Friday, March 30, 2012

Word of the Day . . .

POTENTIAL . . . . and all the beauty that can be found in it.


Jennie Lynn

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Prim Bunny (A Free Sewing Pattern)

Can you spot the burlap rose on my little prim bunny? I ended up painting, staining and then baking my burlap strip before making the rosette. I wanted it to more closely match the bunny itself. The osnaburg and burlap both have such wonderful textures but I wanted them the same color. I think it makes just the perfect bushy bunny's tail, don't you?

There are many prim bunny patterns like this one, especially this time of year. This is just my interpretation. I contemplated little french knot eyes or a stitched nose (both of which would look very sweet) but at the end I always choose less.

I love the way she came out, especially her lines. I was a little concerned sketching the pattern. Sewing curves is not my favorite thing to do and I don't think there's a straight line anywhere in there. Her curves are soft though and I had no problem whatsoever stitching her up. I think they give her such a graceful look and are most likely the reason I've decided that she is a she. Of course yours can be a boy. You can leave off the tail entirely, if you wish. Or perhaps some wool roving? I think she would look sweet with a little rusty bell tied around her neck or a burlap saddle over her back. My bunny is painted white then tea stained but how about a brown or black bunny?

If you would like to download the free sewing pattern you can do so from my Free Patterns page. As always, if you have any trouble downloading the pattern just send me an e-mail at and I will e-mail you a copy of the pattern. I'd love to see what you guys come up with so be sure to send me photos of your finishes. For now, it's time for me to put away the sewing machine and get back to stitching. I'll share my progress with all of you soon enough but now my stitching and I are in much need of some quality time :)


Jennie Lynn

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Burlap Rose Tutorial

I wanted to share with you how I make a burlap rose. There are so many tutorials out there already but the most common way I've seen it done leaves a very large base on the rose which wasn't going to work for my purposes. This particular technique is common as well, though it's typically done using ribbon. I figured, why not give it a try. This is only my second tutorial and my first where I had to take photos of myself as I was doing it. Bear with me on the quality of the photos and just ignore my little sausage fingers :)

Start with a strip of burlap. The larger the strip, the larger the rose. Mine was bout 3/4 inch wide and about fifteen inches long and I ended up with a rose about an inch in diameter. I laid my strip out on my work table and labeled each of the ends so that you can follow along more easily.

First step is to take the top end (End 1) and fold it over the strip to form a right angle.

Next, fold the bottom end (End 2) over the right angle fold.

Then fold End 1 back across End 2 and continue folding in the same manner until you run out of burlap. You'll end up with a little "package" like the one in the photos below.

On one end of the bundle you'll have your original right angle fold.

On the other end of the bundle you'll have your last fold and two little burlap tails.

Release the bundle and you'll have a little accordian snake that will keep it's shape.

With one hand grasp the last fold, where the two tails meet, between your thumb and forefinger.

With your other hand hold the tail that forms the last top fold, the tail that is laying over the other tail.

Finally, while holding the one tail, push down with the other hand. The folds will began to gather to form the outside of the rose as the center of the rose is being pulled through. At the end you should have a little rosebud that has one really long tail and one shorter one.

I hope my instructions weren't too confusing, but if it doesn't work the first time, keep trying. If you've never used this technique before to make roses I suggest you start with a piece of ribbon. It's a little easier to work with and will give you an idea how it's supposed to work. Once you have the technique down you can move onto using the burlap. It also works nicely with a strip of fabric. Now the burlap does fray but that just adds to the prim. There can be threads left popping out of your rose from the burlap and when that happens I simply trim them away. Depending on what you're going to use the rose for you can either glue the folds in place (my least favorite choice) or put in a few stitches to hold it all in place. For my purposes I laid the two tails (now at the bottom of your rose) up against one another and ran it through my sewing machine a few times as close to the base of the rose as possible then snipped the tails as short as I wanted them.

Tomorrow, I'll be sharing with you what I ended up using my burlap rose for. You might want to make a few of your own in the meantime since I think you'll like what I came up with :)


Jennie Lynn

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Samplermakers Spring Stitcher's Challenge

Some of you might remember the Samplermakers Autumn Stitcher's Challenge that I hosted awhile ago. It was so much fun I decided to host another. Now, Spring is not my favorite time of the year, so designing the motifs was a challenge in and of itself. The photo above are just a few of the free patterns offered for the challenge. What do you think?

Now this challenge is open only to members of Samplermakers. I know quite a few of you are already members and I hope you download the free patterns and give it a try. I loved seeing what you came up with for the Autumn Stitcher's Challenge and I'm hoping your new designs help me get in the spirit of Spring.

If you're not a member of Samplermakers just e-mail me at and I'd be happy to send you login information. Just sign in and start socializing! It's a wonderful group of stitchers that, though they have been quiet as of late, are a real hoot once they get going.

For all of my blogger friends I have a sewing pattern coming in a day or so, perfect for Spring, so be sure to check back. Most people (I've been told) feel rejuvenated by Spring. I get lethargic, but am trying to stay motivated. The more projects the better but without all of you to share them with I'd probably be sulking on the sofa with all the blinds pulled down. So thanks for being my own personal cheering squad. I don't know what I'd do without you guys.


Jennie Lynn

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Keeping Threads

The arrival of the new threads from Gentle Arts was the perfect excuse to continue my organization. My threads are already (reasonably) well organized into little shoe boxes. I tied painted scraps of fabric onto the boxes to denote what colors are stored inside. The threads themselves are stored in little baggies; it's the only way I've come up with to keep the skeins and loose threads all together. Whenever I'm working on a project I simply take out the box of the color I'm looking for and sort through until I find the perfect one. My problem arises in that I usually have to take out several before I decide and the "rejects" are simply tossed in a basket to be put away later. I have such a basket in almost every room of my house, as I'm always chasing the sunlight throughout the house when choosing colors. The basket in the photo is just one of many and I'm ashamed to say they were all overflowing.

What seemed a reasonably simple task quickly became something more. The boxes already house more than one color thread: green and blue, orange and yellow and so on. Both to fill the box and to make color placement easier. Still I end up with a brown that is awfully golden, a blue so deep it could be black, and a green that could be brown. Of course, I think a large part of it has to do with my mood. I'll put a particular color in with yellow and then when I finally find it a few months later wonder why on earth it wasn't where it belonged in with the browns. I think I might be making this more complicated than it needs to be :)

I decided to pull out of the boxes all of my DMC threads and store them somewhere else. Where else I haven't decided yet. I also took out all of my Gentle Arts Simply Wool threads and am now keeping them with my wool scraps. I use them almost exclusively for wool applique so this just makes more sense. Or at least it does to me now. Aren't the colors beautiful? They're slightly different in color than their cotton thread counterparts. I don't use them very often but after seeing this photo I'm wondering why not.

I've tried so many different ways to organize threads and am always searching for the next "better" way. How do you keep your threads?


Jennie Lynn

Monday, March 12, 2012

Gentle Arts Spring 2012 Colors

As I promised, here are the new colors from Gentle Arts. I apologize for the late afternoon light but the mailman came a little later today than usual.

Burlap is a very golden brown. To me it looks like strong tea with a little cream in it.

Carriage Black is a faded black that when put up against a true black actually looks blue. (That sounded a little confusing when I read it back to myself). It's very similar to Weeks Dye Works Onyx.

Linen, to me, is the most interesting of the three colors. I had expected an off white but both skeins I received were a very, very subtle pink. I would say they most closely resemble the color of cherry blossoms. Speaking of cherry blossoms, they are blooming here. Before moving to this area I had seen so many photos which of course don't do the beautiful blooms justice. But then again, the photos don't make me sneeze.

They are lovely colors this year and I am already considering swapping Burlap with a color in an upcoming sampler design. I imagine I'll be using Carriage Black as well given how I love the look of faded black. Anyone have their own favorite?


Jennie Lynn

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Starting the day an hour behind . . .

I have to admit I don't really understand the reasoning behind Daylight Savings Time. I've read articles that explain it has economic benefits as well as reduces power usage. I've also read article that say those benefits are negligible and that the practice itself is antiquated. I, personally, would be more than happy if they just did away with it all together. I despise starting my day and already being an hour behind. I feel as though I've been deprived of something I was wholly entitled to. Oh, what I could have done in that hour. An extra hour in Autumn and a whole extra day in February . . . wondrous . . . but today I'm grumpy. My husband says I think on these things far too much. He may be right. Besides, even waking up later than usual (according to the clock) and still feeling groggy, how upset can I be when this is the sight that greets me outside the bedroom window.

Clean white branches dotted with buds in a beautiful shade of green against a clear sky. I suppose being deprived of an hour is small price to pay for the other gifts of Spring.


Jennie Lynn

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Free Tulip Pattern

This is just a little tulip I stitched during my daughter's nap yesterday. I adore tulips but am not really a fan of Spring patterns. I find it particularly difficult to design or stitch for Spring given I don't enjoy the pastel colors so commonly associated with the season. I do like pale green and struggling to find a color for the tulip itself I finally happened upon orange. I usually consider this color reserved for Autumn but just a shade or two lighter than a pumpkin tipping slightly towards yellow and I think it makes a lovely Spring color.

If you would like to download the free pattern simply visit my Free Patterns page and click on the link below the photo of the stitched piece. As always, if you have any difficulty downloading the pattern please e-mail me at and I will send the pattern to you as a file attachment.

Things have quieted down here (at least for a little while) and I am patiently waiting for the new Gentle Arts threads I ordered to arrive. I am considering using one of them in a new design and I will be sure to share pictures of them as soon as the postman gifts them to me. I adore new threads and feel a bit silly being driven by anticipation to check the mailbox a few (dozen) times a day. But you understand, don't you?


Jennie Lynn

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Miss Littlebury's Beau

I've finally finished this little sampler. It took forever! It's a small, simple stitch. I was just so uncomfortable stitching in such bright colors I would often forgo stitching on this little piece for another of my projects. If you remember, the inspiration came from some 1930's reproduction fabrics I had in my stash. I adore the fabrics but I am much more accustomed to stitching in duller shades. As I said, I wanted to challenge myself by going outside my comfort zone. I still contend it's a good idea, I just now have a desire to stitch a sampler all in shades of brown :)

I just kept telling myself that all those antique samplers I love were originally stitched in colors just as bright. I do think I will stick to stitching reproduction samplers that look as though they've already been aged through time, but I do like the way this sampler turned out.

If there are any other adventurous souls out there who, perhaps with Spring approaching, would like to try a brighter sampler I am offering Miss Littlebury's Beau as an e-pattern for $6.50. I will have the sampler posted on My Designs page soon but in the meantime if you would like to order a pattern for this sampler please e-mail me at

Next I have planned a little sewing and perhaps even some punch needle. While continuing to sort through my things I happened upon a huge stash of weaver's cloth and can't bear to see it sit in a box any longer. In the meantime I have a few free patterns to finish up to help everyone welcome Spring so check back soon.


Jennie Lynn

Friday, March 2, 2012

Antique Textured Picture Frame Tutorial

I'm sorry it's been so long since I posted. It's been busy around here. This time of year has a birthday seemingly one right after the other. January 10th, February 12th, March 1st, April 5th and April 6th. It seems that before we've even finished the last batch of cupcakes I'm off baking the next batch. I really should be baking a few more batches now for Jeremy's birthday party tomorrow but . . . I just couldn't keep away from my projects another day.

I wanted to share a quick tutorial with you . . . a finishing technique for an textured antique frame.

frame, any size
latex paint, any color
plaster of paris powder
steel wool or sand paper, fine or medium grade
gel stain or brown shoe polish

I started with an inexpensive frame I picked up someplace awhile back. I didn't paint a base color since the frame had already been stained a light brown. If your frame is unfinished or if you dislike the color of the frame you can paint a base color. Then paint a few coats of your main color, mine was a basic white.

Nice, but too bright and shiny for my taste. I used steel wool to sand away some of the white so the undercoat of brown showed through. Once you've applied the topcoat it will be difficult to sand though to the base color so it's best to do it now.

The topcoat is made of 1 cup of latex paint the same as your main color and 1 tsp of plaster of paris. I used a plastic spoon to measure and mix; nothing too precise. You can add more or less depending on how much texture you want. Now this is obviously more than you would need for an picture frame. I make up a batch and then store it in a small mason jar to be used for other projects. Closed tightly the plaster of paris will not harden but if it does get a little thick you can simply add water until it's the right consistency.

I simply painted the topcoat onto my frame. The texture will adhere to certain parts of the frame and you can always dab more on where you want it. If you added less plaster of paris, it will go on like regular paint with only a slight texture to it. If you added more it will be more like smearing icing on a cake. Either way look greats, it just depends on your own preference. Now I let it dry and then gave it one last sanding focusing on the areas I sanded the first time to bring that base color out. I then rubbed some shoe polish onto it for aging; it gathers in the texture quite nicely. Now, here's the tough part. Plaster of paris does take awhile to set. If you do not allow it to set fully the topcoat will peel right off when you sand. I'm an impatient person so I put mine in the oven on a low heat which certainly sped up the setting process.

Here's a closeup of the frame:

For now it's hanging in our living room with a few old family photos displayed inside. I love the look of frames without backing. I am contemplating another project to accompany this one so this frame may serve another purpose soon and I'll be sure to share.

I am feverishly trying to finish a sampler I've been working on for weeks now. It's so small I can't imagine what's taking so long. Perhaps it's all the cupcakes :) I just have a few more stitches and then the finishing. Hopefully, I'll be sharing that with you next week. Until then, I hope everyone is enjoying these last few weeks of Winter.


Jennie Lynn