May 6, 2011

Embroidery: Satin Stitching

Posted in Look, Make tagged , , , , at 10:08 pm by onetinyacorn

Embroidery is such a meditative process; I can’t get enough of it. Here are my first two attempts at satin stitching:

1. I was inspired by this image. Since the only hoop size I had was 6 inches (and–oh, small towns–I can’t buy them anywhere here; I have to order them online), I scrapped the monkey because embroidering a monkey that small would have ended up looking like a brown blob. I created the background by sewing alternating strips together, then satin stitching the elephants. I learned a few valuable lessons during this process: satin stitching looks best with shorter stitches rather than trying to cover 2+ inches with a single stitch. Also, when embroidering over multiple fabrics, make sure the weave of all fabrics is the same. That red fabric had a looser weave, and that was difficult to manage.

2. My second attempt at satin stitching, also in a 6 inch hoop. This took many episodes of Buffy to finish. It’s my own doodle; I was thinking of this Dylan poster when I sketched it. I finished the eyes with a glint of silver thread. Word to the wise: metallic thread is a pain in the ass. Don’t use it in large sections, because it tangles like nothing else.


February 11, 2011

New Embroidery

Posted in Look, Make, Shop tagged , , , , at 10:25 pm by onetinyacorn

Here’s two new things I’ve whipped up recently:

1. A matryoshka luggage tag. I took a piece of white calico, reinforced it with lightweight fusible interfacing, folded it in half, and ironed it. After stitching the matryoshka (I purchased the pattern from Sublime Stitching), I sewed one of those clear plastic pockets that come with new wallets onto the back. Whipstitched that puppy together, and now I have a stylish luggage tag.

2. Fight Club embroidery.

November 4, 2010

Halloween 2010

Posted in Look, Make tagged , , , , , at 8:50 pm by onetinyacorn

Ah, what a difference a year makes. Last Halloween, I was pretty new to town, and bummed that I didn’t have any local friends yet. This year, I spent three fun-filled days with some of my most favorite people. Here’s the breakdown:

Friday: So, one of my jobs at the library is to basically organize and  host parties. Sweet, right? We had lots of attendees show up to carve pumpkins, decorate cupcakes, and make masquerade masks. Afterward, I high-tailed it to a distant, exotic land (Colorado) to catch a late showing of Paranormal Activity 2 (while still wearing my Superwoman costume).

Paranormal Activity 2 was fairly scary, and much better than its predecessor. Although I recommend watching the first one as well, because they pick up some threads from that one and weave them together nicely. One thing that annoys me about both movies are the characters, though. I find them to be grating, and the women come across as hysterical. Weak.

Then there was costume-gazing about town, and giant $2 slices of pizza and cheap beer amidst punk music at Surfside 7 in Fort Collins. I loved that place.

Saturday: Medusa night! We went out to a local bar, and I got tons of compliments on my costume.

Here’s how I made the costume:

Materials: 6 foot-long rubber snakes, lime green duct tape, and green plastic-coated copper wire (20 gauge–it came in a 50-foot spool). Makeup that I had lying around the house.

I unwound the wire, and duct taped it along the bottom of each snake, using 1/4 inch strips of tape and placing them every 2 inches or so along the length of the snake. After all 6 were wired, I constructed a “hat” out of them by weaving them together and using long, thin strips of duct tape where two snakes intersected.

The makeup was just a shimmery gold cream, with iridescent gold-orange powder applied liberally on top so that it wouldn’t smear. I used lots of deep purple eyeshadow in an attempt to create a “smoky eye.”

Sunday: Soooo sleepy. My snowflake friend and I (Superwoman again) left work and grabbed a drink and delicious fried foods at a bar. And then I slept very soundly, for a long time.

And thus ended my favorite weekend of the year. Perhaps next year I’ll make it a whole week. I’m already thinking about my next costume…

November 8, 2009


Posted in Look, Make tagged , , , at 9:01 pm by onetinyacorn


October 28, 2009

DIY Tarot Deck

Posted in Look, Make tagged , , , , at 10:23 pm by onetinyacorn

Learning how to read Tarot cards has been an intention of mine for a few years. It just seems like a fun thing to be able to do. I decided to start by making my own deck, beginning with the 22 cards of the Major Arcana. Now, here is where knowing the symbolism in each traditional card would help. I started with a base image for each concept, and can add symbols as I learn about each card.

I cut 2.5″ x 3.5″ cards out of cardstock, sifted through my substantial collection of magazines for appropriate images, and rubber cemented those suckers on.

Tarot Deck

August 14, 2009

I Say This Frequently

Posted in Look, Make tagged , at 1:36 pm by onetinyacorn

I Will

I love the juxtapositioning of the rose fabric with the (jokingly) violent sentiment. Particularly when one considers the historical domain of embroidery as “women’s work.”

June 23, 2009

More Kitty!

Posted in Look, Make tagged , , , at 7:36 pm by onetinyacorn

The people have spoken, and they want 50% more furry feline content. Thus, I give you a few of the many moods of Juliet:

Playful Juliet

Playful Juliet

Relaxed Juliet

Relaxed Juliet

Contemplative Juliet

Contemplative Juliet

Immodest Juliet

Immodest Juliet

I think I’m going to make her my spokescat for Paper Rose Designs, since she has captured the adoration of the masses. Hee hee.

I made her bed myself; if you’re interested, the instructions are here. The original instructions aren’t very clear–there are more elaborate instructions on page three of that thread. It makes sense when you’re sewing (assuming that you’ve sewn before). And, hey, if it doesn’t come out perfectly, your cat won’t know the difference.

March 27, 2009

Make Your Own Stationary

Posted in Make tagged , , , , at 4:50 pm by onetinyacorn

My friends and I were discussing local places to buy statioary, when Sean asked, “Why not make your own stationary?” But of course! What has transpired has been a frenzy of cutting, pasting, and drawing, such that I’ll never need to rely on outside sources again. It’s an easy, quick little project that allows for lots of substitution.

skill level: beginner

time: roughly 15-20 minutes

materials: lame envelope and card, 1 piece of cardboard (something like a cereal box will work fine), paper to transform into your stationary (junk mail, catalog pages…I used an out-of-date atlas), X-acto knife, cutting mat or a large-ish old magazine that you don’t care about, ruler, pen, rubber cement or glue stick, scissors or butter knife, double-sided tape, adhesive labels.

For the envelope:

1. Make the template for your envelope by carefully prying apart the glued edges of your mass-produced envelope. Flatten. Place the envelope on top of your cardboard, which should be on top of your cutting mat or old magazine. Carefully trace around the envelope, and cut out your template from the cardboard.

2. On the cutting mat, place the paper that will be your new and improved envelope (outside of the envelope down). Lay the template on top of that, and either cut around it with the X-acto knife, or trace with pen and cut out with scissors.

3. Using the back of the blade on your scissors (or the non-cerated side of a knife) and a ruler as your guide, lightly score each side of your envelope to form flaps. See the red lines as a guideline:

Envelope Fold Lines

Fold along the scored lines.

4. Glue the bottom and side flaps together, using a glue stick. Or just tape them. See your old envelope for guidelines of where to glue.

5. Now, you can either place double-sided tape along the edges of the top flap, or make your own self-lick adhesive. I haven’t tried the self-lick stuff, so I’m not going to endorse it here.

6. Slap on those adhesive stickers where the address and return address go.

For the card:

1. Lay your lame card, open and flattened, on top of your exciting new stationary paper (I used cardstock–handmade paper would be lovely). Trace with pen and cut with scissors, or break out the X-acto again.

2. Score and fold.

3. I rubber cemented some details from my atlas onto the cardstock for a handsome accompaniment to the envelope.



January 2, 2009

Sweater Project #4: mp3 Player Cosy

Posted in Make tagged , , , , at 3:54 pm by onetinyacorn

I inherited a nice mp3 player recently, which means that I can no longer disparage the whippersnappers who walk around in an oblivious haze. I’ll miss overhearing hilarious snippets of conversations, but relish no longer being forced to listen to loud phone conversations on the bus. Particularly when they’re boring; if you’re going to be loud, at least be interesting. Anyways…

I quickly realized that I needed a pouch for my new gadget. Something soft, so that it wouldn’t get scratched-up, and with at least two pockets (one for the device, and one for the speaker thingies–I refuse to call them earbuds. That is an uninspired and vaguely icky-sounding moniker). Velcro closure, for quick opening and closing. Enter The Sweater. At this point, there’s not a ton of fabric left, but enough to whip up a little something that meets my specifications.

skill level: beginner

time: 1 hour

materials: sweater, mp3 player, ruler, marker, scissors or rotary cutter and mat, pins, iron, thread, velcro.

1. Lay out your sweater remains on–what else?–a hard, smooth surface. Position your mp3 player on top of the fabric. I measured an extra 1 inch from the edge of the player around the bottom and sides, and 2 1/2 inches from the top, for the flap. Carefully cut out three identical rectangles from your sweater fabric.


2. Fold over the top rectangle–this will be the flap that encloses your mp3 player in its fuzzy cocoon. I allowed roughly 1 inch between the top of my player and the fold, so that it wasn’t stuffed in there tightly.


3. Repeat step two on the opposite side of the fabric sandwich, so that the outer layers are folded outward, but the rectangle in the middle is left unfolded. Make sure that the outer layers are the same length. Like so:


4. Pin all three layers together, making sure that the edges align.


5. Stitch all layers together, ignoring the top flap for now. You can machine or hand-sew, roughly 1/2 an inch from the edges of the fabric. Clearly I wasn’t too worried about perfect sewing:


6. Now turn it right-side out. The longer rectangle, which was in the middle of the sandwich, should magically be on the outside now.


7. Sew the edges of the flap, folding each edge in approximately 1/2 inch. Fold in towards the inside of the cosy, so that those exposed edges aren’t visible when it’s closed.


8. Now sew on the velcro strips. I used the softer piece of velcro on the flap, in case the player brushes against it when I’m removing it. What I did was position one piece of velcro on the edge of the flap (but not to the very edge–I left about 1/4 inch of fabric around the velcro), sewed it on, and then aligned the complimentary piece (you might want to have your mp3 player inside the cosy at this point, to account for any warping of the fabric that may take place). I pinned the complimentary piece in place, then sewed that.


9. And…presto! A cosy with two pockets: one for the player, and a separate one for the headphones. The cord easily extends outside of the flap, without it being too roomy inside.


If you’ve made four projects out of your sweater, and you’re still hungering for more, you can use those scraps to stuff inside of a homemade pincushion. It’s a great use for those teensy little fabric bits that are pretty useless otherwise. For instructions on making your own pincushion, I recommend searching for “pincushion tutorial.” There are tons of good tutorials and photos out there.

December 14, 2008

Sweater Project #3: Arm Warmers

Posted in Make tagged , , , , at 10:25 pm by onetinyacorn

Okay, this one is kind of a no-brainer. Nevertheless, I love arm warmers, and my new pair is warm yet lightweight–perfect for throwing into my bag in the morning, and whipping out as the climate changes.

skill level: beginner

time: 15 minutes

materials: sweater, ruler, marker, scissors or rotary cutter and mat, elastic thread and needle (optional), buttons (optional)

1. Fold what remains of your sweater so that the sleeves are aligned on a hard, flat surface.

2. Determine how long you want your arm warmers to be, and measure up from the ends of the sleeves. I left the edges raw, and haven’t had any problems with unraveling. If you have a loosely knit sweater or just don’t like the look of raw edges, add an extra 1/2 to 1 inch to your arm warmers. Of course, this will add bulk at the tops, so be forewarned if you’re working with a thick sweater. You could also cuff them at the tops. Maybe add a few buttons along one side…go crazy.

3. Mark a dotted line where you will be cutting. You could cut it at an angle for superhero-esque cuffs (I think that in that case, you’d definitely want to eliminate the raw edge. If the knit is too bulky, you can just machine-finish the edges with an elastic thread (or with a stitch designed for stretchy fabrics).

4. Cut along the dotted line.

5. That’s it! If desired, finish/embellish as stated above.


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