Coffee & Evil Plans (cross-stitch) (7May2014)

My friend Kristi had a birthday recently, so I stitched up this sassy lass for her.

for Kristi 001 - May 2014Kristi has a great sense of humor, so I was pretty certain she’d get a kick out of this Pinoy Stitch design. (Lots of cute designs at that shop, by the way!)

I stitched it on Zweigart 32ct “Cream” Belfast Linen, using most of the called-for DMC colors, other than the change I made of using turquoise rather than pink for her dress and accessories. It was super fun to stitch up! And how great was it of Kristi to have a birthday, giving me an excuse to do a bit of stealth-stitching for her?!?!! ;-)

for Kristi 002 - May 2014

I’ve been so fortunate to have made such good friends via the internet over the years, and I’m honored to include Kristi as one of them. The fact that she’s such an incredible stitcher and full of stitchy knowledge is icing on the cake!

Cross-Stitched & Embroidered Buttons; Embellishment Ideas (4May2014)

I’m playing around with making fabric-covered buttons, some which are cross-stitched and some of which are embroidered. I made these two cross-stitched ones last night, using THESE freebie What Delilah Did patterns — they’re stitched on 32-ct linen and are 1-1/8″ buttons.

Button Experiment 001 -- 3May2014You can also use the button kits to make magnets — the kit to which I linked contains both shank backs and flat backs, but if you only have shank backs you can use pliers to remove the wire to make the back flat. There’s a photo of the back of a fabric-covered magnet in THIS How About Orange post, and she explains how to convert the shank backs to flat backs in THIS post. I had no problem finding those little round magnets at Hobby Lobby; since I don’t like using hot glue, I bought some Goop to use instead.

I bought a handful of fabrics with which to make buttons — the five fabrics on the right side of the below photo contain designs I plan to embellish with embroidery; the two fabrics on the left are just so stinkin’ cute that I couldn’t resist getting them so I can make buttons and/or magnets with them, using the fabric as-is.

Button Experiment 002 -- 3May2014I spent quite a few hours last night futzing around with that fabric on the far right, trying different embroidery stitches on different parts of the print, and was rather underwhelmed with how the embellishing looked :P. I’m hoping I have better results with one (or more!) of the other prints. It may be that I started with a too fussy print; perhaps the bigger / less-detailed prints will lend themselves better to being embellished. Meanwhile, I have some other mini cross-stitch designs to try.

I scored all those fabrics at Hobby Lobby — ours always has such cute fabric options, much moreso than the chain fabric store. Weird, huh?!!

If you’d like to have a go at making buttons or magnets using the button kits, one thing I found immensely helpful when I was looking for print fabrics was the Dritz set of Cover Button Templates — when I saw a fabric I liked, I used the templates to determine if the parts I liked in the fabrics could be fussy cut to be converted into button form. I’ll keep this little ring of templates in my purse so that anytime I’m at a craft or fabric store I can easily determine if a fabric will be button-worthy.

Since I don’t go to Hobby Lobby all that often anymore, I took advantage of the outing and spent a while browsing the scrapbooking section, looking for things which would be useful for embellishing cross-stitch and embroidery projects, as I did with this project and this one, both of which were stitched on stretched canvas. The first two photos below are of various brads, I *think* the third photo also contains brads, and the last two photos are of wooden buttons — all of these would work beautifully in mixed media projects. (I’m sorry the last three photos are a bit blurry. It’s not your eyes(!); it’s my photography skills!! I didn’t realize I was too close to the packages….the pics looked okay on my cellphone.)

Embellishment Ideas 001 -- 3May2014

Embellishment Ideas 002 -- 3May2014

Embellishment Ideas 003 -- 3May2014

Embellishment Ideas 004 -- 3May2014

Embellishment Ideas 005 -- 3May2014Hopefully by mid-month I’ll have lots of buttons and magnets for which I can share photos!

More Links:

Dritz’s Covered-Button Pinterest page

Search results for “cross stitched buttons” on Pinterest

Search results for “embroidered buttons” on Pinterest

 

Finishing Options for the Back of Hoops used to Frame Needlework

When I go a while without doing needlework, I sometimes forget the steps I should take in finishing the back of needlework I frame in an embroidery hoop — primarily, the step I forget most often is to trace the hoop onto a piece of felt *before* I secure my needlework to the inner hoop. So I’m going to park some photos and notes here for my own future reference — I’ll add this post to my sidebar, where I have the photo tutorial for ribbon-wrapping a hoop.

Variation #1: This works best with cotton (which is typically what I use for embroidery); I don’t like using this method with linen (which I typically only use for cross-stitch) because it doesn’t gather nearly as well as cotton.

Heart on a String -- Back (2011)In this variation, I use a running stitch to gather up the excess fabric (see #7 & #8 in this tutorial from Floss & Mischief), then I whip-stitch on a piece of craft felt to function as a back cover. (I don’t usually add a label, but this particular project was included in a raffle basket so I went ahead and added a label. I used french knots to tack it down, which is a dead-easy way to attach a label to something that won’t be subject to wear and tear).

**Reminder: Be sure to trace the inner hoop onto a piece of craft felt before securing the needlework to the inner hoop!!**

Variations #2 & #3: These work really well with linen, and probably would with cotton as well.

Backs of Hoops 13Apr2014Left Hoop: No gathering involved. I trimmed the excess linen so that when it was folded over it only went halfway down the inside of the inner hoop. I ran a line of Glue Dots Glue Lines (1″ size) all the way around the inside of the inner hoop, halfway down from the top of the hoop. I folded the excess linen over the hoop and mashed it against the glue lines. The craft-felt circle had a small bit of excess on it and I mashed that up the sides to cover the part of the glue lines that hadn’t been covered by the linen. This was all a happy accident that it worked out so wonderfully! I suspect when I actually try to plan for it to work out this beautifully, it will be more of a challenge ;-).

Right Hoop: Again, no gathering involved. I trimmed the excess linen so that when it was folded over it went all the way down the inside of the inner hoop. I ran a line of the Glue Lines all the way around the inside of the inner hoop, towards the bottom of the hoop. I folded the excess linen over the hoop and mashed it against the glue lines. For this craft-felt circle, I trimmed it to fit snugly inside the hoop, and wherever I could I tucked it just under the bottom edge of the hoop to help secure the felt — it’s really not secured in there any other way. Probably the only time I would use this variation would be if I oops’d and trimmed my felt too much to do the variation I used for the left hoop.

**Reminder: Be sure to trace the inner hoop onto a piece of craft felt before securing the needlework to the inner hoop!!**

Recently Hooped Up (13Apr2014)

I changed my mind about felt-mounting my last two cross-stitch projects. I decided I wanted to keep adding to my hoopla wall, so I ribbon-wrapped a couple 5″ hoops and finished the projects in hoops.

Bunny & Birds Hooped Up 13Apr2014

In the below picture from January of my hoopla wall, the Spring Bunny hoop is now hanging between the small “Life’s a Witch…” hoop and the large “Princess & the Pea” hoop, and the “You Are So Loved” hoop is now hanging in that empty spot slightly above-left diagonally from where the Spring Bunny hoop now hangs.

hoopla wall 19Jan2014 -- 002

When I woke this morning, it was completely overcast and drizzly, and the temperature outside was lovely. I decided at that time my only plans for today were “stitch/tv/nap”. But the sun has since come out in full force, which triggered a little bit of an itch to get some things done, so I hung these cross-stitch projects up, as well as two prints of Gretchen‘s* I finally framed this weekend, and I tackled the shredding I’d been putting off doing (my shredder’s so loud! I got smart today and put in my earbuds & watched tv on my computer while I shredded.). That’s it for my sunshine-related burst of energy for today! The rest of the day will be spent in lazy-mode, looking through cross-stitch magazines for what I want to stitch up next.

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*The prints of Gretchen’s I bought are Rufous-Backed Kingfisher, which is gorgeous and bright, and Winter Friends, which is beautiful and sweet.

Currently – Vol. 2

Current Books: Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson; just finished the Shadow World series by Dianne Sylvan

Current Playlist: Pandora —> Antonio Vivaldi channel

Current Color: blues & turquoises

Current Foods: Lucky Charms

Current Favorite Shows: Doc Martin (S1 is on Amazon Instant Streaming; Netflix starts with S2)

Current Wishlist: a big, fat stack of cross-stitch magazines to flip through!

Current Needs: to go grocery shopping :P

Current Triumphs: finished up some things to take to next week’s EGA meeting

Current Bane Of My Existence: not a thing, at the moment

Current Indulgence: no plans for today except watching tv & stitching & napping

Current Blessings: my kiddo is no longer sick, and hubby & I managed to avoid the crud

Current Excitement: the strong possibility my ever-since-childhood vision problems can be corrected with surgery

Current Weather: overcast + 70*F (high today expected at 88*)

Current Mood: very good

Sweet Spring Bunny (cross-stitch) (8April2014)

As soon as I saw this sweet Spring Bunny pattern (another freebie from The Snowflower Diaries), I knew I wanted to stitch it up.

Image

This is stitched on 32-ct. Zweigart Belfast Linen in Cream. For as many times as I said while stitching this that I would never stitch on 32-ct linen again (even with a magnifier it was slow-going), I love the color of this linen and will probably use it again — no need to let good linen go to waste, after all ;-).

Image

It’s stitched 2-over-2 with DMC stranded cotton. I used some of the colors called for in the pattern, but I switched out some others. I’m not a big fan of white floss on light fabric, so I changed the butterfly to blue and the white flower to pale yellow.

Image

I opted to use DMC 351 (Coral) for her dress, rather than the lighter Coral called for, and I also used 351 in place of the beige-gray color in the border. Since I’d made the dress color darker, I decided to use a darker color for the bunny’s fur, so swapped in 435 (Very Lt. Brown) in place of the Light Hazelnut Brown (422).

Image

I left off the lazy daisy stitches on the outer edges of the design because I like how the design is more egg-shaped without them.

Next up: Finishing this project and my last one before I start stitching something else. I want a change from finishing in a frame or hoop, so I’m going to have a go at felt-mounting these two.

Currently – Vol. 1

My blog has been woefully neglected because of how infrequent needlework or other hobby stuff is being completed, so I’m swiping my friend Julie‘s “Currently” prompts =).

Current Books: “Ash”, by Malinda Lo (as of the time I post this, it’s on sale $2.99 for the Kindle)
Current Playlist: I seldom listen to music anymore(!), but I often have a podcast off the Nerdist site going when I’m on my PC
Current Color: pink, all shades
Current Drinks: water…..always water =)
Current Foods: tortilla chips + guacamole + sour cream
Current Favorite Shows: “The Vikings” and “Suits”
Current Wishlist: Frostbeard candles!!!
Current Needs: to finish our April budget
Current Triumphs: made several important, positive health decisions this week
Current Bane Of My Existence: the wind + allergies (Julie’s answer but it works for me, as well)
Current Indulgence: a Sonic Oreo Blast this evening
Current Blessings: a new set of wheels!
Current Outfit:¬†grey shirt, black shorts (um, oddly, Julie’s answer works for me on this one, too!)
Current Excitement: deciding on my next cross-stitch project
Current Mood: very good

“You Are So Loved” (cross-stitch) (19March2014)

The cross-stitch bug has bitten me again. I couldn’t seem to get jazzed about doing embroidery or Zentangle, so I decided to test the cross-stitch waters again….and, lo and behold, cross-stitch is apparently what the creative part of my brain needs right now!

I’d never stitched with silk floss before, so decided to find a project I could use as a guinea pig for stitching with silk. And I’d only ever stitched on linen once before, so wanted a project that would give me more practice stitching over-2 on linen. I settled on The Snowflower Diaries’ freebie pattern, “You Are So Loved”.

You Are So Loved (19March2014)

(As many different photos as I took of this project on different backgrounds in different lighting, the right side of the linen in this photo is the closest to the true color…and it’s still too light. The linen is actually more of a darker tea-stained color, and the flosses are all a deeper intensity. My photo doesn’t do justice to the beauty of that red floss! It’s a deep, rich red, not an orange-red as it appears in my picture.)

I didn’t stitch the design’s border because I’m not quite sure how I want to finish the project, and I didn’t want to be boxed in a corner by having a border. For now this will be stashed away until I’m ready to tackle the finishing. I do plan to keep this piece of needlework for myself, something I’ve rarely done in the past!

I opted to use Rainbow Gallery’s Splendor floss, in colors of my own choosing. I found this silk floss incredibly easy to work with, and they have a wide range of colors. As mentioned on Rainbow Gallery’s website, this is a 12-ply silk floss, in the form of 3 bundles of 4 strands each. I first separated out the 3 bundles, then I separated the 4 strands within a bundle. I wouldn’t hesitate to use this brand of silk floss again.

Edited to Add: This was my first time to railroad my stitches. I found this YouTube tutorial to be extremely helpful in learning how to do that. (She also has a great video on how to lace your needlework.)

NOTES: Stitched over-2 on 28-ct. Wichelt Linen in “Lambswool” / Floss colors: S822; S903; S902; S848; S970; S851; S801

Spiffing Up My Hoopla Wall

I did a bit of spiffing up of my hoopla wall in my office last night. Partly because I had new goodies to display, and partly because my work-related post-it’s and other notes were beginning to take over.

hoopla wall 19Jan2014 -- 001The new needleworks are: (a) (just above the framed poem) the adorable penguin in a snow globe, gifted to me by Kristi (photo HERE); (b) (just above the far-left cork square) the Cas-n-Dean cross-stitch, gifted to me by Julie (photo HERE); and (c) the crazy dog lady I embroidered last year. I also moved my favorite zentangle-inspired art to this wall.

Side note: See the kitten bookmark just to the left of the framed poem (hubby penned that poem for me, by the way!)? My mom gave me that bookmark on my 24th birthday; I’m 48 now. I’m not a huge keeper-of-things, but I love that I’ve had that bookmark for half of my life =). I’d unknowingly left the bookmark in a book I loaned to one of my sisters-in-law some years ago, and when she found it she made a point to return it to me — she saw “Happy 24th! Love, Mom” written on the back of it, and said she figured the bookmark was important to me. (Thank you, Melinda!!)

My hoopla wall’s getting full, but there’s still room for a handful more of needlework/ZIA! (And I have bits-and-bobs of wallspace elsewhere in my office, as well.)

I love being able to work from home, but it’s important to me my office not look like An Office. As much as possible, I want my files and paperwork disguised or hidden, which I’ve been able to accomplish pretty well because of finding pretty yet functional storage stuff during Hobby Lobby’s half-off sales. And I want the walls to showcase things gifted from family and friends and/or made by me, and to keep work-related stuff below desk level as much as possible (the cork squares are my only concession; they’ll hold work notes I refer to frequently).

hoopla wall 19Jan2014 -- 002My bookshelves are a hairy mess right now because I’ve been stacking stuff on them willy nilly for the past 3 or 4 months, but I’ll get those spiffed up at some point this week. I want to post a pic of a great storage container / faux bench I snagged for my need-to-get-to-them-daily work files, but that picture will have to wait until I get the other side of my office decluttered ;-).

Two Christmas Ornaments

I’d hoped to stitch some ornaments for our tree before the holidays were over, but that didn’t quite pan out. However, I did stitch up two ornaments as last-minute gifts. I don’t usually fill-stitch, but since these two were such small projects (they’re in 3″ hoops) I decided to have a go at fill-stitching and am very happy with how they turned out.

I love this singing girl design — it was a freebie Elsa Mora offered on an old blog of hers, and it remains one of my favorite things to embroider.

Singing Girl -- 26Dec2013 (wordpress blog)I realized after I’d finished stitching it that I’d forgotten to trace part of the design — there should be a little bird sitting on top of her head. I think it turned out just fine without the bird, and, honestly, I don’t know that I would’ve had room for it!

For the other ornament, I wanted a Santa, and this design from Urban Threads worked nicely for ornament-size.

Skinny Santa -- 26Dec2013 (wordpress blog)