If you would like to write me more in private, please send me a line at OneStitchNirvana@gmail.com

Saturday, July 30, 2011

TUSAL Update and Other Assorted Stash'n Stitch Updates

Hello and Happy Saturday! I don't know about you, but DH and I are enjoying a lazy morning. Some of us are net-surfing, stitching and drinking tea while others are playing video games and drinking beer (recall that he is on night-shift, so early morning is DH's late evening...). Oh, and there are yet others, who are sitting on my head, squawking and eating carefully peeled sunflower seeds. Happy family time!

Speaking of family, this morning I got a happy surprise when I called my mom's and dad's and my Little Sister answered! She told me that our parents are at the summer house so Sis and kiddies moved in at their resident over the weekend. Sis' family bought a new and larger apartment and they wanted to repaint all the walls, so the kids are out breathing fresh air in the suburbs while everything is getting a touch up in their new home.

I have also had the immense pleasure to chat with my Littlest Sister a few mornings this week. So much fun! I usually jump on-line before I jump into the shower in the mornings. We both have Skype, so we have just happened to meet. We really have a lot of very interesting things to talk about, so it has been great! She and I work in completely different areas and I am so excited to learn from her. She does, among other things, profiling on interviewees for companies during hiring processes. Sweden has some very strict laws on how companies can lay off or fire their personnel, so it is really hard to get rid of people - even if they show up drunk at work! In other words, it is really important to know who you are hiring on or you may set yourself up for disaster!

And of course I got all the comments from all of you, dear readers! It is always so much fun to hear what you are thinking! I have been meaning to thank all of you who gave me great advice about helpful beading tools, by the way. I think that Diane mentioned the Tacky Bob and as soon as I read her tip I thought "Duh, I have one of those!". Thanks for the reminder, Diane!
Jo mentioned the "vacuum up beads with a pantyhose" trick, which I will probably have to use on my couch one of these days! Thanks for the tips, ladies! We got some beading done! After a number of hours, I can introduce the finished Crowjackers and Moonroders - Tadaah!

Well, what else do I have to share today? Oh, the TUSAL, of course! Here we go:
Here is a photo showing the surroundings - I started stitching on the Noel Quadrielle yesterday evening - I think that it'll be a quickie!

I also have a confession to make. I am a Binge Stasher. Lots of goodies came in the mail this week. A lot of them came because I am not smart enough to stop browsing... Since I had so much fun with the Sweetheart Tree Designs, I picked up a bunch more on eBay - most of the are about 50% of what they cost in the stores!
And since I have been on a "Heather Ross ride" here lately, I could not pass up on this adorable pattern wallet from Madbird's shop at Etsy:
Isn't this just the best idea!? The wallet is made from HR's line Mendocino fabric line (OOP, of course...)

I may not have mentioned this before, but I collect old Scandinavian charts. I am especially fond of Fremme, even though their charts are easy to get hold of, and of Clara Waever. CW is a whole other ball-game... This company did not seem to be real popular here in the US, so the charts are quite a challenge to find. Sometimes I find old used charts "Swedish eBay", but I am not allowed to bid there for some reason (I have no clue why - I mean, I do have a Swedish SS# and everything...).
I generally, and shamelessly, call my dad and ask him to bid for me (tack pappa!!!). We have not been real lucky so far. Scandinavian designs are very popular in Japan and one of my Japanese stitching friends has informed me that this one Japanese lady vacuums the market from all old CW/ER charts. She pays astronomical amounts of $$ for these charts and then turns around and sells them for even higher prices from her on-line store in Japan. I guess you can't get too angry - it is obviously a working business, but I would still prefer that someone who is actually planning on stitching them would get them instead. Sigh...
Anyway, CW was bought up by Eva Rosenstand, who in turn was bought up by Permin pretty recently.
I have contacted Rosenstand on several occasions in the past, trying to convince them to reprint some of their old CW charts, but got a very friendly but very assertive "no" every time. Very sad! :-(
So, enough with the whining and on to my very exciting eBay find:
Isn't it pretty!?

And finally, I would recommend that if you have never browsed Country Stitches - stay away, stay away, stay away!!!! I can almost grantee that it'll be a very expensive experience! Yet, somehow, I find myself ending up at this sweet market over and over...
(The latest issue of SANQ ended up in this pic too - love Jackie's piece!)

What is up in the right hand corner!? Well, it is some Jewelry findings from Patera. These small frames and charms are used to make really neat jewelry. This is what I got to get me started:
This is an example of a finished piece that I got from Country Stitches a year ago or so - I really like it a lot!
(The dark wool will be used to make crows from, by the way...)
The coolest thing is that Brenda Gervais has posted a tutorial on her blog that shows exactly how to make these pretty things; check this out!

Did I deserve all these goodies? Mmmm, my "excuse" this week is that I think that I did pretty well this week. I stuck it out with my "finishing only" goal and I have some finished finishes to show off (keep in mind that the Just Nan ornies were finished this week too). I am planning on finishing off the Sweetheart Tree "There is a Birthday Here Today" piece before the week is over, which means that I, technically speaking, am pulling ahead (yeah, I know - totally lame excuse and not true in the least! ;-))
Here are the Bird pictures with the finished picot-edging copied from a Japanese stitcher:

The SHT Welcomes were slapped together yesterday (when I say "slapped", note that no glue was used - I am too much of a stitch snob to finish anything with glue.. LOL)
I decided to make them into small pictures instead of ornaments. My favorite tin easels from Twisted Threads work perfectly. Now I feel the urge to stitch all the seasons, a few additional ones AND make a cute stitched box placed on the mantle , where they can all rest while waiting for their turn to go on display.
Isn't it great that a stitcher's work is never done?!

Well, time to get going. There are walks to be taken and groceries to be bought.
Have a fabulous weekend and see you soon!

Happy Stitching,

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Second Welcome!

Hi and thanks so much for visiting! Thanks for all your comments; it is so fun to hear what thoughts you have to share.
Here I must confess that I am a little slow; it wasn't until the other week that I finally understood that I can become a follower by clicking on the upper-most bar in any blog... big sigh at myself!
Before, I was frantically trying to find the "follower list" that some of us have displayed on the side bar somewhere. Since not everyone has one of those lists displayed, I was pulling my hair for about 6 months before the coin finally fell through. Anyway, I wanted to thank all of you who have been "one-sided followers" up until now! I have tried to be a follower for each and everyone of you too - what a great way to make friends!
If you are a follower and have a blog, but I am not following yours, please send me a line with your blog address and I will sign up right away - I'd love to know what you are working on and what's going on in your corner of the web!

So, I had a great weekend! DH and I went on a date. Twice! That almost never happens, so I was pretty satisfied on Sunday evening. Mind you, we do not do any crazy or fancy things, but we had dinner and lunch, both at Italian restaurants. I have been reeking garlic at work all day - you know that it probably is pretty bad when you keep getting whiffs off yourself... LOL

Even though we were busy running on dates, some stitching magically got tended to as well. I did manage to start and finish the Fall Welcome kit by Sweetheart Tree. Here is the before and after back-stitch shots. (Note that I was, as usual, way too impatient to iron my piece before the beads were added. I have a feeling that I'll pay for that soon...)
This was also a fun stitch, but I did think that it was a bit trickier. There are 4 shades of orange used for the pumpkins, not counting the tiny yellow sections. The orange shades were very close to each other. Other than that - another Sweetheart Tree kit stitched up in a snap with plenty of floss left over.

If you are interested in one of the used charts, "Sunflowers & Bumblebees Welcome" or "Autumn Pumpkins Welcome", please send me a message at onestitchnirvana@gmail.com and let me know if you would rather stitch the summer or the fall welcome. The charts have now been spoken for! :-)
The charts are in great shape; I don't mark my charts - I am too lazy.... I think that one of the parrots, Turqui, nibbled at the very edge on the fall design chart, but other than that, they are in great shape!
I'll pack the pick from the first couple of e-mails up and mail it over (this is NOT the give-away that I have coincidentally not started to think about yet...).
The floss used is DMC and there should be enough seed-beads left over. The linen cut was tiny - I'll measure it and send that with the rest of the stuff, so that the next stitcher can pull something similarly sized from the scrap stash.

The Summer Welcome Piece is very similar to another ST design, Sunflower on Gingham. This is one of few pieces that is actually up on a wall in my house.
Maybe a sweet gingham linen would be a great pick for the welcome pieces?

Since I have told myself that I need to get serious about finishing things up, I decided to pull this old Sweetheart Tree Knob Knocker out too. Both DH and I have our birthdays in September, so it would be nice if it was done by then...

Speaking of finishing, I did start giving my moon-riders and crow-jackers some attention. I decided to stitch the ornament fronts and backs together using dark gray and orange bugle beads. It is very slow work - I would estimate that it took me about 45 minutes to get one of these babies assembled. Four have been completed so far, so I am over the hump! Here are the Moonriders:
A better view of the bugle bead border:

My buddies at work are involved in various functions and vacations right now, so this is what I do at work during a boring lunch hour: an instruction of how to finish ornaments with a straight bugle bead border! I truly hope that it is understandable - let me tell you, I have learned that just because something makes sense inside my head, does not automatically make it meaningful on a piece of paper... I do like doodling, so I did have a lot of fun drawing this! (Click on the scan to make it readable!)
I was thinking about how to get the bugle beads aligned in parallel relative to the edge over a few evenings (great way to fall asleep), before I decided to use the technique described above. I am sure that this is not revolutionary in any way, but I have not seen it done like this before and the result could be worse. :-)

I will leave you with this WIP pic of the lower part of a magpie. This is a pretty small piece, so I am blown away by the fact that the stitching is sooo slow. It does not help much that I am picking my own colors. Some of the picks were not fabulous, which of course lead to frogging and some "bonus stitching".
I am planning on adding the finished piece inside a small key-rack, since the magpie holds a key ring with several keys. I think that it will be very cute and handy, but I am already thinking about how to best discourage tiny parrots from making the key-rack the new hang-out...

As usual, it is now way past my bed-time...
Take care, sweet dreams, and Happy Stitching

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Beauty of Backstitch

Hi everyone and thanks so much for stopping by - both today and all the other days.
I am so glad that you take the time to leave comments on my posts and I am ecstatic that I now have 51 52 (!) followers! You are the best! I am so happy and very, very humbled - thanks!
This makes me ponder that I really need to host my very first give-away... let me think about something neat to send out!

This week has been pretty slow. I finally realized that I need to stop drinking 4 cups of tea right before bed in order to fall asleep.. duh! Interestingly enough, DH just mentioned to me this evening that he needs to stop drinking Mountain Dew before he goes to bed, because he has had problems sleeping lately too. We are like two peas in a pod, I tell you... And as you may recall, we even sleep in shifts so these conclusions were extracted completely without conferring with each other. We ARE researchers you know, LOL (yup, pretty sad, I agree...).

I learned something about myself this week. I learned that guilt can act as a great carrot for me. I haven't felt guilty about not finishing up my Halloween ornaments or my bird pictures, but I did get a sneaking feeling that I may have bought an awful lot of stash last week. Solution: stitch on it and reduce the size - quickly!
I started with Sweetheart Tree's summer welcome piece and I did pretty all right. It is not finished finished yet either, but it is stitched up.
Here is a photo before back-stitching:
...and this one is taken after back-stitching and beading:
What an amazing difference!
The kit was great, as usual from Sweetheart Tree. Plenty of floss left over, a great chart that is easy to read from (b/w), and pretty neat embellishments. It probably doesn't show in the photo, but the silver flower beads are actually quite thick - enough so that framing behind glass would probably be a challenge.

Next up will probably be the Fall Welcome piece (after all my finishing work has been straightened out, of course...), even though that chart looks more confusing. She has used a vertical dash and a horizontal dash right next to each other. Both represent orange hues for the pumpkins. I already have a feeling that this is a trap that I will fall in, head first...

I am leaving you with a photo showing a fraction of the parrot baby collection playing with a fraction of the Vera Bradley collection. You can't tell, but there a third baby there, who has snuggled up inside one of the totes. Awwww... (and sigh...)
Joysze asked a while back if Henny ever poops on my knee when she helps me stitch. Parrots poop? Naaah..... Let me just say that both DH and I do the pirouette in front of the mirror every time we are getting ready to leave the house.
Luckily, they are so blastedly cute! :-)

Take care and Happy Stitching,

Sunday, July 17, 2011

One Stitchy Post Coming Up (as promised....)

Hi all! As always - thanks so much for all your wonderful comments! I am glad that my last post about the Harry Potter finale did not bore you all to death! :-) Now I am back with the stitchy post that I promised to post before this weekend has ended...

So, I did not get a whole lot of stitching done, what with sick-days and movie watching into the wee hours. But one can be productive with not a whole lot of time, right? Give me the internet and I can be real productive in seconds flat...
So without further ado, introducing this weeks stash enhancement. First off, I wish that I have not checked out Silverneedles "just in" page last week, since I thought that all the new Sweetheart Tree kits were adorable! The welcome kits are really neat for us lazy individuals - you can order the pre-cut mat-board so that the finishing will be reduced to a minimum. Me likey!
I did also keep with the Halloween theme from last week and ordered Hagatha's Hats by Just Nan - both versions. Interestingly enough, the orange one is on back-order. Well, at least I got the linens...
I did also purchase "The Guest House" by Bent Creek. It has a crazy chemist working in his lab (I assume Dr Jekyll) and I know quite a few "crazy chemists" at work, who would love to get this tiny picture (me included - I may have to make one for myself to display at work...)

On Friday, the mail-man brought me the highly anticipated Loose Feathers, part 1, from Blackbird Designs. Let me tell you, this booklet does not disappoint! At $12, this is quite a find on today's market, where we now are pretty much used to paying $8 for pamphlets charting one minute ornament... Here we have three generous, large and beautiful projects. After I read this baby, I went on-line and ordered an assortment of chenille trims off e-bay. I got to work with chenille trim at the Shepherd's Bush retreat last year and I just love it! It is easy to work with and looks great, so I am looking forward to fondling them sometime next week...

I did also manage to pass by Jo-Annes yesterday to pick up some beads and ribbons. My plan is to finish the Moonriders and Crowjackers with a beaded seam. It looks grand in my head, but time will tell how reality looks... ;-)
Here are the fronts and the backs, just waiting for someone to stitch'em together... (I have been waiting for the finishing fairy in vain.)
While picking up all the trimmings, I also happened to pick up these adorable reusable totes from JoAnn. How cute are these - I love that they are "real craft totes"!
(I was not real crazy about bloggers new picture loading tool, until just now - I discovered that I can type while to photos are loading - yay! - Scratch that - I am about ready to go absolute boinkers.... What do the rest of you think?)

So, did I do anything constructive this week? Seeing that I shamelessly increased the stash, did I manage to reduce it? Yes, I did (but not proportionally so)!
Here is the second Fremme piece. Progress pic, finished piece, and together with the companion.
These were so much fun to stitch on! (In the second photo you can see the project that I am determined to finish next; the Patricks Woods' Lucet pre-stitch....) I just met with my once-a-week-stitch-buddy, Pink, who told me that she really likes the third picture in this series. Sigh! I think that she just twisted my arm -Oouch, stop it Pink, it hurts! ;-)

I saw the cutest finish of these pictures on a Japanese blog. After some careful observation I have concluded that the borders are finished with picot-edge ribbon. How sweet is this!? Now I need to decide whether I should use black or green ribbon.

I did also spend some time girly-fying our bathroom this weekend. DH is pretty wonderful when it comes to things like this - he just says "Mmm, that's nice honey". In other words, he really doesn't care a whole lot, which works out fabulously well in many situations.
We started out with some Amy Butler towels last weekend. All the solid-color towels were pretty blah, so I decided to go with the big orange print with aqua ends (DH: "Whatever makes you happy, honey"). I expanded to the Amy Butler shower-curtain this weekend. So, as you can see, I am still in my "trying to go bolder" phase... :-)
I will try to make a custom-size bath-mat from one of the towels using some aqua and orange print fabric. I found a bunch of neat tutorials on-line, for example this one or here is a very cute, much more ambitious one at The Moda Bake-Shop (isn't that polka-dot terry fabric just the cutest!?.
(Speaking of cute home-sewn stuff, check out this really neat site - lots of great projects, ideas and free tutorials at Sew4Home.com!)

I am leaving you with some happy summer photos from our front yard. I love the summer season!

Happy Stitching and Talk with You in a Bit!

PS - Wohoo - I made it before the weekend is over - it is 11.44 PM as I post this! Must be a personal best, even though the picture posting process slowed me down significantly... ;-)