Friday, November 30, 2018

many thanks for making my Etsy sale such a success! and now back to sewing...

I'm lucky to have this gorgeous pile of Felt On The Fly greens, teals, pinks and corals on my desk at the moment. They are waiting to be turned into the last of three jewel colorways for my Twelve Days ornament series. The first two colorways are featured here and here, and are available in her shop.

I have to extend one thousand thanks to you for making my annual Etsy sale one for the MmmCrafts record books! Y'all have a bunch of sewing to do! And man. So do I. Can I panic yet? Only 25 days 'til Christmas. TOO MUCH TO DO. This happens every year. #stilldidntseeitcoming

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Thanksgiving weekend sale!

A very happy and peaceful Thanksgiving Day to my fellow Americans! But you certainly don't need to be American and have a turkey and dressing to take a moment to count your blessings. It's something folks the world over can take the time to do. At church the other day a wise person said wouldn't it be nice if we all agreed to take 364 days a year to be thankful, and then set aside just the one day to gripe and complain? Yes, that would be nice. :-)

I'm hosting Thanksgiving dinner at my house this year, so when this pre-scheduled post publishes I'll likely be in the middle of a cooking crisis of some sort. Or a decorating crisis. Or a hair crisis. Or all of that. (So here's a msg to my Nov 22nd self: Hey, Larissa, it's going to work out. Phil 4:6-7. Have a coffee and put in some extra creamer.)

I truly have so much to be thankful for, and that includes in no small part being thankful for you! I can't express how all your kind comments, messages, and photos keep me so encouraged and excited to create the next pattern. The response to my Twelve Days series of ornaments this past few years has been hugely gratifying. Because I love to make them so much, it's just completely fantastic that so many of you feel the same way! And after a year of maintenance work and pondering, I'm ready to create something new for next year and introduce a new series of Christmas ornaments. (Hint: Dickens)

So Thanksgiving weekend also means it's time for my yearly pattern sale! If you've been waiting for the right time to purchase a pattern or a pattern bundle when it goes on sale, this is it! The annual MmmCrafts Black Friday/Small Biz Saturday/Crafty Sunday/Cyber Monday sale in my Etsy shop only. 20% off your purchase! No coupon code necessary. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Gold designer collection complete and available at Felt On The Fly

Gold color story. Photo courtesy of Felt On The Fly

OK! Here's Gold, the second in my three jewel tone Twelve Days Ornaments color collections for Felt On The Fly. This one features warm, vibrant tones of gold, and corals, with splashes of teal and red. These 100% merino wool felts are just a joy to sew with! This set includes ten colors in 8x12 inch sheets:

Sweet Potato
Raw Umber
Caribbean Blue
Dark Teal

You can also choose to add on Sulky Stick N' Stitch and matching flosses (which work well to sew the ornament together and also can be used for the decorative stitching with the addition of white and black flosses). Just use the drop down menu to select the option you want. Buy it here!

See how pretty the first two color stories look combined? Such beautiful, saturated colors. See this post for details on the previous Sapphire colorway! One more designer collection to go. Hint: GREENS

To buy: Felt On The Fly (and be sure to view the other palettes Janet has selected herself in her shop's Twelve Days Ornaments section). And of course, you can purchase the sewing patterns for the ornaments at my shop,

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Sapphire designer collection complete and available at Felt On The Fly

Sapphire color story. Photo courtesy of Felt On The Fly

Hello, guys! Man, I'm so behind on this. I forgot to post that this vibrant, saturated 100% merino wool felt Twelve Days Ornaments colorway is now available at Janet's shop, Felt On The Fly. It's called Sapphire for the rich, saturated pinks and blues. The bundle contains eleven gorgeous colors of 8x12 inch felt sheets:

Deep Pink
Lavender Pink
Dark Teal
Caribbean Blue

She also offers add-ons for Sulky Stick N' Stitch and matching floss. Just select those options from the drop down listing. Buy it here!

The matching floss is necessary to sew the pieces together, but you can also use the matching flosses to create the decorative embroidery, with the minor addition of white and black flosses.

I really enjoyed putting this designer collection together! The merino felts are such a joy to work with. Stay tuned: I will be putting together three different designer collections for Felt On The Fly. Sapphire is the first! (Here's the link to Gold, the 2nd color story which is now available.)

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

new colorways in 100% wool felt - WIP

Hey, guys. Stitching like a busy bee in between driving my kid all over creation to volleyball. This is the first time I've been an athlete parent and MAN, y'all. It's a lot of driving. But my kid loves it. Go, Holland! Bless her, she's working successfully to overcome the combined set of awkward genes she got from her very unathletically gifted parents. I have other talents.

So anyway, the three Twelve Days ornaments^ up there are from the blue/pink color bundle that I'm putting together for Janet at Felt on the Fly using her luxurious 100% wool felts. There will be three different colorways and they are going to be heavy on the rich, dark and bright colors. I'm excited to share more later!

In other news, I decided it was time to replace my blog, shop, and social media profile pictures with one that actually looks like me. The old one was the Brunette Larissa from several years ago. It was time to switch to Granny Hair Larissa. But how embarrassing is it to take a bunch of selfies? I'd rather be poked with knives than ask my teens to photograph official shots of me, so I hid in the kitchen and tried to figure out the best way to get a shot of myself with my phone timer (multiple fails) that didn't look 100% contrived and awkward. I kept checking over my shoulder to make sure they couldn't see what I was doing and mock me. It felt completely ridiculous. #generationgap

I'm not sure the one I am using over there > in my profile is even acceptable but I give up for now. It's me Living My Truth (aka swilling coffee). 

Monday, August 13, 2018

and we have a winner...

Hey, guys, thanks for partying with me like it's 2008 by leaving comments on my 10th blogiversary old school giveaway! I read each and every comment and really enjoyed getting a glimpse into your past and present thoughts and lives. One overarching theme appeared as I read through: change.

Ten years has brought change to all of our lives. Some change was welcomed with joy: new career paths, new marriages, new sweet babies, new homes, new locales. Some changes you shared were heartbreakers of loss, adversity, sickness and sorrow. I just wanted to hug some of you! Another word occurred to me as I read your stories: hindsight. So many of you looked back on difficult or painful times and could now see clearly how those things were necessary or even made beautiful with the passing time.

What's clear to me, as I gain more gray hair by the minute, is that all change in our lives challenges us to grow. Looking back over the ten year span I think we can all of us see how change has made us stronger, and the new strength is an inseparable part of who we are. Thanks for helping me to reflect more deeply on the time that has passed and how to redeem whatever time my Creator may grant me in the future. I pray God blesses you all, and that the next ten years bring you peace and joy!

Comments on the anniversary post are officially closed and the randomly generated winner is:

kkbroc, aka Kristie!

Her comment:
Ten years ago I found your Molly Monkey free pattern to make for my daughter's 6th birthday. I now have 6 children and can give you an amen as I too have been homeschooling all these years. I love your ornaments and would love to win this!!!

Congratulations, Kristie! Six children are such a blessing! *High fives* to a fellow homeschooler and extra props for your large student body. I hope you enjoy the sewing patterns that you choose! Thanks for providing your email address. Look for me in your inbox!

Thank you to everyone who helped me make this 10th birthday a proper occasion! (Did you miss the Etsy sale? No worries, my Black Friday/Cyber Monday sale will still be happening in November!)

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

mmmcrafts is 10 years old! let's celebrate!

The comments on this post are closed! Thanks for participating in the giveaway! The winner is posted here.

In 2008 I haphazardly started a craft blog and a pattern business (like you do, you know) and now whammo -- it's suddenly 10 years later. I kept reminding myself last year that this landmark was coming, and then I got too busy and tabled thinking about it for later. Later later. My actual blog birthday slipped by me five months ago on March 29th (here's a throwback to my very first blog post for ya), and then my Etsy shop was born later that year in November, so my Etsyversary is still to come in a couple months. I'll think of this commemorative post as splitting the difference.

2007: Me and my girlies a few months before blogging ever occurred to me. Ah, my brown hair.

2008: Early blog post demonstrating how not to photograph your kids.

2018: Same photographic problem. No more brown hair. This picture was taken on our recent trip to see my BFF, Robyn. If you've been around for a while, you'll know my friendship with her is also a long-running theme of this blog.

My two girls were six and four years old when I started all this, and I was just getting into homeschooling. Even though I had plenty on my plate (can I get an amen, homeschoolers?), I found that crafting, blogging and pattern designing gave me a much-needed adult creative outlet. I had to carve out time to do it though, mostly stolen moments during the day and lots of late nights. My kids will tell you it was more like this.

I came up with my mmmcrafts logo and header in 2008 and it really hasn't changed a whole lot. In the beginning there was one less coffee cup. Somehow I've lost the original 2 coffee cup version, but this is close:

I did update my logo font in 2013 to what you see now. You could say all that sameness is boring or lazy. You could also say I'm Consistently Building My Brand. Haha. I like that. "Building my brand" sounds completely purposeful.

*In voice of Edna Mode* I do vary the colors and throw in the occasional holiday peppermint or cinnamon stick, darling, because I like to push design boundaries. Why the coffee cups, you ask? Because I like coffee.

Besides yammering on about sewing, felt crafting, paper crafting and my procrastination problems achievements, I use it as a travel journal, confessional, resource list and catalogue of handmade gifts. If you like to make handmade gifts, you know it is hard to remember what you've made and for whom and in what color. As I've said many times, I think I'm my own most loyal reader. I'm constantly referring to my own posts.

Even though initially a creative diary mostly for my own reference, this blog has grown into a handy resource center for my tutorials and patterns. Even though I don't post very often, rest assured that is here to stay.

Happy tenth birthday to my Etsy shop too. I'm considered an old-timer there, you know. The Etsy marketplace was pretty robust when I joined in 2008 and now it's completely crazy how many Etsy shops there are. I miss the mom n' pop feel of the old Etsy community, but I love how the go-getters at Etsy constantly innovate to serve the massive marketplace and keep the experience as manageable as possible for me.

2008: My first pattern for sale, Katy Kitty, and...

...2018: my latest patterns for sale, the Twelve Days Ornament Series.

Inspired by the new millenium wave of indie rag doll design and my daughter's request for a red girl kitty for her birthday, my Etsy shop opened with a grand total of one digital pattern for sale (Katy Kitty, shown above). Katy was a variation on my popular free pattern, Molly Monkey. I sold 18 Katy Kitty patterns before the end of the year, for which I was completely astonished and gratified. I immediately spent any profits and then some) on craft supplies and fabric. 

Ten years later my Etsy shop has 40 patterns and over 19,000 sales. I'm still astounded by its success. I do so really love to design and write patterns and I'm hugely gratified that you guys actually enjoy using them! (At some point a few years ago I also opened a Craftsy pattern store to put another option out there. It functions exclusively with Paypal payments.)

We are still homeschooling, and now my used-to-be-tiny girls are 14 and 16. High school is hard, y'all. Our program is rigorous, and creative time is much harder to find now. I blog rarely and am a sporadic Instagrammer at best. Patterns have to happen in the chinks between.

Let's celebrate, old school! Do you remember the once ubiquitous blog giveaways? They've fallen out of fashion. But. Let's do it up 2008 style! *Viva la Vida blares suddenly in background* No one likes to log in and comment on blog posts these days, so I'm thinking if you are somehow still reading this, your odds will be pretty good! Here's the prize:

Any-thang you want from my Etsy shop, up to $75. Which incidentally covers the cost of the complete Twelve Days Bundle, so if you've been waiting for a sale it doesn't get much better than free. Already got the complete series? No worries. Pick any combination of patterns you like, as long as it doesn't go over $75.

Leave one comment on this post with what you were doing ten years ago, and include an email address so I can contact you if you win. That's it.
I'll be choosing the winner randomly on AUGUST 12th.

Not into giveaways? Use the code MMMHAPPY10TH and get 20% off your purchase in my Etsy shop only from now through AUGUST 12th.

Thanks for helping me celebrate, you guys!

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Hey, Larissa, what do you mean by "4 strands of floss"?

(Happy summer to all my friends in the northern hemisphere and a cozy winter to all my friends in the southern hemisphere! I'm busy, busy, busy with all kinds of graphic design, home improvement and craft projects for summer so I haven't checked in much on social media or the blog. Hello! *waves*)

If you are working on any of my hand embroidered projects, like the Twelve Days ornament series, you'll notice that I specify how many strands of floss to use on each step. If you are new to embroidery, you may be wondering what that means.
Wonder no more!

DMC embroidery floss is made up of six cotton threads that are twisted together to form one strand of floss. On my patterns you will find the number of strands specified, for instance:
4 strands of contrasting floss + whip stitch
That means you'll separate and remove 2 strands of thread and use the remaining 4 strands of floss to do the whip stitches. (Contrasting just means a floss color that is not the same color as the felt and that will show up well.) It's important to follow those steps if you want your stitching to have the same look as my samples because I obsess over tailor the number of strands used to best highlight my designs.

You'll find I use 4 strands the most, but I also specify 2, 3, and 6 strands at times. I don't recall ever specifying 5, but it's a possibility! It's a good idea to set aside the strands you peel away because you might get a chance to use them later in the project.

Q: So what's the best method to separate them? 
A: You'll find if you just grab 2 strands and try to peel them away the floss sometimes gets snarled or twisted. Who has time or patience for that? Not me.

Start with about 18-20 inches of floss. (Avoid cutting strands much longer because this process just gets too tricky.) First I'll tell you about the DMC recommended method. And then I'll tell you mine.

DMC approved method: Pinch the floss between your fingers near the end and slowly pull out one strand at a time, until it's all separated, then reunite however many strands to thread your needle. This has the advantage of removing any twisting and will keep your embroidery smoother and less snarly. Here's an excellent visual tutorial for that method:

Larissa's quicker method: My non-DMC approved method is to hold one end of the floss in my teeth and at the other end grab two threads with one hand and four with the other. I peel them apart that way to keep the floss from twisting on itself. Then I run my pinched fingernails down the strands a few times to untwist them. Voila. There still might be an occasional twist in the floss, but I usually don't sweat that.

Q: What needle should I use? 
A: Most of my patterns specify a size 5 embroidery needle. If that's the only one you have, you can do the whole project with it, no problem. However, it will make your job easier if you have a variety of needle sizes and multiple size 5 embroidery needles so you don't have to unthread every time you change a color. Make sure they are nice and sharp. (Avoid tapestry needles. While they have nice, big eyes, they also have blunt tips.)
- I use a size 5 embroidery needle for 3 and 4 strands.
- I use a smaller sized sewing sharp for 2 strands (or you can use a size 8 or 9 embroidery needle).
- I use a larger size 3 embroidery needle for handling all 6 strands. The larger eye and needle shaft are helpful when threading and pulling the french knots through.
DMC also has a needle guide here.

Q: I hate stripping floss. Can I just use different sizes of DMC Pearl Cotton?
A: In theory, yes. Yes, you can. I just have no experience with that, but I don't see why not. DMC pearl cotton comes in several sizes. Send me pictures if you've used that for the ornaments!

Cheater Note:
After the embroidery's all done and you sew the ornament parts together, I specify 2 strands of matching floss for that. BUT. You can cheat. If you have a large library of sewing threads like I do and they just happen to match the felt color, then feel free to use a double strand of sewing thread for that instead. (Remember this is for sewing the parts together only -- not for embroidery.) It's way less trouble than stripping more floss. BUT. It is less likely you'll find a matching sewing thread for every felt you have because they come in fewer colors. I just use it if I have the matching thread. And, yes, I have plenty of samples that are sewn together with both floss and doubled thread. It's hard to tell unless you really look closely!

I hope this guide has been helpful! Happy stitching!