Tuesday, July 29, 2008

How many pieces can you finish before you die?

I think anyone with a craft obsession has a hard time not buying "more stuff" for that craft. The thrill of looking at new kits, the possibilities, the excitement when you finish a piece, all keep feeding that desire for more. I don't know if I'm there yet, but I sometimes wonder if all the kits and charts I've accumulated will exceed my life expectancy! With this in mind, here's a few new charts I just recently purchased.

I've added to my Charley Harper kits (notice I included my giraffe chart). I buy these when I find them since they are hard to come by.

I don't have any Halloween or fall pieces, so I found a couple that I liked. Neither one should take very long to make (it's just finding the time between all the other charts that are in progress).

And here are some Christmas charts. It's unbelieveable that I have never completed a Christmas piece either. I'm hoping to finish one of these by this Christmas.

Another start...The Red Thread

I've been seeing this piece in quite a few cross stitch blogs and I've found a Stitch-A-Long (SAL) group that's doing it as well. It's quite charming and so I thought I'd give it a go. It's stitch on linen (which is quite different from aida cloth) so it gives it a nicer feel and sharper look. It's a series of 12 pictures (one for every month) that are tied together by a red thread that weaves through all of them and the quote at the bottom says,

"An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet regardless of time, place or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle, but it will never break." - Chinese Proverb

The Red Thread series is a Bent Creek design.

And the back.

And here's a picture of the rest of the charts that make up this piece.

I'll keep looking, but I can't find a good picture of the entire piece (you can stitch them individually as shown, or as one continuous piece). If I find one, I'll post it.

UPDATE - I found a picture...yeah!

A quick stitch

When you buy UK craft magazines, they almost always have a free gift included. The cross stitch magazines usually have a free cross stitch kit. Here's a sample of the kits I have received. When I want to do a quick stitch, I pull one of them out and do it.
This doesn't even include other gifts like scissor holders, thread cutters, thread holders, diaries, calendars, magnifiers, etc. It's always fun to see what's included. If you look closely, you will see that I have numbered the kits. They correspond to the magazine they came with because the chart you need is in that issue.
Here's one of the kits I did after finishing Crew's sampler.
It's a little card, about 3" x 3". No picture of the back of this one. The one I took was way too blurry to actually save.
I've started another large project (which I'll talk about in another post) and to give myself a break from it, I opened another one of the free kits to work on.
And here's the back.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Sandy's birthday, continued

Well, I finally put together Sandy's present for her birthday on the 15th. She's such a great woman that I not only like, I also admire her strength and spirit. So, this is what's inside.
The cross stitch'd S is sitting on top. (I forgot to take a picture of the back and I'm too lazy right now to do it.) Then, underneath the tissue paper is...

...the rest of her presents. There's a Re-ment box, a miniature hutch to display the re-ment, a couple of Envirosaxs, a paperweight with crystals rolling around inside (I put this together myself. I plan on doing some more and now know I need to add more crystals!), a spool of red/white baker's twine, a little Winnie-the-Pooh charm in the blue capsule and a couple of prizes from Kinder eggs in the yellow and orange capsules. Her main presents are the pink case (explained below) and a nest egg necklace with a hot pink egg that's inside the button box (both of which I got on etsy). Also, underneath all of this is some butterfly transfers (also from etsy) and a miniature princess castle that when you put it in water, it grows.

This is a watchmaker's kit. It's what they use to hold all their findings for watch repairs. Sandy makes necklaces and braclets and I thought this would be a cute case to store some of her stuff. I covered the lid and the insides with some really pretty scrapbook paper. I got this idea from either Country Living or Country Home magazines (I can't find the reference).

And here's how I finished off the box that her presents are in. I just put some cute cocktail umbrellas thru the box lid.

It makes a great 3-d effect on the box.

And here's what it looks like from the inside. I clipped the umbrella stands down to about 2". I wouldn't recommend this for a kid's present.

I didn't win a ribbon...

We went to the fair yesterday to see if I'd won anything. Nope, not this year. The lighthouses were grouped with everything that had a lighthouse theme, so I don't know if the judging was based on that general category, or by needlework. I always thought it was the needlework until I saw it displayed with this group. Oh well, I'll try again next year. I told my husband that I should have gone with my initial response (the giraffes) and not what everyone in the family voted for! It's still fun to enter but it's more fun to win a ribbon!
Here's part of the grouping it was with. Hardly anyone had ribbons in this group so that's what makes me believe it was based on just the category of "lighthouses."

Thursday, July 10, 2008

WIP - Multiplication Sampler

This is a sampler from the Historical Sampler Company. It's quite large, 54 cm x 45 cm. For the longest time I could not find this pattern in the U.S. so I drew up a pattern on my own. Everything was going well until I realized I did not calculate my fabric correctly (after 30 years, this is the first time this has ever happened.). I blame it on karma. I was trying to duplicate something that I should have just bit the bullet and paid for it in the first place (even though I could only find it at U.K. online stores). I was probably 3/4's of the way through when I realized my mistake. I have no picture of it because I couldn't bear to look at it. It was trashed. I then did the right thing, and just over a year ago I purchased the entire kit. I still could only find it in the U.K., but I spent the money (because I wanted it so bad!). Well, here's how far I've gotten in this past year just because I've had to stop and do other projects. I want to have it finished by next summer because I'd like to enter it in our local county fair next year.

And here's the back.

WIP - Paddington Bear

Here's another WIP that I've pulled out of the closet to document. By documenting all these pieces, I'm hoping it will motivate me to finish them. Again, I'm left with only backstitching to finish. I don't know why I pick pieces that have so much backstitching!

This is a series that places Paddington Bear in different cities (London, Sidney, NY, etc.). Of course, being an anglophile, I chose London.

Here's a close up on the front (it's blurry, I'm trying to get better at taking photos!).

And here's the back.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Sandy's Birthday

I have a wonderful co-worker that I've been working with for 9 years. Our birthdays are only a few days apart. This year, I've tried to make the majority of her gifts handmade, either by myself or finding something on etsy. I need to photograph the box that I've put all of her birthday treasures in, but I wanted to show you the last part of her present.

I'm seeing this all over the web lately and I think they are very creative. I figured I could do one just as well. I really liked the way it turned out. It's the same navy blue aida cloth that I'm using for the Christmas Holly. The floss is hot pink!

Here's the back.

It's hard to see, but I've just glued the fabric to the inside circle. Once it's completely dry, I'll trim the excess fabric and take another picture.

WIP - Christmas Holly

I was able to get a bit more done on Christmas Holly. Only a photo of the front for now (and it's blurry). It's amazing how much you can stitch in just a day or two!

Crew's Baby Sampler - Finished!

I just finished Crew's sampler a few minutes ago. I decided to go very bold on his name and birthdate. The font I used was Times Roman. If you're not familiar with Yarn Tree, it's a great cross stitching resource. I was able to plot the name and birthdate using downloads of graph paper from their site. Here's the finished piece.

I know these are dark, but I had no natural light to photograph in at the moment. Here's the back.

Now I just have to wait for the Michael's discount framing coupon and get it framed. I'm not often very smart about things, but the one thing I quickly realized was getting to know my framer. Hopefully she'll never leave this Michael's or I'll have to start the process all over again. She really enjoys my work and whenever I bring something in, she gets just as excited as I do about picking out the right mat and frame. It's a pleasure working with her and she takes pride in what she's doing. It's also nice to hear that I bring in some of the best pieces. She says she gets some that are quite wonky and mis-shapen and the customer looks to her to try and make it "square." She says she's also amazed by how many pieces come in dirty. Maybe she's just buttering me up, but it's always nice to hear that your work is appreciated!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

How I Store my WIPs

...in Ziploc bags! Every piece I'm working on gets thrown into a plastic bag, along with the directions, floss and a pair of scissors. I pick scisssors up at Ikea. You can get 3 pairs for $1.99 so it never bothers me if I lose a pair. All my floss is stored in individual snack-size bags.

If the piece is too tall for storage in one bag, I use another to cover the top (to keep dust away). It's not very exciting, but it's easy to grab a bag and know that I've got everything I need to work on a piece.

WIP - Crew's Baby Sampler

I've been working on this one for a couple of months. One of my niece's had a baby in April 2008 and her husband loves airplanes. I thought this would make a great birth sampler. I just have to add his name and birthdate and then send it off to be framed. Again, it's from one of the U.K. cross stitch magazines that I like. This is Elliot and Buttons from Cross Stitch Crazy, Issue 108. It's obvious by now that I have an affection for U.K. designs.

And here's the back of it...

I'm now trying to decide what type of font I should use for his name and birthdate. Hopefully I will be inspired by one today.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

WIP - Christmas Holly

I just started this piece about a month ago. It's from the U.K. magazine, The World of Cross Stitching, Issue 130. As you can see, it's a series of "Christmas Floral" however, I'm only drawn to the holly, so that's the only one I'll do.

I've never used metallic threads before, and these designs use a silver thread. I'm curious to see how it works out. Here's a quick photo of the pattern.
I've only started, so there's not much to look at right now. I think the silver will look really great against the navy blue fabric.
And here's the back...

WIP - Tatty Teddy

I thought I would start showing all my works in progress. There are several! My least favorite thing to do is back stitching even though I know it adds great detail to the cross stitch piece. Here's probably one of my oldest, unfinished pieces. Doing the fur (what make's Teddy "tatty") just kills me.

And here's the back...

He's just adorable. I'm not sure what I'll do with him once he's finished.