4 Years and Counting…

Hey blog, I think I’ve missed you.  Thank you for capturing memories from a great year and a season that was oozing in fragility due to the quickness of it all.  I’m grateful.

Love, Stephanie

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Holiday Deer Napkin

It has again been a month since I have posted!  Sometimes I feel as though my life is just FULL of good intentions that have a hard time becoming reality — this blog is no exception.

But to cut to the chase, I have a new tutorial!  The Holiday Deer Napkin …

Around my home I have started working on projects for the holidays.  This was today’s!

I chose the “deer” design in an attempt to have a Thanksgiving & Christmas relevant napkin.   We will try to pass it as a buck, it is hunting season after all, during Thanksgiving and as a reindeer during the Christmas season.

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If you want to make your own set, you will need to get your hands on some cloth napkins.  I happened to find mine at Target on sale ($1.75 per set of 4) a few months back!  They measure roughly 18in x 18in and I find them a great size!

You will also need some fabric for your deer appliques, beads, embroidery floss, no-sew iron on adhesive, needle and thread, a sewing machine (optional), a computer & printer (to print the pattern for the applique), and an iron.

I started off by washing, drying, ironing, and folding all my napkins so I could determine accurate placement of the deer.  If you want to fold you napkins like I did here is how …

Notice I made a point to hide the Room Essentials tag on the inside fold.

I then traced 12 deer profiles (I am making 12 napkins total) onto a no-sew iron-on adhesive.

Here is the pattern for the deer applique ( it is in the form of a word document):

Holiday Deer Napkin – Applique Pattern

Make sure when tracing your deer profiles you trace the mirror image!

Following the instructions for your no-sew iron-on adhesive, attach the adhesive to your fabric.

And then cut all your deer profiles out!

Again, following the directions for your you n0-sew iron-on adhesive, remove the paper backings from you deer profiles/appliques and iron them on to your napkins.

(On my first napkin, I centered the deer applique on the napkin.  But I realized it may be best to off-center the applique slightly left to account for the antlers that are added later.)

With my sewing machine set to–what I consider–standard top stitch settings…

I sewed a top stitch around the deer applique with grey thread.

You could also get a similar look embroidering a straight stitch around the applique, but using the machine was a time saving maneuver.

Next, I set out my beads and embroidery floss to get an idea of how to lay out the remaining embellishments.  And I took a picture! Once all the beads fall off the napkin and you have to sew them on, it is hard to mentally recall the visual!

And then I sewed on the antlers …

… alternating beads and straight stitch.

As you can see I used ordinary thread, and not embroidery floss, for the antlers.

Lastly, embroider the body design and nose on the deer using 3 strands of embroidery floss.

I used multiple straight stitches to create the nose.

And a split stitch to create the body design.  I copied the design from the book Doodle Stitching.

That’s it! One holiday napkin created!

I am playing with the idea of creating the body embroidery in grey and red as well…

What do you think?

(If you have any feedback or questions please let me know!  If you make some napkins yourself I would LOVE to see what you come up with!)

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What I’ve Been Up To…

Today has been one of those sleeping-in-rainy-day sort of days, and I thought it would be a good day for an update.

By this time, you have already seen glimpses of a lot of the things I have been working on.

To start with, there were the first few bag tags I made …

Followed by the 5 tags to launch my Etsy store, The Golden Heel …

And with the first purchase from The Golden Heel came my exploration into packaging/gift bags….

Then with excitement I finished a bathrobe for my friend’s little girl ….

And threw in an additional bag tag just for fun…

I started and finished knitting a Christmas stocking for Gabe …

I will be lining it with a Christmas fabric I picked up at Hancock fabrics.  And I will also be making another for his brother.

You can find the pattern on Ravelry: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/spindleknitters-stockings

I then got started on my first kitted felting project.  It was a pair of fingerless mittens that I adore.  I listed them on Etsy and they quickly sold to my dear Aunt!

I am now in the process of two more pairs.

And just today I finished another new project.

A checkbook cover…

I was debating what to do with it–keep it, sell it, etc–but I packaged it up as a surprise gift instead!

OH! And how can I forget the purple hats!  You already saw the finished project but I will include them again and check it off my list…

And the big project I tackled for church.  Easily the most fabric I have ever sewn with at one time…

Lastly, before this heat wave struck, I made a few long sleeved shirts for the boys.  Hopefully we will be circulating them into our wardrobe again soon!

A few of Gabe modeling…

And a few photos of Nolan just to even things out.

“HONK!” yelled the dump …

He saw a puddle and he tried to swerve!

Up at a gallop ran the big brown horse …

All together – one, two, three … one last push and the trucks were free!

Beep! Beep! Beep!

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New Etsy Listing!

Wool Felted Fingerless Mittens

http://www.etsy.com/listing/83379370/wool-felted-fingerless-mittens-with-deer

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Insecure Creativity & Lessons Learned

Ok, ok, I know I haven’t listed a whole lot in my Etsy shop.  The process of starting it and working on creating inventory has had a learning curve associated with it.  And somewhere between creating the store, making new things, and trying to come up with more inventory I have been hit by a wave of insecurity.

Yesterday it came somewhere between taking pictures of a few items-non Etsy related-and packaging them to send.

This insecurity stuff has a tendency to creep up in the weirdest moments.  And for whatever the reasons are that trigger it, I am trying to learn from them…

Lesson #1:  Packaging matters … and it should match the style of the item inside.

I put together a gift package for my friend and was completely bummed when the packaging I picked just didn’t look right with the gift.  In an attempt to not over think things, I left the gift wrapped in the packaging as was.  I know she will appreciate it, but in the future I will think this through better.

Lesson #2:  Read the rules ahead of time…

I packaged my purple hats for the Period of Purple Crying campaign and only after everything was sealed did I stumble upon the guidelines.  Turns out I was supposed to stay away from “pom poms”.  I actually opened the package  and debated cutting off the pom poms I had sewn, but once I pulled on them and realized they were secure and were far too large for any child to choke on, I decided to leave them as is.  I have no idea what will happen to the hats once they arrive, but I am crossing my fingers.

When I continued looking at pictures and related blogs and seeing all the newborn hat patterns, I only started to doubt myself more.

In the end I gave myself a pep talk and reminded myself of why I chose the patterns I did – 1) they will stay on a baby’s head, 2) they are replicas of the hats that were given to my boys when they were born.

I tried hard not to let these things get me down and breed more insecurity.  And with that mindset, I worked on more merchandise for The Golden Heel today.

So how about a sneak peak?

I started my first felted knitting project.  They are fingerless mitts.  When I sat down to work on some embellishment I was reminded of another lesson.

Lesson #3:  Contrast matters … especially when speaking of embellishment

I am really liking how these fingerless mittens are turning out, but in a perfect world the deer would stand out a tiny bit more.

And then I worked on this…

A gnome bag …

I’m not sure where this guy will end up, but he was a fun project.

Just like my children, naps came in twos today and that helped me get a bit more done than usual-ahem-creatively that is.  Insecurities and all I am happy.

Sending joy your way!

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Thanksgiving Inspiration

I’m not big on Halloween.

I never really have been; and quite possibly this is because personally dressing up in costume and knocking on strangers doors are two of my worst ideas of fun.

bringing nature inside always inspires my festive fall side

So today I found my mind wandering past the holiday and thinking on Thanksgiving. We will be hosting again this year, and since I am not working (unlike last year), I realized I have plenty of time to pursue creative turkey-day endeavors.

So how about some inspiration?

I put together a treasury list on Etsy today.  If you are not familiar with a treasure list, it reminds me of the concept of Pinterest,  or what I understand of it anyway.

So take a look and be inspired.

http://www.etsy.com/treasury/MTY4MTE5MDZ8ODE5Nzg2NjI0/thanksgiving-inspiration?ref=pr_treasury

Here is a sneak peak …

Hopefully more t-day creativity to come!

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Garden Update Anyone?

It is now fall.

And it has officially been 2 months since I last posted on the garden.  In that time the only real thing I was not able to capture for you were the beautiful purple blossoms that sweet potatoes create!  Procrastination got the best of me.

But as far as looks are concerned, the garden was at its peak in early August.

Following my last post the lushness started to die down, some diseases set in, and the produce-rather than the big beautiful plants-became the energy absorbers.

We harvested plenty  — more cucumbers than we can count, one very ripe watermelon …

4 beautiful butternut squash …

Tomatoes, peppers, basil, etc etc…

I no longer check on the garden every day. It would have probably benefited from more rain/watering this later part of the summer. But I occasionally venture out for some herbs, tomatoes, or a random check.  Tonight I brought my camera along.

And this is what it looks like.

(That just made me laugh!  It is not nearly the sight it was in August!)

Tonight I went out to harvest sunflower seeds.

I thought it was time once I started seeing these on the ground…

And let’s just cut to the exciting stuff … those sweet potatoes.

Most of the plant currently looks like this…

Dead.

I have been holding my breath with these plants.  It was our largest gamble since we planted them late (very end of June) and they need 90 days of nice warm soil to grow.

Since I was taking pictures for my last garden update, and because it has now been 90 days, I figured I would take a peak.

I chose the weakest plant with easy access, pulled up the tarp and started to dig.

I first dug down and around and didn’t see a thing.  I was careful to sift through the dirt looking for the tiniest inkling of a potato.

When I saw this red root I got excited thinking it maybe indicated “life”.  However, as I was careful to follow it’s path and dig I came upon nothing.  Eventually, it broke on both ends.

I was about to give up when I took one, or maybe two, more swipes inward …

And I couldn’t BELIEVE my eyes!

There it was, right in front of me, red!

I did some careful dissecting and saw this…

One decent size small potato and a few itty-bitties..

And then I covered them back up.

I’m not sure when we will actually harvest them, but I figured a few extra days of growth (figuring we are without frost) wouldn’t hurt.

And for everything else in the garden, I think I will do a photo collage.  You can fill in the story or guess at the captions yourself.  (click on the photo for a larger image)

I’m not sure where we will be next year — whether I will be able to garden here or not.  Regardless, I have enjoyed every moment of our garden this summer and I look forward to the day when I can do it again.

Digging everything up again this fall …?  I’m not sure how I feel about that.

But here is a final thought for you — somewhere out there is an owl, and I enjoy him!

Be blessed!

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