Yarn Wrapped Wreaths

yarn wrapped wreath | lillyella stitchery

These wreaths are one of my favorite things to make! They are quick, easy and inexpensive, and can be customized in an endless numbers of ways to create a perfect gift for any age and any occasion.

This is technically a Christmas wreath for my mom (her tree is decorated in the same style with all nature themed ornaments and natural elements), but I love that it’s more of a winter wreath that can be displayed and enjoyed for longer.

yarn wrapped wreath | lillyella stitchery

The primary materials that I use are yarn and felt, but you can also use ribbon or fabric for wrapping or for the decorations. Get creative when it comes to the extras – check out the floral section of your craft store for little berries, twigs and greenery. Look in the wood aisle for things like the snowflakes shown above and the miniatures aisle is also great for finding little critters or themed extras. Also hunt outside for moss, pinecones, acorns, twigs and bark.

This is one of the simpler wreaths I have made. You can really go crazy with flowers and they look amazing, but I wanted the deer to take center stage on this one!

I typically use hard foam wreath shapes (found in the floral section of your craft store), but for this wreath I wanted something larger to balance the stag, so I used a straw wreath. I also found this is the floral section and it was wrapped in plastic, which I left on.

yarn wrapped wreath | lillyella stitchery

The first step is to simply start wrapping your yarn around the wreath. You can glue the end to begin or just wrap over it to secure. I typically smooth a good amount of glue over the area where my ends meet after I’m done wrapping. Since it’s on the back, it’s ok if you can tell where the glue is.

There are tons of excellent tutorials out there for making felt flowers. I’ve tried many different styles and typically stick with about four or five designs that I love most and are easy to make. The coiled roses are my favorite because they are really simple, don’t require any sewing, and look adorable.

Here are just a few links to get your started:

yarn wrapped wreath | lillyella stitchery

When it comes to attaching all my doodads, I use Elmer’s Glue and occasionally some E6000, but most craft and fabric glues will work fine for the bulk of materials used.

I like to use a piece of ribbon or lace for hanging, which I usually just tie on and make a bow. For this one, I cut some wide burlap that was covered with lace and sewed the bow together because it was too stiff to tie. I looped a clear plastic ring underneath for hanging.

Trust me when I say that once you start making these, you might not be able to stop!

yarn wrapped wreaths | lillyella stitchery

Here are some supplies I’ve gathered to make a couple retro-inspired Christmas wreaths for myself. These are the foam wreaths I usually use. Both of the ‘yarns’ I’m using to wrap them were found in the yarn section of JoAnns, but are not your typical yarn. I actually have no idea what the green one would be used for. I found it on an endcap in this bulk bag and it’s the strangest stuff, but I think it’s going to be adorable!

Some other embellishments to think about include ornaments, beads, buttons, millnery birds and flowers, feathers, assorted trims & ribbons for accents, wood letter shapes to personalize with an initial or word or a small garland of bunting.

I hope I’ve added another project to your list! And wish me luck on finishing mine before next Christmas…

Hello friends!

I’m so excited that lillyella has a new home with easy access to my blog and all my shops. Please excuse any formatting problems with my previous posts as I have just imported them and will have to go through and do a little clean up.

I’m also in the process of setting up the rest of the site, so pardon the dust!

Be back soon!

~ nicole

2nd Annual Lillyella Secret Santa Gift Exchange!

The thing I love most about the holidays (besides snow!) is giving gifts. I get so darn excited I can hardly contain myself! I hosted this secret santa gift exchange for the first time a couple of years ago and it was tons of fun, so now that I’m settled and back to blogging, it’s time to make this an annual event!

So here’s how it will work — From now until November 20, I will collect the names and addresses of anyone who would like to participate. Guys and kids are welcome, too (with the assistance of a parent)!

I will then randomly assign each participant the name of a person you are to send a gift to and you will receive a gift from someone else. Only myself and your secret santa will have your information and everything will be secret until gifts are received!

Gifts can be handmade or purchased, should be valued around $20 (before shipping) and gift wrapped. If you’d like to spend more on your gift or if the item you make is valued at more than $20, that is no problem at all as long as you understand that you may receive something smaller.

Please keep in mind you will need to ship the item and I’ll ask that items be shipped by December 16. Since international postal rates changed this year, it is more costly to ship internationally than it used to be, but it’s not difficult to do if you don’t mind paying a little extra. 

Please email your name and mailing address to nicole@lillyella.com, subject: Secret Santa. Please also include what country you are in and whether or not you are willing to ship internationally, and if so, to what countries. Feel free to also include information about yourself — likes, dislikes, favorite colors, favorite Etsy shops, your personal style, hobbies, interests etc, or you can just leave it up to your secret santa to totally surprise you!
I will email you the name of your gift recipient, along with all the important details by or before November 28.
Feel free to contact me anytime or leave a comment below with any questions. And invite your friends to join in, too!

Happy Holidays, everyone!

photos © Anthropologie

Spotlight: The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery

I can’t remember when I first learned to cross stitch, I just always remember doing it! I probably learned when my mom was working on this big americana sampler that we hanging in our hallway. I remember  what it looked like and watching her work on it so clearly, yet can’t think what my first project may have been. I kind of equate cross stitching with knitting and crocheting. They are all cathartic in a sense, portable, able to be done while doing something else (you all know how much I love multitasking!) and can be set aside for as little or as long as you want, waiting for you to return. I always have a project going and it’s so easy to pick it up whenever I need a break, have to sit somewhere for a long time, or just need to take my mind off of things. I even took one to Africa and worked a bit every night with a headlamp under my mosquito net.
For those who equate cross stitch with grandma, it’s time to check out what it’s all about these days! Don’t get me wrong, fabulous vintage patterns have their place (finally starting my Mad Men deer by the way, remember that hunt?!), but the patterns being created these days are just too cute to resist picking up this craft, or getting back into it.
latte love by the frosted pumpkin stitchery
Today I want to introduce you to a couple ladies I recently discovered through the workroom, Amanda and Ashleigh of The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery! This BFF duo creates cute, one of a kind cross stitch patterns for stitchers of all experience levels. 
Some of you who follow me on facebook and instagram have asked about the project I’ve been sharing (above top), which is the springtime sampler from the frosted pumpkin stitchery. Think of it as a virtual stitch-a-long! When you sign up during the sampler presale, you receive a color key and chart of all the sampler borders, then you receive  a chart every week for a month or so with the pattern for one row of the sampler.
You can follow along on facebook, instagram and flickr to see everyones progress as you go (above bottom). The Springtime Sampler was released in April and while many people have completed, I’m way behind — but it doesn’t matter! 
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Their first seasonal sampler was a winter wonderland and they will be continuing with summer and fall, too. In fact, the presale for their Summer Sampler begins today!! It is on sale for $12.95 through the end of this month with the first full week beginning with the start of summer, which gives you plenty of time between now and then to get all your supplies and prepare your borders! 
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Some of their samplers are monthly, including their most epic pattern, the fruit of the month club (shown above)! There’s no way I can pass this one up, but it will have to wait until after the move! This pattern was released before as a year long stitch along, but was recently re-released as an entire pattern which you can find here.
Another monthly sampler that is currently in progress is their woodland sampler (shown below). How adorable is that?! It’s never too late to begin and get caught up! You can purchase this pattern at any time through the year and will receive the current and previous months initially, then receive each following month as they come.
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Want to learn more about the ladies behind the patterns? Read on!

Who is The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery?

The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery is Amanda & Ashleigh! We are two best friends!
Where do you currently call home?
We both live in Northern California
How long have you been operating?
Since 2011
Is Frosted Pumpkin a full-time adventure or do you have a day job?
Since the first of the year it’s become our full time job! Ashleigh works at a ceramic studio on the weekends and Amanda occasionally designs quilts.
How did you come up with your shop name?
We both love sweets and fall- our dream baked good is anything with frosting and pumpkins!
What, if any, formal training have you had in the arts?
Ashleigh has a degree in graphic design, Amanda went to school for printmaking
“This is how we work: Ashleigh designs a chart (this is the full summer sampler!) and we set up camp at Michael’s and pick colors!”

What made you decide to start your business?
We really loved to craft but it was hard to find kawaii cross stitch patterns!

Where do you sell and market your patterns?
Thefrostedpumpkinstitchery.bigcartel.com (you can also find some patterns on Kitschy Digitals)

Five things you love:
Amanda: I love Halloween, donkeys, camping, sock yarn & Porkchop!

Ashleigh: Road Trips, peach tea, my pups Zula & Panda, being crafty & Autumn
What is your favorite leisure time activity? 
Amanda: knitting socks!
Ashleigh: Crocheting or cross stitching
Favorite junk food?
Amanda: pickle chips! 
Ashleigh: Reese’s peanut butter cups

If you could trade places with any other person for a week, with whom would it be?
Amanda: Hermoine for sure! She’s my very favorite.
Ashleigh: I would have to say Tina Fey. I would love to be as witty and creative as that lady!

Share some of your favorite music 
Amanda: I alternate between the soundtrack to Animal Crossing, to Motley Crüe to Waylon Jennings. It really depends on my mood that day!
Ashleigh: Some of my favorites are Old Crow Medicine Show, Adele, Miranda Lambert, Billie Holiday and Mumford & Sons

What would you like to learn?
Amanda: I’d like to learn how to weave!

Ashleigh: I would like to learn play the violin (super random!)
What does the future hold for you and your creative endeavors? 
We are going to keep releasing new patterns, maybe an ebook! We have lots of ideas and hopes and dreams!

You can follow The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery on facebook, flickr and on instagram with hashtag #thefrostedpumpkinstitchery. You can also visit Amanda’s blog, Hey Porkchop, for tons of other crafty adventures!

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So, are you ready to begin?! You can start with this FREE pattern of the Frosted Pumpkin mascots, Sugarloaf and Threadly, and sign up for the summer sampler here! Tell me, did I make a cross stitcher outta you? 🙂

Happy weekend, friends!

Oh yeah, I found it.

You all know a lot about me, but one thing you probably don’t know is that I’m an avid cross stitcher, always have been. I pick it up and put it down every now and then, as with most hobbies, but it’s something I’ve always enjoyed. As my Dad’s illness progressed, my interest increased again and I’ve been stitching like crazy.
{Prepare for sudden subject change}
Any Mad Men fans out there? I know, I know, I’m waaaaay behind on this one. Everyone’s told me how much I’d love the show, but I just never never had the time to watch it, until recently. I finally picked up season one from the library and, of course, was instantly hooked. I spent 11 years in advertising and design, and have always felt like I should have been spending my prime in the late 50s/early 60s, so aside from all the smoking (sheesh!), that totally could have been my life.
I plowed through seasons one and two in less than a week’s time, but it was during the finale of season 2 that my little heart skipped a beat. Anyone remember this opening shot of the scene with Betty at the doctor’s office?

It was much clearer on the TV but that’s a cross stitch. A mighty big one, too. And really, could it be any darn cuter?

From that moment on it became my goal to find that pattern! With the beauty of the internet these days, I figured I could do it with no problem. My hunt proved to be a little more difficult than I first anticipated but after three weeks of super sleuthing, I had that little number in my crafty little hands!
When you think about, three weeks to find a pattern from the 40s is pretty darn amazing. But we’re so used to instant results that it felt like an eternity. It did take quite a bit of detective work, but it was really fun. All that matters now is that I’m ready to start stitching!

The original piece was 2 feet wide, but was stitched on 7 count fabric! I generally use 16 or 18 count fabric, so my finished piece will be quite smaller, but still big enough to really be a stunner. Best part is, this pattern has a partner, a matching buck! You bet I’m making both.
They will definitely take me some time to complete, but I’ll be sure to share some progress photos and, of course, the finished pieces!
So aside from my Mother and Fawn obsession, I stitched up many cute pieces for holiday gifts using patterns I found on Etsy and am also currently working on a few for myself, with a long wishlist to follow.

I purchased this fox pattern from andwabasabi on Etsy and stitched it up for my cousins out in Seattle.

I stitched this home sweet home up from a ChezSucreChez pattern I also found on Etsy.

I’m a big fan of single color work and silhouettes, and these entomology patterns by What Delilah Did are just too cool! I purchased the bee pattern but haven’t tackled it yet.
She has some fabulous photos on her flickr page here of her pieces on display. Definitely inspiring!

I also purchased these patterns a little while back from kattuna on Etsy. I’ve been working on them to hang in my workspace, but I’ve only finished the bird so far. In mustard yellow, of course 🙂
I stitched a couple initials from patterns from andwabisabi for holiday gifts as well. You really can’t go wrong with simplicity! The one shown above is a photo from her shop and you can find patterns for almost the entire alphabet there.

These flower patterns from Artecy are on a whole different level, but something I can’t wait to take on. Aren’t they beautiful?
A few of my other favorite pattern sites outside of Etsy are:
Cross Stitch Art — I absolutely love their art nouveau patterns. I have four in my to-do pile.
Stitch Alley — They have a fabulous collection of letter monograms.

Pinoy Stitch — They have a huge selection of anything under the sun! This pattern is also in my to-do pile. Crazy? Just a little.
And last but not least, I have two favorite books I have to recommend for nature lovers. The first is Roses and Flowering Branches in Counted Cross Stitch. Amazing! It’s on the pricier side because it’s hard to find, but totally worth it. I want to stitch every pattern in the book. (I have some photos if anyone wants to see more before purchasing it!)
The second is a book I picked up from the library yesterday, Four Seasons in Cross Stitch. I don’t love every pattern in the book but the four images on the cover plus some adorable mushrooms inside make it worth the $4 for a used copy.
So, who else shares my passion? And, more importantly, did anyone else out there have the same reaction when seeing that piece on Mad Men?!
happy weekend, everyone ~ xo

saying goodbye

It was almost two years ago exactly that my Dad discovered what he thought was a bug bite on his leg. He was diagnosed with Metastatic Melanoma just shy of two months later. I officially gave up my hope that he would win the fight this past December 23 and he finally lost his battle today at 7:20 am. He was 59.

The house was quiet and dark. My mom and husband were sleeping, I was at his bed side holding his hand as he took his last breath. The last two years have been hard. The last eight months have been harder. The last two weeks have been the hardest and there just aren’t words to describe the last few days. But it’s over, and that’s what we’ve been hoping for. Once you know you’re out of options, you just want the pain to end.
I’ve had a long time to prepare for this moment, and I know it’s helped immensely, but it’s still harder than anything really should be. I know there will be times I forget that he is gone. I’m sure to hit speedial 6 on my cell phone at least half a dozen times before it really sinks in. This has been the focus of my life for so long now, I know I’ll feel some confusion in the weeks ahead. It will take some time to get into a new routine, but I have lots to keep me busy and so much to look forward to.
I have nothing but good memories though. My Dad was a super cool guy and no one would protest that. It’s been really nice to get messages from school day friends remembering how cool he always was to them. I’ve always been thankful to my parents for helping to mold me into the person I am. They set a perfect example for me to learn the important things like a strong work ethic, how to be a good person, how to cook and how to love. Most importantly they let me figure out who I was going to be, and then let me be that person.
The services are Thursday and Friday at a beautiful memorial park near my house. Dad said he wanted it to be a party, so I hope we can make it one. I’m wearing a yellow dress, figured that was a good place to start.
I honestly would have fallen apart through all of this without the amazing support from all of you. You saved me, and I think about that every day.
I’ll be back in action full steam ahead once the dust settles. Soon though. I’m ready.
xox ~ nicole
My Dad and I, 1980

Lillyella’s Secret Santa Gift Exchange!

The thing I love most about the holidays is giving gifts. I get so darn excited I can hardly contain myself! I haven’t been involved with a secret santa gift exchange in quite some time, but after joining in on the one Team Etsy Project Embrace organized this year, I though it would be fun to organize one myself amongst blog friends! Most of you are total strangers but you do have one thing in common, you either like my jewelry or enjoy reading my blog. Good enough, right?!

So here’s how it will work — From now until this Friday, I will collect the names and addresses of anyone who would like to participate. I will then randomly assign each participant the name of a person you are to send a gift to and you will receive a gift from someone else. Only myself and your secret santa will have your information and everything will be secret until gifts are received!
Gifts can be handmade or purchased, should be valued around $20 (before shipping) and gift wrapped. Please keep in mind you will also need to ship the item and I’ll ask that items be shipped by December 17. (If you’ve never shipped anything internationally, don’t be scared! It’s easy, you just have to go to the post office and they will help you. It’s not even necessarily more expensive, unless you are shipping something heavy.)
Please email your name and address to nicole@lillyella.com, subject: Secret Santa. Please also include whether or not you are willing to ship internationally. Feel free to include information about yourself — likes, dislikes, favorite colors, favorite Etsy shops, your personal style, hobbies, interests etc, or you can just leave it up to your secret santa to totally surprise you!
I will email you the name of your gift recipient, along with all the important details, by Monday, December 8.
Feel free to contact me anytime with any questions. I think this is going to be tons of fun, and maybe even a new tradition! Happy Holidays, everyone!
p.s. If you leave a comment on this post, please be sure to ALSO send me an email with all the info specified above. thanks!
photos © Anthropologie

Me? In the Olympics?

Back in my figure skating days, I had a dream or two of Olympic gold, who didn’t? But I knew deep down there wasn’t really a chance in hell. Well, almost 20 years later, here’s my chance to make a go of it! I never thought my name would be associated with anything even rhyming with Olympics, so I’m thrilled and honored to be a part of the rikrak studio’s Handmade Olympics!
My little blog here was chosen as a finalist in the favorite blog category and yep, here’s where I ask once again for your vote! But not just because I want to win, or have more votes than everyone else, but because I want to see that you, my readers, appreciate what I’m doing here enough to take a minute and express that. To show that you support the handmade community and all the artists behind it busting their humps to do what they love and inspiring others to do the same. That this amazing community is more than just browsing, but about being involved and showing your support.
Ok, enough sappiness. If you love visiting my blog, I’d love to know.