Monday, February 27, 2012

And the winner is . . .

It's time to give away a free copy of my new "Snow Days" pattern that will be available in fabric stores soon!  The winner is Gayle, and I will be contacting her by email with the good news.  Gayle must be a very busy lady, because I see she has three blogs that I'm happily re-posting so you can follow her travels, The Middle SisterWool Snippets and Utah Rug and Fiber Guild.  Congratulations Gayle, and please send pictures of your finished "Snow Days" candle mat so we can all see your finished project!

For all you un-winners, don't despair!  There will be a March contest for a brand new Halloween table runner pattern that made it off my drawing board and into my stitching basket.  I am sooooo excited about this pattern and I think you will like it too!

Sorry for the short post today, but I've been up since 4:00am and there's still not enough time to get everything finished today.  Have a great week, and in the meantime, Happy Stitchin'!  xoxo--Melanie

Friday, February 24, 2012

Christmas in February (and an update on the "Snow Days" Contest!)

It's nearly time to announce the winner of my February for a FREE copy of "Snow Days", my new candle mat pattern that should be back from the printers early next week!  I know you might not be in the mood for Christmas, but "Snow Days" is another design that will be officially released at Spring Quilt Market in Kansas City, Missouri, in May.  With the way the market works, I design 6 to 8 months ahead, which means Christmas in February!  I know you are all ready for spring and warmer weather, but what better time than now to stitch up some holiday projects while the nights are still cold and the mountains are still snowy?

Thanks to all of you who pre-ordered "Snow Days" at the special $7.99 price (it goes up to $9.99 soon).  If you want a chance to win a FREE copy, you can find the contest rules here. The  winner will be announced on Monday, February 27, so be sure to leave a comment on this blog before then!

I spent a good part of this week re-vamping my website to include a link to this blog, a Tutorials and Tips section and other information I hope you'll enjoy.  I've also been working on some crochet patterns (yes, I sneak that in right after dinner and before the late show!).  If you are a crochet-lover, here's a sneak-peak at a yummy little project I'll be listing on Etsy soon called "Rainbow Sherbet" . . .

It will be available by both snail-mail for $5.99 and by e-pattern download for $4.99, and I'll be posting some info on it shortly.  Let me know if you are interested in pre-ordering and I'll add you to my list and contact you as soon as the pattern is finished.

Well, that's it for today!  I've got a new table runner project on my work table that I've got to get back to and the hubby is hankering for some dinner (gals, you know what I mean!).  In the meantime, Happy Stitchin!   xoxo--Melanie

Friday, February 17, 2012

February Contest for "Snow Days" and Final Part 3 Tutorial!

I'm happy to say that "Snow Days" is finished! The pattern for this cute 14" candle mat is on its way to the printers, so it's time for your chance to win your FREE copy between now and February 26, 2012.  Winners will be announced on Monday, February 27, so be sure to enter to win (and tell your friends too)!  I'm sorry the picture is a bit fuzzy--me and my camera are going to come to an understanding this weekend!

"Snow Days" Pattern for 14" Candle Mat

The winner will receive a free copy of "Snow Days" by choice of snail-mail or instant download. There's lots of ways to enter, and you can do ONE or ALL of the following to get up to four chances to win:

  • Leave a comment on this blog = 1 chance to win!
  • Become a follower of this blog = 1 chance to win!
  • Get a friend to leave a comment or become a follower of this blog (let me know who your friend is) = 1 chance to win!
  • Share this blog post on your Facebook page (there's a little Facebook link in the left-hand column of this blog) (be sure to let me know) = 1 chance to win!

Good luck everyone, and I wish you ALL could be my lucky winner! In the meantime, if you would like to pre-order your own copy of "Snow Days" shipped to you as soon as it's back from the printers, just drop me an email at and I'll add you to my list. Regular price is $9.99, but pre-order price is only $7.99, which is good until I announce the winner of the contest on February 27.  Of course, If you preorder and happen to win, I'll refund your money!

Part 3 (Final) of "Snow Days" Tutorial

It's time to finish the tutorial for making your own "Snow Days" candle mat. In Part 1 and Part 2, we cut out the template pieces from wool or wool felt (depending on your preferences and budget), stitched the snowman heads to the scalloped background, and began embellishing their faces and hats with simple embroidery stitches.

This is where it really gets fun!  I love to embellish with embroidery stitches, but a friend of mine told me the candle mat looked hard to do.  That's when I realized this pattern might be scaring some people!  Please believe me, this project is not hard to do--in fact, the stitches are incredibly simple and are completely illustrated in the pattern. They are easy up-and-down straight stitches and some knots. Easy-peasy! And remember, there are no embroidery police watching and you don't have to do all the embellishing that's suggested in the pattern. Perhaps you like your snowmen to be a bit cleaner and less detailed? Or maybe you don't want to add the snowflakes?  It's perfectly fine to stop embellishing at any point in your design and it will still look great!

Once the snowmen are finished, your project probably looks pretty lumpy and bumpy and you might be a little worried, but a simple steaming with a nice steam-iron on the back of your candle mat will make all your stitches flat and even!

Next, the navy scalloped background piece is placed against a larger deep red scalloped piece and the two are blanket-stitched together.

Snowflakes are then added to the center of the mat with randomly-placed french knots, which are also illustrated in the pattern (yes, the knots are sewn through both the navy and red scalloped backgrounds). Last, I added a cream-colored scalloped backing made from craft felt (to cut the cost) and stitched the edges together with cream embroidery floss.

One more steaming--using a thin cotton dish towel to protect your candle mat--and voilà! you are finished!

The full tutorial for this pattern will appear on my website in a couple of days, which is also going through a major overhaul to include links to this blog and some other improvements I hope you'll enjoy. For now, I'm back to the drawin' table, as I'm dreaming up a yummy Halloween table runner that I hope you'll love!  In the meantime, Happy Stitchin'!  --xoxo, Melanie

Friday, February 10, 2012

"Snow Days" Pattern Ready for Release Next Week - and Part 2 of Tutorial

Gals, I've made huge progress in developing the final model and pattern for "Snow Days", a cute 14" candle mat you can make from hand-dyed wool or from wool craft felt you can find in your local fabric store.  I hope to have the pattern back from the printers by Monday (February 13), and I'll post some contest rules for your chance to win a free copy of the pattern!  I the meantime, here's the second segment of my Tutorial to help your make "Snow Days".  If you missed Part 1, you can read it here, and you can now also see Part 3.  So here we go . . .
"Snow Days" Tutorial - Part 2

Remember, We're Not Working with Concrete Here!  If you've been reading my previous posts, you know my patterns work equally well with either wool or wool felt, depending on your budget and personal preferences.  I have a good supply of each and am always torn between them because I like the unique look of both! Remember, none of the steps to make your own "Snow Days" candle mat are set in stone.  You can change the colors and even the shapes or order of the snowmen to fit your own taste.  If a nose looks too big, cut it down a bit.  If you don't like the colors of embroidery floss I used in the pattern, choose your own colors.  Like I always say, relax and enjoy yourself, since creating is part of the fun!  

More Fun Embellishing!  In Part 1 of this Tutorial, we cut out all our template pieces and attached them to the dark blue scalloped background piece with washable fabric glue and/or staples.  As you can see from the photos in this tutorial, I often "cheat" and use staples, because they are fast and easy to use and I remove them with the tip of a dull steak knife after I'm done.  In Part 1, we also began stitching the snowmen to the scalloped background, using a simple "blanket stitch" that is demonstrated in the pattern.  Today, we'll continue working on our candle mat by starting to embellish portions of their faces and hats.  This snowman doesn't have his eyes or smile yet, but you can see we will embellish the pom-pom on his hat with a black running stitch, the centers of his cheeks have a simple star/snowflake design, his carrot nose is ribbed, and stripes adorn the red ribbing on his hat.  All of these stitches are done by simply bringing your need up at Point A and down at Point B--nothing complicated!  Of course, full instructions, diagrams and  photos will be included in the pattern so you can follow along easily.

One of the other snowmen has a wide grin (which is NOT finished yet) that is accomplished with the "running stitch" (another simple up-and-down stitch) and his eyes are tacked on with a little "x" in the center. Once I get each nose or hat stitched on, I remove my staples . . .

You can see from the photos that your candle mat may be looking a little rough at this point and pretty lumpy and bumpy, but don't worry because that will all be fixed before we're done!

The final Part 3 of this Tutorial will come next week as we finish embellishing the faces and hats and add some snowflakes to the blue background.  We'll also finish the edge of the smaller scalloped background and attach it to the larger red scalloped piece. I'll also show you how to add a backing to your candle mat so it is nice and full and stays flat.  I love to embellish with embroidery thread, and you'll find out just how easy it is!

We'll it's time to get back to stitching!  In the meantime, I know many of you have taken advantage of my February giveaway for the free Beatrix Potter downloads (see my post of February 8).  If you want to use these downloads for invitations, note cards, baby items, etc., be sure to download them before the links expire on February 29!  I'll post again next week, and in the meantime, Happy Stitchin'!  xoxo--Melanie

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

February Giveaway - Free Beatrix Potter Images for Crafting Projects!

For those of you who following along, I'm having so much fun working on my new Snowy Days candle mat design that I haven't yet finished the easy pattern for it. I can't decide which darned embroidery embellishments look best, so I keep stichin' and ripping out again. It might sound tedious, but I really love the process and hope to have the finished design and the last tutorial for the pattern posted here within the next week. Don't worry, gals, the pattern will be very easy to complete, and it's turning out sooooo cute!

In the meantime, I want to post my February Giveaway that is completely off the beaten path. In between stitchin' and designing, I've been collecting vintage art from the late 1800s and early 1900s that I use for note cards, greeting cards, scrapbooking and, well, you get the idea. For my February Giveaway, I thought you might enjoy two wonderful Beatrix Potter images she created for The Tale of Peter Rabbit , a children's book published in about 1902:

[Click on Image Before February 29 to Download Without "Sample" Watermark]

If you want to check out my entire line of digital downloads, you can visit a little online shop I call "Imagination Kingdom" at These are two of my most popular downloads on Etsy and I'm giving them to you FREE between now and February 29, 2012, just in time to use for your Easter cards, to make iron-on transfers, or to use in whatever way you wish! Sorry, but the links won't work anymore after February 29, so be sure to download them now!  They are in jpeg format and you can get my free instructions on how to download, re-size, print and modify the images to suit your needs by clicking this link: Printing Instructions

[Click on Image Before February 29 to Download Without "Sample" Watermark]

Can you imagine using these images for baby clothes? For name tags on Easter baskets and gifts?  How about for book plates?

If you are not yet a "Follower" of my blog, be sure to join (see the top left-hand column). Why? Because each month I post a contest or giveaway where you win free copies of my latest patterns, more digital downloads and other goodies. And please don't forget to share this blog with your friends on Facebook (see the "share" link at the top of your screen) so your friends can have a chance to win too!

Well, I've got to get back to working on that candle mat design.  In the meantime, Happy Stitchin'!  xoxo--Melanie

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Meet the Winner of the "Halloween Jacks" Contest!

A big "thank you" goes out to everyone who entered my contest for a chance to win my new "Halloween Jacks" pattern (there were over 100 entries)!  I'm sorry you didn't all win, but the little entry bucket was crowded!  A friend of mine, Lizzie Knight, squeezed her eyes shut and stirred for a long time . . .

. . . and finally pulled out the lucky winner--Sharon of Lee's Summit, Missouri!  Sharon left a great comment on this blog about the "Halloween Jacks" pattern and about her grandson, Jack", so I did a little investigating and found she has her own wonderful blog at  If you have a chance, wander on over there and look at all the beautiful projects Sharon is working on, as well as little peeks of her grandchildren and some yummy Christmas cookies.  Congratulations Sharon, and here's a picture of the pattern you won!

For those of you who didn't win, don't despair--there's always February's contest for a new Christmas candle mat pattern that I'll be running later this month.  I know I promised to finish up the tutorial for that pattern this week, but it looks like I'm not going to get all the embellishments stitched as quickly as I hope, so I'll post the last segment of that tutorial as quick as I can!

In the meantime, thanks to all who participated and left comments, joined this blog or posted to your Facebook pages.  Way to go gals!   xoxo--Melanie