Saturday, December 29, 2007

It's been a while since I've posted some pictures

I've been organizing and cleaning up some photos this morning, so I thought I'd share a few.

First up is the piece I finished for my BIL and SIL's Christmas gift. DH framed it up for me and we gave it to them on Christmas morning. My SIL was especially touched - she teared up a little when she opened it (hopefully it meant that she liked it!)


Next up is Nautical Dreams, which DH also framed before we left for Christmas, but I just sent it out yesterday. It's on it's way to Colorado, so I hope it doesn't get stuck in any snowstorms. I also sent along a Boston Harbor ornament I stitched up from a Treetrunk Designs leaflet. I like to give ornaments as gifts to new babies to start their collections. Boston is very near and dear to the heart of my friend (the baby's mom) and I am sure it will become very important to her daughter as well.


And finally, something my DH stitched for his mom for Mother's Day. It's a Dimensions kit she picked out when they came to visit us a while back, and we just forgot to take a picture of it before we gave it to her. DH also framed it for her, and I think he did a great job. It's now hanging in the entrance to her kitchen.

And I know I promised Kim some pics of my progress on Princess, but I messed up the ones I took and have to take new ones, so they'll be coming later.
Friday, December 28, 2007

Friday Feast #173

From Friday's Feast: A Buffet For Your Brain

Appetizer: Name 2 things you would like to accomplish in 2008.
Get a new job and buy a house.

Soup: With which cartoon character do you share personality traits?
According to one quiz, Cinderella. Classic, sophisticated, and beautiful, you are a perfect 50's schoolgirl. You like dark suits (odd) and the corprate world. You love business and government. Try running for president! And, you dream of a perfect ballroom fantasy as Cinderella has. You are fun yet mature. Your bad side is, you are way to tight. Loosen your screws, and oil up your rusty parts. Be a little more caring and spontaneous.

Salad: What time of day (or night) were you born?
I was born in the early evening.

Main Course: Tell us something special about your hometown.
HBO recognizes Wilkes-Barre as the birthplace of modern cable programming. In November 1972, coincidentally the autumn that followed Hurricane Agnes, 365 subscribers of Service Electric Cable were the first to receive HBO's service.

Dessert: If you could receive a letter from anyone in the world, who would you want to get one from?
Probably Russell Crowe or Troy Aikman. But I'd want it to be a real letter - not some mass produced fan letter
Saturday, December 22, 2007

An amazing news story

This morning, I was catching up on some reading and came across this news story about a pastor at an Ohio church who gave each of his congregants $50 as seed money to raise more by using whatever talents and gifts they possessed. What follows is an incredible story well worth reading.

A Talent for Giving

Keep in mind that I am not a religious person and my DH and I do not belong to a church. But I couldn't help but share this story, especially during the Christmas season. Using your talents and helping other people is a universal theme that is not the sole domain of a religion. The stories of the participants are varied and touching in their own ways, and it's an excellent reminder that we ALL have something to offer.

And with that, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and the happiest of New Years!

SBQ: Teaching

Today’s SBQ is: Have you ever helped anyone else learn to stitch? Have you ever helped anyone learn a new stitch or technique? (Submitted by Kathryn)

I learned to stitch on my own, and I've never tried to teach anyone how to do it. Since my DH and I both stitch, sometimes one or the other of us will have trouble with a specialty stitch, so we try to help each other out when we can, but mostly we just figure things out by following the directions, or looking for an alternative set online.

I'd love to teach my niece how to stitch. She just turned 5, so she's a little young, but I might take a kid's kit down the shore with us in June and try teaching her then (she'll be just shy of six). She likes to do crafts and things, so I think she might like it. My MIL also wants to learn to stitch, so I promised I would teach her when she retires next year. However, I have more hope of my niece sitting still than my MIL!!!! LOL

I've been tagged! 12 Christmas Things about me

Lovely Lee, the Lake Stitcher, tagged me with a Christmas meme, so I'm playing along as well.

1. Christmas Eve dinner is one of my favorite meals all year. I'm 1/2 Polish, as is my husband, so there is a strong tradition of Wigilia (pronounced vuh-LEE-uh) in both our families. There is a ton of meaning and symbolism behind the meal, so if you don't know what it is, it makes for interesting reading.

2. I can, and usually do, listen to the Nutcracker over and over. I love it.

3. Our tree is decorated with ornaments from both our childhoods as well as ornaments we've collected and made together. We make it a point to collect ornaments as souveneirs of our travels and I love decorating the tree because of all the memories it holds.

4. I hate taking down the tree and put if off as long as possible. Thank goodness we have an artificial one.

5. I love rock and roll Christmas music. U2, Tom Petty, Billy Squier, Elton John, Queen, etc. Love it.

6. I was born the day after Christmas, so when I was a child, people overcompensated with presents. Now I get the "This is for Christmas AND your birthday" combo gifts. I hate that. I like to enjoy them as 2 separate occasions.

7. I both love and hate buying presents. I love picking out the perfect gift for someone - I love things that are sentimental, practical, or meaningful to the recipent. Provided I have enough time to think about it, or am inspired. I seriously dislike stressing over presents.

8. Speaking of presents, I think it is absolutely ridiculous for people to be pushing, shoving, and practically killing each other, not to mention paying astronomical amounts of money, for gifts that their kids will play with for 10 minutes and forget, simply because the gift is on the must have list.

9. I think Christmas morning should be kids ripping open presents and everyone enjoying what they get, then sitting back and watching the kids play while the adults enjoy a breakfast of coffee and Christmas cookies.

10. I am not a religious person, but Oh Holy Night is one of my favorite Christmas songs.

11. One of my favorite Christmas memories is of my DH's grandfather being so excited about his Dallas Cowboys boxer shorts that he immediately put them on and modeled them for the whole family (while still wearing his dress shirt, socks and shoes).

12. I adore Christmas lights and love driving around looking at them. The more complex, insane and outrageous a display, the more I love it. I absolutely love the enthusiasm of people willing to go all out on their displays.

And now I will tag Meari, Dani, and Ruth, if they haven't done them already. And two non-stitching friends, Ashely and Michelle.
Friday, December 21, 2007

Friday Feast

It's been a busy, busy week. DH is home from work, so we've been baking cookies and finishing up pre-Christmas stuff (we travel for the holidays, so we need to get everything done here). This year was MUCH easier with help - I baked everything myself last year because of DH's long work hours. We also cut back a whole lot on how much got baked - I made double batches of almost everything last year and we had a whole bunch of cookies in the freezer, so this year, single batches of all but a few of the cookies.

We usually supply the cookies for the family. My MIL and FIL are busy running around with the grandmothers so they don't have a lot of time, and nobody else seems to want to bake. So that's our contribution to the holiday festivities. This year, we baked 11 different kinds of cookies and made 1 pan of Bailey's Truffle Fudge (always a big hit). DH finished up this morning so we're all done!!

Speaking of being done, I finished Nautical Dreams and DH framed it, along with the anniversary piece for my BIL and SIL's Christmas gift. I'm being lazy now, but I'll take pictures and post them later. I've also got a good start on LHN's Princess and the Pea, the SAL I am doing with Kim.

There's no official Friday Feast Questions today, so I'm going back to the beginning and doing Friday Feast #1 (from May 21, 2004)

Appetizer: What time do you usually wake up each day? If you could choose your wake-up time, when would it be?
This is a tough one. When I am working, I like to get up early and get into the office early (by 7-7:30). Normally I'm not a morning person, but being able to leave around 4 motivates me. I also don't mind getting up early when we're traveling - I like to have the whole day to do things. When I don't work, I'd much prefer to stay up until 2-3 am and wake up around 9 or 10. That seems to be my most natural schedule.

Soup: When was the last time you bought groceries? What store did you go to? Name 3 things you purchased.
We went shopping at Wegman's on Sunday. I LOVE that place. Love it, love it, love it. It's a NY state based chain that's spread throughout the Northeast and I love their stuff. I bought bagels, lamb for lamb stew and Wensleydale Cheese with Cranberries.

Salad: How many books have you read so far this year? Which was your favorite and why?
I don't keep track of the books I read or even how many. I do get a lot from the library, so my spending has gone WAY down. This year, I've been on a rock biography kick - I've read Motley Crue, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Warren Zevon, but my favorite has been Tom Petty's bio.

Main Course: What is something you consider to be very elegant? In particular, what about that item/place/person conjures up the feeling of elegance?
I guess I'd have to say high end places usually conjure up elegance for me - like Bergdorf's or Saks. I like understated elegance though - clean, classic lines, quality materials, nothing really flashy or overly opulent / gilded.

Dessert: Who taught you how to drive?
My mother. It did not go well. I did much better with my HS driving instructor.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007

You should read this book

I am VERY excited for my friend Julie. Her first book, The Hard Way, is coming out in May 2008!!!!!

Julie and I went to grad school together, meaning I got to read quite a bit of her book already. It's a series of short stories connected into one overall story. Julie is not only an amazing, wonderful person, but she's a marvelous writer and I promise you, you will NOT be disappointed. This book has been a long time coming, and she worked hard to learn the ropes of publishing. It's not as easy as you'd think - she's had to go through a lot, including her editor being changed, but she made it through and her dream is about to become a reality.

So please check it out, and if you're so inclined, pre-order your copy today. :-) You can also check out Julie's blog here.
Friday, December 14, 2007

Friday Feast #172

From Friday's Feast: A Buffet For Your Brain

Appetizer: Make up a word and give us its definition.
Pfffftttt. It's my expression of disgust. (And my opinion of this question. It's kind of dumb)

Soup: What is currently your favorite song?
It's going to be a toss up between U2's "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" and Tom Petty's "Christmas All Over"

Salad: What’s at the top of your Christmas wish list this year?
A new job, a new car, and a new house. In that order. Yeah, I dream big.

Main Course: Name a scent that reminds you of someone special in your life.
The smell of lilacs remind me of my aunt's farm

Dessert: Who is someone on television that you feel probably shouldn’t be, and why?
Tony Kornheiser and Ron Jaworski. They are RUINING Monday Night Football on me. Also, they can take Joe Buck with them. I can't stand him either.
Thursday, December 13, 2007

SBQ: Thread Management

Do you do anything special to your threads before putting them through your fabric to make them more manageable? (Submitted by Nancy)

Other than licking the end of the floss to get it through the eye of the needle, nope. Of course, I've been working mostly with DMC and have only recently branched out into overdyed threads, so I never really felt the need to, unless you count working with metallics. I hate working with metallics. Probably some sort of thread conditioner would make my life easier. So I ordered a bit of Thread Heaven when I placed a Stitching Bits and Bobs orders. We'll see how that works out.

Well. That was easy enough. Might as well contemplate some more SBQs while I am at it.

6/14/2007: How do you store your WIPs and other projects that you have kitted up? (Submitted by Jennifer)

I try not to kit too much up ahead of time, but when it comes to stitching, Ziploc bags are the best thing ever. (Okay, one of the very best things). If the chart doesn't come in it's own ziplock bag, I put it in one, along with fabric and fibers that I may have purchased especially for it. Until I'm ready to work on it, it lives in a plastic underbed storage box with the rest of my stash.

When I'm getting ready for new pieces, I usually pull about 2-3 things that are appealing to me or that I need to get done and they move into a smaller plastic storage bin next to my stitching chair. At this time, I make sure I have everything I need in there to start stitching, and I will usually take out the fabric and cut it to size, marking the center. That piece goes in the project bag, and the excess goes back in the original fabric packet bag that's marked with the count and color.

I work on scroll frames, so I usually don't worry about taking pieces off the frames between stitching. All of the fibers for current projects are stored in a plastic bag, and that bag, along with the chart, sits on top of everything else in the stitching bin next to my chair. If I'm working on a small project, that goes in the box too and the lid snapped on. If I'm on a frame that doesn't fit, I put the frame where it won't get damaged or dirty, usually behind my chair. (No kids and a very complacent cat makes this possible)

6/6/2007: What has been your most challenging project and why? (suggested by Ish)

I might have mentioned this one before - the On Safari piece I stitched for my friend Michelle's daughter. They did her nursery in a jungle theme and I couldn't find anything I really liked for her birth record until i found this piece on eBay. I was so excited when I saw the listing that I didn't realize it was on plastic canvas until after the sale was complete. But I thought I'd give it a try anyway, and at first, it was fun. Stitching on the canvas was a new experience and different that stitching on fabric (it was still using threads). Stitching the crosses wasn't bad, but for some reason, doing the backstitching on this piece was sheer torture for me and it took me longer than I thought to finish it. I'm pleased with how it turned out, but I would never want to stitch it again.

5/30/2007: How many needles do you use during a project? Have you ever loaded up a needle for every color? Do you use a new needle for every project or recycle your favorite needle? (suggested by Kathryn)

I probably use about a dozen needles at various times during a project. I picked up a square plastic magnetized needle case in the quilting section and I like to use that because it keeps my needles in place and with the lid that snaps shut, they don't fall out when I travel. Probably I should sort my needles better according to size and all, but I like to pick needles by how they feel - I can tell the difference between the really thin ones for high count fabrics and the thicker ones for Aida just by feeling them.

If I am going to be stitching a lot of one color, I will cut my strand of floss, separate out the threads and thread up three needles with 2 strands each. I only like to have one or two colors out at a time, so if I stop working with one of those colors and move on to a new one, I take the threaded needles, stick them into the threads on the bobbins and wind the excess thread around the bobbin. Then I move onto the next color and repeat the process. Usually when I am done, I have to pull out at least 5-6 needles from various bobbins, unthread them, and wind the thread back around the bobbin for the next thread.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Our Christmas Tree

I finally talked DH into putting up our tree this year. Several years ago when we moved into this townhouse, we went out and bought an artifical pre-lit tree because we travel for the holidays and have a cat that likes to drink things he's not supposed to, making a real tree a non-option. However, now that the tree skirt is in place, our cat spends most of his day (and evening) napping on it under the tree. I worried the first year that he'd start climbing up it, but I guess I should have known he's too lazy for that. He just likes the softness and warmth of the velvet (and since it's a $20 skirt from Target instead of a hand stitched heirloom, I'm okay with it). So here's our tree in it's glory. Excuse the hibiscus tree that wanted to make it into the picture.


And here's a few of our favorite ornaments:
Monday, December 10, 2007

Leading myself into temptation...

I've been looking for ideas for my Bride's Tree SAL projects, which is probably a mistake because I definitely don't need to acquire anything new. It's much like recipes for me - even though I have THOUSANDS of recipes in my possession (I'm not even kidding or exaggerating), I will usually go out and look for a new one whenever I am in the mood for something new. I've been trying to be good and work through what I already have, but it's so hard sometimes!

I went out looking for a neat house pattern to do. I saved a 3-D one from a website, but forgot to note where it was from, so until I can figure out where it came from, I don't want to post it without credit. UPDATE: I found the original house I was looking for: Les Chroniques de Frimousse

However, in my search for 3-d houses, I found this little cutie from The Nutmeg Company.


The design is stitched on fabric, which is then mounted to plastic canvas for structure. How adorable is that?? She has a ton of different houses and cottages, as well as other 3-d projects like boxes. And you have GOT to see the 3-D Windsor Castle - it will blow your mind.

The sad part for me is that the kit is £15.99, and with the weak dollar, that translates to over $32 for me, PLUS overseas shipping. Ouch! The good news is that the designer has put out a book called 3-D Cross Stitch More Than 25 Original Designs, which I was able to find on http://www.half.com/ for significantly less. It won't be the same exact cottage, but it gives instructions for the technique and I am sure I can figure out how to design one of my own, even if it's not as detailed as this one. So I went ahead and ordered the book so I would get it in time to start my January House ornament.
Friday, December 7, 2007

SBQ: Stash Questions (11/28/2007)

This set of SBQs was submitted by Heather. I've editied out a lot of the context, but you can read the whole thing here.

1. What would your stash tell others about you?
That I have a short attention span, and like a lot of different themes and ideas. Many of my patterns were stitched for gifts and I try hard to match the personality of the recipient or reflect the theme of the occasion, such as a wedding. I have charts that range from complicated and realistic to simple and primitive. My own personal charts reflect things that are important to me - my Irish heritage, lighthouses and nature.

2. Most of us stitchers joke about having reached SABLE (stash acquired beyond life expectancy), but what would you like done with your stash after your death? Do you want it to reach other stitchers who will love it, too? Would your family know what to do with it or recognize its value?
I don't like to think about things like death or destruction (losing everything in a flood or fire). Forced to consider the subject, I would say that I hope I have children that are stitchers, or that my nieces or nephew take up the craft and would want my patterns. I'd also hope that many of the stitched pieces we keep for ourselves (both my DH and I stitch) would be passed down to future generations as family heirlooms. As it stands now, however, I don't know if anyone would recognize the value of what we have, though we don't own any rare or expensive patterns or materials. I would hope that it would be sold or given to someone who would use an appreciate it rather than thrown away

3. How well organized is your stash –could it be sold easily or would it require lots of organizing? What would you like to see done with the funds collected from such a sale?
Our stash, compared to some others, is fairly small - it fits mostly in 2 under bed storage boxes, plus a few binders. I've been working on an excel spreadsheet for inventory, so hopefully that would help, but I don't really keep track of prices (I'm afraid it would be too shocking to add up everything that has been spent). If my stash was not given to a family member or another stitcher, I would like my family to profit from the sale of the stash

4. Are there items in your stash which are rare and highly desired by stitchers that might make a much larger amount of money if sold on eBay? Have you done anything to designate which items these more valuable ones are to guide your family in how to handle them? Who would you tell your family should handle such a sale so that they don’t have to do it themselves? Have you done anything to make these thoughts known to others, either through discussions or through a codicil to your will?
I don't own anything particularly rare or expensive, but when the time comes, I will probably add a notation to our wills designating who gets what. I'd probably want everyone to pick the pieces that mean the most to them.

5. Have you ever attended a similar sale of a passed stitcher’s stash? How did it make you feel? Did it encourage you to make any changes in your stitching lifestyle?
I've never attended such a sale, though I have been to estate sales for other antique items. I appreciate the value of treasured, well cared for items that are passed through generations and that have sentimental value. I have a green depression glass bowl from my grandmother that means more than any price tag that could be put on it, and I hope that some day, things that meant a lot to me will mean a lot to future generations of my family. And if it's not my family, then I hope those things find their way to someone who will love them.

Friday Feast #171

From Friday's Feast: A Buffet For Your Brain

Appetizer: What was the last game you purchased?
For myself, probably Trivial Pursuit. As a gift, one of those chess/checkers/backgammon etc. combination games

Soup: Name something in which you don’t believe.
The No Child Left Behind nonsense. A good idea on paper, a very bad idea in practice

Salad: If you could choose a celebrity to be your boss, who would you pick?
Martha Stewart

Main Course: What was a lesson you had to learn the hard way?
Not to let toxic people in my life

Dessert: Describe your idea of the perfect relaxation room.
A spacious room with an ocean view and access to a deck. A big comfortable couch with good lighting for stitching and a fireplace

SBQ: Stitching Advice for Newbies

First, I would like to mention that I am mad at myself. I thought of a good idea for a question, then got distracted and promptly forgot it. Grrr. I hate when that happens. Probably I will wake up at 3 in the morning remembering what it is.

Anyway, on to this week's question. What tips would you give to a new stitcher to help her stitch faster and neater while still keeping it enjoyable? (Submitted by Nancy)

Always keep your hands clean, especially when working with fabrics and flosses you can't wash. I'm surprised at how many people forget to do this, or forget that even if their hands look clean, there are still invisible oils and dirt that will ruin a piece. Nothing ruins the enjoyment of stitching something faster than a stain on the finished piece.

Organize your materials and chart, and keep them protected when they're not in use. Again, it would be heartbreaking to have all your work ruined because someone spilled coffee or stepped on a piece by accident. I keep all my threads in a ziploc bag, my chart in a protector sleeve and store my project in a plastic tub with a snap on lid whenever I am not working on it. Sounds obsessive, but we have a cat that likes thread. I'd rather not have him ruining my project or himself by eating what I am stitching.

Finally, don't bite off more than you can chew. It can be daunting to stitch a big project or something with a lot of backstitching. Give yourself a break by stitching up something small and quick - you'll feel a sense of accomplishment when you see faster progress. Unless you're really enjoying it, give yourself permission to take breaks from a big project and work on other things. If you end up hating the piece you're working on, what's the sense in putting all that time and effort into it?
Thursday, December 6, 2007

Look what came back from the framers!

Rocky Point by Dimensions (kit)

This is one of the first pieces my DH stitched. I know! Quite ambitious!!! It took him over a year to stitch the piece, and it languished in a drawer for a few more until my MIL asked us what we wanted for Christmas. DH and I had been discussing getting some of our more complicated pieces professionally framed, but the expense was a little daunting. However, getting one or two pieces at a time done made it less daunting, so we asked MIL if she'd like to foot the bill to have this piece framed. She thought it was a wonderful idea, so I took it to my LNS to have it done and picked it up yesterday. It's absolutely gorgeous, and will have a place of honor in our new home.

A few other things also managed to follow me out of the store. I don't know how it happened. Really. I swear. LHN's Princess and the Pea followed me home. I was just going to stitch it in DMC floss, but then I thought well why not stitch it in the recommended fibers, so that necessitated an order from Stitcher's Closet when I got home. And then I saw on Kim's blog that she was working on the piece as well, so we'll be stitching them together as soon as my fibers arrive

Also following me home were threads I picked for Carriage House Sampling's Acorns and Threads. I went with GAST Dark Chocolate, Apple Cider and Chamomile instead of the recommended fibers. (A gorgeous dark blue/purple called Auntie Dee slipped in there as well, though I am not sure what I will use it for). And then there was the Crescent Colors Belle Soie in Creme de Menthe that will probably be used for some Christmas ornaments.

Finally, some fabrics. I've been deciding on a few ornaments to do from the JCS ornament issue and decided on Snow Bunnies and Winter Love for myself, and DH is going to do the woodpecker. Our house backs up to woods and we have a feeder on our deck, so we get lots of different birds for us (and our cat!) to enjoy looking at. My favorite is the red bellied woodpecker with the cool red head (like me!), but DH likes the downy and hairy woodpeckers - the black and white ones with the tiny little red stripe on the males. I've been looking for a woodpecker ornament for our tree for a while now, so this is perfect.

Last night, I made a little more progress on Nautical Dreams, but I didn't take any pictures. I need to hurry up and get it done because I can feel myself getting bored doing it and itching to work on new projects.
Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Bride's Tree Ornaments

When my BIL and SIL got married, my DH and I wanted to get them something really special for their first Christmas as a married couple. I scoured the internet looking for ideas and stumbled upon what's credited as a German tradition of the Bride's Tree. This is the list of ornaments and the meanings: (Note that the list contains both religious and secular meanings)
  • Heart - true love, love of family
  • House - shelter and/or protection
  • Flower or Flower Basket - good wishes, beauty in the home
  • Fruit or Fruit Basket - generosity, plenty
  • Teapot or Coffeepot - hospitality
  • Bird or Bird in a nest - happiness and/or joy, confidence in the shelter
  • Pinecone - motherhood and/or fruitfulness, eternity
  • Rose - beauty and/or affection, Virgin or Mother Mary
  • Fish - Christ's blessing, fertility, Christ
  • Angel or church - God's guidance in the home, God's protection, God
  • St. Nicholas (Santa Claus) - giving and sharing, unselfishness and/or goodwill
  • Rabbit - hope and/or faith
Since my DH's and SIL's families are both of German descent, I thought it was most appropriate, and working from the list, we collected the ornaments for their tree. Once we had them all, DH put together a customized box for them (using a photo storage box and cardstock) and I made a booklet explaining the meaning behind all the ornaments. They absolutely LOVED it and my SIL says when they take it out each year, they re-read the booklet as they hang the ornaments.

We also put together a set of ornaments for our own tree, but I've been thinking I would like to stitch up some well. Even if I don't hang them on our tree, it would make a wonderful gift. And since there are 12 ornaments in the list and 12 months in the year, I thought, "Why not put this out there as a stitch along?" Ornaments would stitch up quick and the list allows for tons of creativity in interpretation. Plus since 2008 has been dubbed the Year of Selfish Stitching, why not make a personalized set of ornaments for yourself?

I did a little preliminary research and was able to find all 12 patterns in the Better Homes and Garden's 2001 Cross Stitch Designs book. However, I've seen how amazingly creative and resourceful my fellow stitchers are, and I think this could be a great way to express that creativity. I would post the ornament theme for the month and everyone would stitch their piece, posting pictures when they complete them. Of course, I'd post the entire list on the blog in case anyone wants to work ahead or keep their eyes open for ideas, but the focus would be one one theme per month.

I've set up a blog here: Bride's Tree SAL. It doesn't look like much now, but I'll be working on it over the next few days. If you're interested in doing the SAL with me, let me know and I will add you as an author so you can post your pictures.
Monday, December 3, 2007

Finishings!

I finished a piece for my BIL and SIL, made lots of progress on Nautical Dreams and finally got around to taking pictures of some ornaments I finished a week or two ago.

First up, the piece for my BIL and SIL. It's a modification of a chart in a leaflet called Marriage Keepsakes by Leisure Arts. I've stitched the chart before - the repetition in the border makes it pretty easy. This time, I charted out the poem they used on their bookmark favors and used that instead. I like to use themes and colors from a couple's wedding when I make their wedding record, so I thought this fit in nicely. I stitched over 2 on 28 using all DMC floss, including a silver metallic thread for the inside borders. I have to frame it up and it will be ready to go for 1/2 of their Christmas present.

I also stitched up what I'm calling the Family Tree for them. It's a copy of a piece my MIL has had hanging on her wall for YEARS. It was something a friend of hers stitched for her and I've always admired it, so when I started stitching, I took close up photos of her piece and copied it into a chart in PC Stitch. It was VERY quick to stitch up, so I made two - one for us and one for my BIL and SIL. The original piece is stitched in red, brown and green DMC floss over one on what appears to be 14 ct. off white Aida, so I replicated the same fabric and color combination for the new ones. I experimented with a slightly brighter set of colors for theirs and framed it in black. I think it came out great. And I was lucky enough to find the same alphabet in one of my books, so now if I want to make one for someone else, I can do that. (I intentionally blurred our family name in the picture).

Next up are some ornaments that have been languishing in a drawer for at least 2 years. My DH stitched them up from a kit by Bucilla, laced them over cardboard backings with a little batting and there they sat, waiting to be finished. A few weeks ago, I finally dug them out and finished the backs by gluing a hanging ribbon and a piece of coordinating felt over the lacings. I know they're a little close to the edges, but this was one of our very first stitching projects and we were still pretty inexperienced. We'd definitely leave much more room the next time! They still came out nice, and they'll be family heirlooms anyway. :-) (And if you notice the kitty in the first row, he even modified him from the original brown to black so he looks like our kitty.)

And finally, I made some progress on Nautical Dreams this weekend, finishing up the cross stitching (almost) in the section with the shells and sandpiper and filling in the background. It's hard to see, but I also started on the 2 little shells on the top. I'm hoping to finish by the end of the week so I can get it personalized, framed and mailed out.
Sunday, December 2, 2007

Beaded Things

As I've been doing my blog reading, I've noticed quite a few of you like beaded fobs and such, so I thought I'd share a few of my favorite links for beading supplies. I've purchased from all of these sources myself on many occasions and would absolutely not hesitate to recommend them to anyone. Their prices are excellent, their customer service outstanding and their products are all high quality. Fusion Beads has an especially nice idea gallery - I've drooled over more than one goodie there.

Also, I recommend signing up for their newsletters if you're interested in beading, as you will get regular coupons and specials available only to subscribers.

How much do you LOVE these from Fusion Beads??? Wouldn't they make the cutest ends for a fob? You have to check out the site - they have some really cool variations on Christmas trees.