Friday, September 30, 2011

Froth and Bubble finishes

A few amazing stitchers out there decided they liked my small design enough to not only stitch it, but to finish-finish it as well.  Now I know why designers design.  The sense of satisfaction you get when you see someone else likes it enough to invest the time into working on it is better than a shopping high.  I know I provided a bit of incentive, but now I'm glad I did.

First up is Myra's finish.  She gave the witch twins some adorable purple frocks and used safety pins as a hanger.  I totally love it!

Ranae gave them some witchy-green faces.  Maybe too much eye of newt in that cauldron?

Then there was Carol.  She stitched her design over 1, and added in a spoon.  I love her addition, and I'm tempted to stitch this again, copying her interpretation.

I love how each of these talented ladies took a simple design, and made adjustments to it to make it their own.  Well done!  As promised, I have some packages all packed up and ready to go to the post office.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Shots Suck

Getting sick is the pits, but what's even worse is doing something that you know is going to make you sick.  I got my annual flu shot, and on top of that got another shot (Hep B, part 2).  It seems I never went back in and got the second part after my trip requiring it several years ago.  Anyway, I've felt a bit under the weather for a couple of days, so I've been a slacker.  I owe commenters responses, Catherine sent me a fantastic give-away prize I still haven't taken a picture of, and Myra sent me a picture of her finished version of Froth and Bubble.  Not to mention I hate to think how many unread posts I have to sort through in Google Reader.  I promise everyone, I'll get all this taken care of before Sunday!  I have to, since I'm going away for a few days.

Saturday, September 24, 2011


Lagniappe :  a small gift given by a merchant at the time of purchase; broadly : something given or obtained gratuitously or by way of good measure

I designed this as part of the Samplermakers Autumn Challenge and thought I'd share it.  You can see my finish of it here.  As an added incentive to stitch this, I'll do a small give-away for anyone that stitches this before Oct 1.  If I don't have any takers before Oct 1, it will be to the first 5 people.  Either e-mail me a picture, or post a picture on your blog and provide the link as a comment to this post.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Back-tracking to post pictures

I had to steal some pictures from the Shepherd's Bush Blog, since I forgot to take them myself.  Don't worry, Teri knows about it and gave me her permission!  I had mentioned a few posts ago I'd stitched Blackbird Designs Morning Star, and finished it as a box topper as shown on the back of the pattern.  This was my second attempt at painting/waxing, and I'm happy with the results.  I have another box painted up for myself, but in a blue theme.  I just need to get the mojo to stitch the design a second time.
BBD Autum Star, finished as a box topper, stitched on
40 ct linen with charted overdyed cotton.
A long time ago (well, a couple of months ago), I'd posted about stitching a sampler to give as a gift for a new baby.  Last night I went to the shower, so here's a picture of the wonderful framing and artwork Jill did.  This was actually a joint gift from both of us.  Kari works for both Shepherd's Bush and Jill.

Its hard to see in the picture, but Jill did the most beautiful pencil drawings of pelicans, dolphins, whales and owls (she calls them Harry Potter owls).  Picking out the mat colors for this was interesting, since we kept waiting for Kari to bring in paint chip samples of what she'd painted the baby's room in.  The inner tan mat is painted with giraffe spots!  Its hard to decide which part I like the most, the giraffe spots or the owls, but the pelicans are pretty awesome too.
L to R - Mindi, Kari, Jill
Kari had no idea who this was for, even though she's seen it in the studio for a couple of months.  In fact, Jill made her do the stretching and mounting, and kept asking for input for the design portion.  She was pretty shocked when she unwrapped the gift last night and saw it.

Thank you to everyone that's stopped by and left a comment.  I swear, tomorrow is the day for me to catch up with responding to comments and reading other blogs.  First thing when I get back from my O-dark:30 Bountiful Baskets pick-up and get a second cup of coffee!  Yes, I've kept up with the Bountiful Baskets, but haven't been cooking quite as many goodies, so not many food pictures to post.  However, maybe there'll be something tomorrow - I have some figs I need to do something with, and I'm thinking some sort of rustic fig tart.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Seasonal Stitching

I've been in a fall mood for at least a month now.  In just one day, my wish comes true, and fall will actually be here, and for probably the first time ever I actually have stitching done in time to enjoy during the season.  Well, ok, I still have to do some finish-finishing.  Anyhoo, this is just a quick post, since I'm actually supposed to be walking out the door and getting to work right now.

Before the pics, I want to share a really positive shopping experience.  Over the weekend I placed an order with Wendy, from Pineberry Lane.  She designed a super cute sampler influenced by the Samplermakers Autumn Challenge, and I was drawn to the alphabet on its side.  While I was looking around on her site, I found a few more things.  What really impressed me was the speed.  The pattern was emailed to me promptly, despite the disclaimer on her site that it could take up to 48 hours (and it was a weekend to boot, I expect people to enjoy their weekends and not totally cater to my whims).  But what really blew me away was having a package in my mailbox on Wednesday with the other little goodies, and the packaging.  Lots of bubblewrap to protect items, cardstock tip protectors on the scissors, and the cutest tissue paper and sprig of dried flowers, tied with twine, wrapping the scissors.

Timing was perfect, since one of the items I had ordered was some walnut crystals, and I only had a few more stitches to put into Chessie & Me's Pumpkin Row.
And here's the result after the walnut experiment.  I scanned both of these so the lighting conditions would be exactly the same.

The other seasonal stitching piece I finished was a freebie.  Remember that gingham fabric I really wanted, and then coffee dyed?  Here it is.  And those cute little scissors, those came from Pineberry Lane.

Last quick pic, then I really need to get out the door.  I finished Part 4 of the iStitch SAL.  Not a huge accomplishment, since the part was so small, almost annoyingly small.  Once I go to the effort of getting a project out, onto the Q-snaps, and me stationed in my stitching chair with the project in the frame, I'd at least like to do a fair amount of stitching, not 10 min worth.  Oh well, at least I'll get Part 5 on time.  Seeing those cute little scissors again gets me back in a better mood.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

A finish and experimenting with Picnik

This is just a super quick post, since I should have been in bed an hour ago, but I couldn't resist sharing a Tom the Turkey finish.  I've been obsessed with him all weekend, and that fat body of his took a while to fill in.  Not to mention all those starts and stops for just a couple of stitches (the flowers) eats up time.  Since its late and the lighting is crappy at night, I scanned Tom, then experimented in Picnik a bit.

Here's the straight scan:
Notforgotten Farms Tom the Turkey, stitched on R&R 35 ct Maria's Special
Blend  using assorted overdyed cottons
Here's a Matted effect, pretty much the same thing as blurring in Picasa, I think.

Lastly, the one I thought was a lot of fun, as long as you don't need accurate colors.  Its a Lomo-ish effect, and I inserted text.

Despite the huge number of new starts, I really do go back and finish things, eventually.

At some point last week, I also stitched Part 2 of Carol's iStitch Mystery SAL.  Of course she put out Part 4, so I need to get that done pronto, since she's been releasing the parts every week.  Maybe tomorrow afternoon before something else jumps into my Q-snaps begging to be stitched.

Thank you again to everyone that stops by, and to those that leave comments.  It means a lot to me, and I've found that while blogging does take a lot of time, it also encourages me to get more done, since I can follow my own progress and I get online encouragement.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

How many new starts is too many?

I had a bad case of startitis and dividing my attention  in what seems like a thousand different directions.  Due to the split attention, I didn't really feel like I got anything done enough to actually post about.  Well, and I just wasn't disciplined enough to come up to the computer with my camera and go to the effort of uploading photos and writing a blog entry.  Anyway, what have I been up to for the last 2 and a half weeks?

My darling Mary.  I couldn't resist, I had to start her.  I did a custom conversion to overdyed silks, and I'm in love with her.  When I first saw the tiny picture on the internet, I was thinking she was done in reds, but really its a combination of reds and lovely rose tones.  She's beautiful, and I'd still be stitching her if it weren't for some smalls that I had to get done.  Don't ask me why I started in the lower right corner, no idea.
Mary Gibson stitched on 40 ct HDF cotton/linen blend with
custom overdyed silk conversion
Prior to my darling Mary, there was Elizabeth (Elizabeth Mears).  Shannon is to blame for this start.  She posted a pic of her conversion here, and was polite enough to direct me to the store that came up with it.  I patiently waited for my floss to arrive in the mail (I had been warned they had a few colors on back-order), and the day they arrived, out came the 40 count LL Pecan Butter I'd been saving, the needle was threaded, and in went a few stitches.  I will admit that after stitching most of the colors in that zig-zag band, a couple of the colors will be swapped out in the rest of the sampler.  I really really dislike Pond Scum, but not enough to rip out the band.  It doesn't look like much, but that silly band took a while to stitch (no, its not the full length, just as far as I could get with 1 strand of floss for each color).
Elizabeth Mears on 40 ct LL Pecan Butter,
with custom silk conversion
In between Elizabeth and Mary, there was Mansion at Fox Hollow.  I must be on a house kick, because all 3 of these have houses, and this one is huge.  Something about the soft taupe and blueish green, with rich brown really appealed to me, and makes me think of a relaxing spa.  Yet again, I converted this to silks, but from what I had in my stash.
With Thy Needle & Thread Mansion at Fox Hollow,
stitched on 40 ct linen with assorted silk
Somewhere between those 3 starts, I worked a tiny bit on another piece, yet again one that has a house on it, the 2008 Black Bird Designs Loose Feathers bonus pattern (part 3).  Not a lot to show, but I loved doing the hyacinth blooms.  I'm not a fan of eyelet stitches, so I stitched smyrna crosses.

I mentioned I'd been having my attention split in a bunch of different directions.  Some of it was crafty stuff, and even related to stitching.  I did some coffee dyeing!  I really wanted some gingham linen to stitch a small freebie on, but couldn't fine the color I wanted didn't want to pay the $110/yd price for the hand-dyed stuff.  So, I just bought the regular Graziano ($64/yd was a much better price) and dunked a piece in some fresh brewed black coffee.  I didn't leave it in there for long, so the result was pretty subtle, but it works for me.
28 ct Graziano cream/natural gingham linen,
coffee dyed (front) and plain (back)
A day or so after that I found something I'd stitched several years ago, and gave it the same sort of treatment. It had originally been stitched to test the color of the silk, and the linen I stitched it on was pretty scary.  As a testament to the color-fastness of HDF silk, this piece was dunked in fresh brewed coffee and left to sit there for about an hour.  No running at all.  You can see the original color of the linen behind (don't ask me what I was thinking when I bought it, but I'm pretty sure the rest of it will be getting this treatment).
JBW Pumpkin stitched on 28 ct Sugar Maple Fabrics linen
with HDF silk, then coffee dyed
Next up in the crafty department was painting.  Well, more like painting, crackle glaze, more painting, some sanding, waxing, buffing, more waxing, etc.  You get the idea.  The little red paper mache box and canisters is for the newish Blackbird Designs chart Morning Star.  Its totally finished, but of course I totally forgot to take a picture before I ran it over to Shepherd's Bush.  Guess that means I need to stop by this weekend with my camera, or just steal Teri's pic since she said she would put it on their blog.  I stitched this for them as a gift, since I know they really don't enjoy stitching on 40 count fabric, and I decided they needed this as a model for the shop.

The aged black wooden box was supposed to be for my iStitch Mystery SAL piece, but then became a test piece when I realized I was stitching on 35 count fabric and not 40.  Two base coats of a dark grey, almost black paint, crackle medium (heavier on the edges), top coat of white paint.  At this point I was really disappointed with how it turned out.  The white paint was really streaky, and I knew it would just look horrible if I added another coat, because of the crackle glaze I'd done.  Fast forward a couple of days, as I was waxing paper mache boxes.  I applied a coat of light brown wax, brushed, burnished and buffed, and it looked better, but still not great.  Hrmmm, I have that can of black wax I've never been brave enough to use. Wow, it was just what the piece needed.  I have to say, I'm really happy how my experimental piece turned out.  It also taught me that good finishes are a lot of different layers, and a lot of work goes into each layer.

Thank you to everyone that stops by and takes the time to read my posts, and the an extra thanks to those that leave comments.  Its nice to know other people either admire my work, have the same obsessions I do, or are working on the same projects.