Monday, February 6, 2017

Cross-Stitch Hearts & Arrows

Don't wait for someone to surprise you with a Valentine's Day gift--make one for yourself! Aren't these hearts-and-arrows cross-stitch pendants sweet? And better yet--they're super simple to make.

If you follow this blog, you know how much I love these jewelry settings from the Etsy shop Kailea. I stitched my hearts and arrows on 18-count white Aida, so the finished pieces fit perfectly in the rectangle pendant setting. Follow the charts below to stitch your own. I used two strands of DMC six-strand embroidery floss in 3831 Dark Raspberry, 3852 Very Dark Straw, 995 Dark Electric Blue, and 996 Medium Electric Blue. It's not a traditional Valentine's Day palette, so feel free to substitute pinks, reds, or your own favorite colors.

Cross-Stitch Hearts & Arrows   ©2017 Kathleen Berlew

Cross-Stitch Hearts & Arrows   ©2017 Kathleen Berlew
This project was originally featured in the Winter 2015 issue of Craft Ideas magazine. Click here to go to the instructions and charts on their website.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Printable Yarn Organizer Cards

I don't make resolutions when each new year begins, but I do like to try to make a fresh start and get organized. In my craft room, my new year projects included a major purge of supplies and clutter that were just taking up space. It took a bit of effort, but the payoff is that my work space now has room for a TV. Let the Netflixing begin!

The calendar still says "January," so I still have time to squeeze in at least one more project. In my purge, I discovered a box filled with yarn labels that I had stashed away. I admit it--that was my yarn filing system. When I had to identify which yarn I had pulled from my basket, I had to figure out which label it matched with. This week, I'm sharing my simple solution to my yarn mess--printable yarn organizer cards. My design is nothing fancy, but it does have space for all the information you might want to keep on file about the yarn in your stash--name, color, fiber content, weight/yardage, needle/hook size, and yarn weight (4 for worsted, 6 for super-bulky, etc). I designed the cards so I can keep yarns from one company together on each card.

If you're ready to get your own yarn basket under control, click here and download/print the number of cards you need. I left plenty of room on the left side so you can punch holes with a three-hole punch. Use a single hole punch to punch out the circles indicated on the right side of each box. Fill in the information that pertains to your yarn and tie a strand through the corresponding hole.

Wow, that was so easy, I'm wondering why I waited so long. Better late than never, I guess. At least I'm starting the new year with a clean craft room and an organized binder of yarn swatches.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Cross-Stitch Peacock Purse

I'm always amazed at the versatility of DMC embroidery floss. It comes in an amazing range of gorgeous colors, and it has a luxurious sheen. It's also super inexpensive--less than 40 cents a skein! When I was playing with color combinations one day, I came up with this peacock palette and knew I wanted to use it in an accessory of some sort. I came up with this vintage-look evening bag, which reminds me of a Flapper purse from the Roaring Twenties.

Although I call it a "Cross-Stitch Peacock Purse," it's actually worked in half cross-stitches on black Aida fabric. I lined the bag with shimmery blue fabric and completed the "Flapper" look with an antique chain and embroidery floss fringe. The finished bag is 4" by 6"--the perfect size for carrying a cell phone and lipstick on a special night out.

This design was featured in the 2015 Holiday issue of Craft Ideas magazine. If you'd like to give the project a try, click here to download and print the chart. (Stitch the chart as shown and then turn it upside down to stitch the second half of the purse.) To assemble the purse, click here to go to the instructions on the Craft Ideas website. Trust me, it's much easier to make than it looks. Happy stitching!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Happy Handmade Holidays!

Christmas is just days away, and our house is all decked out for the season. I love incorporating handmade decorations in my holiday decor---made by me or by loved ones. The sweet sequined ornaments above were stitched by my maternal grandmother in the '70s. I still think sequins are magical! She used to work on felt projects all year round.

This beautiful bird nest ornament was made by my paternal grandmother. She created the nests from wood shavings and starch, and then filled them with beans that she dyed to look like eggs. I'm so happy to have these keepsakes so I can bring them out each year and remember the women who provided my first craft inspiration.

This little gingerbread house was made by me at my sister's annual gingerbread party. (Full disclosure: I did not bake the gingerbread; I assembled the house from a kit.)

I'm going to be taking a few weeks off from the blog world to spend time with my family. I hope you're doing the same. Before I go, I'd like to wish you a very Merry Christmas and the happiest of New Years!