The Forgotten Seamstress’ Quilt!

Blogged under Good Books,Sew Simple by Tammy on Tuesday 29 April 2014 at 4:13 pm

My review copy probably isn’t even in the mail yet, but I wanted to share this with my readers now. I’m talking about a new book coming out call The Forgotten Seamstress by Liz Trenow, which according to the press release I was sent “unravels the intertwined stories of a modern-day London designer struggling to make ends meet, and a remarkable young seamstress employed by the royal household in the early 20th century who creates a patchwork quilt that is central to her life and the novel’s plot.”

When I went over to Amazon to pick up some links, I noticed that right now you can download the first 4 chapters for free! Just follow this link: The Forgotten Seamstress Free Preview (The First 4 Chapters).

And wait! There is more! You can also go to the author’s web site and download a free quilt pattern. The pattern is supposed to be based on the quilt that is featured in the novel. Cool!

So these are both reasons why I did not want to wait to give some 411 on this book. With my summer breaking coming up soon, I look forward to finding some time for some relaxing reading, and this looks promising.

Beads and More Beads

Blogged under Around the Web by Tammy on Monday 28 April 2014 at 2:57 pm

Art Bead Scene
Visit Mary Harding in her studio and be in with the chance to win one of her handmade copper clasps.

Mother’s Day Craft Tutorials
Mother’s Day is coming up May 11th. Now’s the time to start thinking about what you’ll create for Mom or Grandma to show her your love.

Resin Crafts Blog
Today’s post features a classic one pour resin project!

Carmi’s Art/Life World
I imagine that miniature vials will always appeal to those of us who like unique and unusual beads. This week I featured them in a necklace.

A Bead A Day
Love using jewelry making components in interesting ways? Lisa does too and is sharing a simple, but fun bracelet made on the beach!

Snap out of it, Jean! There’s beading to be done!
Come and see the lovely online book which Rita Toltec made of the recent Blog Hop she hosted which included fifty designers: THE COLOR OF DREAMS ! It is such a beautiful book! So dreamy!

Mixed Media Artist
Do you enjoy painting your own fabrics for your projects? Cyndi has compiled all of her fabric painting tutorials into one place for you!

Painted Glass Beaded Mushrooms
Cherie makes some glass mushrooms for the garden.

Beading Arts
Beads? Free beads? Who doesn’t like a good bead giveaway? Cyndi’s got one going on!

What Is My Next Craftsy Class?

Blogged under crochet and knitting by Tammy on Sunday 27 April 2014 at 12:34 pm

Summer vacation is on my horizon, and of course, I have started my “to do” list already. During any of my long breaks from school, I always try to get through one of the classes in my queue. I have signed up for 17 classes, many of which are free, and of these, I have completed 5 (Beyond Rectangles; Wirework Findings; Spindling; Amigurumi: Woodland Animals; and Know Your Wool). I have pulled a few up and looked through them some, but I do much better with these types of classes if I can start at the beginning and work my way through without large time gaps. My brain just is too linear, and if I skip around or stop and start and try to start again, I just can’t remember what I was doing.

Now some of these classes, like how to make a pizza, I admittedly signed up for because it was free. I really don’t care if I make it through that class or not. However, there are three classes on my list I’d really like to complete at some point in time:

  • Joining Crochet Motifs
  • Knit Lab
  • Amigurumi: Design Your Own Monster

Yes, just 3, but which one should I attempt to complete during my summer break? The joining motifs class looks interesting. I really need to learn better ways to do this. I can’t stand it when I join pieces for an afghan (for example) and end up with thick seems. Then there is knit lab. I know I need to move beyond making scarves using just knit stitch, but am I up for really learning how to knit this summer? I am still afraid of knitting! Finally, I’m a total amigurumi addict, but I have a long list of patterns I want to get through this summer. Will this plus the class be amigurumi overkill?

Justifying Yarn Costs

Blogged under crochet and knitting by Tammy on Thursday 24 April 2014 at 4:16 pm

Making the leap from Red Heart Super Saver yarn to fancy-yarn from a “real” yarn shop is not an easy step for most yarn crafters. You feel like you have to justify the expense. I recently showed off this shawl to a small group of novice yarn crafters. I made it with a skein of  Heritage “Silk Paints” 85% Merion/15% silk that I picked up at a not-so-local yarn store, and I have been working on it off and on for many months. It is a very simple net and fan pattern, light-weight, and perfect for Florida weather. The pattern comes from Totally Simple Crochet: Over 30 Easy Projects for the Home and to Wear, which I adapted a little. The yarn cost about $10 for the skein, and I used just about every single inch of it for this shawl.

When queried about the yarn, I received a few “wow!” comments, as if I had really broken the bank on my fancy yarn purchase. Of course, newbies are afraid to work with good materials at first, and it is difficult for them to see the benefits of quality over quantity. But, here’s my deal with all of that: Not only did I end up with a very nice finished piece that I will wear and enjoy, but I had many hours of pleasure making it, which I think is very much worth $10. If I had gone to a movie, I would have spent at least that if not more, and my enjoyment would have lasted maybe 2 hours at the most.

I would never suggest anyone buy yarn she could not afford, but at the same time, I think it is worth thinking about the activities that you do spend your money on and compare. If you spend 10 hours on a project with yarn that cost you $10, then it is really just costing $1 an hour. To me, it completely justifies the expense.

Pearls, Clay, Eggs, and Bracelets

Blogged under Around the Web by Tammy on Sunday 20 April 2014 at 9:12 am

Resin Crafts Blog
With Jewelry Clay as a new medium in my jewelry zone I have found that I can create so many new wearable pieces.

A Bead A Day
New ideas for summer jewelry are circulating over on a bead a day blog. Lisa’s thinking about summertime pearls and ankle-bracelets as necklaces!

Snap Out of it, Jean! There’s beading to be done!

Jean reposts a review of Jamie Cloud Eakins most recent Bead Embroidery book, and exceptional work!

From Dollar Store Plastic to Elegant Easter Eggs

By the time you’re done, no one would ever know these elegant Easter eggs are made from cheap plastic eggs!

Spring Postcard Art
Cherie makes a postcard for June’s spring challenge.

Mixed Media Artist
You can never have too many image transfer methods in your bag of tricks. Cyndi has gathered up all her tutorials for you!

Beading Arts

Quick and easy little crocheted bead bracelets have been around for a long time…but how long has it been since you’ve made one?

Another Myster Yarn Sale from Crochet Dude

Blogged under Around the Web,Crafty Products by Tammy on Sunday 20 April 2014 at 9:04 am

A while back, the Crochet Dude had his first of what he calls a Mystery Yarn sale. It was on his Decades line of yarn in the Iconic, aka worsted weight. I scored 3 wonderful skeins in the “Fer Sure” colorway. He has another mystery sale going on now. This time it is for his Inappropriate, aka sport weight, yarn, $8 a skein, which normally retail for $18 a skein.

What’s the mystery? You won’t know what colorway you receive until you open your package. You can specify if you want all your hanks the same color if you order more than one (which is what I did) or you want to be super daring and just see what happens if you don’t get them all the same color. I don’t think you can go wrong with any of his colorways, and this can be a good way to add some quality yarn to your stash at a great price.

Good-Bye Crochet Today! Hello Mollie Makes, Maybe?

Blogged under crochet and knitting by Tammy on Saturday 19 April 2014 at 5:09 pm

I don’t have a lot of free time to read for pleasure, and there are just so many craft magazines out these days that I have cut way back on my subscriptions over the last few years. Besides the lack of time to read, I felt that I had to be more careful about how much I was spending on magazines too. I now subscribe to just 3 magazines: Stringing, Bead Style, and Crochet Today. Or I guess I should say that I “did” subscribe, as in past tense, to Crochet Today because it’s no longer being published per the letter I received today, which was stuck inside a plastic bag with a copy of Mollie Makes.

Admittedly, I have never been overly “wowed” by Crochet Today, but I usually could find one or two projects in there that I might make, and there were sometimes a few articles that were semi-interesting. Plus, for $10, it was a great price, and it did not have tons of reading for me to do (and feel guilty about not doing). Most other crochet magazines (I won’t name names) are either too “grandma-ish” or too advanced. So I will really miss this little magazine.

I’m flipping through my copy of Mollie Makes this afternoon. I believe I’ve seen this mentioned before online, but it is a British magazine and was not available (until I guess now) in the US. It’s cute, lots of color, and there are some crochet projects in here. In fact, there is an afghan pattern that I really like. I am not sure exactly what I think, and it looks like I will have a few more issues coming since this is now replacing my previous subscription to Crochet Today. Will I cough up $24.99 for a subscription later? I’m not sure.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on Mollie Makes. Does it speak to you? Is it a little “too” retro?

Beading and Crafting Around the Web

Blogged under Around the Web by Tammy on Sunday 13 April 2014 at 4:30 pm

A Bead A Day
Spring has finally arrived which means time for new jewelry! Lisa shares her beach inspired necklace. What are YOU making?

Resin Crafts Blog
It is wonderful to know that you can embellish any blank surface with some Jewelry Clay. This shawl pin needed a little bit of bling.

Carmi’s Art/Life World
I am very excited to share my recently published necklace project in Perles et Cetera magazine!

Art Bead Scene
Take a peek at Mary’s etsy picks, inspired by this month’s challenge piece from Degas.

Snap out of it, Jean! There’s beading to be done!

Jean reviews PATINA by the wonderful author Matthew Runfola! What a book!

Spring and Easter Craft Projects for You Crafty Peeps
Find directions for everything from unique Easter eggs to holiday table décor and jewelry at The Artful Crafter.

Mixed Media Artist
Cyndi puts the finishing touches, including beads, on a small slashed and woven quilt.

Beading Arts
Cyndi shares a tutorial for a pair of chain and pearl earrings that have now become her favorites!

Blue Glass Sculpture With Glass Beads

Cherie makes a glass sculpture with dollar store beads, bud vases, and blue charger plates.

Cute Crochet World Book Review

Blogged under crochet and knitting,Good Books by Tammy on Saturday 12 April 2014 at 2:53 pm

Cute Crochet World: A Little Dictionary of Crochet Critters, Folks, Food & More by Suzann Thompson is published Lark and has a copyright date of May 2014. It retails for $17.95 (though, of course, you can get a discounted copy from The book concentrates on making motifs and embellishment items, so the majority of the projects are two dimensional. They are made with the idea that you can then take them and add them to items like clothing and blankets or you can turn them into ornaments or jewelry items. There is a section in the book where the author gives lots of ideas for using the finished projects.

While I tend to prefer three dimensional projects, I have to say that I was impressed with the large number of projects in this book, over 50, as well as the variety. I’ve seen books like this before that are filled with one or two types of projects, like leaves and flowers, and that’s it. However, she has everything from cupcakes to mushrooms to televisions in here.

Most of the projects are small and not overly complicated, which means they are good short-term projects to attempt. Plus, another huge “pro” for these types of projects is the amount of yarn needed is minimal. In fact, if you are looking to bust out some stash or want to use up all those scraps you’ve been keeping because they were just too large to throw away, this is a good place to look for project ideas. For example, you could make some cute cupcakes using lots of different yarn colors and sew them (which is explained in the book) onto a pre-made baby blanket, and voila! You have a very fast baby shower gift that has a little hand-made quality to it.

i would feel comfortable recommending this book to anyone who already enjoys making embellishments, and I would even go so far to suggest beginners will enjoy this as well since none of the projects require a huge commitment as far as time.

Never Been Stitched Book Review

Blogged under Good Books,Sew Simple by Tammy on Thursday 10 April 2014 at 5:21 pm

Never Been Stitched: 45 No-Sew & Low-Sew Projects by Amanda Carestio is published by Lark and came out in February of 2014. Its publisher’s retail price if $17.95, and it is a 128 page paperback book that includes full-color photographs of the finished projects, some drawn illustrations to assist the how-to text, and templates in the back section of the book.

The subtitle says it has no-sew as well as low-sew projects, so this suggests very little sewing skill is needed to complete the projects in the book. Generally, I think that is true for most of the projects. If they do require sewing, you will be doing a lot of straight seeming. One project that I just can’t see as being “low sew” with the idea that the sewer would not have a very high skill level is the Teddy Bear Backpack. It’s adorable, but it requires a zipper to be sewn in, something a novice (I think) would find challenging. Otherwise, most of of the projects are very simple.

The projects are divided up into Wear, Decorate, Play, Carry, and Give. I would have to say the wearable projects were not to my personal taste, but if you are into refurbishing and pushing fashion boundaries, they may appeal to you. I think the Play and Carry projects have more going on to my liking. Though, in the Decorate section there is a cute project where you cover cardboard boxes with fabric, great idea! In fact, probably a lot of these project will get you thinking of other possibilities.

The list price is a lot more than the price available at Amazon, which at this point is running around $10 and even less for used copies. With that in mind, I would recommend this to anyone who likes working with fabric but whose sewing skills may not be that high and also to anyone who likes crafting with children. There are plenty of project in here they you could do together with a child around eight years of age and up.

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