Friday, January 27, 2012

Orphaned Teacup Pincushion Tutorial

I found this beautiful English compote dish in an antique shop in Washington, MO. I love love loved it and the poor little thing was all alone.

 I l
et the teacup inspire my fabric choice. I chose an elegant crushed velvet.
Next, make a newspaper circle pattern six inches larger in diameter than the top of the dish (or teacup if you found a fabulous vintage one).

I used an article about the St. Louis Cardinals WORLD CHAMPION baseball team as my pattern.  

After you have cut out the circle you will need to gather it into a bundle to hold the stuffing. I use Coats Upholstery thread because it is very strong and won’t break when you pull it tight.   And its made in the USA – I like that.

Use a long running stitch about ¼ inch from the edge of the circle. It need not be perfectly neat.

Pull your needle and gather the thread evenly until you have a small opening into which you will put your stuffing.

Do not cut your thread. I use a pin and make a figure eight with the thread to hold it out of the way until I’m ready to close my bundle. 

Now you need some soft, fluffy stuffing. I’ve tried cotton batting and it did NOT work…unless you’re okay with having a pincushion that you can’t stick pins in. No? I thought not. For my pincushion I chose a wonderfully fluffy Fairfield polyester fiberfill. 

It’s so fluffy it almost bursts out of the bag!

It’s 97% recycled AND made in the USA – did I mention I like that?

Do visit their website – they have lots of lovely patterns and ideas for beautiful toys and gifts.

 Now that your puff is stuffed…

Rethread your needle and pull the bundle closed. Take a few stitches back and forth across the opening to secure your thread. 

Now, pull out your handy dandy glue gun. Make a swirl of glue around the bottom of the cup and place the bundle carefully (it can be hot) into the cup. If you’re happy with your pincushion at this point and it looks perfect without any more frills – you’re all done!

I chose to add a little bow on top to echo the ribbon motif on the cup, and some white lace around the edge. Now its time to stick in some pretty pins and VOILA! These make a lovely gift for someone who sews, quilts or even a beautiful place to keep push pins for a bulletin board!

It looks very nice crowned with a beautiful handmade hat pin, don’t you think?

I’m going to make lots more wonderful teacup pincushions – how about you? And next time, better photos, I promise (I'm learning by doing)!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sometimes winter isn't entirely dreary

I slated this miscanthus to be destroyed because it has overgrown the area around my patio where I originally grew it for privacy. But if I wait until spring to cut it down, I can watch tiny birds like this cute little titmouse enjoy the dried tassels. This morning I saw the grass virtually vibrating with these little gray guys and their sparrow friends. At some point they will have eaten the seed and I will put out thistle for them. My feathered friends make winter much easier to bear.

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Level of Virginity Doesn't Seem to Matter

                                                                                            Google Images

Whenever possible, I try to use all natural products on my skin. After all, the skin is the body’s largest organ. It makes no sense to smear it with chemicals.  There are over a dozen commonly used ingredients in eye makeup remover. Most of them are unpronounceable and some of them, if not in minute quantities, are downright dangerous. I’ve tried lots of them, from the stupidly expensive department store brands to the bargain drugstore brands. What I usually ended up with was red, burning, raccoon eyes. Apparently “washes off easily with soap and water” only applies to the lashes themselves. The stuff sticks really well to the skin all around the eyes. I have found the perfect solution. All natural, one ingredient, pure olive oil. I put a small drop on a cotton ball and gently wipe off my eye makeup, including waterproof mascara. Then – voila! My eyes are clean and soft and moisturized. You can even put it in a lovely bottle like this one. Perfect!  
                                                                                                                                                 Google Images

If you have an all natural beauty secret won’t you please share?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A Gift from Mother Nature

            This morning I woke up to a fabulous sunrise peeking over the neighbors' rooftops. There is a slight mist and a cold chill - a normal January morning. We've been having unseasonably warm days this year and I think I'm finally ready for the crisp refreshing winter air. I would love to have seen this from my front porch at French Hollow, but it doesn't exist yet. My wonderful husband grew up in French Hollow and that is where we hope to retire. In the meanwhile, I just have to be satisfied with visiting. We pick mushrooms in the spring and berries in the summer and I envision my dream house with its southern exposure and kitchen windows facing east, so I can always catch the sunrise over coffee. Don't you just love nature's color palate?

Saturday, January 7, 2012

A New Year Full of Opportunity

I’m not one for New Years resolutions. I see them as yet another opportunity to disappoint oneself with more things to feel guilty about. I choose to look at this year as 365 opportunities to do all the little things that make life so blessed, one sweet thing at a time. This year I have 365 days to spend with my loving family and friends, to paint, to learn to knit, to make jewelry, to entertain, to practice yoga, to plant gardens full of flowers and edibles and then fill my home with their fragrance or flavor. I hope to share the next joyful year with new friends that I meet on this blog and I hope that you will share with me too.