Monday, May 25, 2015

Felt Daisy Pillow

This pretty pillow combines some of my crafting obsessions: wool-blend felt, embroidery floss, and a gray-and-gold color palette. The design may look a little complicated, but it's really easy if you take it one step at a time. You'll need felt (I used wool-blend felt sheets from Sweet Emma Jean, one of my favorite Etsy shops), white and gold embroidery floss, polyester fiberfill, and fabric for the pillow back. 

The first step is cutting out the felt pieces. Click here to download and print the daisy petal and daisy center patterns. Cut 8 daisy petals from white felt, and 1 daisy center from dark gray felt. Also cut the following pieces:

Diagram 1

From heather gray: Two 5¾" squares
From gold: Two 5¾" squares
From dark gray: two 1 ¼" by 11" strips and two 1¼" by 12 ½" strips

Diagram 2
Now it's time to assemble the pillow pieces. Following diagram 1, sew the pillow background pieces together using matching sewing thread or floss and ¼" seam allowance. Sew each of the gold squares to a heather gray square, then sew the gold-heather gray strips together to create a checkerboard pattern. Sew the gray strips to the edges of the checkerboard square as shown to create the pillow border.

When the background of the pillow front is finished, it's time to work on the daisy. Following diagram 2, sew the daisy center and petals to the pillow front. Use two strands of gold embroidery floss to backstitch the concentric circle details on the daisy center and a wavy pattern on the border (see photos). With white embroidery floss, embroider the backstitch details on the daisy petals.

Now cut a 12½" square of fabric for the pillow back. I used a gray cotton print, but you could use also use felt or another coordinating fabric. Pin the pillow front and back together, right sides facing. Sew the pieces together with ¼" seam allowance, leaving an opening for turning. Trim the corners, turn the pillow right side out, and stuff it with fiberfill. Stitch the opening closed, and your pillow is finished! Just find a cozy corner in your home to show it off. 

Close-ups of the embroidery details and the fabric I used for the back of the pillow.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Stamped Bug Note Cards

If you're like me, you enjoy receiving a hand-written note once in awhile, instead of an email. I also like sending cards that I've made myself for birthdays, holidays--or no occasion at all. I think rubber stamping is the easiest, fastest way to make cards that are pretty and personal. For these bug-themed cards I used scraps of colored card stock from my paper stash and just two inkpads--black and green. 

For the background panels, I stamped swirl, fern, and bamboo patterns on green paper with green ink. For the bug panels, I stamped tiny bugs with black ink on red, yellow, and orange paper. To assemble the cards, I mounted a bug panel on a slightly smaller black background panel with double-stick tape. I used wavy scissors on some of the black panels, but you can use pinking shears or any decorative-edge scissors you like. Next, I mounted the bug panels on the green background panels with more double-stick tape.

When all of the stamped panels were complete, I fastened them to the front of purchased note cards. I used my computer to print "Thinking of you," "Hi There," and "Hello . . ." on my cards in a cute typeface before I assembled the cards. You could also use hand-lettering or rubber stamps to add greetings to your cards. 

These are the stamps I used--swirl background: Penny Black Inc., fern: Rubber Stampede, bamboo: All Night Media. I bought the ladybug, butterfly, and dragonfly stamps many years ago. I don't have the original packaging anymore, so I'm not sure who the manufacturer is. If anyone recognizes them, please let me know so I can give them proper credit. 

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Knit and Crochet Your Veggies!

I'm not much of a vegetable gardener. I have better luck with herbs and perennials. But I do like making vegetables from felt, floss, and yarn. The teeny carrot and radish on the right were crocheted from embroidery floss. I made up the designs as I worked along, so I apologize, but I don't have any written instructions to share with you. I honestly don't know how amigurimi artists keep track of all those little stitches!

I knitted the crop of vegetables in the photos below with double knitting wool-blend yarn. I found the patterns--which are way beyond my knitting design skills--in the awesome book "Knitted Vegetables" by Susie Johns. I'm showing you some of my favorite veggies here, but the book actually contains 20 patterns. They were really fun to make, and I just love how realistic the shapes and textures are. Johns has also published a book of knitted fruit patterns, so I think I'll try my hand at knitted apples and strawberries next.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

See My Designs in "Cross-Stitch & Needlework" Magazine

So excited! Two of my cross-stitch designs are featured in the Summer 2015 issue of "Cross-Stitch & Needlework" magazine. It's on newsstands now, and it's really a gorgeous issue. There are lots of pretty summery projects, plus a great feature article on my cross-stitching idol, Jody Rice from Satsuma Street. Enjoy!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Bird Family Cross-Stitch Pin

Another cross-stitch pin this week! This one has a colorful little family of birds on it. I stitched it on 18-count white Aida with DMC floss: Rose #335, Turquoise #597, Chartreuse #703, Topaz #725, Medium Rose #899, Dark Navy Blue #939, and Light Blue Green #3813. Click here to download and print a copy of the chart.

I design my cross-stitch charts with a software program called Pattern Maker for Cross-Stitch. When I like the way the design looks, I print it out and start stitching. I almost always make adjustments to the designs when I make them for the first time, so I just mark my changes on the hard copy and update the file when I'm finished.

Like the other pins I've featured on my blog, this one uses a setting from the Etsy shop Kailea. I put together this picture tutorial to show you how I mount my embroidery in the settings. First, I iron a small piece of fusible interfacing to the wrong side of the embroidery to stabilize it. Next, I center the back plate over the embroidery and trace around it with disappearing fabric marker. I cut along the line with sharp scissors and place the embroidered fabric piece in the frame and fit the back plate over it. The pin back then fits on top of the back plate, and I use nylon-nose pliers to clamp the prongs over to hold the backing in place.  

Monday, May 4, 2015

Upcycled Tablecloth Sachet

I'm sure we've all "re-gifted" from time to time. You know, passing on a gift you received to someone else--and hoping the original giver doesn't find out. This lavender sachet was a birthday present for my mother, and it's technically a "re-gift" because it's made from a tablecloth my mom cross-stitched more than 50 years ago. I became the owner of the tablecloth when I got married. Over the years, it's yellowed a bit and picked up a few stains and holes. It's been retired from tablecloth duty for awhile, but I've always wanted to find a way to use the pretty fabric. I think this sachet project is perfect--simple, but so pretty. 

You can make one like it from any embroidered linens--tablecloths, pillowcases, or napkins. Let the size of the embroidered motif determine the size of the sachet (this one is 5 1/2" by 6 1/2"). Cut a piece of cotton fabric to the same dimensions for a backing. I ironed a piece of fusible interfacing to the wrong side of the embroidered piece and the backing piece. The interfacing really stabilizes that fabrics and helps them hold their shape. 

I sewed pieces of narrow red rickrack around the flower design to create a frame, but you can use any trims that match your embroidery. 

To assemble the pillow, pin the front and back pieces together--right sides facing--and sew them together, leaving an opening for turning. 

After turning the sachet right side out, fill it with dried lavender or another fragrant filler. Sew the opening closed with matching thread.

The brooch that I pinned to the sachet I made belonged to my grandmother. I think it gives the design a personal touch and just the right amount of sparkle.