Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Monday, June 25, 2012

If you love primitive designs...

You'll want to check out Threadwork Primitives. Nan is a designer based out of Philadelphia and has some really lovely pieces - especially if you like patriotic and Halloween themes.

Carolyn, the owner of Just Cross Stitch (my LNS), posted photos of some of her designs on her blog, and they immediately made me think of a few stitchers I know. Make sure you check them out, and be sure to stop by the Threadwork Primitive blog to pick up a few freebies.
Saturday, June 16, 2012

Nick's 2010 Ornament

And for the grand finale of this Parade of Ornament, perhaps the most shameful of all.

I finished stitching this piece in 2010, got the buttons for it in early 2011, and still couldn't manage to put the whole thing together until last week. Mind you, I've finished several ornaments for other people, but when it comes to getting it done for my own son? Bad mommy!! (We won't discuss why Nick doesn't have a 2011 ornament yet...)

The Stars are Brightly Shining by SamSarah Design Studio
JCS Ornament issue 2005
2 over 2 32 ct. Crystal Loch Belfast
Swarovski crystals, seed beads and JABC buttons

I fell in love with this cutie the second that I saw him, even though he was another snowman. I told you, it's a vicious cycle. And it doesn't help that I tend to *really* like the SamSarah Designs from the JCS ornament issues (this maybe be the 2nd or 3rd one I've stitched and finished, and at least the 4th I've marked for future stitching). The words also happen to be a line from my favorite "traditional" Christmas song - Oh Holy Night. I'm not religious, but there is something about that song that gets to me.

It's another very large ornament, and I had considered doing it over 1 but that would have thrown the proportion of the buttons off, so I went ahead with over 2. It's not the size of a dinner plate, but still.... Even though it's a larger ornament, it's still one of my very favorites that I've ever stitched. My most favorite is this one, Nick's very first ornament. Oh wait. Maybe this one. Or quite possibly this one. I'll stop now.

I did change out some of the colors - I wanted a deeper, variegated red for the scarf, and I subbed in some beads in the bush for some added texture. I also used beads for the eyes, and Swarovski crystals for buttons. I figured with the buttons, it would tie in nicely. And I changed out the gold stars for silver because we are, after all, a Dallas Cowboys family. (which is why "stars" and blue and silver are recurring themes in my stitching)

It's impossible to see in this photo, but the fabric has shiny iridescent threads running through the weave and adds a beautiful sparkle to the finished piece. And now that I've finished his 2010 ornament, perhaps it's time to get cracking on 2011. Maybe even 2012.
Friday, June 15, 2012

Snowmen, Snow women, and Snowboys!

Every single time I stitch a snowman (or snow-person), I think about how much I dislike stitching with white thread, especially large swaths of white. You know, the kind you'd see when you're stitching a snowman. And every single time I see a cute snowman ornament, I forget how much I dislike it and decide I am going to stitch it. It's a vicious cycle, but I do it for love.

These next two ornaments will be going to good friends of ours, Jenn and Marc, who just had their second son in May. Jenn and I were pregnant at the same time with our firstborn sons and bonded over the experience. Shortly after Jenn told me she was pregnant with her second, the JCS ornament issue came out and lo and behold, a pregnant snow-woman ornament!

Snowflake By SamSarah Design Studio
JCS ornament Issue 2011
WDW Blue Jean 30 ct. 2 over 3
with my own thread selections

This ornament is GIGANTIC. Okay, gigantic for me. It ended up being something like 4"x4". If I stitch it again, it will be over 1, but this is very cute anyway. I will most likely include a small easel with it though, in case they want to put it on a shelf or the mantle instead of hanging it on the tree. I also left the hanging loop long enough to fit over a doorknob if they so choose.

And I can't forget Nick's friend, Mason (Jenn and Marc's son) I stitched a photo ornament the year he was born, and plan to continue the tradition of stitching something for him every year. This one ended up being perfect for him.

Just a Little Flaky - Val's Stuff
JCS Ornament issue 2011
WDW Blue Jean 30 ct 2 over 2
With my own thread selections

I made some modifications to the design, taking out the wording and substituting Mason's name and the year, as well as adding some tiny iridescent white beads for snowflakes.

You can see the detail on the snowflakes here.

I ended up stitching both pieces on the same fabric and tried to coordinate some of the other colors so the pieces "go" together. Now I'll need to figure out what to stitch for Mason and his new little brother for this year, once the new JCS issue comes out.
Thursday, June 14, 2012

A Basket of Apples

In the continuing saga of stitching and finishing ornaments for a Bride's Tree for not-so-newlyweds comes this next piece. Here representing the "basket of fruit" component is this lovely basket of apples:

Basket of Apples
Better Homes & Gardens 2001 Cross Stitch Designs
Stitched over 1 on 22 ct. aida

(Please note my finishing isn't quite as, ummm, crappy, as it looks. It's much nicer in person.)

This has also been completely assembled for at least 2 years, just waiting for some appropriate cording / trim.
Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A pink butterfly for a sweet baby girl

JBW French Country Butterfly for Kayla
Stitched 1 over 1 on 32 ct. Antique White
with Crescent Colors Cherry Tomato

Whenever I stitch a birth record for a newborn (or a 1 year old, as is usually the case by the time I get it done...) I like to include a Christmas ornament for families that celebrate Christmas. I've mentioned before how ridiculously sentimental I am about Christmas ornaments, so this should come as no surprise to you. It should also come as no surprise that I like to coordinate the ornament to the nursery theme whenever possible.

Almost four years ago, Mr. Sweet Pea and I attended the wedding of his cousin Christoper in NY, and last October, Chris and his wife were overjoyed to add baby girl Kayla to their family. Kayla's nursery theme butterflies in pink and brown, and I chose JBW's French Country Butterfly for her. The lettering was borrowed from another JBW French Country chart - French Country Bunny, I believe.

This is actually the second time I stitched the piece. Originally, I had stitched it 2 over 2 on 32 ct. It was nice, but not exactly what I had pictured. I went ahead and finished it anyway, or rather, attempted to finish it. We won't talk about exactly what happened, but let's just say a butterfly shape is not the easiest to cut out and stretch neatly around a cardboard template. A snip too far, a few curses and some grumblings of frustration and the 2 over 2 butterfly went in a drawer because I cannot bear to throw out any bit of stitching, even if it is ruined beyond repair. (I will ask my husband to make it disappear without my knowledge at some point.)

So I stewed about the mishap for a while, then finally decided to restitch the piece, this time 1 over 1. MUCH better. So much so that when I took it into my LNS, the owner asked if I'd mind stitching it again for the shop in purple. You'll be seeing this again (twice) actually in 2 different shades of purple (one for the shop, one for another of my nieces).

I finished this piece using a metal needlework form which ended up being the perfect size for this pattern and eliminated the need to cut my own templates. After the initial mishap, there was NO WAY I was messing with a butterfly shaped template, and I'm quite pleased with how this round shape looks anyway.
Monday, June 11, 2012

This can't possibly be my first finish for 2012... can it??

One that hasn't been motivated by a Fair & Square Exchange? Really? Huh. Imagine that. As I was writing this post, I kept trying to think of what else I've actually finished that wasn't done for a F&S, and I can't think of anything... Maybe I should stitch more and goof less.

Pumpkins by Little House Needleworks
Stitched 2 over 2 with included threads on 32 ct. linen
(personalization stitched over 1)
accented with copper seed beads

Does it matter that I've stitched this before for a F&S exchange? No? Good.

This piece was stitched as a gift for a friend I met through my cousin. I've known her for a long time, and we were bridesmaids together in my cousin's wedding last summer. I had such a good time with her at the shower and wedding and other wedding-related activities that I wanted to stitch a little something to honor her own wedding. Since they used pumpkins throughout their wedding materials and as decoration for their reception, I thought this was most appropriate.

I would like to have stitched it over 1 and made it slightly smaller (I favor smaller ornaments), but it would have been impossible to stitch in the personalization, so I opted for the over 2. It's still not *too* big, and it's quite pretty in person.

What held me back the most though was finding a trim that I liked for the edge. I thought I wasn't a fan of making cording and tried to find a store bought one, but nothing seemed to look quite right. Speaking of which, does anyone have ideas on where to find good cording and trims? I've had my best luck at JoAnn fabric, and even they have a limited selection. Am I just not looking in the right places?

Anyway, since I'm not usually a fan of making cording if I don't have to, I thought it would be easier to do some ruched ribbon. Clearly I forgot the LAST time I did my own ruched ribbon and it took me weeks of working on it little by little to get this orange stuff done. But done it is, and the ornament is all finished up. And yes, my finishing work is nicer than my second rate photography and positioning skills would lead you to believe (that bottom right corner isn't as lopsided as it looks). I was uncertain about the orange ribbon at first, but it's really grown on me and I can't wait to give it to the newlyweds (they're newlyweds for at least the first year, right?)
Friday, June 8, 2012

The parade of ornaments begins...

I've been trying to take advantage of naptime lately and knock out some finishing work. My 2 year old is fascinated by scissors and the glue gun, so I've got to work while he's sleeping and get my goodies put away before he wakes up. I've been working my way through our stash of finished pieces and deciding what to do with them. Loads of framing at some point, but a few ornaments as well. Over the next few weeks, I'll be doing my best to finish more, and share the ones I've completed.

Up first is a lighthouse ornament. (You're all surprised, I know) I have a few pieces older than this one, but this is the oldest of the ones I've tackled so far - an ornament I stitched back in 2008 that languished in the drawer simply waiting for some kind of cording. (Yes, the whole thing was almost completely assembled for nearly 4 years.)

Call of the Ocean by X-Appeal Designs
stitched over 2 on 32 ct. Picture This Plus Fabric in Dwarf
with overdyed and DMC threads
Stitched in 2008 - finished 2012

I did stitch this one before as a Fair & Square Exchange that went to Susan. This piece will join the multitude of other lighthouse ornaments on our Christmas tree.
Friday, June 1, 2012

A Mini Quaker Sampler

Just another drive-by posting from me.....

Round #29 to Pokua
Quaker 1 from Gazette 94 (free chart)
Stitched 1 over 1 on 32 ct. Antique White with Carrie's Creations Foxfire

I stitched these squares for the latest Fair & Square exchange for Pokua in Australia. I modified the chart slightly to add in both our initials and I changed the date. I wasn't certain at first that I was going to like it, but the more I stitched on it, the more I fell in love. And you'll be seeing that shamrock motif again somewhere, I'm sure.

I would just like to remind everyone that the Fair and Square Exchange IS taking new members. Participation has been down in recent rounds, and perhaps a few new members will re-energize the group. Jill has been a really wonderful administrator for the group and I have had a fantastic time getting to know my exchange partners, some with whom I've developed real friendships. If you're part of the group and haven't participated in a while, please consider signing up when the next round opens up. If you're not part of the group, submit your application to Jill - you won't be sorry.