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Archive for January, 2014

With the Super Bowl fast approaching all eyes are on the commercials that will be airing. Some companies have already been airing them or leaking them online.

Innocent Looking Yarn Snowman Ornament

Innocent Looking Yarn Snowman Ornament

There is one commercial that I saw for the first time a couple of days ago and I fear that Frankie Furter might be right about the approaching Snow Freak Apocalypse. Be afraid…be very afraid…or drive a Nissan Rogue.

If you can’t see the video you can go here to view it.

I don’t own any Nissan cars or in any way endorse the use of Nissan cars, but couldn’t help sharing this funny commercial.

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Hi everyone it’s Walter here. I need to share some exciting news with you today.

lgthe queen of hearts

I’m hoping to have a date for the big Queen of Hearts Dance that Mayor Madi is hosting and today I’m visiting with Miss Tuiren to get to know her better.

The Lovely Miss Tuiren

The Lovely Miss Tuiren

Last week she was sad because her special friend, that she was hoping to go to the dance with, went to the Rainbow Bridge a while ago and she was afraid she wouldn’t have a date for the dance. After reading a little more about her I think we both have a lot in common. She is a little older than me but only by a few months, not years.

Walter & Tuiren hanging out together

Walter & Tuiren hanging out together

We are having lots of fun together and so far I’m also getting along with her big brother Fenris. Sweet Miss Tui had a rough start to her life but she’s been doing great since ending up in her forever home.  You can read all about my visit with her on her blog here.

If you don’t already know Tuiren please stop by and put in a good word for me. I think there might be a little competition for the date to the dance from a kitty friend of hers too. I sure hope she picks me.

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Hi everyone it’s Walter here to show you some more mischief we’ve been up to. As usual it involves a little backyard fun.

Is there something on my nose?

Is there something on my nose?

What do you think I'm about to pounce on?

What do you think I’m about to pounce on?

You’ll have to watch the video to see what I was stalking.

If you can’t see the video you can go here to view it.

Millie and I always have so much fun with each other in the yard. We hope the weather doesn’t get too cold so we can keep it up.

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Hi everyone it’s Cindy here. Today I want to tell you about another Christmas project I did.

Crochet Christmas Candy Boxes

Crochet Christmas Candy Boxes

I’m the membership secretary for the Genesee Valley Quilt Club and as an officer I meet once a month just after our monthly meeting with my fellow officers. During the November meeting one of the veteran members told us newbys that it was customary during our December officer meeting to exchange Christmas gifts.

Solid Red with Red/White/Green Twist

Solid Red with Red/White/Green Twist

The news of this sent my head spinning. What to get or make for these four ladies? I wanted something that could be practical and fun. I thought about the small box I crocheted for myself a while back and decided that might make a nice gift.

Solid Red with Solid White

Solid Red with Solid White

After scouring my stash of crafting supplies I decided to use up some of the Christmas colored cotton yarn I had purchased last year. I hadn’t used any of it yet so I knew I would have enough to make these small boxes. Each box is made using two strands of cotton yarn held together and is all single crochet. I used solid red, solid white, variegated red/green/white, and red/green/white twist in different combinations to achieve the effects you see.

Solid Red with Variegated Red/White/Green

Solid Red with Variegated Red/White/Green

There are five separate pieces that I used single crochet to sew together. I like how the single crochet seam helps to hold them up too since I didn’t want to use any stiffener on them.  I made them what I thought would be a good size to use for candy or anything you might like.

Red/White/Green Twist with Red/White/Green Twist Variegated

Red/White/Green Twist with Red/White/Green Variegated

As you can see I filled them with Lindt chocolates too. The ladies all seemed to like them, but I’m not sure if they thought the boxes were nice or they just liked what was inside the boxes 😉

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Hi everyone it’s Millie & Walter here to show you a little mischief we’ve been up to lately.

The Stare Down

The Stare Down

We always love to chase each other around our huge back yard. You might remember seeing us zooming around our yard this past fall. Well here is a winter edition for your entertainment.

If you can’t see the video you can go here to view it.

Walter is always in the lead.

Walter is always in the lead.

This time of the year with the leaves off the shrubs you can see more of the action.

Zoom Zoom!

Zoom Zoom!

We hope you enjoyed this edition of Catch Me If You Can!

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Hi everyone it’s Cindy here to tell you about another crafty thing I’ve been up to in the past couple months. A while ago Miss N, a younger member of the knitting and crocheting group I belong to, put out a call to action on Facebook looking for someone that could help her convert some jeans she had to skirts. Miss N is working towards her Doctor of Ministry degree. For her internship this year she is working at a university interfaith chapel where she interacts with people of many faiths. In keeping with the preferences of certain religions Miss N wanted to be able to have some long skirts to wear for work. Other than formal wear there wasn’t much she could find in the stores to fulfill her requirements so she was hoping she could convert a couple pair of jeans to skirts.

Jeans skirt - blue gradient - front view - LR Jeans skirt - blue gradient - back view - LR
Blue Gradient Jeans Skirt
(click image for full detail)

If you are of a certain age like I am you might remember making these as a youngster. Back in the seventies it was cool to turn your jeans into skirts. We usually did them short and were able to use the bottom of the legs for the filler piece. Since Miss N wanted the skirts to be long I had to find fabric to fill in the center area.

 Jeans skirt - jungle batik - front view - LR  Jeans skirt - jungle batik - back view - LR
Jungle Batik Jeans Skirt
(click image for full detail)

Miss N came to my home and we looked through my fabric stash to see what would work well. With a little help from Charlie we decided on the two batik fabrics you see above. Now I’ll show you how I transformed a couple pair of jeans to the skirts.

Rip open the inseams

Rip open the inseams

The first thing you have to do is rip open the inseams and the center crotch seam of the pants.

Re-sewn center seam

Re-sewn center seam

Then you adjust the front and back center seams so they lay flat and re-sew them.

Create patterns for the inserts

Create patterns for the inserts

In order to fill the open area I had to make a pattern for the front and the back. I have a large roll of drawing paper that I placed under the legs and then drew a line to mark the edge. If you look close you can see that the paper was folded in half. After I drew the initial line I folded the paper in half and then adjusted the pattern to be the same shape on both halves. I also had to add about a half inch for a seam allowance. I then traced the shapes to the fabric.

Since batik fabric is fairly light weight I decided to add a little heft to the center areas. I used a thin muslin for backing and a very light weight batting and then did some quilting to hold all of it together. The truth is I let my embroidery machine do the quilting.

Jeans skirt - jungle batik - hooping for embroidery - LR

If you look closely in the picture above you can see the line I drew on the fabric from the patterns I made.

Paisley Quilting

Paisley Quilting

On the light colored skirt I used a paisley style of quilting.

Jeans skirt - blue gradient - back of stitching - LRYou can see the pattern on the reverse side better. For each paisley I had to re-position the embroidery hoop. There were about 10 on each side. I used a dark blue thread that blended well with the fabric.

Jeans skirt - jungle batik - quilting with embroidery attachment - LRFor the jungle batik I used a quilt design that had butterflies and flowers and quilted it in a dark green thread.

Butterfly and Flower quilting

Butterfly and Flower quilting

I fit each block of quilting together so most of the fabric was quilted.

Inserts cut for skirt

Inserts cut for skirt

After the quilting was done I cut the front and backs out. Then it was just a matter of pinning them in place and sewing them to the jeans. The final step was to fit and sew the hem. I’m happy to say that Miss N was very excited to get her new skirts.

Walter poses with a skirt

Walter poses with a skirt

While I don’t have a picture of Miss N in her skirts my super model Walter was more than happy to pose with them for me. I was glad I could help out a friend with this project and didn’t ask for anything in return but Miss N insisted on compensating me and gave me a gift card for one of the eateries where our knitting/crochet group meets. Thanks Miss N I was happy to help you out on this fun project.

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Hi everyone it’s Cindy here to tell you about one of the crafty things I’ve been up to in the past couple of months. During November and December I had quite a few crafty things I was working on. Some were gifts, some were orders from my Etsy shop, and some were just for us to enjoy at home. Today I will tell you about a wall hanging I made for us. It might not be very big, but a lot went into making it so sit back and grab a cuppa because this post is not short.

A Bird's Eye View of Winter

A Bird’s Eye View of Winter

This wall hanging is a perfect fit at about 28 x 52 inches for a skinny wall we have in our family room. It is made up of 7 large embroideries that I found at my favorite source Embroidery Library. You can see my stitch outs for each block below. You should click on each block for the full size to be able to enjoy all the amazing details in them.

Northern Cardinal (click image for full detail)

Northern Cardinal
(click image for full detail)

The bird embroideries average about 8″ x 8″ each which if you aren’t familiar with machine embroidery you might not realize that is a large size. Here are a few more statistics:

  • Average Number of Stitches for each embroidery = 105,225
  • Average Number of Unique Thread colors = 29
  • Average Number of Thread Color Changes = 40
  • Average Number of Hours to Complete each Embroidery = 6
Eastern Bluebird (click image for full detail)

Eastern Bluebird
(click image for full detail)

Now let me interpret those statistic for the non-embroiderers. Each embroidery had about 29 different colors of thread used and some of them are used more than once. The way it works is the machine tells you what color thread to load in your machine. When it is done with that color it stops and then lets you know what the next color is. So the number of thread color changes is the number of times the machine stops so you can re-thread it.

White-breasted Nuthatch (click image for full detail)

White-breasted Nuthatch
(click image for full detail)

Some of the color changes were for less than 100 stitches to make some of the smallest details. Think white dot in the birds eye or the steering wheel on the tractor below.

Dark-eyed Junco (click image for full detail)

Dark-eyed Junco
(click image for full detail)

That last number was probably the hardest one to deal with and the Junco embroidery above was the biggest endurance test of them all. That embroidery didn’t even have the most stitches, but it had the most colors and 49 color changes. It is extremely detailed and even though it felt like it was never going to be done stitching it is one of my favorites.

Downy Woodpecker (click image for full detail)

Downy Woodpecker
(click image for full detail)

Sitting and watching these stitch out for 6+ hours each was a marathon. I could take some breaks at the beginning of each embroidery when it did large areas, but if I didn’t want them to take any longer than they had to I needed to be there to change the thread as soon as it stopped.

Black-capped Chickadee (click image for full detail)

Black-capped Chickadee
(click image for full detail)

In addition to just stitching these out it took about an hour to set up each one. It did get easier the more I did since I would repeat thread colors for similar elements like the poinsettias, leaves and evergreens. All of the embroideries are done as close to what is called for in the files except for one of them.

American Goldfinch (click image for full detail)

American Goldfinch
(click image for full detail)

If you check out the Embroidery Library link above you will see that there isn’t a goldfinch in the set. Since we don’t have Pine Grosbeaks around here I changed the colors to yellow to make a goldfinch instead. All of the embroideries were done on white fabric that has tone on tone snowflakes on it to fit the season.

Okay, enough about the embroideries. If you hang in just a little longer I will finish this up. I just have to show you some of the quilting I did on the wall hanging. Lucky for me I had all the fabric I needed in my stash left over from the Christmas Tree Quilt I made a couple of years ago.  I wanted to frame the blocks with the black and the olive green fabric worked well with all the embroideries. The nice thing with using that fabric is that the quilts coordinate with each other especially since  they are both part of our winter decor now.

Poinsettia Quilting Around Chickadee Block (click image for full detail)

Poinsettia Quilting Around Chickadee Block
(click image for full detail)

I did stitch in the ditch quilting around each of the black frames first. To fill in around the Chickadee block I added some quilting embroideries from Anita Goodesign’s Winter Quilt for All Seasons.

Pointsettia Cluster (click image for full detail)

Poinsettia Cluster
(click image for full detail)

I had to combine some files and modify others to create what I wanted for all the quilting on the wall hanging.

Poinsettia Detail on Bottom (click image for full detail)

Poinsettia Detail on Bottom
(click image for full detail)

Since I wanted to fill in the area around the chickadee block I did the quilting with one of the dark red threads I used on the poinsettias in the blocks to make it visible.

Holly Quilting Between Blocks Poinsettia Detail on Bottom (click image for full detail)

Holly Quilting Between Blocks
(click image for full detail)

At first I wasn’t planning on doing any quilting between the blocks but after it was all together and I did the stitching around the black borders I thought it needed a little more. The Winter Quilt for All Seasons set also had some blocks with holly leaves and berries. With some minor modifications I was able to create this nice border embroidery. These are done vertically next to each of the blocks and at the top of the wall hanging also. I used a matching thread since I didn’t need these to stand out as much as the poinsettia quilting.

Doing the quilting with the embroidery machine gave me exactly the same stitch out every time, but also meant I had to put all three layers of the quilt into the embroidery hoop which isn’t easy. I also had to line up the border embroideries very carefully as there was only about a quarter inch of space on either side. Thankfully my machine has a great function for doing this fairly precisely and I didn’t mess any up.

Obligatory picture with Walter the Super Model

Obligatory picture with Walter the Super Model

I hope you enjoyed reading (or at least skimming the pictures) about this wall hanging. It was like running a marathon to get it done but I really love how it came out.

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