Tag Archives: Creativebug

Buh Bye 2016

2016, I will not miss you.  Yes, there were celebrity deaths that were saddening, but that’s life.  2016, to me, was objectively a really bad year.  If you’re reading this, and you had a fantastic year, great!  I don’t mean to diminish anyone’s triumphs, successes and joys, but honestly, I’ve lost sleep this year about what a crap year  it’s been, from the random acts of violence, to the exposed schisms in our country, to the lunatic that we put in the White House.  On a personal level, the year started with a car wreck, nearly killing my brother, but only “luckily” breaking both of his legs.  The first few months of the year, we spent hours at the hospital with him, and then in the nursing home.  While I have no problem waiving buh bye to 2016, I can’t say that I don’t look upon 2017 without trepidation.  It’s no secret I’m a liberal, but it’s not that I fear a Republican in the White House – I would have been ok, not happy, but ok, had a McCain won, or a Romney – I wouldn’t have felt like we were all going to die.  But, I truly fear the fascist madman soon to be in the White House.   But, what can you do, just hope for the best I guess!

So, without further ado, I’ll unveil my word for 2017 – nope, it’s not hope.  It’s Commit.  I’m tired of doing things half-assed.  If I’m going to do something, I really want to explore if I’m committed.  I’m tired of starting things, and not finishing them.  Of beginning a creative project, spending a ton of money getting supplies, and being done with it after I’ve completed one project.  I’m tired of signing up for online classes, quickly watching them, and then not doing any of the work.  I’m tired of saying my diet starts on Monday.  And with Commit as my word, the opposite is also my mantra – if I can’t commit, I’m not going to do it.  In picking my word, I’ve also picked a few year long projects to which I’m going to commit:

  1.  Ali Edward’s One Little Word Class.  I’ve picked a word before.  I’ve picked a lot of words over the years.  I’ve even put them in the sidebar of my blog.  But, by March or April, even February, the word is long forgotten, and certainly not a prism through which I’m making choices.  So, to help me along, and commit to my committing, I’m joining Ali Edwards for her monthly prompts and exercises designed to help you incorporate your word into your life.
  2. Journaling.  I am going to journal every day, even if it’s just a sentence, or a list, or maybe a doodled word.  I used to be diarist.  While what I wrote was so embarrassing, I ended up throwing most of my diaries out – yep, I through at least 20 in the garbage because I didn’t want to visit with that person ever again.  But, I miss the act of writing – not just memory keeping, but figuring things out, whining in my personal space, focusing or being silly.  So, in order to keep me on track, I bought this:

This is an A6 Hobonichi Techo.  Basically, its a small, one day on a page planner/journal/notebook.  I struggled between buying the A6 and the larger A5, but I settled on the A6 because I thought it would easier to live up to my commitment, and journal every day in a smaller space, and the A5 is in Japanese, and the A6 comes in an English version.  I also ordered a used Chic Sparrow traveler’s notebook cover for it, so I’ll report on that when it arrives.  If I outgrow the A6, the A5, the Cousin Avec, comes in a six month size, and I could also size up for the second half of the year.

3.  Also on the commitment list for 2016 – Hand Lettering!  I have decided that 2017 is going to be my year of hand lettering.  Right now I’m exploring – I have a dip pen, a Tombow dual brush pen, and a Tombow fude on the way.  This is my creative art commitment for the year, because that’s what hand lettering really is – drawing letters.  And rather than willy nilly committing to this online art class, or that one, this is what I’m doing this year – and I will hopefully add some watercolor to the mix.  To help me along with my commitment, I’ve created an instagram account just for my lettering endeavors – OliveInks.  And, to support this commitment, I’m working my way through a class on Creativebug, as well as joining in on some Instagram/FB challenges, primarily this one for now, #ShowMeYourDrills.  I’ve also signed up for Skillshare, using their 3 mos/99 cents promotion.

Can I just tell you how relaxing and soothing these drills are!

and 4.  Diet, Health and Exercise.  I’ve gained 20 lbs since moving to the suburbs.  It’s like it happened over night, but it really happened over four years.  Mostly this year though.  I’m a stress eater.  But, I’ve got my smart watch, counting my steps.  And, I’ve bought a new bathing suit to start swimming in January.  And, I’m going to try to be kind to myself, not beat myself up, acknowledge that this is unlike diets in the past when I wanted to lose 5 lbs, but didn’t really need to lose 5 lbs.  Right now, I need to lose the 20lbs because my clothes do not fit.  This is a big commitment; it’s not going to happen overnight – but I’m committed.

So, goodbye 2016!  For the world in general, for 2017, I can only hope, but for me personally, I am committed to making 2017 better, more productive, more creative, and healthier – if my summer clothes fit, I’m going to call 2017 a success.

Take care, everyone and Happy New Year!



To Crafty Daily or Craftsy? Or Creativebug? That is the Question

There is just not enough time in the day for all of the things I want to do. So, some projects get put on the backburner, some get ditched all together, and some move to the top of the list.

Right now, my current Fiddleknits shawl, Water, has moved to the backburner. I subscribed to Craft Daily, and I really want to cancel after a month, so I’ve been binge watching craft videos on my ipad, so I can’t use my ipad for KnitCompanion, and my shawl’s chart. Very bad timing, this binge watching subscription idea, since I’m so close to the end of the chart – about 20 rows to go. But, since I don’t really need a wool shawl/scarf in this 80-90 deg. weather, this project can safely drop down on my list without causing any fuss. So, instead, while watching videos, I’ve been doing some English Paper Piecing (more on that another day), but I’m about to switch over to my knit sock project (time sensitive, see below), which means that embroidery has also been moved to the backburner, although, I really do want to start my bird shading project, and this sew-a-long from Bustle & Sew. And, that run on sentence is how my brain is functioning these days – I have these socks on needles, but I want to start the sew-a-long, but to start that I have to stop doing my EPP, and if I stop doing my EPP, I’ll never make any head way with it, but do I really want to make head way because it will never really get done, and it’s such a fabric suck, maybe I should abandon it, even though I enjoy it? Maybe I’ll start my bird embroidery project, oh, but I really want to sew . . . argh, and when am I going to get back to my 2 Sophie afghans, and I’d really like to crochet those little guys from Inside Out, and what about my Color Dive quilt that just needs to be quilted and bound, and on and on it goes!

So, I did ditch one project, and erase it from the stream of conscious crafting paragraphs that run through my mind before I go to sleep, the Crazy Quilting. I got halfway through the free class, I looked at my project and thought, you know, I really don’t like this, I think it’s ugly, I don’t want to do anything with it, and it’s really really time consuming. So, done. I didn’t even finish the class. I was at peace with my decision to toss it, and I never looked back.

Forward! Onward. So, one sewing project did jump to the top of the list, out of necessity. Crafty Gemini Creates, the Crafty Gemini’s new video channel in partnership with Missouri Star Quilts, released a video on a quick and easy insulated lunch bag. Hey, something I can make that I actually need. Perfect. That makes prioritizing much easier. The tutorial was super simple to follow. I did run into a snag, literally, because I bought the wrong Velcro. I should have bought the sew in kind, but instead, I bought the kind that has adhesive on the back. My sewing machine did not appreciate being gunked up with glue. Luckily (or not so luckily, because I’d really love an excuse to buy a new machine), I didn’t break the machine, I only ruined the needle. And then, instead of waiting to order the right kind of Velcro, I decided I had to have my lunch bag now, and I decided to hand sew the gluey Velcro. Two hand sewing needles ruined, and a blister on my index finger from fighting the needle through the fabric and the glue later, I had a lunch bag. Ta da!

How cute, right? The Crafty Gemini posted my photo on one of her pages to promote the tutorial, and someone left a comment regarding this Singer model, the Superb, and whether I had troubles with the bobbin. Well, since you asked – YES! I’m really not a fan of this machine, at all. Originally, I bought a Singer 74sometingQ, which was their HSN quilting model. It had a nice sized throat space, the extension table, etc, but it didn’t have a needle down position button, and there were a few other simple things it was missing. So, when I broke it (I tripped over the foot pedal, yanking it out of the connection, and busting the computer board), I was upset because I was mid project, a Hanukkah gift for my niece, and I ran out and bought the most affordable machine I could – it was the holiday season, and I wasn’t really flush. This model was on super sale at Sears. It does have more bells and whistles than the quilting machine, but it has its problems too. First, the bobbin – the bobbin is tempermental, and having googled the problem, I know it’s not just me. 9 times out of 10, when you begin stitching, the first few bobbin stitches are clumped up, a stitchy mess. After the first couple of stitches, it stitches fine. My solution has been to use a leader fabric, and move into my real project. But, that doesn’t always work – sometimes the seam starts with a curve, and it’s very hard to start anywhere but right at the beginning point. So, the bobbin is a drag. The second problem is bizarre – my backstitch button only stitches at half speed. So, I can’t just move the fabric back and forth to back stitch – it’s like a tortoise hopping backwards, one slow stitch at a time. Very annoying.  Steer clear of this machine if you’re in the market for a crafting machine – there are plenty of other ones on the market at this price point.  Anyway, obviously, the real issue is the bobbin, and I may just need a new machine for the holidays.

But, that’s enough complaining for one blog post.  I had another sewing project gelling in my mind. Last month, I think, during one of the Crafty Gemini’s Quilt Cams through Quilt Club, she mentioend she was going to eventually do a tutorial for Missouri Star using glue in, purse frame handles. That reminded me of a pattern I’ve had in my queue on Craftsy for awhile, the Tammy Bag from Mdm Samm at Sew We Stitch. I became intrigued with the Tammy bag after she hosted a blog hop for a special version of the Tammy Bag, a Tammy for All Seasons, which featured vintage cross stitch designs based on the four seasons.  I don’t have any real desire to do cross stitch (although that has never stopped me from investigating, trying, and then abandoning – see crazy quilting), but I think I could do something similar with embroidery, like this bag from Bustle and Sew.

So, with the project in the back of my mind, sparked by the Crafty Gemini tease, I saw a video on using purse frames from my binge watching on CraftDaily, and decided that it was time to try it.  I bought the pattern, and found sew-in frames on Amazon.  For this particular pattern, she used the sew ins, and since I couldn’t actually find glue ins, I decided to just go her way.

And, voila, I give you Tammy!
And my sock project.  As you can see, the sock yarn – Chargers colors – moved to the front burner because of the approach of football season! Anyway, the Tammy bag pattern is . . . fine.  The written instructions are a bit confusing, but there are a ton of photos – so it was easy to figure out.  The only part, I guess, that was really confusing from the written instructions was about lining the pockets – the pockets were clearly lined in the photos, but there weren’t really any instructions about doing the lining of the pockets in the written pattern – but you could extrapolate pretty easily from the photos.   The difference between the Tammy bag, and other similar metal purse framed bags is that the Tammy bag is constructed from four pieces – two fronts, two sides with curved seams, rather than from two pieces of fabric, front and back, that sit upright from boxing the corners.  Anyway, I love it, and I see more of them in the future.  I’m picturing a denim one with really bright embroidery on the front.  Or a classy vintage one with the embroidery from the Lady Bird purse.  We’ll see.  I definitely think everyone is getting change purse sized ones for the holiday.

And as to the question, glue or sew?   Sewing was easy peasy.  It’s really a matter of taste I guess, and whether you like the look of the stitching on the top of your bag.  I’m good with it.

And, for my last sewing feat of the week – a project that came out of nowhere, just inspired by a video I saw on Craft Daily – a Tilda Doll.

A doll? Yeah, I don’t know why – it’s certainly not on any need list, nor has it been waiting in my mental queue like the Tammy Bag. I just saw it, and thought it would be fun to make.

I had never heard of a Tilda doll, although I had heard of Tilda fabric. The Tilda brand is the work of Norweigan designer, Tone Finnanger, and it is distributed by a British company throughout Europe, Australia and New Zealand. I follow a few Australian bloggers, and they’re always diving into their Tilda fabric stash, especially for subtle vintage florals perfect for needlework and patchwork. But the Tilda doll was new to me through Craft Daily, and when I went looking for additional tutorials on youtube, I found tutorials mostly in Russian and Ukranian.

So, I’ll digress here for a minute. Big problem with Craft Daily – none of the videos, at least that I’ve watched, and I’ve watched quite a few, provide the original pattern from which the tutorial video is based. There are no downloadable PDFs, either of patterns or supplies necessary to complete the project. This is really annoying – and had I bought these classes individually, which you can do, rather than through the monthly subscription, I would be pissed. This is a huge difference from Craftsy – which not only provides a supply list, all patterns used in the class, in some cases, you get an entire book – as I did with Crazy Quilting and Allie Allers books. But of course, that’s why there’s a different price structure. And of course, the Craftsy classes go beyond simply tutorials – they’re really entire classes that if you went to them live would cost you easily over $100 per class. As it is, the general price per class is usually somewhere between $29-49, and I have to say, I’ve never paid full price for anything on Craftsy. You put stuff on your wishlist, and then when they go on sale, Craftsy notifies you – so for the classes I’ve taken, I’ve paid either $14.99 or $19.99 – a total bargain for what you get. Anyway, comparing Craft Daily and Craftsy is probably unfair – the fairer comparison is probably Craft Daily and Creativebug, both monthly subscription services.

Creativebug is under $10 a month, provides downloadable PDFs, and has a platform for asking questions, and posting photos of your projects. CraftDaily, at $20/mo (unless you commit to a year, then it’s $17) – nothing. Craft Daily is definitely bigger – but if you binge watch for a month, like me, you’re then in same position as you’d be on Creativebug, waiting for new content. Creativebug has a schedule, and lets you know what’s coming. Craft Daily – not so much. When you search for “New” five videos come up. At least 2 of them were on the site when I joined two weeks ago. So, new content isn’t really coming in any faster than Creativebug, which posts at least one longer, work-a-long class a week, and several smaller tutorial videos on Tuesdays. And “new” is new to the site – not necessarily a new tutorial – it might be something recycled from an affiliate site – and therefore, the quality of the videos isn’t nearly as good as the quality of the videos on either Craftsy or Creativebug. And, these videos that come from an affiliate site, don’t even provide the link to the original site, which is always referred to in the video, so you can get the written instructions or the pattern. You have to google what you catch while watching the video – and then you find out, you could have watched the tutorial for free on the affiliate site. Anyway, as I mentioned above, I went into Craft Daily planning on canceling it after a month, and I’ve seen nothing in the last two weeks to change my mind. Creativebug is a total bargain, and even if a month goes by and I don’t get a chance to watch anything, I’m ok with paying my fee because I like the idea of supporting the site, and it’s independent makers and designers.

So where was I – ah yes, the pattern for the Tilda doll. So, I watched the Craft Daily walk through tutorial, and of course, since they don’t provide the pattern, I had to buy it for $6.00 from Amazon. There are plenty of photocopied patterns on pinterest, but I never feel right doing that. Anyway, from the time I ordered my pattern, until I got it, of course, I went into the Russian/Ukranian sinkhole of looking at Tilda blogs, and was totally jonesing to get started.

So, here she is – well, so far!

The sewing is really easy. You just trace the pattern on doubled up fabric, sew on the traced line, and then add a 1/4 inch seam when you cut it out. The stuffing, actually, is the time consuming laborious part – you don’t want to have a lumpy doll, so you have to stuff with little pieces, and be careful to make sure the little pieces don’t get balled up, and your doll ends up with vericose veins.

i did make the mistake of overstuffing the body, because I used a satin fabric for her bodice, I wanted to stuff out any creases or wrinkles. So, I had a hard time attaching the legs – but they’re in there. The satin fabric came in that box that I bought for crazy quilting, and since that’s abandoned, I have to use up the scraps with something. The skirt is going to be made from the same fabric I used to upholster my dining room chairs – I didn’t want to use anything “real” in my stash until I knew I could make the doll. This is kind of like a rough draft, sort of. But, she’s turning out! And, she’s really fun. Look, she doesn’t even have a face, or clothes, and she already has kind of a personality just sitting there, arms in her lap.

Speaking of personalities, the Tilda doll patterns come with wings to make them angels, but I have no desire to make an angel. That means they’re dead, right? Who wants to make a dead doll?

So, this post is all over the place – but so am I. And, as long as I want to do all of my projects NOW – I don’t see focus coming into play any time soon.  Eh, focus is over rated right?  If I focused, I’d only have one project at a time – who wants that?  And, I’d never make a useless, cutey patootie doll.  Where’s the fun in that?


Let the Stitching Begin!

And I’m off!

Actually, any kind of racing analogy is a bad one when you’re talking about embroidery. Embroidery truly is a slow, contemplative exercise, and if it weren’t for the threading of the teeny tiny needle, it would be completely zen-like.

This is the sampler from Creativebug’s beginning embroidery class with Rebecca Ringquist. Rebecca has a new book out, and sells her samplers, both as single purchases and as part of subscription plan, through her Etsy shop, Dropcloth.  Her stitching style is really unique; often, she works on top of vintage embroidery, or her stitches are a combination of different threads and textures. I haven’t fully decided if I actually like her style (although there’s no question I respect it, and I think it’s beautiful, I’m just not sure if that’s how I want mine to look), but the class is great, her instructions are clear, and the sampler is so cute.

So, what brought on this desire to stitch? I don’t know – I’ve done a few minor embroidery projects before – mostly with just backstitch. I took Craftsy’s beginning embroidery class, Design It, Stitch It,  and thought, yeah, that looks like something I could wrap my head around, and I put it on the back burner. When I saw Rebecca’s book on the shelf last week, I decided to take the plunge. So, yesterday, on my lunch hour, I stopped by Rittenhouse Needlepoint to pick up some embroidery needles, and of course, I couldn’t resist a good sale. They had the above lovely little kit of perle cotton from Finca on sale for half price. Sold! Unfortunately, I was so mesmerized by its prettiness, I decided to ignore that it really was the wrong weight. Rebecca recommends a size 8 thread (it generally comes in size 3-8, with 8 being the thinnest), and Rittenhouse Needlepoint, which specializes obviously in needlepoint and cross stitch, only carries 5’s. I figured, well, since Rebecca doubles her 8, that’ll be like a single 5. Which it probably is when you’re stitching through the fabric, but not when you’re threading the needle. Getting that five through the little embroidery eye – oy! #needabetterbifocal!

And so far, that really has been the hardest part, threading the needle. I have some cheap embroidery floss (although, there really is no such thing as “expensive” thread when you compare it to buying yarn for a major knitting or crochet project) that I bought at Michael’s awhile back, and I may introduce some to the project because I really want to learn the stitches, not give myself apoplexy trying to thread the needle. Rittenhouse Needlepoint does carry DMC Embroidery Floss at .85 a pop, so if I get through this sampler, and move on to the advanced sampler, that’ll be the plan.

In the meantime, I’ve added a few stitches to my aresenal (again, war and ammunition is a bad analogy – it’s so peaceful) – running stitch, filled running stitch, and couching. I really love the look of couching. Rebecca recommends using a thicker yarn for these weaving stitches – the filled running stitching and the couching stitch – and even suggests fingering weight sock yarn – so that could be a possibility for some future project. I do have all of my Koigu mill ends stashed away somewhere.

So, that’s all for now! I’m going to try to record a video tomorrow to post on Wednesday – hopefully my new mic will come, I know it’s shipped. I have some sewing to do this weekend, as well. And, the third, and penultimate clue to Earth comes up sometime today – so I’ll have a busy crafty weekend, and I hope you do to.

But, there’s still Friday to get through, and I’m off to county prison!

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