Have an Adventure Embroidery Hoop

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I oftentimes find myself picking up a needle and thread when I have no plans after work. And like doodles on a notepad, designs begin to take shape. Many do not turn out – like a lot – but occasionally one will turn into a masterpiece. This is one of those times.

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I stuck with the fabric I love – felt – and I completely freehanded the world. Didn’t even look at a map. (I know, I’m shocked it turned out so well, too).

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With the world completely, I knew the phrase, “Let’s have an adventure” would be the perfect fit.

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Embroidery Hoop for a Wedding

I love, love, love this idea for a wedding shower gift. (So much that this my second time to use the idea.) An embroidery hoop with the couple’s names or initials along with the date of the big day creates a personal (and colorful) gift. And I like to think that if I give it to the bride at a shower, she might use it to decorate her reception.

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I kind-of lucked out with the initials of the bride and groom. I debated for a few hours if I should use their names (Wes & Meg), but I finally settled on use their initials. I’m obsessed with the symmetry.

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A image on Pinterest inspired me to try the branches, and I think it turned out great. I had very little of the brown thread,  so I decided to have two different branches: one with brown thread and medium green leaves and the other with golden yellow thread and dark green leaves.

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Finally – the all important wedding date! I used French knots to separate the numbers.

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To hide the backside of the stitches, I hot glued a circle of felt – with a felt heart – to the back.

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I figure why hide this beautiful creature with wrapping paper, so instead of wrapping the hoop, I decided to use it as a gift tag. By threading the string through clasp, the hoop will stay in place.

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A Ring of Another Sort

Wedding registries overwhelm me. I know they are meant to make gift buying easier for wedding guests, but I just see a list with way too many options. Plus, if I’m going to buy a gift, I want it to be something more special than a muffin pan.  So my crafty natural kicks in, and I embrace a homemade gift. For my most recent shower: a wedding embroidery hoop.

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My dear friend Caroline is getting married in May, giving me a great excuse to create this project I’ve seen all over Pinterest. I decided to keep the colors simple. Caroline is a very colorful person, and by using a neutral colors, I figured it would match whatever colors she decides to accompany it.

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I could probably learn a more “official” style of stitching. My embroidery skills are self-taught, but I think in this case, it turned out quite adorable!

Pack Yourself a [Felt] Lunch

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Just when I thought the felt pancakes and fried eggs were the cutest things I had made in awhile, I decided to make a felt lunch, complete with a sandwich with all the toppings, a bag of chips and a bright red apple.

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Thanks to Pinterest, I found the idea to make a bag of felt chips. After cutting out two ovals of yellow felt, I used my sewing machine to create ridges. I sewed rows of straight lines and then an additional line that outlined the whole thing. I also found an idea for tortilla chips, using off-white felt cut into triangles.

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The felt chip bag took less than 10 minutes to make. After cutting out two rectangles, I used my pinking scissors to create the zigzagged edge. Then taking one of the rectangles, I sewed the strip of light blue felt to the right side of the fabric. Next, I hand stitched the the yellow sun (again, cut out with my pinking scissors).  Finally, I put the right sides of the two rectangle pieces together and sewed along the edge (you don’t need a large seam allowance with felt). Flipped it right side out and voila!

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The felt apple was a little trickier. I found this tutorial online that I used as my guide. Basically, you need 6 pieces of red. (I just eye-balled the shape based on the tutorials’s template.) Putting rights sides together, I blanket-stitched the sections together. As you can see, this made it so you could see the red stitches. You can hide the stitches by using a sewing machine, but I think I prefer the exposed look.

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The felt sandwich is made up of several layers, each adding a pop of color.

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Starting with felt lettuce, I cut out a leaf-type shape out of green felt. Then, using my sewing machine, I stitch short lines to create veins.

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For the felt tomato, I used three pieces of felt: two round pieces of bright red felt with sections cut out and and one round piece of the dark red felt, sandwiched between the other two. I used white thread to stitch seeds, and then I hand stitched everything together. The felt onions were made with a piece of purple felt and a piece of white felt.

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I spent an hour or so trying to come up with the right meat. Using pink felt seemed strange, but then an epiphany hit. If I blanket stitch the edge with red thread, I can create felt bologna. (And yes, I did just sing the Oscar Myer’s song to help me remember how to spell bologna.) The felt cheese was much easier. I simply cut out a few holes to make it look more distinct.

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After making a version of the bread by blanket stitching two pieces of felt together, I decided that felt bread needed some dimension. It needed to seem more prominent than everything else. So I added some volume by creating a border of light brown felt and stuffing it with polyfill.

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I simply adore how colorful the sandwich turned out to be. Plus, when combined with the breakfast items already made, you have even more possibilities for the type of sandwich your child could create. BLT, anyone?

A [Felt] Breakfast of Champions

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When my sister-in-law told me that my 19-month-old nephew loved to “cook,” I figured I could chip in a few ingredients. And while Ikea has supplied him with my the basic fruits and vegetables, I thought I would provide a whole meal: felt fried eggs, felt bacon and a stack of felt pancakes.

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The easiest of the 3 items is the felt fried eggs because you really can’t go wrong. I used two pieces of the white felt (cut in any shape) and one circle of yellow felt for the yoke. Once I attached the yoke to one piece of the white felt, I blanket stitched the two pieces of white felt together (using two pieces hides the back stitch from the attaching the yoke and it adds some thickness).

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I created the felt bacon strips next. Again, using two pieces of brown felt to add thickness. I added the line of “fat” using light brown felt.

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For the felt pancakes, I cut two circles of light brown felt as well as “syrup” with dark brown felt and “butter” with yellow felt. I attached the “syrup” and “butter” to one of the circles, and then using a blanket stitch, I attached the second circle, leaving a small hole to stuff the pancakes with batting before sewing it closed.

I don’t know what what could be more adorable. Well, then there’s lunch…

Personalized Moleskin Journal

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With a new job comes the need for a brand new note pad. Oh the joys! After receiving a Barnes & Noble gift card for graduation, I invested in a few Moleskins. And though I do love a good Moleskin journal, they truly are very plain. So I decided to liven them up a bit with some simple embroidery.

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My grandmother gave me some wool embroidery floss a few years ago. Since I do not have enough to use on a major project, I like it pull it out for smaller projects like this. But the basic cotton embroidery floss works great too. Along with the thread, you’ll need the journals, embroidery needles, scissors, a ruler and a pencil.

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I started out by tracing a few lines on the inside front cover to act as a guide for my stitches. (It’s always important to stitch straight.)

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Sewing through the cover is really easy. As you can see from the picture, the stitches do reveal some strain in the cardboard, but it is only noticeable close up. Most of the stitches I used were very simple, but for one row, I used a French knot.

Creating a perfect French knot might take some practice, but it is simple to remember once you get the hang of it.

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Start by bringing the thread up into the space where the knot will be displayed.

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Next, you take the thread and wrap it around the needle. I always wrap it three times.

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Then, insert the needle back through the cover. Do not put it back through the original hole. But you want the second hole to be near the first.

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Before you pull the needle through, tighten the thread to make a knot. Then keeping the thread taunt, pull the needle through to the other side.

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In completely these steps, you have created a French knot.

IMG_2758Again, the other stitches are super easy because they are all straight lines. I was able to complete the project in the time it took to watch a movie. Though I took this one to work, I have a feeling I will pull this idea out again when I am in need of a good gift.

Up for a Ride

Last spring, I had an idea to create a hot air balloon on canvas. Instead of taking the easy route and using paint, I decided I wanted to embroider the entire thing. Goodness, if only I knew then how long this project would take me.

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Nine month later, I am happy to say the project is finally complete.

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For the balloon, I did not use a special technique. I simply threaded a needle and took in and out, over and over again. I choose the colors one layer at a time. The selection was completely random, and if you notice, some colors repeat often and some are only used once.

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I love how the wrong side of the canvas really shows off all of the work put into the piece. It took a lot of thread.

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The final touch was stitching the basket. I was nervous about this detail, worried that would take away from the overall look of the ballon, but I am happy with how it turned out. I wanted to basket to have more of a textured look, so I used a darning stitch to make it look weaved.

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