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

Monday, April 30, 2012

Drumroll please....

Huge Congratulations to the 100-Nirvana-Followers-Giveaway winners, Chris from Tot Hill Farm Stitches and Jo from Serendipitous Stitches!!!

About three things that make Chris happy:
"1. I saw the first hummingbird of the season
2. I had some time in the evening to stitch and have Binx sleep on my lap
3. My husband, my best friend :)"
Chris was drawn to win the Sit and Stitch from With Thy Needle and Thread, complete with thread pack!  Congratulations Chris!

And Jo says:
"My three things which make me happy are: My Boys, my online stitching pals and shiny pennies. I work in a bookshop and I love it when we get a new bag of pennies from the bank and they're all shiny and pretty."
Jo is the lucky winner of With My Needle's April Word-Play .

If you send me an e-mail with your addresses, I will send you the new stash ASAP!  :-)
Thanks so much to everyone who signed up for the drawing - you made several of my days!  It was so enjoyable and really inspiring to read about what makes all of you happy!  Happiness really comes in the simplest packages, don't you think?

This week, I am happy about something special that doesn't happen very often.  My parents are coming to visit for 10 days!  The will arrive on Friday evening after a long journey from Stockholm.  This year the weather is cooperating here in Kentucky, so we will have plenty of opportunities to enjoy the outdoors.

Thanks so much again and have a a wonderful week!  I may be able to squeeze in a stitching post later this week, but I foresee a lot of house cleaning in my near future... LOL
Happy Stitching,

Friday, April 27, 2012

The best thing I ever did!

Thanks so much for stopping by today!  I'll show you a quick stitchy-update and after that I will tell you about how I got help to improve my overall health in a pretty dramatic and unexpected way.  I think that many of you will find the read pretty interesting and I definitely think that it is a story well worth sharing.  Maybe my story will give you or someone you know some help, who knows?

Anyway, back to the "important stuff" - stitching!  ;-) 
I finally put the last stitch in the Scarlet Letter shepherdess and actually surprised at how pleased I am with them.  The colors were a bit less exciting than they showed up on the kit cover-photo, but all in all, both of them turned out pretty cute anyway.  (LOL on the sheep/pig/horse... and the black critter is a what..?)
The photo below shows the state before all the hundreds of filling stitches...  I decided to use a riskier strategy and stitched the white critter and the year Assissi style to avoid that the white stitches would be "drenched" in the grass.  It did work out nicely and it also made the actual stitching process a bit more interesting.
The kit came with a dark-blue velvet to mount the pieces on.  I am thinking of trying to find another color velvet.  The thing with velvet is that it doesn't necessarily like to be folded, stuffed into a bag and set on a shelf for a number of years....
The piece I have looks a bit sad now...  The "midnight blue" is also more of a dusty blue and I would like something closer to a gem color, like dark sapphire or emerald.  Any suggestions?  (I know that the "midnight blue" looks black in the photo below.)  I have already decided to do a simple hem-stitching around the pieces and I am actually looking forward to that - I have problems, I know... LOL

I did also finally get myself in gear, looked through my long 2012 WIP list and decided to work on the second Rosenstand bird bell-pull.   There are still many leaves left to stitch on this one, but it is fun and I really enjoy working on it.  The chart is so easy to read, which is a wonderful break after the shepherd and shepherdess.  It is divided into four large pages and the photo belows shows a tad more than a quarter stitched up.  The top-part is the busiest with the "leaf tuft" at the top (I am stitching "center up" and will start on "center down" as soon as the top part is completed).  It will be so much fun to stitch the sweet little bird, so that is something I really look forward to!
This piece and its already finished companion will also be hemmed along the sides before making them into bell-pulls.  After this project is complete, there will be a hemming party at my house... :-)
I picked out a couple of bamboo bell-pull hardware sets to use with these designs - can't wait for these to be done!  I even know where to hang them!!!   :-)
I don't think that I have shown you the companion before, so here it is (should be clickable!):

All right!  On to the health part of this post, so feel free to skip!  :-)
  A few years back I started to feel like I had no energy whatsoever.  I slept badly, it never seemed enough and I was really more passed out than sleeping (I can not recall ever dreaming during this time).  If a colleague so much as sneezed in the same room as I was in, I could pretty much sit back and wait to get sick too and for a really long time - it never failed.  I was eating healthy, exercising regularly (as high impact cardio at least 4 times a week) and I tried to get 7-8 hrs sleep a night.  Yet, something was really not right.

I finally decided to invest in myself and try to get some help.  Instead of going to a doctor that would either give me pills or tell me to change my busy life-style to a slower pace, I went to a holistic medical doctor, recommended to me by a female colleague.  (DH calls her "The Witch Doctor" - LOL)  This doctor is fantastic!  First of all, the doctor was a female, so she could relate to what I was talking about on a whole different plane than any male MD can.
Within meeting her the fist few minutes, she already had a pretty good idea of what was going on.  She told me that I probably had an inflammation in my intestines that had changed my hormone levels, specifically cortisol.  She explained that the change of the cortisol level will affect everything else that goes on in your body - all the other hormone levels will get out of whack automatically, with all the problems that follow.  Furthermore, she explained that she is not a magician, but that this is a really common problem among women and that she had seen it countless times before.

I won't bore you with too many details, but after meeting with my MD about 4-5 times and running a number of (pretty costly, paid out-of pocket) tests through a company called Geneva Diagnostics, it was determined that
- my cortisol levels were completely out of sync with the day rhythm it is supposed to follow.  This explained why I was dead-tired every day at 10AM, but ready to play at 11PM. 
This test is called Rhythm Plus Profile
- the intestinal inflammation was caused by a number of delayed allergies to a vast assortment of foods.  Delayed allergies are just what they sound like, they show up hours or even days after you have  been exposed to the allergen and are there really tricky to pin-point.
The list of foods that I was allergic to was very long and a bit over-whelming at first, but the MD assured me that I only had to carry our detox for 6 months and I would be back to feeling a lot better again.  Just a few examples of things that I was allergic to were (are) corn (this is the one I am very allergic to), cow milk, coffee (this is pretty interesting and may explain why coffee has always made me sleepy rather than perky), sugar, chocolate, yeast, a number of fruits and veggies, all sea-foods including shell-fish, turkey, all seeds, rice, potatoes, and the list goes on.  She informed me that most of her patients do not have the will-power to cut all of the foods that they are allergic to out of their diet, but I did manage stick to it for the half year to come.  It was half a year of not eating out, not eating anything processed, and a lot of time spent reading labels in the store.  (If you think that it is hard to live with gluten allergy, try to buy anything, ice-cream, yogurt, you name it, that is made without corn syrup or corn starch here in the US...  )
This test is called IgG Food Antibody Assessment
- I had about 0% protein in my body and I was told to eat more meat.
This test is called Optimal Nutritional Evaluation or ONE

After the 6 month detox, I did notice some significant and very nice changes:
- My immune system finally got back on track and I could stay healthy - even when co-workers dragged all kinds of stuff in to work
- I had a lot more energy and my sleep pattern started to change - I started remembering dreams, I was awake during the day and I got tired in the evening
- I lost a bunch of weight (not strange, since there was not a whole lot that I could eat)
- My skin improved - finally - after struggling with acne since I was 12!!! more than 2/3rds of my life!  (Lots of heart-ache there, let me tell you...)
- My pain resistance levels went down.  This may sound bad, but in my case, my body could override and "walk off" pains that most people can not function with, which is not a good thing - we are designed to feel pain for a reason.

If you think that this may be something that I may have imagined or changes that were very subtle, I can tell you that I had never ever gotten a compliment on my skin until after I did the detox.  People that I don't really talk with on a regular basis would tell me how nice my skin looked and ask what I had done!
If you feel like I felt a few years back, this may be something to try out.  It is no fun going through life feeling drained, you should not have to live like that if you do! 
Good luck and let me know if you have any questions!

Well, time to start working again.
Take care, have a great weekend and Happy Stitching,

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Cool Stitching

Do you ever feel like using cross-stitch to rebel against all conventions?  You know, like when a large crowd of knitters run up to a bus and cover it in a humongous shawl?  (Pic borrowed from this blog!)

I do, quite often.  Working as an engineer and following (what feels like) 10,000 rules per day, some corporate rules, other rules of science, I sometimes dream about doing the crazy, expressive and unexpected in stitching instead...
I am also a total web-addict and "picture hoarder", so I have been gathering up these links for a while.  I thought that you may would enjoy some "craft outside the box" as much as I do, so here we go.

I found one site that has a lot of various craft anarchy pinned; Urban Thread's blog Stitch Punk.  The name says it all, I think.  Here you can look through pages of really cool and rebellious craft - or rather, craft taken to (post)modern art.  Here are just a few examples:

So that is cool, but here is the stuff that I really love - cross-stitch!
Easter eggs by Forostyuk Inna, the folk master of Luhansk region in Ukraine. Materials used are goose eggs, and acrylic floss.

Or these discarded every-day metallic objects, cross stitched by Serverija Incirauskaite - isn't this just the coolest!?  Now I want to go down to the basement and borrow Alpha-Bunny's drill....

 Her art reminds me of this sweet bracelet by Corina Reitveld (if you live in Europe, you can buy these pre-drilled cuffs from Panduro Hobby - pretty sure that's a Swedish company btw...)

Here are some other neat XS items, iPhone covers from Connect Design.  If you click on the link, you will find a bunch of different covers and patterns that you can use for other stitching adventures as well.

And finally, more traditional but still pretty cool, are the pillows, tea cosies and place mats from the Danish blog Tulipan og Tomater.  Here are some really pretty ways to combine patch-work with smaller XS designs into something useful and really wonderful:
I am guessing that the blog owner buys up bunched of vintage cross-stitch pieces that none wants anymore and she turns them into unique items that she sells in her store or at fairs.  Now, that is a clever concept and right with the times too, reuse, reduce, recycle!  (I am pretty much 100% sure that the butterflies patterns can be found in one of Fremme's old XS calendars.)

Well, that's it for now.  Don't forget to sign up for the giveaway!
Take care and Happy Stitching,

Monday, April 16, 2012

Reporting In! (... after days worth of napping... )

I hope that your Monday was as all right as mine was!  I think that my Monday was so good partly because I have been doing a lot of well-needed resting lately.
In all honestly, to say that I have been taking it easy is an understatement; the weekend was filled with one nap after the other.  As most of you probably agree with, things tend to all bundle up and happen at once and last week was one of those crazy "perfect storm" times.  What was nice was that the vast majority of all the craziness was very good such.  The outcome could not have been better for any of the events either, so not only am I napped out and "bright-eyed and bushy-tailed" as one of my friends always says, but very pleased with life in general as well.

On the other hand, there is not a whole lot of stitching to show off.  I did manage to finish the third part of the EMS 2012 SAL and I "cheated" and worked ahead a bit on the second blue-bell border.  It is turning out pretty, if I may say so myself.  I am a tad nervous about the next assignment, since there seems to be an awful lot of confetti stitching in the flower bunches...  I am really not a fan of confetti...
So, I finally managed to iron the sampler before taking a shot.  Next time I'll try to remember throwing a ruler or something in there, so that you can see how small it really is.  (The pics are clickable, if you'd like to see some close-ups.)
Here is a close-up of the last couple of motifs.  I love the little brown bird perching on the budding rose branch.

I did manage to pull this Scarlet Letter shepherd together too.  This one is stitched over-one and let me tell you, after stitching the green hill that he is resting on, I am done with both green and over-one for a while.  I assume that the critter dancing to the pipe is a dog...or a very small horse..?  LOL
I have started his shepherdess companion, but not gotten very far (as can be seen from the pic below).  I am excited about her, since she has a pretty brown skirt with pink dots on.  I think that she will be cute! 

Finally, here is a framing (gasp! - You know that very rarely happens here.).  This is the Goode Huswife bunny framed in a cheap standard Michaels frame/mat kit.  I added the bunting scrap-booking stickers to the matting to give the arrangement a happier and more spring-time celebratory feel.   He is standing together with all the Easter carrots on my mantel now.... after all that Easter stitching, Easter is not over in our household for a while yet!  :-)

I did take a number of photos of spring flowers in the garden this morning, but I feel another nap coming on, so I'll have to show you those some other time...  ;-)

Take care, Happy Stitching and don't forget to sign up for the giveaway if you haven't already done so!  Oh, and speaking of; thanks so much to the 18 followers who have left comments so far.  Your lists of three things that make you happy are so uplifting!  I have a feeling that I will go back to re-read your "happy" comments many times in the future!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Giveaway Time!

Wow, over 100 followers, I am speechless!  I never even dreamed that could happen back when I started blogging on New Years Day 2011.

Thanks a thousands of times to all of you for following this "just-for-fun" blog!  I am so glad to have met you and I appreciate each and every comment you leave for me!  I get inspired by you every day - I try to keep up with all of your blogs and take a peak at what you are crafting, how you are doing and what is going on in your lives.  Even though I may not always leave a "hi and hello" for you, I am there and I know that the same is true for you!

I may have written about this before, but I am not a real super-duper-happy person in real life.  Don't get me wrong; I would not label myself as a pessimist as much as a realist (spoken like an engineer, I know...).  BUT, I have noticed that since I started blogging, I have gotten happier.  I may even have gotten up-graded from realist to "cautious optimist"... LOL.

Just as stitching has, blogging has pulled me through a couple of less than fabulous times, but even more importantly; it has also given me the opportunity to share thoughts and ideas, joys and wonderful events, content and general silliness (oh, and 15 parrots, 2 bunnies and 1 alpha bunny).  
By writing down and sharing, I have discovered that these positive and fun experiences get reinforced and thus their impact on my life gets even larger. 

The difference between stitching and blogging seems to me that the former is a "solo flight" while blogging is a gigantic cruise with thousands of huts,  each one with it's own party but you are welcome to all of them.  I think that is really cool! 
I believe that this entertaining and interesting TED talk by psychologist Shawn Anchor may explain why I have noticed some positive side-effects from blogging.  Blogging can help cover two out of the five suggested tools to a more positive outlook on life; give three thanks a day and keep a diary.  (Thanks to Hip*Hip*Happy for sharing the video with me!)  However, I do believe that one important tip was omitted; crafting!  I know that for the vast majority of us in the stitching community, stitching has played a major part of our well-being, or what do you think? 
(Oh also, I stopped watching the news years ago.  I may now be a lot more ignorant now than I was in the past, but I am more filled with bliss...)

While we are going down the life philosophy and development path, I have to tell you about a really interesting statement that was made to me a couple of years ago and which I have carried with me ever since. 
One of my colleagues has a girl-friend who works as a life coach.  (I have not really asked her a whole lot about her job, since every time we meet seems to be a formal event, but I am real interested to learn more some day.)  The thing she told me that really stuck a chord is that "we work on developing our strengths during the first half of our lives, while we work on improving our weaknesses during the second half."  I really do believe that this is true!   What do you think?

Well, 'nuf with the blah-blah-blah and let's get on with things - we have much more important items to cover today - giveaway time!!!!
Just yesterday, I stumbled across this really cool design to drool over.  This adorable little piece is called Sit and Stitch and was designed by Brenda Gervais from With Thy Needle and Thread (click for a larger view):
This is what Brenda writes on her blog: "SIT & STITCH is a cross stitch chart for a fun little sewing box chair that you construct from linen-covered cardboard.   The seat cushion lifts up,  revealing a little box  to keep all your sewing needfuls in!  This 9" chair  has a crisply box pleated ruffle and her little wooden legs are old wooden thread spools... how cute is that?   All letters of the alphabet are included so you may personalize your chair!  Also included in this pattern is a sweet coordinating pincushion, complete with cross stitched motifs, old mother of pearl buttons and antique ticking."

I have decided that this chart together with the thread pack from Anita's Little Stitches will be our first prize.  If you are intimidated by finishing work, I will be happy to do it for you (you will have to scrounge up and send over the finishing materials though)!  I have ordered one chart and one thread pack for myself too, so it may be a tandem finish...

The second prize is another With My Needle chart; April Word-Play - the bunny in the cart is just too cute to say no to.
Again, I ordered one for myself too. That bunny needs to live with me!

I hope that all of you find these charts as adorable as I do!

Oh, and give-away rules:
1)  You have to be a follower
2)  You have to leave a comment on this post before the end of Sunday May 29th
3)  In your comment, you have to share 3 things that made you happy today - we wanna' share your joy!

Again, thanks bunches for visiting me today!  That is definitely one of my 3s...   :-)
Happy Stitches,

Monday, April 9, 2012

Happy Easter Stitches

I hope that you had as wonderful of an Easter as I did.  It was very relaxing and we did the usual things - cleaning bird cages and working in the yard in the fantastic spring weather.  

On Saturday, we had our annul garage clean out...  say no more..  Well, I lied - I will keep on talking about it!  I love DH and he is perfect in all ways, with the exception of one.  He can not, to save his life, put away things after he is done with them.  That includes trash!  Needless to say, the annual garage clean-up is not fun.  After it is done, I always say one of those things that many of us have promised ourselves never to say: "Can we keep it like this for a while now?".  Yep, I have turned into my mother and I don't even have kids.  (This year I was a bit crankier and threatened him that I will make him help me sort through my mess in the the stitch room!  He declined... LOL) 

Anyway, the cleanup reminded me about a funny story that a friend told me the other day.  She took her three young sons through the Wendy's drive-through to get them milkshakes.  She was driving her husbands car for the day and he pretty much uses his car as an rolling garbage-can.  For some reason, one of the lids popped off one of the milkshakes in the back-seat, so she pulled into the parking lot to clean up as much of the mess as possible.  As she opens the back door, empty soda-cans and a large assortment of additional trash falls out, whereupon her 5-year old pipes up: "This car is a hoarder!".  Hilarious and what a great excuse!  I asked DH if his garage and my stitch-room are hoarders.  He seems to believe that our mail box is a hoarder, since we keep getting a bunch of packages...  Hmmm

I have no good segue here, so without further ado, here is my finished Easter display.
It feels like I have been looking for a nice dowel-tree or other "non-Christmasy" display tree for ages now.  I would like not to pay $150 and up either, which seems to make the hunt even more interesting (= dragged out).  
The branches I ended up using can be seen as a homage to the traditional Swedish påskris, even though it is pretty much always made up from pussy-willow branches.  We often decorate the branches with painted eggs and dyed feathers.
 A close-up of a few of these neat little designs.  CEC is such a great company and I adore pretty much almost everything they publish.
Have I mentioned before that I love to assemble rounded ornaments?  The curves make finishing really quick and easy. 
If you have not tried it our before, here is how it is done:  Simply cut out front and back from acid-free mat-board (I get mine from Michael's). 
Used the cut-outs as templates to snip out light-weight iron-on interfacing in the same shape for both the stitched piece and your backing fabric.  The interfacing not only gives some additional stabilization to the fabric, but also helps center the design over the mat-board. 
After that, simply stitch a running stitch between your seem allowance and the interfacing (make sure that thread ends on front of fabric/linen).   Pull thread-ends so that fabric snugs up around the back of the mat-board and tie a knot.  Lace piece for an even snugger fit (or if the shape is more complex). 
Pieces are ready for final assembly!
I cheated by hot-gluing ribbon cuts to the back piece.  I found some cool ribbons and stuff at Hobby Lobby, so I had a lot of fun adding the hangers made from plain ribbon together with some extra cuts from ribbon with an interesting structure for the greenery on top of the carrots.
Even better - I found beaded trim!  I had wanted to use beads for my edging, but I wasn't thrilled about the prospect of beading ten ornaments.
Below you can see the result of the beaded trim whip-stitched to the ornament during the assembly step.  I made things easier by adding a glob of hot-glue in the very center between the front and back.  That way, I did not have to make sure that the pieces were properly aligned while concentrating on stitching and there was still give enough between the pieces that I could hide the ends of the trim.  Easy-peasy!

I treated myself to this fabulous wind-chime on Friday.  I am still going through a period in my life where relaxation has ended up being is one of my highest priorities when I have time.  What makes time slow down in a more relaxing way than a wind-chime?  I wish that you could all hear the deep and vibrant sounds generated by this mega chime.  It is gorgeous - like meditation on a hanger!

On Sunday, after a successful cage cleaning session, I finished a sweet little quickie.  This is The Easter Rabbit Sampler by Goode Huswife.  Isn't he cute!?  I think that he deserves framing, so I will have to go searching for that when get a chance.
The inspiration for the design comes form the adorable painting below.  This is one of the earliest American portrayals of the Easter rabbit.  It is a reward of merit completed by Johann Conrad Gilbert (Southeastern Pennsylvania active 1775-1810). With a low estimate of $800-1,200 it sold almost twenty-fold to Winterthur Muesum for $23,700.  You can read a bit more about this sweet delivery bunny  here.

Speaking of bunnies, our Easter beasts are pooped!  Here they are hanging out behind the couch after a hard day filled of naps interrupted only by and munching breaks.  Oh, to be a bunny! 

Take care and Happy Stitching til' next time!