23 January 2018

2017 Blog Book!

My 2017 Blog Book just arrived!

Information about these books and the service I use can be found in this post and there are more pictures in this post.

20 January 2018

Saturday Sampler: "7-11" Project Edition

Thanks for all the well wishes on my last post and for all the sweet comments about Tiger Lily. She really is a precious girl. Lil' bit bossy (and spoiled, which isn't her fault), but very sweet. She made several days sick in bed a lot more tolerable. So we're getting back to normal around here. Let's catch up on a few things. Grab a cup of tea!

Here's my January memo board. I described making this in this post back in October and if you scroll back you'll find pictures of my November and December boards. This ribbon is from post-Christmas clearance at Jo-Ann Fabrics (85% off!).

I'm almost, almost ready to start Russian Hunt. Here's what happened. I intended it to be a New Year's Day start, but when I measured the fabric in the kit, I discovered there was barely 2" of extra fabric around the edges. That spooked me. I know good framers can work with that, but I really didn't want to spend y-e-a-r-s on this project and then worry about the framing. So I decided to buy a larger piece of fabric for it. Then I debated with myself. I haven't stitched on Aida in donkey's years, but since this is a fully-stitched project, I didn't mind it. Then I thought about using an even weave, but in the end I decided I wanted the stiffness and body of the Aida to support this huge piece of stitching. So Aida it was. And then I decided to stitch it on 16 ct. instead of the 14 ct. intended, just to give me a bit of wiggle room on the threads in the kit. I'm frugal with my thread and don't anticipate running out, but again, for such a long-term project, I don't want to worry about it. 

Still with me?

So I ordered a huge piece of 16 ct. Aida. Of course, that delayed my start. I decided to start it last weekend. Of course, I got sick, for the first time in probably five years. Of course. So here we are, past mid-January, and my New Year's Day start is still "un-started." But it's all ready to go!

I am one of those stitchers who likes to have the entire work area visible and accessible, so yes, I made a ginormous frame out of my Q-snap collection. I've done this before (when I stitched CEC's Skeleton Crew) and it works well for me because when I work on a big project I sit on the floor and just prop the frame against something so I can mostly stitch two-handed. I know that sounds unbelievably awkward to most of you, but I sit on the floor all the time and it really does work for me! This frame is 23" x 17".

Naturally, I had to make a special needle minder just for this project. This matryoshka charm is from AC Moore. 

Russian Hunt is the biggest project I've ever tackled, and the only fully-stitched one, so it's a double whammy. I see lots of large designs (HAEDs, usually) that I think are pretty, but none of them have appealed to me enough to spend a couple of years stitching them. This one (a Riolis kit) hit me hard. Had to have it. Have to stitch it. I'm normally pretty finish-oriented when it comes to stitching; I want to have things done in a timely manner. I don't have a bunch of WIPs or UFOs lying around. Obviously, that wasn't going to work with a project like this. Too much life happening. And I didn't want to stitch this to the exclusion of other projects. To me, that would make it feel like if I wanted to stitch it would have to be this or nothing, and that's not fun. A fellow stitcher (waving at Melanie and Potpie!) referred to this as a "7-11" project: not always doing business but always open. Brilliant! (For those in other countries, 7-11 is a chain convenience store/gas station that is always open, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.) This concept is perfect for my approach to this project: I may not be putting stitches in every day, but it's always ready for my attention. Hopefully in the near future I'll have a very exciting blob of stitches to show you!

If you read my January memo board (and my December one, posted 25 December), you probably noticed a project called "Christmas Gathering." It was supposed to be a finish last weekend, but we all know what happened to that. Anyway, I thought I'd share a tiny peek at my WIP. I'll provide all the details on it when I can show the finished piece, but for now I wanted to show you a designer's inspired use of variegated thread. This little red barn is stitched in one color (DMC 4140) and in columns (as opposed to rows; I stitched each of my columns bottom to top). The effect is a beautifully weathered look. Such a smart way to achieve this result.

I'm going on and on, aren't I? Anyway, now that things are getting back to normal, I hope I'll have some finishes to share before too long. I haven't picked up a needle in about two weeks! Perhaps I'll have a burst of productivity to make up for it.

Happy Saturday!

18 January 2018

Tiger Lily the Faithful

A week ago I came down with some weird fever that put me in bed for several days. It wasn't a cold (no congestion at all, nary a sniffle), just a very stubborn fever and aches that persisted for three solid days. I rarely get sick, but when I do, Tiger Lily goes "on duty" and stays on duty until things return to normal. She stayed within inches of me, day and night. I thought I'd include a picture of her on nursemaid duty in an upcoming catch-all post, but then I thought, "No, she deserves her very own post." 

Here she is in action, snuggled down on her blankets, keeping a paw on the situation.


...after day...

...after day. Yes, these were all taken at different times. She would only leave for a quick snack, and then come right back.

Who says kitties aren't loyal?

11 January 2018

Easy Felt Chart Protector

I'm not one for multi-year cross stitch projects with gigantic charts, but I've made an exception in the case of Russian Hunt and I needed a way to keep the chart in as good condition as possible through years of handling. I like to use 8" x 11" magnetic boards and when using a larger chart, just fold the parts I'm not working on around the board and secure with a rubber band. For projects that will only take a couple of months, this works fine, but I was concerned that over a much longer period of time the ink on the edges folded over the board would wear away, not to mention the normal wear and tear and bending. So I made a quick, easy little felt chart protector.

All you need are two pieces of felt, some floss, and a sewing sharp.

This part will depend on the size of felt you're using and the size of the magnetic board you have. My felt is 9 x 12 and my board is 8 x 11. I laid my board onto the felt and aligned it so that I had a 1/2" border on every side.

I used pins to mark the 1/2" border on three sides. I left the right side open for the board to slip in, but you could leave any one side open. Set this piece aside.

The border on the second piece of felt should be about an inch. 

Get a piece of copy paper from your printer (8.5" x 11") and trim it so that you have a paper template that leaves a 1" border on each side of the felt.

Pin the paper template to the felt and cut around it.

Place the "frame" on the first piece of felt, secure at the corners with pins, and then sew or stitch (or glue, if you want to) the two pieces together.

 I just used a quick blanket stitch.

And here's my chart protector. My magnetic board with the chart on it slips into the right side and the edges don't see my hands again until I get ready to move the chart on the board, which--let's be honest--will be a while!

I used a dark color felt to stand up to a lot of handling better, and though I thought about decorating it a bit, I skipped that for the same reason.

So there you go! An easy felt chart protector for those gigantic charts.

10 January 2018

Winter Door Decoration

Here's a new winter door decoration I made yesterday. It's overcast and very grey here, and I had to photograph this inside, but it is very sparkly (and really stands out against a dark door). The skates, pinecones, and snowflakes are all from Hobby Lobby (pre-Christmas). The ribbons are from everywhere; I just raided my ribbon stash. Everything is just tied to a big book ring. Very simple.

07 January 2018

Lantern Finish

All you need for a lantern is to give your rectangular finish a peak and add a screw eye (available in the framing department of craft stores). I just used a Sharpie permanent marker to color the screw eye black. Info on the design is in this post. The holly garland is several years old, from Hobby Lobby.

05 January 2018

Snowflake Finish

This is a freebie available right here. I stitched the birds as Dark-eyed Juncos, as they are my favorite winter visitors. All the other birds we have here are year-round residents, but every winter, these fat little grey Juncos arrive for a visit.

Stitched on 32 ct. grey/white petit point linen from Wichelt with DMC Blanc, 04, 645, 844, 3866; Mill Hill beads in black, 03007, 40479. The grey/white trim is from Hobby Lobby, as are the additional beads and crystals.

01 January 2018