Jan 11, 2019

Birthday Mailart Exchange 2018

The mailart group I belong to hosted a birthday mailart exchange last year.  My birthday was in January.  I received a beautiful mailart and goodies from Connie.

The birthday of the person I stitched for is in December so hers was the last to be received.  It was my last stitchy finish for 2018.  The design came from the limited edition kit called Flowers by Lizzie Kate.  I adapted colors to the favorites of the recipient.

Fabric: 28ct Pink Linen
Fibers: DMC floss
Embellishments: Buttons
Sent to Shelley in CA

If you'd like to try your hand at mailart, there's a tutorial on my left sidebar.  Or, click HERE.

Until next time....

Jan 9, 2019


It's been years since I've changed my blog layout.  I'm looking for a new three-column layout template.  Does anyone have suggestions?

I've said this before and I'm going to say it again:  Stitchers are the most thoughtful people ever.  Last year, I was RAK'd three times!  (Yes, i'm just now getting around to posting about it... bad me.)

Vickie from Reading and Stitching was going through her magazines and asked me if I was interested in various Asian-themed charts.  A nice package arrived in the mail that made my mind whirl as to which one I want to do first!

Fantasy Cards by Joan Elliott
Land of the Rising Sun by Maria Diaz
Graceful Geishas by Joan Elliott
Oriental Elegance by Lesley Teare
Oriental Sampler by Susan Bates
Sacred Serenity by Joan Elliott
Winters Beauty by Lesley Teare
Aren't they wonderful?!
Thank you, Vickie!

I've been a long time reader of the Stitching Dreams blog.  Carol does such a wonderful job finishing her ornaments.  She is always sharing stitching eye candy.  Recently, she hosted a giveaway for a patriotic chart called Uncle Sam by Bent Creek.  After Asian-themed designs, Patriotic designs are my favorite.  I'm also a fan of Bent Creek.  She pulled my name from the hat!

 Thank you, Carol!

This is the cutest thing ever!  I want to stitch it up now, but I'm finishing up a mailart exchange.

On Facebook, Glenna in KS had posted a July 4th photo of a towel she stitched a while ago.  I had admired it in a comment.  Much to my surprise, she sent me the chart.  

Coincidentally, I have towels I can stitch the designs on.  I'm so excited to start the July 4th one!

 Thank you, Glenna!

Until next time...

Oct 19, 2018

Stitchy Goodness and Humor

I've participated in a couple of stitchy exchanges over the summer and into fall.  First up is a Christmas ornament exchange.  Both my partner and I decided to stitch and send early.  Since Karen said her ornament didn't have to be Christmas themed, I did something a little different.  Here's what I stitched for Karen V in MA:

Design:  Quaker Snowflake
Designer: Sandy Longan
Fabric:  32ct Sky Blue Linen
Fibers: Six Strand Sweets, DMC

Linked To:  Stitching Lotus Smalls SAL

The front was stitched with SSS Plum Parfait.  The back is the same linen with Karen's name, my name, and the year stitched in DMC 793 as well as 3 tiny snowflake buttons.  I made the cording with DMC 157 and 793 along with a bit of SSS.

She messaged me how much she liked it and said she was going to find a place for it and leave it out year round. It always makes me happy when I know the recipient likes what I sent.

This is what I received from Karen.  Aren't they so so CUTE?!

I finished this cute needleslide.  It's stitched over-one on 32ct fabric.  Can you say adorbs?!

 Design:  Christmas Secret
Designer: Just Nan
Fabric:  32ct White Jobelan Linen
Fibers: GAST

The needles are placed in a piece of  felt on the backside and the whole thing is held in the tin by a very strong tiny magnet.

I'm going to leave you with a bit of stitchy humor and truth:

Until next time...

Jul 8, 2018

A Girl's Work

... is never done...

Finally the humidity and high temperatures broke and the weekend brought beautiful weather in which I could actually do some much needed yard work.

On Friday, I mowed the yard.  Then I started to trim the weeds until the weedeater battery died.  The downside to having battery powered tools is the battery only lasts 20-30 minutes before needing a charge and it takes about 4 hours to recharge.  Yes, I know I could buy another battery but at $50 a pop, I have not.  The upside to having battery powered tools is that it forces me to stop and rest my arms and shoulders... otherwise I'd just keep going like I'm the energizer bunny or something.  Then pay for it later.

In the summer, I'm usually up before 6am and wish I could mow or do yard work, LOL.  However, the grass is usually too wet and my neighbors wouldn't appreciate it.  On Saturday, I was up and at 'em at 7:30am trimming more weeds until the battery died.  Back on the charger it went.  I spent most of Saturday making the Thread Keeper and writing the tutorial in my previous post.  Intermission was when the battery was recharged and I went back out to trim more weeds.

I had to put to rest one of my favorite pairs of stitching scissors.   These were given to me many, many years ago by CJ at Tea and Stitches, and have been my favorites. They have traveled with me all over the U.S. and have seen many places. I'm sad to see them go.  Thankfully, I have many more pairs to replace them.  Goodbye my friend... you have served me well.  ::sniffle::

On Sunday, I slept until 9am.  I can't remember the last time I slept so late.  Got up and hit the ground running.  Finished weed trimming the yard. 

Removed a humongous thistle from my flower bed. I bet that thing was 4 ft tall with 3/4" stem.  Note to self:  Do NOT let thistles get that tall... ever!  

It was not an easy task to remove even with gloves on. Sprayed other weedy areas. Pulled weeds out of the flower bed. Trimmed the burning bush until the battery died on the hedge trimmer.  It looks really stupid only half trimmed, but whateva! I also winterized the snowblower aka "Little Blow" and put it away. Swept the garage, did laundry, and repotted my Mom's Christmas cactus.

Silly me then decided to wash the car.  Hey, there were a LOT of splatted bugs on the front and it really needed it.  So, I lugged my pressure washer from the basement and went to work.

Nothing beats a good hand washed car!

Several months ago, I noticed a rub mark on my rear passenger side bumper.  I believe it was done by a coworker because I saw a scrape on her car, but at the time I didn't realize mine had been scraped.  Humph!  Anyway, I digress.

Even though auto parts stores carry rubbing compound just for this purpose, I didn't want to have buy a container of it just for a couple scrapes.  Eureka!  It hit me...

Magic Eraser!  It cleans stuff off paint in the house, so why wouldn't it work on a car?!  I use the Erase and Clean from Family Dollar. They are way cheaper than the name brand and work just as well.  I tore off a small chunk (no reason to waste the entire eraser), wet it, and rubbed the scuff marks right off the car.

Before and After.  The only spot left is a where paint is chipped off.
How's that for a weekend?!  Now, I can gear up for more hot, humid weather. Yippee! (Not)

Until next time...

Jul 7, 2018

Thread Keeper Tutorial

Designer:  Little House Needleworks LHNPC-91
Fabric:  28ct Silkweavers Evenweave
Floss:  WDW, GAST, and Crescent Colors
Embellishments:  Crochet Lace, Buttons

Linked to: Stitching Lotus Smalls SAL

I have yet another stitchy finish!  I'm so thrilled with how this turned out!  I didn't have the colors called for in the stitched design so I substituted from my stash on hand.  I had enough foresight to write down the steps and take photos in order to write up a tutorial.  I combined ideas from my mailart tutorial (Hard to believe it was 2009 when I taught that class!), several YouTube videos, and sewing tutorials in order to present to you:

(aka Floss Pocket)

 I do not have specific cutting sizes because depending on the size of the stitched piece and your preferences, the sizes could be different.

Here are the supplies I used:
•  Stitched Piece
•  Outside Finishing Fabric
•  Inside Lining Fabric
•  Lightweight Fusible Interfacing
•  Zipper
•  Coordinating Thread
•  Decorative Trim (optional)
•  Fusible Fleece
•  Fastener (Snaps, Ribbon, Buttons, etc)
•  Rotary Cutter
•  Quilting Ruler
•  Iron
•  Sewing Needle
•  Straight Pins
•  Sewing Machine
•  Zipper Foot
•  Zig Zag Foot

Step 1:
Iron your stitched piece, the finishing fabric, and the lining fabric.  I ironed quite a bit throughout assembly of the Thread Keeper.  Ironing keeps all the pieces nice and flat.

Step 2:
Trim your stitched piece to desired size.  I left a border of 3/4" on the sides and 1" on top and bottom.  Set aside.

Step 3:
Cut two strips of your finishing fabric 2 1/4" x the height of the sides of the stitched piece.  You can be approximate on the height of the strips as we'll square it up later.

Step 4:
Right sides together, pin the strips to the stitched piece. 

Step 5:
Using 1/4" seam allowance, sew strips to stitched piece.  Press the seams toward the outside edge.

Step 6:
If necessary, square up the top and bottom edges so the fabric strips are even with the stitched piece.

See!  All pretty.

Step 7:
Cut one strip 2 1/4" x the width of the top, and one strip 1 3/4" x width of bottom.  The reason I made the top strip taller is to accommodate for my flap. Pin and sew the strips to the stitched piece.  Again, press the seams toward the outside edge.

Step 8:
Cut piece of lightweight fusible interfacing and iron it on the back of your newly sewn block.  I don't know what kind of interfacing I used as it was a huge piece I picked up at a thrift store really inexpensively.

Step 9:
Cut four strips of finishing fabric 2" tall x width of interfaced block.  Press 1/2" edges toward center.

Step 10:
Place one strip with pressed edge on top of zipper and one strip on bottom, wrong sides facing, and making sure the strips line up evenly with zipper teeth.  Pin together.  Using zipper foot on sewing machine, sew the strips to the zipper.  Repeat for opposite side of zipper teeth.

Step 11:
Decide how high from the bottom of the Floss Keeper you want the zipper pocket.  I decided on 6".

Cut one piece of finishing fabric 6" tall x width of interfaced block.  Mine ended up being 6" x 9 1/2".

With zipper still in place (see first photo in this step), measure from zipper teeth to top of interfaced block.  Add to this measurement the height you want your front flap to be.  Add 1/4" more for the seam allowance.  For instance, from my zipper to the top was 3 1/4".  Add 3 1/4" + 9 1/2" (width of interfaced block) + 1/4" (seam allowance) = 5 1/4".  I needed to cut a piece 5 1/4" x 9 1/2".

Cut two pieces of interfacing for the the finishing fabric strips you've just cut.  Iron interfacing onto back side of fabric strips.

At this point you should have four pieces:  The stitched piece, the zipper with the plackets sewn on, and the top fabric piece for the zipper pocket, and the bottom fabric piece for the zipper pocket.

Step 12:
Lay the zipper so that the pull is on your left side.  Slide the 6" tall fabric between the placket making sure it lays straight.  Pin in place and top stitch.

Step 13:
Repeat with top piece.  This will be the back side of the Floss Keeper.

Step 14:
Right sides facing each other, pin and sew the stitched piece to the back side at the bottom edge.  Press the seam toward the back side piece.

You should have one long piece.

Step 15:
If you want to add trim along the zipper edge, now is the time!  Pin and sew in place.  This step is totally optional.  I used decorative crochet lace from my stash and wove 12 strands of the cranberry floss used in the stitched piece.

Step 16:
Measure the rectangle you just created and cut a lining fabric the same size.  Mine ended up being 9 3/4" x 21".  Don't worry if your rectangle isn't squared.  This will be done in another step.

Step 17:
Cut a piece of fusible fleece the size of the lining fabric.  I actually bought the fleece for a paint brush roll project.  Hope I have enough left for it!  Iron fleece onto wrong side of lining fabric.

Step 18:
With right sides facing, lay your finishing fabric piece on top of the lining fabric piece.  Pin together.  Take a few minutes to square up your edges and cut off the excess zipper.  Incidentally, I've had this zipper for decades.  Matches perfectly with the purple stitching on the front.  I didn't plan it that way, it just happened! 

Step 19:
Fold the Floss Keeper at the bottom edge and the flap to make sure the flap will lay where you want it.  If it's a bit too tall, cut to size you'd like.

Step 20:
If you'd like curved corners on your flap, make them now at the bottom edge.  I used a square glass to curve my flap.

Step 21:
Since I wanted matching trim around my flap on the front, I machine basted 1/4" around the edge of the finishing fabric.  

Then I hand basted the trim in place on the right side making sure it was facing away from the cut edge.

Step 22:
At this point add your fastener to keep your flap closed.  I used invisible snaps and added decorative buttons.

Tip:  When you want to hold a decorative button in place until you can secure it, use double sided tape!  After securing the button, carefully cut the tape out from under the button.  Works like a charm!

Step 23:
Starting a couple inches off center on top edge of stitched piece, sew around perimeter of fabric (finishing fabric should be facing lining fabric) using 1/4" seam allowance.  Make sure previously sewn seams lay flat before stitching over them.  Leave 3-4" gap so you can turn it inside out.

Step 24:
Clip corners and notch the curved edge.

Step 25:
Turn right side out and press flat.  Whip stitch the opening closed.

Step 26:
Using the sewing machine, sew "in the ditch" (i.e. in the seam allowance) at the bottom of the Floss Keeper.  This forms the bottom of the zipper pocket on the back.

Step 27:
Sew in the ditch of the placket above the zipper.  Sew a line where the flap folds over.

Step 28:
Lastly, fold the Thread Keeper at the bottom seam with lining fabric facing together.  Pin left and right sides.  Top stitch 1/8-1/4" in from edges.

There you have it.  Thread Keeper is complete!

 If I were to do this over, the one thing I'd do differently is to add a lining fabric over top of the fusible fleece where the zipper pocket is.

The dimensions of my finished Thread Keeper ended up being 8 3/4" wide x 9" tall.

If you make one, I'd love to see it!

Until next time...