Easy Embroidery Hoop Art.

This little embroidery hoop craft can be used in a billion different ways, and the best part is you don’t have to do any embroidering at all, lol. Perfect for any quilter or sewer who has a major stash of fabric fabrics.

Hoops 3 B

I went on my very first “Art Crawl” this summer.  I was delighted to find out that actual crawling was not required.  Totally optional.


I wasn’t worried for myself so much as my mother.  I’m happy to crawl around the gritty streets in the name of art, but my mother prefers to reserve crawling for when she’s drunk.  That way she always knows when she’s drunk.

If you’ve never been or don’t know what an Art Crawl is, I can only speak of my own experience.  The Art Crawl I went to was in Hamilton, Ontario in an area of the city that was once populated by hookers, crackheads and thugs.

NOW it’s populated by hookers, crackheads, thugs and artists.

Once a year they shut down the street for a giant Art Crawl so all of the artists, and shops in the area can showcase their wares and talents.  There are art installations, architectural tours, artists doing their “art thing” live and in person and of course there’s stuff for sale.  I have to admit other than frequenting the Mexican restaurant on the street, I hadn’t wandered around the area much.  What with the crackheads and hookers and all.

No.  NO.  I have nothing for your pipe.  Go away.  

And you?  Yes, you and your hot pink, long haired cheetah shrug are very attractive but I tend to like my hookers on the less scabby side.

So.  I stayed away from James Street in Hamilton.  Until either the craving for nachos or art hit me.

Late this summer my mother and both of my sisters headed down to see the art.  You know what I loved the most?  The sewing store.  It’s called Needlework if you’re interested and they have a VERY cute blog.

So after 6 hours at the “Art Crawl” I walked away with a beautiful pair of Gingher scissors, 6 embroidery hoops and a sack of scrap fabric.  And a belly full of hot dog.  Naturally raised and cared for mind you.

I know I got some other stuff, but it’s the things from the sewing store I remember because walking into this particular store was like walking into a blog.  A really great blog.  Which is ironic because there, hanging over their cash was an idea I *knew* I was going to show you on my own blog.


Sometimes the simplest things are the best.  This is one of those things.


Hoops 2 B


I have no shame in admitting to you it took me over half an hour to pick out my fabrics.

But if you’re not quite as crazy in the head as me … it shouldn’t take you as long.

And look! With a few accessories (all from Ikea) you can even make them festive!

I’m not normally big on words on walls, but THIS I happen to love.


Merry Final 2

Granted the Christmas version is Photoshopped.  But to do a similar version all you’d need is white fabric and either fabric paint and a stencil or a fabric pen and a steady hand.  Or if you can get your hand on iron on letters that’d be a quick way to do it too.

The point is, the possibilities truly are endless with these little quilting hoops. You could use them to frame antique handkerchiefs or favourite tee shirts from your youth, or tea towels for the kitchen.  OMG!  I just thought of a brilliant one (that I don’t want to share until I try it to see if it works).  This is tooooo much.  Honestly my head could explode from all the things you could do here.


Oops. There it goes.

So if you’re looking for a cheap homemade present for someone THIS is should be your go-to gift this year. Courtesy of me, a sewing shop and a faux fur wearing hooker.

I mean Art Crawl.



  1. get more space dropbox photos says:

    Hi friends, its impressive piece of writing regarding teachingand fully defined, keep it up all the time.

  2. Maria says:

    I know someone who is looking for scrap fabric for her class. Can I purchase that at this store/how much per bag? Secondly, is IKEA currently selling those trees? Are they faux or real? Adorable!

    • Karen says:

      I’m not sure if they sell bags, Maria, but they sell small pieces of fabric. I’m not sure if Ikea is carrying these little trees this year, but I would guess so! ~ karen

  3. Liz says:

    Brilliant…I have a trunk full of needlepoint and embroidery, much of it vintage stuff and wonderful. But..it’s still in the trunk because I haven’t been able to frame/make into cushions/otherwise display it. This would work! Karen, you have solved a huge problem and made it into an exciting project. I am so happy. Thanks…and ignore the people with no sense of humour, life is too short to take it seriously.

  4. Jennifer says:

    Love the hoops…interesting comments…but lets get to the important stuff….”my boyfriend”….I noticed this referenced last summer….but I couldn’t help but notice there was no “Ex” mentioned. No chance you and The Fella got back together is it?

    • Karen says:

      Oh God no. This post is from last year. :) I’m not quite crazy enough to go back and erase him from my life completely. If he was in past posts he will remain there. ~ karen!

  5. Nicole2 says:

    Well, I love shopping in cool areas. I love to support the little guy, the independent local shops, etc. But I won’t be going on James Street any time soon. Not because of the hookers and the crackheads, but because of the snooty, uptight artisans. Crack a smile, people!

  6. WittyMermaid says:

    Way to go, Artisans. Now you’ve done it. Because of your tender feelings, you’re getting free publicity ripped from your bloody, hard-working fingers.

    Do you really think people, in general, are that dumb and don’t know about the areas they intend to frequent? People have visited your stores in spite of the area–obviously braving these less desirable elements in order to be part of the culture. In America, artisans who are fortunate enough to live in areas without these unique challenges live in Beverly Hills, where most of us can afford nothing. We’re grateful for the junkies and hookers who make prices reasonable.

    You should be grateful for the free publicity–especially the one of you who decided to use your fume to advertise your store. Be settled in knowing that’s a place I won’t visit–and it won’t be because of surrounding people with drug problems, rather because of an owner with a bad attitude.

  7. Erica J. says:

    I just read the whole post and the only part that stood out to me was that I bought that IKEA tree too. I’m looking at it right now! Then I went back and now I’m looking at my week schedule for when I have time to spend in the fabric store. Thanks for the project idea!

    • Karen says:

      LOL. Thanks Erica J. Isn’t that Ikea tree GREAT?! I also bought a bunch of the matching wreaths. They’re perfect! ~ karen

  8. Faye says:

    I just bought a bunch of embroidery hoops – all sizes – at the the Thrift Store! Thanks for the fab ideas!!!!!

  9. Those are such unique fabrics, awesome choices!

  10. korrine says:

    I did this! I have an addiction to hand embroidering and also to buying fat quarters of fabrics I love. I had a big blank wall in the bedroom so I went and spent less than $10 on hoops and now I have a collage of fabrics on the wall that I love. I also once made a clock like this. All you have to do is add the clock kit and you are good to go.

  11. Hollie says:

    As someone who lives and owns a small business downtown, I find the tone of this post a little offensive. You are perpetuating negative stereotypes with this, instead of wholeheartedly encouraging people to spend time there. There are many people working tooth and nail to change people’s perceptions of downtown Hamilton, and someone with a voice as well-respected as yours should use their recognition a little more wisely than to openly slander an area with which you are admittedly unfamiliar with.

    • Karen says:

      Oh Hollie. Lighten up. And just so it’s clear I’m not going to come even close to apologizing for the tone of my post. What I say, although in jest, is not a stereotype. The area, may be in transition, but it is, exactly as I’ve described it. An area with emerging artists and crackheads and hookers. The day it is only artists, I will make mention of it. I can firmly say as someone who has lived in Hamilton and the Hamilton area for 43 years … I’m pretty sure I’m familiar with it. I’ve worked for years in the very area we’re speaking of. I have friends who live and work there right now. My boyfriend who is 6’4″ and 250 pounds was challenged to a fight by 2 men at NOON, on a Saturday, at Christmastime just last year. All he was doing was walking into the mall. I went to the Art Crawl, I enjoyed the art crawl and I said so. I didn’t tell people to stay away. I told them the truth. So yeah … I stand behind my satirical, yet accurate description of the area. ~ karen

      • Hollie says:

        Hi Karen,

        Thanks for replying. You’re right, I should lighten up sometimes. But I hold some things dear to my heart, as I’m sure you do as well, and when I feel they are unfairly being poked fun at, I react. I wasn’t looking for an apology, just letting you know that your words also have the ability to do as much harm as they do good.

        There are certainly characters downtown, as there are in any downtown of any city. It’s what makes a downtown interesting.

        I invite you to visit my shop, White Elephant, and we could talk about it in person sometime if you ever wanted. James Street North is certainly not there yet, but it is changing. We’ve been there almost five years and have so much positive change in that time. So it is sometimes frustrating to see how it is still viewed by people who are not there every day, trying to make things better.

        And just a factual error in the post – the event you attended sounds like Supercrawl. Art crawls happen on the second Friday of every month, year-round, and are much smaller and low-key. Supercrawl is an arts and music festival that happens once a year in September.

      • Katherine says:

        You contradict yourself….for someone that only wanders “down there” for Mexican food, how do you know of the great things changing in the area. Or how do you even “know the area well” at all?

        I too find your tone offensive!

      • Karen says:

        Katherine -You needn’t worry. I’ve made a conscious decision not to promote the Art Crawl or any of the artisans on James Street anymore. The hookers and crackheads though? They get my full support. Any time I’m down there in the small grocery stores, the vagrants have been much more personable than the majority of the retailers have proven themselves to be in this comment section. The also have a wayyyyyyy better sense of humour. And as a final point … if the area wasn’t in transition (full of crackheads and hookers) 99% of the artisans on James Street couldn’t afford the rent there. ~ karen

  12. courtney says:

    I have to put in my two cents in.

    I live on James Street North, and yes there are a few “hookers, crackheads and thugs” as you say but it is a great part of the City. So please don’t scare people away from a part of your city that offers people some culture and an alternative to the big box stores and cookie cutter houses.

    • Karen says:

      Courtney – It’s a story. A blog post. If I meant to scare people away from downtown Hamilton I would have talked about the politicians. ~ karen

  13. Gloria says:

    This is a fantastic decorating idea…one that can be changed with the seasons or holidays, etc. Now I just have to find a wall in my house that is worthy of your brilliance!

  14. Barbie says:

    Great idea! and I love the Christmas one especially!

  15. Liz says:

    What a great idea! You could hang them in kid’s rooms-hang them upside down and use fabric that is really bright and tie (or paint) strings to them so it looks like floating balloons. Or get that stuff that will let you make photo transfers and hang photos in a family tree. I see what you mean about the ideas going non stop.
    Once when we moved I needed to hang towels in the bathroom and didn’t like the towel bar so I got two plastic embroidery hoops (they were dusty rose-what can I say it was the eighties) and some decorative ceiling hooks used for indoor hanging plants. We put the hooks into the wall (they also came with a decorative trim plate) and hung a hoop from the hook and voila instant towel ring!

  16. Amy in StL says:

    I’m sure this is a weird question, but do you have drywall in your house? It just seems like you change the things on your walls often; on a whim even. I just bought an old house that has plaster walls and I struggled to hang things without damaging my walls so I can’t imagine moving them often. If you have plaster walls, do you have secrets to share about hanging things on them. (Note: I almost ended after the word share but then realized you might unload something I didn’t want to know.)

    • Karen says:

      Amy – yeah. I’m pretty good about sharing unwanted things. Take a look at this post firstly … https://www.theartofdoingstuff.com/hows-it-hangin/ . Plaster is a pain. Some of my walls are plaster and some are drywall. On both for light things I use the 3M removable adhesives. That’s what I used for the embroidery hoops. Just stuck a 3M removable tab on the top and bottom of the embroidery hoop. They hold very well and don’t leave a mark when you remove them (if you remove them properly). ~ karen!

  17. Linda says:

    Nice choice of fabrics! Great art is a process Karen, 1/2 an hour is not a long time to produce great art. That’s what you are Karen, great! Am I grating on your nerves yet?

  18. Jake says:

    Found all the bits of your head, you can have them back for a good price. Nice craft by the way.

  19. Brenda says:

    Karen, you crack me up. I LOVE reading your blog. I wish we lived closer, and knew each other, because the living closer part would only work if we knew each other….because our humor is very similar and we could be BF’s (I’d have to reserve the last F until later, because maybe it wouldn’t work out, then I would regret giving you BFF status right off the bat). Okay, that was not creepy at all. I’m not sure what you have in mind for the hoops, but I thought of pretty underwear or printed boxers in the hoops for the bedroom wall…clean, of course. Yeah, still not creepy. Right?

  20. Dawna Jones says:

    At first I thought you had lost your mind,but after looking at the examples I think they are kind of cute. The hoops could be even great painted black to add a little bit more pizazz.

    Sorry about the lost your mind comment your still my favorite blogger.

  21. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    This is so cute and easy..I love the fabric with feathers on it..I will check out the thrift shops for cheep wooden hoops!!

  22. FLP says:

    As a quilter, I visit that shop regularly. Great atmosphere and the latest fabrics.

  23. Bonnie says:

    What I find truly fascinating is that you have a daily blog, and you can wait months before you tell us about an adventure from the summer. I mean if I had a blog I would be scrambling each day to post, which is most likely why I don’t blog,but I digress. Ok,that is reason #2.
    You are fascinating on so many levels.
    My lack in use of a variance of vocabulary words is #3.

    Can’t wait to use my embroidery hoops for something useful, now that I have regained my lost blogging time.


  24. Laura Bee says:

    So pretty! I miss you on the weekends, but at least you are usually doing stuff to share with us.

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