…my true love gave to me: a Minion from Despicable Me!

Oooh, this was a fun project!  I love those projects that give me a chance to create something I would normally never make otherwise.  (But which I still want to make, obviously.)  One of my nearest and dearest is a Minions fan despite having several decades on their target age group.  I used to roll my eyes at him, but have gradually come around and warmed up to them – when I found the Minions patterns by Let’s Make Crafts on Etsy, I knew I had found his Christmas present!

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I’m so happy with how this turned out!  It was a “larger” small project (if that makes sense), but uses only whole stitches, a handful of colours, and just the tiniest bit of backstitch to really bring out the details.

***A NOTE ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF BACKSTITCH***

I know a lot of stitchers moan about backstitch.  “It’s boring.”  “It takes too long.”  And while I know how it feels to put in that very…last…stitch, only to realize you now have to go over the entire piece again to add the backstitch, it really does make all the difference.  Stuart, up there, only has a bit of backstitch, for his hair and for the strings on his guitar.  No big deal, right?

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Without it, he looks like Telly freakin’ Savalas.  Who loves ya, baby, indeed!  Seriously, kids, take the time to add your backstitching.

***THIS HAS BEEN A PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT***

Now that he’s got…hair…and guitar strings, I’m really excited for the big unveiling at Christmas.  Good thing I found Minions wrapping paper at Dollarama.  Only one more week to go…

Thanks for looking!   🙂

…my true love gave to me: a hoop that says, “Heeeeere’s Johnny!”

Can you believe it’s that time of year again?  And that I was insane enough to attempt Craftmas yet again?  Okay, it’s not as bad as all that: I did do a bit of planning this year and started my stitching early, but there are still a few projects that are freaking me the heck out right about now.  Why aren’t they finished yet?  Stay tuned, kids; this is going to be a wild, crafty ride.

One thing I have going for me, however, is that I had the presence of mind to start early on the one project that has to cross international borders via a wholly reliable and never delayed or overpriced postal system.  What does one make for the writer who’s a Stephen King fan and who collects typewriter paraphernalia?  I did what I do best, and perused Etsy for inspiration.  Good thing, too, because that’s where I found these tiny typewriter charts.

I wasn’t crazy about the phrases on the typewriters’ paper, though.  They were cute, sure, but not quite what I was looking for.  Some divine inspiration struck, and I was reminded of The Shining, where no TV and no beer make Homer…something, something, uh, where Jack Nicholson goes stir-crazy.

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It looks big there, I know, but that’s actually a four-inch hoop it’s framed in.

Also, I didn’t much care for the fact that the carriage return and paper-guide-bar-thingie (note the pains I take to use the technical terms) were originally supposed to be stitched in plain cotton embroidery floss, and substituted in DMC E415.

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Et voila, a hip, pop-culture-y hoop, with minimal stress or fuss.  It was put in the mail Sunday; I hope she likes it!

Thanks for looking! 🙂

….my true love gave to me a hoop that says, “Speak properly!”

This is the final Craftmas post, and quite possibly my favourite of the lot: my gift for my friend, Bill.

Let me preface this by stating without reservation that I did not come up with this saying, nor the pattern.  Rather, I saw this post made by the wonderfully talented Homerof2 on Craftster, and knew I had to have one.  I used PCStitch to design a chart based on the photo, and think it turned out quite well – but all credit really belongs to the original artist.

Bill and I have many things in common, but one of our favourite shared pastimes is mocking other people’s bad grammar and/or spelling.  Don’t get me wrong; we’re not a couple of total jerks.  We would never make fun of someone whose first language isn’t English, for example, or mock people simply for being less well-read than we are.  Our favourite target is the media (both print and otherwise), because really, if you’ve chosen a career that entails communicating effectively and clearly, you ought to have a handle on the language.  (Wouldn’t you be terrified of a doctor who didn’t know the difference between your arms and your legs?  So why should the meteorologist who speaks glibly of “tempachure” get a free pass?)

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I used a dark blue floss (and hanging ribbon…and backing felt…) to keep it a little more neutral and masculine without using plain black everything, and didn’t paint or cover the hoop for the same reason.  I’m not sure if or where he’ll want to hang this, but I thought it might make a fun decoration for work.

As always, thank you for looking, and I look forward to blogging with you in 2016!

…my true love gave to me some cross-stitched ornaments for the tree!

We’re in the final stretch here, folks.  I don’t think it would really be Christmas without at least some sort of cross-stitched decoration, and this year was no exception.

Train Ornament

I found this Dimensions train kit on Amazon and started it longer ago than I care to admit, but managed to finish stitching it this summer.  I cut the backing (which you can’t see in this photo unless you have mad x-ray vision skillz) out of a scrap piece of shiny red wrapping paper, which catches the lights from the tree and lends interest.  For a hanger, I used Kreinik ribbon, and bless my local stitching-shop proprietress for suggesting it when I asked for “a really, really thick Kreinik braid or something”.  Darlings: support your local independent shops.

Penguin Ornament

The penguins were a free kit with an issue of Cross Stitch Crazy, and were supposed to be framed in a 3″ plastic hoop.  The putters-together of the kit neglected to include a sufficiently large piece of aida to actually be able to use the hoop without some sort of sorcery, so I turned them into a little pillow instead.  I spend a good chunk of my Christmas Eve morning finishing the cross-stitching at work (while this reeks of desperation, it’s not as bad as the time I set my alarm for 6:00 Christmas morning to finish stitching, so…), and was pleasantly surprised by the excellent lighting.  There’s always a bright side, eh?

Both are now tucked away until next year, when I’m sure they’ll be joined by others.  Thanks for looking! 🙂

…my true love gave to me: a shirt with an “N” and a “B”.

Hello, all, and happy Christmas-is-over.  Sorry if that sounds Grinchlike, but there’s something to be said for not panicking that I have to sew-and-bake-and-buy-and-wrap.  But now that (most) of the handmade gifts have been opened, it’s time for me to catch up and post the rest of them.

I’ve stitched railway-themed shirts for my dad in the past, but it’s been a few years and I thought it was time he had a new one to add to his collection.  I didn’t want to do just plain denim again, and when I saw coloured denim/canvas/something sturdy shirts at Mark’s, I knew I had found my blank slate.  I opted for a mossy green one and added the Burlington Northern logo to the pocket – you know, before it became part of BNSF.

This isn’t the best picture, but gives the best representation of the colour:

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And a close-up of the pocket:

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<whispering>I think the liked it!</whispering>  He unwrapped it Christmas morning, and wore it to a family gathering on Boxing Day without bothering to iron it or anything.

I hope everyone had a crafty, happy holiday! 🙂

…my true love gave to me a parliament of owls for the tree!

(You just know I’ve been waiting for a chance to use one of those esoteric collective nouns.)

My Rules for Mailing are pretty simple: any items being sent by post should be easily replaced i.e. not one-of-a-kind or otherwise difficult to produce or procure, fairly inexpensive, and as small and light as possible to keep postage costs down.  With these criteria in mind, it was decided that my friend Jeanette would be getting a coordinating set of felt owl ornaments for Christmas.

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I followed the tutorial found here, with a few tweaks: I replaced the button pupils with black fabric paint, and dispensed altogether with the rick-rack tummy feathers.  And although I’m normally loath to use colour palettes that are too trendy and risk dating themselves, I must admit that choosing these four complementary colours of felt made it easy to make a matched set but keep each individual owl just a little bit different.

They took a moment to pause for a picture in the cedar tree in my backyard before settling into a bubble envelope for their cross-border trip. 🙂

Hard to believe that November is almost over, isn’t it?  I had the brilliant idea that everyone on my Christmas list should get at least something handmade (No, this isn’t stressful in the least!  Yes, that was sarcasm!  – Ed.), and decided to post the results here.

First up, a handmade stocking for my newly single friend to decorate his bachelor pad.  We had been at Fabricland this summer when he saw the reindeer flanellette and decided he liked it, and this seemed like the perfect project for it.

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This is the same pattern I used to make my Star Trek stocking last year – which, I’m pleased to report, the recipient is super-excited about hanging up at his desk again this year.

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I used a sumptuous red satin – formerly a queen-sized sheet – for the lining, and I love the luxurious look and feel it lends to the whole operation.

So, that’s one down….

Merry Christmas, everyone!  One last seasonal make to show everyone…

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I spied this in the 2014 Just Cross Stitch Christmas ornament special.  The magazine’s version was stitched on this crazy Shrek-green evenweave that immediately reminded me of my next door neighbours’ living room walls, and I knew I had to stitch this up for them.  I didn’t have a colour like that in my stash, but I did find some 28-count pewter evenweave, which I thought nicely evocative of a grey winter sky.  (Even though it doesn’t co-ordinate with their walls nearly as well, the cardinals sure pop.)  My local stitchery shop had a small oval hoop which framed it perfectly.

A better shot of the piece itself:

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Wishing everyone happy holidays.  I hope Santa/the Hanukkah Armadillo brings you everything you want!

(Typical Millennial: “Jerry who?”  Just Youtube “jerry lewis typewriter”, kids.)

It all started like this: my friend Jeanette is a writer by trade – and yes, I am terribly jealous – and has a writerly affinity for typewriters.  As the weather turned cooler and one could utter the word “Christmas” without being pelted by tomatoes, I started searching about for a suitable gift.  I had two criteria: it shouldn’t be too grand, so as to not embarrass the recipient or strain my budget; and it should be easily and inexpensively shipped internationally.

My first thought had been a Christmas ornament of some sort, but a quick search revealed that most available were either overpriced or underwhelming, or both.  Also, while a hard clay ornament might have been okay to ship internationally had an appropriate one been found, the thought of a blown glass one made me nervous.  I did see a cute necklace online, but that seemed just a little personal.  Could I make something instead?

Thank heavens for Urban Threads.  I found a simple hand embroidery pattern on their site, and a charcoal-gray tea towel in my stash.  And all households need at least one hand-embroidered kitchen linen, right?

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The picture makes the towel look lighter than it really is.  I chose the colours I did to really pop against the gray, with just a hint of silver metallic on what I believe are called the typebars, plus the little doohickey on the right hand side.  It came out looking really great, but my stars, the 39 little keys just about killed me!  Also, for any embroiderers or aspiring embroiderers out there: watch the surface you choose.  This particular towel has ribbing (or cabling?), and although it adds to the tactile appeal, those darned keys came out a little wobbly looking if they happened to fall on a cable.

And now, for a little comic relief:

True Trekkies will take issue with my slight misquote; however, grammarians will rejoice at my perfectly unsplit infinitive (perhaps even to the point that they will ignore “unsplit” not being a real word).

My friend Bill is a fan of Star Trek: TOS, and particularly of William Shatner.  Over the years, I’ve bought him many books penned by Mr. S., as well as bobbleheads, action figures, and other paraphernalia.  Some months ago, whilst rifling through my bookmarks, I found this link.  I had originally saved it a few years ago, and finally decided it was high time I did something about it.

Panic very nearly set in when I clicked on the link to the McCall’s website found within the post, and discovered it no longer existed; luckily, my crafty packrat instincts had kicked in when I first read about the project, and I had downloaded the PDF pattern and instructions.  With some felt, gold fabric paint, and about $2 worth of fleece, Bill would have his very own Star Trek stocking.

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I chose Command Yellow (Gold?), natch – oh, so appropriate, given that his wage-slave hours are spent as a team leader – and found a silhouetted version of the insignia with a quick Google search.  My insignia is made up of three pieces of felt: a black bottom layer; a smaller, yellow layer painted with two coats of gold fabric paint that required 24 hours to dry each time; and a black star on the very top.

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And filled to the gills with all sorts of goodies!

I took a few liberties with the pattern, such as not lining it – though in hindsight this may have been helpful, since the paperback book I thoughtfully stuffed in it caused some rather unsightly bulges.

I made the delivery last week, which seemed a little early, but I wanted him to have the stocking for a Christmas decoration throughout December.  For his part, he asked where I bought it (!), and now has it hanging at his desk, where several coworkers have asked where he got it.  This might be tough to beat next year!