Wednesday, November 16, 2016

A birthday.

Today is a birthday at my house.  Or, at the Boy Wonder's house!  

He is 24 today.  

Time sure flies.

Here he is taking a selfie...before the word 'selfie' even existed. I am going to guess he was 8.  

Happy Birthday! 

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

A picture...or 20... and everyone should have friends like this.

Where to begin.  It's only been a week or so since my last post but it's time to post about my October finishes and stuff like that.

But first...

I have to give a couple friends a high-five and a big thank you.

Yesterday I arrived at my Monday do-good community service locale close to 20 miles from home with a nearly flat tire.

The way things work in my that I will iron the shirts and my husband will maintain the cars.  So, this city girl had little skills when it came to what to do aside from call AAA.  First I asked my friend Lisa to go get air with me.  Yeah Lisa!  She had the skills I lacked.  When it became obvious air wasn't going to solve my problem she hooked me up with a local tire repair shop and we took my car over.  Then, when the car wasn't finished after our day of good two friends hung with me at the neighboring bar  coffee shop.  So sweet.  Everyone needs besties like this...can't thank you enough Lisa and Sally.

On to my October accomplishments.

My October small is Joy by Lizzie Kate from the 2007 JCS ornament issue.

Darn those dreaded corners.  If you don't put trim on the edge, no matter how accurate you are when sewing, the corners don't stuff or turn nicely.

My finish from my pile of unfinished pieces was this cute little Miss Crescent Colour's piece called Tick, Tack, Snow.  It finished up very nicely as an ornament.

I trimmed the edges with this bead-like trim.

I also stitched a Lizzie Kate that just called out to me from a basket of kits...Don't Get Your Tinsel in a Tangle.  This piece gave my tons of fits.  While gently tugging a knot I ripped 2 threads in the fabric!  Oh, man!  There are a variety of possible solutions but I decided to put a piece of fusible web on the back...which was strong enough to hold the stitches... then I put a second piece on just to secure the stitches.  The 'Stitch a Gift' frame came with a piece of fusible batting that is also applied to the back of the piece.  Those stitches are not coming out.  I just couldn't get a decent photo to dare you to find the repaired area.  Because it's under the white thread the picture was just too blurry.

This finish also had to go into a couple of ice baths because first the green then the red ran.  The piece got a drop of water on it from my ironing board cover.  I tried to just work on that spot but then the red had to get into the act.  It was so close to going into the garbage.

I also took a couple finishes to be framed.  Lady Bug, Lady Bug came out so sweet.  I can't wait until summer rolls around again to hang it on the wall.

I think this dark green frame is one of my favorites. 

Since Christmas is coming I also took Country Cottage Needlework's Christmas Carol in for framing.

Love that light green frame and the little white insert.

I almost forgot two other little pieces I recently completed...

Liberty by Midsummer Night Designs.

And, Cat Tricks by With Thy Needle and Thread.

Poor kitty dressed up like a pumpkin!

That has certainly turned out to be a lot of projects finished all of a sudden.  Now I will probably go back to feeling like everything is taking forever.  I have quite a few large pieces in the works but am trying to take time away to work on smaller pieces now and again.  I've pulled several Christmas patterns that I hope to stitch in the next couple of months.

Happy Stitching.


Thursday, October 20, 2016

September's small and finish.

I have stayed on track with a finish out of my unfinished pile and a finished small each month.  But, as the year goes on it is taking me longer and longer to get them finished...often into the first days of the next month.  October is liable to be a complete fail unless I come up with something fast.  It is an all around busy month.

My finish out of the pile is this cute little Christmas piece stitched earlier this year.  Primitive Stocking by Waxing Moon Designs.

My small is another patriotic piece.  Liberty Flag by Lizzie Kate.  I used all the same elements as the two previous patriotic finishes.

I now have a trio of matching little pillows.

I have not come up with a small yet for October.  I was looking through my old Just Cross Stitch ornament issues and think I'll pick an easy one since it's already the 20th!

Happy Stitching,


Monday, October 3, 2016

A little finish and a little organizing.

First, my table runner finish.  A fun fall applique.  I like any and all patterns that feature an old pick up filled with something....pumpkins, a Christmas tree, etc.

I bought a kit with the pattern at a nearby quilt shop.

I have to say, though, SHAME on my local quilt shop!  First, they cut width of fabric when it should have been fats.  Just fat 8th, no less.  Neither that truck nor the house can fit on an eighth yard width of fabric. I had to cut off part and make a seam to have the width.  Come on!  Secondly, nowhere did the kit say:  You better work on this with your stash nearby.  Or:  Warning!  Don't take this on a get-a-way or retreat because we have not included various bits of fabric that you'll need.  For shame.  And they do plenty of belly aching about how shoppers are quick to go to the Internet to shop.

Anywho, on to the cross stitch portion of this post.

I know we all struggle with how to organize our stuff.  Our patterns, our fabric, our ongoing projects and UFO's.  I am planning a major sewing room over-haul this fall/winter.  I have a wall of metal shelves that we will remove and replace with tall cabinets with doors.  I opted for the metal shelves in the first place because I like seeing my stuff.  I operate under the theory that out of sight is out of mind. Fast forward a bunch of years and my stuff has taken over and just looks messy.

So, first I needed to deal with a huge over-flowing basket of cross stitch patterns.

I bought a couple file boxes and created files for the more popular designers and a miscellaneous file for each season.

Some kits and books are in the back...Oh, look!  I worked hard to find that book with French words. I like foreign words in stitching.  I need to pull that book out and stitch something.

My boxes look so neat and tidy.  Then I spied some more patterns on my table.  Drat.  I hate to put them away because I really want to stitch these now!

But, what about the baskets by my upstairs stitching chairs?

Not one,

but two baskets of 'nexts'.

Wait...what about the basket on the trunk by that very same chair?  I really did cringe and wished not to look.

You have no idea what is in there!  Some big pieces, some patterns, and some kits.

I am trying.  Trying to stitch like a crazy person.  I can't say I'm not buying because there are new things every day!

I've been watching Floss Tube and I've gotta say...I have nothing compared to some stitchers!  Next year is a new year with a new plan to stitch more than I buy.  Seems reasonable, right?  We'll see.


Friday, September 23, 2016

Pictures a plenty.

I have framing and stitching progress!  I rarely snap a photo of a project in the works but for my HEAD there really does need to be progress photos as it's a project that will take a couple years.

First, the framing.  I am so excited to have this long neglected WIP done-done-done.

Glendon Place's Murky Manor sat in a box neglected for 5+  years.  I hauled it to Florida last winter and worked diligently.  I put it aside for a while and reluctantly got busy and finally finished it this spring.

The frame is a lovely rustic purple that matches the fabric.  The fabric that was TORTURE to work on!  I have a whole bunch left.  I am having trouble imagining what I might stitch on it.  It's 36 count, a bit small for me, and linen with no...what would you call it?...body?  So flimsy and floppy.

The next piece is Jenny Bean's Garden Sampler by Shakespeare's Peddler.

This was another piece that was not enjoyable to work on.  Not so much the stitching or the fabric...more the pattern.  There were missing symbols on the key and it was printed (copied?) onto cheap copy paper so it was a mess by the time I was done.

I chose another rustic frame...this one is really green, not the blue pictured, and matches the fabric nicely.

Finally, Up on the Rooftop by Drawn Thread.

This is one of those patterns that you knock out the alphabet in no time and then are surprised by how long the rest takes.

Another rustic frame but isn't that red just perfect?  I need to get a nap brush for Santa's beard.  It's on my shopping list for when I make another trip to my somewhat LNS.

I finally managed to pull out my HEAD.  Vibrant Vista's is my first Heaven and Earth Design.  I have long admired HEAD patterns and knew I'd start one someday.  I purchased this pattern along with a Christmas one.  I forget the title...Town Square maybe.  It's not available anymore but I hope I get through this one so I can do that one, too.

Below is my progress so far.  Page 1 and page 2.

 It doesn't look like much does it?  A funny thing happened between page 1 and page 2.  I discovered the Goodreader app on my ipad.  It was love at first use.  So, when Heaven and Earth had a sale I purchased Vibrant Vista's as a pdf.  The strange thing is that my paper version is large print so I bought the large print pdf version but the pages are spaced differently.  I thought I'd complete the full page 2 to match the paper version size but flipping from page to page on the app was a pain. (Really, just flipping from page 2 to page 9 to get the bottom of the design.)  Also, my paper page 2 divided the tree while the app's page 3 encompassed the whole tree top so I thought I'd just leave the tree until page 3.  Make sense?  Anyhow, that's why my page 2 block looks shorter than my page 1 block.  I am also trying out 'parking'.  When I get to the tree there are lots of odds and ends of stitches.  So far, I'm finding the stray threads a pain.  So, we'll see.

I am using the Magic Grid fabric available from the Heaven and Earth shop.  The blocks are 20 by 20.  I don't feel the need to only work within a block.  I can work across each color like a regular pattern but I do stop near the edge of the page...or just a few stitches into the next page.  I am trying to avoid the lines that form when you stop stitching in a straight line.

Finally, I have also been stitching away on my Jeanette Douglas Florida Sampler.

I think this section is the last of the complicated rows and also marks the half way point.  I have just started the two 1 over 1 parrots sitting in the trees.

My very cute little needle threader is hiding my initials.  Do I even need to write about those?  You guessed it.  Stylized letters and NO ALPHABET GRAPH in the pattern.  OMG.  Why is that optional when the initials are part of the pattern????????

So, to help with that I purchased this book by Leisure Arts.

I found letters that were sized correctly and worked with the overall look of the pattern.

The book is full of all sorts of alphabets from simple to fancy.  There are cute ones, serious ones, bold, and fine lettered ones.  I know I will get plenty of use from this book for years to come.

Hard to believe September is almost over.  Fall might actually be in the air this weekend in Western NY.  It's been a long hot summer, that's for sure.  Some fall weather would be very welcome in these dry parched parts of NY.

Happy Stitching.


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Something I've never shown.

A post or two ago I posted some photos of a finish that I'd propped in an old china cabinet in my entryway.  An observant stitcher spied something on display on that cabinet so here it is:

My Betsy Ross child's sewing machine.  Besides the super ucky green spool of thread that came with it, it's in fabulous shape and as cute as can be, to boot.  The green thread is on a wooden spool and came on the machine so I left it but maybe I should just pull the thread off and leave the empty wooden spool?)

Next to the machine is my grandmother's old school text book.  Way back the 20's...dressmaking was a regular class.

When I opened it up I found a cloth bookmark with some practice hem stitches.  It's almost at the very end of the book.  Given how well my grandmother could sew, I bet she really did read this entire book.

The copyright is 1927 and the information written in the front cover says my grandmother was in 7th grade when she was given this book in school.

Interestingly complaisant participants were imagined by the artist.

Anyone who does cross stitch finishing could still use this section.

Finally, aren't we all thankful we don't have to iron using this?!?!?

Man, that thing must have been heavy.  I bet everyone remembers someone using one as a doorstop.

I will soon show some framing and maybe a couple wee quilt finishes.


Saturday, September 10, 2016

Catching up continues.

I am starting to feel caught up with pictures and projects.

I managed to stitch and finish a small for August and I also finished something out of my neglected smalls pile.

My small was another free pattern by Mani di Donna called 4th of July.  I was determined to finish it just the same as my last Patriotic finish but had an oops.  I trimmed the fabric too close to the stitched edge and I feel like the impact of the edge is lost in the ribbon.

I made it using the same fabric and the same finish as my July small.  I don't think the scale between the two is really that different.  It is a bit exaggerated in this photo.

My finish from my unfinished and neglected smalls isn't really all that old.  I stitched this in January of this year.  Sue Hillis Design's 'The Stockings Are Hung' which is a little Post Stitches pattern.

I did not look at anyone's instructions in particular but I can say it's a combination of what I've learned by using Judy O'Dell's finishing instructions and having done some finishing lead by Mona of The Silver Needle.

Love the cording made from DMC 347 which is one of the reds used in the pattern.

So, I'm working on some more projects which I will try to get posted soon.  I am hoping to spend the day puttering in my sewing room so will attempt to prepare some future posts.

Right now I am watching a flosstube by Vonna.  She's making me think about getting organized!  I'm so easily influenced!  Not to mention how I just sort of pile stuff here and there with no organization what-so ever!