30 March 2013

Mad as a March hare!

Ever heard that expression? It means you're a nutter. This is my somewhat boisterous take on a very cute little freebie that can be found here. He's stitched on 28 ct. Rosemary linen in plain old DMC 310 and white. The scissors are Crescent Colors Cerise and the needle is RG Petite Treasure Braid 04. And some miscellaneous buttons I've scrounged. As you can see by looking at the original, I decided to make my bunny a Dutch. I thought the black and white and the pink scissors would really pop on the green fabric. Not traditional spring colors, but we can do whatever we want when we stitch, can't we?

Hope the Easter Bunny leaves you something yummy!

25 March 2013

About that groundhog...

...you know, the one that didn't see his shadow and predicted an early spring? Yeah, that one. Here's what we woke up to this morning--more snow than we've had all winter, and more snow than we've had at once since January 2011. This is the view from my sewing room windows.

This is my tree, wearing its spring red fuzzies which it puts on before it buds out. And a coating of snow.

It's nearly April, y'all.

22 March 2013

Striding Toward Old Ladyhood

For whatever reason, I have always associated button jars with Grandmothers and other old ladies. Now, at the ripe old age of 41, I find myself accumulating buttons. They're for my needlework finishing, but still. I even have a button box. Today I was sitting in my sewing room working on something (to be shown later!) when I got up, turned around, and saw that a sunbeam had found my button box. It was so pretty I had to snap a picture.

Back to work. (Hint: bunnies!)

21 March 2013

Houston Texans Awesomeness

Finished JD's Houston Texans quilt square for Cole's Quilts. This was my first attempt at charting a logo, and of course it had to have lots of curvy and pointy bits to make it challenging. My main concern was getting the shape exactly right, since it's very bold. I had seen some Texans logo finishes online, and they had gotten the shape right, but they were huge. It's easier to get a good shape on a larger scale. For the quilt square I needed a much smaller logo but I didn't want it to look blocky.

First, I found a logo the size I wanted and printed it out. Next, I used transparent graph paper and traced it. Then I went crazy. Actually, all I did was work backwards (if this doesn't surprise you, it means you've been visiting awhile). Instead of stitching and then backstitching, I did the backstitching first and then filled in. That way I could get the shape exactly like I wanted it. The consequence of having to fill in, though, is that with a curvy, pointy design like this you end up with lots of little bits around the edges that you can't fill with a cross stitch, or even a proper fractional stitch. So I took what I like to call an "embroidery approach" and just filled in with whatever was needed: fractional stitches, backward stitches (top leg going the opposite way of the other cross stitches), straight stitches, etc. Here we are in progress.

And here's the finished logo.

The resident Houston Texans expert, Mr. Wonderful, approves. We both are Texans fans, and when I saw that JD's quilt request included Houston Texans football, I had to stitch for him. I'm proud to send it off for his quilt.

20 March 2013

First Day of Spring!

It's officially spring! A time of new beginnings. A time when our thoughts naturally turn to... Halloween? Look what arrived in my mailbox this morning!

Isn't that fantastic? It's Le Charabosse by Nimue, come all the way from France to live at my house. I love the detail in this design, even that creepy little frog. But of course what struck me most about it is the calico cat. Do you ever remember seeing a Halloween design with a cat of any color other than black? Me neither. As you know, we're kinda partial to calicos around here.
The other little bit of stash that came to my house today is a small package containing the new Weeks Dye Works colors. This one, Sea Glass, really caught my eye. The photo really doesn't do it justice, and it's actually more green than it looks here. A beautiful, bright color. Very warm weather-y. Not very it's supposed to snow tonight-y. Which it is. {sigh}
Happy Spring!

18 March 2013

Cole's Quilts

Taking a break from stitching for myself this week to whip out a quilt square for Cole's Quilts. Well, "whip out" might be a bit excessive. I'm in the process of charting/stitching a Houston Texans logo and it's a bit slow going. I don't have design software so I'm going old-school with the graph paper and the light box. So far, so good. While the world waits for the finished product, check out some of my past Cole's Quilts contributions. And if you're not familiar with Cole's Quilts and would like to learn more about how to become a stitcher for this project, visit them here: Cole's Quilts

For most of my stitching I use linen and hand-dyed threads, but I also really enjoy pulling out some good ol' aida and DMC and stitching up a quilt square to send off to Linda Z., who will sew it into a wonderful quilt (she's super easy to work with, by the way).

And of course, I have lots of... help.

Really, you'd think I'd be able to get so much more done with all of the support I get.

16 March 2013

SAL Update: Mainsail Madness!

The mainsail is done! For those who have just joined us, my stitchy cousin and I are doing a stitch-along of Skeleton Crew by The Cricket Collection. Because pirate ships. [Her blog, Panda Ponders, is linked over on my blog list.] My "progress" has been sad, so I decided to go nuts and finish that stupid mainsail if it killed me. I think I'll be making little white x's in my sleep, but it's done. It's nice to have a big, fat chunk of stitching right smack in the middle of the design done, isn't it? Satisfying. Gives you false hope you can finish the whole thing. Before you're eighty. Anyway, here's The Supervisor checking to make sure my super cool octopus needle minder is secure. 

And the mainsail, in all its tattered, ghost ship-y glory.
I have this delusion that I can finish the rest of the main mast by the end of this month. That's what a little progress will do to ya.

Happy Stitching!

07 March 2013

Adventures in Framing

Since I mostly stitch smalls, framing isn't much of an issue. But occasionally I stitch a larger piece that is more suited to framing, and then the fun starts. Professional framing is, for me, just too expensive. Next option, buy a ready made frame and put it together myself. As every stitcher knows, you're lucky if the piece you want to frame is a standard size. Most designs are odd sizes and ready made frames are not to be had, or are expensive if you do find them. (I recently found a 7 x 7 frame that was perfect, but it was nearly $50. No thank you.) I know all this, but I start the search anyway for something that will work. And search. And search. Search. Have a cookie. Search some more. Give up.

I finally decided to just make the frames myself. I say "make" but what I really mean is start with an unfinished wood frame and go from there. I discovered to my great joy that A.C. Moore has a very nice selection of unfinished wood frames in odd sizes. I also discovered an online source for custom-sized unfinished wood frames, but since I have not ordered from them yet I don't want to endorse them here. Suffice it to say, wood frames in any size are readily available online (if you don't have an A.C. Moore). At Hobby Lobby I found a bunch of different wood appliques to dress up my plain wood frames. Bought a little bottle of paint and a few other supplies, and I was off and running on my first "from scratch" framing project.

I did experiment with a staining medium (added to acrylic paint to turn it into a stain) and it looked fine, but I decided I wanted a rich, dark color so I just went with plain paint. Here are my supplies... less than $25.

Here's the original. As you can see in the final picture, I took my usual liberties with the design, but I did love the color of the frame and wanted to duplicate it as best I could. The design is He is Risen by Little House Needleworks, found in the March/April 2010 issue of Just Cross Stitch magazine.

And here's my "from scratch" frame and my version of the design. The paint color is Black Plum.

I'm really happy with how it turned out. Now that I know what I'm doing, and where to get my supplies, I will be unstoppable. Until it's time to do housework.

Happy Framing!