So Long Google Reader, Say Hello to….

Google Reader is gone starting tomorrow, and I’ve been working through which RSS reader I’m going to use. I’ve been mostly using Feedly, but there’s a few things about it that kind of annoy me (like not showing new posts for some of the blogs I follow. What’s up with that?).

I’m going to use BlogLovin’ for a while and see if I prefer that one. Anyone else found one they love.

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Completed Jewelry Set

After my last post where I said I didn’t think I’d ever get shuttle tatting, I set out to prove myself wrong. And I did. 🙂 In this case though, I don’t mind being wrong when it ends up making such beautiful jewelry.

The Craftsy tatting class I’m taking has a pattern for earrings, necklace and bracelet. I’ve completed the tatting, but don’t have the finishings for them yet. More pics when I get those added. (Forgive the wonky earring, that’s the first piece I ever successfully shuttle tatted!)

Craftsy Tatted Jewelry

Craftsy tatted jewelry set without finishings

Newbee Bee June Block of the Month

This may be the earliest that I’ve gotten my block of the month done for the bee I’m in on Threadbias. This month’s queen asked for a monochromatic green Courthouse Steps block. After hitting the remnant bin at my LQS, here’s my contribution.

June Newbee BOM - Courthouse Steps

June Newbee BOM – Courthouse Steps

I also noticed that I didn’t do a post with April’s block. This one is one of my favorites and I definitely plan on doing more of these in the future. It’s a Great-Granny Block based on a tutorial from Bee in My Bonnet. It’s supposed to be squared up to 12.5″, but since this is being mailed, the queen for the month asked that they not be squared up in case it stretches. Also that will allow her room to trim to make them all match up.

Great-granny block for the April block in the Newbee Quilters Bee

Great-granny block for the April block in the Newbee Quilters Bee

 

My 100th Post!

My new favorite purse

It’s kind of hard to believe, but I finally made it to 100 posts. For those of you that are newer, I started this blog January of 2011 so I could try to help myself get better at finishing projects by tracking weekly updates on what I worked on.

I had no idea how long I would last at it or if it would even help me. Wow, did it! I’ve not only learned to finish projects I start, but the quality and passion for what I’m doing has grown so much. At the time I started, the only thing I had really tried my hand at was knitting. Since then I’ve crocheted, sewed, learned to quilt, picked up embroidery, and as I talked about in my last post, tat. Some of my favorite finishes include a laptop bag, tote bags, a hobo tote bag (which got featured on the Ravlrey pattern page, wooot!), the Spring Chicken Sampler (which I still think I should come up with a better name for… ), and many others. It’s been a fun trip!

For this post, I thought it fitting that my next project to post was one of my favorites that I’ve done so far. As I talked about in this post, I’ve been working on a new purse and I got it finished finally. I’ve actually been carrying it around for a couple weeks and I love it 🙂

I did it as a part of the Craftsy class Design Your Own Handbag, and I’m so glad I decided to take it. The finish on this is very professional and I really don’t think I could have done it without the tips from that class.

My new favorite purse

My new favorite purse!

The class didn’t provide specific patterns for a purse (hence the name, Design Your Own). Instead she had four sample bags and they gave dimensions for those. Using that as my base point, I shortened it and did the duo-tone look.

Handles attached with rings

Handles attached with rings

Toggle closure

Toggle closure

The strap was the area that gave me the most trouble since it was very think and I hadn’t really worked with doing a strap that way before. In the end it worked out, but there was some frustration in getting it attached and getting the toggle closure put in and in the right place.

At first I wished I’d gotten larger rings so I could have done a slightly wider strap, but now I think I’m good with how wide it is. It’s a great size to carry.

Back of the purse

Back of the purse

For pockets on the inside I did a zipper pocket and small patch pocket on one side and a divided patch pocket on the other to hold cards and phone. I admit I didn’t do the greatest job on the zipper. I’m the only one who can see it now that I’m carrying it, but I wish I’d been a tad more careful with that.

Zipper and patch pocket in lining

Zipper and patch pocket in lining

Patch pocket for cards and phone

Patch pocket for cards and phone

I love this purse! Now that I’ve said that, I feel like I can admit that I’m already planning and dreaming the next one I’m going to make 🙂

Tatting it up!

Just because I don’t know when to quit, I bought another Craftsy class. This one? Shuttle Tatting! I’m surprised how many people I run into that haven’t heard of tatting, including people who work at big box craft stores. Try asking for tatting shuttles and get ready for blank stares. They have them, FYI, just not commonly asked for apparently. In case you want to know, both tatting shuttles and needles are by the crochet hooks. Now you know.

I’ve known about tatting because a friend of a friend tatted and made me a cross-shaped bookmark (which I’ve since lost, unfortunately). That was pretty much my only exposure to it, but I really liked the cross she gave me. So, since the class was on sale, but I didn’t know if I would be interested trying to tat, I decided to Google tatting to see what else you could make besides cross-shaped bookmarks.

I saw much of what I expected: lace doilies that looked like your great-grandmother would have made them. But then I saw other things, like this amazing Etsy shop, Totus Mel Tats. I think that’s what I saw that made me go, hey, this could be really cool! Also, the shop Yarnplayer (by the same lady who did the Crafsty class, Marilee Rockley) is has really pretty jewelry that I’m inspired by and want to make. Besides, any craft that you can use to make a model of an atoms is 1, not just a craft for your great-grandmother, and 2, something that makes my inner geek happy!

Here is my first tatted item (based on this TotusMel video) that I turned into a key chain.

Key chain with tatted embellishment

Key chain with tatted embellishment

I’ve also realized that I’m a complete failure at shuttle tatting (at least for now, haven’t made it through the Craftsy class yet, but I’m not sure there’s much hope for me.) and am sticking with needle tatting at the moment (thanks to TotusMel and RustiKate for their “how-tos” on needle tatting. Couldn’t have learned it without those!)

My first tatted item

My first tatted item

All of the links and information on this post are solely because I found the information useful. I did not receive any incentive or compensation for sharing.

Unexpected Relaxation

This week I’ve been in training for work. Due to a tanker truck overturning and closing a major highway (which I would have needed to drive on to get the the training center), I decided to use the work from home option on Friday. The training wrapped up around 3:30, so I spent a little bit of that remaining time before N got home like this:

Relaxing and stitching

Enjoying a beautiful afternoon on the deck while embroidering.

Doesn’t embroidering on the deck sound simply fantastic? Cause I sure thought it was 🙂 Best end to a training week ever!

Now some of you may be thinking (or not…), I know you knit and I know you quilt, but embroider? Is this new?

Actually, it’s old. I use to embroider a lot in high school. Then there was an unfortunate counting issue on a counted cross stitch pattern and I put it away and haven’t touched it again for XX years (Yes, it double digits, and no I won’t say how many…).

Then I stumbled on two blogs &Stitches and Needle ‘n Thread. The embroidery was so fun and pretty! I honestly admit that I had a style in my mind for what embroidery was and it wasn’t all that flattering. Not sure why, since I use to do it and all. I think that when I did embroidery before, even as I was enjoying the process of embroidering, I didn’t really like the style of what I had. Mostly because I was using left overs and patterns from my grandmother. Hey, it’s what I had.

Fast forward to now and Mary Corbet at Needle ‘n Thread offered a free pattern that, for whatever reason, I fell completely into infatuation with and had to try. Right. Now. It’s her Czech Inspired Folk Flowers pattern.

Czech Inspired Folk Flowers pattern

Czech Inspired Folk Flowers pattern

Since I wasn’t sure if I would be able to revive my interest in embroidery, I didn’t want to invest much into in case I took 12 stitches and then quit. So, I dug through my stash of fabric and my embroidery thread (which I had held on to all this time. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Not really sure….) and found a combination that I liked so I could give it a shot.

My original plan was to do satin stitching over the outside of the flowers and all the little circles. Right now I’m kind of liking the simple outline. What do you think?

So, what’s my conclusion on picking up embroidery again?  Yes, please, I love it! I’m already trying to dream up more ways to use this wonderful pattern (pillow shams keep coming to mind, we’ll have to see).

Thank goodness for relaxing afternoons that allow us to rediscover craft love and finish up new creations.

Embroidery details

Embroidery details