Tag Archives: sewing

Book Review: Cat in My Pocket Embroidery

Cat in My Pocket Embroidery

Ten Purrfect Projects

By Hiroko Kubota

Born from need, continued with love, Kubota creates hand embroidered cats. With her newly published book, Cat in My Pocket Embroidery, she shares her knowledge and artistry, allowing us to recreate her fun felines.

From choosing the proper threads to use (single strands of size 25 embroidery floss) to the proper fabric (plain weave, nonstretch and smooth such as linen or cotton) is thoroughly discussed. Other items needed to complete your project are needles, an embroidery hoop, transfer paper, pins and a seam ripper. The author gives readers recommendations for each of the tools needed. Also included are ten cat templates to trace or photocopy to ensure your success.

Stitching techniques, starting and finishing have step-by-step instructions as well as photos and illustrations to ensure a successful outcome to your project. Kubota recommends starting one of the first three projects before branching out to the remaining seven. Each of the first three have between forty-six to forty-eight steps. The remaining seven projects have fewer steps, because you have already learned the proper way to introduce color and texture with your stitches.

I recommend this book to experienced embroiderers. But if you are a novice stitcher and feel compelled to embellish a shirt, purse or tote with one of these adorable cats, do not let me dissuade you. The instructions, images and illustrations are clear and concise. If followed, anyone with a little practice are destine to be successful.

As most crafters acknowledge, it is as much the enjoyment of the creative journey as it is the appreciation of the finished product. Kubota states, “I am pleased to say I am not the only person who appreciates the warmth, personality, and individuality of handcrafted products…”. I could not have said it better.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy from Dover Publications in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Copyright © 2020 Laura Hartman

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Book Review: Patchwork Quilt Designs Coloring Book – Inspiration For Your Next Quilting Project

Patchwork Quilt Designs Coloring Book

By: Carol Schmidt

Patchwork quilts are a piece of American history dating back to the eighteenth century. Our forefathers knew how to reuse and recycle before it became popular today. It was a necessity and way of life.

Quilting has made a resurgence. Works of art are created with bits of fabric thoughtfully planned and placed together to create a beautiful mosaic. Quilters are inspired by new and old patterns, much like the ones depicted in Carol Schmidt’s Patchwork Quilt Designs Coloring Book.

 The 31 pages of designs to color represent many of the classic quilting patterns. Everything from Tumbling Blocks to Dutch Rose are included. Each perforated page can become your personal work of art by using pens, crayons, markers or colored pencils.

Perhaps you are a quilter. The pages might inspire you to try a new design. Or maybe you are contemplating a new color scheme. What better way to work it out than on one of the quilt designs in this book?

Non-quilters will also enjoy the classic, simple shapes on the pages. Unlike most adult coloring books, most of these designs are not comprised of small spaces. There are a few pages that have smaller details, but for the most part the use of color and shades will be the star of your completed pages. This is a plus for anyone that may have trouble seeing the smaller spaces as well as those that want the colors to be the focus of the finished page.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy from Dover Publications in exchange for a fair and honest review. Copyright © 2019 Laura Hartman


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Whimsical Cross-Stitch – Adorable Designs for All Skill Levels

Whimsical Cross-Stitch

By: Cari Buziah

 If you love to Cross-Stitch or want to learn how it is done, this is the perfect book for you. More than 130 designs are included to tempt you to pick up your needles and start creating. It only takes reading the two pages of simple instructions and a few inexpensive supplies to get started. Even if you have never made anything like this before, you will be whipping out beautiful designs in no time.

The patterns are separated into four different categories:

Animals Real and Fantasy: Honestly who doesn’t love unicorns? Among my favorites in this section are the adorable hedgehog designs.  They are simply charming.

Dashing Designs: Beautiful tradition designs such as Celtic Knots, florals and borders can be found here. There is also an alphabet in this section to personalize any design of your choosing.

Home and Hearth: As you might suspect, this section holds designs that could go in any room in your home to brighten it up. My personal favorite is the Stack of Books. I can just see it hanging on the wall next to my bookcase. Next to my other bookcase (yes, I have several because I am a crazy book lady) I would love to make the other book design in this section. It has books standing up in the center with “Feed The Mind” on top of the books and “Free The Soul” at the bottom of the finished work.

Nature in Bloom: Last but not least this selection of designs includes butterflies and beaches, honeybees and hopping bunnies. Holiday designs are included as well. I love the Christmas snow globe; it would make a charming gift.

To ensure your success, the author has included detailed instructions for each design. The charts are large enough to easily read and follow. There is a color chart with each DMC thread color listed that was used in the for the sample picture which is also included as a color thumbnail picture at the bottom of the page.

It is fun to create art with needle and thread but not always easy. Cari Buziah has given us beautiful designs and simple instructions to ensure success. Both newbies and seasoned cross stitchers will love Whimsical Cross-Stitch.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy from Dover Publications in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Copyright © 2019 Laura Hartman

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WIP Wednesday Christmas 2015 Projects

This was a busy and fun Christmas season. My favorite handmade gift was a joint effort. My husband made this beautiful doll bunk bed for my cousin’s little girl. I might have posted a pic earlier before I completed the bedding in her favorite color (purple) and of course Anna and Elsa comforters and pillows finished the gift.

Ella's doll bed

She really liked it 🙂 I highly recommend going over to Ana White’s website (http://www.ana-white.com/) . That is where I found this pattern and many others I am going to try and talk the hubby into making. 🙂


I made 5 cabled ear warmers for my best friend to give for Christmas as well as 2 more for one of my work friends. They turned out nicely and I decided to make an additional one for myself. I used this pattern: Braided Cabled Ear Warmer by Jessika Cates, and you can see more pics on my Ravelry site, I’m “writeknit”.

2 earwamers done

This one is mine, made from the alpaca/wool blend that I bought when we visited the local Alpaca Farm last fall.


As a joke, I made these fun shark slippers from this pattern Crocheted Shark Slipper Socks by Stacie L. Ratcliff. My girlfriend’s daughter jokingly asked for them for Christmas, so the least I could do is crochet them for her! They are fun and from what I heard warm. LOL

Shark slippers

Here is a side view:

Shark detail


I made my father-in-law’s annual flannel shirt. It is the 36th Christmas therefore, the 36th shirt. Honestly, it is the only thing he wants, so that is what he gets 🙂 The 2016 shirt will be made on the new sewing machine my hubby got me this year (read this in a VERY excited voice). I use the same pattern since 1980, but this will be the fourth sewing machine in as many years.

damn shirt 2015

My cousin’s scarf has been on my blog before because she isn’t on FB to see it. She really liked it so that made me happy also.

Becky's scarf complete

This year’s NICU hats numbered 31. I also made a Santa hat for the nurse that works in the unit as well as a Santa hat for my son’s godson. Here are all the hats before we delivered them.

NICU hats on tree

Last by not least, I wanted to make little snowflake ornaments for my family. I saw one at work, so I had a general idea as to what I was going to do, but it took a few tries with patterns that didn’t work out for me to finally write a simple pattern myself.

I began with a 2 inch tin with a removable top that that is clear. Next I worked up the pattern with sport wt yarn just a bit smaller so it was snug to pull over the tin. I blocked it dry then sprayed the heck out of it with spray starch, sprinkled with glitter, then let dry over night. Full disclosure, the first one I couldn’t wait for it to dry, so I used my blow dryer, which worked like a charm.

Ornament 2015

The hardest part was finding the perfect picture for each of my aunts and cousins that would fit in the 2 inch “window” nicely. The hubby helped scan them then I got each one cut and inserted into the tin, added the snowflake and a bow on the top. Here is one of the finished ornaments. This was for my Great-Aunt Kathie, the picture is of her mom and dad, my Great-Grandma and Grandpa.


Here are more of them. By the time I got done making them, I was really loving the pattern. Lucky for me I made notes, because I’ll never remember how I did it next year if I decide to make more. I think I am going to write it up and offer it as a free pattern if anyone is interested.


I was going to list my works in progress, but honestly, you all have to be tired of reading this by now. So, next Wednesday I’ll share my anticipated project list for 2016. I know for sure it will include at least 2 pr of socks, NICU hats, teaching a Lunch & Learn cowl at work and other adventures with yarn.

What are you hoping to get done this year?




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Project Linus

Tomorrow I am going to Culture Stock to work on the dreaded snowflake afghan. When I was there the last time one of the gals was talking about working on a charitable project. Project Linus was brought up.

I was a member of an informal group of ladies that made handmade blankets of all types to donate to Project Linus. They distribute them to hospitals togive to children that come in with either emergencies or for surgeries to help comfort them. 

Here is what the link to Project Linus had to say:


Project Linus is a non-profit organization, dedicated to “Providing Security Through Blankets,” for ill or traumatized children and teens. Inspired by a picture of a three-year-old cancer patient holding her security blanket, Project Linus was begun in 1995 by Karen Loucks. Nationally, Project Linus has donated more than 4,270,084 handmade blankets to help comfort children in need in hospitals, shelters, and hospices. Project Linus has 368 chapters in the United States. Project Linus was named after the adorable security blanket toting character from the Peanuts comic strip.”  http://www.projectlinus.org/

The Project Linus national website has a great listing of patterns for you to use, or you can use one of your own. The gals I used to meet with knit, crocheted and sewed blankets for the gal that organized the group to take to the local chapter to donate. After you complete your first blanket, you get an adorable Project Linus patch. I love working on blankets that might help comfort a child when he or she can’t understand what is happening and is sick and/or afraid.

I hope we chose this charity. I know there are a lot of very worthy causes for needy children, adults and pets. This one is close to my heart 🙂

tks to Google Docs for the Linus pics


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