Monday, February 27, 2017

Inspirational Monday - Challenge Yourself

I love self lifting quotes. They are a constant reminder of how special you are. Quotes are a boost of positive thoughts that will always get us through the day making you feel guided and lifted. 

So today's reminder is to challenge yourself. Step out from your comfort zone and explore new territories and paths...the artistic way. Don't we feel accomplished and good when we try something new? Doesn't feel awesome to know that we tried and later on to see that it worked or not for us? Whether the outcome isn't what you expected, what's important here is that we challenged ourselves to try something completely foreign to us to later change our minds to do better next time. 

I remember my first craft fair that I joined a couple of years ago. I always dreamt to be a part of a craft fair where a community of artists would share their biggest love which was handmade crafts. My dream came true after I finally took the courage to step out from my fears ( I'm a very shy person by the way!). I signed the craft fair agreement, together with a artist friend which we shared the same table at the fair, and later saw myself behind my tiny booth selling a mixture of handmade stuff a week later. I generated a little less than $20 SGD ( half of it being hair clips made by my sister-in-law!). I sold 1 small cupcake key chain and a bottled necklace to a friend of mine that came to show her support! No interaction with 'real customers' at all! Now overall, It was not a really good start... For people who are ambitious with the target to sell majority of their crafts, this would be a disaster! But for me, honestly, I had the best time of my life. I made new friends which made me feel super comfortable during my first craft fair, exchanged ideas with other great artisans, made my husband super proud of me and just overall, happiness! My dream finally came true and now I know what's It like to be in a craft fair.. I don't have to wonder how it feels like anymore. I came home that night with my head still over the moon... to find myself smiling when I went to bed.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Working with Felt - Blanket Stitch

Welcome to my first post from 'Working with Felt' series in which I will demonstrate you the basics stitches I use on my works. It's a topic that I always wanted to work on for quite some time but, somehow, It just never happened. I guess I just couldn't get my ideas gathered properly and got caught in a web of scrambled bullet points where I couldn't decide where to start first, hence the delay. I know It should have been done a long time ago...but I guess It's better late than never, right? :P
Also, I would like to emphasis that It's going to be a topic where a brand new embroidery stitch tutorial will be released every month.

To achieve a beautiful work, not only talking about felt related crafts but all hand sewn works from all sorts of medium, lots of patience and discipline is required. Customers love attention to details.. and who doesn't love receiving a beautiful handmade work? Handmade or even machine made stitches are the next focal point, after the design of the product, that customers notice so It's very important to pay attention on how you work your stitches. The smaller the stitches are by keeping them equally apart from each other will naturally result into a more delicate and charming work.

Today's embroidery basics is the Blanket Stitch. One of my favorite and most used stitch used on my works. Best used to decorate edges of a blanket, towels and table cloths but also used to sew two pieces of fabric together. Although I work with only 1 style of blanket stitch, there is, in fact, lots of unique styles and designs with plenty of tutorials available online to help you achieve it but let's focus on this particular style shown in this tutorial. Here, I'll cover four main steps that will get you started in creating a project using this stitch: 1. How to start the Blanket Stitch, 2. Stitching corners, 3. Changing threads and 4. How to Neatly Finish Your Work.

- 2 pieces of felt
- Embroidery thread
- Scissors

Note: I love using single strand on my works. But that's personal preference. I like how they make finished works look crisp and clean . During this tutorial, I used double strands for a contrast and to make it easier for you to see the results.

How to start the Blanket Stitch

Step 1.
Insert the needle from the inside of the 'front' felt. Pull.

Step 2.
Insert the needle through the same hole from behind. Pull until a small hoop is formed.

Step 3.
Insert the needle through the little hoop from the right side and pull.

Yay! You have made your first stitch!

Step 4.
To make the second stitch, insert the needle from the 'front' felt making sure there is a small distance between the first and the second stitch. Pull lightly until it forms a tiny hoop.

Step 5.
Go through the little hoop from the top and pull.

And your second stitch is done! Now just repeat step 4 and step 5 to create beautiful blanket stitch!

How to stitch corners using the Blanket Stitch

Step 1.
Corners are pretty easy to make too. It's three stitches meeting in the same hole or not necessarily. Its a matter of personal preference.

How to change threads
So what happens when your thread runs out and how to continue? Worry not! It's very easy too! There are other ways to do it but I've been using this technique for almost a decade and it works wonders for me. Try all different techniques to find out what works best for you :)

Step 1.
Once you are at the end of your thread, flip your work so that the 'back' is facing you. Slip needle underneath of four stitches.

Step 2.
Slightly pull your thread and cut.

Step 3.
Insert needle with new thread from the back and under the last stitch. 

Step 4.
Lightly pull and make sure the end knot or your thread is hidden inside between the two sheets of felt.

Step 5.
Continue your stitches as per normal. 

How to neatly finish your work

Step 1.
Once you have reach the end of your beautiful work, It's time to cut of your thread. It's pretty much the exact technique when you are changing threads. Just slip your thread underneath four or more stitch and cut :)

And you're done!

I'm a right handed person so I like starting stitches from right to left. If you're a lefty try flipping the images above... Might not be the ideal or right method but It will help you get started :) 

It will be a bit of a challenge at the beginning, specially when it comes with adjusting the distance between stitches. But once you dedicate time to practice this stitch you'll get into the flow in no time :) There are, in fact, tricks to achieve beautiful spaced stitches but I have never tried them. Take a look at this How to Get Perfect Blanket Stitch trick by Dream Crafter.

So remember, practice is the key for perfection!

Till the next 'Working with Felt'!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Colors to Inspire You Today and Everyday

My life here in my blog seem so bubbly and colorful and so full of things to do. And yes, sometimes that is true. But I would be lying If I said that my life is like this everyday. I do too have 'not-so-good' days in which I just want to be in bed the whole day, float around the house and do nothing at all! I have days where I feel such a failure...doubting everything what I have achieved till this day. I have inspiration blocks and it frustrates me. Nothing seems to have sense in anything I create.

But in days like these, I like to step back and just reflect only on the good things that I have accomplished and tell to myself  to go take a break from everything around me and to not be so harsh on myself. Blocks are normal and that everything will fine tune again...
So right now, besides of treating myself with a cup of tea and listening to relaxing spa music, I would like to inspire you with a little splash of color in hopes to reignite your desire to create. I am a big fan of everything colorful... and I try my best to include them always in my everyday life.. and you should too!

These are not my pictures. All images are taken from Pinterest and credits go to the rightful owner. But I thank you for such beautiful photos!
 I will just let everything flow and let go of all these negative emotions. I will take a bit of a break on my crafts and see what comes next :) Until then, wishing you a lovely week filled with colors, magic and sparkles.

"Life is about using the whole box of crayons" - Unknown

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Free Pattern of the Month - The Love Socks Brooch

"I found my match!" :p

Love is in the air! There is love everyday in this household. And I'm praying, more than ever, that love is in the air for the rest of the world...everyday. 
This months free pattern I introduce to you the "sockmates". A pair of lovable socks that found their way into each others side after a rough spin in the washing machine. On this Valentines, stitch up the other sock for your love mate and show them how happy you are to have found your match! ;)

Hope you enjoy this mini and super easy tutorial!

 Main felts for the socks
 Felt scraps for the cheeks and for the back of the brooch
 Embroidery floss 
 2 pcs of 2mm round b;ack beads for the eyes
 1 pc of 2.5cm brooch
 Water soluble pen
♡ Universal glue

Step 1.
Lay the 'cuff', 'heel' and 'toe' onto 1 piece of  'sock' cutout and applique stitch them all.

Step 2.
To determine the position of the eyes, lay the template onto the sock cutout making sure all corners are aligned. Next, take a thicker needle and poke through the eyes of the template. With a water soluble pen, draw 2 dots through the holes made previously.

Step 3.
Stitch on the round black beads on the dots drawn previously. Make tiny fly stitches for the nose and mouth then make tiny stitches for the eyelashes. 

Step 4.
Glue on the 'cheeks'

Step 5.
Make french knots using colorful embroidery threads. Use double strands for the french knots.

Step 6.
Take a light colored thread and applique stitch the 'cuff' but this time, make longer stitches.

Step 7.
Flip the remaining 'sock' cutout and place the brooch vertically, making sure that the brooch opening is facing downwards. for extra security and strength, stitch through the holes of the brooch. If yours doesn't have holes, skip this step.

Step 8.
Place a small scrap of felt over the base of the brooch and applique stitch the sides.

Step 9.
Combine both sock cutouts and blanket stitch them together :)

And you're done!

Make the other "sockmate" by flipping the pattern horizontally. My little sock measures approx. 8cm x 5.5cm but feel free to resize it to any size you want. If by any chance you make them bigger, turn them into a lovely sock garland by making other socks in different colors and patterns. How fun!

Hope you enjoyed this free little pattern and don't forget to spread the love...always...and everyday!

Friday, February 3, 2017

Kawaii Mermaid Sugar Cookie Pattern Charm

I finally decided to turn another forgotten sketch to life. I had this little drawing laying for ages in between the pages of my sketch book and I'm so happy how it finally looks like in felt. I was so tempted to create a mermaid but somehow I just couldn't get the finalize drawing right.. I suck big time on drawing arms and hands but I'm pretty pleased with the results ( Simple is often the key!)!
Also, I wanted to create something more challenging and different so this time, my little sugar cookies are now a little bit more realistic! That strip of felt to add the height of the cookie makes such difference! It's a bit challenging, as mentioned, as you need a good hand control on your stitches but once you get a hang of it, you can add this technique onto any of my other cookie patterns ( not to mention that It's pretty addicting too!).

To add that height in my sugar cookies, I used polyester quilt batting from Daiso. It comes in a 75 cm x 80 cm sheet for 15MOP (SGD $2) and It's super soft and light weight! I love using the batting, instead of using the regular polyfil, because of how it can keep the shape of the cookie. You can use polyfil as well, but it will be harder to control and maintain the shape. 

So are you ready to take up a little fun challenge? 
You can find the pattern here.

Well, I'll leave you guys for now and i'm off to my little magic corner and create more magical stuff for you all! Hope you enjoy making this tiny mermaid and I hope you'll love carrying her around with you <3