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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Blogging can be Fun (and dangerous)!

Catching up on blogs today and came across another fun giveaway. This one on Linen Stitcher's blog. She's giving away this lovely Carriage House Samplings pattern, American Landscape. The deadline is Saturday, November 28. Good luck to you, however I'd really like to win this one, too!

Danger, Danger...Sigh!

Let me tell you what I've been drawn into. It's all Vonna's fault. (If you haven't seen Vonna's blog,
The Twisted Stitcher, please check it out. It is wonderful!) Vonna found a picture of the Prairie Schooler alphabet patterns stitched on one piece of linen, (I believe it was stitched over one on a 28 or 32 ct linen) and she posted a link to the picture on her blog. For everyone to see. And it is mouth watering, finger tingling gorgeous!

Don't you hate it when you get something in your head and it just won't shut up or go away! I went around in a trance for a couple of days after seeing that picture, so I thought, I'll just see if I have a piece of linen big enough for it. Only had one option sizewise and it was too dark, so then I looked at a few of my favorite ONS's, you know, just to see what was available. All the time telling myself, "I don't need another project, especially a HAP!" (That's a hu-mungo BAP.) Thursday afternoon after running several errands, I decided I needed to pick up those beads and overdyed floss that have been on my stitchy shopping list for a while. So I drove to the nearest needlework shop, which is about an hour away. Do you see where this is going? While there, I happened (yea, right) to browse their fabric selection. Guess what! They had some ivory Jazlyn (a 28 ct evenweave very similar to lugana) which I thought would be great to stitch over one on. And it was so cheap economical compared to linen...

I just had to put a few stitches into the Jazlyn that I brought, you know, to see how it would look.

It's a sickness, I tell ya! Sigh...

Monday, November 16, 2009

More Gifties in the Mail

The givaway gift from Jolene's Dip Diddly Designs blog came in the mail today! I felt like it was Christmas!. All I can say is Jolene is a very thoughtful and generous women. This is only one of a whole month of giveaways that she hosted on her blog. I am so honored to be the recipient of La D Da's "A Bird in the Hand is Worth 2 in the Bush" pattern AND the NPI silks to stitch the little darling up. She even included chocolates with beautiful vintage Santa's displayed on the wrappers. Here's a pic:

Of course, I had to try a couple of the chocolates right away. Yummy! I'm saving the wrappers for some future crafty project. They are just too pretty to throw away!

A big THANK YOU to Jolene for her thoughtful generosity ! Jolene, I wish I could thank you in person so I could give you a {{{big hug}}}!(Yes, I'm a hugger!).

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Buttons and Weeping

What do they have in common?

They are both things that I worked on yesterday. I sorted my button collection into jars and I finished the "Weeping Tree Sampler" that has pined away for years waiting to be finished.

Even though I felt lousy yesterday, headache, runny nose, and lack of energy, I convinced myself that it was only a cold (I really think it was/is) and not the dreaded H1N1, I decided to be useful and do a bit of mending.

My husband needed a couple of buttons replaced on a jacket. No prob! I'll just go through my buttons to find replacements. Should be easy right? Not when your button stash fills a 16 1/2 x 13 x 6" storage box. Did I mention that I have LOTS of buttons! Some I bought for sewing, some for crafting, and many because I thought they would look so cute/lovely stitched on a cross stitch project or maybe I could design something and use them as an accent. My justification list just goes on and on. Then there are the auction buttons. Some of my buttons are carded and many are loose. So like I said, I have lots of buttons. After much sifting, blowing my nose, oogling the pretties, blowing my nose, nashing my teeth in frustration, and blowing my nose, I found the buttons and mended the jacket.

As I was stitching the buttons on the jacket, it came to me that I could use the peanut butter and mayonaise jars that I had been saving to organize my buttons by color family. (I knew those jars would come in handy eventually.)

So I was able to get most of my buttons into seven jars! (You can't see the large mayo jar in this pic.) I didn't have room for all the white/cream/pearl buttons in the big PB jar so I put all the carded ones in a baggie and added it to my stitchery bead, button, and charm drawers. Don't ask.

To end the evening, I finished up "Weeping Tree Sampler" from The City Stitcher, thanks to the encouragement of Deb and Jolene. If I'd had felt better, I would have been happy dancing all over the place.
I do love this sampler. I saw it finished and framed in a cross stitch shop near Rockome Gardens in Illinois (does anyone remember the cross stitch festivals held at Rockome Gardens?) back in the eighties and I knew I had to stitch it. Can't remember when I started it but I know when I finished it! I apologish for the rumply look but I didn't want to iron it until it is ready to be framed. It is quite a large sampler and measures 13 3/4" x 12". I used a 32 ct Light Mocha Zwiegart linen and DMC threads. Here a couple of closer looks. (Pictures are clickable for an even closer look.) The first picture is very close to the real colors of the sampler.

The pattern had a lamb to the right of the house but I changed it to a cat instead. And I decided to stitch the current year instead of the date charted. To be consistent, I used the colors recommended for the lamb to stitch the cat; I also gave him a nose and whiskers. Does the cat shape look familiar? If you know Chessie and Me Designs, it should. I borrowed the cat shape from one of their patterns. He kind of looks like my cat, Baby, who passed away in 1986. I'll always think of him when I see this sampler. Here's a close up of Baby.

Here's a comparision between the original design and my sampler. Notice the white-ish blobs to the left of the Z. (You'll have to click to see it as my photography is lousy.) Wow, I just noticed that the picture on the front of the pattern has a little wooden cat. It kind of looks like the cat on my sampler, don't 'sha think?

I did finish up the little November sampler. Need to lace it up and get it into the little 2x3" frame (hopefully before Thanksgiving).

Back to deciding on my next big project. Until then, I've started a Brightneedle freebie, "Christmas Eve". I'm using 32 ct Water Lily and although I love the color, I'm not enjoying stitching on the linen after working on Zwiegart linen. I have a feeling that this won't be ready by Christmas this year.

Before I go this evening, I must tell you about my biggest surprise this week. I won Jolene's final October giveaway, me and three other lucky stitchers. I about fell out of my chair when I realized the Robin she listed on her blog was ME! I don't know which of the four prizes I will receive, but I am keeping my finger crossed.

And also I'd like to share another giveaway that I signed up for on Dafftycat's blog. Perhaps I'm on a winning streak. Will this ornie be mine? Stay tuned.

Thanks for stopping by this neck of the woods today. I look forward to your comments and am truely thankful to have the opportunity to share the love of stitching with you.

Friday, November 6, 2009

"Cats" - Let the Happy Dancing Begin!

I finished the stitching on Cats! Yea! Just in time because I don't think I could have kept my nose to that grindstone much longer. There are tons a few other things that are calling to me.

from Autumn Holidays, Katrina Designs, 1982
Stitched on R&R 30 ct. Carrot linen with DMC floss

Haven't decided how to finish it yet. (Should I frame it or turn it into a pillow, or a heavy-weight, or a flat-fold?) Decisions, decisions! The good news is that I don't have to decide now cause this cutie is going to join my other "Ready For Final Finishing" stitcheries.

I have been yearning to get into another sampler lately. Kind of like being lost in a desert and hoping for an oasis, only my oasis is of the sampler kind. As I browse though blogs, I see so many beautiful samplers that I am so tempted to jump into that it isn't even funny. Of course, I have several samplers aready in the works that could stand some attention too.

While I'm deciding on which sampler to work on, I began a little sampler from 365 Tiny Cross Stitch Designs (American School of Needlework). It's tiny and will fit into a 2" x 3" frame when finished.

November Sampler
from 365 Tiny Cross Stitch Designs, American School of Needlework
Stitched on 32 ct Light Mocha linen with DMC floss
Sampler Options: Any advice you would like to offer regarding which project to move forward on, would be appreciated. (Click on pattern names to view the first two options and scroll down to see pictures of my past progress on the third and fourth options.)

Paradise Lost (new pattern, new start) from Plum Street Samplers (click on name to see it)

Plantation Sampler (old pattern, new start) from Canterbury Designs (click on name to see it)

Weeping Tree Sampler from The City Stitcher: (Already started, picture below.) Started this baby more years ago than I can remember. The copyright date is 1994 and I know I've pulled in out to work on several times over the years. Only things left to stitch are the lamb in the space to the right of the house, next to the letter Z (might change it to a cat instead, which would be more relevant for me), and stitch a date between the chimneys (not sure if I'll use the 1843 as charted).
Weeping Tree Sampler
The City Stitcher, 1994
Stitching on 32 ct linen (maybe Light Mocha) with DMC floss

Santas of Fable and  Fantasy from the old Cross Stitch and Country Crafts magazine. (Already started, pictures below.) This is a Sandra Orton design, and I just love, love, love her designs. I've included pictures from the magazine and my progress (from ?? years ago).

Santas of Fable and Fantasy
Designed by Sandra Orton for Cross Stitch and Country Crafts magazine, N/D 1991
Stitching on 32 ct raw linen with DMC floss

In the mean time, I'll finish up the little November sampler while I decide. Who knows, I may decide on something completedy different??? LOL!

Thanks for stopping by and checking out my ramblings today. Hope you all have a good weekend and find a bit of time to stitch.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Hi-Di-Ho, Halloween Lovers!

Happy belated Halloween! Hope everyone enjoyed the festivities and all the holiday related stitching. I wanted so much to share a some of my Halloween stitching before the holiday but couldn't seem to find the time to put my pictures and thoughts together at the same time. So I hope you don't mind a little leftover show and tell in no particular order.

This grouping was on our entertainment center in the living room. From left to right: "Happy Halloween" is from Little Stitches by Graph-It Arts; "Got Candy" and the basket wrap - not sure of the designers (if anybody knows, please let me know); the three little orange treat bags on top of the basket are from Halloween Silhouettes by Forever Friends; "October Sampler" is from 365 Tiny Cross Stitch Designs by American School of Needlework; and "Pumpkins" is from Autumn Holidays by Katrina Designs.

Halloween is my sister's favorite holiday so I always give her a gift of some sort. This year I gifted her with "No Scaredy Cats Allowed" from the Mostly Ghostly leafet by Waxing Moon Designs. The design originally had two black cats, but I replaced one with a Siamese cat. I wanted to stitch this for Jennifer in honor of her cats, Toby, her black cat, and Tucker, her Siamese cat. (Sadly, Toby passed away as I was finishing this up in September so I almost waited until next year to give it to her. I decided to take a chance and give it to her anyway. She did get a little teary, but said that she loved it.)

This is Jennifer holding the picture after we applied candy corn stick-on appliques to the frame. Just what it needed, don't 'cha think?

This is Lizzie Kate's "Boo Club", one of my 2009 finishes. I stitched it on 32 ct. Laurel linen that I purchased in Florida earlier this year. I saw it started on the Laurel linen and loved the look. However, if I had it to do over again, I would go with a lighter shade of green linen. It was a fun stitch (except for the border), I loved the floss colors and the cute little motifs and the sections stitched up so quickly.

I also have the Lizzie Kate's Christmas by the Letter charts and plan to stitch them on Picture This Plus 32 ct. Crystal Arial linen (a sparkly pale blue). Will I start it and get it done by Christmas? Yes, but which Christmas is really the question. LOL!

This Halloween Night from Mount Forest Frameworks. There are lots of buttons and beads on this one. I loved this frame and purchased the sampler chart because of the darn frame. I stitched it on a lavender evenweave which looks rather washed out in the picture. (That's what I get for taking pictures on a dreary day.) I finshed this a few years ago and can't remember the designer. (I have got to keep better notes!) I'll look through my stash and if I find the leaflet, I'll add the designer's name later. Click on the picture to see a bit more detail, each row has it's own border and buttons.

Next, is "Fat Cat" by Birds of a Feather. I think many of the Birds of a Feather designs are hilarious and in my opinion this is one of the funniest. As you probably can tell by the name of my blog, I love all things cat and just had to stitch this up. The look on the poor kitty's face is priceless and I certainly can relate. LOL!

Although I finished stitching this in 2007, I finally got around to making a frame for it this year. I made the frame from a flat surface molding and added wooden appliques to the corners to give it some interest (made it look kind of antique-y. (Is that a word?) I wanted a crackled finish and decided to go with a purple base and a black top coat. It turned out much more sinsiter than I planned. I kind of think it would be a better frame for a haunted house design. Anyhoo, I'm giving myself a few days to decide whether to leave the frame as is or spray it a solid black. What do you think?

This is another Birds of a Feather design, a freebie entitled "Halloween Costume". This little guy is being worked on 18 ct. Cork linen with pearl cotton. He is a work in progress and will be tucked away until our next car trip. You see, I made an important discovery this past summer. I discovered that 18 ct. linen and #5 pearl cotton are perfect travel companions. On one of our drives, I grabbed a Bent Creek kit to work on. It came with 18 ct linen and pearl cottons. I found stitching in the car to be very enjoyable for a change. No more struggling to thread a needle, count threads and get the floss in the right hole!

Last, but not least, the project that is currently sitting by my stitching chair, "Cats". This design is from an old leaflet, Autumn Holidays, published in 1982 by Katrina Designs.

 I've wanted to stitch this ever since I purchased the leaflet. So about a month ago, I came across it while looking through my stash and decided right then and there to pull the threads, find a suitable linen in my stash, mount it on scroll rods, and get to stitching. I'm using R&R 30 ct. Carrot and DMC floss. Just have half a cat left to stitch. Hope to finish tonight.

Whew...I can't believe how much comes spilling out when I start talking about stitching. I hope I didn't bore you to death and I hope you'll stop back again. I so enjoy sharing my needlework obsession...almost as much as I enjoy reading about yours.

Until next time, may your floss never knot and your fabric never wrinkle...