Sunday, December 28, 2014

Odds And Ends

This post may be a little picture-heavy, so hold on to your adorable knitted stocking hats.  I've taken quite a few photos of things I wanted to post about here, and I can't let them go to waste!

First of all, "Song Of The Seasons", the LHN mystery sampler, is finally completed.
That's big news, considering it's taken me a little while a really long time to complete the stitching.  Someone just posted a picture of their framed "Song Of The Seasons" on Facebook, and it was gorgeous!  I'll have to think about how I want to do that.

Here's something I've been wanting to show off but couldn't because it was a Christmas gift.
I stitched this for my son's girlfriend and used the finishing instructions "The Ornament Cording and Hanger 1" from the blog "Learn To Finish With The Twisted Stitcher".  The pattern is from the Just Cross Stitch 2008 Christmas ornament issue.  And yes, Stephanie loved it.

Our family gathered at Sheila's house for Christmas day.  It was a wonderful celebration, full of food and laughter.  I noticed that Sheila had hung up a Santa that I stitched for her probably about 10 years ago.  It's in the top ten of my favorite things I've ever stitched.
I don't have all of the info about this one at my fingertips, but I think it's called "All American Santa" and it's from a book of cross stitch Santas by (I think) Leisure Arts.

We have an antiques market close by that opens up one weekend per month.  It's fun to walk around a few times a year to see what they have.  I went to the one in December to see all of the vendors' Christmas gift ideas.  I was pretty restrained in my purchasing, only picking up a pair of these interesting scissors.  The brand name engraved on them is "Spear Brand".  I don't know how old they are, or if they're even old, but I like them.  After Mark gave them a good cleaning, they work great!
Let's move on to "Other People's Creations", where I show you the crafty endeavors of friends and acquaintances.  First up are the adorable little owl pendants that Sheila made for each girl who attended her daughters' birthday party.
What fifth grader would not be delighted with one of these?!  They're made from polymer clay and painted with acrylic paint.  Sweet little goodie-bag gifts! 

Our office Christmas party was a couple of weeks ago.  Almost everyone contributed to the food offerings and they were all delicious.  A particularly creative addition to our feast was the veggie Christmas tree made by one of our volunteers.
Cute and delicious all at the same time!
She used a styrofoam tree shaped form and LOTS of toothpicks to stick the veggies in.  Please note the jicama "candy canes" and star.  Totally crafty and unexpected!

And last but not least, Mark's gift to Stephanie.  He hasn't had a lot of time to spend in his woodworking shop lately, but he did make some time to create this wonderful little Christmas tree.
The tree's not crooked.  I am.
Forgive the lopsided picture-taking.  The tree was worked on the lathe and is made of pecan wood.  I especially like the little hammered wire star.  It was another successful gift!

And there you have my long-winded and photo-heavy post about all kinds of things.  As we head into a new year, what are your crafting and stitching resolutions?  One of mine is to finish what I've started and that means getting to work on those WIPs!  And that is exactly what I'm going to continue to do this afternoon.  So I'm signing off to get some stitches in!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas With The Sisters

As many of you know, my stitch group, the Sisters In Stitches, has been meeting each month for a few years now.  We've started a Christmas tradition of having a special stitch day, complete with decorations and special food.  You see, we usually bring our own lunches to stitch days, so our Christmas stitch day is a little bit of an extravaganza.

We have a gift exchange every stitch day (yes, every stitch day!), so exchanging gifts is a tradition with us anyway.  But how festive is this gift table!  And note the peppermint ornaments made by Peggy!
Peggy is also our resident baker and more often than not makes us a delicious dessert for our stitch days.  But for Christmas we were the happy recipients of TWO desserts:  a gingerbread cake and a scrumptious pudding wrapped in meringue.  Add to that some colorful cookies and Christmas crackers and you have a pretty cheery dessert table!  We also feasted on lasagna, salads, and crackers and dips, and of course, that awesome dessert selection.
We always bring our completed or finished stitch projects to show off and were in awe of this one.  Peggy stitched this Santa a while back and it's just gorgeous.  I was particularly fascinated that she included family names on Santa's list!  Isn't that a wonderful touch?  Sorry about the glare on the photo.

I wanted to bring a small gift for each of my "sisters", so I made some little beaded snowflake ornaments which can also be used as pendants. 
A special Christmas card seemed like the way to showcase and give these snowflakes.  I had some one-sided cards and attached one ornament to each along with a poem about friends and snowflakes.  No, I didn't write it.  I found it on the internet and credited the author.  It was actually kind of sweet and maybe a little schmaltzy.  But that's ok.
So it was a wonderful day, spent with friends doing what we love to do - stitching.  I was glad to be able to concentrate on stitching for a day.  In this busy time of year, it's hard to find time to spend on our favorite pastimes.  

A beautiful day of stitching made me think about what my stitching goals are for 2015.  I know for sure that I'd like to complete my WIPS.  I don't have that many.  Also on the list are some grand plans for ornament stitching.  I'll have to think about that a little more. 

I want to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a blessed, Happy New Year!  Thank you for reading, following and commenting on my blog.  Stay tuned in the new year.  I have some things planned that I think you'll like.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

A Pinterest (Not Too Bad) Fail

Pinterest is so much fun, isn't it?  You can find cool ideas and photos of anything you're interested in.  In my case it's cross stitch, crafts, beading, and food.  And who knows what kinds of boards I'll add in the near future.  One little crafty idea that caught my eye was a bowl of pine cones painted with a silvery finish.  How festive!  How Christmas-y! 
Look at how shiny they are.  Remember, this is the picture from Pinterest.
All you have to do is get a can of Krylon Looking Glass Mirror-Like paint!  Well, and some pine cones too.  Funny story about that:  The house I used to live in was surrounded by pine trees.  Before we moved, I picked up a bunch of pine cones and stuck them in a box.  I actually moved a box of pine cones from my old house to my new house.  My husband never said anything about that, but he probably shook his head a little. 

I found the Krylon paint very easily at a big-box store.  Then I got out my box of Rockbridge Drive pine cones and went to work.  And this is what I got.
OK, they're pretty enough, but they just don't have that "mirror-like" finish that the ones in the Pinterest photo have.  See the difference?  I have a funny feeling that I could have bought the much bigger, less expensive can of regular silver spray paint and got the same result.  And yes, I did follow the instructions on the can and shook that thing for 2 minutes. 

To be fair, I decided to try this paint on a glass object to see the real mirror like finish.  I chose a simple glass votive holder.  And the result:
The colors you see are just reflections of me and stuff in the room.
Again, I can't get super-excited about the finished product.  Maybe I could try another coat? 

So, all in all, I like my silvery pine cones even though they weren't exactly what I was expecting.  They're displayed in a bowl on my sofa table.  My Rockbridge Drive pine cones look pretty good and festive.

Thank you for all of your kind comments and for following my blog!  Please leave a comment if you like this post or if you can give me some additional tips for using this paint.  I'd appreciate it!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

And The Garden Grows

Even though summer is a distant memory, there have been some new flowers blooming here.  I continue to work on my Summer Garden Pincushion.  The ongoing tutorial is featured on the Fiberluscious blog.  Mums highlight the latest section.  I'm learning and re-learning many embroidery stitches by participating in this project.  For example, the fly stitch is new to me and is excellent for little leaves. 
I like the relaxed pace of this tutorial.  I don't feel pressured to get something done really quickly or to "keep up".  It's a project I can easily pick up and work on when a new section is posted, and then put away until the next part of the tutorial.  No hurrying is fine with me.

New product alert!  Well, new to me anyway.  I started using a Frixion pen for marking my stitching area.  The pen mark is a lot thinner than the disappearing ink marker (the blue lines) I was using.  This is especially handy when working in such a small space.  Best of all, the Frixion pen markings disappear with heat! 
My progress so far.
So far so good.  It will be fun to see the next installment's flower selection. 

On the stitching front, I finished an ornament that I'll be giving to someone for Christmas so it will remain a secret for the time being.  I used a finishing technique that I learned on the blog "Learn To Finish With The Twisted Stitcher" and I'm extremely happy with the result!  I'm also very close to finishing the stitching on the "Song of the Season" mystery sampler that I've been working on for quite a while.  I expect to be able to post pictures of that very soon!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

A Very Grumpy Christmas

I can finally post about a gift finish that I stitched.  Yes, it's Grumpy Cat, all ready for Christmas.  Just look at him.  Even the joyous Christmas season can't get a smile out of this guy.  He does look cute though.  I stitched him for a fellow stitcher who was having some surgery.  I'm happy to say that the surgery was a success and my stitcher friend was delighted with Grumpy!
The chart is a freebie from Brooke's Books.  Just go to the "Freebies" button on the left.  It's stitched on 28-count Jobelan, completely with DMC.  I used stiff felt for the backing.  This was such a fun design to stitch, I may even make another one!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Bead Show Marathon

One of the funniest things I said to my husband lately was, "We won't be there too long".  I was referring to Sheila and I attending the Intergalactic Bead Show at the nearby Gwinnett Center a couple of weeks ago.  We hadn't been to one in a while, but with my renewed interest in beading I felt the need to see what was up in the beading world.  The Intergalactic shows are an outstanding venue to do just that. 

They come to our area about four times a year and feature dozens of vendors displaying everything from beads made of glass and metal, natural stones, wire, findings, pearls, and stringing necessities.  We also met nice people and found some amazing bargains.
Assortment of glass pearls I got for an amazing price.
Nikki Thornburg-Lanigan from Thornburg Bead Studio was kind enough to give us an demonstration on how to bend wire in a creative way, and also gave us the finished wire!  The beads she creates are beautiful.
Check out Nikki's website to see her wonderful creations.
We enjoyed the bountiful selection of seed type beads from The Beadroom.  These were just what I was looking for in my quest for beads for bead weaving.
Some seed type beads from The Beadroom, along with some wire and thread I also purchased.

An assortment of toggles, findings and cute little snowflake charms rounded out my purchases for the day.  
Sheila also added to her bead stash quite nicely.  Now we both have enough supplies to fuel our need to bead.   And just how long did we stay at the bead show?  Not "too long"?  Nope.  If I remember correctly, we were there browsing the booths for approximately 4 hours.  If you like beads, then go to an Intergalactic Bead Show and you'll see what I mean. 

Friday, November 7, 2014

The Traveling Tote Bag Project

Facebook has turned out to be a wonderful source of cross stitch groups, where you can meet others who share your love of stitching.  I myself have joined several groups in which I can see what my fellow stitchers are working on, get recommendations for new products, and even get help with a stitching problem (or help someone else with their stitching issue).

Through one of the groups, the "Soul Stitchers", I've also become friends with ladies from other countries.  So interesting to see what they're working on and what kinds of stitchy supplies they have!  When one of our group members asked if we wanted to contribute to an interesting project, many of us enthusiastically signed up.  Tracey has a tote bag made up of many pieces of Aida.  She requested that we would stitch one of the squares (or rectangles), and then pass the bag to the next person.

I caught the bag just as it finished its European tour and marveled at the amazing stitching on it.  I chose a little purple and pink butterfly and stitched it at the bottom. 
I asked some of the stitchers who participated to share a few thoughts about this project.  Harriet from Sweden likes cranes, so that was her stitching contribution.  The crane is also a symbol for long life.  The little bee was stitched by Bianca from the UK.  It's her nickname!  Bianca also contributed the poppy. She enjoyed this project knowing that it would bring a smile to Tracey's face whenever she used the bag. Renate lives in Austria (but is originally from the Netherlands) and chose an owl to stitch.  She loved the bright color and hoped that Tracey would too!

Eva is originally from Latvia and now lives in the UK.  She stitched the All Our Yesterdays piece, which is the little girl by the sea.  She is a fan of these designs and thought that Tracey would especially like this one.  Eva also hopes that this completed bag will bring joy to Tracey each time she uses it.  Kirsten says that butterflies are special and beautiful to her, just like our friend Tracey is. Kirsten, from Denmark, is happy to be part of the group that contributed to the stitching on this bag.  She says it shows that we care and have Tracey in our hearts. 

This is a pretty awesome group of ladies, isn't it?  It makes me happy to be part of this group, with such caring and kind stitchers.  As I packed the tote bag to send it to Tracey, I thought about how many miles it had traveled to reach the talented hands of so many stitchers.  This indeed was a special project and I know that all of my fellow "Soul Stitchers" will agree with me when I say that I hope that Tracey happily uses the bag for many, many, many years. 

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Cool Halloween Finish

Stitching for Halloween is just plain fun.  There is no seriousness involved and to me, that makes for enjoyable stitching.  When one of the Facebook stitch groups I'm in announced a Halloween exchange, I was in!  My little collection of Just Cross Stitch Halloween issues offered a huge selection of ornament ideas and it was difficult to pick just one.  But eventually I chose this cute little owl and pumpkin chart by Blue Ribbon Designs called "Perched On A Pumpkin". 
What could be cuter than a little owl and a happy jack-o-lantern?  Fun to stitch, this is one I would stitch again for me.  I will say that the recipient was delighted and commented that it would become an heirloom in his Halloween collection.  Stitchers love to hear stuff like that, don't they?

I took on the challenge of finishing this ornament the way they suggested in the instructions.  This involved hand sewing the back and front together with thread and beads.  One bead per stitch.  I already had some shiny metallic orange beads in my stash and thought that they would be perfect for this project.
Although I really like this effect, next time I would simply machine sew the two pieces together and find another way to attach some beads.  It was a long process and was difficult to keep the fabric even as I hand-sewed.  But I do like the finished product and am glad that I tried this method.
I'm so happy that I finally got to share this finish!  I'm currently stitching a Christmas ornament which will be a gift, so there will be no photos of that for a while.  Fortunately, I do have some other projects going on which I will happily share in upcoming posts!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Lots Of Stitching And No Excuses

Where have I been?  Oh, around.  Doing stuff.  Stitching.  Reading.  It's time to dust off the blog and get with the program!  No excuses!

I've been doing some stitching, but can't show it here because most of the stitching I've done is for gifts.  So until they're sent and received, they remain top secret.  My stitch group's stitch day was last Saturday and I miraculously remembered to TAKE my camera and actually TAKE some pictures. 

This is Peggy's masterpiece, "Alpine Seasons Crossings" by Chatelaine.  The details are amazing.  Here's a close-up photo of the center.
She's making remarkable progress on this.
Pat stitched and put together a sweet little sled ornament by Foxwood Crossings. 
"Goblins On Parade" by Blackberry Lane is being stitched by Thea.  What a cool and unique design!  And the fabric is perfect.
Laurie is making progress on her Beatrix Potter Quaker Sampler.  We all agree that she chose the perfect floss and fabric combination. 
This pretty finish belongs to Trish.  She found the chart in an old cross stitch magazine, but I'm not sure which one.  Love the button detail.
Trish is also working on "Love, Joy, Home" by Ursula Michael.  The chart was found in an old issue of Cross Stitcher. 
One more by Trish.  I don't have the info for this one, but isn't it pretty?

Thea also had a couple of Lizzie Kate finishes.  Congratulations to Thea for finishing these with supplies she already had at home -- fabric, trim, and hangers!
The title of this blog referred to "lots of stitching" but none of it is mine.  Did you notice how I got around that?  Not exactly cheating, right?  I just wanted to show you what the Sisters In Stitches are up to.  I know that I, for one, love to see what other people are creating because it does inspire me to get out the floss, needle and fabric.  Hopefully you enjoyed this display of my group's work.  I am working on a special project right now that I'll show you next time.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Stitch Day And Some Cool Beading

It was a happy day at the Sisters In Stitches stitch day last Saturday.  All eight of us were there!  I don't know when that happened last.  We had a wonderful time catching up and laughing at silly things.  Peggy brought a delicious dessert for us -- icebox key lime dessert.  Oh, and whipped cream which she made by hand.  With a whisk.  She is one talented baker.

You're probably noticing the lack of photos from stitch day.  I did not have my camera, but plan to take it next month.  Hopefully I can get Thea to bring her finish and completion again and also get photos of the Sisters' work.  I have a picture of mine.
I'm getting to the end of this one.  Part 3 is about halfway done.  I have some Christmas projects to start, but they're for gifts and you know what that means.  No posting until they're received.  And then there's a Halloween completion that I REALLY want to show you, but I haven't even sent that one out yet.  I just love that Halloween one so much.

On to the "cool" bead project that I did yesterday.
Ha ha, "cool", get it?  It's a snowflake!  I found this pattern online and was excited to use Super Duos for the first time.  Wow, what a quick and easy project!  You're supposed to make earrings out of them, but I probably wouldn't .  However, a pendant might be nice.  Or a really small ornament?  On the end of a scissor fob?  An interesting list of possibilities.  I will be making more of these.

And let's go to Other People's Creations, where I show you the talented craftiness of other creative people.  This week, it's a beaded lanyard made by Sheila.  She created this for a teacher at her daughters' school. 
How pretty is this?  No more boring lanyards for this teacher!  I have a funny feeling that Sheila may get some requests for these.

Thank you again for all of your comments.  I read blogs to get inspired and to get ideas for new projects and techniques.  I hope that you come here to get a little inspiration too.  Or to have a few laughs.  Either way, please come back and visit often!

Monday, September 8, 2014

A Week Of Beads AND Threads

Last week I happily split my creative time between my two favorite pastimes -- beading and cross stitch.  For my new bead project, I decided on a bracelet using gemstone beads, crystals and seed beads.

I made a few changes, as I often do, and switched the pearls that the bracelet pattern called for with some beautiful 4mm lapis beads.  Another change I made was using oval crystals in place of bicones.  Just look at the amazing blue color of the lapis beads.
I often forget how pretty the gemstone beads are and I think that the natural gemstones complement the glass beads very well.  The classic combination of blue and silver is one of my favorites.  I need to use gemstones more often in my jewelry-making!  I found these lapis beads online at Auntie's Beads.  And you can click here to see the full line of lovely gemstone beads that Auntie's Beads offers.
I also found the cool magnetic clasp at Auntie's Beads. Looks really good with the silver seed beads, right?

Lately my stitching time as been taken up with the completion of gifts, and I finished two of them in the past couple of weeks.  Because they haven't been given to the recipients yet, I can't post them yet.  But I will share them once they're sent and received.  I have unearthed my largest WIP,  LHN's Song of the Seasons.  But, you're saying, didn't you start that like a year ago?  Why, yes. Yes, I did.  This piece will be for me, so it always went to the bottom of the WIP pile when something else came up.  So now I'm making this one a priority.  It will be framed, and I already have a place in mind to hang it.
See?  I have the majority of it done, and am currently working on part 3 of it.  Remember, it's a mystery sampler.  Well, not so mysterious anymore.  Side story about this piece:  There was a Facebook group for stitching this that I joined.  One day I unintentionally mentioned the tree and was told to zip my lip.  In a nice way, of course.  Apparently, there were some people who hadn't seen part 2 yet.  Yeah, I guess they told me.  Heh heh.

Coming up later this week:  Stitch Day!  I can't wait to see my Sisters In Stitches.  And I intend to have a lot more of Song of the Seasons to show you soon.

Thank you for all of your comments and for following my blog.  Please continue to comment and visit often.  I appreciate it!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Bitten By The Beading Bug

I don't know when it started.  Maybe it was when I did my epic cleaning and organizing of the bead cabinet.  Or when I bought a bead magazine recently and discovered beads I had never heard of.  But I've been bitten by the beading bug.  The cross stitch hasn't exactly been put away.  It's more like I've been dividing my time between stitching and beading.  Or looking at beads and bead creations online.  I even took a little trip to my local bead store.  It's not that far away.  Why don't I visit it more often?

So during my online searching I found the pattern for the "Tila Temptation Bracelet".  The weave of this bracelet just appealed to me - simple yet pretty. 
I'll probably make more of this pattern because I like it so much.  It requires only three types of beads, some Fireline and a clasp.  I'd call this an intermediate/beginner project.  It can be completed in an evening.  If you feel inspired to make one, you can find the tutorial for this bracelet here.  Even though we haven't had a hint of autumn here in Georgia, I'm starting to think "fall" when choosing colors.  Look for more of my beaded projects in the coming months.

Now let's move on to a little segment I like to call "Other People's Creations".  If you've been reading my blog for a while, then you've seen this feature before.  I like to show you what other people create because I am not the only crafty person I know. 

First, here is my sister Sheila's Peyote Stitch project. 
Look how pretty that is.  Sheila has a knack for choosing good color combinations and it really shows in this bracelet.  I may have to make one of these.

And for a dose of crochet cuteness, here is our friend Sherry's recent creation.
How adorable is this?  Makes you want to go out and crochet some owls, doesn't it?  Of course, I'd have to learn how first because if you recall, my crochet skills are limited to rectangles and squares.  And maybe an occasional heart.  My plan is to increase my crochet knowledge in the near future.

We'll just have to put the cross stitch on the back burner for a while.  Both of the projects I'm working on are gifts, so no showing them off yet.  Thanks for stopping by!  Keep leaving the comments.  I appreciate each one!