Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Year in review, year to come

For a second year running...I'm sick during the holidays. It wasn't the flu this time, but it has kept me in bed for about two weeks, the length of my vacation from work. I've hardly been sick the whole year, but my body picks now, when I had so much planned. Sigh. I do think the stress of trying to get everything done before the break may have contributed.

So let's see, the year in review. Again, I didn't stitch as much as I would have liked to. I did finish Matt's Magnificent Wizard and get it framed, which is a MAJOR accomplishment for me. That's a load off my mind. I also finished Santa's Village and a few exchanges.

I've decided to start branching out and try new crafts. I've taken Logan to a few craft days at Michael's, and I want to take a few classes myself. I bought some watercolors, and I want to try that this coming year. I'd planning to do it over the break, but that didn't work out. I have this yearning to create pretty things that I never fully satisfy it. I guess that's a good thing because it keeps me going. I think that's why I work on my yard during the summer so much, despite it being grueling -- I'm making pretty things for my home. I wish I were better at interior decorating and had more money for it; that would be a good outlet too.

So, my goals for next year are to finish TW's Day and get it and Night framed. I also want to try different crafts, get out of my comfort zone. Oh, there's also the lose-weight thing, as always. I'm looking forward to exercising again, strangely enough.

Anyone else trying something new in the new year?

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Faeries framed

I received my faeries back from Jill Rensel, and they are gorgeous! She did a really nice job, as always, and at a very reasonable rate. Matt hung them for me, with all the precision of an engineer. You really have to see them in person.

This is my Christmas and birthday present. Even at a reasonable rate, getting four pieces framed is rather expensive. Framing may have to be my presents for years to come to get everything on the walls.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Day progress

Here's my progress on Day by Teresa Wentzler. Yes, the photo is a little wonky because I have it on scroll rods and had to take a photo without undoing everything. I'm working on the flower border next. I find that it helps me to do the border first. I ride through the high of a new project to get through the less-exciting parts, and then once I'm a little tired of it, I get to do the more fun part. Though, honestly, it's nice to do some regular, uncomplicated stitching sometimes.

I've had this piece in my stash since I was in my early 20s. I'm mid-40s now. I bought it with my mom at Michaels some time after my dad died. Its companion, Night, was the second Teresa Wentzler I stitched, I'm sure there are some problems with it -- my eyelets have no holes to speak of in the middle, for one. I was afraid to pull the stitches tight. These two pieces will be examples of me as a novice and me a little more advanced. I doubt many people will be able to tell the difference, but I find it kind of cool.

I'd originally planned to stitch this on aida. Ha!

I'm also working on a Labyrinth sampler a friend asked me to stitch so that she can give it to her friend for Christmas. I'm super-excited about it, but Christmas isn't that far away. She told me, "No rush, it's for Christmas." I laughed and told her she had no idea how long cross stitch took. She said she was a starter, not a finisher! Still, I think I can make the deadline because the stitching is somewhat sparse, and they don't call me smoking needles for nothing.

The pics of my pieces framed by Jill Rensel are harder to get than I thought. The glass puts some glare on the piece, and I wind up with a photo of myself taking the picture. I'll have to figure something out.

Family update: My son just turned seven. He's getting to be so big! ADHD is still challenging, even with medication.I know ADHD kids can still succeed, but we're struggling. Never think that ADHD is made up because we know it's very real.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

More irises

A fall bloomer...

HOE spring exchanges

Around April I ran a spring exchange for Hooked on Exchanging. The top image is one I did for my partner, Mylene. It's the 2010 Carrot from the Cricket Collection. You can see more pics on my website. My mom stitched the little zipper bag. She makes lots of them as gifts.

The bottom image is the exchange I did for Hazel. Her partner didn't send the exchange, leaving Hazel high and dry. I just can't understand people who would steal like that -- accept their exchange and not reciprocate. Ah well, it happens, but it's only a small fraction of the participants. This piece is modified from Cottontails in the Garden by Norma Flake of Keepsake Stitches (pattern found in Just Cross Stitch March/April 2013). You can see more pics on my website. My mom did the finishing as a zippered bag. I think it's so cute, and the yellow fabric is just perfect for the piece.

Let me also say this about exchanges: my favorite part is making something for someone. So if my partner doesn't send me something, oh well (we don't receive from the same person we send to). It saddens me, but receiving is not why I do it.

Santa's Village HD

I've been away from my blog for much too long! I haven't been stitching all that much. The husband and I have been playing Wildstar (look for Rowan on Avatus). That seems to be petering out a bit, so I'm getting back to the stitching.

I finished this one last month -- Santa's Village by Country Cottage Needleworks. For such a simple piece, it certainly had a lot of frogging. I've gotten spoiled by consistent dye lots, so I didn't notice that my DMC 321 reds didn't match. Look out for that period at the end of the number. It means the colors have been reformulated, so they probably won't match your old floss exactly. Sneaky.

I'll probably turns this one into a wall hanging eventually.

I also received two pieces back from Jill Rensel, so stay tuned for pics!

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Spring exchange received from Roberta

Roberta sent me this beautiful exchange for the HOE. She stitched this Blackbird design as a pincushion and stuffed it with wool roving. I had to look that up. The little bunny dances in the sunlight, so I'll have to try it out today. I think it would be perfect for my windowsill at work. The Jelly Bellies have already started disappearing. We're pretty addicted to them in this house.

Halloween exchange received from Jayne

Jayne sent me this wonderful Halloween ornament for the HOE exchange. I've seen this design a few times and always wanted it. It's Halloween 2013 by Glory Bee from the 2013 Just Cross Stitch Halloween special edition, stitched on 32-count cream linen. The tiny stitches are so well done. Thanks, Jayne!

Irises from my garden

I planted these irises last year, and now they're blooming! I found someone on Craigslist that was selling them very cheaply -- $2 per bulb instead of $4-6 per bulb. She also gave me some shoots that had very little bulb but that might grow. They did, so I got almost twice what I paid for. A few bulbs rotted into a yellow goo, but I had very good success.

I also bought some different-colored bulbs from a local place and ordered some from Gilbert H. Wild and Sons. I ordered them and them let them sit in a box for a long time. I panicked when I remembered about them but put them into the ground after the heat of summer let off some. They all survived, miraculously enough. They're still pretty small, but they all bloom mid- to late season. There's still hope for this year. I just hope the neighbor's tree doesn't block their sunlight too much.

Sad news: My uncle passed away this week. My mom went home to Louisiana, but I stayed home because of work. Grieving alone doesn't give you the same catharsis as grieving with your family.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Santa's Village, second row

I did restitch those berries since the two skeins of DMC 321 were so extremely different. I'm seriously considering restitching the red in the top border. Maybe once the piece is finished. One row left to go! I'm enjoying this easy stitch.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Halloween Pumpkin Ornament HD

I stitched this piece by Jeannette Douglas -- once for an HOE exchange and once for myself. I tried two finishing techniques. The orange ribbon is mine, and the green cord is the one for the exchange. For mine, I glued the fabric to the matboard and used ruched ribbon. I like the green one better, but I thought I'd have to thrown this one in the garbage at first! Instead of gluing, I stitched it to the matboard using a running stitch. Since the fabric is very stiff, the finished edge was not smooth at all (lesson learned). With the ruched ribbon, it looked terrible. My mom said what a shame it was to throw it away, so I tried again. I found the green cord in my stash, and it hid the uneven edge well. I also like the contrasting color -- even better than the one I did for myself. My ruched ribbon just never turns out that well.

Oh, I just got word that Jill Rensel received my pieces for framing. So exciting! I'm getting four TW faeries, Magnificent Wizard, and a little Halloween piece framed.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Pumpkin on Gingham HD

Becky let me know she received her piece from me for the HOE Halloween ornament exchange. This one is Pumpkin on Gingham by the Sweetheart Tree. I stitched one for myself too but haven't ornamentified it yet.

Jo had asked how I get such neat cording. I have one of those little handheld corders from Kreinik. My son likes to crank it (it's like a fishing reel), so he helps me create my cording. It's hard sometimes because part of it can be tighter than the rest. When I stitch it down, I have to make sure it's consistent -- fiddly work, as my husband terms it.

Santa's Village, first row

I finished the first of the three rows. So now Mrs. Claus' Cookie Shop has been restitched. At least there was a good bit of time between the two stitchings of it.

One other annoying bit -- I had to switch skeins of floss because I ran out of red 321. And...they don't match. I'm used to DMC being so consistent that it's aggravating when they're not. The only place it's noticeable is in the berries of the separator row. I intend to ignore this as much as possible. At least the two colors aren't right next to each other. If it gets to me, I'll have to restitch the berries.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Magnificent Wizard HD

I finally finished this! It's a Dimensions kit and was very annoying.

Matt and I went to a cross stitch show many years ago, and I asked him to pick out something he'd like me to stitch for him (cockily, I might add -- I could stitch anything, or so I thought!). He picked this.

Now, it's not my style at all, but I figured I'd do it for him. At the time I didn't know what a pain Dimensions kits are -- colored charts, half stitches all over, funky backstitching, etc. (I also ran out of some floss.) This is the reason it's been a WIP since at least 2007. I've been putting it on my list of goals for years. And now it's done. I feel such relief.

I had Matt check my backstitching, and he noticed that the black of the towers wasn't stitched. That's the way the pattern is, but he didn't like it, so I filled it in. I agree that it looks better now.

Next up is Santa's Village by Country Cottage Needleworks. This one has been languishing. Here's a tip: don't get all creative and change things around if it's a mystery piece. One part was released per month, and it wasn't until the end that I realized doing it three across instead of four across would mess up the symmetry. So I frogged and managed to snip two fabric threads. I modified the design slightly to cover the threads, so I'm all set to stitch. It's huge.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Halloween ornament received

Melissa made me this very cute Halloween ornament for Hooked on Exchanging. It's by Heart in Hand. Notice the technique to make the bow. I definitely need to try this because bows always give me fits. Thanks, Melissa!

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Goals for the Year, Etc.

So after my flurry of finishing...I got the flu! The whole family got sick, but those who had had the flu shot (Mom and Logan) got a much milder version. I don't get the flu shot because I rarely get the flu; I may have to rethink that. I'm still coughing during week three after getting sick. Once I get completely better, the diet starts. I gained back all I had lost, which is very depressing, but I have to get back to it.

To recap the year, I didn't finish much. At least not stitching -- I've been reading tons, which has taken up my stitching time. I think this year I need to make an effort to read less and stitch more. I did finish TW's Summer Faerie and a few Halloween and Christmas ornaments (wow, not much at all for me, now that I look back!).

I still want to finish Magnificent Wizard this year for Matt. It's on my frame accumulating dog hair. I'll start out with one length of floss a day, I think.

I also need to reduce what I spend, so I'll try to work from the stash as much as possible. It may be time to do a budget...