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Final Finish of 2010 and More Framing

  • Posted on December 31, 2010 at 2:42 pm

Unless I can slam in one more finish today, I have completed my final stitching project of 2010. This is a freebie named Celtic Swirls by Ink Circles:

This one is done in teals. I will be stitching a second one in purples and then the two will be combined into a biscornu.

On Wednesday, I picked up my last two pieces to be framed by Michaels this year. I am quite pleased with the job that they did, so I have one more piece that I’ll be taking in sometime in January, when I’ve saved up a little money (because it’s large and will require a special mat cut).

First, though, I took a better photo of my reframed Frost Fairy. It looks really nice against my grey stone fireplace:

This picture better captures the color of the frame, the interior silver mat and the metallic frost being blown from her hand.

The two pieces that I just picked up are:
1. Mystery SAL by Alchemy Stitchcraft. I finished this one back in 2006. I was originally going to finish it as a bellpull, but I decided to have it framed instead.

My framer, Kathy, did a wonderful job with this one. The mat behind the piece is the same color as the main navy mat. It shows up the hardanger sections quite nicely. I wasn’t originally sold on her suggested mat color, but the more I look at it, the more I like it. This one is hanging in my living room, between the two windows and just above where my two lap stands containing WIPs sit. I realize that a couple of the rows are curved, but I stitched the piece on Monaco, back when I thought that it was a great, inexpensive fabric to work with. I didn’t realize until after stitching this piece (and Just Nan’s Barnabee’s Quest) that it’s terrible for pulled stitches. It has very little stretch to it, so the framer didn’t have a lot to work with. The important thing is that the hardanger sections are straight and square, which they are. She actually did a very nice job. The photo is just a bit askew because I had to manipulate it so much. My camera did an odd sort of fish-eye thing with it, so it took a lot of work to get it looking somewhat square and straight.

2. Twinkle Twinkle by Enchanting Lair. This piece was stitched in 2007.

I used to have a serious hate-hate relationship with this piece. That is part of the reason that it’s been sitting in my waiting-to-be-finished pile for 3 years. I bought it directly from Enchanting Lair at CATS in Hershey in 2007 as a full kit which included the threads and fabric. It’s a seriously odd piece, in my eyes. The color combinations are strange and a bit jarring. I hated it so much that when I pulled it out a couple of months ago, while going through my pile to see what I wanted to have framed, I was going to give it away to any poor soul who might want it. I decided to take it in to Kathy, though, and see if she could make me fall in love with the piece. I told her going in that I hated the piece and I wanted to see what she could do with it. She pulled a mat color that matches the darkest color in the overdyed blue thread, though it doesn’t quite look like a match in my photo. We chose a slightly off-white inner mat and frame that would complement the very pale pastel overdyed thread in her wings. The inner mat is actually sparkly, which complements the metallic threads used in the star. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get the sparkles in that mat to show up in a photograph.
I think Kathy did it. She made me fall in love with this piece. I desperately wanted to like it and now I do. She’s hanging proudly in my craft room.

Merry Christmas!

  • Posted on December 25, 2010 at 12:01 am

To All of My Friends and Family Around the Globe,
Have a very merry Christmas! For all of you who celebrate this holiday and all of you who do not, have a truly wonderful day.

I thought I’d take a moment to share some photos of my tree this year and a few of my favorite ornaments:

The full tree


Our new tree topper (Hallmark)


New lighted ornament (Hallmark)


New lighted ornament (Hallmark)


New lighted ornament (Hallmark)


One of two ornaments that were specially crafted to look like our sailboat – one of my birthday gifts to Terry


Waterford stocking (from my dad)


Waterford presents (from my dad)


Lighted ornament (from the older Hallmark line)


My new humbug ornament


An old Mill Hill ornament

Stitching Up a Storm

  • Posted on December 23, 2010 at 6:35 pm

I decided to take yesterday off. I didn’t touch the computer all day. I spent hours stitching. I napped. It was lovely. I’ve actually been stitching a lot the past couple of days. We had to rush to get most of the house clean for Terry’s parents’ whirlwind pre-Christmas visit this past weekend, so I’ve been sitting on my rump now. Sure, there are other things that could be done before my parents arrive tomorrow, but I need a break and I just don’t care.

As a result of all of this stitching, I’ve actually finished up a couple of little things that have been hanging out in my stitching bag for a while now.
The first is the bottom piece of my second Pagoda Pincushion. Anna will recognize this piece, as I’ve dragged it out at Stitching at the Ford for months and it’s taken me forever to get anywhere.

This will get a backstitched border and be joined to its mate during my finishing challenge next month.

The second is my second copy of Hearts & Flowers by The Sweetheart Tree. The first run was stitched using the kit and included lovely flower beads in the corner and center. For this run, I substituted stitched flowers in the corner and skipped the center one completely. This is both a start and a finish.

This, too, will get a backstitched border and be joined to its mate as a biscornu during my finishing challenge next month.

I’m working on another WIP now – Celtic Swirls by Ink Circles. It’s a freebie that I’m doing in teals and will do again in purples and make into a biscornu.

That’s it, for now. I’m cleaning out my project bags nicely so far and am starting to gear up for all of the finishing I’ll be doing next month. I haven’t really gotten any takers on my Not-So-Crazy January Challenge yet, but I’m hoping that at least a couple of people will join me. If not, then c’est la vie. It won’t stop me! 😀

Final Christmas Finishes

  • Posted on December 19, 2010 at 6:16 pm

This is going to be a quick, drive-by post. I’m busy trying to keep up with the tail end of the live photo blog of Coldplay’s performance in Liverpool and the associated thread on coldplaying.com. It’s all very thrilling to get things second- and third-hand, you know. 😉

Anyway, here is Nan’s second bookmark. I just squeaked in the finish on this one Thursday night (they arrived on Friday):

Again, this is the March bookmark (no actual design titles were used in the leaflet) from the Leisure Arts leaflet entitled Bookmarks Galore.

Yesterday, I picked up the piece for my mother again so that I could get it finished. I actually put the last beads into it while I was talking to her on the phone today. It’s Just Nan’s Sparkling Iris and I stitched it on the recommended fabric with the recommended DMC threads:

As usual, the colors are not correct. The scanner interprets them too brightly and washed out the fabric, which is actually a pale purple opalescent linen.

And here it is in its framed glory:

Too bad the front of the frame is actually not square. It makes my stitching (and interfacing) look wonky. 😥
Unfortunately, the picture shows neither the lovely purple bling just above each of the tulips nor the beads. Someday, I will take some photography classes or find time to really work hard at taking better photos. Someday…

Now to find dinner for us and the pups. And maybe do a little stitching just for me!

The Not-So-Crazy January Challenge

  • Posted on December 12, 2010 at 9:25 pm

You’ve probably heard of the Crazy January Challenge 2011. You know, the one where you start a new project each day from January 1st through the 15th. If not, you might want to check it out. Be forewarned, though, it truly is a crazy challenge. So crazy that I almost took it on and then I thought better of it. If you saw my WIP list, you’d understand why I’m opting out.

Instead, I am going to propose my own challenge. My Not-So-Crazy January Challenge of 2011 is to take 15 finishes from your waiting-to-be-finished pile and finish-finish them. They can be framed, made into ornaments, sewn into bellpulls, hand-stitched into biscornus, whatever strikes your fancy. My goal is to clear out that finishing pile in which some pieces have been languishing for years. If you choose to frame any pieces, you can either complete the framing yourself by the end of January or take them into a framer by the end of January, your choice and either one counts.

If you decide to join in with me on the challenge, you will need to post a photo of each of your 15 finishes by the end of January. I hope that at least one person will take me up on this challenge so that I’m not alone!If you interested in joining me, please leave a comment with your blog URL so that I can watch your progress.

I would appreciate mentions of this challenge on other blogs, even if you don’t take it on yourself. Thanks!

Crafting in Sickness and in Health

  • Posted on December 12, 2010 at 7:42 am

Okay, I have to admit that most of the crafting that I’m about to show has actually been done in sickness, but hey, I liked the title. Shoot me. Please.

First up is the one project that has been worked on both in sickness and in health lately. This is the second stitched bookmark for Nan and I’m hoping that it will be done by the end of the weekend. I just have to complete the flower heads and then all of the backstitching. Lots… of… backstitching.

These last three I will blame on Jenn. She sent me a link on Facebook to a brief tutorial on beaded elastic bookmarks. You basically take an eyepin, add some beads to it, cut and curl the end into another eye and then connect about 14″ of elastic jewelry cord to the eyes. Easy peasy. Mostly. I did manage to figure out at least two ways to not attach the cording to the eyes. Crimping is the best way, in my opinion, but you have to be careful. The newly decorated elastic cord can now slip around your book, securing your spot quite effectively. The tutorial said to use a foot of elastic and that the bookmark would then fit over a paperback book and stretch to accommodate a hardback book. Not so, in my experience. It fit a paperback book well, but the elastic snapped when I tried to stretch it over a hardback book. My advice, if you want to use one for both, is to make it long enough to just fit a paperback book without sagging. Then you can probably use it for both. In my case, I actually ended up with a shorter one for paperbacks and a longer one for hardbacks. It wasn’t intentional, but it works.

Anyway, here they are:



I originally made the purple one for myself, but ended up keeping the white floral one because I love the focal bead so much. For some reason, I couldn’t get a good closeup photo of it, as even when I didn’t use a flash it seemed to wash out. There are delicate little pink flowers on the surface, outlined in gold, with pale green leaves. It’s really quite beautiful and I couldn’t resist.

The amber and purple ones will go to Nan and make the 9th and 10th bookmarks in her present pile. Only 1 of those 10 are not handmade. The finished March bookmark will make number 11 and will round out the lot.

The great thing about these elastic cord bookmarks is that they are quite elegant, simple to make and surprisingly effective for their simplicity. You can shake the book and probably even throw it across the room (I did not test this one) and the bookmark will stay put, provided you pull it in close to the spine.

Okay, it’s time for me to drag myself back into bed. I’ve been working since 9 PM, with only a couple of hours of sleep tossed in a little while ago. I finally got the call to be able to finish my portion and now it’s time to get some more sleep. I’m living on Jello and pudding right now, with a little bit of Stove Top stuffing mixed in when I’m feeling really adventurous. And Tylenol Severe Cold and Flu liquid. The warming formulation. Honey and Lemon flavor? Not so much. It tastes AWFUL. Don’t buy it.

If this severe sore throat isn’t gone by the time I wake up on Monday, I guess I’ll be calling the doctor. I don’t have a fever, so I’m assuming it’s not strep throat. Thank goodness for small favors.

With that, I bid you adieu.

Latest Michaels Framing Work

  • Posted on December 4, 2010 at 1:12 pm

We went out last night after work and picked up my latest two custom framing jobs from Michaels.

One is my last Tinker Bell artwork to be framed (for now). This is the last of my purchases from when we were in Walt Disney World back in September. It is a set of four laser cels, in a limited edition, pre-matted configuration. I knew going in that I wanted a basic frame with a white-washed look. There wasn’t much that would work with all of those colors anyway. It was only when I got it home and started taking close-up pictures that I realized that the color of the frame matches the color of the mat core. Bonus!

Full shot:

Close-ups:
Spring –

Summer –

Autumn –

Winter –

The second is the reframing of my Frost Fairy. This was my first real project that I believe I started in high school and finished at the end of my college days, after quite a hiatus. The frame and mat combination are perfect for the piece, I think. They had to stretch the piece a bit and I asked for them to try to straighten it up when they pinned it. They didn’t do the best job, but if you don’t look at it really closely, you don’t notice. I will allow them some leeway on this piece because, once we opened it up, we discovered that the fabric had been way too short to frame well and my mother had sewn plain cotton fabric to the sides to compensate, so it would have been difficult to get it really straight when pinning, I believe. If I find that I can’t get past it, I’ll simply pull it out of the frame and adjust it.

I dropped two more pieces off with them while I was there, one stitched on linen and the other a hardanger piece on evenweave. I’m not particularly attached to either piece, which is why I chose these two to further test their mounting skills. If I’m not happy with the results, I may ask if there is a stitcher who works in the framing department.

Anyway, here is Frost Fairy in her original frame:

And here she is in her new-found glory:

The lighting for this picture isn’t the best, so I may try again. You can’t see that the innermost mat is actually a silver color that matches the frame, which is brushed metal, and brings out the silver metallic in the frost (which you also can’t see in this picture). Looks good, doesn’t she? The best part is that she looks great on the mantel, against the grey stonework around our fireplace. Awesome.

Surprises Revealed

  • Posted on December 3, 2010 at 5:18 pm

I can now show the two other finishes that I alluded to several posts ago, as Christine has received her gifts. Anne actually received her little goody package first, which is too funny to me, considering she lives in Sweden and Christine just lives in Canada!

I found a blank stitchable baby bib a few weeks ago when going through some of my stash looking for bookmark blanks and I wrote to Christine to see if she was interested in it. The next question, of course, was did she want the blank to stitch herself or should I go ahead and stitch something on it? She said it was up to me and since I could only guess at how busy she was getting ready for the baby, I decided to stitch it up for her. I have two books of baby bib designs – one I’ve never stitched from and probably never will and the other that I haven’t stitched from since I was 13 or 14 years old. I chose the design named Caterpillar from the leaflet named Cross Stitch Designs for Baby Bibs by Sam Hawkins and published by American School of Needlework © 1988:

I think he’s quite a bright and cheerful little caterpillar (at least he is now; I changed his frown to a smile) and he makes me smile, so hopefully he will make Christine’s sweet little boy Sean smile, as well.

While I was at it, Christine had commented on my post containing pictures of the fabric bookmarks that I sewed for Nan that she really loved them, so I asked for her favorite color and sewed one up for her. Unfortunately, the workmanship isn’t as high of a quality as I would have liked (the top seam puckered when I sewed in the tassel and the whole thing has a little bit of a curve to it because I can’t sew in a straight line), but it’s not too bad.


Front


Back

Christine seems to be pleased with my efforts, so if she’s happy, I’m happy. :)


My Stick Family from WiddlyTinks.com