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1  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General / Tea cosy, take 2 on: August 21, 2016 05:41:32 PM
I made this for my Auntie in 2008 http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=273768.0
I moved mid-project and misplaced the pieces, ack! So I started over and after I'd given the completed project to her I found the original bits. I have had them in my UFOs since then, eight long years, lol. I finally finished it for myself today and very glad I did, I love it.

It's lined with a layer of fleece to keep the teapot warm then another layer of this really cute fabric one of my kids picked out. The curtains are fussy cut from this too.
2  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Mandala on: August 20, 2016 12:23:12 PM
This was made for the recent stitched mandala swap, it was supposed to be about 5" and technically the actual mandala bit in the centre does meet that size requirement but... My partner Wulf said in his questionnaire that he'd like to incorporate the finished piece into a larger cushion cover, when I heard that I got a little carried away with the rest and it's about 17" across. Oops!

The centre.

It took more time to plan the design than anything. I changed my mind a bunch of times about placement and colour while it was coming together, seeing it for real was different than my imaginings many times.

I scored this awesomely ginormous hoop and stand at a thrift store on a trip to our cottage mid-process, how timely!

Everything was from stash except the greenish hand spun yarn, that I bought at our local knit place first. I was looking for a colour-way as inspiration and they had just the thing. The white hand spun is from a friend's stash.

I tried to echo the colourful stitching in white on white for an interesting if not immediately obvious detail to keep your eyes entertained every time they see the spiral. I would make a few changes with that but all in all I was happy with how it turned out.
I've been really inspired lately by the TAST website and wanting to try many sorts of stitches I've never done so this was really great for that. I have to work on my finishing though, the back is a total mess of knots Tongue.

3  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / Sherlock Holmes sock monkey, vintage style. on: August 20, 2016 11:53:02 AM
For the most recent sock monkey swap.

The outfit, I scoured thrift stores until I found just the right sort of fabric. It was a skirt before it became this vest, overcoat and Deer Stalker hat. There are snaps under the buttons for easy fastening.
I usually leave monkeys pants free because I think they look so funny that way, like Pooh Bear.

Back of the overcoat.

Here he is nakkie Wink

And a close up of the spiral ears I favour. It's just a rolled tube of sock fabric turned round in a spiral and stitched in place.

I received an absolutely incredible sock monkey in return. That has got to be one of the best swaps going!
4  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Stumpwork adventure; tips, tricks, and solutions. Bulging with photos. on: August 07, 2016 06:14:01 PM
I tried sheepBlue's excellent stumpwork tutorial recently and put my own spin on it when I ran into a few small issues I didn't exactly know how to deal with.
I also wanted to share a technique (that I'm pretty sure I learned here on Craftster) on how to make a perfect circle for the backing of a hoopla if you're wanting to use a woven fabric instead of felt.

First, sheepBlue showed a group of us at a recent Craftster meet-up in Toronto (lucky, lucky us!) that you can stitch a great deal of your design in a small space on the hoop. Since the pieces are going to be cut out you can really pack them in.
I have 2 projects jammed into a very small hoop here:

My stitches weren't so dense as to cover the entire background fabric and short of threading another needle and adding more in some awkward fashion, I figured the best way to deal with it was with a sharpie marker.

I've got a rainbow selection so chose the closest shade and carefully brushed it over the blank spaces on both the front and the back of the fabric (though I now think only adding it to the front would be sufficient). The later application of glue to secure and stiffen the pieces has to be done with care so as not to cause the marker to run.

For the flower it was easy to hide the petal wires behind the separate centre piece of french knots.

But for the portrait I wasn't certain how to conceal them without a bunch of messy stitches.

I ended up curling each wire and securing them with very small stitches that were hidden in the ones used to fill in the design and didn't add any extra bulk or mess up the finished surface at all.

For the backing, I cut a circle out of cardboard that was just slightly smaller than the outside of the hoop and layered that with a piece of fabric and some tinfoil.

The edges got folded in as evenly as possible then pressed with a hot iron.

After cooling for a couple of minutes the foil and cardboard are removed and the circle can be touched up with the iron at any spots that are not perfectly rounded.

Stitching onto the back of the hoop is the last step.

Stumpwork tutorial here:
5  CRAFTSTER CRAFT CHALLENGES / CHALLENGE 114 ENTRIES / I <3 Stumpwork! on: August 05, 2016 09:22:16 AM

I've always admired the beautiful embroidery projects members post here particularly the fantastical stumpwork pieces by SheepBlue, Ludi, and Jemimah, to name a few. I had the delight of not only meeting SheepBlue in person at this summer's Craftster meet-up in Toronto but also the privileged of her hands-on instruction for stitching up one of her lovely flowers. She made it look so easy! It was still a challenge for sure but referring to her excellent tutorial here helped lots.


I changed the design a bit and am happy with the results, I'll certainly use this technique again.

The back is some of the fabric AlwaysInMyRoom taught us how to shibori tie-dye at the meet up.

Since I technically started stitching the petals for this just before the challenge specifies I decided I'd better do another one, here it is.

It's a portrait of our friend's lovely youngster, he got glasses recently and was feeling a bit awkward about it so I highlighted them in silver grey.

The back is a bit of vintage circus fabric from my stash, I made him a quilt when he was brand new with a lion on it and it's become my theme for him Smiley.

Thank you SheepBlue for the awesome tutorial! I hope more people will try stumpwork, it's not much more difficult than regular embroidery and it is So FUN!
6  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / Sock monkey test lab, look what the kids made! on: July 15, 2016 12:19:12 PM
When you need a pair of socks for monkey making but can only find them in a multi-pack it's time to teach the kids how to make sock monkeys.

A mess of ears and limbs, sockarnage!

They did such an incredible job, 9, 9, and 7 3/4 years old. Amazing! It's the 9 year olds first time sewing anything, ever. Can you believe it?
I crocheted the cap with braids, next lesson will be clothes. Oh, and they need eyes, lol.
7  ORGANIZED CRAFT SWAPS / New Swap Theme Ideas / Kaliedescope swap on: July 15, 2016 06:42:11 AM

There are so many ways to make them and so many pretty little bits and bobs to use for the viewing image. I'd be interested in challenging myself to use a material I don't usually craft with like wood or stained glass, poly clay, paper clay, they could even be covered in fabric.
I know it's early to propose a swap for fall but I'm too busy to organize until Sept/Oct. Any interest?

Here are two basic tutorials but google handmade kaleidoscope to be really inspired Smiley.


8  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Making pompoms, plain and eyeball. Tutorial included. on: July 14, 2016 03:29:01 PM
This is a fun craft to do with kids.
Cut 2 of this sort of disk shape from stiff cardboard.

Start wrapping with yarn.

If you're finding it awkward just fold the edges of your form out of the way.

Lots of rounds will make a denser pom in the end. Different results come from smaller or larger forms, centre holes, thicknesses of yarn and how much you wrap.

Wedge scissors blades between the two disks and cut all the way around the form being careful not to let the yarn fall off.

Put a long piece of yarn between the disks and tie it very tightly in a knot catching all the strands.

The pom will be very fluffy and silly looking so trim well with scissors. Just keep turning and trimming to even out the shape, shake the pom and fluff it up now and then. You can trim off the long strand or keep it to hang the pom pom from later.

This is messy, if you can do it outside all the better. Catch the trimmings in a bowl for easier clean up.

Ooh, pretty!

Ready to try some fun shapes? How about an eyeball?

Some black for the pupil (you could even do a small spot of white in here for a highlight).

Cover that with the colour of your choice.

Cover all with lots of white.

AHHH, the hairy eyeball!

Trim lots and voila! I gave it to my teenager, he totally approved. High praise indeed Smiley.
9  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / Alice and the Red Queen, topsy turvy dolls on: July 03, 2016 05:08:36 PM
Made for the recent topsy turvy swap, this was a bunch of fun.

The clothes are pieced together out of scraps of fabric and trim from my stash, draped and stitched into place on the dolls. The jewelry is bits and pieces from stash, wire wrapped glass beads for the rose necklace and mushroom bracelet.

A couple of close-ups:

10  HOME SWEET HOME / Exterior Decorating / Yard Art / Gardening: Completed Projects / A new house means a new garden. on: July 03, 2016 04:43:25 PM
4 cubic yards of soil carted by wheelbarrow to the back yard. The chiropractor is my best friend right now.

The back yard is nearly all concrete.

All the tomatoes and squash came from a friend's compost pile so no idea what they'll be aside from organic, heirloom and amazing.

Sweet potatoes the squirrels like to dig up. I shook a generous dusting of cayenne over the soil, hope that keeps the wee evil diggers out of there.

Cucumber! I ate it, it was delicious Grin.

ETA update photos a month later...

Sadly the zucchini all succumbed to squash vine borer which means our new triple mix may now be contaminated for next year. We're taking down a shed to give us some ground to work with though so I'll be sure to plant far enough apart and mulch next season.

Looks like the squirrels missed a second sweet potato vine. And the potatoes we planted thinking only a few would sprout have ALL got at least 7 shoots on them, I'm afraid the box is going to bust open in the fall!

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