Wednesday, March 22, 2017

drummer prototype


Here's the latest diminutive drummer prototype. He's number 9 in my Twelve Days series of Christmas ornaments. (The 1780 version of the song is ordered a bit differently from the one you probably sing, but don't worry. The pipers, ladies, and lords are coming!)

This little guy is still minus his hands, drumsticks and embroidery. And possibly his mustache. Still pondering. I'm mostly happy with the sizing except he needs a bigger drum! The next prototype will have some decorative stitching. Time to tweak the pattern again before my next go!

Spring fever is coming on hard and only a few more weeks left of school! I think I might be more excited about that than my two students.

Monday, February 27, 2017

drummer drumming and gray hair graying


What are you up to? I'm prototyping Mr Drumming Drummer, pattern number 9 in my Twelve Days Series. The process is stalled at the moment because we are in the middle of high school play rehearsals and all the busyness that comes with volunteering for the production.

Seems like school is taking most of my time these days. Like seven days a week. Home schooling for 7th and 9th grades is no joke, folks. Honestly, some days I want to crawl inside a pillow fort and barricade myself in with my coffee. Also I might need to ship my 12 year old to Siberia before Pre-Algebra is over. Love her but. Math. It seems unfair that during a time when teen girls usually have irrational hostility toward their innocent, well-meaning moms that I also have to be the target for school teacher hostility. Double dose. This too shall pass...This too shall pass...when they are twenty they'll LOVE ME.


Also I'm growing hair. Going Gray update! Here's where I am these days. Remember my tiny gray sideburns from December? I went for the all-over highlights that soften the line between my true gray roots and my dyed hair. I went to two different appointments a few weeks apart and both times clearly asked for GRAY highlights but I am still blonde. Blonde does not work well with my coloring.

I'll deal. It's not forever.

Also, new hair color problems:
1) Beloved wardrobe items that don't work well with my blonde/gray. Like the unfortunate sweater I'm wearing in the photo^. Clash-o-rama. I'm learning.
2) Startling acquaintances that have not seen me for a couple months. I keep forgetting I look a lot different than I used to. There's a few seconds lag there where they are mentally sorting it and telling themselves not to blurt out something about my hair.


My selfie skills leave a lot to be desired. I haven't figured out how to make myself look like Elle MacPherson. Puzzling. Anyhow, here's the back. It's darker behind. I have more gray up front. Actually these are not really showing the true level of gray, so here's an extreme closeup:


Now you have the full picture. About an inch and half or so of real gray followed by blonde. Can you see the tonal difference? I'm still holding firm to my resolve. I am LOVING not having to constantly worry about root camouflage. Loooooviinnnnng. Picture Julie Andrews on top of the alpine mountain singing for joy. That's me!

Thursday, February 2, 2017

my funny valentine



Throwback! I posted this cynical anti-Valentine on the blog in 2011 and it still amuses me. Minimal effort required. Just print on letter sized regular paper and fold twice. Valentine schmalentine.

If you must, there are also a couple of sweeter ones on my printables page.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

having problems with your Sulky Printable Sticky Fabri-Solvy?


Hello, guys! This is a Sulky PSA. You folks know how much I love their Printable Sticky Fabri-Solvy. I can't live without it! It's an integral part of my Twelve Days ornament series. However, I've heard from several heartbroken crafters just lately who can't get the Sulky stabilizer washed off of their embroidered ornament pieces even though they have followed all the directions and are doing everything right. If this is YOU, you are not crazy. You have some faulty stabilizer!

I've just spoken to Patty Lee at Sulky. She was so helpful and apologetic! She tells me the manufacturer who makes the glue for the stabilizer reformulated the glue without informing Sulky. While the reformulated glue worked for some industrial applications it did not work for Sticky Fabri-Solvy. Sulky was not aware of the problem until some of the faulty stabilizer had already been distributed to resellers.

Have they fixed the problem?
YES! Any stabilizer you purchase directly from Sulky will be the correct one. If you are worried about getting the faulty stuff, purchase directly from them. There are no batch numbers to check.
(I learned from a helpful commenter that if you order from Sulky.com the order may be fulfilled by someone else. Just call them directly to be sure.)
Patty Lee
(800) 874-4115, extension 173
(If you are outside the US you might need to visit the website to get the correct phone number)

How do I know if my stabilizer is the bad batch?
If you are breaking open a new pack, test it first! Before you do any lengthy work of embroidery, do a few test stitches with the stabilizer, cut out the shape and try soaking it away from your stitches. If it doesn't soak away after a reasonable amount of time, you may have the bad stuff.

I have the bad stuff. What do I do?
Sulky will gladly replace your faulty stabilizer. Please contact:
Patty Lee
(800) 874-4115, extension 173
(If you are outside the US you might need to visit the website to get the correct phone number)

OK, but how do I fix my current project?
There are some things to try. Patty has a list of suggestions that will hopefully fix the problem and she even offered to foot the bill for dry cleaning for your project if that would help. Please contact her.

Thanks very much to the crafters who let me know about this problem! I'm so sorry you ran into it and I hope you will be willing to try another project with the REAL stabilizer so that you can discover just how wonderful it is!

Monday, January 9, 2017

what I'm up to


Well, hey there! It's me. Can we talk hair color?
See my nice silver sideburns growing in? This photo was taken at the end of December after about three weeks of no color. It's hard to tell but there was about 1/2 inch of gray all over my head at my roots. Creative combing.

I've been covering my gray since I was about 23. Which means I've been coloring my hair for more than 20 YEARS. Almost 25! I can't tell you how tired I am of it. And the last few years in order to keep the brunette illusion I've had to intervene with either all-over color or touching up roots every two weeks. Dumping smelly chemicals on my head every two weeks doesn't seem like a great idea.

So I made a big decision in December (a big decision in Frivolous Beautyland at least). My silver hair wins. I'm going to embrace it. No more squeezy tubes of color and plastic gloves for me. I'm going gray! This decision feels so right. I can't tell you how happy I am to never have to purchase a box of Espresso brown EVER AGAIN.

On the other hand. I feel like I'm violating some universal female pledge to do what I must to look younger at all costs. My wonderful, diplomatic, seldom negative mom says I won't like it. She may well be right. Gray hair might be a large blow to my vanity. I'm going to have to look at myself in a whole new way. My big sister is also very skeptical. But she kindly went with me to get some highlights to help with the transition right after Christmas.

Because. Y'all. I'm not getting a pixie cut. And I can't just let it grow in cold turkey and have a skunk stripe for months. I DRAW THE LINE THERE.


Post highlight picture! OK, so I asked for gray highlights. Hmmmmm. These look blonde to me.

Right? However, it has softened the effect of the gray growing in very nicely, I think. So far. We'll see how it goes over the next few weeks. Next time I go for a touch up I'm going to ask if it's possible to get truly gray/silver looking highlights with a glaze or something. That certainly seems to be possible, judging by the number of twenty-somethings on Pinterest sporting 'granny hair'.

My plan is to keep going every couple of months for probably the next year or two for these highlight touch ups so that my new gray hair blends with my old colored-to-death hair, and then at some point I'm going to chop off the colored ends and be left with my au naturel hair. I'm pretty curious just how much gray I do have. It's hard to tell until it grows in more. But I think it's a lot.

I have a Going Gray Pinterest board under construction if you'd like to be inspired! This lovely young lady is a great encourager. Wish me luck. It's going to be a rough hair year. I keep telling myself when my silver streaks are grown in I can try occasionally dyeing some of them lavender and be really hip and cool*. Can't do that with brunette hair.

*Possibly using the old school words 'hip' and 'cool' make me inherently unhip and uncool but you know what I mean.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

curated felt color collection for Maid a-Milking ornaments


Happy 2017! What a crazy December I had. January life is a little dismal in comparison and sadly lacks twinkle lights, eggnog and sausage balls. Whose dumb idea was it for Christmas to end? I say keep it alive by making ornaments all year round!

All three of these^ Twelve Days Series Maid a-Milking ornaments shown were made with the same Benzie Design wool-blend felt color collection as the Turtle Dove ornament.


Photos courtesy of Benzie Design.

If you would like to make ornaments that match my samples shown above you'll need to purchase the Turtle Dove/Maid a-Milking wool felt bundle from Benzie, and you can also add the optional matching floss shown. Having the matching floss is really handy to sew the ornament parts together!*

*Note: you'll need to purchase additional floss colors for the decorative embroidery. Some of the matching floss colors might also be used for decorative embroidery.

This No. 2 Benzie felt collection (Turtle Dove + Maid a-Milking) includes these felt colors:
1) Peacock
2) Aqua
3) Swan
4) Magenta
5) Burgundy
6) Orange
7) Mustard
8) Ochre
9) Silver
10) Graphite

Here are the color and floss keys for each sample ornament:


OK! First up is this yellow/blue/gray maid above. 

Felt colors:
Body: Peacock for bodice, Graphite for legs.
Skirt: Mustard
Sleeves: Silver
Apron: Graphite
Buckets: Swan
Hat: Ochre

Decorative embroidery:
DMC B5200 (bright white)
DMC 413 (charcoal gray)
DMC 3801 (light red)
DMC 782 (dark mustard)
DMC 3844 (dark turquoise blue knots)
DMC 3846 (light turquoise blue veins)

Now for this maroon/magenta/blue maid:


Felt colors:
Body: Mustard for bodice, Graphite for legs.
Skirt: Burgundy
Sleeves: Swan
Apron: Magenta
Buckets: Silver
Hat: Silver

Decorative embroidery:
DMC B5200 (bright white)
DMC 154 (burgundy)
DMC 3804 (magenta)
DMC 3852 (gold)
DMC 3844 (dark turquoise blue knots on sleeves)
DMC 3846 (light turquoise blue)

Aaaand lastly this blue/yellow/orange maid:


Felt colors:
Body: Graphite
Skirt: Peacock
Sleeves: Orange
Apron: Ochre
Buckets: Silver
Hat: Aqua

Decorative embroidery:
DMC B5200 (bright white)
DMC 413 (charcoal gray)
DMC 3805 (magenta)
DMC 608 (orange)
DMC 3821 (yellow knots on sleeves)
DMC 3845 (medium turquoise blue)

Did you notice there is now a button on the sidebar at the top left for the Twelve Days ornaments resource page? Just an easy way for you to locate all the info about the series, including all the color keys for the samples.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

handmade Christmas gifts 2016 - angel ornaments for Lesley and Paula


I made a similar angel ornament last year for my sweet niece, Erin, who had lost a baby boy. This year Erin helped me make this one for her sister-in-law after they suffered a loss. I hope it's a special way to remember their baby who flew straight to God.


At the same time we made the one above for Lesley I also made this gold trimmed angel for my in-laws. It's to remember their little girl from long ago, Jennifer, born to them in the early 70s. Jennifer only lived a few days. I think it's a sweet way to remember her little life. She's still missed and loved.