Monthly Archives: December 2016

CROSS STITCHING FUN – SIMPLE WAYS TO GET STARTED

CROSS STITCHING FUN – SIMPLE WAYS TO GET STARTED
Cross Stitch sample

Cross Stitch sample: Hanging Ornament

 

Cross stitching is a fun way to pass the time and relax. There are several different ways to get started. Whether you decide to buy a cross stitching kit or buy the supplies separately, it is easy to get started.

Start out by making a visit to your local craft store. Many craft stores carry both the premade kits and the separate supplies. Premade kits come in handy because they include the thread, the canvas and the needle as well as step by step instructions. The premade kits come in different styles and projects. Pictures are available as well as more detailed projects such as pillow cases, bibs, blankets and lots more. Prices for the premade kits are wide in range. There are several projects that start as low as $5 ranging up to $100 for more detailed projects.

If you choose to buy the supplies separately, it is a good idea to buy a cross stitch book first. These books usually contain several patterns and specify the materials needed to complete the patterns. Among the materials needed are typically thread, needles, canvas and a hoop to keep the canvas stretched. The hoop makes it easy to cross stitch more accurately, but they are not required.

Follow the directions included in the kit or patterns to achieve the desired outcome. The directions supplied specify the colors used and each has a specific icon that represents the color. Follow these directions to make sure that your picture matches the pattern. There are several different kinds of stitches such as cross stitch, half-stitch and a back-stitch. Each stitch made a certain way, so familiarize yourself with each stitch. Knowing the stitches beforehand will help end any frustration during the sewing.

After you have experience with cross stitching it is possible to develop your own pattern. Do some research and choose a picture to turn into a cross stitch pattern. This is a more complex way of cross stitching so ease and experience count.

After the cross stitch is complete, it is time to frame your work! Buy a nice frame to display your work on the wall or to give away as a gift. Congratulate yourself on a job well done.

Getting started with cross stitch is easy and fun. There are two different methods to get started, buy a premade kit or buy the supplies separately. Craft stores usually carry all the supplies you need to get started, so be sure to visit one and pick the best method for you.

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RAINY DAY CRAFT FUN FOR ALL AGES

RAINY DAY CRAFT FUN FOR ALL AGES

 

Rainy Day Craft Fun for All Ages

Rainy days are a drag for children and adults alike. Despite the weather outside though, children can find fu n things to do inside as well. Rainy days are the perfect time to break out the arts and crafts that will drive away the rainy day dreariness. Crafts are perfect for all ages and make sure that nobody is left out.

Crafts for Small Children

Children age two and up can sit at the table with paper and crayons. While the younger children may not have a long attention span, coloring will help to keep a child entertained when it is not possible to play outside. Cut out some shapes on paper and let the children decorate the shapes. For more fun, break out some glitter markers and some stickers. Foam is also a good option for younger children. Foam does not tear easily and is very versatile which makes it a good material for young children to craft with.

Crafts for School-Aged Children

Children who are attending school are likely more adept at handling items such as scissors and glue. Popsicle sticks are a great item to have on hand for rainy days.Children can build houses, picture frames and many other things with them. The possibilities for creative play are limitless.

Paints are also a good idea. Lay out some paint, brushes, paper and some water and paper towels for cleanup and let your kids paint the day away.

If the children are in middle or high school, they are adept at doing more than coloring or painting. Craft ideas for older children include painting on a canvas, scrapbooking and other paper crafts, as well as building crafts out of wood and other items. Cross stitching and fabric arts are good deterrents from the weather outside as they are time-consuming.

Crafts for Adults

There are many crafts that adults can do. Jewelry making and scrapbooking are two of the most popular activities. Sewing, whether by hand or machine, is an activity that can take up a lot of time and therefore drive away the rainy day blues.

Crafting is not age oriented. There are many craft types, with different levels of difficulty available for preschool age children all the way through adulthood. Keeping craft supplies on hand will make a rainy day easier on everyone.

All tutorials are available on this website.

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An Amazing Quilter

An Amazing Quilter

An Amazing Amish Quilter

I first visited Smicksburg, Pennsylvania on the last day of summer 2016. Smicksburg is a small rural town where a small arts and crafts community coexists with the Amish and other rural folks. The shops are fun to visit: pottery, antiques, dried flowers, yarn and wool, country gifts and a small Heritage museum. Other shops flourish on the periphery of Smicksburg and include an Amish furniture shop, antiques, a country restaurant, a chocolate shop (with more than just chocolate).

I wrote about that first trip (and the second trip) but I didn’t mention the Amish farm that my friend and I passed. We saw the sign by the side of the road: “Quilt repairs.”

I thought about the handmade basket pattern quilt I bought at the annual antiques show in a mall 18 to 20 years ago (Monroeville Mall, Monroeville, PA). Some of the material had frayed so I put it away hoping to repair it one day.

I knew it would be expensive to fix and finding someone who repairs quilts is like looking for a needle in a haystack. I tried. The closest quilt “repairer” that I had found was a five-hour drive away from Pittsburgh.

On the second rip to Smicksburg, I brought it along thinking I would get an estimate. The fabric had deteriorated even more; in fact, so had the cotton batting between the quilt top and the backing. We stopped at the quilt shop which displayed some of the most beautiful quilts I have ever seen in many different colors and patterns including crazy, log cabin, postage stamp (my favorite) and more.

She has her share of customers, too.

Effie greeted us and explained how long it would take and how much and that cotton doesn’t last. The Amish have switched to cotton blends. So I decided right there and then that I would leave the quilt for Effie to repair. That was in October. She had two other quilts ahead of mine to work on so it would take as until the Christmas holidays or even early January before she could finish it. I plucked down a deposit and wrote my name and address in her guest book.

The Saturday after Thanksgiving, Effie wrote to me that she had finished the quilt.  I picked it up this Saturday, December 10th (again spending the day in Smicksburg browsing and shopping).

Effie is an amazing artist;  the quilt is like new. Not only are the baskets replaced in their original colors (with fresh fabric) but the quilted background was redone like the original.  Effie’s mother told us that Effie used fabric that belonged to her grandmother to repair the baskets that had deteriorated (some of the baskets were in good condition).

We chatted with Effie and her mother for a while. I had never really communicated with the Amish before but it’s no different from speaking to anyone else.  (I once spoke to an Amish buggy driver in Lancaster.) Her mother told us that Effie was named after a beloved aunt.

Effie works by hand, without the benefit of electricity (or running water), a computer to store her patterns and database of customers, or a cell phone to text that the quilt is ready or that she’s running a special for the holidays. We communicated by letter or face-to-face.Their way of life reminds me of the seven months I spent in my father’s village in Cyprus: no running water, electricity, etc.

And the Amish are hardy. In October, Effie and her mother greeted us walking barefoot on the hard ground. Neither wore a coat yesterday and it was not a warm day.

Yesterday, I felt like I was going through a spiritual experience fixing my heirloom quilt!

A Brief History of Quilting

Quilting was first developed in Europe during the Crusades when European soldiers discovered that Turks wore several layers of fabric quilted together under their armor.

In other parts of the world, (China, North Africa, the Middle East, and northern Europe), clothing sometimes featured patchwork stitching. In ancient China, silk was so expensive that when an article of clothing wore out, the silk was cut into pieces and sewn into patchwork clothing. Today, quilting is primarily used on bedspreads, wall hangings, place mats and the like.

A quilt is composed of a top which is made of pieces of fabric cut and sewn into a pattern. Cotton (or polyester or wool) batting is layered between the quilted top and the backing. The three layers are pinned together, the quilted design marked on the top piece and quilted by hand or by machine. The outer edges of the quilt are turned under and sewn with binding.

By the time the early colonists arrived in the New World, quilting was a common way of sewing bedding and clothing. However, only the wealthy owned them. Fabrics were imported from France and England and expensive for the average colonial family.

By the early 19th century, American manufacturing cheaply produced cotton fabrics in various colors and patterns and designs evolved over time: the medallion, crazy pattern, mosaic, and Baltimore Album or Friendship design among others.

In 1972, the Whitney Museum of American art celebrated the history of American quilts with the exhibit, “Abstract Design in American Quilts.” The Bicentennial Celebrations and the growing feminist movement influenced the theme of the exhibit which featured vintage Amish quilts. The exhibit was a success with the public.

Quilts not only became popular to make and/or own, but vintage quilts became quite collectible.

www.britannica.com 

Teague, Ken. Growing Up in Ancient China.  Troll Associates, Eagle Books, 1994.

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A POTION FOR THE WINTER BLAHS

A POTION FOR THE WINTER BLAHS
Essential Oils

Essential Oils

Materials:

4 oz. water

8 drops eucalyptus essential oil

8 drops lavender essential oil

8 drops peppermint essential oil

spray mister bottle/any size

dropper  (optional; the essential oil bottles may come with a dropper)

 

Project:

Combine all the ingredients in a spray mister bottle. Shake well. Mist during the winter months for a “mood pick-me-up”.

Free Kindle Book:

Essential Oils by Matt and Seantay Hall

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