…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?)

Grammar Hoop

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….

My dad likes trains.  (Remember the ornament I made him last Christmas?)  He doesn’t try to fit them in his mouth like Sheldon Cooper, true, but then, he tends to display more common sense.  Anyway, I had it in my head that he needed a new shirt with some nifty railway logo stitched on the pocket, and I eventually decided on a little red caboose designed by Jan Altizer – though apparently this design is only available on the CD, and not individually.  Bummer.

I was originally looking for a denim shirt to deface….uh, I mean, enhance…but when I saw this one, vaguely reminiscent of an engineer’s hat, I knew I had found my blank canvas.

I swear it’s not that psychedelic in real life.  Methinks that fine striping, drapey fabric, and camera flashes don’t mix as nicely as I’d like them to.

That’s a little more true-to-life (look at the shirt, not the pocket).

I took the pocket off the shirt to stitch, then, using waste canvas and a sharp embroidery needle, I managed to get my design on almost straight and centered, before reattaching the pocket.

Thank heavens it fits.  There’s no way I could return it to the store now.

Nice? No, naughty!

December 23, 2011

I’m alive!  Frustrated with mankind, mind you, but alive nonetheless.  So what have I been up to in my [checks calendar] nearly two-month hiatus?  Well…November was mostly occupied acquiring this:

Go me!  Novel #8!  However – November was not a great month for crafting, and then boom, December rears its Christmas-baking-social-function-shop-and-wrap-and-sign-cards head.  Sorry; I’m attempting to rationalize here.  And I actually was able to craft one Christmas gift, although I wrapped it before I took a picture.  That will be forthcoming.  In the meantime, I have this:

It’s one of those lovely Mill Hill beaded kits, but my  goodness, was there ever a lot of white stitching!  I have the accompanying “Nice” kit in my stash, too, but may tackle that next year.  (Being naughty is more fun than being nice anyway, right?  Right!)  I backed the design with silver paper after I cut away the excess perforated paper, and presto!  Instant ornament!

For those who are curious, my new favourite holiday memory was formed just today: crowded in the workplace lunchroom with roughly 2/3 of the office, listening to one of our inspectors play his guitar and sing, and having an office sing-along to “Last Kiss”.  I wish I were making this up.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Post-Christmas Roundup

January 2, 2011

Happy New Year!  I hope everyone’s holidays have been relaxing, and that Santa was good to everyone.  (I’m still waiting for those 28-hour days, but no matter…)

I didn’t get quite as much crafty stuff done for Christmas as I would have hoped, but I did manage to complete a few small projects, and, in typical disorganized style, am only now posting them.

After finishing my Bewitched Kitty (remember?), I decided I was, in fact, quite fond of Mill Hill’s beaded kits.  They’re quick, they’re cute, they get the job done.  I found a train for my dad, and a cardinal for my mom.  And the “Noel” diamond?  That’s just because I liked it.

Again, hung with Kreinik holographic thread for maximum sparkle.  And check out the fuzzy thread (Estaz, I think) on the cardinal’s wings!

The colours don’t quite appear true-to-life in this picture – I blame the fact that the flash was off in order to show off the lights on the tree.

What’s that?  Look down at the bottom of the tree?  Well, all right…

I found the craft panel for this at Fabricland when I went for the Mickey Mouse fabric I used on my coworker’s bibs.  My dad was with me at the time: “Hey, it’s Thomas!  That’s really neat looking…it looks like you just cut it out and sew it.  And there are matching ornaments, too!”  “Would you like me to make that for you?”  “Oh, well, if you want to…”  Uh huh.  Of course I wanted to.  I didn’t get the ornaments done, but there’s always next year.  The cat seemed to approve; after ignoring the tree since it had been put up, he made a beeline for the tree skirt and planted himself there for the evening.

I can finish the ornaments in just 356 days, can’t I?