Now Taking Submissions for 2014 Cthulhumas Gift Guide

It’s beginning to look a lot like… Cthulhumas? Yes! Lets be honest about the holidays. Not everyone celebrates the same ones, and some people really don’t like any of the traditional ones. Cthulhu isn’t biased, though. We’re all just something to be devoured when the stars align and he rises from his prison. We can all write letters to Yogg-Santa and argue over who gets to put the Starspawn at the top of the tree.

If you make and sell work inspired by Cthulhu or other horrors that came from the mind of H.P. Lovecraft, we’d like to invite you to submit your work for our 2014 Cthulhumas Gift Guide post. We’d like to have the post out around Thanksgiving, so please have your submissions in by November 15th. There are instructions at the top of this form for sending in pictures of your work. Filling out the form will cover all the other information we need.

Merry Cthulhumas!

Did you see Craftypodes on the Urban Threads Blog?

We are huge fans of the patterns from Urban Threads and I’ve stitched several of them in the past! This was one of my favorites to do.

That particular one was bought, so I may need to make another to keep one day.

Did you see us on the Urban Threads blog recently? They featured the awesome science crest I stitched from one of their patterns (another favorite)! You can also see the buttons made by Little House of Crafting in the picture, as that was a collaboration we did. Go over and take a look!

October Totally Useless Stitch-a-Long and A New Look

The end of October is in sight! Our costume headbands are alomost finished. We’re doing a really simple version of Artemis and Luna from Sailor Moon this year. We’ve bought our pumpkin, but I don’t know how I’ll carve it yet. Better decide soon! Even the moon is ready to move on to November. “Look! New moon! Don’t you wanna get that new month started?” And the new moon means it’s time for this month’s Totally Useless Stitch-a-Long.

When it feels like progress on a project has gotten really slow, I look at the jar now. If that’s just the little snippets and waste bits, how much more thread makes it into our work? Admittedly, the jar got a little bit of a boost this month from discarding some old thread that was getting kind of fuzzy and faded. Here’s last month’s picture for comparison.

If you’re a regular visitor, you may have noticed things look a little different around here today. You’ll still find the same things in (mostly) the same places, but everything is a bit… simpler. Neater. We hope you feel comfortable. Bring your stitching and sit a while.

Sponsorship Changes in time for 2014 Holidays

Let’s start with the obligatory “I don’t even want to think about the holidays yet!” Chances are, though, you’ve already been thinking about the holidays if you run your own business. Especially if you run a handmade business.

We’ve made some changes to our sponsorship options in time for the 2014 holidays. There are no changes to what we’re looking for in a Crafty Partner, and those requirements are the same for our new option – Creative Buddies! We will give preference to handmade businesses, but what we’re really looking for are independent creators and artists who provide quality work and great customer service.

Crafty Partners get the spot immediately below our social media links over there on the sidebar. There are three spots available. Banners will be shuffled on page load, but all three display at all times. This is a 250 x 100 pixel banner, and you will get regular promotion on our Twitter feed during the month. This is a great choice if you want to get the word out about your business on Twitter but are not a regular Tweeter yourself.

Creative Buddies have a 125 x 125 pixel space below the Crafty Partners. We can accept up to six Creative Buddies at a time and your ad will be shown for 30 days, just like the Crafty Partners. Again, ads are shuffled but are displayed at all times.The price is an ad swap – you display our ad and we’ll display yours. This is a great option if you would like to get your name out there to a broader audience but have already reached the limits of your holiday advertising budget.

Take a look at our sponsorship options and information, and feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

New Framed Cross-Stitch Art – Witches Stitches

We’ve already released the pattern for you stitchers out there, and now you can own the completed Witches Stitches art in our shop!  This one was a lot of fun to stitch up and both of us took turns doing so.  You can still pick it up in time for Halloween and be able to show it to all of your friends who love puns as much as you do!  Or, you can keep it all to yourself.  Whatever works for you!

Tutorial : Bleach Pen Mandala Shirt

If you’ve got a little time to waste this weekend and some old shirts that you aren’t ready to throw out but really don’t like looking at, I’ve got something for you to do! We recently covered how to draw a mandala. Now we’re going to talk about how to draw one with a bleach pen.

I did this last Sunday afternoon with a ratty old shirt worn for painting and mowing the yard, a Clorox Bleach Pen, and a piece of cardboard that came from the side of a box. I’ve been told you need to soak the shirt with baking soda when rinsing it out to neutralize the bleach. I don’t know how true that is, but I went ahead and did it so you also might want to have a little baking soda on hand. Maybe two tablespoons.

The darker petals in the mandala in the photo above are just a trick of the light. You can see, though, that the shirt has a couple of small holes, some fading, paint splatters, and is just generally worn out. It was the perfect shirt to try this with… no way I could ruin the shirt if it didn’t work. I’d suggest doing the same until you get the hang of drawing with the bleach pen. Worst case, the shirt isn’t really any worse. Best case, you’ve given new life to an old rag!

I slipped a big piece of corrugated cardboard from the side of a box into the shirt so the bleach wouldn’t go through to the back.  I want to say a piece of wax paper or butcher paper would probably also work, but I don’t know for certain. If you’ve done something similar before and know it will work, or want to be brave and adventurous with this project, you can try one of those if you don’t have access to a cardboard box.

Decide where you want to start the center of your mandala.  I wanted to disguise that hole in the shirt, but didn’t want it to become a hole at the center of the mandala. I started near there. This is a great way to create some cool off-center designs, so you don’t have to start right in the middle of the shirt front. Mine is low and slightly to the right (from my point of view while wearing it.) You could make one for an expecting mother that puts the design right on her belly.

Shake your bleach pen, take the cap off, and start drawing! I had never used a bleach pen before, so I learned a few things doing this. You need to squeeze a little, but don’t squeeze too much. Just enough to make a white line is fine. I made some of my lines a little too thick and it was just a waste of bleach. It comes out as a sort of gel, so it doesn’t really spread everywhere, but you can make it stretch a lot further if you don’t use more than necessary.

I let mine sit for about 15-20 minutes when I was finished, and you can see that lines drawn earlier bleached more color out of the shirt than lines drawn toward the end. Keep this in mind when deciding what order to do your main lines and details in. You can make everything fade out from the center, or you can draw all of your main shapes and then go back and do smaller details so that the details look faded.

You might want to have a plan for what to draw. I didn’t this time, but I would if I did this on a shirt I bought for the project. Just winging it is kind of fun, but I did feel a sense of, “Need to keep drawing! Don’t let the bleach sit too long!” (But don’t make yourself rush! I think I spent around half an hour drawing mine.) If you think that might lock your brain up, sketch out your ideas on a piece of paper first.

If you’re familiar with using paint pens and such, you might have good control for getting finer lines and smaller details. If not… well, you don’t see the variance in line weight on my shirt that you saw in the mandalas I draw on paper. Just like drawing a mandala on paper, though, don’t worry too much over a mistake. Work with it. Let it be part of your unique design.

After I let the shirt sit for the bleach to take effect, I just picked the whole thing up – cardboard still inside – and carried it off to the bathtub to rinse. We have a detachable shower head, which I used for the first part of rinsing the shirt. The gel dried a little. Not to the point of being hard, but it didn’t start running down the shirt, either. After I turned the water in the shower on, I whipped the cardboard out of the shirt and quickly stuck the shirt under the water.

After rinsing, I put the shirt in the sink with water and a little baking soda to soak for about five minutes. Then I thoroughly rinsed the shirt and hung it to dry.

You could do a lot of things to a shirt with a bleach pen. Fancy name writing, a favorite quote… anything you can draw or write in just one color. The color will, of course, depend on the color of the shirt and how long you let it sit after drawing. I wouldn’t suggest using any shirt that is so light in color that a small bleach spot might go unnoticed. And make sure you get the bleach pen made for whites. This is one time you do NOT want to use color-safe bleach, so make sure you’re also wearing a shirt that it’s okay to get bleach on. I didn’t have that happen while I was doing this, but why take chances? I suggest buying a new bleach pen for this project so you’ll know it’s not too old or about to run out. It’ll say on the package if it’s only intended for white fabrics.

Now you have a wearable piece of your own artwork!

What We’re Working On

Christmas crafting already? Yes! We’re well into October and have seen other crafters start on their Christmas projects in September. We had all our planning done by the end of September. Actual Christmas crafting has now started with David working on a gift for one of our nephews. I’ll be handling gifts for the nieces this year… after I get mine and David’s Halloween costumes out of the way.

I finished the Flower POW Mug Rug! Almost immediately, I turned back to my little box of hexies, fabric squares, and hexie templates. I’ve decided I’m going to make a small throw pillow. Even with it being small, I’ll need over 200 of the hexies for it. (I have small hexies.) This is my side project/personal project, so it means the rainbow afghan is what gets put on hold. Maybe I’ll have that finished for next winter.

I’m learning ways to hide the stitches on joining hexies! These are part of a pincushion I’m making. The more time I spend with the hexies, the more I want a little pincushion to keep in the box. After making one for David and time spent making biscornu, I think I’m really coming to enjoy pincushions as a relaxing project that doesn’t take a lot of time to do.

This was my weekend project on Sunday afternoon, so it’s no longer a work-in-progress, but there is a post about it in the works. This is a ratty old yardwork shirt, so testing something crafty on it could only result in an improvement or an inability to actually ruin the shirt. I’m going to say it ended up being a big improvement! The post on how to make your own mandala shirt will be coming soon.

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