31 October 2016

Happy Halloween!

Here's a sweet little white pumpkin freebie, available here. Mine is stitched with GAST Oatmeal, and DMC 642, 3033, 3052. The beads are Mill Hill 02093. The fabric is 32 ct. Petit Point Raw/White Belfast linen.

28 October 2016

The Fabric Hoard Grows

Just got my fabric from the big Picture This Plus Christmas in July sale! Yes, it took this long. Yes, it's totally worth it. Beautiful fabric and a very nice 25% discount; I look forward to it every summer.

All 28 ct. Cashel linen, from top to bottom: Tycho, Rosewood, Storm, Loch.

This is the design that I'll eventually stitch on Loch. It's not the recommended fabric, but I wanted something just a smidge more subdued. I like it. Bold color, but not too dark or overwhelming.

And here's a Sleeping Fox update: he has a nose!

25 October 2016

Winter is coming...

The leaves are flying. Turned on the heater last night for the first time since spring (I love that smell... the heater kicking on for the first time). Frost Advisory for tonight. My feet and my nose are cold. Tiger Lily has made her winter migration to her cozy basket, and her "donut" (a blanket formed in a circle).

Winter is coming. I find this time of year invigorating. I scurry around, getting things ready as if there will be a blizzard next week. There won't be, of course, but my homemaker brain responds to changes in the weather as if I were a little animal out in the woods. Gather supplies. Make the nest cozy. 

My stitcher brain responds, too. Something about cold weather puts my stitching motivation into overdrive. Here's the latest installment in my Keeping Christmas Project. This is from The Joys of Christmas by The Drawn Thread. The designer calls for GAST Cucumber and Weathered Barn, but I'm using GAST Bayberry and Pomegranate for this set of six ornaments. I did the first one last year.

Of course, I had to make another Christmas-y needle minder. This is made from a glass bead from Hobby Lobby. I am about all things peppermint at this time of year.

And here are the supplies for my next Keeping Christmas Project ornament. Lots of sparkle and non-traditional Christmas colors. 

I have five more projects to frame, and I have a bunch of tea box bookmarks to make, so come back and visit often to see what I'm up to. The little basket of joy is ready!

24 October 2016

They're After Me!

I rarely buy cross stitch magazines. I always get the Just Cross Stitch Christmas Ornament issue, but apart from that, I might only buy one or two other issues a year. For me to buy it, a magazine has to have at least three designs in it I would stitch--or one good fox! Magazines can pile up so quickly, and that's my way of keeping my collection under control.


Cross Stitch Crazy, November issue:

The World of Cross Stitching, issue #247, free gift calendar with magazine:

Just Cross Stitch, December issue:


14 October 2016

Do-It-Yourself Framing

If y'all have been with me a while, you know I'm a do-it-yourself kinda girl. I always try to encourage my fellow stitchers to learn to finish and frame their own work, mainly because the stories of beautiful needlework--unfinished or unframed--languishing in a drawer, never seeing the light of day, never being enjoyed, just makes me sad. To me, it's like painting a beautiful picture and then sticking it in the closet. 

There are lots of reasons stitchers have for not framing their work. Sometimes pieces are too large to do at home, or they're an odd shape that can't be accommodated by a standard store-bought frame. Sometimes they're just really, really special pieces and you want to splurge and have them professionally framed. My wedding sampler is like that. But the two most common reasons I see for not framing things are 1) professional framing is expensive (it is!), and 2) framing it yourself is hard (it's not!) and you have to have special tools (you don't!). I've got some framing to do over the next few days, and I'll be posting about my projects, so stick around and see how easy it is.

Here's what I did today. This is Mitten Games, by Crossed Wing Collection, stitched on their fabric Snow Squall. The frame was picked up on clearance, just like all the other frames I'll be showing.

Here's what you need, which you can get at any craft store with a framing department:
*foam core
*craft knife
*lotsa pins
*glazier points
*flat head screwdriver

Disassemble your frame and use the glass as a template to cut out the foam core.

Cut out the foam core, cutting just inside the marked line, about 1/8". This is an allowance for the fabric and pins that will be along the edges of the foam core, so that it will fit nicely into the frame. It's only necessary to do this on two perpendicular sides.

Using the glass as a template, cut out the batting and stick it to the foam core with some double-sided tape. This gives your framed piece a little body, so that it doesn't look completely flat in the frame. If you like the flat look, just leave it off. Just a thought, though. If you have any knots or oopsies on the back of your piece, the cushion of the batting will help keep the bumps from showing on the front.

Here you can see how the foam core fits into the frame, leaving just enough space around the edges to accommodate the fabric and pins. And those are glazier points, in case you're not familiar with them. More on them in a bit.

Position your piece on the padded foam core and give it a test run in the frame, making adjustments as necessary. Ordinarily I would center the design, but for this one I wanted as much of the snowy fabric to show as possible, so the design is lower in the frame. For my tip on using a light box to position needlework, click here.

Pin the piece to the foam core (leaving the pins sticking out a bit), making sure it's straight and centered. This is the most fiddly part of finishing and framing, but the more you do it, the better you'll get at it. You will have to unpin, reposition, repin, etc. It's not a fast process, so just be patient, breathe, and take the time to get it right. I can't speak about Aida because I don't stitch on it, but linen is very forgiving during the pinning process. You have a built-in grid in the horizontal and vertical threads, and you can easily see when an area is "off". It also lends itself to very slight adjustments. A tiny pull on one side can straighten an entire section of fabric. 

When you think you have it like you want it, see how it looks in the frame. If it's good to go, push in the pins. 

If there's any excess fabric, trim it off and put on the back of the frame. Unless you have a pretty deep frame, the back will not fit into the inside groove of the frame all the way around. That's where glazier points come in. Wherever you need them, hammer them in. If you don't know how to use glazier points, here's a quick lesson on Youtube.

And that's it!

More on the way!

13 October 2016

Laundry Kitty

If I don't get it folded fast enough, I find this...

11 October 2016

New Project: Sleeping Fox

Here's my next big project, Sleeping Fox by LeafBlown Designs, available here.

Pretty neat, huh? Since foxes have become trendy, there are lots of fox designs out there, but I don't try to buy them all just because I love foxes; I'm fairly selective. This one really caught my eye, and as soon as I saw it I had to have it. I love the modern design and the unusual colors.

The fabric is yummy. This is Bittersweet Lite hand-dyed Jobelan, available from 123Stitch. It's a soft, creamy orange. I've never stitched on fabric even remotely close to this color, but when I was visualizing the design on different colors, none of them were working for me, except this very pale, mottled orange. 

I may not be posting many progress pictures, since it's just going to look like blobs of color until I get the head done. It should be a fun stitch... no counting issues or fiddling with a stitch in this color here, a stitch in that color there... just nice fat blocks of color. It should go fairly quickly, but I've learned that best-laid plans usually end in a spectacular explosion and   burn to the ground. We'll see. Thinking of starting my Christmas ornament for this year today, too (also a fox!). Stay tuned.

07 October 2016

Russian stash!

Waited two months for these kits, but it was worth it! These are kits from a Russian company called Panna, available from ABC Stitch Therapy.

A winter matryoshka.

A Russian domestic scene (probably my favorite... so unusual).

And of course...

04 October 2016

Halloween House (Purple Conversion) Finish!

Judith Kirby's Victorian House #9, aka Halloween House, with my own purple house conversion.

Stitched with DMC on 28 ct. Storm from Hand Dyed Fabrics by Stephanie. My purple house conversion info is here. In addition to the changes I listed in that post, I also interpreted the knots on the tree as holes and filled them with 310 instead of the lighter color, to give the tree a darker look, and I stitched the cobweb in 646 instead of 310 to give it a more wispy appearance.

This one has been in the to-do pile for a long, long time and it's nice to have it finished. 

01 October 2016


A little tribute to one of my favorite months. This is a freebie available here.

This is stitched with DMC on 28 ct. mushroom evenweave. A few changes: 946 instead of 608; 815 instead of 814; 742 instead of 972; 3371 instead of 310.