Thursday, October 25, 2012

Re-usable Christmas gift tags.

I can't decide if this idea should come under the heading of being environmentally friendly or just plain frugal - it fits both! Here's my re-usable Christmas gift tags....

You may be wondering how on earth they are re-usable....well they're chalkboard tags! How cool is that?!!

I hate to think of any of my stitching being thrown out, but what on earth can you do with a little cross stitch tag once it has been used? By making the cross stitch into chalkboard tags they can be used again and again and again! Environmentally friendly and frugal too. It's a win, win situation.

To make these tags, all you need are some little wooden shapes from the craft store (you can use any shape, hearts, stars, circles etc). These are really cheap, I think I paid about 60 cents each. The hardest part of this project is peeling the sticky label off the wooden shape. Honestly, that was the hard part, these labels refused to come off in one piece! Then all you have to do is give the tags a couple of coats of chalkboard paint and once they are dry you can, if you want to, decorate the edges using a white paint pen.  Tie a ribbon through the hole and then attach your stitching.  Voila -  re-usable tags!

For this one I attached the stitching to the main part of the tag.

If you have a rather large gift and want a larger tag, then you can add the stitching to the top part of the wooden tag to make the whole thing a bit bigger. I stitched the snowman on plastic canvas so that the entire thing was a bit more robust and would last more than one Christmas season.

Chalkboard paint comes in other colours too, so you can opt for bright red, or forest green etc if you don't fancy plain, old fashioned black!

So that's some tags made,  now I just have to think of the gifts to go with them. Nothing like doing things backwards!!!

Until next time...happy stitching.


Monday, October 22, 2012

I hate black aida!

Although you would never know as yet another finish is on black aida!

Two in a row on black... I deserve a medal! 

Actually, I don't really hate black aida, it's just that I find I stitch so much more slowly on black compared to a light coloured fabric, and since I officially hold the title of 'Queen of Slow Stitching', you can imagine just how long these black finishes take me! I love how the black background really makes the colours pop on this design (which will be made in to a card sometime in the very near future.) This design is one from a set you can find here. It's incredible the difference the colour of the fabric has on the finished effect as you can see when you compare how it looks on the website on white fabric. I have some navy blue aida which I might use for one of the other designs in the set - but only after I have had a respite from dark fabrics and stitched some more on white!

Here's another finish (thankfully not on black!!) which as you can see from the hoop marks is, quite literally hot off the hoop!

This is to match the coffee design I did earlier. This one is also going to be made in to a gift, but I'm hoping to do something a little bit different than the coffee basket....let's hope that some inspiration strikes soon!

Until next time...happy stitching!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

A change of plan!

In my next TUSAL report, you will no doubt notice a lot of green threads in my ort jar - all because I had a change of plan!

I had stitched up my Russian Dolls design (you can find the chart here) and was intending making it in to a Christmas card but then changed my mind and decide to make it into a little box. Well, a girl can change her mind, can’t she?!!

So it went from this…

…and this….

….to this….

I decided to take out the Christmas greeting on the stitching so that the box would be suitable to use all year round. Although the green border would have been fine on the box, (the size fitted perfectly) if the design is positioned the slightest bit off, a border really makes it noticeable. So to make life easier I just unpicked the border at the same time as unpicking the ‘Christmas Greetings’ – I’m all for an easy life!

So all I did was gave the cardboard box a couple of coats of black acrylic paint. I painted inside the box too, to give it more of a finished look. As you know, I usually back my stitching with iron-on interfacing to stop any colour shining through, but as I wanted to keep this design very black I missed this step out. I cut some black felt the same size as the lid and glued that to the top of the lid to give the design a very slightly padded look. I then placed double sided tape all around sides of the lid (outside edge) and then positioned the stitching where I thought it looked best and pressed down the edges onto the tape. I trimmed the excess fabric so that it was just above the base of the edge. I then folded the four corners back and taped them down. I tried to take some pictures of the corners, but the black against black just didn’t show up well, but you can just see the corners on this picture….

With more double sided tape, I added a ribbon to the edge to hide the cut fabric. The final touch is to add a bow – if desired. I can’t decide if I like it better with or without the bow!

All I need to do now is buy a gift to go inside the box….although this step is optional! The box itself would make a great gift.

I took the bow off for taking this picture, but now I think it might look a bit bare without it…. arghhh, I can’t make up my mind! What do you think?

The great thing about this design is that it works really well for Christmas but works also for any other time of the year too!

The charts for these Russian dolls (2 cards, or box, designs and a matching tag) can be found at my website 

This is one of my gifts that will be linking up with the Gift MAL with Pull The Other Thread, if you'd like to join in with us and post about you Christmas makes, please click here to find out more.

Until next time…happy stitching!


Monday, October 15, 2012

TUSAL and other updates.

I'm quite surprised at how many orts are in the jar this month! I've either stitched more than I had though, or I have been rather wasteful with the threads. I'm hoping it's the first excuse reason. Here's this moths orts along with my jar for the year...

I've also managed to finish the last of the scarves that are Christmas gifts (and it's only October!!! Woohoo!)

I found a really interesting cushion cover made from this yarn, which I'm quite tempted to try. You can see it here.  I'm just not sure if my knitting skills are up for the challenge!

The granny squares count is creeping up albeit rather more slowly than I had hoped!  The grand total is now 86. 

And finally, some updates on my cross stitching projects! Here's the progress on the Geisha...

And you might have to be a bit eagle eyed to see any changes in Simple Treasures...

...but there are a few more stitches than last time - honestly!

Phew! I think I've been rather productive...let's hope it lasts.

Until next time...happy stitching!


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Red noses....

As the first chilly days of autumn appear, I end up with a rotten stinking cold - you can tell I'm a summer lovin' gal can't you?!!

So, due to the fact that my head feels like it's stuffed with cotton wool, my nose is doing a fantastic impression of Niagara Falls and my body feel like an eighty year old that's just ran a marathon, not much stitching has happened here these last few days. 

I did manage to finish this....

Rudolf and I have the bright red nose in common! This is going to be made in to a funny gift for my son for Christmas. I have five other reindeer to stitch - I know there should be eight others, but for this gift, I only need five more - I'll show you the finished gift nearer to Christmas.

I find stitching on plastic canvas to be quite a slow process and I end up with an ache in my fingers, so I'm going to pace myself with each of these little fellas. Thank heavens it's only October, but, knowing me, I'll probably still end up scrambling at the last minute to get this gift finished! 

Anyhoo, I'm off to have another hot lemon drink (or maybe a hot toddy?!!) and hopefully get rid of this cold.

Until next time...happy stitching!

Monday, October 8, 2012

'Will Trade Coffee' gift basket

I’ve had this project sitting around for quite some time, but finally I managed to get it finished and made into a gift. So can I have a big fanfare for my finished 'Will Trade Coffee for Gossip' gift basket….

I think it was worth the wait, don’t you? 

I love making this type of gift as you can tailor it exactly for the recipient. Another great thing about making your own gift baskets is that they can be as expensive or inexpensive as you want to make them. When I went looking for the items to put into the basket, I found that there were lots of coffee themed items, mugs, towels etc. in the shops that would have been great for putting in this basket, but when I saw these mugs I knew they were exactly my friend’s style (don’t worry, she doesn’t read this blog.) I fell in love with the mugs myself and after making the basket, I went back to the store and bought myself the same set!

Here’s the cross stitched items that I made for the gift...

So let me tell you what I put in the basket – remember you can put whatever you want to in to the basket, which is the beauty of making this type of gift. I bought a plain cream tea towel to line the basket (it makes it look a bit prettier – and it’s practical too!), a set of two mugs, the cross stitch coasters that I had made, a jar of instant cappuccino, some packets of cookies, some homemade chocolate spoons and then I slipped some individually wrapped biscotti into the little gaps in between the items. I’m not a big fan of biscotti, but they are brilliant for filling in the gaps!

Here’s a picture looking down on the basket and you can probably see each item better.

And did you spot those chocolate spoons nestled in amongst the other goodies?

These spoons are so much fun to make and if you are a chocolate lover they’re great with coffee or hot chocolate – or even just eating on their own! You can find how to make them here, here and here, or you can  Google ‘chocolate dipping spoons’ and there will be plenty more to choose from. I’ve a feeling I’ll be making more of these to eat  give as gifts at Christmas.

I used the same design as one of the coasters and made it into a card. This was just a very simple card, but with a cute gift, that’s all you need!!!

All that’s left to do now is to wrap the gift up with cellophane and tie a big bow on to it.

Charts for the picture and coasters are available on my website (There are two coaster/card designs, but for some reason I only photographed the one!)

Until next time…happy stitching!


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Simple Treasures

Don't you just love it when all those random X's of different colours magically appear as something?  I've been stitching on Simple Treasures and it didn't really look like anything, just random splodges of colour, and then  suddenly bam...there it was, the rope, the seashell....yayyy, it's beginning to look like the picture on the package! Here's how it's looking now....

I'm really enjoying working on this piece, but this week is Geisha week, so Simple Treasures has to sit there collecting dust for a week before I can pick it up again. :(

And remember the scarves I was knitting? Well, I've finished another one! It's such a great feeling to be able to cross things off your Christmas to-do list, at least it would be, if I had a list!
*Note to self - make a Christmas To-do list and cross off  'make scarves'! *

Here are the three finished ones together...

Three down, one to go!

And I finally managed to get my Will Trade Coffee design finished into a gift!  I was going to make a wall hanging out of the stitching, but I decided that a frame would be better....and quicker! Here's the design framed...

I'll have a separate post about the design made as a gift. This one worked so well that I'm going to do a Tea one for some of my tea loving this space!

Until next time...happy stitching!


Monday, October 1, 2012

Making a gift card holder

I've got a cute little project to show you that's great for all year long, but the design I'm using today makes it great for winter birthdays and, dare I say it.....Christmas! Sorry, but it is October, and Christmas is right around the corner!

So onto my project for today....

Gift cards – love ‘em or loath ‘em there here to stay and they make great gifts!

I used to feel really uncertain about giving a gift card as a gift. I thought they looked a bit impersonal. I worried that the recipient would think that I had either forgotten about getting them a gift and that the gift card was a last minute effort, or that I couldn’t be bothered to take the time and buy them something they would like…or worse, that I didn’t know what they would like! But they are perfect in so many ways – the recipient can choose exactly what they want, right size, right colour etc., and who doesn’t like to go out shopping and treat themselves to something? (Ok, my hubby would the one who hates that, but he’s the exception that proves the rule!)

So here’s my way to show that you took some time and care over the gift of a gift card.

The perfect, handmade gift card holder. Cute, practical and personal! 

The little penguin motif is from my website and it's a great little alphabet for many reasons. Apart from the fact that it's super cute (!) it's great to use for  winter birthdays. It's also brilliant for using up all those odd bits of threads that we collect. you can easily change the colours of the borders, hats or scarves to suit either the recipient or whatever threads you have in your stash! Cool uh?

Here’s how I made it.

You will need –
Cross stitched design (Penguin alphabet from
Iron-on interfacing
Felt in co-ordinating colour approx. 18 ½ cm x 11 ½ cm
Stranded cotton thread
Self-adhesive Velcro dots
Fabric glue

1. Iron out any creases on your cross stitch motif then back with iron-on interfacing.
Trim round design 1 square from the edge of the stitching.

  2. Fold felt into thirds, this ‘pocket’ should fit a standard size gift card, but do check just in case you have a wacky sized gift card!

3. Pin edges to hold in place.

4. Blanket stitch using all six strands of thread.

5.  Find center point of the top ‘flap’ and trim to form a triangle.

Glue the trimmed cross stitch motif centrally to flap.

6.   Attach self-adhesive Velcro dots.

 7.     Insert gift card!


 So there you have it! A simple, easy way to show you care and still give a gift card.

Until next time...happy stitching!