For the past few months I've been working on a secret needlepoint project! I couldn't wait to finish it to show you the process pictures, so I had to show them now! I won't tell you who it's for or what it will be when it is complete. I even had to distort one of the pictures to preserve sensitive information!  As soon as I finish it I'll show you the completed product!
I have this navy cover up that is perfect for the beach, but it's a bit plain. I was inspired by the anchor on the tag and thought an anchor applique would make the hoodie more unique and visually interesting. 

For Christmas I got an awesome book called Embroider Everything that comes with a lot of iron-on patterns. It has an iron-on anchor, so it was perfect! I ironed the drawing onto a white piece of felt, then decided what color I wanted the anchor to be. I decided to go with classic yellow.
Then I stitched up the anchor and cut off the excess felt.
Then I sewed it straight onto my hoodie! Easy peasy!
I was nervous about how the badge would hold up after being washed, but it still looks great! Seriously guys, everyone should get into needlepoint. I did this whole project in about two hours and all the materials are really cheap. Think about it!

FYI: I was not paid to advertise for Embroider Everything, but it is a really great book! If you are interested in needle point you should totally get it.
Today Jared's brother Nathan and his wife Michele are being blessed by a baby shower to celebrate "little Peanut," our soon to be nephew! I wish we could be there! Thankfully, I was able to complete my gifts in time. Here's what I made!
Aren't you glad I finished this blanket? Now I can stop talking about it so much! Michele requested the Shale Baby blanket, a) because it's beautiful but also b) because she wanted to encourage me to finish one of my 26 before 27 goals. She's pretty sweet, right?
Sorry, I couldn't help myself. I promise that will be the last picture of the Shale Baby Blanket I post. So get a good look at it. I totally understand if you want to save it and maybe it make it your desktop background or something, I'll probably do that. *stares at lovingly, one last time*

Ok, moving on. I also wanted to give something for Little Peanut that would be a surprise to his parents so I made this!
*Squeal* Isn't it cute?! When I saw this pattern from Wild Olive I knew I had to get it because Little Peanut's nursery has an otter theme. The white stitches around the edge are to keep a piece of felt attached to the back to cover up the messy stitches.

Like I've mentioned before, I love makings things for babies. While I was working on these items my cheeks hurt from smiling so much! I can't wait to meet the little guy!
An embroidered family portrait! Here's how I did it!
I've always loved this drawing of Jared and me! Isn't it adorable? Jared's brother Matt drew it on a journal that was a gift way back in 2006 (when my hair was really long). After I started cross stitching, it occurred to me that the simple lines of the drawing would be perfect for an embroidery pattern. So I took a picture, edited it so it would be bigger and black and white, then printed it out.
Next, I taped it to a window, after drawing the rest of Jared's head...
and taped fabric on top (I used an old white t-shirt that I cut up and then ironed)...
so I could trace it! I used pencil at first, but couldn't see the lines when I finished. So I traced it again with permanent marker. I figured if I messed up, I'd just cut up another old shirt!
Then, I stretched it over an embroidery hoop...
and went to town! If I had the energy to do it all again I would make a few changes. For instance, I would have used a darker brown for our hair, but I didn't have a more appropriate color floss. I would have gone to buy some but I was in a stitching trance that could not be interrupted. Also, I think the stitches on my glasses are a bit off and it makes me look angry! Oh well, lessons learned.

So what do you think? Isn't it too cool how you can take any image that inspires you and transform it into an embroidery pattern?
Ever since I saw Wild Olive's embroidery patterns, I knew I wanted to learn how to cross stitch.
Image from Wild Olive etsy shop. Click image for link.
Cuteness overload! (By the way, I asked Mollie, the Wild Olive shop owner, if I could use this picture, and she said yes and gave me the pattern, to boot! I was over-the-moon happy! Her shop is full of cute patterns and printable stationery, go check it out!)

So, I've wanted to learn to embroider for a while now, but the stars just aligned this week. This is what happened. 
1. Jared's mom was visiting and she was cross stitching. I really enjoyed watching her and it helped me understand what the process involves.
2. I had received a Michael's gift card and was waiting for inspiration to strike before I used it.
3. My sister-in-law Michele had given me cross stitching patterns she found in Martha Stewart Magazine because she remembered that I wanted to learn to cross-stitch. Isn't she sweet?
4. Then, this week, I saw this.
Image from Sam Gibson's etsy shop. Click image for link.
Gorgeous! Such exquisite detail, I love it. When I came across this image browsing the internet I said to myself, "That's it Molly, you can't live another day without learning how to cross stitch." I immediately closed my laptop, got into my car and drove to Michael's. I came home with this!
I only paid 60 cents! Aren't gift cards the greatest?! So after many hours, a bout of double vision (is that normal when cross stitching?), and a bloody thumb, I had this!
Certainly, not as good as Mollie's or Sam's, but at least you can tell it's a bird on a branch, right? To commemorate the occasion, I stitched my initials and year. I love how timeless the design is, unless I stitched the year on it no one would know when it was made! I'll be sure to keep you posted on my future embroidery projects!