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Thursday, January 16, 2014

The First Few Finishes and Adventures of the Year

As always, thanks so much for visiting my blog and for all your kind and encouraging comments - you're the best!

I hope that you have been lucky enough to get cold and snow without any major power outages or other inconveniences.  It has been wonderful here in my corner of KY.  I got to break out my Swedish winter clothes and that only happens every 5 years or so.  I had a great time, but at the same time, I was glad that it didn't last too long.  We have had some nice snow flurries the last couple of days, but nothing has really stayed on the ground.  The falling snow is so pretty and calming to watch though.

I have had a lot of fun stitching on my Hillside Samplings Folk Art Sewing Roll.  It has actually been close to done for a few weeks, but all of the sudden I decided that I was too unfocused to make all those French knots that make up the sheeps' furry bodies.  Well, I finally rolled up my sleeves yesterday night, and waddaya know - it took 20 minutes, tops!  Easy-peasy.  I have even started the assembly process - it really shouldn't take that long; the instructions are great, very straight-forward and there is nothing odd about the construction.  I'll give it a go as soon as I log off!  :-)
 Here is a close-up of the sheep running amok in the star-lit fields.
 
 
I did also manage to finish (complete with personalization and all!  I hate charting personalizations!!!) one of the girls' birth sampler.  I turned out great, if I may say so myself...  :-)  I have even started the second one and it's coming along nicely (the photo is a bit out-dated, I am actually a bit further along).
Here is a closer look at the angel and the tulips and all the filled in leaves.  Even though the colors are nowhere close to what the kit's cover photo showed, I am still really pleased!  I am not even dreading stitching the sampler one more time.
A few photos showing the progress:
So, you may wonder what the red running thread is all about.  Well, let me tell you - the chart was missing a vertical row of stitches on the right side - this drove me nuts, since this is supposed to be a symmetrical piece.  Luckily, I noticed the error very early on and made some mirror copies from the left (correct) side.  Of course I kept forgetting to look at the mirrored charts while stitching, so finally, exasperated with all the 'reversed stitching' I had to do, I marked the sucker. 
It wasn't until after I pulled out my second kit that I noticed that the covers looked different.  Wouldn't you believe it - the kit on the right is a 'new and improved' version - the chart has been fixed and is larger and easier to read.  I could only roll my eyes heavenwards and smirk once I realized that Murphy's Law is applicable to cross-stitching too.  Blargh!  lol
 All in all, a very enjoyable stitch though!

 

I managed to finish my "lunch project" right before Christmas, a beautiful 1827 reproduction Biedermeier sampler from Permin, which for some reason is really hard to track down here in the US.  Note the burn mark on the left side of the linen border - ugh!  I hate ironing!  I burnt the edge of both this sampler and the birth sampler above (same side even).  Shows up that the stem function had died.  Sigh...  I did find a link online claiming that it may be possible to get the burned stains out, but I am doubtful.  I'll give it a try and if it doesn't work, I guess that I'll have the matting cut with a smaller opening.

 Needless to say, I am now a proud owner of a brand new iron!  And from now on, no ironing without a thick pressing cloth....

I am itching to stitch more Permin samplers:
1854 Celle Museum Soroe Reproduction Sampler 
1854 Celle Museum Soroe Reproduction Sampler 
1859 Anna Theis Reproduction Sampler 

1859 Anna Theis Reproduction Sampler 
Meyer Reproduction Sampler  
Meyer Reproduction Sampler 
The two latter are patiently waiting for me in my stash. I guess that I need to dig one of them out and bring it into work.  :-)

Here are some other fun craft projects that I have been entertaining myself with:
The tiny oval penny rug kit, here displayed with Liberty Hill's latest creation.  (The kit comes in an off-white as well as the midnight-blue center that I picked.)
I must say that I do enjoy wool projects.  
Quick and fun - instant gratification (at least for a miniscule size like this...)!

And I went totally over-board when I happened across the instructions for how to make these easy Christmas ball swags on Pinterest.  Especially since I happened to fall in on Michael's 60% off all Xmas decorations sale just a few days before Christmas.  As you can see, I had a lot of fun!
Hallway:
 Guest bath:
 Living-room (note out chic fire-place screen... lol):

It just struck me the other day that I haven't showed off my super-sweet & up-graded stitch room to the world yet, so you have to bear with me.  This is what you get when you spend hours and drop some dough at IKEA followed by some serious assembly lines together with hubby for a weekend.  
I now have a work-bench:
A great bureau that swallows a LOT.  Contains fabrics, kits and more kits...
Just for fun, close-up of Hillside Samplings hornbook:
Three additional bookcases filled with patterns, magazines, and .. uh .. more kits.  lol
All these white pieces are from IKEA's Hemnes line.  Looks a little Shaker inspired, I think.  
Let me insert here, that if you haven't seen this before and you are as much into shoes as I am, Hemnes shoe-cabinet is a must.  Stylish, sleek, takes pretty much no room, but you can stuff that sucker, let me tell ya'!  (We have two of the left hand option in our narrow entry hallway at home.)
Back to the stitch-room: A perfect nook for my pattern file cabinet:
I am not quite done organizing and storing everything yet.  
Note the handy walk-in closet with even more storage space - hurray! 

And finally ...  it begins (*shudder*):    "Pssst!  Sis!"  
                                                            "What!?"
                                                                                   "I think we're busted..."
 "Uh-oh...."

Have a great day, thanks for stopping by and Happy Stitching,

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Still Stitching Away ... slowly

Whoa - it feels like it was just April and here we are, very close to the end of the year!  I can't believe that I never showed off my finished EMS Antique Sampler, especially since I actually did finish it before the end of the year - as in 2012.  I even got a cheery cherry-red mat and a frame for her, but I haven't gotten a chance to lace her in quite yet.  If I get a couple of minutes to myself one of these days maybe!  I am not placing any bets on that though.

Since the arrivals of my precious "smalls" I really have not had a whole lot of time to do much of anything.  I mean, some days during my maternity leave at the beginning of the year, I was happy just to get in the basics, like a shower, food, drink and bathroom breaks.  Somewhere around week 6, the girls actually started to sleep in shifts, so there was absolutely no breaks whatsoever.  Getting back to work was a piece of cake - all of you stay-at-home parents; I have no clue how you do it!  Good job!

Since sewing often is significantly faster than stitching is, I did have fun with my sewing machine and my piles of fabric.  I found a perfect freebie pattern and tutorial for this adorable Tulip Petal Sun Hat and managed somehow to swing a coupe together for the girls.  The hats are good sized, so the girls will be able to wear them for a couple of summers, I hope.  (Pardon the fact that Little Miss O doesn't wear any pants below...)
This is little sister, Lilla L.
Posing together!
I had a lot of fun fuzzy cutting out the fabric so that the birds would be lined up beak-to beak and tail-to-tail around the rims.

Other than that, not a whole lot of crafting going on at home.  I did start a new WIP the other day; Hillside Samplings Folk Art Sewing Roll.  I have finished the easy (and boring) border, so I get to start playing with colors now - yay!  I think that this will be a pretty quick stitch, but I am not sure here I'll find the time to do the finishing work...  :-)
I am still really lucky to have a group of crafty friends at work, so I do get to stitch for a while over lunch every day.  Earlier in the year, I finished up this Blue Jay Silken Wings kit from the Crossed Wing Collection.  They have a bunch of different bird silk & gauze kits available, but for some odd reason they are not displayed on their web-site.  I had no problem picking from quite a selection when I called Paula to place my order and she was happy to send them to me.  I am excited about stitching the other ones sometime in the future.  As always with Crossed Wing, the designs are just perfect - delicate, realistic and detailed.  The only drawback is that the mat-boards that the silk gauze has been pre-mounted to varies in color between kits, so they won't look like a unit if hung together.  I guess that it is always possible to mount on a different mat.

Lately, I have been stitching a lot of Scandinavian monochromatic designs. 
The Christmas bell-pull below was a fun stitch and is a Handarbejdets Fremme design.  I need to hem it and find some suitable bell-pull hardware, but that shouldn't take too long.  My favorite panel is the center one.  it reminds me of traditional Scandinavian embroideries on the ladies blouses back in the days. 

*Baby Break*

This is a recent new start for me - my very first wool penny rug.  This is a total cheat.. everything was pretty much pre-cut and ready to go in this kit.  The only thing I have left is to attach the pennies to each other and to the center piece and it's done!  Quick and fun!  Now I just need to figure out where I can display it where chubby, sticky fingers won't get to it... lol

These super-cute and small mono-chromatic Christmas pictures are from a Swedish hand-craft society.  They are pretty hard to come by, so my mom sent 15 of them as gifts.  The society gives out a new design each year and I believe that the first one was published back in the mid-60s.  The kits have the most generous amount of floss that you can ever imagine - you can easily stitch the picture 3 times over and I bet you'd still have lift-over floss.  So far I have finished 5 and I have started on my 6th, but I haven't kept up with my photography.  The plan is to make a red-and-white quilted wall hanging to hang in our entrance during the holiday season. 


The grand plan is that I'll finish (I guess I'd better start it first...) this kit I bought from French General, Mansion de Garance, and I'll hang that in the same spot during the rest of the year.  Grand plans, but a girl can dream!  :-)
Speaking of French General - I did also pick up a couple of Odile doll kits.  I have cut out all the pieces and embroidered my girls' monograms on the apron pockets.  One of these days I'll get the sewing machine back out - I can feel it!!!
Photo curtsey of Leslie Jane Moran blog.

Well, I'd better run, but before I do -
Happy Halloween everyone!
Happy Stitching,


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Christmas in April!

Hello everyone!  Long time, no blog.  I swear, I've have had all these Christmas photos uploaded on blogger for at least three months now, but I finally got some time to write a couple of words while DH is entertaining the girls.

I managed to finish up all the stockings on Christmas Eve and I was really pretty pleased with how they turned out, even though a lot of people can't really see the reindeer in the deer stocking.  Oh well...  The finishing was super easy (sewing machine), but I do confess that I did not use the instructions that came with the patterns.  I opted to use an on-line tutorial instead.  It is so much more easy to follow photos than words, don't you agree?  
The stockings were stitched the called for Caron Collection's Watercolors hand-dyed perle cotton (on 20-ct linen), which was a true joy to stitch with.  It is fun to experiment with large fields of the same color over-dyed too; you never know how it'll turn out until you are done.  If you have less patience with cross-stitching and are more skilled with sewing than I am, the designs are also available as applique patterns (check out this link).  
 
 
I really like SamSarah and if I had more time, I would probably tackle the perpetual calendar that she is designing.  I am not a big fan of stitching on perforated paper though.  I like to crumple my linen while I stitch.  :-)
Back to the stockings: I love stockings!  We didn't use them in Sweden, so it is one more American tradition that I am embracing in the fullest!  I love all the BOAF stockings and I will find out a reason to stitch them sooner or later as well (Special Delivery and Snow Day can be checked out here and here are Angel of Peace and Wish Upon a Star.  
And one can always dream.... Mary Beale's stockings (insert dreamy sigh here):
 
 
I love Mary Beale's designs and she is yet another designer that I have stitched way too few pieces from!   (The first 3 pics taken from Mary Beale's Gallery and journal, the 4th from Loudoun Sampler Guild, the 5th from Plum Street Samplers blog, and the last photo from The Life of Miss Pants blog.)

Over "Christmas break", I did also work some more on trying to finish up my Blackwork Angels and Starry Night ornies.  I got this idea for a new way of finishing in my head that took a while for me to get up the courage to test out.  I am doing the classic rectangle using cardboard, but I am doing two "backing" pieces that are slightly larger than the stitched design.,  The thought is that the "front backing" will frame the design.  I think that it'll end up looking great, but it takes a lot of cardboard, backing fabric, batting and thread to finish all of them.


After I am done with these, I'll try to start stitching PS' Redwork Santas and maybe even Cranberry Christmas.  I love the simplicity and elegance of the sparse coloring that PS uses, even though I am a little less in love with the green/red combination of the Santas than I am with the black/blue/gold of the angels.

One set of ornaments that I did not have time to finish was the baby Christmas name plaques. I really like how they turned out and I have even been thinking about making a few more from the other PS alphabets.  (I wish that I had picked a khaki linen instead of a white one, since I had to switch the white details, such as the angel's wings and Santa's beard to grey in order for it to show up.  Next time, I guess...)
If you haven't seen it yet, you have to check out the little banner that Amy stitched for her grand daughter.  How adorable is this!?  She even has some finishing tips on her blog, here!

So, since this is a Christmas themed post, here is a photo of Scrappy, enjoying the Christmas decorations.
I also have to show off these small and totally adorable boxes that I picked up at Michaels.  I use them to keep ornaments and finishing supplies organized.  One of them contains the PS Xmas ornies and the other one is packed full of the CEC Thanksgiving acorns.  One of these days I will finish them all!  :-)

Before I log off, I just have to post a couple of photos of my baby girls.  As you can see, they like bath time!  They are 4 months and 1 week old today and I am still in heaven (and still exhausted!).  I started working again a few weeks back and I promise that I have never found work as relaxing as I do now.  When Monday rolls around, I am ready for a break!  LOL
 
Well, take care everyone and I hope that you get a lot more stitching in than I do!
Happy Spring!