Into to Embroidery: Part Two with Video Demonstration

Intro to embroidery

Part One

Welcome to part two of my embroidery series, today I will discuss starting and finishing a project for beginners.

– Pick a pattern – For your first project it is best to pick a pattern that has limited small detail and you can finish in a timely manner like the one pictured below.

February embroidery

– Cut your pattern out and iron on – Give yourself enough of an edge to be able to hold it down while ironing while not infringing on the other patterns in the pack. Also making sure only the pattern you want is there, the picture below you can see the pattern number still there which I would first cut away before ironing on.

December embroidery pattern

– Start Stitching!

Really that is all that you need to do to prep once you have all your essentials I mentioned in post one!

As far as stitches go there are many out there and I recommend to pick one and practice it till it becomes second nature before trying a new one.

After the video I will link to two great tutorial for basic stitches.

Intro to Embroidery from Bailie Hemborg on Vimeo.

Sublime Stitching – Back Stitch

Sublime Stitching – Split Stitch

Thanks for watching and reading and please let me know any questions!

Intro to Embroidery: Part I

Intro to embroidery

I have been embroidering for about two years and am mostly self taught. It is a great and relaxing hobby with low costs and great reward. I have embroidered items for our use and to give as presents.

I wanted to share some basic information if anyone is interested in doing their own embroidery. Today I am sharing what you need and next week what to do.

What you need:

Embroidery Hoop – You will want to start with two medium sizes, as you progress you will find what your preference is but for me a large hoop is too big for my hands and I very rarely need a small or mini one. Two medium gives me one to use actively in projects and one to display items

Needles – It is always good to have a few in case they go missing, they sell packs that have a few sizes which I suggest so you can once again find the size that works for you

Needle Threader – The one I prefer is pictured below, now I have four as one of these going missing will halt your whole embroidery project

needle threaderFabric – To start I suggest a tight woven white fabric, it does not need to be 100% cotton but if it is you should wash it in hot water and dry it first. I bought a few meters from a local fabric store cheaply and have been cutting it for my monthly project, an alphabet project, and some nature ones for my dad. You can also try a plain cotton/canvas bag or find some pre-printed pieces from craft stores. The pre-printed pieces can be a great way to start and feel comfortable.

Patterns – If you are not going to use a pre-printed piece you can find a wide variety of patterns for cheap. I really like the Aunt Marthas selection of patterns by Colonial Patterns, this is the month one I have been working on. As the months have gone on I have been able to see my skills improve and they make a fun decoration for us.

Iron  & Ironing Board – You will need to iron the fabric and also the patterns are iron on, I have a table top ironing board from IKEA and the iron Mr. H had before we met.

Thread – For starting out buy a pack of thread like the one pictured below. While you are getting use to everything there is really no need to be using really fancy thread. I am still using thread like this and love it, the only addition I have made is buying some grey for special purposes like Santas beard.


Scissors – I do not have special ones, I would like to get some soon but for starting out scissors that cut clean work great.

Pin cushion – I have two, one of the traditional tomato looking ones and then one my grandma bought me in Chinatown in San Francisco. The key is to have one that is a bit heavy for me as my smaller tomato one tended to roll away from me.

That is all the basic items you need to get started, other items like a way to organize your thread or place to store your other supplies just comes with time and seeing more of what your needs and space will allow. For now I keep my supplies in a bag Mr. H got as part of a nursing union thing, not perfect but it works!

Beer Label Book Collage

The Creative Collective
Hello! Today I am sharing a project that I have wanted to do for almost a year and finally with the prompt of anything goes art from Melyssa I did it! So thanks blogland and Melyssa for giving me the push I needed!
As I have talked about before Mr. H and I love beer and are very passionate about tasting and finding new beers. After being confused a few times if we had tried a beer before or not we decided a bookkeeping system was in order.
My grandmother had sent us some blank journals and so we picked one and went about using it.
beer book inside 1
The thing was the cover was not really saying I am a really cool book full of beer sampling notes.
So I thought what if we covered it in beer labels!
Both agreeing this was a great idea we soaked beer bottles in hot water with a dash of dish soap in the sink until they easily peeled away.
Then we let them sit until this week when I got re-inspired.
I soaked a few new bottles we had waiting to be taken to the trash and set up my supplies.
beer book collage supplies
Packing tape, glue stick, scissors, beer labels, and book
It took me a bit to get the labels in an arrangement I liked especially as a few of the labels were curling up at the edges and being pains in the butt!
When I figured out how I wanted them I carefully glued them down and then set about taping over the top to ensure everything stayed in place and the book is durable for using.
beer book final cover 2
I was so happy when it was finished and when Mr. H came home he was very surprised and loved it too!
Now for a work free weekend so we can add some beers to the pages!

Upcycling at Christmastime

I am the sort of person that is always storing up odd and ends and swearing I am going to use them later for some purpose and then when I am do am immensely chuffed with myself and Mr. H gets to hear about it for at least a week!

O also I am really cheap so that is another reason that upcycling things like packing paper that I did not pay for makes me so very very happy.

So this year I gave myself the mission of wrapping all of Mr. H’s Christmas presents with things I already had rather than buying wrapping paper.

F presents

From the front left I used:

Gift bag I cut open

Amazon packing paper, rubber stamps from college, and ribbon I bought two summer ago

Gold tissue paper I bought sometime before our move in 2011, red ribbon that was the gift bag handle

Brown packing paper also from an Amazon order, same old ribbon

Red tissue paper I found in the gift bag, the candy can I glued on which was an old gift tag

dj fan man

Another thing that I like to do is make the gift giving a bit more fun and silly is instead of putting just putting Mr. H’s name on the presents I like to put some of his nicknames. This one DJ Fan Man is really dorky and has a very long backstory I will not bore you with but it will make Mr. H laugh which is what I was going for!

I also like to deter him from figuring out what is what so I will do things like put a small present in a big box or like that package in gold is a book which I wrapped in big bubble wrap that was from a glass my grandparents sent so all wrapped up it looks more like a shirt than a book!

What do you think would you reuse materials to wrap presents?

Embroidery Transfer How To: The Cheater Way

In my post yesterday I mentioned that I made a pattern myself for one of the embroidered bags. I am going to share how I did it as it was a bit unconventional but used the tools I had on hand.

step one

Once I came up with what I wanted to do I sketched it out on some plain white paper. I made hard and dark lines with a normal pencil so it could be seen from the other side.

step two

Once that was done I flipped the paper over and with a bright light behind me I took a transfer pencil and went over the lines. I also tried to make sure the lines were once again very dark and hard pressed.

Next I ironed the bag and while it was still warm I lined up the paper with the transfer pencil side down and ironed. I used the wool setting and was careful to keep the iron moving as to not burn the paper.

It would have been much easier if I would of had tracing paper but since I did not this method worked fine and will for you to in a pinch. One thing I think to keep in mind is that the paper I used was a good thick quality from a leather bound sketch book, I think if you used regular lined writing paper it might be a bit thin for the iron.

A Homemade Christmas – Sending Presents Home

Due to us being from different countries Mr. H and I have never had a Christmas, and never will, where we see both our families. Then last year and this year we have seen neither due to his schooling and our remote location. It is fine though as it was something we knew when we first started dating and seeing as this is our 6th Christmas together we are pretty used to it and like I said before have started some fun traditions for just the two of us.

One thing we have not been able to do though is send presents home, whichever home Sweden or the US, but this year I was determined to send at least something small. So I started thinking and planning way back in late September what would be good, low cost, and easy to ship. I also wanted the presents to be something that they could keep or use for awhile and I thought it would be fun to make them so they had more meaning seeing as they would be small.

While pondering all this I was working on embroidering a canvas bag I had bought in California and one day I was like this is totally what I should do! I then found a great site based in the UK that would ship to Sweden called The Clever Baggers and put in an order. They have great prices and got my order to me in less than a week which surprised me and was great as was worried about getting everything in the post in time.

I ordered some plain canvas bags with long handles as well as some plain canvas wine bags.

m wine bag a wine bag

I decided to go with a classic style for the wine bags and did the recipient’s last name initial as well as a simple design.  I also did two others but sadly it seems I did not get pictures of them.

For the bags I wanted them to be a bit more fitting to the recipients personality.

grass roots embroidery

This bag was for my best friend and her husband and I used a pattern from Colonial Patterns.

bon appetit embroidered bagThis bag was for my in-laws, I let Mr. H pick out the pattern from the supply I have and he chose this kitchen themed one also from Colonial Patterns.

book crawl embroidered bag

For my grandparents I also wanted to do a bag but wanted it to be specific to their hobby of used book shopping or as they call it a book crawl. So I wrote out book crawl and made a transfer for it and then added a partial pattern of the coffee cup and cupcake as they tend to go for coffee when they are on their book crawls.

white tail embroidery

Lastly I took a piece of plain white fabric and did a white tail deer for my father. He can frame it and hang it in his garage with all his other hunting and fishing paraphernalia.

I loved working on these projects and they were so easy to pack up and ship was was great.

gift packingI wrapped up each family gift like this and put in a flat card I had stamped and wrote a little message on under the ribbon. Then put them in large manila envelopes I bought this summer in California.

What do you do for family member presents that are far away?

Little Brother Craft Time

On Monday my little brother was following me around and asking “what are you doing now” and “then what are you going to do” and so I got busy with some crafts. I was inspired with how Angi entertained her brothers this summer and figured even though mine is a few years older he would enjoy it too.

craft time

I rounded up markers, colored pencils, regular scissors, crazy cut scissors, tape, stickers, a blank composition book, and some blank drawing paper.

With just a bit of guidance from me this is what he came up with.

micah journal

Ok I can totally admit it was really hard for me to just let him go with his vision. I had one and he was not seeing it and then he just started putting the stickers on at crazy angles which made me need to do walk away and take deep breaths for a minute!

The great thing was though he loved it and showed everyone, he also has made me keep it in the room we are using for the summer so it would not get lost or used by someone else.

So far he has used it to rate different sodas, plan things to for vacation, and write down recipes since he loves to cook.

Once we are gone I am not sure how much he will use it but it was a super fun way to spend an afternoon and cheap since my grandma had all the supplies!

If you have younger relatives it would be a great way to spend time together or make up a little kit for them do themselves and give it for a birthday or Christmas present!

Crafty Time

Besides my mom and her sister the rest of the women on my mom’s side of the family are very crafty and creative, ok so that maybe sounded mean but I can assure they would both be quick to point this out!

I personally like to think I am somewhat crafty, even though I cannot bake like everyone else, and have really wanted to try my hand at cross stitch and embroidery in the past few years. So back in October I was lucky when my grandma sent me a box full of  supplies to get started!

As it happened my best friend was pregnant so included in the box were two bibs for me to personalize and send to her!


The top bib I embroidered along the pre-existing stitch lines and then went for a motif that reminded me of a kids shirt from the 80’s. The bottom bib I thought would be fun to add a Swedish touch since it was coming from over here and thought it would also be gender neutral since they did not find out what they were having ahead of time.

I was pretty pleased with how they turned out since they were my first projects.


Then one day in town I picked up this piece of cross stitch fabric (not sure of proper name) to practice on. Since I am teaching myself it has been helpful to have this to practice on for things like the checker pattern in the bottom right picture. Now that I feel so much more confident with cross stichting I want to get some more bibs and a piece to do a proper sampler on.


After doing all that cross stitching I was ready to try my hand at embroidery and there is a shop in town that sells these pre printed pieces for a pretty reasonable price (49 kr / $7). I bought two and started this one on Monday, I used back stitch for the letters and split stitch for everything else. Once again as I am self teaching myself it is a bit hit or miss, like I tried to do stem stitch originally on the leaves but it was a mess!

When I finish these I am will be on the hunt for some plain dishtowels and what not so I can use the iron on transfers my grandmother sent me. Which if you live in Sweden/Europe I would love any recommendations on where to find them as so far my searches have come up with nothing!

California Bucket List

This summer Mr. H and I are going to take a trip back to California, it will have been two years since he was there and a year for me so we are a bit over excited about it. Since we kept saying “When we are in California we have to …” and then forgetting what the amazing thing we said the day before was I decided to make a bucket list.

I had never really been into making a life one but I thought we would be very disappointed to come home and not have been to some of our favorite places.

bucket 1

I started with my trusty roll of brown packing paper and bag of pens and Sharpies. I was originally going to write out California but when I started the song “Back to Cali” by Slash popped in my head so I went with it.

bucket 2

Next I added some things that are already set in stone, like visiting my Arizona family, and others that will be a nice trip down memory lane, like pizza from Laventina’s in Newport Beach.

bucket 3

I put it up on the fridge Friday night and you can see how fast it is filling up! The ones in purple pen are me and red is Mr. H but I seem to be adding more even though some of the purple are his ideas.

We plan on bringing it with us and hanging it up in our room at my grandparents then slowly but surely crossing them all off!

I would also love to hear your favorite activity/restaurant/bar etc. in Southern California since old haunts are great but new experiences are great too!

Christmas Movie Countdown Craft

Seeing as it will just be the two of us this Christmas I have been trying to make it special lest the blues start to creep in. This is a craft I put together last Thursday and was a hit with Mr. H and I this weekend and has us looking forward to the weeks coming up!

Part one was collecting all of our holiday movies then getting as many items of candy as they were movies.

Next I lined out the movies in order I thought would be the best viewing order. They go Love Actually, The Holiday, Mixed Nuts,  the Gavin and Stacey Christmas Special (my favorite show which I highly recommend watching), The Santa Clause, and finally The Grinch. These are just the holiday movies we had, I would have loved to include Home Alone but next year!

I tried to pair the candy with the theme of the movies or get one of Mr. H’s favorites, in this case it was a Santa candy for a Santa movie! I was going to get a nut chocolate bar for Mixed Nuts but decided I wanted a Daim one instead but you can see the theme idea could be really fun.

Next came the crafting part which is could be as easy as using some wrapping paper or going the way I did with stencils and rubber stamps. I have a ton of brown packing paper from an Amazon delivery so that was my base for wrapping up the movies and candy.

I wrapped each movie with their candy and tried to make it roomy so Mr. H would not be able to guess which was which!

Now they are all lined up on the bookcase waiting to be opened each week!