Thursday, November 29, 2012

I've Been Knitting!

Hi Angel,

I'm thinking about you this week and I hope you can feel some big virtual hugs coming from Washington. I know you've had a lot on your plate emotionally and otherwise, and I wish I could be there in person to relieve you a bit and provide some concrete support. Sigh. I look forward to 2013, as we will hopefully see each other then!

November and December are always so busy with all the year-end preparations and festivities. Having a small handmade business has added to the stress. Sometimes I feel like just throwing it all away and focusing on my family and relaxing instead. And other times, I remember that you have to work hard to get somewhere with, well, anything, and I power through another stressful but hopefully productive creative day. I am trying to crank out a lot of stuff for that Holiday Arts + Crafts Open House in Seattle and honestly, it's kicking my butt.

Anyway... I recently was going through my pictures and realized I never shared all the projects I've been knitting in recent months! That's right. After the frustrating half-fiasco of the fingerless gloves, I took a break from knitting but started up again to make a blanket for a special baby in early summer.


Jenny: Knitting Projects

Jenny: Knitting Projects

Jenny: Knitting Projects

Monday, November 26, 2012

It's Cyber Monday!

Hello friends!

Today is Cyber Monday, supposedly the biggest day of the year for online sales. To join the fun and inspire some holiday shopping, we're offering a little discount for our Etsy shops.


Take 20% OFF anything in our shops
Jenny Bartoy ~ Handmade Designs and Demeter Rising Designs
with the code CYBERMON20.


Happy shopping!

Here are a few things you will find in our shops:

In Angel's shop, she offers unique embroidered felt ornaments and needled-felted toys.










In my shop, I sell fabric art made from upcycled burlap sacks, along with accessories and housewares like table runners, coasters, tablet covers and more.












Don't forget: use the coupon code CYBERMON20 at check-out in either of our shops today to save 20%! Thank you so much for your support, and remember: shop small and local this holiday season!



Wednesday, November 21, 2012

November Sponsors: Get Ready for Black Friday!!

Thanksgiving is upon us, and that means Black Friday is coming up next! For the biggest shopping day (and weekend) of the year, our awesome sponsors are getting ready to offer up some amazing deals!


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Drygoods Design Online


Early on Friday, Drygoods Design launches their biggest sale of the year, in honor of Small Business Saturday. Through December 1, you can save 40% on all fabric orders of $40 or more! Have you seen their latest arrivals? I can't wait to shop!

For you Seattle locals, the grand opening of make*do*mend (Keli's sewing studio space) is Saturday December 8th with featured artist Blair Stocker. You can sneak a peek of the space during studio night on December 6th with Rae Hoekstra of Made by Rae visiting! Exciting stuff!





You can find Keli and Drygoods Design Online here:

Shop -- Blog -- Facebook -- Twitter -- Pinterest


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fat quarter shop


Fat Quarter Shop is offering a FABULOUS discount of 25% off everything on Black Friday with the code JINGLE. Make sure and go pay them a visit on Friday morning (I know I will!!).




You can find Fat Quarter Shop online here:

Shop -- Blog -- Facebook -- Twitter -- Pinterest


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felt on the fly

Janet over at Felt On The Fly is offering Stumbles & Stitches readers a very special discount: take 20% off any of the five-piece color stories in her shop. Simply mention the code "Wish Bone" in Notes to Seller upon checkout and she'll refund the difference (that's a $3.00 discount, bringing the price down to $12.00 per Color Story!).

If you don't subscribe to her newsletter, you should! I have it on good authority that she has some pretty sweet deals and offers planned for newsletter readers in the upcoming weeks!





You can find Janet and Felt on the Fly online here:

Etsy -- Blog -- Facebook -- Pinterest


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Our Australian friend Karen at Sew Well Maide has been keeping quite busy: look at this beautiful Christmas quilt she recently completed!




Her shop on Etsy is full of fabulous patterns for gifts and quilts, take a look... Karen is currently listing reproduction fabric scrap packs in various colors in her shop (all are approx 1 metre/1 1/8 yrd of fabric). Great for scrap quilts or projects, applique and Christmas decorations!


You can find Karen and Sew Well Maide online here:

Blog -- Etsy -- Craftsy -- Threadbias -- Facebook -- Flickr -- Pinterest


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Huge thanks to our wonderful sponsors for sharing these special deals with us. Happy Thanksgiving, and happy shopping!


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Ornaments!

Hello there! Who's ready for Thanksgiving (if you're in the U.S. and celebrating, of course)?!

The boys are out of school for the week and the hubby is off work starting tomorrow. With record rainfall around here, I'm looking forward to some cozy time at home with the family, and some opportunities to get my crafty on!

I have ornaments on the brain and thought I would do a little round-up of all the ornament tutorials and free downloads we have available here on Stumbles & Stitches.


Tutorial: Scrappy Stocking Christmas Ornament

Jenny: Scrappy Stocking Christmas Ornament



Tutorial: Felt Beehive Ornament




Tutorial: Knotty Christmas Tree Ornaments





Layer Play Ornament




Little Birds Ornament and Garland




Felt Flora and Merry Little Ornament






And if you want even more inspiration for Christmas projects, here are a couple of extra downloads courtesy of Lark Crafts:


Milk and Cookie Mats: Free Download





Read Between the Lines Pillow: Free Download



What are you guys working on over the Thanksgiving break? Please be sure and check back tomorrow for some aweesome deals from our sponsors! Happy Thanksgiving!!

Friday, November 16, 2012

When in doubt, sew straight lines

Jenny, I am in love with the table runners! I bought a ton of Bella fabric on sale last week, and that warm grey dot was in my cart. I think I bought all they had left! I'm turning mine into curtains, but will hopefully have enough left for a table runner or a few pillows.

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Speaking of curtains: I have finished four so far! I was thrilled that Lee said "yes" when his sister asked if we could host Thanksgiving this year, not only does it give me something helpful and generous to focus my energy on, it gives me motivation to finish up some projects I've had on my mind for months.

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This also reminds me of my new motto: "When in doubt, sew straight lines." Next time I'm feeling overwhelmed or frazzled or just need to clear my mind, I'm going to sit down with a pile of scraps and just start sewing straight lines and see what happens. Maybe I should have some quilt squares cut ahead of time, for piecing? Hmmm.

I think that may be why I am stuck on the project I mentioned last week, it's making my brain hurt! Since the whole thing was conceived starting at 4:30 am, I wasn't thinking that far ahead, and I am unsure how to finish these little drawings so that they are preserved.

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Won't it make the cutest table runner for Thanksgiving? I have another batch of curtains to make for the living room (straight lines!) and maybe that will clear out the cobwebs long enough to come up with a brilliant idea.......

U.S. readers, what are you planning for Thanksgiving? And everyone: what should I do with Ian's drawings? Help!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A Few Table Runners

Hello!!!

I'm coming up for air to check in. I can't believe it's been 10 days since my last post. November is always my crazy busy month, prepping for the holidays, and now that I have a little business, it is even nuttier.

I've been prepping for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. I also signed up for an art sale here in Seattle (December 8, 12:30-6:30PM at Red Square Yoga, come see me!) and getting ready for it is taking away every ounce of free time I might have had left. Fun stuff, though! I have so many things prepped and cut, and now need to SEW SEW SEW!!!


Jenny: Table Runners


I have started listing some things from my Fall-Winter collection in the shop, mostly table runners (see above). A couple of months ago, I came up with a design for my own home (see below) and liked it so much, I made this bunch to sell on Etsy. You can see photos here on my biz blog and of course, in the Table Runners section of my shop.

Below is what I made for my house. I love the Bella collection by Lotta Jansdotter so much, I wanted to make a center piece for our dining room table with it. Grey is currently my favorite color (and the color of our dining room chair cushions!), so I decided to showcase that simple dotted print and bind it in natural linen. I added a layer of batting and quilted the runner with a large zigzag and it turned out great!


Jenny: Table Runners

Jenny: Table Runners

Jenny: Table Runners


If you'd like one of these for yourself, there is one in my shop! It is slightly more rectangular to fit most tables.


Jenny Bartoy ~ Handmade Designs


While I was on a roll with table runners, I decided to make one for our window shelf / nature table. That spot drives me crazy. It hosts the kids' collections of shells, rocks, pinecones and acorns (depending on the season) along with small seasonal crafts and small plants. This shelf is a scratched up wood board, painted white, and I've wanted to cover it for ages.


Jenny: Table Runners


While my natural linen and the batting were out, I cut pieces to size and quilted the layers with wavy lines. I then bound the whole thing with a small print from Rashida Coleman-Hale's Washi collection.


Jenny: Table Runners Jenny: Table Runners

Jenny: Table Runners

Jenny: Table Runners


I love how simple and crisp it is. Perfect for showcasing the kids' treasures!

All right, on this note, I've got to get back to the sewing machine while Henry is still at preschool! I hope to check in soon with more updates.

What are you guys up to lately? How are you getting ready for the upcoming holidays? I'd love to hear from you in the comments, and if you'd like, please share links to your crafty projects!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

More stitching, to settle the mind

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So, when the kids both woke up at what I thought was 5:30 am on Sunday (bad enough) and then I realized it was really 4:30 am because of the time change, I muttered some choice cuss words under my breath and crawled out of bed. As you know, Lee's dad passed last week,  and Lee has been under so much stress he needs to sleep in every chance he can get. So I was glad to let him sleep, but very grumpy at the prospect of entertaining a 3 year old and a 7 year old in a quiet manner (small house, as you know) for how many ever hours.

TV, a relatively quiet and easy fall back, was not an option that early. We don't have cable, and PBS here does not start showing kid programming until 6 or 7 am. Our "AirPort" is also on the fritz, which means no purchased TV or rerouted stuff from the computer. Did I mention there's no DVD player hooked up, either? It's practically medieval in this house (ha ha).  I got everyone settled with some cereal and warm tea (extra strength coffee for me) and sat down at the table with my go-to project these days: the Winterwoods Sampler from Posie: Rosy Little Things . My hope was that I would be inspired (and settled) by stitching for a few minutes so I could engage the kids in a non-disruptive, creative way.

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Have you seen this sweet sampler? It's cross-stitch, and manages to feel antique and modern all at once, thanks to the sophisticated materials that come with the kit and the fresh motifs. Gorgeous linen, hand dyed cotton thread and very clear, concise instructions are all included, and the fact that cross stitch is so incredibly easy to put down and pick up really appeals to me. 

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I think I got about twenty stitches in before Silas started begging me to try it, and Ian started asking when he could learn how to sew. A month ago, or even a few weeks ago, I might have gotten really overwhelmed (and irritated, if I'm honest) at the thought of starting this process at 5 am. But instead, I took a deep breath and snuck back into the bedroom to find a small hoop and some open weave burlap fabric just perfect for a 3 year old.

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This is what Silas ended up with! A few things I do to help along the process: use thick, sturdy yarn with a large eyed, blunt tipped metal needle (tapestry needles work great). I use a relatively open weave burlap type fabric with kids as small as Silas, and I put it into a wooden hoop very tightly so that there is no "give" to make it feel wobbly. Last, I tie the yarn to the needle at the very top to keep it from slipping off, and I make sure the yarn is no longer than about 18 inches to 24 inches. It means more yarn changes, but anything longer is super hard to pull through each time.

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Ian was intrigued by the individual motifs of the sampler, and decided to draw his own "autumn" sampler on paper. He told me, "No guys with guns mom, or ninjas like normal. Just stuff like pumpkins and guys with hats." When I saw how cool his drawings were, I grabbed a bag of cross stitch fabric scraps and saw a long, slender strip. I taped it down to the kid table and had him sketch a few of the images big enough to fill the space.

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We used fabric markers to trace over the pencil sketch, he needed a tiny bit of help tracing a few of the finer details but overall he did it by himself! I love these so much, he is constantly drawing and it is so great to see him branching out a bit in the subject matter. He is quite the artist these days!

I started working on a project with his drawings today, I hope to have it ready to show you next week! Just in time for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. Stay tuned. I am looking forward to spending lots of time with my family (both immediate and extended) this holiday season, how about you?

Readers, thank you so much for your kind words from my last post. Lee's father passed away peacefully at home last week, he will be missed terribly by all of us.

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