Sunday, December 11, 2011

December 2011 Update

Wow, it's been a long time since I posted here. Most of my free time until the end of September was taken up in prep for ALEP (A Long Expected Party). That's the Lord of the Rings event which Dennis & I attended at the end of Sept-beginning of Oct. It was marevelous, honestly one of the best times we've ever had.

Craftwise, after that I started working on a cross-stitch gift for a friend of mine. However, since she has access to this journal, I haven't posted about it. And, since I have not finished it I'll say no more for now.

I haven't finished the gift because I ran into the time the make my annual gift tag for our office Secret Santa gift. I started doing ornate gift tags about 10 years ago, first 3-d paper ones, then cross-stitch, then adding in beading. It should have been an easy little cross-stitch but turned out to be much more complicated than I planned. First of all, I kept getting lost in the pattern, even though I was marking as I stitched. All those shades of green... Because I had so much trouble with the darned thing, I decided not to do my usual double-sided tag. So when it came time to do the red border I stitched a piece of white felt to the back at the same time. But I wanted a nice finished back, so I took a little piece of holiday fabric and stitched over the whole thing. I also added the gold beaded hanger. In the end, I am quite pleased with the result and I know the person receiving it will like it. Never one to leave a pattern alone, I changed the red border and the candle flames to beads. I like the extra dimension beads add.

Now time to get back to my other stitching - I plan to alternate week-to-week on the gift and my Winter Fairy. Maybe she'll be ready for next winter.

Meanwhile, I wish you all a Merry Christmas and all the best in the coming New Year.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

A different type of stitching

The nice thing about having a blog is that I can choose my topics. This post is still about sewing, just not cross-stitching. Almost all my spare time the last couple of weeks has been spent working on capes for hubby and me to wear to an upcoming Lord of the Rings event. I do not make garments very often, as was painfully obvious with this project. What should have been completed over a weekend is almost half done (1 cape done except for hem) after 2 weeks of struggling. Aside from my own slowness in getting reacquainted with sewing, there has been one delay after another, a constant stream of petty delays that has really been driving me crazy. Yes, I should have started this over the summer, but the summer was hectic enough. At any rate, here are a couple of pictures of the first cape. I sincerely hope that I've learned enough from making it that the second cape will go smoothly. At least I am very pleased with how it looks!

What have I learned? To either sew more often or not attempt it at all!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

End of August post

Time for my monthly update. I did not get as much done on WF in August as I had hoped. I didn't quite finish page 2. First of all, the day before we left for Vermont I realized I'd made an error and needed to frog about a hundred stitches. ARGH! I took a smaller, more portable pattern to work on while we were visiting and then got back to work on WF when we got home. I will be alternating working on her with the smaller project week to week now. The smaller one is a Christmas gift, so I will not post any pictures of it till it's in the recipient's fair hands. So, folks, here is the picture of where we are at the moment. I'm also including a picture of the large tube I decorated, that protects WF when I'm not struggling along with her. Note the little froggies? I thought they seemed appropriate.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Stitch Tubes

I don't know about you, but where I go my cross-stitch goes. I take WF for the times when I know I'll have at least 20 minutes of waiting time somewhere. When it may be a "catch a few minutes here and there", I take a smaller project. When the fabric is too large to fit in my travel cases (I love my DMC travel cases!) I bought a couple of mailing tubes. I can roll up the fabric and put it inside, so there are no creases and it is fully protected. But I realized that plain white tubes are boring and that just won't do. So I got out the ol' Mod Podge, snagged a bunch of paper from my rubber stamping supplies and got to work. I'm very pleased with the results. A bonus of the Mod Podge is an extra layer of protection - it's fairly water resistant because you put a layer across the top of everything. A minus is the smell - the tubes needed a lot of airing out before I put the fabric back in. I don't want my finished pieces to smell! Here's a picture of the medium tube. I don't have a picture of the large tube at the moment.

Monday, August 1, 2011

August??? Really??

Wow, how did August get here so fast? Seems like it was just yesterday that we were celebrating the 4th of July. Well, because it is the first of August, here is my monthly stitching update. As you can see from the picture, I got a lot done on Winter Fairy in July. The bunny is all done, as is the snow around him, and I added quite a bit to WF's skirt. I made such good progress because I am currently carpooling with my daughter. She is a counselor at a Girl Scout day camp and also a bus aide, so I drop her off at the first pickup stop in the morning and then pick her up at the last dropoff in the evening. I go there straight from work, and most days I have 30-50 minutes of waiting time. Part of it I spend very happily in the library next to the parking lot. But most of the time I stitch. So, instead of maybe an hour or two on the weekend, I am getting several hours of stitching done per week. Yea! I am enjoying the extra time while it lasts. I had hoped to finish page 2 by the end of July, but didn't quite make it. I will certainly finish it and start page three this month. We'll be going to visit the in-laws in Vermont for several days, and aside from having a nice visit with them, I will have lots of sewing time. Once, I finish stitching page two I will add the backstitching. It is so fun to see all the extra detail pop out then!

Hope you all have a wonderful month of August!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Happy July!

Happy July 1st!

Happy Canada Day!

Happy Birthday to the Girl Scouts!

And, because I will most likely not be online much over the weekend, Happy Fourth of July!

Here in the northeast U.S., we are expecting lovely summer weather all weekend - at last. So ,while cross-stitching is on my schedule, sitting around in the house messing with the computer is not. If you're having good weather too, wherever you are, don't waste it. Turn off your computer (after you finish reading my post, of course) and get outside!

I'm trying to get into the habit of posting an update at the change of each month, so here is my end of June/beginning of July photo. I have made progress since the last one. The little bunny is finished and I'm adding to WF's skirt. With the summer sunshine helping me, I'm getting about 20-40 minutes each weekday and an hour or so on weekend days of sewing. I know some of you are thinking, "is that all?", but for me that is quite a lot. So, without further ado, here is the latest picture.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Winter Fairy Update - 6/12/11

I've been making progress on WF. The spring/summer weather helps with an abundance of good, natural light to see what I am doing. Even my OTT light does not work as well as pure sunshine! After all the time on her white over-skirt, it was great to work on her blue scarf again and then start on her purple dress. I was pleased yesterday to get down to the bottom of her skirt. If you look closely, you can see the beginnings of bunny ears there. That was actually the trickiest part; it is full of half stitches to make the curves. Once Sassafrass (long story, but that's what we call bunnies) is done I'll move on to the rest of her skirt. I'd say I'm a little over half done with page 2 (out of 4) of the pattern now. Who knows? Maybe I'll have her done for this winter!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Redecorating - 1

When we moved into our house almost 14 years ago it was bland. Two bedrooms were pale blue and everything else was beige - walls, carpets, draperies. Over the years we've brought color and life into the place. I'm sure the previous owner would be appalled. We've redone every room but one - the master bedroom. That's partly because I'm having such a hard time choosing a color and partly because the room is so full that it will be a major project. Well, over the past week I've at least gotten a start. There's a nice little alcove between the two closets (it's my makeup area) and I've known for a long time what I wanted to do with it. So we took down the huge mirror (that's the brown space in the picture - I guess the previous owners just painted around it) and repainted the space. I chose Valspar's Tangerine Ice, a beautiful metallic gold. You have to paint a similar color base coat first, then two coats of the metallic. I wish the pictures showed the color better, but it's just difficult to show. My clever, artistic daughter painted vines for me to add a little taste of Middle Earth. (We used Lord of the Rings designs for inspiration.) I added an antique family mirror and two ceramic masks that I've had for years. I'm so pleased with the outcome!

PS. Sorry for the blank space at the top here. I can't figure out how to get rid of it.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Cross Stitch Update

Yes, it's true. I finally have a cross stitch update. I got the gold Kreinik thread I needed and am thrilled with how much it adds to the picture. It doesn't show up as well in the photo, but it's the border of the green at the bottom of the dress. I also have the grey Kreinik which is the backstitch accent for the wings. I won't do the grey or gold backstitching until all the cross stitching is completed; that Kreinik thread is too fragile to be rolled up when I am between work times. We're getting back to the lovely, quiet Sunday afternoons again and that means time to cross stitch. So here is a picture of my current progress. Hope you like it!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

Christ is Risen!! Allelujah!!!

I just couldn't stop thinking about the idea I had for an Easter banner, so I gave in and made it. We had a half day at work on Friday so I started on it when I got home. Yes, I mean Good Friday. Nothing like the last minute, eh? I worked on it until time for church that night, got most of it measured and cut out. Saturday morning we went to the Chronicles of Narnia exhibit (which is really neat), then I spent the rest of the day - except for grocery shopping, and making dinner - putting it together. I joked with my hubby that I'd have it done in time for bed. Haha, it turned out to be true. I finished it at 10:30 Saturday night. This morning I gave it a quick press and we took it over to church to hang before anyone else was there. I'm very pleased with how it came out, and the reception at church was very enthusiastic. Here are a picture of my original idea and a picture of the finished banner. It's all felt except for the orange part - I saw this shimmery, sheer fabric and thought it would be the perfect way to add a little extra interest. This is it for banners. My next post will be a cross stitch update.

Thursday, April 21, 2011


Many years ago, a group of women at my church decided to do new cushions for the kneelers used for communion. Designs were chosen and I was one of the volunteers to stitch. The cross in the center and the lambs on each end are the same on all kneelers; the other two represent a season of the church year. I asked to do the Christmas one because the Christmas rose is so pretty. It's all done in needlepoint and measures about 5' long by 1' deep. It took me a year to complete, during which time I posted to my first base (I had recently joined the USAF), and met and married my husband. 30+ years later we are living in my home town and from time to time I still go to services at my old church. I'm delighted to see the kneelers still being used and still in pristine condition. So, now that I have my digital camera, I've taken pictures of 'my' kneeler.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Fourth Banner done!

I'm very pleased to say that the fourth and final Lenten banner is completed. I had the basic part done - the background, top and cross. June came over last night and we worked for quite a while on creating a crown of thorns. She'd found a small grapevine at the craft store and thought it would be great to have a 3-D one insted of just felt. I must admit, it is not what I had in mind. That said, I specifically did not want this to be "my project" and I was happy to have her take the lead on this banner. After much experimenting, we came up with the finished product. The 'crown' is attached with wire that was wrapped around one end, poked through the felt, run along the back and brought up through to wrap around the other end. It didn't stand out enough (visually) from the rest of the banner, so we put a bit of white felt behind it to let it show. Finally, we added another small piece of wire to hold the bottom of the grapevine down too. The pictures don't really do it justice, but I think they will give you the idea.

I've enjoyed working on these. They were a stretch of my crafting skills and creativity, but more than that, they are a way to remind me - and others - of Christ's sacrifice and to thank God for it. Now that they are completed, I am looking forward to getting more cross-stitching done!

Although, there is that idea I have for the Easter banner...

Monday, March 28, 2011

March update

At last! I have a stitching update as well as another banner update. I'm so pleased to have made enough progress on Winter Fairy to post a new picture. Let's hear it for quiet, sunny Sunday afternoons! I was able to get a couple of hours of stitching on each of the past two Sundays, and the bright sunshine made it so much easier to work. I'm nearly done with the green band and then I get to move into the purple and blue skirt. I'm looking forward to that!

I've also finished banner #3 in the Lenten series. I must admit I'm particularly pleased with this one. I wanted to show the reconciliation of God and man through the cross, and I think it does that. It was a bit challenging to get the details on the hands right. I didn't want to use a marker because it would bleed in the felt, so I finally settled on cutting thin strips of the dark purple felt. It took a while to cut, place and glue them, but it was worth the work. I'm getting together with June this week to try to get the fourth and final banner done, and I'll post a picture when it is completed.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Lenten Banner #2

Last Wednesday I spent the day at home because our dog was too ill to be left alone. During the times when he was asleep I finished the second Lenten banner. It was a good distraction - enough to occupy the mind but not requiring as much concentration as cross-stitch, which I certainly would have messed up. When my husband got home from work we took Shadow to the vet and let him go in peace. Definitely not a high point of our year, but the vet assured us that nothing more could have been done for him, so we take a little comfort in that.

Anyway, here is a photo of banner #2. Not sure when the other two will be done. We had a houseful of college students this past weekend, so I got no crafting done at all. I will have to get together with my cohort and get to work.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Lenten Banner #1

You may (or may not) have wondered why my cross-stitching has slowed so much. Here is a major reason. I've gotten together with another woman from my church to create four banners to hang along the sides of the sanctuary during Lent. When I proposed this, I thought, oh what fun! A few of us will get together for a couple of weekends and make banners. You know, the classic "sewing circle". It didn't quite turn out that way (I really should know better). There are just two of us, with occasional help from our daughters when they're available. She & I both work, so the only time we can get together is for a little while on Saturday afternoons. We cut out the banners, headers and crosses - all four banners will be identical that way. The girls got about half of the letters cut out to spell "Lent" at the top of each banner. Now in order to complete these before Lent is over, I've neglected cross-stitch and all but basic housework to spend my free time on the rest. Last night I completed the first one, just in time to hang for the first Sunday in Lent. I have some work done on the second and I hope it will go a little more quickly. My cohort is working on an idea for the third banner and we agreed on the pattern for the fourth. Meanwhile, here is a picture of the first banner. I want to mention that my oh-so-handy hubby cut the poles (I stained them) and added the chains for hanging.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Feb 2011 Update

Well, here is my first update for 2011. I didn't get much sewing done in January, not enough to warrant posting a picture. I was just starting to get back into sewing when my aunt died, and that knocked me off kilter for a while. It was hard to concentrate on anything. The one time I tried to work on WF I had to frog every line I stitched, so I quickly stopped. This past weekend, however, I finally got in a few good hours of sewing and am pleased enough with the progress to post a picture for you. I really love how the colors create the drapery of the fabric, and I'm excited to be nearly done with the light section. Next I get to the green band!