Friday, December 31, 2010

Linda's Review of Tiny Treasured Diamond Holiday Cardinal Embellished Ornament Kit by Mill Hill


I've always wanted to try beading and have admired beautiful crazy quilt creations with beading and ornaments created with beading for a long time.

I've also admired goddess dolls and have wanted to try my hand at creating some of the beautiful beaded goddess dolls that I've seen.  Back in 2009 when I wrote about the goddess dolls in a Linda's Blog post entitled "Why Not Be Adventuresome?" and "My Goddess Doll Adventure So Far!" I was hoping to have some time to create some of them.  Unfortunately, I haven't been able to do so as of yet.  I'm still hoping that maybe this year I will find just a smidgen of time.

I was first introduced into beaded ornaments many, many years ago when a colleague at work brought in some of the beaded tree ornaments she had made and was selling. She had some large blue beaded ornaments like those shown in the picture below and some smaller white beaded ornaments like those shown in the 2nd picture below. So, I bought three of the large blue ones and 3 of the smaller white ones.  They quickly became some of my favorite Christmas tree ornaments.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Linda's Review of M'Lady's Chateau - Dimensions Gold Collection Cross-Stitch Kit


If I told you that I had spent over 250 hours on a cross-stitch picture you'd probably think I was nuts. However,  if you're a follower of my The Book Review Corner blog you already know that I love needlecraft's.  So, spending 250+ hours on a cross-stitch might not be hard to imagine.

I did spend that much time on one cross-stitch during the last few months and I'd do it again as the cross-stitch picture (shown in the picture above and shown framed in the picture below) is absolutely stunning.  If you click on both images you can view an enlarged version of the picture.

To give you a little background on why I would do this, back in July I wrote a Linda's Blog post about my pressed flower pictures entitled "My Pressed Flower Pictures - Now That's A Great Idea!"  In that post I told you about a large pressed flower picture I had made that was hanging in our master bedroom and, sadly, was fading which meant it needed to be replaced.

Well, my husband thought a needlepoint picture like the one I had done in the dining room but much bigger would be nice. I wrote about this needlepoint picture awhile ago in a Linda's Blog post entitled "Needlecraft Picture From A Decade Ago - Or So!"

So, since our house is filled with dolls and pictures of buildings & houses I thought a cross-stitch Victorian scene might be just the thing. So, I set out to find some large cross-stitch kits that would be suitable.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Pumpkin Patch Penny Rug From Lakeview Primitives



I just LOVE creating with wool felt. Whether it's an ornament, a pillow, a wall-hanging, or a penny rug - I just LOVE it.

I was introduced to penny rugs during a shopping trip with my Mom to Sturbridge many, many years ago. There were several wonderful primitives shops out there that we liked to visit who carried primitive doll kits, wool felt kits, punchneedle kits, and penny rug kits.

One store in particular specialized in wool fabric. And, boy, did they have wool fabric. Some of the most beautiful wool fabric you'd ever want to see. And, boy, was it EXPENSIVE.

This store, in particular, would put together wool fabric bundles, maybe 10-15 wool pieces per bundle. I just loved looking at the color combination's and would imagine what I could make out of them. Then, my Mother would snap me back to reality by turning the price tag over. YIKES! Beautiful wool is expensive. Alas, all I could do was dream and save my pennies.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

I Redesigned My "The Book Review Corner" Blog and I LOVE IT!


Well, I've gone and updated my "The Book Review Corner" blog once again.  If you're wondering what I did and why - let me explain.

I changed it from a four column blog to a 2-3 column blog with multiple sections.

Now, why did I do it?  Well, for a couple of reasons.

The first has to do with my basic desire - to play.  That is - I love to experiment and change things.  And, when it comes to trying new things on the web - well, I just LOVE to play.

This time I was playing with Blogger.com's new templates.  And, I found one I just loved so I decided I would try it out on  "The Book Review Corner" blog.

Now I know that I changed "The Book Review Corner's" blog template not that long ago.  I changed it from a two column blog to a 4 column blog.  But, in looking at it over the last few months I thought 4 columns was just too busy.  Too much to look at all at once with your eyes having to move all over the screen.

So, I thought a more simplified blog template was in order and, to my pleasant surprise, Blogger.com rolled out their new template designs around the same time.   So, of course, I had to try them out and tinker with them.

The template I altered to fit my blogs' needs looks like a two column template initially, but it has multiple sections to the sidebar and multiple sections to the footnotes.  So, I can have a sidebar that has three gadgets sections to it that I can add things to.  And, one of those gadget sections is a two-column gadget sidebar all by itself.

Plus, the footnotes are is similar to the sidebar in that it also has multiple gadgets sections and one of those is also a two-column gadget section.

There are also gadget sections for tabs at the top, gadgets under the header, and gadgets following the post.

All in all, it is very versatile and I love it.

I hope you like my new design.  Hopefully, I won't be changing it for awhile.

Unless, of course, something new comes along and I just have to play!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

I Forgot I Had These!

I'm not exactly sure why I was rummaging through all the bags of craft projects waiting to be finished in my basement the other day. But, I was.

I had gone down there looking for some of the primitive doll kits I had put together.  So, instead of just looking through the bags with the primitive dolls - I, of course, started looking through all the bags.  And, there are lots of them.  Winter dolls - waiting to be completed.  Summer dolls - waiting to be completed.  Halloween dolls - waiting to be created, etc. 

Now you might be wondering what I'm talking about with all the bags.  I have tons of doll patterns with their respective pattern pieces already cut-out and stored as a kit - waiting to be sewn.

You see, I'm very organized and  I never do anything in moderation.  When I'm designing doll patterns I design many of them.  When I'm cutting out fabric for patterns I want to make, I cut many of them.  When I'm sewing dolls, I sew all of the ones I've cut out.  This approach saves me a lot of time but, this approach leaves me with many, many patterns saved as kits - waiting to be finished.

Do I have a lot of kits in bags downstairs - well, YES!  Too many actually - which is a little foolish as I don't know when I'll get the time to finish them all. 

Well, while rummaging through the bags, to my amazement I found several books that I had forgotten I had. When exactly I bought them, I don't remember. It must have been on one of my book shopping trips.

In any event, they're now amongst all the craft books slotted to be reviewed.

Here's the books I forgot I had:

Its All About Cards And Tags (Leisure Arts #3623)
Fresh Felt Flowers: 17 Stunning Flowers to Sew & Display [With Patterns]
Do-It-Yourself Framed Quilts: Fast, Fun & Easy Projects
Hats In Miniature
Little Traditional Quilts

Of course, after looking at some of the books I thought - some of the projects shown would really be fun to make. Now, if I could just find the time. Oh, well - I'll add these nooks to my pile of "Books To Be Reviewed!"

When exactly I'll get these reviewed - well, that is the great unknown. But, I hope to do so soon.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Just How Many Cross-Stitch Kits Did You Buy!

You might have noticed in my previous post entitled "Cross-Stitch Kits I Bought This Spring" that I bought quite a few kits. What I didn't tell you in that post was I actually bought many, many more than that.

I can imagine what you're thinking (she's nuts!) but, I didn't buy them just because I'm obsessed with cross-stitch - I actually had a purpose in mind. The problem was I couldn't decide which cross-stitch kit I wanted for this particular purpose and then when I was looking at all the kits I found others that I just had to have.

So, I ended up buying nine other kits. Five were for the purpose I had in mind and four were because I just had to make them. Actually for the latter it's probably more because they were either Victorian, houses, or just plain cute.

By now you must be wondering what purpose I had in mind that would cause me to buy so many other cross-stitch kits. Well, I was trying to find a large Victorian cross-stitch picture that I could make to replace a large picture hubby and I had hanging in our bedroom. The large picture that is hanging there is a pressed flower collage I had created years ago.

As with everything I seem to do there is a story behind the collage. I have been in love with flowers and cut flowers since I was a little girl. My favorite flowers to plant and cut to make a floral arrangement were and still are dahlia's. The bigger the better. So, when it came time for me to decide what to plant in my perennial gardens I wanted to plant all sorts of flowers including dahlia's.

I've always been amazed by the sheer beauty of flowers and wanted to find a way to keep them forever. I decided I should try my hand at pressing them and then creating floral collages out of them. So, over a decade ago I decided to dry some of the beautiful flowers I had in my perennial gardens and embarked on pressing hundreds of them over the course of one summer.

To press them I used old telephone books, paper towels, and bricks. First I laid paper towel on the back pages of a phone book and then laid the flowers on top of the paper towel until the page was filled. Then I laid another paper towel on top of the flowers and then flipped several of the phone book pages on top of that.

Then I laid another paper towel on the new section, more flowers, another piece of paper towel, and flipped more pages of the phone book on that until I had completely filled the phone book up. Then I laid a brick on the front cover of the phone book and set it aside for the pressed flowers to dry.

When they were completely dry I arranged them into a dried floral collage which I glued to a large piece of press board. Then I matted it and framed it and hung it in my bedroom.

Well, several decades later some of the pressed flowers have browned and the color has faded from most of the flowers. Hubby thought it was time to change it and suggested that perhaps I might find a cross-stitch picture that would fit the bill.

So, I immediately thought of some of the beautiful Victorian scenes I had seen from time to time in several cross-stitch kits. Of course, my problem was I loved all of them and couldn't choose. Plus, I wasn't quite sure exactly which ones would be big enough for the picture. So, I bought all the ones I liked and thought might do the trick.

Here's what I bought for the Victorian picture I had in mind:

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Cross-Stitch Kits I Bought This Spring

Sometimes I think I've become obsessed with cross-stitch.  I don't know why I should be as whenever I start a cross-stitch project I do nothing but curse counting stitches.  I almost always get lost in the diagrams and end up finishing a row  or column ahead of where I should be.  Then I have to rip it all out and re-do my stitching.

But, when I come to the end of the cross-stitch I'm always pleased at the results.  On the other hand, my brother usually isn't happy when he knows how many cross-stitch or craft projects I'm working on for gift giving.  The reason is because it inevitably ends up being work for him. You see I love to finish my cross-stitch in wood shadowboxes and I need him to help me make them.

Actually, I think he complains just to put on a show - he really does love working on the projects with me.  And, I love working in his shop.  It's really amazing.

In any event, I bought a few (well, make that many) cross-stitch kits this Spring.  In fact, based upon the list below you might say I went a little overboard! Ya think!

Here's what I bought:

Thursday, January 7, 2010

More Punchneedle Kits Made And Reviewed In 2009



Like everything I do I never do anything in moderation. Instead of just creating a couple of punchneedle and cross-stitch kits to give as Christmas presents I created 30 or more. As a result I had more than I needed to give as presents. Was this intentional? Maybe!

Then again, maybe not! Maybe I'm so highly organized that I knew I would need some in the future. Anticipating the future? Maybe! Then again, maybe not!

In any event I ended up with more shadowboxes than I needed. The punch needle pine tree shown above was created based upon a "Pine Tree" pattern kit by Rachael T. Pellam of Rachael's of Greenfield that I added a dark green, burgundy and white sponge painted wood shadowbox frame to. This pattern included detailed instructions and tips for punchneedle as well as an iron-on transfer sheet that you had to iron on to the foundation cloth which was included in the kit.  It also included a piece of paper with the DMC floss numbers printed on it and each of the floss strands grouped by color tied to a punched out square next to it's respective DMC floss number.  It did not include a diagram with the detailed numbers on it but included a listing on the back of the pattern indicating which DMC floss numbers were to be used and where.


I also found a wonderful punch needle pattern by Linda Coleman of Jeremiah Junction called "Folksy Sheep" that I liked.  As with my other punchneedle projects I decided to add a sponged painted wood shadowbox frame.  I wanted the frame to appear like the sky so I sponge painted it royal blue, light blue, and white.

The pattern and instructions were easy to follow and the diagram was well laid out and easy to read. The pattern included the pre-printed weavers cloth.

What I also really liked about the Jeremiah Junction pattern was that it not only included a diagram with the colored DMC floss numbers but included a picture colored with the DMC floss colors and a table that included a small square of the DMC floss color and it's respective DMC, ANC, or JPC floss number.    The kit included reverse pre-printed fabric, DMC floss, and pattern with instructions.  The design was printed on the reverse side of the fabric and you work on the reverse side when punching to create the image on the front side.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Cross-Stitch and Punchneedle Kits That I Made As Gifts For Family - Christmas 2009



I just love surprising family members with handmade gifts for Christmas and did so again this year.  And, of course, almost all of the gifts were some of my cross-stitch and punchneedle shadow boxes that I've blogged about previously. I just had such a wonderful time finishing all the punchneedle  and cross-stitch kits that I had bought in the Spring. 

Several of my family members love birds and gardening and several are into primitive crafts and primitive decor. Luckily I was able to find some punchneedle kits and cross-stitch kits that fit the bill. And, of course, I enlisted the help of my younger brother and his astonishing workshop to help me build my shadowboxes.

In a previous post on my Linda's Blog I had mentioned that I had a lot of problems with the first cross-stitch I attempted to do and named it the "cross-stitch from hell!"  My sister loves cardinals and the Adirondacks and I had found the cross-stitch kit shown above which was "Christmas In The Adirondacks" from Dimensions The Gold Collection and thought she might love it.

It was the first cross-stitch I had tried in at least twenty years and probably should have started with something a little less difficult.  I have to admit I found it difficult to keep track of where I was stitching on the the blank fabric versus the chart.  The pattern includes a chart that has color coded symbols that refer back to the respective keys.

Monday, January 4, 2010

"Santa Ornaments" Mary Engelbreit #85310 Plaid From Bucilla



Besides all the punchneedle and cross-stitch shadowbox presents I created for Christmas 2009 I decided to create some wool felt ornaments and bought several wool felt kits to do so.

One of the wool felt ornaments kits I bought was Mary Engelbreit Santa Ornaments Felt Appliqué Kit (6-1/4" x 5") - Set Of 6. The "Santa Ornaments kit contained pre-printed felt, cotton floss, needles, beads abd embellishments,  and instructions to make six hand felted Santa ornaments.

What I loved about the pre-printed felt pieces was that each was sequentially numbered and this number was stamped on the felt pieces where it was to be sewn. So you could easily follow from the sequentially numbered pattern piece to the stamped felt piece it was to be sewn to and to the instructions.

The instructions were multi-lingual and were easy to follow. They also contained pictorial diagrams for creating the various stitched that were to be used to create the ornaments. The ornaments were completely handsewn.

Here's my results:

Saturday, January 2, 2010

I Really Wanted To Try Needle Felting and Penny Rug Felting - I Loved It!


I decided last year that I wanted to try needle felting and penny rug felting  with wool felt as it seemed like everyone was having so much fun with it this year. I don't mean wet needle felting where you are actually creating a needle felted object from the wet felt. I'm just not that adventuresome!

Penny rug felting involves using pieces of wool felt hand-sewn in a decorative pattern using a blanket stitch or other embroidered stitch to create a miniature rug that is hung as a decoration or used as a tablecloth.

Needle felting is similar to penny rug felting only it also includes using roving that is punched into the wool felt to create part of the decoration. Decorative pieces created of this nature are usually primitive in design and created for a primitive decor.

Here you take a piece of wool felt and place it over a needle felt mat. Then you take a bunch of the roving and using the needle felt tool you keep punching the roving into the wool felt piece until you get the desired effect that you want.

Wool penny rugs started out as coin shaped decorations stitched together from scraps of fabric.  According to Wikipedia.com: In the 1800s, starting around the time of the Civil War, thrifty homemakers would use scraps of wool or felted wool from old clothing, blankets and hats to create designs for mats or rugs. Using coins as templates, they created circles and each piece was then stitched in blanket stitch fashion. (Thus, the name "penny" rug). Sometimes, the mats or rugs were backed with old burlap bags or feed sacks. Sometimes a penny was stitched inside the mat to make it lie flat.

Penny rugs and needle felted wool decorations are very popular with the "primitive" home decorating community.  They are no longer rugs for the floors but have developed into all sorts of decorations for ones home. 

I started with three wool felt kits where one was a penny rug type decoration that needed to have some sheep and tree decorations needle felted. The other two kits were more like wool felt embroidery kits to create primitive wool decorations which could be hung on a wall or placed on a table top.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Punchneedle Fun With Dimensions Holiday Friends Ornaments Kit #73244 and Dimensions Santa's Presents Kit #73410



I just love BRIGHT, COLORFUL creations like the punchneedle cubes that I made in the picture above. I made them this spring and summer with the hopes of giving them away as Christmas presents this year.

However, as with everything I make, I fell in love with them and my selfish side took over and decided not to give all of them away. Maybe I'll hold on to them for a little while and them give them away next year. Who knows?

I didn't keep all of them.  I did give the blue Santa in the left top cube and the turquoise blue Santa in the middle cube on the bottom row away.   My twin grandsons will get to enjoy them now.  Actually, it's my daughter-in-law who will really enjoy them.  She just loves handmade crafts.