summer’s early end (and more embroidery)

Well, here it is again: the first day of school. I remember when I was of school age, summer vacation began at the start of June and didn’t end until the after Labor day – a full three month stretch. Now, where we live at least, it’s right around two months, which seems painfully short to me. It was a great summer this year, though. It was the first summer since Bella was 17 months old that I was able to spend it at home with her. Being home with the kids is fantastic and hard and fun and exhausting (did I mention that I’m tired?), but mostly it’s wonderful, and really is just what I have always wanted. I am extremely grateful to be here with them, and to have been able to be fully present for Bella’s summer break.

Our last little trip of the summer was to Portland, Oregon. My youngest cousin on my father’s side was married in Salem, so Bella and I took the trip up with my parents to attend the wedding and visit for a few days with family afterward. I love it up there. It’s cool and green and wide, wide open, with rivers, mountains and farms, all near the beautiful city of Portland. I have long dreamed of leaving California for someplace farther north, and this area in particular is very appealing to me.

We had wonderful visiting time with my lovely Aunt, Uncle and cousins who live up there; they are warm and generous, and so much fun. I so wish we were nearer to them so that our connection could grow deeper – they really are some of my most favorite people on Earth.

For my cousin’s wedding gift, I wanted to embroider towels like I did for Nat & Buck, but I couldn’t seem to come up with a design that I thought was appropriate. I am not at all sure of their personal tastes, since we live so far from one another and the age difference between myself and my cousin is relatively large. They had designed their wedding invitations in a very particular way though, using symbols and styles that I though must be expressive of their taste, since it was all so unique. So, not really knowing the meaning of all of the included designs, I decided to use them, in their chosen colors, on the towels instead of the usual girly stuff I would be inclined to include.

I drew the designs from the invitation at a larger scale onto tracing paper, then went over the drawings with a transfer pencil. I then used an iron to transfer them to the towels. Easy.

Though to me they’re not necessarily the prettiest towels I have ever seen, they were made with love and I hope they are meaningful to Kara & Kevin.

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sweet surprises

Yesterday we attended a backyard party celebrating the upcoming birth of a new baby girl, yet to be named. She has chosen for her parents the loveliest, most genuinely kind and full-of-love people I know. We were blessed to have been included in the lovely event, where friends and family gathered together to celebrate them and the new life they have lovingly created. Little did we know that what we had already considered to be the perfect day would be made utterly so by a surprise wedding, known ahead of time by only close family members and a few involved friends. The ceremony was gorgeous and touching and I couldn’t contain my tears of delight.

In token of my love for the beautiful couple and their sure-to-be surpassingly beautiful baby girl, I made these little booties. I love summer, and friends, and parties and surprises, and love itself… almost as much as I love baby feet.

Here’s to all those things.

I created these baby shoes using a pattern from Amy Butler’s Little Stitches for Little Ones. It has tons of awesome baby stuff in it; my little guy has a several things made from patterns found inside. If you have or know babies that you’d like to sew for, you will get so much use from this great book.

knitted scrunch scarf

I recently made this cute little scarf for Bella from a skein of soft green yarn she picked out at the craft store. It ended up being a great scarf for her to wear over the last couple of weeks, during which we have had some cooler days and even a little rain.

I adapted this pattern from Spud & Chloe, making it a little smaller overall, since it would be worn by a child. Bella wanted a button on it, so I added that as a final touch.

 

 

fox girl cross stitch

Last summer after I had back surgery, I spent several weeks in a recliner. I read a lot of books, did a ton of crossword puzzles, and I also started a cross stitch. As I searched Etsy for patterns, I happened upon this one of a fox girl. My sister, Lindsey, just happens to be marginally obsessed with foxes, and, well, she is a girl, so I thought she might like it.

I changed the colors a bit to suit my own taste, and gave the girl black hair, to match Lindsey’s.

I finished stitching months ago, but I have been fruitlessly searching for the perfect frame. I had something specific in mind, and of course couldn’t find it anywhere. Finally last week I decided that it was time to just get it done and give to her. It ended in a simple black frame with a red mat, to match her shoes.

Fox Girl Cross Stitch

Fox Girl Cross Stitch

Here is another fox gift I gave to Lindsey for her birthday a few years back.

Check out more of Marisol Spoon’s beautiful artwork on Etsy.

Girl and Fox, Mairsol Spoon

Girl and Fox, Mairsol Spoon

 

embroidered needle book

I made this needle book last week from some scrap material I had left over from a previous project. It was really simple and cost virtually nothing to make, as I used things I already had. Even if you had to go pick up a few supplies, we’re taking CHEAP.

What a sweet, handmade gift idea for the girl who likes to sew! Mother’s Day is coming up, you know.

HERE, IN A NUTSHELL, IS HOW I DID IT

  • The fabric already had a floral print, so I just outlined some of the flowers with different colored thread in varying stitches.
  • I chose an arbitrary size for the book, and then cut it out so that there would be enough fabric to line the inside and outside of the book, with a little seam allowance.
  • I first sewed the bottom (long) seam of the book, leaving the ends open, and inserted cardstock lined on either side with felt, to give the cover some padding and stiffness. I used two pieces, one each for the front and back, using a little tacky glue to hold them in place.
  • I then used soft wool felt, cut into three pieces for the pages, and sewed it onto the cover with one seam down the middle.
  • Next I sewed closed the two open sides of the cover by hand, and into the back cover I sewed in a looped rope of braided embroidery thread for the fastener.
  • Lastly, I sewed a button onto the front cover, for the loop to go around, to hold the book closed.
front cover

front cover

inside cover

inside cover

pages

pages

closure

closure

open book

open book

fun easter eggs

Last Sunday B and I spent the morning decorating eggs for Easter. It was fun, but sheesh, it took forever. There were a few glitter explosions (our kitchen is still sparkly) – we never could really figure out a good way to glitter the eggs, but the ones we did finally succeed with came out cute. I think even the mama hen might be proud.

Sprucing up the dyed eggs with yarn, string, buttons and ribbon was quicker and easier, all with the aid of a low-temp hot glue gun.

egg quartet

We decorated a shelf with the eggs, placed in these awesome polka dot holders given to me by my sweet aunt, along with some daffodils B picked from the garden and the kids’ baskets.

We’re ready for the bunny!

easter table

easter table

love, marriage & needlework

Two of my favorite people will be married next month, and the bride’s shower was yesterday. I spent last week embroidering tea towels for her, and I think they came out cute! I used transfers from Jenny Hart’s Sublime Stitching Craft Pad, which has lots of fun patters to stitch. Next I think I’ll make some of my own!

embroidered tea towels

embroidered tea towels

Nat & Buck are having their wedding in Mexico, with only a few attendees, so I won’t be present for the event. I can’t wait to see pictures of this uncommonly beautiful couple on their special day. Here are some wedding photos that are particularly special to me.

wedding day

my wedding day, 6.1.2002

lindsey & jake

my sister & brother-in-law, 8.1.2009

mom and dad

my mom and dad, 8.16.1975

Yay for love!

multi-textured button scarf

Here is a scarf I recently finished using a skein containing several different yarns tied into one. The yarn was pretty difficult to work with, and I probably won’t use it again, but I think it turned out nice in the end. I didn’t love it as just a regular scarf, so I added the button to give it a bit more of a finished look.

multi-textured scarf

multi-textured scarf

I didn’t create this pattern – it came with the yarn, which is from Coats. It really is a great one, and I plan to use it again with a different type of yarn, maybe even modified to accommodate a shawl. Here it is, in case you’d like to give it a go!

  • Using size 10 needles (6mm), cast on 34 sts
  • Row 1: K2, *P5tog (K1, P1, K1, P1, K1) all in to next st; repeat from * to last 2 sts; K2.
  • Row 2: Purl.
  • Row 3:K2, *P5tog (K1, P1, K1, P1, K1) all in to next st; repeat from * to last 2 sts; K2.
  • Row 4: Purl.
  • Row 5: *K1, yarn over 3 times; repeat from * to last st; K1.
  • Row 6: Purl, letting yo from row 5 drop off – 34 sts.
  • Repeat rows 1-6 until you’re ready to bind off (pattern calls for 45″, but I didn’t measure). Bind off after row 4.