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Christmas in July WIP | Cross Stitch

I'm sure I'm about to say what everyone else has been thinking....

What happened to July??????????????

One minute, it's Memorial Day weekend, the next minute, it's August.  How does that happen???

I love love LOVE summer, but please, slow down!  I need to enjoy every hot breeze, every ounce of humidity, because before we know it, it'll be freezing and I'll be a very unhappy camper.

Although I do like fall.  Yankee Candle's Autum Wreath candle might be the best candle in the entire universe, but it's only appropriate in October and November.  Sometimes in September when I'm too anxious to wait.


Anyway.  This post is supposed to be about Christmas.  And it is.  ByGone Stitches Quaker Christmas II, to be precise.

It's been a while since I did any work on this piece, but since it's July, and with all the Christmas in July hype (including National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation running for days on end...and I had to watch it at least once....it would be blasphemous not to), I got it out of hiding, and decided to put some stitches in.  This piece is 100% addictive to work on, and once I pick it up, I just can't stop.  Nevermind the two baby gifts I have to finish this century.  This is what keeps me coming back to my needle and thread almost every night.

Awesome, right???  And this thing is BIG.  I'm stitching this on 40 count (yes, 40) cider from Silkweaver Fabrics, and it's still going to be about 14 inches high.  I don't have much more to go on the width, but as you can tell, there are a TON of quaker motifs all throughout the piece, which take FOREVS to stitch up.  It's deceiving how long it takes to do this piece because there's just SO MUCH DETAIL.  I find myself stitching like a madwoman trying to get the reds done so I can get to the next green song title, just to be stitching in a different color for a change.  That, and I then get to sing the Christmas carol as I stitch the title.  Totally normal.  Right?  Right.

Here's a few close-ups going from the bottom to the top of the piece ~~



I'm loving every second of working on this piece.  I love Christmas SO much, so I almost always have a Christmas piece going at all times of the year.

How about you guys?  Have you been working on any Christmas pieces this July??  I'd love to hear what you've all been working on!!  

Much love ~~~ 


Patriotic Finishes | Cross Stitch

Patriotic themes should not be limited to just around the major American holidays which make us feel more patriotic - Independence Day, Memorial Day, Veteran's Day - but should be a year-round theme.  

When I did these model finishes for The Strawberry Sampler, I felt kinda bad that I wasn't able to get them to the shop before the 4th of July for the patriotic display the gals has up in the front of the store.  The store owner quickly reminded me that patriotic is a year-round theme, and I should not feel bad I couldn't get them done sooner.

Emotional cross stitch finisher crisis averted.

With that, these are the finishes I did for the shop - all designs are done by Threadwork Primitives, a local Philly designer, which makes them even more special :-)

As always, I made some slight changes to the fibers and fabric, all of which are listed on my Floss & Fibers page in case you'd like to do the same.

I hope you're all having a wonderful summer so far!!  And don't forget, if you want to get a head start on your Christmas stitching, for the month of July, all Christmas is 20% at The Strawberry Sampler, so stop on  by or give a call to the shop to make sure you have everything you need!

I Like a Sleigh Ride | Cross Stitch

Ok.  I know what you're thinking.

Um....sleigh ride???  We JUST barely  made it out of winter, and you're already talking about sleigh rides again???

Well, yes.  I am.  Now, don't get me wrong, none of us is happier than me that it was warm and humid today, TRUST ME.  And usually I don't start ranting and raving about Christmas until July, when it's time for Christmas in July.


Let me introduce you to these stupid cute sleighs and their cross stitch designs.


This guy is about 4 in long - the stitched part is only about 2 in long, and it's done on perforated paper.

I know.  Another thing that you're thinking - "But, Jack, you're legit obsessed with teeny tiny count fabric - how did you allow perforated paper into your house???" 

Well, a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away.....I used to do a lot, and I mean A LOT of Mill Hill cross stitch and beaded ornaments on perforated paper.  So much, that I have a stock of the paper from oh so long ago.  I still do Mill Hill cross stitch and beaded kits, but I replace the paper with fabric and go from there.  Saved me from buying some for these wicked cute projects, though!!!

Ok.  So, the sleighs and the graphs to go with them are from Dixie Darlin.  If you'd like, you can order your supplies from my LNS.  The ladies at the shop would be more than happy to help you get what you need to make all your sleighs for the Christmas season!!

I have a plan for all these little guys that I'm stitching up (and - side note - they're WAY QUICK stitches.  way quick - i whipped this bad boy up in about 2 hours.), but you'll have to wait for the Christmas in July celebration in my house to see what's in store! 

I had to show you a little something in the meantime, because, seriously....SO STINKIN' CUTE!!

I hope you all have a fantabulous Tuesday!  Go forth and be creative!!!

Much love ~~~


Bloom. | Cross Stitch

I don't know about you all, but I feel like warmer weather just will NOT get here.  Yesterday was the first day I could leave the office and not freeze on my way to my car.  Ridiculous.  

And, yes, my electric blanket is still on my bed.  Whatever.  Don't judge. 

Moving on....

 All around are glimpses that spring might actually be here soon.

These are my azaleas at the front of my house, which seem to have exploded overnight.   For realzies.  LOVELOVELOVE the coral colored one on the left.  LOVE.  My rose bushes are on the verge of blooming, too, and I cannot wait for them to open up.  

To keep myself occupied during these still cold nights, I've been working on a few finishes for my LNS.  It's seriously so  much fun taking finished models and going that next step and making something so totally different than if it were framed.

Enter a piece called "Bloom Sampler" by Threadwork Primitives. 

I knew I wanted to finish this piece as a pillow, like the model, but I didn't want to finish it in the same way.  I dug into my Mary Poppins carpet bag of finishing supplies that the girls at my LNS gave me, and came up with hand-dyed twill tape from Crescent Colours.  


Hello, fun twill tape! Can you see it????  It's sewn in right at the end of the stitched piece and the small piece of fabric I attached to the end.

Here's a close-up...

The green matches perfectly, and I decided to create dimension by sewing it in place with a contrasting color - I chose brown to go with the bunny and the plain fabric on the right.  

Just a lil' close-up of the stitched piece...I'm loving the pinks and light reds throughout...

For the backing fabric, I again went to my carpet bag of finishing supplies, and came up with felted wool.

Have you ever worked with felted wool?? Not gonna lie - it's pretty cool, and is so awesome with smalls and such.  The piece of wool I was given for finishing has a herringbone pattern.


Awesome, amiright????  The color of this wool could not have matched better with the fiber colors of the stitched pattern.  Love.

 There you have it!!  Another finish that will be displayed at my LNS...as soon as I can get it to them....which should be this weekend.  So, if you're in the DelCo area, stop on by the shop after Saturday, and you'll be able to see this cute piece live and in living color!!

What are you all doing to keep your creative juices going as the flowers start blooming this spring??? 

I'd love to hear what you're all up to!!!!

Do something creative today!!!

Much love ~~~


Simple Recipe Cards | Scrapbooking

Hello lovlies :-)  I'm so sorry I've been absent for so long.  It's been kinda hectic in my house lately.

Not to worry, though...that hectic atmosphere has led to a few creative things happening around here, starting with fun recipe cards that I made last week (which you got a glimpse of on Instagram).

Most people have recipe card boxes, which come with cards.  I'm one of those people.  I have all kinds of recipes (most of them related to baking), and keep my box handy on a shelf above my counter.

I had the chance to write down one of my FAV.O.RITE recipes for some friends recently, and decided that they should get something different from the recipe cards I have in my box.

Now, we all know about my rather ridiculous obsession with kraft paper.  Naturally, this had to be part of my recipe card endeavor.  Because, well....it's awesome....and there really doesn't have to be any other reason than that in my book.

Since with kraft paper, you can do pretty much whatever you want to it, I got out my watermark stamp pad, and a flowery stamp.

I inked the stamp with the watermark inkpad, and stamped only along the edges of the kraft paper.


Since I want these to be used as actual recipe cards, I cut them slightly smaller than 4x6 (you'll see later why) so that, when complete, they'll fit into a standard recipe box with no problem.  You can see my stamping along the edges, which I did totally at random; no rhyme or reason to how I decided to place the stamp.

After stamping the image, I took my heat embossing gun, and dried the ink.  This caused the ink to set just a little bit darker than it would have had I let it dry by itself.

Plus, I'm impatient, and I wanted them to be dry immediately.


This is the part where I had to stop the creative process (which is never a good thing, but for this project, it was necessary) and go handwrite the recipes onto the front of the cards.

Once that was done, I went back up to  my project table, and cut pieces of scrapbook paper for backing for the cards.


You can see in this pic how the heat embosser dried the watermark stamp just a little bit darker than it was in the previous image.

Ta da!  I'm not done yet, though.....shocking, I know.  I have a YourStory machine, which doesn't just bind books........it laminates. 

If you own a label maker, you know the kind of obsessive behavior that comes along with it - you want to label EVERYTHING in your house.  Not just one thing...everything.  Same goes with laminating - I legit have to reign in my compulsion to laminate every gd thing I see..."just because".

Not this time, though.  No one likes their recipe cards to get all mangled and gross from sitting on the counter while you're throwing flour, sugar, eggs, etc. all over the place.  A perfect reason to laminate these - protective coating.

Unfortunately, I forgot to take a pic of the back of the card - the scrapbook paper I used was double-sided, so the back at least had a design on it, even though I left it blank.  I wrote "From the kitchen of," put my name,  sent 'em through to get laminated, tied each one with a pretty ribbon, and gave it away :-) 

There you have it!  Simple, pretty, handmade recipe cards that took (minus the writing of the recipe) about 10 minutes each to complete.  Give it a try next time one of your friends asks for one of your recipes! 

You don't have to use the watermark inkpad like I did, but by using it, you can write over the stamped image if you're pressed for space like I was.  You could do something just as simple as stamping a colored image in one of the corners, and writing all around it.  You can distress the edges.  Anything!  And, if you don't have a way to laminate the cards, no bigs!  There are protective sleeves you can get that are a perfect fit.  It's seriously so simple to make a personalized card like this to give to someone :-)

Much love ~~~


I Finally Took The Plunge | Baking

My Sunbeam Mixmaster and I have a tumoltuous relationship.  So, this weekend, I went out and made a purchase.

This came today. 

I may never leave the house again.

I'm also reconsidering opening a bakery.

Wait.  0300.  Nevermind.  

I'll just have to go overboard with the stuff I bring into the office.  I doubt my coworkers will mind.

And...the winner is....??

Hello all you lovely people!

I am finally back to the land of the living (albiet barely) after being really sick all of last week.  My apologies to all of you who have been anxiously waiting for me to announce the winner of my giveaway which closed last Wednesday.

I thought it would be fun to have you all watch a lil' video of me drawing the winner, so guess what?!  That's precisely what I did!  

And then....YouTube was being a pain and I lost my patience.

So...instead of the lovely video I had planned for you all, I had to resort to a picture taken from the stills of the video --


The winner!!!


MrsCourtneyP!  Congratulations!  Email me your address so I can ship this out to you ASAP!  :-)

You can see the jar in the background where I had everyone's names who left me a comment on the post (or sent me an email). 

THANK YOU ALL for participating!!!  I hope to have another giveaway very soon....because I love making stuff....and I love giving it away :-)

Much love ~~~


Memorial Day Goodies

Hellooooo!!!!  I hope you're all having a wonderful long holiday weekend!!!  I know it's been much-needed time off for me.  It's been a great weekend so far, and HOT here in the Philly area, but you will hear no complaints from me about that!!  I LOVE summer.  LOVE IT.  My body doesn't hurt like a 95-year-old woman because my muscles stay nice and loose, and it's just a general awesome time of year.
I want to take a moment and thank all those who have served and who continue to serve this great country of ours.  It is because of them that we have the freedoms we have, to include the freedom to write and share ideas in a forum like this.  Without them, I could never even attempt to spread creativity and receive such inspiration from others.  To the men and women of our armed forces, THANK YOU.  
(for those of you who've been following me for a while will recognize this as something i've posted previously under my older blog.  and no, i haven't gotten it framed yet.  i will.  swear.)
Ok -- now onto what I did this weekend!!
 Friday.  I spent the day doing a few things around the house, and then I went out for some much needed drinks with my bestie.  This week was pure hell, and that Captain Morgan and diet coke was just what the doctor ordered.
Sadly, no crafting occurred on this day.
Saturday.  Another day filled with chores, to include planting a few things in my garden (one by one i keep adding to the plants & flowers, so hopefully soon i'll be able to share with you the fruits of my labor! i plan on spending the fall doing some serious canning! now, i just need a canning pot....)  Saturday was also met with alcoholic drinks with great friends.  We met up at one of the local, very popular sports bars in the Philly area (i swear their goal is to take over the entire east coast...), and just have a blasty blast. (i would like to mention a small gripe with the 96 tvs that are in this bar - would it have really killed you to have left the maryland/duke lax game on just one little measly tv in my line of sight???  really????? uggggh.)
Sadly, no crafting occurred on Saturday, either.
Sunday. Now, Sunday was a day spent doing something everyone hopes that someday they'll be able to do: rip up your disgusting basement carpet because your cat completely ruined it.  Well, after a mishap with my washing machine during the week which got the rug soaked on the one side (note to self: double-check the basin sink EVERY TIME to make sure a rogue washcloth does not get stuck in the drain while the washer is running. ahem.), I decided just to rip up part of the carpet in the basement, since it's already been destroyed.   Now, I will advise those of you who need to do this in your lifetime to be very wary of where your fingers are when you have that sharp box cutter in your hands.  I'll spare you the details, but I'll tell you that I did not lose an ounce of blood, but I'll need those Asian ladies at the nail place on Friday to work their magic since I'll be getting a mani/pedi for my sis's wedding.  Owwie.
Sunday ALSO included making a brand spankin-new shower curtain!!!  Whoop whoop!!!  I've only had the fabric in my bin for almost a year waiting for this project, and I decided since I was injured, what better way to spend the day than working with more sharp objects?!  Pins and sewing machine needles!! Yes!!!!
Ok so here is the "before" of my bathroom -
Now, my tiles on both the floor and walls are a pale pale grey with a marbled look to them.  The radiator cover and the top decorative tile on the walls are both black.  The rug is like a minty-sea green, to match the shower curtain.

Both were perfectly fine for my apartment, but for my house, I definitely needed something a little more updated.  I couldn't find anything I liked, however, so naturally, I decided to make something.  No pattern necessary -- the old shower curtain was my guide. (yes, i am that awesome.) And...did you notice??  Original crystal doorknobs.  Be jealous.
Any guesses as to what color I chose to go with that awesome grey & black motif already there??
You got it!!!
Now, I know this is really dark, but the fabric itself is super dark, and speckled with black, so it was tough to get a clear picture of it.  BUT, I think it's super amazing, and I can't wait to make curtains and get hand towels!!!  I went to Targeeeeee on Sunday to pick up a new bath rug, which is black since they didn't have any purple (none.  no purple at all.  they should be ashamed.), but it's super soft and plush and I love it anyway.  I'll need to get funky purple hand towels since the rug is plain.
(i don't know why this pic is tinted, but trust - the rug is black, and my shower curtain is really that awesome purple from the above pic)
Awesome, amiright?!  Love it!!!  
Along with this amazing sewing job I did (if i do say so myself), which - side note - whoever invented the automatic button hole maker for sewing machines is a GENIUS and i hope that person is living in the lap of luxury for the patent or idea or whatever.  good work, sir/ma'am. good work -  I have been able to do some updating on my "Halloween Eve" piece for you all to see.
I haven't been able to do much, but what I've done has definitely added some color!  I love those leaves!  I can't wait for you all to see the rest of this stitched -- it looks so awesome on the graph sample pic, so it'll look a bajillion times better once I have it stitched in person :-)
Lastly, I've had this poster lying around for a while now, and I recently got the frame for it, but let them both lounge around my computer room for the past 2 months or so.  Well, yesterday I decided enough is enough, and I put the poster in the frame.
I don't know what it is about this "Keep Calm and Carry On" themed stuff that's so popular now, but I absolutely can't get enough of it.  I'm suddenly obsessed with everything British for funky decor purposes.  I haven't quite decided where this will end up hanging, but for now, it's proudly displayed in my hallway.
That's all I have for the moment, peeps!!  I hope to spend today doing many crafty things, and I hope you all find time to BBQ and make at least one little crafty thing!! 
Much love ~~~~
J :-)