Saturday, February 25, 2017

My love affair with cork leather

If you follow me on Instagram, you will already know of my new found love for everything cork (also known as cork leather, vegan leather, or cork fabric).  So, I thought I'd explain why I'm so enamoured with this stuff.

Some of you may be asking what is she talking about so here are some pictures of cork leather to help you out:



Some facts about cork:
  • Sustainable product.  Cork is harvested from a cork tree once every 9 years.  This process does no damage to the tree. There are cork tree forests in Portugal that are over 2000 years old!  Although, from the information that I have, I believe most trees are harvested for up to 300 years.  That's still one heck of a long time though. 
  • It is 100% natural product. I'm always looking for alternatives to synthetics.
  • It is strong. Cork leather is as strong as its leather counterparts.  There have been some discussions on pre-mature wear in the corners, but I believe this has to do with heat (iron) being applied to the cork and other mitigating factors (quality of the cork leather - I buy only the best). Leather and vinyl both show wear in the same fashion.
  • It is water resistent. Bags and wallets made from cork are protected.  As much as I love fabric bags, water protection is nice to have.
  • Natural anti-mildew and anti-bacterial properties.  Synthetics such as vinyl definitely can't boast of this feature. Again, this is a benefit from an all natural product.
  • It can be wiped clean. I hate it when my leather wallets starts looking dingy due to every day handling or my bag starts looking like it's older than the stars because it's gotten dirty. Cork has a smooth, surface that can usually be wiped clean with plain water.  I read one story where dark jean dye rubbed off on a white cork handbag and the dye washed off completely with a damp cloth.  Most bags would be ruined.  That's a definite bonus in my books!
  • Cork leather is PETA CERTIFIED.  Cork is an ecofriendly vegan alternative to leather or vinyl. Remember that bit about trees being harvested for approximately 300 years?  
  • Cork is STITCHABLE.  Cork leather is quite pliable and has a different type of density. So, being stitching obsessed, I had to test it for myself to see if it could be used in hand-stitching. 
The hardest part for me was figuring out how to transfer the design.  You can't exactly see through cork, so Prick and Pounce is pretty much the only way to transfer the design unless your good with free-handing it.  

There is enough stiffness in the cork to hold it in your hand and stitch. 


  

I finished it off as an open-mouthed cork bag. I decided to list this for sale on Instagram and couldn't believe how quickly it sold. 😊



I'll end this post with some pictures below of a couple of things that I've made with the cork.




This is the Slimline wallet designed by Carla's Creations. Pattern can be found on Craftsy.com.

So, that's it my friends.  What's not to love about this stuff, eh?  😊

Wishing all of you a happy weekend!

Karen

Friday, February 24, 2017

A little bit of this and a little bit of that...

I could start with the "I'm so sorry for not blogging" speech, but I think we've all heard it before. So, I won't bother you with that.  Let's just get right to the good stuff. 😊

I've been busy!  There have been some family health issues that have been dealt with, but are still ongoing.  Then there was the regular Christmas business that happens every year.  This year was a bit more busy for me because I worked Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year's Eve, and New Year's Day.  Some would say who hates me so much at work lol.  But that's not the case at my place of work.  Since I work a shift work rotation, it is just the way it worked out.  My rotation just so happened to land on all of those days.  Go figure!?!  Nobody complains when it's their turn to work it because we all know it's inevitable.

Now, that takes me up to January.  In January, the family health stuff was number one on my plate and pretty well takes me right into February.  February has been busy too.  I'm not sure if any of you follow the East Coast weather forecasts, but we had some brutal weather!  Ice storms and flash freezes....  and then so much snow I swear we were buried alive.  Oddly, here we are at the end of February with absolutely beautiful spring-like weather.  Our massive amounts of snow and ice are melting.  The temperatures were in the low double digits today.  Just absolutely fantastic to see.  

Amidst all of this insanity, I have managed to sew and stitch a few things.  It's time to bombard you with pictures. 😏

I'll begin with an update on my stitching:

First up is Birdhouse from Just Cross Stitch Ornament Preview Issue October 2007. An unwritten goal (I guess it's written now though lol) is that I'd like to stitch more from my magazine collection in 2017.  I have accumulated goodness knows how many magazines and rarely stitch anything from them. So, this pretty little design is the first to be stitched for that challenge.


Now, those that follow me have seen this one before.  I started Santa's Secret, a Dimensions kit, just before Christmas.  I made quite a bit of progress, but bored of it as the Christmas season came to an end.  It is one that I will definitely finish for next Chrsitmas. 


The next picture is of a pair of hearts that I embroidered onto a handmade pillowcase as a Valentine's Day stitching project.  The transfer design is one that I had printed off ages ago and don't remember the source.

I guess this is a little out of order, because this is what I picked up when I set Santa's Secret aside.  This Easter Egg was a Drawn Thread kit aptly called The Easter Egg Sampler.  Some may say it's a bit too early for Easter stitching, but it called to me... and the rest is history.


Now, for my next magazine challenge. Here is Bloom Pincushion from Just Cross Stitch March/April 2011 issue.  It is Volume 29 Issue 2 for anyone that would like to know.  As you can see there are still a few stitches left in this one, but it will be done soon.


Now, Seville is one that I've been working on for awhile.  I haven't quite finished page 2, but I'm getting close.  I'm stitching this on 36 count linen and I find I have to set it aside after a bit of stitching.  I guess my eyes aren't as good as they used to be 😡.  For those that would like to know, Seville is from a Just Cross Stitch magazine as well.  It is in the June issue of 2015.  Also, I'm using DMC 744 as my thread of choice for this pattern.


I think this will be the last pic I'll share with you tonight.  It looks pretty plain and boring, I'm sure.  But this little stack of white cotton is actually five pillowcases I made last night.  I really wanted a pair of Valentine's pillowcases, but only had the one pillowcase made up.  So, last night I busied myself by making five more. Five blank slates all set for embroidery.  😊


 I'll leave you with that cause I know it's a lot to sift through.  Tomorrow, I'll be back with an update on a few other things I've been working on.

Wishing you a wondeful weekend!

Karen