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Embroidered Christmas Stockings

Last Christmas, I asked my bf to buy me an embroidery machine. I confess that I haven’t used it much up to this point, but I decided it was time to blow the dust off and make some christmas crafts!

I have a Brother PE-770. So far, it seems like a pretty good machine. I’m not sure how well it would stand up if I was using it on a more regular basis, but for my needs it does the job. The only problems I seem to have is with the thread occasionally getting wrapped around and jamming the machine. 2 broken needles before I figured out not to leave the room before I made sure the thread was feeding correctly!

I’m mostly using Polystar thread. It has a nice sheen to it and my machine seems to like it. I’ve tried Coats & Clark Trilobal poly thread and some Gutermann Dekor which both work okay as well. I ordered some cheap rayon thread off eBay, but haven’t tried it yet.

I purchased some designs from Urban Threads (my favorite machine embroidery site!). They really have cool designs at really reasonable prices. You can also use their designs on items that you make to sell!

Here are a couple of pics of the Brother PE-770 in action:

It did really well on fleece. I used a medium weight cut away stabilizer.

Here are the finished stockings:

They were pretty fun and easy to make. The lettering was done on the PE-770 using one of the built in fonts. The embroidery took about 1.5 – 2 hrs. for each to finish. It’s a little time consuming having to change the thread manually for each color change and to have to trim the jump threads yourself. However, for my needs, the Brother PE-770 does a great job.

The pattern and tutorial for the actual Christmas stocking can be found at Fabricworm.

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DIY Smash Book

It’s been ages since I posted, but I’ve been a crafting machine lately and decided it was time to update the blog!

I’ve been interested in Smash Books since they came out. The idea of a ‘messy’ scrapbook really appeals to me since I don’t have the patience to actually make nice scrapbook layouts.

Since I’ve been swapping a lot on Swap-bot lately, I decided to try a Smash Book / Junk Journal swap. My partner and I exchanged journals that were at least 60 (30 double sided) pages. Making my own book was really fun. I got to use up some of the piles of paper that I have lying around as well as my Bind it All. 

I decided to cover the front in linen. It added a nice texture to the book. The Bind it All had no problem punching through the cardstock and the fabric. The linen did fray quite a bit, so a little fray check to the rescue!

I also found that you can get a lot of cool, free printables online. I did print some from Persnickety Prints that I used in this book. 

Here are some of the pages from my book:


So, if you have a lot of supplies laying around like me, I would really suggest making your own. You can add some really nice touches and have some fun personalizing them as gifts.

Shrinky Dink Plastic Earrings


I’ve finally finished some Shrinky Dink earrings. I think they’ve turned out pretty cute. They’ve been finished with a small coat of resin to protect the surface.

See more at my Etsy store.

Inkjet Shrink Plastic – Grafix vs. Shrinky Dinks

I’ve recently started making some cute jewelry from shrink plastic. I wanted to try a couple of brands to see what I preferred. I decided to compare Shrinky Dinks and Grafix brand inkjet shrink plastic.

First, the Shrinky Dinks come in 8 x 10 inch sheets. Grafix comes in 8.5 x 11 inch standard letter sized sheets. I bought the Shrinky Dinks from Michaels. 6 sheets cost $10.80 CAD plus tax (with a 40% off coupon). I got 50 sheets of Grafix for $62.00 CAD off eBay.

Shrinky Dinks left – Grafix right

For my testing, I cut both with small scissors and shrink using a heat gun instead of an oven.

You can print on both sides of the Grafix film. You can only print on one side of the Shrinky Dinks. The images on the Grafix seemed to come out a bit darker. (I’m using an Epson 1400 to print.)

Since I don’t have a contour cutter at the moment (hoping to get a KnK Zing when they start shipping!), I’m forced to cut these out by hand with a small pair of scissors. The Shrinky Dinks cuts easily and I didn’t have any problems. When cutting the Grafix, I tended to have way more cracks. It seems to be more ridged and tears easily when cutting around corners.

The two brands seemed to shrink a little differently. They both shrank approximately the same amount, but the Grafix came out a little taller. They shrunk to about the same width as well, but the Grafix seemed to have a bit of a ridge on the edges. The Shrinky Dinks surface was smooth after shrinking while the Grafix has a rough texture. The colors on the Grafix came out darker as well. (It’s a little hard to see the shrinky dinks as they are smooth and have a slight reflection in the pictures. Shrinky Dinks left, Grafix right.)

After my tests, I definitely prefer the Shrinky Dinks brand. They are quite a bit more expensive, but I find they just print, cut and shrink better. I also like the Ruff and Ready Shrinky Dinks. They give a nice frosted look.

I love Shrinky Dinks! Can’t wait to make more.

Father’s Day Cards

Father’s Day is only a few weeks away! I made some cute Father’s Day cards with a folded shirt and tie on the front. I got the idea for the shirts from Martha Stewart’s website. I cut the “Dad” out on my Cricut with Sure Cuts A Lot 2, and adhered the letters on with my Xyron.

Don’t forget, Father’s Day is June 19th!

Screenprinted Octopus Tote Bags on the Silver Press

I got an order for 35 octopus tote bags this week. That may not seem like a lot, but it was a big deal for me! I’m still having some problems doing multiple color prints on my Ryonet Silver Press though. It seems like I can’t keep the screens in registration. One arm in particular seems to give me real troubles. It’s been great for single colors though, and I hope to try some 2 or 3 color prints soon to see how they turn out. All in all, the Silver Press was not bad for the money. It fits nicely in my craft room where there isn’t an inch to spare.

I’ve bought only water based inks to print with. I’m determined to master them! I’ve got Permaset and Matsui inks. I’ve only tried the Matsui so far. It is very nice to print with. It leaves no hand and I haven’t had any problems with it drying in the screen yet.

I’ve had to cure these bags with a heat gun since the heat press seems to scorch them. So far, so good. It is pretty time consuming though. I’ve cured the Matsui inks on t-shirts with the heat press and they seem to be standing up fine to multiple washes. I can’t afford a dryer so using my heat press for double duty is sure coming in handy.

Easter Cards

I bought a few new Cricut cartridges that I haven’t had a chance to use out yet so I thought I’d try out Four Legged Friends and make an Easter card. There are some really cute animal cuts on this cart.

I also tried out my print Gocco for the first time! It was pretty easy to burn a screen. I drew a couple of lambs using the Riso carbon pen and got it on my first try. I did try Speedball block printing ink first and it didn’t come out very well. I may try it again in the future, but I’ll stick with the Gocco inks until they run out.