Friday, March 13, 2015

May Basket Pouch & Secret Egg Hunt

I recently saw someone stitch "May Basket" by Blackbird Designs, and I fell in love with that little piece.  Not sure why I singled that one out, but I decided to stitch it up.  The finish I saw appeared to use a mix of hand-dyed threads and DMC.  Mine is all DMC, but some different colors.  I made it into a 4" square pouch to hold my earbuds.  I don't use earbuds much so I just keep them close by.  When I browse the web using my Nook and want to view a video or something that makes noise, I need to use them temporarily.  The Nook volume is way too low, even turned up to high, without the buds.  So now they have a nice home.

I used rick rack again as a trim, this time pressing the piece so the trim faces the border and not the linen.  I substituted three little buttons instead of stitching my initials.  It's done on 36ct Edinburgh Dirty linen.  A cute little thing, no?

I always wanted to stitch "Secret Egg Hunt" by the Trilogy.  I just never had a reason to do it or a use for  it til now.  WOCS started a "Spring is in the Air" quilt and blocks with bunnies and eggs were welcome.   I left out the boring one row border.  I don't think it's necessary for a quilt square like this.  I stitched it on 25 ct. Platinum Lugana.  All the colors really popped on that color.  And 12.5 stitches to the inch?  A dream to stitch with.  So easy to see.  I can stitch so quickly on fabric like this.  I think 2 strands still covers it very well too, making the loop method for starting off still possible.  I also think the designs on these quilt squares can look nicer when the aren't so teeny weeny.

Interesting tidbit time.  You may remember that about a year ago I stitched a portrait of my brother.  I used a photo of Larry David since my brother looks so much like him and is often mistaken for him.  Click here to see that post.  Well, it turns out that Larry David went to the University of Maryland at the same time that I was there.  The Washington Post had a recent article written by the sweetheart of his fraternity.  Turns out that I knew a few of his fraternity brothers, one of whom was sort of my stalker.  I would never go out with the guy, but if I had known that it might lead to meeting the soon-to-be famous LD, I might have said 'yes'.    Click here for a link to the article.  It's a good read if you are an LD or Seinfeld fan.  If you scroll down you can see a photo of a reunion they had some years ago at the writer's house.  I may recognize my stalker in that photo, but I'm not sure.  It was a long time ago.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Primrose Maiden

Would you believe we are anticipating an ice storm tomorrow?  This weather just goes on and on.  So meanwhile, I stitched something to make me think of warmer days.  This design is "Primrose Maiden" by  Laura Rimola, The Little Stitcher.  It can be found in the April, 2015 issue of  Just Cross Stitch Magazine. I finished it up into another little pouch for a spring tension hoop.  This one is for the 4" size.  The last one was the for the 6" size.  It's stitched on scrap piece of 36" ct hand dyed linen.  I had that rick rack already so I made use of it as well.  Not much else stitchy going on so I took several photos to flesh out the post.  

My sewing machine seemed to have a mind of its own today.  Mine is an old machine with a knee-activated start and stop control.  I don't think they use those much anymore, but they were very popular in the Stone Age when the machine was new.  Today it seemed to get stuck and keep going after I released pressure.  I had to pull it back by hand to stop the machine.  Only happened when I was running the machine at high speed.  Kind of frightening the first time is occurred -- like some weird scary movie.  This may be a sign that it's finally time to consider an upgrade. 

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Hare's Lucky Day

There are so many designs I want to stitch, but I hesitate to stitch them because I can't think of a use for them.  Or sometimes I'm saving them for just the right purpose, and that purpose never seems to show up.  "Hare's Lucky Day" by Plum Street Samplers, a freebie you can find here,  is one of those designs.  No one I know had the right combination of kids to make this an appropriate design for them.  So finally, I stitched it up anyway.

I have a number of those spring tension hoops stored in a tote bag.  They are forever getting entangled with each other, so I decided they needed separate pouches.  Any old zip lock bag would do, but stitcher-tunity visions started appearing before my eyes.  So I sewed this design up into a little sleeve that just fits the 4" hoop with a snap closure to keep it in place.

I thought the hares were supposed to be white, so I had cut a piece of my favorite go-to fabric for white, 36 ct Summer Khaki Edinburgh, before I noticed the hares are supposed to be light brown.  I just changed them to DMC 3865 and I was good to go.  I added a little extra gold DMC on the kids' clothes as well.    Plus I changed the Mom's dress to a darker green for better contrast.  Looked a little plain at the end so I added a couple of heart buttons .. after all, yesterday was Valentine's Day.   The rest of hoops are jealous now, so I'm sure I will make more of these.

Truer colors:

Back of sleeve:

Inside with snap showing:

Stay warm everyone... it's wicked cold in these parts!

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Tiny Sampler Needlebook and Snowman Card

Some people dance between raindrops. I try to dance between headaches. In that spirit, I finish-finished a couple of pieces between last night and this morning. I've made a number of needle books over the years for exchange pieces, but never one for myself. So I used this "Tiny Sampler" from La-D-Da to make one for myself. The design as an older freebie that you can get here.  It will make a good place to hold counting pins and special needles. Stitched on 35-ct HDF linen.  The pages are just craft felt with pinked edges. I added sew on snaps for closing.  I've been thinking of getting a snap setter tool to make more interesting snaps, but I keep reading about all the problems people have with those.  I don't have those problems with the sew-on kind so maybe I should just leave well enough alone.

I usually like to stockpile a few holiday cards during the year to have them on-call for December.  My stock was depleted, so I used this cutie pie "Mr. Byrd" from Heart in Hand as the basis for my new inventory.  He's a jolly little guy and he could come in handy around here to clear our walks after frequent storms this winter.  This is done another piece of 35-ct HDF linen.

I see sunshine and calm trees outside so even though it's cold, I think I will venture out for a walk.  Got to take advantage of the reasonable weather and no head pain when I can!  

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Robots, Hearts and Lavender Girl

When you look at the birthday card below, you will naturally think this is meant for a kid.  Well, let's just say it's going to someone with the heart of a kid!  My brother is no longer a kid in age, but really, is anyone ever too old for robots?  I thought I might stitch just one, but I cut the fabric larger just in case.  Turns out, like Lays' potato chips, you can't stitch just one.  And then I got the silly idea of adding the balloons as well.  I'm finding the whole thing pretty cheery actually.   The design is a freebie from the Tiny Modernist and if you happen to be in a robot mood, click here for the pattern.  I used 36 count hand-dyed Aida, an old piece I had from Sassy.


It was time for stitching the annual Valentine I make for my Valentine's Day loving friends.  I used  "Heartstruck Friends" from Midnight Stitching, stitched on another piece of 36-ct hand-dyed Aida from Sassy.

I recently discovered that the term 'deckle edge' is not as commonly known as I thought.  In addition to the blank looks I got from a few people when I mentioned the term,  one of my friends started giving me the definition of  'decolletage', confusing me no end.  But the discussions reminded me that I had one of those scrapbook scissors that cuts a deckle edge.  So I pulled that out for cutting the background paper.  Nothing fancy, but I like the look.  This was a quicky to assemble since I didn't need to cut out a window for the design.  And stickers help to dress it up.

I needed a gift tag for a New Year's present that included some hand-made (not by me!) lavender soap.  I was inspired by Sheryl's post at her Sewing After Seven blog to use the Snowflower Diaries Lavender Girl, a freebie you can get here.  I used all DMC,  changing the beads to French knots in 791 and the dress to 333. It is stitched on 36 count Summer Khaki Aida.  I added a little light iron-on interfacing to the back. Then I used pinking shears to cut out the circular shape.  The backing is cardstock cut in a circle that fits just inside the pinked edges.  I also cut out the tab at the top and punched out a hole.  I used double-sided tape to attach the card stock to the stitching and I had a cute tag to add to the gift bag.  I can see making more of these in the future!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Coffee Altoid Tin Top & Freedom Mat

So it's down to the final projects for 2014.  I made yet another embellished Altoid tin for my coffee-loving Jazzercise instructor.  The design is a slightly re-worked version of Barbara Ana's "Drink Coffee, Stitch Faster".  I probably could have used the entire design if I had done over-one stitching, but I wasn't in the mood to go with any higher count than 36 over-two on Summer Khaki Edinburgh.  Naturally I enclosed the cute Starbucks gift card keychain fob in the shape of a  mini-red Startbucks coffee cup. With coffee, lip balm and a few chocolates, this seemed like the perfect little package to carry around.  I had those two little gingerbread people embellishments in my stash from one of those "Dress it Up" collections.  My instructor said her two sons are really enamored of gingerbread this year, so I expect they got a kick out of it.

And continuing in the Barbara Ana theme,  I stitched up this "Freedom" design that Barbara donated to the members of the Star Spangled Stitchers FB group.  My camera just couldn't capture the lovely colors of the floss and fabric.  It's stitched on 36 count HDF linen in a beautiful pale blue.  All the other colors are DMC as suggested.   The finished piece is a 5" x 6" mat on which my eyeglasses are currently resting.  The backing is the same as the gold/brown fabric around the piece.  Not my best binding effort, but the camera seems to point out every flaw much more than I would notice in true life.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Super Hannah & Gingerbread Swirl Card

When I saw Brooke Nolan's free pattern for "Super Emma" on the DMC blog, I knew I wanted to stitch it.  Her designs always appeal to me.  But I had no idea of what I would do with the finish.   Recently, however, one of my Jazzer-buddies, Hannah,  expressed an interest in learning x-stitch, so I helped her get started and she just took the reins immediately.  She is multi-talented, very crafty and web-savvy so between You Tube videos and Pinterest, she's well on her way to discovering all the fun we stitchers enjoy.

Hannah actually resembles Super Emma with that gorgeous mane of black hair and looped earrings so that gave me an idea.  I stitched up "Super Hannah" and made her into a pinkeep with a pocket on the back for a scissors or crochet hook.  I added a few little button embellishments  for symmetry.  She's stitched on  Edinburgh Summer Khaki linen.  I gave the piece to Hannah last night so I can show it today.

Hannah is a body piercing specialist and you can see her photo on her company website, Cherryworks Piercing, to compare the real Hannah to the stitched Hannah.

If you would like to stitch this piece, click here for the free pattern.

Looks like San-Man will be around a bit longer in 2015 and we are all grateful for that. Sandy just released a series of small swirly gingerbread designs at the request of one of the members of her board.  I love gingerbread houses and this was so tiny and cute,  I immediately stitched it and made it into a card.  The other designs are just as cute, but I'll save them for another time.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Turkey Easel Stand-up and Carrot Pillowcase

I was looking for a simple, therapeutic design to stitch, and I really didn't care what I would be using it for.  I found the perfect design with this little turkey from the San-Man Originals Gift of Giving series from a few years ago.  Since it appears that the San-Man group will be shutting down at year end, this seemed like a nice piece for celebrating the Thanksgiving season as well as celebrating the many long years of San-Man fun.

I decided to use it as a learning piece as well.  I had never made a stand-up, flat-fold style finish so this was a good opportunity for a trial.  Vonna and Meari  each have a popular tutorial, but I have always found both of those tutes to be intimidating.  They are very complete, but both seemed like so many steps and so many possibilities for messing things up.   After extensive Googling, I managed to find a much simpler version that I thought I could handle.  Not sure if the results are as nice as I would get if I mastered the Vonna or Meari version, but the results were plenty good for my taste.

The tutorial appears to based on directions that come with those Secret Needle Night kits from the Silver Needle.  The tute is no longer available online as of 3-10-15.  I made it even simpler by using a glue stick for most of it.  I did sew the stitched front board to the fabric-covered back board as well as sewing on the twisted cord.  The easel is made with only one piece of board, not two, but it was sturdy enough.  I only added batting to the front piece.  And of course, I added a fork bow.   The fabric is a piece of 32-count HDF linen, another relic of the past.

I had a package of two white pillowcases from Aunt Martha's sitting around begging me to stitch on them.  I found this cute doodle at Bird in the Hand Primitives  to use for the first one.  The photo with the whole pillow case didn't turn out so good, but here is the stitching.  The design is about 4"h x 6" w, centered just above the hem.  These pillowcases are really long, so plenty of room for stitching.  I'm still trying to pick a design for the second one.

Finally, I made this condolence card with a sweet freebie from Manka Minta.  I don't think it is online any longer.  The card was for our dear friend Carol.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Holiday Altoid Tin and Regency Lady card

I'm really not one to stitch Christmasy Christmas ornaments.  Goes against my upbringing.  I usually choose winter scenes, birds, etc.  And I usually avoid Santas.  But out of curiosity I joined the FB Candy Cane Stitchers group and the first freebie offered was  "Silent Night" by Barbara Ana.  It's a cute pattern with a row of houses plus Santa and reindeer flying over the rooftops.  It has a lovely border as well.  I really adore Barbara's designs  and when I saw that with some mods I could fit it on an Altoid tin top, I decided to stitch it up.  The little red nose below was Vonna's idea that I copied.  I crocheted an Attic 24 snowflake for the inside and added a couple of snowflake buttons.  The design is stitched on 36 count linen over two.  With my abbreviations, it just about exactly fits the top... a close call.   Came out cuter than I expected actually, and I'll give it away in a couple of months.

My SIL, who really likes Downton Abbey, is having a birthday shortly. I searched around to see if I could find a card-sized pattern with a woman dressed in Edwardian finery.  Missed the mark, but I did find this Regency Lady by Barbara Westhoven in the Gift of Stitching Issue 55.  This is the Jane Austen period, but  old-fashioned elegance all the same.  Too windy to take pictures outside so the photos really don't do justice to the piece.  This is also on 36 count linen over two.  For the eagle-eyed among you, you may spot two half crosses that are missing their '\'s.  I've since repaired that more or less as you can see in the 3rd photo if you get your magnifying glass out.  Not easy to do once the card is assembled.  I think my SIL will like it.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Crochet Airplane and L'l Fairy

People who don't do any of the needle arts often assume that they are all the same and if you do one type, you do them all.  That's kind of the case with a friend of mine.  She's a fabulous party planner and it was her idea to do a baby shower for a co-worker.  She picked a 'travel' theme because the prospective parents do a lot of traveling.   While she was browsing on Etsy for ideas, she discovered a crocheted soft-toy airplane that she liked.  It seemed pricey to her, but when she showed it to me, I didn't really think it was over-priced for a hand-made item.  However, without her asking, I knew she was hoping I would volunteer to make one. 

I'm really not into crocheting little toys like that, especially an airplane!  A princess.. maybe.  Although instructions for these things look simple enough, I know there can be hidden gotchas once you start trying them out.  But I said I'd give it a try and cautioned her to have a Plan "B" ready. 

The cutest patterns looked way too difficult, but I found this free patten on The Craft Frog.  It looked like a good compromise --- cute and a good chance of coming out right.   I used a cotton dishcloth type yarn because I already had some.  It was definitely a challenge and something I don't intend to ever do again!  The pieces are fiddly and it's tricky to sew them all together.  But in the end, I think it worked out pretty well.  My friend liked it a lot and that's what counts.  Actually, that smiley face on the windshield is pretty endearing.

I couldn't resist signing up for a WOCS Fairy quilt square.  I had a pattern in my stash Li'l Fairies by Pine Glen Designs, with several funky little cuties that were just the right size.  I had stitched one of them a number of years ago, and now I know why I didn't do more.  The charts are very hard to follow.  The backstitching lines obscure the edges of the stitching so you have to guess which stitches are whole stitches and which are fractional. And I find it difficult to count when using charts that don't have a darker line every 10 stitches.  So she took a little longer and I did my fair share of frogging, but I do like the result for this quilt.  It's stitched on 32 count lugana.

While looking for something else, I came across two completed Paula Vaughn pieces that I completed a hundred years ago.  I never knew what to do with them and I decided they needed to come out of hiding.  So they have been donated to WOCS as well to use as they please, possibly on a "Ladie's Accessories" quilt, on a tote bag, or on a pillow.  I leave that to the sewers.  They are both done on 18 ct ivory Aida.

Paula Vaughn Reflections of the Past

Paula Vaughn Cameo of the Past