You are currently browsing the archives for April 2011.

Happy Easter!

  • Posted on April 24, 2011 at 1:28 pm

I want to wish all of my friends and family a Happy Easter!

I have two stitching finishes to share. The design is called Krazy Kitty’s Easter by Janie Hubble Designs and can be obtained by signing up for her free newsletter. I stitched it using the recommended DMC cotton floss on fabric hand-dyed by me. I made a mistake in the stitching, so they are not quite stitched “by the book.” Since I had cut the fabric in half, I decided to stitch the design again, but I reversed it. I have no idea what I will do with these pieces, of course. I just stitched them because I felt like it, so they may sit in my to-be-finished pile for quite some time. Perhaps I could attach them to a basket and give it away to someone.

Anyway, here there are:

And the reverse image:

I made sure that I made the same “mistake” on the reversed image so that they truly matched.

Also, I have to share a lovely surprise that I received in the mail on Friday from Dianne. She had a chart sent to me as a thank you for re-stringing her necklace and she fit my tastes exactly! It’s called Dragonfly Dreams and it’s by The Sweetheart Tree, one of my all-time favorite designers!

Thank you again, Dianne! You are such a sweetheart to gift this to me and I will try to start it soon!

Finally, here is another picture of my weeping cherry tree, taken on the 22nd:

What a different 5 days makes! If you compare it to the last photo I took, it has totally filled out and the blossoms have taken on their final color. As a reminder, here’s the photo I took on the 17th:

With that, I will leave you for now. It’s a beautiful day outside, so I have to decide if I’m going to go do some yardwork or hose off a lawn chair and sit and enjoy a book (or work on the stash software specs) or make some banana bread and stitch while it’s baking. Decisions, decisions…

Stitching Finishes and Cherry Tree Blossoms

  • Posted on April 17, 2011 at 8:18 pm

I missed going to stitching on Friday night because I completely forgot about it until I was sitting down to eat my dinner at 6:30 PM. As a result, I missed Anna and her Wisper fluffer gadget. So, this morning, I did a quick Google search and found that you can use the hook side of Velcro (otherwise known as hook and loop fastener) to fluff Wisper thread. It didn’t hide the fact that stitching with Wisper over 1 doesn’t work well and so made my piece a mess, but there’s nothing that I can do about that now.

So, here is a picture of the ornament I stitched up recently. It’s Britty Christmas Puppy by Brittercup Designs, as published in the 2006 issue of Just Cross Stitch’s Christmas Ornaments magazine. This one has Phoebe’s name on the stocking. I have two more lined up, for Abby and Lily.

The next two photos are finish-finishes of pieces that I stitched years ago. They are the two parts of the Celtic Mission to Assisi design by Tor Rhuann Designs. I love her designs because they are small, usually done in the Assisi style and free!

My final picture for the night is my annual photo of my weeping cherry tree in bloom:

She gets bigger and more beautiful every year. I just need to remember to fertilize her this year, as I skipped it last year and I found that it makes a big difference in her annual growth. I also need to trim any branches that have died off, as that seems to have a positive impact, as well.

Well, that’s it for me tonight. I had a very emotional day and I’m tired. I will blog more sometime in the next couple of days. Have a great week, everyone!

P.S. I forgot one thing. Dianne recently posted on Facebook about a necklace that she’s had for a long time breaking on her. I offered to take a look and see if I could do anything with it, since I’ve been on this jewelry kick lately. As it turns out, it was a strung piece that had been strung with cotton that had finally given up the ghost and snapped. I was able to pull it apart, clean all of the pieces and restring it on the standard braided metal wire that I use for most of my beaded projects. Since it was all sterling silver, it cleaned up so nicely that I swear it must look like it’s brand new!

It will go into the mail tomorrow morning and should be home at Dianne’s the day after. I hope she’ll be happy with how it turned out!

P.P.S. I forgot another stitching picture. I reached the halfway mark on Picasso’s Rooster (by Ladybug Designs) last night. It’s a project I started sometime in January, but hadn’t spent much meaningful time on in a while. He’s coming along nicely!

Recent Jewelry Creations

  • Posted on April 13, 2011 at 3:30 pm

I’ve done some more jewelry work recently, although most of it was just stringing pre-made pendants onto pre-made chains, or cutting chain to length, fitting it with clasps and then stringing on pre-made pendants. 😆

First up is a tiny silver fairy pendant that my friend Richard bought for me while on holiday in Rome a couple of months ago. I strung it onto a pre-made silver box chain:

Next is a pendant that I found at Michaels and just couldn’t walk away from. It has a design done in silver overlaid onto a very thin slice of green shell. I know that I will snap it into pieces at some point, but I’m trying to be very careful with it. I strung this one onto a pre-made silver serpentine (I think?) chain:

And then, there is the last of the pre-made items. And this one is partially pre-made. I strung my Clover cutter pendant onto a chain so that I could wear it as jewelry and see if it would pass through airport security on my way to San Francisco last month. This one I actually had to cut the chain to length, attach a lobster clasp and add a jump ring to serve as a bail for the cutter to attach to the chain:

And now for the pièce de résistance. May I have a drumroll, please?

This set I made completely from scratch to wear in San Francisco. I am pretty sure I finished it the night before and I remember that my fingertips were so sore from manipulating all of the jump rings that I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to stitch the next day. I got the idea from a project on the Fire Mountain Gems and Beads website.

I think that I found the charms first and then saw that project and decided to pair them with Swarovski crystals in a series of drops:

I’m pretty pleased with how everything turned out. I actually put three different attachment points on the end of the necklace (you can see one jump ring standing up just on the edge of the middle of the shoulder of the form) and then added a couple of crystal drops at the very end of the necklace for some pizzazz at the back that can be seen when my hair is pulled up. You can’t really see some of the little details that I added, but if you look closely at the earring on the left, you will see that the longest length of chain actually has a star head pin at the end of the purple drop. I did the same thing on the other earring and the necklace, but I obviously didn’t spend enough time fiddling with how they were laying before I took the photo. If you look closely at the moon charm on the necklace, you will see that it has a Swarovski crystal embedded near the bottom tip. I used yellow, blue and purple Swarovski bicones for the drops and the components are a mix of base metal and silver plated metal, I believe. This set was a proof-of-concept of sorts, as I want to see how the pieces hold up before I do a more expensive version. There are things that I would do better and/or differently if I do this sort of design again, but overall I like the look.

Peacock Feathers Finish-Finish

  • Posted on April 12, 2011 at 1:56 pm

My blogging has been very sporadic lately, I know. I don’t expect it to get better any time soon, either. I’ve just been really, really scatterbrained lately. I can’t seem to focus on any other thing for more than a few minutes and then I flit off to something else. I’m starting to wonder if I suffer from ADD. I think it’s more than that, though. I get jittery, like I’ve had caffeine (which affects me very strongly – just a single soda, a cup of tea or some Excedrin will do it), my body kinda quivers on the inside and my brain just goes nuts, like it’s on complete overload.

Despite all of the strangeness, though, I have been stitching. I’ve also been compiling all of your comments on the stash organization software that I’m going to write. I just need to organize my thoughts (which should be fun, given the way that my brain is currently functioning), write up the technical specifications, write some pseudo-code, setup the back-end database and then I’ll be ready to start writing the code in earnest. All in my spare time, of course. 😉

Back to the stitching, I finished Janie Hubble Designs’ Peacock Feathers design into another bookmark, like The Flower Juggler’s Bookmark:


Front

Back

It turned out okay, though the tail and tassel are a bit anemic. I was trying to use some leftover threads and conserve the overdyeds, so they are sparse, but should do the job just fine.

I’ve also stitched up a Christmas ornament, which will be one of a set of three, but I haven’t fluffed the Wisper thread yet, so I didn’t take a picture of it. Anna, if you happen to see this and are going to stitching on Friday, could you bring your fluffer gadget dohickey thing?

I also mounted Lizzie Kate’s Dog Lessons for People onto scroll bars, but the fabric doesn’t quite fit the bars I’m using. I’ll limp along for now while I wait for another set to come in. It’s coming from the UK, so probably won’t show up until sometime next week, I expect. Even then, I will probably end up using that frame for starting the Chatelaine micro mandalas. I have the charts for Micro 01 and Micro 02 and the supplies for Micro 01. The specialty kit for Micro 02 will ship this week and I have signed up for Micro 03, which starts in May. There are going to be a total of 4 of the designs, so I purchased enough fabric to do then in a square formation, which is why I need some wide scroll bars. I could have taken off one of the large projects that is hogging my current sets of bars, but I’m afraid that if I take one off, I will be even less likely to rotate around to it any time in the near future. Not that I’m actually working on anything other than smalls that I’m working in hand right now, but that’s a whole other topic.

I’ll be lining up another 2 posts or so for the next couple of days, so this blog will have a sudden flurry of activity and then probably go quiet again for a little while. I hope that you have subscribed to my feed via a blog reader so that you catch my posts as they come out, whenever I get around to posting!

A Butterfly Rainbow and New Finishes

  • Posted on April 3, 2011 at 11:48 am

Since I finished the purple butterfly on my way back from San Francisco the other week, I thought that I would take a minute to show off the entire rainbow of Just Nan heart butterflies:

I can’t wait to turn this into a bellpull, though the choice of fabrics will be a challenge. Do I go with a fabric for each butterfly that coordinates with it and piece them all together into one big rainbow? I’m afraid it will be too … strident, or something. Otherwise, finding a neutral fabric that goes with all of the butterflies without being totally blah and boring may be impossible.

I guess I won’t know until I make some time to go to Joann and start looking!

I also have some new finishes to share. Both are by Janie Hubble Designs and can be obtained by signing up for her free newsletter.

First is Be Mine Sweet Valentine, the bookmark version:

And second is Peacock Feathers. I did two of these so that I can make them into a bookmark, like The Flower Juggler’s Bookmark.

That’s it for me for now. I’ll be stitching a good bit this weekend, as I’ve been ill and am trying to take it easy. I doubt that I’ll have another finish to show off by Monday, but you never know! 😉

Stash Organization Software

  • Posted on April 2, 2011 at 10:00 am

I have talked for years about designing a software package to help us stashaholics organize our out of control stash. In poking around the web the other day, I stumbled across someone else who has actually created and is selling some basic organization software. Let that be a lesson to me for sitting on a good idea for too long.

Anyway, I think that I am going to start programming my software package, now that I have competition to motivate me. I have not taken a look at this person’s software at all, as I don’t want to become biased or swayed in any way from my original vision.

My question to you, my loyal readers, and to anyone else that you might drag to this blog in order to help answer this question for me is:

What features would you like to see in a stash organization program?

I have my own list of ideas, which I will not list here because I don’t want to give away my (hopefully) good ideas to my competition, but I would really like to see what any potential customers would find useful.

Please, please, pretty please take a minute to comment on this post with your thoughts.

Thanks in advance!

Hanging Barnabee’s Quest and Other Randomness

  • Posted on April 1, 2011 at 2:03 pm

I finally took a few minutes to decide where I wanted to hang up my Barnabee’s Quest bellpull this past weekend. He’s now in place in my reading room. We sometimes call the room our “library,” but since it’s only large enough to hold a bookcase and two chairs, that term seems far too grand for it. 😉

He’ll stay in this exact spot until his ladybug friend, Lady Scarlet, finally joins him some day. Considering I haven’t even kitted up any part of Lady Scarlet’s Journey, I think it will be a few years…

Also of note, I purchased a leather cover for my Kindle 2 a few months ago from Oberon Design and neglected to show it off. The products that this company creates are nothing short of fantastic. Yes, they are expensive, but they are well worth it. In fact, I accidentally stepped on my Kindle a couple of weeks ago and there is nary a scratch on it. I believe I owe that fact to the Oberon Design cover on it.

I bought the Tree of Life Kindle 2 cover in green. It is absolutely fabulous – truly! You should see it in person; it is just magnificent.

Here is the packaging (after I took it out of the box):

As you can see, it came with a free charm that matches the button on the cover. I promptly put it to good use by making it into a necklace. I just attached a jump ring to it, threaded it onto some cord that I had, attached ends to the cord and a lobster clasp to one of the ends, et voila!

I think that I will buy 2 more charms at some point so that I can make matching earrings. But back to the Kindle 2 cover:

Here is the front of the cover, when closed:

Here is the entire cover, when open:

Isn’t it fantastic?

Now for some pictures of the inside:

And the inside with my Kindle 2:

While I was placing an order, I bought a matching Tree of Life bookmark. I know that it seems somewhat silly to buy a traditional bookmark along with my e-reader cover, but I still have many traditional books to be read (and re-read), so it seemed appropriate to me.

Finally, before I wrap things up here, I wanted to thank everyone for their lovely comments on my Heart Tuffet contest entry. I don’t think it’s going to win because two of the gals put in really great entries, but I’m quite happy with my finish nonetheless. It’s a winner in my book, no matter what! :)


My Stick Family from WiddlyTinks.com