Things Made/Things to Make

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

2013 was a big year for me in many ways. Among other things, I moved back to the United States, established myself in a new city, finished a good chunk of the initial part of my book project, and (re)took up cross stitching. Though I am usually kind of tough on myself when thinking back on what I did and did not accomplish in the span of a year, I can truly say that I am thankful for what I was able to accomplish in 2013, and I'm pretty sure 2014 is going to be even more productive and amazing. 

Quite a few of the projects I worked on this year craft-wise were for gifts, including the Monticello bookmark, the Christmas ornaments, and three plush heart ornaments (below) that I made for James as part of his Christmas present. I also completed two smaller pieces with quotations on them, but I'm still figuring out how to frame them before I share. This little Russian star pincushion (above) I made for myself was a necessity, as I was constantly losing needles to the depths of my hungry couch. There were also a couple pieces that I stitched a bit of and then ripped out.

I've already made a list of all the cross stitching projects I want to complete in the next few months including one piece that will be my largest yet, a pattern I'm working on, and a few little "experiments." Any big stitching or crafting plans you have for 2014? I'd love to hear 'em!

All the lovely photographs in this post were taken by the very talented and supportive, James. I think I'll let him photograph my work from now on!

Giving Handmade Gifts

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Part of living on a budget is exercising restraint when it comes to gift giving. Of course this holiday season I would have loved to have spent a bunch of money on friends and family, but that just wasn't in the cards this year. And probably not next year either. But that's okay! I'm totally not gonna sweat it, because making gifts this year turned out to be a really wonderful experience and one that I want to make a tradition from here on out. I love the idea of ornaments as gifts -- they are fun to make and pack a big punch of love and memories in a tiny package. Plus, I got to watch a whole lot of Little House on the Prairie while I worked on them!

I based my ornaments off a pattern by chez sucre chez and only changed the date and the finishing. I decided instead of tiny hoops that I would stuff them and add ribbon and a gingham back. I'm really happy with how they turned out and I think the recipients enjoyed them too. This year was a bit of a learning experience, but I am so ready to do it again. I've already designed a pattern that is my own for next year and I have every intention to begin them earlier to avoid a mad dash in December.

How about you? Do you enjoy hand making gifts or do you find it too labor intensive? Did you make anyone anything this holiday season? 

Monticello Bookmark

Friday, November 15, 2013

I think it turned out pretty darned good --
but that just may be the very flattering photo
James took of it. 

As I promised to elaborate on in my last post, the Monticello Bookmark pattern from the Posy Collection was the first cross stitching I've done in my adult life (but definitely not the last). When I took the kit out of the box it had been stored in for far too long, within the first few stitches, I knew magic was going to happen. Right out the gate, I also knew it probably wouldn't be perfect. But, I would have tried, and that was the important thing.

The first few stitches.

Before even starting it, I knew who it was for -- avid reader, fellow history nerd, and boyfriend extraordinaire, James. I knew he would appreciate it, and as his birthday was coming up, I figured it would make a unique and heartfelt gift. I kept it all secret from him, which was part of the fun, admittedly. From experience, I highly recommend not telling anyone when you are crafting something for them. Otherwise, the pressure usually becomes far too much, and often (at least for me), the project never sees completion. Anyway, I finished stitching it and sewed some grayish blue plaid backing on it for a little polish, and voilĂ ! Along with a book I knew he'd love, he was delighted, and so was I. I had finished my first cross stitch project.

The Coziness Project is Back!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Why hello there! Hard to believe it has been almost a year since I last posted here at The Coziness Project! Since moving back to the United States in February, I have continued to update my romance comic book blog, Sequential Crush on a regular basis, but this here blog sorta fell to the wayside. At first I was a little stressed about not being able to maintain it through the huge transition of moving back to the States and getting reestablished, but in my heart I knew it wasn't gone forever... and well, here we are! I originally started The Coziness Project as a personal blog to document my adventures in Denmark, as well as the things that were inspiring me at the time. I have decided to shift my focus from a sort of "catch-all" personal blog to one that is more narrowly themed. If you are a reader of Sequential Crush then you already know that I am definitely a fan of niche topics! So, may I present to you -- the new and improved Coziness Project -- a blog about cross stitch and other crafty endeavors (but mostly cross stitch)!

So why cross stitch you may ask? Well, I first learned how when I was around seven years old from my very patient and crafty mom. I worked on a few projects, but then the rest of childhood came up... and then adolescence... which led to adulthood. Nary a stitch was crossed during that time -- despite being generally crafty. Fast forward 20+ years, and here I am, a fresh arrival to the beautiful state of Tennessee. A few months after the move when I finally finished unpacking the things that I had in storage while I lived abroad, I came across a beautiful counted cross stitch kit that I had purchased years ago on a visit to Thomas Jefferson's Monticello (more on this kit in an upcoming post). Soon after purchasing it I decided that it seemed far too difficult for someone who hadn't cross stitched in years and socked it away, not to be thought of again until that evening when I took it from a box containing my knitting materials. I took a good look at the pattern again, and was like, difficult? Pffft! If I can move across the ocean twice in the span of a couple years and set up camp in a new state and city where I know no one and basically start life over from scratch, then I can totally cross stitch a bookmark! So, I put needle to aida cloth and got to work. And what I felt as I stitched the intricate geometric design was an overwhelming sense of calm, confidence, and a connection to history. A history that was both my own (learning the craft from my mother), and a history of all the women who came before me who for hundreds of years partook in various types of needlework.

Since that initial project I have completed a few other pieces, and I am in no way stopping now. I. Can't. Get. Enough. And not only do I want to actually do the physical act of cross stitching, I also want to read about it, learn about it, and blog about it! But unlike in the past when I would stress about posting in this space, I am just gonna let this blog take shape organically. If I feel like posting, then so be it. If I don't -- well that's okay too. No pressure. So, whether you are a friend or family, a Sequential Crush reader, or a crafter yourself, I hope you'll join me for some reflections on my adventures in the cozy art of cross stitch!

ferm LIVING Spring/Summer 2013

Friday, January 11, 2013

To be honest, I didn't really pay too much attention to Scandinavian design prior to moving to the land of the Vikings. But with living in Denmark and all, it is sort of unavoidable! And I can't complain, because much of it is really beautiful. I am especially a fan of ferm LIVING. Their new catalog is out... have you seen it yet?

A few of my favorite things featured in the Spring/Summer 2013 catalog: Cushion - Half Moon Cylinder Neon/Clipboard/Star Round Cushion - Olive/Wire Basket Medium - Yellow/House of Money - Dark Grey