Friday, October 22, 2010

Fall At The Cottage Already!

Oh my goodness, I can't believe it's October already!  I've been very naughty about keeping this blog.  But in all fairness to myself...I did have company all summer. My sweet daughter and two precious grandsons.  I tried to spend as much time as I could making memories with them...so that didn't leave much time to blog.

But  we did, indeed, make some lovely memories.  Little J. made a  habit of jumping up next to me on the wide arm of my big brown rocking chair every day, and we colored "stained glass windows" and wrote stories together.  He reckoned we were so creative that we should have a website of our own in which to sell our famous "Doodles", as he called them...and made plans of how we were going to spend all of the money we would make...

Little J. also spent a great deal of time playing with our new dog, Beau.  We found him on the county road last Spring when he was only about 6 weeks old. Now he is 8 month old and such  a delight. Not  day goes by that Beau does not make us laugh at his antics. And when he and little J. were together, we laughed so much it hurt some times. Beau would get his favorite toy and run round and round the dining room table with little J. in hot pursuit...but giggling so fiercely that he had to stop and get his breath. During which time, Beau-Beau would stop and wait for him to begin the chase again.  They were quite pair, and even now, I stop and smile when I remember those days. Sort of like left over laughter...



My big guy, D...a teenager now, spent most of his time playing video games and reading. He does love to read...which I love about him. I guess because I like to read so much, too.  It's always been for me, a secret door into another world...reading.

He and I went to the library several times during the summer and that in itself was  delight. Perusing the isles and then pouring over stacks of books at the big table...trying to decide which ones were actually worth taking home.  We also went to church together on Wednesday nights...he to the teen meeting and me to the main sanctuary. Afterward we would stop for a hamburger and milkshake at our favorite drive in restaurant and talk about "stuff". 

And my daughter, sweet M. and I spent mornings chatting and crocheting together. She has made crochet her new love...and she's quite good it, too!  We both are fans of Lucy...you know, of Attic 24?  And we had the best time all summer making colorful crocheted goodies like our cyber friend.  I finished  a ripple blanket and a pillow, and I'm almost finished with the lovely crocheted bag that Lucy has a tutorial for.  Here's Lucy's...mine is not finished yet. http://attic24.typepad.com/weblog/crochet-bag.html

Sweet M. also developed  love for our last remaining three chickens while she was here.  Zoe, Choe & Marsha.  They are darling chickens and they took to following sweet M. wherever she went....while keeping up a rather steady cackling stream of chicken conversation.


We also became fascinated by a huge garden spider that made it's web between the porch railing and the light. Each day the spider would grow larger and larger. We lovingly named him Harvey...but at summer's end, Harvey produced some teeny tiny little spiders...so we had to change his...ahem..."her" name to Harvietta.
We actually became quite attached to Harvietta, even to the point of finding her a grasshopper for dinner when it seemed as if she hadn't been able to catche anything for herself for a few days. Wierd...I know... but hey... it's the circle of life!  Look closely...there she is in the left hand corner...


All in all...it was  a fast but wonderful and memorable summer. And I concluded it by giving myself a little present that I found while perusing another awesome blog I found called "Nest Decorating"  http://www.nestdecorating.typepad.com/ . There I met the lovely and talented "Tamar". She makes some of the prettiest jewelry and hair pretties that I've ever seen. When I landed on the photo of her Victorian pendant...my heart went skippity skip and I knew I had to  have it. It cost me all my pocket money for the month but it is soooo worth it! I am now waiting eagerly for it to arrive in my mailbox.  Don't you love it? Please go visit her lovely shop where you will find many other beautiful pieces like this. http://www.nestprettythings.com/


And now I am ready for the quickly approaching holidays.  This week-end we are carving pumpkins. Well...Mr. G and young G, our college boy and last child at home will be carving pumpkins. I, on the other hand, will be making  a pumpkin pie and decorating the house for Fall.   I'll pop in on Monday and tell you how it all went and give you  a glimpse of our Autumn cottage...  you have  a lovely week-end, too.   
Love and happiness...Kate~

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Cottage Finished!



Well, it took me longer than I expected...(doesn't everything?) but I finally finished my little embroidered cottage! I added some roses to it. That little overhang above the door just screamed climbing roses to me. So I just freehanded some vines and then did some little red french knots. Whatdaya think?

Now I just need to decide what I want to do with it. I'm leaning toward making it into a pillow. You know, using various prints for the borders to give it a shabby chic look. And then maybe a crocheted ruffle border... but a store bought one! I'm not very good yet at doing dainty crochet items. I love how they look. Just can't seem to manage that tiny of a crochet hook yet.

Sooo... Now it's almost the fourth of July. wow... Where does the time go.  I've got the house a little bit decorated this year. I wanted to do some bunting, but had to choose between sewing that or the embroidered cottage...and you know what I chose...smile.




 But I do think I have time to make some cute little red, white and blue...summery, star spangled place mats that will be good for the whole summer...  not just the fourth.  It uses an Ohio star in the corners, so it's not just American. But if you like, you could easily replace that with a little Union Jack! Gotta get them cut out today if I expect to  use them by the fourth...of this July, anyway.    

It's quite cute. Go have a look! I think you'll like it.  If I can get round to cutting it out today, I'll come back and post pics.  Meanwhile... let me know if you've done your own cozy cottage embroidery, yet...  Hope you're having a great day where ever you are... and getting some lovely crafting of your own done!                      Love & Happiness ♥ Kate~

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Puttering About

It's rainy and gray outside today, so I've been just puttering about the house. Spending way too much time perusing other people's wonderful blogs...but I"m kinda glad I did. I found a site I have not seen before and just fell in love with it!
http://allsorts.typepad.com/  What a talented lady!  She has a really cool Star-Spangled pinwheel craft you can download, print out and make for the fourth of July.  I wanted to, but I'm out of color ink at the moment...darn it. (Trip to Office Depot needed)  Coz I just have to have several of those pinwheels to decorate my table with. 
Craft Hope: Handmade Crafts for a CauseShe also makes adorable little softie toys that just make you smile to look at. I'm going to have to make one for little J. It's called a Pupkin...a little puppy that is dressed like a little boy. Little J will adore it. He loves puppies and is currently begging for one.  The pattern for it is in this just released book which you can order from Amazon. I'm ordering it today! Can't wait to make stuff from it! 

Also wanted to share this delightful summer photo with you. It  just made me happy to look at it this morning...and I wanted to share the happiness with you! 

Hope you're having a creative and crafty day!  Til next time...
Love and Happiness...♥ Kate~

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Cottage

First I want to say thank you for the comments! (I had a very big smile upon seeing them) and hello to my first follower! I'm so glad you found the cottage~ =)
As promised I have some photos to show you of the little embroidery I began. Unfortunately, I took the photos with my cell phone and they're not as clear as I wanted. But I'm going to share them nevertheless.

I have to say I love,love, LOVE embroidery! Of course, I feel that way about every craft I am doing at the time...smile. But embroidery is one of the first things I learned as a little girl.

It occurred to me one day that embroidery must have been what little girls did for "coloring" long before there were Crayola Crayons! It's much the same...choosing a picture, deciding on your colors and staying on the lines. Sooo fun. When it's all finished you can frame it, or make a pillow, or use it in a quilt. I even have one that is a tiny pillow hanging from a ribbon on the wall.

There are patterns for embroidery simply everywhere! The internet has so many now that you can spend whole days just looking at them. (Trust me...I know!) One of my favorite sites for finding embroidery patterns is http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=vintage+embroidery The people there have so generously shared their vintage patterns, and though some are quite complicated, others are perfect for beginners.

There are many other places to find patterns. One of the best sources is your child's (or grandchild's!) coloring books. The lines are simple and bold and easy to transfer to cloth. The pattern I'm sharing with you today came from an online coloring book site. I loved it the moment I saw it and knew it would be perfect to represent my little cottage in the woods.

Isn't it cute?














Now if you're new to embroidery, the first thing you want to do is decide how large you want your completed project to be. Then adjust the size on your computer.

I wish I knew how to walk you through that...but I have simply learned to push buttons until the right thing happens, (much to the irritation of my sweet and understanding husband)

If you don't know how, though, find a teenager. They seem to be born knowing this stuff now and can do it without even removing their Ipod from their ear.

Once you have your pattern the size you want, you should choose a piece of fabric. This can be a square from a torn sheet or pillowcase for now. You just want a piece of plain muslin or cotton fabric to work your design on. If you are purchasing fabric, however, try to get 100% cotton muslin. It launders best and looks very pretty. A half yard will do lots of projects and probably cost less than $2.00.

I chose a kind of rough nubby piece of unbleached muslin that I had in my stash. I wanted a bit of a primitive look for my little cottage.









Ok...it doesn't look that great. But I promise, I ironed it! Really...
Anyway, it straightens out nicely when you put it in the hoop.
oops...I didn't mention the hoop, did I? You'll need to get an embroidery hoop. This is essential. They can be found at all craft stores, like Hobby Lobby, and Michaels, and most fabric stores. Some Walmarts carry them as well.

Choose a size that will fit comfortably in your hands. It doesn't matter if your whole picture doesn't fit in it at once. You can move it around to expose only the part of your picture that you are working on.

Now...after you iron your piece of fabric, and before you put it in your hoop, you must get the pattern onto it. I like to use a light box that I've had for years. It's simple little plastic box with a light in it. You lay your pattern on it and then your fabric atop the pattern and when the light shines through, you can see your pattern clearly to trace it on your fabric.

But before I had this, I would tape the pattern to the glass patio door. then tape my fabric to that. Then pray that the dog didn't want to go out while I took my number two pencil and lightly traced the design.

If don't want to do this, though, you may purchase a transfer pencil at a craft store or online where embroidery supplies are sold, and simply trace your design with it...backwards, because you will be laying it on your fabric afterwards and ironing it on. Both ways work just fine.



Here is my design after being lightly traced onto the muslin.












Now choose the colors you want to use for each part of your design. I use DMC cotton embroidery floss. It's the best for me because it doesn't tangle easily and the colors stay put when you wash your embroidery. (and *that* is important!) You can purchase this floss very inexpensively at any fabric or craft store. Walmart used to carry it, but they have begun to dismantle their fabric departments in many of their stores, so you will have to check the one near you.

Each color goes a long way and you will get many projects from it. After a while you will already have lots of colors to choose from whenever you want to do an embroidery project. The floss comes like this...



Isn't that pretty? Looks like a little box of crayons, doesn't it? Before I start using new floss, I always wind it on a bobbin first. This makes it easy to store and find for the next project, and it keeps the threads from tangling. You can find the bobbins, which are really just little pieced of cardboard...for under two dollars for about 50 of them. Or you can just cut out little pieces of shirt cardboard or whatever you have around the house. The idea is to just to be able to keep it in order. Be sure to write the color number on the bobbin before you take the tiny little paper off the skein. Otherwise, you will forget which color is which! And that is annoying! Grrrr....

You can wind it by hand, or you can purchase a little bobbin winder like this one... They're fun to use and make the winding go very fast. I found this one online for 1.62 at http://www.hershnerrs.com/.


After you get your colors wound on the bobbins. You are ready to begin.

First, take a length of floss about 18 inches long and cut it. You will have a piece of floss that contains six strands of thread. You only need two, so now you see why it lasts so long! Seperate out two threads and let the floss spin lightly between your fingers as it unwinds. Thread your needle with the two and put the other four aside for later. Now begin. Choose a place to start on your pattern, knot your thread, and put your needle through the bottom of the fabric so that it comes up at the line on the top.


Here is an excellent tutorial for all the beginning stitches...and this is one of my favorite sites for everything crafty and fun!http://www.purlbee.com/embroidery-tutorial/
Here's what my little cottage is looking like now





Coming along nicely, isn't it?

I chose a dark brown for the walls, and a lighter brown for the thatched roof and a pretty blue gray for the shutters and door. But you, creative little embroiderer that you are, will choose the colors that best reflect your little cottage. Hopefully I'll be finished when I come back next time. Til then...

Love and Happiness...♥ Kate~

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Welcome to my little cottage in the woods...

I'm really excited about this new blog! I've been wanting to do it for the longest time,  but life keeps getting in front of my big plans. That reminds me of a saying I once heard..."Life is what happens to you while you're making other plans". 

It can be, you know, if you let it. You just have to make a decision not to let that happen and press in to accomplish what's in your heart instead of what each day shouts at you to do..."FIRST".  (Translation: let the laundry pile up on the floor another day and do what you really wanna do. Coz we both know, it's not the laundry. = )

Ok, ok... at some point we really have to do the stinking laundry  necessary chores. But if you let too many of those bursts of creativity pass by while you keep on schedule...I promise you that one day you will look up and be gray and fragile and you will not have done anything you really wanted to. And the laundry will still need doing. It never actually gets done, you know.  It is merely kept at bay.

Sooo...now that you all know that my laundry is lying on the floor in front of the washing machine while I sit chatting with you...smile... I'll take a moment to introduce myself.

My name is Kate. And I live in a little cabin in the middle of the woods...so far out in the country that we did not even have a rural address or mail service for the first two years we were here! I'm talking about the "boondocks".  But I love it so.

That's it right up there.  My little cabin. And that's my creating chair, my blogging chair, my reading, crocheting, quilting...relaxing chair...my, "Throne"!  Surrounded by some of the things I've made.

Each morning I wake up and go to the kitchen to get my coffee and while I wait for it to brew, I can hear all the birds chirping away outside my kitchen window and the cows at the farm down the road mooing and  it is so awesome  to start my day like that.

 I often see deer grazing in the pasture in front of the house, and huge Monarch butterflies float past me as I go out to feed the chickens and goats. And it's rather like being in a storybook page some days.

On other days, I do feel a bit isolated... Afterall, it is 20 miles to the nearest town, and it is so small that it does not even have a fabric store! (violin music)   But hey... that's why I have you, now isn't it?   Now that we've found each other in the big world of cyberspace, there's so much I want to share with you.  I am a knitter, and a crocheter. I sew and make all sorts of things, but especially like to quilt.

I also embroider and do crosstitch... just about any kind of needlework is my passion.  I've given a lot of it away over the years. But now I'm really into making things for my own little cottage in the woods.  And what I plan to do from here on out is to share each of my little projects with you!  Hopefully we will inspire one another to create beautiful cozy homes for our families, and have some fun along the way.

Thanks for stopping by... Pop in again soon. I'm working on a little embroidered cottage right now. I'll upload some photos in the next couple of days and share the pattern with you so you can make one for your little cottage, too.  Til next time...
Love and Happiness, Kate~