Finishing Ideas for Handcrafts

Bah, Humbug!

October 13, 2009
2 Comments

Not really.  I love humbugs, those sweet stuffed smalls.  They remind me of biscornus – you can use them as an ornament, a pin cushion, a scissors fob or what ever your little heart desires.  They can be tiny, or as big as you want to make one!

Construction is really simple.

A Little Humbug Tutorial

A Little Humbug Tutorial

And now that you’ve learned how to make a Humbug, how about some sample charts?

First, a little geometric, kind of Quaker-y influenced:

Humbug Geometric 1Can’t you see those red stitches replaced by red beads?

Or how about a traditional style pattern?

Humbug Birds and Hearts 1And because, after all, it is me – a Butterfly chart:

Humbug Butterflys 1These all will finish at approximately 3 X 3 inches on 14 count or 28 count, stitched over 2.  All pics are clickable to see a larger view.  Then use your browsers back button to return to this page.

As always, I’d love to hear from you.  And if you stitch one of my charts, won’t you please send me a picture?


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Floss Wallet

September 20, 2009
2 Comments

I’ve been working on this idea for a while.  I love the little zip-loc bags to keep my floss in, and I normally use a ring to keep all the little baggies for a project together.  But what’s the use of being a cross-stitcher if you can’t make a little useful item, right?

TIP: When combining cross stitch and fabric – pick your fabric first – then choose your floss.  It’s much easier to find the right floss colors to use with a fabric – not so easy to find fabric to match an existing cross stitched project.

The chart I used for this project is Petit Abécédaire aux Fleurs.

1. Cut two pieces of fabric 7 x 11 inches for the inside and outside of the Floss Wallet.  9-2009 192
2. Cut one piece of fabric 7 x 6 inches (for frame lining).
3. Cut two pieces of fabric 4 x 7 inches for two pockets.  Fold under a ½ inch hem on each pocket, apply lace trim to the right side, if desired. 9-2009 193
4. Top stitch the lace in place, catching the hem as you go. 9-2009 194
5. Pin the pockets to either end of the lining (inside) fabric, right sides up.  If you want to make a divided pocket, fold the lining in half lengthwise and mark the center. 9-2009 195
6. Top stitch the center line (the pencil is pointing to the top stitching). 9-2009 196
7.  Find the center of the 7 x 6 inch piece of fabric and mark it on the wrong side.  9-2009 197
8. Measure the cross stitched piece to determine the size opening you need. 9-2009 198
9. Mark the opening size on the wrong side of the 7 x 6 inch piece of fabric, centering on your mark.  I wanted to have curved corners, so I used the handle of my rotary cutter to mark curves at each corner.  9-2009 199
10. Lay the 7 x 6 inch fabric, right sides together, on one end of the 7 x 11 outside piece, matching the corners.  Pin securely (I believe in using straight pins – they give you 300 hundred in that little box for a reason, right?).  9-2009 200
11. Stitch on the marked line.  Cut out the center, leaving about ¼ inch seam allowance, and clip the inside curves nearly to the stitching.  9-2009 201
12. Turn the lining thru the center to the wrong side.  Press the seam flat.  Lay the opening over your stitched piece and center it in the opening.  9-2009 202
13. Trim the stitched fabric to match your fabric and pin around the edges thru all three layers.  9-2009 203
14. Forgot about cutting a tab – cut a scrap of fabric about 6 x 1-1/2 inches – fold in half lengthwise and stitch the long sides.  9-2009 204
15. I again used the handle of my rotary cutter to mark a curve on the folded end of the tab and stitched along that curved line.  Trim the seam and clip the curve.  9-2009 205Turn the tab right side out.
16. Lay the front piece down right side up.  Lay the lining piece on top of it right side down.  Put the tab in between the two pieces at the center of the short end, matching the raw edges.   Sew a ½ inch seam along the two long ends and across the short end where the tab is.  Trim the seam and clip the corners (sorry, the photos of these steps didn’t come out – I didn’t realize my camera batteies were nearly dead.)
17. Cut two pieces of iron on quilt batting 5-¾ inches by 10 inches.  Cut out four holes 1 inch in from the sides and about ½ inch from the center (to allow for grommets) .  Iron the batting to each of the wrong sides.  9-2009 206
18. Be sure to use a pressing cloth to iron the batting in place.  This is what happens if you get impatient and don’t use a cloth. 9-2009 207
19. Turn the wallet right side out.  Mark the positions of the four grommets. Don’t apply the grommets yet! 9-2009 208
20. Cut two pieces of thin cardboard, each 6 inches by 4-1/4 inches.9-2009 209
21. Slide one piece of cardboard inside the wallet between front and back batting, all the way to the end.  Apply the four grommets.  9-2009 210And yes, that’s a Crop-o-dile peeking in from the edge of the photo!
22. Slide the second piece of cardboard inside the wallet and push down to the grommets. 9-2009 211

23. You may have noticed that I had applied a snap closure.  Unfortunately, after I applied it, I tried it out, and it wouldn’t snap!  So I had to pry off the snap, and sew on a button instead.  9-2009 212I made a matching button hole in the tab.
Fold under the raw edges on the open end 1/4 inch, and whipstitch it closed.  I used matching floss.  (You can barely see the pins holding the opening closed in the above photo).

24. Here’s the inside of the wallet, with a packet of needles in one pocket and my scissors in the other.  9-2009 213
25. And the inside with some floss baggies on the rings (which went thru the grommets).  These are the flosses I’m using for a current project (shh – it’s a secret!) 9-2009 214
26. The back of the outside, showing the tab buttoned.  9-2009 215
27. And the front.  9-2009 216
28. Here it is standing up, so you can see some of my mess scattered around the table – lol!  9-2009 218

And here is the chart I’m planning to use for my next wallet.  BAPIf you’d like to use this chart, feel free to take a copy for your personal use – and please send me a photo of your project!

Your comments, questions and suggestions are welcome.

Thanks for visiting today!


Quaker Hedgehog Pyn Pillow

September 11, 2009
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I know you’ve seen the free chart for a Hedgehog Quaker on The Workbasket. When I first saw it, I immediately conceived the idea for this Pyn Pyllow:quaker hedgehog 012

I stitched it with some beautiful floss I received from Iza with the floss tag she stitched for me for the Tiny Treasures Floss Tag Exchange. I’ve emailed both Candy and Mary at The Workbasket to ask their permission to post the directions for finishing this little treasure on my blog, but I haven’t heard from either one yet.

So, I’m going to go ahead and share my finishing idea for this Pyn Pillow. Please Click on this link and then right click and save the pdf file to your computer: Hedgehog_Quaker_by_The_Workbasket (I’ll figure out an easier way some day!)

If you use my finishing idea, won’t you please send me a picture?  My email is on the About Me page, towards the bottom.

And I’d love to have your comments about this finishing tutorial!

Thanks for visiting today.


Snowman Love Part 3

September 8, 2009
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At Long Last – Snowman Love is Finis!

I included a specialty stitch – I used Turkey Work for the fringe on the little snow people’s scarves.

Turkey Work is really easy.  If you’ve never done it, don’t be afraid.  Start with a back stitch,

Snowman Love 159

take a loop, and back into the next hole (I use a straight pin to keep my loops from pulling thru),  Snowman Love 160

then repeat.Snowman Love 163

Just continue taking a back stitch and then a loop, following the contours of the scarf and moving the straight pin as needed.  BTW, I work from right to left, but it doesn’t matter – whichever way is more comfortable for you.  Before you know it, you’ll have a whole row of Turkey Work.Snowman Love 168a

You can cut the loops, if you want to, but I prefer the loops.

Continue the Turkey Work on the snow lady’s scarf.Snowman Love 169

One last 3-D touch – a pom-pom for the snow lady’s hat!Snowman Love 170a

I haven’t actually attached the pom-pom yet – I won’t do that until near the end of finishing.

Prep the ornament by washing and pressing – be careful not to crush down the Turkey Work!

I’m making a tuck frame for this ornie.  To make the backing, I use a used dryer sheet (or in this case, two dryer sheets)Snowman Love 180

I made a paper pattern of the shape I wanted, and cut out the front and back of the ornie.Snowman Love 181

That circle in the middle is the exact size I want for the opening of my tuck frame, so I can sew along the opening without removing the paper pattern.

Cut out the center leaving a small seam allowance,Snowman Love 182

clip along the curve nearly to your stitching,Snowman Love 183

and turn the dryer sheet lining to the inside.Snowman Love 184

Pin the front frame to the backing piece, right sides together.  Don’t forget to put in a hanger!  I’m using a pretty piece of ribbon.  Snowman Love 185Sew along the outside edges, and trim the seam close to your stitching.Snowman Love 187

Turn everything out to the right side, and press it well.

Back your ornament with iron on interfacing (I use a fusible low loft batting designed for quilting) and trim to fit the Tuck frame.Snowman Love 188

The white line is from my chalk pencil – I forgot to brush it off before I took this pic – lol!

Now attach the pom-pom to the snowlady’s hat (use the long stings left from making the pom threaded thru your needle and stitched from the front of the ornament to the back  Snowman Love 189– tie a square knot on the back to secure.  Sorry the pic is so blurry – you can tell it’s getting late!

Insert the ornie into the tuck frame – and Ta-Da!  Snowman Love 190

If you want more detailed info on making a tuck frame you can check here.

Well, what do you think?  I’d love to get your comments on my little ornament.

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Betcha thought I forgot that I promised to publish the chart for you!1 lol

Well, I didn’t.

Snowman Love bw

Here it is, in two versions, color and black/white symbols, so you can take the one you want!

Snowman Love Color

Please, if you stitch one of my designs, send me a picture.

Oh yes, and all the usual legal stuff – don’t claim  my work as your own, you may stitch my design for yourself or as a gift, if you want to sell a finished piece, please be polite and ask my permission and give me credit for the design, don’t post thecharts on another site, but feel free to post a link to my blog, ya-da-ya-da, etc.


Posted in freebie, ornaments
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Snowman Love Part 2

July 31, 2009
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I’ve not made the progress on this that I had wanted to – I still have the facial features to backstitch and the specialty stitches to go.

Snowman Love w bs2

Can you see the tiny white French knots in the eyes?  When I took painting classes, we were always told that a touch of white in the pupils adds life to a painting.  Do you think the principle transfers to cross-stitch?  I do think the backstitching is critical in this design.  Compare the pic above with this one:

Snowman Love wo bs

I have been busy with other things – chronicled tonight on Nita’s Notes.

Next update will be the final backstitching, specialty stitches, the finishing and then I’ll publish my chart – as a freebie, natch.

So, what do you think thus far?


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Snowman Love Part 1

July 19, 2009
3 Comments

I thought I might share the steps I took in developing an original cross stitch chart from start to finish.
I’ve mentioned before that I have PC Stitch Pro, so these notes refer to steps I took with that program.

First – the idea. Here’s a scan of the pencil sketch I made.

Snowman Love 1

A little faint in the scan, so I took a fine tip marker and darkened it some.

Snowman Love 2

I knew I was going to use 14 count aida, and that I wanted an ornament about 3 inches tall, so I used my photoshop software to reduce the scan to 3 inches tall. That made it about 3 ¾ inches wide.

In PC Stitch, I open a blank chart and set my dimensions. Then I underlayed the scan of my sketch.

Snowman Love 3-1

After a little playing around with backstitch lines (I used 321 Red so that I could clearly see my underlayed sketch), I had a workable outline.

Snowman Love 3-2

Clear the underlay and change the outline to black, and I’m ready to start adding color.

Snowman Love A

First the white.

Snowman Love B

Hmm, needs a little shading to define the areas.

Snowman Love C

I don’t like to do ¼ or ¾ stitches on aida, so I’m only using full cross stitches.

Snowman Love D

I love yellow and turquoise together.

Snowman Love E

I like those two colors – now I need some punch.

Snowman Love F

Red and green are good christmas colors.

Snowman Love G

My little snowman is blushing!

Snowman Love H

If possible, I like to use the same color in a couple of different areas.

Snowman Love I

Orange carrot noses, check!

Snowman Love J

Black hat and charcoal eyes.

Snowman Love K

A little highlighting and finishing touches.

Snowman Love L

And here’s my stitching thus far.

Snowman Love wo bs

Next time – backstitching, french knots, some specialty stitches and the finishing.

So, what do you think thus far?


Posted in ornaments

Ornament Finishing 3

June 9, 2009
3 Comments

Sewn Tuck Style Fabric Ornament

What you need:
Stitched design
Scraps of coordinating fabric
Small amount of batting (wadding)
Short piece of ribbon (for hanger)

Equipment:
Scissors (sharp, please!)
Sewing Machine
Coordinating sewing thread

Cut four squares of fabric – mine are 4” x 4″ (for this rather small snowflake design) step 01step 01
An example using red and green fabric – red is the outside and green is the inside. Step 1Astep 1A
Mark a circle in the center on the wrong side of one square – you can see my very scientific method of marking a precisely sized and placed circle! step 02Step 02
Sew around the circle – I used red thread so the stitching line would show for the photo – normally I would use a thread that matched the fabric. Step 3AStep 3A
Sewn circlestep 03
Trim the circle out about a 1/4″ seam and notch – be careful not to cut your stitching. step 04Step 04
Cutting out the circle. Step 4AStep 4A
The circle cut out and notched. Step 4BStep 4B
Preparing to turn the top layer thru the circle. Step 5AStep 5A
Turn the top layer thru the circle and match the corners. Pin them. When you have matched all four corners, the circle should lay flat.
The first corner pulled thru the circle. Step 5BStep 5B
The first corner turned and pinned; preparing to turn the second corner. Step 5CStep 5C
The second corner turned and pinned. Step 5DStep 5D
One more corner to go.Step 5EStep 5E
Turning the last corner. Step 5FStep 5F
And here it is, all turned. step 06Step 06
All turned thru and pinned! Step 6AStep 6A
The other side of the front piece. Step 6BStep 6B
Cut two pieces of batting (my British friends would say wadding) and use the same scientific method to mark a circle in the center of one of them. Cut out the circle from the center. step 07Step 07
Insert the batting between the two layers – one for the circle piece, the other for the backing. step 08Step 08
Showing the order of the layers – batting between the two layers of the back pieces and batting between the front pieces. Step 8AStep 8A
I wanted a hanger in the corner, and used a 1/4″ grosgrain ribbon inserted between the circle piece and the backing piece. step 09Step 09
Sew all around the four sides with a 1/4″ seam – you are going to turn this thru the center circle, so you don’t have to leave any side not sewn. Trim the corners and turn. step 10Step 10
Trim your stitched piece, if needed. step 11 bStep 11 b
Tuck the stitched piece into the frame (I use crochet hooks a lot for this sort of thing – the end is pointy but not sharp). step 11 cStep 11 c
Ta-Da! step 11 d Step 11 d

Things I learned:
A. This took about 45 minutes to cut out and assemble – it honestly took longer to upload all the photos than it did to make it. I expect the next ones will go faster, because I won’t be stopping to photograph each step – lol!
B. Trim the batting squares 3/8″ smaller than the fabric squares so the seams won’t be so thick – I sewed right thru the batting, and it made it thick on the edges.
C. To make the center puffier, insert a circle of batting behind the insert.
D. It would probably be a good idea to make the lining squares in a solid color to match whatever you are going to insert – you can see the print if you look closely at the center.

This ornament can be made for any holiday – or no holiday at all!  The center shape doesn’t have to be a circle (nor does the outer shape, for that matter!).
I wouldn’t recommend a very complex shape. Try a triangle, square, oval, or maybe a stocking shape, a star or a gingerbread shape.  Cookie cutters and coloring books can give you some good ideas.  Here are some simple shapes (enlarge or reduce as needed) to get you started:shape bellshape butterflyshape dropshape gingerbreadshape heartshape mittenshape ovalshape starshape stockingshape tree

Please, if you make an ornament using this idea – send me a picture – I’d love to see what you do with it.


Posted in ornaments

Ornament Finishing 2

April 29, 2009
1 Comment

I want to share some ornament finishing ideas with you – so here is another one.

Here’s a simple fabric finish that I used for an ornament exchange last year:

bless-us-082-gallerieBless Us Ornament (Lots and lots of pics!) (This was stitched with WDW Christmas)

1. Gather your materials: Stitched piece, fabric, ribbon, thread, fusible padding, stitch witchery(the kind intended for hems), buttons or other embellishments.bless-us-072
2. Measure out from the stitching (1-2” to 3-4”)bless-us-073bless-us-074
3. Cut two strips of fabric the width of your stitched piece by about 3 inches.bless-us-075
4. Pin the strips, right sides facing, to the top and bottom.bless-us-076
5. Sew along your marked lines.bless-us-077
6. Open, andbless-us-078
7. Pressbless-us-079
8. Measure the total length and  bless-us-080
9. Cut two more strips of fabric the length by about three inches.bless-us-081
10. Pin right sides facing andbless-us-082
11. Sew, thenbless-us-083
12. Press openbless-us-084
13. Cut a piece of fabric the height of your front and two inches wider than the width,bless-us-085
14. Cut this piece in half down the middle.bless-us-086
15. Turn under 1-2 inch and press on one side bless-us-087
16. Don’t forget to pin a length of ribbon to the top right side of your ornament (we won’t mention that I frequently forget this important step – lol!)bless-us-088
17. Lay the two pieces of backing, right side up, and with the folded edge on top towards the center (I have the corner turned back just to show you the folded edge).bless-us-089
18. Place the ornament front, right side down over the backing pieces and pin.  I bring the ribbon hanger out through the opening in the back so I won’t accidentally sew it in the sides.bless-us-090
19. Sew around all four edges.  bless-us-091At the corners, stop stitching 2 or 3 stitches from the corner, turn to 45 degrees, and sew to the next side, then turn and complete sewing the side.corner-seam
20. Trim seams andbless-us-0922
21. Cornersbless-us-0931
22. Cut a piece of fusible padding slightly smaller than the finished ornament – trim the corners to reduce bulk.bless-us-095
23. Iron in placebless-us-096
24. Turn the ornament right side out.bless-us-097
25. Cut a length of the stitch witchery to fit the opening (Do you see the price – I don’t have any idea how old this is or when I bought it, but by the price, it was a lo-o-o-ong time ago – lol!)bless-us-098
26. Tuck the stitch witchery into place under the folded edge in back.bless-us-099
27. Press to secure.bless-us-100
28. Embellish with buttons, jingle bells, charms or whatever you desire!bless-us-101Have fun!  And do let me know what you think – I love hearing from you.


Posted in ornaments
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Ornament Finishes I

April 27, 2009
1 Comment

Plastic Frame Ornament

One of the simplest finishes has to be using a plastic ornament frame.  These come in all types of finishes, from simple colors to metallic finishes.  Some have a clear plastic inlay, but I never use those – there isn’t enough room to put spacers between it and my stitching, and I worry that, over time, the stitching will get damaged.  I have purchased lots of them from Ebay – it’s a convenient source all year long.  Craft stores generally only carry them during the holiday season.

1. Some frames come with a pre-cut backing piece, if not, cut one (from foam board or acid free cardboard) to fit your frame.plastic-frame-101
2. Trim your stitching to fit the backing.  Use a narrow bead of clue just around the very edge.plastic-frame-102
3. Place in frame and run a bead of glue around the edge to secure in place (or else you may constantly be replacing it – they tend to pop out!)plastic-frame-103
4. Ta-Da!plastic-frame-104

Of course, you can embellish the frame – use glitter, ribbon, lace, sequins, tiny buttons or charms.
And don’t overlook other re-purposed items for frames.  I have some ornaments done years ago framed in wooden drapery rings (packed up at the moment, so no pics😦.

And I like to use canning jar lids for a country look.plastic-frame-106plastic-frame-1045-santa-ornie

What is the most unusual ornament frame you have seen?


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CDB is Home!

January 25, 2009
1 Comment

You can read the details on my other blog, Nita’s Notes.


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