ctfinal

Wall clocks seem sort of retro now, because it seems like everyone uses their cell phone to check the time. I’m a terrible cell phone owner, though, and when I realized I desperately needed a clock for my office, I decided to try making one rather than buying some ugly plastic thing. I wanted to add a bit of colour to my studio as well, so I wrapped an embroidery hoop in some dreamy fabric and then matched the colours on the clock to the fabric. If you want to make this even quicker, you can omit wrapping the hoop in fabric and just have a wood frame. This was a really fun, super-quick project — if you want to give it a try, read on!

Supplies

ctsupplies

  • 8-inch embroidery hoop
  • Clock mechanism (available at Michaels or other craft stores — you want one for the thinnest clock face possible; I believe mine was for 1/4 inch face)
  • 9-inch square fabric of your choice (light colour will make it easier to transfer pattern and see clock numbers)
  • Lightweight fusible interfacing
  • Embroidery transfer pen (washable or fade-away)
  • Embroidery floss in colours of your choice
  • Scissors
  • Thick cardstock/chipboard
  • Embroidery needle
  • Fabric for wrapping hoop (optional)
  • Glue gun
  • Spray adhesive or white glue
  • Clock face template (download here)

Instructions

1. Print out clock face template, either onto regular printer paper and then transfer onto 9-inch square of fabric using preferred method (here are some ways to transfer patterns) or take the easy way out and print pattern directly onto washable, fusible stabilizer (I use this brand). If using the latter method, peel backing paper off and stick face-up to front of fabric.

printedpattern

2. Using three strands of black embroidery floss, backstitch around outlines of numbers.

outline

3. Using two strands of coloured floss of your choice (I chose four colours that matched the fabric I wanted to wrap the hoop in), start filling in numbers with satin stitch, continuing all the way around the clock.

filling

4. Once you’ve completed the embroidery, attach fusible interfacing to the back of the square, and iron out any wrinkles.

interfacing 

5. For wrapped hoop, cut long, narrow strips of fabric (mine were about 1.5 inches wide), and press in half lengthwise. I used two lengths of about 40 inches, so 80 inches total, but had quite a bit left over.

biastape

6. You’ll be wrapping the outer hoop in bias tape. Using a glue gun, place a small dot of glue at the top of the hoop, near the screw. Carefully begin wrapping bias tape around hoop, keeping folded edge on top. Continue wrapping all the way around the hoop, placing dots of glue as needed.

wrappingbiastape

When/if you get to the end of one length of bias tape, simply wrap last piece around to the inside of the hoop, secure with glue, and continue wrapping hoop with second length of tape, starting from the inside and overlapping previous length of fabric. Continue wrapping in this manner until you reach the end of the hoop, and secure with glue on the inside of the hoop.

wrappingbiastape2

wrappedhoop

7. To attach cardboard (for added stability) place inner hoop on cardstock and trace around the outside, and then cut out. Center inner hoop over backside of clock face and again trace the outside of the inner hoop with an  embroidery transfer pen.

backing1

8. Using adhesive of your choice (I used spray glue but white glue would be fine as well — just make sure there are no big clumps of glue and that it’s smoothed down well), spray back of cardstock and press down onto circle you’ve just drawn on the back of your fabric piece.

backing2

9. Let dry, then turn over place inner hoop underneath face-up fabric (I didn’t get a picture of this, but it’ll be obvious what I mean). Place wrapped outer hoop on top of the clock face, lining up screw at top with the number 12. Gently adjust as needed until it’s centered, then press down on outer hoop so it encloses fabric and inner hoop. Tighten screw as much as possible.

framing1

10. Turn clock over and cut away excess fabric from around the clock, leaving about 1/2 to 1-inch border of fabric.

framing2

11. Using glue gun, dot glue along inside frame and press fabric down, smoothing down as much as possible. I did an absolutely terrible job of this, but it’s the back of the piece, so I wasn’t too fussy. Take your time and don’t burn your fingers like I did.

gluing

12. Turn clock over, and using embroidery transfer pen, mark center of clock with a small dot. I just eyeballed this, but you can measure it out if you’re really fussy. Use small, sharp scissors to poke a hole through (at this point your hands might turn into a ginger man’s) and then attach clock face according to manufacturer’s instructions. Mine had a small hook at the back, so I chose to hang it from there rather than the embroidery hoop screw, just because it seemed more stable. Hang clock and enjoy!

pokinghole

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hospitality2

My list of guilty pleasures is long and somewhat horrifying, and includes such things as Kraft Dinner with cut-up hot dogs, getting fake-interviewed by Rolling Stone magazine while I’m showering, eating Nutella straight from the jar with a spoon or maybe sometimes even just my finger, and reading books about serial killers right before bed. Also, there is nothing I love more than a good bad movie. I don’t mean, like, some shitty rom-com or some dumb action thing (although let’s be honest, Con Air is the best thing ever), but a real, genuine bad movie. I’m talking about a film that is made in complete and total earnest, and despite being a train wreck, its total sincerity shines through the entire time. This is a very, very, VERY rare quality and I in fact have only ever witnessed it fully in two films. One is The Room, which is just…indescribable, though people have been trying in vain to analyze it for a decade. I love this movie so much that I’ve watched it no less than five times in 2013, and possibly even more than that. It is best served up with a pitcher of something boozy and this drinking game. The other film I love, possibly even more than The Room because it is slightly less narcissistic, is the 1990 classic Troll 2, which, despite its title, is not a sequel to Troll and does not contain a single troll. Instead it sort of revolves around some vegetarian goblins, the most confusing family in the world, and a popcorn sex scene (!). I could never do justice to its brilliance; you’ll just have to see it. I will say that my mother-in-law loved it so much that she requested her own copy of it. Also, there’s an incredible documentary about it made by the former child star of the movie. Also, we paid good money to change our license plate in honour of it.

nilbog

In honour of this wonderful movie, I designed an embroidery pattern featuring possibly the best quote from a film chock-full of sparkling little gems. I find it to be just a generally good life lesson and it would make a great hostess gift this holiday season! I used a combination of stitches here, including a fishbone stitch for the leaves, but you could easily do it in all backstitch and it would still look great. There are tons of great stitch tutorials here and also dozens of videos on YouTube that I reference all the time.

hospitalitycloseup

I’ve also included just the border, in case you want to do something a little classier like embroider a song lyric or possibly a different amazing Troll 2 quote (I’m partial to “We need some time for some things to happen!”). I designed this to fit in a 7-inch embroidery hoop, but it’s easily scalable up and down. Also, instead of dealing with fussy transferring techniques, which is my least favourite aspect of embroidery, I used this fantastic stabilizer that you simply print the pattern on to, stick to the front of your fabric, embroider over top of, and rinse after finishing. It just dissolves away. SO EASY.

hospitality

Enjoy the pattern! And if I haven’t convinced you to watch Troll 2 by now, there’s probably no hope for us as friends.

Download the Troll 2 embroidery pattern here.
Download just the embroidery border here.

 

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elderberries

I know I haven’t updated in a shamefully long time. I’ve been to Austin, and singing a lot, and starting banjo lessons. I’ve been in a bit of a creative funk as well, and haven’t had any desire to make stuff, which is terribly unusual for me.

However: I did write this tutorial on how to cross-stitch this classy Monty Python and the Holy Grail quote! I really love the look of unexpected words/imagery done in a classic needlepoint style (see: anything from Subersive Cross Stitch). I also love this movie and though there were hundreds of phrases I could have chosen, this one jumped out at me. Make it and surprise a Monty Python fan you love!

Tutorial here.

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treatyoself

I realized the other day that most of the television shows I love feature some pretty terrible people (30 Rock, Arrested Development, Breaking Bad). Parks and Recreation is the exception to this rule — it might be the sweetest, least cynical show out there. Amy Poehler is obviously a genius and a national treasure, and Tom Haverford and I both make this face a lot, and don’t even get me started on how hot Ron Swanson is. I can’t even.

Here’s my little homage to the show — one of my favourite mottos ever. I’ve included the pattern in reverse as well, in case you use a transfer method that requires the reverse image. I really really hate transferring embroidery patterns; it’s my least favourite part of the process. This time I knew I wanted the gold embroidery thread (SO fun to work with, by the way) to stand out, so I wanted to use a dark fabric as the background. I found this wash-away stabilizer at a local sewing store and it worked like a charm — I just printed right onto it (it says not to use a laser printer, but that’s what we have and it was fine), stuck it onto the fabric, embroidered over top and then rinsed it for a few minutes until it all dissolved. Easy-peasy!

I only used two stitches here — back stitch and satin stitch. There are tons of tutorials for these out there, but this is a good place to start if you need some help. Have fun and let me know if you have any questions!

Download the pattern here.

 

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adfinalproduct

I use Arrested Development as a sort of litmus test for people’s compatibility with me, which makes me sound like an asshole. Which, obviously, I am.

But seriously, this show is one of things I love so much and so ardently that it is beyond my comprehension that other people might not. It is pure perfection, and I am both excited beyond words and petrified for the new season, out on Netflix this May. What if it’s terrible? What if these characters I adore are unrecognizable and/or boring to me now? What if it’s super racist like Sex and the City 2? Will it mar the brilliance of the original series for me? These are first world problems, but damnit, they’re my first world problems.

Er…I digress. Here is something I stitched up just for me while on the road, and now have the pleasure with sharing with the world. This will make absolutely no sense to you if you don’t know and love and frequently become confused by Tobias Fünke, but if that’s the case, what are you waiting for? You have five weeks to catch up!

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fotc

Listen, I’m a happily married lady, but that doesn’t mean I can’t have other boyfriends, right? I hope not, ’cause I have at least 20 of them. Josh Ritter, Taye Diggs, Steve Buscemi (yes, you read that right), Benedict Cumberbatch (but only as Sherlock), Jet Li, Peter Dinklage, Jon Hamm, Michael Vartan (I watched a lot of Alias in university), Luka the dog, Willem Dafoe, Kyle Chandler (as Coach Taylor, obviously), John Krasinski, what’s-his-face who plays Ron Swanson, Idris Elba…

The list goes on. And on. High up on that list are the two super-fine specimens from Flight of the Conchords, Bret and Jemaine. I have literally rambled to Mark for minutes at a time about how I can’t decide which one is hotter. I might not be the best wife ever. Anyway, this cross-stitch pattern (which I designed in Berlin during a rather unhappy period) is a tribute to those beautiful singing New Zealanders.

Check it out here!

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crushed it cross stitch

Last week I attempted a step aerobics class with my friend Heidi. It was hilariously terrible, in the best way possible. Neither of us is especially graceful, though she is WAY more co-ordinated than I am. We had never tried a step class before and minutes before the class we were sitting in her living room, spooning Nutella out of a jar and contemplating whether or not we should actually go. We dragged ourselves there, stumbled through the class, and though at certain points we were laughing so hard we were doubled over, it was awesome. When I got home, Mark asked me how it went, and I stupidly, confidently answered, “We crushed it.”

That was the inspiration for this cross-stitch pattern, a celebration of “fake it ’til you make it”, something I probably need tattooed on my body.

I used this tutorial for the frames, done on thick cardstock. My finished piece was about 5X7 inches and I think it was 14-count aida cloth. Play around with fabic/floss/frames and please let me know if you try the pattern!

Download the pattern here (in colour or black and white with symbols):

Free colour cross-stitch pattern.

Free black and white cross-stitch pattern.

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