Saturday, May 15, 2010

Two more Bride's Tree Ornaments

Way back in 2008, I started on a project to stitch a set of Bride's Tree Ornaments for DH's cousin, who was getting married on August 1. While I did manage to get the first one stitched AND finished before the wedding, the rest of them kind of fell by the wayside. I did (do) have at least some of them stitched, just not finished into an ornament, but when I decided to buckle down and finish my son's first ornament into an actual ornament BEFORE I put away the Christmas decorations this year, I decided to finish up a few other ornaments I had hanging around.

Mind you, I am not a big fan of finishing things, unless I have an idea in mind. And even then, sometimes the tedious nature of finishing hampers my progress. But I am bound and determined to finish up AND send these ornaments to DH's cousin before their second anniversary in August. Wish me luck - I think I am going to need it!

This is the "bird in a nest" ornament, a freebie available on the Waxing Moons Website.

Spring Bluebird by Waxing Moon Designs
Stitched over 1 on 18 ct. fabric with DMC threads

I finished it with a pretty piece of floral fabric on the back and a bit of store bought satin cording.

This one I am going to have a VERY hard time parting with -- it's one of my favorites:

Christmas Hearts by Just Nan
Stitched on 32 ct. Bone fabric with overdyed and DMC threads, plus beads

This is one of those ornaments I knew exactly how to finish before I even started stitching it, and it was inspired from beginning to end, not to mention a lot of fun to stitch. So much so that I'm going to stitch it at least twice more - once more in this color variation, and a second time using pink and silver instead of red and gold.

It fit PERFECTLY into a tiny wooden embroidery hoop that I sanded and painted a pretty shade of green to match the thread. I can't stress enough how much a light sanding with a fine grit sandpaper can improve the look of craft store wooden objects. After sanding, I wiped the hoop with a damp paper towel to remove the dust, let it dry, then put on a coat of sealer (available in the paint section with the acrylic paints). A couple coats of paint to get the right color, and a top coat of varnish (also available with the acrylic paints), and the hoop was finished. You can't tell here, but I only sealed, painted and varnished the outer hoop - I left the inner hoop natural wood after sanding.

I tried to be as neat as possible with the stitching, but I still wanted it covered up. I took a plain piece of neutral cotton fabric and glued it to the rim of the inner hoop, across the open area. After it dried, I trimmed off the excess and put the stitching over the top of it. And yes, I used a little fabric glue to hold my stitching in place, then trimmed off the excess stitching fabric after that dried. The painted outer hoop covers the edges nicely, and no threads peek through.

As a final touch, I wrote the name and wedding date of the happy couple on the inside hoop.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Love is Little... and so is the amount of my blog posts

I know, I know. It's been AGES since I've posted anything and it may seem as if I have abandoned not only blogging but stitching as well. Surprisingly, I have been able to stitch, though not as much as I used to. After all, there is a teeny tiny little person that demands a whole lot of attention these days.

I am also working on what is probably the most time consuming stitching project I've ever taken on - a Stoney Creek lighthouse for Kathy. It's on the tedious side - which has convinced me to delete every single Stoney Creek pattern from my wish list. The finished result is gorgeous - wait till you see how Kathy's piece is turning out! - but I think this is a once in a lifetime experience for me.

On the more productive side, I did finish stitching and framing a gift for a friend. She got pregnant shortly after I did, so our pregnancies overlapped and we had great fun sharing stories, helpful hints and birthing stories. Her son was born in January, and I had been looking for a piece to stitch for his room. His parents didn't pick a particular theme, but focused instead on earthy shades of brown and green. Now, it may be my personal bias, but I do think this is going to look just perfect hanging in his room...

Love is Little by La D Da
Stitched over 2 on 35 ct. WDW Beige
with recommended GAST threads

I am utterly thrilled with how it came out. As soon as I saw the pattern on someone's blog, I thought it would make a wonderful piece for a baby or child's room, and filed it away. When my friend told me her color scheme for the room, and that they weren't leaning towards a theme, I knew this was the perfect piece for them. I did make my own little modifications here and there - adding in the name and birth date (GAST Dark Chocolate), and changing the little bird from the recommended gold to GAST Blueberry. You know, the Bluebird of Happiness? I did change the fabric from what was called for - I didn't like the more reddish tone with the GAST converstion, so I went with the Weeks. It was absolutely lovely to stitch on.

My husband did the framing for me - he has so much more patience for it than I do. I ordered a custom frame from and picked up foam core that I cut to size (apparently I also need a lesson on how to cut that correctly. LOL). DH did all the stretching, pinning, adjusting, repinning, readjusting and cursing. But in the end, it was well worth it. I think the frame sets it off beautifully, and Picture Frames does really excellent work. And did I mention you can upload scans or photos of your pieces and play around with different frames and mats? I would, however, recommend ordering a set of free mat samples before ordering custom cut mats - sometimes the color on screen can differ greatly from the actual mat color.

But WAIT!! There's more!

Art Deco Frame by Julia Lucas Designs (JCS 2005 Ornament Issue)
Stitched on plastic canvas with DMC thread and pearle cotton

I also like to give a Christmas ornament as a gift for a new baby and this may well become my standard ornament gift. It whipped up in almost no time, and it's so easy to personalize. The photograph was taken by an amazingly talented photographer - Ashley Gigliotti. I designed the back of the ornament myself, adapting from the design. The original instructions called for pasting the completed frame on cardboard, but I wanted to make it more of a pocket so that both sides could be used for display.

I used Word to design the birth information, then printed it on linen paper. I sized the photo to fit in the frame and had that printed through Snapfish. Then I used a self sealing laminating pouch from Staples to ensure neither side would get damaged. It was a little fiddly to put it together, but well worth it, and a tiny bit of hot glue worked wonders for keeping things in place.

(FYI: The website is not on the actual photograph I used for the ornament - it's in this photo to protect Ashley's copyright)

This is one of several versions of the ornament I've stitched so far. These are the perfect thing to stitch in the car - I have no trouble finding the holes, and if I have one already stitched, I have no need to carry the pattern around with me - I just stitch from the finished one. You can fit three whole ornaments (front and back) on one sheet of canvas, and the personalization possibilities are endless. You'll be seeing several more of these as I complete them.