Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Fabric box and quilt square

I used to adore stitching Linda Coleman's Cross Country Stitching pieces.  They are so adorable, but I often felt she over-did the back-stitching thing.  She has started offering some of her small designs as freebies on her FB page and her little summer fruit bowl caught my eye.  It just showed the chart with no finished model and I find it hard to visualize what it will really look like when that's all I have.  I was in the mood for bright colors, so as an experiment, I decided to stitch it up and use the least amount of back-stitching I could get away with.  Turned out just fine and it's making me re-think the designs in some of my old magazines.

I was tired of finishing x-stitch pieces the same old way.  I looked around the web for new ideas.  I prefer simple sewing projects.  Just can't get excited about painting, staining and gluing.  I have sewing supplies and no room for more 'stuff', so I'd rather go in that direction.  I found a cute little fabric box tutorial on Pinterest and decided to substitute my x-stitch piece for one side.  Made a few mistakes, but I'm really happy with the finish.  A little heavyweight craft interfacing made it pretty sturdy.   I'll probably keep it by my stitching chair for a while as an ORT collector.  Almost too pretty to use that way.
The stitching is over-two on 35 count HDF linen.  

You can get the chart by clicking here to the FB photo.
The tute for the box is here.

I continue to do an occasional quilt square for WOCS.  This one is for a quilt with a sewing theme.  Little House Needleworks "Needle and Thread" was just the right size and a quick, enjoyable project for this quilt.  This is done on 32 count lugana with my choice of DMC colors.  I thought my ironing job was pretty well done til I looked at the photo!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Wedding Pinkeep and Card

I'm all ready for my cousin's  wedding in August.  Bought a new dress, made a pin keep and card.  All I have to do is write a check and I'm set.

"I Do" by Bent Creek is the perfect little design for a pinkeep.  I used all DMC over-one on 28 count Cashel.  I've forgotten which color, one of the light neutrals.  If the couple had shorter names, I would have stitched their first names instead of initials, but this works.  I love how the I, d and o are worked into the alphabet so as not to disturb the sequence.

I stitched up a few freebies for the card, but finally settled on one by Nan Lewis of Threadworks Primitives.  She designed it for the members of the Prim Stitchers Society FB group.  Someone in the group commented that it looks like the birds are almost kissing so that helped me decide.  This is done with my usual free-hand style of cutting and very little actual measurement.  It's a primitive design, so I figure that's fair.  The design in stitched using DMC on 35 count linen from HDF.  I added a little batting behind the design so it's pouffy.  The card is actually larger than the pinkeep.  I hope that doesn't seem too odd.  But done is done and now I can move on to another project.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

"Rendered By..." Bag and Bottlecap Magnet

The birthday party for my friend who turned 60 was a big success.  The trickiest part for me was deciding what to wear since the party was at a very nice restaurant and my standard jeans and t-shirts just wouldn't suffice.  I finally settled on a black skirt and flowered top.  Then I noticed that the top really matched the little piece I had been stitching.  So the day of the party, I sewed it up into a little cross-body sling bag.  All my others are getting worn out with use, so it was time for one or two new ones anyway. 

The chart is  is called "Rendered by.."  designed by "Little By Little".  It's stitched with DMC on 32 count Lugana.  I made a ton of changes.  The colors just didn't seem quite right in some cases, so I kept substituting.  I also simplified it to fit the size I wanted.  The alphabet was one of those old time sampler deals where some letters are missing and some are repeated.  But I saw a couple of other finishes on blogs where the stitchers had changed it to be the normal ABC's and I followed suit.  There was some odd dead space that didn't sit well with me so the butterfly and purple heart are my additions.  Of course, in the original, the words "Rendered by...' are stiched along the bottom and the stitcher can personalize with his/her own initials.  But that got left out too.

In this version, I only used heavy fusible interfacing and no batting.  It was a trial and it turned out well.  Much easier than batting actually.   After I used the bag for the party, I decided the top seemed a little plain.  So today, after searching and crocheting about 20 different little butterfly appliques, I finally found a pattern that suited me.  So the final product now has a bit of adornment.    Click here for the page of butterfly patterns where I found the one I settled on.

I saw a cute thing on Pinterest that I just had to try, a bottle cap magnet using cross stitch.  I bought a pack of 1" diameter flattened bottle caps at Joann's for a test.  One inch does not give a lot of space to work with, even at over-one on 32 count fabric.  32 / 1.4 is about 23 stitches on a side for the largest square that will fit in the circle.  (Hypotenuse is the square root of two times a leg as all good Pythagoreans know).  As luck would have it, the same day I bought the caps, I saw the new tiny mermaid design by The Little Stitcher, a freebie you can get here.  I did a pretty weak job of stretching it around a circle and centering it, but as proof of concept, I think it turned out kind of cute.  I added it to my mermaid tin and I'll be giving the tin away tomorrow so mermaid stitching is at a close for now.  There's an odd wonky stitch that shows up in that photo because it's such a close-up.  I couldn't actually see that without magnification in real life since the stitching is so tiny!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Flag City, Air Guitar and Mermaid Keychain

With Memorial Day upon us in the U.S., it was a fitting time to do a little patriotic piece.  Although this is not really a style I would normally be attracted to, I was drawn to it since it is a SAL piece in the "All About Smalls" Facebook group.  The design is an older freebie from La-D-Dah called "Flag City".  Group members are modifying it to suit their needs and some of the creative ideas for it among the stitchers are just amazing.  The original design has the words "Flag City" at the top, but stitchers are often substituting their own city or state.  I wanted something more generic so I changed the title to "Old Glory".  I omitted the date as well and charted a funky bird under the flag.  It's stitched on Dove Gray Monaco over-one, with my own selection of DMC floss colors.  I got a little bored with the border so I simplified that as well.  Finished it up as a cute little pinkeep with the last of my red and blue beads.  And I love the result.

Next I moved  out of the prim area and into something a bit more modern day.  One of my good friends just turned 60 and his wife is giving him a birthday party next weekend.  She only does this at each decade change.  I used one of the motifs from Lynn Nicoletti's "Air Guitar" design to create a birthday card for the occasion.   No matter how old you get, you can still play a mean air guitar!   The card is also over-one on Monaco.  The original design was meant to use glow-in-the-dark floss for all the green outlines that you see on my work.  So it would look really cool with the guitar only showing in the dark.  But I think I it's a pretty nice card without doing that,  although I don't know if my friend will appreciate embroidery!  I did the electric blue foot rest in x-stitch over-2 to avoid solid color fill-in boredom.  Then I jazzed it up with few sequins.  The wording is my addition also.

 In my last post, I showed an Altoid tin decorated with a mermaid theme, but I had not selected any contents.  I thought about it and decided to make a keyring fob from the  "Guardians of the Sea" freebie by the Little Sittcher (click here for the chart).  And yes, another over-one design on Monaco.  Sensing a pattern here.  I love the look of these tiny mermaids.

And now I leave you with this quarter's dental office reminder art,  the very famous Van Gogh, "Toothy Night".

For those in the U.S., have  good holiday!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Mermaid Altoid Tin, Bridal Shower Card & Garden Square

Not sure if I've become slightly addicted to covering Altoid tins with cross stitch.  But I've just done yet another one.  This will be a little summer gift for a friend.  The design is the Snowflower Diaries Little Mermaid, done in DMC on 36 count HDF light blue linen.  I made a few mods to get it to fit in the space, but it seemed bare in spots so I added the sequins.  They are just glued on so I don't know how well they will hold up. But no big deal.

The crocheted goldfish on the inside lid is one I did a few years ago in variegated blues.   It is one of the motifs from Chinami Horiba.  Many of her patterns are now on Ravelry.  This time, the gold variegated thread I found at my local variety store seemed just perfect.  I think I didn't dry the tin well when I first rinsed it out and there were some rust spots on the inside.  That's why I added the inside sequins and covered the sides completely.

Looks cuter in real life as always.  Now I have to come up with interesting summer-themed contents.  Lip balm is always good, but I'm hoping I can think of something else.  Any ideas out there?

 I attended a bridal shower yesterday for one of my cousins who is getting married this summer.  The shower was at the townhouse of a friend of the bride's mother.  It was an elegant four story townhouse with an elevator!  Good thing because the stairs between floors were super-steep and waxed hardwood.    It was a beautiful Spring Day and a lovely afternoon.  I stitched up the JBW Umbrella for the gift card using DMC color variations on Lugana.  It went pretty much un-noticed among all the loot she got.  The highlight was a book, "Danny's Favorites",  created by the groom's mother.  It included all the recipes his mother makes for him that he loves, with photos of Danny accompanying each recipe, often eating the result.  What a treasure.  I think she used a recipe book template on Shutterfly.

Finally, when I saw the freebie Earth Day sampler, "The Earth Laughs in Flowers",  from Beth Twist of Heartstring Samplery, I fell in love with it.  Part of my new prim appreciation I guess.  World Of Charity Stitching is doing a quilt with the theme, "In a Garden", and I knew this would a perfect addition.  Stitched on Lugana, it was just the right size.   I don't think I've ever complete a design so quickly!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Spring Celebration and Hope House

Spring is in full bloom here now.  My headaches are a testament.  But I love going outside without a coat and just feeling warm anyway!    Lately I seem to have a fascination with primitive designs.  It's such a change from the really detailed type of cross-stitching I used to prefer.  When I saw this cute little freebie from the Primitive Hare,  "Spring Celebration", I couldn't wait to stitch it up. I used a piece of 32 count natural Gander linen that I bought from The Thread Basket.  I had heard so many good things about this linen that I was curious to try it out.  It's not available much in the U.S., but the Thread Basket does specialize in French patterns and has a limited supply on the site.  It's a nice weighty linen, and I enjoyed working with it.   It was just the right size to turn into a luggage tag for Spring Break getaways.  I gave it to a Jazzercise instructor who taught an especially fun class on the day I finished it up.

While searching for something completely different, I found this cute pattern for a funky crocheted house on Pinterest.  Just for fun I tried to see if I could actually re-create it.  My finishes from a lot of crochet patterns just don't turn out anything like the models.   This one worked out pretty well though.  I added a safety pin on the back.. poor man's brooch.  One of my friends has been training for the Avon Breast Cancer Walk.  She's trying to get in shape without over-doing and it's been a little tricky.  I will give it to my friend as a gift of encouragement.  The pattern is called "Hope House" and you can download the free pdf here.  I should have taken the photo in context so you could see the size.  It's about 3" (7.62 cm) high.  I crocheted it using #10 crochet cotton with a size 7 hook from colors that I had already.

Monday, March 31, 2014

The Good Ole Days

I think Spring has finally sprung in these parts.  Hoping that the three hours of snow yesterday were a last gasp of winter.  I spent the day finishing up this little quilty mat.  It will rest on the table next to sofa and hold the remote and my glasses.  I love these two Victorian ladies, probably spreading gossip as they meet on the street, dressed so elegantly.   They are a nice take on silhouettes.. just enough color to be interesting. Only four shades of DMC.  One of my better binding efforts, but still with my characteristic wonkiness!

The design actually put me in mind of one of my great aunts.  Here name was Annie also, but I was not named after her.  She was born in 1882 in Russia and came to the U.S. in 1898 at the age of 16.  Her outfit could definitely compete with the cross-stitched ladies' finery.

When I was a kid and my older brother discarded some toy or trinket he no longer wanted, I always scooped it up and added it to my collection of treasures.  One such item was still in my jewlery box.  It was a tie tack from AZA, the young boys club that was part of B'nai B'rith.  I decided it was high time I returned it to its rightful owner.  It was so tiny that I was afraid if I put it in an envelope, my brother might drop it, the tie tack would roll under some furniture, and he would never find it. So I invented a keepsake pouch for it.  Kind of looks like a needlebook.  The 6-pointed star I crocheted was not exactly a Star of David, but close enough.  Click here for the pattern.

I added the little tab so that the tie-tack would be removable rather that just sewn into the lining.  I doubt that he will remove it, but just in case!

My brother has received it now (after a bit of scare with weird post office tracking statuses!).  The tie tack is so tiny that although he could see that it is a menorah, he couldn't see the lettering, Aleph-Zadik-Aleph which is AZA in Hebrew.  He didn't recognize it at all as being something he once owned so I had to tell him what it was.  I took this enlarged photo and lightened it up so the letters are a touch more visible.  He certainly appreciated the effort though!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Spring Altoid Tin

Hoping for a spring warm-up this week.  We got a taste of it yesterday, but pretty brisk again today.  I've been doing a bit of stitching in spring colors to give Mother Nature the hint.  This Altoid tin and stitchy items inside will be a little thank you gift for a friend.  She doesn't stitch, but appreciates all the smalls she sees me make.

The tin top design is from the current issue of JCS.  The magazine is featuring a series of hornbooks and this one is from Dames of the Needle.  I stitched it over-one on 32 count lugana.  The photos look like the fabric is white, but it's actually a more ivory color.

It's always harder to figure out what to put inside than it is to decorate the tin.  But here's my current plan for contents.  This could change if I get other ideas, but I'm tired of thinking about it so this will probably be it.

The egg pin cushion is by Aliolka. She showed it in multiple color schemes and she has a second version with a daisy I think.  Click here for the free pattern.  I just sewed up a backing following the outline of the stitching, stuffed it and added beads on the edge.   It is stitched over-two on 32 count lugana.

The keychain fob is a tiny granny square done in variegated crochet cotton.  I got the idea from this pattern for granny square earrings.  There are many variations on granny square earring patterns but this was the tiniest version and simple to attach to the keyring.  Tiny is important when working on Altoid tin contents.

The little bunny on the lid is a popular free crochet bunny pattern.  Works up in no time.   One could make dozens of these in a wink if there was any reason to.   Here's a link to the tute if you want to whip up a few of these for the coming season.

And once again, a toothy take-off on a famous painting in the guise of a dentist reminder card.  If you think I go to the dentist a lot, you are right.  Miserable mouth syndrome.

This one may be harder to recognize.  Think men in bowler hats floating in air,  Golconde by Magritte. Ignore my sneaker.  It was windy out on the balcony and I was trying to keep the card from blowing away.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

I've Got the Horse Right Here.....

Just in time for GW's birthday, I finished this  Paul Revere piece.  I was singing the whole time I was stitching..

I've got the horse right here, his name is Paul Revere, and here's a guy that says that if the weathers' clear, can do...can do...this guy says the horse can do. If he says the horse can do...can do...can do.

For those that don't recognize the lyric, it's from the most wonderful show, Guys and Dolls. 
You can watch the opening number to the show to see it performed if you care to on this You Tube Video.

The design is from the July/August 2012 issue of JCS.  I remember thinking it was interesting when I first saw it, but I recently saw a finish of this on Hildi's Good Life.
It made made me want to stitch it immediately.

Mine is stitched on 28 ct Cashel linen in Summer Khaki I think.  I love the little petit point/over-one stitching for Paul.  The grass is in long-leg cross stitch and gives a nice textured effect.  Just a fun little design.

I finished it up as a pouch to hold my small quilting ruler for want of knowing what else to do with it.  My cutting, sewing and centering are shown up for all their wonkiness here, but the ruler fits quite nicely inside.    


Thursday, February 6, 2014

Slouchy Beehive Hat

I've been mulling over slouchy hat patterns for a long time.  It's so hard to predict what will fit, feel right and look ok.   I finally settled on the Slouchy Beehive Hat pattern I discovered on Ravelry.   Just had to wait for a break in the weather so I could get some yarn.  At long last,  I finally made a hat that basically fits.  It's a touch big, but it's supposed to be.  And I hate the vise-like grip my previous hats held on my head so I don't mind a loose fit. Started on Super-Bowl Sunday following a quick afternoon excursion to the new Joann's.  Finished on Wednesday evening.  And not much time spent on Tuesday evening at all.  I needed chunky/bulky yarn and there wasn't a big selection, but this Wool-ease chunky in Willow turned out to be a good choice.

Not much sun, so the photos aren't so great.  And I'm pretty weak in the selfie skills.  But I think you'll get the idea.  I have to go out in the cold tomorrow morning, so I'll debut it then.

A tribute to "Blurred Lines".  I'm not much for showing my face on the interwebs.