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project // mixed materials dmc stitchable cuff blog hop (and giveaway!)

Mixed-Material DMC Stitchable Cuff Bracelet


You all know that I love DMC embroidery threads, and anytime I can team up with them, I'm happy to do so. Which is why I'm thrilled to be part of this week's blog hop featuring projects that use a range of their products. If you haven't tried DMC's Stitchable Cork, Stitchable Mesh, or Stitchable Cuffs, you'll definitely want to after seeing all of this inspiration!

At the end of this post you'll find all of the links to make your way through the blog hop, as well as a giveaway for a fantastic DMC prize pack (yaaaaayyy!!!). But right now I get to show off this cuff bracelet I made.

Mixed-Material DMC Stitchable Cuff Bracelet

This is actually the third stitchable cuff that I've made. Which is funny to me, because it's kind of designed more for cross stitch than for embroidery. But that doesn't mean you have to use it that way! The first cuff I made was stripes of rainbow colors. Then I created some patterns for stitching a waves, a feather, and a friendship bracelet. Now, I thought I'd try something a little different.

Instead of only stitching, I decided to add in some fabric. In fact, my first thought with this was to use couching, but then I decided to work fabric into the bracelet other ways too.

This post is more of a guide and less of a specific tutorial. You should definitely feel free to layer and stitch your own bracelet however you like. I bet you could even layer in some Stitchable Cork or Stitchable Mesh!

Mixed-Material DMC Stitchable Cuff Bracelet

You will need:

DMC Stitchable Cuff
Fabric scraps
Size 8 perle cotton or embroidery floss
Scissors
Needle

Mixed-Material DMC Stitchable Cuff Bracelet

Cut a thin strip of fabric. Mine is about 5/8in by 4in.

Mixed-Material DMC Stitchable Cuff Bracelet

Stitch the fabric to the cuff with running stitch, working through the pre-punched holes. A large knot will work for starting your stitching, or you can secure the end of the thread by stitching over it on the back.

Mixed-Material DMC Stitchable Cuff Bracelet

Add more stitching to hold the fabric in place. Oversized cross stitches work, as do straight or angled stitches.

Mixed-Material DMC Stitchable Cuff Bracelet

Next stitch something teeny tiny. I freehanded this little heart with a face. An initial would also work really well here. Trim the stitching down to a tiny rectangle that will fit on your bracelet.

Mixed-Material DMC Stitchable Cuff Bracelet

And stitch that little piece onto the bracelet. You can overlap the first piece of fabric if you like. And use whatever stitches you want. I just went with running stitch around the edges.

Mixed-Material DMC Stitchable Cuff Bracelet
Mixed-Material DMC Stitchable Cuff Bracelet

This next part is the couching that I was initially thinking of. Take a thin strip of fabric (mine is 5/8in wide) and twist it tightly. Then, lay it on the bracelet and stitch it down with diagonal stitches. Clips are very helpful for holding it twisted and in place as you work!

You can even add a second color of stitching as you see below.

Mixed-Material DMC Stitchable Cuff Bracelet

Trim off any extra fabric.

Mixed-Material DMC Stitchable Cuff Bracelet

Add any extra stitching that you want, or leave it at that. Which means, this bracelet is finished!

Mixed-Material DMC Stitchable Cuff Bracelet

I absolutely love the layers of stitching, pattern, and bracelet base, not to mention the varying textures. Plus, it's a fun way to work in precious bits of special fabrics.

Mixed-Material DMC Stitchable Cuff Bracelet
Mixed-Material DMC Stitchable Cuff Bracelet

What do you think? Do you have a favorite fabric you'd want to feature on a bracelet like this? Leave a comment and tell me how you'd stitch up a DMC Stitchable Cuff. Then, fill in the official entry through Rafflecopter below.


There's a giveaway like this running at all of the blogs in the blog hop, so be sure to check them all out to increase your chances...and to see some really great projects!

Monday July 24:
Beverly McCullough - Flamingo Toes
Tuesday July 25:
Amy Bell - Positively Splendid
Kari Sweeten - U Create
Aimee Ray - Little Dear Trackst
Wednesday July 26:
Michele McDonald - The Scrap Shoppe
Jessica Anderson - Cutesy Crafts
Amy Byrne - Random Acts of Amy
Thursday July 27:
Jodie Rackley - Lova Revolution
Liz Welker - The Pretty Life Girls
Mollie Johanson - Wild Olive (you're here!)
Friday July 28:
Beverly McCullough - Flamingo Toes

For more information on DMC's Stitchable Cuffs, watch this:


Note: This post was sponsored by DMC. But I stand behind their products and have been a huge fan since I was a kid!

review // sketch it! stitch it! books

Sketch It! Stitch It! review

Most of the time you'll see me working on embroidery patterns and projects. Then, nearly three years ago, I was asked to design some cross-stitch patterns. It sounded like a fun challenge, so I said yes. The process of drawing embroidery patterns and cross-stitch charts is quite different, but I've continued to grow in my pattern-making confidence.

The biggest difference in making patterns for these two processes, of course, is that instead of an outlined drawing, you need to work on a grid. That's where these adorable sketch books come in handy! Betty from Make it Betty makes these soft-cover sketch books filled with grid paper that is already sub-divided into 10x10 blocks.

Sketch It! Stitch It! review

Betty sent me a set of Sketch It! Stitch It! books to try out, and I used them for a recent set of designs that were a hybrid between embroidery and cross-stitch. To design my patterns, I started out like to do with any of my cross-stitch designs: with a sketch.

It's easy to think that you need to begin with a drawing that looks a lot like the end will...something like pixel art. But actually, I just rough sketch in my normal style over the grid, trying not to think too much about details at this point.

By the way, those purple boxes are my own addition to mark out the space I wanted to work within.

Sketch It! Stitch It! review

Then I start filling in or outlining based on the grid. Usually colored pencils are my go-to. In this case, I was following the grid with longer lines of back stitch, rather than filling the squares to represent cross stitches.

Cuff Bracelet

The result of my chart was this stitched bracelet! You can find this and the rest of the charts I worked on in my Sketch It! Stitch It! book over at The Spruce.

Sketch It! Stitch It! review

These lines of varying lengths became the last chart in the set I shared. It's inspired by the knotted friendship bracelets we made as kids!

For the past few years, as I've created cross-stitch charts for Cross Stitch Crazy magazine (including a set of party designs that you can now find in my shop), I print out graph paper to work on. When I finish, the sketches often get misplaced. What's handy about these sketch books is that my hand-drawn charts are all in one place and I don't have to hunt for them!

When I go to make the final charts, I use an iPad app called StitchSketch (no connection to these books!). But if you're just stitching for yourself, rather than selling charts to others, the Sketch It! Stitch It! books will become your own pattern spot!

Thanks, Make it Betty, for giving me the opportunity to work with your delightful sketch books!

project // guinea pig cushion

Guinea Pig Cushion


When I heard that July 16 is Guinea Pig Appreciation Day, I knew that I needed to do something to show my own appreciation for these sweet little critters that have captured my heart. Last year I made a pouch for them to laze about in, and they love it. So it seemed like time for another DIY designed for guinea pigs. Although this one would also be fun for humans too!

The idea for this came when one of my piggies was sitting comfortably in a bean bag chair watching an old episode of Scarecrow and Mrs. King on DVD. She was nestled in there and just so very cute. True story.

So I thought, what if they had their own piggy bean bag? Well, this isn't exactly a bean bag, but it is a soft and slightly squishy spot for piggies to watch some Netflix.

Guinea Pig Cushion

Of course, even when you're crafting for critters, you can make things cute. So I made my cushion look like a guinea pig. It's styled a bit like the stuffed guinea pig in my book, Stitch Love: Sweet Creatures Big and Small. Because of this, I think it would just as fun to make this as a little pillow for a piggy fan!

Guinea Pig Cushion

You will need:

No-pill fleece - guinea pig colors
Wool blend felt - black and pink
Embroidery floss - black, pink, and white
Sewing notions
Sewing machine

DOWNLOAD THE GUINEA PIG CUSHION TEMPLATE PDF

Guinea Pig Cushion

Cut two large body pieces from fleece. I used cream for the top and brown for the bottom.

To do this, place the pattern piece on the fold, paying attention to the stretch arrows on the template (not shown above). I extended my pattern piece to the edge of the paper, but you can cut it off for a stubbier guinea pig.

Cut around the edge adding a 3/8-inch seam allowance.

Guinea Pig Cushion

Cut the front and back accent pieces with an added seam allowance around the curved ends, but not on the swerve.

Guinea Pig Cushion

Pin the accent pieces to the top body piece and sew along the swerve. (That's officially now my technical term for that wavy bit.)

Guinea Pig Cushion

Cut out two eyes from black felt, and two ears and one nose from pink felt.

Guinea Pig Cushion

Arrange the face pieces so they look cute and start stitching them down. Use three strands of matching thread to tack down the edges of the felt.

Embroider the mouth with pink embroidery floss. I used chain stitch to make a thicker line, although satin stitch would probably be better for making super cute and smooth guinea pig lips. I did use satin stitch for the teeny tongue.

Guinea Pig Cushion

Use all six strands of white and a french knot to stitch the highlight on the eyes.

Guinea Pig Cushion

Pin the top and bottom together, wrong sides facing. If the edges don't match up exactly, don't worry. You can trim them down later. Just be sure that you are able to catch the fabric as you sew.

Sew around the edges, leaving one of the sides open.

Guinea Pig Cushion

Cut a few more pieces of fleece using the body template. This time, don't add the seam allowance. Also, you don't need to follow the stretch guide, so cut them however it fits on your fabric.

I cut four pieces, but you can do more or less.

Guinea Pig Cushion

Slide the fleece pieces inside the guinea pig so they fill the body.

Guinea Pig Cushion

For some extra stuffing, I cut up a bunch of fleece scraps that would have gone in the trash. These, I put between the layers of fleece.

By the way, I opted to fill this with fleece because it won't be as soggy/lumpy as stuffing when it gets washed. That said, I expect that it will shift a bit when washed. I haven't tested it yet, but will update here when I do. I plan to just scrunch it around to keep my piggies comfy.

As an alternative, you could tack through the layers to make it a little quilted and keep the layers from moving. I may still do that. Or, if you're making this into a pillow for you, just use regular stuffing.

Guinea Pig Cushion

Sew the opening closed and trim the seam allowances as needed.

Guinea Pig Cushion

Let your pet try out their new cushion!

Guinea Pig Cushion
Guinea Pig Cushion

Lieutenant Nibbles is definitely enjoying her new comfy spot, and looking cute at the same time. Do you think she's noticed that her cushion looks a little like her?

Guinea Pig Cushion
Guinea Pig Cushion

No time to notice that she's sitting on a guinea pig...she just wants to know if you have any food for her!

printable // hexagon number puzzle

Printable Hexagon Puzzle


When I was little, my grandparents had a puzzle that was also sort of a game. It was called "Drive Ya Nuts" because it looked like hex nuts. As in, hexagons. Which happen to be my favorite shape.

I was reminded of that game recently, and thought it might be fun to make a printable version. In rainbow colors of course!

The goal of the puzzle is to fit all of the pieces into the circle frame (which also happens to form a traditional hexagon flower), with all of the numbers matching up on the sides where they touch. The idea is simple, but it's actually quite tricky to get right.


Printable Hexagon Puzzle

Print the pages on card stock and cut out the hexagons and circle frame. The frame is optional, because you can figure out the formation without it. But it's kind of cute and reminds me of the game at Nanny & Papa's house.

Printable Hexagon Puzzle

Start laying down the pieces and matching up the numbers. I usually begin in the middle and then add them one by one around the sides. Of course, you need to make sure that each touching side matches.

Printable Hexagon Puzzle

In this case, the 2 and the 4 on the green hexagon match up with the blue and the pink.

Printable Hexagon Puzzle

Unfortunately, after that, none of the pieces would fit. Time to start again!

Printable Hexagon Puzzle
Printable Hexagon Puzzle

You could make this into a family challenge by adding magnets to the back of the pieces and putting them on your fridge. Then everyone can try to solve the puzzle as they pass by!

Printable Hexagon Puzzle

And although I'm not showing off the correct solution here (you want a challenge, right?), it is possible to fit all of the hexagons with matching numbers. And no, they won't be in color order because that would be too easy!

Good luck!

project // embroidered plush alpaca softie

Embroidered Alpaca Plush


At my house, we love llamas. There's a good chance that this is mostly due to The Emperor's New Groove, but they're also just kind of fun. Alpacas don't have the same kind of comedic charm, but they are cuddlier, which is why I thought that an alpaca softie would make a great plush. So today I'm sharing how to make a mini embroidered alpaca softie!

This is part of a month-long series called Sew a Softie. This isn't the first series like it, but if you haven't heard of it before, Sew a Softie is basically an initiative to encourage kids and adults to sew fun things together. Visit their site to find a whole month's worth of softie tutorials for July!

Embroidered Alpaca Plush

This alpaca requires some knowledge of embroidery, but you only need to know the basics. Of course, you could use fabric paint to add the decorative blanket instead. And while I'm showing this made on a sewing machine, you can do all of the sewing by hand if you'd rather. Ready?

Here's what you need:

Flannel - 1/4 yard
Embroidery floss
Sulky Sticky Fabri-Solvy -or- a water-soluble pen
Embroidery hoop
Scissors
Needle
Pins
Pinking shears
Sewing machine
Stuffing

DOWNLOAD THE ALPACA SOFTIE PATTERN

Embroidered Alpaca Plush

Print out the pattern page and print or trace the blanket pattern on Sulky Sticky Fabri-Solvy. To do this, I used this method for saving scraps of Sulky.

Place the flannel in an embroidery hoop and stick the embroidery pattern down onto the fabric (or trace it with a water-soluble pen). Be sure you position the pattern so that you have room for the template outline in the correct place.

Embroider the pattern with three strands of embroidery floss. You can use whatever stitches you like, but I used chain stitch, back stitch, french knots, and satin stitch.

Embroidered Alpaca Plush

Soak the Sulky off and then let the flannel dry.

Cut out the pattern template and pin it over the embroidery so that the markings on the pattern match up with the stitching.

Embroidered Alpaca Plush

Flannel like this frays pretty easily, so it's best to cut out the pieces with pinking shears.

Cut around the embroidered front, then flip the pattern piece over and cut out the back.

Embroidered Alpaca Plush

Place the front and back pieces right sides together and pin around the edge.

NOTE: a simpler way to sew this is to place the pieces wrong sides together, which will give you a softie with raw edges.

Embroidered Alpaca Plush

Sew around the alpaca with a 1/4in seam allowance. Leave a 2in opening for turning, and back stitch at the start and end of the sewing.

Embroidered Alpaca Plush

Clip the curves, trim the top of the ear, and snip the angles at the ear, base of the neck, and the top of the legs.

Embroidered Alpaca Plush

Turn the alpaca right side out. Fill it with stuffing, adding it in bits so it doesn't become lumpy. Fill in the head/neck and legs first, then fill the body. It should be soft, but full.

Embroidered Alpaca Plush

Sew the opening closed with ladder stitch.

Embroidered Alpaca Plush

Your softie is all finished and ready for a snuggle!

A soft and cuddly alpaca like this would make a great gift for a baby. Especially if you add a rattle insert inside.

Embroidered Alpaca Plush

I thoroughly enjoyed working the embroidery on this and it went pretty fast. It's actually a little different for me to make a thing that doesn't have a face. Even more so when it's an animal that usually does have a face! But the embroidered blanket wanted to be the star of the show.

Embroidered Alpaca Plush

Happy crafting!