An Assortment of Embroidery, Sewing,and DIY Craft Projects

Friday, December 30, 2011

Born to Stitch

Dudes, I am Born to Stitch

Born to Stitch
I whipped this bad boy up in just a couple hours...a few hours on Christmas Eve and then a couple hours on boxing day.  I used a varigated green, solid green, gold, and black.  I used all backstitches and french knots.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas for the Girls

And by girls, I mean my besties Iris, Lele, Emily and my sister from another mister, Kim.

The girls were the first intended recipients of my embroidery work.  I found a pattern for a t-shirt tote bag in the first embroidery book I found. In hindsight, I wish I would've found the normal canvas totes first, but of course, Joanns didn't carry them, but Michaels did. So annoying to chase around materials.  ANYWAYS. The plan continued - t-shirt tote bags for the girls.  I ordered patterns from Sublime Stitching

Iris! Iris loves owls. Girl is nuts for them.  So owls was a wise choice.  I used the Forest Friends Transfer

Iris' pattern

Emily has stacking dolls...and since I didn't have any other brilliant ideas, she better love it! haha.  I used the Dutch-Russian Transfer


Not finished, but better view

For Lele, I went with Scooter Babes. Let's be honest, she's a hottie who should probably tool around on a scooter :)

Lele's finished tote

Kim, I had originally planned on using the Bon Voyage transfer.  Unfortch, they were out of stock when I went to order so I needed a new plan.  Plan B was another scooter tote, since Kim loves Europe and Europe loves scooters. But then I felt bad doing two scooter designs.  So I moved onto Plan C. Plan C I found a Aunt Martha's travel transfer at Joann's.  I also deviated from the t-shirt tote bag pattern and used a pre-made tote.  What can I say, I love my sister from another mister!  The end result was also another one of my favorite finished projects.

Close up of Kim's tote

France tote

Here they are, ready to be wrapped, boxed and shipped in time for Christmas!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas for Megan and Shelby

I had such a great time choosing and working on Megan and Shelby's presents. Megan's tote turned out to be one of my most favorite projects yet. Lots of colors and the pattern was really fun to work with.  I got the pattern out of Embroidered Effects.

First, Megan's!
Starting work - my first attempt with metallic floss!

Much better lighting here...


Miss Shelby's gift - at first I was going to do a baby blanket or something like that...but then I wanted to start on her's and I didn't have a blanket to use. So I went with a tote bag. Good call on my part since I heard from a very reliable source (her mom) that little miss LOVES bags.  And a girl can never have too many bags, even when she's one year old!

Miss Shelby's tote

Cuteness!  I used iron on letters, since I wanted her name to be bigger and blockier then I would embroider.  Funny story. I texted Megan before I started working on Shelby's tote..."Does Shelby like birds?"  Answer: "I'm not sure how to answer...not if you're giving her a live bird," or something to that effect. Haha!

Ready to be wrapped!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas for the Currans

Christmas for the Currans!

Don't they look like a family who needs embroidery?

 I picked up a stocking hat and a fleece baby  blanket at the dollar store to embroider for Joseph and Nora.  I decided to go with a large canvas tote bag for Jen.  First up, patterns!

Joseph loves trains, so I knew right away I wanted to do a train on his hat, with his name.  I decided to go with his initials instead though.  I actually free handed the train and initials on his hat.  Didn't turn out too shabby if I do say so myself.

Since Nora's was a blanket, I went with a sleeping theme. Pretty simple. I found a pattern online I liked and did the press n seal method to get it done.

Press n seal, ready to embroider

Finished - lettering a bit difficult to read

Jen's tote is my biggest and most favorite project to date - except for the lettering. She is super crunchy, so I wanted to make her a special tote she can take the the farmers market.

To Market To Market fruit and veggie tote

Jen told me she loved it, I'm going to assume Nora likes to be warm and if this video is any indication, Joseph liked his hat!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Embroidery Supplies

I'm very early in my supply hoarding process, but when I decided to get into emroidery, I did it whole hog.

Supplies I purchased:
Standard Floss - I got a giant package of about 20 different colors with several of each.
Needle threader
And another needle threader
And yet another...
Needle case
Funky Floss
Metallic Floss
Floss Bobbins with Metal Ring
Glad Press n Seal (for the press n seal method)
Tracing Paper
Transfer Marker
Transfar Pencils

I'm not very happy with my floss storage. I need to figure out a different solution for it that will keep it neater and together, but alos be portable in a tote bag and not too bulky.  And I obviously have trouble with needle threaders. I like the all metal one, but it only works on larger eyed needles.  I somehow manage to always rip the threading part from the base on the other ones.

I'm using an open tote bag lugging it all around...and its not working very well for me. I need to figure out another solution for taking my work on the go with me as well.

Obviously I've been buying materials to embroider as well - tote bags because tote bags are MY FAVORITE, so the must be everyone elses too, right?  Also, aprons, handkerchiefs, bandanas, and t-shirts.


Friday, December 23, 2011

Simple Handkerchief Embroidery

I wanted to whip up something quick for my grandma for Christmas. I popped over th JC Penny and found packs of 6 handkerchiefs in the men's department. Luckily for me, they were on sale for half off!

I used the Glad Press n Seal trick and traced a 4 leaf clover pattern with some leafy swirls to accentuate it.

The actual embroidery only took about 15 mins...not bad and perfect for a simple gift for grandma!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Embroidery Books, Blogs and Websites

When I decided to start embroidery, the first thing I did was start searching the library catalog and the Internet.  I found some real duds and some real gems.  Let's talk about the gems.

By far, my favorite website has been Sublime Stitching. Mostly because it really isn't my grandma's embroidery.  I ordered my first iron on patterns from them.  And now that I know how to make my own transfers (kind of, more on that later), I can order the cheaper pdf's in the future.

I've googled around for other ones when I'm looking for designs, tips, etc. Needle n Thread is another good place to go for tips and tricks.

This is the list of crafty blogs I am currently subscribed to:
Andrea Zuill's Blog
big B
feeling stitchy
Living With Lindsay
orange you lucky!
polka & bloom
Sublime Stitching - This ain't your gramma's embroidery!
The HandyCrafter
Threadfulart's Weblog
Wild Olive

This link should give you a feed of all my crafty favorites.

Onto books!  I've found some great books that have either iron on patterns in the back, or patterns that you can trace. Talk about a life saver!

Bags in bloom : create 20 unique flower purses with simple embroidery stitches and easy-to-sew patterns / Susan Cariello
Bags in bloom has some great ideas for embellishing handbags and totes you might find that are plain.  Love some of the ideas - and it makes me want to start trying to do some work with beads in my embroidery!

Stitch step by step / Maggi Gordon and Ellie Vance
This book really does give you step by step for most stitches you could think of. It didn't include any patterns, but is super useful for trying to figure out just HOW to embroider.  Most embroidery books will give you a brief how to in the first chapter, but this is the stitching bible basically.

Embroidered effects : projects and patterns to inspire your stitching / by Jenny Hart
I HIGHLY recommend this book. The best part are the iron on patterns in the back.  And lucky for me, even though it is a library book, the iron on parts still worked!  I love so many of the designs in this book.

Doodle-stitching : fresh & fun embroidery for beginners / Aimée Ray
I liked this book just for some of the patterns in the back.  I wouldn't necessarily use the project ideas (not really into embroidering canvas shoes!)  But the patterns are cute.

Doodle stitching : the motif collection : 400+ easy embroidery designs / Aimee Ray
LOVE this book - it came with a CD-ROM that included all picture files for the designs - to transfer to your fabric using your preferred method.

A rainbow of stitches : embroidery and cross-stitch basics plus more than 1,000 motifs and 80 project ideas / Agnès Delage-Calvet
This book also has some cute designs, but the layout drives me BONKERS. It separates into different colors, but it doesn't really make any sense, since you could use whatever colors you want to embroider with.  I'd much rather have all the patterns in one place at the back of the book to flip through them with ease.

I got one of my most useful tips from NOT an embroidery blog.  I've been despairing transferring patterns without an iron on transfer available. I tried using some fabric tracing paper (didn't work).  I free handed a few things, which was OK.  Then, BAM, just what I was looking for appeared from Forever Young Adult (my favorite book blog).
To make a pattern, use Press n Seal!  You can use it in several ways too, which I've done. First, is putting the press n seal over the pattern on a piece of paper and trace with a thin sharpie. Then move the press n seal to your fabric and just stitch through the plastic and the fabric. The other way I've done it is just putting the press n seal on my monitor screen and tracing that way. Which let's me get a design for a jpg file and also letter from a preferred font in Microsoft Word. Woot!

It is a little annoying to pull out the press n seal from beneath the stitches, but it has beaten any other method I've found so far.  I do have some paper and pencil specifically for making iron on transfers on order, so I guess I'll see how that works when it finally arrives.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

There's a Wide Eyed Owl....

The last couple of years I've gotten a bit crafty for my halloween costumes.  Last year, I was super girl.  First, because Super Girl is awesome and second, because I was Super Girl back when I was about four.  Who wouldn't want to relive those memories?

Super Girl, circa 1985/6

Super Girl, circa 2010

This costume was fairly simple - I got a Super Girl t-shirt and sewed sparkly fabric to the shoulders to create the cape.  I made a simple pull on elastic waist skirt with some plain non-stretchy red fabric, that I trimmed with the red sparkly fabric (same as the cape).  Since I had some left over sparkly fabric, I also made some simple arm warmers, just by sewing it into a tube and cutting out an opening for my thumb.

This year I was a little more ambitious.  I saw a couple owl costumes on pinterest that were just ADORABLE.


This costume required much more time, effort and supplies than last years.  I picked out 5 different fabrics - a tweedy brown, a herringbone brown, silky brown, silky gold, and fleecey blaze orange.  I originally planned to create two separate pieces - a skirt using an old fold over skirt from Old Navy and a brown t-shirt I bought while I was buying my fabrics.  Then I figured it would be easier (duh) to do a single piece.  I just so happened to have a very old cotton knit dress with maroon fabric.  It was too small, so it wasn't such a waste.  Since it was too small, I cut up the the sides of the dress and figured I'd just wear leggings underneath.

To make the feathers, I made a triangular (with some curves) pattern out of cardboard and then I got to cutting.  I picked up the pizza cutter type fabric cutter.  Which is quite a dangerous tool, if you haven't used it before.  I manged to slice my finger pretty good.  The slicer let me do several feathers at a time and saved my fingers from scissor cramps.  I spent a lot of time cutting and watching TV.

Once I got the feathers cut, I fused them together in rows of about 8.  I used fabric fuse that you iron on.  I thought it would be the easiest way of quickly zipping it through the sewing machine onto the dress.  I think I could have probably just stuck with pinning it all - I don't know if I necessarily saved any time.

So, iron and fuse, iron and fuse.  Once I got my mom to help me figure out the sewing machine (a couple times, of course) I started zipping through it.  Once I figured out what was going on I was able to get through the rows of feathers pretty quickly.

Rather than trying to figure out how to do the top with the v-neck, I used the superfluous brown t-shirt and created a capelet.  To make the capelet, I just cut open the sleeves and cut the shirt at the same length of the sleeves.  This essentially created a rectangle with the neck opening in the middle.  Much easier to sew on rows of feathers in a rectangle than on a v-neck pattern.

The capelet went really quickly - just took an evening more of work.  The costume was essentially done...but what use is a costume without a mask?  Probably none at all.

I picked up a white mask with the elastic band at Joann's.  White would completely clash with the costume so I also bought some fabric spray paint in a brown/copper color.  BTW, do you realize how MUCH I love spray painting? I do. It went way too fast though.  Enter feathers and a glue gun and a girl has a mask appropriate for halloween costumes (or masqurade balls - once I added some gold glitter spray).

Here's the complete look.

And the complete look in action.  It was a giant hit at storytime the week before Halloween, won me first prize in a costume contest on Friday night (I think they took pity on my homemade costume), Sunday brunch and then at work on Halloween.

Sewing success!  I might wear it again next year....although, I do have my eye on a few other ideas...

Mrs. Frizzle


Snow White

Welcome and Disclaimer

Hello, loyal readers. It's the Single Female Homeowner!

I am not uber crafty.  Or uber creative, contrary to the protestations of super awesome storytime mom (SASM for short).  I've tried to learn to knit (twice? three times?), to crochet (twice) and now I'm onto sewing (very badly) and embroidery.  With embroidery I'm pretty sure I've found my crafty calling.  Especially since I can make most of the patterns look nice with the three stitches I can actually do.

While the mother blog focuses on my misadventures in home improvement, this blog chronicles the different craft projects I'll try to tackle - probably mostly with embroidery, some sewing, and then random assortments of crafty DIY. As always, full of misadventures.  Probably the spawn blog will see more action, since I'm short on home improvement funds.  So, follow along and enjoy the show.