Thursday, January 26, 2023

lodstar tree topper 2.0 and still revising


Here are the two samples of upcoming pattern #lodestartreetopper I’ve made so far. The second prototype is the pink/white one on the right. Hard to tell by looking, but I made a bunch of minor adjustments, changed the construction to be better, and made it slightly larger overall. 


hmmmmm I don’t know about that pink/red color scheme though. Something about the red stitching in the arms bothers me — they look like a circulatory system or something? LOL I may rethink the embroidery colors for the final pink version. 


What I do love on both prototypes are the pretty metallic felts from @benziedesign. They add holiday *glimmer.* I have to take a break for a couple of weeks to do other stuff but then I’ll be back with the next version. Which will hopefully be the final version. And then the real work begins to make the samples, write the instructions, draw the diagrams, etc... 
More experimental color combos coming up!

Thursday, January 19, 2023

a more detailed look at the Lodestar Tree Topper


Here's a look at the completed Lodestar prototype. I posted a video of it on my IG and Facebook pages if you'd like to hop there to see it twirl.
  • Size of the star itself is 11 in. wide x 11 in. tall x 2 in. deep (28 cm x 28 cm x 5 cm) and including the painted dowel lollipop stick it is 17 in. tall (43 cm).
  • All hand sewn and embroidered using the Sulky Stick N Stitch wash-away stabilizer. Materials needed are wool felts, DMC flosses, thread, 5 mm and 8 mm sequins, glass beads, Pellon 70 Peltex, FabriTac permanent fabric glue, 3/16" wood dowel, matte green paint (or whatever color best matches your Christmas tree)
  • This topper should coordinate well with any MmmCrafts ornaments. You can make it with or without the embroidery/metallics and choose coordinating colors to achieve any look you'd like. I do not have any plans to design series specific toppers, but I won't rule it out.
Included in the pattern will be a pendant version to hang in your window or doorway, which will not have a dowel (obviously) and will have the missing point of the star included in place of it. Also pondering including a matching Christmas tree ornament, but I may make that a separate pattern because it would be a good beginner project. In that case, I'd include the suggestion for how to do it in the tree topper pattern (it's basically the three outermost stars with a hanging loop added and the year on the back.) 

If you have a mini tree, for a topper you might just want to buy the future ornament pattern and squash two ornaments together over a couple of pipe cleaners or a thin dowel for the topper. And then you can make mini ornaments using only the outermost star.

The completed one shown above was made with Benzie felts: Aqua and silver metallic. I'm working right now on a new pink/white/red sample after some tweaks to the pattern (shown below). It's Benzie white wool blend and pink metallic felts.


DIFFICULTY: While this is not difficult to make by any means, it does take patience. It uses a basic backstitch for all the embroidery and a whipstitch to put it together. I suggest taking large embroidery stitches to make it go faster. I'm using about a 4 mm stitch here (3/16"). There are one million pieces and 6 pattern pages so far. LOL. If you use Sulky stabilizer for all the pieces (including the Pellon) you'll get two tree toppers from one 12 pack of Stick N Stitch. It saves a lot of time with tracing, but it does use up a lot of stabilizer.
 
I will ponder how to organize a version which will save pages of Sulky by excluding all of the non-embroidered and interfacing pieces so that those who wish to can just trace and cut out those pieces the old school way or with freezer paper. :-)

Saturday, January 14, 2023

lodestar tree topper prototype



New design underway for a tree topper! I like how it's coming together so far. It's not complicated to make, but it sure takes a while. There are lots of pieces and lots of stitching, y'all.
 
It will have the same 3D layered star design on both sides so it can be viewed from either direction. (Or you can skip the back side if your tree is always against the wall. That's the lovely part of DIY.) Where's the cone, you say? I don't like dealing with those, as they never seem to work well or stay straight. This one will have a 3/16" wood dowel instead (painted to match your tree). So it will be like a star lollipop which will be secured to the tree top with your choice of pipe cleaners or zip ties and the dowel will disappear under the needles against the trunk. Easier to secure and straighten, IMO.

This design has been living in my head for a good long while, so it's nice to let it out. Lodestar means guiding star. I think it will be a nice topper for any sort of tree, because you can make it however you like in whatever colors you like, with stitching or no stitching, sparkle or sans sparkle. 

I have a few adjustments to make for the next sample, but this version is fairly close. Materials needed are wool felts (any combo of regular, metallic, or glittered), flosses, sequins, glass beads, Pellon 70 Peltex or stiffened craft felt, FabriTac glue, matching threads, 3/16 wood dowel, and paint which matches your tree color. Lots of frothy coffee, chocolate, and a nice long dialog heavy mini series you've been meaning to watch are recommended.

Friday, January 6, 2023

humbug for my schmoopie - handmade gift 2022


I'm married to a tall, slender, wonderful man who does not love the hurry scurry flurry of December. He's all about faith, family, humor, and good times, but he is just so not about the long train of sparkly events and gift wrapped expectations around Christmas Day. 

In contrast, that poor man is married to me, a procrastinating perfectionist Christmas addict who loves everything about the holidays, even the hurrying, scurrying, and especially the flurrying. So much so that I often create more hurry and scurry than strictly necessary. 

He does his best to put up with the yearly cavalcade of Christmas crazy with no comment and only a little bit of good natured grinchiness. Bless him. So this year I crafted him this specially made-with-love Humbug ornament. Cute little guy! With his grumpy wumpy face and curly green antennae. So fun to make – I was smiling the whole time.

I put it together (at the 9th hour of course!) by modifying the head of Mr Scrooge, the body of Mr Marley, and the hat from Lord a-Leaping. I used a 22 mm head instead of 20 because I wanted to exaggerate it a bit, and I elongated and slimmed down the legs to look more like my beloved real-life six-feet-four-inch Christmas curmudgeon. 

His hair, insect feet, and hands are made from mini green chenille stems, which just do not photograph very well. They are not this neon bright in real life but somehow that particular shade just really blows out in my photos.



It will be so fun to put this Humbug up on our family tree year after year! And I hope it brings a grinchy smile to my sweetie's face every time he sees it.

Thursday, January 5, 2023

Ghost of Christmas Present: detailed Benzie color guides – kits available!



Ghost of Christmas Present is the fourth pattern in my Ebenezer Ornament Series. Here are the detailed felt/floss/sequin/bead color guides for you so that you can easily make spirits that look like my Benzie felt samples!

Benzie Design has long been one of my favorite places to purchase wool-blend felts. They have stellar customer service, quick shipping, and their felt, floss, sequins and beads are an absolute joy to work with! They will be very happy to help you with what you need.

First, some handy links to get you started:
To buy the Ghost of Christmas Present pattern: mmmcrafts.etsy.com
To buy the Modern Pastel or Victorian felt palettes shown here:
To shop their sparkle and shine:
Benzie sequins and beads and also their metallic felts

OK! Here are the color guides:


MODERN PASTEL GREEN GHOST

BENZIE FELT COLORS:*
Peach: body, urchin heads and hands
Ecru: robe/sleeve trim, urchin hair
Turquoise: robe, sleeves, and robe liners
Julep: skirt
Fern: holly leaves
Coral: urchin clothes
Gold Metallic Bellwether:** torch
Bronze Metallic Bellwether:** belt and scabbard
*Note: You will need matching floss or thread colors
**Substitute wool felt if you do not have metallic felt

FLOSS/SEQUIN/BEAD COLORS:*
Robe/sleeves: DMC 3851, D3852, Blanc. 5 mm red metallic sequins, Benzie 4 mm Red metallic sequins, Benzie 4 mm Rose Quartz sequins (layered on top of a few of the red), Benzie Red seed beads
Fur trim: DMC D3852. 5 mm translucent iridescent sequins, Benzie Moonstone seed beads, Benzie Red seed beads
Robe liners: DMC White, D3852
Skirt: DMC 937, 3705, D3852. 5 mm gold metallic sequin, Benzie Gold and Red seed beads.
Urchins: DMC 310, 3705
Belt: Benzie 4 mm Copper metallic sequins, Benzie Rose Gold and Teal seed beads, 5 mm apple green sequins, 8 mm Kelly green sequin, 5 mm aqua sequin. 
Scabbard: DMC D301, 5 mm kelly green sequin, Benzie Red seed beads.
Torch: DMC 3705. Benzie 4 mm Gold sequins, Benzie Gold seed beads.
Year on back: DMC 3705
*All sequins/beads sewn with gold sewing thread

OTHER NOTIONS:
Ghost hair: DMC 918
Ghost beard: copper chenille stem
Ghost mustache: reverse side of Benzie Copper Brown glitter felt
Holly crown: olive green chenille stem, green metallic tinsel stem
Torch flame: clear iridescent chenille stem
Scabbard ornament: aged bronze 6 mm mini jingle bell
Hanging Loop: DMC 5282 Metallic Pearl

*****************************

MODERN PASTEL YELLOW GHOST

BENZIE FELT COLORS:*
Peach: body, urchin heads and hands
Ecru: robe/sleeve trim, urchin hair
Ochre: robe, sleeves, and robe liners
Pink: skirt
Turquoise: holly leaves
Julep: urchin clothes, torch
Bronze Metallic Bellwether:** belt and scabbard
*Note: You will need matching floss or thread colors
**Substitute wool felt if you do not have metallic felt

FLOSS/SEQUIN/BEAD COLORS:*
Robe/sleeves: DMC D301, 783. 5 mm pink sequins, Benzie 4 mm Copper sequins, Benzie Rose Gold and Rose Quartz seed beads
Fur trim: DMC D3852. 5 mm translucent iridescent sequins, Benzie Moonstone, Rose Quartz and Lilac seed beads
Robe liners: DMC 991, D301
Skirt: DMC 500, 3705, D301, D3852, Benzie Red seed beads, 5 mm gold metallic sequin, Benzie Gold seed bead
Urchins: DMC 301, 3705
Belt: Benzie 4 mm Copper metallic sequins, Benzie Rose Gold, Lilac, and Teal seed beads, 5 mm iridescent translucent sequins, 8 mm pink sequin, 6 mm teal sequin.
Scabbard: DMC D301, 6 mm teal sequin, Benzie Red seed beads.
Torch: DMC D3852, Benzie 4 mm Jade Green sequins, Benzie Teal seed beads
Year on back: DMC 991
*All sequins/beads sewn with gold sewing thread

OTHER NOTIONS:
Ghost hair: DMC 434
Ghost beard: brown chenille stem
Ghost mustache: Benzie Nutmeg
Holly crown: white iridescent chenille stem, pink metallic tinsel stem
Torch flame: clear iridescent chenille stem, pink metallic tinsel stem 
Scabbard ornament: aged bronze 6 mm mini jingle bell
Hanging Loop: DMC 5282 Metallic Pearl

*****************************

VICTORIAN BLUE GHOST

BENZIE FELT COLORS:*
Peach: body, urchin heads and hands
Swan: robe/sleeve trim, urchin hair
Peacock: robe, sleeves, and robe liners
Burgundy: skirt
Copper: holly leaves, urchin clothes
Bronze Metallic Bellwether:** belt and scabbard
Silver Metallic Bellwether:** torch
*Note: You will need matching floss or thread colors
**Substitute wool felt if you do not have metallic felt

FLOSS/SEQUIN/BEAD COLORS:*
Robe/sleeves: DMC D168, Blanc. 5 mm pink sequins, Benzie 4 mm Magenta and Lilac sequins, Benzie Magenta, Lilac, and Amethyst seed beads
Fur trim: DMC D301. 5 mm translucent iridescent sequins, Benzie Moonstone, Lilac, and White seed beads
Robe liners: DMC D301, Blanc
Skirt: DMC 761, 3846, D301, Blanc. 5 mm iridescent translucent sequin, Benzie 4 mm Copper sequin, Benzie Rose Gold seed bead and Aquamarine seed beads
Urchins: DMC 310, 3705
Belt: Benzie 4 mm Copper and Silver metallic sequins, Benzie Rose Gold and Silver seed beads, 8 mm pink sequin, 6 mm silver sequin.
Scabbard: DMC D301, 6 mm teal sequin, Benzie Lilac seed beads.
Torch: DMC 154. Benzie 4 mm Copper sequins, Benzie Rose Gold seed beads
Year on back: DMC 761
*All sequins/beads sewn with silver sewing thread

OTHER NOTIONS:
Ghost hair: DMC 898
Ghost beard: brown chenille stem
Ghost mustache: reverse side of Benzie Bronze metallic felt
Holly crown: silver metallic tinsel stem, pink metallic tinsel stem
Torch flame: clear iridescent chenille stem, pink metallic tinsel stem 
Scabbard ornament: silver 6 mm mini jingle bell
Hanging Loop: DMC 5283 Metallic Pearl

*****************************

VICTORIAN PINK GHOST

BENZIE FELT COLORS:*
Peach: body, urchin heads and hands
Copper: robe/sleeve trim
Blush: robe, sleeves, and robe liners
Bronze: skirt
Turquoise: holly leaves, urchin clothes
Bronze Metallic Bellwether:** scabbard
Silver Metallic Bellwether:** belt and torch
*Note: You will need matching floss or thread colors
**Substitute wool felt if you do not have metallic felt

FLOSS/SEQUIN/BEAD COLORS:*
Robe/sleeves: DMC 734, 831, D168. 5 mm iridescent navy/green sequins, 5 mm teal sequins, Benzie 4 mm Marine sequins, Benzie Marine and Teal seed beads
Fur trim: DMC D168. Benzie 4 mm Rose Quartz sequins, Benzie Teal and Marine seed beads.
Robe liners: DMC 3750, D301
Skirt: DMC 3750, 3708, 919, D168. 5 mm iridescent translucent sequin, Benzie 4 mm Copper sequin, Benzie Rose Gold bead and Lilac seed beads
Urchins: DMC 310, 3705
Belt: Benzie 4 mm Copper and Teal sequins, Benzie Rose Gold and Teal seed beads, 8 mm brass sequin, 5 mm iridescent navy/green sequin.
Scabbard: DMC D301, 6 mm teal sequin, Benzie Lilac seed beads.
Torch: DMC 3708. Benzie 4 mm Copper sequins, Benzie Rose Gold seed beads
Year on back: DMC 919
*All sequins/beads sewn with silver sewing thread

OTHER NOTIONS:
Ghost hair: DMC 645
Ghost beard: gray chenille stem
Ghost mustache: matching gray card stock
Holly crown: clear iridescent chenille stem, olive green chenille stem
Torch flame: clear iridescent chenille stem, pink metallic tinsel stem 
Scabbard ornament: silver 6 mm mini jingle bell
Hanging Loop: DMC 5283 Metallic Pearl

*****************************

I hope this was helpful! These color guides can be followed exactly, but feel free to vary the choices to match your tastes and make your own unique combos. The way I've combined the Benzie Victorian and Modern Pastel felt colors are just a few of the possibilities! I'd love to see what you make. :-) #ebenezerornamentseries

Saturday, December 31, 2022

happy 2023!


Happy new year! I'm ringing in 2023 with my first case of covid! It finally got me. I've been exposed so many times over the last two years I was starting to wonder if I had some kind of weird super-immunity. NOPE. 🥵 Blurg. But this must mean the new year can only get better from here! Right? Yay! Let's toast to all the possibilities! *hoists mug, slurps herbal tea loudly*

Image above: The top nine most-liked posts from my Instagram account for 2022. I was going to write a detailed, reflective review of the past year with nicely articulated thoughts but NOPE I will go downstairs and take more cough medicine.

#mmmcrafts #topnine #happy2023 #stupidvirus #ebenezerornamentseries #twasthenightornaments #twelvedaysornaments

Sunday, December 25, 2022

merry Christmas!

A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 15, 2022

Ghost of Christmas Present pattern now available!


I'm so happy to say that Ghost of Christmas Present is now in my Etsy shop. This pattern is the fourth in my Ebenezer Ornament Series, which is inspired by my love for Charles Dickens' spooky Victorian novella, A Christmas Carol

You'll find the difficulty level to be intermediate – not for beginners. If you've completed my Twelve Days Ornament Series, you are likely ready to step into the Ebenezer series! (Twelve Days is a great primer as it builds your skills when you do the patterns in order.)

Skills needed for this particular pattern are backstitch, whipstitch, French knot, drawing on the face, precision cutting/sewing/glueing of very small pieces, and working with chenille stems, beads, and sequins. This one is more complex because of the many small details, not to mention the hidden figures of Ignorance and Want inside the robe! 

As with the rest of my ornament patterns, Ghost of Christmas Present is organized into detailed step by step instructions with scads of diagrams and tips.

The pattern includes 17 years to trace and embroider on the back, if you like.

This short lived spirit is the favorite of many Dickens devotees because of his cheerful demeanor and the fact that he represents the joy, peace, and plenty of Christmas day itself. He is written as a jolly giant, wearing a long, fur-trimmed green robe and holding a magical horn-of-plenty shaped torch with which he sprinkles Christmas joy. He is wearing a holly crown and a jeweled belt, from which hangs an empty, rusty scabbard which represents the absence of war and brotherhood of man. And the best part for Dickens fans: Inside his robe are hidden the pitiable figures of Ignorance and Want, which make their startling appearance toward the end of Scrooge's time with this spirit.



Because of the many pieces, it takes about three crafternoons to make a Ghost of Christmas Present. Put on a good movie or podcast, make a hot cuppa, and enjoy the journey. All 101 steps. :-) 

Don't forget the Victorian gleam! Choosing metallic embroidery threads, tinsel/iridescent chenille stems, and metallic wool felt accents will add even more holiday sparkle to the already glittery sequins and beads.

This ornament is best constructed using Sulky Stick 'n Stitch, which makes the process much faster, easier, and more accurate. If you already have the materials on hand to make Scrooge, Marley, or the Ghost of Christmas Past, you might just need a few more things like metallic wool felt, tinsel and regular chenille stems, and an optional mini jingle bell. There's a full materials list on the first page of the pattern shown below. Click to zoom:



The sparkle of spirits you see above were all made with the same two Benzie Ebenezer color palettes I curated for the rest of the series. I exercised a bit of artistic license in the color of the robes and crowns #becausecolors. I wanted to show you some possibilities with different hair colors too. (Did you know the spirit's hair is initially brown but turns gray with age by the time he disappears?) I also wanted to show the option to make the mustache from card stock (zoom in on the gray haired spirit) if you don't want to purchase a sheet of wool felt just for that tiny mustache. 

Pro tip: If you are buying it anyway or have some already on hand, check out the wool sides of Benzie's metallic and glitter felts for possible mustache colors. The back of the Bellwether bronze metallic felt is a nice warm brown and made excellent mustaches for both of my brunette samples, and the mustache on my redhead is the back of the Bellwether copper glitter felt. As a bonus, the backing makes the tiny tiny pieces less likely to fray apart.

Because chenille stems come in limited colors, I recommend buying the chenille stem for the beard first and then choose matching DMC floss hair and felt (or card stock) for the beard to match. 

I will be publishing detailed color guides for these samples soon. Ish. Those will coordinate directly with the amazing felt/floss/notions kits put together for your buying convenience at Benzie Design

To purchase the instantly downloadable PDF pattern, visit my Etsy shop. :-)