Sunday, February 8, 2015

A Free Needle Felting Project For You!

A beautiful embellishment to a ready-to-wear garment can really personalize your wardrobe.  How about an easy floral design on a sweater done by hand needle felting?  If you've wanted to try your hand at this craft, it's both quick to learn and the tools are affordable.  Basic needle felting instructions are easy to find online by searching "how to needle felt".  And needle felting designs can be easily made from wool applique and punchneedle pattern designs, so the ideas are limitless!

General Supplies:
Needle Felting Tool; Pen Style Needle Felting Tool; Large Felting Pad; Natural Wool Roving: Off-White, Light Blue, Teal, Blue, Lime Green, Moss Green, Caramel, Light Yellow, Black; Sweater or garment to embellish; Scissors; Pins; Chalk

First, create a paper pattern from the template below.  Cut out the flower and leaf centers from the pattern.  Find the right placement for your embellishment by pinning the paper pattern to the garment and trying on the sweater.  Adjust as needed.  The design for this cardigan sweater was positioned about 3” down from the top shoulder seam and about 3” from the collar’s side edge.  Use a piece of white chalk to mark the flower and leaf locations and remove the pattern.  Place the area of the garment that will be embellished on top of the large felting pad.

Began by creating the flower stems. Remove a small long hank of caramel roving and fold back one end. Twist this end, and with the pen felting tool, tack the end at the point where the stem begins. Be sure to remove pins before felting in those areas. With one hand begin to twist the roving semi tightly while felting it in place with the other hand. Stems have a gentle curve to their end. When the bottom of the stem is reached, cut the roving with scissors a little longer than the length needed and felt in the end. Go back and securely felt the stems until they feel very secure.

To create the leaves, take a small hank of lime green roving and spread it thinly across the felting pad, end to end (if it overlaps, that is fine). Spread another slightly thicker hank of moss green roving the opposite direction on the pad. Felt these crossed roving pieces to the pad and then loosely wrap any overlapped roving on all sides and felt these in place. Turn piece over on the pad and fold it in half. Felt this together. Turn piece over again and fold in half. Felt this together. Piece will be thick now; remove from pad. Trace or copy the leaf patterns onto paper and cut out these shapes. Take the first leaf pattern and line it up with one edge of the green roving piece. With scissors, cut around the roving piece just outside of the pattern. There should be enough of the mottled green roving piece left over to cut the second leaf pattern as well. Position the leaves at the bottom of the stem areas and felt in place using the pen felting tool. After cleaning any loose fibers, go back over the leaves with the five needle felting tool to securely set the leaves into the garment. Take a very small length of moss green roving and felt a vein in each leaf in the same manner as the stems were created.

Creating each flower involves blending together two different colors. To do this, use the amounts and colors listed below to create the gradual effect. Take a very small amount of the two roving colors and gently pull apart the fibers and bring them back together with fingers. Keep blending the two colors this way until the darker tone can barely be distinguished. These are very small amounts to work with, so there will be very little roving used to make each flower. Once satisfied with the color blending, create a ball shape with fingers and then felt into place. Move through the flower stem, gradually lessening the darker color until reaching the top flower, which is almost all white. Flowers should get gradually smaller as their color lightens. Position flowers on either side of the stem, but not exactly parallel to one another. Do this shading for the second smaller flower stem, however eliminate those levels of solid color (see color shading key below). Finish the flowers by felting a very small ball of yellow roving in each flower’s center with the pen felting tool. Go over each flower with larger felting tool to further set in the flowers. Use the pen felting tool to clean up around the edges by felting in any loose fibers.

Color Shading Key:
Top flowers: Off-White, very small amount of Light Blue
2nd level flowers: Light Blue, very small amount of Teal
3rd level flowers: Teal only
4th level flowers: Teal, very small amount of Blue
5th level flowers: Blue only
Bottom level flowers: Blue, very small amount of Black

Wow!  Wasn't that easy and quick?  And this wonderful embellishment is securely attached to your garment and will withstand regular laundering.  If those fiber "hairs" do peak out, just resecure them with a little more felting.

For more needle felting designs with lots of detailed instructions and photo illustrations, check out my epatterns that may be purchased from the right side column of my blog, in my Etsy shop, or on Patternmart.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Brrrr...It's Cold --- Time to Celebrate!

Wow...October is nearly done, so it's time for the OFG Team's Winter Celebration!  

This year I have had fun making all sorts of decorations for your holiday tree!  Wouldn't one of these gift card or money holder ornaments be a fun way to give?  Lots more smiles than just an envelope or box!

And these snowman gift bags are a great way to gift someone with something special as well as being reusable for many years!

Check out this great slide show of just a few of the new items this great team has to offer!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Harvest Happenings with OFG!

Just another week and fall will be here!  That means it's time for a new celebration with the Old Farmhouse Gathering Team!  I've created a couple of new items for Halloween just for you!  

Meet BOO, my ghost make do display.  Boo is a great little piece that isn't too scary to show off whereever you need a little Halloween character!

My cute little black cat, Trouble, is weighted down inside his burlap bag to sit perfectly on a small shelf.  And I've stitched on a fun vintage tag to wish you a "Merry Halloween" on his burlap bag.

Check out all of the team's new creations for this special celebration by typing HHCOFG in the search area at!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Quick Column Quilts Blog Tour - Sandy Beach Blotter

So glad you've stopped by for my turn on the blog tour for Nancy Zieman's new book, Quick Column Quilts!  Even with all of the eye candy in this book, finding that perfect project to make took me no time, and it's one that will even have an important purpose!  

Our recent project has been creating my daughter's new beachy bedroom (see post below), and The Dotted Columns Wall Hanging was the perfect size to add a blotter style quilt to the beautiful desk her dad made.

The book's gorgeous version is made with silk dupioni, which illuminates vibrant appliqued circles scattered about in delicate balance with a calm column background.

I made my quilt much more monocromatic and, in keeping with those stand out circles, added a few subtle messages of encouragement too.  The simplicity of arranging the scattered columns (notice how no seams need to line up!) gives artistic latitude to those circles, which kept calling out to me to say something!

With very specific colors that were approved by the teen boss, the base columns were done with sand and wood tones, and pale blues and white solids were used for the circles.

To make the blotter more rigid than a regular quilt, I used stiff interfacing rather than cotton batting, and assembled the columns using the "quilt as you go" technique. 

Deciding on the words to stamp onto the appliqued circles actually took longer than making this entire quilt!  Using some typewriter style font stamps, I gave each circle a little whimsy by not lining all the letters up perfectly.  I fused each circle on before stitching, although Nancy's technique in her book would have worked much nicer for more smoother satin stitching.  To me, they look like bubbles of water on a sandy santuary.

I loved how Nancy's book has so many visual diagrams for cutting and piecing each step of the quiltmaking process for precise results. Even the most beginning sewing student can easily follow along and achieve great one of a kind creations!  

To give a bit of a feminine touch, I finished the border by adding a petite lace edging around a very skinny bias binding.

The result is a functional quilt that finished up super fast which leads guessed it...more time for sewing!  But most of all, she loved it! 

Nancy is hosting a fantastic giveaway including several copies of this book, and all you have to do to be eligible is to leave a comment on her blog post here.  There are 27(!) blogs featuring creations from the Quick Column Quilts book to help inspire you, so please follow along and check out these talented artists and their creations:

Date                  Link

09/04/14         Nancy Zieman
09/05/14         Quilt Taffy and  Simple Simon & Co.
09/06/14         Diary of a Quilter  and Stitchin Jenny
09/07/14         A Woman a Day  and Craizee Corner   
09/08/14         Jina Barney DesignzLilac Lane Patterns, and Totally Stitchin' 
09/09/14         Esch House Quilts and The Cottage Mama
09/10/14         Designs in Machine Embroidery and Pat Sloan
09/12/14         Happy Valley PrimitivesDoohikey Designs, and Quilt in a Day
09/13/14         Quilt Dad and Just Arting Around
09/14/14         Lazy Girl Designs and  Marie-Madeline Studio
09/15/14         Always Expect Moore  and Polka Dot Chair
09/16/14         Amy Lou Who Sews and Riley Blake Designs
09/17/14         Indygo Junction and Amy's Creative Side

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Teen Serenity

 Whoohoo, it's back to school time, and I'm more than ready for the peace and solitude to create!  Hope your summer was fun!

We worked on several projects during the break, and the bedroom of my daughter, Nicole, was the top priority.  The days of bubble gum pink walls and a full meadow mural that I hand painted are now gone and replaced with a cool blue paint aptly named "sea inspired."  We kept with the block of squares along the main wall with the white paint as the "grout" line, replacing the pink tones with hues of the wall paint mixed with white paint to give a nice graduated tone.  I also added a few light brown squares to keep with the three colors now sprinkled throughout her room, blue, brown and white.

Her new teen bedroom is quite grown up; however, she still has this big white bear keeping a reading corner chair warm!  We added paper lanterns above, white sheers for the window and white accent shelves throughout.  Of course, this retreat also included a large fish tank that rests on her dresser...what's more tranquil than watching fish?

One project that she's quite proud of is the canvas art.  She purchased several squares of canvas and found a variety of sea shapes to create with natural materials.  She's still working on completing several more, but I wanted to show off her starfish, made with gravel bits (extra from the fish tank purchase).  It turned out just perfect!

The bed covering is a white duvet cover that I purchased and unfortunately was only available in a queen size.  So I turned it inside out and stitched up the sides to fit her bed and tucked her former bed quilt inside.  This worked great as I made her first bed quilt and wasn't ready to give it away just yet!  On her nightstand, she purchased a wood lantern with glass sides and decorated with sand, fish netting, sea shells and sea glass.  She found the "N" at Hobby Lobby in their clearance section, and the color perfectly matched her wall tone.

We will be accenting her window with the fish netting and glass balls and eventually adding more features.  She loves the results and it's made a real difference in how tidy her room is staying since the change...go figure!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

An Artist's Eye

My daughter, Nicole, has been spending time this summer redesigning and redecorating her room, and it's been so much fun as she budgets how to spend her money on things that truely make her happy.  This week we were out on the hunt for more decor items and I couldn't believe what we stumbled on!

This amazing artist, Julio G. Meza, has a talent for bringing in natural elements from the sea into beautiful arrangements.  Like a painter chooses just the right colors and blends them just so, Mr. Meza can see the beauty of shells and bones collected, polished and spectacularly assembled.  We researched this artist to find that he never duplicates a piece and is quite well known.  This beautiful piece struck both of us in that the colors are a perfect match to my daughter's "new" room and also that this piece was signed/made the year that Nicole was born!

All for $6.50!  An incredible investment, as his pieces resell for many, many times more.  Although this beauty has a home for quite a while here.  Nicole's new appreciation for this artist has her creating more fun pieces to add to her decor and to find just the right spot to display this new treasure.  We're almost ready for the big "reveal" of her new beach themed oasis of relaxation!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Still kicking, so how 'bout a Pattern Sale!'s been a very long month!  I've had a few medical setbacks that have kept me from creating anything new, so how about a pattern sale to get YOU motivated to create!  Today through Monday (Memorial Day), you can purchase all instant download epatterns from my Etsy shop at a 40% discount!  Enter coupon code 40OFFPATTERNS at checkout to activate your discount.  I've never offered this much of a discount on my patterns before, so take advantage while you can!  Discount applies to all epatterns purchased during this sale!

I have several ideas brewing for new pattern designs that I hope to have ready this summer, providing I can get moving again at full speed by then.  I still get pretty winded just walking, and continue to have some soreness, so my creative spirit has to just hang in the wind until I can catch it again and get it moving!

Until then, I leave you with an old picture of the "hairy one."  We have to keep his hair much shorter now, but this is a photo that Nic took.  It's probably best that you can't see his eyes...or his teeth for that matter, as he hates "dress up time."

Friday, April 18, 2014

Become Smitten with My Latest Epattern!

Meet "Smitten," my newest ePattern!  Smitten is an adorable Snowman Ornament in charge of catching those affectionate little stars filled with wishes!  He was designed to coordinate beautifully with my Catch a Falling Star Snowman Tree Topper pattern.  Little Smitten is super fun and easy to make up with your basic sewing skills.

He wears a detailed top hat and features a tiny contorted nose under those watchful eyes!  He rests in a mitten that doubles as the hanger, and his arms have 'fingers' that have a secure hold on his latest star find!

Available now in my Etsy and Patternmart shops, this pattern may also be purchased through my blog (at the right of this post) at a special price!

And...for the first time ever, I've created a limited number of complete kits to make Smitten and am selling them only here on my blog!

Each kit includes all of the supplies to make one Smitten Snowman Ornament, including fabrics shown, embellishments, stuffing, and matching hand sewing thread.  You will need to supply the tools to complete him.  Kits may be purchased with or without the pattern, which may be either emailed to you or snail mailed together with the kit.  Price includes shipping within the US only.  I will ship to Canada (please contact me for a separate Paypal invoice).  And, as always, I'm happy to make you up a finished Smitten Ornament if you're not the stitchin' kind...just contact me for the details!

Smitten Snowman Kit Only (no pattern):  $12.00

Smitten Snowman Kit with Epattern (emailed to you):  $18.00

Smitten Snowman Kit with Paper Pattern:  $20.00

Monday, April 14, 2014

Dog Days of Spring

Happy Monday!  Little Gizzy celebrates his 14th birthday today, albeit in much slower fashion.  He share's his special day with my Grandma, who would have been 89 today (miss you!).

I have a great new pattern in the works that was designed to compliment my Snowman Tree Topper...I can't wait for you to see it!  I am working to get it completed and ready for sale this week. Unfortunately, it's taking me much longer, as I've been having a lot of medical tests done to see what's churning backwards inside me lately. All will be fine in due time, but suffice to say, I'm moving at a snail's pace at most tasks these days along with the dog!

 Have a wonderfully, creative day!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Anything Goes OFG Style!

The Old Farmhouse Team on Etsy is having fun with our latest celebration! Check out some of these brand new creations as we celebrate with Anything Goes! Type ATGOFG in the search bar on to see all of the fun!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

So much sadness

The lives gone are many.  The devastation is unbelievable.  Stand up where you are and look out...a mile out in front of you, and a mile out to your side.  Imagine if all of that were gone in an instant.  Imagine blinking your eyes to find that opening them only revealed an emptiness and all normality had ceased.  Now, realize that you just witnessed the largest landslide disaster this country has ever seen.

The landslide near Oso is just a half hour's drive from my home.  I've traveled the highway many times through that area on any other regular day like this past Saturday.  The scenery lush with trees, pastures and the Stilly River curving like waves of hair around the mountainous tips and valleys.  It's a marvelous, beautiful trek, full of variety...pastures of horses, alpacas, cows and more.  Bald eagles swooping around for a plentiful hunt.  Deer and sometimes elk dare to appear.

Coping with all of this loss so close to home is difficult.  Knowing that so many of the victims have not been found is heart wrenching.  The hope is still there that some will be found alive, but it dwindles with each day passing.  It's so incredibly dangerous to search, with the slide area still active, the difficult terrain of quicksand-like mud amongst the mass of twisted cars, homes, logs, the river ever constantly weaving through in spots, and the rain.  The rain is suppose to continue and get heavier by week's end.

But that will not stop the force of brave men and women who are risking their own lives to give closure to so many families.  The work is extremely hard and very physically demanding.  The tasks prove very grisly and grim, and I can only imagine how the emotion of actually being out there is taking it's toll on the rescuers.  Their brave resilience, each and every one of them, is just so amazing.

The community is hurting; the wound has spread for miles and miles to all of us that reside here.  But it's also brought many together to give and help and be a part of the solution.  There's a time to ask why, and a time to act.  And a time to grieve.

I don't usually write about such things on my blog; however, today I needed to grieve, and writing helps some.  Today I felt like sharing with you and asking you for just one thing.  As you and your family get together today, either at the day's end or otherwise, tell them you love them.  Let them know how much they mean to you.  Each day is a blessing.  Every moment is a memory.  And every minute really does count.

Monday, February 24, 2014

New Beginnings Celebration!

Oh my...2014 is already in high gear and feeling like a blur!  What have you been up to?  

My friends in the OFG Team on Etsy are all ready for spring with our latest celebration!  Check out over 140 brand new creations here:

I have lots of bunnies hopping around my shop and even some baby lambs corralled in a basket!  Hope you'll take a peek!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Seams Unlikely - Nancy Zieman blog tour!

***UPDATE*** Congratulations to "sewquik"!  You are the winner of my giveaway!  Please contact me with your mail address!

 Who inspired you?  The question involves thoughtful reflection into your own journey of those who have stepped into your life, even just for a moment.

Nancy Zieman is probably the most well known face in the world of educational sewing through public broadcasting.  She's been the inspiration for many a sewer to take that leap, try something new, give it a go and be creative.  For over thirty years, she's been teaching us steps in a creative process, always encouraging her viewers with those reassuring words..."the choice is yours."

So when I heard that she was writing an autobiography, titled "Seams Unlikely," I was most certainly intrigued.  Here is an opportunity to meet the very talented woman behind the camera and learn even more about her vision and how she fulfilled her dreams.

It's a story about an incredible journey through physical challenges and honesty that comes from the heart.  When Nancy explains her experiences, you can easily see that this is a woman with unbreakable spirit.  As I soaked in the stories of her childhood and upbringing, I found a kinship in her heartwarming reflections.  She has such a humble nature at telling about an extraordinarily difficult physical journey.  Her story really enlightened me to understand this woman and her true character.  

What I found most inspiring is that Nancy didn't have to establish herself by changing who she is deep inside.  She faced many barriers in developing a woman owned business in an era that was still stereotyped against believing they can succeed.  And she leapt over these obstacles always learning, growing and developing.  All this while dealing with substantial physical challenges which would cause most to give up.  And all this while maintaining integrity, grace and balance.

I confirmed a belief that I have felt since first watching Nancy on TV.  She is the real thing, a genuine character of strong faith with a will to succeed, not just for her products or even her educational instruction, but also in life.  And her story tells it all so beautifully.

Would you like to receive your own copy of Seams Unlikely?  I received an additional copy to give away to one lucky reader of my blog.  Simply become a follower and leave a comment about someone who inspired you for your chance to win (US residents only, please).  I'll draw a name at the end of this blog tour on February 18th, so be sure that you're settings include the ability for me to reply/contact you!

Nancy is also giving away 20 more copies of her book!  Leave a comment on her February 4th blog posting for your chance to win your own copy!  And be sure to stop by these participating blogs in this special tour:

February 4 Nancy Zieman
February 5 Eileen Roche
February 5 Pat Sloan
February 6 Melissa Stramel
February 6 The Long Ladies
February 6 Tori Thompson
February 7 Amy Barickman
February 7 Melissa Mora
February 8 Shari Butler
February 8 Vicki Christensen
February 9 Carolina Moore
February 9 Kate Mclvor
February 10 Amy Ellis
February 10 Melissa Mortenson
February 11 Ilene Miller
February 11 Liz Hicks
February 11 Rachael Pannepacker
February 12 Bill Gardner
February 12 Elizabeth Evans
February 13 Amy Webb
February 13 Lindsay Wilkes
February 14 Gertie Hirsch
February 14 Veronica Philips
February 15 Jenny Gabriel
February 15 Laura Wasilowski
February 16 Frieda Anderson
February 16 Rita Farro
February 17 Cindy Cloward
February 17 Joan Hawley
February 17 Patty Young
February 18 Nancy Zieman

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Take Out Love - A New Pattern Release!

Wow...2014 is already starting off fast!  I've been working on three new pattern designs and now have the latest one ready for you!  Celebrate Valentine's Day for your special someone with a handmade 'take out' container filled with sentiments inside these
beautiful fabric fortune cookies!

This is by far my quickest and easiest project to complete.  The larger container has a beautiful heart cutwork opening that is encased with beadwork and a tinsel garland around the brim.  The smaller container has closure flaps that interlock and a frayed heart complete with a rusty arrow.  And finally, each fortune cookie is trimmed out with beads, and I've included lots of fortune cookie sayings with the pattern.

Find this new pattern along with all of my other designs in my Etsy shop and on  And, of course, if you purchase from my blog, you'll save a little cash!  Have fun creating!