Saturday, 4 December 2021

Painting Christmas Cards

As a devotee of  YouTube and learning new stuff, I became intrigued with watercolour painting about a month ago. A couple of my friends are quite accomplished art students and, although I didn't want to commit to any formal classes, I wanted to see what all the fuss was about.

I have never taken an art class in my life. Basic stick people are all I've ever drawn. But I became inspired by Emma Jane Lefebvre's channel and then Ellen Crimi Trent's. It motivated me to acquire some supplies and start painting. Amazon and our local art supply store, Curry's, provided the majority of my paints, brushes, and paper.

As my friends know, I like to do everything quickly so small-scale paintings on Christmas cards seemed to be very achievable. I found card stock and envelopes in my stash. Perfect! I could glue my little masterpieces to the card stock! Jeanette loaned me a bunch of card-making supplies. I used a couple of stamps.

I'm pretty pleased with how my paintings turned out. Yes, I know it's a three-legged sheep but that is what the artist created. Let's call her 'YARDley' because she only has 3 feet. (nyuk nyuk, nyuk)

This one had 4 legs, so there!
I added a little 'bling' with my HotFix tool. I did get the missing 'jewel' glue back onto the pot before sending this card out.
Curry's had these cool 4" x 6" pads of cold pressed watercolour paper that made sizing my paintings very easy. This guy makes me happy.
A roll of washi tape outlined the borders. I tried masking fluid on this snowflake. It's a latex resist that peels off once the painting is done. Kinda like drawing wax on a Ukrainian Easter egg.

I couldn't find any white acrylic craft paint in my stash so I actually had to buy some so I could flick 'snowflakes'. I also invested in a white gel pen to draw radiating beams. This snowy house goes along with my 'hygge' theme this year.
I do not have a very steady hand but still liked the effects of the different snowflake designs. A pet peeve is when people draw 8-pointed snowflakes but everyone knows they have 6 points (or multiples thereof)! 
I continue to practise painting fine lines with the very tip of my round brushes.  These little pieces are not fine art but I'm certainly having a lot of fun creating them. Most of these only took a few minutes to make.

I customarily haven't mailed Christmas cards out in several years - except perhaps to some folks who don't use email. This year, I will be handing some out to friends I get to see before the holidays and will mail some to special people. Of course, enclosed in the cards sent to folks that don't live locally and keep up with the everyday shenanigans of Skip and myself, will be our annual newsletter. We didn't do a whole heck of a lot this year, compared to our pre-COVID activities, but did somehow find lots of ways to keep ourselves occupied and entertained.

Tuesday, 30 November 2021

Another Project Done - Many More to Go

I've been working away on my Gnome Snow Globe wool felt appliqué piece these last couple of days.

I finished it last night by sewing on the holly, buttons, and blinging it up with HotFix jewels.

I only had white micro buttons which didn't look big enough for the tops of their hats. Button down collar buttons did the trick.
Things might have gone better if I'd fused the pieces down to the background but I like the 'puffiness' when they're just basted down and just stitched around the edges. My buttonhole stitching wasn't the most consistent but this is a somewhat rustic craft so the non-machine-like imprecision doesn't really detract.
The piece is almost 5" in diameter. I have at least two more kits and a panoply of patterns from the Ornament Extravaganza book I can do. In the meantime, I push ahead with Christmas preparations.

Scooter has been abroad touring various areas of Europe while working online. Last month he decided to extend his stay an extra month until December 8 but we just got word this morning that he's coming back to Canada tomorrow. Things in England with the new Omicron virus are very uncertain right now. His father and I highly approve of his decision. We'll be glad to know he got home OK.

Thursday, 25 November 2021

Gnome Snow Globe

I got all the pieces cut out and tacked down yesterday. The Buttermilk Basin Ornament Extravaganza book has great instructions and recommends 3 strands of floss if perle cotton is not being used.

I'm going to baste with thread before attempting to appliqué the edges with buttonhole stitch. The only piece missing is the holly on the gold band which I'll attach later. Then I'll sew a bunch of beads as snowflakes and embroidery sprigs of foliage and detail on the trees.

Here's a better photo of the sheep ornament taken in daylight (albeit gloomy daylight).

Skip thinks the eyes (colonial knots) look menacing.

I organized a couple of cupboards today. I needed to sense some accomplishment. There is no end to things I can busy myself with and will tackle more of them with crafting as my reward.
 

Wednesday, 24 November 2021

Wool Felt Appliqué Sheep

Yesterday Barb and I ventured up to Uxbridge to the Quilter's Cupboard. She needed fabric to finish a quilt and I was interested in getting some little buttons and perhaps some more wool felt appliqué patterns or quilts. We both came away with what we wanted.

Last night while I was Zooming with the Whitby Spinners, I was tracing wool patterns onto freezer paper and cutting out pieces. I needed to flip the images so they'd be right side around as I'd be cutting them out from the right side. When I was putting the pieces in place, I realized I needed to affix them somehow and basting stitches wouldn't cut it. I tried WonderUnder and that didn't work either so I just dabbed a bit of fabric glue to anchor the pieces. 

On the next little project from the Buttermilk Basin Ornament Extravaganza 


I used some HeatNBond. This worked pretty well and I didn't need to reverse the image.

I worked away on it during today's Zoom chat with my crafty friends and got a lot done. I finished the little sheep ornament just now.

On the back I used some fusible batting,
and #5 Ecru perle cotton for a hanger.
This was my practice piece for the blanket stitch around the edges. I now will tackle the gnome snow globe that I got cut out and ready to stitch. It came as a complete kit with all the required wool pieces.


One thing I prefer about the patterns in the book is they indicate where extra felt should be cut out which will tuck under and adjacent piece. Those indications aren't in the line drawings in the individual patterns purchased separately.

Monday, 22 November 2021

Lots of Little Things

I got the ornament for our guild's ornament exchange fully finished today. I can't show the front but will give you a sneak peak at the back.

I was given a bunch of 2020 charms last January which inspired me to order some 2021 charms for this year. They come in packs of 100 so I've been handing them out to lots of folks since then, I've already ordered charms for 2022.

I finished another ornament this afternoon. I can show this one.

I've had it stitched for months. I used beads for the stars, HotFix jewels for the snowflakes, and a gold star button.

The cording is the same floss colour as the windows and the stitched stars. Basically I measure out the length that I want with all 6 plies of floss and multiply it by 6 or 8 - depending on how thick I want the cording. This cording was 8 - 6 ply strands.

I didn't have any fabric that matched the dark terra cotta but I did have fabric with the same colours left over from placemats and napkins I made a couple of years ago.

I painted more Christmas cards and attached HotFix jewels to them this evening. It took a while because they're itty bitty. Next step will be to crop the artwork and glue it onto card blanks. I had a pack of 25 card blanks and envelopes in my stash. Then I will start some Christmas baking.

During my Monday morning stitcher's Zoom chat I started this week's blackwork SAL flower - dogwood (bottom left). I finished it shortly thereafter.
I have 5 flowers to catch up on. Then there will be two more weeks and we'll be done! I have enjoyed the weekly installments but probably won't FFO the piece. Instead, I'll select another blackwork project that interests me. Which reminds me, I still have the faux sashiko piece to work on.

Sunday, 21 November 2021

Hygge*

I ordered the Hygge full kit from Evertote a couple of weeks ago. It came last week.  

* Hygge [pronounced hoo-ga (with a hard 'g')] is the Danish art of coziness, health and happiness. I just checked my local library and there are several books (audio and print) on the subject.

The fabric on the project bag shows a wintery scene of Scandiavian-style houses.


The lining is starry.


The house charm was attached to the ribbon that had the contents beautifully wrapped in tissue paper. I'm using it as a zipper pull.
Caroline also includes a little pouch in coordinating fabric.
Inside, is the Moonshine Cabin pattern designed by Jacob de Graaf of Modern Folk Embroidery,

and the Leo and Roxy flosses. There is also the exclusive Hygge needle minder. The little antler floss piece is holding the little bit of red floss that is required - just not enough to warrant a whole skein.
There were several options of fabric. I chose the 36ct so I (hopefully) will only have to use 1 thread to stitch over 2. 

I will start it soon. I doubt I'll get it all stitched before the end of the year. My idea is to use my HotFix tool and adhere jewels on all the single 'star' spots.

This collaborative kit is an exclusive from Evertote. There's still time to order one. The pattern can also be ordered on its own, with or without the flosses.

Evertote's CEO, Caroline, is also the organizer of StitchNorth, a big stitching retreat that will take place next April 1 - 3, 2022 in Brampton ON. It was supposed to happen September 2020 but because of COVID, it had to be cancelled. It was hoped it could be held last April (2021) but we were still under a lot of restrictions in Ontario. We have to be double-vaxxed (and hopefully also have the booster shot) to attend and all provincial and local COVID protocols will be observed which may include wearing a mask any time we're not seated. The registration is $145CAD + tax and does not include hotel or meals other than the pizza party on the Friday night. Folks on the first waiting list got accommodated. There may be a new waiting list. Contact hannah@evertote.com if you're interested in registering.

Our embroidery guild has an ornament exchange every December. We picked the names via a secret Santa app last month. 

I've had the ornament stitched for months. Truth be told, I had several FOd ornaments to choose from. For some reason it's been bugging me that I hadn't FFOd it. Today I got it finished except for gluing the cording around the edge. Glad to have that off my list of things to do.

I have so many crafty things I want to do. Christmas is coming. The tree is going to go up at the beginning of December and all the festive decorations will follow. I have several boxes of Christmas stuff I don't even bother to put out anymore that I need to go through and set aside to donate for someone else's decorating next Christmas. Bit by bit, stuff is getting sorted and organized but I have a long way to go before I'll be finished.

On Friday Marilyn and I went over to Jeanette's to check out some of her collections (buttons, stamping supplies) and organized some of her flosses, etc. It was a thoroughly enjoyable day - so nice to spend time in person with like-minded folks. We have been meeting twice a week on Zoom for over a year but actually meeting in person was so nice.

On Tuesday morning some of us are meeting up at the Quilter's Cupboard to peruse the wool felt and fabrics. I do not need anything and have not even touched the fabrics and kits I purchased there a couple of months ago but I'm always up for crafty shopping with friends.


Friday, 12 November 2021

Tiny Sweaters, etc.

I've been watching Arne and Carlos' Sit and Knit for a Bit videos on YouTube. They're getting ready for Christmas and have designed another 24 Christmas balls and 24 Advent Christmas Mini Nordic Jumpers. The patterns are for sale on their website and they'll reveal daily in December. They have released the entire 2021 Christmas ball pattern already. I spent an entire evening adapting the large ball patterns to smaller ones - the size of the mini balls from last year - using cross-stitch software. Yes, it works for knitting, too.

I liked the idea of Christmas sweaters but didn't want to get involved with knitting them. In the past, I've knit lots of Christmas balls and advent mittens.


I really enjoyed Arne and Carlos' recent video on how they met. The kickoff to their great success happened when a stylish Norwegian newscaster wore one of their sweaters on air. All of a sudden everyone wanted to know what fashion house they were from. It was surprising to know that all this talent didn't come from Oslo but a converted train station high on a mountain in central Norway. It was a very sweet and interesting episode.

On one of the Facebook knitting groups, someone posted pics of tiny Christmas sweaters they had knit. The pattern is Tiny Sweaters by Malia Mae Joseph. I was inspired and quickly knit a couple of them.
I still need to embroider on the red one and possibly create little coat hangers. It's a free pattern on Ravelry and there are others as well.

My attention span is very short these days so I appreciate being able to whip up a project quickly and move on.

I stitched last week's Steady Thread SAL flower - Dutch Iris.
I downloaded this week's last night. It's narcissus but I will stitch them like daffodils.

I was commissioned to make three project bags for Jeanette. I have one completed 

and the fabric for the second one prepped and ready to cut. 
The William Morris fabric by Moda is beautiful. I sure wish I had been aware of it last year when it was widely available. I would have bought a bunch for myself.

I installed our new Samsung TV yesterday. I can certainly understand why technophobes get so frustrated. I had to Google how to raise and lower the volume on the light-powered (solar or indoor) remote control with no number pad. I also got a couple of apps installed on it that weren't already programmed so Skip can watch The Red Zone on DAZN on Sunday afternoons for 7 hours. It's the male equivalent of 'Happy wife, happy life'. 

More has been done on Token of Fall. The greens and dark blue are silk threads. The rest are DMC.

It's another gorgeous, sunny day and I can hear a neighbour's incessant leaf-blowing. I'm going to head outside and get some Vitamin D.

Happy weekend, y'all!