W.I.P. Round-Up

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I do hope you had a lovely Valentine’s Day! We had a special day with a pancake breakfast (Peanut butter pancakes, a test recipe for Joni & Celine for 500 Vegan Recipes, yummers!), hanging around in our p.j.’s and eating left-over queso-free queso dip and nachos – while still in aforementioned pajamas – for lunch (also à la 500 Vegan Recipes), and some vegan sushi take-out. We also watched a fun movie to round out heart day – I’m not a big romantic comedy fan in general, but if you get a chance to see Prête moi ta main (the English title is I do) you should, because it was cute, funny and the kind of movie you could easily pause the four or five times it was necessary to re-tuck Guppy in after two false-alarm potty visits, a night-light check, a tissue emergency and a “one last kiss” visit. That’s what you get for feeding your 3 year-old too many starches and letting her hang out in her jammies all day. But who knows?

Enough about my domestic bliss (ahem), let’s take a peek at what the Wipsters have been up to!

I consider myself so lucky to be (virtually) surrounded by such talent and craftiness! Just take a look at these great projects :

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Carmen made a cute little red softie doll for her daughter. I’m thinking she likes it :

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Krys made two adorable stuffies for her “two vegan boys”

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Aren’t they cute? (I mean the boys!)

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Amanda’s pillow is just gorgeous (that back fabric is so cheerful!).

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natalia

This patchwork-style pillow Natalia made for her daughter is precious! I love the buttons on the back , too :

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Beth made a mini-softie (you can see it here)

and here are my final creations :
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This is Guppy’s Valentine’s Day pillow, which was indeed an eleventh hour project. I embroidered her name (the yellow splotches…because no, her name isn’t really Guppy!) and there is also purple ribbon on the back. She really liked it, and we all had to “test it”, which was fun.

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This smaller version was part of a Valentine’s Day-themed package for my sister’s birthday. I definitely think the ribbon was a good idea when I see how plain-Jane this first one is.

This Stitch-Along has been fun, and I’ve already had a few suggestions for March. If you have an idea for a Stitch-Along project, you can email me at fishbowlmusings (at) gmail (dot) com – there is so much out there, any and all ideas are appreciated!

Don’t forget about our W.I.P. Wednesday Flickr Pool if you didn’t get your pictures to me in time, or if you’d just like to share what you’ve been up to on Wednesdays!

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W.I.P. Wednesday : Felty Heart Pins, Pin Cushions & Stitch-Along Progress

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Hello Crafties! It’s already Wednesday, can you believe it? I am losing the battle to stay on top of things, so I’ve decided to stop fighting and just be like water and flow! Woosh!

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Have you seen this Valentine Pins tutorial? I’ve been making tons of these cuties. Most everyone I would usually make sweet heart-shaped sugar cookies for is watching their weight, so rather than taunt them with pink royal icing and cookie love I think I’ll give them some sweet (and calorie-free) crafty love instead. These are really easy and fun, and gratifying for those moments when you feel like you want to complete a project. Of course I don’t know what that’s all about…

One thing that’s been occupying my time has been these :

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These pin cushions are really fun to make, and a wonderful way to use those favourite fabric scraps that are too cute to end up into the “scrap bag”. I’m also really loving the unique vibe they each have, which is why I love giving them as little gifts. No two look alike, though they may share similar DNA. Or weave. Whatever.

I’ve been so busy playing making the cushions o’ pins, that my Love Bear progress, well, isn’t. Progressing I mean. I’m down to the wire with my last one (ie: it’s hardly started) so if you’re not quite done, you’re in good company. But hey, Valentine’s Day is Saturday, and it’s only Wednesday, so there’s still tons of time left to get stitching, right? If you’ve been stitching along with us and would like to have your little Love Bear included in the W.I.P. Stitch-Along round-up on the 14th, just drop me a line with a link to your blog, your blog name and a photo! Voila!

I’m super excited about next week’s W.I.P. post because it’s a fun tutorial that I can’t wait to share with you! I just need to be patient and hold tight until these three P.I.F. winners receive their goody bags. Don’t want to spill the beans or anything. (Katie and Trina, once you’ve chosen your P.I.F. winners I’ll send you some goodies, too!). And I’ll be having yet another P.I.F. drawing soon because I am a lucky ducky and won yet another P.I.F. drawing! Betcha can’t wait?!?

The Wipster List is growing! If you’d like to play along, just leave me a comment here and snag yourself a beautiful logo à la VeganLovlie. Also, don’t forget about our W.I.P. Wednesday Flickr Group - show us your gorgeous masterpieces! You know you want to! Don’t be shy, this is fun for everyone!

W.I.P. Wednesday – Get Your Logo! Featured Wipster Vegan Lovlie

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I am so excited to share this gorgeous W.I.P. Wednesday logo with you! The wonderful and talented Lovliebutterfly – or just Lovlie as she’s known by her Internet friends – of the beautiful Veganlovlie blog, did a fantastic job capturing the spirit of our W.I.P. philosophy and I am sincerely touched by her generosity. Stop by the W.I.P. Wednesday main page to get your shiny new banner for your W.I.P. posts or snag a logo to sport proudly in your sidebar – it is a must this season, just so you know. Just scroll down to the bottom of the W.I.P. List and you’ll see the link.

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Because part of what I love about W.I.P. Wednesday is “meeting” and getting to know you better, I’ll be featuring a W.I.P. participant, or Wipster, once a month on W.I.P. Wednesday. We are such a diverse group of bloggers, I’m hoping that these mini Wipster interviews will be an opportunity to learn just a bit about who you are, what motivates and inspires you, and some quirky fun facts about you as well (that’s my favourite part.) Would you like to be a featured Wipster? Don’t be shy – send me an email & let me know!

To honor my Patron Saint of Graphic Design, I’d like to kick-off our Wipster interviews with Lovlie. Here’s the scoop in her own words…

I’ve basically been a Graphic/Web Designer after doing a Multimedia course in Melbourne Australia. I’ve worked in a number of companies and also as a freelancer. I love to work in the fashion field very much! This is my area of preference. I was an Image Retoucher/Designer at ASOS.com in London. This was my biggest experience. I am currently extending my skills to Business and Web Programming, hence doing an eBusiness course in Dublin at the moment. So, I presently do temporary/freelance/part-time jobs mostly. And of course, I enjoy cooking and posting recipes and reading other people’s blogs like everyone on the blogsphere. Photographing the meals is an interesting part of blogging too!

Lovlie’s 5 Fascinating Facts :

  1. I’ve been vegan for nearly 2 years (It’s been the best years of my life so far! I mean it’s great to actually create and eat real food!)
  2. I always have to wear my left pant leg, sock, shoe etc first. It has to be the left foot first! Otherwise I feel something isn’t quite right after I am dressed!
  3. I have a sweet tooth!
  4. My favourite fruit: pineapple
  5. I am a late sleeper, like very late. I don’t recall the last time I went to sleep before midnight. And I only need six hours sleep to be refreshed, up and going.

Visit VeganLovlie for some delicious vegan recipes and to soak up some of her sensational style and do check out her online portfolio for more inspiration and delicious eye candy!

Stitch-Along Update:

Don’t forget, if you’d like your Love Bear Stitch-Along project to be part of the little round-up on February 14th, please be sure to send me an email with your link and an optional photo before February 12th at midnight.

Here’s my little Love Bear pillow :

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This little guy needs a little more pizazz I think, but it’s too late as he’s ready to fly over the ocean. I’m  making one for Guppy for Valentine’s Day, so I’ll play with that one a bit more.

Don’t forget about the W.I.P. Wednesday Flickr group if you’d like to share your progress with everyone, too!

I’m working on some fun tutorials for upcoming W.I.P.s so stay tuned!

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W.I.P. Wednesday : Stitch-Along Progress & more

Exciting news! One of the most lovely vegan graphic artists, Lovlie of Veganlovlie is creating a fabulous W.I.P. logo and web button that you can add to you blog and feel super-cool (because you are!). We should have them ready for next week – how cool is that?

Stitch-Along check-in : How is your Love Bear coming along? I am, true to form, juggling four or five projects at once, and so haven’t finished my first bear project for the stitch-along. Almost done.

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Like the wrinkles? Just ask Monsieur Fish to come “pick up” around your house. He’ll pile everything from your craft table on top of your W.I.P. to help you “straighten up”. The wrinkles are just extra. Sigh.

unstuffed-pillowUnstuffed pillow love…

I’d like to make two of these little “love pillows”, so I need to get cracking. Or, stitching I should say. I’m not thrilled with the way the eyes turned out on this one, and I think I’ll do my second one differently. I’m also thinking some lace or some some ribbon or something would make the love pillow a little fancier. This one is going to be part of a (late) birthday package for one of my sweet sisters.

Don’t forget, I’ll be posting a round-up of all the Love Bear Stitch-Along projects on February 14th, so if you’d like to be a part of the round-up love, just email me a link to your posted project and a photo, too if you’d like.

Here’s a little peak at one of my newest hobbies – the rectangle pin cushion.

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I’m almost obsessed, but in a healthy “look at me using up my cute fabric scraps” way. My Auntie Martha (who was actually my great-aunt, but in my family you’re just an Aunt or an Uncle) was the only crafty-stitchy person I had contact with as a child. She was DIY before it was trendy, (you know, back when it was just common sense), and she re-used and recycled everything.

One of my favourite things to “play” with at her house was her collection pin cushions. In all shapes and sizes, they were most often made of fabric odds and ends, bottle caps, bits of this and that. I hadn’t thought of her pin cushions in ages, but when I began playing with this corduroy and pink velour – boom!

pincushion2Sorry about the wonky photos – I’m actually leaning out my window to get a little light! Rain, rain, go away!

This little pin cushion is on it’s way…somewhere…

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…accompanied by a sweet and a book. Carmen’s book “exchange mates” will be unveiled on February 14th – what suspense! I just love surprises, so I’m totally into this! My only fear – the glue on the handmade card I included in the package wasn’t 100% dry…I hope it makes it ok!

The W.I.P. List continues to grow! If you’d like to be a member of the elite, sophisticated and creative W.I.P. Team (tee hee), than just link back to the W.I.P. Wednesday page and leave me a comment. I’ll add you on quick as a cat can wink its eye! (Wow! That’s fast!)

And thank you to the ever-so-sweet Amanda of Walking The Vegan Line fame for bringing W.I.P. Wednesday to Flickr. She’s just kicked off our Flickr group, so you can add your W.I.P. Pics to Flickr!

W.I.P. Wednesday – Let’s Have A Valentine’s Day Stitch-Along! Basic Embroidery Tutorial & Recycled Valentine’s Day

Ok, it doesn’t have to be for Valentine’s Day, but this cute little project does lend itself well to the upcoming holiday!

Because we can’t craft together in real life (unless you care to share the secrets of teleportation that is), my lovely friend Krys of Two Vegan Boys suggested we do a stitch-along. I loved the idea, and we thought you might want to join the fun!

True to the W.I.P. Wednesday philosophy, this is just a no-pressure way to “virtually” craft together in a fun, supportive and happy place. Have a question? You’re welcome to comment me a question and I’ll try to help. Never threaded a needle but feel inclined to give it a try? Fear not! Below you will hopefully find all the information you need to get started on a very basic embroidery project.

Krys found a cute (but not cutesy) free pattern from artist Andrea Zulli’s blog Badbird’s : Musings of a small angry bird. She also has the most beautiful prints in her Etsy Shop, Badbird. Wow!

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Click on that little bear and you’ll find yourself chez Andrea where you can get your crafty hands on this free download – and many others! Andrea is a generous artist and has many free patterns.

Now that you have your pattern, what would you like to do with your finished project? You could make a Valentine’s Day card, stitch it on a t-shirt or other clothing, offer your framed embroidery as a gift to someone special… The size of your project will determine if you need to enlarge or shrink your pattern before beginning. I’m going to use this to make a little pillow as a gift, so the size of my “Love Bear” is based on that.

Needlework is a great craft when you’re on a budget because you don’t need much to get started!

You’ll need :

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The printed “Love Bear”, some masking or painter’s tape and an embroidery pen. These pens have “disappearing ink”, which is pretty groovy for tracing patterns onto fabric (which you also need). I don’t want to be kicked out of the “Crafty Club”, but above is a light pencil, because I don’t have an embroidery pen and this has been working really well for me -just be careful to keep your lines thin!

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You’ll also need some embroidery floss! This “thread” is usually composed of multiple strands -most often 6. You can use more or less of them, but for beginners, it’s usually easier to work with all 6. You’ll be using short lenghs of thread, so hold it between your thumb and pointer finger and you’ll want it a little shorter than your forearm (any longer and it’s apt to tangle up). Floss is most often cotton, but Vegans beware of wool floss which is also available.

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Don’t forget an embroidery hoop to hold your work taut while your stitching – this will prevent puckering. If you stitch on a stiffer fabric, you won’t need one.

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You’ll want an embroidery needle – its bigger eye (the better to see you with!) is easier to thread with embroidery floss. Here you see the difference between a sewing needle and the larger needlepoint counterpart.

To thread your needle, pass the floss through the eye, but don’t knot the two ends as you would with regular thread. Leave a shorter “tail” of thread on one side, the longer section on the other. Normally with embroidery you don’t knot the long end of your floss, but you’re a beginner and it’s totally ok!

Now you need to transfer your pattern to your fabric. Here’s how :

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Tape your “Love Bear” to a window

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Next secure your fabric over the pattern. You may want to tape the sides, too, because you’ll be tracing the pattern and you don’t want your fabric slishing about!

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Once your pattern is traced on your fabric you’re ready to start stitching! How exciting is that! You’re about to embark on a fun project with blogger peeps, right on!

There are loads of different embroidery stitches, and a google search or a trip to YouTube will give you many stitchy options. I’m going to show you how to do a split-stitch, one of the most common and versitile there is. You can easily complete this and many other projects using only the split-stich, so here we go:

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1) To begin, bring your needle up through the fabric from back to front.

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2) Now bring the needle back down just in front of where you came up.

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3) Now bring your needle up through the fabric in the middle of your first stitch. Try to bring it up in the centre of your floss. For example, if you’re using six-strand floss, ideally it would come up with three strands on each side. This is something you can play with depending on the look you want, but for today let’s stick to the basics.

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4) Here you’re going to do what you did in step 2 – just bring the needle down in front of your stitch.

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Here’s what 4 stitches look like. You’re creating a kind of “chain” if you will, each stitch connected to the next.

And there you have it! I hope this is helpful and will encourage you to give it a try! My big disclamer is that I’ve only been practicing embroidery for about 6 months and much of the jargon I’ve learned has been in French, so if you see errors or if something isn’t clear don’t hesitate to let me know and I’ll fix it up tout de suite! (That’s right away for you kids playing at home!).

Don’t forget to visit the other W.I.P. participants to see what they’re up to! If you’d like to join the W.I.P. list, to share your stitch-along progress or share your other projects, just let me know!

UPDATE : I’ll be posting a finished-project round-up on Valentine’s Day, so be sure and send me your links!

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If you’re looking for some crafty ideas for Valentine’s Day gifts? Do you want to avoid buying more paper and plastic junk that will end up in the trash? Then visit Ellen at The Long Thread. She’s running a Recycled Valentine’s Day series with weekly links and ideas for great handmade gifts without adding more plastic and junk to our landfills.