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treat yo self // embroidering with pellon interfacing

Treat Yo Self


I'm not always big on doing this in my life, but sometimes, you just need to treat yo self. Especially when it comes to your stitching. Now, there are some fancy things you can add to your embroidery tools and supplies, but most of them still aren't huge expenses. But they still feel like a treat. This simple thing is a treat yo self embroidery supply for me.

Treat Yo Self

Pellon fusible middleweight interfacing.

Did I blow your mind? Did you die of boredom? Let me explain.

I recently made a project that I thought would benefit from some interfacing. It also had some embroidery, and I knew that I was going to need to plan on stitching through the fabric with the interfacing fused to the back. And it was heaven.

The interfacing acts as an embroidery stabilizer, which helped keep my stitches in line, keeping tension beautifully. It prevents the fabric from stretching oddly, and you don't even need to stitch with a hoop! (You can still use a hoop though...I've tried it both ways.)

And I'm not sure why exactly, but I felt like the needle and embroidery floss just slid right through. Like butter. I love butter.

Treat Yo Self

Usually I iron the interfacing onto the back of the fabric before I transfer the embroidery design. Because the material is now thicker, a light box helps for tracing. I've also used this with Sulky Sticky Fabri-Solvy on linen and it handles the soaking just fine.

If you over-iron it, I find that it tends to wrinkle just a bit (you can see it if you look closely at the photo above), but it doesn't affect the front or your stitching.

Darling Dachshund Teeny Pillow

I'm not sure that I'd say that this makes my embroidery look any different than it would if I didn't use the Pellon, although, I think it does keep the fabric a little smoother. But that's sort of the point of treat yo self. It makes the process more enjoyable for me, and it might just do the same for you.

By the way, this post is NOT sponsored by Pellon in any way. I just discovered that I love using this with my embroidery these days.

Darling Dachshund Teeny Pillow
Darling Dachshund Teeny Pillow
Darling Dachshund Teeny Pillow

After I embroidered my little Darling Dachshund, I made it into a wee pillow, at the request of my little sister. It could be a pin cushion, but I can't bear to stick pins in this pup! So it's just tiny and cute.

And if you want your own Darling Dachshund embroidery pattern, head over to my Instagram feed and look for his pic to see how you can get the PDF!

Now, tell me...what's your favorite way to treat yo self when you are embroidering?

stitch love // book walk-through

Stitch Love Walk-Through

About a month ago, my book, Stitch Love: Sweet Creatures Big & Small was finally released, and although I've talked about it here, I've never shown a look inside! So that's what I'm here to do today.

When I first started talking with my editor about the book, she suggested that it be all about animals. I sort of freaked out about it, because if felt outside of my abilities. But I worked on it, and sketched, and now I'm completely smitten with animals and so happy with how this all came out.

Stitch Love has 25 projects and over 100 embroidery motifs, with animals are from around the globe. And I did my very best to make each one super cute!

Ready to take a look inside?

Stitch Love Walk-Through

Some of the projects are shaped like animals, like this frog pond game with froggy and lily bean bags. The arms and legs flap and fly in the breeze!

Stitch Love Walk-Through

One of the things I keep hearing from people is that the line on the front is what sold them on the book: Cute Kitties and Cows and Cubs and More...and a Yeti. And this is the yeti. (There's an embroidery motif of the yeti too!)

The yeti is an ice pack, like a boo-boo bear or bunny. Jess made one already, but she made hers into a little plush instead of an ice pack.

Stitch Love Walk-Through

Also from the cover are these little outback animals. You can even make little house pouches for them to carry them along with you. Oh, and Nancy used this style of animal to make a bunny from the Stitch Love Valentine Blog Hop. I just love that people are using the projects and making them their own!

Stitch Love Walk-Through

Speaking of the blog hop, the Cat Loaf bread cloth that I made used the Holiday Mouse Furoshiki Cloth from Stitch Love. Furoshiki is the Japanese method of wrapping gifts or other items with fabric, and the mouse design on here can be changed for different holidays and celebrations!

Of course, you could use any embroidery design on there, like I did with the cat loaf.

Stitch Love Walk-Through
Stitch Love Walk-Through

Each project has illustrations to show the steps, but they are simple enough that you probably wouldn't even need the how-to images. This is definitely a beginner-friendly book, but I find that fun and easy projects are a nice change of pace for even experienced sewists.

As I was working on the projects, studying the animals and deciding which creatures to focus on, I learned a lot, and added a few fun facts in throughout the pages. There are also some bits of info about favorite animals in my family, like manatees, guinea pigs, and chickens!

Stitch Love Walk-Through

At the back of the book there's a basics section with illustrated instructions for embroidery, sewing, and working with templates, including a link to download the project templates at full size. I find that PDF templates are so much easier than tracing or copying them from the book!

Stitch Love Walk-Through

But this is my favorite part of the whole book. I love embroidery, so you shouldn't be surprised that I would love the embroidery section the most. But what makes it special is that every motif is shown stitched.

Every single one.

At one point I thought about asking some stitching friends to help with this, but I'm ridiculously proud of the fact that I stitched all 117 motifs by myself. From a waving walrus to kissing prairie dogs to a fantastical wolpertinger (yes, that's a thing), and of course, many more, each is stitched with love.

There are more than a few things in here that are a nod to Japanese-style craft books, sewing, and even artwork. The pages of embroidery are one of those things, and that owl with his sleepy bubbles are another. The aesthetic is pleasing to me, and hopefully it is to you too.

Stitch Love: Sweet Creatures Big & Small is available on Barnes & Noble, Amazon, your local bookseller, and many more places.

If you've already purchased Stitch Love, first, THANK YOU! Next I'd love it if you leave a review online (either from the place you ordered, or your own blog). And finally, when you stitch love, post a pic and tag it #stitchlovebook so I can see and share your work with others!

One last thing. Some of my favorite reviews for Stitch Love: Sweet Creatures Big & Small have been from kids. Evie said, "It's so cute!" and Jess's daughter made this awesome video review! Even though there are plenty of kid projects in here, I didn't consider that the book would be as loved by children as it has been, and I just love that.

Thanks all for the support on what has been such an incredible critter-filled journey!

calendar // beware the triangles of march


Beware the triangles of March. That's how that goes, right? Well, that's how March is gonna go around here, although hopefully there will be nothing to fear. I'm exploring triangles this month, and I'm very excited about a few things that I'm making, plus a special guest post.

Triangles are awesome, and they show up so much in quilty things, and plenty in embroidery too. In fact, I think I'm going to learn a lot this month, and I'll do my best to pass along what I find out!

I've already found that triangles can be used to make shamrocks, so you'll find one in this month's calendar, and we'll be making one soon if you follow along! But first, the calendars.


For iPhone 6+, choose the iPad version. To use the iPhone and iPad versions, click the link for the wallpaper you want. When it opens, touch and hold the image until it pops up with the option to save. After you've saved the image, go to your settings, choose wallpaper, then find the image you've just saved.

To PRINT a calendar page (with a place for notes), download the March 2015 calendar page PDF.

Now, I've got a lot of triangles to play with. I'll try to work with them equilaterally!

why we need to stop commenting and start encouraging

Encourage.
Encourage.

Super cute! Love this! Looks awesome!

These are some comments that I have recently received or left for others. If you're someone who makes and shares things that are hopefully super cute, lovable, and awesome, these are great things to hear. Seriously, I appreciate every single one.

But I've been thinking about comments for a few weeks now.

Actually it started when I read some negative comments about something that I supported. The discussion wasn't about me personally, but it felt personal. And the truth is, I've done the same thing. But I started thinking about it more.

I started thinking about how these negative thoughts have a real impact. Yes, we should be allowed to express our opinions, and yes, saying that we don't like something can bring change. But these things also can bring hurt. And some words came to mind.

Encourage.


Encourage one another & build each other up.

What if we used our words, our comments, our replies, our interactions...and we encouraged. When we love something. When we disagree with something. When we are proud of someone. When we don't particularly care for someone.

What if instead of leaving a comment that says "Cute! (Smiley face)" we paused to think about how we could say something that builds a person up in a real way?

What if we considered that small businesses are run by individuals with feelings and we didn't talk about them behind their backs, as if they won't see, knowing full well that they very likely will see? (I'm so guilty of this!)

What if we just reminded ourselves that all these little snip-its of conversation can add up to bigger things? Good or bad!

Encourage.
Encourage.

I'm convinced that I need to comment less, and encourage more. I need to take time to say something real (and mean it!). Do I love quick notes and "likes"? Yes. Will I continue to leave notes while I "heart" what folks share? Also yes.

But I will also make a true effort to share more things from my heart. Join me?

Crafty notes: The purple print fabric in the photos is from JoAnn, and will be used in an upcoming blanket project. The triangles will also become something quilty, and not the heart shown. The arrangement of triangles to form the heart was inspired by Must Love Quilts.

project // glittered heart magnets

Glittered Heart Magnets


I gotta tell ya...it feels a little strange to be sharing a project for making sparkly pink hearts at the end of February. Like, I missed a deadline or something. But no, I committed to using the shape of a heart for all of this month, and I'm embracing it! (Maybe I should have gone with a heart that starts looking like the leaf of a St. Patrick's Day clover, like Nancy Zieman did.)

These magnets, however, are inspired by these magnets...

Glittered Heart Magnets

...which reside on our fridge all year 'round. Actually, they've been on our fridge most of the time, since I was about 3 years old. They aren't about Valentine's Day, they are just hearts, and we like hearts around here. So I think we can stand to have some glittery hearts all the time too!

The best part about these is that it uses the least messy glitter that I've ever worked with. Folk Art Extreme Glitter Paint is a paint that is really more like a glittery glaze. With just a few coats you'll have extreme glitter, and virtually no mess because the sparkle is suspended in the paint. If you do get some on your hands, it washes off so easily. Yes!

So let's make some magnets!

Glittered Heart Magnets

Here's what you need:

Wooden discs
Magnets
Extreme Glitter Paint
Black Paint
Craft glue
Masking/painter's tape
Pencil
Scissors
Paintbrush
Toothpick

Glittered Heart Magnets

Start by gluing the magnets to the back of the discs. You could do this later, but they will lift the disc off the work surface, which helps as you paint to the edge of the disc.

Let the glue dry a bit.

Glittered Heart Magnets

Draw or trace hearts onto a piece of masking tape.

Glittered Heart Magnets

Cut out the hearts and place each one on a wooden disc. Rub the hearts down so that the paint won't get under the edges.

Glittered Heart Magnets

Paint the surface of the wooden disc. I found that three good coats of this paint gave a nice glitteriness. Which, apparently is not a word. How is glitteriness not a word?

Anyway, use as many coats as you like. They dry fairly quickly, so you won't have to wait too long between coats.

Glittered Heart Magnets

After your final coat has dried, carefully, carefully peel the tape heart away. Because this glaze dries with a sort of coating, if you just tear away the heart, you might peel the paint, and you don't want that.

Glittered Heart Magnets

For cute hearts, add a face. A toothpick dipped in black paint is a great way to add these details. Of course, this is optional, but I highly recommend it.

Glittered Heart Magnets

Hooray! Happy heart magnets with glitteriness!

Glittered Heart Magnets
Glittered Heart Magnets

They're cute, useful, and when the light catches them, they make me smile even more than the hearts themselves!

book review // west coast love

wa flag to share - Copy

I just made plans to take a trip to Seattle next month. This has been on my list of places to visit for a while now, and it's finally gonna happen! It will be my second trip to the west coast, but unlike my vacation in San Diego, I expect that this trip will have less sun and more of what I love: Coffee.

Front Pages - cover

And maybe embroidery too. Because today a new eBook by Megan Eckman of Studio MME comes out. West Coast Love Embroidery Book is a digital book that is filled with patterns of landmarks and icons from California, Oregon, and Washington. And they are all in the delightful style of Megan's artwork. What a wonderful way to tour the west coast!

Golden Gate
Project Pages - Golden GateProject Pages - Golden Gate2

Within the 103 pages, you'll find 20 patterns, each designed to be stitched as hoop art or on flags. Instructions for finishing each of these types of projects is included, along with full embroidery guides and tutorials. The patterns are shown both regular and in reverse so you can either trace or use a transfer pen/pencil.

Hollywood

And may I just say, the photos in this are really, really great. Obviously it's good to see clear, crisp images of the embroidery, but it's especially helpful in the how-to section, and that's what Megan has in these pages. Great stuff!

ipad-mock-up

As I mentioned, West Coast Love is only available as an eBook, but let me tell you why that's awesome.

First, you can put this on your iPad and have the stitching guides with you all the time. But even better, you can print the patterns SO EASILY, and that means you can get stitching right away. In fact, if you use Sulky Sticky Fabri-Solvy, you'll save even more time! (I love this stuff and just stocked up again!)

And as a special gift to you, Megan is sharing a free pattern from the book! The Stellar's Jay design features a native western feathered friend, which she describes as a gentleman, who might just look like he's wearing a top hat!


For an embroidery tour of the west coast, check out West Coast Love Embroidery Book from Studio MME! Thanks, Megan! (And let's talk about getting some midwest patterns going, mmmkay?)

stitch a kawaii birthday with cross stitch crazy

Cross Stitch Crazy

Odds are, when you think of me, you don't think of someone who is "cross stitch crazy". I usually do hand embroidery, and when I do use cross stitches in my work, they're rarely the counted kind. But that doesn't mean that I don't like the look of counted cross stitch, especially the modern, pixel-ish kind.

So I was honored when Cross Stitch Crazy magazine asked me to design some charts in my kawaii style. I was also pretty nervous about it. This wasn't my first time designing cross stitch patterns, but certainly it's not what I would consider my strength.

But I jumped in, and it was so much fun. And look at the cover above. Look at the lower left corner!

Cross Stitch Crazy

This is just a sampling of the charts that are in the latest issue of Cross Stitch Crazy, which just came out yesterday. All of the designs have a kawaii birthday theme, and in addition to my favorite foods and objects with faces, there are some of my animal friends and even a little person!

If you're in the UK, you should be able to find this at newsstands right away, and internationally, it will make its way to shelves soon. And the digital edition is available online if you just can't wait.

If you like cross-stitch and Wild Olive, be sure to pick up issue 201 of Cross Stitch Crazy!

flashback friday // heart stitches

Heart Stitches

Looking back is a fun thing to do, right? Especially when it's heart month and you can look back at some heart stitches. This post is a flashback to three years ago (boy, time flies!). For a variation on this, try stacking your stitched hearts so they look like a little chain of hearts!

-----

Recently I saw an adorable ombre counted cross-stitch piece, and thought it would be fun to make my own non-cross-stitch version. Each little heart that I've made is just two stitches, so it goes very quickly. Once I got started, I knew that this would be a lovely little project to share with you! It's such a fun way to spontaneously stitch!

Here's how the little hearts are made (It's a cross between a lazy daisy and the fly stitch!):

Heart Stitches

Come up from the back, then go back down about 1/4 to 3/8 of an inch above where the thread came up. Don't pull it tight yet!

Heart Stitches

Bring the needle back up again just a bit higher and to the left of where the the first stitch went down through the fabric. Be sure to catch the loose loop of thread with your needle.

Heart Stitches

Pull the thread to the left, tightening the loop.

Heart Stitches

Go back down through the fabric, making a little stitch that will hold this half of the heart.

Heart Stitches

Repeat on the right side.

As you're working these, try to keep the twist of the floss the same throughout. They'll look much tidier that way, but even if some are untwisted, they'll still look sweet!

Heart Stitches

For my ombre, I chose five colors. I wasn't using any sort of pattern, but just stitched the hearts where I felt like they needed to be. Each heart came out just a bit different, giving the overall piece some character. (Speaking of hearts with character...I love this embroidery by Heidi Kenney!)

Heart Stitches
Heart Stitches
Heart Stitches
Heart Stitches

Happy Heart Stitching!