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11  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Embroidered Artistic Maneki Neko on: December 13, 2010 08:07:52 AM
My sister likes Japanese things. (I may have mentioned it a few thousand times in other posts!) So this year for Christmas, I decide to design my own Maneki Neko embroidery pattern and stitch it up into a wall hanging. I definitely departed from the traditional cartoonish, plump kitty. When I was designing the image, I had in mind the look of Japanese calligraphy and brush strokes, and from there the pattern was born.

The characters on the collar say, "luck," and the characters beside the cat say, "Maneki Neko."

The entire piece is made in my nemesis, satin stitch, and I think I achieved the look I was going for. It's done on ecru muslin and laced onto a foam backing board. I hope it will be something special to add to her collection of Japanese items--and, bonus, I developed a new pattern in the process!

Thanks for looking!
12  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: General / My First Paper Cuts on: December 06, 2010 07:10:53 AM
I've been wanting to try some paper cutting, and I realized that I could do a couple of simple designs for Christmas gifts this year, so I gave it a shot.

They're silhouettes of activities that are special to the gift recipients, and I simply searched Google images for photos that worked for cutting around. I cut them out of card stock with an X-acto, which was rough on the hands, but I didn't have any thinner black paper, so I went with it.

I mounted them on a white background and framed them with frames that my mom no longer wanted. They weren't even out of their packaging, so I got a good deal, despite the fact I had to scrape and clean off some lettering printed on the glass. A little elbow grease and they're ready to go!

I am really looking forward to doing more of these---out of thinner paper, though--especially some more complex designs. Thanks for looking!
13  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / I Scream for Ice Cream! on: December 05, 2010 10:30:53 PM
I decided I needed to master dpns, and what better way to do that than knitting ice cream cones?

I just used whatever bits of yarn I had around and this pattern: http://i-like-lemons.blogspot.com/2008/05/scooped-knit-ice-cream-cone-patterns.html. It's a great way to use up some leftovers, and yum!
14  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / Quack! Moo! Cockadoodledo! on: November 22, 2010 10:18:26 AM

My son's birthday falls right before Christmas, which means every year I have the task of coming up with some extra gifts for him. A few months ago I saw this tutorial for felt hand puppets based on Old MacDonald's farm, and I knew they'd be just right. They were a lot of work to sew all those little pieces on, but they're cute enough to redeem themselves.

See for yourselves:

(Wait, is that Old MacD winking at me?)
15  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Baby Showers And Gifts For New Babies / Karate Kid baby gifts on: November 15, 2010 08:22:49 AM
My sister loves all things Japanese, and she is a black belt in Isshinryu karate (as is her husband), so when it came time for her baby shower, I had the perfect complimentary idea for the little one. I'd seen a onesie on Etsy that had been printed to look like a karate gi, and that sent me off into a whirlwind of inspiration.

To start, I made my own version of the baby gi. The Japanese characters read Isshinryu."

Then I made a tee with the same characters, larger.

And a drawing of the vertical fist, which is a fist position unique to this school of karate.

There was actually a bit of a happy accident with this one. As I was working on it late at night and with only a portion of my brain active, I drew the whole fist onto the tee in a horizontal position, only to realize at the end that I'd done it wrong. Oops.

So, a little reverse applique came to the rescue. I cut out the image, appliqued a piece of Japanese fabric to the inside of the onesie, and then appliqued the image onto the fabric. It was a desperate measure to save the suit, but I actually like it much better than the original!

At last, well past midnight, I used the last scraps of my red and black Japanese fabric (that my sister had brought me from a trip to Japan) to make two little pacifier clips.

My sister seemed to really love the gifts, and I was totally excited about the result as well. I was hesitant about using the dye markers, but once I got the hang of them, they were great. I definitely learned a few things along the way (always heat set before trying to erase fabric pen marks!).

I thought everything looked just perfect together as a set:

My sister says her husband will never let their baby wear anything else. Smiley
16  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / "Last Light" tiny embroidery on: November 14, 2010 08:33:33 PM
I've been away from embroidery for quite a while, dabbling in all sorts of other things, but I recently felt the urge to stitch up something quick, so I did. Smiley

I just drew the picture onto the fabric (linen, by the way, my favorite!) with a water-soluble pen and started stitching. I was inspired by a drawing in my sketchbook, and I knew I wanted to keep the color minimal, and that's about all I started with.

It's all done with back stitch and a sort of long and short stitch for some of the fill. It's only about 2.5" in diameter!

Thanks for looking.
17  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Baby Showers And Gifts For New Babies / Matryoshka Baby Shower on: November 14, 2010 08:26:34 PM
It was so exciting to see all the pieces come together for my sister's baby shower, and I was really pleased with the final result. Unfortunately, my photos turned out pretty crummy---the lighting was poor and for some reason most of my shots were blurry. I hope you'll bear with me, though, so I can show you how everything went together in the end!

We started with the invitations:

I used my own Matryoshka embroidery pattern, edited and colored it in on the computer using the nursery colors, and added the party details.

Then I did the same thing with another of my patterns and printed out lots of little mamas to string together into garlands for the window and the food table.

We also borrowed some of the mom-to-be's Matryoshka collection and scattered them around the room.

They came in very handy as utensil holders on the food table, too.

My cousin used the embroidery pattern as a template to make a matching cake:

The smaller doll was vanilla, the larger chocolate, and the cake by far got the most oooh's and ah's.

Finally, for favors I printed the same pattern on muslin and made little sachets stuffed with lavender:

I also was able to use the Matryoshka image for a gift bag and card, and I used the "dud" fabric from the favors to wrap her gifts.

It was so much fun to hear the guests discussing all of the details. My sister thought it was great that each time someone asked, "Where did you get ...?" she could say, "Oh, my aunt made that," or "My sister did it," or "My cousin made it." Though I'm glad it's all done with, it was well worth the effort!
18  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: General / Fat Inchie Necklaces on: November 07, 2010 09:04:21 PM

Isn't this so cute? I recently saw a tiny (1.5"), sweet pinwheel quilt, or "fat inchie" as they're known in the quilting world, on Etsy, and I just had to try it myself. It's inspired me with a few other ideas, too, which I'll be developing more this week.

I ended up making two versions, one with a darker blue fabric, one with aqua. They're made with little bits of leftover fabric and hand stitched with a bit of embroidery floss. The chains are made of three long crochet chains and a clasp.

Thanks for looking!
19  CLOTHING / Clothing for Kids: Completed Projects / Kimono Shoes on: November 07, 2010 08:58:04 PM
I recently made two pairs of the sweetest little Kimono Shoes using this pattern: http://myhomespunthreads.blogspot.com/2008/10/free-kimono-shoes.html.

They are pretty quick to make up, despite the curvy sewing. I used hand-woven Japanese fabric for the outer and scrap cottons for the inner. There's a sandwich of interfacing and batting between the layers as well.

Aren't they sweet?
20  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Decorative Sewing Pins on: October 25, 2010 02:12:54 PM
I can't remember if I ever posted some of these before, but these are my latest sets of decorative sewing pins. I've been making them for gifts for crafty types. Smiley Two of the sets are made with glass beads; one is made with wooden beads. They're on extra-long quilting pins so they're usable, and I just love how they look in a pin cushion! Thanks for looking!

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