Friday, May 31, 2013

in the final stages

I had a chest x-ray the other day to confirm that I had indeed coughed up one of my lungs. It's curious, but they are both still there.

Anyhoo, the needle book pattern is finished and is now in the hands of my lovely, generous and good-looking pattern testers. Thank you, ladies! After giving the pattern a test run and any needed tweaks, I'm shooting to have it in the shop by mid-June.

Testing is always a great idea with new patterns, even though I've made so many on my own I feel I can do it with my eyes closed. Translating what you know into clear instructions for others to follow is a whole other ball game. There's an intriguing article on the importance of pattern testing over here at While She Naps, especially as relates to the craft book publishing game. I really appreciate the the matter of fact articles Abby writes on issues that effect professional makers, and all the relevant comments and discussion that they draw. I know from experience that errors are not always caught before press time, despite the efforts of the editors. Actually, most craft books have a web page that lists errata. It's always a great idea to check before you start a book project. That's what makes the PDF format so appealing to me - if I do happen to notice a mistake or omission it is an easy matter to amend the file and get it out there.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

what (cough) I'm up (cough cough cough) to *honks nose*

Sewing final samples for the pattern. That's the original needle book I made myself on the bottom left there, still looks great even after a lot of use and abuse. Finalizing the pattern has been delayed because I've been felled by a bad head cold, the second bout of merciless coughing I've had within a month. First round was brought on after I had laryngitis about three weeks ago. Was just getting over that and got hit with the germ stick again, this time smack on the nose. I'm a wee bit tired of coughing. And of being socially unacceptable with my soggy piles of tissues and constant barking.

Bright side: I'm sure all this coughing has toned up my abs.

What else. School is still in session at the Holland Academy for Young Ladies. We usually go through June and sometimes into July because we take mini-breaks through the year. In Georgia it's a mercy just to have a reason to stay in the air conditioning during the hot hours of the day. We fit in plenty of evening PE trips to the pool.

Currently re-reading: David Copperfield. I'm really enjoying Dickens' vivid prose. He paints a rich word picture, that man. I'm not sure there could be a more repulsive character than Uriah Heep, with his clammy hands and his darting red eyes. All the more evil because he's so very umble about it while he sinks his skeletal claws into you. It's got me wondering if there's a great screen adaptation of David Copperfield to watch. Do you have a favorite?

And big news at the shop: You might have noticed that Etsy has recently revamped how they list PDF files so that they are instantly downloadable for you instead of being e-mailed. I cannot tell you how happy this change has made me! Instant gratification for you, no email-gone-astray mishaps for me. Oh, thank you, THANK YOU one thousand times, Etsy! So now both my shops have that feature.

Hoping to feel better soon and get the needle book pattern whipped and good. And instantly downloadable.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

simple grad card

Doesn't take long to make. I used one pop dot under the mortarboard, and the tassel is made from embroidery floss.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

sad news

Many of you have enjoyed Kathreen Ricketson's creative voice through her popular blog,, as well as her craft books and Action Packs. I had the pleasure of working with Kathreen on two Kids Crafternoon books two years ago.

I have just learned this morning through a kind reader that Kathreen and her husband have drowned in a tragic swimming accident off of Ningaloo reef in Western Australia.

My heart hurts for her two beautiful children, and I ask you to join me in praying for this family. There are many in the blog community who would like to help in some way. There's been mention of an education fund being set up for her kids, and I'm hoping to give an update about that.

UPDATE via You can now contribute {to their childrens' education trust} via PayPal. The email address is

There is a post on WhipUp for those of you who wish to express your sympathy:
When The Best of Times Ends in the Worst of Times

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Paula's needle book

Update: There is a pattern available for this now: the Flora Needle Book pattern, available for instant download at Etsy and Craftsy.

For my lovely MIL, given along with her card. This is the applique design I settled on for the new pattern, which is pretty much completed except for making more samples and taking some photos.

Even after making as many needle books as I have, it's great for me to have a pattern to refer to. I like to watch Netflix while I sew them and can't tell you how many times I've made a doofus mistake in the order of construction because I was too busy focusing on why Mal can't just tell Inara he loves her.

Monday, May 13, 2013

this time in purple, pink, orange and red


The not-as-difficult-the-second-time-round MS flower card for my sweet MIL, Paula. You didn't think I forgot her, did you? I'm so blessed to have two lovely moms in my life! However, unlike my own mom, Michael's mom is computer savvy and connected to the interwebs, so I had to keep a lid on hers until now.

I sometimes wonder how much money I've saved Michael by making all our cards instead of buying them? Mmmmmprobably not as much money as I've spent on paper, felt and shoes, so let's change the subject. 

Finished the card a bit differently this time by punching holes for a string tie, and so managed again to avoid making an envelope. (Patting self on shoulder.) Worked great!

I'm also thanking myself for buying that gift tag punch. Goodness, it's handy. I have two:

New one is the straightforward one and the fancypants scrolly punch I've had for a while. Different brands, same factory looks like. No more buying gift tags. Unless I want to.

Next post: Paula's needle book.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

made it: MS pop up flower card

The moment I saw this MS Mother's Day card project I fell in love. What's not to love? It's a gorgeous and clever design. Flowers are pretty. But pop up flowers? Shazam.

I finally got around to making one late last night, and it was a squidge harder than I thought it would be. Maybe it would be best not to attempt this after 11pm. But when it came together, it made me so happy. It's fascinating to watch the flowers pull in and collapse and then open again. I opened and closed the card a lot. Well, it was pretty late when I finished.

I watched this video about one thousand times to try and decipher the way you adhere the finished flowers together. I really like her voice! In the end, the written tutorial was the most helpful for that, so I recommend you use both their video and the written tutorial. Just keep in mind each flower will be tacked in three places, except for the middle flower which is tacked on every petal.

Helpful notes for you:
  • Do not use heavy paper for the flowers. I didn't have any regular 20 lb stock in pretty colors, so I ended up using a smooth construction paper, which is slightly heavier than 20 lb. It worked OK, but a lightweight paper would work the best, since you will be cutting through 8 layers of paper to cut each flower. Origami or printer paper would be the right weight.
  • Instead of double sided tape, I used small dots of my favorite paper glue Fabri-Tac because I didn't have any double sided tape, and it worked like a charm. (I know, technically that's a fabric glue, but I just love it for tacking paper because it dries almost instantly and doesn't pucker paper. However, I would never use it to spread over a large area.)
  • If you want to add some vavoom to the center of the flowers like me, use a soft colored pencil and add the centers while the flower is still flat.
  • I added another layer to the outside of the card by adhering a darker ever-so-slightly-larger-than 10 x 6 inch piece on the outside. It gives the card more stiffness and adds some color.
  • Be aware the finished size of the project is 5 x 6 inches, which does not fit a standard envelope. You can always whip up one of your own, because you are crafty like that.
  • I added a faux tag in the back because I didn't want to write on the pretty pretty inside:

And I sent it with love along with her flowery needle book. Mother's Day just seems to call for flowers. (Don't worry, my mom doesn't have a computer so this post won't ruin her surprise. Yes, that's right. No computer. No smart phone. And she still manages to have a full and meaningful life.)

Happy Mother's Day to all my fellow moms out there who love, teach and nurture their children and grandchildren 24 hours a day, every day of the year. No better job in the universe.

Need other ideas?
Make a Momma Bird Card
More Scrap Cards. You Make One!
Make a Flower Card for Mom