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!