Book Review – Stitch the Halls

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I received a copy of Stitch the Halls! by Sophie Simpson of What Delilah Did and it’s lovely!

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I have had Sophie’s first book, Storyland Cross Stitch: 15 Projects and a Free Gift for Your Stitching Pleasure, on my wish list since it came out but I haven’t gotten it yet. After seeing Stitch the Halls, I might pull the trigger and finally get my copy!

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There are 12 holiday projects in Stitch the Halls and there is a great mix of more classic projects and more modern ones. The patterns are really well designed and so many of them can be used outside of Christmas as well.

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I stitched up the polar bear from the book using water soluble canvas and I love how it turned out! I’m not using it for the bunting project from the book, you’ll see what this turns into later.

All of the projects give an estimated completion time which I found extremely helpful. I have a terrible habit of underestimating how long things will take, but in the case of the polar bear I found her estimate to be pretty close! There are patterns that take as little as 10 minutes to stitch, so you don’t need a ton of time to make some unique Christmas decorations!

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Stitch the Halls is a really great collection of Christmas projects and the book is beautifully designed. Even if you’ve never stitched before, Sophie has a wonderful set of basic instructions and a clearly illustrated stitch directory so don’t shy away if you’re a beginner!

Stitch the Halls!: 12 Decorations to Make for Christmas is published by Pavilion Books.

Please note: I received a copy of this book from Pavilion Books for review purposes and this post contains affiliate links.

Circular Weaving with Baker’s Twine

Circular Weaving with Baker's Twine from Hugs are Fun
I have been wanting to try weaving for a really long time, I have a couple weaving looms that my mother-in-law lent me but I haven’t gotten around to figuring out how to use them. They are ridged heddle looms and I’m intimidated by them. Instead I decided to try out circular weaving which was really simple once I figured out some kinks.
Circular Weaving with Baker's Twine from Hugs are Fun
Pam from Gingerbread and Snowflakes had a post I had previously pinned, but unfortunately her site is currently down. But through the power of Instagram, she helped talk me through troubleshooting how to do the weaving.

I came across some tutorials online where they wrapped one long continuous thread to make the initial weaving spokes. I couldn’t get this to work out, so I wanted tie each one individually. The one thing about circular weaving though, you need an odd number of threads, so you will need to push two of them together to achieve this.
Circular Weaving with Baker's Twine from Hugs are Fun
Getting started was the trickiest part. I probably shouldn’t have used an off-white twine, it’s very obvious in the center. I think next time I will use a color that matches better. All you have to do is just take your needle and weave it over and under the threads, alternating every time.
Circular Weaving with Baker's Twine from Hugs are Fun
I used a 5″ embroidery hoop and it worked up very quickly, especially when I combined multiple colors. When I wanted to move onto another color I knotted the next piece of twine to the existing piece. Sometimes I would use two or even three strands. This added a really neat dimension of color to the weaving.
Circular Weaving with Baker's Twine from Hugs are Fun
I do wish I had managed to get my spokes centered before I began, then I could have worked more closely to the edge. All in all though, I really love how this turned out! It was a really fun and relaxing project and has made me excited about tackling the big looms.

2014 Crafty Christmas Tutorial Link-Up

The 2014 Crafty Christmas Tutorial Link-Up C
On Wednesday 24 bloggers, organized by Laura from Bugs and Fishes, shared an amazing variety of Christmas craft projects.

The 2014 Crafty Christmas Tutorial Link-Up A

I love seeing all the different projects everyone came up with, they are all so varied and so incredible! If you’re looking for some Christmas decoration or gift wrap ideas, take a look at all these great tutorials!

The 2014 Crafty Christmas Tutorial Link-Up B

Christmas Card String & Pegs – Fizzi Jayne Makes

Felt Christmas Stocking – Vicky Myers Creations

Felt Holiday Wreath – The Felt Store

Penguin Pocket Friend or Ornament – Lulu & Celeste

Saint Nick Ornaments – Homemade at My Place

Retro Photo Christmas Cards – Bugs and Fishes

Modern Felt Advent Calendar – Hugs are Fun

Felt Christmas Ornaments – Marc’s Treasure Basket

Mini Teddy Bed – Grace’s Favours

Shiny Reindeer Embroidered Hoop Art – Candyfloss Ramparts

Teeny Tiny Snowman Pendant – i ManuFatti

Nativity Bunting Tutorial – Hoogally

Floating Pompom Garland – RetroDelicious

Printable Colouring-In Snowflake Labels – It’s Organised

Blackwork Pleated Heart – Carina’s Craftblog

Patchwork Christmas Bauble – Made by Mrs M

Upcycled Jumper Christmas Stocking with Robin Appliqu̩ РHalcyon Threads

Felt Christmas Mouse Ornament – Molly & Mama

First Flake, Snowflake Ornament – Betz White

Gingerbread House Ornament – Shiny Happy World

Mod Winter Table Runner – Tumus / Little Red Thread

Shabby Christmas Denim Heart – Cocojude

Fairy Lights Christmas Cake – Cupcakery

Washi Tape & Button Christmas Card – The Lilac Linnet

Have you started any Christmas crafting? If you want even more ideas, check out last year’s Crafty Christmas link-up tutorials!

StitchyBox – A Cross Stitch Subscription Box!

Subscription boxes have really taken off, there are boxes for everything now! And there’s a new subscription box starting in January and I am extremely excited about it!

StitchyBox - A Cross Stitch Subscription Box!

Abby from While She Naps pointed me in the direction of StitchyBox, a cross stitch subscription box. I was immediately intrigued, and when I found out that Liz from Dragonflylotus Designs Handspun Thread was behind it, I was even more excited.

Liz isn’t new to the monthly club scene, she currently has a thread of the month club available. But StitchyBox is so much more. The website boasts the boxes containing thread, fabric, and other embellishments and stitching accessories.

There are two levels, the Big Picture Box contains larger count fabrics, 14ct-16ct Aida and 28-32ct linen or evenweave. The Detail-Oriented Box contains smaller count fabrics, 32-36ct linen and 40ct evenweave.

If you’re interested in signing up, anyone who subscribes to a 3 or 6 box subscription during the month of November will get a free mini box in December! This would make an awesome Christmas gift!

Also, once the StitchyBox Facebook page gets 500 likes, there will be a giveaway! So go like the page and get updates about this!

I’m not getting compensated for this post at all, I really wish Liz the best of luck with this. I am going to be following closely because I want this to be a huge success!

Modern Felt Advent Calendar Tutorial

Modern Felt Advent Calendar Tutorial from Hugs are Fun

Growing up we had a fabric advent calendar with a little Christmas tree that you moved into each pocket to count the days until Christmas. I remember being so excited about moving it closer to Christmas and rushing to be the one that got to move the tree. I have been wanting to make my own for years but it’s so hard to find time to make Christmas decorations in November and December, and I just don’t have the motivation to make them any other time of the year. So when Laura from Bugs and Fishes announced that she was doing another Crafty Christmas Tutorial Link Up this year, I knew it was the perfect chance to finally make one!

I wanted to add some non traditional Christmas colors into the mix to give it a more modern feel, but I choose any color configuration you would like! I think it would be great with just red and green too! I made sure to use a good quality wool felt because I wanted to make sure it would last longer than a cheaper acrylic felt.

Modern Felt Advent Calendar Tutorial from Hugs are Fun

You’ll need:
25 3″ squares of wool felt in whatever colors you choose – I ordered the 5 9×12 sheets from Benzie Felt and I have a ton left over. I used the colors Julep, Ochre, Carmine, Flamingo, Emerald.
Wool felt about 20″x26″
1/8 yard white wool felt for scallops, numbers, and tabs.
Coordinating colors of embroidery floss
Fabric glue
Ruler
Water soluble marker
Dowel rod
Bakers twine or other string for hanging
Templates – download here

Modern Felt Advent Calendar Tutorial from Hugs are Fun
First get together all your pieces. I cut the felt into 3″ squares using a rotary cutter and quilting ruler. Download the template with the numbers and cut them out. You will need to cut out thirteen #1, nine #2, three #3, 4, and 5, and two #6, 7, 8, 9, and 0.

Modern Felt Advent Calendar Tutorial from Hugs are Fun
I attached all of the numbers to the squares using a very small amount of fabric glue. Don’t use too much or it will ooze out of the edges, but use enough that it will stay in place. Whip stitch around the edges of the numbers using two strands of white embroidery floss.
Modern Felt Advent Calendar Tutorial from Hugs are Fun

Modern Felt Advent Calendar Tutorial from Hugs are Fun
I found it easiest to start at the bottom and work my way up while placing the squares. There is a 1″ margin on each side of the calendar, and 1/2″ in between the squares. Starting 4″ from the bottom, start laying out your squares.

Modern Felt Advent Calendar Tutorial from Hugs are Fun
I found it easiest to get the first square placed and then use a water soluble marker to mark 1/2″ to the right. I kept a ruler in positioned underneath to ensure everything was lined up straight.
Modern Felt Advent Calendar Tutorial from Hugs are Fun
I worked slowly attached each square as I went with a small line of fabric glue around the sides and bottom. (make sure you don’t glue the top or it won’t be a pocket!)
Modern Felt Advent Calendar Tutorial from Hugs are Fun
Using the coordinating thread colors, attach the pockets with a running stitch around the edges.

Modern Felt Advent Calendar Tutorial from Hugs are Fun
Use the template and cut out the scallops. You will need to tape pieces together to make the width long enough. Instead of attempting to line up the felt edges, I found it easier to leave extra grey fabric on the background and then trim it once the white felt was attached. Use the fabric glue around the edge of the scallop and do a running stitch around the edge.

Modern Felt Advent Calendar Tutorial from Hugs are Fun
Cut 2″x3″ strips of white felt for the top tabs. I folded the strip in half and pinned them to the back of the calendar, about 1/2″ from the edge. Make sure you attach them all evenly so that the dowel hangs straight. I didn’t glue the tabs down, I just used a running stitch to sew all the pieces together.
Modern Felt Advent Calendar Tutorial from Hugs are Fun
I attached the two on the far right and left, then found the center point and attached one there. For the final two, I found the middle point between the tabs and attached it there. It ended up being about 2″ in between each one.

Modern Felt Advent Calendar Tutorial from Hugs are Fun
Cut the dowel down to 22″ and mark a line 1/2″ from each edge. Create a groove on the 1/2″ mark either using pliers or a saw, just make sure you don’t cut all the way through.
Modern Felt Advent Calendar Tutorial from Hugs are Fun
You only need to cut a tiny fraction of an inch for the string to fit into so it doesn’t slide around. I used a piece of bakers twine that was about 32″ but you can go longer or shorter depending on how you want it to hang on the wall.

Give it a good ironing, and there you go! You could put candy or ornaments in the pockets that you would take out each day or you can make something to move each day. Evie is already very, very excited to use the calendar and keeps asking if it’s Christmas yet.

Download the PDF template for the numbers and scallop design

Check out the free patterns to download here, and patterns to purchase here at my Etsy.

Check out all the other patterns in the crafty tutorial link up here!

Internet Friend Birthday Gifts!

Internet Friend Birthday Gifts! from Hugs are Fun
Internet Friend Birthday Gifts! from Hugs are Fun

I really love the internet, one reason is because I have met some amazing people online.

Internet Friend Birthday Gifts! from Hugs are Fun
Jess from CraftingGeek sent me a birthday gift, she made me this awesome Yoshi cross stitch using water soluble canvas. She also sent me some fabric scraps for my hexagon quilt and some DMC color infusions threads. Seriously, how awesome is that?

Well Jess’s birthday was shortly after mine and I just sent her a very, very late birthday gift. I think I found Jess on Instagram because of her progress on the Legend of Zelda Dark World map cross stitch, and it only seemed fitting to send her a Zelda gift.
Internet Friend Birthday Gifts! from Hugs are Fun
The needleminder was a design that Ryan from 52Lasers and Abecediary had made. He cut one out that was big enough to attach a magnet to and now it’s a fancy Triforce needleminder.

Internet Friend Birthday Gifts! from Hugs are Fun
Then I designed a cross stitch Triforce pendant that Ryan also cut for me out of white acrylic. I used a metallic gold Kreinik braid on it so it would be extra shiny.

The Triforce needleminder isn’t in the shop, but there is a great selection of others available from Beadeux.