March Hoop Art of the Month - Chevron Easter Egg

It's spring! It's spring! It's spring! Uh, I mean, hey, did you notice it's spring already? Yeah, me either. I'd just love a little more of that colder-than-usual weather we've had all winter, and the fact that it's been raining most of the time since September doesn't bother me. At. All. Did they come up with that sarcasm punctuation mark they were talking about? I sure could use one right about now.

I didn't let what's happening outside stop me from celebrating the springiest of holidays with this month's hoop art, but it did have a rocky start. I knew I wanted to make an Easter egg with an oval hoop. The first version was a fail, because my hands could NOT get a grasp on what brain was trying to do. It just wasn't working, so I actually moved on to a different idea, but I kept looking at the hoop I'd already painted white. I realized I really had my heart set on the egg, so look for the alternate project next month, because I love it too. Today though, Easter Egg 2.0.

To make this, you'll need:

  • one 9 x 5" oval embroidery hoop
  • white paint
  • ribbon
  • felt
  • 2 1/4" fabric squares:
  • 10 pink
  • 10 blue
  • 8 purple
  • 8 green

Paint the embroidery hoop with the white paint. The only parts that are really important are the front and outside of the outer hoop. You can leave the rest unpainted. I just realized that, right now.

Match up the fabric squares so you have one row of five pink/green, one row of pink/blue, one row of blue/purple and three sets of purple/green.

Lay each pair of squares with right sides together. Draw a diagonal line in the center.

Pin the pieces together. Stitch 1/4" from either side of the line you drew.

Cut on the drawn line. Press each square open with the seam to one side.

Trim the seam tails. Repeat with the other 17 pairs. 

Lay out the squares so they look like this. You'll have one square left over.

Sew the squares into rows. Press seams.

Sew the rows together and press the seams. You don't need to worry if it's not straight because you're putting it into the hoop and no one will know. Unless you post it on the internet for all to see your saggy left side.

Cut 18" of ribbon. Wrap it around the outer hoop, centered at the top. Tie a knot just above the hoop to hold it in place.

Center the fabric on top of the inner hoop. Slide the outer hoop over the top. Adjust the fabric as needed and tighten the screw. Trim away the excess fabric at the corners on the back. It doesn't have to be precise or fancy.

Cut the felt to match the hoop.

Hot glue the felt to the back of the hoop a bit at a time, working your way around the oval and tucking in the fabric as you go.

Tie a bow or knot in the top of the ribbon for hanging.  I'm so glad I didn't give up on this little egg!

Friday Favorites No. 322

I recently did one of those home DNA tests where you spit in a tube and they tell you where your ancestors were from. After I got the results I took advantage of a two week free trial to wade through records and try to determine my heritage. After I had gone as far down that rabbit hole as I had time for, I learned two things.

One, the Native American blood I'd always been told I have, I do not. I am exactly 0% Native American. That doesn't mean it's not in my family line, but none of it made it's way to me. 

Two, I am almost entirely Irish, Scottish and English. We're talking potentially around 88% (29% is definitely Ireland), and for sure 99% European. There's some minor royalty in there, war heroes, a scoundrel or two and at least one castle. I'm hoping for a visit in the future.

So, I can honestly and definitively say I'm not just Irish today, but everyday. According to the company I used for my test, two out of three DNA test takers find they have at least 5% Irish in their results as well. That means there's a good chance that you are too.  Let's celebrate!

This post contains affiliate links.

Let's start off with a little fabric barrette to keep you from getting pinched, from right here on Crafty Staci!

I always feel a little guilty about throwing away the little scraps when I'm sewing, but Just Jude has a fun way you can use even the tiniest bits. Since hers is an older post, I looked up the water soluble fabric she mentions and it's still available.

This bookmark from Tikkido would be a great gift between girls of a certain age, and imagine all the color possibilities with that tail. Today, I'm thinking a rainbow.

This dessert from Amanda's Cookin' looks so fluffy and delicious. There's even a little green in there.

I've always thought this Irish blessing was lovely, but I particularly love the colors in the art that mallorylynndecor on Etsy used for this version.

You can find these, and my previous Friday Favorites, on my Crafty Staci’s Friday Favorites Pinterest board!

Salt and Pepper Roasted Nuts

My husband and I both have our weaknesses when it comes to snack food. I've met very few sweet things I didn't like, while he caves to treats of a salty nature. I'm sure there's a statement on our relationship in there somewhere. 

I was in the kitchen staring down a couple of Costco bags of nuts last week and trying to figure out a simple way to make them snackable. I found lots of recipes to season them, but none of those had a method to really make everything stick. Don't you hate it when you've finished something like these and there's a pile of seasoning left at the bottom of the container?

I knew I had a couple of recipes for sweet nuts that used an egg white, and wondered if it would work as well for a savory treat. Turns out, the answer is yes!

Salt and Pepper Roasted Nuts

  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 4 cups nuts (whatever you like - I used almonds and pecans)
  • 1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper (I used at least 4x this amount for my pepper fan!)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Whip the egg white and water until it's frothy. Toss in the nuts and stir until they're well coated. Sprinkle on the salt and pepper, adding a bit and stirring until it's distributed evenly.

Pour the nuts onto a greased baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Stir. Bake another 10 minutes and stir again, breaking up clusters. Repeat for another 5 minutes or until the nuts are browned and dry.

Cool completely and store in an airtight container. 

Friday Favorites No. 321

Another busy week, but I feel like I was pretty productive. I figured out what I'm making for my next appearance on Afternoon Live, WHILE I was getting my grays colored. That's what I call multi-tasking. I also made a couple of things that weren't on my to-do list, possibly while ignoring things that were, but hey, when inspiration strikes you have to go with it. 

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These onesies from Make It and Love It are adorable from the front, but oh those little tails!

What I like most about this string art from Michael's is the ability to change it up with the seasons without having to re-do the whole thing.

I'm finding myself wondering if I can talk my husband into a version of this bedroom from Paint Yourself a Smile. Bonus points if you can place the movie quotes on the wall - some of my favorites are there!

I want to dip peanut butter cookies in this peanut butter cookie dough dip from Debi Talks. Too much?

I love Kona solid cotton fabric, and I just discovered this color chart panel at Fabric.com, printed with swatches of the various colors and their names. I've seen this panel made into projects, like bags, which means I'm going to need one to play with and one to keep.

You can find these, and my previous Friday Favorites, on my Crafty Staci’s Friday Favorites Pinterest board!

Strawberry Pincushion

If you happen to follow me on Instagram, you may have spotted this little guy last week.

Strawberry Pincushion by Crafty Staci

I thought about calling this one "Boring Strawberry Pincushion" but I was afraid you might get the wrong idea. You see, I was invited by my friends at Cut Out and Keep to create a project to represent my little hometown of Boring, Oregon. While that sounded easy at first, it isn't exactly a metropolis. We have a teeny, tiny downtown area which consists of a small handful of businesses and a grange hall. Beyond that, Boring is mostly trees and farmland.

It was the land that finally inspired me. You've heard me talk about how great our strawberries are. Well, lots of those are grown in my little town, so what better to represent us?

You can find the pattern and instructions for this pincushion at Cut Out and Keep. It isn't actual size when it comes to even the biggest strawberries. The whole thing measures about 4 1/2" tall when it's stood on end. I wanted to make sure ALL of my pins would fit.

I used my new favorite pincushion stuffing, ground walnut shells, for this one as well. The weight, and the fact that it lays on its side giving me a nice angled surface to stick pins into, makes it the perfect sewing machine companion. Not so boring after all, is it?

Friday Favorites No. 320

Is it March that the "in like a lion, out like a lamb" saying belongs to? If that's the case, I guess we're looking at a crazy end to this month, but the break from the rain and snow is appreciated for now. You've probably heard Oregon mocked for its ridiculous amount of rainfall, but we've been breaking precipitation records here lately. It isn't so much the water falling from the sky that gets to me, it's what sits on the ground. I'm so over all the mud!

This post contains affiliate links.

I might be the only one left who hasn't made a casserole dish carrier, but I really like the way this one from Little Bit Funky comes together. Besides, anytime I can sew and end up with a finished product in under half an hour, I'm in.

If you've considered dabbling in leather, this pretty traveler's notebook cover from Unhurried Home might be a good place to start.

Oh, how I love chimichangas, but when you're trying to avoid fried food they're not usually an option. Thanks to this baked version from The Girl Who Ate Everything, I don't have to give them up!

It's not too soon to get a jump on Easter, especially if you're making anything by hand. This woven fabric basket pattern from SundayGirlDesigns on Etsy is adorable, and would be even more so full of colorful eggs.

With no little ones in my house, I don't make a lot of stuffed things these days, but this book has me looking for a reason. Tilda's Toy Box by Tone Finnanger has so many sweet things in it I'd buy it just for the photos. I can't decide if I love this doll's hair tie, jacket or bloomers the most!

You can find these, and my previous Friday Favorites, on my Crafty Staci’s Friday Favorites Pinterest board!

How to Make a Pincushion with a Frame and Crushed Walnut Shells

Did you know ground walnut shells make great pincushion filler? I was searching around for an alternative to polyester batting and found out everyone knew this but me. I thought about trying sawdust, since my husband is an occasional woodworker and it would be easy to get, but I liked how clean this option sounded. I finally got around to trying it in a couple of projects, and I don't think I'll be using anything else!

When I was gathering up items for my recent anniversary giveaway, I snagged a couple of these Create-a-Pincushion kits, keeping one for myself. The instructions call for batting, but I've worked out a way to make it using the walnut shells, and I'd love to share it with you.

This post contains affiliate links.

When you open up the kit, these are the pieces, plus instructions.

As you can see if you look closely at the finished product, it wasn't going to be possible to pile the shells up like you would if you use batting as instructed. Instead, I made a small container for those.

Cut a piece of muslin 7" by 3".  Fold so the two 3" edges meet, right sides together. 

Hand stitch medium length stitches with doubled thread about 3/8" from one edge.  Leave the needle and remaining thread attached. Pull tightly to gather, tie a knot and clip thread. Turn right side out.

Hand stitch the same way near remaining edge. Leave needle attached, but don't gather yet. Set the bag inside the pincushion base.  Fill with about 1/4 cup crushed shells. You may need slightly more or less, and you can adjust as needed.

Pull the thread to gather the bag. You should be able to just get it closed, but not be able to see any of the loose shells. Add a few stitches through the top to make sure it stays closed, knot the thread and clip.

Grab the fabric you're using for the outside. The pattern says to cut a 5 1/2" square, but I went with 6".  To smooth out the top, add a small handful of fiberfill before covering with the fabric.

Cover with the fabric, then roll the silicone ring into place in its notch on the pincushion base.

Adjust the fabric so it's taut and the gathers are even. Trim the fabric about 1/4 - 5/8" from the ring.

Snap the top ring on and it's ready for pins. So easy!

The ground nuts give it a good weight, so it won't move around as you're trying to use it. I like that it has some height, while I was still able to use my new favorite pincushion stuffing. Where can you get ground walnut shells? I gotcha covered - click here, and use the coupon code AHNUTS for 25% off through 3/7/17!

Friday Favorites No. 319

It's been a busy week! Hopefully you had a chance to check out my newest Hoop Art of the Month, which shows the temperatures here in my little town of Boring for the last year. Based on the fact that it snowed AGAIN yesterday, this year's should be just as interesting!

This post contains affiliate links.

Any other planner addicts out there? I don't know what I'd do without mine. Oh, yeah...nothing because I wouldn't know what I was supposed to be doing! I kinda want to caffeine mine up with these printable coffee stickers from DIY Candy.

I remember making a rubber stamp in an art class back in school. It was fun then, and I see no reason why it wouldn't still be now. This tutorial from Gathering Beauty sounds pretty easy, and imagine all the possibilities!

If you ever buy fabric, you might be with me on this. I can do math, but after a few hours in a fabric store (not just me, right?) I tend to lose some basic life skills. This printable yardage conversion card from Sew4Home would come in very handy for those times when fractions and decimals all start to blur together.

I have nothing against frosting, but there are times when it just isn't necessary, like these decadent-looking bananas foster upside down cupcakes from Flavor Mosaic.

Shortly after I joined my quilt guild, which was still new, they offered a charter member enamel pin to order. I bought one, pinned it to my name tag I wear to meetings, then had to find another pin to balance it on the other side. Lately I've found myself wanting to add to my tiny collection as other members have. I ordered this Maker pin from NightOwlPaperGoods on Etsy yesterday, and I can't wait to see it in person!

You can find these, and my previous Friday Favorites, on my Crafty Staci’s Friday Favorites Pinterest board!

February Hoop Art of the Month - Temperature Starburst

Right about now you might be asking yourself "What's a temperature starburst?"  Well, it looks like this:

A few months ago I spotted a crocheted afghan that was called a temperature blanket. I was curious, so after doing a little research I found out that people have been making them for quite a while. The way the yarn versions often work is that the maker chooses colors for a variety of temperature ranges, then adds a row or shape to the blanket each day or week that reflects the average temperature outside. It's a make-as-you-go kind of thing. 

They aren't always made as blankets. I've also seen temperature scarves, which I would love! I wondered if I could make a temperature quilt. Of course, I was far from the first to have that idea, so there are lots of those out there too.  I've pinned a few of my favorite temperature projects on this board. The author of the quilt seen there just started a quilt-along for her version in January.

Then came the big question - how can I fit that idea into a hoop? Since it would be difficult to fit daily, or even weekly entries, I went with monthly. I sketched out a few versions, but the one I liked the best reminded me a bit of a beach ball. I also realized after it was finished that it's rainbowness is pretty perfect for the St. Patrick's Day holiday coming up next month.

We had some pretty erratic temperatures last summer and this winter, which isn't always the case in Oregon, so I knew the previous 12 months would give me a good variety. There are lots of time frames you could use though, like someone's birth year or to mark another big event. Thanks to Weather Underground, you can look up temperatures for anywhere and anytime. This is the chart I made to use. On the right are the temperature colors and ranges I started with, and on the left are the adjustments I made based on the actual ranges I needed to use and the fabrics I had available.

To make this, you'll need:

  • 9" embroidery hoop
  • 12 fabric wedges, cut using the first page of this pattern (the second and third pages are for reference only - those wedges do not include a seam allowance)
  • fusible interfacing
  • embroidery transfer pen
  • embroidery thread

I'm going to tell you how I sewed this together, then I'll tell you how I think you should do it differently. Sometimes you learn as you go.

I stitched the wedges together in pairs, then stitched those pairs together, which created three sections.

What I would do next time, and what I recommend to you, is sewing three wedges together, so you have four quarters.  Sew two quarters together, giving you two halves, then stitch the two halves together. That might seem obvious now, but it wasn't when I was knee-deep in trying to fit that third wedge into the circle.

In the end, it should look something like this. Or maybe your points match up a little better in the center. If not, don't sweat it. Let's call it character.

Trim away some of the excess fabric in the center seam to reduce the bulk. Cut a piece of fusible fleece to fit the back and iron it on.

Transfer the embroidery designs from the last page of the pattern. My favorite tool to do this is the Sublime Stitching transfer pens. Iron the appropriate month onto its corresponding wedge.

Embroider each letter using a backstitch. I thought about using the same color embroidery thread as each fabric for a more subtle look, but decided to go for the contrasting black instead. Has anyone else ever noticed that when you write out the first letter of each month it spells Jason in the middle? Weird.

Insert the fabric centered into the embroidery hoop. Cut a piece of felt to fit the back of the hoop.

Tuck the excess fabric into the center of the hoop and glue the felt onto the back.

Add a bit of cord or ribbon to the top for hanging. I love the variety in this one. There are some years around here where this would have been an awful lot of green. What colors will be in your hoop? 

Friday Favorites No. 318

Happy Friday! If you haven't had a chance yet, be sure to pop over and enter my 7th Anniversary Blog Giveaway.  Lots of crafty goodies for you to create with!

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Say it with me...awwwww! This crochet pattern, appropriately from The Labrador Site, is adorable.

I only recently learned about Kokedama, which means moss ball in Japanese. You can make these with a variety of plants, and they will last for a year or two before they need to be replanted elsewhere. Let The Handyman's Daughter show you how.

Our crazy boxer loves apples and will do just about anything for peanut butter. I'll have to try this idea from Pretty Fluffy, but I think I might throw it in the freezer as someone suggested in the comments. That might keep him from eating it in one bite.

You can make gummy bears from wine? Why did I not know this? For that matter, why didn't I know you could make gummy bears at all? Thanks to Cooking with Janica I can give it a try. You can find the molds on Amazon. I particularly like this mold set that can make gummy fish and worms as well.

At my quilt guild meeting this week, we spent some time cutting fabrics and assembling charity quilt kits. I ended up borrowing a rotary cutter and mat for a while, and I think I know what the next tool in my crafty arsenal is going to be. Even if you don't quilt, a rotary cutter is indispensable for cutting fabric, and this baby was awesome. It's big, which I liked, and the blade is automatically covered as soon as you let go of the trigger. The owner told me it's her favorite, and that she can cut through several layers of fabric with it. After using it, this is on my must-have list.

You can find these, and my previous Friday Favorites, on my Crafty Staci’s Friday Favorites Pinterest board!

7th Anniversary Giveaway!

I can't believe another year has passed already! Monday marked the 7th birthday of my blog, and in the tradition I look forward to, I'm here with a giveaway to celebrate. It's my way of saying thank you for your support. Since so many of you who visit are makers or aspiring makers, I'm encouraging that with this year's prizes. I can't keep ALL the fabric and stuff to myself...can I?

This post contains affiliate links.

So, what are we looking at here? Each of those pieces of fabric is 1/2 yard, so that's a total of 4 yards to play with! I've included a couple of embroidery hoops, in case you want to play along with my new monthly Hoop Art series. Or you could, you know, embroider with them. I've included some floss for that. There's also a big spool of my favorite white Gutermann thread for sewing. The three 10" zippers will come in handy for something I'm sure. There are three self-declared cute buttons. I've also thrown in a pincushion kit and some ground walnut shells for filler. I have one of these myself that I'm itching to try, so we might be learning how to do that one together. Think that will keep you busy for a while?

This giveaway is open worldwide.  One winner will receive everything shown here.  You can enter twice through the Rafflecopter widget below. If you click "I commented" where it says "Leave a blog post comment" be sure to actually comment on the post. :-)

This giveaway opens on February 15, 2017 and will remain open for entries until midnight Pacific Time on February 21, 2017. I will email the randomly selected winner on February 22nd.

Click on the photo below to scroll through close-ups of the giveaway items!

Friday Favorites No. 317

I spent this last week with my husband in Las Vegas, trying to get a little break from the cold weather and general chaos. With Valentine's Day falling on Tuesday next week, that's probably the closest we'll get to celebrating it. That works for me. I'll trade a few days in the sun for a box of chocolate any day, and you KNOW how much I like sugar.

This post contains affiliate links for Etsy

Who wouldn't love to receive a Valentine that looks like a mini bubblegum machine? Check out the tutorial from Sprinkle Some Fun.

Sweets are nice, but I also love this idea from Arts and Crackers for a Valentine gift you can plant instead.

It's a game, a craft AND a snack! Sippy Cup Mom has all the bases covered.

I wouldn't mind receiving this tasty bouquet from Creative and Healthy Fun Food. I'd even be okay with a few basil leaves tucked in there.

It would be hard to find a cuter last-minute Valentine than these printable s'more bag toppers from LemonadeDesignStudio on Etsy.

You can find these, and my previous Friday Favorites, on my Crafty Staci’s Friday Favorites Pinterest board!

Afternoon Live - Felt Hearts and Tassels

With no visiting politicians or big weather events getting in the way, I had my second appearance on Afternoon Live go off without a hitch last week. That's unless you count my somewhat shaky hands and uncooperative glue gun, but those issues were minor.  Here's the video if you'd like to check it out:

http://katu.com/afternoon-live/lifestyle-health/a-heart-felt-craft

Many thanks to my friend Jackie for sharing the photo she took while it was airing! :-)

If you're interested in making this yourself, you'll find the instructions here.  Looks like I need to start thinking of a TV-friendly Easter craft now - maybe something without a glue gun!

Friday Favorites No. 316

You may have noticed a kink or two being worked out around here this week (thank you to my patient email subscribers!) and there are a few more to go, but overall the transition to my new blogging space went a little more smoothly than I expected. Yay!

Since I've set up a shop here, in addition to those that will remain on Etsy and Amazon, I'm offering you a little incentive to try it out. Get free shipping if you place an order over $10 using the code LAUNCH2017. The code will only work here, not in my other shops. If you run into any issues along the way, please let me know. It's a work in progress!

On to this week's Friday Favorites!

Make Winter 2017.png

I hear there's some sort of ball game happening this weekend? If, like me, you're one of those people who is only in it for the commercials, these printable bingo cards from Play Party Plan are for you.

Maybe you'll need something to do between the commercials. Or you might be someone who enjoys the game but could do without the sales pitches. Either way, this wire and nail heart from As For Me and My Homestead will keep your hands busy.

While everyone else is enjoying the wings and dips, I'm looking for the desserts. The secret ingredient in this one from Life Love and Sugar is Bailey's Irish Cream, so I'm in.

I had to include these cookie dough ice cream sandwiches from Mel's Kitchen Cafe because my daughter just told me there's a restaurant in New York that serves these, along with all other things cookie dough. A cookie dough restaurant. Let that sink in for a minute while I plan my cross-country trip.

I don't know if this 3D sewing machine box from the Silhouette store is as complicated to make as it looks, but it's cute enough to be worth the effort.

You can find these, and my previous Friday Favorites, on my Crafty Staci’s Friday Favorites Pinterest board!

Hearts and Tassels Garland

I mentioned last month that Afternoon Live had invited me back to do another segment on their lifestyle show - tomorrow is the day! I thought I'd be less nervous this time, but you guys, I picked a craft that involves a glue gun! I'm just hoping I can keep from gluing myself to anything. 

I thought I'd give you a sneak preview of what I'm making tomorrow, since it's very Valentiney and that month just popped up on the calendar. This is an easy project, would be fun to make with kids and takes few supplies. My favorite kind.

For this project you'll need:

  • felt
  • twine, ribbon, cord or yarn
  • glue

There are two parts to this, so we'll start with the hearts.

For each heart you'd like to make, cut a strip of felt 1 x 9".  The long side should be the width of the felt if you're using the rectangles you usually find in the craft store. It might not be an exact measurement, but close is fine. Cut a piece of twine about 3".

Fold the felt in half to find the center.  Add a drop of glue near the center. I prefer hot glue, but if you don't mind waiting for it to dry just about any glue will work.

Bring the ends of the twine together and form a loop. Another, probably better, option is to cut it longer and tie a knot in the ends. Stick the ends into the glue.

Fold the strip with the glue inside. Hold for a second to let the glue cool.  Flip it over so the twine is on the bottom and add glue near the other end of the strip.

Bring the ends together and hold to cool.

And boom, you have a heart! Or do it a bunch of times, and you'll have a bunch of hearts.

By the way, if you want to skip the glue, you can use staples! For some reason, it worked better for me when I held the stapler in my hand.

Now, about that tassel. Cut a piece of felt 2 x 4".  Cut strips along the long edge 1/4" wide, stopping 1/2" from the top. 

To create a felt loop, pull the first strip up and glue the end to the top, as shown below, making a loop above the top edge.

The other option is to cut a piece of twine about 4", tie a knot in it and glue it to the end.

Once you've created the loop of your choice, start rolling up the tassel from that end.

When you reach the end, add another dab of glue near the corner and finish rolling.

Fluff the ends.

String as many as you'd like to make on your twine of choice.

I asked my husband to drill a couple of holes in a board for me so I could stick dowels in it to hang this from. Being the creative guy he is, he came back with this instead. I can't wait to take it with me tomorrow!

Friday Favorites No. 315

If all goes well, this will be my last post before I switch over to my new website. I've spent a lot of time on my treadmill lately, trying to make up for the hours I've spent in this chair working on it. Hopefully you won't really notice much of  a change, since you'll still find me at craftystaci.com. Also, remember if you're following me through Wordpress only, you won't receive future updates from my new site unless you subscribe here. Enough boring computer talk, let's look at pretty things! Friday Favorites No. 315 from Crafty Staci

This post contains affiliate links for Etsy.

Make Winter 2017

If you do any kind of needlework, you know you really can't have too many pincushions. I love how this one from The Family Hearth manages to look like a spool of thread and an embroidery floss card, all at the same time.

Spool Pincushion from The Family Hearth

I'm fascinated with hand lettering. It's something I haven't been able to master, but this comprehensive collection of links and instructions from Dawn Nicole Designs makes me think it's possible.

Hand Lettering 101 from By Dawn Nicole

Cook Winter 2017

Valentine's Day doesn't always have to be about hearts and flowers. This adorable fudge from Hungry Happenings would be a great gift for anyone, even those that aren't into the mushy stuff.

Cookies and Cream Fudge Rocks from Hungry Happenings

I hate to call it a resolution, but my husband and I made it a goal to start eating more produce. We've already tried some great, and some not-so-great, recipes using lots of vegetables.  The fruit options are pretty limited this time of year, but Dinner at the Zoo found a way to make it work beautifully.

Winter Fruit Salad from Dinner at the Zoo

Buy Winter 2017

I've been a fan of Spoonflower for years. I wish it was a little more affordable, but I guess I can't complain when I'm getting whatever I want printed on fabric. In fact, I made a memory card wallet for one of my Etsy customers last week with their logo on it using Spoonflower fabric. They also print the backs for the fabric bookmarks I include with each order.

There are lots of talented textile artists sharing their work there, but searching through it can be a little overwhelming. That just got easier with Spoonflower's debut on Etsy. The collection there seems much more curated and manageable to browse. The only question is, which do I need to add to my stash?

Spoonflower on Etsy

You can find these, and my previous Friday Favorites, on my Crafty Staci’s Friday Favorites Pinterest board!

January Hoop Art of the Month–I Heart You

Those of you who've been around here for a while might remember the Hot Pad of the Month series I started in 2015 that ended eighteen months later.  We could go back even further to the coffee cup sleeve series, which was way back in 2013.  Well, I've intended to start another monthly series, but I was a little up in the air about what it would be.  That is, until inspiration hit me last month.  This time, I'm going to do a project each month that involves hoop art, which basically means anything I can fit in an embroidery hoop.  I have a full page of potential ideas, which of course I'll have to winnow down, but I'm excited about it. Some months will involve sewing, others won't.  The sizes will vary.  You'll probably see a variety of mediums and supplies, like fabric, buttons, felt, embroidery floss, maybe even some a little more unexpected.  I can't wait any longer to share the first one with you! I'd like to point out, unlike my other series, I'm actually starting this one in January!  Barely, but still.  Since we all know it takes a while to make stuff, I had next month's Valentine's Day on my mind for this one.  All you'll need to make these is fabric, three 3" embroidery hoops, felt, a hot glue gun and this pattern.

Technically, there are two different ways you can sew this together.  You could trace each tiny piece, adding 1/4" seam allowance, and sew them all together.  The other option is paper piecing, which is what I recommend and the method I used.  Some of these pieces are pretty small, and that's the easiest way to handle them.  If you're unfamiliar with how to do paper piecing, I highly recommend this video by The Crafty Gemini.

To start, cut out each pattern square on the outside line.  Cut the horizontal lines only inside the square.  Leave the vertical lines intact.  The circle is only a guide to show where the embroidery hoop will be in the end.

The top and bottom row of each square is solid, so it doesn't need to be pieced, but when you cut it out add a 1/4" to the inside line for a seam allowance.  Piece the other rows together, then add 1/4" to both long edges when you trim them.  You should end up with something like this:

And this is what it looks like from the front:

Stitch each of the rows together with a 1/4" seam, then remove the paper.  Give it a good pressing.  Once again, here's the back:

And the front:

The I is the easiest of the three, because there are no angles.  When you're sewing the others, just be sure your fabric covers the area it should and leaves enough for your 1/4" seam allowance.  I'll admit, I used the seam ripper a couple of times trying to get that right.  I also freaked out thinking I had completely messed up the heart and it wasn't going to fit together, but I forgot to account for the seam.

See?  Not perfect, but acceptable.  My new mantra.

The U has a couple of angles to it too.

I left plenty of space around the letters to fit them in a hoop, but I also made them square so you have other options if you choose to skip the hoop.  These would be cute sewn into a table runner, or made into hot pads, or mug mats, or a quilt…

But we're talking about hoop art here.  I know I'm probably the only person who'll ever see the back of these (in person), but I needed them to look finished anyway.  Trace the embroidery hoop onto a piece of felt and cut it out just inside the line.  You'll need three of those.

Insert the square into the embroidery hoop, making sure it's centered before tightening the screw.

You can trim some of the fabric if you like, but I found it was easy to stuff it inside the back as it was.

Hot glue around the edge of the hoop and press the felt over the top.  I found it worked better if I glued one half, then the other.

You can get a little creative here and add some ribbon or trim.  I tied a ribbon bow at the top, then took it off because I actually preferred them without it.

I hope you're looking forward to the rest of this year as much as I am!

Friday Favorites No. 313

It took all the willpower I could muster to stay in my seat yesterday. Not only did I need to write this new Friday Favorites, but I'm working on building a new website where I'll be moving Crafty Staci soon. I know nothing of doing such a thing, so the learning curve is requiring rock climbing gear for me. That made it hard enough, but through the window behind me was a gorgeous blue sky with a bright sun shining down on several inches of frozen white snow. I just wanted to go play outside. But because I'm dedicated to our handmade cause, I stayed put and did my job. Maybe tomorrow can be a self-employed snow day. Since this is the first Friday Favorites in this new format, let me explain where I'm going with this. Previously, every week contained ten links, usually something to craft or sew, often a recipe or two, and occasionally something for purchase.  There was always a theme, like penguins or outdoor games.

Fridays will now be five links.  There will always be at least one thing to craft or sew, one recipe and one thing that can be purchased.  The other two will fit into those categories as well, depending on what I find that week.  For instance, this week is three sewing/crafts, one recipe and one item for sale.  There won't necessarily be a theme, but I'll try to make sure it makes sense to the season.

Most weeks the link for the item to purchase will be an affiliate link. I love providing free patterns and content here, but I need to find a way to make it more financially self-sustaining.  I considered selling patterns, but I'd rather continue to offer those to you for free and use the affiliate links and sponsored content to support the blog instead. I will earn a commission if you happen to click through and make a purchase and it will add nothing to the cost for you.  That said, I want you to know that my primary goal is to support handmade, and I will continue to do that with the same integrity I always have.  If I link here, it's to something I want or admire.  If you have any questions about that, please feel free to reach out to me via the comment section below, social media or email (craftystaci at gmail).

Ready?

This post contains affiliate links for Amazon and Etsy.

Make Winter 2017
Make Winter 2017

I've seen these hats with a hole in the top for a ponytail all over the place lately. It's a smart idea, and I could use one myself. As you might imagine, there are patterns everywhere, but the reason I chose to feature this one by Mango Tree Crafts is that she offers it in three different sizes and there's an option to add a cute flower. You crochetists get all the good stuff.

Messy Bun Hat Pattern from Mango Tree Crafts
Messy Bun Hat Pattern from Mango Tree Crafts

I've been tempted to try making myself a pair of shoes ever since I saw the soles you could buy by Dritz (Amazon Affiliate link). I've been eyeing the ones with a higher heel, but I love what Dritz did with the espadrille sole on their blog.  Who knew you could make boots? The free pattern is available for sizes 5 through 10.

I like a good sweater, but I get tired of wearing them day after day. I'm too cold to consider anything less, but I think I could work one or two of these sweatshirts from Sewing Rabbit into my wardrobe. I love that she gave the neck a little creative detail, and it looks pretty easy to make.

Cowl Neck Sweatshirt Pattern from The Sewing Rabbit
Cowl Neck Sweatshirt Pattern from The Sewing Rabbit
Cook Winter 2017
Cook Winter 2017

January in my house means we're trying to improve our eating habits after the holiday calorie train goes back to the station. That, combined with the fact that soup is the perfect winter food, means this turkey chili from Ambitious Kitchen just made my must-make list.

Healthy Turkey Chili from Ambitious Kitchen
Healthy Turkey Chili from Ambitious Kitchen
Buy Winter 2017
Buy Winter 2017

My daughter bought a scarf from storiarts when they were selling at a local craft show a couple of years ago. The print quality is really nice. I love the black detail on these Sherlock Holmes Writing Gloves they're selling on Etsy, and who needs writing gloves more than me and my extremely cold hands? My daughter would say that she does.

Sherlock Holmes Writing Gloves from storiarts on Etsy
Sherlock Holmes Writing Gloves from storiarts on Etsy

You can find these, and my previous Friday Favorites, on my Crafty Staci's Friday Favorites Pinterest board!

Friday Favorites–Top Ten and Time for a Change

In October of 2010, I decided to start a series on my shiny, new blog.  Every Friday I would share links to things I'd found that week that I thought you might enjoy.  This being a craft blog, they would generally be crafts, sewing or recipes you could make, occasionally throwing in something you could buy but that still landed firmly in the crafty world.  I always had a theme, and these were the days before Pinterest, so finding projects was challenging, but fun. Since then, I've written 312 Friday Favorites posts.  I usually keep it to ten links each, so that means I've featured about 3120 links in the last 6+ years.  Looking at those numbers floors me.  Who knew I had that kind of attention span?

I know this sounds like a death rattle at this point, but I'm not getting rid of Friday Favorites.  I like talking about what other people are doing and ending the week with a round up, and that will continue – it will just be in a different format.  I'm ready for a change.  Tune in next Friday to see what that's going to look like.

To put this version of Friday Favorites to bed, I thought I'd share the ten most popular I've curated.  Some of these go WAY back, and some have dead links in them, but most of the projects are still accessible.  A couple of my personal favorites turned up in here too.  Let's take a look.

#1 Fat Quarter Projects

This is one of those personal favorites I mentioned, and it landed in first place.  Small, simple fabric projects are where my crafty heart lies, and these fit that bill.

Friday Favorites - Fat Quarter Projects
Friday Favorites - Fat Quarter Projects

#2 T-Shirt Refashion and Recycling

T-shirt related projects had their moment in the spotlight a few years ago.  The one shown below is one of those dead links, but the nice thing about these is that with even a little sewing and craft experience, they're pretty easy to figure out.

Friday Favorites - T-Shirt Refashion and Recycling
Friday Favorites - T-Shirt Refashion and Recycling

#3 DIY Gifts for Guys

Just about everyone has a guy somewhere in her life – husband, son, brother, dad, friend, cousin, etc.  The need for creative ideas for those men is why I'm never surprised when this one turns up again on Pinterest.

Friday Favorites - DIY Gifts for Guys
Friday Favorites - DIY Gifts for Guys

#4 For the Car

Fun fact:  the car seat organizer tutorial shown below is the most clicked in all of those 3120 links I've shared.  The website isn't updated anymore, and is barely functional, so if this is something you're interested in I recommend saving it somewhere.

Friday Favorites - For the Car
Friday Favorites - For the Car

#5 Shark Week

I don't even know if the Discovery Channel still does Shark Week every year, but that was what sparked this collection.

Friday Favorites - Shark Week
Friday Favorites - Shark Week

#6 Pinterest Finds

I wrote this one when I was pretty new to Pinterest, back when someone had to invite you to join.  It's almost not even the same place anymore, although I still find myself coming back every time I say I'm done with it.  It feeds my need to collect.

Friday Favorites - Pinterest Finds
Friday Favorites - Pinterest Finds
Open-mouthed smile
Open-mouthed smile

Christmas treats are evergreen.  Except maybe those melting snowman cookies.  They had their moment in the sun.

Friday Favorites - Christmas Treats
Friday Favorites - Christmas Treats

#8 Halloween Costumes

These were always one of my favorites to research.  There are so many cute costumes out there, and no shortage of adorable little bits like this one to wear them.

Friday Favorites - Halloween Costumes
Friday Favorites - Halloween Costumes

#9 Valentine's Day

This one seems particularly timely, with Valentine's Day coming up on the calendar.

Friday Favorites - Valentine's Day
Friday Favorites - Valentine's Day

#10 Snowflakes

I currently have snow in my front yard, so I was kind of happy to see this one on the list.

Friday Favorites - Snowflakes
Friday Favorites - Snowflakes

I love curating my Friday Favorites each week, and I want to make sure that the talented people who have created these projects are fully acknowledged for their work.  Before you pin or share, please click through the link or photo to the originating website.  You can also find all the projects each week on my Friday Favorites Pinterest board.  Thank you!

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