09 July 2020

Summer of Halloween: Another Finish!

This is Happy Halloween by Silver Creek Samplers, stitched with the recommended threads on 28 ct. Wren from PTP. It's in the 2013 Just Cross Stitch Special Halloween Issue, and it's also available as a separate chart. ***If you stitch this, be on the safe side and get TWO skeins of GAST Wood Trail.

I only made a couple of minor changes. I didn't stitch the tips on the kitty's ears and I moved her eyes a bit further apart (three stitches between them instead of one).

I also altered the jack-o-lantern's face just a bit.

04 July 2020

Happy Birthday, Everybody!


Also, 'cause I know y'all will ask:

Halloween finish is Happy Halloween by Silver Creek Samplers (more on that later)

Fabric for Halloween WIP is 28 ct. Murky linen by PTP (more on that later, too) (yes, it's spooky and awesome)

Hope y'all have a safe and wonderful Independence Day!

19 June 2020

Finishing Hat Trick: Inexpensive, Easy, Adorable

Isn't it fun when you find the perfect fabric for a design? Or the perfect frame for a finish? Or the perfect trim for an ornament? It's even better when you don't even know what you're looking for, and then your eye falls upon it, and your stitching brain hollers, "That's it! That's what I was looking for!" 

So in my last post, where I showed this finish, I mentioned I hadn't yet put a backing on it because I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with it. I wanted to do... something. I was out running errands the other day and happened to be in Michael's and spotted this little chalkboard tag. I recognized the shape of the top of the tag as pretty much the identical shape I had just cut around on the top of my lantern ornament. And I thought, "There it is! There's my finish!" And for a whopping $1.99! I love it when that happens!

If you're wondering what a "Hat Trick" is, it's when a hockey player scores three goals in one game. Pretty hard to do. The fans celebrate by throwing their hats onto the ice. Not sure what I should be tossing for my finishing hat trick. Maybe skeins of floss?

This makes my heart happy! The best season is almost upon us! 

16 June 2020

News You Can Use

Another wee Halloween finish! This is a Mill Hill kit called Moonstruck Manor. There's a companion kit with a kitty that's also in the to-do pile for this summer. I haven't done one of these in years but I was reminded of how fun they are to do. Haven't finished the back yet as I'm not sure what I want to do with it. 

Next project is on the Q-snaps, all ready to go!

Couple bits of news. At long last, Brooke Nolan has made her monthly birthday cake freebies available on her website. These are gorgeous freebies from years and years ago that were originally available through her members-only Yahoo group, then moved to the now-defunct Craftsy site. I have seen some of these stitched up and embellished with beads and other goodies and they are really lovely. Check out her other freebie pages while you're there. She has some great stuff for free.

Also, designer Teresa Kogut has created a series of 15 designs with 100% of the profits to be donated to each of 15 different needlework shops around the country. They're available in her Etsy shop. To see which shop each design benefits, click on the design and then on "learn more about this item" to the right of the picture. Your favorite shop may have a benefit design, but even if it doesn't, whichever one you choose helps out a small business owner. I am partial to that gardening cow!

I want to thank y'all for all the well-wishes during our quarantine. We were set free on Sunday, a couple days earlier than we expected, and we're trying to get back to a normal routine. Hope all of y'all are well and enjoying summer as much as possible. 

Bonus Tiger Lily!

10 June 2020

Summer of Hallo-Quarantine

Welp. My Summer of Halloween hasn't gotten off to the start I had hoped for or expected. We're in quarantine. Real quarantine, not voluntary stay-at-home. *sigh* Mr. Wonderful had a sorta-kinda "exposure" to a person who he later was informed is positive for the virus (both were wearing masks, no physical contact, brief encounter). He had to be tested, and even though--thankfully!--he tested negative, both of us have to remain in quarantine for the full 14 days. Since this is a happy place, we'll skip the part where I share what I think about that, and just move on to Summer of Halloween cheer!

As you may imagine, things have been a bit weird here so I didn't get off to a great start on my Halloween stitching, but I have managed one little finish. Isn't this cute? It's available here and the only change I made was to stitch the two darker kitties in black instead of dark grey. I stitched it on PTP Dawn. I love the way the oranges glow on the dark fabric. 

I also treated myself to a new pair of scissors because why shouldn't our scissors match our projects? I can't think of a reason. This pair has a black oxide finish and snips nicely at the tips. Even Mr. Wonderful thinks these are cool.

While I was digging around and pulling supplies for Halloween projects, I took a quick picture of several of my darker fabrics for comparison. Thought I'd share in case you're going to be doing some spooky stitching of your own. Top to bottom (all Picture This Plus): Dawn (linen), Haunted (linen), Mirage (lugana). Different fabrics take dye differently, so keep that in mind if you're going shopping.

So that's the latest from our house. Quarantine (it's day 8, by the way) and Halloween stitching. And weirdness. What a year. And it's only June!

31 May 2020

Spring Alphabet

Just finished this lovely Spring Alphabet sampler from Bluebird Needleworks. Ivita is becoming one of my favorite designers. I also stitched her Believe in Magic Christmas design and the gorgeous teapot calendar I'm working on (see my last post) is also hers. I am always looking forward to seeing what appears in her shop next. I loved the colors and the delicacy of Spring Alphabet, and the space. It's beautifully balanced and so soft. I stitched it with her recommended colors, on 32 ct. Vintage Pecan Butter from Lakeside Linens.

All the early spring flowers are here. Tulips...



And of course, there must be a sweet bunny. 

This is my last spring finish of the year because it's time for...

Summer of Halloween! I'm so excited. I'll still be working on my teapot calendar, and my Christmas Open House projects (which y'all can't see yet), and a couple of other things, but this summer I'm going to do a lot of Halloween stitching. I've been looking forward to it since last fall and I'm so glad the time is finally here. If you're a new-ish reader, have no fear. My Halloween tastes are what I like to call "spooky cute," that is, nothing unpleasant or gross. Just kitties and pumpkins and... a pig? Stay tuned! 

26 May 2020

Time for Tea Update

May block is finished!

Info on this design in this post.

21 May 2020

May Flowers

My favorite flower, Tiger Lily.

11 May 2020

Prescription: Chocolate

It has been a week, y'all. Mr. Wonderful messed up his back getting off a plane last week. If you've ever taken care of someone who can't move you know what my week has been like. He's finally better and able to get around by himself, slowly. No stitching at all from me, but today was a baking day, because today had to be a baking day, if you know what I mean. I tried two new recipes and am happy to report two successful bakes! 

The first one I made is Impossibly Easy Brownie Pie. This is a low-carb chocolate pie. The batter whips up almost like a mousse and it puffs beautifully in the oven. As it cools, it settles to a thin pie with a very smooth texture. It reminds me a little of my Grandmother's old fudge pie recipe. A few notes on how I baked mine:
*I am not super strict about carbs, so I use regular chocolate chips in my lower carb baking, but you could use 1/2 c. sugar-free chips.
*I omitted the optional molasses.
*I omitted the walnuts (didn't have any).
*I baked mine 20 minutes and it was perfect.

This one I made for Mr. Wonderful, who tries to watch his carbs more closely than I watch mine (at least right now)...

...and this one I made for ME. It is most definitely not low-carb or lower carb or whatever, but it is small. And it's lovely.

This is a Chocolate Snack Cake and what a nice little recipe it is. I made it according to the recipe but I would add one note: make sure to cool the melted butter mixture before adding the eggs. Mine took 30 minutes and turned out deliciously moist. I wanted to taste it as-is before fiddling with the recipe, and I'm glad I left it alone because it's very good plain. However, you could add a little cinnamon or espresso powder or chocolate chips. Or you could frost it. It's just a very versatile, very quick, very easy little cake recipe. A keeper.

That's my public service for the day... testing chocolate recipes and passing along the good ones. Somebody's gotta do it. 

06 May 2020

Spring Stash Update

The cherry tree in our front yard is doing its thing and smells heavenly. We have been having some ridiculously gorgeous weather and it's making me want to get out and do something about my front flowerbeds... provided Mr. Bun is off doing bunny things and not in his spot. Wouldn't want to disturb him. 

I lost my head and went on a bit of a spree at about the six week point in our voluntary lockdown. Among other things, I did some stash enhancement. I have been wanting to try Cosmo's metallic embroidery floss for some time, so I finally got a few skeins from one of my favorite Etsy shops for stitchy goodies. I haven't stitched with it yet, but it is gorgeous and has a lovely texture. The weight is between Kreinik #4 and #8 braid: just a wee bit heavier than #4, but not as heavy as #8. I also got a small piece of the newish Zweigart 32 ct. pink Basalt Splash fabric. It's a very pale (not rosy) pink, pretty close to DMC 225. I stitched Winter Train on the dark grey Basalt Splash and just loved it, but I hadn't seen the pink. 

From the same shop as the thread and fabric, a new pair of scissors. I couldn't pass up this soft, fresh green.

And from various shops, some new charts. With Thy Needle & Thread: Project Quarantine: Stay Home & Stitch. For each purchase, the designer is making a donation to charities assisting those hard hit by the pandemic. 

JBW: Rabbits in the Round and With Thy Needle & Thread: Spring Serenade. Can't have enough buns in the springtime. 

A relatively new designer that is really growing on me. I fell in love with her big sampler release at this year's market (Huckleberry Farm) and I've had my eye on Sleeping Bee for a while. I also picked up Winter Valentine. 

So that's the stash that has recently come to live at my house. My spree also included a set of vintage cooking magazines that was such a bargain I practically stole it. When I finish looking at all of them I'll photograph them and do a blog post. Y'all will love it. They're wonderful.

I'm hoping to be able to get out soon and visit my favorite small businesses. Most are open and have been open to varying degrees throughout these last couple of months, but I have only been going out once a week for groceries. We have never been under a stay-at-home order here, and most businesses that could do so safely have remained open, but I know they're hurting.

Hope everyone is still safe and well and getting as much stitching done as needed. Don't forget to be good to yourself.