Sunday, December 28, 2008

Filler Stitching and Socks

I had been waiting for my Jazzercise teacher to have her baby so that I could start stitching her an announcement design I had picked out. I'm superstitious so I would never start the stitching before the baby was born. In the interim, I picked out a couple of designs from the same book with the ice skaters (previous post) that were in a section with all pink X-mas designs. These two seem perfect for girlie birthday cards and I'll just hold onto them til the right birthday comes along. The designs are by Jane Henderson.

The baby arrived on Christmas Eve so I'm merrily stitching the announcement now.

On another note, I received the coolest pair of socks as a gift. They come from Vermont and are made under the trademark name, "Solmate Socks" that are "mismatched with care in Vermont". Their motto is "Life's too short for matching socks."
Check out their website.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Victorian Skaters...

I love finding something good by serendipity alone. My library set up a table of Christmas craft books a few weeks ago, and as I passed by I saw that one of the books was a new acquisition, never before checked out. It's Cross Stitcher's Countdown to Christmas, and it has some lovely little designs. I was totally intrigued by the row of Victorian skaters designed by Maria Diaz. I decided they would make a nice trim on a little box, so it was off to search for a box of the appropriate size. I went up and down the grocery aisles looking for just the right thing, Tuna fish can? No, too short. Cream cheese tub? No, sloping sides. Finally I found just the right thing in a can of Blue Diamond Almonds. The cans shown on the Blue Diamond site look a bit taller than the one I found actually. The almonds were delicious too! I added a little snowflake design on top. That one is a freebie from the Better Homes and Gardens Australia site.

Here are multiple views:

Happy Holidays to all!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

My Bag...

And the final luggage tag of 2008 is now complete. I got really tired of making these and I kind of shortchanged the workmanship on this one. This is a design I adapted from a back issue of the Cross Stitcher UK magazine. It's done on pale pink 18 count Aida. I used pink X & O eyelets. Couldn't find the satin cord I like in pink so I chose a pink velvet ribbon for the hanger. The intended recipient loves pink.

The backing fabric is a nice girly print. Thanks to Sandra for sending me this. It worked perfectly for this tag.

And thanks to Claire for letting me know that she is the designer of the Home Sweet Home tag in my previous post. I'm not sure how I found that design since she hasn't blogged about it yet, although it is in her on-line album. Maybe I was googling images.

Happy Hanukkah to all who celebrate!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Home sweet home...

It's that time of year when lots of people are returning home for the holidays. So here's my next to the last luggage tag of 2008 which will be a gift for one of those travelers. It's done on 14 ct blue Monaco. The backing is a green cotton fabric. The design is a freebie I had in my stash, but I didn't note the origin. So thank you to the designer, whoever you may be. Perhaps someone will recognize it and let me know.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Peace Stocking II

OK, one more ornament. Brooke Nolan offered this freebie to her members and I just couldn't resist. Such pretty colors. I didn't use as much beading as the design called for, but I did add the beaded pins to the edge. It's stitched on 14 count tea Monaco. And that is my last holiday ornament for the year (I think).

Thursday, December 11, 2008

All choked up....

You may remember that I ran a Halloween Trick or Treat Tag Giveaway where one of the winners, Cynthia (Beestitcher), teaches a cross-stitch class to girls who are victims of child abuse. Today I received a package of the sweetest thank you notes and trinkets from the girls. I was just overwhelmed. How sweet is this!

Hope Cynthia and the girls have a wonderful holiday season!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Winter Exchange

If you are a regular reader of Mylene's blog, you will have already seen these photos, but for the record, I'm posting them here. Mylene and I did a personal exchange with a winter theme. We've both received each other's stitching.

I decided to make a lined zippered pouch. I used 2 designs from the 2008 JCS ornie issue. I can't believe how much I've stitched from that issue given that I didn't think it was so great when I first bought it. The first side is "Let it Snow" by Country Cottage Needleworks. Did you notice how almost all the designers had 'Let it snow' lettering for their snowmen? I don't really like snow in real life, so I don't choose to stitch that command. I changed it to 'Snow Days':

Side 2 is a Primrose Needleworks design. I changed the wording on that also to be more wintery and less x-masy:

I'm not sure what the fabric is. It was a gift. I don't know whether that is an evenweave like Lugana or something else. I don't use many evenweave fabrics so I'm not familiar with the different types.

As usual, the zipper gave me a lot of grief. I try a different technique every time I insert one and I'm still looking for a foolproof method.

Mylene stitched a beautiful ornament for me from the same issue. I actually was considering stitching that one for her. That would have been quite a co-inky-dink. It's hanging from a knob on a cabinet right now where I can look at it often. I love it!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Peace in the World

"Peace in the World" by Charlotte's Web Needlework in the 2005 JCS ornament issue had been on my list to stitch for a while. I finally completed it this year and sent it to my floss daughter Miek. I changed the dove to blue so it would show up better since I don't like stitching with metallic floss. And I wanted to feature Dutch and Swedish as two of the languages so I had to eliminate a couple of languages from the original design.

Just about the time she received it, I received a gift package from Miek with this dear little ornament that she stitched for me and some more of her lovely hand dyed fabric pieces.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Snowmen luggage tag

Always nice to hear that what you have mailed has been received. My friend Jenny just let me know that the mailman brought her this luggage tag that I made for her. It's a San-Man Originals design stitched on 18 count Aida in the yummiest purple called 'Clematis' by Sassy's Fabbys. I had been waiting for a reason to use those snowflake eyelets. Hope Jenny is planning a nice winter getaway so she can use it.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Not a creature was stirring...

And now I've finished the second of Casey Buonaugurio's designs from the latest JCS issue. This one is shown in the mag on a dusty green linen. I chose a light blue Monaco and I think it shows up better actually. I left off the year and added the two little motifs at the top, the wrapped gift and the tree light.

I think that's it for ornament stitching this year. Some in the mail are left to show. I will stitch a few more gifts, but not ornament-related.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Polar bear on skis

Casey Buonaugurio has two cute ornament designs in the current JCS issue. I finished up this polar bear on skis and I'm in the middle of stitching the other one. They are very quick to stitch.

But my bears never like it when I stitch polar bears. They are insanely jealous. Just look at these expressions:

They'll get over it.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Fun with feather stitch

I've been admiring all the eye candy on Stichin' Fingers, especially all the embroidery that the Crazy Quilters and others do for embellishments. You can view the photos on that site without joining I think. Thought I'd try a little seam treatment on this ornament using a feather stitch with some beads. I was really just winging it (no pun intended), with no real idea what I was doing. This was a popular cross stitch design by Brittercup in the 2007 JCS ornament issue, stitched on 28 ct Annabelle (a wonderful fabric, by the way, if you can find it). I stitched it last year a little too late to use. I meant to leave more white space around the design, but I accidentally trimmed the piece too close and didn't allow enough room for seam allowance. Oh well.. I'll do better next time (maybe). You can click on the photo to get a closer view of the stitching.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Turkey Day!

Hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. This little fridgie magnet (thanks to Staci for the idea) sure makes me want to go vegetarian for the occasion. The design is by Nancy Boggio of Sunflower Days Design. Click for the chart.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Let's all sing like the birdies sing..

Finished up some ornaments this week-end, all packed and ready for mailing. All but one is heading off to people who at least occasionally read my blog, so I'll wait to display the photos til I hear they reached their new owner.

This one is from the 2008 JCS ornament issue. It's by Full Circle Designs. I always like their entry in the annual issues. It's stitched on 18 ct Aida, 'Sahara' by Enchanted Fabrics. Seems kind of funny to stitch a snowy design on a color named 'Sahara', but I liked the effect. I changed the stars on the tree to hearts. Stars always make the design seem too religious for my taste. Also, since I stitched with DMC, the colors really look quite different from the model in the magazine which was stitched in the fancy floss. I'm pretty happy with the finishing. It has a layer of batting inside, but no cardboard so it's not stiff, but not floppy either.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Book award

Here's a new one for me. Wendy tagged me with the Bookworm award.

The rules:

1) Pass this on to 5 blogging friends.

2) Open the closest book to you, not your favorite or most intellectual book, but the book closest to you at the moment, to page 56.

3) Write out the 5th sentence, as well as two to five sentences following that...

The book I'm currently reading is "The Good Thief's Guide to Amsterdam" by Chris Ewan. I just picked it up in the library by serendipity. It's turning out to be a pretty good read. The 5th sentence and what follows on p. 56:

"Besides, if things worked that way, where was the surprise for the reader when Faulks opened the cupboard in Nicholson's apartment and pulled the briefcase?

Just as I was wrestling with that very thought, my telephone rang and I answered it. It was Pierre, returning my call. Now I'm pretty sure Pierre isn't his real name but the truth is you need to use a name when you talk business with someone, and since he was French and he lived in Paris, Pierre always struck me as an appropriate choice."

Next victims:

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Boy designs

Does everyone have as much trouble as I do thinking of things to stitch for males? I mean embroidery is inherently a girlie thing, but you would think there would be more suitable subjects for designs than what's available. I wanted to make a luggage tag for a guy. Not sure if any self-respecting guy would use an x-stitched tag, but I was hoping I could find the right thing. I looked through a gazillion mags. Found some things if the guy goes for stereotypical themes like fishing and golf, but not more general designs, at least not in the right size. I finally settled on this sailboat and lighthouse scene. I think the intended recipient will graciously thank me, but I don't know if he he will actually ever use it.

This design is from the August, 2005 issue of Stoney Creek magazine.

And while I was at it, I finished up the little mousie as an ornament:

Friday, November 14, 2008


Two taggers in just a few days:

Here are the rules:

1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Write six random things about yourself.
4. Tag six people at the end of your post.
5. Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.
6. Let the tagger know your entry is up.

Off the top of my head in no particular order:
1) I tap dance in elevators
2) I love ice cream
3) I hate to travel (strange since I love making luggage tags)
4) I need my morning coffee every day
5) I have a crush on Dr. McDreamy.
6) I've been reading Newsweek faithfully every week for one zillion years.

I think I'll skip the tagging of others for now, but thank you to my taggers for thinking of me.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Mouse with Teddy Cat

Very bad headaches. Not much relief time for stitching. But here's the sweetest little mouse that I did manage to stitch up. This is from a 1993 issue of Cross Stitch and Country Crafts. Part of a family of mice dressed in sort of Dickens era clothes. I was browsing old issues in search of something else entirely when she caught my eye. I'll figure out how to finish her later.

It's rainy today and I didn't have quite enough light. I also did this with the macro setting on my camera. I just read about that. If I felt better, I would have tried more options, but I think you can see her. The macro setting really shows up the poor coverage with 2 strands of floss on this 14 count Aida. It doesn't look so sparse in person. This Aida is so soft. It's another of Miek's hand-dyed samples. I'm not sure what brand it is, but it's lovely to stitch with.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Goodies in the mail

My partner, Vivian, for the BBInteractive ornament exchange sent me a fabulous box of goodies. First, the ornament she stitched is just beautiful. It's done in Hardanger, a technique I have never tried and am frankly, quite afraid of. So I'm happy to have a nice example to treasure. Here is the photo sitting on top of the beautiful decorated box that contained it plus some extras:

The bottom of the box is padded with a lovely stitched design of an angel with my initial from the half-doll alphabet found here.

And the inside contained 3 skeins of floss and some beads in coordinating colors, plus a teeny thimble charm and a pad of Mary Englebreit stickies. I love stickies!

Thank you so much, Vivian! I'm just spoiled by all this fun stuff!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Peace on Earth

I'm on a roll with themes of peace this year I guess. My partner, Kerry, in the ornament swap on Stitchin' Fingers received the ornament I made for her. The little ornie arrived after a three-week journey from the U.S. to Canada.

The design is from an old issue of Cross Stitch and Country Crafts magazine. Seemed perfect for an oval frame. I use Stitch Witchery to bond the border fabric to the stitching. To make the oval, I use two pieces of border fabric. On one I draw the oval on the wrong side, centered. I sew the two pieces wrong sides together, stitching on the oval. Then I cut out the oval, leaving 1/4" seam allowance and clip the curves at 1/4" intervals; Turn to the right side, press, and voila!.. a fabric mat with an oval opening.

I owe that technique to Nita who sent me a ream of step by step instructional photos of this some time ago.

I did the edge like the Peace Stocking ornament with beads attached by regular straight pins.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Flower Power

I've been experimenting with little crocheted flowers to use as embellishments, and I was looking for a way to use them after I made a bunch. So I made a little 'Flower Power' doll.

The bottom white flower and middle pink flower are actually buttons covered in crochet.
Instructions are here. I left some without beads in the center because I just love that magic circle starting technique. The book I bought a while ago on crocheted dolls uses embroidery on crocheted shapes for faces a lot, so I thought I'd try that out also. Then I just fooled around with pearl cotton chain loops for the hair.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

My Civic Duty & a Secret Admirer

Just returned from the polls. My polling place had no lines and everything was running smoothly. I'm told that with my 'I voted' sticker, I can get a free cup of coffee at Starbucks, free ice cream at Gifford's (primo ice cream parlor in the local area), a free taco at California Tortilla, and another freebie at Dunkin' Donuts. So it pays to vote!

On another note, I received the following beauties a few days ago with an unsigned card apologizing for the late birthday gift and wishing me a Happy Halloween. I'm thinking Brad Pitt maybe?

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Hail to the Redskins...

Donna Vermillion has always been one of my favorite designers. I think her site was one of the first cross stitch sites I ever discovered on the web. I've grown to like the 'prims' (Thank you, Barbara for teaching me that little abbreviation.. when I first saw that on your Etsy site, I thought it meant 'prim and proper') that so many of today's designers do. But I'll never tire of the detailed look of designs with lots of contouring, fractionals and backstitching.

Just had to do the September snowman in his default colors.. a Redskins uniform! This will be a giftie for a lifelong fan.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Peace stocking

U.S. to Canada mail comes through again. Vivian, my partner in the October ornament swap on Brooke Nolan's BBInteractive group, received the ornament I made for her. I'm always so relieved when I hear that an international package arrived safely.

I stitched the stocking ornament by Brightneedle from the JCS 2003 ornament issue. I think I saw another stitched version of this recently on someone's blog and that's where I caught the bug to stitch it myself. And I got a chance to use a little crocheted flower I made. I put a little bead in the flower center, so you can't see the crocheted center, but I used a technique called the Magic Circle to start it off. It's a crocheter's dream. Very easy and makes a perfect circle. My thanks to whoever invented that technique. The beaded edge is just made by adding a bead to a regualar straight pin and inserting the pin into the seam just as you do for a pinkeep.

I added this little floss tag with a Prairie Schooler design to the package:

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Divine Miss M

Saturday, I received a doll from my partner, Sherry, in the Stitchin' Fingers Show Biz Doll Swap. The doll is an adorable Bette Midler. I think Sherry really captured the essence of Bette. This picture doesn't do her justice. This is a very sparkly doll. Gold lame bodice, sparkly gold belt, sparkly pink disks on sparkly blue skirt overlaying a black net underskirt. I just love her.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Wish upon a star

Everyone needs a little guardian angel in these troubled times. When I first looked through the JCS 2008 ornament issue, I didn't even notice this one. But those issues are so fascinating that I always go back through them multiple times, and I always find something I missed on each review. This is the first one I've stitched from this year's issue. This is "Wish Upon a Star" by Wildflower Stitchery and More. I used one of the hand-dyed fabrics that Miek sent to me and I changed a few colors, added a border and embellished with a few buttons.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Accidental Tourist

Remember the book by Ann Tyler that was also a movie starring William Hurt? "The Accidental Tourist" is about the author of a travel book for people who travel but really don't like to do it. The book provides hints for how to make your travel experience seem as close to living at home as possible. No 'when in Rome' philosophy for this guy. It's all metaphorical and makes good fodder for discussion in high school and college literature classes.

Meanwhile I made this luggage tag and immediately was put in mind of that movie. It will be a gift, but I don't think the recipient shares the views of Macon Leary, the book's protagonist.

The design is a freebie on Cyberstitchers by Barbara Ana, stitched on 14 count taupe Aida.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Mr Hugs

I have a cousin who has been having some ticker problems of late. He's recuperating now, but he needs further surgery as well. I remembered that Ellen Maurer-Stroh had designed a little bear freebie for making gifts to give to Katrina kids. He's called Mr. Hugs, mender of broken hearts. My cousin is just a big kid inside, so I stitched it up and will mail it to him today. Kind of a personal comfort doll.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Be afraid, be very afraid....

The October monthly challenge in the Cloth Doll Group on Stitchin' Fingers is a Halloween-themed doll. I really wanted to crochet a little witch hat, but I wasn't inspired to do a witch doll otherwise. I think I have a kind of witch, ghoul, goblin, ghost combo here. Took a pile of photos, but none really looks like the real thing. I have a feeling I changed a setting on my camera for the worse and now can't get it back to 'regular'.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Just a pretty thing..

It's been a long time since I stitched up a biscornu. I've made several, but the last time I made one, I mis-aligned the sides and it was more 'biscornu' (irregularly shaped) than ever. So I thought I'd give it another try, just to make sure I could still do it properly. I usually don't like stitching the geometric designs and others that require you to stitch the same motif four times on one side, but I hadn't done that for a long time either and biscornus are small so the pain is less.

I used some of Miek's hand-dyed fabric and these charts. I just picked colors that I thought would be pretty.

I'm happy with it. I might send it as a little gift, but it's growing on me, and I might just keep it around. My camera was uncooperative. The colors must be confusing it.