Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Secret Lair and SAL update

My eyes are just getting tired.  I can't seem to stitch very long at one sitting before they rebel.  Doesn't help that I'm at a computer screen for work all day and I've been very busy lately.  But I finally have couple of things to show and you know how good you feel when you have a finish finish.

I figured I better get a leg up on Halloween since I'm stitching so slowly.  I picked this Bent Creek "Secret Lair" design because that mad scientist is just so adorable, and the atom sign on the wall was so clever.  Love his tennis shoes.  I simplified some parts and made some color changes, but it's reasonably true to the original.   The fabric was a clearance piece of 35 ct linen from 123 stitch.  I had wanted to try Dames of the Needle linen, and this sale was a good opportunity.  It's a little stiff, but not bad after you stitch with it a while.  It definitely grew on me.  And I love the color, including the color name, "Peep's Lost Sheep".  I wasn't in the mood for getting very fancy with card making so the design will have to speak for itself.

And once again I got in under the wire to finish the September installment of the Joyful World SAL just before October gets released.  This was not one of my favorites, but now that I look at those two funky owls, I like it more than I realized at first.  I kept counting wrong and was in no mood for frogging either so there are a number of, shall we say, "adjustments" to the design.   Just hoping my eyes hold on for the last three installments to this SAL.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Flower Waltz Bag & SAL Updates

So finally I have left behind the world of the Blackberry.  My company has switched over to a different phone system and they are replacing the mobile devices of those of us who were still on the old system.  I got a nice surprise in the mail, a new Galaxy phone.  I think I finally have it set up how I like it, but I do miss the nice Blackberry keyboard.   Meanwhile, the phone is bigger than my Blackberry and it doesn't fit well inside my smallest sling bags, the ones I use on a long walk where I really carry nothing but phone, Id, credit card and tissue.  

I recently finished stitching "Flower Waltz" by Prairie Moon and had planned on using it for something that I no longer was interested in.  So I made a bag in the style of all my others, but a little smaller, yet large enough to hold the essentials comfortably with the larger phone.

I stitched it on 32 count MCG linen using my own DMC color choices.  That fabric is nice and sturdy so it makes a good bag.  I used heavy craft interfacing, but no batting or fleece.  Ready to go for my 5 mile Sunday walk.  My Sunday Jazzercise class lost their lease at the space they had so the walk is my substitute exercise on Sunday morning for now.


All caught up on the July and August designs for the Snowflower Diaries Joyful World SAL.  Just a few color changes for July, mostly to get a good pink for flamingos and little more contrast with brighter yellows.

For August, I made a few color changes as well, but the large changed involved the blue flowers that were charted as lazy daisies.  I found it way too difficult to do those on 28-ct Monaco in over-one stitching.  So I changed them to French knots. French knots are not always my forte either, but with 2-strands they at least didn't have that tendency to pull through to the back side.   Now the flowers remind me of hydrangeas.  When I was a kid, our next door neighbors had a black and white collie named "Lady" and they had two hydrangea bushes as well.  We used to call them snowball bushes. 


Sunday, June 26, 2016

Signs of Summer Tin and ABC Cubes

A couple of years ago I started stitching Bent Creek's "Signs of Summer" for an Altoid tin top and I just stopped in the middle.  My fabric was similar to the suggested one, but the colors just weren't showing up right.  I tried changing them, but I began to hate the whole thing.  Recently I discovered the half-finished piece while searching for something else, and although I didn't like it any better, I decided to try again on a piece of 28 ct cornflower blue Jobelan.   I'm much happier with the finish this time.   I glued a couple of buttons on the outer lid to hide my messy ribbon gluing job.






I actually had more fun finding applique crochet patterns to decorate the inside lid.  Thread crochet is so fiddly that I had some false starts.  But I finally settled on some patterns that worked.  I don't know if I'll keep the sea turtle in the tin, but he definitely looks cute.  The shell comes out kind of rounded by design, so one could add a little batting for a 3-d look.

If you are interested, these the are links to the free crochet patterns I used:

Tiny round fish
http://bunnymummy-jacquie.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/sail-away-crochet-pattern.html

Long fish
http://mymerrymessylife.com/2012/04/crochet-goldfish-applique-free-crochet-pattern.html

Spiral seashell
http://dascrochetconnection.blogspot.com/p/sea-shell-garland.html

Sea turtle
http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/sea-turtle-applique-2




And finally, Ele's ABC SAL is complete!  Here is the final block:

I'm very proud of myself for actually doing the finishing.  This is the kind of thing that can live in a drawer for a long time until the finishing mood strikes me!  I decided to arrange them with the ABC as the top of one block and the 123 as the top of the other. Then the sides are the rest of the alphabet.  The bottoms of each are the remaining number blocks.  I stuffed them lightly with poly-fill so they are scrunchy.   My eyes are really starting to rebel in the evenings so I think I made tons of mistakes in all those seams.  I was trying to stitch by feel and that's really not a good technique.  Not sure what I'll do with these.  I think a baby could rip them apart so they aren't really toys.  I'll just admire them for now.






Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Bird's Eye View Sling Bag

Last fall, I decided I needed a new cross-body sling bag and I stitched up Kathy Barrick's "Bird's Eye View".   This was really a fun stitch.. just the kind I like.  It's very colorful, no back-stitching, and no super-large areas of a single color.  All done in DMC on 36 count linen.  And then for some reason, the design just sat around and I never felt like making the bag.  Meanwhile, the bag I use everyday had gotten increasingly tattered, so finally I took out the time to sew this one up.  I don't know why I hesitated for so long.  It really doesn't take that long to do it.  And I'm very happy with it, even though those colors are not very spring/summer-like.




All caught up with Snowflower Calendar SAL just about in time for the next installment. This June bear just stole my heart.  I first thought the color was too dark and I tried something lighter.  It was too faint and I ripped it out.  So I went with the 839 on the pattern and I'm much happier.  I made the bee hive a little gold-ier,  the apricots a little orange-ier and the bees a little brighter yellow.  Just look at that sweet smile!

Also finished the 4-5-6 block for Ele's SAL.  Only one more block to go and I will have the dubious pleasure of sewing up the cubes.  I wonder how long it will take me to feel like doing that!

Friday, May 27, 2016

Sneak Peek Summer Tin #2

The great rain streak of 2016 has finally been broken here and we've had some sunny days.  Unfortunately, my photos for this post were taken when it was still pretty dreary outside so they may not show up so well.

I completed the second tin for the Trilogy Summer Sneak Peak pair.  The universe was with me on this one.  I was browsing in Joann's fabric store for something completely different when I stumbled upon this narrow ribbon with a watermelon slice print.  I could hardly believe it.  How perfect a trim can you get?  And coupled with the polka dot tan that kind of gives the flavor of the basket, I think it really enhanced the design.  This one contains the flash drive with the whole cast of Peanuts characters.
 

One of the members of the 123 Stitch Message board suffered a serious health problem recently.  Board members banded together to shower her with get-well cards.  I had stitched up this old Chessie and Me freebie some time ago and never used it.  I thought it made a nice, cheery card.  Hoping she recovers quickly.

And the mystery of Ele's ABC SAL has been revealed.  She is doing numbers on the final three squares.  This may make my placement on cubed pin cushions a bit tricky, but I'm not going to let that spoil the fun.  No changes from Ele's design on this.  Only two more to go!


Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Sneak Peek Summer Tin

It's been raining here for two weeks, but the sun came out briefly this afternoon to give me enough light for photos.  It was time for a couple of Altoid tin gifts for a couple of summer-loving friends.  The Trilogy Sneak Peek Summer designs are perfect for this and two fit comfortably on a tin top.  I've finished one and will make one more.  I used 36 count light blue linen using DMC.  The little butterfly on the upper right was my addition since it looked so bare on that corner.  I used a motif for the butterfly that Lynn charted and uses in many of her designs. See this example.

The inside has the cutest little Snoopy flash drive.  And they were on a clearance sale to make them especially cute!  The other one has all the peanuts characters on it. Great find at Staples.




I'm caught up with Ele's ABC SAL.  The alphabet part is finished, so I'm very curious to see what the final 3 blocks will be.  I didn't make any changes to the "vwx" block.  The "yz" block motif was the zinnia, but without stitching any words, I was afraid it might not be identifiable.  I went with 'yacht' for the 'y', even though one might wonder why I put a sailboat on a "yz" square.  But 'y' and 'z' don't give one a lot of good choices.   My attempt at a zig-zag failed miserably.  I didn't want 'yarn' since I was avoiding a needlework theme.  Yo-yo was too modern.  Frankly, I got tired of over-thinking it!

And I finished the May design for the Joyful World SAL.  Just a few color changes this month. I  made the orange flowers a little darker.  I turned the white bird into a bluebird.  There is also minuscule back-stitching on the cat faces.  I'm caught up just in time for the new June pattern.. a super-bear!
 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Down in the Valley

So my dear little wrapped 4" wooden embroidery hoop really needed to have its own pouch like the ones I made for the other spring tension ones I own.   Really, I was just looking for a way to finish "Down In The Valley" by Blackbird Designs.  Since it was meant to be a round finish, I thought a hoop pouch made sense. I was considering going completely round, with maybe a zipper, but I ended up with a rounded bottom only.  Turns out to be pretty easy to do that.  I found a bowl in the kitchen that was the right size and traced a semi-circle onto the back of the stitching and finishing fabrics.  That gave a nice sewing line.  You just need to use a short machine stitch and clip the curves before turning.  For once, my measurements came out pretty good and this pouch really doesn't even need a snap closure to keep the hoop in there. 

The top border fabric is the backing fabric as well.  It's really not so blue and actually looks more like the muted colors in the stitching.  The stitching is done on 32 ct natural MCG linen.  That linen is a little heavier than Zweigart and makes a more sturdy pouch.   I mostly used the DMC suggested colors with a few changes here and there.






Ele chose 'thread' as the theme for her "s,t,u" block of the Alphabet SAL.  She wanted to tie it in to the needle on the "m,n,o" block.  I didn't want these blocks to end up with a stitchy theme so I went rogue and found a small chart for an umbrella here.  Ele had thought about going with the umbrella idea, so it wasn't entirely my idea.  I think I've stayed with the flavor of this SAL.  We'll see how much of a SAL rebel I will be in the coming weeks.  


Sunday, April 3, 2016

Double zip pouch and SAL updates

I did a little experimental sewing today.  I've made a number of little zippered coin purses and I use them a lot.  They are handy for carrying my credit & ID cards, some paper money and some change in a compact, light-weight format.  The only annoying thing is that change gets buried at the bottom and it's difficult to see what's there to pick out the right coins.  So I decided to try sewing one that had an outside zippered pocket to use as a separate compartment for the change.  I had always been afraid of doing that because of the added bulk in the seams.  So today's test was just done with quilting cottons and no cross-stitch fabric, interfacing, or batting.  It worked out very well, but next time I'll place the side zipper a little higher.   I wasn't sure where to put it.  The pouch measures about 3.5" x 5", about the size of a recipe card.

I found this You Tube video to be a very clear tutorial on how to do this.  I didn't follow it exactly, but it's more or less the same technique.  I've also found it easier to use a zipper that's too long and shorten it on each end.  Trying to line up the metal pieces at the end of each zipper when you sew it in is just too fiddly an operation for me.




I'm up to date on the Snowlower Diaries Calendar SAL now too.  I made a few color changes to brighten it up, but not much.  That bunny and squirrel are just too cute. 

I also completed part 6 of Ele's ABC SAL.  Why does that peacock look like a dinosaur to me?  We just got part 7 and I I think may be going rogue on that one.  We'll see.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Wild and Crazy Carrot

So after I caught up on my SALS in the last post, I realized that I hadn't planned what project to start next.  I usually have my next project in mind while I'm working on one.  I'm a one-at-a-time stitcher, so no WIP's waiting in the wings.  This happened on the night of the Oscars and I couldn't imagine watching an awards show without stitching at the same time.  I looked through my recent freebie downloads and the CEC Primrose Carrot caught my eye.  It fascinated me because it used a lot of colors, but the chart was in black and white with no accompanying color photo.  I couldn't visualize the completed design at all.  I laughed because the designer encourages you to pick your own colors.  Not sure how I would have been able to that.   Luckily I had an appropriate piece of linen and all the DMC colors in my stash, so it became a mystery stitch for me.  It was so much fun to stitch and see the design in color come to life gradually.  On 32-count evenweave, it's a bit too long for a book mark, so I made a little mat to use as a resting spot for my iPad-mini.  I'm quite happy with it.


And I did one more block of El's ABC SAL. Still love these quick little squares.