Craft Disasters: Craftsasters? a.k.a wtf just happened?

Sometimes I really bungle things. I’m sure this comes as a shock, but it’s true. My response to screwing up a crafting project used to be to yell swear words and throw things and then either discard the project or hide it away in a closet or under a bed, somewhere where the shame would catch up to me at some point, but later. Later. Shhhhh. Quiet. I’ll deal with that later.

Now, however, I’ve turned a corner. I’ve hit my crafting zen, and my response to disaster is no longer denial. Now, I make do and mend. ย Or at least I try. Granted, it doesn’t always work, but I do feel I’ve been more successful the last couple of years in holding my shit together and making the best of things. I’m 35 goddammit; if not now, then when? I’m a grown ass adult, y’all!

Case in point: that damn minky material in the baby quilt. Sure, I made Elecia sew one of the seams, and I may have let loose some choice words, but I persevered. I pushed through, pinned the living shit out of that stuff, and sewed on through it. I patched in fabric from my stash after the cutting error, and now I’m ready to bind the quilt. Nothing is going to stop me! *evil laughter*

It is important to realize that when you have a craft disaster, a craftsaster, a mishap, as it were, you have choices. Sure, you can wad it up, cut it up, tear your hair out, cry like a baby, and stuff that effed up project into a laundry hamper. That’s choice #1.

OR, you can go with #2: Make it look like you meant to do that! Call it a happy accident, a plot twist, a late-in-the-game stylistic choice–it doesn’t matter. When you stumble while dancing, you just work that awkward step right on into your repertoire and keep on with your bad self. I MEANT for the left sleeve to be inside out–it’s avant garde, motherf*cker!

Then there’s #3: Patch it up the best you can. Repair. It isn’t the end of the world to rip out a seam. If you make a mistake that’s fixable, and you know you’ll be forever pissed with yourself if you DON’T go back and fix it…then yeah, take the time. I once misread a cross stitch pattern and stitched a huge area in the wrong color before realizing it. I kept trying to tell myself, no one but me is going to notice that, blah, blah, blah, doesn’t matter, but the truth was…I noticed it. And I was going to notice it every time I looked at that stupid piece, and I was not going to be happy with it. I painstakingly took my trusty green seam ripper and took out every one of those teensy little x’s and started that area over. I’m still not finished with that particular project, but when I pick it up to work on it, I’m always glad I took the time to fix it. Because now, when I do finish it, it’s going to be AWESOME.

This whole story up to this point is really just to introduce you to Pritts’s House shirt. This was a Christmas gift I made for him last year (and gave to him this year in February or March or so, when I actually finished it).

house shirt

The pattern is from Bombastitch, one of my favorite sources for cross stitch pattern awesomeness. Pritts loves Hugh Laurie, so when I saw this pattern, I knew it was going on a t-shirt for him. I spent hours stitching this thing–hours. T-shirt fabric is stretchy and not easily stitched on, so I had to use some layers of stabilizer, plus waste canvas. I watched many, many episodes ofย House while stitching this thing, and when I had finally finished stitching, I painstakingly pulled each of the threads of waste canvas out from under my stitches (because I’m too cheap to spring for water soluble waste canvas), and THEN I started to cut away the stabilizer from around the pattern, and THEN…*^&$%^!

I cut a giant hole in the t-shirt, right above Hugh Laurie’s beautifully stitched head.

I couldn’t believe it. It happened in one of those hideous slow motion moments where you see the awful thing happening, but you’re completely powerless to stop it from happening.

I started crying almost immediately. (This was before I had reached crafting zen.)

house shirt oops

barely noticeable!

Pritts and Eliot both consoled me, and Pritts assured me that the hole was nothing a little patch couldn’t fix. I scoffed at him and kept crying (again, before crafting zen).

Upon pulling myself together and purchasing an easy, readymade patch to iron over the scissor mishap, I realized that Pritts was right. It was totally fixable.

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inside the insidious shirt

He wears this shirt all the time; it’s gone through the washer and dryer too many times to count, and that patch is still holding Hugh Laurie’s head together like a champ! And no one’s response to the shirt has EVER been, “Oh wow, that would be cool if it just didn’t have that patched up hole…” No one has ever said that, ever.

And Pritts wears this shirt so well, I can’t believe I almost threw it away.

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The moral of this story is “Do not despair!” Most things can be fixed. The ones that can’t, can usually be improvised.

What do you do when faced with craftsaster? Any quick fixes or solutions I should know about? Tell me all about it in the comments. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Destashing is hard, people.

I used to scrapbook; therefore, I used to hoard scrapbooking supplies. Now, when I say “used to,” what I mean is although I haven’t made an actual scrapbook page in over five years, I still have a metric shit ton of scrapbooking supplies that I’ve been hauling around from rented house to rented house and jamming into closets and under beds for no good reason whatsoever.

This year I’ve done what I think is a pretty decent job of clearing some of it out. I’ve donated scrapbooking supplies to an organization that works with foster children, dropped countless boxes off to Goodwill, dispersed supplies among friends, and yet I still have stuff that I can’t bear to part with. Because what if I wake up one morning in 2026 and want to make a scrapbook page and I have no 12 x 12 magenta paper with pictures of rainbows, and no paper punch that punches out tiny paper airplanes?! What then?! Ridiculous.

For at least a week, I’ve had a basket of stamps sitting out, thinking maybe I’ll list them on the local garage sale Facebook page or Craig’s List or something and try to recoup a little bit of the money I spent on all of this stuff once upon a time. In the heyday of Stampin’ Up, I swear I spent most of my discretionary income on stamp sets and cardstock, most of which I never used even once.

Instead of actually finding a new home for these supplies, what I did was pass by that basket and glance at it so many times that I started to think, hey…I could use those stamps on fabric…ewwwww…I could stamp on fabric and then embroider over the lines…

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THANK GOD I NEVER GOT RID OF THAT BLACK PERMANENT INK PAD! HA HA. Zing! (It’s a sickness, people.)

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I actually think this is a pretty damn good idea with a lot of possibilities. I think it would be especially helpful for newbie embroiderers, as the lines are clear and easy to follow. I should make some kits. Should. But probably won’t. In all likelihood, what will happen is that the basket of stamps I’ve already decided I’m willing to part with will sit in my living room for a few more weeks before I get sick of tripping over it, and then I’ll drop it off at Goodwill.

Or I might set up a destash sale on Instagram.

Oh bloody hell. I’ll probably just shove it all back in my closet. Who am I kidding? See ya in 2026, stamps! ;-P

Throwback: Perler Beads

I’ve been thinking for awhile that Eliot would enjoy perler beads, since they seem to be a close cousin of Legos and Minecraft–just the idea of building things from blocks or pixels. We visited my mom’s this week, and as it turns out, she had a ton of perler beads and plates leftover from when my little sister was mad about them.

perler beads

Eliot’s first creation was a tank. We glued a magnet on the back and now it lives on our refrigerator.

perler tank

 

So far, he has enjoyed the thrill of watching his creations fuse together, and he has suffered the sweet agony of upsetting the plate and sending tiny beads flying everywhere, thereby destroying an nearly completed masterpiece. *sigh* Such are the highs and lows of the crafting life.

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So far, he’s created a tank, airplane, police car, tree, and an iPod. ๐Ÿ™‚

As far as my crafting life, I’ve hit a slump. I’ve taken on too many hobbies this summer, and now that it’s almost time for me to turn back into a comp instructor (August 25th is the first day of fall semester classes!), I’m not sure where my priorities will lie. Definitely keeping up with the Sheroes embroidery series, hoping to finish one portrait per month. Embroidery is still my main craft love. And I’m still planning on finishing at least one WIP per month, even though I haven’t touched Archer yet. Shhhh! It’s only the 6th! Plenty of time. Plenty of time.

I kind of feel like I have a million perler beads in the air, flung there, hanging on pause, and now I have to choose which ones to try to catch before they scatter to the winds. Oh well. I suppose at least it’s a pretty mess.

Apparently, I Was Craftier Than I Realized.

I seem to be on a Throwback Thursday Friday kick on my blog lately, because I don’t post on Thursdays, and I like breaking rules. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Here are some more lovelies I found while cleaning out an old jewelry box post-move:

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I only vaguely remember making these, and omg they are so short! Either I never actually wore them, or my wrists were teeny tiny! I feel this also proves that my narcissistic tendencies have been around for a very long time. Since the beginning, really, if you believe my mother, who claims that my first words were “RAchelRachelRachelRachel.” I believe it.

Have a happy, crafty weekend, y’all! ๐Ÿ™‚

Stitching in Public

Ever since I learned how to read, I’ve rarely left home without a book tucked in my bag, just in case. You never know when you’ll end up waiting in line for one thing or another, or having an extra moment during lunch to read. Now that I’m stitchery obsessed, in addition to the book (or two or three) in my purse, I always have a portable sewing project with me.

Embroidery, cross stitch, and English paper piecing all lend themselves pretty easily to stitching on the go. I’ve got multiple little zipper bags and plastic food storage boxes that hold just the few supplies needed for small projects. Lately I’ve been stitching in the local coffee shop, in the park, in the library, in the campus quad, and pretty much anywhere Eliot and I go that I think I can squeeze in an extra free moment.

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I like stitching in public spaces because often people will come up and ask me what I’m working on, and I love talking about embroidery and sewing with people. I love talking about my projects and the inspiration behind them; I love getting feedback from strangers and hearing their own crafting stories. Bringing out the needle and thread often starts conversations I might not have had with people I might not have otherwise been brave enough to speak to.ย 

What about you?

Do you stitch in public?

If so, join me on Instagram with the hashtag #stitchinginpublic

I want to see you all stitching in the park, in the airport, in the library, in the coffeeshops, and everywhere else you travel with needle and thread! ๐Ÿ™‚ย 

Worry Dolls

In my determination to purge unnecessary and unwanted items during the process of moving, I’ve discovered boxes of items that have remained unpacked from previous moves. My brain sees these boxes and says, “Throw it away! Throw the whole box away without opening it! If you haven’t needed it in the past two years (or three, or five), you don’t need it at all!” And then my sentimental heart says, “But…wait…there might be…something. You better look, just in case.”

I always end up looking. Always. And I’ve found a lot of ridiculous junk, it’s true, but I’ve also uncovered a lot of sweet mementos and memories.

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My sisters and I made these dolls when we were little–I don’t remember what age we were at the time–all I remember about these is that my mom taught us how to make them, and she called them “worry dolls.” They’re made by artfully wrapping embroidery floss around toothpicks with the help of some glue. These also have pin backs glued onto them, although I don’t remember ever wearing them as pins.

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I did a bit of googling and discovered that worry dolls are a Guatemalan tradition. A child tells his or her worries to the doll, and the doll is supposed to do the worrying in their place. The doll is sometimes placed under a child’s pillow at night (as we do here in the U.S. with teeth). The parents would then remove the doll at some point while the child sleeps, taking the worry away with it.

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I think this may have been a craft that we did with our Girl Scout troop at one point; I’m not sure. In any case, I imagine the process of making the dolls would be just as cathartic and beneficial as any symbolic meaning ascribed to the doll itself.

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My favorite of the group is the one with overalls.

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Weren’t we just so clever? ๐Ÿ™‚

These little ladies have to stay. I think they’ll get a place of honor in my little bedroom sewing corner.