Thursday, February 20, 2014

Thrift Store Find: Needlepoint Art

This past week I found this stunning needlepoint at the thrift store. I love this piece because the roses just seem to pop, and I feel like smelling them. I was also drawn to this piece because of the stunning blue vase. I love this colour blue and I am thinking of using the same colour in an upcoming upholstery project.

I do not think that it is a secret that I absolutely love, love, love embroidery and other needlework pieces. I collect vintage pieces, but I am also happy to see new works popping up each day and becoming popular again. If you will like to try your hand at some needlework, you can try making a piece with patterns from designers such as Anna Maria Horner and Heather Bailey. There are also lots of patterns to choose from on sites such as Etsy. You can also try my free embroidery pattern.

I want to take this opportunity to answer a question that I have recently received, about how I choose my embroidery or needlework pieces.

When I come across a piece at the thrift store or antique market, there are a few things that I consider before purchasing:
  • Do I love it? - If I see a piece and instantly fall in-love, then chances are it is coming home. I must love the design.
  • Consistency of the stitches - Sometimes you come across a piece that was perhaps done by someone who was new to needlework and you can see some of the errors they made. The most common error I have observed is where the stitching is not uniform or consistent.
  • Wear and tear - Broken stitches and faded areas are two significant reasons I may not buy a piece. Yellowing of the fabric or stains are also things I look out for.
  • Condition of the frame - If it is a framed piece, then I look at the condition of the frame to decide if this is a piece that I will have to re-frame. If it is a frame with an unusual shape or size, then I consider how difficult it would be to re-frame the piece or to use the work in a different way.
  • Usability - Do I have a place for it or can I learn from the pattern? Buying a piece just for the sake of collecting is not generally something I do (although, my husband may disagree). So it is important to me to have a home for it. Having said this, I sometime purchase vintage pieces for the pattern with the hope of learning how to re-create a particular design.
There are so many way you can incorporate these little gems into your decor, and nothing says handmade like a beautiful piece of needlework! I hope this post is helpful the next time you go shopping for embroidery or needlepoint art.

Do you have any tips that you will like to share?

Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentine's Felt Heart Candy Sachet

If you are looking for a quick, easy and very last minute Valentine's Day token, what about making this felt heart candy sachet. All you need is two small pieces of felt, 3mm ribbon, a tapestry needle, and candy. The project takes about twenty minutes to make and you will have a cute little gift.

Cut the felt in the shape of a heart, and using a tapestry needle start stitching from top centre around the edge of the heart at about ⅜ to ½ inch from the edge. Before making your last few stitches, fill the heart with your candy and close the opening with a few more stitches that meet at the centre top.

To finish off your candy sachet, tie the ribbon in a bow and trim the ends of the ribbon. I pulled my ribbon just a little to make small gathers at the top. A great alternative to felt may be a piece of red silk or other fabric. If you do not have any ribbon, you can also use yarn or tapestry thread as an alternative. The finished size depends on how much candy you have and how big you will like to make the sachet.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Organizing Yarn

In the past few weeks I have been doing a lot of organizing and developing my ideas for the Home Decorating Challenge. At the beginning of last year I did the Home Organization Challenge and the focus was on decluttering. This year I continue to focus on getting things better organized for my business and my family and I have been improving on how I do things and finding better solutions for organizing and displaying items in my home.

I work from home, and I have several areas of the house that I work from. This helps to keep things organized and allows me to create a separate work space for the different type of activities that I do in my business. This year two of the areas that are at the top of my list are my sewing and craft studios. My sewing studio is on the main floor of the house, just off of the kitchen and my craft studio is in the basement.

One of the things I started with was to reorganize my yarn stash. I have started to collect more yarn than I may have bargained for and it was getting a bit out of hand. I recently purchased a ton of plastic storage boxes ("shoe box" bins) from Walmart and they were just the things I needed to corral the excess yarn. I love these containers and I have used them before in other parts of my home. I love that you can see the contents, the lids are great and they are stackable.  I love labeling, but I can easily see the contents in this case and did not feel it was necessary. I passed on labeling them because I felt they looked cleaner and less busy by leaving them plain. Next time I will share with you what my new yarn cabinet looks like.

How do you organize your yarn?

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Thrift Store Find: Vintage Wooden Frog Toy

My youngest son is drawn to vintage toys and really enjoys playing with this cute wooden frog that we found at the thrift store. Most of the vintage toys we have are little cars and trucks that are family treasures. Some of them are from my father-in-law and some are from when my husband was a child. However, my little guy is totally fascinated by this little wooden frog and he wants to take it wherever he goes. He fell in-love with it the moment he saw it at the store and did not want to leave it behind. It was even his idea for me to take a picture of it (smile). It just goes to show that even an old toy can brighten a child's life.

Do you have an old toy that you or your children treasure?

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