Saturday, July 26, 2014

It's Our 4th Etsy-versary But YOU Get The Gift

It's difficult to believe that it's been FOUR years since we opened our little Etsy shop!  So much has changed since then - we've grown a great deal, Jacqueline's gone full-time with the business, and we now have more than 120 patterns to choose from.  We owe you all a great deal of gratitude for supporting us - you've made our dreams come true.

We want to thank you for all your love so we're offering an unprecedented 40% OFF PATTERNS this weekend only in the shop!!

Now's the time to stock up on all the new designs you may have missed:

Sailor Moon & The Sailor Scouts

Adventure Time

Doctor Who Villains & Monsters

Star Wars Alphabet Sampler
Back to the Future

The Big Lebowski

Friday, June 20, 2014

Save 30% on Cross-Stitch Patterns!

Summers here in Canada are so short we have to take advantage of every sunny, warm day we can!  My favourite way to do that is to take my latest project out on the patio, soak up the sun, and stitch the long, light-filled days away.  I honestly can't think of a better way to spend my short, short summer!

From June 20th - 30th you can save 30% on your pattern purchases using the coupon code SUMMER30 during checkout.  So take a pop over to the shop and stock up!

Friday, April 25, 2014

New Pattern - Adventure Time Pixel People

I'm really excited about our newest pattern release - it turned out even better than I could have hoped!  We're big, big Adventure Time fans at our house - it's just so weird and imaginative and wonderful that we can't help ourselves.  It was difficult narrowing down which characters to feature in the pattern and after many debates we decided on the Ice King (and Gunter!), Marceline the Vampire Queen, Finn the Human, Jake the Dog, Beemo, Peppermint Butler, Princess Bubblegum, and our personal favourite Lumpy Space Princess.

The pattern is available for instant download or, if you're not a stitcher yourself, you can pick up the finished stitching instead!

J & C

Friday, February 28, 2014

Charging Tax to Our Canadian Customers

Hello Fellow Canadians!  Just a heads up that because we apparently make too much money these days, the good ol' boys at CRA now require us to collect HST/GST from our Canadian customers - sorry!!  It's the law though, and we sorta have to go along with it.  If you live in Canada you should already be accustomed to paying these taxes on pretty much everything.

From here on out we will be charging the following tax rates only to our Canadian customers on all our patterns and finished stitchings:

Alberta: 5% GST
British Columbia: 5% GST
Manitoba: 5% GST
New Brunswick: 13% HST
Newfoundland & Labrador: 13% HST
Nova Scotia: 15% HSD
Nunavut: 5% GST
Ontario: 13% HST
Prince Edward Island: 14% HST
Quebec: 5% GST
Saskatchewan: 5% GST
Yukon: 5% GST

However, since we don't think it's fair that you should have to pay more than everyone else simply because of where you live, we are offering our Canadian customers coupon codes in percentages which reflect the amount of tax we are required by law to collect from you. 

You are responsible for entering the code into the 'coupon code' box during checkout (don't know how to do that? see our blog post about it) - the codes are not applied automatically.  These coupon codes will always be available for my Canadian customers and do not expire.

Please use the coupon code intended for the province or territory where you reside.  Because these tax rates are only charged to my Canadian customers, international customers do not qualify for the tax discount. 

Alberta customers coupon code: ALBERTA5
British Columbia customers coupon code: BRITISHCOLUMBIA5
Manitoba customers coupon code: MANITOBA5
New Brunswick customers coupon code: NEWBRUNSWICK13
Newfoundland & Labrador customers coupon code: NEWFOUNDLAND13
Nova Scotia customers coupon code: NOVASCOTIA15
Nunavut customers coupon code: NUNAVUT5
Ontario customers coupon code: ONTARIO13
Prince Edward Island customers coupon code: PEI14
Quebec customers coupon code: QUEBEC5
Saskatchewan customers coupon code: SASKATCHEWAN5
Yukon customers coupon code: YUKON5

Taxes are calculated on the amount spent after the coupon code is redeemed, so you will still see a line for taxes charged.

If you have any questions at all about the HST/GST charges for your province we recommend checking out the Canada Revenue Agency information available. We're also happy to answer any questions you might have.  Just pop over to Etsy and drop us a line.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Doctor Who Eleven Doctors Pixel People Cross-stitch Pattern **UPDATED**

We're really excited to finally have an updated version of the Eleven Doctors pattern to offer you!  Of course, with all the amazing storylines introduced to the show this past year, there are no longer just Eleven Doctors - so the new pattern features The War Doctor played by John Hurt and the newest incarnation of our favourite Timelord debuted by Peter Capaldi.  If you're a Whovian (as we are) then you'll need the updated pattern for your collection.

If you already own the previous version of the Eleven Doctors pattern - now just called The Doctors - you can email us a proof of purchase (a forwarded copy of the download email, a screenshot of the Etsy purchase, or even a photo of the finished stitching - just something to prove that you bought the pattern previously) and we'll send you a copy of the updated pattern for free!

If you're a fan of the show (and let's be honest, why wouldn't you be?!) then you'll be pleased to know that we have two new Who patterns planned for March 2014 - another companions pattern and an epic Villains and Monsters pattern to stitch alongside all your Doctors!  We can't wait for you to see them so stay tuned.

Friday, February 7, 2014

We're All Sorts of Frozen Over Here!

Hi All!

Lots of things to update you on today!  Firstly, it's another cold and snowy day here in our little corner of Canada - it's certainly been an old-fashioned sort of winter at our house!  Complete with bone-chilling temperatures, gale-force winds, and two feet of snow -- all-in-all, it's the perfect weather for staying in and stitching.

This winter weather seems like it's never going to end, which leads us perfectly in to the next news we have!  I'm sure by now you've noticed that the movie Frozen is pretty much everywhere and for months we've been fielding emails and inquiries about when we'll be adding Disney's two new Princesses to our popular Pixel People line up... well the wait is finally over!!  The new, updated version of our Storybook Princess pattern is up in the shop!!

Don't worry if you already own the previous version of the pattern - just email us proof of your original purchase (be it your Etsy receipt, a screenshot of your 'purchases' on your Etsy account, a copy of your email from us, just something to prove you already bought the pattern) to and we'll happily send you the new version FREE OF CHARGE.

Not only have we added Elsa and Anna to our existing Princess pattern, but we love them so much they qualify for a pattern of their very own! We think it's the perfect quick stitch to make for your sister as a gift!

It's also time for us to draw to see which two lucky stitchers won a free metallic floss bundle pack!

Here are our winners:

Congratulations CourtneAl and Bonney - just email us your mailing address and we'll get your gifts in the post next week!

Happy Stitching!  xo J&C

Monday, January 27, 2014

Working with Metallic Floss & a Fab Giveaway!

I love designing and stitching with metallic floss - it gives a little extra glamour to my projects that just can't be replicated with regular ol' cotton embroidery floss... but I happen to know that there are many designers and stitchers - both beginners and long-time pros - who would rather have a root canal than stitch with metallic floss...

I hear the excuses all the time:

It snags.

It unravels.

It's a gigantic pain-in-the-butt.

True. True. And definitely true... but it doesn't have to be that way!  Trust me - I've got a few tips that will help big time and make you love working with metallic floss as much as it do. Heck, you'll be looking for an excuse to use it!

I prefer using DMC's Light Effects brand of metallic floss - it's easy to come by - usually available right alongside the normal cotton floss - and it's pretty cost effective.  At a couple of dollars per generously sized skein, it fits right in with my budget.  But the thing I like most of all about Light Effects is that it works just like regular 6-strand embroidery floss.  It's divisible in the same way your normal floss is and is roughly the same 'weight', so I can use as many strands as I want/need in a project without having to worry about purchasing different sizes of braid like those offered by many other floss companies.  That being said, there a lot of brands out there to choose from and, as always, you should work with the brand you like best.  I've tried them all and each has it's pros and cons.

So let's address all the issues we have with metallic floss...

Excuse #1 - metallic floss snags

Yup, it sure does - but there's a reason WHY - if you look carefully at metallic floss you'll see that it's actually composed of a soft inside core around which is wrapped nylon metallic threads.  It's the nature of that metallic outside thread that it has some rough edges compared to cotton floss and those edges can snag on fabric.  That snaggy metallic nylon is what gives the floss its shimmer and shine, but it's really darn annoying to work with.  We can combat a lot of that snaggy-ness (is that a word? well, it is now) by lubricating our floss and choosing the proper size of needle (more on needles later).

I like Thread Heaven for my lubricator - it really is like magic!  If you're a cross-stitcher, hand quilter, or embroiderer and you don't own a little blue box of Thread Heaven I suggest you run out and get yourself some (I found mine at my local quilting shop).  It's amazing.  I don't use it with my normal cotton floss when I cross-stitch because I don't think it's necessary (although you certainly could and there are plenty of stitchers who do), but I swear by it when using metallic or nylon floss! I don't know what it's made out of... some kind of lovely magic silicon or something, but it works a real treat!  It not only helps to keep the metallic floss from snagging so much, but it also keeps it nice and shiny!   Best of all it isn't sticky, doesn't smell, and doesn't effect the colour of your floss or fabric. I've had my box of Thread Heaven for 4 years now and there's still lots and lots left to work with so a little does go a long way - and trust me, I stitch a LOT more than the typical crafter.

Excuse #2 - metallic floss unravels

Yup, it sure does - for the same reason that is snags -  the outside layer of nylon often separates from the softer inside core.  It's frustrating and upsetting and makes even the most seasoned stitcher want to pull her hair out and run screaming from the room.  So here's where I impart my most secret of stitching tips with you... the true secret to working with metallic floss is all in how you thread the needle...

"But I already know how to thread a needle" you're thinking - you run the floss through the needle, and then leave a little tail hanging down, which you gradually use up as you stitch.  That traditional method works just fine for normal thread or floss, but threading your needle that way when working with metallic floss actually contributes to the unraveling problem - the outer layer of sparkly nylon wraps around the core like the stripes on a candy cane and so is actually much longer than the inside core of the metallic thread -   When we thread our needle the traditional way (with a long tail) and work the thread through the fabric, the pulling friction makes the floss unravel a little more with every pass, resulting with a frayed and messy length of floss which often makes us want to cry.

Excuse # 3 - it's a gigantic pain-in-the-butt

 Yup, it sure is - but only if you let it be.  Let's learn how to tame that metallic thread!

Here we go...

Collect together all the things you'll need to complete your stitching - your pattern, hoop, fabric, thread conditioner, metallic floss, and needle.  You may want to use a slightly larger needle than you normally do when you stitch - or at least one with a larger eye - even if you have to break in to your stash of sewing needles with pointed ends, rather than cross-stitch/tapestry needle with the blunt end that we usually use.  Because metallic floss is a wee bit thicker and not as pliable as cotton floss, it can often be tricky to thread it in your needle - especially when you use the trick I'm about to show you.  If you're having a hard time threading your needle, change it up to one with a slightly bigger eye.

A bigger eye also has another benefit - it widens the hole you're passing the floss through ever so slightly, meaning that the metallic floss has more room to pass through - so it reduces the friction of floss against fabric and therefore reduces the snagging (see, I told you we'd get back to this).  I normally use a pretty small needle when I cross-stitch - I like a size 28 - but when I stitch metallic floss I go up to a size 26, or even a size 24 if I'm having a hard time.

 Cut yourself a length of metallic floss - I actually like to keep my floss pretty short which helps to reduce the tangling issue.  We're going to double up a single strand of floss though, so cut a length which is twice as long as you'd like your working floss to be - for me that's the length of my arm to almost mid-chest - 22 inches (yes I'm short) - giving me 11 inches of working floss, a length I find just perfect.

Separate a single strand of floss and run it across your Thread Heaven - I pass it over twice, once in each direction, sandwiching the floss between my finger and the Thread Heaven - and then run the strand through my fingers a few times just to work the Thread Heaven in.  You may find that the floss is already starting to unravel a little at the ends - don't worry, we're going to take care of that.

Fold your floss in half - lining up the two live edges.  When I thread my needle I like to work not from the end with the live edges, but from the loop end - it's a lot easier and you don't have to worry about trying to get all the fraying live edges through your needle eye at the same time - what a headache that would be.  By using the loop end to thread our needle we can stay away from the fray... plus, we want the needle to be at this end of the floss.

Okay, this is where things get different than normal - we actually want to knot the loop end of the floss through the needle eye in such a way that it holds the floss completely in place - this is the secret of how we keep it from shifting and unraveling as we work.  

I've taken some photos using a larger needle and yarn so you can get a better idea of how this will work - it's a lot easier to see at a larger scale. Click on the photo to make it bigger and walk yourself through the steps...

the 'knotted' thread and needle eye
See where I'm going with this?  With your metallic floss basically knotted on to the eye of your needle it can't go anywhere - that means that you've just cut out the shifting/unraveling problem.  By threading your needle this way everything will stay perfectly in place you start to stitch because it has no where else to go! 

This is actually my preferred method for threading my needle when I stitch - I often thread my normal floss this way too, especially when I'm stitching in a hurry - if you're the sort of stitcher who has a hard time keeping your floss on their needle or keeping your stitches even then you may want to consider always stitching like this.  It's also a great method for when you're teaching young kids to stitch as they can't lose their needle.

Then all you need to is trim the live ends of the floss so that they're all even and start your stitching, anchoring those pesky live ends under the first few stitches, just like you do when you're cross stitching with normal cotton floss (remember, we don't knot the end of our thread when we cross-stitch).  By doing it this way you have completely eliminated those live ends so nothing can unravel.  There's no fraying because there are no live ends!  

Here's a little free pattern for you to practice your metallic stitching with.  You can stitch it in any colour you please!  It's a quick little project you can finish in easily less than half an hour.

I had help with mine. Also, yes I do take all my photos on my livingroom floor!

What you end up with a sweet little project with a pretty sparkle that's completely stress-free!

The great thing about this method is that you can use it for regular embroidery too!  Just knot the live ends of the floss together and start stitching.

And the best part?  You can win one of two metallic floss gift packs (4 of our favourite colours of metallic floss and your own box of Thread Heaven!!) as a gift from us!  Just leave a comment on this blog post and we'll draw two winners on February 7th!

leave a comment below to enter to win!

 Happy Stitching!!
<3 J.