31 October 2015

Saturday Sampler: Halloween Edition

Happy Halloween from The Girls!

Belinda, Penelope, and Sally

These little gals were originally published in the Just Cross Stitch special Halloween issues in 2008, 2011, and 2013. They weren't available separate from those long sold-out issues... until Friday! Brooke Nolan made them available as a set in her Etsy store

Last Sunday, I made up my mind to take the plunge and do the Plum Street Samplers 12 Days of Christmas free mystery sampler that I mentioned in last Saturday's Sampler (is that a confusing enough sentence?!). So I spent Sunday afternoon choosing colors for it, placed my order, and then spent the week cyberstalking the progress of my threads across the country to my house. I can't be the only one who does this. How did we survive in the days before we could track our goodies as they moved through the postal system?

My threads arrived Friday, and I spent that afternoon deciding on fabric and getting everything ready to start, which I did manage to do last night. I'm going my own way with the colors, but more on that tomorrow. Speaking of color, we're at peak fall color right now. This was taken early this week, and today there is no green to be seen on this tree.

Tiger Lily has been enjoying the cool air at her windows.

And finally, here's a Saturday sneak peek of the mystery sampler.

Check back in on Sunday for a mystery sampler update and a little more about the colors I've chosen for this wonderful freebie.

30 October 2015

How to Make a Big, Splashy Bow

Here's Penelope, all finished!

I thought I'd offer a little how-to on making those big bows. This isn't the only method, of course, but this is quick and easy... and on most stuff, I'm all about quick and easy! 

First, thread a needle with 2 strands of floss (or sewing thread) and tie a knot in the end. For this purpose, I use the old-fashioned knot-making method of wetting my finger, wrapping the floss around the tip of my finger a few times, then sliding it off into a fat knot. It's definitely not the tidiest knot, but... quick and easy! (Also, it gives the glue something to stick to apart from that smooth ribbon.)

Using however many colors of 1/8" ribbon you like, make loops and secure them on the needle, leaving the tails a little long so you can trim them later. Now, you can make all the loops the same size, but I like to just make them any old way. I do this because to my eye, a slightly sloppy, "splashy" bow is a nice contrast to the precision of the stitching. Remember as you're making loops that you're working from the bottom of the bow to the top, so you might want to make your first loops a bit larger, and make them a bit smaller as you go. Also, odd numbers are more pleasing to the eye than even, so instead of making four or six loops, make five or seven, or however many you need to make the bow the size you want.

When you have the bow like you want it, pull the floss through the bow until the knot is at the back, and put a couple of stitches through the center of the bow to secure it.

To finish off the bow, you can sew a bead or a button onto the center, but here I just tied a small bow and glued it to the center.

And here's the finished big, splashy bow!

Not perfect... but festive!

27 October 2015

Meet Penelope the Pumpkin Girl!

Thanks for the enthusiastic support for the Saturday Sampler!  Remember those cute shoes? They're Penelope's! Behold... in all her un-cut-out glory!

This is Brooke Nolan's Penelope the Pumpkin Witch, but sort of "de-witched." She is supposed to be holding a broom in her right hand, with the crow perched upon it, but I left off the broom (and had to fix her dress on that side, as a result) and cut out Mr. Crow so he could perch on her arm instead. Normally when I stitch one of Brooke's witches, I change the hat, but this one looked like an upside down pumpkin blossom to me, so I left it. When I do the finishing on her, it will have a big fluffy bow on it.

I changed her green eyes to brown, changed her eyebrows, and changed the color of her mouth. If you've been following my (slow!) progress on the Advent Animal series, you'll notice that I'm always changing eye color to brown, or to a darker shade of whatever color is called for. I do this because I think the darker eye color gives the face a little more depth of expression, if that makes any sense. To me, the light eye color gives the face a slightly blank look. 

Penelope has a couple of sisters... a Spooky Stitcher (who I need to name!) and Belinda the Bat Girl, who needs finishing. I wonder if I can get the finishing done on these girls in time to show off a family portrait for Halloween. Hmmm...

24 October 2015

Saturday Sampler

Mr. Wonderful and I were having a quiet Saturday, watching college football. I had been stitching, and uploading some pictures for a blog post, and I was thinking about what to title the post. I said, "What's a word starting with 's' that means 'odds and ends'? I want to call this post 'Saturday... something'." Without missing a beat, Mr. Wonderful said, "Saturday Sampler!" I nearly fell off the couch! It's perfect! Sometimes this man amazes me, y'all. 

So here we are, our first Saturday Sampler. I'm not going to promise I'll do this every Saturday, or even most Saturdays, but I thought having an occasional "hodge podge" post at the end of the week might be fun. Just a little re-cap of the week, things I've found shopping, things I've found wandering around the web, things I've been working on, and of course, Tiger Lily. Let's see what we have today...

Have y'all seen the FREE 12 Days of Christmas SAL from Plum Street Samplers? The first three days were released last Sunday, and the remaining days will be released each Sunday until the sampler is complete. I haven't decided if I'll stitch it or not, but I'm saving it... it's pretty neat!

I found this little fox ornament for my Fox Christmas Tree. Yeah, he looks kinda like a dog, but he's still cute... and I know he's a fox.

Every year Mr. Wonderful and I choose our Christmas ornaments from the annual Just Cross Stitch Christmas Ornament issue. If you'd like to see all of them, just click on the "Christmas Open House" label on the right sidebar. Anyway, although I didn't choose it for my ornament this year, I really liked the Mani di Donna "Christmas Carols" ornament. I found the beautiful button for it at Down Sunshine Lane and ordered it, just in case I want to stitch it some day. 

Speaking of ornaments, have y'all seen the super cool Mid-Century Modern set of Christmas ornaments from Misty Hill Studio? I love, love, LOVE how they look grouped together... so mod! Check out what I found at Hobby Lobby to use on ornament finishes:

Perfect, right? When I saw the black and silver, I was like (gasp!), "Holly's ornaments!" 

Here's a shot of Tiger Lily taken this week. She was sitting in her "donut" patiently waiting for me to finish my housework so we could settle down and stitch. Seriously, that's what she was doing... waiting on me!

And here's a sneak peek of what we've been working on all week. Somebody's got some cute shoes!

Okay, y'all, that wraps up the Saturday Sampler. Hope y'all enjoyed it. Have a great weekend and Happy Stitching!

14 October 2015

Cassie Cow

Look who's back! Advent Animals! I haven't finished one of these since May. Wow. So with this finish, I'm only behind by five. 

This one took me a little longer than usual because I made lots of changes, the most obvious of which is that she's not a Holstein, she's a Jersey! I love Jerseys, so I stitched her in DMC 435.

Other changes I made: larger eyes (and brown instead of blue) and smaller eyebrows, changed the shape of the nose and mouth, changed the bodice of the apron and backstitched the pocket in green instead of black, stitched the tray in pink instead of blue, backstitched the glass in grey instead of white, and stitched the cookies in 437. 

09 October 2015

Woodland Sampler: September Block

A mama hedgehog and her baby snuffling in the autumn leaves.

I think it's time for a little Christmas stitching... I'm starting to feel it! 

03 October 2015

"I heard the geese go over..."

Oh, October! My favorite month. December is wonderful for all the obvious reasons, but October is my favorite. And this October has started out perfectly... dark and cold and rainy. The other evening I heard the geese go over, and whenever I do, I am always reminded of this:

In the village store someone says,
"I heard the geese go over,"
and there is a moment of silence.
Why this is so moving, I do not know.
But all of us feel it.

~Gladys Taber

I just finished this tiny Canada Goose. He reminds me of fall, and that winter is coming.

Tiger Lily has been staying snug. She migrates with the seasons, just like the geese. She has several cozy baskets and beds around the house, which lie empty all summer. But come the first few days of cooler weather, I find her snuggled down in her basket. 

Stay cozy, y'all. Winter is coming.