Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Tip Tuesday: Cleaning Plastic Canvas

Happy Tuesday, everyone!  Did you all have a good weekend?  Mine was ok, though it got cold again on Saturday so I didn't get to go outside.  I'm starting to get some cabin fever, and even though I know this early warm spell isn't good for the plants, I'm beginning to hope for 70 degree weather so I can go sit on my porch or take a long walk.

Today's tip is something you probably don't think about until you need to know.  That's certainly how I was about it, anyway.  It's about how to clean plastic canvas.  I'm sure you're thinking that cleaning plastic canvas is probably easy, but you need to take some care.  After all, you put all that work into making a piece, so you should take care of it as best as you can so it can last many long happy years.

I got the idea for this post when I noticed that one of my coasters was getting some coffee stains on it.

It's a little hard to see in the picture (it's along the upper edge there), but in person it looked pretty ugly.  My MIL once told me that to wash plastic canvas, run it under the faucet.  The problem with doing that with this piece is that it has a felt backing that's glued on with craft glue, which is of course water soluble.  If I ran it under the faucet, the back would likely come unglued.

So I did a little research and played with this coaster a little bit, and I thought I'd share with you what I found out.

How To Clean Plastic Canvas

  • If the stain is on the surface, gently dab with a damp paper towel, then with a dry paper towel.  Repeat until the stain comes out.
  • If the stain is deeper or has been sitting for a long time, dab with a paper towel dampeded with an oxygen cleaner (like Oxyclean).  Let sit for five minutes.  Dry with a dry paper towel.  Repeat as needed.
  • If the piece doesn't use craft glue, and the stain is very bad, you can fill a bowl or bucket with warm water and a small amount of oxygen cleaner and let the PC piece soak in the solution for 5-10 minutes.  Rinse thoroughly and allow to air dry.
  • DO NOT RUB!  Acrylic yarn is likely to pill or fray if you rub the piece.  Never use a brush of any kind.  If you need to do a deep cleaning, use a kitchen sprayer to blast water through it (and only if the piece doesn't use craft glue).
  • If your piece is dusty, run your vacuum hose gently across the surface to suck it up.  Don't use a brush or hand duster, as this may create pill or embed the dust into the yarn fibers.
  • And finally, clean up any stains or messes on your PC piece as soon as you notice them.  The sooner you clean them, the likelier they are to come out.

I ended up dabbing my coaster with a wet paper towel, and then a dry one.  The stain took a couple of passes, but it came out really well.

So there you have it!  I hope that list comes in handy the next time you spill coffee on one of your favorite coasters. 

Friday, February 24, 2017

Free Friday: Tiny Easter Baskets

Happy Friday everyone!  (Let's hope this posts on Friday this week!)  I hope you're all doing well this week.  I had a pretty nice one.  Gosh, it was so nice here!  Very warm and sunny, but that worries me a little.  If it stays warm for too long, the plants will start growing and blooming, and then they could all die in a cold snap.  I'm crossing my fingers that it'll either get cold again soon, or stay warm until the last frost date (which is a long way off, three months!).

Well, I really wasn't feeling up to making a pattern this week.  As I get older, the damp cold days start hurting a little more, and what hurts on me is my arms and wrists.  That makes it really difficult to stitch, since those are the muscles you're using.  Thankfully, I remembered that I've had this pattern sitting around for a long time, and it wasn't hard to make the pattern up for it.  So yay, free pattern this week!

Tiny Easter Baskets

Skill Level:



2x3 inches


  • 7-count plastic canvas
  • White yarn and pastel colored yarn
  • #16 plastic canvas needle


  1. Cut and stitch plastic canvas according to graphs.
  2. Using a pastel colored yarn of your choice, whipstitch bottom and side pieces together. Overcast top of basket and handle with pastel.
  3. Use pastel yarn to tack handle to basket, as shown in picture.

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.  Please link back if you share this pattern.  You may sell items made from this pattern.  However, you may not sell this pattern.

I have some ideas for St. Patrick's day patterns, so check back next week! 

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Tuesday Tips: Accuquilt Die Storage

Happy Tuesday, everyone!  This week's tip is about sewing.  I realize that I frame my blog around plastic canvas, but the truth is that I love to sew too!  Sewing and plastic canvas are my two crafty passions, and I don't see a reason not to share this tip!  After all, maybe you'll find it handy!

I have a nifty gadget called an Accuquilt Go! Baby fabric cutter.  It's a little machine that lets you cut fabric quick and easy with the use of a rolling device and cutting dies.  If you're into sewing at all, I'm sure you've heard of these things before.  I was a skeptic at first because I thought they would waste a lot of material, but if you use it properly, it really doesn't.  And yes, it does save a lot of time cutting fabric!

However, it takes up a lot of space in my already tiny crafting room.  The dies can be pretty large, despite the fact that I have the the smallest cutting machine they make.  I usually had them laying on cabinets or on my ironing board, but I had to keep moving them out of the way when I needed to use that space. 

Finally, I came up with a pretty simple and elegant solution.  I suddenly had an extra magazine holder, and thought, hey, why not just pop them in there for the time being?  Well, that worked so well that it's become their permanant home!

As you can see, it's getting pretty full, so I'll have to get another magazine holder soon (actually, I made that one from an old box!), but I really like this solution so I'm going to keep using it.  It takes up less space than other holders that I've seen, and it keeps them safely out of the way.  I also store some of my fabric cutting rulers in that same magazine holder when I want them out of the way, too.

I hope that little tidbit gets you to think about magazine holders a little differently!  Have you ever used them for anything other than magazines?  I'd love to hear your ideas.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Lacy Easter Baskets

Happy Monday, everyone!  I hope you're having a great day just like I am!  The sun is shining, the air is getting warm, the skies are a crystal clear blue, and I'm getting lots of good work done!  It always feels good to get a project done :)

I posted a new pattern today on Etsy!  A cute set of baskets for Easter.

Lacy Easter Baskets pattern, $4 on Etsy

Cute and lacy and perfect for filling with yummy candies for Easter (or a wedding or a baby shower!). 

Now I'm off to enjoy this beautiful day. 

Free Friday: Pretty Coaster

EDIT: For some reason, this didn't post on Friday when it was supposed to :(  Sorry!  So here's a little Monday extra for you.

Happy Friday, everyone!  Did you have a good week?  Mine was alright, not perfect, but I guess I should be grateful that it was at least quiet.  It snowed like crazy yesterday and it's so pretty outside, all white and fluffy.  This is probably winter's last hurrah before it melts back into spring!

Today's free pattern was actually meant for last week, so I'm sorry it's late!  It's a Valentine's coaster, pretty in pinks and purple.  It features a cool stitch I discovered in my new needlepoint book that I thought was quite pretty.  I hope you enjoy it!

Pretty Coaster

Skill Level:



3 ½ x 3 ½ inches


  • 7-count plastic canvas
  • Red Heart yarn in colors listed in key
  • White craft felt
  • Craft or hot glue


  1.  Cut and stitch plastic canvas according to graphs.
  2. Overcast the outside edges with Medium Purple.
  3. Using coasters as a template, cut out four squares of white craft felt. Trim off 1/8 of an inch on all pieces. Attach to backs of coasters using 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.

 I should probably get to work on some St. Patrick's Day patterns soon, and then Easter!  Boy, how the year flies by.  I can't believe that February is already half way over.  Before you know it, it'll be Christmas again!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Tip Tuesday: Photo Setup

Happy Tuesday, everyone!  Today's tip probably won't be useful to everyone, but I thought I'd put it out there anyway because I thought it might help at least some people.  I'll be talking about my photo setup that I use for my Etsy shop, and what I use to get good shots of my designs.

Now I realize that I don't take the best photos.  I have trouble getting the right lighting a lot of the time because my house is very dark inside, and maybe I'm impatient with the arrangement of props and such, but I think my pictures do a good job of illustrating what I'm selling, and in the end that's important.  You need a photo that's well lit, has good color, and is nice and crisp.

I have two cameras, but I only use the one for my product pictures.  It's a Nikon D40 DSLR.

This is actually pretty old by digital camera standards.  I bought it for my hubs as a wedding present, and we got married in 2007!  Yep, 10 years this year!  It was $400 when we bought it, but if you want this camera, you can find it used for $160.  Nikon still makes entry level DSLR cameras though.  Looks like you can get a Nikon D3400 with a zoom lens for $499.  Of course, you probably already have a smart phone, and most of those are equipped with decent cameras these days. I'm a control freak though, and like to have more control over my photo than most smart phones let you have.  Not to mention I don't have a smart phone!

Since I don't have very good lighting in my home, I use a photo light box.  These are pretty simple devices, and you can actually make one yourself if you want to.  It's simply a square frame with white cloth on all but one side.  You put your item you want to photograph into the box and shine light through the cloth into the box.  This makes it so the light is soft and diffuse with few shadows. 

This is the one I have.  I got it on Amazon for $30 and it came with four different colored backgrounds (red, blue, black, and white).  I got a 32 inch one because sometimes I make a big project and I knew I would need the extra space to photograph it.  What's great about this one is that it pops open, and when you're done it just folds back up and takes up very little space.

Unfortunately it looks like it's unavailable, but here's the product page with all the info.  Maybe you can use the info to find one like it that you like.

The next thing you need for a photo light box is of course lights.  I went and bought four inexpensive clamp style work lights at Homedepot.

While there, I also bought a 4 pack of 100w equivalent of LED bulbs to go into the lamps. 

I wanted LED because A) they don't use very much electricity despite being very bright, and B) they're made of plastic so I don't have to worry about breaking any glass.  They work really well.

I attach all the lamps to a 4 outlet adapter, plug that into an extension cord, and then plug that into the wall I'm working closest to.  Pop open the photo light box and put in the white background.  Then position the lamps so that there's one on either side (I clip one to a box and one to a chair), one on top facing down, and one in the front facing in.  Here's what it looks like.

My photo light box also has a front cover with a small slit in it for your camera.  That way more light stays in the box, and you can put a light in the front too.

Here's the other side.

And here's a peek into the camera slit.

And when I'm done, it all folds back up and fits neatly into my craft room.

Of course, even with this setup, the pictures don't come out perfect.  I need to go in later and work with the photos to correct the colors and lighten the background.  What I use for my photo editing is a program I've been working with for almost 20 (!) years, Correl Paint Shop Pro.

It's usually pretty reasonably priced.  It's normally $100, but you can frequently find it for $50 or less.  If you don't want to pay for a photo editing program, there are free ones, the most popular being a program called Gimp.

Here's a picture of my latest project straight off the camera card.

And here's the edited version of the same photo.

It does take some practice to get photo editing right.  Even thought I've been a digital artist since 1999, it still took me several months of trial and error to get my photos to start looking the way I want them to. 

So there's my photo set up from start to finish!  I hope that helps someone out there with their business.  Photos of your product are the most important part of your listing, and when you're trying to represent something that you put a lot of love into, it's worth the time to put time and effort into the photos too.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Quilted Tissue Box Cover

Good Monday morning, everyone!  I know I'm probably unusual, but I love Mondays.  For me, it's a fresh new start, a clean slate to get the week right.  I definitely feel that way today.  After two weeks of being down in the dumps, I'm starting to feel normal again, and I'm actually feeling excited to work on my designs!

Speaking of designs, I have a new one posted on Etsy today!  It's a pretty quilt block pattern inspired by my new quilt book.  The block is called Around The Block, and I really like it.

Quilted Tissue Box Cover, $4 on Etsy

So keep an eye out this week for new blog posts!  I have lots of ideas for tips and patterns to share with you.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017


Hey there, everyone.  I just wanted to post a short note to say that I'm going on hiatus for a little bit.  After all the craziness last week, my life has gotten hectic and uncertain, and my emotions aren't much better.  So I decided to take a little break for my own sanity.  I'll probably be back to posting in a couple of weeks, once life settles back into some kind of routine.  Hope to see you all soon!

Saturday, February 4, 2017


Sorry I didn't get around to posting the free pattern on Friday, guys.  This has just been the worst week ever..... well, ok, not EVER, but maybe the second worst week ever.  Like, mom goes to hospital and sister gets arrested kind of week.  Yeah. 

So I'm just chillin, trying to get some kind of normal back to my days.  The good news in that I'm doing lots of PC design work!  I've got two new projects in the works.  I just haven't gotten any pattern work done yet, which is kind of the important part! 

Hopefully next week will be a little better *fingers crossed*