Archive for the ‘Challenges’ Category

February is National Embroidery Month! Woo Hoo! And I’m only a day late wishing you a Happy Happy 🙂 I call that a win. As a starter of things I, of course, started 3 news things over the last day. Good job Marissa. #nailedit

Gulush Threads is doing a National Embroidery Month Stitch a Day Challenge on IG and she’s going to be doing an IG Live everyday (Which is amazing to me, that’s so much freaking work!). So I hope to follow along with that on IG with the tag #stitchventure.

There’s also a new Tiny Valentine’s SAL from Armada Designs. This is the same woman that did the Tiny Xmas one (that I never finished of course). The V-day one isn’t free, but it’s VERY inexpensive ($2) and part of the cost goes to a great organization. It’s only Day 2 so you have plenty of time to catch up. Heck, I haven’t started yet either 😉

Tiny Valentine SAL

pic from Armada Designs website

The Game of Thrones SAL also started on 2/1 hosted by 8 Bit Stitch. Again, it’s still early folks, so drop over to her Etsy store to sign-up and play along. She will also be streaming working on it on Twitch. Follow along on IG too @8.bit.stitch.

Also, Sublime Stitching was offering a discounted bundle of embroidery stuff–threads, transfers and floss–to people to teach Embroidery to other people this month. I ordered one of those and will be “teaching” people in my crafty group in town some stitching if they are interested. I say “teaching” because although I know how to do quite a few stitches, I’m not super great at them yet, so…I will be showing them how they are done but…Whatever…free stuff for them, right?!? 🙂

So…lots of goings on. I need to get so sick that I can’t get into work, but not sick enough that I can’t stitch things. That’s a thing, right?

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For the WIPocalypse SAL I’m in, we’re supposed to check in at the end of every month to show our progress and answer a common question. Since this is my first one, I’m not sure of the format, but I’ll figure it out eventually, right?

First up, the presents. I finished presents for three of my friends.


Yarn ball embroidered with yarn and metallic crochet hook for Nichole


Moomin for Christen

Mortal Kombat Embroidery

Finish Him for Gina

It was great getting those completed, especially the one for Gina, since it wasn’t for any actual occasion, it kept getting moved to the back burner.

I did make some progress on the Mario Nintendo SAL.


So. Many. Bricks.

I decided on, and started work on, my Project 365 Somethings which will involve working on stitched letters and words.


Stem stitch as a fill stitch

Stem stitch as a fill stitch seemed to work fairly well for the straight part of the “R”, but didn’t go smoothly for me in the little curved parts of the “C”.

I didn’t get any work done on the other things though. Still, I feel good about getting the presents made. There are bits and bobs here and there that I worked on too, but these were the main things.

The WIPocalypse question of the month is: What Stitch-A-Longs are you participating in this year?

I should preface this with “I have ambitions to do…”
The 8 Bit Stitch Game of Thrones SAL
The Connie Gee Back stitch only SAL
A monthly Mandala one that I am blanking on the official name of…
Hopebroidery Television Sampler
Steotch-a-long will have another one in the summer that I will join.

The WIPocalypse group will also be hosting a Stitching Olympics during the month of Feb. There are a couple of choices to join, but I think I will be doing the Endurance path. This means that I will be working on only one thing during that time. I’ve chosen my Nintendo SAL for the Olympics. Even if I manage to get Mario done, Duck Hunt, Pac-Man and more are waiting right behind him!


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I am a starter of things.

A lot of things.

Too many things.

Unfortunately, I am far less often a finisher of things. Also, unfortunately, I have always struggled with the “journey” part being the point. What this means is that when I start something and don’t finish it, I feel like I have failed. EVEN IF I have learned something along the way or I “Made Something” for 178 days, but didn’t make it until 365, it still feels like a failure, that I have let myself down and wasn’t able to follow through. Heck, even the fact that I’m typing up this Project 365 post on January 25th instead of January 1st feels like a huge failure to me. But I guess I’m working on it.

Around the second week in January I found Project 365 Somethings on iHannah’s blog. I’m not sure how I missed it. You should definitely stop on over to her beautiful blog and take a look. The short version is that you end the year with 365 Somethings. You can do this as a daily practice of one thing a day, a weekly goal of 7, or work in whatever number of batches works for you. Some people are even breaking it down to 52 Somethings to start. Then, post progress updates to your blog.

The overall idea is to really delve deep into something you’d like to learn or something you love to do. This is like the 10×10 board game challenge that I have started several times (and only completed once). As people near me know, I have been focusing more on embroidery lately and moved a little further away from beading. I still love beading, but I have this other, newer, love right now and that’s demanding a lot of attention. I’m in several challenges and groups dedicated to it: 1 Year of Stitches, WIPocalypse, Stitch From Stash, etc. But most of those focus on finishing individual and specific projects.

My biggest reluctance and hurdle with Project 365 Somethings is that I had a hard time figuring out WHAT that End Something could be. I mean, making 365 different embroidery pieces is too much for me. Even *I* know that! Looking at all the embroidery I love, I am often most impressed with people’s handwriting and lettering. Especially since it’s the snarky things I like the most so they almost always have words. I’ve never had particularly bad handwriting, but it’s not Embroidery Worthy handwriting. So I think this is where my end game lies: to be better at embroidering mine and others’ lettering.

BIG GOAL: My goal for this year will be to Embroider 365 Words. Included in this will be the weird fonts on presents I am working on for friends, handwriting and lettering practice done on my own for no REAL purpose (this in and of itself–terrifying), and just general practicing of new stitches in lettering form.

First up: a Mortal Kombat present for a friend that I’m still working on…

Finish Him Mortal Kombat Embroidery by CraftingwithoutKids

Finish Him!

That font man…I tried to get the two H’s to be as similar as possible, but that’s as close as I got on that. I definitely need a lot of work on stylized fonts. But it’s a start, right? And 178 days of making things is better than none, right?

For now? 2/365 #365Somethings2018

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Another day, another project…

As a chronic starter, I have A LOT of Works in Progress (WIPs). This year I happened to find what many already have found and that is the WIPocalypse SAL. Less like a traditional Stitch A Long and more like a support and cheerleading group, the WIPocalypse SAL is a place for kindred souls. Starting in 2012, this is the 6th consecutive year. Go ahead and take a look all about it on Melissa’s blog Measi’s Musings.

This is my “official” kick-off post that is supposed to let you know what projects (for now at least) I plan to focus on. Fortunately, we can add projects throughout the year. Several of my WIPs are presents so I can’t post those here, but just know…there’s always an extra 3-5 behind the scenes. 😉 Plus, I do too many other things besides cross-stitch so I have a lot of other projects going onto this list.

My biggest stitching to-do is probably the Nintendo SAL by Armada Designs.


Mario…January 2017

There are 12 different games and I don’t plan on doing all of them, but there are quite a few I’d like to do–I’m looking at you Duck Hunt and TMNT.

At one point, I bought a little stuffed panda embroidery project (I have a thing about pandas) so that has to go on the list too.

I also wanted to try out the Silk threads, but I didn’t want to invest in a whole line and figure out a project so I bought this great little kit from Sublime Stitching called Feather Pincushion.

Au Ver à Soie Feather Pincushion Kit by Nathalie Dentzer

I got mine in the “flashy” colors 🙂

I also took a Shishiko stitching class at a great new(ish) local store called Blue Bar Quilts. Of course, that class sample was never finished.


Just getting started during the class.

And since I used to teach beading, the number of unfinished projects I have from that is TRULY stunning.

Then there’s also the summer Stitch A Long for Rebecca Ringquist’s book Embroidery Workshops that never actually was Stitched a Long with. So…yeah. I have a lot of unfinished to-dos that I would like to turn into to-dones.

Hopefully you all and the challenges and the new thing called “focus” I’m working on will help make that all happen.


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I joined another challenge group this year thinking I can do ALL. THE. THINGS.

Yeah, I can’t do all the things (like blog with any sort of regularity), but since this is really only one thing per month, I have a fighting chance. It’s called Try Something New Every Month or TSNEM. There’s a Facebook Group and everything guys! Here’s a bit of background on the challenge from Swoodson Says.

Every month there is another theme. The idea is to get you to try crafts that you haven’t tried before or, for me, to go back to something you may have liked, but has fallen into a corner (or in my case a high shelf) of your craft space.

January – Quilting

February- Tactile Craft

March- Painting

April- Edible Crafts   (THIS is the most terrifying one)

May – Hand Sewing

June- Heavy Craft; leather, wood burning, glass etching

July- Yarn Craft; knitting, crochet, weaving

August- Printmaking; fabric or paper

September – Machine Sewing

October- Needlework; embroidery, cross-stitch, crewel, needlepoint

November- Papercraft; origami, scrapbook, calligraphy

December- Choose your own!

For January, I cheated a bit by using a quilt stamp I “rescued” from my mom’s house (Hi Mom!) and I stamped it several times paper piecing it together. I’m still counting it. 😉

Quilt card by Crafting{without}Kids

TSNEM Quilt Card

For February, I decided on needle felting. LOTS of years ago I took a needle felting class and it was SO much fun (stab stab stab stabby stab stab tee hee)!

My friend Deb gave me a felted pumpkin decoration (also a long time ago) that the leaf recently fell off of.


Felted awesome pumpkin from Deb

Just this weekend I finally found my felting needles and jabbed that little sucker back onto there (stabby stab jab) and I thought, OH YEAH! THAT WAS FUN! So, I’m off to the library to get some books on needle felting little animals. I’ve seen them before and always thought they were cute, but never got around to it. Looks like this is the month! I even have a crop this weekend so, if nothing else, I can work on it there. Best thing about wool roving? It’s lightweight to schlep! 😉

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Hi everyone!

It’s amazing how quickly time flies when I don’t have a dedicated space and time for blog posts and making things (meaning, sorry for the long hiatus…again). If anything was going to get me back here it’s the fourth iteration of Kathy Racoosin’s 30 Day Coloring Challenge over at her blog The Daily Marker.

She posts DAILY. It’s amazing. She’s amazing. I’m constantly amazed.


Last night I started collecting some of my goodies into a Coloring Caddy that I can carry between my basement Outpost and my actual craft room. In the past, I’ve tried to set up something more permanent downstairs, but then when I went to make something in my craft room, I would have to haul armloads of stash toys upstairs. And I’m pretty lazy, I mean efficient, (yeah, that’s it) and that didn’t go well. So this time, I’m going with portability over other considerations.

Coloring Caddy for the Daily Marker Coloring Challenge

Coloring Caddy

First up, this Steampunk Alice stamp I got at a Green Whimsy consignment sale in November.

Steampunk Alice with Distress Markers by Crafting{without}Kids

Steampunk Alice ready for the Ball!

One of my favorite things about this challenge is that it allows me to ink up stamps I’ve had for a while that I always thought would be fun to use or color, but haven’t gotten around to trying to make into a card, or they haven’t fit into a card I was trying to make. This way, I can just stamp it and color it. Now it’s ready for me to use when the mood strikes!

It’s easiest (for me AND Kathy) to post the daily coloring to Instagram, so if you want to see what I’m coloring, pop on over there to my Craftingwithoutkids feed. And you should totally join in! It’s lots of fun and low pressure and seriously, who doesn’t love coloring?!?!?

32/366 #yearofmaking


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As I drove to my retreat this weekend, I was truly passing through a Winter Wonderland as all the trees were dark and wet with the branches covered in snow. So very pretty. Especially since it was only enough snow to make it pretty, and not enough to have to shovel or make it hard for me to drive to the retreat. 🙂

Hello You handmade card with Lawn Fawn stamps by Crafting{without}Kids.

I used a bunch of my new Lawn Fawn stamps to create this Winter Wonderland for the new Lawnscaping Challenge. Party Animal, Baah Humbug and Scripty Sayings all showed up in this scene. I used the long swirls of Hello You from Scripty Sayings to make a snowy little hillside for the friends to meet up under a Distress Ink sky.

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I love card sketches. It’s a lot of fun to see how everyone interprets the same basic design. My Favorite Things has great card sketch challenges and I need to make some time to do more of them.

I turned it sideways and used my older Grand Peaceful Flowers stamp set to make a flower garden sympathy card that I hope I won’t need anytime soon.

Sympathy handmade card for MFT made by Crafting{without}Kids

I’ve been playing with some new-to-me Palette inks this weekend. I’m really liking the colors so far. A few sketch-placed sequins, and I popped it up from a plain white card base.

10/366 #yearofmaking

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Ahhh…new love.

I’m a long way from new love,  but it’s still pretty awesome. 🙂 (Hi Honey!) I used a new combination of Tim Holtz stamp sets: Bird Crazy and Mini Blueprints 2. Simon Says Stamp is having a Something New challenge.

Crazy Bird in Love card by Crafting{without}Kids

How can you say no to that face?!?

You can’t. That’s how. 🙂 He’s so adorable. Now I want to try all the other Mini Blueprints stamps and see what else he can hold in his crazy little wings. Off to make another card!

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I got some great new Amuse stamps at the stamp convention in Madison in November. I’ve used a couple, but I’ve been wanting to paper piece this adorable camper ever since I got it. That’s one of my favorite things about Amuse stamps is they often have simple, open designs that lend themselves well to paper piecing. New Year = New Projects!

Happy Camper handmade card by Crafting{without}Kids

See that amazing Panda Stamp?!?!?! My amazing friend Makalah–Jump Into Stamping got that for me for my birthday. YAY for AWESOME friends! SHE made ME a Happy Camper. Thanks Makalah!


She’s SO cute!


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