Wednesday, April 25, 2018

out with my Flickr account and in with the Share Photos page

By way of an underwhelming announcement, I've deleted my Flickr account. You might be thinking, "What's Flickr?"

Exactly. It's been many moons since I've uploaded or checked in with my photo groups. Years ago, they were a great way for us folks to show each other what we were making with mmmcrafts patterns and tutorials. It was great while it lasted, but I don't want to continue paying for a service that I no longer personally use. 

To replace the Flickr photo groups, there's a new SHARE PHOTOS page on the blog (also there's a new button for it in the nav ^up there at the top) explaining how to share and tag your photos for several popular apps. Tag me, please! I really love to see what you make!

(BTW, with the exception of the peonies and the shot of my studio, the photos you see up there are all from other talented mmmakers! You can search #mmmcrafts on Instagram to see more, as well as #twelvedaysornaments.)

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Floresita's 12 Months of Christmas - a Twelve Days Ornaments stitch-along on Feeling Stitchy

Interested in a Twelve Days Ornaments stitch-along? Lovely and talented Floresita is hosting one on Feeling Stitchy called Twelve Months of Christmas. Follow along to get inspiration and share your ornament progress too. Floresita is using alternate stitching (couching!) and adding sparkle with beads and metallic threads. Her ornaments are going to be beautiful!

New to the Twelve Days Ornament Series? This page is chock-full of tips and information to help you get started.

Friday, March 2, 2018

baby molly's floral felt banner

My dear friends Marc and Amanda adopted a beautiful newborn girl recently. I helped throw a shower for them and this banner was a present from me. A few years ago I made a paper name banner for their older son, Micah, so when they requested a name banner for new little Molly I decided to do felt for a change.

I think name banners are satisfyingly easy and fun to sew, especially if you are like me and have illustration software and can print directly to Sulky Stick n Stitch*. Skidoosh! Not only do name banners make easy handmade, personalized gifts, (#forthewin, #oohahhfactor) they also double as pretty shower decorations.

*Why/how did I used the Stick n Stitch and not freezer paper? I used it just as a quick, no tracing way to adhere the printed pattern to the felt, cut it out, and then I peeled it away. I did this in stages so as not to waste the stabilizer. I adhered the composite printed pattern to the cream. Cut. Peeled it off, adhered the same piece to the colored felt. Cut. Peeled it off. Adhered what was left to the letter felt. Cut. Peeled it off. It saved a lot of freezer paper tracing. I didn't feel bad about using it that way because it was from my stash of 'bad' stabilizer -- the batch of stabilizer that doesn't wash away. There's no other way to use it. Not to mention I was kind of in a hurry. But to be honest, I'd do it again, bad batch or no. It was a huge time saver.

Sizewise, Molly's banner is fairly large, with each flag being about 7 x 9 inches and total length about 76 inches from ribbon end to ribbon end:

Here it is where I hung it for the shower - over my couch. I also recommend waiting until the night before the shower to sew yours, just to add that extra bit of excitement and danger! (#2am #woolfeltavalanche #sleepisforquitters)

Designing it was pretty fun (I did not do that on the night before, at least). I looked around on the internet for some images and decided I liked this notched shape for the flags. Then I tested out a few fonts 'til I landed on one that had presence and was not too complicated to cut and sew. The felt colors I chose coordinate with Molly's nursery decor.

It seemed wasteful to use wool felt for the cream colored background that's only seen at the edges, so I bought sheets of acrylic craft felt from the store for that, and then the rest of the banner (including the letters) is wool felt. Bad decision in hindsight. After struggling mightily with the cheap cream stuff I remembered why I despise acrylic felt. It's too lightweight. It bunched, stretched, frayed, stuck too much to the stabilizer, didn't stick enough to the glue, walked away under the machine foot and was a general pain to work with. Next time I make one of these I'll try the stiffened felt for the backgrounds or just give up and use wool.

I did not initially plan to have the charcoal outline around the letters. I added that later because it needed a little oomph, and also to tie in the black centers of the anemone flowers. OK, the flowers!

If you look around on Pinterest you will realize there are one million felt flower tutorials out there. I tried a few of them for a rose, anemone and whatever that loopy poof thing is supposed to be. Chrysanthemum? After figuring out the best sizes by trial and error, I customized some templates for myself on the computer. I found the key to nice looking flower petals and leaves is not to leave them as flat pieces. You have to add curve by snipping and overlapping the ends. Hot glue was used to put the flowers together. I have a love/hate relationship with hot glue. Love the immediacy. Hate the inevitable burns caused by my apparent lack of common sense (the basic disconnect of brain cautioning hey, that's hot, you probably shouldn't pinch it with your fing-- as fingers make contact with sticky lava. Again.)

Now that I have all the kinks worked out, templates made, and know what I'm doing, bring on the baby showers and birthday parties! I'd love to try the letters or flags in a pretty print fabric also, and maybe another font.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

new notions kit for Twelve Days offered at Benzie Design

Photo courtesy of Benzie Designs

Hey, guys! You may have noticed I've been flying under the radar since the release of the last Twelve Days ornament. I've been busy catching up on the mountain of tasks that have been sorely neglected over the past few months during the design and release of the last three patterns. And besides that, I actually designed and sewed something that was not a Christmas ornament! And I used my sewing machine. It was like, hello, old friend!

Anyway, I'll blog that later, but wanted to pop in and let you know about the notions kit you see above that is being offered at Benzie Design. It is tailor made for my Twelve Days Ornament Series and includes many of the materials (besides felt) that are required to make the ornaments, all in one place: Tacky Glue®, interfacing, Sulky stabilizer, pipe cleaners, wood beads, embroidery needles, and more! Check it out. BTW, if you find the kit is sold out, you can still shop the individual items on their website.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

curated Benzie felt color guide for Lord a-Leaping ornaments

All three of my Lords a-Leaping you see above were made with the Benzie felt bundle #6, shown below. It's the same felt color bundle as you use for Goose a-Laying. I've provided this felt and floss color guide so you can make samples that look like mine. Of course, there are even more color combos possible with this bundle, but I just made three.

Photo courtesy of Benzie Design

You can purchase just the Benzie bundle #6 felt as shown above, or you can opt to include matching flosses, shown below. Matching flosses are needed when you are sewing the parts of the ornaments together, but just note you will still need to purchase contrasting floss colors for the embroidery.

So without further ado, here are the samples with their felt and floss keys:

His Periwinkle Lordship:

Periwinkle: heart front, sleeves and coat
Blue: heart inset, boots
Copper: vest
Coral: heart back (not shown), body and legs
Fuchsia: hat
Icicle: cravat and lace cuffs

Decorative Embroidery:
DMC 3753
DMC 918
DMC 718
DMC 892
DMC 3753
DMC 918
DMC 718
DMC 892
DMC 796
DMC 809

His Fuchsia Lordship:

Fuchsia: heart inset, sleeves and coat
Cotton Candy: heart front, body, and legs
Coral: vest and heart back (not shown)
Copper: boots
Aqua: hat
Icicle: cravat and lace cuffs

Decorative Embroidery:
DMC White
DMC 3846
DMC 3844 (dashed line)
DMC 892
DMC 605
DMC White
DMC 3846
DMC 605
DMC 918
DMC 718

His Cyan Lordship:

Cyan: heart inset, sleeves and coat
Aqua: heart front, body, and legs
Orange: vest
Copper: boots
Coral: hat
Icicle: heart back (not shown), cravat and lace cuffs

Decorative Embroidery:
DMC White
DMC  918
DMC 604
DMC 947
DMC 892 (dashed line)
DMC White
DMC 3844
DMC 604
DMC 947
DMC 918
DMC 3341 (dashed line)

Friday, February 2, 2018

in which I take a moment to reflect and also tell you the Twelve Days 1-12, 7-12 and 10-12 bundles are now available

Wow. There they all are. All twelve patterns photographed in one shot. Big feels came over me as I was bending over this in my well-lit bathroom and taking the shot (keepin' it real, y'all, my bathroom has a skylight and doubles as a photo studio). It feels a little weird to be finished with this series I've loved so much. Weird but good. I released the first pattern back in June 2014. That's like a million blog years ago. Three and a half Real Time years of thinking through each ornament and endlessly brainstorming how best to represent each day and how best to translate that into an accessible pattern that everyone can enjoy making. 

I've always liked a good puzzle and that's exactly what this series was -- a challenging 3D felt design puzzle and each time I completed a day I got to level up. I've learned a lot! And I hope you will learn some new techniques for your crafting as you make the series! If you've mastered French knots alone you deserve a large bar of chocolate wrapped in gold paper.

Thanks so much for your constant encouragement and kindness and support through this series! Your faithful, thoughtful comments and messages and photos really kept me motivated. Special notes from grandmothers making multiple sets for grandchildren, long distance sisters making the sets together, a lovely lady getting ready to have a hip replacement who is planning to take these projects to the hospital with her, and one especially memorable letter from a sweet Texan who used the hand stitching as a mental refuge and calming exercise during the terrible flooding in Houston. And I can't not mention the pointed messages I received from two completely different octogenarians (true story) hinting that since they were in their 80s they would appreciate my hurrying it up already with the rest of the ornaments. Oh my word, y'all. 

PS I forgot to include the brave (possibly crazy) crafter who tells me she is working with her daughter to make as many as the song says...Great Scott! That's...78 ornaments, right? Or you could technically say that's just the total for day 12 and then you have 11 other days to total up...Math is not my strong suit. Anyone else doing this??

I do adore seeing your finished ornaments! Check out what others have been posting on Instagram with the #twelvedaysornaments hashtag. So much inspiration there. Keep them coming! I hope you continue to love making these special heirloom ornaments as much as I do! Yes, I still do! I plan to concentrate now on finishing the sets I'm making for my own two girls. And I'm going to take my sweet time doing it. 

So here are the new discounted pattern bundles, including the 1-12 complete bundle. Yaaassssss. They are now available in my Etsy shop or my Craftsy store:

Many have asked me, 'what's next?'. I have no idea.
Isn't that awesome? :-) 

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Lord a-Leaping pattern now available!

On the twelfth day of Christmas,
My true love sent to meeeee...

Twelve lords a-leaping!

Can we all just have a 30 second freeform dance party now, y'all? *dances like no one is watching*

Hooooooo. *arranges hair* (I used to do that as a school break with my two girls when they were young enough to think I was funny and cool. We'd blare the music and dance like maniacs around the living room. Good times.)

This. The grand finale! The final pattern! The end of the Twelve Days Ornament Series. Is finished. I love this His Leapingness so, and of course the True Love bonus ornament that comes along with him.

One of my favorite things about Lord Fancy Pants here is the fact that his legs are jointed and moveable. You can position them in whatever energetic pose you prefer. Just a little extra something I included because it's fun.

This twelfth and series finale pattern is now available in my Etsy and Craftsy shops. Are you new to this series? Pop over to this post to see lots of helpful information about it.

If you know the modern Twelve Days of Christmas song by heart, you might be saying to yourself, 'Wait, I thought day twelve was Drummers Drumming?' And you'd be right! However, my series is based on the original carol from 1780 and the order toward the end is a bit different than the modern one. No worries if you prefer that order – you can number your ornaments any way you like!

These three leaping lord and true love samples were made with the Benzie felt bundle no. 6 (Goose a-Laying and Lord a-Leaping). You can of course make your ornaments in whatever colors you like! For those of you who want to make ornaments just like these samples, the specific color guide for them, along with DMC floss numbers included, will be coming soon in a separate post.

On a personal note, you may have noticed January got by me a little faster than I planned. This last week my dear Schmoopie went through a medical ordeal (three kidney stones, one very large) so I was understandably derailed for a few days. If you have ever passed a kidney stone, you know how truly horrible it is no matter what size the stone. I'm so glad to tell you he's feeling much better! Thanks so much for getting in touch and for your eagerness to purchase these patterns! 

So all that to tell you that YES indeed, I am going to list a 1-12 pattern bundle -- the complete series bundle you've been waiting so patiently for! It's not listed yet. Give me a day or two to get it together and into the shops. It's late, y'all. *yawns*

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

minor correction for Swan a-Swimming pattern and maybe I should just use a pipe cleaner anyway...

Hello, guys!
You are all awesome, have I mentioned that lately? Well, you are. Vigilant mmmaker Judi (thank you, Judi!) brought a mistake to my attention in the Swan a-Swimming pattern. If you haven't already noticed it, grab a marker and make a note on your patterns:

On step 31 it should read as follows:

Trace this water outline twice on heavyweight fusible interfacing (glue side up), then once (glue side down). Cut them out.

So the mistake was that I had the 'glue side up' and 'glue side down' switched. What you want to end up with is two layers of interfacing on the wrong side of the WATER BACKING and one on the wrong side of the WATER FRONT. Not a huge deal even if you make it with this switched, but it does end up making you feel like you went wrong somewhere. Sorry, Judi! If you've been cheating like I sometimes do by just gluing the interfacing in place instead of ironing it on, you may not have even noticed.

However, I'm re-thinking the whole interfacing thing for this step anyway. The more I store my Swans, the more I realize the water tends to curl on the ends and not stay level. (Do yours do this too?) So I'm thinking a pipe cleaner shaped and glued lightly to the wrong side of the water backing might work better than the 3 layers of interfacing. Feel free to do that instead!

Monday, January 8, 2018

sneak peek of bonus ornament for Lord a-Leaping

On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love sent to me...

True Love is the focus of the last and final bonus ornament, and is really the theme of the whole song, isn't it? This heart design will come included with the Lord a-Leaping ornament, the grand finale of my Twelve Days ornament pattern series. (There is a bonus ornament also included with the first and sixth patterns.) 

The two ornaments you see above are prototypes, but the smaller one will be the final design. I was trying to get the sizing right and Mr On The Left is a bit too large. Mr On The Right is, well...Mr Right. 

It occurs to me that this bonus ornament would make a lovely Valentine as well. Strung in a series as a garland? That would pretty, even without the embroidery. Still tweaking Mr Leaping and he's getting very close. This last pattern should be done and dusted sometime this month for you. I'm so excited about that, and very happy that I took the time to get him just the way I want him. 

Monday, January 1, 2018

happy new year, best nine, Kazakhstan, and a Lord a-Leaping sneak peek

#2017bestnine from my IG feed. The website automatically picks the nine Instagram images that got the most likes and puts them together in this handy graphic, so it looks like the Twelve Days ornament series was a clean sweep. This best nine is in place of my usual year in review blog post. I just realized I didn't do one of those for 2016 either. Oops.

2017 was not a banner year for mmmcrafts blogging, with the remodel/move/remodel/sell that took up most of my spring and summer. Only 27 blog posts this year! A record low. I admit that Instagram has also taken some of my focus off of this blog. It's just so easy to post there from my phone. However, this blog remains by far the best venue for multi-photo informational and resource posts, so I have no intention of giving it up!

Thanks for all the encouragement and support and purchases and likes and comments on all my channels! It really keeps me going. And while I didn't make my goal of releasing the last pattern in 2017 (#goalfail),  I'm getting close. Speakin' of which...'s a sneak peek of the nether parts of Lord a-Leaping with his coattails a flyin'. Ignore sloppy sewing, mismatched thread, and my wrinkly ET hands. *sigh* I'm sure a palm reader could go to town on me. Anyway, I'm loving Mr L-a-L so far. Still tweaking his proportions and thinking through the build for you guys. Next step: add pretty embroidery.

And after being only a few states away for a couple short years after she came home from Brazil, my bosom friend Robyn (recipient of the originals of the Twelve Days series and Very Patient Person as she waits for the last ones) is off again on another world adventure to Asia. I'm loving this pretty and heart-tugging dish she sent me, and I'm hoping she and her lovely family are settling in well in KZ. 

Many hugs to you and yours across the ocean and the mountains and the seas, Bob!