Friday, July 30, 2010

To Nick with love from Mommy and Daddy

I am very, very proud of this piece, as it's one of the few pieces I've stitched and framed AND hung on a wall in our own home. (More on that in another post). This is something my husband and I both worked on as a gift for our son. I stitched everything but the personalization before he was born, and my husband finished the piece by stitching in the name and the vital details.

Maine Fishing Village Sampler by Seguin Designs
Stitched 2 over 2 on Blue Dynasty Cashel fabric
with various threads
(name partially blurred for privacy)

We picked the piece from about a dozen options I found online. I never get hung up on searching for a specific birth record - I've changed a number of different charts to suit my needs. Of course, limiting yourself to just birth or wedding records can make the search less overwhelming, but you don't always find what you want, especially if you're not going for one of the more popular baby themes. I just look for something appealing that fits the theme, and figure out how to modify it from there, and if you look at the original sampler on the Seguin Designs site, you'll see I did quite a bit of modification.

In this case, my husband picked the Maine sampler because Maine is one of our most favorite places on earth and we hope to take Nick there some day soon. I also like that the piece was relatively simple, easy to modify and embodied some of my favorite "Maine" things including blueberries and lobster buoys. I even changed up the colors on the lobster buoys to add a little more color to the piece and more closely match photos of actual buoys I found online.

I stitched the piece while I was pregnant, and found the repetitive border to be rather soothing to stitch on those night when I was especially tired. When it was all finished, I ordered the frame from and put my husband to work framing it up. Normally I would have picked a dark wood frame to coordinate with the furniture in the room, but everything else is framed in black, and I like how the black sets off the colors in the piece itself. By the way, if you're looking for framing materials, I HIGHLY recommend They're a great site, their customer service is wonderful, and they have a very cool feature that allows you to upload a picture of what you're framing and play around with frames and mats so you can see what your piece will look like before you commit.

I have some issues with privacy which makes me feel a little uncomfortable sharing details of our private lives sometimes. However, I happen to be ridiculously pleased with how this room turned out, and wanted to share it. Especially since this room started out as what we called "The Princess Room" - pink walls, yellow ceilings, huge swirls, and gigantic flowers and butterflies painted onto the walls. Not really our taste at all, and definitely inappropriate for a boy.
As you can see, we went with a nautical theme, using Nautica William for the bedding, and hanging photographs of lighthouse and other beach / ocean related subjects on the walls. Well, except for the family pictures above the changing table. (Yes, I know it looks like it should be lower, but it's just out of the reach of a grabby little boy.)

One of the things I like best about the photographs on the walls is that most of them come from our own travels. There are photos from our honeymoon in the Outer Banks, from one of our trips to Maine, and also from Maryland and New Jersey.

Friends of ours gifted Nick with photos from their travels as well. Hanging above the chair are two photos from Massachusetts, taken and framed by my friend's very talented fiance, who has traveled all over the world taking photos.

Above the end table are photos of lighthouses and sailboats from another friend's journey to Scotland. (Yes, he did take those photos especially for me.) There is also a larger photo my husband took of a crab on one of our trips to Maine, specifically Bailey Island. You can't tell from the picture because we didn't think to use anything for scale, but the crab wasn't much bigger than a thumbnail.

I love this room. It's one of my favorite rooms in the house, and I love that it's a room that can grow with our son. I'm not a big fan of anything too cartoonish or over the top, so I am absolutely thrilled with how calm and serene this room is.
Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Fair and Square Exchange with Linda B.

I've met so many wonderful stitchers through blogging and exchanging, and on my latest Fair and Square exchange, I've had the pleasure of meeting Linda. I wish I could introduce her to everyone, but Linda does not have a blog.... yet (hint! hint!)

Linda not only sent me these beautifully stitched squares, but when she saw that I had collected most of the rest of the fruit series, she asked if I had something special in mind with them. I told her that I had planned on stitching them over one, possibly as a bell pull for our kitchen, so in addition to the chart, she included the rest of the floss from the kit.

But Linda's generosity didn't stop there. A week or so after I received Linda's squares, Linda emailed me and told me she had picked up the last chart I needed, Cherries, at her LNS, and was sending it my way. The shop owner had removed the threads to sell separately and was trying to unload the chart. The threads - they're easy to come by, but these charts are getting harder and harder to find. Linda, I thank you from the bottom of my stitchy heart!
Now onto what I stitched for Linda. I had been admiring Sew Nautical from Carol at Istitchaholic for a while now, and when I read in Linda's member profile that she liked alphabets AND lighthouses, I knew this is what I would stitch for her.

I used a variety of overdyeds, mostly Crescent Colors, for the piece, and stitched it all over one on 32 ct. Antique White. (And by the way, how CUTE is that crab? I think that's my favorite part of the piece.) And I even gave the mermaid red hair, just like mine. Except hers didn't come out of a box.
This is another of my over one pieces. I love how they turn out and as long as I am stitching on evenweave, they're not that hard to do with good light and petite needles. But I figure I better get these in as long as I can still see them - I am sure there will come a day when it will be too much for me.
Linda and I have been emailing back and forth ever since, and I've really enjoyed this exchange with her. There are some really wonderful people participating in the F&S exchange, and I am so glad to be a part of it. If you'd like to get in on the action, Jill has been doing some housecleaning, and is opening up the exchange to new members. Head on over to the F&S Blog to make your application.
Monday, July 26, 2010

Fair and Square Exchange with April K

Why yes, it HAS taken me almost 5 months to post these pictures - from an exchange back in FEBRUARY. I'm not even going to make an excuse about it took me so long or why my blog posting in general is sporadic at best. Otherwise, it would be much like my last several posts.

Moving on....

These are the very pretty squares I received from April:

JBW Designs French Country Amour
Once again, I forsee something destined for a no sew cube, perhaps with a pretty red velvet ribbon and some silver / crystal embellishments.

As to my contribution to the exchange, when I read that April is a huge fan of Halloween, I knew I had the perfect design in mind. I have already stitched the butterflies from the Tantes Zolder website, and this was the motivation I needed to stitch the bats. Mind you, I am not a fan of Halloween, so I'd never stitch them for myself, but after seeing them stitched up at my LNS (Just Cross Stitch in Lederach), I knew I wanted to stitch them. (Speaking of Just Cross Stitch, I wonder if I can pester Carolyn to post a photo on her blog of her VERY cool version of this pattern, stitched on purple fabric and turned into a pillow with an awesomely fluffly black fringe trim....)

Bat Freebie from Tantes Zolder
Stitched 1 over 1 on 32 ct. Antique White with GAST Raven 
NOTE: Above link updated March 2013 as original blog no longer online

You can't tell from the photos, but the Raven thread is a deep black color with hints of green in it. Perfect for these bats. And this is my attempt at being all fancy like and taking a closeup photo...