Friday, January 18, 2013

Hand stitchin in 2012

I've come to realize that I need to make or at least work on something creative everyday, otherwise I just feel off.  I don't have to sit down and make up a masterpiece everyday, but having little projects I can work on for 20 minutes is my own little way of relaxing and centering myself. 

Embroidery and cross stitch is a great craft for just those types of relaxing crafting, I can just grab my projects bag and sit and stitch away for 10 minutes or an hour while watching a bit of tv and just shove it back in the bag until next time, no muss, no fuss. I taught myself to cross stitch this year, after long admiring my friends prolific cross stitching skillz on a lovely baby blanket for my oldest, I thought I would give it a try myself. I attempted three projects, have finished two, and gave away the first without taking any photos. Typical me. 

This is my second attempt, a little scene of the tenth doctor and his TARDIS. I stitched this up over our summer beach trip, and I was reminded that cross stitching takes FOREVER! 

I think I figured out the TARDIS took me something like 8 hours to stitch up, which seems crazy, I am either a very slow stitcher or it is just an incredibly tedious craft. I had started another TARDIS with a pattern I bought on Etsy, but 4 hours in I just wasn't feeling the outcome to effort ratio and scrapped the whole thing. Also typical me. I appreciate the look and skill of cross stitch, and I'm happy to have a (very) basic knowledge to put in my toolbox, but I think it's safe to say it will always be the second fiddle to embroidery. I actually spent quite a bit of time embroidering this year, even though I can't seem to find much to show for my efforts to share. This year I will take pictures of things before I send them out into the world! 

One of my first big projects this year was this Mermaid embroidery, from little dear. It has been saved in my etsy favorites forever and I finally caved and bought it to make for a present for a family member, then decided I couldn't part with it, and it currently resides in the girls room. 
This was my first (and only) attempt at crayon tinting, and while I am usually not a huge fan of it, I think it was necessary for the pattern and looks pretty good.   

I made this little crafty hoop for my first swap on Craftster, and it was a great experience and a lot of fun to make something with a stranger in mind.  The theme of the swap was words, and I chose this from the list and drew up a little embroidery hoop and finished it with a little needle stuck through the fabric. Nothing mind blowing I know, but I worked hard to keep my stitches as nice as possible since I was sending it out in the world to be judged.  

Fresh off the heels of that swap I stitched up the last two, a cute little saying and image stolen directly from Pinterest, and probably should have used a quieter background fabric, but oh well, I still like it! It was actually my first time using anything but white background fabric and I think I went a bit overboard. For some reason making the leap to nontraditional background fabric has been challenging for me, I think I over think it.  

Then, there was a stitch along over at Follow the White Bunny that I said I was going to join, so I stitched up my piece and never said a word about it until now! She does some really amazing shading work and the tutorial is really good, even if my little cloud isn't the best example. I think I just need more practice. Shading is also another sneakily time consuming job, but once you get as good as Nicole it is worth every moment! As soon as I loaded up the piece in the hoop the youngest grabbed my little cloud and went and hung it up high on a nail in their room to enjoy, and there it has been hanging until I temporarily liberated it for it's yearbook photo.  It is super tiny, 3" I think the smallest thing I have made yet.

I know I have more pieces of embroidery laying around in various stages of completion that I can't seem to find, including the whole chorus this song that just needs to be framed and hung, but I decided I'd better get these up before time completely passes me by and it's 2014 already. 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Great Plans for 2013

Is everyone having a great year so far? I've spent the past two days hanging out with the family, going to the movies, eating pizza and frozen yogurt and sewing. If only every day this year could be so enjoyable! I'm not the type of person to heap on New Years resolutions but I find myself at the start of every year looking forward and thinking of what I want to accomplish, and how I could improve during the year. I am a very scatterbrained person and so many little important things seem to fall by the wayside when they are not right at the front of my mind, so for fun and posterity sake I have decided to write down a few goals I have been thinking about setting this week. 
Here goes!

  • Document my life better (take more pictures, blog, scrapbook, etc.)--  I live a pretty interesting, full life with my family, but you would never know it because I never show it. Which made all the worse because I have a terrible memory, and the days go by so fast I don't want to be standing around in 15 years with grown up children and few memories of our times together. I need to get out that camera, write stupid blog posts that no one will read about our fantastic days at the beach, and get caught up on the girls scrapbooks before it's too far gone and I can't remember the details behind the pictures. 

  • Work that camera-- When I was in college I took a photography class that sparked a love of taking pictures.  For a long while it was my main outlet of creativity (this was before I realized how fundamentally important having a creative outlet was to my sanity) and the class taught me all about working my 1970's SLR camera, aperture and exposure and even developing my own film. Then after a few years I splurged and got a fancy canon DSLR, and within 2 months everything I learned about manually taking a picture floated out of my brain.  So to go hand in hand with better documenting my life, I need to brush up on the basic skills, I am so tired of all of my pictures looking like snapshots as opposed to thoughtful photographs. 

  • Blog once a week--  Are we seeing a theme here? If this is to be a craft blog, then I need to blog my freaking crafts. Not a week goes by that I don't make something, so why do months go by without a post about it? I usually make something (awesome, of course) and then wait to get the perfect conditions to take a picture of it, so THEN I can blog it. But those perfect conditions are hard to find. Sunlight (in dark Oregon) for a good shot, having both clean AND willing children to model things, I just need to get it done. Be prepared for dirty children and terrible camera phone pictures! 

  • Decorate those walls-- We have lived in our house for over 4 years now, and almost everything hanging on the walls was put up the first 6 months we moved in. I have a lovely little gallery of frames hanging in the wall by the kitchen table that still have the stock photgraphs in them of happy strangers. These frames have been hanging for AT LEAST 3 YEARS.  I am not a details person, but even still, that is pretty unbelievable. So, get some new pictures up, woman! Also, I desperatley want some large art to hang in the living room and hallways (oh, my sad hallways!) so I've already started researching some projects to get up there and enjoy. I really hope I follow through on this one. 

  • Put some more stuff in my Etsy shop and see if I can sell it--  Pretty self explanatory, I don't want a full time job, but it would be awesome to find something I enjoy making and bring a little something back, for all that I leave at the fabric shops. ;)

  • Love my family and be the best mother/wife I can--  I put this last not because it is least important, but because if you are still reading you won't mind if I get a little mushy. For a person who thinks her family is her greatest gift, it definitely wouldn't kill me to be a bit more patient all around, pack a few more lunches for my husband and play a couple more UNO games with the kids. And go to the park more. And read just one more book before bed. And let them play with the glue and glitter even though I know it is just going to end up everywhere and be a big mess for me to clean up. So what. 


    Alright! So, hot on the heels of all those goals, my mini goal is to go around and take some pictures of all the crap I've made this year and never photographed, and slap it up here on the blog. Well, that is probably a bit too ambitious, but I will aim to take pictures of most things, since I know there would be several I would miss or forget, and I don't want to start off as a failure already. Now excuse me, I have to go find my camera, dust it off, and charge it up!