Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Christmas Tour

Hi there, everyone!  I hope you're all having a great week so far.  I've been a little under the weather; my recurring inner ear problem has come back the last few days, and I've been riding the couch with a bad case of the dizzies.  You have no idea how boring just sitting around is, especially when there's so much Christmas stuff to be done!  Luckily, hubs and I got most of the decorating done on Thanksgiving weekend, so at least I don't have to worry about that.

Speaking of Christmas decorations, I thought it would be fun to give you guys a little tour of my decked halls, because what's more fun than sharing all the cute things I've created over the years?

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Tuesday Tip: Homemade Yarn Holder

Hey there, everyone!  How are you doing this chill Tuesday morning?  Did you survive the holiday weekend with your sanity intact?  I hope so!  I managed alright, probably because I knew I could leave the chaos of my family's homes soon and drive back with my loving husband to our quiet home.

This week's tip is another yarn related tip though not necessarily a plastic canvas one.  On my trip to Asheville, NC, I bought two balls of the prettiest purple baby llama yarn, and I just had to make a hat out of it!  I'll be sure to post pictures of it sometime soon, it's so nice.  Well, because it's a high quality yarn, it came as a twisted hank instead of a nice neat skein, which means I had to roll it into a ball before using it.  And then of course I had to knit with a ball of yarn, which is hilarious if you have curious cats around.  Knitting makes the ball roll a little, and then the cats get interested, and before you know it your living room is covered in beautiful, expensive yarn.  Argh!

I thought about getting one of those fancy yarn holders you see on pinterest or Etsy, you know, the ones that look like bowls with a notch or a hole carved into it for the yarn to come out of, but they're usually pretty expensive.  Then, last week I saw something at Joann's that caught my eye.

It's a big plastic jar with a lid on top that has a hole.  Huh.  Simple, yet effective.  The problem I had with this one was that it was very light weight, and I just wasn't sure it would do the job of holding the yarn down as I tugged on it.  I could just envision the whole holder rolling all over the living room floor.  (On the plus side, it was only $10.)

But it did give me a good idea for something I could make myself, and I already had all the things I needed to do it! 

Being a serious homemaker type who gardens, cans, and ferments, I just happened to have a half dozen half gallon mason jars sitting around my house.

Plus, we're trying to get away from using plastic containers to store our leftovers, and we use mason jars a lot as an alternative.  So we have a bunch of these plastic mason jar lids for storage (is that ironic?).

I also decided, after looking at the half gallon jars, that those are probably too big for a small ball of yarn.  A wide mouth quart jar is perfect, though, and it uses the same size jar as the half gallon jar. 

Once you've collected those two or three things, actually making the yarn holder is easy peasy.  Just Get your husband or boyfriend to drill a 1/2 inch hole into the top of the plastic storage lids (or do it yourself; I did!).  Sand it lightly to make sure the yarn won't catch on any rough spots, and you're all set! 

Here's everything all together; a drilled lid, an undrilled lid, a quart jar, and a half gallon jar. 

I found that the half gallon jar is perfect for small-medium skeins of yarn and medium sized balls.  The one pictured is a skein of Red Heart Classic; I was also able to get a skein of Red Heart With Love into this jar as well, however a Skein of Red Heart Super Saver wouldn't fit.  Make sure that if you use a skein, the yarn is coming out of the middle, not off the sides.

The quart jar is just right for smaller balls and small skeins.

The price break down for the half gallon jars is as follows:

 Case of 6 half gallon jars -- $18
Box of 8 plastic wide mouth storage lids -- $5
$25 for six yarn holders
Or $4.16 for each one

(All prices are from

Quart jars are cheaper yet, because they come in a case of 12 and are usually cheaper per case.  Or, you could be really cheap and go to Joann's and buy a single jar for a couple of dollars!

Personally, I think having multiple yarn holders around would be very useful, like if the project you're working on uses multiple yarns.  Or, if you're prone to having multiple projects going at once, just stuff your project right into the jar, needles and all, and set it on a shelf. 

So what do you guys think?  Do you use a yarn holder?  Or do you just let the yarn ball roll all over creation?  Would you pay $50 for a fancy ceramic holder?  Or are you super cheap like me? 

Have a great Tuesday everyone!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Work Life Balance

Hey there, everyone!  How was your Thanksgiving?  Did you go out Black Friday shopping, or were you like me and avoided stores like the plague?  I can't stand big crowds, especially when they see you as competition!  Yikes!

I had a very nice Thanksgiving.  We spent Thursday with my family, my mom and dad, sister, nephew, my oldest niece and her little boy, and of course my mom's cats.  Then on Friday, we went over to my hubby's parents house for leftover feast.  It was so nice to spend time with family, and to take time off from blogging and designing.  It gave me lots of time to think about this strange year I've had and about the work I've been doing with pattern designing. 

For many years now, almost my whole married life, I've been a full time homemaker and part time artist.  I always enjoyed being a homemaker; I was proud to be creating a sanctuary for my little family, a safe place in this crazy world.  I wanted to be an artist, but I didn't know what direction to take my art.  So for many years, I was mainly a homemaker.

But then in July, I started designing patterns, and I just jumped in with both feet.  I love it!  It's so exciting to be creating all the time and actually getting paid for my work.  That's an amazing feeling after all these years of being an unknown artist. But I've been having a lot of trouble figuring out a balance between being a homemaker and a designer.  I try to work only 4 hours a day on my designing, but I get so excited about the work that I usually work all day on projects. 

However, then I see the house all messed up and I realize 10 minutes before my husband gets home that I haven't figured out what I want to make for dinner, and it really stresses me out.  I want to design, but I also want my home to be the perfect sanctuary that I've always tried to make it.  I just can't have it both ways. 

Then on top of that, Christmas has really been complicating things!  I always make most of the Christmas presents I give away, but I can't find the time to make the gifts, clean the house, and design patterns.  And I don't even have kids; I can only imagine what stay-at-home-moms with a business must be going through! 

I don't think I have an answer to my problem, I just wanted to complain, lol.  I think at least for Christmas, I'm going to design some patterns that will end up being gifts for people on my list, that way I kill two birds with one stone.  I probably just need to be more efficient when it comes to the homemaking, and I probably also need to give up some responsibilities, like making all my food from scratch and starting all my garden plants from seed.  I just feel like I'm not being a very good homemaker if I don't do those things, like I'm letting my grandma down (she had 12 kids and made everything from scratch, including a dozen loaves of  bread a week!).

Are there any other homemaker/business people out there?  How do you managed your time and still stay sane?  I'd love to hear what everyone else is doing!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!

Well, it's that time again for turkey and family get togethers, football and pumpkin pie.  The snow has really fallen here in western New York, and it's really starting to feel like tho holiday season.  What makes it feel like the holidays to you?

It's also time for us all to be grateful for the many blessings in our lives.  Our families, our homes, our pets, our online communities, our crafts.  There's so much in life that we take for granted; I hope today you stop for just a moment to say Thank You. 

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Tuesday Tip: Yarn Storage

I decided that maybe I should change my name for my tips this week, since this tip isn't exactly plastic canvas related.  So this week it's a Tuesday Tip! 

So as a plastic canvas designer, I decided that I should have a lot of yarn.  I mean a LOT of yarn.  Remember the shopping trip when I came home with this?

 And that was just a small section of my collection.  I have all but four of the solid Red Heart Super Savers colors, plus a ton of stuff from the With Love series and some other random stuff.  I just buy yarn when I like it, lol! 

So how does a crafter sort all this yarn?  Especially if you don't have a lot of room?  I have an art studio that's 8x12.  Not exactly huge, and most of it is filled with a drafting table, large wall mounted ironing board/crafting table, and book shelves.  Here it is in all it's incredibly messy glory.

Somehow it doesn't look that messy in real life, lol.

So as you can see, I just don't have a lot of room for my yarn, and I especially don't have room to keep it well organized.  What's a crafter to do?

I don't have a lot of room in my studio, but I do have some large closets in our den/computer room.  It's a room over the garage, so the roof goes down across the room, and there's a long closet all along one side of the room where the roof is angling down.  It's convenient for storing stuff we don't use very often.  And it also happens to be a great place to store milk crates full of yarn!

Since I don't have to get in there very often, I just piled the crates right inside the doors.  Each crate holds one color family; there's a brown crate, a pink crate, blue, bright green, soft green, purple, black and white, teal, and yellow and orange.

I started out with three crates, and then I asked around to get two more.  I bought two more crates at Home Depot, but cripes they're expensive.  They were about $10 a piece.  I still needed a few more crates though, so I decided for the time being, I'll make due with cheap Rubbermaid crates.  They were 3 for $10!  And they're actually pretty high quality.  Not quite as high quality as the milk crates though.

I wouldn't use this storage system outside of the closet.  My house is very dusty for some reason (I blame cats), and I bet that if these were out in the open, they'd be covered with dust and hair in no time.  Someday I hope to have a huge cupboard with drawers to hold all of my yarn, but for now it's a good work around. 

If you're a yarn freak like me, how do you store it?  I'd love to see everyone's ideas!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Thoughts on Pattern Sharing

Are you guys on Pinterest?  I loooove Pinterest.  I'm there every day, usually for far too much time.  I love the ideas I get just surfing around, seeing what's new in the craft world and what old stuff is still loved. 

I noticed earlier this year that a lot of old plastic canvas patterns are being shared on Pinterest.  Have any of you noticed that?  Stuff that's technically illegal to share because it's copyrighted and you have to pay for the pattern.  At the time I was actually really interested in seeing all those patterns, but as I've started to design my own patterns, I've begun to have some different thoughts, and I've decided that I'm conflicted about the whole thing.

On one hand, yes, it's illegal and it's not fair to the designer or the pattern company.  When you post a pattern that isn't free to share or Pinterest, you're taking money away from the people that worked hard to make that pattern.  And let me tell you, it's hard work to make a pattern.  I only work part time as a designer, but I still work my butt off and only get one pattern done a week, and I don't make a lot of money from it.  It's a job that requires a lot of passion for little pay or recognition.  I can only imagine how frustrated a designer must feel when someone's sharing their patterns without their permission.

There is another hand, believe it or not, and this I think is something specific to plastic canvas.  Plastic canvas isn't very popular right now, and there are only a couple dozen designers making new patterns (and only 2 or 3 that are very well known).  So new patterns are pretty hard to come by these days, which makes the old patterns really valuable.  The problem is again that PC isn't popular, so even the old patterns are hard to find.  Many, if not most, of the old patterns are simply out of print.  Where does that leave the PC enthusiast that wants new and interesting patterns?  Sometimes I see an interesting pattern on Pinterest that someone pinned illegally, but when I try to find the pattern to buy, it's impossible to find.  I can't buy it even if I wanted to!  Boy that frustrates me. 

I definitely think sharing modern patterns is not right and only hurts the people who are doing the work that they love.  If you like a pattern and you can buy the pattern, then by all means, you should buy the pattern.  If you see a pattern on Pinterest that you know is pinned illegally, you should do the right thing and report it. 

As for the old patterns that are out of print and simply impossible to buy?  I still don't think it's right, but I think posting it on the internet is probably the only way of preserving that very special creation.  If the designer or the pattern company asks you to remove it, though, you should definitely comply. 

What do you guys think about pattern sharing?  Do you do it?  Do you report it when you see it?  Do you think old out of print patterns are ok to share? 

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Happy Snowball Decor

Hey guys, I finally posted those cute snowballs in my Etsy shop!

Aren't they precious?  Don't you just want to hang a dozen of them on your Christmas tree?  I'm going to give these cuties away to my family as Christmas gifts! 

We're getting lots of snow today.  We're supposed to end up with 8-10 inches by Monday, and some places in the county may see up to 15 inches!  I'm just glad we have our new snowblower!

I hope you're all having a warm, safe weekend :)

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Free Friday: Autumn Jar Lid

Happy Friday everyone!  Are you excited about the weekend?  It'll be the last normal weekend you'll have for a while, I bet, with Thanksgiving coming next week and then all kinds of Christmas craziness happening through December.  I'm really excited.  I love Christmas and the holidays, spending time with family and seeing the twinkling lights. We're supposed to get our first snow on Sunday, and I'm even excited about that!  Lol!

So this week's pattern is a really cool jar lid for a mason jar.  Do you guys get into mason jars?  I just love them.  I actually loved them before they became cool (I'm a jar hipster I guess), mostly because I'm a canner and I love history and those rustic county touches.  I have some really old jars decorating my house.  My favorites are the classic blue Ball jars!

This lid is so pretty that I think it would make a lovely hostess gift for Thanksgiving.  Just fill your jar full of cookies or some yummy nuts and top with this topper and a jar lid.  You could just as well change the colors of the leaves to green and glue some red pompoms to make it look like holly, and you have a cool Christmas jar topper to make quick and easy Christmas presents.

Autumn Jar Lid

Skill Level:



 Fits wide mouth mason jars


  • 7-count plastic canvas
  • Red Heart yarn in colors listed in key
  • Hot glue
  • #16 plastic canvas needle


  1. Cut and stitch plastic canvas according to graphs. Overcast acorn in colors matching nearby stitches (use pictures as a guide).
  2. Use hot glue to secure acorn to jar lid as pictured.
  3. Do not overcast edge of jar lid, unless you plan on using it as a magnet or a coaster.

Click the image above to see it larger.  You may share this pattern however you please as long as you don't alter it or claim it as your own.  You may sell items made from this pattern.  However, you may not sell this pattern.

I'm not 100% sure what I'll post next week.  I guess I'd better start thinking about Christmas things though, huh?  Time is really rushing! 

Hope you all have a great weekend! 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Back To Normal Life

Hi everyone!  How are you all doing?  I'm finally getting back to normal life after my really cool trip to Asheville, NC to visit my BIL.  It was a long trip, and it was very tiring, but it was nice to spend some time with family and explore a new city.  If you ever get the chance, I highly recommend visiting Asheville.  It's got a lot of really interesting stuff downtown and it's fairly big, but it has a small town feel.  I'm sorry to say that my hubby and I didn't get to do any nature exploring (which is what we like to do on trips and vacations), but we hope to go back sometime by ourselves so we can do our own thing and go at our own pace.

On the morning we started our drive back north, we stopped at an overview and took this amazing picture.

Looking at it just makes me even more sad we didn't get to do any sight seeing or hiking! 

Well, it took me a couple of days, but I'm getting back into the swing of pattern making.  I'm busy taking pictures of my newest project this morning, and I'll probably have the pattern up and available tomorrow.  They're really cute table decor and ornaments.  Check out these cuties!

They're so cute sitting in a bowl on my dining room table.  I think if I add a string to them, they'll make cute ornaments, too.  I'm contemplating adjusting the pattern to make a full body snowman, too.  What do you think? 

Anyway, it's nice to be back and blogging again!  Sorry I didn't get a tip posted on Tuesday, but I promise to have a pattern up on Friday! 

Friday, November 11, 2016

Free Friday: Gingham Thread Box

It's Wednesday as I'm writing this post, and I'm knee deep in preparations for a trip I'm going on tomorrow.  AUGH!  I feel like it's it's more work than it's worth sometimes!  Of course I won't think that once I'm on the road tomorrow!  We're driving to North Carolina to visit my brother-in-law, which is about an 11 hour drive from where we live in New York!  I made sure to pack lots of magazines and graph paper (for making patterns on the road, lol), plus I filled my iPod with audio books and podcasts. 

So back to the pattern!  This week I'm posting the last pattern of the gingham sewing accessories collection, a thread box.  It's like a sewing box, only smaller.  It's big enough to hold four spools of thread, a small needle book, a small pair of scissors, and probably a seam ripper too if you're so inclined.  I plan on using the one I made to hold my plastic canvas supplies (needle book, scissors, dry erase markers, small pieces of plastic canvas for a pattern).  You could just as well use this as a gift box!  I think it's very pretty and would be enjoyed my a lot of folks on your gift list. 

Gingham Thread Box


6 ¼ “ x 3 ¾ “ x 3 ¼ “


  • Ultra Stiff 7-count plastic canvas
  • Red Heart yarn in colors listed in key
  • One 10mm wood bead
  • Elastic hair tie
  • White thread
  • Sewing needle
  • Hot glue
  • #16 plastic canvas needle


  1. Cut and stitch plastic canvas according to graphs.
  2. Using Light Sage yarn, whipstitch sides and bottom together.
  3. Overcast three sides of the top edge, leaving one long side unfinished. Overcast three sides of the lid, leaving one long side unfinished, just like the assembled box. Whipstitch unfinished edges of lid and box together to form the hinge.
  4. With sewing needle and white thread, sew wooden bead onto the box on one of the long sides, where indicated by the pink dots.
  5. Tie a small loop at the end of the elastic hair band. Open the box so that the wrong side of the lid faces you. Use a marker or a pen to mark ¾ of an inch from the knot of the small loop on the hair band. Making sure the small loop over hangs the box lid and the hair band is centered on the lid, glue the marked spot on the hair band ¼ of an inch from the edge of the box lid. You can either snip off the rest of the hair band or glue the rest of it to the lid.

 Click the image above to see it larger.  You may share this pattern however you please as long as you don't alter it or claim it as your own.  You may sell items made from this pattern.  However, you may not sell this pattern.

 Well, that's the last pattern in that series.  Did you guys enjoy having a series like that?  Or would you prefer random, seasonal patterns?  I would love to get some ideas from you! 

Just a heads up, I'm not sure exactly when I'll be back next week, so I may not have a canvas tip posted, but I'll try to get another pattern up next Friday!  I hope you're all having a great week. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Canvas Tip: Ways to Stitch

Happy Election day, all you US citizens!  And to everyone else, happy Tuesday!  Sorry this post is so late; I'm so busy getting ready for my trip on Thursday to visit my brother-in-law.  I love trips, but I just hate all the work you have to do to get ready for them.  Someone should invent a trip readying service!

So today's tip is about two different ways to stitch plastic canvas.  Yes, indeedy, there are two ways to stitch your piece, and believe it or not, it actually makes a difference. 

Now, until recently, I didn't even know that, and my guess is that you probably don't know that either.  It's a little hard to explain in words, so let me try explaining in pictures instead.

Here are the two ways of stitching, shown in continental stitch.  They may not look too different from the front (especially because that's a pretty bad shot!), but here's what it looks like from the back:

Now it should be a little more clear.  The dark green uses a longer stitch in the back than the light green.  I used to stitch the short way, like the light green, because it saved yarn.  Well, that's true, but I also found out recently that it provides less cover.  If there's any dark color behind your stitches, it's much easier to see it if you used the short stitch. And when you're stitching in a dark color, you more even color coverage with the long stitch. 

As an added bonus, it's a million times easier with the long stitch to put your needle under previous stitches to finish the string. 

In case you're still uncertain, here's some graphics to demonstrate the two stitches.

Long stitch

Short stitch

This method of stitching also works for just about every other stitch as well and the benefits apply to all the ones I've used.  Now that I've been using the long stitch on my projects, I really don't see any reason to go back to the short stitch, with two exceptions: if  I only have a small amount of a certain color of yarn to work with, and if I'm going for a more transparent look.  So far, I haven't had either of those cases come up.

So did any of you know the two different ways to stitch?  How have you been stitching all along?  Let me know, I'd love to hear what your experiences are!

Monday, November 7, 2016

Quilted Snowman Tissue Box Cover

After a short break to get my home ready for winter, I finally have a new pattern up for sale!  This cute fellow has been sitting on my desk for about a week, just begging me to get him up on the internet.

Quilted Snowman Tissue Box Cover, $4 on Etsy
He is pretty cute and I'm definitely keeping this on for myself!

I'll be going on a short trip this week to visit my husband's brother.  But don't worry, I'm going to spend today getting the blog posts for the week all added and scheduled so that I don't miss another week of tips and patterns. 

Hope you're all having a great autumn and happy November! 

Friday, November 4, 2016

Free Friday: Acorn Coaster

I can't believe it's Friday already!  I finally got all of my winter prep done for the year and I'm all ready for the snow to fly. 

But before then, we still have at least another month and a half of autumn to enjoy.  The leaves are still so brilliant outside and the air is crisp and smells so spicy.  I love autumn!  Which is why this week's free pattern is an autumn themed coaster to grace your tables.  This would make a lovely decoration for Thanksgiving! 

Acorn Coaster

Skill Level:



  • 7-count plastic canvas
  • Red Heart Super Saver yarn in colors listed in key
  • Craft felt
  • Craft glue


  1. Cut and stitch plastic canvas according to graphs.
  2. Overcast edges using colors of nearby stitches (use the picture above as a guide).
  3. Using coasters as a template, cut out one piece of felt for each coaster. Trim off 1/8th of an inch. Glue to wrong side of coasters using craft or hot glue.

Click the image above to see it larger.  You may share this pattern however you please as long as you don't alter it or claim it as your own.  You may sell items made from this pattern.  However, you may not sell this pattern.

 How are you all doing this autumn?  Are you working on your Christmas presents yet, or getting your shopping done?  I need to get on the ball because I haven't even gotten started shopping yet!  Usually I'm all done by now, lol.

Next week I'll probably post the last pattern in the gingham sewing accessories collection, so make sure to check back!  The set would make an excellent present for any crafter on your list this Christmas.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

So much housework!

Sorry I've been so quite the last week, guys.  I didn't get a free pattern up last Friday and I didn't even get a tip posted!  I feel pretty bad about that. 

I just decided that I needed to spend a week working on my house and getting in ready for winter.  I live in western NY and let me tell you, winter is a big deal here.  You definitely need to prepare! 

I figure I'll have everything all done by Thursday, so I should have another free pattern up for you this upcoming Friday!  Keep your eyes peeled :)