The Procrastinator’s Guide to Crafty Christmas – Part Two (Craft Kits)


It’s okay. Just sit down for a min-



Deep breath.  There you go.  We got this.

Welcome back to Part 2 of my series tailored especially for procrastinators like myself.  In Part 1, we discussed the different books you can purchase for the crafty people in your life.  If you’re looking to go a little above and beyond just a book – maybe you’ve got a crafty significant other or in-law and you want to make Christmas extra special – then you’ve come to just the right place.  I’m going to show you what materials you can purchase to  assemble your own crafty kits. At the end of this post, I’ll show you a perfect example of one I just received!

Just a quick note – you can find most of the items I’m suggesting at a chain craft store like Michaels or Jo-Ann.  Don’t forget to give your local craft stores some love too, though.  Here’s a shout out to some of my local Austin faves, like Stitch Lab (closing in February…sob) and Hill Country Weavers.  If you’re in the Tucson area, stop by Sew Hip and Birdhouse Yarns.  And if you’re spending New Year’s in Vegas, then you’ve got to check out Sin City Knit Shop.

Cross-Stitch and Embroidery

If you’ve got a cross-stitcher or embroiderer in your life, you have a couple of options.  You can’t go wrong with buying a counted cross-stitch or embroidery kit.  A word of caution if you are buying patterns or kits from a chain store – many (though not all) of these designs tend to be more traditional.  Which is TOTALLY FINE if that’s what you’re into, but maybe not so much if your crafty person is a fan of more contemporary, modern designs (like myself).    For me, the line between cute kitsch and “omg no never hanging in my house” kitsch is very fine.  Cross-stitch a deer?  Sure. I’ve cross-stitched a deer before.  Cross-stitch a hedgehog? But of course.  Cross-stitch a teddy bear or angel?  NO. DO NOT PASS GO. DO NOT COLLECT $200.

If you’re not sure where on that line your crafty person falls, then let me suggest some patterns for you.  Don’t worry – you can purchase these as instant PDF downloads.  Just hit print and slip into your gift basket.

  • CozyBlue has gorgeous patterns that your stitcher will love.



  • Satsuma Street has the most fantastic cross-stitch designs, and if I didn’t already have a ton of projects in my queue, I would download at least three of these gorgeous patterns like TONIGHT.satsuma-street


To wrap up your craft kit, take a look at the instructions.  Does it recommend colors of floss to purchase?

And in case you’re like “….floss?  Huh?”


The most popular brand (or at least, the one I always work with) is DMC.  Cross-stitch and some embroidery patterns will list what colors correspond to the pattern.  Pick up enough for your stitcher to use for the project, along with a set of needles and the cloth that the pattern recommends.  If it recommends Aida or evenweave, then no worries. That will be in the aisle with the embroidery floss.  You’re all set.


Picking out yarn is so much fun and I can spend a long time in the yarn aisles. If you want to buy your knitter or crocheter a pattern, it would be good to know what their skill level is.  But what’s great about a knitting/crochet kit is that you don’t even NEED a pattern, really.  Chances are your crafty person already has a list of projects and will welcome the addition of yarn to their stash.

What kind of yarn to purchase?  Luxury yarn is great to work with (and it spoils you), but it’s luxury for a reason – it can get pretty pricey!  If I’m being honest, most of the yarn I use and purchase is budget.  There’s pretty fantastic budget yarn available that does a solid job at mimicking the higher quality yarn.  The most popular budget yarn brands include Lion Brand, Caron, and Patons.  My personal favorite is Lion Brand.  I really enjoy working with their yarns and have made several larger projects with them.


With Scarfie, you can make a scarf using one ball of yarn.  I have two in my stash waiting to be used!


Homespun is sooooo soft.  I used the Thick & Quick yarn for a project that ended up being a doggie blanket.  It’s so warm and cozy, and Apollo loves it.

Some other fun and trendy yarn is Michaels’ Caron Cakes and Jo-Ann’s Sweet Roll.  I have each in my stash and am excited to try both.


I consider fabric to be a really personal choice.  Same with individual sewing patterns.  Certain kinds of fabric are really difficult for beginners (like jersey or silk), so you don’t want to overwhelm your crafty person if they just started sewing.  Unless your crafty person has been very explicit on what fabric they want (“I can’t wait to try those new Alexander Henry prints!”), then you really can’t go wrong with a gift card here for fabrics, along with one of the books I featured from part one.  Cute sewing supplies are also fun to stash in your craft kit.  Tula Pink Hardware  is a popular choice, though I don’t own any of these products myself.

Putting it all together

I’ll end this post with a pitch-perfect example – an early Christmas gift I received from Boyfriend yesterday!

Boyfriend gift.png

Boyfriend did a great job in selecting treats he knew I would both need and enjoy.  I’ve been looking for a cute sewing box to store my materials but I dislike a lot of the frillier ones out there – so the one he got for me is perfect.  I always, always welcome a ball of yarn into my stash, and I’m really digging the color palette for this Sweet Roll.  Apollo chewed up my knit counter the other day, so the sturdier one that Boyfriend purchased will (hopefully) withstand the teeth of a willful dachshund (also if I, you know, actually store it somewhere other than my coffee table).  Boyfriend knows I want to start my craft business one day, so I’m really excited to dig into this book.  And finally, a gift card!  Thank you Boyfriend! You’re pretty awesome. 🙂

And that, my friends, is it!  Good luck with your shopping and let me know how it goes!  I’ll see you Monday! Happy holidays!


Crafting From My Stash -Snowflake Garland

I think all crafters have the same essential drive – the need to accumulate as many craft supplies and projects as their home can reasonably fit without looking it was recently featured on “Hoarders.”

I love new projects.  The package is always shiny, the supplies neatly ensconced in the packet.  And I’m obsessed with craft magazines from the U.K.  You get a free little kit with each issue you purchase.  It’s how I first got back into crafting, after years of feeling like my creativity was sapped – first with engineering school, then with the angsty first half of my twenties, when I would just write deep* poetry about how love was MEANINGLESS and I was going to be alone FOREVER.  Once I had reached the second half of my twenties, the angst faded and I found the urge to be creative again, as I’d been when I was a kid.

I started buying CrossStitcher magazines, intrigued by the beautiful kits.  I then become obsessed with cross-stitching and with the satisfaction that came with completing projects, and started buying every issue.  Soon I started buying other magazines here and there, like Mollie Makes and Simply Crochet, and my number of potential projects grew.

Fast-forward four years later, when I have all these magazines and free kits stored and I’m thinking…do I really need to buy more craft magazines?  Spoiler alert – no, since I have enough potential projects to last at least a decade.  This post is the first of an on-going series – crafting from my stash – in which I decide that I must work on a project that I already own, instead of buying a new project.  I’ve already committed myself to not buying any more craft magazines unless the kit is a must-have (i.e. one of my favorite makers designed it) and I will make it the night I purchase it.  So far I’ve gone two months without buying a craft magazine, which is the longest I’ve gone since 2012.

I found myself wanting to purchase CrossStitcher this past month because they had a cute Christmas-related kit.  I reminded myself that I had several at home that I hadn’t completed – why not work on one of those?  Instead of purchasing the magazine, I came home and dug out an unopened kit from my stash.  Voila!!!!


This beautiful snowflake garland project was part of a kit that I purchased with CrossStitcher, Christmas 2012 edition.



I felt really happy completing this project.  I saved money by not purchasing another magazine, I used up a project from my stash.  It took about 6 total hours to make the garland.  Now I have a pretty project that I can use for future Christmases.  This particular issue also has some really adorable projects, and I’ve committed myself to making more of the projects that come with an issue as well.


close-up*It was not deep.

What I’ve Been Up To

Hello my friends!

In the wise words of Staind, it’s been awhile.

I’ve been keeping busy with work. I was at my site last week. And if you’re wondering if it rained, the answer is always, “BUT OF COURSE.”  There was torrential rain the weekend before we went into the field.  It was also cold and windy.

And look what I saw:


I’m not a snake expert but various sources (project manager, Boyfriend) are telling me this is a rattlesnake.  This will sound weird, but I’m actually kind of excited by that?  Because I feel like everyone who has worked at this site has seen a snake except for me, and I was starting to feel left out, you know?

He stayed coiled up for the duration of our work, but then on Friday, he had inexplicably vanished.  Which didn’t make us feel weirded out or nervous or anything.

Then I was studying for an exam. I haven’t taken one in almost ten years.  Luckily I passed, yay!  So now I am Jenny, STS (Safety Trained Supervisor).  And THEN I had to prepare to teach a 4 hour class held the day after my exam. I really wanted to just pass coloring books out to everyone but unfortunately I couldn’t get away with that.  And it was a HAZWOPER (Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response) refresher, so what would we color?  Contaminated soil? (The class ended up being 3 hours and fifteen minutes including the lunch break, shhhhhh.)  Things aren’t slowing down at work before the new year – I only have four reports due next week, NBD.  But no complaints from me. I feel the most engaged with my work when it keeps me busy.

This has absolutely nothing to do with my blog post except that Boyfriend’s alarm has been going off for the past ten minutes and he can sleep through THE NUCLEAR WINTER and I’ve been too lazy/busy writing this post to turn it off, and now finally he has turned it off, THANK YOU CHRISTMAS ELVES.

And now pictures of my creative projects:


I am working on this cute project from an older issue of CrossStitcher.  It should be done by Christmas.  At least I can keep it up until New Year’s.



I’m working on a project from Knit-Wise.  It’s my first knitted hat.  It’s also my first time knitting in the round and working with the ribbed stitch.


“…and I can tell.”  That is what you are all thinking.  It’s okay. My feelings aren’t hurt or anything.

Maybe blocking will make the stitches appear straighter? Or am I expecting miracles?

And finally, our tree, which we only put up on Tuesday –


I made that snowflake ornament using a kit I’d purchased at Joann.

I think that’s it for now! I hope your holiday season is going well so far and you’ve consumed a reasonable amount of eggnog.