There's been little let-up in the current heatwave - although we did have one heavy downpour a week ago and boy was it welcome. Hosepipe bans come into force shortly for many UK folk - not us just yet but we'll surely follow if this continues. We've always been believers in using rain water as much as possible as we live on chalk for starters - a couple of big water butts collect rain water flow from the house and, so cute, Len's guttering (using cable trunking enclosure plastic lengths) they just open up into halves then attach along each side of the shed roof and feed into buckets with the help and guidance of cable ties. Len has all sorts of Heath Robinson things set up here - sometimes I despair - and then a lot of the time I find it so amazing to be able to look at a potential problem as he does and find a way around it. Let's forget that he once made a food blender using a Black and Decker power drill - cabbage on ceiling - so NOT a good look. Before my time with him I'm happy to report! Meanwhile, let's just make the most of our weather!
My make this time round isn't a card - which is really unusual for me! In fairness, it may end up ON a card, at an angle and with a sentiment perhaps, but for now I'm leaving it as a tag in its own right. There's a lot of words about the making and what I discovered through research and trial and error - feel free to skip it if you wish:
- snippets of card from the snippets folder in kraft, green and red, no full pieces of card, ribbon or twine were harmed in the making of this tag :)
- using the MFT 'Cross Stitch Tag' set of dies I cut a tag from kraft card with the holes in first of all. You use two dies for this but it's easy to hold them in place with washi tape or similar. MFT recommend that you use a metal plate underneath the die but my Cuttlebug wasn't playing ball and seemed in danger of flying apart so I just ran the paired dies through a few times with folded paper shims on top of the plates - and then poked out each little hole. There's no real way to avoid this from what I've seen - and it's quite therapeutic once you get into a rhythm. I did use waxed paper between the die and the card which ensured that it just dropped out of the die
- then die cut the other parts I needed - a full tag without holes from kraft card, the green top for the tag and the little ring thing which goes around the tag slit - from red card. Put them to one side for safe keeping in a little plastic lid kept for the purpose, it's one of those deep lids from a large tub of cotton buds and ideal for this!
- the pattern I wanted to use is on the MFT website HERE - along with quite a few others. Some are much more simple with a lot less stitching but I always go for the long route!
- next I got out my cross stitch threads, almost untouched for many years, and matched up the red and green and also picked out a bobbin of white - all Anchor as it happens, purely coincidence. When I was really into cross stitch I always wound embroidery skeins onto flat cardboard 'bobbins' so they were kept untangled and also fitted into special partitioned boxes where you can see the range of colours at a glance. I must have been keen - I have three large boxes with every colour under the sun!
- and then spent quite a while actually sewing the sleigh - I used all six strands of the thread btw rather than split it, those holes are quite big. My guess, as I'm slow and picky and the image is quite solid, is a couple of hours or more. So not something to do if you're in a real hurry - ideal to do in front of the TV if football is on for example
- once the image was stitched - making sure that all crosses were all formed the same way, just as you would when doing stitching on Aida fabric or linen - it was time to assemble the tag, and that was super fast and easy!
- just backed the stitched tag with the additional kraft tag (this hides the back of your work and gives somewhere to write on if you just use it as a gift tag!) using narrow red line tape around the edges - glue would ooze through obviously
- then stuck the green top of the tag in place, using red line tape again and added the red 'ring' around the tag slit using a glue pen
- finally, found one lonely snippet of white ribbon waiting patiently to be used, threaded it through the tag slit and tied it using a snippet of brown twine saved from a brown old fashioned label. Trimmed the ends of the ribbon and the twine to suit and that was it - done!
Here's some additional stuff I found out along the way. You can just draw the crosses onto the die cut tag - but I (personally) can't see it looking as effective without the tactile element- and there are lots of lovely patterns to be found, not only on the MFT website. Check out Pinterest for example or just small cross stitch patterns in general, on line, for ideas. My tag is an unashamed copy of one that MFT use to promote this die set :)
A hint I read is to pre-colour in the design, by drawing crosses using pens matched to your chosen threads (like the suggestion to not use threads) - and then stitch over it to ensure full coverage. I did start off this way and thought 'This really is a mug's game - I'm doing twice the work here' so I switched straight to using the thread and, because it's six strands thick, it covers perfectly anyhow. Also, I made a couple of (I corrected them - so don't check!) sewing mistakes along the way and of course you can't really unpick a Pro marker marker cross can you!
MFT also make a plain cross stitch rectangle die, and perhaps others - but it would be so easy to cut out the punched tag and just slice across the top. I might try that one next - maybe in an aperture - although there are some lovely and very effective patterns specifically for this die set. There's room to stamp a smallish sentiment on the green top part of the tag as well. Crumbs, anyone would think I worked for MFT. Sales pitch over!
Without you needing to guess, here's this week's Snippets Playground prize:
As always, the Snippets Challenge will run for two weeks and the Playground gates will close at 11am UK time on Saturday 4th August. The gates will open again at midnight UK time on the same day.
It's a maximum of ONE entry and please say in a comment if you wish to play and be a possible winner of the prize. Please also link back to the Playground in your blog post to be eligible for the draw.
Remember, if you link into the Playground and don't say clearly that you're wanting to be in the draw in a comment on here, then you will be bypassed if your name comes out of Mr Linky. I'm sure you all know I ask for a positive 'yes' on the blog post - just in case you're playing only for fun - otherwise I ignore you on my little list.
Mr Linky is below - please let me know if you have any problems linking, it's easy for me to sort out so don't struggle on alone :)
Be sure to call back next week to see the fortnight's picks and the winner of the Art Impressions 'Doggy Kisses' set of stamps.
Hedgies are doing fine btw - eating for the UK it seems! No pitter patter of tiny paws yet - but Len is only reporting one or two hedgies each night. I'm keeping quiet but I think there could be at least one Mum in the undergrowth nearby with a little brood of new prickles waiting to descend on us. - he hasn't thought of that one as yet!
Love from Parsnip (on his prayer mat right now whimpering for rain - silly bear, he thinks we'll ALL be showering together with the birds and even Spike and friends if water restrictions come in!) and of course from me,