My crafting and family life journal

Giving thanks


May you be surrounded by family and friends

Blackwork project update

Shooting star Blackwork project

For the past few evenings I’ve had an opportunity to make some progress on my latest Blackwork project. Now that I m past the halfway point in the project I am having a really hard time putting the project down.

should I frame or turn the finished piece into a pillow?

New quilt project

Each winter I select a project that will keep me occupied during the dark winter months. This year I decided to make a new quilt for our bed.


Fabrics selected for the quilt

The queen size quilt will consist of approximately 3,200 pieces of fabric that will create 64 blocks like the one below with log cabin blocks making up the border.


Sample block. Not sure if I will use two different fabrics for the house wall going forward.

it will take me a few more days to cut all of the pattern pieces, and will start working on the units after Thanksgiving. If all works according to plan the top will be finished in early spring.


Ornament design update

I had a great idea for making needlepoint, cross stitch or Blackwork Christmas ornaments for each of our family member this year. I picked out a number of patterns, made sure I had enough canvas, threads and embellishments for the job. The first ornament was completed and I rushed into the second, then as with many things My interest started to waver. There are now several pages in my design book detailing the ornaments I planned on making and maybe some day they will actually be stitched, but for now they have been put aside and other projects are started.

I have come to find that the for me the design process is much more fun that the actual execution. Maybe I will pick them up again next summer when I need small projects to travel with.

For this season only two ornaments will be completed. The bell project was posted in an earlier post and the snowflake ornament is posted below.

Snowflake cross stich

Do you finish all the projects incision end? If so how do you keep yourself motivated?

Star quilt update

this past weekend we were very busy with outdoor chores. Leaves were raked into the woods or the compost pile, bases of the young fruit trees were wrapped and deer proof cages placed around them, rain barrels drained, all fruit trees and bushes fertilized, and finished the chicken coop weatherization. These chores made for busy days and some welcome restful evenings. For the evenings we started the wood stove in the family room and each worked on or respective crafts. This craft time allowed me to make a bit of progress on my nested star quilt top.

Star quilt round four

Hopefully after next weekends chores I will have time to stitch the four star units to each other and start on the circle of flying geese that will circle the stars.

Have a great week…

Wish we could talk again


I am really missing my grandmother today. She was a quiet church woman who never had a harsh word to say about anyone. It use to be wonderful sitting around the kitchen table with her as she drank her Sanka and listened to gospel music, or going to her club meetings that met at a different members house each month, even watching her perform usher duties at church on Sundays.

I truly wish I had some of those good times back, even if just for a little while…

Holiday bell tutorial

Last year our family decided that all adults would receive homemade items as holiday gifts. The first year we gifted mostly goods from the kitchen along with a small craft item. This year I was able to start a bit earlier so more creativity could be applied to items in the gift baskets.

One of the gift items I made this year were needlework holiday bells. The creation of the items allowed me to try some new patterns and create products that may be treasured and passed down to younger family members.

Holiday bell

I was so happy with the way that bells turned out that I desired to share a tutorial defining the process with you.

  1. Measure out two pieces of canvas. For the bell in this tutorial I used Aida 14 cloth in a cream color. The larger canvas size made the pattern very easy to complete.
    blackwork bell pattern
  2. Choose a pattern and border for the bell. I have a fondness for Blackwork so I used free patterns found at Blackwork Journey, Imaginesque, or Wyrdbyrd’s Nest.
    holiday bell canvas pieces
  3. Stitch your selected pattern and border on one canvas piece and just a border on the second piece. The patterned piece will be used for the outside of the bell and the unit with just a border will inside.
  4. Cut about a 1/2 inch border around the stitch pieces and press the border under.
    holiday bell stitching pieces together
  5. Sandwich the backsides of the two pieces  together and hand stitch around the edges.


  6. Fold the stitched unit i half with the inside of the up, then hand sew each end from the fold to abut 1/2 way down the sides.


  7. Fold the unit in half on the other side keeping the inside of the bell to the outside, and stitch from the fold to about halfway down on both sides.


  8. Turn the bell right side out.


  9.  Shape the unit into a bell shape by adjusting the folds. Next add your favorite accents for the clanger and hanger.

    Holiday bell


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