Monday, June 7, 2010

Gift Bags and Gardening

Gift bags. Some of them are absolutely gorgeous. You can re-use them for gift-giving or even as a temporary tote, but what do you do if the bag is especially beautiful and you want to keep it? And has your name on it … literally has your name on it? You HAVE to keep it if it has your name on it! But what do you do with it?

You cover a gardening book.

Recently I received a beautiful gift bag full of wonderful gifts. I REALLY love this bag and wanted to keep it – more than just keep it, I wanted to make it a part of daily life. So I decided to upcycle it, using the design as a pretty cover on a plain composition notebook --- a full size notebook, not the teensy books I use as freebies.

DH and I are in the middle of landscaping projects and I wanted a gardening book for recording info – name of the plant, when and where we planted as well as pictures. Basically it’s a record of our gardening efforts. This wonderful gift bag was perfect for the cover.

Here’s the front.

Here’s the back.

I chose the placement of the design, cut it out a little larger than I needed, glued it to the front and back and trimmed to fit. I left the original black binding on the spine and I think it looks great.

I’m loving my new gardening book. Thanks Kirsten & Erika. Getting this bag was like getting an extra gift!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Adventures in Miniature Tablecloths

For awhile now I’ve been thinking of adding tablecloths to my Etsy miniature shop. I’ve tried a few embroidery designs to determine which will look most realistic in a miniature setting. And I’ve tried patterns on different media (tulle, organza and water soluble stabilizer) to see which is best. This is a lacy design on organza – I used water soluble stabilizer while embroidering. Then I trimmed the fabric close to the stitching, overcast the edges and washed out the stabilizer. It’s .... okay ……. . but not exactly what I was hoping for. And of course the size and shape of the design will have to be altered for it to be a tablecloth.

A while back I bought the smallest crochet hook I’ve ever seen and I set it aside to try out during some downtime. We-e-e-ll, over the weekend I must have wrenched my back just a leeettle bit (DOH!) because it was making itself known this morning. So I decided this was the perfect time to give my new crochet hook a try. I pulled out the hook, a spool of cotton thread and a pattern I've been saving.

The hardest part of crocheting with a hook this small is to get the pattern started. “Chain 10 stitches and join with a slip stitch.”

Right! What the heck do I hold onto?
Thankfully I have fingernails right now (you never know when I'm gonna break them during one of my projects) because I wouldn’t be able to grasp this work without them.

After I got started, it wasn’t as difficult to hold onto. By the time I was nearing the end of row 4, I was thinking, “Okay! This is going pretty well! I'll just finish this row and then get another cup of coffee.”

About that time the phone rang and I jumped up to get it, holding the teeny crochet project in my hand. But I got my foot caught on the hanging thread and as I moved to the phone I could feel something going BDDDDTT. I looked down and realized what I had done.

DURN!! Now I’m back at the beginning of row 4!

In spite of the hiccup in production, I’m pretty pleased with how it’s going.

And look how small the hook is! You can hardly see the little bump-out that comprises the hook.

Gotta get back to it. I think this is may take awhile.