A Spring Pillow Free Motion Embroidery Applique

Winter is s l o w l y leaving the North. After a week of -20C or lower temps and a wicked wind chill, the snow is finally softening up and there is water dripping from the roof. Yay! Time to spruce up the house with some springy things!  I was in dire need of fresh throw pillows but honestly, they are getting SO expensive to buy new. The last one I bought was $50! I shouldn’t even have bought it – that’s too much for a seasonal pillow. So. I went scrounging around the house and I found a few that were no longer fitting our decor and decided to make them over. The only thing I bought for this project was a stack of quilting fabric for $12.95 and I have lots left over so it will go far.

The first thing I did was plan out a rough layout of how I wanted my design to appear on the pillow. In addition to the quilting fabric I also used some inexpensive muslin that I had on hand. I decided that I wanted a little bunny and a flower so I made up a template. I’ll share those with you at the bottom of this post but they’re nothing fancy – just a bunny shape and a tear drop shape.

I traced my templates onto the fabric with a fabric marker and cut them out. I needed to use two squares to make up the bunny and I sewed them together with a 1/4″ seam allowance on the wrong side and ironed it flat. Then the fun began. I made a simple envelope pillow case with the muslin (you can find a tutorial on how to do that here) and started sewing my applique pieces in place.

If you’re the type of person that needs everything neatly just so then maybe free motion machine embroidery applique isn’t for you. Or maybe it’s just the thing for you to relax and have fun! This was my first time attempting the technique and I have to say that I adore the flexibility of it. It lends itself to a fun, rustic feel and the need for perfection is one I’m happy to shed. Let the creativity flow!

Free motion embroidery is something you can do on any sewing machine as long as you have the ability to lower your feed dogs (those little ridged bits under your presser foot that feed the material along) Once the feed dogs are lowered you can move the fabric this way and that, essentially drawing with your thread!

Were I to do this again (and I absolutely will!) I think I might do a better job of securing the applique pieces to the background fabric with some heat and bond or some spray adhesive. I did end up with a few puckered pieces but they don’t hurt the look of the pillow at all. I think it turned out super cute.

Here is how the pillows look on the back. The other pillow was made from a vintage table cloth that I picked up at the thrift shop with no idea on how I would use it. That was $7 so I suppose you could include it into the costs for this project even though I didn’t specifically buy it for this. You can see here that they are simple envelopes, although, the one with the button has a button because I made the case a little too large. No fear, I just pleated it in and added a button to make up for it. I really like the effect. Honestly you guys, I am learning as I go along with pretty much everything I do. Don’t be afraid to jump in and try things. Most mistakes can be fixed and then you’ll do things differently the next time you try. Fear of ‘not knowing how to do things’ shouldn’t hold you back. It’s just fabric right?

Both pillows will only get better as they’re used and the fabrics wrinkle up – especially the table cloth linen pillow. Wrinkly linens are the best linens. There is a third pillow peeking out from back there but it wasn’t jiving so I didn’t focus on it for photos – I ended up using it out in the living room. It was made using a scrap left over from the bench makeover and some canvas.  Maybe I’ll showcase it on Instagram.

So there you go! I made three pillows with very little money spent (under $20!) and my bedroom is looking ready for spring. YAY SPRING! Here are the downloads for the templates should you want to give it a go too.

 

Vintage Bench – from Boring to Mauve-lous!

Before we moved from Calgary I found this little vintage telephone table. I was so charmed by the shape of it that I snapped it up with intentions of making it sweet again. It was in pretty bad shape. It had a wiggly leg and the upholstery was…ew. But then we got the news that we would be moving and so this project went on the back burner as other things took priority. We moved this bench to BC and into the garage it went.

Now that we’re settled in and the major priority updates to the house are mostly done I had time to focus on making this wee vintage telephone table pretty again. Fun! Home Hardware offered me their Beauti-Tone colour of the year You Look Mauve-lous! and I knew it would be perfect in the colour scheme of our home.

It’s actually very similar to the colour we used in our Master Bathroom Makeover and had I known Beauti-Tone paint was so awesome to work with I’d have used it! Oh hindsight – you are so 20/20.  I had never used paint from Home Hardware before so I was eager to get at it and I was pleasantly surprised with this product!  I might use the rest of the can to repaint the bathroom because I wasn’t happy with the product we used and the coverage is not so great. The colour though, I really am loving it. It’s feminine but not overly so and it had brought our bathroom into a modern age. Okay, on to the makeover!

I used a sponge roller for a smooth finish and a small brush for the hard to reach bits. Two coats was all I needed and I didn’t use primer because I was assured this would work well without it. They did not lie! I chose a trim and door paint for tough coverage and it went on really nicely and bonus – it will suit the bathroom space well too if I do decide to repaint in there.

I ended up replacing the whole seat. It was really gross. So gross. And the foam was falling apart and yet glued on so I couldn’t just remove it – there was no saving it. I had a piece of plywood in the garage that was perfect so I made a brand new seat from the bottom up. The fabric I picked out makes me so stinkin happy – it goes so well with the grey mauve paint!

I did leave some of the imperfections on the piece. There was some missing trim and it’s hard to see but there is a chunk out of the laminate on the table top. Sometimes it’s not about making something perfect – it’s about making it enjoyable again. I am absolutely enjoying this little bench!

This colour goes really well with the other paint colours we have in the home. They’re all grey toned blues so I can use this bench pretty well anywhere. It might bounce around a bit in this home as the urge to swap things up takes over – as it does on occasion!

 

I’m just so pleased with it. I think I paid $30 for her originally. The fabric was $9 including an interfacing which I ironed on. I already had the plywood to replace the seat and I used some aging towels as new padding for the upholstery job. They worked perfectly, there’s just the right amount of softness now. I’d say, all in, this was a $50 bench. She’s totally worth it and it took me hardly any time at all. I think I spent more time taking photos!

DIY on Display!

The fabulous and fun folks at Wayfair issued a challenge for this week and they asked me to create a DIY Wall Art display. So fun! I had free creative range to make whatever I wanted and as I can’t stop thinking of and wishing for spring to arrive I wanted to include a little greenery. As you may know, I’m having a hard time keeping actual plants healthy. The ones I planted last month are doing pretty well except for the cacti. I think they just don’t get enough light here in the north!

This led me to create some unkillable succulents with yarn because that is one crafting material that I hoard in abundance. I made some pompom stones and crocheted up a few succulents and I think the result is pretty fun! Here’s how to make one:

Materials

  • Large embroidery hoop
  • canvas or other material for backing
  • hot glue
  • scissors
  • pen
  • yarn in stone and green shades
  • crochet hook

Method:

First grab your hoop and place it over top of your canvas material. Trace around the outside of the hoop. Cut the canvas out and hot glue it to the back of your hoop. This will make your frame and give you something to glue the yarn stones and plants to.

Then get to work with your yarn. Make pom poms for stones – as many as you like. I used various sizes for interest and I think it works well. All I did was simply wrap yarn around my fingers, I then tied a bit of yarn around and cut the loops but if you have those handy pom pom makers then by all means, use them.

Once you have your yarn elements made, give things a dry run and place them in your frame without glue. When you like the placement begin gluing them in place. You can fill your entire frame or leave some empty space as I did. I liked the way it looked with some negative space too.

Crochet Succulent Patterns:

I chose the string of pearls pattern from HERE

The light green plant is from HERE and

The dark green leaves were just a simple, from my head, triangle shape. I made several triangles and glued them in place in a cluster.

I love the way the string of pearls hang out over the frame but the beauty of these projects is that you can make them anyway you want! I hope this has provided a bit of inspiration for a DIY Wall Hanging. It’s a great way to use up random bits of yarn that you have kicking around!

You could change up the frame too. I happened to have this hoop that was missing it’s inner ring. That made it useless for traditional embroidery but perfect for this wall hanging application. Check out Wayfair for other fantastic frames – a standard photo frame would be fun too! You could glue your bits straight to the cardboard backing and save the glass for something else.

Two Lovey Dovey Embroidery Projects for Valentine’s Day

Never have I ever felt the need to decorate for Valentine’s day but this year the Winter blahs have really kicked me in the rear. Maybe it’s because we are way up here in the North and there hasn’t been much sunshine lately. Maybe it’s because of all the insanity happening in the world and every time I log on I see something even more sad and unbelievable going on. I don’t know, I just felt the need to make something to brighten up our space with colour AND a loving sentiment.

Oh and there was also the opportunity to play with my sewing and embroidery machine. That always makes me happy!

So, here are two lovey-dovey embroidery ideas for you. The one in the hoop is a machine embroidery pattern of my own design that you can download, the wall hanging can be done by hand and you don’t need a sewing machine for it at all (although, I did use mine…because fun.)

 

 

I hope you’ll find some inspiration here to add a bit of love to your home in honour of Valentine’s day. Scroll down to see much MORE love from my fellow Canadian Bloggers – new posts are linked below the image and go live at 5am every day all week long! Muah!

 

Monday

Heart Shaped Pizzas for Valentine’s Day by Jo-Anna of A Pretty Life
Blood Orange Limoncello Cocktail for Valentine’s Day by Tara of Suburble
Ombre Cake Makeover from a Grocery Store Cake by Colleen of Lemon Thistle
Valentine’s Popcorn by Janella of Ma Belle Vie
“Warm Heart” Hand Warmers by Sarah of Flourish & Knot

Tuesday

Valentine’s Day Embroidery Projects by Heather of Home to Heather
Valentine’s Candy Inspired Table Setting by Andrea of Personally Andrea
Valentine Heart Strawberry Pop Tarts by Jen of Kitchen Counter Chronicles
Valentine’s Day Date Night In Gift Basket Idea by Christina of The DIY Mommy
Valentine’s Day Chocolate Chunk Skillet Cookies by Shauna of Satori Design for Living

Wednesday

Felt Valentine’s Day Cards by Alex of Northstory
Lovey Dovey Vegan Chocolate Bark by Joann of Woman in Real Life
Valentine’s Day Wall Hanging by Thalita of The Learner Observer
DIY Valentine String Art by Tash of The Dreamhouse Project
Fluffy Valentine Sugar Cookies by Kendra of Joy In Our Home

Thursday

Easy DIY Valentine’s Wreath by Laurie of VinYet ETC
Raspberry Pie Mousse Cups by Daniela of Lifeovereasy
Valentine’s Day Breakfast by Dannyelle of Life is a Party
Valentine’s Mantel by Jen of Rambling Renovators
Boyfriend Bouquet | Floating Heart Terrarium by Cynthia of Cynthia Zamaria

Friday

Embroidery Hoop Valentine Art by Christine of The DIY Dreamer
“You & Me” Wood Sign by Lindi of Love Create Celebrate
Chocolate and Coconut Coated Heart Mini-Cakes by Jane and Sonja of Sustain My Craft Habit
DIY String Heart Wall Hanging by Melissa of The Sweet Escape
Heart Shaped Marshmallows for Valentine’s Day by Christine of Amidst the Chaos

DIY Valentine’s Embroidery Hoop Art

This was a fun little stitch out for my Brother Embroidery machine! I used to love to do cross stitching by hand, it has such a home spun feel to it. Designing something to replicate the look of hand stitching for machine embroidery was only natural and this Valentine’s day hoop art project was the perfect application for it. Instead of a project that might take a whole evening – this only took a few minutes by machine! I think it’s pretty cute and perfect for a quick gift.

I hand lettered the word ‘love’ on my iPad first and then I imported that image into the design software that Brother Canada kindly sent to me. In PE Design 10 it was pretty easy to trace the shape of the heart and set it to a cross stitch fill. Once that was done I traced the word love, set it to a satin stitch and then I was off to the races!

This design is sized for a 4″x4″ embroidery field and you can stitch it in whichever two colours you like! I think it would be really cute in blues or purples.

When you click the image above your download will start. You’ll get a zip file with multiple file formats so you should be able to find the right one for your machine. I’ve also included an image file just for reference.

These files are available for your personal use. You are free to sell finished projects made with this design however you are not to resell the digital files or reuse in print or online, any images without permission.

 

Get more Valentine’s Ideas!

 

**Thank you to Brother Canada for facilitating this post

DIY Embroidery Wall Hanging

I hope you like this super easy project idea and make a lovey DIY embroidery wall hanging for your home too! It was fun to do and requires no sewing machine, however, I did choose to use mine. You decide which method suits you best. You can also make this in whichever size you want so I’m going to be loosy goosy with measurements here. The size of your project will be determined by the length of the hanging bar at the top. I chose a paint stir stick so that’s how wide I made my banner.

Materials Needed:

  • Canvas
  • Contrasting fabric
  • Thread in desired colour
  • Embroidery floss in desired colour
  • A suitable item to top your banner (I used a paint stir stick)
  • Tapestry needle
  • Buttons
  • Glue (I used a standard glue stick)

Process:

The first thing to determine is what to use for your hanging bar across the top. I used a wooden paint stir stick and I painted it with craft paint. You could use a natural piece of wood, a stick or even a wooden spoon (oh man, that would be cute!)

Once you’ve selected your hanging bar, measure out a piece of canvas that is the same width and the length can be whatever measurement you want for your design – you might want to do a larger heart or a series of different sized hearts. This part is up to you.

Next, I drew a heart on a piece of paper and cut it out. I placed my template on the canvas and made sure I liked the size and shape before using it as a pattern for cutting out my contrasting fabric.

Next I secured the heart to the canvas lightly with some glue so I wouldn’t lose the placement I wanted – you could use dressmaker’s pins if you prefer or any suitable spray adhesive. At this point, hand stitch it in place or use your sewing machine. I wanted to use one of the fun stitches that came programmed into my Brother sewing and embroidery machine so I chose to go that route. A variegated thread made such a fun result with this candlewicking stitch!

Once the heart was sewn on, I worked on the ‘love’. To do this I wrote out my letters on paper and used a pencil to transfer the image onto my canvas. There are several ways to go about this. I found it easy to put the paper template on the window, my canvas over top and just trace the design onto the canvas but you can use graphite transfer paper or create an iron on template if that’s something you’re comfortable doing.

I wanted a simple, rustic look so I didn’t worry too much about having perfect stitches. I just went at it with my needle and thread until I liked the look. There’s not much to fret about here – if you make a mistake, just pull the stitches out and try again. Note, I used all the strands of the embroidery floss together to get this chunky effect.

To hang I simply used my glue stick to attach more embroidery floss and the buttons to my hanging bar and then I glued the embroidered canvas to the back of the bar. Done! I left the edges of the canvas raw to keep things simple.

 

See More Valentine’s Ideas!

 

** Thank you to Brother Canada for facilitating this post by sending me an incredible machine to work on!

Beating the January Blahs

Oh man, I’ve had the January blahs before but I have NEVER had them this badly! It must be to do with the lack of light we have here and it’s compounded by the fact that since we moved up north, I don’t really leave the house that much. I do go pick the kids up from school every day but it’s a max of 10 min that I’m outside and it has been so cold that it’s not really an enjoyable 10 min. It’s started to warm up which was a surprise and I don’t want to sound ungrateful but it’s just made things worse. There is a pile of dirty snow as tall as our 9 year old on our front lawn courtesy of the city grater and everything is a muddy mess! I just want winter to be over but I know we have a long way to go yet. 

I needed some pretty. In a bad way. All the Christmas pretty is packed away and without the tree, things feel well, blah. Straight to the nursery I went and I picked up some plants. I also interrogated the ladies there because I have a pretty long rap sheet of plant murders in my history. They set me up and I feel confident that these ones will live on and cure my January woes! The thrift stop also provided me with a bit of glee. I found these old copper canisters in there which will make perfect homes for my new babies.

For my wee cactus garden I lined the aluminum base of the terrarium with a plastic liner. The nursery ladies said that plants often hate being housed in metal and the liner will protect them. I added some stones for drainage also at their suggestion.

I nestled them in their new home and filled in the spaces with special cactus soil – you guessed it – because the nursery ladies told me so. These guys are supposed to be watered once every three weeks and I have a reminder set in my phone.

Once they were all snuggled in I put the terrarium together and added more stones just to make it look nice. I gave them their first watering and on day two I’m happy to say that they are still alive HAHA. I love that one has a red flower on top – I wonder how long it will bloom for? If anyone knows let me know, I forgot to ask about it.

When it came to the copper pots I realized that they were aluminum on the inside too and that I didn’t have liners. I improvised and layered in two sheets of plastic wrap and a sheet of parchment on top. I figure that it may well break down but it should help until they are big enough to need replanting – if they live that long anyway it will be a miracle.

I liked how the parchment looked so I cut the plastic wrap close to the container and left the parchment sticking up. Cute no? I’m so happy with these and I’m not entirely sure where they will live but for now they are on the kitchen counter.

The potted plants need watering once per week and I did the same rock in the bottom for drainage and filled in with cactus mix – the ladies said that would be just fine. I need to add some more parchment in to the larger pot just for show so it matches the other because I didn’t have enough sticking out for my liking but I can do that whenever.

These plants bring so much life to the house – we didn’t have any at all and taking down the Christmas tree sure made me realize how badly we needed some. It’s going to be a long time until I can get outside and get my fingers in the dirt so this little project went a long way towards a happy ‘there is life even in January’ feeling. Do you suffer from the January blahs? What do you do to help banish them? I’d love to know!

Crochet Heart Shaped Box of Face Scrubbies

These cotton crochet face scrubbies and their matching storage basket are all made with size 4 cotton yarn and a size 5mm hook. Work your stitches fairly tightly so your basket maintains it’s good form. You will also need scissors and a large gauge needle.

This free crochet pattern is written in US terms and uses the following stitches: magic loop, chain stitch, single crochet stitch, double crochet stitch, triple crochet stitch, and half double crochet stitch.

Round 1

Begin by making a magic loop.

ch 3 (counts as triple) The following stitches are all worked into the magic loop. 2 tr, 4dc ,2 tr, 4dc, 2tr. Ch2 (counts as triple) sl to center of magic circle (not to starting chain) close magic loop. (14 stitches plus the two chains for 18 in total)

Round 2

2sc in ch space of 1st round, 3 dc in same stitch (top stitch of the starting chain)

3dc in next stitch, 2dc in next stitch, dc in next two stitches, sc in next two stitches, next place 2dc in the space between the triples of the previous round. Sc in next two stitches, dc in next two stitches, 2dc in next stitch, 3dc, 3dc. 2 sc in chain space (30 stitches.)

Round 3

Sc in next two stitches (the first sc stitches of the previous round. 3dc in same stitch, 3dc, 2dc, 2dc, dc in next 4 stitches. Sc in next 4 stitches. As in the previous round, 2DC in the space between the two double crochet stitches of round 2. Sc in next 4 stitches. Dc in next 4 stitches, 2dc, 2dc, 3dc, 3dc, sc, sc.  (43)

If making scrubby then sl to join, then Ch 4 and fasten off. Tie ends to make finger loop.

If making heart shaped box continue to round 4

Round 4

hdc in back loops around (43)

hdc in each stitch around until the 41st stitch then skip a stitch and continue around for a third and fourth round. At the 42nd stitch of the 4th round, skip a stitch and sl st. Fasten off. Weave in ends.

I hope you enjoyed this free Crochet Pattern! Make sets and sets of these heart shaped crochet face scrubbies for all the teen and tween loves in your life. They make an awesome Valentines day gift!

How to use Thrift Shop items in your decor

It’s no secret that I have a little addiction to thrift store shopping. It’s a wee thrill when you see past all the junky big box cast offs to a little gem with more value than it’s price sticker would have you think. Bringing value to old items also tickles my fancy, I mean, why buy new at top dollar when you can invest a little time to revamp something with fresh purpose?

Using thrift shop finds to decorate our home means that we can be thrifty yes, but it also means that when my kids destroy something, as kids often do, I don’t need to get upset. If they gouge a hunk out of a $1500 dining table then oh boy, that hurts. If they gouge a chunk out of a $50 dining table it’s nothing to be upset at – you just get out your spackle and slap on a new coat of paint and there’s no real harm done.

I also really enjoy looking for vintage or antique pieces that have much more value than what I would pay in the thrift store. Potentially, I could resell these items to recoup some cash if need be. So far, I haven’t sold much because I fall in love. I can’t help it, I just do – but the potential is there. If we needed to scrounge up some extra cash for vacation I could flip that $30 coffee table for $75 after a nice coat of paint. Read more about ‘How to Flip Furniture‘ 

Mixing thrifted items with new items works well too so don’t be afraid to have different metals or wood tones all in one space. There aren’t many rules for this, just have an open mind and look at things for what they could be and not what they are, sitting among all the other junk in the store.

Tips:

~ Go often. The goods in your thrift shop will turn over fairly quickly as new items are dropped off. I go about once a week.

~ Spend time. Thrift shops can be messy and that means you might not really see what is there until you walk around a few times and really look.

~ Have an open mind. What would that table look like with a coat of paint? What would that basket look like filled with flowers? How could you use that chunk of wood?

~ Pick things up on spec. If it’s a good value piece but you aren’t really sure what you will do with it, but you KNOW you like it, grab it. I have had things sit in my closet for a year before finding just the exact right use for it. You can always resell if it just isn’t working out.

~ Don’t worry about matching. Frames don’t have to match. Wood doesn’t have to match. Nothing needs match. Mix things up for an eclectic look. New and old work together and many of the trends you love can be worked with thrift shop finds too. That orange vase that’s just the right size but is oh so hideous can be spray painted white or gold easily!

~ Don’t get discouraged. You might go three or four or more times before you find a treasure but I promise you – there will be a treasure!

Which item from the Thrift Store scene below did I purchase for our home? See the makeover! 

Foxy Machine Embroidery Download

Hi Friends! I’m going to slow down for the holidays soon but wanted to share this one last download for you. It’s a foxy swirl that’s perfect for quilting squares or other small projects. I designed this in PE Design 10 for a 4×4 hoop. It’s approximately 15.5K stitches and the zip file has a number of extensions so hopefully you should find the one that suits your machine. Happy Holidays!

Machine embroidery is a fairly new hobby for me but my goodness, it has become a complete obsession! I’m also enjoying creating my own designs. Keep up with my Facebook Page so you don’t miss the freebies as they are released!

 

 

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