Spring Cleaning

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I’ve successfully turned running into a contact sport by falling very ungracefully onto my knees and hands. Mid stride. On the pavement. Let’s just say face plant + pavement = a lot of skinned appendages and road rash. On the bright side, no lasting injuries and I didn’t actually hit my face! Oh well, it’s given me time to write about the projects I have completed since January.

Most recently I finished this quilt. It is a block from the Shape Workshop for Quilters by Fat Quarterly. The block is called Zigzags. The fabric is from my stash. It is for my newest cousin!

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Here’s the back.

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On my new sewing machine!!

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Yes. I finally got a big girl machine and I love it! It’s a Pfaff QE 4.2. I played around with the decorative stitches on the white sashing. Also I tried out the free motion foot it came with. It has so much more space for my work.

I have a new thread display rack. I’ve only knocked it off the wall once.

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I became a part of a monthly fabric stash group through Pink Castle Fabrics

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I am doing the kawaii club and the stash stack club. I keep making scrap quilts so I need to restock my supply. The kawaii prints are unique and fun. Because they are from Japan, many of the prints are hard to find in local stores. This is my favorite print so far.

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This is a cowl I knitted using the Leaving Cowl pattern. The yarn is Dream in Color Everlasting DK in Cloudy. It knit up quite fast and the color is wonderful.

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My Wiksten Tank. My first (of many I am sure) foray into sewing with cotton lawn.

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The fabric is Robert Kaufman’s London Calling. I also have some Liberty of London Tana Lawn waiting to be made into another tank.

My See Kate Sew Penelope Peplum top.

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Concert version from my husband’s old shirt.

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I can never find a concert t-shirt I like. (Sorry about the picture quality, I took a lot of them at night)

Next up, a bag from this awesome matryoshka doll fabric.

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Well, I should be back at it soon. Meanwhile, I will watch a lot of Netflix, make new scar tissue, and keep my fingers crossed that I will be healed enough to run Bloomsday on Sunday :)

I think I will.

Holiday Roundup

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I hope everyone had a happy holiday! My focus lately has been spending time with family and crafting and unfortunately writing about it has kind of fallen to the bottom of the list.

treeOur tree was rather large, but the ceiling is so tall in the center. I thought it would look silly with a small tree. That is the tree skirt I made last year.

friendsI got to spend time with some of my favorite people! Its been a really long time since we’ve all been together and taken a good picture. I can’t believe we’ve all been friends for 13+ years.

Oh boy, was I busy with crafting since my last post! So many different things made. Here’s a recap of a few of the things I’ve been working on.

socksI knitted these socks during a knit-along with Eat.Sleep.Knit. The pattern is called Froot Loop by Kristi Geraci. It looks harder than it is. Its an easy to remember repeating top down sock pattern. I am planning on doing it again I liked it so much. The yarn is by Squoosh Fiberarts in the merino cashmere sock yarn and the color is Triton. I actually won this yarn from ESK’s (that’s their acronym. Knitters love acronyms) yarn lotto. They give you a lotto ticket in each order and I have won something every time! They also give out prizes for the amount of yarn you buy and call it a Yarnathon. I think I only hit the 5K mark last year, but I’m sure I’ll do better this time. That’s both a good and a bad thing. I made these for my mom.

bags1Next up, I made my friends and sisters makeup bags from Amy Butler’s book, Style Stitches. Ambitious? Yes. I made 10! What was I thinking?! I loved the pattern at first, but after making about three bags I was sick of it. Nothing against the pattern of course, I always get tired of doing the same project more than once. The only change I made to the original pattern was to quilt the exterior. I highly recommend this book. Her instructions are very clear even for first time bag makers. I made the checkbook pattern a few years ago.

bags3 bags2The fabric (for the most part) is Bungalow by Joel Dewberry, who is one of my favorite fabric designers. I especially like the lining fabric pictured just above.

new quiltI am currently working on a new quilt for my cousin’s new baby due in April. I am doing something new: a completely solid color quilt, except for the backing which has a polka dot pattern. And…it is going to be round! I am so excited to see the finished product I might actually work pretty steadily on it. I want it to be a surprise so I won’t tell you the pattern quite yet. I am using Kona Cotton Solids New Bright Roll up as the main feature. The baby will be a boy, so I am planning to use mostly blues and greens, typical I know. I can’t get too out of control!

In other news, I got a serger for Christmas from my mom. Clothes sewing here I come. Keep an eye out for a new tutorial from me coming up soon (which from me usually means a month or two from now) for a customizable quilted tablet cover.

elizabethstAlso, Matt got me a membership to the local beer convenience store/bar called Elizabeth Station. It is one of the coolest places in Bellingham. They have a whole wall dedicated to all different types of microbrews and craft beers from local breweries and around the world. Probably the best Christmas present ever. That’s part of the fridge of beers in the background. If you are in the area, you have to check them out at 1400 W Holly Street. They also have about 20 beers, ciders, and a few wines on tap behind the bar. If you don’t find something you like they will open a bottle from the fridge for you to slake your thirst.

Cheers!

Summer Adventure: Mt Baker Nat’l Forest Chain Lakes Recap

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Now my new goal is once a week posting. I think I should be able to do that. Unless I really don’t get anything done that week and then why would you want to read anyway?

We went hiking to a few new locations this year. I really only documented one hike well, twice. I went there first in late August with my husband, Matt and our friend Zac and then in September with my sister Rachel for her birthday.

Now, why did I do such a good job documenting? Because usually the scenery on the hikes I go on reads like this: trail head, lots of trees, steep rocky trails, more trees, fall down one time, really sweaty people, lake with lots of trees, fish, down hill with lots of trees, fall again, truck. Fun to do, not so fun to take pictures of. The views on this trail however, were great and worth taking pictures of!

Bagley Lakes and Chain Lakes Trail

Mt Baker, WA

IMG_1323Here’s a view of one of the Bagley Lakes. You don’t even have to hike a mile to get here! The Trail starts out pretty flat and starts to climb after you reach this point. We started at the Bagley Lakes Trailhead and continued up the mountain to the Chain Lakes Trail.

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A view of Table Mountain. One of many views of it that we had that day.

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The view from halfway up the climb to the Chain Lakes.

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Now that’s a climb! See that tiny trail down there?

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Mt Shuksan and you can see tiny Bagley Lake down there.

Heather Meadows was gorgeous this time of year and if you are in the area it is definitely a must see!

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Mt Baker and Ptarmigan Ridge. But we don’t want to go that way, there’s no fishing!

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I could be wrong, but I believe Zac is fishing Hayes Lake. We did go way back in August. The memory is a bit fuzzy.

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Iceberg Lake. The weather started to get overcast and the temp dropped about 10 degrees. Silly Mountain!

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Table Mountain from the lake side.

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Heading back out after hitting Mazama Lake and creek. The smallest creek ever and Matt somehow managed to pull the biggest fish of the day out of it. Go figure.

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He’s worn out after a full day of hiking. If only we were done at this point. We did the full loop around to Artist Point and back down to the original trailhead where we parked. Yikes!

This is also another more artsy (I say that because of the clouds) view of Shuksan.

We made it out, landed on a goat track of some kind and carefully picked our own way down the mountain. I was happy to see the truck at the end of it.

I am by no means a great fisherwoman, but the fishing at these lakes was really fun! We caught a lot of trout, mostly in the 7″ range. Most of them brook trout.

I am such a glutton for punishment that I went back a few weeks later with my sister, Rachel. The weather stayed nice the whole day and we started at Artist Point instead of making the big climb. Did I say the views were worth it?

The views are worth it.

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IMG_1373Mazama Lake

IMG_1374Iceberg Lake in nice weather. Rachel resting eating.

IMG_1375The water was amazingly clear. Nice rocky bottom.

IMG_1376Getting ready to head back. Striking a pose.

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Sisters. Missing one.

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One last view of Baker.

IMG_1382 View of the meadows.

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Happy 20th Birthday Rachel!

I love looking back through these pictures. Right now, as I look out my window it’s rainy and cold. This reminds me of how beautiful the PNW is in the summer. Here’s to next summer! Meanwhile I’ll get ready to snowshoe the heck out of that mountain this winter.

If you’re going out there, be sure to check in at the ranger station and online to make sure it’s open. They close the road pretty early in the fall. And, as my personal Eagle Scout and Scar always say, “Be prepared!”

Ragnar Las Vegas: Run a little, Laugh a lot, Sleep not at all

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I wasn’t planning on writing about this experience, but after reading all of my other vanmate’s blog posts about Ragnar Vegas from last weekend I decided to add my experience to the list.  We all know how current I am about posting… Here goes:

For those who don’t know about Ragnar, it is a relay race made up of 12 runners who value sleep very little and fun a whole lot. There are two vans of six people and each person runs 3 legs of around 200 miles total. Usually you end up running between 13-20 miles. What they don’t tell you is how fast you will make friends with those other runners crammed in that van with you.

van2 This is Van 2 prior to running any of our legs. See how clean we look?

From left to right: Jenny (my sisousin= sister-cousin), Brie (the other nurse), Me, Matt (Brave gentleman on team of 11 ladies!), Brennan (van artist extraordinaire), and Hyla (yogi and provided our driver Ron, who is the photog I believe)

Yes there were two nurses in our van and we didn’t even need any first aid.

I arrived in Las Vegas on Thursday, my sister Hannah is going to UNLV so I had a free place to stay and lox/bagels to eat. What. In Las Vegas? Yes and they were perfect.

loxAlso her cat.

caitWe all met at the Luxor on Friday and went to the first major exchange where Van 1 hands off to Van 2. Here’s where the fun starts.

Decorating. Probably one of the most important parts.

IMG_1562Brennan on art duty.

IMG_1563Keeping it tight.

IMG_1592Double down at Luxor, obviously.

IMG_1594Elvis made an appearance.

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IMG_1593Thanks to our awesome sponsors, Nuun and ProCompression.

If you are curious about these sponsors, try their product:

Nuun is offering 20% of your order with code ragnarvegas until the end of the year. ProCompression is offering 40% off and free shipping with code nuunpc. Both are amazing. In fact, as silly as this is and because I’m going through Van 2 withdrawals, I am writing this while drinking cherry limeade nuun and wearing my compression socks to make myself feel better.

IMG_1599Our van name. Inappropriate? Maybe. Accurate? Yes. Down to the Richard Nixons.

IMG_1597IMG_1596Don’t worry we quadrupled out kills by the end of our race.

Yes, it was hot in that van when you least expected. Yes, I only got one full hour of sleep between Friday at 12p and Saturday at 8p. However, I have never had so much fun with strangers. Without boring you too much with the silly jokes, Applebee’s stories, exploded port-a-potties, nuun OD’s, and hashtags, suffice it to say that I count all of these people as my friends and would go run another relay with each and every one of them tomorrow. Please, can we run it again?!

e0d4b-159The full team.

We finished in 60th(!) place out of 250 mixed teams and ran for 27 hours and 57 minutes. I know a lot of us PR’d on some of these miles. Must be the tightness of our socks and the hydration of our drinks…

IMG_1608Amazing post race beer, Sierra Nevada IPA. Mostly because it kept me from becoming crabby Sara for a while.

I am going to repeat what many of my vanmates have said, but I wish I could have gotten to know all of the ladies in Van 1 a little better. I am so glad I got to spend some time with them after the race.

Guess I’ll have to read/stalk all of their blogs:

Nicole, Kelsey, Sandy, Caroline, Zoe, and Vanessa.

And of course, Megan, who put this thing together.

Thank you all so much for showing me how to have the best time on my first relay run ever!

My leg recaps:

1st leg: 2.77 miles in 26:44s, 9:40 min/mi

2nd leg: 7.34 miles in 1:05.34s, 8:57 min/mi

3rd leg: 6.68 miles in 58:33s, 8:49 min/mi, 2 bighorns (wish I had my camera with me)

Yay for downhill!

Necessary handoff montage:

IMG_1568Brennan checking in with Brie

IMG_1572Deciding how necessary the Sparkle skirt is.

IMG_1579Brie handing off to Jenny

IMG_1589Jenny handing off to Brennan.

IMG_1585Brie and Hyla staying warm at an early am exchange.

IMG_1584Matt helping Brennan with her reflector. Also of note, last time we had to wear our night gear!

You can stop reading now if you don’t want to hear about the rest of the sister trip/the making of the sparkle skirt…

On Sunday, we went to the Titanic Exhibit at Luxor. The exhibit was pretty well done. If you are in Vegas you should check it out. I don’t have pictures of this, why you ask? Stay tuned, we are working on it. Let’s just say it has to do with a certain famous staircase and a certain ghostly captain.

Then we went to Fremont Street, which was so much fun. It’s my new favorite place to go in Vegas. I may only stay there from now on.

IMG_1623Psychedelic Cats. On the ceiling. And that’s Bumblebee just to the bottom right. More on that later.

IMG_1622IMG_1621So pretty. The environment was a little less hectic down there. And the casinos had more character.

Laugh with me at these slot machine themes for a moment. Disclaimer: I may have played all of these, the sucker that I am.

IMG_1615IMG_1616IMG_1617IMG_1618Yes please, I would like to bet 5 cupcakes on this spin…

IMG_1620Hannah, loving the puppy stampede. Puppies actually run across the screen when you win! These slot machine designers have my number.

IMG_1619Then, this display was spotted in the toy store. I found all of Bumblebee’s friends. So many Transformers. My husband informed me that he still has the Optimus Prime in the center. He’s such a big kid.

This was the best part. Pinball Hall of Fame.

IMG_1624IMG_1627A real, magical place filled with so many pinball machines. And hours of fun.

IMG_1631The only picture we took with all three of us.

byeGoodbye Vegas!

Last, but not least, I made some sparkle show girl skirts for the race. I wore it for my 2 am 7 mile run when I needed a little extra something for motivation. Here’s the tutorial I used.

IMG_1548Thanks for sticking with me to the end. This was such an amazing trip filled with amazing people who I have so much love for!

procompnuunsocksNow, if you’ll excuse me, I am going shopping at Oiselle online. Thanks a lot for introducing it to me guys…

Crafts in review

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I’ve come to accept the fact that I’m really unreliable as a blogger! Here’s some crafts I’ve done over the last 6 months

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Boy baby quilt

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Makeup brush tutorial from LBG Studio
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Christmas tree skirt from sew4home20130527-112102.jpg
Knitted headband from North Thirty-Fourth

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Anna Maria Horner Art Student Tote

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Scrap Baby Quilt

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I tried a new swirly quilting design.
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Knit bunnies from the purl bee
Here’s to trying to blog a little more often!

Tutorial: Granny Squares

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I learned how to crochet a while ago, but haven’t done it for a few years. I was looking at knitting books recently and it reminded me that I already knew how to crochet. I decided to try to remember how and with a few clicks through crochet how-to websites, it all came back to me…

Here is an easy starter crochet project to try. I also included links to basic stitches. You can whip up a couple squares in no time! You only need to know three stitches. Basic instructions borrowed from Deer Little Fawn.

Supplies:

  • Yarn (any weight or fiber) I used cotton here just because I had it!
  • Crochet hook to match gauge
  • Scissors
  • Comfy chair

Basic Stitches

Ch (chain), join with sl st (slip stitch) to form a ring.

Rnd 1: Ch 3, 2 dc (double crochet) in ring, ch 3, * 3 dc in ring, ch3.

Rep from * 2 more times.
Join and break off on this and every round.

Rnd 2: Join yarn in any ch-3 sp (space), ch 3, work 2 dc, ch 3 and 3 dc in same sp, * ch 1, work 3 dc, ch 3 and 3 dc in next ch-3 sp.

Rep from *2 more times, end ch 1.

Rnd 3: Join yarn in any ch-3 sp, ch 3, work 2 dc, ch 3 and 3 dc in same sp, * ch 1, 3 dc in next ch-1 sp, ch 1 work 3 dc, ch 3 and 3 dc in next ch-3 sp(corner). Rep from * around end ch 1.

Rnd 4: Join yarn in any ch-3 sp, ch 3, work 2 dc, ch 3 and 3 dc in same sp, * (ch1, 3 dc in next ch-1 sp) twice, ch 1, work 3 dc, ch 3 and 3 dc in next corner sp. Rep from * around, end ch 1.

At this point, you can keep going and make the square as large as you’d like.

Remember to tuck in the ends and trim when you’re done.


I’m not sure what I’m going to do with mine yet. Maybe join them into an easy throw.

I’m also working on the quilting portion of my latest baby quilt.

Making the quilt sandwich is my least favorite part. I don’t know why, but I always procrastinate when I get to this point.

It will be Christmas time before you know it! Gotta keep crafting.

Have a good weekend!

Work, Work, Work

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I’m working today, so not much crafting or cooking to report.

I did put some leftover corn salsa on my scrambled eggs this morning. If you make the spicy fish tacos, you’ll probably end up with extra salsa. If you have extra tortillas, make a breakfast burrito. That’s what I should have done if I was thinking!

And here is the scarf I’m working on. This is my first knitting project.

It’s not too exciting, but it’s a start. Well, off to go get ready for work.

Happy Tuesday! Don’t forget to vote!

Recipe: Spicy Fish Tacos

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I used to think I would hate fish tacos. I hadn’t ever tried them, but the whole idea just seemed unappetizing to me. Then, one day I made my own fish tacos because I had some snapper I needed to use. And I LOVED them! Well, I tried to find that recipe, but of course I couldn’t. I always seem to lose my recipes, mostly because I never write them down or remember to save them in my recipe box online. Oh well, allrecipes.com to the rescue!

Here is the fish taco recipe we had last night adapted from this one on allrecipes.com. So good!

Necessities:

  • 1 cup fresh corn (frozen works too)
  • 1 medium red onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced (any color, I used green)
  • 1 half rutabaga, diced
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro
  • juice from 1 lime
  • 1 lb white fish (I used cod, snapper or tilapia would also be good)
  • sour cream
  • guacamole
  • 1/2 tablespoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • olive oil
  • tortillas

Mix together corn, bell pepper, onion, rutabaga, lime juice and cilantro in a large bowl. Set aside.

In a small bowl, combine cayenne, pepper, and sea salt.


Brush olive oil over both sides of fish. Rub the seasoning you just mixed together onto both sides of fish. Heat a large pan over medium high heat. Cook the fish about 3 minutes on each side. A little longer if the fish is thick.

Meanwhile assemble your guacamole. I see no reason not to use the pre-made seasoning packets for this if you’re in a hurry!

Warm up your tortillas and get your toppings ready.

After the fish is finished, flake it, and assemble your tacos. Yum!

The beauty of this recipe is that it only takes about 25 minutes to make. Feel free to substitute or add your favorite veggies into the salsa. It would be great with tomatoes or even carrots if you like to customize.

Antique Hunters

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Ever since I got the book Homespun Style last year, I’ve been dying to collect some antique teacup saucers and doilies to decorate my house.

Today, my sister Rachel and I went to a few antique stores in Bellingham. We went to Penny Lane and Aladdin’s Antiques. Both places have a really great selection of just about everything. We spent hours looking through both stores. Aladdin’s is known for the tons of vintage records they have in the back. Both places have lots of jewelry, kitchen items, furniture, radios, clothing, and much more.

Here is a rundown on what we found

Many saucers and doilies.

Beads. The bottom four compartments on the right have the beads we found at the antique store. The flowers on the left are from the bead show that also happened to be going on today…What luck!

This really cute turtle tape dispenser. I couldn’t pass it up…

Later, we refueled with some bubble tea from the Black Pearl downtown. They also make a really good Pad Thai.

Then, this was waiting for me when I got home! Liberty Lawn fat eighths from Purl Soho. I am going to make a coin purse out of some and probably just frame the rest, they’re so pretty.

Tutorial: Gingerbread Man Ornament

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I am really excited about Christmas presents this year because I am going to make a lot of them myself. Since this is my plan, I am starting to make them this month. I really hope I can get them done in time!

Here is a tutorial on how to make your own cute gingerbread man ornament. I was inspired by the tutorial from my sparkle on how to make a matryoshka doll ornament. I made this last year. It was my first try at embroidery and I haven’t looked back!

Supplies:

wool felt (brown for body, pink for cheeks, vest color of your choice) I ordered mine here and highly recommed it

embroidery floss (white, pink, color to match vest)

thread (white)

seed beads (for eyes, buttons, I used white iridescent)

scissors

embroidery needle

sewing needle

stuffing

1.  Print out pattern. Or you can free hand draw if you have a gingerbread man shape you like. I actually used a cookie cutter!

If you want to print this picture, just click the image to open and then right click it. Save the image and you can resize it in paint to whatever size desired.

2.  Cut out pieces from felt. Cut two gingerbread men from the brown and two vest pieces from your vest color of choice.

3.  Stitch the vest pieces onto one of the gingerbread man pieces with a split stitch.

4.  Next add the beads to the vest for the buttons and to the face for the eyes. I used the sewing needle and some sewing thread for this part. The embroidery needle has too big of an eye to fit through the center of the seed beads I used.

5.  Now add the mouth with another couple of stitches of the split stitch.

6.  Next add the cheeks. I cut out very small circles from the pink felt. Attach with a running stitch.

7.  Now, attach the back of the gingerbread man with a blanket stitch. I used white floss because it looks like icing!

8. I added a loop with a large knot at the top of his head. I placed it as I was blanket stitching around the top and stitched through the knot I made. You can also glue it in with fabric glue as recommended by my sparkle.

9.  Continue to blanket stitch until you are about 1 inch from where you started. At this point, you can stuff him. I added just a little bit of stuffing and used the back-end of a crochet hook to stuff it in the arms and legs. You can also you a pencil, pen, or chopstick!

10. Finish off your blanket stitch!

11. Enjoy!

There are a multitude of shapes you can make into ornaments like this. Let your imagination run rampant!

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