Thursday, February 29, 2024

Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come pattern now available!

I'm so happy to say that Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come is now in my Etsy shop. This pattern is the fifth in my Ebenezer Ornament Series, which is inspired by my love for Charles Dickens' spooky Victorian novella, A Christmas Carol. Besides the ghost figurine, there is a second bonus ornament included in this pattern: Scrooge's gravestone!

The difficulty level is 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, detached chain stitch, drawing on the face with pencils, precision cutting/sewing/glueing of very small pieces, and working with pipe cleaners, beads, and sequins. 

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

The pattern includes 15 years to trace and embroider on the back, if you like.

This eerie, silent spirit is described by Dickens as dressed in black from hood to toe, with the only distinguishable feature being his pointing hand. You can see I took some artistic license in my choice of colors and in the fact that the spirit's face is visible within the hood. Feel free to be more faithful to the text and use only shades of black felt and floss, if you like! I just couldn't do it. #becausecolor

The dirge of spirits you see above were all made with the same two Benzie Ebenezer color palettes I curated for the rest of the series. Nary a black robe among my samples because I just can't resist using lots of color, y'all. My apologies to Mr Dickens, but I have it on good authority from a Dickens scholar that he loved to dress in garish colors, so I'll just say this is a tribute to his personal fashion sense! I had fun coming up with the thorns/wilting flowers on the robe and skull embroidery motif for his gown, and wanted them to have some nice pop! 

Because this pattern has two ornaments, it will take about three or four crafternoons to make a Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come set. Put on a good movie or podcast, make a hot cuppa, and enjoy the process. It will be worth it!  :-) 

And don't forget the Victorian glam! Choosing to add some metallic embroidery, metallic tassel, and metallic wool felt accents (like the petals) will level up the holiday sparkle.

This ornament is best constructed using Sulky Stick 'n Stitch (aka Sticky Fabri-Solvy) which makes the process much faster, easier, and more accurate. If you already have the materials on hand to make the other patterns in the series, you might just need a few more things like a flat scrap of Pellon 70 Peltex (or sub a white piece of stiffened craft felt), colored pencils, white gel pen, and some white or iridescent glitter. There's a full materials list on the first page of the pattern shown below. Click to zoom:

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. :-) 

Monday, February 19, 2024

What I'm up to

A good bit of my time is being spent on finishing up my ongoing website revamp, which has been a huge project and will continue to be for a while. All that behind-the-scenes work is partly why GOCYTC has not been released yet; the other part being after finally completing the pattern itself, I decided I don't like two of my finished final samples. After mentally wrestling with that I finally gave in, and I'm currently remaking those and will hopefully find a day to take photos later this week.

Also, I was cruising through Michaels the other day to pick up some DMC floss and saw this pack of already-smiling wood beads by Creatology. I bought them out of curiosity, and as you can see in the photo, they do appear to be the correct size for my ornaments! So if you hate adding the faces and have a Michaels handy, there you go! Just add hair. (Found them online also.)

(I did pause to wonder if the appearance of these 20 mm wood smiley faces might have something to do with all you busy Mmmakers out there? Is that even possible? Maybe just a coincidence?)

And just for fun, a shot of my achievement juice brewing into a fun new hedgie cup my daughter gave me. Isn't it cute? Me 'n hedgie gettin' things done.

Thursday, February 1, 2024

bluebird of happiness

Why wait for the elusive bluebird of happiness to make an appearance when you can make one of your own?

Pattern: Colly Bird from my shop,
Felt: Felt On The Fly Sapphire color palette
Color guide w DMC floss numbers:

Thursday, January 25, 2024

studio organization: felt stash and ornament storage

I'm often asked how I organize my felt and store my wool felt ornaments, so I thought I'd show you! I posted short reels of this on my IG and FB feeds also if you'd like to check those out. (After watching the reel and hearing me speak, one commenter was surprised to learn I'm not British! Yes, I'm American and have lived in the southeast US for most of my life, so I have a bit of a twang. But I'm also a huge anglophile, so maybe that bleeds through in my posts. Ha!) 

In the photos you can see how I manage my stash of wool and wool-blend felts: sorted in closet shoe organizers by color/kind. It was years ago when I purchased them, and I think they are from the Container Store. They are part of a system of modular closet organizers and are designed to stack either horizontally or vertically. The size of the cubbies and the depth of the boxes make them ideal for felt storage.

I usually buy felts in either 12 x 18 inch or 9 x 12 inch pieces, so I always roll them toward the 12 inch side and slide them in the shoe compartment, which is the perfect depth. 

In the photos, you can see most are sorted by color but there are a couple cubbies that contain glitter and metallic wool felts of different colors, so those are by kind and not color. You can see I've also got stacks of felt on top of the cubbies that are not sorted yet. And you can't see the scattered pieces of felt all over the rest of my messy studio.

As I work, I pull rolls of felt and stash them in a Raskog cart (I love those things) near my desk, then after I’m done with the project they get rolled back up and tidied away into the cubbies again. Eventually.

I'm also asked if I always soak/air dry the felt first before storing the rolls. The answer is yes and no. Many times I put shipments of felt straight into a bucket of water to soak and air dry before sorting it into the cubbies, just so I have that out of the way. But I also have a lot of felt in my stash that hasn't been pre-soaked, so I indicate the difference by tying the roll with string.

I do not bother separating the 100% wools from the blend wools. I can usually tell by size/feel/appearance what is blend and what isn't, so that hasn't been an issue thus far.

If the scraps are too small to tuck back inside of the roll, I stuff them into this old wooden Coke crate. I always keep usable felt scraps! As you know, many of my patterns have very small pieces, so small scraps come in handy.

OK, on to ornament storage:

Nothing fancy, y'all. I just use these white plastic Sterilite drawer units from Wal-Mart. Pretty simple. My studio is climate controlled, of course, and the drawers are located in a part of the studio which is protected from direct sunlight. 

I have the drawers organized by series. They are deep enough to accommodate the ornaments so they can lay flat in one layer, protecting all the details and fragile bits. Six of the drawers are dedicated to the Twelve Days series because I have lots of samples of those, but my other two ornament series are ever expanding. I also store my Snow Birds and Flora Needle Books here.

Getting a little crowded in some of the drawers. These are samples of All Through The House and Not Even A Mouse. My Ebenezer drawers are pretty empty at the moment, because I'm in the midst of a new pattern. So I have most of my Ebenezer samples hanging from a bulletin board and OttLite near my train wreck work area, seen below. I use them for design/color inspiration while I'm working on the new design and samples.

And you can see the LodeStar Tree Topper samples sticking out of a pencil holder on the shelf over my work table. They are too large to go in the Sterilite drawers, so I need to figure out a great way to store them. Probably will end up hanging them inside my studio closet. 

So that's how I manage my felt stash and ornament samples! I hope this post is useful to you in your own organizing. :-)

Monday, January 8, 2024

top nine 2023

A little late to the new year party thanks to the flu virus, but here are my #topnine posts from 2023, as far as IG likes go. It was a very creative year for me, and that is exactly how I like it. I'm looking forward to more new designs in 2024, and I hear you that more beginner-friendly designs would be welcome. That's on my list. Also on my list is finally kicking this residual cough. Gah! I hope you guys are having an awesome (crafty) January.