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  • Quotes to Create With…

    I collect sayings, quotes, wisdom—whatever you like to call those supposedly profound lines that profess to contain a kernel of truth in only a few words. They’re great to use on paper projects like cards, scrapbook pages, ATCs, or collage. They can be embroidered or cross stitched on fabric. And I’ve painted them on all sorts of surfaces. Check out some of my favs:

    • Dance as if no one were watching! Sing as if no one were listening! And live each day as if it were your last!

    • A weed is no more than a flower in disguise.

    • Half of life is just showing up…

    • And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.

    • Life is rather like a tin of sardines, and we’re all looking for the key.

    • Some people walk in the rain, others just get wet.

    • Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.

    • To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.

    • Life is “trying things to see if they work.”

    • If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked something.

    • Time flies when you don’t know what you're doing.

    • People who snore always fall asleep first.

    • Don’t marry someone you can live with—marry the person you cannot live without.

    • If an article is attractive, or useful, or inexpensive, they'll stop making it tomorrow; if it's all three, they stopped making it yesterday.

    • Tell a man there are 300 billion stars in the universe, and he’ll believe you. Tell him a bench has wet paint on it, and he'll have to touch it to be sure.

    • The odds of going to the store for a loaf of bread and coming out with only a loaf of bread are three billion to one.

    Do you have any cool quotes that you really like? Please share!

    (The photo images are from Mary Engelbreit’s Home Creations—12 designs to cross stitch. Learn more about Home Creations and our other Mary Engelbreit pattern books and products on! They’re all on sale!)

  • Recycled Linen Pincushion Project

    As I wander my way through flea markets, auctions, estate sales, and other great junky locations, I’m always running up on vintage embroidered linens, but I wouldn’t ever let myself have them because I wasn’t sure what to do with them, plus they are often just a little bit too worn to display…but thanks to our designer friend Becky, I now have the perfect project for vintage linens—Recycled Linen Pincushions!

    Just think what great little keepsakes you could make from this pattern using the tattered family treasures from the attic!

    All you need is:


    • acrylic paint & brush
    • wooden frame
    • heavy cardstock
    • embroidered linen
    • tape or glue
    • fiberfill


    1. Paint frame and allow to dry completely.

    2. Cut an oval of cardstock the same size as the opening in the back of your frame.

    3. Leaving about 1/2" of extra fabric around the pattern, use cardstock oval as a pattern and cut out an oval from embroidered linen with your design in the center.

    4. Leaving an opening for stuffing, tape or glue extra fabric edges to back of cardstock.
    5. Stuff and tape or glue opening closed.
    6. Place pincushion in frame.


    I love the little embroidered flower basket that Becky chose for this project. It makes this pincushion perfect for an Easter present!

  • Mary Engelbreit Pillow Patterns & Book Sale!

    All Leisure Arts Mary Engelbreit pattern books are on sale at 50% off regular retail price, so I’m shopping the sale for a whimsical pillow design to add to my guest bedroom décor.

    Loving this Toile Basket pillow from Home Creations to cross stitch! (That it’s made with shades of green, of course, gets my attention!)

    Like the whole black and white thing going on with this embroidered Four-Square Pillow from The Art of Embroidery!

    I’ve never done needle felting before, but I’m kind of tempted to try learning how to do it with these pillows from Artistic Needle Felting

    Or I could bribe a sewing buddy to make this pretty Appliqued Sheet Set for me from Sew, So Cute! (I can just picture The Cat…The Black Cat…lounging right where that dog is in the photo!)

    What do you think? Which would you pick?

    And while you’re here, be sure to check out all of the pattern books in the Mary Engelbreit Sale!

  • Fav Mary Engelbreit Things…

    Since all of our Leisure Arts Mary Engelbreit books are on sale, I’ve been going through them trying to decide if there’s anything I want to make, and, now, I can’t decide where to start first ’cause they’re filled with so many fun ideas. Here are a few of my favorite Mary Engelbreit things so far:

    From The Art of Embroidery

    I been looking for something wonderful to use to display my milk glass collection on, and I think I’ve found it in this pretty Table Runner embroidered on black cotton fabric with white stem stitches and French Knots. It’s just one of the 29 projects to embroider in The Art of Embroidery.

    From Treasured Keepsakes

    Love these simple Put Your Heart In It stones. They’re just spray painted and stamped. (This project will put to good use all of the rocks the kids have brought home with them over the years!). Plus Treasured Keepsakes offers up 11 additional ways to treasure your memories.

    From Home Creations

    This Seasons of Life shadowbox is right up my alley! I’ve got vintage crochet hooks, old wooden thread spools, and lots of bottles and buttons in my collections. I really like the little leafy cross stitch design, and there are 11 more designs to create in almost no time in Home Creations.

    From Very “Mary" Stationery

    A friend just had a baby, and I need to make her a card. I’m thinking about a New Baby Matchbook Card. This Very “Mary” Stationery book is pretty cool ’cause it comes with 19 inspirational projects for birthdays, housewarming, babies, parties, and more, along with a CD filled with an endless supply of Mary Engelbreit artwork.

    What do you think? Which one should I start on first?

  • Wordy Wednesday: Teach Yourself to Make Biscornu

    If you follow the Everyday Life at Leisure blog at all, you know I’ve got a thing for pincushions, so you know I’m thrilled to be able to announce that the book I’ve been waiting for (the ultimate pincushion book) has finally been released—Teach Yourself To Make Biscornu by Bobbie Watts! I can’t wait to dig into the instructions and learn for myself!

    Some of you are probably wondering just what a biscornu is. Well, according to the book—

    A biscornu is a little eight-sided pillow that gets its name from a French word meaning “quirky.” It can be used as a pincushion, ornament, scissor fob, sachet, or just about anything you can think to do with a tiny cushion. A basic biscornu is composed of two fabric squares that are stacked, with the top square askew, and then sewn together.

    Besides teaching you how to make a biscornu, this great book also shows you how to make your biscornu beautiful. Bobbie’s biscornu feature several different embroidery techniques (a great way to learn new stitches) and are embellished with tassels, cords, and organza pom-poms.

    Take a look at the 9 projects included in Teach Yourself to Make Biscornu:


    Bright Gem

    Orange Gem


    Green Garden

    Blue Pearls

    Stripes of Pink

    Crimson Flower

    Variegated Lattice

    Meet The Designer!
    Bobbie Watts lives in the Australian state of Tasmania, which is an island in the south. “This is the most beautiful place,” Bobbie says. “There is so much here to inspire the textile designer. Living on a hill with both land and sea views, I started designing in an attempt to capture my beautiful surroundings. … I am the founder of our local embroidery guild, which is now a branch of the Tasmanian Embroidery Guild. I’m also a member of some fiber arts groups. I teach, judge, and curate. Mainly, I work in design and contribute to most of the related magazines in Australia and in some international publications. I also have works in several galleries. … I like to use geometric shapes in my designs with a variety of techniques, threads, and stitches.”

  • Nearly Wordless Wednesday: More Biscornu!

    What is a biscornu? When it comes to needlework, a biscornu is usually a small eight-sided pillow that can be used as a pincushion, ornament, decoration, scissor fob, or sachet!

    Find out more from Bobbie Watts’ new pattern book—Teach Yourself to Make Biscornu! Coming Soon!

  • Nearly Wordless Wednesday: Biscornu

    What’s biscornu? Find out from Bobbie Watts’ new pattern book—Teach Yourself to Make Biscornu! Coming Soon!

  • July Challenge—Get Crafty for Christmas

    It’s the 1st day of July, but sometimes it seems like it’s always Christmas at Leisure Arts. We always have trees, and there’s always a holiday project of some variety hanging out in our hallways. I know it’s hard to think holidays when it’s 100+ degrees outside, but my July Challenge for you is to start your Christmas crafting now.

    Let’s celebrate Christmas in July with creativity!

    If you’re feeling Christmas crafty, check out our Creating the Happiest of Holidays series—Book 1 and Book 2. Each book features gifts to create for family, friends, and pets, food gifts plus adorable ways to wrap them up, and recipes for festive feasting!

    Take a peek at some of the goodies in Creating the Happiest of Holidays, Book 1:

    Daily Kitchen Towels

    Beautiful Throw

    Easy Apron

    Framed Heirloom Jewelry

    Knit Scarf

    Charm Bracelet

    Cat Snuggle Pillow

    Tea-Lover’s Basket

    Special Couple’s Gift

    Spinach Appetizers, Pork Tenderloin, & Reuben Dip

    Coconut Cream Cake

    Gingerbread Trees

    And just a glance at a bit of Creating the Happiest of Holidays, Book 2:

    Snowman Bell Ornament

    Sparkling Snowflakes

    Green Greetings

    Snowman Plate

    Dog Coat

    Chip & Dip Bowl

    Cheese Cookie Snacks

    Cheese Spreads

    Irish Smoothie & Chocolate Cups

    Burgundy Beef Stew & Dill & Green Onion Bread

    Chateaubriand with Creamy Caper Sauce

    Chocolate-Mint Cheese Ball

    Chocolate Petite Cheesecakes

    Lots of pretty projects and yummy food, huh? Each book features hundreds of inspirational ideas! In the Christmas spirit yet?

  • June Pincushion—The Tie One On Pincushion

    Remember that necktie lamp post from right around Father’s Day? When you make that lamp shade, partial pieces of necktie are left behind. Well, I just couldn’t let them go to waste, and the result is our Tie One On Pincushion. We’re recycling, being green, and just think what a nice keepsake or gift this pincushion would make if you crafted it from the ties of a husband, father, or son! Plus, I love the idea of a crazy quilt pattern made from silky tie fabric embellished with embroidery stitches.

    Here’s the How-To:

    Tie One On Pincushion

    • gently used neckties
    • two 6" x 6" muslin squares for foundations
    • embroidery floss and needle
    • polyester fiberfill
    • button
    • embroidery floss

    Use ¼" seam allowances throughout.

    1. Open center back seam of each tie. Discard any lining fabric. Unfold ties and press.
    2. From the ties, rough-cut 8-10 assorted-shaped pieces for the front and 2 large rectangles 6" x 3¼" for the back.
    3. With right side facing up, pin 1 assorted-shaped piece (purple dot) to the center of 1 muslin foundation.
    4. Matching right sides, angle piece 2 (red paisley) as desired over one edge of piece 1. Stitching through all layers, sew piece 2 to piece 1. Trim seam allowances to ¼". Press piece 2 open. Repeat to add piece 3.

    5. Continue to add pieces, until entire foundation is covered; press. Trim edges of pieces even with edges of foundation.
    6. Embroider as desired over each seam. Model was stitched using 6 strands of floss for Cross Stitches and Blanket Stitches and 3 strands for Stem Stitches.

    7. Sew the 2 large rectangles to the remaining foundation in the same manner as the front.

    8. Matching right sides and leaving an opening for turning, sew front and back together; clip corners. Turn, stuff, and sew opening closed.
    9. Sewing through all layers and pulling firmly to tuft, use 6 strands of floss to sew button to the center of the pincushion.

    A special thank you goes out to the folks that helped me realize my vision of this pincushion (’cause we all know I can’t sew)—Kelly (one of our pattern testers) for actually making it and Jean from our Quilt Dept. for writing the instructions. This is my favorite pincushion so far!

  • June Challenge: Be Creative in Public

    In honor of the upcoming World Wide Knit in Public Day, the Everyday Life at Leisure June Challenge is simple—crawl out of your recliner and share your creativity with the world! And I’m not just talking to the knitters out there:

    Yes, this waiting area does need a knitter in it…What a great way to make use of time waiting for appointments!

    This expanse of green grass is just crying out for a quilt to be spread out on it with a cross stitcher right in the middle! Take advantage of the wonderful natural lighting provided by being creative outside…

    Picture a crocheter on a park bench…Moms, you can let the kids play while you play with your hook and yarn.

    Imagine embroidery hoops and floss featured in this picnic area (under an open umbrella to keep the sun off if you live in a place like hot, humid, and hazy Arkansas).

    How about a quilt guild get-together around a company breakroom table? Get some handwork done during your lunch hour.

    Yes, I know I’m hitting you over the head with the idea (and being a little lazy ’cause all these photos are from in and around Leisure Arts, so enjoy the peek at us), but you get the picture, right? Share your creativity—it benefits you and those around you. You get to work on what you enjoy, and other folks get to watch you and maybe even join you in your creativity!

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