SMP Craft
14 Feb

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY: Nothing says “I love you” like crafts, cats, and classic rap.

Today’s guest post is written by St. Martin’s Press Assistant Editor, Caitlin Dareff.

In honor of Valentine’s Day and all those star-crossed lovers and friends out there, here’s a little story about showing love through cross stitch.

This one goes out to you, Linnie…

My best friend and soul sister, Linnie, recently moved to Oakland, putting thousands of miles between us, as well as temporarily between her and her three beloved cats and husband, who would be following her out there later in the year. I knew she was missing home and her cat-children, and that she and Mike would eventually have a California residence that needed to be decorated. So I decided that the only thing to do, as is often the case, is cross stitch.

Inspired by a Facebook post Linnie had shared weeks before her move (we Facebook stalk the ones we love, right?), I decided to stitch for her a cat-tastic take on the Wu Tang Clan song, “C.R.E.A.M” (“Cash Rules Everything Around Me”). Because, after all, nothing says “I love you” like crafts, cats, and classic rap. Upon further research, I discovered that I would not be the first person to cross stitch this ode to Wu Tang and cats, but I went with my own take on it.

I chose a combination of all caps block lettering and all caps cursive to provide a balance of hard and soft. As I always do when starting a new project, I mapped it out on graph paper beforehand to determine spacing. I waited until I had finished stitching the lettering to decide what kind of cat pattern would best complement it. In my experience, when cross stitching a simple cat pattern, orange tabby and black come out best, so for this project I went with the tabbies for a pop of color.

One week later and I was ready to send Linnie her first housewarming present for her first west coast home, stitched with love.

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HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!

Check out our new February and March books!

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8 Jul

Guest Post: Cross-Stitch Wedding Gift

*Today we have a guest post from one of our colleagues here at St. Martin’s Press. Welcome Lizzie and thank you for sharing your project!*

The internet is chock full of great DIY tricks and adventures to make your wedding a one-of-a-kind-dream-come-true occasion on any budget. Whether you want literary themed place cards, Mason jar tablescapes, or the perfect homemade favor for your guests, there’s a tutorial for you. And while all of that is fine and dandy, as the perpetual bridesmaid on a budget, what about me? See, I am the Maid of Honor in my dearest friend’s wedding. And while I love being part of this special day, like many of you out there, I am on a budget. So what do you do? What can you make that is personal, sweet, and doesn’t scream “too cheap to use the registry”? In my case, I turned to cross stitch.

Over the past few months, I have been teaching myself to cross stitch using a mixture of websites, fellow SMP crafters, and trial and error. But for this bridal shower gift, I turned to an expert and consulted 100 Cross Stitch Patterns: To Mix and Match. I decided to make the happy couple a sampler for their wedding. It’d be a cute throwback keepsake that would suit the couple’s sweetly modern style.

First, I tweaked the colors to better represent the youthful energy the bride and groom exude. Hot pink replaced mauve and red and for the groom, I added a nice cool blue for the lettering. He’s a cool dude after all. Then, since this was for a bridal shower, I decided to use cursive lettering instead of the traditional block print from the pattern. I wanted their initials to be the focus of the picture and not an afterthought, which meant tweaking the design to eliminate two of the trees to make room for the larger stitches.

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Original pattern from the book

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My take on the colors and pattern

Helpful hint: invest in some graph paper and draw out the pattern yourself so you can center the lettering. The “M” stitch was much larger than the “E”, so I was eternally grateful I had the foresight to mark out the stitch on paper before jumping right in.

After a week of stitching on the subway, pricking my fingers, and having to go back and rip out misplaced threads, I finally had something I was proud of: my first pictorial cross stitch! And amid all the Vitamix blenders and silver platters, I never felt for one moment that my gift was less important or meant less.

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Happy bride with her handmade gift!

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An ideal introduction to the art and craft of cross stitch, this great collection contains over 100 mix-and-match patterns, organized by type: borders, flowers, alphabets and other simple motifs. These can be endlessly combined to create exactly the effect you want, simply by flipping through the pages. Whether you want to create homewares, embellish clothes, or produce works of art, all the patterns easily mix and match.

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Powell’s Books

Check out our July and August titles:

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CAUGHT CRAFTING: SMPCraft’s Spotlight on NYC Crafting

SMPCRAFT #CAUGHTCRAFTING Thursday morning, Astoria, Queens. Accessorizing with a lovely temporary floral tattoo she learned to make from DIY Temporary Tattoos: Draw It, Print It, Ink It by Pepper Baldwin!

PROJECT OF THE MONTH: JUNE DIY Father’s Day Gifts to MAKE NOW

PROJECT OF THE MONTH: JUNE DIY Father’s Day Gifts to MAKE NOW

Father's Day is less than three weeks away -- Sunday, June 19th in the U.S. -- just enough time to start prepping for what would make dear old pops feel loved....What dad, what MAN, wouldn't want to get a bright red tool box full of homemade BBQ, bacon, and chili flavored chocolate? Or a handmade Paracord hammock? Does he play golf?--hand dipped tees? Does he like to hike? Enjoy nature and the great outdoors? How about homemade beef jerky? Or does he enjoy watching sports--Remote Control Cookie? What about beer? One of the coolest new items coming out of Japan is a Frozen Beer Slushy Maker by Kirin Ichiban that perfectly pairs with the DIY black and tan soap! Scroll and click for more homemade DIY Father's Day gift ideas sure to make pappy happy! Hashtag #SMPCRAFT #DIYFATHERSDAY!

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