It is finally Fall!
We've had a little bit of a warm Fall, but the weather is finally starting to change and we are getting some lovely colors around the neighborhood.
There is enough of a nip in the air now however to justify a cozy fire in the evenings and what goes better with a cozy fire than some sewing and knitting?
I have a few WIPS for this month although, I'm not sure if I should call these projects "Works In Progress" if the only progress I've actually made is thinking about making them. They are probably more along the line of "To Dos" but I figure listing them is at least a step in the right direction so here goes:
First, I finished up a projects that's been on my to do list for about a year:
That tea towel has been my go to travel project for a long time. I was picking it up any time I knew I'd be sitting in a car or plane for several hours. I'd make periodic progress and then wouldn't pick it up for months. Finally after finishing a few other things, I decided to wrap it up.
The pattern is one of the repeating patterns from the JF Ingalls catalog. There used to be a web site with all of the patterns linked but I think it's closed now. You can find most - if not all - of the patterns on this flickr site. I also think the book is available on the internet archive as an e-book. There's a lot of good stuff in there. I'm thinking of adding some crocet edging but that should be pretty quick so I'm considering it finished at this point!
Next on the list is getting started on my 'Best of the West" quilt. That's my working name for it anyway. I have a lot of fabric, patterns, photos - just a collection of things from our trips out to Wyoming and Montana that I would like to combine into one crazy - and hopefully cool - quilt. The first squares I'm working on for this quilt are two applique squares I bought on our first trip out to Montana. The artist is McKenna Ryan. She has a variety of designs but the ones I fell in love with were her patterns of bears and deer.
I've started the bear design and will hopefully make some progress on the deer design this weekend. After that I'll be adding different embroidery squares and photos on fabric as I have time. I do realize that I have yet to wrap up my Spanish Quilt Project and perhaps should not start a new quilt until the first one is finished. But each of these squares is really it's own seperate endeavor and I get more accomplished when I work on what I'm inspired or excited by at the time, rather than slogging through one project before starting the next. At least that's what I'm telling myself.
I don't do much applique so this has been great to get back in the swing and I really love seeing the design come together.
Next on my stuff-to-do list is a knitting project. I am trying to improve my knitting skills but so far I've just managed some basic scarves. With the chllly weather I've been inspired to take out some yarn and a pattern I picked up at the Knit n Needle Yarn Shop on our last trip to Montana. (of course!)
The nice lady I spoke to at the yarn shop claimed that this is a simple pattern. I'm not sure it will be simple for me - it's knitting on double point needles which I haven't done before. I've loaded up 5 or 6 tutorials on you tube which I'm hoping will make sense and that I'll end up with something wearable.
Last on my list is a plastic bag dispenser. This is really more of a spring "get organized" type of project but I'm trying to get our basement/laundry room into shape and for whatever reason the mound of plastic bags I'm currently just smooshing into a large paper bag is driving me crazy. I have a pattern from the Spring 2010 edition of Stitch Magazine which looks cute but I've also bookmarked a few patterns from around the web that are also adorable and seem like great patterns. Make It & Love It and In Color Order both have nice tutorials. I'll update which pattern I used and how it looks as soon as it's finished. It seems like a pretty quick project.
Not a huge list but I'm hoping to get these things finished by the middle of the month. I have my plans for Christmas gifts and I know myself well enough that I'll need to get hopping on those before Thanksgiving if I have any hope of giving them as gifts during the holiday season.
I hope everyone's WIPS are going well and that Fall is beautiful whereever you are!
I'd like to say the reason I've been so long in posting is because I've been working every spare minute on my various crafts in progress. In reality, work and some other obligations have kept me busy but I've managed to squirrel away some time to finish up the various things I've been stitching. These are most of the WIPs I posted about at the end of June. I'm choosing to beleive that I wrapped these up by the end of Summer even though we're about a week past Labor Day.
First up - cocktail napkins. These patterns were Aunt Martha's design. I matched them to some fabric I was already using in the basement and I love how they came out.
My other big project was three drawstring bags: one for my hair styling stuff to hang on the back of my bathroom door, one to carry my embroidery projects around, and one for my suitcase to hold delicates when I travel.
I used the Burdastyle drawstring bag tutorial. This was really simple and could be modified to whatever size you wanted. I wanted my drawstrings to match the backing fabric on these bags so I liked this pattern because it used a strip of the fabric to make drawstrings. The only issue is that since the drawsting is basically just a strip of fabric folded in half there is some thread shedding. You might avoid this by making the drawstring similar to bias tape - cutting double the size and folding them in towards the middle. In any case - I like how these turned out and they would be easy and quick to use as gift bags as well.
The last bag is my delicates bag. I've just basted on the initials at this point, but I plan to use some decorative embroidery to secure the initials.
I'll be moving on to a few more projects and hopefully there will be a lot fun Fall activities to post about in the coming weeks!
It's been hot here, but we still got out this weekend to do some Summer activities. I bought a bike and have really been having fun riding through our neighborhood.
A little close up on the extremely cool bike bell I bought:
Yeah, that cat does have an adorable top hat and moustache.
I'm still trying to get tough on the hills, but the effort of hauling myself uphill pays off on the downhill side. It's so fun to be riding fast with the wind in my hair. It's like being a kid again!
After a fun ride we grilled some salmon and veggies and ate on the patio.
It was the perfect end to a summer day.
I did get some stitching finished this weekend. I wrapped up the embroidery for the cocktail napkins I had planned.
The next step is to stitch on the backing fabric and then start drinking! I may have to ride my new bike to some nice park or other pretty summer locale and work on my next embroidery project while enjoying the sun. As hot as it's been, summer goes by fast and I don't want to miss any nice days.
I know I should be concerned about deer over population and what not, but all I can think whenever I come across a deer, or in this case a fawn, is how beautiful they are and how happy I am to watch them for a little while.
This pretty guy had a little stare off with me when I rounded a bend in the path through the little forest near our house. It was so still and we just stood and looked at each other for a few minutes. After blinking at me for a bit he turned and wandered off and I headed home. Our little meeting didn't seem to phase him and he's probably not blogging about seeing a human in the woods now, but I thought it was a nice summer moment I wanted to remember.
I try to get out to see my family in Arizona a couple times a year and to see my "home girls" in California at least once a year. I love getting back to the desert. I've grown to love Virginia and all of the green we're surrounded by here, but there is something about the desert and the mountains that still just makes me so happy.
I can always tell I'm getting close to my parents house when these warning signs start popping up:
I've actually never seen one of these wild donkeys but I keep hoping.
My Mom and I always do some walking in the early mornings. She's out somewhat in the middle of nowhere and I love the openness of the area and the quiet.
It's always quality time when I visit my parents. We did a lot of relaxing at home and Mom and I snuck in some time at the spa and some shopping (of course). I spotted this at one of the spots around town and thought it was amazing:
The artist uses reclaimed wood from the river. This represents a native american spirit of the water - it was lovely!
After time with my parents I headed to Cali for some time with my girlfriends. These are ladies I've known since we were kids and being with them is comfortable like family. No matter how many months or sometimes years have passed since we were together in person, it feels like it was just yesterday.
My friend Teresa, who I stayed with, has an AMAZING collection of vintage hand embroidered textiles and I went a little crazy taking pics of them.
Crazy, beautiful stuff right?
She also has a couple of framed hand embroidered pictures of flowers made by yours truly that I gave her many years ago. I have to say, it's makes me so happy to see that someone still uses something I made years later.
They've held up pretty well!
In addition to chatting, eating, chatting and eating some more, we took a little day trip up to Idylwild. It's so pretty and it provides a little break from the heat.
There are a lot of cute shops. An artisan jerky shop had this sign out front that made me laugh:
In the vein of cool wood carvings, I also came across this GIANT carving of the Buddha:
It was a pretty relaxing day all around.
Sadly after a few days of relaxing and catching up with these wonderful ladies, I was back on the road headed home. The only up side was that I had a night in Vegas to chill out, eat some more great food and enjoy the pool.
Vacations are tough, what can I say?
I'm back on the east coast now, wich I do love, but I'm also counting down the days until my next trip out west.
I've been using the Weave app which gives me an alert each day to let me know that I "have some to-dos to get done". It actually works pretty well to keep me on track but I have stacked up a few projects that I'm trying to wrap up.
1. Cocktail Napkins
I'm about half way through these patterns and I think they will sew up pretty quickly.
2. Embroidery Project Bag
I have been carting my embroidery projects around in some very low rent things like plastic shopping bags. It lacks some dignity, honestly. I bought the extremely adorable set of Running With Scissors Patterns from Sew Lovely Embroidery. There are so many cute choices but I picked a girl stitching in a tree for my project bag.
3. Bathroom Caddy Bag
I have an older home which means a bathroom with some character - but not a lot of room. I've worked out a pretty clever method (If I do say so myself!) of storing things with bins under my sink, but I wanted a bag for my hair dryer, curling iron and other styling stuff I use every morning, to hang on the back of my bathroom door. I bought the pattern book Embroidery pour le Maison. It has a ton of adorable stuff including a very french looking lady in a tub of bath bubbles that I thought would work great for my bathroom bag.
4. Lingerie Travel Bag
Last but not least in my bag series - I have been needing a bag to store my unmentionables when I travel. I have some really great fabric with a girl motoring all over Italy and France by Vespa and all I wanted to add is a my monogram. Mary Corbet has some lovely monogram patterns on her site, so I'll just be adding my initials in shocking pink to this bag and toss it in my carry on!
5. Frank Lloyd Wright Waterlillies
In the non-bag, to-do category, I have another kit from Heartland House Designs. The sampler I recently finished was also from a kit sold by Heartland House and was all thanks to a very thoughtful gift certificate from my husband! This kit is the Waterlillies picture and is based on art glass that Frank Lloyd Wright designed for his houses.
That is definately more of the long term, back up project variety as I am still very slow when it comes to cross stitch and I don't think I will be able to knock it out as quickly as some of the bags.
I hope to show some progress in the next few weeks! Hope everyone's summer is going well!
I made a trip out west to see my parents and my girlfriends this month. I always like to make a little something for my girlfriends when I visit and I had a craft in mind. I'd bookmarked and pinned a really cute tutorial for sachets using instagram photos from Lil Blue Boo - a great blog with great project ideas. I don't do instagram anymore, but I do use Flickr and I love projects where I can use old pics that make my friends and I laugh at our hairstyles or outfits.
Ashley's tutorial at Lil Blue Boo is really easy to follow. I decided to make 4 sachets for each girlfriend and picked two group shots (one from a recent visit and one from about 10 years ago) as well as two pretty nature pics that I used with quotes about friendship. I printed them out at 4x4 inches on photo transfer paper and then ironed them on to some muslin.
(A yard of photos)
I cut each out with about a 1/4 " of border. I think the tutorial recommends an inch of border which would have been better but I was not really thinking ahead when I ironed all the photos onto the muslin and didn't leave myself more than about 1/2 inch in between most pics. A good lesson on reading directions through a couple times before starting a project. Still, it worked well and I was happy with the way they came out.
I also made a set of these for my mom with some family pics. I filled them all with a pretty lily of the valley sachet mix that I bought at Michaels. Everyone really liked these and - bonus - they kept everything in my suitcase smelling lovely for most of the trip! If you're looking for a cute way to incorporate pictures into gifts definately check out Lil Blue Boo's blog.
I am stitching up a storm on a bunch of other projects and my trip out west provided a bunch of crafting inspiration. I can't wait to share!
Things are getting back to normal to some extent around here. I've been working a lot but did find some time to finish up this sampler:
It's a Frank Lloyd Wright quote from Heartland House Designs. It's the first counted cross stitch pattern I've ever tried. It was a little bit of a challenge. I'm used to just stitching along a printed design. Having to count out the threads between each stitch was a new experience, but I like the possibilities. The potential to take a blank canvas and count out some kind of intricate design without a pre-set drawing is very exciting.
I have another design from the same shop, also based on a Frank Lloyd Wright design.
I have a whole lot of projects planned out but this is at least 4th or 5th in line! I may not need another technique to add to my growing list of hobbies, but I have seen some pretty adorable cross stitch patterns I might have to dive into.
We've had a sad few weeks around our house. Our sweet and snugly gato passed away after twenty years of being our friend. She was always up for a cuddle and I found it hard to resist sticking my nose in her neck and snuggling her close when I found her sleeping on the couch, or the arm chair, or bed or wherever she happened to pass out.
My extremely biased opinion is that she was the prettiest gato around. I loved her big green eyes and pretty orange fur and her expressive little face which always seemed to be thinking witty and clever thoughts.
She had a fun side and didn't mind dressing up occasionally - much.
But mostly she liked to curl up on our lap or tummy or shoulder or whatever was handy and purr and share so much love with us. We love her and miss her and are grateful for so many wonderful years with such a wonderful, loveable cat.