Sunday, September 14, 2014

Fall Pumpkins Altoid Tin

I was beginning to think this post was never going to happen.  This project seemed to be one disaster after another, but somehow it finally got done. I had expected it to be finished much sooner, but I'm happy it finally gelled.

I fell in love with Elizabeth Talledo's "Fall Pumpkins" hornbook design in the Oct. 2014 issue of JCS.  Since I had done the Spring one as an Altoid tin top, I knew this was the right size for one, so I decided to go ahead and stitch it with that finish in mind.  I used Summer Khaki Cashel linen, one over one with DMC threads.  After I finished the bowl that holds the pumpkins and looked at the rest of the chart, I was shocked to see that Elizabeth had charted a lot of petit point motifs.  In other words, I should have been stitching that bowl over two so I could halve the size of the stitches for the other motifs.  No way to stitch over half a thread!

I almost abandoned the project at that point.  But I took it as a challenge instead.  I re-charted three birds to make them simpler so they would fit in the space.  The background had included a lovely alphabet and the numbers 1-10, but I had to let that idea go.  I just looked around for fall sampler motifs and sprinkled them in the background - owl, acorn, key, tiny pumpkin, etc.  I'm still not perfectly pleased with those choices, but enough was enough.

Then in the finishing, I started gluing the ribbon around top, only to realize I had chosen ribbon that was too wide.  So I had to pull that mess off and re-start.  The padded stitching is kind of lumpy too.. I don't know why that happened.  But at least had 1/4" ribbon in the right color.

For the inside I got the idea to do a round keyring fob.  I thought I still had one of those bottlecap frames to make a magnet, but I couldn't find it.  So I just used a backing with plain fabric stretched around cardboard and sewed it to the stitching stretched around cardboard.  I stitched the trim around at the same time I stitched  the front to the back and it started fraying all over the place.  I had to used clear-drying glue to tamp it down.   The design is a little witch from a freebie called "Hallowen Witch and Tree" by Kathleen Finn of Stitches of Olde.  She gave the freebie to members of  the FB Prim Stitchers Society.

On to the next project!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Haunting Love

I recently joined the "Pumpkin Seed Stitchers" group on Facebook for those who like to stitch Halloween designs.  Teresa Smith of T. A. Smith's designs created a piece for the group called "Haunting Love".  The design is monochrome, but I decided to do it in color.  It's just the sweetest piece.  A little bird flew in and landed unexpectedly on the upper right branch, but otherwise this is stitched from Teresa's chart.  Don't you love the little ghosties and the tiny mouse couple?

It's done in DMC (310,4140, 4045, 3746,4124,451,3045,317, and 4000) on a piece of Miek's hand-dyed fabric.  Love those color variations.  4000 is one of the newest colors and it made a great tree trunk.  I finished it up as a pin keep this afternoon.

Couple of pieces of good news to report:
First, the lost LHN "Needles and Threads" square for WOCS finally arrived!  It took one month to get from DC to Florida.  Those squares usually take 3 days to make that trip.  I could have walked to Florida in that time I think.  Hope the square had a nice world tour.  I'm so glad it didn't get lost forever!

Second, my partner and I won our summer tote bag in Jazzercise by attending the required number of classes during the summer.  The promo below shows the bag.  Our instructor was nice enough to give us some extra time to get all of our classes in.  I always think I don't care about these promotions and it's not why I go to class, but these incentives don't hurt!
And my dentist has once again reminded me that the war zone I call my mouth needs its quarterly attention soon.  Andy Warhol may be most famous for Marilyn Monroe and Campbell's Soup, but these toothbrushes make for great pop art!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Random Threads and Bookmark

Unfortunately,  the last square I stitched for WOCS, the Needles and Thread piece by LHN, is lost in the USPS ether.  Mailed on July 21 and still hasn't arrived in FL.  I've sent a ton of squares from my house to the same address with no problem.   Guess my number finally came up.  I've had the problem with international mail before, but not inside the U.S.   Anyway, you know the old expression about getting right back on the horse after your fall, so I stitched a replacement square for the "Sew Be It" quilt.  This design is " Random Threads" by Erica Michaels.  I wanted something with few colors, minimal back stitch and just the right size.  I think I found it and I'm just hoping this one finds its way to its new home.

I had a long skinny piece of fabric from my Miek hand-dyed collection that I decided was perfect for a bookmark.  Not sure what to put on that bright yellow, but then I remembered Erynne's "Summer Owls" design.  I selected three of the four owls and just made a column of them.  You gotta love owls in bathing suits, especially the middle one in the polka dot bikini.

The design is a freebie on Erynne's Stitcheree blog and you can download the full pattern here.

My friend Hetti surprised me with some lovely gifts.  The top two photos below show a little mirror pouch she made.  You are viewing the back side of the mirror itself on the left.  Hetti designed a cross stitch pattern for the pouch that kind of mimics the delft tile pattern on the mirror.  Love the little butterfly button too.  Isn't this clever and gorgeous?

She also included some beautiful multi-color threads and the three with the white tags in the photo are hand-dyed by Miek.  The card shown with the floss is one of Hetti's creations.  She makes fabulous cards!

On the bottom right you can see the post card, Dutch-themed wrapping paper, Hetti and Miek's calling cards and a cute little purse-sized memo pad with Delft tile designs on the cover.  The paper inside is graph paper, so handy for a little charting on the go!

Thanks, so much Hetti!  I feel spoiled again!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Pouch, Halloween and Bookmark

My long-time stitching buddy, Hetti, received the little gift I made her to celebrate some good news in her life.  Hetti is one of the first stitchers from whom I received an exchange piece back in 2006.  Check out her blog if you don't know it.  Hetti has free designs and tutorials for all kinds of cute little x-stitch things.  I made her a little scissors case from the Pennsylvania Blossom design by Beth Seal.  This is a freebie for the Prim Stitchers Society members on FB.  The case is lined with a snap closure on the inside top.  Hetti seems to use red, white and blue a lot in her stitching, so I thought the cute polka-dot scissors would be perfect for her.  The case is large enough to hold some extras, so I added a few skeins of HDF silk floss as well.

Amazingly, the case turns out to fit her cell phone perfectly and she is now using it for that purpose as you can see below.  If I had been trying for that, I would never have made a case that fit that well.

Hetti's sister, Miek, likes to dye fabric and threads.  Making the scissors case reminded me of the beautiful hand dyed fabrics I have in my stash that Miek sent me some time ago.  I decided to make a couple of Halloween cards from one of the pieces.  The first is a design from the The Flossbox.  Zombies like to trick or treat too you know!

The second is an old freebie,  "Des Fillles et Halloween", by Nathalie of Jardin Prive.  Originally the design was available on this site,
I don't think it is there now.  It makes me think of a stylish version of the Shakespeare Weird Sisters.  Love those cinched in waists on the two end ladies.

And, while I was playing with the fabric, I grabbed this beauty and stitched a bookmark for WOCS from a design in "Bookmarks Galore" from Leisure Arts.  It was tricky to find something that would work with all of those colors, but i think this blended in quite well.

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.