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.