Bears in the Hills – a Progress Report

I’ve finished all the whipstitching around the edges of the hills and the bears.

Ready for the fancy stitching!

I wanted the whipstitching to be fairly invisible. To make sure I got all the scallops outlined, I flipped it over to check the back.

So here’s what comes next. . .

Next week I’ll be putting together the online class. Here’s what will be available as soon as the class opens. . .

  • the pattern – both a PDF for printing on freezer paper to cut by hand and an SVG file for those who have cutting machines
  • a video showing how to cut, layer and glue the pieces in place
  • a video showing how to whipstitch the edges
  • a bundle of felt sheets in the colors I used
  • a bundle of pre-cut pieces for those who want to jump right to the fun part πŸ™‚

After the class releases, I’ll start adding more videos showing how to embroider the faces and how to add fancy stitching to the hills.

This is going to be so much fun!

Happy stitching!


Bears in the Hills – WIP

I don’t usually do all caps but. . .


Seriously! I can’t wait to get these guys in a frame to start stitching. You’re going to have to pry me out of my couch for the next few weeks. πŸ™‚

And that’s not all!

I want you guys to stitch with me!

I decided the best way to make this a pattern is to actually make it a video workshop. I’ve shot video already showing how to position all the pieces and my little tricks for securing them in place while I stitch.

This was my studio today, with those fancy new lights in action.

Look at that awesome even lighting! πŸ™‚

The next step is going to be whipstitching the edges down with matching thread (not embroidery thread – I want these stitches to disappear) and then I’ll jump into fancy stitching!

My plan is to get all the kind-of-boring-to-most-people-but-I-really-love-it whipstitching done, and then start recording videos showing how I freehand stitch the hills. Maybe one new video a week?

But I’ll make the class available before I get all those videos recorded.

You’ll be able to download the pattern and cut out your bears. (The class will include patterns you can print on freezer paper for hand-cutting, and also a link to the files on Cricut’s Design Space for those who have Cricut machines.)

You’ll be able to watch the videos showing how to lay out your hills and bears and whipstitch all the edges down.

And then we’ll be able to fancy stitch together! I’ll add new technique videos showing the fancy stitching as I make them. Since it will be an online class you’ll just find the new videos in the “classroom” when I load them up – without having to constantly download new files or anything like that.

I hope that sounds like fun to you! It sure does to me. I’ve got new episodes of Call the Midwife and Poldark waiting for some couch time. πŸ™‚

Happy stitching!


Cutting Felt with My Cricut Maker

Well – I finally opened the box of my new Cricut Maker.

So exciting!

But I’ll be honest – we got off to a bit of a rocky start.

The Design Space app didn’t install automatically and the link to click to continue the installation was a dead end to a nonexistent page. Not a huge deal – I know how to find my files and install them myself, but it’s the kind of thing that really frustrates a person who’s not super comfortable with technology so I thought it was worth mentioning.

They include some materials for your first project (a card) which is great. It let me walk through all the steps of making (not designing) and actual thing.

Designing was TRICKY. That’s going to take some practice – but I managed to get my first project (those bears in the hills) all set up and ready to go.

Time to cut some felt!

Uh oh. That does NOT look good.

I cut it on the felt setting and this was actually the second try with increased pressure. The first try just roughed up the surface of the felt without actually cutting anything.

I decided to lie to the machine and tell it I was cutting heavy fabric like denim. That prompted me to change it to the teeny tiny rotary blade instead of the knife blade.

Much better!

Look how clean the cuts are! And see the eye markings? The machine did that too with the pen attachment. So handy!

After I got the settings figured out I was on a roll. πŸ™‚

I cut all the pieces for my new Bears in the Hills in about an hour – while I was cleaning my studio. πŸ™‚

Next week I’ll have a video showing you how to layer all these guys up and prep for stitching.

I can’t wait to try the Cricut on regular fabric for applique quilt blocks – that’ll be my next project with the machine.

Happy stitching!


Free January Calendar

This is the year! Embroidered and applique felt letters

Happy January!

I know it’s a week late – but what a week it’s been! Moving (with no movers because our move-in got delayed until New Years’ Eve weekend), a terrible cold snap, a surprise sleet storm that immobilized all of Asheville and caused tons of accidents, three separate and unrelated plumbing emergencies, an unexpected out-of-town trip for a funeral, and no internet service all week.


In spite of all that, I’m still feeling pretty awesome about the new year! Read about why New Year’s Day is my favorite holiday (and why I’m especially excited about 2018) here. Lots of folks chimed in with their big plans for the year too – so be sure to read the comments and be inspired!

And here are your calendar download links. Vanessa asked if I could also do them without the calendar and I think that’s a great idea! So you’ll find both options for each layout. πŸ™‚

This is the year! Embroidered and applique felt letters

Click here to download the one for computers/tablets.

Click here to download the same image with no calendar.

Click here to download the one for phones.

Click here to download the same image with no calendar.


Wendi Gratz from Shiny Happy World

March 2014 Resolution Report

March Resolution Report - with Merit Badges

This post contains affiliate links. That means I make a little commission if you buy something after clicking through. All affiliate links are marked with an *.


Time for a report on how the new year’s resolutions are coming along. March was a rough month with lots of computer issues – and I’m afraid I used that as an excuse to let my least-favorite resolutions slide. πŸ™

March Resolution Report - with Merit BadgesSofties for Charity

I’m making a stuffed animal each month to donate to the kids at my local battered women’s shelter.

I think I’m done fine-tuning the pattern I’ve been using. Look for it on the blog next Monday. πŸ™‚

March Resolution Report - with Merit BadgesReading Goals

My goal is to read four books every month. This month I read. . .

March Resolution Report - with Merit BadgesFinancial Goals

I have a sales goal for Shiny Happy World every month.

I met my goal for March, so I get a badge!

Kind of boring – but also kind of essential for me as a business owner. πŸ™‚

New Year's Resolution Merit Badges - The Resolution ReportNew Recipes

Finally! My favoriteΒ resolution!

Here’s what I tried in March. . .

  • This cajeta – dulce de leche made with goat’s milk. Absolutely amazing! And the best apple-dipping sauce ever.
  • Jo and I took a truffle-making class and made a few kinds of truffles.
  • This AMAZING salad. I’ve made it twice in two weeks and I kind of want to have it in my fridge all the time.
  • This delicious cauliflower chowder – a great springtime soup.

I actually managed to gain weight this month, so no weight loss badge for me. πŸ™ And no workout badge either.

Sneak Peeks at Some Monsters

All year so far I’ve been working on a collection of monster patterns. I just realized I’ve shown little peeks of them in the videos on this blog, but all the photos I’ve shared have been over on Facebook or in the newsletter. Time to rectify that!
That little cutie up top is one of the blocks in the monster quilt. Her “spikes” are loose flaps – fun to play with. πŸ™‚
I’m almost done with all the quilt blocks so I’ve been sharing lots of peeks. I sew on the button eyes after dark (while I watch TV) and I usually snap some photos right before I knock off machine work for the day – so a lot of the photos are blocks without finished eyes. Kind of creepy.
This guy has very bushy eyebrows. πŸ™‚ They’re appliqued faux fur.
Sometimes the whole monster is faux fur.
Of course, I’ve been using some of the fur to make softies.
But all the patterns can also be made from more readily available fabrics, like huggable, easy-to-find, inexpensive fleece.
I’m also working on a few smaller felt softies – all handsewn. I like to embroider on them first. Here you can see the back (inside) of one guy.
There’s been regular embroidery too.
I’ve been experimenting a bit with showing you some more fill stitches. Of course, you’ll be able to stitch up any of these with regular easy peasy backstitch and split stitch, but all the French knots on this cutie have attracted quite a bit of attention. πŸ™‚
There have been a lot more photos over on Facebook and in the newsletter, but I hope this gives those of you who don’t follow there a little taste of what’s been going on behind the scenes.

Happy sewing!