Welcome to "The Girl's Gone Crafty!" blog about all things, well, crafty, of course! My name is Raquel, owner of Calico Craft Designs, and lover of all things Craft. I hope that you too will join me on my journey to finishing one more UFO (unfinished object), stitching for charity, and just learning more about the wonderful crafts available out there.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Happy Holidays!!!

Happy Holidays everyone!  I hope that you are having a wonderful holiday season!

It's become an expected family tradition for me to make at least one handmade item for the ladies in my family (and sometimes the men too) for Christmas in addition to the usual store-bought items.  This year I decided to make fabric Christmas ornaments as seen in an earlier blog post.  I really enjoyed picking out the various fabrics and even had a fabric swap with one of my friends, Kelley, who is also making a few for the holidays.  I ended up making almost twenty ornaments!  Boy, were my fingers sore from all those pins!  Even with a thimble.  Ha ha ha!  But they were a joy to make and I thought I'd share a few with you to celebrate the holiday season.  I will definitely have to make a few more just for my tree next year!  I do hope that everyone will love them when they open their gifts tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Update on Our Impending Move

Exciting news!  My hubby and I have finally found a place in Charleston, SC that we are happy with and is within our budget.  We're going to be living in a condo about 25 minutes from Folly Beach and downtown Charleston.  It will be much smaller than what we are used to and we'll definitely have to downsize and get rid of a lot of stuff.  This is, however, a good time to go through my craft stash and clean it out!  

We will be moving near the end of January 2015.  We have already packed a few things but now we have only about 5-6 weeks to go and we have soooo much to do.  It looks like our moving day will be around January 24th or so.  We have to get the dates finalized and get this house packed up quickly.  We'll be living among boxes for much of our last weeks here in Georgia.  Our friends are happy for us but not so happy at the same time.  We will definitely, definitely miss them but I hope we can visit often.  Now that we have a tentative date, our move seems more "real".  These next few weeks will be difficult and I probably won't have a lot of time to post many new messages but I'll try to pop in around the holidays if I can.  Now...back to packing!!! 

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!  I hope that you are enjoying this spooky and fun holiday.  I just had to pop in to share a couple of pics of my friends' kids from this week.  Love this time of year!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Quilted Christmas Ornaments

A couple of weeks ago, I was looking for Christmas ornament ideas to make as gifts this year for my family and friends.  It's become a tradition that I give everyone at least one handmade gift each year for Christmas.  I knew I wanted to do something that people could use during the holidays but I wasn't sure exactly what it was that I wanted to try to make.  I love using fabric and I had a lot left over from the rag candle-rings I made for everyone last year.  I searched Pinterest (the best place ever to get ideas) and ran across "quilted" ornaments.  I located a quick how-to video on YouTube and decided to give it a try.

The first one I completed has a white center with black and white polka dots and a red and white Christmas fabric.  The lines are not exactly straight and the ribbon I used for the top of the ornament came out a bit floppier than I like; however, I think it turned out really cute for a first try.  I added a red pin to the center of the star on each side just to add a bit more color. 

I'm pleased with the second ornament as well. For it, I used a Santa fabric for the center along with red and white polka dots and a striped fabric in holiday colors.  (Can you tell yet that I really love polka dots?  They make me smile.)  I think that both ornaments turned out really well and I'm looking forward to working on the others that I will be giving as gifts this year.  They really do look "quilted" even though there is no sewing and no glue.  I have a huge stash of fabric that I get to use for my others but... I may still have to go shopping for just a bit more to add a bit of variety. :-) 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Autumn Love

I love Autumn.  I love the cooler weather, the changing leaves and all their brilliant colors, Halloween, outdoor festivals and craft shows, comfort foods such as chili and hot dishes made in the crock pot, and of course, decorating the house with the warm, inviting colors of the season.  Autumn is easily my favorite time of year, followed closely by Spring.  After the heat of Summer in the South, the cooler temperatures and crisp breezes of Fall are very welcome.  As I sit typing this morning, it's about 55 degrees and should warm to around 67 degrees by this afternoon.  Love that crisp chill in the air!  

This time of year seems to make me want to engage in more arts and crafts.  I've been busy working on several projects over the past couple of weeks, some cross-stitch related, others are rag wreaths and other projects.  My good friend Kim is expecting her 2nd daughter any day now and I'm working with another fellow crafter to create a cross-stitch quilt for baby Samantha's nursery.  The room is being decorated with a butterfly theme in lavenders and pinks.  I found a cute pattern from Gail Bussi in one of my "The World of Cross Stitching" magazines (WOCS) called "Flutterby Trio".  I changed a few colors around and added metallic thread and iridescent filament to give it a little sparkle.  I've been working on the cross-stitch portion while my partner has been picking out matching fabric to create the quilt.  So far, I've finished one butterfly completely and have two others partially finished.  I really hope that Kim and baby Sam will love it.

I've also been busy trying to decorate my fireplace mantle for the season.  As I mentioned before, I love the warm colors of Autumn and I also love Halloween.  I wanted a mantle that didn't necessarily scream Halloween and could stay up even after the holiday but definitely had elements from this favorite holiday.  I decided to use one of my framed Halloween cross-stitch pieces and one of our many "scary" buildings from my husband's Halloween village.  We have a ton of these but I only chose one to go over the fireplace.  The rest are packed up pending our move to Charleston.  I think it came out pretty well and we are definitely enjoying it each evening.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Gorgeous Gardens in Early Autumn

The Waterlily Garden
One of my favorite gardens is Gibbs Gardens in the North Georgia Mountains.  I have an annual garden membership and I usually try to go a couple of times each season.  They are open from March to November.  Last year I was unable to go for the Autumn so I was really looking forward to going this year.  I enjoy photography as a hobby and love spending time during the weekend snapping a few pictures and wandering around this beautiful area of Georgia.  I'm definitely not a professional but I take enough pictures to make it seem like I am! :-)  Of course, it's really hard to take a bad photo of this gorgeous place! 

This past Friday, 10/18/14, I took the day off from work and drove the 45 minutes from my home to Gibbs Gardens.  It was a beautiful early fall day and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.  I've included a few of my favorite photos so you can hopefully, see the beauty of this magical place as I do.  I definitely hope to return in another week or two when the leaves really begin to change colors and the Japanese Maples are really colorful.

A section of the Waterlily Garden

A gazebo and pond near the entrance of the Daffodil Gardens

The Monet Bridge at Gibbs Gardens
A reflection pond in the Japanese Gardens

A pathway through the woods

Sunday, October 19, 2014

It's Been a While...

Much has been going on in my life over the past several months and unfortunately, blogging was moved to the bottom of my to do list.  My husband left his job of 15 years to tackle a new position with a company in Charleston, SC.  We will eventually be moving to Charleston after being in the Atlanta Metro area for just over 14 years.  It's a big challenge for us and we are both excited and nervous.  I too will be leaving my current job of almost 15 years in the next couple of months.  We've been making weekend trips to the lowcountry area to try to learn the city layout and look for housing.  It's been a crazy few weeks to say the least!  

Add to that the arrival of one friend's baby girl Dakota and another friend's soon-to-be baby girl Samantha, two baby showers, our vacation and the arrival of a friend from Australia who stayed with us for about 10 days, cleaning out and organizing the garage for our impending move, my birthday, and my hubby and I both being sick with a nasty stomach flu and it's been a jam-packed few months of activity.  Even with everything going on, I've still tried to make time for working on my crafts.  I've made a little more progress on my cross-stitching, my latch hook rug, and my rag wreaths (both for me and as gifts).  I've even started making fabric Christmas ornaments to give as gifts for friends and family.  I'm amazed that I've been able to get started on this a bit early this year!  I'm normally struggling to complete my craft gifts in early to mid-December!  

With everything going on, I will probably not be blogging as regularly as I would like but I'll try to pop in periodically with an update.  Happy crafting! 

P.S.  Here's a photo of my latch hook rug that is coming along very slowly and another of my baby boy "supervising" my latch hook to make sure I am doing it correctly.  I think it will be wonderful when it's finally complete. :-) 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Making Progress...

Just thought I'd post a couple of pictures of two small designs that I am currently working on.  I hope to have them completed very soon.  

The first is going to be a greeting card design for Christmas.  It's a group of ornaments hanging from a string of Christmas lights.  It's a pattern from one of my cross-stitching magazines from the UK.

The butterfly piece is a sample I am doing for my friend Kim.  She is expecting her 2nd daughter in early November and would love to have the baby room completed with a butterfly theme.  She would really like a small baby quilt with cross-stitch butterflies to use in the room.  I found this pattern in a cross-stitch magazine and thought I'd show Kim the finished piece to see if she would like this design for the quilt.  If not, I can always use it for something else, but if so, I'll have one of nine butterflies completed.

This last one is a small design for another Christmas card.  I completed it last month and added it to my "2014 Smalls SAL - Completed Projects" page but I thought I'd add it to the main blog page as well.  I think he's cute!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

TUSAL Progress - May & June 2014 Update

Last month, I accidentally forgot to post my ORTs for May so this month is a combination of both May and June 2014.  I did do quite a bit of cross-stitching and Hardanger during this time, completing a piece for a friend's wedding and at least one small item that I hope to make into a Christmas card.  I started working on two other small designs for cards that I hope to have finished soon.  And I did manage to work on the Scenic Bridge a little.  Just a little. :-)

The next posting is due July 26, 2014.  If you're not sure what the heck a "TUSAL" or "ORT" is, be sure to check out the link to the TUSAL Challenge by clicking on the link on the main blog page.  

Happy Stitching!!! 

Saturday, June 7, 2014

It's Back from the Framer!

The Hardanger piece that I worked on for my friend Kelley's wedding is finally back from the framer.  I had a hard time choosing a frame for the piece.  They really didn't have exactly what I was looking for or at least what I had in my head; however, I think the one I found is pretty too.  And I'm please with the way that it turned out!  You can't even see my little "boo-boo" if you don't know where to look.  I'll present it to her next Tuesday when my entire team is in the office.  I really hope that she likes it and enjoys it in her home.  It was nice to sit and work on it in the evenings and it made me really remember why I love Hardanger.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Just in Time for Wedding Bells

I finally finished the Hardanger piece that I have been working on for my friend Kelley who is getting married this Saturday, May 17th.  It took me a little while to figure out how best to add the names and date to the design.  I actually ended up using characters from three different fonts!  I think the color and sizing works much better than what I originally stitched.  I sure hope so anyway.  I removed the lettering FOUR times to finally get it to the way it currently is now!  I just hope that once it's washed and ironed that it retains it's shape and helps to cover up the area where I had to remove those few stitches.  It's probably just me but my eyes seem to go right to that area when I look at the piece.  [sigh]  Hopefully, it's just me.

Behind the actual design, I'm adding a piece of silk fabric in a similar shade of blue.  This should peek through the openings in the fabric to give a bit more color to the finished project.

The completed design and part of the backing fabric.
Once I get it prepped, it's off to the framers.  I was a bit too late to get it framed for the actual wedding day but I hope to give it to her in a couple of weeks once she's back from her honeymoon and is back at the office.  At least I completed the design before the wedding bells sounded!  I'll post another photo once the framing is completed and it's ready to be wrapped up for Kelley.

The finished design before washing and ironing.
Close-up of the center.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Scenic Bridge Update - 5.12.14

As I mentioned in my last post, I joined an online SAL through Facebook that ran from Friday, 5/9/14 through Mother's Day on Sunday, 5/11/14.  I did make a little progress but wasn't able to stitch as much as I wanted to.  However, it was for a good reason as my husband's family came into town for the weekend and a local barbeque festival held on Saturday.  We had a great time over the weekend and it's always good to see my in-laws.  I'm lucky that way! :-)  On the down side though, I wasn't able to complete as much on Scenic Bridge as I had wanted.  The good news is that I believe there is another online SAL coming up very soon so I'll keep stitching away on this one.  You can see my progress in the photo below.  The top picture is my "Before" and the bottom is the "After" photo.

Progress as of 5.8.14 (top) and 5.11.14 (bottom)

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Progress on Scenic Bridge

Over the past week I have been working on the Scenic Bridge.  This is the design that I am not really that fond of but that I believe my friend will love.  I'm trying to finish it for her birthday in August or at least by Christmas.  I think I've made pretty good progress on it thus far.  I've included a couple of photos below.  I snapped these in a hurry so they are not the best quality but it should give you an idea of what I was able to complete. 

Previous progress as of 4/26/14

Current progress as of 5/8/14
I joined an online SAL scheduled for this weekend (May 9th to May 11th) and I'm going to continue working on this piece.  I do have family coming in for the weekend so I'm not sure how much I will get completed but I can at least work on it at night.  We usually watch movies in the evenings so it's a perfect time to get some stitching in.  Wish me luck!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A Hardanger Wedding Gift

Hardanger embroidery, also called cut work, was named after a town in Norway called Hardanger.  It is a type of embroidery featured in local attire and is still seen today.  It is traditionally worked with white thread on white even-weave fabric.  For this reason, it is also commonly referred to as whitework embroidery.  Several years ago, I taught myself the basics of this beautiful art form.  I haven't completed any Hardanger projects in a while and when I found out that Kelley, a friend of mine at work is getting married in May, I decided to dust off my skills and put them to use.  I haven't known Kelley very long but we just seem to "click".  We have a lot in common, including a love of crafts and the fact that we attempt to do some gardening.  Notice I said "attempt". ;-)  Kelley is getting married in about three weeks and I have been working on a small Hardanger design for her as a gift.

I found out that her bridesmaids' dresses will be a shade of aqua blue and her flowers are going to be white.  I decided to use a variegated blue DMC No.5 Pearl Cotton thread to accent the Hardanger pattern and a piece of aqua blue silk fabric behind the finished design so that the color will show through the openings in the fabric.  The remaining threads and even-weave fabric color are white.  I have been having a little trouble finding just the right font for the names and wedding date but I'll be using DMC Cotton Embroidery Floss in a similar shade of blue once I decide on a selection. 

I'm almost finished with the design.  I really just have to focus on wrapping all of the bars and completing the lettering.  This pattern was found in "Hardanger Embroidery" by Jill Carter.  It's simply called "Pincushion" as it's one of the many projects outlined in the book.  I modified it just slightly to make it more of my own and to make sure I could complete the stitches.  I am a beginner after all and wanted to stick with the basics.  I also used 22-count fabric instead of the 28-count that the pattern called for to make the finished design just a bit larger.  I really hope that Kelley enjoys it once it is framed and ready to hang in their new home.  I'll keep you posted on my progress!  Happy Stitching! 

Smalls SAL - April 2014 Update

April's Smalls SAL
Today is my very first check-in with the Smalls SAL hosted by Stitching Lotus.  I joined earlier this month and had to work quickly to have a finished piece completed by check-in today.  I chose to do a small bargello design that I will use in a greeting card.  As you may or may not know, I have a small shop on Etsy.com called Calico Craft Designs.  I'm trying to decide whether or not to add a few handmade greeting cards to the shop.  If I do, I think I'm going to add this bargello design as either a thank you card or a birthday card.  Not sure just yet.  Any suggestions?

Bargello Example 1
Bargello Example 2
Oh, and just in case you're not familiar with bargello designs, I've added a brief description of this type of embroidery from good ol' Wikipedia.  I've also added three photos of bargello work I located through Google.  I do not own the right to these three photos and are only using them to represent this beautiful art form.  Per the Wikipedia website, "Bargello is a type of needlepoint embroidery consisting of upright flat stitches laid in a mathematical pattern to create motifs.  The name originates from a series of chairs found in the Bargello Palace in Florence, which have a 'flame stitch' pattern.  Traditionally, Bargello was stitched in wool on canvas.  Embroidery done this way is remarkably durable... Traditional designs are very colourful, and use many hues of one colour, which produces intricate shading effects.  The patterns are naturally geometric but can also resemble very stylized flowers or fruits." 
Bargello Example 3
Now, what I have completed as my Smalls SAL for April is not needlepoint embroidery but is bargello in cross-stitch.  I found this particular pattern sample through a web search in Google.  I really like it as it reminds me of a pattern you see in Moroccan design and Morocco is definitely a place that I would love to visit one day.  I adapted the design just slightly and chose my own colors.  It repeats the same pattern every three rows and could be used with 3, 6, or 9 colors.  I chose to use six colors in my finished piece.  I really enjoyed working on this piece and am looking forward to completing a few more in the future. 

My Bargello Design in Cross-Stitch
Has anyone else ever finished a bargello design in cross-stitch?  If so, I'd love to see some photos.

TUSAL Progress - April 2014 Update

Time for the next TUSAL posting!  My glass has a lot more ORTs in it than it has in previous months.  I've been able to devote more time to both cross-stitching and Hardanger.  Now, to be fair, this month's collection is not just for the month of April.  It does have a few older threads from February and March as well.  Not many, but a few.  I haven't participated in the TUSAL Challenge since late last year and so this is my first photo now that I'm off and running again!

This month I worked on a Hardanger piece for a friend who is getting married in May.  I'll post an update about it and add a few pictures later today.  I also worked on a couple of small designs that will be made into greeting cards.  I'll post about them later as well.

The next posting is due May 28, 2014.  If you're not sure what the heck a "TUSAL" or "ORT" is, be sure to check out the link to the TUSAL Challenge by clicking on the link on the main blog page.  Happy Stitching!!!

Saturday, April 26, 2014


Yes, you read that right!  UFO's have been spotted everywhere at my house!  I have so many unfinished cross-stitch and craft projects that it's just ridiculous!  I was cleaning up a little in my home office/craft room and found numerous projects that are in various stages of progress.  I really, really need to stop beginning new projects and work on the ones I have. [sigh]  I doubt that will EVER happen. Hahaha! ;-)

UFO located in my craft room
One good thing came out of my cleaning however.  I found an older design that I started years ago with a good friend in mind.  She loves old covered bridges and mills and I thought that this pattern would be perfect for her.  She even loves fishing!  It's "Scenic Bridge" by Barbara Sestok and the design appeared in the August 1998 edition of "Cross Stitch & Needlework" magazine.  I've had this pattern forever it seems! 

I've stopped and started it so many times that I can't keep track.  It's one of those designs that I think will be perfect for my friend but that I really do not enjoy working on.  It's just not what I would normally work on and does not fit my personal style.  Well, I dusted off the magazine and started working on it again this week.  I'm determined that I will finish it for her this year.  Her birthday is in August and I'm going to make myself complete it so it can be framed for her birthday gift or at the latest, a Christmas gift.  By adding it to my blog, maybe that will help me stay motivated to work on it each month so I can see it's progress.

Progress as of April 26, 2014
With that being said, here's where I am now.  This is the progress that I have made thus far.  It's actually not much larger than the edges of the current design.  It will go up a little to accommodate the roof of the covered bridge and the top of the tree, but the fence in the foreground is where the pattern stops and the sides are also pretty much defined.  Now it's just time to fill it in and complete the backstitching.

Wish me luck!