Embroidered Pillowcases

It takes me a while,  but I usually get my projects done! My sister may have gotten married in early October,  but she got her wedding present for Easter.  So hey,  friends and family I owe gifts to… they are on their way…promise!

My sister loves strawberries  (who doesn’t?!), and we both have happy memories of our grandmother’s (on our dad’s side) love of strawberries,  so I stitched up these pillowcases for her and my much-loved brother-in-law. Now on to the backlog!


A Crafty Tale: embroidered pillow

I am lucky to be an auntie to a truly spectacular young lady who, among the many things she does well, plays tennis at a very high, very competitive level.

So apparently in sports, you keep score (I was in the drama club crowd, I avoided sports and missed this part) and apparently in young people’s tennis, you keep score for yourselves, and apparently a lot of players do not  play as fairly as they should. So my awesome niece has an awesome saying and I embroidered it on a pillow for her.


And embroidery is getting its due  in a fun AP article today that my lovely friend Julie shared with me. I’m having trouble linking it on my phone, but will check back with a link later!  It’s a great piece and captured some of the things I love about embroidery as a hobby and made it seem accessible and easy to try, if you have any interest. And it also talked about several magazine articles and books being published this spring. It’s a good time to have an embroidery habit 🙂

Embroidery Wall Art

Tis the season for finishing the project!  I’ve had this one semi-done for a while, but finally got everybody famed and hung up.

Embroidery hoops make awesome frames– they are inexpensive and they take nicely to spray paint 🙂  This little set is at the foot of the stairs and it still needs a little finishing (the Leaning Tower of Pisa is also a kind of Wrinkled Tower of  Pisa…) but they make me really happy every time I walk by them.


A crafty tale: Unframed


This is one of the sewing projects I currently have going. It’s a Sublime Stitching patten I have had for a long time and have always wanted to sew. For some unknown reason I have been saving it for a special, magical time and I never knew what I wanted to do with it. Well, that special, magical time is apparently now, and I’m going to hang it on a wall. You can see where this decision took a few years. I’ve got bare walls in the hallway upstairs and at the bottom of the stairs. I cannot stand these bare walls any longer, so I’m working on things to fill them up! Framed color photos downstairs, embroidery & misc things upstairs. I’m debating black & white old photos. We have some really good ones. Yeah, I think I’ll frame them, too…

Snowy weekend projects


Finishing my sewing projects left and right may be the only upside to this weather…. I’ve been working on this pillow for a while and finally finished it in time for our wedding anniversary on Friday. It’s the date we moved into the house 🙂 The back of the pillow is the same green flowered fabric I made the teeny pillow out of (I like to try to use all the parts…) and just having a couple new, bright pillows in the couch is making me so excited for spring!! The lettering is the Sublime Stitching epic alphabet and I made up the numbers to try to match…

I also finally finished this:

And it’s now hanging in the kitchen. Chris made the frame this morning out of scrap wood with his kreg jig, and in a happy accident, had to sand it a little where it got dripped on after it was painted, and the effect made it look distressed, a little old and perfectly matching the chalkboard in our kitchen. I love it!!

The art of finishing the project …

September will always feel like back to school time, and back to school time will always feel like a New Year to me.  I like to set new goals, make new plans, vow to squash all bad habits, etc.  So every September, for a few short weeks,  I am a clean-living, healthy eating, vigorous exerciser with a robber baron-esque work ethic and all KINDS of ideas!  This year, I think because of  the sheer magnitude of projects we have around the house, as well as the fact that I’m actively trying to give-myself-a-freaking-break sometimes, I’ve decided to take it slower.  Easier. Smaller.  Don’t get me wrong– I still need to to eat healthy, start exercising, lose some weight, start my next play, read all those back issues of the New Yorker and brush up my Spanish.  But I’ve got the rest of my life to work on that.  For now, I’m going to concentrate on this one small plastic container in my house ….


This is where I keep my embroidery projects when I’ve grown tired of them.  while I’m working on them.  Some are just a few stitches short of complete.  Some need a little more time.  But I have decided that for the month of September, I’m going to concentrate on getting these projects OUT of that box and up on walls, stuffed into pillows, framed and hung or given to the people they are meant for.  The original occasions may have long since passed, but a gift is a gift, right?!?  (I hope so!)  I will post photos of these projects as they exit the box and enter their rightful homes.  And this is a habit to work on!

BTW, the label on the box is a Martha Stewart/ Avery chalkboard label I got at Staples.  Highly recommend!  I love them.

And my first project to finish is the blue border on this little beauty that will be framed and hung in my kitchen before the month is out.  I HEREBY PROMISE!!

design by Subversive Cross Stitch

design by Subversive Cross Stitch

Coated Cotton Fabric

So, last week, I was browsing at some garment-district stores for ideas for my kitchen curtains.  I found some cute white, flowery eyelet fabric that was inexpensive and perfect.  I took a swatch, checked it out in the kitchen, re-measured the windows and went back to the store yesterday to buy it.  As a fabric junkie who doesn’t sew nearly as often as she should, I promised myself that was all I would buy.  Then I saw this on the wall:


It wants to be in my apothecary, Sleep No More downstairs bathroom, which is still in the planning stages, but I know I want to make it gothic and weird. At $21.95 a yard, and since I don’t know exactly what I’m going to do with it yet, I only bought one yard. I might frame it? Wallpaper a wall with it?  I don’t know yet, but I love it!

If you know of any great coated cotton fabric projects, I would love links!

Weekend Update

Despite the heat, we Larsens had a super productive and really fun weekend!  We kicked things off on Friday night with an early evening showing of Monsters University with our awesome nieces.  Loved it!  Then on Saturday morning, we were lucky enough to have Chris’ dad come out from the Poconos to help us get rid of the rest of the tree laying in our yard.  And I know I’m not the best photographer, but the pictures I have of the tree really cannot capture how big the piece was that fell.  The diameter of the trunk at the bottom was probably 18″?  Maybe more?  My father-in-law thought he had a quick hour job in front of him and he’d be on his merry way.  It was more like five hours, but the fellas got it all done.  And the morning started off rainy and gray — I asked Chris what they would do if it rained all day?  “Cut the thing up in the rain, I guess” was the answer.  These Minnesota fellas sure are handy!

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Most exciting to me, I got my Roman shades completed and installed! shades1

Well, I still need to braid the cords and attach a doo-thingy to tie the cord to in order to hold them open, but that will be easy.  I won’t lay out what I did to make them — there are far better instructions out there than I could provide.  This particular style/pattern/set of  instructions came from the Singer Big Book of Sewing  .  I like basic books with lots of pictures for this stuff 🙂  They took forever, but were so worth it.  Mostly because I love them.  But also because all fabric, hardware and supplies came in well under $500, which for 3 fabric shades is unheard of.  And I have enough lining fabric left for another project.  Some patterned shades that I have liked in catalogs are as much as $600 EACH!  Since spending $1800 on my front window treatments was NOT an option, off to Mood went I.

For comparison, here is a before and after of the front entry way:

Things are coming together!

I’ve been getting tired of the stairway being a barren, empty place, so we hung up some GORGEOUS pinch-pleated drapes my fabulous friend Julie made.  She was upgrading her bedroom look and I was the lucky recipient of these beautiful things!  Seriously, if I had endless vacation time, I would go down to Louisiana where she lives and move in for a week and make her teach me how to sew like she sews.  It’s like … magical.   I had to hem them, as I don’t have 9 foot plantation windows to cover, and though I kinda butchered the hems when compared with the original, you can’t really see the bottom of them and they serve the purpose.

We also got some of our Steve Keene’s hung up and a newly re-potted plant (see below) ties the whole little area together.

Something snapped this weekend (maybe heat-related?!?) and I got so tired of not having things on the walls, not having little areas finished that we just tore through some stuff.  I have been saying — “oh, I will do this after THAT because if I do it before it might get messed up while I do THAT” and then I realized that we will NEVER be done, so might as well start making things cozy!

One of my last chores on Sunday evening was to re-pot some plants.  I like this picture because this is not something I ever could have set up in our NYC apartment.  And I like it also because my wine glass is in it, and I believe that most housework goes much better with wine.


Thanks for stopping by!  Leave a comment if you like what you see….