Thursday, November 24, 2016

Storing Fabric Ideas - Mini Bolts!

I know we go to the store and usually buy fabric, take it home, and until we use it, it's a drawer, or just on a shelf, yes? Well, for a lot of us, that's maybe what happens, and if you've read my blog for any extended period of time, you remember when I've shown you the large 3-drawer sterilite containers I keep my fabric in, shown here.

Raise your hand if you know of all the "wonderful" sales that Jo-Anns tends to have, all year round, but particularly during holiday times? (All of you I'm sure should have your hands raised at this

Well, last Xmas season, when Snuggle Flannel went on sale, I maaaaaaaaaaaaay have gone a bit crazy with buying a bunch of different kinds, in 2 yard increments where possible, to make either scarves for friends for Xmas presents.

I ended up not getting to make them as soon after, I lost my job and was super stressed out, but I still have the flannel, and have yet to decide what to do with it!

I didn't have room to put the fabric in my drawers, so I decided to put to use a bunch of chipboard sheets a friend gave me, and.....

Tada!! Mini-bolts of my flannel that tells me what I have on each!!

Here's some of the flannel I bought:

And here's how I did the bolts with labels on what the fabric is and how much of each I have in stock!

What do you guys think?

For the time being, since I don't have much in the ways of shelving in my room, below is a little shelf with some of these bolts. It's not perfect, and particularly not as clean on the rest of it as I'd like, but hey, it's a start! 

Thoughts? How do you store your fabric?? I'd love to hear in the comments section!

Side-note, is anyone interested in a pair of flannel pajama pants, or maybe a comfy pair of shorts to wear around the house?? Just reach out to me and we can make it work! :D

Craft ya laters!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

A Moment of Seriousness...

I want to take a few minutes to be serious with you in regards to my post from yesterday. I've shared with you before on my attempts to get my craft room cleaned/organized, and I've lamented the fact that I can't seem to keep it clean. After some time, and much thought, I have at least come to realize maybe why *I* have difficulties in doing this.

The most important questions in any situation like this are:

1) How did it get this way?

2) Why wasn't I able to regularly keep this room clean, and am seemingly unable to do so over, and over, again?

The answer to both questions for me really is this: I had a 2nd job for about 6 months working at Jo-Ann and purchased  a lot more craft supplies than I needed simply by being around them all the time, having an employee discount, and feeling that I'd soon get a promotion at work that would require more formal dress at work. For this last point, I bought a large amount of fabric for the intent of sewing my own work dresses, along with a number of sewing patterns when on sale. Once I didn't receive that promotion however, and was instead somewhat demoted, I hit an emotional rock bottom. I went to work, I came home, slept, then did it all over again the next day, and the next. The emotional low of this having happened made it so that I couldn't find much joy in creating or making anything, since I couldn't be creating or making anything I felt worthwhile at work. And when I don't feel like making anything, who cares if my craft room is unusable? I sure as heck didn't...

We all go through ups and downs in our lives, and the important part is finding your passion again for those things that once brought you joy, focusing on them, and working to make those things a part of your life again in order to be happy. I let myself stay in my low for far too long, and I'd been struggling for years, still am in fact...but what I want to say to you is that you mustn't let yourself go down those rabbit holes your emotions drag you down to. Take the time to find what brings you joy, and do whatever you can to let those things shine so you can get out of that hole and do what makes you happy.

It can be a long journey for some, even longer for others, but I want you to know that you are not alone. It doesn't have to be crafts; your happiness can be in volunteering your time/efforts to good causes, it can be exercising or meditating, even yoga, etc. Whatever your happiness is, let it be your light out of the darkness and don't be afraid to share your story with others so that we can all learn and grow in our journeys to finding our joy again.

Now, what about you? Do you seem to always find yourself desperately trying to keep organized and clean, and you're not sure how to make the cycle stop? Ask yourself the 2 questions above first, and you'll be on your way to finding the solution! It's similar to the idea that, "First you have to realize there is a problem, own up to it, and then you can work towards finding a solution."

Same thing here. Realize that you are tired of feeling this way, then figure out WHY it is/you are this way. Then the next step will be to think about these next 2 questions:

3) What do I want to change?

4) Why is this important to me?

For me, I want to change how I think of my craft room and my crafts. They really do bring me joy, but only when I have a space that's conducive to allowing me to do my crafting. This includes my craft room, but also extends to the rest of my home and in myself, whether I feel comfortable enough in either to sit down and craft something, or not.

The idea of learning how to organize my home and getting comfortable in my self has been in the back of my mind for awhile. Only recently, with having difficulty finding a new job where I feel appreciated and in which I can grow and be happy, being able to organize my home and be happy with who I am otherwise is a strong encouragement to work towards this goal. Especially so is the fact that these are the things that are in MY control. I control whether or not I clean my home, I control whether I do regular tasks to ensure my home stays clean and I'm able to feel free to sit down and work on any craft or project I choose, and I also control whether I go for walks/runs, do exercises, eat healthy, etc.

A clean and open home can create a clean and open mindset, and will allow you to do more of the things you love, which leads to being able to feel as though it's ok, and that you can be happy.

Stay strong folks, I believe you can find your happiness!!

Until next time,....

Craft ya laters! :)

Monday, November 21, 2016

Unemployed? Why Not Clean!?

Yup! I had a whopper of a year last year, that culminated into my getting let go/downsized in December 2015 from the company I'd been at for 9 years!!

With all this time free, when I felt I'd searched as long as I could through job postings and applied where applicable, what else was I to do?!

Well, since I'd had such a miserable time, and was feeling pretty down in the dumps for so long, my craft room got **a bit** messy.....again.....  Siigh.....

Therefor, to lift my spirits what I could, I decided to work on getting my room clean and organized, again, except this time I was willing to PURGE!! This is the most important step after all in getting any room or space truly cleaned for the long term.

Below is my journey through this round of cleaning and organizing.

This was the first view when you walk into my room:

When you shift your eyes a little to the right:

And this is the far right, next to the door in to the room (my sewing desk is completely unusable at this point):

See? :(

Now, on to the cleaning!

Wow! There's a pathway forming!

And floor?! Who'da thunk!!

Keep in mind, what you can't see and I forgot to photograph, is the hallway leading to my craft room! One of the most common ways of deep cleaning any room or space is that it will most likely look a LOT messier in the progress up until you're done and it's clean.

Nice! I can get to my fabric drawers! They're pretty packed here, but I have since gone through and purged a good bit of fabric that I'd bought years ago, intending to use for various projects, and realized I never would.

I ended up taking 3 TRASH BAGS FULL of fabric alone to Goodwill after this week!

 Yay!! More floor! And you'll maybe notice the tv that was on this shelf is gone.... Yup! This went to Goodwill as well!! I had intended to use it to play my SNES games on, but I wasn't when my room clean, and definitely wasn't when it was messy. It was unused and unnecessary....therefor, PURGE! 

I knew I had a sewing desk under there somewhere!!!

This is only a fraction of the process. You get to share in the rewards of a clean room, but what you're missing out on perhaps is the part on HOW to organize. How do you know what to get rid of? How do you decide what to keep? How do you even decide how to organize everything to be in its most effective and usable state?

These questions, and many more, I hope to start answering and helping others with in a separate blog I'm working on creating. I don't want to say I'm an expert in these matters either, just like I say I'm not an expert crafter, but I have learned a lot in my times of cleaning and organizing, done a lot of research, and feel that I can offer a little help and guidance to those in need of getting, and staying, organized!

At least, I'd like to hope I can, and I'd like to become more informed and more practiced on helping provide the guidance that so many need these days. We live in a society of excess, and we also live in a world where we work so hard only to come home exhausted and sometimes unable to garner the strength and focus needed to keep their homes clean and organized. 

For you, I want to help along the way of finding the will in yourself to realize what your space can be, and how you can make it so.

So until I am able to get this secondary blog created and get started on the blogging journey,...

Craft ya laters! :)

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Patchwork Baby Blanket

I had planned for this post's title to say "Quilted Baby Blanket", but, it is not in fact quilted. I'm a little scared to try quilting, plus I don't actually have a quilting machine, and didn't include a middle layer of batting, but maybe some day I'll be able to get ahold of a machine to help do the quilt stitching, although adding the layer of batting next time is easy enough, just a duh I didn't think was needed this time.

I simply cut the squares and sewed them together in a visually pleasing manner, and then sewed a soft, minky fabric to the backside for comfyness, and.....voila! A baby blanket!

Anywho, what do y'all think?!

Laying out all the pieces, trying to get  an idea of what looks good and making sure there aren't any repeats on any row or column of the same fabric...


Look at those seams!!

I mean, LOOK AT THEM!!! So clean, right?! :)

Front stitched to the back, only around the edges though, hence the not-quilted status....

I used the minky fabric you can get at Jo-Ann, but I'm not an expert on how to properly deal with it, aka iron it (or not?), so to get the wrinkles out, I ironed it and that ended up getting rid of the bumps! :(

Like I've said before, I'm not expert by any means, I'm just sharing my experience in learning how to do various crafts and methods, but I'm pretty happy with this blanket!

I just don't quite know what to do with it now..... lol

Craft ya laters!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Halloween 2015 Cross Stitch Pieces

Hey everyone!

I know I didn't stitch these pieces this last Halloween, I did them last year's Halloween (2015), but I never got to share them with you!!

So, here goes! All 3 are in a 4" hoop, and are stitched on 18 count Aida:

Pattern found here.
Pattern found here.
Pattern found here.

I didn't get a chance to take pictures of the backs on Pumpkin Man or the Pumpkin Candy Tree, I apologize. I had just decided at the last minute to make these pieces for an Open House I had encouraged be done with my clubs in my Area in Toastmasters. See, last year (from 7/1/15-6/30/16) I was an Area Director for Toastmasters and I wanted my clubs to be more friendly with each other and get to know each other, not to mention have fun with Halloween by having a Halloween themed Open House party!

Anywho, I wanted to contribute something and since they were having contests (Best Costume, Best Table Topic, etc), I wanted to supply some gifts! I made these and they were QUICKLY gone!! I hope the folks who got these enjoy them for years to come!

Craft ya laters!!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

2-Hour Cross Stitch Project

A few months ago, I was invited to a friend's birthday party. Now, I don't normally procrastinate on planning/getting a gift, but at the time, I wasn't even sure I would be able to go, so, I hadn't yet figured out what I'd get for her! Not to mention I was a little low on funds...

So, what to do?!

Being a cross stitcher, having a good, full, supply of floss at-the-ready, as well as spare fabric and other supplies, I took to my pattern books for an idea!

I looked through the following:

Link to purchase here.

Link to purchase here.

Link to purchase here.
In this last book is where I found my pattern! Not only that, but I had a challenge ahead of me! Not only had I only realized the day of that I could actually go to the party.... I made this discovery about 2.5 hours before I had to leave to get there!!

Hmm,...2-hour cross stitch patterns, eh...??

I took the challenge to see if I could indeed make one of these patterns within the 2 hours I had (after showering and getting dressed of course ;) ) and......


I completed the below piece in just under 2 hours, plenty of extra time to trim/glue down the back-side and get a few pictures before heading out the door!

This piece was done with 14 count white Aida, in a 3" hoop, and then displayed on a miniature art easel that you should be able to find at your craft store. The back I trimmed to just about a 1/4", then with a glue gun, I lined the inside of the hoop with a thin line of glue, then folded/pressed down the fabric, careful not to have any fabric or glue attach to the back side of the fabric. When this happens, you can tell from the front side, so I try to make sure that doesn't happen (

Anywho, I was pretty excited that I was able to whip this piece out in a 2-hour period, and I'm happy to say that the recipient was VERY happy with it! :)

I would highly recommend these books, with the 2-hour Flowers book as first preference, the "Hearts, Bird, Flowers" book being 2nd preference, and the 2-hour Animals being 3rd preference. 

I say the Animals is my 3rd preference ONLY because there are a lot of cute animals in there, and even some patterns geared towards kids and kids fairy tales, and since I do not yet have any children of my own or any nibblets to stitch for, these aren't quite as useful as the general flowers patterns are.

What else is there to do with these little patterns you might ask? Well, I'm actually thinking of perhaps making some small designs to then put into aperture cards, and post these cards on my Etsy shop to purchase for special occasions. Basically something like these:

Kit can be purchased here.
Nifty, huh? :)

Until next time,...

Craft ya laters!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Monthly Flowers Calendar in Cross Stitch

I know I'm working on the Great Wave Off Kanagawa, but after looking at the same piece for 65 hours, I wanted to take a break and do something a bit smaller, more fun, just a little more of an instant reward type piece! 

I was looking around for something that fits, and I couldn't manage to find a single piece, until I came across a set of pieces! Whoo!!.... Oh, wait....

There's not just 1 or 2 pieces, oh no, that would be too simple for me, wouldn't it?

I found a set of 12 designs, flowers, that are supposed to represent each month of the year:

Aren't these pretty flower designs?! And so quick, easy, and simple. Each finished piece will be about 4.5" square, so when I frame them, I can use a 5" opening frame.

Alright, I can do this, sure!

And then what would I do with them.....? I mean, frame them, sure, but.....Hmm.......

I got it! I'll do a sort of calendar! I can get a bi-fold frame, with about a 5" opening in both frames, and you can change out the flower pieces to whatever month it is, and on the other side? I can create a design, using the same type of border as the flowers, and create a blank calendar piece!

Only, would I do one for each month? With all the days stitched out? Hmmm..... well, then it wouldn't be able to be used for more than just that one year! Plus, that's a whole lot more work, having to stitch another 12 pieces instead of just 1! Yuck!!

I'm not sure if it'll work, and/or how well, but what I will try to do is create a blank grid of 7 days (columns) and 5 weeks (rows) and  a box at the very top to allow for the month. Here's an idea of what I'm thinking:

I would allow for a spot above each column with a stitched letter to represent the days of the week, but as you can see above, for the blank calendar to be the same size as the other pieces and match, I don't have room. Oh well, it's not needed, right? 

Or maybe I can/should add a few more rows and columns to the whole pattern, and it'll be a little bigger than the flowers pieces, but allow room for the day first letters...

Either way, instead of stitching the day numbers in, since it'll be in a picture frame (hopefully if I can get a frame where the stitched piece on foamcore AND the glass front can fit), then all you'd have to do would be use a dry erase or permanent marker (permanent can be removed by drawing over it with dry erase ;) ) and write in the month and the number days!

Below, I've got a little smaller image of the bottom in which I want to have a little flower decor at the middle (up close doesn't look as good lol),  but I'm not sure about style and colors just yet. In the close-up below, I've roughed up an idea, but I'm not sure I like the colors/flower designs. Who knows, it might change once I get closer to working on that one, and we'll just see! :)

Anywho, for the flower pieces, I was going to start on November since it's finally that time of year, but I only have 2 of the colors I'd need to work on this piece! :( I do have most of the colors of January though, and enough cream colored fabric to do 2 months, so I've started on the January carnations, and will just have to plan a trip to Jo-Ann to get the rest of the colors I'm missing, not to mention the fabric to finish the rest.

The next part will be to find a bi-fold frame that'll work, and once I get maybe one month's flowers and perhaps the calendar done, I can fit them in and see how it looks! Whee!

This is going to be such an awesome project, isn't it?! Aren't you excited to see how it turns out? I sure am! :D

At least...I think it'll work...

It might work?...

Either way, I'll let you see my progress as it goes! 

And as always, for now.... Craft ya laters!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Great Wave Off Kanagawa - Cross Stitch

I decided I wanted to make a big cross stitch piece for my brother, for Xmas this year. This is the first piece of this size that I'll have done, and I am so excited to see it once it's complete!

Beware, this post is VERY image heavy as I'm showing you about 16 days worth of progress that adds up to the first half only being done on this one...

The original pattern can be found on this Etsy seller's page and below is the digital version of the pattern's final image.

It's a much simpler version than the original piece, shown below, I know, but this is actually something that I CAN FINISH this decade!! But it's much more detailed, and prettier, isn't it? Being realistic about my abilities and time however seemed a bit more prudent when choosing which to stitch...

And now for the "daily" progress pics. I worked nearly every day with some exceptions, to be mentioned when you get to those....

As you can see, I decided to use a pencil (of all things) to mark my starting points. I lost my silly water soluble/disappearing ink marker, and thought this would be a good substitute! I am pretty sure you can't see the marks through the stitches, and I'm REALLY hoping if there is anything visible when I'm done, it'll wash out..? *fingers crossed**

Also, this is my first time using a Q-Snap frame. It's....alright..... I like the idea of not having to worry about a hoop's crease, on the fabric or disrupting the stitches, and the possible stain it could have on fabric that we all encounter once in a while,... but my issues with this frame are that I need a bigger one (not particularly the frame's fault on that one, but still awkward when you don't have a big enough one) but also that it's a little awkward to hold/grip as well as the fact that I have to tighten the top clips very frequently to keep my fabric taught enough for my liking to stitch on. Now, I know that people sometimes use a stand that would be clamped down on the frame to hold it, but the only stand I have right now mixed with the deep couches we have doesn't quite reach far enough; I have to lean over not just forward but down, and after just an hour or so of stitching, my back is KILLING me!!

I'll be looking in to getting/making a lap stand and/or a replacement floor stand that reaches far in and up enough, but in the meantime, I have to continue to hold this darn thing...oh well!

Now, on to the image journey through my progress!!

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

This is part of Day 4, with all the white done, before I started the turquoise. I was just so happy that 2 colors did SO much of the one quad! :)
Day 4

Day 4 back, just to give you an idea of how I'm keeping it looking! 

Day 5
Day 6
Once I was complete on day 6, with the first quadrant (yay!), and had started on the next quadrant (not pictured), I then took the piece with me outside to a bar to hang out with my fiance and some friends..... That's when I noticed something that's very hard to see in the pictures, and just as hard to see with the lighting I have at home unfortunately... I was using the WRONG WHITE!!! 

The circled section below shows the area where I basically ran out of the white I was using, and started using a new bobbin. What I failed to realize was I'd been using the DMC color B5200 for nearly all this quadrant, and when I ran out, I picked up "White" as they call it, and started using that... Turns out, B5200 is a MUC brighter white than the self named.... **siiigh**

 You can see here how I had frogged the "White" from the 1st quadrant, and replaced already the section I'd done on the bottom of the 2nd quadrant (I just hadn't gotten back to the 1st quadrant to replace it yet in this picture). This progress actually came after a 2-week hiatus as I was pretty aggravated at having to spend 45 minutes frogging all the wrong white and I was too upset to pick it up again for a while... teehee?

Day 7

Days 8, 9, and 10. I forgot to take progress pics at the end of each day, and decided just to take the one once the white was complete for this whole quadrant. 

Day 11

Day 12

Day 13 

Day 14

Day 15
 And I've completed half of this cross stitch piece, in 16ish days, and here's the biggest reveal of all...

Day 16
 The hours put in at this point? 


Total hours worked: 62 hours!!


Is my brother really worth this much work...? lol, I'm just kidding, yes, yes he is. And he better darn well LOVE this present once I finish it, frame it, and send it to him!! haha

As a side-note, I acknowledge that most of these pictures aren't that great or easy to look at, and it's difficult to really see my progress...I will try to work on getting better pictures at some point, but the most important one will of course be the final product front, back, and framed! And you can be sure that those pictures will be way better than these! :)

Craft ya laters!! :)