It’s Back: The Creative Christmas Bundle!

It’s back! The Creative Christmas Bundle is back for Christmas In July!

Christmas In July Bundle SaleGet crafty now so you can relax this Christmas: The Creative Christmas Bundle contains 15 crafty offerings from 15 crafty designers—including moi!

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Note: This is the same Bundle that we sold in November 2014; this is not a new Bundle. If you bought one in November, get it out! If you missed it in November, grab it now because it’s going away after the 13th. Having it earlier in the year gives us more time to make good use of it—and dog knows I need the extra time!

 

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!) – Two Silhouette cross-stitch patterns

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

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.

Overlays

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 Christmas In July Bundle

Christmas In July Bundle SaleThis barely scratches the surface of what’s included in this Creative Christmas Bundle. Head over to the Scrapbook Bundles website for more info and to grab your Christmas in July bundle. You have just three days to scoop up this deal: The sale runs through July 13th.

Treat yourself with this Bundle O’ Fun, then treat family and friends with Creative Christmas cards, gifts, calendars, and more.

Want to see my favorite project so far from the Bundle? Check it out.

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

Creative Christmas In July

P.S. (That stands for prescript instead of postscript in this case): There’s a contest with a prize at the end of this post.

Christmas In July Blog Hop

If you Hopped here, welcome! If you’re a regular, or if you got here by any other means, welcome to you, too!

Is your Inbox brimming with Christmas In July sales and events? Mine is.

Christmas In July Bundle SaleIf yours isn’t, maybe I can help: Creative Christmas Bundle is on sale again—ever so briefly—this weekend. You might remember it from last November.

As much as I prefer to shun trends and bandwagons like Christmas In July (“everybody’s doing it” is, for me, a strong reason to not do it), I can’t deny that now might be a good time to give a thought to the holiday that looms just five months away, especially if you hope to have a handmade holiday.

To help you get started, if you haven’t already, you should check out the July–December “Get It All Done” Holiday Checklist. I think it’s billiant—and I am in no way responsible for its existence. It includes a month-by-month checklist of things we can do to knock out the fun, crafty things we always want to do but rarely find the time to do once November and December roll around.

In addition to being a great reminder tool, the checklist has some great ideas, like picking up stocking stuffers during school-supply sales in August and September and making gifts from garden and farmer’s market goodies that are available now.

And then it’s time to get started stitching and crafting. Stitching, especially, because stitching is slow work.

Silent Night and The Night Before Christmas pattern cover

 

If you’re new to stitching on dark fabrics, or if you’re new to stitching on linen or other evenweave fabrics, or if you’re a scrapper who’s new to embroidery altogether, don’t sweat it! I’ve put together some resources to get you going on the two cross stitch pieces included in the Bundle.

Christmas In July Stitching Resources

Brand new to cross stitching?
A great place to start is our How to Cross Stitch video.
If you aren’t sure how to read the pattern chart, check out How to Read a Cross Stitch Pattern.

Never stitched on linen or another evenweave?
Well, for starters, you can stitch these patterns on Aida or needlepoint canvas.
Or check out our tutorial on Stitching Over Two Threads.
If I lost you at “Aida,” or “canvas,” or “evenweave,” take a peek at Embroidery Fabrics 101 and Embroidery Fabrics 102.

Never stitched on dark fabric?
There are definitely some ways to make it easier. Take a look at How to Stitch on Dark Fabrics.

Never made a French Knot?

I happen to love them. Here’s how I make French knots.

Not sure how to handle isolated stitches?
Yeah, those can be tricky, but I can help; I’ve experimented with different solutions, including a fairly nutty one. Check out our Isolated Stitches tutorial, which is just after the French knot tutorial.

Now what?
Now you frame the things or sew them into a tote or on a jacket. Very soon, we’ll have a DIY Framing class available.

And then you take a photo and scrap that photo of your gorgeous embroidery into your holiday card!

Psst, experienced stitchers! That is the part for you. Up there. That link. Click it. This bundle is full of paper crafting, digital scrapbooking, and non-needleworky things, but they can work well with embroidery, and it might be a fun way to expand your crafty horizons.

If you have any questions about the patterns or stitching them, I’m here to help. Give me a shout at mail AT funkandweber DOT com.

Digi-scrapped embroidery

 

The Contest

As before, Lisa, the ringmaster of this Christmas In July Bundle circus, is giving away a Bundle to a random Blog Hop commenter. Check out what’s in this Bundle, and then leave a comment here about what class or project you’re eager to dive into first.

Visit the other posts on the Hop and leave comments on them for more chances to win.

SB Bundles Blog – Blog Hop Time!

Melissa Shanhun – Your December Solution

Cara Vincens – Send those Christmas cards this year

Alison Day – Pocket Page December Daily

Lisa Harris – The Christmas in July Bundle Blog Hop

Beth Soler – Get those photos scrapped quickly and easily from your iPhone

Happy Hopping!

Wonky Pearls * How to Use Them

I love making pearl threads from six-strand threads, which are an embroidery staple. It allows me to have pearls in any of the fun hand-painted, dyed, or overdyed threads. That’s especially handy if I want to match the six-strand floss with the pearl, but it’s also nice to have all those interesting threads available in different weights.

Assorted handmade pearl threads, wonky pearls on the right.

Assorted handmade pearl threads, wonky pearls on the right.

I often use the finer pearls for stitching and the heavier ones for edge stitches and finishing. The heavier threads are strong and durable.

Two-color, handmade pearls are used for the tag holders, running stitch, and edge stitch

Two-color, handmade pearls are used for the tag holders, running stitch, and edge stitch

Handmade wonky pearl by Funk & Weber Designs

A wonky pearl thread makes a nice friendship bracelet, too.

Making traditional pearls is ever so useful, but it’s also just the beginning of what is possible. By adding specialty threads—metallics, fuzzy threads, ribbons, etc.—we wind up with some wildly interesting threads.

And we can keep going, combining handmade pearl threads for heavier and more interesting threads and cords, aka Wonky Pearls.

At this point, the wonky pearls can take on a life of their out, outside embroidery. They look great as ribbons for packages or wrapped around a wrist as a friendship bracelet.

But what can they do for your embroidery? They’re probably too big to pull through the fabric for regular stitching.

Three ways to use wonky pearls in embroidery

1. Couching

Couch the wonky pearl to the fabric surface. Couching a thread is a great way to create smooth curves in normally boxy counted thread embroidery. It can be a fun way to outline a shape.

2. Trims and Hangers

Ornaments, fobs, standups, etc. often have a trim around the edge masking a seam. This is a perfect place for wonky pearls. If you’re using twisted cord, stop! Wonky pearls won’t untwist when you let go of them, so they’re much easier to work with.

Couching handmade pearl thread trim over a seam.

Couching handmade wonky pearl thread trim over a seam.

3. Bookmark Tails

If you make book thongs or ribbon-style bookmarks, wonky pearls are a fun alternative to ribbon. I like combining several interesting threads—wonky pearl plus individual strands of Fuzzy Stuff, chenille, rickrack, etc.—to make a tail or connect two bits of embroidery for a book thong. I will braid them together very loosely so that they hang together and intermingle.

Wonky Pearl in Book-Thong String

The large green wonky pearl is loosely braided with Fuzzy Stuff, a heavy metallic, and simple pearl on this book thong.

Have you made wonky pearls yet? How do you use them or plan to use them?

Bookmark Donations*Huzzah!

I put out a call in the Nutsletter for help with bookmark donations, and generous stitchers across the globe got busy.

Stitching for Literacy, hand-stitched bookmarks donated to Mountain View Elementary School

Hand-stitched bookmarks delivered to Mountain View Elementary School in Anchorage, Alaska.

Arctic Needle Karen got the first batch of 70 bookmarks out the door to Mountain View Elementary before I even got to see them! Bummer for me, but hooray for Karen and all you quick stitchers who came through so we could continue this beloved tradition for the sixth year . . . I think. I believe the kids who were kindergarteners when we first started donating bookmarks to Mountain View were this year’s graduating fifth graders. How flipping cool is that?!

Cross Stitch Bookmarks, Stitching For Literacy

Cross stitch bookmarks

Got Questions? pattern

Tilt the embroidery to read the answer to the question.

I promised a free digital bookmark pattern to everyone who donated a bookmark or two or twelve. I selected the Got Questions? puzzle bookmark, but if you’d like a different one from our arsenal of digital bookmark patterns, say the word.

I sent those patterns out a week or so ago, so if you haven’t gotten yours, check your SPAM folder or let me know.

Ca’Trena, if you haven’t gotten yours, Karen has it.

Pamela in Japan, I need your email addy! Send it to mail AT funkandweber DOT com.

Cross Stitch Bookmarks, Stitching For Literacy

More cross stitch bookmarks

Yes-yes-yes, we are still collecting bookmarks! And yes-yes-yes, you will still get a free digital bookmark pattern if you donate a bookmark or two or twenty.

Hardanger Bookmarks, Stitching for Literacy

Hardanger bookmarks

If you are a librarian an you would like to receive bookmarks for event prizes, give me a shout. We have awesome stitchers willing to stitch, and I’m more than happy to collect and distribute.

Handmade Fabric Bookmarks, Stitching for Literacy

Handmade fabric bookmarks

We got some cleverly finished bookmarks that I will share separately. Remember, if you want finishing ideas and/or instruction, we have several resources.

Thanks heaps for coming through with bookmarks in our time of need, and please keep ’em coming. It’s exciting to share the joy, beauty, and wonder of both embroidery and reading.

Brilliant Ideas for Recycling Embroidery

Embroidered flowers on a hook bookmark.

A bit of embroidery from a handkerchief stitched by my grandmother that I recycled into a bookmark for my father.

After the post about recycling family heirlooms, I received further Brilliant Ideas from fellow Nuts, Judy and Angi.

Judy’s Brilliant Idea

Judy has a collection of hankies from her great-grandmother, grandmother, mother, and great-aunt and a tie collection from her dad. We e-talked about a skirt made out of men’s ties and the possibilities for bags and purses. Judy’s heirloom-recycling brainstorm continued with these great ideas:

I’ve seen some crazy quilts that have used ties. Don’t know how well that would hold up under laundering, however. Another thought: the ties could be used for a pinwheel-type throw pillow.

As far as the hankies are concerned, there are any number of things that can be done with them. If they have crocheted lace edges, you could make a decorative flap on a pocket, or adorn the top flap of a purse, cut and sew them together to make a tissue box cover. I’ve seen them draped over a curtain rod to make a valance, which I wouldn’t do with just the hankies by themselves, but incorporate with other material and use as a decorative border of some sort. They could be used to make doll clothes; they would make a pretty dress. They could be incorporated into a quilt.

A friend of mine recently made a quilt of old T-shirts that she and her husband had collected from their travels. The front part of the T-shirt that had “Alaska” or wherever they had been was cut and made the center of the block, bordered by other material. They have it hanging on a stairwell wall. It’s a most beautiful display of their travels. I thought that was such a great idea. Much better than keeping the shirts tucked away in drawers or in the closet!

I’m also going nuts lately with recycling possibilities. Taffeta material used to line old jackets can be used for purse lining. The old jackets can be cut up to make the purse. Men’s shirts make a good purse lining, too. And, of course, never throw away the buttons!

Angi’s Brilliant Idea

Some years ago my friend and I sent cross stitched cards for Christmases and birthdays to our friends Bea and Pete in Florida. We got to visit them one year and found that Bea had been cutting down the cards and placing them into multi-section photo frames along with photos so that she could display them all year round. They looked great and made us feel our cards and wishes were very much appreciated. One day I plan to do something similar with some of the ones I’ve been sent.

Your Turn

If these don’t get your creative juices flowing, it’s time to sit down with a beverage; clearly, you’re low on fluids.

Have you recycled embroidery? Do you have ideas for doing so? Tell us, please. And if you have pictures, send them along, too. We want to see! Send them to mail AT funkandweber DOT com.