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!