Wednesday, December 30, 2020

sewing up 2020

Sewing: A couple of Twelve Days ornaments for some special people. Do y’all flip them over backwards to check the color as you go, too? (Pardon my messy reverse sides. I’m not one of those talented embroiderers who can keep the back looking as great as the front. And that’s OK.) 

Watching: Freelancers. So funny. Actually snort-laughed several times. All part of my charm. 
#mmmcrafts #sewingup2020 #benziefelt #happybetteryear

Friday, December 25, 2020

a very merry Christmas to all

I'm not sure how I have missed it, but I had never heard the Pentatonix version of Mary, Did You Know. There I was, driving through my town to pick up my kid from school, minding my own business, listening to a Christmas playlist, and it filled my car. Then it filled my heart. Then it filled my eyes. Then I started to ugly cry right there behind the wheel as I was negotiating an intersection. It was an unstoppable force. Not good for driving safety, so I had to take some very deep breaths and just let it wash through me. 

I resist crying. I just do. Some folks only become more lovely when they cry. Their eyes get dewy and large and reflective. Crystal tears fall from their lashes and they become angelic and shimmery. That is exactly unlike what happens to my face. It collapses in on itself and my throat constricts and my nose becomes swollen and red. For several hours it's apparent to everyone from my puffy, red eyes and glowing nose that I've cried. 

However. Despite my blotchy appearance, it was a thing of true beauty that the account of God With Us in the arms of his mother touched my spirit like that, even when I've read it and pondered it and treasured it and heard it a thousand times. 

Mary, did you know that your baby boy
Would one day walk on water?
Mary, did you know that your baby boy
Would save our sons and daughters?

Did you know that your baby boy
Has come to make you new?
This child that you delivered,
will soon deliver you

Mary, did you know that your baby boy
Would give sight to a blind man?
Mary, did you know that your baby boy
Would calm the storm with his hand?

Did you know that your baby boy
Has walked where angels trod?
When you kiss your little baby
You kiss the face of God

The blind will see,
the deaf will hear,
The dead will live again
The lame will leap, 
the dumb will speak
The praises of the Lamb

Mary, did you know that your baby boy
Is Lord of all creation?
Mary, did you know that your baby boy
Would one day rule the nations?

Did you know that your baby boy
Is heaven's perfect Lamb?
That sleeping child you're
Holding is the great, I Am

Somehow I don't think younger Larissa With No Kids could have been as affected. She no doubt would have found it a faith affirming and lovely song. Current Larissa, Mother of Two Non-Divine Humans, hears it and it just cracks me in two. It gives me chills. What a blessed woman Mary was. And yes, she knew.

It was a moment I needed.

Merry Christmas to you. Today, whether or not you share my faith in Christ, wherever you are in the world, I wish for you a peaceful, joyful day, surrounded by those you love and filled with all good things. And only happy crying.

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Little Elves pattern is now available!

Little Elves, the third (and technically fourth) pattern in my ongoing 'Twas the Night Ornament Series, is now available! These ornaments are inspired by Clement C. Moore's 1823 poem, A Visit from St. Nicholas, better known as The Night Before Christmas. As you may have noticed, elves are not mentioned in the poem (except for the right jolly old elf himself of course!) but we are taking a little tour of the North Pole to pick up some beloved characters before we dive into the actual lines of the poem. 

Samples made from the Benzie Classic palette

Samples made from the Benzie Retro palette

I'm designing this intermediate level ornament series with what hopefully seems like a vintage-meets-modern type of style, with sparkly sequins and beads and plenty of tiny, charming details.

The Elf Girl is just coming back from the mailbox with Santa's letters. She's sporting a scarf and mittens and carrying a teeny mailbag with removable letters while she reads the message on the back of the envelope in her other mitten. The Elf Boy is helping Mrs. Claus check off the Naughty Or Nice List with his little adorable pencil. You can, of course, customize the Naughty Or Nice list for your own family. :-)

This design basically went well but MAN it was just a lot to get done. A LOT. It's two very detailed patterns in one, with no fewer than 139 steps. So many illustrations! I had thought at first to make them separate patterns but soon decided combining them into one pattern just made more sense.

It takes me about three crafternoons to make both Little Elves, and if you have the materials for Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus already in your arsenal, you have most of what you need to make this pair of cheerful helpers. I think the only additional thing might be the toothpick and colored card stock? And if you'd like the metallic felt for the mailbag. But regular felt works well for it also!

The 29 page detailed PDF pattern comes with two extra pattern sheets containing 20 years worth of dates for the backs of both, if you are like me and appreciate the years noted on the backs of special ornaments.

Just like my Twelve Days Ornament Series, these ornaments also utilize Sulky Stick 'n Stitch to make the embroidery, beading, and pattern assembly a snap. More ornaments are to follow in this series, so stay tuned later in 2021. I will be back to working on the Ebenezer series in the first half of the year. You can be sure you will see updates and posts right here and on my other channels.

All the samples you see here were made using Benzie Design's wonderful wool-blend felts, glass seed beads, and sequins. Such lovely quality! I really enjoyed working with them, and highly recommend them for yours. I'll be posting detailed Little Elves color guides for these samples but probably not before I make the other samples I need. I'm missing the mint/pink/green palette samples and need to get those done. They will be similar to the samples you've seen already for the rest of the series. (But in the meantime I am taking a break to get ready for Christmas. Holy cow. So much to do.)
UPDATE: The samples and color guides are now complete! 

If you are wondering, Benzie Design already offers kits for these ornaments! Yay! (They are the Classic and Retro 'Twas the Night bundles.) The red/blue and mustard/blue samples in this post are all made from the Classic bundle and the pink/orange and mint/olive samples are made from the Retro bundle. Thank you once again, wonderful Benzie folks!

Saturday, December 5, 2020

huge THANK YOU to you, and it's back to work for me

The halls of my house have been decked, pecan pie has been devoured, leftover turkey and ham have been reinvented several times over, shopping has been semi-completed. I even managed to lose a pound after Thanksgiving weekend at my weigh in. I did not expect that I can tell you.

ONE THOUSAND THANK YOUS for making my annual sale the best one ever! It's clear y’all have some serious sewing to do. Chop chop! And I also have some serious ground to cover for this pattern. Nose is directly on the grindstone, I promise! Working working working. No one wants to finished with this two-in-one pattern more than I. 

Every year I say to myself, LARISSA, I MEAN IT, DO NOT BE WORKING ON A PATTERN AFTER THANKGIVING. One of these years that is going to work out but it's laughable I thought that might actually happen in 2020. I had very strong hopes to be finished with it by my sale but that was not to be. #life

I'll shout about it on every available channel as soon as it's in the shop. And that will be a wrap for 2020 and patterns. My goal was to release four patterns this year and that is what I'll have done:
Mr Marley (he was such a pain)
I decided in the end to make the girl and boy elves a two-in-one pattern, because it just makes more sense to me that way, even though they are mostly different. Oh. And I'm not sure I've mentioned it here, but I've expanded the 'Twas the Night patterns to nine patterns. I just couldn't get it done in six and still be happy.

My goal for 2021 is the same, only this time I hope to be finished by Thanksgiving. #goals #icandoit #timemanagement #morecoffee