Monday, November 30, 2009

December 1st To Christmas Is The Longest Time Of The Year

I'll do business first just to get it done and out of the way....

The Snow Faces patterns are in the mail and on their way to their new owners. I was able to get them all finished and mailed on Saturday. Expect them in a few days. Thank you all for such a wonderful response and for your orders. I so much enjoy all the feedback I get.
The pattern is still available until the end of today for $8.00 including the shipping. Tomorrow the price will go up to the regular price of $9.50.

December 1st is tomorrow! Wow, where did November go?
My neighbor and good friend, Linda made this for my Jen way back in 1986. The cross-stitching on it is beautiful.
Yes, it's an advent calendar. When Linda gave it to Jen back then, when Jen was only 4 years old, Linda had tied candies. Every year after that for ... I dunno ... 10 years or so, I tied candies on it and Jen would stand in front of it each and every night throughout December, reciting the verse, ringing the bell at the bottom and then getting her treat.
I can still hear Jen's little girl voice saying that verse. This little advent calendar has soooo many good memories for me. I got it out this year, hoping that Jen will start making her own memories with K, learning and then reciting the verse. I'll go out today to purchase the candy for it.

Linda, if you're reading this ... thank you for doing this oh so long ago. Benny and Linda are our most favorite neighbors (wink, wink)

Soooooooo, Thanksgiving day here at the Wagner home was ....
sorry, but it was a heck of a lot of work!
But it was all worth it because my sister, the ever popular anonymous blog commenter (Casserole Carol), and her family were here, along with my brother, Michael and his family. We don't get together often so the times that we do are so nice that the work involved with getting ready for it is all forgotten.

Naturally, the conversation turned to comments about my blog. The clear message that I got from everyone in the room that reads the blog is that I need to get a picture of myself on here so that people can see what I look like.
I told them that I realize that my face on this blog should appear at least a few times, but no one ever takes my picture and I'm certainly not going to take a picture of myself!

Soooooooo at that point .......

Out came the cameras!

Here's a picture of me with my sister-in-law, Janet. I think we might be eating pumpkin pie here ....

Oh wait ....

Jen forgot to send me that picture. She remembered to put it on her facebook page so let's all go there to see it ....

Oh wait ....
we don't have Facebook, so we can't see it.

That's ok. Here's a picture of me sitting beside Carol. Steph took this one. Don't we look happy??

Oh wait. Stephanie didn't send me that picture yet. I think she forgot.


So .....

It's very clearly NOT MY FAULT that there are no pictures of me on my blog. :)

Sadly, Rachel went back to school on Saturday. Volleyball practice is important at this time of the year. Her team is leaving for the national playoffs in St. Paul, Minesota, tomorrow. Their first game is on Thursday and I wish we could go to watch because it's going to be some mighty good volleybal playing.
Any blog readers who live near St Paul and want to see some really good volleyball games, be sure to check out these tournaments. Look for #13 on the Cal U of Pa team and give her a hug for me. It would be really funny to have a blogger run up to Rachel to give a hug. If you can give her a hug while talking with a thick "Fargo" Minnesota accent ... you would absolutely make her day and mine ... joyous.
So Rachel will be on a mini vacation ... being treated well by the NCAA, shopping in the Mall of America and making great memories with her volleyball "family". She's one lucky girl ... but I really really miss her .. a lot.

Ok, I'm going to get my sewing things back into the dining room now so that I can get back to doing what makes me happy.

Have a happy day everyone!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

New Design: "O Snowy Night"

Just a quick picture to show what I finished up last night. I think I'll call it "O Snowy Night". It's a little tablerunner. :)

The pattern will be made for this but I won't get a chance to work on this until next week or so.

The GOOD thing about having Thanksgiving at my house is that I'll have leftovers for the next 5 days or so. Do you know what leftovers mean to someone that is busy??? It means NO COOKING! No cooking for me for 5 days means I will have time to catch up on things ... like ......

The "Snow Faces" pattern. I've everything ready to get the pattern assembled now. I did one real quick just to show here. With Thanksgiving preparations, I don't have time now to assemble it but I'm hoping with Rachel home, she'll help me on Friday and perhaps I can get the orders mailed out on Saturday.

Thank you all for the orders. The pattern is still available as a preorder for $8 including shipping. After Monday, the price will go up to the regular selling price of $9.50.

That price is good for all my Canadian friends too. International sales? Well, thanks to a friendly UK reader, I found out how easy it was to mail the patterns to other lands. So I will offer this for international sales too! Just ask me what the extra shipping costs will be and I'll send an invoice for the total. I'll share the shipping costs with you too!

Questions, I get questions!
**I was asked if I'm planning to make the Christmas Sampler candle mat into a pattern to sell. For now, no. It's so detailed that it would take a tremendous amount of time to write the instructions so I'm going to hold off on that for now. Besides that, I'm hoping to take some of the individual shapes off of that design to create other designs ... like the gingerbread man on that one will be used to make a gingerbread man candle mat. So I want to keep those sampler designs for myself for now so that I can get different uses from them.

**I was asked where I got the mottled green colored wool that I used in the Christmas tree.
That was my own dyed wool that I showed here in this post . That was "Married" wool. When I dyed it, I hadn't planned for it to be so mottled, so it was a big surprise. I had planned to use it to make a ivy garland type candle mat but just never got the time to do it. So there the wool sat, unused until now ... Never thought that mottled green and white wool would look so good as a Christmas tree until I actually cut it out and placed it.
I show how to "Marry" wool here . Marrying wool always creates delightful surprises.

That's all I've got for now ..... Seriously, I've got to get this house cleaned, pies made, and turkeys to defrost. I shouldn't be sitting here typing ... what's wrong with me??? ! :)

Happy day everyone and a wonderful Thanksgiving day too!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

"Snow Faces" Pattern is Ready!

Well, that title line is a little misleading. The "Snow Faces" pattern is ready for printing. It's being printed today, so it should be ready for mailing on Monday.

My own "Snow Faces" candle mat is listed on Ebay right now. Hop over THERE to see more pictures.

This is a design that I created a few weeks ago with no intentions of making a pattern for it. Because of all the requests after seeing the finished mat, the pattern is created! I really appreciate all the feedback I get on any of my designs.

Anyway, this pattern is super easy and quick to make. The snowman faces are the background wool so the hats are positioned at the top of the scallop and all that's left to do is add the face details and you're done!

I think it would also look cute with just two alternating colors for the hats. This can easily be made with woolfelt too.

So I'm going to put another Paypal button up there on the left corner of this page. If you wish to preorder this pattern, it's a special price of $8 which includes shipping. After next Monday, the price will go up to $9.50.

If you prefer to pay by check instead of Paypal, just let me know.

Ok, now the fun stuff .....

I've finished up my Christmas Sampler candle mat. Ohhhhh , I'm so proud of this! It really turned out so much better than I had expected. I'm really not sure which one of these I like the best. I really REALLY enjoyed making this. Most candle mats are repetitive and by the time I get to the last stitches, I'm weary of looking at it.

This one has no repeats of anything, so each little design could get as many or as little different details that I felt like doing. soooo sooo fun to make.
The green wool that I used for the tree is mottled with white and makes the tree look snow-covered.
I attached real jingle bells to the candy canes. I thought about rusting the bells first, but I once I held them on the canes, I really like the sparkle and shine that they add, so they stay shiney.
I had the most fun doing the snowman. I have a little cardinal nesting in his hat and I've dangled snowflakes from his arm limbs.

So, I just need to attach the backing to it and I'll be finished with it. It will be listed on Ebay Sunday, probably. I just might keep this though. I've not decided for sure.

I probably won't be blogging much in the next few days until after Thanksgiving. My sister (Casserole Carol) and her family and my brother and his family will all be coming to our house for Thanksgiving, so I've much to prepare ... yes, the dining room will have to be cleared of all my sewing things to make room for real, live people, so that will take some time to do. I'm looking forward to Thursday simply because my house will be clean, finally. :)

Great news is that Rachel will have Thursday, Friday and part of Saturday to spend with us. She won't have to be back for Volleyball practice until Saturday at 4, so I'm pretty happy with her coach right now ...

Happy Day everyone!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Oh, it's been such a busy weekend! We finally went out and socialized with actual real live people last night. The night before, we traveled down to California, Pa to watch Rachel's volleyball team playoff games.

The good news/bad news is that Rachel's team has once again won their division and is now going on to play at the nationals.

So this is the third year in a row that their team has done so well and it's been such a great opportunity for Rachel because of all the traveling they've been able to do with all expenses paid. I hate to complain because it's been so much fun for her, but the bad news is ... once again, she will probably only be able to come home for Thanksgiving day. If it's like every other year, they'll have to stay at school for practices and training to prepare for the big event.
But, I'm really happy for her and her team.

So, since I haven't been home much, of course, not much stitching was done. I did manage to finish the reindeer, the angel and the gingerbread man. I still have to do the stocking, the Christmas tree and the snowman. I'm going to save the snowman for last just because I really like doing snowmen and look forward to making him look jolly and festive.

I' like how that gingerbread man turned out. I liked making him almost as much as I like making snowmen. I would like to make him and a girl and a gingerbread house candle mat sometime, IF I get the chance/time. I always make little miniature gingerbread man cookies for christmas, and they're so cute it's almost like you're killing them we you take a bite. We've killed dozens of them over the years. :)
Here's the reindeer and the angel that are finished. The deer looks really bright in the pic but it's done in a perfect fawn brown color. I'm happy with this mat so far.

Someone asked me if I blanket stitch everything. It was an anonymous comment so I'll just answer it here since I can't email respond....

Mostly everything gets a blanket stitch edge, but it just depends on the look that I want and the size of the applique piece that needs to be atached. This reindeer wasn't blanket stitched because that face and those antlers would look too messy with blanket stitching. I just tacked/whip stitched them on and then did a primitive running stitch around the perimeter of the deer body. So it just depends on what I feel like doing at the time. There are no rules. :)

I'm hoping to Ebay list my "Snow Faces" candle mat tonight. I've had a LOT of requests for the pattern for that one too so I'm going to try to work on writing the instructions for that today and maybe, just MAYBE I'll have the pattern for it ready to sell next week, after Thanksgiving.

Happy Day everyone!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Thanksgiving and Ebay Do Not Mix!

Y'all have disappointed me. A few postings ago, I mentioned that I was going to Ebay list my "Snowfaces" candle mat on Thursday night. Out of all the people who have read my blog over the last few days, not one person warned me to not do that on Thursday night.
I've made this mistake before and thankfully I caught it myself before I did list it last night.
So what's wrong with Ebay listing something on a Thursday night???
Usually nothing, except last night is exactly ONE WEEK away from Thanksgiving night. When I Ebay list, it's up for a week. NO ONE is sitting at their computer watching Ebay items on Thanksgiving night. If no one is bidding at the very end of the sale, guess what? SOMEONE will get a bargain! :) While I don't mind so much someone getting a bargain, especially if it's a good repeat customer, I certainly don't want to set myself up to purposely sell it at bargain basement prices.
So my "Snowfaces" Candle Mat will be listed on Sunday night.
You readers need to be more alert, because really, I am such a scatterbrain sometimes, I need the assistance when it comes to things like this.

And now, since I'm speaking about being a scatterbrain .... I've received quite a lot of emails lately. I've tried to respond to questions but there've been times that I put off answering the questions because of lack of time. Then I go back to find the questions, and that email is lost in a sea of new emails asking questions.
So, if you've asked me a question either in comments or via email and I haven't responed to you, please don't be offended. Because of the giveaway, I was bombarded and I lost track of the questions.
Just ask again, please? I don't mind getting questions at all so ask away, but if I don't answer back within a day or two, just understand, I'm scatterbrained and I've either forgotten or I've lost the question!


New designs are swirling around in my head and I've so many cute ideas for Christmas candle mats that I just don't have the time to make, the idea occurred to me to make a "sampler" candle mat using one of each of my design ideas.
So, that's how this new drawing started .....

Excuse the bright, glowing date stamp on there. I'm going to be dating most of my design pictures on here for proof of ownership. I'll make a post sometime soon about copyrights and what I've learned recently, but for now just know that my dated pictures have rewarded me with proof of ownership and protected me from copyright thievery and that's invaluable ... and well worth the ugly bright date stamp that you see.

So here in the picture you'll see eight different holiday pictures squeezed onto one candle mat shape. I roughly drew it all out and then roughly colored it in just to give me some help in creating some color balance. Since I have to consider size balance and color balance on the mat, I decided just to cut out each individual pie shape so that I could easily rearrange the shapes to their positions on the mat.

So here, I've kinda settled on this arrangement, knowing that once I actually go upstairs to the woolroom to select the wools, I might have to change it around again.
I spent an entire morning working on this .. getting the pattern drawn and cut out and then figuring out what wools would work best....

This is what I've come up with. Changes had to be made during this whole process. I took out the gingerbread house and made an angel instead. The gingerbread house just has too many tiny details and it just wouldn't fit right into that little pie shape without cramping it. It's going to be a very "busy" little mat as it is so I have to be careful to not make this into something that is heavy with too many details.
The colors changed from what I originally planned because I found a wonderful soft plaid wool with different colors that could be "fussy cut" to make that mitten, the angel and the stocking. They will blend well because it's from the same wool, but they're each slightly different colors. Am I going into waaaay too much detail here? Am I losing you?
hahah .. ok ....
I'm starting to stitch each shape on now, starting with the shapes that I'm most concerned with. The candy canes came first because I wasn't sure if I could manage to make them look like candly canes in such a small space....
Oh and those white stitching lines that section off each pie shape are just quick basting stitches to mark the territories. They'll be pulled out once the mat is finished.

But yeah, I really like how they turned out. The pic is blurry here, sorry. I had to use heavier white wool for these just because there is so much stitching going into the fiber that a lighter weight wool would break down and shred. The heavy wool held up nicely.

After finishing up with the candy canes, I did the mitten. I wanted to put a cute little button snowman on the mitten and I was hoping that the mitten color wasn't going to be too dark to show the snowman arms. It is a bit dark, but I think you can still tell it's a snowman, so I'm happy with this.
I'm now starting to stitch on the angel. She's looking a little large on her pie shape, so I'm going to clip her wings ... just a bit to see if that helps.
That's it for now. I'm hoping to have most of the stitching done by Sunday night and I'll try to show the progress in a Sunday post.
Happy Day everyone!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Superstar Winner!

Without any further delay the winner, picked by my husband, at 10:05 last night , is

Mary, of Mary on Lake Pulaski !

Congratulations Mary!

Big Thank YOUS to everyone else for all the kind words. Welcome to all the new "followers" and lurking blogless readers. The response was overwhelming and wonderful and once my big head deflates a little, I'll make my way around to visit yinz.

Happy Day everyone!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

"Snow Faces" Snowman Design

Wow, such a tremendous response to my patterns. Thank you everyone!
Brenda, from Pumpkin Patch Primitives, sold out of all the kits that she had for sale on her site for my "Let It Snow" pattern. She's kitting more and the waiting list is growing for the next restocking. Go to her website HERE to preorder my "Let It Snow" kitted pattern. Just want the pattern? Order up there in the top left corner of my page.

In other good news: a local shop, Covered Bridge Needlearts, is now carrying my patterns too.

This shop is my very first Brick and Mortar store that I've approached. The shop has special significance not only because it's the closest shop to where I live, but it's also located in the quaint little town of Bridgewater, where I grew up! The building where the shop is located used to be a beer distributer way back then.
Of course, it's been completely renovated and converted into the cute shop it is now. Shelley, the owner, was very happy to see me and was really helpful with suggestions and ideas about the possibility of future projects.

Coincidently, Rhonda, from theoldestonehouse just happened to stop in the store after I had left my patterns and samples. Rhonda spotted my samples and recognized them instantly. Too bad we missed each other but I'm sure our paths will cross sometime soon.

Ok, so this new design, I decided to call "Snow Faces" . It's not exactly how I originally imagined it to turn out ... but it sure turned out cute!

See the snowface with the off-white hat? I was planning to make all the snowfaces with hats of that color. After I had sewn on two faces with hats, I could tell ... ugh... "this is going to be bland". I wanted to have a sorta white on white kind of design, but this obviously was not working.

So I set it aside for a day, looking at it every once in while, waiting for an idea to come into my head of what to do to it.
Since I really liked the texture of that wool for the hats, I decided to dye that wool three different colors to make those little guys more festive. Much better now with color, doncha think?

I added some little tassles to their hats by rolling up some frayed-edged wool strips and stitching them on.
This will go up on Ebay Thursday night.

I also made a little gingerbreadman pillow. I think I'll hang onto this one for myself. I like gingerbreadmen ... and I like the contrast of the ginger brown color against that deep red. I have some ideas for designs and this little pillow is just a sample of what's to come. :)

For those of you who haven't yet commented for a chance to win this pretty "Stockings of Joy" candle mat, go HERE to comment and enter for a chance. The drawing for this will be tomorrow night, (Wednesday, the 18th) at 10pm est.
I'll announce the winner on Thursday morning.
Happy Day Everyone!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Ohhhh Exciting Pattern News!

My daughters call me "the crazy wool lady" and that name fits perfectly. I collect wool ... massive amounts of wool. I draw pictures ... massive amounts of pictures. Then I use that wool to create something that looks like the picture. Who would've thunk that other people would want to do that same thing ... with MY creations??

Well, lookie here ... LOTS of people want to do that same thing!
Sales for my "Let it Snow" pattern have just exploded into something wonderful. I've sold so many that I've had to send it out for reprinting TWICE!

And now .... the best news ever .....
Brenda, from Pumpkin Patch Primitives has discovered me! She's now selling my "Let it Snow" pattern as a kit which contains all the wool and threads that are needed to make this. Click HERE for the link to the pattern kit!

Brenda sent out her newsletter last night, announcing the kitted pattern. She told me that 5 minutes after clicking send, she had orders for it. She emailed this morning to let me know that they are FLYING OFF THE SHELF.

So ladies if you are looking for a fast and fun project that is all kitted and ready for you when it arrives, order your kit now! Go to Brenda's website, Pumpkin Patch Primitives, NOW for the kitted pattern before they sell out.

Thank you Brenda from Pumpkin Patch Primitives. What a boost to my ego!

Happy Day everyone!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

How To Spell GIVEAWAY !

There's a plethora of blog owner giveaways. New ones are popping up everyday. I've entered quite a few myself and being a loser most of the time, I surprised myself and actually won a giveaway one time too!

I wonder if there are blogs out there that just blog announcements for the newest blog giveaways, which send readers scurrying over to the giveaway blog to enter.
I want to be on that annoucement list because ......

I'm having a GIVEAWAY!

Yes, indeed, you wonderful bloggers and blog readers deserve something free from me. Afterall, you've been reading my crap
literary works from a genius blog posts for months since the last giveaway. Y'all certainly deserve a chance at something that I've made.

So the giveway is this wool candle mat ... a version of my newest pattern "Stockings of Joy" that I just started selling. No, I'm not giving the pattern away, I'm giving the real handmade candle mat that is MADE from the pattern!

It's all handstitched and 100% wool. Even the backing is wool. It measures about 12 1/2" across. It looks really nice with a dark red candle in the center

If you're turning your nose up at the candle mat picture, stop it! It actually looks much better than that picture. Everyone should know by now that my camera has a hatred for greens. It never gives me the real green color, so please, look at the picture again and imagine a darker shade of green stocking instead of the neon glowing green that you see. There! Now you want to win this, don't you?

Yeah, I thought so. :)

Ok, so all you have to do to enter is COMMENT IN THIS POST.

All you have to do is comment to get one entry to win this. I'd love it if you announced the giveaway in your own blog but you don't have to.

I know there are dozens of readers who don't have blogs ... that's ok. You can enter for a chance too, if you wish. Just comment in this post as ANONYMOUS and give me some way to contact you .. either give your email address or some other indentifying info... like your full name . Or comment with your first name and then email me with your contact info.

The giveway will end on Wednesday, November 18th at 10pm est. My hubby will draw the winning name and I'll announce the winner on Thursday morning.

Good luck!

Happy Day everyone!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Warning! This Post Puts On Weight

Hooray! I have the patterns ready to mail!

Thank you so much to all those who have ordered this and the "Let It Snow" pattern from me. Your kind words of encouragement are what make this possible. Honestly, I'd much rather just sit and quietly sew whatever I feel like sewing instead of writing, drawing, measuring, printing, folding and packing. All the work has been worth it though because y'all are so supportive.

For all of you who have this ordered, your patterns will go out in the mail today.

I'll keep the presale price of $8.00 (including shipping) for the rest of today and then raise the price to include shipping costs.

I also have a big giveaway that I'll be announcing TOMORROW! Be sure to stop back to see what I'm giving away.

Today starts the day that I can get my sewing back to normal. No more pattern making for now ... I just want to create and sew and relax! The things I make aren't dictated by what's popular or what I think will sell. I create things from the visions in my head. Sometimes, they don't sell well ... sometimes they don't sell at all! But .. it doesn't matter to me because it's the satisfaction of seeing the finished piece turning out as nice OR even nicer than the vision of it in my head.

A couple days ago, I was out running errands. I had lots of stops to make and lots of things were running through my head about what all I had to get done for the day. My final stop was Micheals' Craft store to pick up some #5 DMC (that's thread for you non-stitchers). I went for the DMC first, and then continued to look around the store a bit. All their Christmas things are out now, so it was a good distraction for my racing brain.

Maybe too much of a distraction, because after I finished browsing, I walked right passed the checkout counter and out of the store ... WITH THE DMC IN MY HAND.

If they have security cameras, I wish I could see the look on my face when I walked through those doors, lifted my thieving hand up to my face and discovered, with horror, that I JUST STOLE DMC THREAD!

I think I might have given a little scream ... I know I said outloud "OH SH**T".

I did turn around and pay for that thread but after that incident, I knew that I better settle down and relax a bit. Trying to do too much in one day can have some BAD consequences. Thank you GOD for distracting security so that me, the nitwit, didn't get arrested.

See that subject line up there? I've given you fair warning. Here's another warning, if you continue reading past this point, you will gain weight. I'm sorry, it just can't be helped because sometimes gaining a pound or so IS SOOO MUCH WORTH IT!

Let me introduce you to ORAMS Donuts. Orams is your friend. Once you meet Orams, you will never be able to pass by the Oram home without stopping to visit. .......
Orams? Meet my blogging friends! .........

See those cinnamon roll donuts? Those are as big as your face. Seriously.
You gain weight just looking at these so that's why I felt the need to put the warning up there.
Hubby brought these home yesterday morning.
I didn't ask him WHY IN THE WORLD would he buy a dozen of these if there are only TWO of us eating them???????
Sheesh..... Ok, let's stop looking at them while typing and thinking how good they taste with coffee in the morning.

I really need to get the date stamp on my camera changed ... it's not december, folks.

Happy day everyone!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Stockings Of Joy Pattern = Almost Ready!

Oh, it's been such a busy few days. I've finished up this candle mat, taken the picture for the pattern front and now I'm getting it all ready to send out to the printers. Here's the finished "Stockings of Joy" candle mat. I'm going to offer this pattern as a presale, just like I did for the "Let It Snow" pattern. If you'd like to purchase the pattern, just click on the Paypal "BUY NOW" button up there in the top left corner. Make sure that you're clicking on the "Stockings of Joy" button then Paypal will take you through the process of paying.

Presale price for this pattern is $8.00 which includes shipping, even up there to my wonderful Canadian friends. After the pattern is printed, the price will include the shipping cost.

I hoping that the pattern will be printed and ready for shipping by next Monday, at the latest.

The lighting was bad this morning so I had to use a flash on this to show the details. Don't let those details scare you from purchasing this. This candle mat is soooo well worth taking the time for the details. This is made with 100% wool, but it can easily be made with Woolfelt too. Basic embroidery stitching is all that is needed ... blanket stitch, stem stitch and some french knots here and there.

I've also suggested in the pattern that other things can be used to "fill" the stockings. I've found some cute little Christmas buttons in shapes of candy canes, hearts and gingerbread men that would look nice on the stockings. Also little cinnamon sticks would look really cute in the stockings too.

I hope Rachel doesn't mind me telling this story and if she's does, names will be changed to protect the ...
well ... I'll just change the names, ok?

Last year, Rachel needed a Christmas gift to give to her boyfriend's parents. She loved that family and they treated her like she was part of their family so naturally, she wanted to give them something extra special as a gift.
I offered to make her a candle mat to give to them. She really liked that idea, which REALLY surprised me .. she normally doesn't pay much attention to the things that I make, so for her to like the idea of giving her second family something that I made pretty much showed me that she does have a certain appreciation for what I do.

I showed her pictures of all the candle mats that I"ve made over time and gave her a choice of whichever one she wished. There were LOTS to pick from, but she chose this one over all the rest.
I was secretly hoping that she would pick this one. So I made this candle mat and she purchased a candleholder and candle to go along with it and that was their extra special present from her last year.
It does make a wonderful gift for someone extra special, so keep that in mind too.

Ok, enough of the selling. I'm not good at selling things, preferring just to let the pictures do the selling for me, so I'm WAAAAY out of my comfort zone writing about how nice this mat is. I'm shutting up now. :)

Happy Day everyone!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Buttons Up The Nose and Pine Needles

I bet that subject line got your attention, didn't it?

My precious grandson has disappointed me. For months now, when he comes over for a visit, he likes to get out my little jar of old buttons to play with. Now, I know you're thinking, and I've mentioned this before in my blog, "letting little ones play with buttons isn't safe" And I realize that there is a safety issue, but he enjoys playing with them so much and I'm always with him when he is playing with them. I constantly remind him to not put buttons in his mouth with the threat that I would put the buttons up if he ever did.
He just loves those buttons. He sorts them, he stacks them, he tries them out in other containers, and he talks about the colors.
I wouldn't say that we get hours of fun out of those buttons. As active as he is, I'm happy to get a good solid 10 minutes of quiet time fun out of the buttons. Then we put the buttons away, because "the vacuum doesn't like buttons" (what I tell him)

So the other day, he was visiting and playing with his mom and the buttons. I'm not sure what happened but some voice inside my grandson's head told him to shove a button up his nose. Jen was able to get it out, easily, so it wasn't a problem. But the buttons have been put up and away.   Haha..not up his nose ... up on a shelf!
Now at this point, I have to really wonder, what kind of thoughts are racing around in that cute little head of his? What compels him to push a little white button up his nose? Wouldn't it be nice to be able to read his mind to understand what the heck he could possibly be thinking? Why? Is he storing it up there to play with later? Why?

He has put things up his nose before. His parents found a raisin up there a day after he had been given raisins. We think he put a mini m&m up there, but the "melt in your mouth, not in your hand" promise, musta worked because we saw no signs of it later. He's been told many many times why he shouldn't do it, but yet, he still did it.
So I'm disappointed that we can't play with buttons now. I really enjoyed doing that. It would look silly for me to sit by myself playing with them, sorting them, admiring their colors and dumping them from container to container ... my kids would probably carry out their threats to put me in a home if they saw me doing that. I'll just wait a few weeks before getting them out again. In the meantime I'll start lecturing him about noses and not listening to "that" voice inside his head.

Ok, on to the Stocking Candle Mat, which BTW, I am going to sell the pattern for this. I'm getting it all ready to send off to the printers ... all I need is to get a nice picture of the finished mat to use for the front of the pattern.

My pictures from the other day showed the stockings stitched onto the black background. Now it's time to do those pine branches. So the picture above shows the three stages of creating the pine branch. First, with a chalk pencil, I lightly draw in the branch lines. Then with some brown pearl cotton thread, I stem stitched along the lines. Once all the brown branches are stitched in above the stocking, then I work on the pine needles ... just making random straight stitches on either side of the brown branches.
This takes quite a bit of time to do. It's not difficult, just time consuming.
I have to admit, and I know this probably sounds odd, but I don't really like embroidery type stitching. As much hand sewing as I do, people might be surprised to learn that about me. It's not that I hate it, it's just that I prefer doing applique stitching and try to limit the embroidery as much as I can in my designs.
However, as you can see, this mat does require a lot of embroidery. So if you like embroidery stitching this is a good pattern for you.
If you like embroidery stitching but stink at doing it? This will be a good pattern for you too because the more crooked your stitches are when making those pine needles, the better the branches will look ......

And this becomes a problem for me too, because I tend to be a perfectionist when it comes to stitching. I have a LOT of difficulty making crooked straight stitch lines, so this took me more time to sew simply because those pine needles have to be crooked to be perfect.
But really, it's so easy to do and no matter how you stitch in those pine needles, you can't make it look bad.
Today, I'll work on filling those stockings with gingerbread men and adding on tassles with stars.
I'm hoping to finish it up tomorrow.
Keep watch for the upcoming pattern.

Happy Day everyone!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Case of the Missing French Knots

Last night I was searching through my Ebay pictures in my Photobucket account and found this little cutie.
It's a mini version of the larger "Let It Snow" candle mat. I sold a couple of these smaller votive sized candle mats last year on Ebay.
To my horror, I noticed a glaring error in this little mat. ..... There are two missing french knots on one of the snowflakes. I can't believe I never noticed that last year. Can you see on this picture where those knots are supposed to be? Ok, now go back up to the big picture and tell me ...
Does that mat now SCREAM out at you .... "YOU IDIOT, YOU FORGOT TO PUT ON THE LAST TWO FRENCH KNOTS!" ???
I can't even bear to look at that picture now. Sooooo ....
if the Ebay customer who purchased this from me last year happens to be reading this please email me. I will pay to have it sent back to me so that I can add those french knots. It bothers me knowing that #1. I never noticed that last year. #2 Someone out there has missing french knots and I don't know who it is.
Yay, I can get pictures from my camera to my computer now and I didn't have to buy a camera!
Thank you to my Blogging friend who suggested that I just needed to purchase a Card Reader for my camera. I saved oodles of $$ because of that. For $13 at Walmart, I bought a card reader and I can get pictures on my computer now. I didn't know that they made card readers for personal computers. It just never occurred to me that anything like that existed other than for commercial printshops. And it's TINY too!
So this is the progress so far on the stocking candle mat. I'm a little disappointed that I don't have it finished by now, but I had some trouble with my green wool. The first green that I used was just a little too dark. It needs to be a dark medium green to pop on that black background. Forest green is just too dark to use on the black background. I dyed up more wool and now I"ve the perfect green color to use.
So, I'm hoping to do the pine branch embroidery today and hopefully have that time-consuming task completed tonight.
I need to get this finished so that I can get a picture of it for the printed pattern. All other projects will be put aside until this is done. I'm really anxious and excited to get some new things started. New designs will be on their way soon.
TIP OF THE DAY! Read this and learn from my mistakes! .....
Do not eat things while sewing with wool, especially black wool. I'm telling you, the worst thing is pretzels. You might think you can get a harmless quick nibble on a pretzel while stitching on the black wool, but that pretzel, no matter how careful you are, will haunt you with it's crumbs on your mat. If you don't shake those crumbs off right away, they will embed themselves into your black wool background and cause you much anquish.
I always keep a lint roller handy while I'm sewing. Every once in a while, I'll pick up the mat or penny rug that I'm working on and give it a good shake and then go over it with the lint roller. That black wool background shows every single little fiber of lint so if you take care of the lint while you're working with it, when you're all finished your mat will look a lot nicer because the lint (and pretzel crumbs) won't be embedded.
So there ya go ... Don't eat while stitching. Keep your hands washed and clean while stitching and your mouth empty.
That reminds me of my granson. He can't say the "g" sound quite yet so when he sees me chewing gum he always points to my mouth and says " dammas dumb" (meaning: Grandma's gum).
It'a whole comical routine between us now with him calling me dumb and me saying "who are you calling dumb??" giggles and tickles are added in.
I get to watch him this afternoon, so I'm outta here to get some things done .
Happy Day everyone!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

More Idea Bursts or Am I Crazy Insane?

My camera is still out of comission so no pictures showing what I'm doing but I can show pictures of what other people are doing, can't I?

So last night, I took some time to try to catch up on some other blogs. I'll tell you, there's some amazing talent out there in blogland. The internet might seem vast, but my group of blog friends make it so friendly and cozy, I could spend hours and hours and hours just visiting, getting new ideas and inspired. My blog friends have given me helpful tips and hints like how to use vinegar to break apart glued wood. I get terrific recipes and inspiring decorating ideas. But mostly, it's just the friendships that build over time, getting to know people who share the same common interests as me. I know I can always find help and support with anything now. All I have to do is type and the help comes pouring in. How unexpectantly wonderful!
BTW, thank you to those of you who told me how to fix my header up there ... I'll go try it now. Now, will one of you come to my house and show me how to use all the features on my new coffeemaker?!
And thank you to those who gave helpful suggestions for a new camera. Very helpful indeed.

So anyway.
I've posted recently and a while back about the ideas in my head. I get inspired by different things and ideas just pop in my head ... I get flashes of images behind my eyes. Am I crazy or what? Please tell me if you know what I'm talking about. When I get those flashes of images, I grab up some paper and quickly draw it on a scrap of paper so that I don't forget it. The image is so clear that I can even see the colors. Ok, just typing that does make it seem like I might be crazy.......
So last night I went to bed and while trying to get to sleep, I started getting a lot of image flashing. The first one that really got my attention was oddly, Penguins. No, not the Pittsburgh Pens hockey team, silly. Real penguins. So I had to get up and draw that real quick. I don't think penguins fit into primitive style candle mats well, but ya never know. Maybe I can.
Ok, so I got back to bed, settle in and POP! There's another image flash. This time it's a grouping of snowmen singing Chrismas songs ... I guess they were Caroling ... no not Casserole Caroling. :) (had to get that in and I can hear my daughters and Carol groaning and rolling their eyes right now.)
So that grouping of snowmen will turn into a nice tablerunner with the design on both sides. I didn't bother getting up to draw that one. I was just too tired, but it's stuck in my head now so I'll take time later to draw it.
I woke up this morning as hubby got ready for work and realized that I had dreamed about fireplaces and a design using the EXACT same fireplace that I read about on Raggedy Angel's blog .

This is her picture on her blog. Isn't that fireplace just wonderful? She'll tell the story about how she redid that fireplace, just go to her blog to read.

So yes, I dreamed about her fireplace and I dreamed about the penny rug design I'm going to make from that fireplace, as long as it's ok with Raggedy Angel, of course.

My dream had this fireplace with filled Christmas stockings hanging down and lots of goodies up there in the trencher on the mantel... The goodies are so enticing that some mice have decided to have a feast. (eeks, I'm SURE she really doesn't have mice scurrying around on her mantel).

I was so excited about this design that I couldn't go back to sleep so I got up and drew it out on paper. You'll just have to imagine it for now because I've no camera to take the picture for it.

Ok, so NOW ... sorry, this is getting long, isn't it? I checked my email and discovered why I was having such wonderul idea bursts in my head last night.

My Ebay fairy, named Mary, was responsible for my newest design ideas. She cast her magical wishes on me and I didn't even know it, but it worked! She wrote: "I hope you have a dream-filled night of wools and patterns"

I did, Mary! I did!

Now how incredibly cool is that?!?! Thank you Mary. You are a blessing to me and I'm grateful for your help and support yesterday.

I really do have the BEST Ebay customers. I can curse Ebay for a lot of things, but my wonderful repeat customers are what keep me from leaving Ebay.

Speaking of Ebay, and again, since I can't share my pictures, I will share some designer names that I think are wonderful.

I hope to have either my camera fixed or a new camera purchased today. *crosses fingers hoping that I find the time*

Happy Day everyone!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Oh Dear, The Camera Might Finally Be Dead

I've no pictures to share today. My Kodak camera, the one that I've depended on for oh .... 4 years now to do all the work, has finally bit the dust, I think.

The camera works fine but the connector hole where the plug goes in to connect it to the computer is broken. The plug won't stay in. For the last few weeks, when uploading pics to my computer, I'd have to wiggle and hold the plug in a certain way just to get it to connect. Now wiggle, pushing and shoving won't work.

I guess I'll go see how much it would take to get it fixed but I'm thinking it might be better just to break down and buy a new camera. I've never really been happy with this one. It's very moody. I'm not a medical professional but I've diagnosed my camera as being Bi-Polar. The behaviors are very similiar so I needn't go into any further details.

Soooo if anyone has any suggestions or recommendations about what camera to purchase, please help because I know NOTHING about cameras. Zilch. It's like a different language to me when I read the features on the camera boxes.
I just need a basic camera with a decent zoom on it. I don't need all the fancy settings...simply because I'll never read the instructions so I'll never learn how to use those features.
haha ... We bought a new coffee maker last week and I read the instructions only as far as I needed to tell me how to brew the darn coffee. It has a bunch of other features I'd like to try, but I never get around to reading how to use it.

Ohhh and another example ... take a look up there ^^on my blog page. See where the Cath's Pennies banner extends over the center white area? I know there's a way to fix that to make it fit, but I just never take the time to go in there to read the instructions that will tell me how to do that. So there it stays, probably forever, or until someone else fixes it for me, which will never happen.
There ya go... the ONLY thing that keeps me from being a perfect individual is that I hate to read instructions. :)
So anyway, any camera will be exactly the same way which is why I just need the basics on it.
And I'd like to try to keep the price under $200.

...and of course, I'd love it if it didn't have major mood swings.

What kind of camera do you have and are you happy with it?

Happy Day everyone!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

My Bursting with Ideas Brain

I've addressed this before, but the question has come up again, in a different way so I thought it would make a great Blog post ....
How do I get my design ideas?

I always have ideas in my head. Sometimes, depending on the season or the weather, there are TONS of ideas in my head and it's frustrating because I just can't draw them out fast enough. Sometimes though, my ideas are limited so I go for my pizza box.....
This is a Walmart Pizza box that I keep shoved under my couch in the living room. You can see, it has a crazy mix of paper shapes with even crazier drawings on them. My ideas that are bursting from my head get drawn and then placed into this box so that I can work and improve on them later.
This is how my designs get started. Some designs work and look good on paper. Those drawn designs are what turn into my pincushions, penny rugs, mug rugs, candle mats, and pillows.
The drawings that don't work? I still keep them because they're ideas that maybe I can take and use later. When I need inspirations, I look at these deadbeat drawings and sometimes I can turn them into something wonderful two years later!
So all my initial drawings go into this box .. well, not all because they all don't fit. The rest get shoved into another box.
You can tell from how crudely this is drawn, that it didn't trace it from anywhere. It's in my head and I'm drawing what I see behind my eyes. These Christmas drawings were done last year. Never found the time to do anything further with them but the gingerbread man will eventually become something. And that snowman? Anyone that is familiar with my designs will recognize that as mine because holy cow, I just can't stop myself from drawing in all those little details .. making the pattern so much more time consuming to create. Isn't it cute how the snowflake is dangling down from his tree limb arm?
I did this one a while ago. Cute design, eh? It started out as a little lily of the valley flower but then the 2 year old grandson decided that he wanted to improve the design in his own way with his pencil. So this is actually his design, which was inspired by my design. We both get the intellectual design ownership of this one.

Gosh, look what I found ... this lacey edged background took me a TON of time to measure and draw out. Imagine how much time it took to cut all those little scallops too! Someday I might use this lacey background to make something else. I made a cute little pansy mat with this design.
All my pansies designs are created from a real life pansy. I picked a pansy from my garden, pulled off the petals and traced them. Voila`! A pansy .... only it's not really that simple. Pansy petals still have to be made into something that actually looks like a pansy when put together. A lot of time went into perfecting my pansy pincushions that I've made.
Lots and lots of my drawings pretty much prove that I don't copy from anyone else.
I've a respect for pattern designers because I know how much time it takes to draw, measure, and select the right colors and fabrics to come up with the final finished product. We deserve to be respected and by honoring our copyrighted designs, you are showing your respect to us, as designers.

More quick sketches. I wish that I could draw better so that everything would come out perfectly the first time my pencil hits the paper. But I don't draw well, so it takes quite a bit of time to get the picture how I want it to look even before I can consider tracing it onto some freezer paper to create the pattern for it. LOTS OF TIME! Thanks to erasers, I do draw well enough though that I am able to get it how I want it, eventually.
I get my inspiration for design ideas a lot of ways. Everyone should know from my blog how much I love making flowers in my designs. Real flowers from my garden have given me the inspiration to create the lily of the valley, the geraniums, the dandylions, the coneflowers, the sunflowers , the violets, etc, etc, etc. So many flowers for me to make yet .... so many design plans are going through my head right now just thinking about flowers. Someone asked me last month about making a poppy candle mat ... that will be next ....
Ok, so I could go on and on and on rambling and telling how I do what I do, but my main point is ...
Pattern designers won't make it in the business if they take other designers patterns, add some slight changes to that pattern and then proceed to call it their own. Not only is it morally wrong .... There are clear copyright violations.
I show pictures of my designs here on my blog .... lots of pictures and lots of instructions along with helpful hints and suggestions can be found on my site. Do I want my words and pictures to be copied and pasted onto someone else's blog who then claims it to be their own? No, I do not. I wrote these words. They are mine.
The exact same thing applies to whatever pictures I show on my blog.
Showing you my pictures of my designs is NOT giving anyone permission to take my designs and then claiming the design as their own.
The drawings are mine, the instructions are mine, the pictures are mine, and these words are mine. Please don't steal them to make something and then claim that item as your own. At the very least, give me credit and the very best ... purchase my pattern and make my design legally with my permission.
I'm terribly sorry to have to do this but from now on, all my copyrighted patterns that I sell will specifically state that they may be used for personal use only. One bad person has ruined this for everyone, unfortunately.
It's a sad day today.