29 June 2016

Fox Finds... and shopping tips!

At this time of year, I pop in to Hobby Lobby about once a week. Even though it's not even July, they have already begun putting out fall and Christmas items. I know a lot of people complain about it being "too early", but I love it. Summer is #4 on my list of favorite seasons, so the appearance of fall (#1!) stuff is always welcome to me. It's nice to be able to buy supplies/decorations early and get to work on projects. If they didn't put out fall stuff until September, or Christmas stuff until after Thanksgiving, there would be such a rush to get things done in time. This way, the work (and the expense!) can be spread out over several months, and by the time cozy fall and merry Christmas roll around, all of those projects are done. That's the way I like to do it, anyway. 

I'm often asked where I've found things that I show on my blog, and more often than not, the question is about something Christmas-related I've shown, usually in November or December posts. My answer is almost always the same: "Hobby Lobby (or some other craft store), last July." If you want a nice selection of goodies, especially Christmas ones, you have to shop in the summer, right as the retailers are unpacking their boxes. They won't restock seasonal items over and over. What they get is what they get, and when it's gone, it's gone. I can't tell you how many times I've spotted some neat Christmas item in July, snapped it up, and by the beginning of September it's no longer to be found. 

All of which brings me to why I just bought Christmas ornaments in June. TA-DA!

I was too excited to find these at Hobby Lobby! They're perfect for my fox Christmas tree

I also found this cool metal wall art there. I can see him with leaves entwined around his ears in the fall, holly at Christmas time. An interesting alternative to a wreath.

And this!

Pretty big day at Hobby Lobby. And since we're on the topic of foxes, here's my progress on Fox Forest (The Work Basket). I'm stitching it with the recommended Weeks, with the addition of GAST Oatmeal, and only a few other minor changes. It's on PTP Sand.

Bonus Tiger Lily:

23 June 2016

School Supplies = Stitchy Supplies

I must confess. I'm 44 years old and I still love school supplies. Pretty soon, stores will dedicate aisles and aisles to school supplies, and there I will be, happily wandering up and down them, putting goodies into my basket. It's even more fun when you don't actually have to attend school. Once I got my degree, that was it for me... although I did take Chinese a few years ago, but that was for fun. Anyway, every year I look forward to school supply season, and I almost always find something that can be used for stitchy purposes.

I was in Wal-Mart the other day and discovered they have a new line of containers for craft storage. This one was only $3 and is the perfect size for some basic stitching tools or to hold the floss bobbins for a project. Like most of you, I have lots of stitchy toys but really there are only a few things I use every time I stitch. Although I have multiples of everything--needle packets, threaders, counting pins, scissors, etc--I like to keep one basic set together in one container and move it from project to project, instead of having a set of tools with each project. I usually switch out my tools for the seasons, so I'll have a Christmas set, a fall set, a spring or summer set. This little box is just right for my stuff, and I'll be getting a few more to hold floss bobbins for projects.

This is a zippered metal pencil case I've had for a long time that I use to hold my needle minder collection. It's very compact and is a great way to store a bunch of them in a small space. School supply sections have tons of small containers that are ideal for storing stitching supplies. You can find all sorts of little boxes and bags and cases and they're usually pretty cute.

Last year I picked up this little pencil bag for $1 and stocked it with a few basic tools for stitching; it also holds a 6" Q-snap. It stays loaded, so it's easy to grab and throw in a bag for stitching on the go. I took it with me on my trip to Texas and it was perfect. Fits easily into any bag--even a largish purse--and your project is protected in the zipper pocket.

For finishing round ornaments, if I don't have a round template the right size, I use a compass to draw one. I also use a compass to draw a diameter guide when I'm making bows, as I showed in this post. I got a pretty nice one for a good price on clearance, but you'll easily be able to find inexpensive ones among the school supplies. 

School supply season is nearly upon us... keep your eyes open to the possibilities for re-purposing things for stitchy uses and I bet you'll be able to find some things you didn't even know you needed!

16 June 2016

Garden Sampler finish!

Finished Garden Sampler (link to design in previous post). Now I can start Fox Forest... Yippee!

Speaking of foxes, did you notice what I slipped in there?

11 June 2016

Saturday Sampler: Stitchy Edition

Here's what I've been working on for the last few weeks. This is Garden Sampler by Karen Kluba, stitched with Valdani on PTP Valor. It's available here. The only change I made was to omit the quote and reconfigure the bottom border to match the other three sides.

Speaking of Picture This Plus, I've been on a hunt for a really good neutral fabric with an aged look. I just got an order from them this week with a couple of possibilities. Added to the others I've collected recently, this is what I've got so far.

Left to right:
Carmel Macchiato from Hand Dyed Fabrics by Stephanie
Vintage Butter Pecan from Lakeside Linens
Sand from PTP
Legacy from PTP
Wren from PTP

Haven't chosen a favorite. They're all so different and I can see using all of them, but I'll be using Sand for my next project--Fox Forest by The Workbasket--which I hope to start this weekend after I finish up Garden Sampler. And even though it's over a month away, I'm already starting to plan for the big Picture This Plus sale in July. I've made one decision already, that I'll be getting a piece of Loch for this cool design I just got.

I also just got a bunch of Caron Wildflowers, which I'm thrilled with! A fellow stitcher was selling her collection at a discount, so I bought a few. If you're new here, it's my favorite fiber. I just love the stuff.

And last, but far from least, a glamor shot of the Stitchy Supervisor. She's been on sickroom duty this week, bless her heart. I--who never get sick--was super sick this week... and of course Mr. Wonderful was out of town! So Miss Tiger Lily was acting nursemaid. She stuck to me like glue. What a sweetie.

Have a great weekend!

02 June 2016

Q-Snap Storage & A Travel Light Review

I love, love, love Q-Snaps. I have them in every size--more than one set in each size--plus extenders, and with them I can make frames of any size, from 6" to 20" and everything in between. But this is not a great way to store them:

Sadly, my Q-Snap collection has been living in a box for quite a while, and digging through it to find the right size combinations hasn't been fun. I kept thinking there had to be a better way to store these things, and finally hit upon it a couple of days ago. An over-the-door shoe organizer... TA-DA!

My larger sets are stored elsewhere; oddly, the larger ones are easier to store. I use the smaller sets more often anyway, and this will make constructing the right size frame for my projects so much quicker and easier. Bonus: room to store other stuff that's been taking up valuable space elsewhere. Happy!

The other thing I wanted to share was my discovery of this awesome travel light for stitching. I've had it for a while but wanted to give it a test run on a trip before I showed it here and recommended it. For some time, I had been looking for a good light to take on trips. I wanted it to be small and light weight, with the option to use either battery power or a plug. This is the Naturalight Smart Lamp R10 rechargeable LED light, which I got on Amazon. In addition to the internal rechargeable battery, it also has a plug-in power supply and a USB cable, and a 3 step dimmer. I used it for several long days of stitching while I was in Texas and found it had a good battery life; I just plugged it in to recharge at the end of the day when I finished stitching. As you can see, it's so small it will fit into a project bag.

The two complaints I saw most often in the Amazon reviews were that it is so light it's easily knocked over, and that the power button is very sensitive and is too easily turned on by mistake. Meh. Some folks will complain about anything. This is a great stitching light for travel.