and I have to get home.

As I am pulling out of the parking lot, my car automatically, with no help from me, turns back in the direction of Joann's -- opposite of home. Decision made!

Back at Joann's -- I decided instead on "technique I've always wanted to try number two" .... punch needle embroidery!! I  knew it was there at Joann's on the needlework aisle. I figure a kit would be the best way to go, but I don't really like any of the designs and you have to purchase the punch needle separately and you need a plastic embroidery hoop -- and I can't find any of mine!! Except for a little 3 inch one.  I've looked for days -- they must have fallen behind stuff in my hoarder's craft closet. Or my daughter has them -- definite possibility. I'll probably have to just buy them again!

Anyway, as I'm looking at the punch needle kits, I see one entitled "Punch Needle for Dummies"  : )  Not the design I would pick but so what!

It's got the design printed on fabric, the thread (and yay! you can use regular DMC embroidery thread of which I have every color imaginable from cross-stitching!), the needle punch tool AND the HOOP!! Yahoo!!

So, here I go, ready with my new project. And, if I really love it, I'm sure it will show up in my shop too!!!

(and if I ever find that elusive silk ribbon, you can bet I'll try the ribbon embroidery!!)


Thursday, January 5, 2012

Oliver says, I'm not ready for a New Year!

I'm not ready to begin this New Year.....let me sleep a little more!

I got really tired when I stayed up to watch that big glittery ball drop and everybody jumping up and down and blowing horns and stuff. (My humans were in bed fast asleep, but I learned how to turn on the TV a long time ago -- shhh, don't tell)

Now go away and leave me alone.  I know I look cute but I'm SLEEPING....

Burrowing in more. I really like it here under my 'rents pillows. ('rents - I heard that one time when my human brother said it -- kinda funny!) Gotta have my foot hanging out though.

Quit looking -- if I can't see you, then you can't see me.....

Yesterday I got up and chased my tail for a while. Sneaked it in so Mommy didn't get to take pictures of me! I wasn't sure what that thing was behind me, it kept moving just a little.... and then I pounced! And turned around and around like I've seen doggies do on late night TV when I'm watching. Kinda fun -- those doggies know what they're doing! (shhh....if you know any doggies, don't tell them I said that....)

Ho-hum, back to sleep...



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