Monday, February 23, 2015

Cross-Stitch Bluebird Pin

Thanks to Valentine's Day and Chinese New Year, the blog has been pretty heavy on red this month. I love red, but I'm ready for a calmer color. How about blue?

This little bluebird pin makes me think of spring. It's cross-stitched with DMC floss and mounted in a pin setting from the Etsy shop Kailea. I know I've used these settings in blog projects before, but I really like them. They're easy to use and they give the design a finished look. 

I cross-stitched the design on 18-count Aida; it measures about 2 1/4" by 3/4" inches. If you use 11-count Aida, it will about 4" by 1 1/4"; 14-count will give you a design that's about 3" by 1". Just choose a setting or frame that fits the finished piece.

Cross-Stitch Bluebird Chart     ©2015 Kathleen Berlew
To make your own bluebird on a branch, use two strands of embroidery floss and follow the chart below or click here to download and print a copy of the chart. These are the colors I used: #938 (brown for the branch), #702 and #699 (light and dark green for the leaves), #597 (blue for the bird) and #726 (yellow for the beak). I also used a single strand of black floss (#310) to backstitch the outline of the bird and his eye. You can use any colors you have in your stash. There are only five colors plus black in the design, so you really can't go wrong.

I like this design so much, I adapted it to make a new banner for the blog. See those two cute birds at the top of the page? I guess you can tell I'm really looking forward to spring!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

See My Designs in the Spring Issue of Craft Ideas

The Spring issue of Craft Ideas magazine is on newsstands now, and a few of my designs are featured inside. There's a cross-stitch picture for Easter and a Celtic cowl and pin set for St. Patrick's Day too. Enjoy!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Chinese New Year Chopstick Sleeve

When the Chinese New Year begins on February 19th, we'll be in the Year of the Sheep. So if you were born in 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, or 2003, this is your year! I was born in the Year of the Tiger, which won't come around again until 2022, but I'm going to celebrate the New Year anyway. Maybe with some homemade fried rice, maybe with some Chinese takeout, but there will definitely be chopsticks involved.

I made this pretty chopstick sleeve in honor of the occasion. It's an easy sewing project that uses felt, gold rickrack and a flower charm from an old piece of jewelry.

To make a chopstick sleeve, cut two 1½-inch-wide strips of red felt--one 9 inches long, the other 11 inches long. Stitch a piece of gold rickrack down the center of the short strip, and then sew a small piece of rickrack to one short edge of each strip. Sew a charm, bead, or even a fancy button over the rickrack on the short felt strip. Pin the two felt strips together so the rickrack is facing up on both pieces and the bottom edges are aligned. Then use red embroidery floss and running stitch to sew the side and bottom edges of the sleeve together. 

That's it. Simple, right? Now you can enjoy your dim sum in style.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Embossed Heart Tags

My favorite heart stamp
More hearts this week . . . this time made with pink paper! When my girls were young, I made little hearts like these as gift tags for Valentine treats. They also make sweet and simple Valentine's Day decorations. 

The stamp I used is from Rubber Stampede (it's about 2" by 2"). I like the airy look of the filigree design, but you can use any heart stamp you like. Embossing--one of my favorite rubber stamping techniques--gives the hearts their shiny finish. You'll need an embossing inkpad, embossing powder (I used silver and iridescent), and a heat embossing tool, which looks like a hair dryer but gets much hotter.

The process is pretty simple. I stamped hearts with the embossing pad onto a sheet of pink card stock, sprinkled on the embossing powder, and then shook off the excess. Now comes the fun part--making the dull-looking embossing powder shine. Apply the heated air from the embossing tool to the "powdered" hearts (following the manufacturer's instructions, of course) and watch the powder melt and turn silvery and sparkly.

Silver embossing powder starts out dull and gray . . .
and turns shiny when it's heated with the embossing tool.
Iridescent powder after its embossing tool treatment.
Embossed hearts cut out and ready for eyelets and ribbons.
To make the embossed hearts into tags, I cut them out, leaving a border of paper around the edges, and added a metal eyelet to the top of each one. You'll need an eyelet tool and small hammer for that, but it's worth the effort and noise. The eyelets really give the tags a professional finish. Just thread ribbon or cord through the eyelets and your heart tags are finished. Now you can hang them around the house or tie them onto a box of chocolates for someone special.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Follow Me on Bloglovin'

If you've been enjoying the projects I post each week on KBB Crafts & Stitches, you can now follow me on Bloglovin'. It's a tool that manages all the blogs you follow and lets you know when a new post is published. Just click the Bloglovin' button on the right, create a quick account, and add any blog you want to keep up with. There's also a Bloglovin' app for iPhone.

You can also follow me on Instagram @kberlew. Use the Instagram button on the right to take a peek at what I've been up to. I post pictures of current projects and preview upcoming blog crafts. Hope to see you there!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Heart Charm Bracelet

When I realized how many heart baubles had accumulated in my bead box, I decided it was time to finally do something with them. The result is this cute heart bracelet, which I made just in time for Valentine's Day.

So where are the hearts from? Some are from pieces of broken jewelry, like the sparkly rhinestone and pearl charm. It was part of a pin that was one of my go-to accessories in the '80s. (It was in style then, I think.) Other hearts are leftovers from projects gone by. To get the hearts ready for stringing, I gave them hanging wires and dressed them up with more beads.

And now for the easy part -- crocheting the beads onto a strand of narrow red ribbon. I used a steel crochet hook small enough to fit through the wire loops, chained five chain stitches, and added the first bead by crocheting right through the loop. I attached the remaining beads the same way, making five chain stitches between them. Before I finished the chain I made sure the bracelet fit around my wrist (it's a Valentine present for myself). No fancy jewelry techniques for attaching the clasp and ring; I just tied them to the ends of the chain and wove the extra ribbon into the stitching.