It’s Here: The Creative Christmas Bundle

It’s here! Get crafty this Christmas: The Creative Christmas Bundle contains 15 crafty offerings from 15 crafty designers—including moi!

Participants and Projects

  • Lisa Harris - Santa’s Helpers Workshop – quick, inexpensive gifts
Creative Christmas Bundle Project by Lisa Harris

Ten paper-based holiday gift projects which can be combined with embroidery in countless ways.

  • Melissa Shanhun - December Scrapbook Album Template/Sketch Kit with Digital Supplies, inspiration, and tutorials (Melissa is a PhotoShop Elements superstar)
  • Jen Wright - 12-Day Advent Envelope Project Tutorial with Bonus Advent Cards
  • Kristie Sloan - Art Journaling Basics online class
  • Beth Soler - Cricut Cut Files/phone tutorial
  • Carole Cassel - Calendar Making Class
  • Alison Day - December Daily Cut Files and video
  • Margareta Carlsson - Digital pack of holiday pocket page cards and photo overlays, everything both for digital scrapbooking and as printable pdf files for hybrid scrapbooking
Upcycled Christmas decorations and gifts by Gina Zee

I can think of loads of ways to add embroidery to these projects. I especially love the wreath project and can envision it as a display for stitched ornaments.

  • Cara Vincens - Printable Christmas Cards
  • Connie Hanks - Printable Advent Calendar w/activity list
  • Gina Zee - Upcycled Christmas Workshop
  • Mary Moseley - Photo Gifts for the Holidays
  • Janet Carr - Be Jolly digital scrapbooking kit
  • Karen Fitting - Flower Calendar with Bonus Tutorial on tips for using Artisan beyond scrapbooking
  • Jen Funk Weber (Hey, that’s me!) - Silhouette cross-stitch patterns

All of these projects are digital downloads available immediately when you purchase. Many include bonuses and coupons, as well.

Creative Christmas Bundle Sale

What is this stuff?

This Bundle contains all sorts of craft goodies, including classes; project tutorials; printable cards; printable calendars; family activities, digital files and embellishments—oh, and a couple of cheery, counted cross-stitch patterns!

Art Journaling Basics with Kristie Sloan

I’m in this class!

You know what cross-stitch patterns are. That’s what we do here—and don’t worry; that’s not going to change.

You may also know what art journaling is. I started an embroidery journal some time ago but set it aside and haven’t gotten back to it. I plan to use it in this class.

I’m sure you also have a sense of what the calendar-making classes and projects are about, as well as Santa’s Workshop (making quick, crafty gifts), upcycling, and printable Christmas cards.

But what are “cut files,” “digital and hybrid scrapbooking kits,” and “overlays”? Are they of any use to embroiderers?

Of course! There aren’t many things that can’t be used with embroidery.

Cut Files

Cut files contain motifs that can be printed, transferred to fabric, and used as embroidery patterns. Some of the larger motifs can be used to make frame windows for ornaments, cards, bookmarks, and doo-dads. Cut the windows out of Ultrasuede or felt or handmade paper or something else, and sandwich embroidery between the window and a backing.

Scrapbook Layouts and Kits

Digital scrapbooking kits contain layouts that scrappers use to set up pages of pictures, embellishments, and journaling in fun, attractive ways. Embroiderers can embroider the layouts, using partial crescent stitches as photo corners to attach photos to the fabric. We can use the layouts to record and show off images of our embroidery projects. We can print the kit embellishments on paper or fabric and stitch them partially or entirely.


Overlay on digital images

The red tree and text is an overlay image from Margareta Carlsson which I added to my own background and embroidery images. Cool, eh?

Overlays are digital images that can be layered over other digital images, adding decorative motifs and words, blending the whole into a more complex and interesting image. We can add overlays to pictures of our embroidery for cards, other printables, and to share on social media.

The Creative Christmas Bundle

This barely scratches the surface of what’s included in this Creative Christmas Bundle. We’ve been working for some time to put it together, and now at last it’s time to get creative and crafty. I’ll share some of my adventures here between now and Christmas, but you have just a week to scoop up your own Bundle. This sale runs through December 1.

Treat yourself with this Creative Christmas Bundle, then treat family and friends with Creative Christmas cards, gifts, calendars, and more. See further info here.

Creative Christmas Bundle Sale

How would you marry some of these digital and paper projects with embroidery?

Jane Nicholas Stumpwork Class

In October, Arctic Needleworkers hosted Jane Nicholas in Anchorage for a 2-day stumpwork class titled “Crocus, Clover, and Jewel Beetle.” Stumpwork is a style of raised and padded embroidery, originating in England in the second half of the seventeenth century.

Jane Nicholas

Jane Nicholas

About Jane

I first met Jane at the Anchorage public library, through her books:

I’ve signed her books out many times and pored over them. She’s authored seven books, including a new one that just came out this year on butterflies and moths. She continues to study stumpwork and goldwork and develop techniques to use in modern stitchery.

Jane lives in New South Wales, Australia. She studied to be a science teacher, but her love of embroidery inspired her to open a sewing shop and then design, teach, and write about stumpwork. Her husband, John, works with her, assembling kits, filling orders, and tending to endless business details.

Jane uses her science background in her designs: She studies plants and insects to create authentic, lifelike pieces and patterns. The markings on the beetle wings and the veins in the crocus petals are what we see on the real things.

The Class

Stitchers setting up for class.

Ann, Marta, Anne, and Chuck (our manbroiderer) mounting the muslin and silk.

While I’ve read about stumpwork and studied the pictures in Jane’s books over and over, I never actually got off my duff to try it until a few weeks ago. We cut our lodge caretaking short so I could attend this class; that’s how eager I was to participate.

Our small group of ten enthusiastic stitchers turned out in fine form, spending eight hours stitching each day, and still having energy to yammer and laugh over long dinners. While the group gathers weekly for informal stitch nights and monthly for guild meetings, I live too far away to attend regularly. It was such a treat to stitch with friends: to share tools with Ca’Trena and Ann, to be inspired by Vickie’s bullion knots, to trade frames I never use for ones I will, and to supplement my stash with supplies from Karen. I envy you stitchers who get together regularly. What fun!

Magnifiers for embroidery.

Arctic Needle Karen with her magic embroidery glasses.

The class pace was quick: It was sometimes hard to keep up, but Jane was great about repeating instructions and tending to individual needs. The goal was to stitch a small part of each section to learn the process and techniques, and then finish the project on our own— or during Thursday night stitching at Ann’s.

Would you believe I’ve never done a quilter’s knot? It’s true. When embroidering, I rarely (read: never) start threads with a knot. For sewing, I learned a quick, easy, very messy knot when I was a kid, and, along with a tidier surgeon’s knot, it’s all I use. The messy knot kind of horrified Jane—and it’s much too big for this work—so she showed me the quilter’s knot, which is great to know. Such a dainty little thing.

I also learned a new pattern transfer technique, a supremely clever way to sink thick threads and wire through fabric, uses for copic markers, and lots of little nuggets that expand my stitchy knowledge and options. Great fun, all of it!

Embroiderers in class.

Vickie, Meg, and Luda stitching away.

The Project

Class project in progress.

Crocus, Clover, and Jewel Beetle class with Jane Nicholas. See the raised petal on the purple crocus bud? The pink “bud” is three layers of felt to pad what will be a clover. The beetle still needs wings.

The Crocus, Clover, and Jewel Beetle project is small, and the stitches are teeny-tiny. My eyes were tired at the end of the first day, but I pushed through the homework so we’d have a sample ready for a new step and technique the next day. By the end of Day 2—especially after threading clear, nylon thread into a size 12 sharp needle (no needle threader, either)—my eyes set themselves on the distant mountains and refused to come back.

The piece is stitched on silk backed with muslin. No counting threads here. I haven’t done a lot of surface embroidery, and none recently, so it was fun to work on a different material. The stitches are all familiar (stem, split, chain, overcast, and buttonhole stitches mostly), but the application is sufficiently different as to be interesting and challenging. There’s an evenness that comes with being able to count threads that is harder to achieve (if, indeed, you want it) with surface embroidery. On the other hand, the loose weave of countable fabrics sometimes makes it hard to put a thread precisely where you want it, and that’s not a problem here.

Detached crocus petals

Detached crocus petals (well, they will be when they’re cut out) that will be applied to the surface in a way that allows them to remain raised.

The detached pieces are stitched on muslin then cut out and attached to the silk piece so they are raised off the surface. I love these raised elements. I wonder how we might use them with counted thread techniques. Or would that be weird? Of course I want to try it. Can they be used to create a puzzle somehow? What else can I do with stumpwork?

I’m still working on the piece. I just ripped all the bullion knots from my first clover attempt: The knots were too short and skinny. I’m taking a knitting-to-gauge approach to getting the proper size knot. I can’t do it with the recommended needle and number of wraps, so I’m using a larger needle and more wraps. I may rip the second attempt too. It’s not awful—the bullion knots are better—but the placement isn’t great. They’re too far apart.

Stitchers working in class.

Ca’Trena and Chuck, Jane in the background. Ca’Trena bravely sat next to sprawling, material-thieving me. Although, being the last to arrive, it’s not as though she had a choice.

I learned something else during this class: I am the Pigpen of stitchers. That shouldn’t surprise me or anyone who knows me, but being in the company of stitchers who take the time to safely stow unused materials in tidy, organized containers slammed the fact home as I worked with all of my supplies scattered about me and then swept them into my open, entirely unorganized canvas bag. Hey, if the materials are to get along on the canvas, they might as well learn to get along in my bag.

I always love learning new techniques and tidbits and then thinking about other ways I might apply them. This class challenged me, and I love a challenge. I’m enjoying the continued work on the project, too. I won’t get it finished before we leave, but I think I have it well enough in hand to be able to git ‘er done when I return. I look forward to seeing what further cool things I can do with these materials and techniques.

Thank you, Karen, Ca’Trena, Anne, Chuck, and everyone else who helped arrange the class. Thank you, Jane for including Alaska on your 2014 US teaching tour.

Have you ever done stumpwork?

What’s something new that has challenged you?

Creative Christmas Bundle + Contest!

Crafty Matchmaking

Snowy aspens

Yeah, this doesn’t go with anything in particular. I just thought the post needed a picture here, and I like this one.

You know all about my matchmaking and how I marry crafts, taking inspiration and techniques from one and introducing them to another.

Well, I’ve been hanging out with scrapbookers and paper crafters for the past year. I know about Washi tape, gelli plates, Project Life, digi files, and cut files (sort of). I see all sorts of possibilities for combining paper crafts, scrapbooking, and stitching.

One of my new crafty-scrappy friends is organizing a super-fun crafty Christmas package. Initially, I expected I’d dance around the fringe, watching and cheering my friends on. As the sole needleworker in the group, I’m on the fringe a lot. Don’t get me wrong, they love me and welcome me (and laugh at my jokes), but I don’t do many of the things they do together: I don’t take the classes they take or attend the events or listen to the podcasts.

But I am part of the Creative Christmas Bundle. They talked me into it. In fact, they thought it was a no-brainer: of course I should participate. “There are stitchers amongst paper crafters,” they assured me. “And there are some who will want to learn.

“It’s not about scrapbooking or paper crafts: It’s about crafting a creative Christmas.”

After serious contemplation and waffling for 2.6 seconds, I was all in.

The Creative Christmas Bundle

Creative Christmas BundleFifteen craft teachers, designers, and bloggers (including me!) have contributed their favorite holiday projects, designs, and classes to make the fun-, idea-, and activity-filled Creative Christmas Bundle. And because every single one of us is an overachiever, there are a gazillion bonuses included and still being added. I’ve added two bonuses, and I still feel like a piker. Hmm . . . what else can I add?

As happens every time creatives collaborate, the ideas and projects grow like zucchini in July, coming on quick and fast, and in a quantity that demands sharing.

  • There is a blog with profiles of the 15 designers.
  • There will soon be podcast interviews. (Mine’s already recorded.)
  • There will be email tips (if you want ‘em, get on the mailing list at the Bundle website).
  • There will be blog posts. (You’re reading one now.)
  • There’s a contest to win a free Creative Christmas Bundle.

And I don’t know what else. I’m having a hard time keeping up.

Bundle Contents

While it’s true that I’m the sole embroidery designer in the group, be aware that “scrapbooking” and “paper crafting” are broad categories, certainly more broad than I understood a year ago. The truth is, these ladies do all sorts of fun, crafty things. Here are just some of the products in the Creative Christmas Bundle:

  • Santa’s Helpers Workshop: quick, inexpensive gifts
  • Printable Christmas Cards
  • Printable Advent Calendar w/activity list
  • 12-Day Advent Envelope Project Tutorial (Printable PDF)
  • Calendar-Making Class
  • Flower Calendar
  • Upcycled Christmas Workshop
  • Cricut Cut Files/phone tutorial
  • Art Journaling Basics online class
  • December Album Template/Sketch kit with digital Supplies, inspiration, and tutorials

and, oh yeah . . .

Silent Night and The Night Before Christmas pattern cover

The pattern cover for the Creative Christmas Bundle patterns.

Without a cutting machine (I’m thinking about getting one), I’m not sure what to do with cut files (I’ll work on it), but I can make use of everything else. I will be all over that art journaling class (Kristie, you’ve been warned!).

The Contest

There’s a ton I want to share about this project—I am having so much fun!—but not all in one post. There is a timely thing, though, that wants attention now: The contest.

Lisa, the Creative Circus Ringmaster, is giving away not one, not two, but three Bundles through a contest on Facebook. I wish I could tell you how it works, exactly—something about sharing the link, which is how social media contests work—but I’m a social media zero. In trying to figure it out so I could share details with you, I think I just entered the contest, which means you’ve got some stiff competition. (Take that!) If I win, we’ll have another contest here to give away my prize. I’m already getting a Bundle. (In that light, my entries are an entry for you. Who knew I was so generous?)

Hand-stitched gift tags

See? Embroidery, paper, and ribbon playing together nicely.

I’m excited to have Funk & Weber patterns in the Bundle, but I’m also excited to explore all the crafty fun the Bundle offers. I’m playing on both sides of this game. (That makes me all-time pitcher or something, right?) I think you’ll like this Bundle, too—especially if you win one of the free ones! If you’ve got a crafty friend who isn’t a stitcher, my patterns in the Bundle could be a way to slip an embroidery suggestion into his/her consciousness. Sneaky you! That’s a big part of what I’m after: The prospect of making new stitchers.

So pop on over to Facebook to enter the contest and stay tuned for more details of this crafty adventure. I’m eager for you to meet my new friends, and I’m looking forward to some crafty matchmaking and stitchy adventures.

What on the (incomplete) list of Bundle contents appeals to you? No, I won’t be hurt if it’s not our patterns. I’ll just assume that’s a given!

Stitch in Alaska, August 2015

What do you get when you combine mountains and glaciers, whales and bears, hiking and rafting, midnight sun and fresh-cooked meals, cozy cabins and fun companions . . . and needlework?
Answer: The trip of a lifetime!

Pederson Lagoon from Kenai Fjords Glacier Lodge

Pederson Glacier and Pederson Lagoon. The view from Kenai Fjords Glacier Lodge. You could be here!

Who: Me, Mike, stitching friends, you?
What: A customized Alaska Wildland Collection tour: spending seven days and six nights visiting all three of AWA’s lodges on the Kenai Peninsula.
When: August 5–11, 2015
Where: Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula. (If you’ve got more time, you can add a trip to Denali to your itinerary. Talk with your reservationist.)
Why: Because Alaska is spectacular—a trip of a lifetime. And what better way to experience it than with fellow stitchers?

Trip Details (and your guide)

As many of you know, I originally came to Alaska to work as a Natural History Guide for Alaska Wildland Adventures (AWA), and I never left. Mike was a natural history guide and a fishing guide on the Kenai River. Read more

Felt So Good Giveaway Winner

Welcome to Crafty Code Name Central!

For a chance to win a copy of the book Felt So Good, by Tone Rorseth, I asked “What should Tone’s crafty code name be?”

This question stumped Tone, so I was eager to see what you would come up with. Here are some of the suggestions:

  • Feltalicious
  • Feltastic
  • Feltin’ Fine
  • Temptation Tone
  • Craft-Tones
  • Feltorian Extraordinaire, with her studio being the Feltorium

Well done, crafty readers! I think we’ve given Tone some good choices or a good place to start. I love the idea of being a “feltorian” and working in a “feltorium.” Can we all be “stitcherians” who work in our “stitchatoriums”? Of course we can!

So which one of you crafty stitcherians wins a copy of Cheryl’s new book to add to the bookshelf in your stitchatorium? We will consult the Random Number Generator.

And the Winner is . . .

Susan Clare

Congrats, Susan! I’m going to need your mailing address, so please send it to me at mail [AT] funkandweber [DOT] com.

Next Question

We’ve got lots of ideas for Tone’s crafty code name. What’s your crafty code name?

I want one, too. What ideas have you got for me?

Get the Book

If you didn’t win the book, you can get a copy in any of these places:

Buy Felt So Good from an independent book seller.

Get Felt So Good from Powell’s Books.

Order Felt So Good from Amazon.

Buy Making Beautiful Jewelry from an independent book seller.

Yep, those are affiliate links. If you choose to use them, thanks!