Friday, December 21, 2007

Ornament Exchange

This came yesterday from Monique in the Netherlands. It's for the Xmas Ornie Exchange group I'm in, that has participants from all over the world. Monique made the Santa with Pear design from Prairie Schooler, and she stitched it one-over-one. I love lace border she sewed on - makes me wish I could use a sewing machine! Isn't it lovely? And the floss is DMC 4210, a Color Variations floss called Radiant Ruby. It's absolutely perfect for stitching more Christmas ornaments. I didn't know DMC made floss that looked like this - it's like the overdyed flosses I like so much. Thanks so much, Monique!

Days 5 and 6 of Twelve Days Exchange

Days 6 and 7 brought me a little black bag I can use to store some stash in, plus a little nutcracker ornament to stitch! Thanks, Doreen!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Stitching One Over One

This is the upper left corner of "Simplicity Goodness Truth," a design from Heart's Content. I tried a one-over-one piece a few weeks ago when I did the little ornament from Follow the Leader, and I liked how the tiny stitches looked. I deliberately left my thumb in the picture for scale. This is fun, and I know the final piece is going to look great. I'm really glad I have a magnifying lens!

Day Four - Another Ornament to Stitch!

Day four brought me a Mary Engelbreit wreath to stitch, and it came with the floss and a little fram to hang it in, too!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

"All is Calm" - SamSarah Design Studio/Just Another Button Company

This little ornament/bag is from the 2003 JCS Ornament Issue. I tried to follow the finishing instructions and make a lining, but the directions defeated me and I made the bag without it. It's still cute, and I think it's perfect for filling with candy canes or other Christmas candy.

Button, Button, Who's Got the Button?

I do! This is what I received for day 3 of the 12 Days of Christmas exchange. I"ll paint the apple one red - and now I need to find a great apple-themed biscornu pattern. The rest will be great embellishments for more projects.

My Newest Stitching Gadget

Where I sit to stitch most of the time, both at home and in my trailer, the only way I can see is to turn on a big overhead light. I don't have an Ott light, nor a lamp to my left. I have a lamp to my right here at home, but I'm right-handed, and it casts a shadow on my stitching and isn't bright enough. Yesterday I took Don to Bass Pro Shops in Rancho Cucamonga to let him pick out some Christmas presents (reel, jigs, flies, etc.) and saw this cap light at the reels counter. It clips on the brim of your baseball cap, and adjusts to shine wherever you want it to shine. I have it on the left side of the brim, so that it shines towards my stitching and lights up the area where I'm working. I like it because I can use it at the same time as the magnifying lens that clips on my Q-snap frame. Now Don won't complain about the bright overhead light anymore!

"Liberty" - Shepherd's Bush

This was a little Shepherd's Bush kit I bought in Las Vegas last month; the frame is a 99¢ wooden frame from Michaels that I painted with acrylics. In real life it looks maroon, and matches the red of the flag.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Day Two of the 12 Days Exchange

Doreen doesn't know it, but I needed these. I keep my scrapbooking scissors by my chair to use when I'm stitching here at home, but I wanted a pair for my purse for when I take a piece to work on at the doctor's office or some other place that requires waiting. These are folding scissors, and I love the tin Doreen put them in! Now I have to make a scissors fob for my new scissors!

Friday, December 14, 2007

My First Biscornu!

Will someone please tell me why these things are so fun to make? What purpose do they serve? But then again, what purpose does our craft serve anyway? I guess I'll answer my own question about the biscornu - they're quick, easy, and really cute.

This one is called Sweet Christmas, and it's designed by Helga Mandl. I stitched a Halloween piece by her in October, and decided to turn this ornament design into a biscornu. I used the tutorial from Own Two Hands - a well-done tutorial, which really made this an easy task. The button is from Just Another Button Company.

This is the bottom side - I didn't want to stitch the design twice so I just put a few stitches in each corner and used an ordinary red button.

On the First Day of Christmas...

One thing that a lot of people don't know is that the 12 days of Christmas are not the 12 days leading up to it, but the 12 days between Christmas and January 6, the Epiphany. But that being said, I will go with the flow on the 12 Days of Christmas exchange that I signed up for on CSRR.

The exchange works like this - we exchange 12 packages, and beginning today we open one at a time and write about them on our blog or on the CSRR message board. My partner for this exchange is Doreen, from Canada, and above are the 12 gifts she sent.

So here was the first package - it's a beautiful kit of ornaments from Dimensions. I will definitely be stitching these, since I like to make and give away ornaments!

Monday, December 10, 2007

"Fishing" - Hinzeit

I just put this in the mail to Gary, our fishing friend from Las Vegas. The original design called for two very drab colors, but I wanted it to be a little more colorful, so I used "Burnt Toast" Waterlilies silk thread from Caron. It's stitched two threads over one on pale green 18-count Irish Cork linen, and the frame was stained by me to match the red tones in the threads. I'm going to stitch another one for Don and me to hang in our trailer, but instead of charms, I'll use flies. Don says he has a few he can give me, and I can pick up the rest at Sport Chalet.

Man with Flag - Heart in Hand

This is a square I did for SOLAK, and the design is one of the Monthly Miniatures from Heart in Hand Needleart. The pattern originally called for three white star buttons, but since this is going on a quilt, I just stitched the stars.

Friday, December 7, 2007

December Goals and a Look Back at November

I really, really did not even do well as far as November goals went. Why do I even set them when I'm going to go off and do my own thing? I guess I need to keep trying, though. I DID do a lot of stitching.

Here were the November goals:
1. Start "Alpine Seasons Garden" mandala (Nope, didn't even do that.)
2. Finish January on "Crabby All Year" (Almost done.)
3. Stitch at least 3 charity squares (Did one)
4. Stitch at least one LizzieKate snippet or flip-bit (Nope, none.)
5. Stitch at least 3 jar lids (Nope, none).

Here's what I DID do:
1. Finished "Merry Yule" ornament (Erica Michaels)
2. Finished "O Christmas Tree" ornament (Follow the Leader)
3. Finished "Winter Whitetail" ornament (Something in Common)
4. Finished stitching "Colorado" bell pull (Fireside Originals)
5. Finished stitching "Flock of Briar Root" (Tina Richards/before she was Shepherd's Bush)
6. Finished "As Bethlehem Slept" ornament (Shepherd's Bush)
7. Finished stitching "Liberty" (Shepherd's Bush)
8. Finished stitching Dutch (Hollandaise) Cow [for WOCS]
9. Finished "Winter" ornament (Prairie Schooler)
10. Finished "Rocky Mountain Christmas" ornament (Jeannette Douglas)
11. Finished "Hanuka Tova" ornament (Periphaeria Designs)
12. Started "Simplicity Goodness Truth" (The Heart's Content)
13. Finished "Carousel Jumper" for CSFC
14. House/trees mitten [for WOCS]

See? I got a lot done - just not what I'd planned. So let's see if I can put together some December goals that I'll actually try to accomplish!

1. Finish January in "Crabby All Year"
2. Texas Cow for WOCS
3. Pine Trees mitten for WOCS
4. "Joy" ornament - SamSarah
5. Lighthouse towel for my friend Patrick
6. Smiling Uncle Sam square for SOLAK
7. At least two more ornaments
8. "Fishing" piece for Gary
9. "Fishing" piece for Don
10. Start February in "Crabby All Year"
11. Peppermint Candy biscornu

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Stitching Blogger's Question of the Week

What tips would you give to a new stitcher to help her stitch faster and neater while still keeping it enjoyable?

1. Use one of those sponge-in-a-box things to dampen your floss after you've separated it and are ready to thread your neeedle. I wrote about it and gave a picture here.
2. Check the back of your piece often for loops - before you've stitched another 50 stitches and have to go back to undo them.
3. Count twice. Count often. Our hobby used to be called "Counted Cross Stitch," and the emphasis is on counting, not frogging (undoing)!
4. I'll steal this tip from Nancy of Cross Stitches and Kitty Kisses
: when you're stitching a long horizontal row, stitch one way, put a cross every 10 stitches, then go back the other way. Great idea Nancy!
5. Use a Q-Snap frame instead of a hoop. It's much gentler on your fabric, especially on your already-completed stitches. And I'll add a tip about Q-Snaps: to keep them from losing their tightness, turn the clamps inward to loosen them every time you lay your work down to do something else or quit for the day. It takes the tension off the clamps and also off your fabric.

For more info on SBQ, go here.