Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Scrapping Stitches

Saturday, November 29th, 2014

While awaiting my flight at Dulles International Airport in D.C., I had time to open and play with the Little Feet Digital Designs contribution to the Creative Christmas Bundle. It’s a digital kit for scrapbooking—my first one!

I confess I’ve wanted to see and play with a scrapbooking kit, either digital or paper, for a while now, what with hanging out with scrappers and paper crafters. The kit contains a number of file folders with a gazillion “papers” and “embellishments” and “masks.”

Digi-scrapped embroidery

The Funk & Weber Silent Night pattern embellished with digital scrapbooking bits.

“What are those?” you ask.

They’re images in PNG format so they can have transparent backgrounds. This enables users to layer them on each other and personal photos to create interesting and sometimes complex pictures. This is digital scrapbooking, and I’m using it to make interesting digital images of my needlework that I can then use in holiday cards, letters, video, and to share online, etc.

I can also print the scrapped embroidery I create, embellish the printed paper with stitches, and use them as ornaments. There’s something crazy that appeals to me about going from embroidery to paper and then back to embroidery. In the picture above, I envision the flower and leaves in the lower right corner embellished with stitches and beads.

Janet Carr is the designer behind Little Feet Digital Designs. In addition to image goodies, she offers some great photography tips including the following:

  • Top 10 tips for better holiday photos
  • 13 Tips for using angles to add impact to your photos
  • Photo prompts

These are intended for scrappers and general crafters, but many of the tips can be applied to photographing embroidery, tips like shooting close up, at angles, and without a flash indoors, if you can swing it.

“That’s lovely, Jen,” you say, “but you lost me at ‘PNG format’ and ‘layer.’”

Digi-scrapped embroidery

Silent Night again embellished with digital scrapbooking. Can you imagine this as a Christmas card? I can!

I hear you. While I’m not a scrapper, I have been playing with digital images for years and know my way around PhotoShop. But if you aren’t familiar with image editing, this is where Melissa Shanhun comes in. Melissa is the Queen of Digital Scrapbooking HQ, where she teaches digi-scrapping with PhotoShop Elements, a smaller, easier, cheaper version of PhotoShop.

Melissa’s contribution to the Bundle is a collection of 31 layouts along with another digital kit (we know what those are now, right?) as well as samples to look at for ideas and inspiration and video tutorials to help us use them. Ding-ding-ding! That’s the ticket right there!

“Again, Jen, that’s lovely,” you say (you are so polite and patient), “but I don’t have PhotoShop Elements.”

That’s okay. Adobe offers a 30-day free trial of the software. Melissa will tell you how to access it. This way, you can try it out, put together some cool holiday images, and see if it’s something you’d like to buy. I recently saw that Costco had the PSE program for sale for $50, which is the lowest I’ve ever seen.

And that’s my latest adventure with the Creative Christmas Bundle, on sale now through December 1.

Janet’s kits and tips and Melissa’s kit and video workshop are just two of the fifteen products in the Bundle. You can see the complete contents and get your own Bundle here.

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Creative Christmas Bundle + Contest!

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

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!


Category Deals & Steals, News | Tags:

Stitch in Alaska, August 2015

Monday, November 10th, 2014

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 Book Giveaway

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

Sellers Publishing is giving one of our readers a copy of Tone Rorseth’s new book: Felt So Good. I reviewed the book here last week.

Sellers Publishing offers calendars, greeting cards, and illustrated books designed to “help people enjoy their lives, plan their lives, communicate and congregate.” You can order Felt So Good directly from the publisher.

Tone Rorseth

Tone Rorseth

Tone Rorseth is a jewelry and accessories designer as well as a photo stylist for various interior design magazines. She graduated from the Beckmans School of Design in Stockholm, Sweden. Tone graciously agreed to a chat here in Funk & Weber World—in English, which is not her native language, so already I’m impressed. Let’s meet Tone.

Section break

Meet Tone

Jen: You wrote another book called Making Beautiful Jewelry which includes beading and other crafty techniques. In Felt So Good, you sew, embroider, felt wool, and more. You’re a versatile crafter. Give us a brief history of your crafting life.

Tone: I love to draw! That’s where it all started, I drew all the time as a kid. For a while I worked as an illustrator for magazines. So I often first draw what I want to create in different materials…phone clotter! You can´t leave a paper on my desk without me starting scribbles on it….

Also, I have always been into detail. I like to dig in to a work and see it kind of grow and turn out to be something beautiful. And I love embroidering on different materials, especially on wool!

When going to design school, I found fashion designs fun, but jewelery design even more fun, and it was a quicker procedure to make new designs…so I have made a lot of jewelry in different materials. And sewing I had learned from my mom, but I am very impatient, and want quick results—maybe that´s why I love these small, do-it-in-an-hour projects in wool/felt!

Jen: In coming up with projects for this book, were there any surprises or disasters?

Tone: Hmm, I actually don´t remember…I did the designs/work in 2011-12. I guess I did some designs that didn’t go so well, but I only remember all the new ideas I got from things that didn´t come out the way I wanted…. But the book is not what I planned from the beginning…a lot changed during the journey!

Jen: Yes! I love that: “I only remember all the new ideas I got from things that didn’t come out the way I wanted.” Failure = New Ideas + Opportunities.

In the Acknowledgements, you thank Mom Anne for sewing help. Did the two of you make all the projects in the book? How long do you think that took?

Pillow embellished with felt flowers

The felt flowers on this pillow are embellished with blanket stitch, running stitch, and other decorative embroidery.

Tone: No, I did most of the sewing myself, but I was on a week vacation with my mom and my aunt and I brought some work just to be finished in time, and then she helped me sewing some things, for example the pillow with flowers…that took some hours….

Jen: And it’s beautiful! It’s one of my favorite projects in the book.

Tone: You asked how long time it took to make all the projects…oh, that’s hard to say. Some I have had in my head many years, and some I really had to push out from nowhere cause I had to be finished in a couple of days, for the photo shoots and so on.

Jen: What role has family played in your crafting life?

Tone: Both my parents are creative in different ways. My mom worked in a fashion store, she sewed our clothes when we were kids. She always inspired me to draw, make things, do something with my hands. My dad is now retired but had his painting company. I saw his wish to always fix and repair things; not much was too hard to fix yourself!

Jen: What a crafty family! Such self-sufficiency.

One of my favorite things to do is combine different crafts, like wireworking and embroidery or decoupage and embroidery or felt and embroidery. What are some crafts you like—or would like—to combine?

Tone: Wool+embroidery (of course) and felt, embroidering with beads and paljettes (?) big stitching embroidery on nice nature paper, make holes in hard plastic and do big stitching.

Jen: “Paljettes,” to the best of my knowledge, are what I know as “sequins.”

I, too, imagine doing giant embroidery on something like hard plastic with holes drilled in it. Every time I wander through Home Depot with my builder husband, I see large materials on which I might stitch. One of these days, we need to do this!

So you embroider.

Tone: Yes, I like embroidering as well. Not too complicated! But I often do it in a punk style, not the way it is supposed to be done. I just can´t follow a pattern all the way; I kind of need to do a little bit my own way…. I got a big bag of 100 different colors of embroidery yarn, threads, and so on from my husband’s grandmother, and I just love to make different things from it, and that also reminds me of that beautiful person she was (his grandmother).

dog sweather, slippers, arm warmers

Three projects from Felt So Good, by Tone Rorseth.

Rapid-fire Round. Don’t think too hard about these.

Name 3 of your favorite crafting techniques (Remember, we’re embroiderers here!):
Needlefelting, embroidering with beads, sequins, thick threads

Name 3 favorite craft materials (wool counts only as one):
Wool/felt, silk, cotton to work on

Name 3 favorite kinds of projects (holidays, accessories, pillows, hats, home decor, etc.):
Home decor, accessories, small presents

If you could have just one color of felt to work with for the rest of your life, what color would it be?
Light grey (the one that looks most natural, with small different grey fibers in it)

You must combine felt and a car tire for a craft project. What do you make?
Oh, what a great combination! I would like to make a low seat (puff) in the living room. A thick layer of felted wool as a round “pillow” in the middle (with a round plate in wood under). In two colors, small rounded dots.

Jen: Ooooo—I love the detail: two colors and dots!

Have you ever sheered a sheep?
No, not yet, only watched.

What’s your crafting code name? (Knotty KNatalie, Felt Sew Fine . . .)
I don´t think I have one, maybe something to figure out…:)

Jen: Well, folks, we can’t let Tone leave here without a crafty code name, so that’s going to be the theme of our contest.

Win a copy of Felt So Good

Acorn Heart Wreath project from Felt So Good

I love the addition of brightly colored wool to acorn caps in this wreath.

Want a chance to win a copy of Felt So Good? All you have to do to enter the contest is answer one simple question:

What should Tone’s crafty code name be?

Answer that question in the comments below, and you’ll be entered in the drawing to win a copy of Felt So Good. Don’t think you have to be brilliant or hilarious here—though you certainly can be. If you find you’re panicking from the pressure of such a lofty question, propose one of these for a code name: Woolbur, Felticity, Fiber Fan Girl, or how about Fiber-My-Gal-ia. See? Anything goes.

We’ll consult the wisdom of the Random Number Generator next week to select the winner.

The comment form is here.

I look forward to seeing your answers!

Thank you, Tone, for chatting with us. I hope we come up with a code name you like.

Tone’s Books

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!


Category Deals & Steals, News | Tags:

Book Review: Felt So Good

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

Felt So Good, written by Swedish designer Tone Rorseth and published by Sellers Publishing, is a new book with over 70 wool and felt projects. I received a copy gratis from the publisher to review here, and they are offering a second book to one of our readers, so look for a contest next week.

“Where’s the embroidery?” you might be asking. Fair question, given that this is an embroidery blog. There’s some in the book, but with this book in the hands of an embroiderer, there could be heaps more. Felt projects lend themselves to embroidery. You know how I love to marry different crafts: This one’s a perfect match.

The book includes the usual felting techniques:

  • needle felting
  • wet felting
  • washing-machine felting (fulling) of wool garments

You may be familiar already with these techniques; many independent needlework shops carry felting tools and supplies. If you’re not familiar with them, they’re delightfully easy to learn: Basic instructions are on page 7. Yep, one page. Half a page, really. If, like me, you learn by doing, these instructions will get you going. If you prefer more in-depth instructions, you’ll have to look at other books or search here on the Web.

Alphabet and flower patterns

Felt So Good contains traceable patterns throughout the book and collected in the back.

The book is more project oriented (there are over 70 of them!) than instruction oriented. Projects begin on page 8 and continue to page 120 where the book ends with 19 pattern pages, acknowledgements, and the index.

Many projects are super simple, able to be completed in one sitting or over a weekend, and appropriate for kids and crafting beginners.

Barrettes decorated with felt animal heads

Hair clips with fun felt critters. How about making aliens or monsters?

  • woven-felt containers
  • felt circle mobiles
  • puzzle piece coasters
  • star coasters
  • star garlands
  • braided headbands

Even the more complex projects can be tackled by adult beginners and more experienced young crafters.

  • laptop cover
  • cell phone case
  • chair and barstool covers
  • pillows
  • lampshade
  • purse
  • glove cuffs
Pillow embellished with felt flowers

The felt flowers on this pillow are embellished with blanket stitch, running stitch, and other decorative embroidery.

Projects like the flower pillow, hats, and slippers use blanket-stitched edges and simple decorative embroidery, but further embroidery can be added to every single project. Felt is a great ground fabric for embroidery.

With so many projects illustrated, it’s not surprising that the book generates a bunch of other ideas: I know many crafters look at a project and get several ideas for altering or taking it further. Sometimes one project will trigger an idea for something else entirely. I love that, don’t you?

Here are some of my favorite projects from the book:

Acorn Heart Wreath project from Felt So Good

I love the addition of brightly colored wool to acorn caps in this wreath.

Acorn Wreath Heart: Stuffing acorn caps with brightly colored balls of wool roving makes a charming and cheerful decoration. Can you think of other ways to use stuffed acorn caps? We don’t have oak trees in Alaska. Can you think of something else I might stuff instead? I can!

Felt gift wrap and trim

Felt gift wrap with pom-pom ribbon.

Felted Gift Wrapping: I love everything about this project just the way it is—and it’s gray! With bright colors and added embroidery, well, it’s something I can see doing over and over. The yarn-and-wool-ball ribbons are fun, and I can imagine them as garlands, maybe wrapped around a tree like popcorn strings. Oooo, how about wool balls on a wonky pearl thread?

A felt cube, like an ottoman

A cube large enough to sit on or use as a table.

Square Floor Pillow: I love Tone’s suggestion for how to stuff this floor pillow—a tightly packed stack of newspapers. However, in my world, newspapers are hard to come by while wood scraps are abundant, so I think my floor pillow innards will be wood. Best of all, I envision the five visible sides of the cube as backgrounds for embroidery pieces. What about a smaller cube on a lazy susan as an embroidery display? Or a smaller cube toy? Oh, the possibilities!

And then there are the hat decorations, the necklace, the cuffs, the barrettes, and the napkin ring. I want to make and embroider them all.

I find this book inspiring, which is a big part of why I have craft books. There are projects I’d like to do in the book, but, perhaps more importantly, the book spawns new ideas, and you know how I love ideas. It’s a well-made book, and the pictures are gorgeous. That makes sense: Tone is a also a photo stylist for interior design magazines. (Ah-HA!) If you want to take better photos of your embroidery, notice how the projects are displayed in the photos in this book.

Do you craft with felt or embroider on felt? Do any of the projects here inspire you?

Would you like to add this book to your library? Remember, we’re giving one away next week! You’ll have to leave a comment to enter the contest next week, so why not practice and leave one now?

Buy Felt So Good from an independent book seller.

Get Felt So Good from Powell’s Books.

Order Felt So Good from Amazon.

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


Category Deals & Steals, Ideas, News | Tags: