Tuesday, December 23, 2014

One More Christmas Finish...

I am so proud of myself  - not only did I manage to finish this year's ornament before Christmas, but - there are two of them! In addition to the Woodland Dreams (seen here) and in honor of the Year of the Sheep (according to Chinese Zodiac), I made this.

I stitched this design by Little House Needleworks several months ago. It was waiting in my stitching closet to be used for something - and, after a few hours of playing with backings, getting tangled in rickrack, and sewing - here it is... on the tree.

Next time I stitch one of Sheep's Virtue's squares, I will choose a brighter white - or a darker material. But, overall, I am happy with the result.... and with the message.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, my dear friends! May the coming year be filled with - Hope! And may this hope become reality. 

Saturday, December 20, 2014

A Christmas Finish!

Do you remember my "first experience" post about a Christmas design and hand dyed threads? 
Here is the finished ornament! 

"Woodland Dreams" by Blue Ribbon Designs
Just Cross Stitch Magazine, Christmas Issue
To finish it, I used red felt for the backing, rickrack "gingerbread" trim and a two buttons from my "hard-earned" Nancy Turner collection/ stash, and - a needle and some red (cranberry) thread... This year's ornament was sewn entirely by hand, - no sewing machine, no glue, no staples... Even if I say so myself - I think it turned out better than ever. I am proud! 

Not not sure whether this year's ornament is just smaller than the previous ones, or perhaps I found the right amount of stuffing to put in. Compared to it my last year's ornaments look like miniature overstuffed pillows... 
Then again, maybe I am just getting better at it. 


Monday, December 15, 2014

Is It That Time Again?

Is it really time for end of year results? Wait, we still have two more weeks, maybe I can squeeze in one more project... or two... or three. Well there is nothing wrong with wishing. I will probably get a few small projects done in the next couple of weeks, but as for big ones - I might as well draw the line and give a report. Here it is -seven in all.

'Love Sampler by Nancy Turner.
Linen. DMC floss. 

I love Nancy's designs - they are colorful, meaningful, and they feel like home. They are ornate and intricate without looking "busy". A perfect balance.
And - here is another one!

"Needle and Thread" by Nancy Turner
Linen, DMC threads

"Heaven and Nature" by Sandy Orton
14 count Aida
DMC floss

Gardening angels - complete with tools! So they are the ones looking after our plants! No wonder mine have been turning brown... I have no green thumb at all, every plant I touch turns to leafless stick almost instantly. So - I stick to stitching.

Best Things in Life
Stamped cross stitch

This one was a stamped cross stitch project, and I remembered a lot of things on it - quite a learning experience, not unlike going back to school for a refresher course.

And here is something different...

"Dessert Fairy" by NeoCraft

This is a Dessert Fairy designed by a Russian artist Valeria Antonova of NeoCraft cross stitch company. The project was done on finer material with specialty threads (which means, basically - it was a kit, and everything came in it, and it was not DMC). The different shades and thickness was obtained by stitching with - in some areas - one thread over two. This is one of the "unusual" projects I stitched this year... Once it is framed, I am sure it will be a conversation piece.

Here is something that looks simple enough, but what an enjoyable piece it was...

Massachusetts Sampler
14 Count Aida, DMC floss
I especially loved stitching all the letters and the bird. There was something about that sampler that made me want to go out and find more of them, for other states. Maybe I will do that some day.

And finally - last, but definitely not least -

"Sugar and Spice" Christmas Stocking
Linen, DMC floss

I do not - forgive me - remember the designer of this beautiful piece. The detail is exquisite! As I was working on it, I kept thinking, "They don't make patterns like that any more..." Wait a minute... does it mean I am actually getting... old???
 These are the seven big projects I stitched this year. Besides that, there were a few minis, a couple of - fairly sizable - embroidery things, but, as far as big and bright and cross-stitch related, these seven definitely are my favorite....
Now on to - a bit more stitching, followed by house cleaning, tree buying - and decorating, ornament making... present buying... and everything else that comes with Christmas!

Have a Happy one!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Happy Tuesday on Facebook!

After sleeping through most of yesterday - woke up refreshed today, thought of stitching, started, and then - oops - fell asleep again... What is wrong with me???
Through roughly 1 hour of stitching, I was contemplating a question.... 

This cartoon is made with an application called Bitstrip. It can be found on Facebook, and when you first sign up, it lets you create an avatar based on your picture. Then, you can start playing - choose different topics to post about, use friends' avatars... a cartoon world, and a funny one at that! 
Here is a conversation with my husband that I bitstripped a couple of weeks ago.

Besides Bitstrip, there are a few other features I use on Facebook. Games (of course), although I try to not get addicted. Lately, I have been noticing how more and more games want you to spend real cash to advance in their virtual picture world... (no thank you, by the way - I have real bills to pay). 

Then, there is my own page - For the Love of Stitching, that I try to update regularly with pictures of finished projects - and thoughts on stitching and life. I hope my followers like my posts... and look at my pictures. 
And last, but not least - Facebook groups. I belong to about 5 or six cross stitch groups on Facebook. I don't post very often, but I try to do it regularly. And what a joy it is to share my progress with the like-minded people, to get props, compliments, "likes" and comments... With no living stitchers nearby, Facebook contact is about the only regular communication I have with ladies and gentlemen (yes, men cross stitch too) that appreciate this form of art. 

Recently, several things regarding Facebook came to my attention. One - that some people join Facebook groups to advertise their services. While on some groups it may be fine, on others it is strictly prohibited. It is common courtesy to ask the administrators of the group about running ads - and also not to get offended if/when the answer is "no." Come on, people, there is enough advertisement in our life... Most of us joined the group(s) we are in to connect and share, not to buy stuff... 
Two - a few people, it seems, join the group, hang out for a few days/weeks, and then create their own group - a "carbon copy" of the one they are in: same daily topics, same challenges, questions, in some cases even the same background pictures... I get it that these people are looking for attention, recognition, respect - but is this the right way to get it? By stealing someone else's ideas? If you want to be recognized for your achievements - then work on your own achievements, don't steal others' work. Because sooner or later the truth will come out - and you will end up a laughing stock. Not the kind of attention anyone would want. 
In conclusion, I want to say thank you to the Administrator and her friendly (but strict) assistants of one of my favorite stitching groups. Remember - no matter what happens, you are doing a good thing. You help us all by bringing us together. Don't give up.

Happy Stitching! 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Sleeping with Cross Stitch

I am not kidding! Over the weekend, whenever I start stitching, I fall asleep. In addition, yesterday I went to the local craft store to buy some floss - and I got so dizzy on my way back I nearly passed out... Came home and had to rest, then got hungry/thirsty, had some soup and water to drink.. Then got tired and fell asleep... And so on, and so on, in circles: tired, hungry, thirsty, sleepy... Suddenly thinking of the Snow White's dwarfs...
I am hoping to go to the doctor over the next few weeks to find out what it is I am dealing with. My husband says I am just exhausted and need some rest. He may be right.Stitching - continuous stitching with the deadline - does take the toll on one, and it sneaks up unexpectedly and suddenly.
So, about stitching! No picture today - because there is not much to show - but I tried doing a project with what's called 'Tambov's Cross Stitch". Instead of 2 stitches,each cross stitch takes 13 stitches total, because the square, in addition to containing the cross stitch itself, is also "outlined" with stitches all around. The feeling is as if you "stitch in" whatever it is you are working on and don't let it get out of the square... and then go to another square... and another... The result is quite neat - very tidy and solid, but I am not sure it is designed for our delicate 14-count Aida. Frankly, a burlap sack would handle it better.
I was planning to work on "makosh" - a protective charm for the woman/stitcher in the family - that looks like a tree with the owl sitting in it. A really beautiful design, really... but - after about 2 hours of work  I only finished the base of the tree, and not all of it at that. And I got tired... again.

I really hope to get better soon and get out of the "tired-hungry-thirsty-sleepy" circle. Wish me luck...

Happy stitching!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

On the First Day of Christmas - First Experience.

I stitched a Christmas ornament - first one this year.

Woodland Wish by Blue Ribbon Designs
Stitched with hand dyed threads
from Nancy Turner collection.
In addition, this was my first experience stitching with hand dyed threads. What can I say - I am very glad I tried. I loved it! Now - on to figuring out how to turn this into an actual ornament.

I got the pattern from the Christmas issue of Just Cross Stitch - and there was something familiar about this particular ornament. Then I remembered...

I stitched one of their designs last year! I could recognize those tree branches anywhere - they are like BRD's signature..

Happy stitching, my friends! 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

What Have I Been Up To?

Hello, my dear friends,
It has been a long time since I posted here. Forgive me - I have been so busy... Past few months have been full of.... stitching! Most of that stitching has been for someone else, so, alas, I did not get to keep it, but - there is a definite up side: no unfinished projects! Also, since I have started the stitching service I have finished more large stitching projects than in the past two years! Definitely a motivator.
So... where do I start?
Some time ago, I tried my hand in embroidery.

  This was the first ever project I have taken on that had nothing to do with cross stitch. I was not sure about my abilities at first, but overall, it turned out to be more familiar than I expected. The instructions were very straightforward, and the stitches it used - I already knew them. The fact that I had to stitch the same design multiple times only strengthened my skills.

Then, I had a chance to stitch a lovely project with garden angels in it...

Let Heaven and Nature Sing
I found it a bit humorous that the angels wore aprons and had garden tools in their pockets. The back stitching gave the picture sharpness and depth. The whole project had the late 80-s feel to it, as if it stepped out of the old cross stitch magazine. I have a few of those (magazines) in my stash, picked up at thrift stores.

The final project I want to share today is the Heirloom Christmas Stocking.

"Sugar and Spice" Christmas Stocking, Heirloom Collection
This one has quite a few details and took a few months to complete.

Flowers Cameo
The flowers cameos were done in petite pointe - or "over one" with one strand of floss. It was an interesting process - I felt as if working on a miniature doll house item.

Teddy Bear and Cat Tea Party
The tea set design was a pleasure to work on - as well as the holly berries on the leaves... French Knots A-Plenty. Most of the project required stitching with three threads of floss (except for back stitch and cameos, and some select stitches) - it allows the project to look fuller.
Angel and Window detail
The wings and halo of the angel were stitched with Kreinik and then couched with thinner metallic thread. The couching made the wings look sharper, in a solid line.

These are just three projects out of a whole list that I finished this year. So far, it has definitely been the most productive - in terms of stitching, anyway.

Now, with Christmas fast approaching - although still having a few projects to finish - I am planning to spend some time stitching Christmas ornaments. My hope is to have at least two new ornaments on my tree this year... We'll see what happens!

Happy stitching to all of you, my friends. And Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

A Stitcher's Happiness

My dear friends, as you all know, I have been stitching continuously through the summer, with just short breaks to try socializing. With all the work and no play I have been feeling, ever so strongly, the need for encouragement and inspiration.
Yesterday I was feeling a bit down. Then, I heard the door bell ring. I opened the door - and found a post box. Inside, there were all these amazing things.....

The package came from Nancy at Victorian Motto Sampler Shoppe. Hand dyed threads, a wonderful piece of linen, trims, buttons of different colors... I am in stitcher's heaven!

This is the first time I have ever seen hand dyed threads. I am amazed how soft the thread is. Also, when I tried "variegated" thread at the store, I was inevitably disappointed of such a wide change of color from dark to light. Nancy's variations are much more subtle and soft, as I imagine they should be, giving the stitching an added feeling of shade and depth.

These are some of the "cranberry" buttons... I was tempted to see if they actually smell like cranberry... no they don't, but they sure do look very cranberry-like.

I imagine I will be using these threads for a long while, stitching a family sampler with them on that very piece of linen... I already have a few ideas about using some of these buttons and the chocolate-brown trim... My Christmas decorations will have some nice additions this year! Thank you, Nancy, for these wonderful things, and most of all - for all the inspiration they provide...

Happy Stitching!

Monday, August 18, 2014

A Finished Project - and a Lot of Stitching

What do you think I have been doing all this time, ever since my last post? That's correct - stitching! Stitching cross stitch projects and embroidery projects, stitching small projects and big projects... Sometimes, in between stitching, I would come up "for air" to talk to my friends and family, or answer emails, or check social media, and then - more stitching! 
Most projects in progress I can't really post pictures of - I am not sure it would be right. But, here is one finished project - design by Nancy Turner of Victorian Sampler Motto Shoppe - that I am pretty certain I can share. In addition, it describes me to the "t." To the tea? I like tea... Especially Lipton and English Breakfast... Some cookies or crumpets or turnovers would not be a bad idea either... Darn, now I am hungry! Where was I again?
Anyway, back from the abyss of my wandering thoughts... It's a finish!

"Needle and Thread"
by Nancy Turner

What can I say about working on this motto? I loved every minute of it. I loved the smell of linen - I keep wondering if it's handwoven or store bought... The more I worked on it, the more it felt like home made fabric. The font reminded me a bit about Harry Potter series, but maybe it's just me. 

Thank you for reading my (short-ish) rambling... and now - guess what? Back to stitching! 

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Scissor Fobia

Hello again, my dear friends!
The other day, I lost my favorite scissors. One minute they were there, and the next there was a child sitting right where they were supposed to be, but - no scissors! Right then and there, I decided that no scissors of mine would be lost again, and made a scissor fob....

The pattern and instructions were taken from the February issue of "Just Cross Stitch". Letter "K" looked more like "A" than like itself so I did some tweaking. Hopefully, it does not look like "H" now.
I made the fob two-sided, with my initials - "KT" - on it.

The twisted cord is also handmade - out of the same threads that were used for stitching. The magazine provided instructions for twisting the cord... using the cord making machine. What? I don't have one of these!  So, I found some very good instructions on YouTube. This lady knows her stuff!
Yet, I was frustrated. Making a twisted cord requires a steady non-moving holding point - like a bulletin board, or a wall, or... a husband? I used my husband. I came up to him, gave him the end of the thread and said, "Hold this, stand still and don't move." Then I did my cord twisting as instructed.  It worked!
Now that I am no longer frustrated, I want to mention that my DH is truly a very patient and supportive man. Not just any person can stay calm and pleasant when their spouse wakes them at 2 am and starts giving weird instructions.... Thank you, I am very grateful.

I also want to say that all the materials for this project - including scissors - were gifted to me by a good friend. Over the past couple of years, she has been giving me stitching gifts - threads, scissors, buttons - and I have been putting them away, waiting for the right moment, and - here it is. Thank you, Erika!

The Scissor Fob

Friday, May 9, 2014

All In Stitches

Good morning, my dear friends!
For the past month, I have been stitching non-stop every day and night. I have been working on several projects - in fact, still working on several projects - for my stitching service. Until now, though,  there was not much to show for it in terms of pictures. So, I stayed away from posting, firmly believing that a stitching post has to have images.
So - here is the picture of my first ever official Model Stitching project.

I would call it my "live and learn" project. It was stamped cross stitch, done in three threads, with lots and lots of back stitching. I had to remember how to stitch the stamped work so the back does not look like hieroglyphs - and I recalled the technique that my host mother taught me a long time ago. It takes more thread, but in the end result the back looks like a basket weave and provides support for your work, like a back panel.

Overall, this was a great, valuable, interesting learning experience. One thing that I realized - alas, after the fact - that one has to be careful with back stitching... I have always done straight line back stitching in longer increments on stamped cross stitch - when I looked at the project, in the end it seemed to make no difference between shorter or longer stitches. But, I guess, when it comes to model and photography - everything makes a difference. Now I see (I guess) that the border does look a little ... wavy? It was not visible to the naked eye. Oh well, I did my best. I will keep notes for the new stamped cross stitch project that comes along.
Until next time... happy stitching!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Website is Up and Running!

I have been thinking about it and wanting it for a while, - and now it's a reality: my website offering model - and ghost - stitching services is up and running!

Love of Stitching

This site is a natural - progression? - of my stitching bug that just can't keep quiet and keep itself at home, and wants to go out and find work. :)

My DH Joe has been so supportive through time - and not just about this site, but about my every interest. I remember some ten years ago, when we both had full time jobs, I said jokingly how I would love to get paid for my stitching - that way my office would be at home... He answered, "Go for it!" I smirked and said something like, "right, there are so many people out there just dying to pay me for sitting in the chair and making pretty pictures with thread." To which he said, "You'd be surprised!"
So I found Etsy web site and opened my store. Although I do not make a lot from it - definitely not enough to support a family - yet, working on projects for people who appreciate my craft is its own reward. Getting paid for it is an additional thrill. :P.
I do hope that this new venture will be successful and that I will be able to meet more people that share my interests - passions, when it comes to stitching. Keeping my fingers crossed - and, please, you do the same for me... and then go and visit my page and let me know what you think.. and, of course, if you know anyone who may be in need of a ghost stitcher - let them know that I exist and am very happy to help.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Stitching my Way to Happiness

The Way to Happiness is the name of a 5-week long Stitch-a-long project that was finished - oh, some time ago... but I finished it just yesterday. Here it is.

As one can plainly see, the only thing one has to do to be happy is to become a saint. That's all that is required. Sarcasm aside, I did enjoy stitching this piece - very easy flowing, pleasant, with enough details not to get boring, yet, at the same time, without excessive number of threads or frequent changes... In short - perfect SAL!
Usually I do not make changes to original patterns, but this time I felt daring (is that the word?). Originally, the house had empty windows and door, and it looked to me a bit fake, like a cardboard box with a drawing. Same could be said about the table cloth- originally the "cloth" area was empty. So, I changed it: filled in the door, put in windows, and - filled in the table cloth.

When working on the windows, I was watching Harry Potter movies - can you see the influence? :)
The cloth looks a bit "ruffled" after the modification.
The pattern was borrowed from a wonderful website www.jardinprive.com - it's a great source of free patterns, and this particular project is available in several languages.
On another note, one thing I did not enjoy in this process was taking pictures of the finished work - because of frustrations with my camera. The more I use it, the more I get lost in all the options. I think maybe I need to start looking for something less advanced, without quite as many buttons, just a machine that can focus and use flash.
Almost forgot- I wanted to show another finished project called "Blueberry Dessert" by a wonderful Russian designer Valeria Antonova of NeoCraft. I finished this kit about a month ago, and I still have two more kits to complete.
"Blueberry Dessert"
I love stitching. It's what I do best, it's what I'd rather do with most of my (free) time. If I could turn it into a full time work, I would do it in a heartbeat. This is why  I decided it was time to get my own webpage offering my stitching services to those interested. My husband, who, among many things, is a web designer, offered to help me with setting it up. I finally picked the template, chose the pictures, and now the only thing I have left is to write an About page. What could be easier? Ah, no... somehow whatever I think of writing does not seem... professional enough. "I am a wife, mother, and stitcher"? " I like cross stitch, how about you?" I don't know, everything just becomes a mess in my head and comes out... wrong.