Thursday, January 28, 2010

Still working

I'm still working on the hornbook for the punch needle. I didn't like how the first layer of paint and stain turned out. So, I sanded, painted, sanded, and stained again. I like the results this time. The first time I used the dark walnut stain, which was a bit too dark for the tan paint. The second time, I used an early American stain, which is just a tad lighter in color. It was the bottom of the can for the stain, and some of the stain began to gel at the bottom. It was perfect for staining over paint! Once this dries, I can coat it with an acrylic sealer, then attach my needlework. I can't wait to see how it turns out!

I received some goodies in the mail today. I ordered a couple patterns for some wool penny rug/candle mats. I'll have to see what wool I already have, and what I need to get. I might try over dyeing some, but I can always get 1/8 yds at a local quilt shop.

I also got the summer camp registration in the mail for Rachel! She now has to see if anyone she's met is going this summer. She could sign up for jr high, or high school camp. So, she'll be the oldest or the youngest, depending on which she wants to do. Either way, she'll have fun. Since we aren't planning any vacations this summer, her vacation will be summer camp. Andrew and Matt go to Boy Scout camp, and James isn't sure he wants to go to camp. He might want to wait another year, which is fine with me! I don't think I could last a week without him. :)

Glad that tomorrow is Friday. I'm hoping it's warmed up enough to get the kids outside for recess. The past 2 days we've been indoors, and I don't think the kids will like having 3 days straight of indoor recess. I've been giving a lot of thought of what I want to do next school year. The school where I work is closing. James is moving on to the next school for graded 5/6. I would like a job with different hours, but still flexible - almost impossible in the job market. But for now, I'll put more energy into crafting and see where that goes. At least it will keep me busy, and doing something that I enjoy!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Score at the Store!

Before I show off my score at the store, I thought I would share the over dyed floss punch needle. I finished punching it, but still need to finish some woodwork to go along with it. The background is the very light blue floss that was over dyed with tan. The green grass was also over dyed with tan. It really gives it a subtle depth. I still ned to get some brown floss and black dye to try that. But I first need to finish this project before I start another.
This past Saturday was the pinewood derby for Cub Scouts. James didn't win, but he liked his jeep car. He even had a green army guy glued to the top. Next year is his last attempt at winning before he moves into Boy Scouts.

Now for my score at the thrift store! I went on Monday just to browse at wool. I went to one shop, found some nice blazers, but wanted to still look at another store. I guess I wasn't ready to pay the $8 for a blazer. So, off I drove to the next store. I found a wonderful plaid pair of wool pants (below on the left). They were only $2.99, so I bought them. Then I saw the sign that yellow tag items were only $1, so back I went to look for more! I found a gorgeous red blazer and a tan skirt - for only $1 each. They are cut up and ready for washing/felting.

On Tuesday, I went back to that same thrift store to search for more $1 items. I found a black skirt, grey skirt, and black and white pants. I'm wondering how the one on the right will over dye. I need to search for a chart of color combinations of fabric and dye.

I also found a couple mens blazers in a wonderful herringbone and plaid. I REALLY love the brown plaid, and think that will be my next project. That blazer didn't have as much iron on interfacing, so I got more fabric cut from that piece of clothing. That day was clothing for $1 a bag. They still charged me $1 per item, as the one lady didn't like the fact that I was going to cut it up! Oh well, that thrift store helps handicapped people, so it's all going to charity. And it's still a bargain for me.

I'm off to wash and felt my wool!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Over-dyeing floss

Last night, I did something that I've wanted to do for the past year. I finally attempted over dyeing my own floss! I love the look of Weeks Dye Works and Valandi floss, but for as much punching that I do, I just can't afford it. I've experimented with combining threads when punching, and then aging. But it still doesn't quite give the look of a variegated over-dyed floss. So, I started with some skeins of DMC floss. Colors ranging from yellow, light blue, ecru, cranberry, tan, and black. I used Rit tan dye in a liquid. The ecru and light blue really dyed quickly. I couldn't tell what color they were, and thought that I had dyed them too much. But, when they dried and I started punching, I really like the effect. The tans dyed fairly well, too. It gives just a slight variation to the browns, and give the needle punch some depth. The tan dye doesn't work on black. I have an idea of a variegated black and dark brown floss for backgrounds. I will have to try starting with a dark brown floss, and using some black dye to achieve the look. The dye has to be darker than the floss.

Here's the light blue floss that's over-dyed. I tied each skein of floss into a loose knot, and once the knot is untied, and the skein dries, this is what it looks like. Some sections of blue, and some sections of tan. I already started punching with the background, and it's working up beautifully!
This is the punch piece that I'm experimenting with. I wanted to use a design that I've already used, and know color combinations that work. I'm hoping the green floss that I dyed will work for the grass area. I'm punching this using a #2 setting on my Cameo needle. I usually use a longer loop on a #3 setting, but am trying a shorter loop for something different. The tail will be a longer loop, and then cut to create a fuzzy cotton tail. I just need to decide if I use a plain ecru, or if I use an over-dyed ecru.

Tomorrow is the Cub Scout pinewood derby. James REALLY wants to win, so that he can advance to the regionals. His older brothers won when they were in Cub Scouts, and it really bugs James that he hasn't won. I'm hoping this will be his year!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The penny rug is done!

I just finished stitching this adorable penny rug! (pattern from Cath's Pennies Designs) Once I got blanket stitching on the border, the stitching became automatic. I used some chalk to mark where to stitch the snowflakes, but the chalk kept rubbing off. I don't know what else I can use on a black wool background. I also tried a dressmaker pencil, but that didn't work too well, either. I like working with the water soluble marker for stitching on muslin, but black wool is different. Other than marking the stitching, it was pretty easy to finish. I used some black cotton print for the backing. I could have used wool, but I like printed fabric - must be my love for quilts! I'm going to list this one on Ebay tonight, and then start another identical one for me. I purchased enough wool to make a few. Now to look for more patterns! ( I will admit that I cannot draw) Something that doesn't require a ton of different scraps of wool. (I need to slowly add to the stash) I do like working with real wool, and not wool felt. I compared them, and found the wool to be a nicer finish. Yes, it's more expensive, but I like the results - it feels expensive and more durable. I think I'll sew more penny rugs, since I enjoyed making this one. I can make them in any size (I like working with small projects), and any design (primitive, traditional, colonial, etc). It's always fun learning new crafts. Next up is overdying my own floss. I just bought a bottle of Rit dye. Maybe in the next week I'll give that a try!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Punch needle and penny rugs

I finished the sheep punch needle today. I used some black wool for the backing and the hanger. The edge I used some bamboo yarn instead of a floss cord. The bamboo yarn I found at Hobby Lobby, and it's really soft and textured. At first it reminded me of some the eyelash yarn, but this was a bit sturdier. It makes for a different edging. I'll have to get this listed on Ebay later tonight.

I made it to the local quilt shop yesterday. They have some wool (and some really nice quilt fabric). I started a penny rug. I used freezer paper to cut the pieces. I hadn't used freezer paper before, but it was VERY easy to do. I reminded me of using Heat N Bond. But, the freezer paper is a lot cheaper than using Heat N Bond. I used some pins to hold the pieces in place, and a few dabs of a glue stick to help with the smaller pieces. I tried a new technique of blanket stitching. It took a while for it to become automatic. I did the snowmen bodies and arms, and I had to stop and think with each stitch. Then I did the scarfs, and it seemed to "click" and go quicker. I'm so used to stitching with a hoop, and doing this without a hoop seems awkward. I'll have to finish the stitching, then add the ecru border.

At least this wool applique project is turning out. I tried using a quilt piece to make a necklace. I put the quilt in a silver bezel, and added DG3 gel. I had to add several layers of the gel, as it seemed to shrink when drying. It just didn't turn out how I expected. It's still sitting on my kitchen counter, waiting to see what I'm going to do with it.

Tomorrow and Tuesday are days off school. Seems like the kids are off school more than they are in school. I think I'll take the time and work on more penny rugs!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Sneak peek....

Here's a sneak peek at what I've been working on! I started a punch needle project this weekend, and have been slowly changing it as I punch along. I usually don't change much, except for an occasional color. This one is different. The original design (by Primitive Betty's) had a semi circle for the top. I was going to do some type of penny rug design for the edging, but didn't like it as I was working. So, I ripped it out and drew some scallops instead. I've also changed the background color about 3 times, until I found one that I liked. Then that lead to changing the bell color to make it show up better. I still need to finish the background, and add some more black for the edging. I like the results more than what I originally had. I might even write down the colors that I used, just in case I want to do another one sometime. (I usually don't write anything down, since I don't repeat many punch projects) Since I have a stack of black wool, this will be turned into a cupboard hanger.

I still need to get to the quilt shop and get some cream wool for the penny rug. Rachel has been sick for the past couple days, so I haven't done as much running around. Maybe tomorrow morning I'll be able to get to the store since she's finally feeling better.

It got up to 36 degrees today ~ heat wave! I manage to get the van washed since it was ladies day (we get a discount). No more snow in the forecast, so maybe it will stay clean for a while.


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Something new

I started something new! I'm making a necklace for my daughter, Rachel. I started with a silver bezel, and used a charm for the flower inside. I had to cut the loop off the charm and sand the edges of the charm, but you could never tell the loop was there. The bezel had another ring attached to the bottom, but I ended up cutting that off. The bezel is sterling silver, so I learned that you can cut, sand and polish it, and not tell any loop was there. I added a paisley charm, and some pink crystals. I can't officially finish the flower charm until my order of DG3 Gel arrives. It's a clear gel that will fill the bezel cup. I'm not sure if I want to try adding some glitter to the gel, or maybe some glitter to the back of the bezel. I'll have to play around with it. I know I could always add some scrapbook paper to the background, but I think it would be too busy. It's always fun to try new things, and Rachel is more than willing to take the project when I'm done.

I found some navy and black wool at Hancock Fabrics this week. I also found some cranberry wool at another shop, but it didn't photograph well. I need to get into some natural light instead of using a flash. But, that's hard to do here in the winter. I still need to find some cream/white and orange wool so that I can start on a snowman penny rug. Since many fabric/hobby stores don't carry wool, a trip to a local quilt shop will be next on my list. They carry wool -very expensive wool! But if it's project for me, why not? :) I can always use the scraps for backings on punch needle projects.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

What did I do on my Christmas vacation?

I've had 2 weeks off, and it's now time to get back to school. It's going to be tough to get up early again, and make sure the kids are out the door. Lunches are packed, and backpacks are by the door. During my 2 weeks off, I managed to finish my goose sign. The stain that I first applied didn't adhere to where the wood glue was. So, it was back to sanding, and re-staining. I really darkened it up,but it's hard to tell, as the flash put a lot of light on it. I decided to hang it in the family room. There was a bare wall in the video game corner that needed something to coordinate with the rest of the outdoorsy stuff. I thought it went well with the duck and fish prints on the other wall.
I had found another wood sign at a thrift store early in December. It was really white, but really cute. So, for $3.50 it made it home with me. After cleaning the spider webs/eggs off it (literally), I decided it needed some stain. I used the dark walnut gel stain, but the entire white part turned tan. It wouldn't rub off, as the wood was too rough. I decided it wasn't ruined, but needed to try to undo part of the stain. I took some steel wool and fine sand paper, and gently sanded the white paint. It did the trick, and I loved how it turned out! The stain gave it some color, and the sanding gave it more of a distressed look. I decided to put this sign in my downstairs hallway.

During my Christmas vacation, I've also spent some time stitching a few candle mats - yet to be finished. I'm hoping to get the finishing touches on them this week. I've started a couple Valentine mats, St. Patrick's Day mat, and even and Easter candle mat. I made a set of 5 (only 3 shown) Valentine lollipop bowl fillers. The are sprinkled with German glass glitter that really sparkles in the light. I'm going to list them on Ebay this week, as well as the pattern. It's a great way to use up scraps of pink, white and red material.

It's now back to the regular routine of kids, school, and errands. The Christmas trees have been taken down. The only items yet to be taken down are the outside wreath and the icicle lights on the front of the garage, that are now frozen in ice to the roof. It's not going to warm up anytime soon, so they might be up there a while! I hope everyone has enjoyed their Christmas!