Monday, May 22, 2017

Red, White & Blue Beanbags


With Memorial Day just one week away, picnic season is upon us. Eating outdoors is my favorite summer activity. I've already pulled out my favorite warm-weather recipes, and I'm ready to dig into a new season of burgers and potato salad. To celebrate the holidays that mark summer's beginning, middle, and end--Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day--I designed this set of red, white, and blue beanbags. They're not only pretty; they're practical too! You can use them to hold your tablecloth, napkins, and paper plates in place on breezy days. You can arrange them in a basket to make a simple centerpiece. You can even use them in a beanbag toss game. (They are beanbags, after all.)

I used three cotton prints to make my beanbags: a blue swirl pattern, a red-and-white floral, and a red polka-dot fabric. They're embellished with red, white, and blue rickrack, and red-and-white gingham ribbon. You can, of course, use any ribbons or trims you have in your sewing stash. The instructions are quite straightforward, so I decided to explain the process with pictures, rather than words. To make each beanbag shown, just follow the corresponding diagram. Cut the fabric pieces to the sizes indicated. If you're going to add ribbon or rickrack, do so before you sew the pieces together. When it's time to sew, use a 1/4" seam allowance. 



When the beanbag fronts are finished, pin each to a 4 1/2" square of fabric in your desired print, right sides facing. Sew the pieces together, leaving an opening for turning, then fill the bag with dry rice (or another filler), and whipstitch closed.

Happy stitching--and happy picnic season!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Cross-Stitched Summer Cap


If you follow my blog, you know I'm a bit obsessed with cross-stitching. The only drawback is, cross-stitching has to be done on even-weave fabrics like Aida and linen. They provide a grid to guide you as you transfer a design from chart to fabric. So what do you do when you want to cross-stitch on an item that isn't made of even-weave? You use waste canvas! For this week's project I designed a cute gardening cap that doubles as a tutorial in using waste canvas.

I started with a pink cap that I bought at the dollar store and a 3" by 3" piece of pink felt from my stash. Next, I cut a 3" by 3" piece of waste canvas (I used 14-count Waste Canvas from Charles Craft), pinned it to the felt, and started stitching. If you want to give it a go, follow the Daisy chart below, using two strands of white and yellow embroidery floss. Cross-stitching on waste canvas fabric is just like stitching on Aida; the only difference is that you just stitch over the canvas threads and through the fabric (felt, in this case). When the stitching is complete, it's time to reveal the design.



This step requires a bit of patience, but it's worth it! Spray the surface of the waste canvas lightly with water and let it soak in a bit to loosen the canvas threads. Next, remove the threads of the waste canvas one by use, using tweezers to pull them out from under the cross-stitching. You can see my progress in the photos above. When you've removed all of the canvas threads, let the felt dry completely.

To finish the cap, cut the felt into a 2 1/2" circle with the daisy centered inside. I used matching pink thread to sew my daisy patch to the front of the cap. If you don't want to make a gardening cap, you can use your daisy to decorate anything you like. You can even use waste canvas to cross-stitch directly onto a shirt or a pair of jeans. I think I just got idea for another tutorial!

Daisy   ©2017 Kathleen Berlew


Monday, May 8, 2017

Appliqued Butterfly Picture


We try with varying success each year to attract butterflies to our garden. We suffered a setback a few years ago when our beautiful butterfly bush failed to survive an especially harsh winter. I designed this project so we can always have butterflies at our house, even if real ones don't find their way to our backyard. It hangs year-round in my craft room, but it would make a great gift for Mother's Day.

The butterfly wings are cut from WoolFelt from National Nonwovens (I used Mac 'n Cheese, Chartreuse, and Blue Bayou) and appliqued onto an even-weave background. The details are embroidered with DMC six-strand embroidery floss. I'm not gonna lie--this project requires some patience, especially the monarch butterfly. But it's totally worth the effort, don't you think?

This project was featured in the 2016 Garden issue of Craft Ideas  magazine. Click here to go to the patterns and instructions on the magazine's website.




Monday, May 1, 2017

Groovy Goldfish Beanbag Bookend


This cute little goldfish is my kind of pet. She requires no care, and she adds a splash of color to the shelf while she holds books in place. The word groovy may be betraying my age, but I think this design has a definite retro vibe. The neon color palette and gradient bubble pattern definitely deserve to be called groovy, don't you think? Plus it's a beanbag (filled with rice). You don't get much more retro than a beanbag.

This project requires two skills--cross-stitching and some simple sewing. I used 16-count Aida fabric and six-strand DMC embroidery floss (one of my favorite crafting supplies, as you know). The beanbag is assembled from another favorite crafting material--WoolFelt from National Nonwovens. The colors I used are Mac 'n Cheese and Sunburst.


This project was featured in the 2016 Summer issue of Craft Ideas magazine. Visit the project page here for a black-and-white chart and assembly instructions. If you'd like to download and print a color PDF chart, click here.

(Tip: As you can see from the photos here, the zigzag background is created with half cross-stitches. If you find the half cross-stitch symbols on the charts confusing, you can just refer to the photos.)