On Thursdays I pull from my years of archives, taking a look back and where I’ve come from. The Lord is good and I am beyond blessed for the journey that He has taken me on. Today’s throwback is in honor of my son who is about to turn 11 (yikes!). This was one of the best birthday parties we ever threw back in 2010. And probably the most amazing cupcakes ever.
Today I experienced one of the the most relaxing and easy birthday parties I have ever experienced. I have to back up to tell you the whole amazing deal. We have a bunch of crap going on in our life right now (I don’t say crap because it’s all bad, it just a lot at times) so when I realized that it was time to start planning for the Rooster’s birthday I got a little nervous. (I will back up again and tell you that we have started a family tradition of doing birthday “parties” only on odd years; basically this means that the Rooster gets a “party” this year and the chick gets a small family gathering. Then next year it will be her turn for a “party”) Realizing that we weren’t going to have it at our house, I started looking around town for other options and the other options were all very pricey. Then came the deal of all deals. Our local science museum (which is a bit of a dive I must say…but cool to a 7 year old!) has this awesome deal where you pay $50 to become a member of the Association of Science Museuems (aka: reciprocal admission to cooler science museums all over the US) AND you get a free birthday party (including a planetarium show). Needless to say, we jumped at it and it was a rousing success!
The theme was Star Wars and while I did do a bunch of custom made “crafting” sort of things; I spread them out over the last month or so and honestly never felt overwhelmed once.
First I did the party favors. I hate party favors. Little bags full of crap that I end up tossing behind my kids backs because I don’t want to find it in the far reaches of their closets 15 years from now. So I decided to do t-shirts. I freezer-paper stenciled a Tie Fighter on black shirts for the boys and glittering star on the girls. I scored big at the Target dollar spot with this great little silver cans that were 50% off and then threw in a glow stick (also 50% off from Target) and some tattoos.
The last addition was a thank you note in advance from the Rooster. Instead of standing and trying to keep track of who gave him what and writing it down and sending thank you notes, we decided to do them up early and put them in their treat bags.
Next, I decided to do cupcakes. I manufactured this great little cupcake stand from foam core, scrapbook paper, a styrofoam cube and a few stolen Duplo blocks from the kids bin.
I made these awesome little cupcake toppers from a Star Wars lego clipart that I found via google. The cupcakes were Cookies and Cream from Annie Eats and they. were. divine. I honestly loved doing cupcakes. No cutting or clean up. No need for silverware. Pass them out and enjoy. Simple.
It was by far the most fun I’ve ever had doing and giving a birthday party.
One of the things I fail greatest at is keeping track of and recording the details of my embroidery projects. When I first started out designing, purchasing and printing patterns I quickly realized I was going to have to come up with some way of keeping track of just the patterns themselves. At that time I wasn’t even thinking about keeping track of the thread colors I used or the fonts I used when designing a pattern.
The first thing I used to organize all my patterns was simply a large binder with plastic sleeve protectors in it. I tried using dividers to section out my patterns, from stitch-alongs I was doing and cross-stitch patterns. When I started doing all my applique projects it also became necessary for me to have pockets to keep the letters that I was using from falling out.
I quickly grew tired of going through this notebook and decided that I would try file folders instead. I sorted out my patterns and this is pretty much how I’ve functioned that last while. When I remember, I write down the fonts I’ve used and the thread colors, but honestly it’s a battle to remember.
A few months back I discovered an amazing stitcher named Kimberly Ouimet and immediately started following her on flickr. She designs and stitches just beautiful work and one day she posted a photograph of her embroidery planner on flickr and I immediately grabbed it up. It’s a fantastic tool to use for organizing projects. There are places to write notes, thread colors and more. I want to get into the habit of designing or printing a project and then attaching this to the pattern. It’s one of my long term goals especially for 2015. (note: she also has a version for knitters…check it out!)
How do you organize your projects for future reference? Any tips for this lovely Tuesday?
On Thursdays I pull from my years of archives and take a look back and where I’ve come as a stitcher and just reflect a little. Today’s look back is one of my first typography embroideries. Stitching words harkens back to the old samplers that women and children stitched back in the 1800’s and I like to think that my style of typography is continuing in that tradition…with a little modern twist.
from 2011: a little space themed typography:
the latest “typography” coming from my hands…
and a closer look
The more you start to love embroidery (or any craft for that matter) the more you start to pick up supplies and other tools and then are left with how to store and organize all the required tools. Embroidery floss is one of those things that is a bear to figure out how to store.
To start with you have this lovely skein of floss that looks so nice and neat. Then as you start to pull out strands to sew with you eventually end up with a mess.
There are a myriad of ways to organize and store your floss and I’ve gone through a couple of different types.
1. cardboard thingys: back in the day when I was a big cross-stitcher (and had no children running around) I would sit and wind all my floss on these little cards, write the corresponding number on them and then file them in a lovely little box. It’s a fairly cheap way to store your floss. As I started to grow my embroidery business and gather up more and more threads, I realized that I was never going to keep up with winding my floss on these cards and furthermore I didn’t like the plastic thread boxes. Now, there are many amazing embroiderers out there who have absolutely stunning thread boxes. So if this is the way your brain loves to organize…go for it.
2. clothespins: this has become my favorite way to store floss. I usually keep my floss as it comes as long as it stays intact and doesn’t knot up (see the yellow floss above). When it does start to get all knotty, I just wind it on a clothespin. This is what works for me. Clothespins are also great because you can clip them on your embroidery piece if you need too.
3. dmc thread things: these are crazy. I bought a pack of these and the idea is that you just slide your skein of thread onto these and voila…no winding or anything. These never worked for me and honestly they are the most expensive of the three options.
Another little tip I’ve discovered is an easy and fun place to store your needles. There are lots of awesome vintage and handmade needle holders, but I opted to make a quick one out of an empty pencil lead holder.
All you need is an empty lead box, some fun washi tape and you are done.
On Thursdays I pull from my years of archives and look back and where I’ve come. It’s a funny little journey I’ve been on and looking back like this gives me an opportunity to count the many blessings along the way. Today we look back at my first custom embroidery order. Custom orders are the joy of my shop right now and I love nothing more than designing and creating the perfect, one of a kind embroidery for a customer. It’s awesome to look back and see that this was the point where my custom designing got started.
custom receiving blankets
this is the first monogrammed one I’ve done and I really love how it turned out. Probably one of my favorites I’ve done in the past little while.
The teapot was a request and while I think it’s pretty cute, I’m not 100% satisfied with how it turned out. The last time I did this one it was on a little t-shirt, so it could be that it just wasn’t large enough. Not sure.
Last was this “cute as a button” onesie. After doing nothing but backstitch for the past little while, it was fun to throw a little spice into the mix and sew on a “button” with a special edge around it.