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Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend.
Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.
      ~ Groucho Marx

Pure Innocence Read All About It

I discovered a hot new trend at the Indie craft fairs in Chicago and Austin this past year: framing with embroidery hoops!

Back about a squillion years ago we framed our needle crafts with embroidery hoops – proving once again that I am vintage – but not antique!

My talented daughter picked up on this hot trend, screen printed her designs onto fabric and put them into embroidery hoops. They flew off the virtual shelves of her Etsy store. Well, you know what happened next.


Pure Innocence Read All About It

I put a paper craft project into an embroidery hoop. So cute! Yep, I'm such a trend setter.


My Favorite Things Creative Challenge

The My Favorite Things (MFT) Design Team Creative Challenge is a monthly feature, where we're challenged to explore our creative side using a specific theme, product, or technique. This month the boss lady challenged us to create with our Circle STAX Die-Namics.

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The Circle STAX Die-namics were perfect for framing a project into an embroidery hoop.

I cut out a 4.25 inch circle from Black Licorice card stock with the largest die from the Circle STAX Set 1 and then just glued that onto the inside ring of the embroidery hoop.

With the 4 inch diameter die from the Circle STAX Set 2 I cut out the paper with the newsprint background to layer on top of the black circle. Then, I added some shading and hand sewing inside the newsprint circle.

Here's a little trick I used to add some fun shading.

(If you bought your Circle STAX a while back, you'll need to first remove the clear plastic back that came attached to them. These were originally included as part of the manufacturing process, but they're not needed.)

Shading with Die-Namics Step 1

You'll need a Circle STAX Die-namic, ink, and an art or make-up sponge.

I used bolder colors than I would normally use in this demonstration so you could see this clearly. Keep in mind that Less is More. Use soft colors and a soft touch. For the most subtle but lovely effect, use an ink that closely matches the paper you're sponging – it will just give a little dimension without being distracting.

After you cut out your circle, leave the paper inside the Die-namic. So you can see this clearly, I cut a circle out of white card stock.

You can tape the Die-Namic to your work surface (my beige paper, in this case) to keep it from moving around, but you should also hold onto the Die-namic tightly during the next step.

Shading with Die-namics, Step 2

Starting from outside the circle, sponge ink working from the outside in. This will remove some of the ink from the sponge and give you a softer look.

Shading with Die-Namics Step 3

Continue sponging from the outside of the circle toward the center of the circle. When you lift the Die-namic, you'll have beautiful, framed effect.

Shading with Die-namics Step 4

To add a little hand stitching you'll need a piercing needle, circle shaped plastic canvas (you can find them for about $1.50 in the craft stores near the yarn), and a mouse pad to protect your work surface.

Papier Piercing with Plastic Canvas

Line your plastic canvas up against your newly shaded circle die cut.

Paper Piercing with Plastic Canvas

Use the grids in the plastic canvas to guide where you pierce your holes. You can then use the holes you pierced to guide your sewing.

I used three strands of six-stranded DMC Embroidery floss. Do not knot your floss or thread behind the paper when you start or finish your sewing because it will leaves bumps on the surface. Instead, just secure the back threads with tape.

And, finally, I added a tag with the new Labels and Tabs Die-namic.

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Here are all the ingredients I used to create my embroidery-hoop project.

Other ingredients: 4" wood embroidery hoop; Colorbox Fluid Chalk Ink; Memento Tuxedo Black Dye Ink; Copic Markers (G82 for shoes and heart; YR21, YR24, YR31 for hair; E00, E000 and E30 for skin); DMC Embroidery Floss in Ecro; Round Plastic Canvas; Embroidery Needle; My Minds Eye 6 x 6 Sunshine Designer Paper Pad from the Lost and Found series. 

Be sure to check out the MFT Blog for a list of all the designers who have a project to share with you today for our Circle STAX Creative Challenge. I've had a few sneak peaks, and I'm telling you – you won't look at circles the same way again.

Pure Innocence Read All About It

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Sweet Comments

  1. Wow, awesome tutorial. I love reading your blog, your writing is so fun to read! Beautiful piece of art and what a great tip on the stitching. I was already wondering how you could stitch so beautiful straight, now I know ;o).
    Monique1971 recently posted . . . Praag, deel 1My Profile

  2. Now I can get out all my Vintage embroidery hoops that are stored in a box on the top shelf of my studio closet…..We can be Vintage together…. :)
    Karen Lambert recently posted . . . A Mug ValentineMy Profile

  3. Adorable project Linda! Love the paper pieced chair and your beautiful stitching! Such a darling and creative project! Thanks for inspiring!
    Mona Pendleton recently posted . . . Book of LOVE…MFT January Creative ChallengeMy Profile

  4. darling idea, so clever, gorgeous

  5. This is a great idea, also liked the plastic canvas for paper piercing, thanks for the tutorial

  6. LOVE your work. One quick question….how do you ink on dark card stock to paper piece her chair and ottoman?

  7. Love your hoop frame! And your paper-piecing is amazing! SO cute!
    Michele Boyer recently posted . . . January Creative Challenge – Circle STAXMy Profile

  8. This is super cute!! I love the stitching and all the paper piecing.

    I found a freebie digi you might get a kick out of. It’s from TLC and you can find it here.

  9. Awesome! I love this idea & your work. Love following your website/blog. What great ideas you have. Thank you!

  10. This is just as sweet as can be, Linda, you trendsetter, you!

  11. Adorable Linda! I love the hoop idea.
    Melody Rupple recently posted . . . MFT’s January Creative Challenge – Circle STAXMy Profile

  12. Oh Linda, this is simple adorable. Great idea. I still have some embroidery hoops and have used them quite a bit.TFS

  13. gorgeous project, Linda!
    Alina recently posted . . . Hugs and Kisses…My Profile

  14. I love the idea of using plastic canvas for a paper piecing guide.

  15. You are AMAZING!!!!!!!!

  16. I use the plastic canvas circle to paper pierce as well, but I used a Copic to lightly color every second row in the circle, so it is easy to follow along and never accidentally use the wrong circle!!


  1. […] My sassy daughter helps me keep the pulse on what's trending in the Indie craft world, and embroidery hoops are hot, hot, hot. I wrote some tips for how to create an embroidery-hoop-framed project here. […]

  2. […] This project is a little outside my box, but it is Oh So Cute. I would like to send out a big thank you to Linda McClain for allowing us to share her adorable project with you today. You can see more of her beautiful designs on her blog Catered Crop. […]

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