…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.

img_0833-1

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.

img_0834

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! 🙂

Tin roof, rusted

June 14, 2016

Back in February, I was sick.  Not seriously, but my cold/flu-like symptoms showed up around Valentine’s Day and eventually caused me to miss five days of work – and that never happens.  I spent a lot of time spaced out on the couch, or heading down for a 12:30 nap (I miss the naps), and I discovered that fuzziness from sleeping poorly, when combined with fuzziness from a cocktail of over-the-counter and prescription medications, makes me prone to buying stuff online with little regard for whether I need it.  I bought this, for example.  And when I got an e-mail from Etsy touting last-minute instant-download Valentine’s gifts, well, that was just asking for trouble.

I bought a Love Elephant.

Whyyyy?  I certainly didn’t need another stuffed animal, or another sewing project.  But hey, there I was, with my freshly printed PDF pattern.  I promptly “filed” it and forgot about it (hooray for NeoCitran!), until my friend was over one evening some time later and saw it.  He had recently been through a bad breakup – that is to say, they’re definitely over, but she keeps popping up like a bad penny – and I thought he could use something to cuddle, so it was off to the fabric store for us to find a suitable colour of fleece.

The end result:

20160614_060944

20160614_060932

20160614_060859

The recipient has named him “Cupcake”.  But before he went to his new home, he spent some time exploring the jungles of the back yard.

IMG_0696

IMG_0698

I’m really quite pleased with the finished product.  I made a few changes: for example, I was too lazy to add the extra centimetre recommended for a seam allowance, so he is oh-so-slightly smaller than he ought to be, but with no adverse effects.  And because I was using a slightly more “masculine” colour and left the hearts off the ears, “Love Elephant” didn’t seem appropriate, so I came to think of him as the “Love Pach” (as in, pachyderm), which might have been a mistake as it led to a B52s earworm like you wouldn’t believe.

Cupcake’s owner thinks he’s the berries, and is fitting in well in his new home by all accounts.

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: 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:

BN1

And a close-up of the pocket:

BN3

<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! 🙂

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.

IMG_0614

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.

IMG_0617

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…

cardinals2

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:

cardinals1

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?

typetowel

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.

ststocking1

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.

ststocking2

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!

All Aboard!

November 20, 2013

My vet, having not learned her lesson the first time, had another baby.  Since I had stitched a birth announcement for #1, it seemed only right to me that #2 should get something as well, and I really did start looking for something almost as soon as I heard she was expecting.  Honest, I did.

I eventually decided on a Janlynn kit called “Kitten Express” (so she’d know it came from the crazy cat lady-in-training), but the name appears to have been a bit of misnomer.  It was really more like “Kitten Take the Scenic Route, Sign Up for a Couple of Boring Industry-Specific Classes, Stitch a Christmas Gift and Anniversary Sampler, and Generally Forget About It for a Year”.  Ahem.

3236

I felt somewhat better when I dropped it off at the framer’s and saw hanging on the wall someone else’s commemorative birth announcement with a date of birth in March.  I mean, that’s almost as late getting things done as I was!  My cat had no complaints: her annual shots got delayed by a month while I furiously stitched and waited for framing, because no freakin’ way was I going to show up at the clinic empty-handed.

0250

This really shows off the purple frame to its best advantage!  My initial thought for framing had been either yellow or blue, something typically boyish, but when my framer pulled out the purple and held it against the piece, everything just – fwoom! – came together in ways you wouldn’t believe.  Between the engine, the name and date, and various flowers and bottles all in purple, it worked no matter where in the picture you looked.

I did make a few changes from the pattern, though.  I left off a full double border that would have taken foreverrrrr to finish (and which had the advantage of fitting the finished piece into a smaller frame), and I left out a few clouds and a really limp-looking spiral of steam from the smokestack.  Unless you looked at the original packaging, you wouldn’t even know anything was missing.  I also changed the lettering on the engine and flatcar from pink to glow-in-the-dark white.

0254

This will either enthrall young Scott when the lights go out, or cause his mother to wonder why he’s suddenly afraid of the dark.  I forgot to mention this groovy aspect, and will have to tell her when next I see her.

I have been assured that the second is also the last, and can now get back to something a little more grown-up.

Labour (Day) of Love

September 2, 2013

This will be short and sweet, I promise – who wants to sit inside reading on a screen when the unofficial end of summer is but a few short hours away?

Anyway, my parents hit a milestone anniversary this year.  Oh, sure, 40 isn’t the big 5-0, but still fairly significant, I think.  Heck, I can’t imagine being 40, let alone being married for 40 years.  Since they’re kind of impossible to buy for as a couple, I decided to take advantage of the milestone-iness and stitch them a commemorative sampler.  Most of the Ruby Anniversary samplers you see out there are kind of floral-y or frou-frou, and I didn’t want that.  But when I saw the Vintage Anniversary Sampler by Dimensions, I knew I had found my project!  They got it a few okay, five weeks late, but aren’t some thing worth waiting for?  (To protect the identity of the happy couple and their progeny, I’ve smudged out identifying details, but you get the idea.  Or if you’d like to see a non-smudged version, here’s a link to the kit for sale.)

3142-1

It just came back from being framed this week, and did they ever do a fantastic job.  The mattes she picked out complement the colours so perfectly!

Have a wonderful holiday Monday, everyone!