DIY Pinboard attempt #2

Pinboard-fullMy second attempt at creating a padded pinboard yielded far more satisfactory results. Adding a second layer of batting gave the board the extra depth I had originally desired, and although it’s hard to tell from the photo, in person you can really see the cushion effect.

I only ran into one little problem with the redo. The staples holding down the fabric came out easily enough, but when I went to remove the daisy-headed upholstery tacks, the cheap corkboard base they’d been stuck into began to disintegrate around the original holes. The old bulletin board wasn’t that substantial to begin with, so reinserting and securing the tacks became an issue.

Angle-shotI eventually hit upon replacing a few of the tacks with small screws, and adding washers and nuts on the reverse to secure them. Then I grabbed my toughest tin shears, clipped off the decorative tops of some of the tacks and glued those onto the screw heads using E-6000. It’s impossible to tell the actual daisy tacks from the screws now.

I’d already inserted anchors and screws into the wall, so all that was left was to reattach the picture wire to the back of the board and hang it up!

cross stitch

Sweet treats sans repeats

IMG_7234Here’s a quick snap of “Gingerbread Cookie,” now completed and sitting in my ready-for-finishing pile. The final stitched piece seems a bit over-sized for an ornament, so I may just turn it into a puffy pillow instead.  This is obviously a “think about it” finish.

A couple of years ago I started recording notes about my stitching projects in a little spiral notebook that I call my stitch diary. It’s full of random notes about thread count used, final stitched size, embellishments and details about how I planned and then ended up finishing the piece.

My intention was to  keep records so that if I wanted I could stitch something a second time later on and not have to do all the annoying calculating again. In practice, I’ve found that I’ve seldom ever been moved to stitch two of something. (“A Friend is a Gift” has been one exception that proves the rule, I suppose.)

Keeping records has been more valuable as a reminder of the charts I’ve stitched and to whom I gave them. It has happened that I’ve search for months for the absolutely perfect design for someone, stitched and gifted it, and then years later “discovered” the same chart and thought, now wouldn’t this be just perfect for so-and-so? Yeah, you guessed it. It’s as if I completely forget what I’ve stitched once I’ve given it away. The diary prevents that from happening. I only wish I’d started making notes earlier!

DIY · tutorial

DIY Pinboard attempt #1

IMG_7241I have a sort of love/hate relationship with corkboard bulletin boards. The idea of them greatly appeals to my organizational DNA, but they never really live up to their potential of making my life tidier, nor do they ever look quite as good in use as they do in my imagination.

So when I needed to install some new shelving in my office, I was pleased that I could finally remove the beat-up bulletin board that had previously been taking up so much valuable wall space. My new cubicle cubbyholes are now happily creating order out of the chaos of my assorted knickknacks, and the old bumpy bulletin board got demoted to a dark closet.

Yet every time I opened the closet door, that poor old bulletin board, now denuded of mementos, looked so raggedy and sad. I felt so sorry for it!  I decided to re-purpose it and give it a second life as a padded pinboard for my bedroom. To that end, I did some online research and bought about $5 worth of remnant fabric and some flower-heaedd upholstery tacks at Jo-Ann Fabrics and went to work with leftover batting and ribbon from my stash and my staple gun.

The final result was sadly not as spectacularly transformative as countless online DIY tutorials had promised. Oh, I did a neat enough job and the project came together easily enough, but the overall effect of the new board hanging on my wall was just, well – blah. Upon reflection, one problem was that I used only one layer of batting, when perhaps two would have given the project more “oomph,” and I’m thinking that a wider ribbon might have been a better choice.

The tacks went through the cork and backing easily enough, but securing them presented a problem I had not anticipated. A second layer of heavy cardboard as a base might have been helpful in improving their overall stability. Luckily, I have cardboard, extra batting and plenty of leftover ribbon in my cupboard, so I may just try a re-do of the project this weekend. I’m determined to give that sad little bulletin board a new lease on life.

cross stitch · finishing · tutorial

Mason Jar Pincusion

IMG_7233For this personalized pincushion project I used a small 8-ounce mason jar because that’s what I had on hand, and because I thought it would be the perfect size for storing little things, like a few skeins of floss for a small project. Of course, I could have reused any size mason jar from my cupboard stash, as long as the jar came with a ring and lid separate.

I started with the Stacy Nash Primitives “Monogrammed Pinkeep” chart which I reworked slightly to fit my widemouth jar’s 3” opening, and I ended up adapting it to a 45×45 stitch design that measured 2-7/8×2-7/8” overall flat. I wanted a puffy-looking pincushion, and so figured that this size would fit perfectly inside of the jar ring and once the stuffing was added would pop up just enough to create a nice clean border all the way around.

comboThis I stitched on a remnant of 32-count oyster linen using two strands of DMC floss (926 & 610) over two threads. I chose a lighter weight linen because I knew I would need to screw the lid back onto the jar in the end, and a thicker fabric insert would make that next-to-impossible.

Once the actual stitching was completed, I trimmed my linen to the size of a 6” circle. Using a regular sharp needle and doubled thread, I basted all the way around and about a half-inch inside the edge, and pulled the thread to gather the linen slightly. I had to double the thread to make it strong enough to gather the material without breaking. I don’t think this would work with Aida cloth, as that is too thick and stiff, but the linen I used was just fine.

I stuffed the circle with enough polyfill to make a nice semi-firm cup shape. I like my crafts projects to look perfect, or at least as perfect as I am capable of, and it actually took quite a bit of trial and error to get just the right amount and make absolutely sure that there were no lumps in the stuffing! When I was satisfied with the look and feel, I set the jar lid top in place atop the stuffing and gathered the material tightly and evenly around it, tying off the threads.

Making sure that my cross stitch design was perfectly centered, I ran hot glue under the gathered fabric edge to tack it down to the lid. Using the inside of the jar ring as a template, I cut a 3” circle of felt which I hot glued into place to cover the gathered ends, and then just screwed my pretty new lid onto the jar!

I had everything on hand, so this project cost me nothing, which was a sweet little bonus.

Here’s what I used:
8-ounce widemouth mason jar with ring and lid
Cross stitch design sized to fit within a 3” lid opening
A little polyfill
Small circle of felt (size traced from the ring)
Hot glue gun
cross stitch


PincushionAbout halfway done with my simple small monogrammed pincushion jar topper. I love stitching on this 32-count oyster linen fabric, the stitches just seem to glide in and out so peacefully, unlike Aida where the floss always feels like it is scraping through the material.

Of course, 32-count is a bit hard on these old eyes, so I’m glad I can use the magnifiers that my sister recommended, though I admit that I look quite a sight with the extra big lenses clipped atop my reading glasses. Not so sure I’d want to wear these in public!

cross stitch

Ticking along

photo copyOur beautiful warm Florida winter weather has finally returned so I thought I would sit out on the back porch for a little while today and stitch. “Gingerbread Cookie” is ticking right along, it’s an easy stitch and very cute. All I have left is the border, so I imagine I’ll get done by tonight.

Ball-JarBeen thinking about my next project, an experiment that has been bobbing around in the back of my mind since before Thanksgiving. I’ve been saving several Ball half pint glass jars with widemouth lids which I hope to turn into simple little pincushion jars by adding some stitched padded inserts to the tops.

The band openings are 3″ wide, so I used MacStitch to edit an existing chart from my stash to fit. I certainly have plenty of scrap material on hand to choose from and I’ve left one of the jars out on a side table as a reminder, hoping that I will get started as soon as the mood strikes me. I’m starting with a very simple design at first, to see if I like the idea, in which case I may try something more ambitious later on.

cross stitch

Done, but not quite

IMG_7166I completed stitching The Sampler Girl “Christmas Bells” mini-pillow before starting on “Gingerbread Cookie,” but right now it’s just sitting in my flat pile because I haven’t yet decided how I want to finish it. Or, as I like to say, it needs more thinking about.

Some of my projects take a lot of thinking about before they get “done.” For example, the completed sampler on the bottom of the pile in this photo has been sitting around since 2009. Good grief! I’d wanted to get it professionally framed, but there’s no money in the kitty for that, so instead I decided I should just deconstruct an old frame to create a new one. Somehow I’ve just never quite gotten around to doing that. Hey, it’s only been six years. Funny how long it seems to take me to get around to things these days.