December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas!
Merry Christmas. May the Greatest Gift ever given bring you joy.

December 15, 2015

Excited by the Possibilities

Every December, I am excited by the possibilities for the coming year. There is so much to dream of getting done in a space of time I imagine to be unlimited. So, all of the stuff that just didn't manage to get done this year? Surely, it will get done next year along with all the new stuff I want to accomplish as well. Hey, a girl can dream.

December 14, 2015

Embroider Everything Workshop

 Embroider Everything Workshop is a great general guide and introduction to embroidery of almost any kind.
 The projects are great for beginners like these adorable baby booties.
 I can't wait to make this needlepoint scissor case!
And, I really like the introduction on threads. Very clear descriptions and pictures of the different kinds for comparison. So, if you've dabbled in embroidery and want something that will go a little more in depth as well as introduce you to new forms of embroidery, be sure to check this book out.

December 11, 2015

The Feather and the Egg

I just love the blues and greens in this page. I might need to work on my feather drawing abilities though.

December 10, 2015

Deep in my Heart

I love this quote from Anne Frank:
"I want to write, but more than that, I want to bring out all kinds of things that lie buried deep in my heart."

This is one of my favorite art journal pages and this quote has inspired me since I read The Diary of Anne Frank as a teenager. Writing simply for the act of writing. It doesn't have to be read by anyone, but it has to get out. It has to be put down on paper. Sometimes, it is meant for others, but often, it doesn't matter whether or not it gets read.

December 9, 2015

Crochet Shell Cowl

I used a pattern from a Chinese crochet book to make this cowl. It was the first time I've tried crocheting by following a chart. But, it wasn't too difficult. I'll have to try a few more.

December 8, 2015

Creative Space

My work desk is in the bedroom. Unfortunately, sometimes this means my work area covers the bed, too. This is only a problem if we actually want to sleep. I try to keep it fairly contained, though, and when I do spread out, I can usually get it cleaned up in fairly short order.

December 7, 2015

Craft Mat

 Sometimes I need a padded area for making things or just need to protect a surface.
 This used an old towel and a piece of canvas gingham fabric.
I simply folded the edges over to make a border and sewed down the middle both ways to hold it together. I can spread beads or buttons out on it or put it under something messy. A great little protective work area.

December 4, 2015

December 3, 2015

Crochet Tote

 Lucy at Attic 24 has beautiful colorful crochet creations and patterns. She has a Crochet Bag Pattern and a Jolly Chunky Bag Pattern.  I was using chunky yarn, but somehow I got the two patterns mixed up. About this point in the pattern, I realized that my bag was going to be enormous!
 So, I started decreasing every other row in a similar pattern to the increases.
 Peanut is helping me bemoan the fact that I left all the ends until last to weave in.
 I added a bright green shoestring to the top of the bag so I could open and close it.
 And I used recycled, webbed handles so it would be nice and sturdy.
The flowers are my favorite part. Such a fun piece to crochet and so cheerful with all the colors!

Ravelry page.

December 2, 2015

Christmas Tree Skirt

This Christmas tree skirt was made from a thrifted red linen tablecloth that had a few worn edges, a fleece throw, a vintage doily and some trim. It makes a great tree skirt and with the fleece, I didn't need to add batting to it. Mochi the cat loves to sleep on it.

December 1, 2015

Poinsettias Grow on Trees!
 For most of my life, the only poinsettias I ever saw were in pots at Christmas. So, seeing them in the wild for the first time and realizing they grew on really big trees was amazing.
 They seem to like places with lots of water.
 This scene is my absolute favorite.
Just look how big that thing is! I couldn't even fit all of it in the picture!

November 30, 2015

Green Lake

 The real winter hasn't even started yet and I'm already looking forward to warmer weather.

November 27, 2015

A Variety of Shops

 One of the neatest things about China is the large number of specialty shops. This is a Chinese medicine shop.
 All the jars of various remedies are fascinating.
 Here is a tea shop.
 No, it's not a flower shop. It would probably be better translated "Flower Fragrance" because they sell pastries made with flowers. The rose cakes are wonderful.
 Need a construction sign. There's a shop for that.
 What kind of vinegar are you in the mood for today? Bring your own bottle or you can carry it home in a baggie.
This is a sock shop. Cracks me up every time I see it. But, I guess the socks aren't smelly until after they're sold.

November 25, 2015

Hexagon Baskets

A Spoonful of Sugar had a pattern for these cute little hexagon baskets. I reduced the size to make the smaller one.  These work up really quickly and are great for someone learning to sew, too. Check out the pattern.

November 24, 2015

Flying Tigers

 Before the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the entry of America into World War II, a group of American fighter pilots trained in Burma to help defend the Chinese from the Japanese. Claire Lee Chennault was their commander. The planes of the Flying Tigers had shark mouths painted on their noses. One of their bases was in Kunming and there is a special exhibit at the Kunming museum in their honor.
 This piece of cloth was called a "blood chit." If a fighter pilot was shot down, it identified him as an American and had a mini introduction as well as asking for help in getting to a friendly area in 17 languages.
 This insignia looked like it might have been hand embroidered. It is a tiger in a plane.
 These 2 insignia also appear to be hand done.
 This one seems to use a bullion stitch of some kind.
And finally, a commemorative plate with the Flying Tigers in the background. If you haven't heard of the Flying Tigers before, you should research them a little bit. It's quite an interesting history.

November 23, 2015

Bird Map

I used a map of Dali as the background for this canvas and added a bird stencil and some of my wire flowers.

November 20, 2015

Colorwork Hat
 A friend from Peace Fleece Ravelry Group shared a pattern she had written for a colorwork hat called Heartfelt. Maureen O'Doogan is an amazing designer and has a great eye for putting colors together.

I made a few changes to her orginal design and this was my first colorwork knitting. I managed to mess up the colorwork part a bit, but I think I figured out what I did wrong. I also learned that I need to knit colorwork very loosely. I'm a tight knitter to begin with and this hat turned out child-size because I held the strands too tightly. But, it is just so cute.

The yo-yos are from a wool skirt I found at a thrift store and felted. I used size 3 perle cotton for the embroidery and added a few large beads and a huge pompom at the top. I also topped the hat off with I-cord which is my favorite way to both begin and end hats as I find it a bit neater. I knotted the I-cord twice before adding the beads and pompoms. I really like the ruffled bottom.

Check my Ravelry page here for more information.

November 19, 2015

Redwork Towel

This red cotton thread is rather thick. I bought it here in China and wanted to try it out. So, I did some redwork on a brand new flat diaper. It turned out very well. The diaper is a birds' eye weave and did not really take the iron-on pattern well. So, I used a fabric pencil to draw out the design in places.

I've only used stranded floss for redwork in the past. This thread is similar to perle cotton since it is only one strand, but this was course. However, I think using perle cotton for redwork might be superior to stranded floss.

November 18, 2015

Yunnan Needlework Magazine

 Since I have an interest in all things needlework, I couldn't pass up this magazine.
 With the exception of a few titles it is all in Chinese. My ability to read in Chinese is far, far below my speaking abilities.
 But, by sketching each character one at a time into Pleco (my Chinese language app for translation), I've been piecing the articles together.
I'm quite happy just absorbing the pictures, too. The vibrant pinks are used to resemble the gorgeous pink camellia blossoms the area is famous for.