When I was a kid, my happy place was the Ben Franklin, which was in a strip mall next to a super frou frou old lady gift store and a shoe store. I think it’s kind of a regional store, right? But it’s basically a lot like Michael’s. Except ours had some household items and a ton of candy too. I remember being super excited to buy lemonheads and atomic fireballs there. And pop rocks. So really, it was like the best place ever. In fact, it was kind of far from our house, probably over a mile, and I totally remember my best friend and I walking all the way there just to buy slap bracelets when they were the coolest accessory a middle school aged kid could have. It was really far. But worth it for a pink zebra print slap bracelet! I guess that would be like the equivalent of maybe rainbow loom bracelets today?
Anyway, the Ben Franklin in our town also had this smell. Do you know what I mean? Kind of mix between cinnamon and potpourri? A lot of craft stores smell kind of like that. When I smell that, even now, it makes me happy. One of the things I remember getting there were these little tiny cross-stitch kits for $1. It came with the floss and the needle and a tiny embroidery hoop and you could cross stitch a flower or a teddy bear or something. Did anyone else do those? The fabric in the kit would retain that craft store smell and I used to take them up to our family’s cabin in the north woods of Wisconsin and work on them by the pier. Which actually I had completely forgotten until just now as I was writing this! Anyway, up until this point that had been pretty much the limit of my experience with embroidery. I never really understood it because I never really saw any kits or patterns that spoke to me. Or I would see my friend Anne working on one of her beautiful (and advanced) projects and think, wow, that’s gorgeous but it just seems like it takes. so. long. So I never really got into it.
But, my friends, that may have changed. Because after making my Wrapped Embroidery Hoop Pocket. I got a little curious. And a little obsessed with how many amazing colors there are in the embroidery flossaisle at the craft store. And they’re only 39 cents each! (This is how trouble starts. When I am found buried in my craft room, bankrupt and covered in floss and fabric, remind me of this post, please…) So I did a little freehand embroidery on a regular embroidery hoop.Pretty much using only one kind of stitch because that’s all I know. And guess what? Embroidering freehand is totally fun!
There’s no tutorial for this one, just a reminder of a lesson I have learned over and over. There is no right or wrong way to try a new craft or art form. Don’t be scared to give it a shot just because it’s intimidating. Even if you don’t end up with the most beautiful display-worthy end product, if you had fun making, that’s all that matters!
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