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Monday, June 25, 2012

A Quick Breather

Work, work, work.  I got in to the lab this weekend to finish up an experiment.  The computer is here at home tonight, since I need to write a mastodon presentation due Thursday.  I just needed a quick break and I figured that I'd stop by and write a quick hello to everyone.  Sorry, no blog-visits until Friday, I'm afraid.

Last week was pretty productive.  I am slowly getting the CRC acorns together and learned a few tricks on the way.  Here is the first trial acorn: Rest.  You can see all the pieces ready to go - batting, mat-board pieces, felt caps, stitched fronts and cotton backing.  I think that cutting out the mat-board is much more painful than all the sewing that goes into finishing up the ornaments in the end.  LOL
A pile of acorn fronts waiting patiently for their backs.  I love that Vickie always tries out fun linen colors, even though it can be tricky to gather all of them.
Finally - fronts AND backs are done.  Now I just have to figure out what I want to use for the hanger and the edging.  I did not find anything that got me real excited in the home stash and you know what that means - time for a shopping trip.  Maybe on Friday....
For the hangers I am contemplating using some pretty, brown, shear, wide ribbon and use it to tie the ornaments to the display (whatever that will be...  LOL) rather than use a loop to hang them.  I figure that it will be easier to get the ornies to face the way I would like them to.  Plus bows would be so pretty!

Our work crafting group is expanding and we are having a great time.  It is so relaxing to get in a few minutes of stitching in the middle of the day, while catching up on life, news, science, books and everything.  Today, we were all pretty somber since it was Monday and we ended up laughing hard after just 15 minutes.  It was great!
We do also get a lot crafted.  Hip^Hip is working an a very pretty Scarlet Letter sampler (I think this is the one) - amazing, since she just started stitching about a year ago.  She is a quick stitcher and she is fearless, a great combination!
Road Runner is crocheting baby blankets galore - she pretty much has a manufacturing process going; she is really pumping them out!  They look great.
The Barbarian hangs out with us and solves puzzles.  That is probably harder than crafting, as much as we chit-chat while we all hang out.
The Boss is stitching a beautiful, large fraternity crest for her son.  It looks really good.  She has also been working on a really involved book-mark for her daughter, so she has a couple of projects going at the same time.
I tend to stitch smaller projects at work.  I had been working on Sweetheart Tree's Halloween Quadrielle, but I had to take a break.  It felt like I was ripping out as much as I was stitching...  To avoid getting completely depressed, I put that to the side and started on Sweetheart's Chickadee Winter Welcome instead.  It showed up that was a good switch, since I got it done in about two weeks.  
Here is the stitched piece (You can click on the photos to have a closer look on and drool over all the beads and sparklies):

I did one small change to the design; I switched out "Welcome Friends" for "Welcome Winter".  
Here is the linen piece mounted on the precut mat-boards together with the mounted backing fabric:
Finally - the winter chickadee is hanging out with the autumn pumpkins and the summer sun-flower.  I started on the spring kit on Friday and it is coming along pretty quickly (knock on wood).  I will change the "Welcome Friends" to "Welcome Spring" for that one.  I think that I will try to display all of them together hanging on a ribbon - it looks great in my head, but time will tell.  I am excited though!

On the home-front I still keep neglecting Fremme's "blue sampler".  Instead I decided to stitch on a Samsarah Xmas stocking.  It is a lot of fun and it is honkin' HUGE.  Look at the small leaflet up in the left hand corner - that is a letter size booklet!  It is stitched on a pretty coarse linen; 20-ct Guacamole WDW linen.  The floss is Caron Collection Watercoulors.  This floss is cool; it's a three-ply hand-dyed cotton.  One ply is about the same weight as #5 pearl cotton or six plies of cotton floss.
I am, however, getting a tad tired of cover pics that have completely different colors than how they show up in reality.  Since I am really looking a lot at color when picking out designs, the cover pics that are not showing me the truth makes me tired....  Anyone else out there having the same problem?  for this design, I loved the soft pistachio green of the linen, but that is not quite the shade of the cut I got.
Here is a close-up showing the effect of the variegated floss.  I love how the greens turned out - just wish that the red had shown the same beautiful shading.

Other than that, we really need rain badly here.  They have the record for the wettest summer in recorded history in Stockholm, while we haven't gotten a drop for over a week now.  Everything is wilting in the garden - no surprise, since our temperatures are up in the 90:s and flowers and leaves are getting burned into smithereens.  We have been promised a cold-front, but nothing noticeable has come by yet.
I did take some garden photos one early morning last week. I love the lazy looking passion flowers!
DH  took about 20 photos of this little bunny that hangs out around our house.  He is quite a bit smaller than Bubba and Princess....  So very, very cute!  I love the good-bye waves by his little white tail when he takes off.

Well, I'd better unpack the work-computer and get a few slides written before bed.
I hope that all of you are doing great!  And thanks so much for all your sweet congrats on my last post - that really meant a lot to me.
Take care and Happy Stitching - I really hope that I will be able to visit all of you soon,

Thursday, June 21, 2012


I am super-excited to share with you that I have been featured in Craft Corners "Best of the Web" segment!
In this edition (#25), Susan of Craft Corners shows us paper cards from Apple & Pears Cards, fabulous quilts by Cindy Needham, mixed media art by Kim, and stitching by me.
Guess if I feel honored and humbled to share the spot-light with three such talented artists and crafters!

Craft Corners is a cool site that not only features crafters across the web, but you can also find new craft ideas, plenty of inspiration, and tutorials here.

Well, back to my robot!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

A Quick Sunday Evening Post

This new design from Lizzie*Kate totally cracks me up - and it's TRUE too!  I will have to stitch this one and give it to Alpha Bunny.  I wonder if he would be brave enough to hang it at work....   LOL

I hope that all of you had a great week and that you had an even greater weekend!  My week was wonderful - the robot at work is finally starting to listen (it's out of the teenage phase now, I guess) and the evenings are still filled with naps, stitching and some rounds in the garden with the watering can and the trowel for digging up weeds.  It is starting to look a bit more decent in the front yard now - the back yard is still very much in a state of neglect.
For once, I did remember to harvest some lavender before the season is over.  This small bouquet is hanging on the wall in my lavender colored stitch room.  It smells fabulous!  The scent is much more similar to cinnamon than to lavender, oddly enough...  Of course I already have plans to stitch a small adornment to go with the bouquet.  LOL

I was bad about stitching on my Fremme sampler this week again.  I had way too much fun working on the silk gauze sampler and it is finished and hanging on the wall!  No more excuses this week - back to the blue sampler!
Well, here below is Be Mine by Heart's Content (all photos should be clickable).  I only changed one thing and that was the color on the inside of the crown.  I was thinking of changing all the pink flowers to green for them to look like clover leaves, but DH didn't agree with that idea, so I let it be.
Here is one solo pic and one photo showing Be Mine and her wall buddy (Random Threads by Erica Michaels).  I also learned something really cool about this design; Chris of Tot Hill Farm Stitches stitched the cover model for Maureen's kit!!  I can tell you that the cover photo saved me many times!

I had really hoped that this weekend would be a finishing galore weekend.  I have so many projects that are waiting patiently to get finished up.  It is high time to reduce the ever growing pile of "almost finished" projects.  I did get a minute part of the pile done - both projects are Patrick's Woods pieces that I finished stitching back in May.  Here are the back and front of Hare Lines, containing a little note-book, and the little violet pin-cushion (sorry, too lazy to go check what the piece is called...)

The greatest surprise of the weekend was how long it takes to finish up the acorn ornaments from Cross-Eyed Cricket!  My goodness - this will take eons!  The shapes are odd, so you really have to manipulate the fabric a lot (= a lot of lacing thread and time) to get it to finally lie snugly and correctly around the cardboard.  I did at least make sure that all the batting is cut out and ready to go....  The caps and the cardboard were cut out a long time ago and have been waiting in one of those storage boxes that always seems to disappear as soon as you get the urge to roll up your sleeves and start some serious finishing work!  I bet most of you have at least one of those around, am I right?
Well, I did get 1/2 ornament finished.  I still haven't figured out whether I will use twisted cording or not.  Twelve ornaments all in all - not sure that I have the patience to twist for all of them.  :-)

I guess that I am trying to compensate for my snail speed finishing work by buying more stash... rational thinking, right?  Here are some pretty and very girly linens together with ditto and sparkly flosses.  These will be a couple of door prizes for a retreat in October.  I'd better get hopping if they are to be finished by then!  I am looking forward to stitching some real girly stuff.
I also found this other great chart from Lizzie*Kate; Oh Baby at the LNS.  The chart contains bunches of baby motifs, all of them the same size and style.  This makes it real easy to pull together a simple and personalized baby sampler, stitched with any color your heart desires.  I think that I will have a lot of fun stitching from this as well!

Well, other than that, I think that I managed to watch at least half a dozen animated movies this weekend (Spirited Away, Howl's Moving Caste, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Over the Hedge, The Incredibles, Coraline, Bee Movie, and so on), so it''ll be real interesting to see what I dream tonight. 

 As always, take care and Happy Stitching!  I hope to visit you all real soon!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Rain, Glorious Rain!

Happy Monday everyone!  It is a great beginning of the week here - it is finally raining!  The KY clay really needs a good soaking.  What is even better about the rain is that the ground, which hardens into brick during the dry spells, will get soft enough to dig in.  This is truly great, since DH and I picked up some assorted perennials this weekend.  The timing could not be better!

I am still totally in love with the new hobby; napping!  In other words, the needles are not exactly racing here.  I did stitch this adorable design by Barbara-Ana (Quoth the Raven: Nevermore)) and I like the raven so much that I had to stitch up a mini-version too.  As you can see, he is itty-bitty.  I was thinking about finishing the tiny one into a pin, but he may be too small.  The design is intended to be used as a scissors-fob, but I think that it is way too large!  I'll have to come up with something else to do with it.  I am also contemplating making a third version for an exchange coming up this fall - he is just too cute not to share.
You can buy this pattern either from Creative Poppy (they'll send you the pdf and a pass-word pretty much instantly) or printed out on paper (I got my hard-copy from ABC Stitch Therapy). 
Barbara Ana has a couple of additional - equally adorable - Halloween designs; Owl-o-ween Scissor Fob and Trick or Treat Scissor Fob:

I have also fallen back into the dangerous habit of browsing e-bay every now and then....  Sometimes, I really do manage to get a great deal that I am really pleased with, such as this silk-gauze kit (frame included!) from The Heart's Content for less than $25.  Three of the letters had been stitched by the previous owner, but I ripped them back out and started from zero.  Here are a few progress pics:
As you can see, I am working on filling in the background right now.  It takes time, but I enjoy it - since everything else is already stitched there is no need for counting.  Very relaxing...
I would love to find the companion piece Love Thyself one of these days...  ;-)

The new sampler is coming along slowly too, but it is all right since I really enjoy working on it.  The problem is that I try to tell myself to switch between the projects every other hour or so, but then I get so engulfed with what I have in my hands that I forget everything else....  Oh well, there is just too much fun to have!

Did I show you the sweet little scissors keep from Rovaris?  I am becoming a big fan.  I was really impressed with the "Stitched Initial Necklace" that she came out with a few months back (here is the back of mine).  This is the latest sweetie from Rovaris: Scissors Fob Kit.  All the parts spread on top of the sofa:
After a very quick and easy assembly:
While browsing the net to find the link to the necklace, I happened to run across another of Rovaris' beauties: Wreath  What a gorgeous design!
Speaking of beautiful cross-stitch, check all the photos of Forget-Me-Nots in Stitches at Barberry Row. Many of these designs are older and not posted on any US stores or on Lauren's web-site, so some of them were new to me.

Well, other than that, not a whole lot going on at the stitch front.  The garden has finally gotten some TLC, so I can post some photos without weeds!  :-)  Here is an oak-leaf hydrangea, planted last year, and she seems to be doing well.
The other day I saw a robin take a drink form the sunflower bird-bath.  That made my day!  :-)
The hardy hibiscus are doing really well this year too.  I discovered that one of them already started blooming this morning.  (Please ignore the clover.... LOL)
Another hydrangea, also planted last year.  I love the shape of the flower clusters on this one!
Lavender - what is not to love!?  They really take care of themselves, smell wonderfully, and are a bee and butterfly favorite!
Our new flowerbed is starting to look a bit "bushy"...
More lavender.
And the older hydrangea is sporting both pinks and blues this year.

The bunnies don't want me to log off before they say hi.  Princess has some tummy problems right now, but I think that he'll get better soon.

Well, time to get going!
As always, thanks so much for all your wonderful comments and have a great week full with fun stitching time!  I hope to pop over and see you all soon!
Happy Stitching,

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Halfway There!

I am thrilled to show you the progress on the EMS 2012 Antique Sampler freebie - it is halfway completed.  
I got a really nice surprise on May 31st, when I popped over the the EMS web-site and realized that the June assignment had been posted one day early!  Woohoo!!!  Friday was devoted to more green confetti stitching than I am thrilled enough about to describe in detail... say no more.  :-)
It was worth it in the end.

As you can see,  I decided to carry out some smaller changes to the original; I changed out the mushroom motif for a bunny and the small flower sprig for my initial (not sure whether I will switch colors later on, but at least I like the placement after re-locating it a couple of times).

I have been a fan of Biedermeier style samplers for several years, so back when I was still (very actively ;-)) building up my stitch library collection, I invested in a couple of the books by Rafaella Serena.  These books are not real cheap, but totally worth it.  She has published three books (I believe) shock full of old Biedermeier plates, both from her own collection and others.  Quite a few of the motifs are charted in the back of the book.  Even if you never get around to stitch any of the designs, let me tell you, these collections are true historical eye-candy and they could serve as very nice coffee table books.
Since I wasn't thrilled about the mushrooms, I decided to flip through the animal themed volume to see if I could find a small motif to use for a substitution.
This is the wild-life inspired bell-pull where I finally spotted a perfectly sized bunny.
After that came the tricky part - substituting the motifs and to do that, I used the master chart.  I scanned the bunny, used Photo Shop to mirror her, and enlarged her to the right grid-size (the last step was by far the most frustrating one.  A 100% "real life" view on the monitor does not necessarily show up the same size after printing - blargh!).  
A bit of tape, filling in the grid-lines with a pen and voila!
While flipping through Rafaella's book I found one plate that was especially intriguing!  
Do you spot it?
The peacock and the sparrow motifs in the EMS sampler have been taken from this particular antique Biedermeier plate (the pic is clickable for a better view)!  Ellen changed out the colors in a truly fabulous way.  I really wish that I was as skilled with colors as so many of you out there are!
I picked from all the browns that had already been used throughout the design, free-handed the greenery (nowhere near fabulous, but it works) and that was it - easy-peasy!  The close-up below shows the newest additions; the bunny, the grave stone, and the beautiful little rose and violet bouquet.  The colors in the bouquet are quite a bit more intense than the rest of the colors, so it will be interesting the see if it will be balanced out further down the road.... 
Here is a close-up of the tiny bunny wiggling its nose good night!

As always, thanks so much for stopping by and all the comments you leave when visiting!  It is so much fun to hear from you and I really appreciate the extra time you take to leave a greeting!

Take care and, as always, Happy Stitching,