Saturday, July 15, 2006

I finally made something useful with some of the yarn cording I made with my handy dandy magicord machine. Ok, tell me, does it look like a handbag? I had to improvise because I had the multicolored yarn for so long that the color has been discontinued so I matched a solid yarn to finish it up with. I think I like the combination better anyway. I brought dad home from the hospital this afternoon, so tomorrow I hope to find some time to work on my geranium picture and hopefully get it done soon. I have something else in mind for my next project but this one HAS to be finished first!

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Monday, July 10, 2006

I can't believe it's been so long since I've posted! Honestly, my dad got rushed back to the hospital again, he's been in the hospital more than out for the last month. I brought him home again a few days ago and I'm hoping this time will be better - crosses fingers and toes. I haven't gotten my latest project finished yet but included a picture of it in the current stage. I have been a little bit obsessed with my Magicord machine the last few days instead of punching. I found it in my craft closet while looking for something else and started playing around. There is something soothing about turning a handle and having yards of knitted cording come out the other end of the thing. Problem is, I now have tons of the stuff with no plans for using it on anything. Ok, that's not quite true, I braided some and sewed it to a pair of thongs I bought last year to cover the straps that I didn't like. I know, I know, I desperately need a pedicure and have some r e a l l y ugly bunions. At any rate, this is what I've been doing between hospital sitting, job hunting and very impatiently waiting for Clay Aiken's new CD and upcoming concert tour information to be announced. (PLEASE hurry up, Clay!!!!!! I miss you so much!!)

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Sunday, June 18, 2006

Between my Dad being in the hospital all week and taking care of my elderly Mom, I simply haven't had much time to update or do anything else for that matter. I am just popping in to drop off a picture of a sweatshirt design I did last year and a really cute video of Clay Aiken for last summer's Jukebox Tour. Enjoy!!

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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Here is a picture of the completed Rose Heart pattern. I'm still not thrilled with it and if I stitch it again I'll make some different color choices.
My dad is back in the hospital so I made a new pattern last night to take with me so I can talk and be productive at the same time. I'm doing geraniums this time. I don't think you can tell a great lot from the pattern since I haven't even started the black outline yet but what the heck, I'll post it anyway. *g*

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Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Here is a picture of the project I started on Sunday. I had to take my dad to the eye doctor yesterday so I always take a project with me to work on while I wait. He ended up having a cardiac episode and so I spent some time at the emergency room with him. I got a lot of stitching done as you can see. I'm not sure I like the colors I used but my mom loves it so I expect I'll give it to her when I finish it. It happens that way sometimes, I used a stained glass pattern and tried to give the colors the same type of "feel" as the glass but it just didn't work the way I hoped it would. I'm taking dad to the cardilogist in a few minutes so I'll probably finish this today.

Speaking of finishing things, I cannot believe that June is nearly half over and we STILL don't know when Clay Aiken's new CD is being released. I am getting beyond impatient now. Clay, darlin', you promised us the first half of 2006. Times up!! Come on, give with the information!!

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Saturday, June 10, 2006

The last week has been busy and frustrating for me. I had two job interviews and still no word back from either of them (arghhhh!). Between job interviews, I ferried my dad to doctor appointments and my mom on errands. I then got the bright idea to try and make a pattern of Clay Aiken to punch and have tried all sorts of ways and means but I'm not satisfied with anything I've come up with so far. I even d/l a trial version of a cross stitch design program that you can import photos into but it's just not working out the way I invisioned (lol, does anything ever?). In the meantime I made a simple bluebird design for my mom that was very easy to work on while, say waiting in a doctor's office. She picked out a blue shirt almost the same color as the bird to put it on and here's the finished product:

I might have been more productive this week if I hadn't also gone to the library. I got a craving to re-read Anne McCaffrey's Petaybee series. I own some of my other favorites of hers like the Freedom, Crystal Singer and the "talent" series. I love to read and I'm bad to bury my head in a book and not get much else done when I have something good to read. I'm almost finished with book two with two to go and I read fast so I'll be back to stitching early next week. Now if I could just figure out how to do justice to Clay Aiken in stitchery. Hmmmmmmm, maybe I'll find another project to do and think about it some more. In the meantime, wish me luck in the job hunt, ok?

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Friday, June 02, 2006

I have a good friend that loves and raises horses. I finally found a cute design to do as a present for her. The best part was it has very little detail so it was really quick to do. I just started it a couple of days ago and finished it this afternoon.

It's amazing the variety of things you can think of to punch. Letters are another quick and easy project. Just pick a font you like from a word processing program, print the size you want, transfer to fabric and punch away!

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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

It's finished!!

I would have finished the project yesterday but I ran out of floss in the border color and had to go to the store. It never fails - I always have to run out of at least one color of floss per project. To tell the truth, I've been in a Clay Aiken fog this week too. I cannot stop watching his performance from American Idol from Wednesday night. Ahem.....Anyway, what I'll do now is coat the back of the picture with Ok To Wash It glue, let it dry, then cut away the excess fabric around the design and glue it on the shirt.

Ok, I couldn't resist adding one little picture because he's just so doggone gorgeous.

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Saturday, May 27, 2006

I thought I'd give you a look at the back of the piece that I'm working on since you actually work the pattern from that side. People always seem to be fascinated by the back, I assume it's because you can see the design clearly and can't on the front until you're pretty far along.. I haven't worked on it that much this week(well, you try to needle punch and watch Clay Aiken's performance on AI5 at the same time and see how much you get done with him as a distraction!) so you can see it's a pretty fast craft. You basically "color" in the design with thread instead of crayons.

Here is the project at the same stage from the front. One of the things I have learned to do to make my details like the cat's whiskers look crisper is to take the needle and sort of push the loops into place.
Oh and I forgot to mention when I was talking about making the iron on transfers is that they are reusable as well. I have reused one favorite 4 times so far!
I was asked if I had made a needle punch of Clay Aiken yet and the answer is no. I've been tempted and got as far as starting a pattern once but I haven't had the nerve - I'm not confident enough that I can do him justice.

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Friday, May 26, 2006

You have to watch this awesome montage "metamorphosis" of Clay Aiken performing Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me on American Idol. It's fun to see his look change from the original Wildcard Show to the AI2 Finale then to the AI5 Finale performance.

BTW, I'll be updating the project I'm working on tomorrow with a new picture but in the meantime, watch Clay!!

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Thursday, May 25, 2006

Oh my goodness!! Clay Aiken has always been gorgeous in my eyes but he really turned up the heat on the AI5 Finale. Does he ever look HAWT!!!!!!!!!!!!! Whew.......I think I need to take a moment.

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Wednesday, May 24, 2006

I haven't had much time to blog because my dad is still in the hospital(it was a week yesterday). I have had a bit of time to punch while visiting him - well, at least for the time he let's the overhead lights stay on in his room. *g* I took this picture of the work in progress, it's beginning to look like cats. I tried to avoid the edge of the fabric with the orange drink spilled on it by my sister's 4 year old (she loves cats and wanted to see the picture). One of the nicest thing about needle punch is that the fabric base gets covered up and it doesn't matter if it gets a spot that won't come out. I've found that the floss will generally come clean.

Ok, on to more exciting things!! Clay Aiken is supposed to be on the American Idol Finale tonight!! EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!! I haven't been watching much this season but you can bet I'll be glued to the screen tonight. I am so excited since he's been out of sight and working on his CD for almost 5 (long) months now.

While you're at it check this site out!

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Sunday, May 21, 2006

I have a new purple t-shirt with nothing on it - that is, of course, unacceptable to me, so yesterday I decided to start a new project to fix that situation. I scrolled through my handy dandy picture file (the one that isn't of Clay Aiken that is) and found something I liked in my "this is cute and someday I might make a pattern of it" file folder. This picture is of the original photo of what I believe is a tile, the tracing I did of it with a transfer pen and the canvas fabric with the pattern ironed on. I took mom to the hospital to visit dad and worked on my punching while visiting with him. I finished the black outline and here is the "right" side:

It's a mess, right? It's really difficult to see the details of your design on the "right" side until you begin filling in the colors. The back looks great though! I'll work on it some more at the hospital tonight and continue to post pictures of the work in progress.

Hmmmmm, I wonder how many projects I'll complete before we get the new Clay Aiken CD? Maybe I don't want to know after all. I sure am going to miss my "summer of Clay". Last year was a blast, traveling to concerts, re-connecting with friends and enjoying the best voice on the planet. Claaaaaay, I neeeeeeed some new music from you and soon!

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Friday, May 19, 2006

I was asked to post a picture of the completed sweatshirt with the heart wreath on it. It's just a basic white sweatshirt from Walmart. I removed the cuffs from the sleeves and the bottom, turned the neck down and turned up hems on the sleeves and bottom, then blanket stitched around them with the full 6 strands of DMC floss to match one of the colors. I glued the wreath design on the shirt with OK to Wash It glue. I'm ALL about the easy!!

ETA: I love my dad dearly but he is such a character. I took my mom over to the hospital to visit him this afternoon. He talked to us for a while but the way we knew the visit was over was when he put his c-pap mask over his face, pulled the covers up to his chin and turned the light off and left us sitting there in the dark. We got the hint and left. *g* Oh well, the good news is he's back in a regular room, complaining about the food and flirting with all the nurses. He's obviously almost back to normal.

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Wednesday, May 17, 2006

This will be a quick stop in. My dad is in the hospital and I'll be heading out shortly. This is another of the designs from Aon-Celtic interpreted in needle punch. It's a Celtic Tree of Life. I love the pattern and made it for myself but somehow my mom ended up with it on her shirt. Funny how that happens. *g* Ok, don't laugh (well, not too loudly anyway) but I also made some Celtic design Christmas ornaments last December and sent them to Clay Aiken. I know, I know, they most likely never even got to him but what can I say? I just love the guy dearly. At any rate, this was one of the designs I used but for my tree ornaments I use one strand of the colored floss and one strand of a metallic floss (in this case I used a colorless irridescent thread) to give it some sparkle. I backed it with some pretty seasonal felt and a gold ribbon loop to attach it to the tree and also added a beaded trim around the outside to finish it off.

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Monday, May 15, 2006

Below is a picture of the type of stretcher frame that I like to use for my punch needle projects. Like I said before, they are available in a number of sizes and do a better job of keeping the fabric taut than anything else I have tried. I just use simple thumbtacks to attach the project to the frame and use the rubber mallet to tap the frame pieces together or take them apart. Btw, the project I have ready to start is from an awesome website (link on the right) Aon-Celtic. The artist offers a bunch of Celtic designs for free and since there is an option of printing them in black and white, they are wonderful to adapt as punch needle patterns. I used one of her free patterns to make this heart wreath (above) to put on a sweatshirt for Valentine's Day.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Happy Mother's Day!!
Here's a little treat in honor of my Mom. Clay Aiken's tribute to Elvis from last summer's Jukebox Tour.

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Saturday, May 13, 2006

I have been asked about the availability of punch needle kits. I have 2 links to Punch Needle suppliers and they do have an assortment of kits to offer for sale. This is an extemely popular craft in Australia and I know there are sites that offer more selections that are based there. I have also found ebay to be a terrific resource for supplies at great prices, especially if you want to make your own patterns and only need the needle and fabric. Just do a search for "punch needle" and check it out.

My finished project examples today are my homage to Laurel Burch's cat designs. I have loved her stuff for years so I thought it would be fun to loosely interpret them in my favorite craft. The cat face in the center of the top picture measures approximately 3 1/2" wide by 3" tall just so you get an idea of the size while the other cat design is 4 3/4" wide by 8" tall.

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Friday, May 12, 2006

I have been running the roads for the better part of the last 2 days and I am worn out tonight. I just wanted to drop off a picture of another stained glass pattern that I did in punch needle. I also forgot to mention that finished "stained glass" pieces measure 5 inches in diameter. This one was also worked using 2 strands of DMC floss.

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Wednesday, May 10, 2006

I used a stained glass pattern book for this design. I had fun choosing colors of DMC floss to stay true to the "feel" of the glass colors. It is punched on regular white canvas fabric purchased at a craft store using 2 strands of floss. I coated the back with fabric glue, let it dry and then cut closely around it. I applied it to a pale green t-shirt with additional fabric glue. I know it appears a little crooked in the photo but it really isn't in person!

BTW, I am listening to some "new" old mp3s of Clay Aiken. Someone was able to get access to a video tape of some of his performances from 1998. What an incredible voice, even back then, when he was just a teenager!!

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Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Here are pictures of two of my older projects. The Scooby Doo pattern was made from a coloring book page that I reduced on a copier. I removed the pocket from a denim shirt, made an iron on pattern that I ironed on the reverse of the pocket so when it was completed and sewn back on the shirt, it would look correct. I decided to take the easy way out on the Marvin the Martian and simply used fabric I had, a rubber stamp, cut it out when it was done and glued it to the pocket with OK to Wash It Fabric Glue. Both of the designs are detailed so I used the smallest Igolochkoy needle that says to use 1 strand of embroidery floss but I've always been a more is better kinda gal, so I always use 2 strands of floss myself - I think it looks better. These shirts have been worn and washed a lot so as you can see, this is a great craft for decorating wearables with.

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Monday, May 08, 2006

Well, still no camera so I can't put any pictures up of my projects yet. Sigh.

Oh well, best hint for the day. One of the most important things you need to have when punching is some type of frame that will hold your project very taut. I have tried everything from embroidery hoops (ugh!) to cross stitch frames. When you keep stabbing yourself in the finger with a punch needle because you have it pressed against the fabric to make it tighter you get motivated to find something that will work better. One day I was in the craft store just looking around and I ran across very inexpensive stretcher frame pieces (in the fine art department) that you can buy in a variety of sizes that just slide together. I bought myself an assortment of basic sizes(8" to 12") and some good thumbtacks. I also bought a rubber mallet at the dollar store and I just tap the frame pieces together and take them apart based on the size and shape (square or rectangular of course) needed for the project I'm doing. The fabric holds the frame together without having to glue it. BTW, I bought one set at Michael's and the wood was hard and difficult to put the tacks into. I ended up with some made out of a softer wood that I found at the local Hobby Lobby. It works better than anything else I have ever tried and makes the project easy to hold in your hand. I make the frame as small as possible for the size of the picture I'm doing so it also makes it easier to hold and access all parts of the picture.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

As I mentioned before, I used to be a big cross stitcher. A few years ago, I attended a convention for cross stitching that was a lot of fun. I was able to attend classes on different types of stitching and then, best of all, there was an entire ballroom full of the latest products being demonstrated and sold. (BTW, if you ever attend one of these definitely plan to stay late the last day - that's when stuff is MARKED DOWN!!) I bought way too much but among the stuff I couldn't resist was my first set of Igolochkoy Russian Punch Needles. I still use them for smaller projects that need a finer, shorter loop but my hands are large and the needles are short so they tend to make my hands cramp after a long period of punching. I bought a longer needle off ebay that is made by a company called Emson that I really like for comfort in stitching and I use it most often now. (ebay is a terrific source for punch products if they are difficult to find locally) It's funny, I didn't even try punching for at least a year after buying my needles but after I began, I was hooked!!

I guess I'll go work on one of my projects for a while tonight while I listen to Clay Aiken's gorgeous voice.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

I have another favorite hobby besides my punch needle one. I love Clay Aiken and enjoy following his career closely. It's very convenient to have the world's best singer as another hobby since it's very easy to combine the two. Yes, I have found that listening to his amazing vocal talent while doing my needlework is the perfect combination. *g*

My doggone digital camera died so I have to buy a new one before posting any of my completed projects on here. I hope to do it soon, so please check back if you are interested! In the meantime I'll have to post a picture of my other hobby.

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Friday, May 05, 2006

It's so Easy!!

I have worked with punch needle for a long time now. I started out doing cross stitch but you had to either know how to graph designs or find them to buy already made. Once I discovered punch needle and that it was dead easy to create designs using almost anything - pictures off the internet, coloring book pages, ink stamp designs or your own drawings - well, I was hooked. Top that off with not having to count the stitches(so easy to make a mistake) but just fill in the design and presto - done in no time!!