Jul 31, 2009

Mailart Tutorial

A while back, I taught an online Mailart class. My sudents were absolutely wonderful and did a great job on their mailart envelopes. You can see their handiwork HERE.

• Paper
• Pencil/Eraser
• Scissors
• Ruler
• Sewing Machine
• Iron
• Aida, Evenweave, or Aida
• Contrasting floss
• Cotton Fabric for envelope lining
• Coordinating sewing thread
• Iron-on interfacing/stabilizer
• Snaps or iron-on velcro dots
• Decorative buttons (optional)

Determine the size envelope you want. Mine is approximately 4 1/2" tall by 5 3/4" wide. (You can make it whatever size you want.)

On a piece of paper, draw an envelope pattern. It will be twice as tall as the envelope you want to create, plus an extra 1 1/2" to 2" for the envelope flap. Using scissors, cut out pattern.

Place the pattern on top of the fabric you'll be stitching on. With the contrasting thread make a running stitch around the pattern. Also stitch the lines where the envelope will be folded. Be sure to make the fabric 1/2" larger all around the size of the paper pattern for the seam allowance.

The top section is the envelope flap. The middle section is the front side of the envelope. The bottom section is the back side of the envelope. (Image is clickable to see a larger photo)

Using pencil and graph paper, draw out your sender's address and your return address. One square will equal one stitch on your fabric. If you don't have graph paper, Incompetch has an excellent graph paper generator.

Once you have the addresses graphed out, backstitch them onto the front of the envelope using a contrasting floss color. Be sure to keep your flap at the top when you're stitching your addresses. I recommend using a dark color so the post office can read it without problems.

Decide on what pattern you want to stitch on your envelope. Remember to leave space for the stamps (and the overseas customs tag, if applicable), but other spaces on the fabric is fair game. Choose designs that have small motifs and/or border designs. Or, you could choose a small portion of a larger design. If you'll be stitching on the front of your envelope, be sure it will fit in the space leftover after you backstitch the "To" and "From" addresses.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you plan on stitching on the back side of the envelope -and- your design has a right side up, you will need to stitch the design upside down in order for it to be right side up when constructing the envelope. So remember to flip your fabric around if stitching on the back of the envelope.

Stitch your motifs, borders, designs, etc. Be sure to stay within the running stitches you did in Step One. This is not the time to "color outside the lines", LOL.

Examples of Finished Mail Art can be seen HERE and HERE.

Cut out a piece of lining fabric and 2 pieces of interfacing the same size as the stitched envelope piece.

I used Pellon Peltex 950F interfacing. I got it from JoAnn Fabrics. It's pliable and easy to work with. Do NOT get the iron-on interfacing that is thick as thin cardboard. You will have a heck of a time working with it. If you hold it at one end and it doesn't bend on its own, it's not the right stuff.

Iron one piece of your interfacing on the wrong side of your stitched piece and the other piece of interfacing to the wrong side of your lining fabric. Follow the directions given for your interfacing. Now is a good time to attach any decorative buttons, snap closures, or ribbon you wish to use to keep your envelope flap shut. (I used iron-on velcro dots)

Place fabric and stitched piece, right sides together, then stitch 1/4" seam around the edge (using your basted line as a guide), leaving at least a 2" opening to turn right side out.

(Photo shows only stitched piece and lining,
not the interfacing attached)

In order to have square corners, it's better to start the seam allowance stitching in the center of one of the sides. Remove your basted lines and turn right side out. Press the wrinkles out. Then whipstitch opening closed.

Fold the envelope into shape, and press the folds.

Whipstitch the sides of the envelope.

After putting contents into the envelope, whipstitch the flap shut (Be sure to tell the recipient to cut the whipstitches in order to open the envelope.

Design: Tea Crazy*
Designer: Lizzie Kate
Fabric: 32ct Antique White Monoco Evenweave
Fibers: DMC Linen Floss
Time: It took about 2 weeks to plan the
envelope design, and 2 weeks of stitching.

• Glue (I used superglue) the stamps onto the front of the envelope to be sure they stay secured.
• Have the postal clerk hand-cancel the postage stamps to reduce any risk of the MA being damaged.

*Design and colors were altered from original chart design.

©2009 All rights reserved.

Jul 27, 2009

Marvelous Monday Update 7/27/09

I was "informed" by my coworker that the team captains of the last Get Fit Challenge have decided there should be a weigh-in sometime this fall because we've all been falling off the Get Fit wagon (imagaine that!). Over the past couple of weeks, I've been trying to get back into the exercise groove of things so that I can work off the extra poundage I've accumulated lately.

Last week, I went for a few evening walks. Then on Saturday morning, I took to the beautiful bike trail and ended up pedaling at least 10 miles. Sunday morning, I did more of the same... 12 miles this time. (Shhh! Don't tell anyone, but my tushie is a bit sore.)

Last Tuesday, I went to the PO to get my mail. Lo and behold, there was a ticket in my PO box telling me there was a package at the counter. One of the postal clerks had seen me come in, so before I even got to the counter he had the package waiting. LOL... Pretty bad when they know you and your box number by sight! Especially in a city of 26K.

I had no idea what was in the box, and then.... a light bulb came on! A while back, Gaynor in Ireland sponsored a blogversary giveaway. I was the lucky winner!

Remember Froggie? Well, he thought he needed to be nosey and get in on the action.

Gaynor included Ireland-themed goodies. Aren't those sheep the cutest? I get a giggle each time I see them. Also, take note of the ornie she stitched for me. I've added it to my basket of smalls (which is now overflowing!).

Next out of the box was a Deluxe Double Organizer by Yazzi. It's awesome! Oops... I cut off Froggie's head.

A magnet with the Irish Coffee recipe, and a phone fob. I've already put the fob into use... attached it to my needle threader. :)

Lots of wonderful charts :)

Gaynor also sent a variety of cotton fabrics, aida, and evenweaves. Some of them look to be hand-dyed. Can't wait to try them out!

This box showed up on a dreary, rainy day. And I mean pouring down rain! It was a really nice surprise. A big THANK YOU goes out to Gaynor for being so generous and hosting her blogversary giveaway.

Hold onto your pants, I've actually got some stitchy news to report! I finished up my "secret" exchange project and it's going in the mail tomorrow. I still can't show pics yet, but I do have something else to show. I started working on Oriental Kimono again. Here's the latest progress:

Jul 20, 2009

Marvelous Monday Update 7/20/09

The weather was overcast most of the weekend, and temps were unusually cool for this time of year (more like Fall temps). Overall, it's been pretty nice. I'm thankful for the cooler temps since I'm still getting quotes for a new furnace and CA unit.

I borrowed the term from Deborah, who affectionately calls her room the "stitching sanctuary". Some of us are blessed to have entire room devoted to our craft(s), while others call a small corner their "sanctuary". I'm still working on mine. Right now, my "spot" is an end of the couch. If you want to see a beautiful stitching sanctuary, check out THIS (french) one. Isn't it awesome?! Do you have photos of your stitching sanctuary?

Out of 47 guesses (Wow!), there were FIVE people who guessed correctly! So how much was the armoire I found at the SA store? I paid $75 for that awesome piece of furniture! I found it "cute" a couple of people guessed that JT bought the armoire for me. I bought the armoire, and he delivered it to my house for me. Wasn't that nice?

So, who are the winners???

*drum roll, please*

Sue V of Sue's Small World of Stitching
CJ of Tea and Stitches
Debbie (craftygal)
Beth of Beth's Blog - Stitching & More
Joy of The Busy Stitcher's Babble

I would like each of you will email me with your preference of color: brown, tan, purple, mauve, or pink. I have a special surprise in mind for each of you! It will take a little time, but expect something in the coming weeks.

Jul 18, 2009

Opportunity's Favorite Disguise

I read this on one of my groups and thought it was worthy of sharing:

Opportunity' s favorite disguise is trouble.

When problems show up we often allow ourselves to become focused and fixated upon the negative aspect of what's before us feeling that, somehow something 'bad' is happening to us.

Yet when you understand the law of polarity and you realise:

Every up has a down,
Every left has a right,
Every light has a dark,
Every inside an outside,

then you soon start to realise that you've been given a gift, not a curse. For that bad is leading us to a new good. We only have to look for it to see it!

What good is a current 'bad' in YOUR life trying to show YOU?

Jul 17, 2009

La-D-Da Fan?

Jolene at Dip Diddly Designs has a great giveway going on over at her blog. Take a virtual walk on over! (There's also a great story about giving up chocolate!)

Jul 15, 2009

L@@king For Armoire Pulls

If anyone knows of an inexpensive place to get drawer pulls, please let me know. This is what I'm looking for (or something similar):

These pulls are called rosette bail pulls and have a 6 1/4" center-to-center (6 1/4" bore between the screw holes). I've looked on Lowe's and Home Depot websites -- the pulls are too small. I've also tried google searches, ebay, and second-hand stores with no luck.

Jul 14, 2009

That "Scary" Room

Ever since I've moved to the "The Homestead", I've used my spare bedroom as a "catch all" room because I was too lazy busy and overwelmed with it all to throw it away figure out where and what to do with the junk stuff. To hide my shame, I always kept the door shut. You know the saying, "Out of sight, out of mind." LOL - Hey, it worked for me! Well, at least it did until I had to go in "there".

Let me give you the grand tour into the world of my overwhelming mess. Here's a peek into THAT room:

As we venture fully into the vast wilderness of junk (ahem) stuff and look around, we realize just HOW MUCH is in this tiny little room!

First, I'd like to direct your attention to the King of the Jungle, Simba, sitting high upon mountains of photo albums. Simba really does roar! In the valley to your right is a $15 wood desk I refinished, added a glass top, and found a chair to match (more on the chair later).

Off to our left is a dresser mirror that's extremely tall for MY bedroom. What better place than to assume residence in "that scary room"?? Standing guard in front, are two hefty tubs full of my parents' family photos (Yes, Mom *I* have them. Dad says I can have them store them. Did I just say that???). For a bit more protection, there's the desk chair that belongs on the OTHER side of the room where the desk settled. Oh, and let's not forget the anaconda at your feet as you enter the room, better known as a futon mattress folded in half (seen in the first pic).

Gazing farther to the south, you can see boxes of more junk "important stuff" that were never unpacked. Call it lack of time. Call it "save for rainy day". No, let's just call it what it is... Just didn't feel like unpacking them. (LOL) If you're really quiet and look carefully, you'll spy what is a small portion of a computer desk covered in a myriad of... you guessed it... more stuff! Beneath the stack of pillows (WHO really needs that many spare pillows, anyway?), are two large tubs of framed photos and cross stitch that have yet to be put on walls. *sigh* Someday....

Lastly, I'd like to turn your attention to your right. Sorry about the cockeyed photo.... results of trying to lean backwards while standing in the corner of that last pic. Anywho, back to the tour. My parents bought me that dresser when they moved into THEIR first home (I was 10!). It's nothing special, but it's been dragged from place-to-place since I moved away from home. On top of it is a small portion of my stash. Notice the mattress standing proud and tall? It does have a frame... somewhere... I *do* know where it's at (I think -just kidding-). It's in the basement. Powers to be figured there was no use and relocating MORE furniture into this room. Between the mattress and dresser is the door to the closet. Can you see it there?? It's packed full, too. No surprise there, eh?

After two months of dating, JT was finally allowed to see the "scary" room. Despite what he said: "Oh, it's not that bad, babe." (Uh huh.) Thanks for being such a sweetheart.

This concludes your tour of That Scary Room. Stay tuned for a future installment...

Marvelous Monday Update 7/13/09

... on a Tuesday (again!)

I bet you guessed it. Yep, I *still* have the cough. So far I've seen an "immediate care" doctor who said it was allergies and gave me an RX for Robitussin CA and Allegra 24-hour. The Robitussin was great for helping me sleep at night! The Allegra wore off after about 12 hours, so I quit using it. Then I went to see my "new" primary care physician who thought the cough was asthma-induced, which I think I mentioned a couple of posts ago. She prescribed a 3-day Z-Pak just in case I had an infection in my lungs, plus Advair for the asthma. In my follow up appointment with her this week, I still wasn't better so she was "perplexed" and suggested I see my allergist. Meantime, she wanted to do something about the cough and prescribed Prednisone. This was *after* she explained she doesn't like to take it herself due to the side effects! I held off filling that RX until I saw my allergist. She also had me do a chest x-ray, which came back normal.

Friday, I saw my allergist. He ruled out asthma as the cause of my cough. THAT test made me cough so bad, the nurse made me sit on the table and even went to get me a glass of water! So, what's the culprit? Based on the symptoms I'd described to him, he thinks it's a sinus infection! He prescribed another round of stronger antibiotics, nasal spray, and Mucinex D. If I'm not better after all this, he wants to do a CT scan of my face to make sure they're "not missing something".

Let's hope this does takes care of the problem. 1) Six weeks of this cough is getting old. 2) I'm beginning to feel like I should own stock in the pharmacy!

The upside: Each time I've filled a new RX, I've had a coupon for a FREE $25 gift card, so at least those have offset the RX costs.

The post office was really good to me last week! Mary in TX was one of my students in a recent online mailart class. As a "thank you", she sent a pretty scissor fob she made (I added my scissors) and an oriental print bag:

Lisa in MO sent me a Dimensions Gold Collection kit called "Lovely Rose".

The entire background is stitched in black, but I think I'll use black fabric instead!

A big thank you to both Mary and Lisa!

Jul 9, 2009

Gotta Love Technology


Three women, two younger, and one senior citizen, were sitting naked in a sauna.

Suddenly there was a beeping sound. The young woman pressed her forearm and the beep stopped.

The others looked at her questioningly. "That was my pager," she said. "I have a microchip under the skin of my arm."

A few minutes later, a phone rang. The second young woman lifted her palm to her ear.

When she finished, she explained, "That was my mobile phone. I have a microchip in my hand."

The older woman felt very low-tech. Not to be out done, she decided she had to do something just as impressive. She stepped out of the sauna and went to the bathroom.

She returned with a piece of toilet paper hanging from her rear end.

The other two raised their eyebrows at her.

The older woman finally said...... "Well, will you look at that! I'm getting a fax!!"

Jul 7, 2009

I Found The One!

Ever since I moved into my house a year and a half ago, I have been looking for a cabinet to store my craft and stitchy supplies in. Not just any cabinet, mind you, but the "perfect" cabinet that looked like a "nice" (both relative terms, mind you) piece of furniture. I've looked at thrift stores, consignment shops, Menards, furniture stores, and antique shops. I even checked craigslist in my area. Pieces I liked were prohibitively over-budget for what I wanted to use it for, and the ones that were within budget were made of pressboard... which I try to avoid as they really don't last. I was getting discouraged and started to think I'd have to "settle" for a piece of crap something I really didn't like if I wanted to get my stitchy and craft stuff unpacked. (Yes, everything is *still* in boxes!)

When JT and I were on our way to my parents' picnic on the 4th, we passed by the Salvation Army store where they were having a 50% off sale on clothing. Since we had time to kill, he turned the car around and we went in to look. Didn't have luck on clothing, but I did find this:

The tag said it had just come into the store on July 1st. Can you imagine someone *just* donating such a marvelous armoire??? This beautiful piece of furniture measures 42W x 19D x 62H and is made of SOLID WOOD. There were a couple of light scratches and rub marks... nothing some Old English didn't take care of. It's also missing the handles on one of the drawers at the bottom, but I'll figure something out. Or, can anyone can point me to a place to get similar replacements??

I found out this morning that the partitions in the top section are removeable, which is really nice. I've already had thoughts of making adjustable partitions for the drawers in order to make organization easier.

Close Up Details

CONTEST: Take a guess as to how much I paid for this armoire? (Btw, Has anyone noticed how much more expensive Goodwill and SA stores have gotten in the past several years?) Leave a comment that you'd like to be included in the contest along with your guess. If you comment anonymously, be sure to put your email addy so I can contact you. The person who guesses the closest will receive something from my stitchy stash. Contest ends July 17th, winner announced in the following MM update.

Jul 6, 2009

Marvelous Monday Update 7/6/09

To those in the US, I hope you all had a safe and fun 4th of July!

On Friday night, JT and I found a spot to watch fireworks at a local bank that was giving away FREE ice cream bars. Who could resist that? Unfortunately, he's allergic to chocolate so he couldn't have one. Being the sweet person I am, I bought him a pineapple sundae from the DQ next door. The DQ employees were PO'd that the bank next door was giving away free ice cream, LOL. They started passing out coupons "Buy a blizzard, get one for 99c". But the ice cream at the bank is FREE!

In the Saturday rain, we headed to my parents' home where a cookout was being held. Everyone brought a dish to pass, and Dad was the grill cook. (Good job, Dad!) I made pasta salad and watermelon wedges.

The pasta salad was a big hit... there was barely a large spoonful left!

Later that evening, JT and I went to the fireworks show in another village since the rain subsided late afternoon. One of the fireworks displays was a smiley face. Would've been really cool if the face was right-side up. LOL

I got a lot of stitching in this past week, and my "secret" exchange project is almost done being stitched. I bought fabric and other embellishments in order to make it into the "finished" item. No pics yet, sorry!

I rescued this custom framed (by Michaels), stitched piece from the local Salavation Army store for 99c! There's no signature or date on it, unfortunately. Does anyone know what the piece is called, or who the designer is?

The planters and hanging baskets have really filled out, so I decided to take some creative photos of my flowers:

Earlier in the week, I made grilled chicken and vegetable kebobs. I marinaded the chicken in lemon pepper, and the kebobs were brushed with caesar dressing before and during cooking. JT and I both love grilled kebobs. Yummy!


Grilled to Perfection!

Jul 1, 2009

Urine Testing


Joe, the average worker says:

"Like a lot of folks in this state, I have a job. I work, they pay me. I pay my taxes and the government distributes my taxes as it sees fit. In order to get that paycheck, I am required to pass a random urine test with which I have no problem.

What I do have a problem with is the distribution of my taxes to people who don't have to pass a urine test. Shouldn't one have to pass a urine test to get a welfare check because I have to pass one to earn it for them?

Please understand, I have no problem with helping people get back on their feet. I do, on the other hand, have a problem with helping someone sitting on their lazy butts, doing drugs, while I work...

Can you imagine how much money the state would save if people had to pass a urine test to get a public assistance check?

Something has to change in this country -- and soon!

Guess we could title that program, 'Urine or You're Out'."