Wednesday, August 26, 2015

August Smalls SAL

As I said earlier, this month has been a little crazier than I expected.  But I DID finish a small - here is "Carpe Noctem" from this year's JCS Halloween special issue.
I'd like to find a small, square frame for this one, since it came out a little larger than I was expecting.  (It is probably about...4 inches square, I'd say?)  I'm glad I swapped the colors around in "noctem," too.

Other than this, I've just been working on those little bird boxes as gifts for my friends - almost done stitching all 4 now, and I have 2 boxes completely put together.  With any luck I'll be able to share a pic of those soon!

A Bit of News and a Pattern Meme

As classes are starting at the college where I work AND we're trying to get everything in order to send a certain Small Human off to kindergarten soon, life has gotten a bit hectic.  I'll have a few pics to post for the Smalls SAL later, but not much else!

DH and I went to an auction this past Saturday, looking for a new dresser...I ended up buying an entire bedroom set for $70 and then sold the bed right there for $20, so I have a new dresser (plus a bonus nightstand and another cabinet that they included, even though it wasn't technically part of the set!) to refinish soon that only cost me $50.  Should be a fun project!  I was excited to get a solid wood dresser...no crappy plastic rails to break.  That 's what happened to the "nice" dresser we bought at the furniture store.  Here's a pic of my finds  -
I also impulsively bid on a basket full of "needlework materials," as the auctioneer put it.  Turned out it was all cross stitch kits, and not too many that were my style - a lot of florals and Victorian street scene sort of things.  But I only paid $10, and I've already listed one or two of them on eBay and gotten enough bids to cover what I spent!  So score!  Oh, and there were 2 pairs of older German scissors in there, too - one pair marked "Klaas" and another with a name I can't remember.  I don't know if they are worth much/anything, but they still deserve a good cleaning and sharpening...

And to bring this back around to stitching, I'm going to play along with Stitch Bitch's fun little chart title meme.  Here are the instructions:"Answer the questions using cross stitch pattern names. The only rule is you would have to choose to stitch the design you pick--if you don't already own it, of course! EDITED: You should just like the chart enough, you're not committing to more work! Don't pick a design you hate because it's got a good title. Clearer?"

Are you male or female? Classic Woman (Lanarte - I think it was part of a kit, but I haven't seen it for sale in years!)
My own photo/finishing
Describe yourself. Marion the Librarian
(photo from Pinterest)
How do some people feel about you? Crabby (Year Round) - according to my mother...
(photo from Daffycat!)
How do you feel about yourself? I Will Always be a Wildflower

Describe your girlfriend/boyfriend/interest. Be Who You Are

Describe your best friend.  Circle of Friends

Describe where you currently live.  Messy....but MINE!

Where would you rather be? Cabin in the Woods

Describe what you want to be. Leaf on the Wind

Describe how you live.  Born to Stand Out

Describe how you love. Gypsy Heart

Share a few words of wisdom. Use What Talents You Possess

Now use a title to say goodbye.  Rest & Be Thankful

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

July Smalls SAL and another auction find

Last month, Heather challenged us to stitch a Christmas/winter-themed small in July.  So I found this little pattern in my stash - "Santa's Helper" by Cedar Hill.  I swapped out most of the colors (I used hand-dyeds for the bag, the tree and the lightest shade of brown on the raccoon), made the tie a lazy daisy bow instead of just a knot, and added 2 little copper beads to the ends of the tie.
It is stitched over 2 on a piece of blue linen from my "mystery" bin - and after trying both 2 threads and 1, I decided I liked it best stitched with just 1 thread over 2.

In other craft-related news,long-time readers might remember a few years ago when my dad found this 1950s-era sewing box for me at an auction.  Well, a week or 2 ago DH and I went to an auction looking for a new dresser.  We didn't find a dresser, but I DID spot this -
And it came home with me for just $30!  I haven't yet had the time or the nerve to try it out, but I'm looking forward to being able to finish the edges of the fabric I cut, if nothing else.

Monday, July 20, 2015

"Any fool can make a rule, and any fool will mind it.”

Starting off Monday with a quote from one of my favorite author/poet/philosopher/tax resister/development critics - Henry David Thoreau.  Last week, in the context of a larger discussion about "Stitch from Stash" and other such organized challenges, Stitch Bitch asked,

what are your self imposed rules for stitching?

And so I started thinking.  I've never done the "Stitch from Stash," thing tracking monthly spending and/or usage.  I stitch what I like when I like.  I know what my budget is/should be, and I see no reason to participate in a group tracking activity.  Lately I've found myself cutting back on the stash purchases, mostly because 1) I'm not seeing things I really like, and 2) when I DO see things I like, I realize that the item under consideration is often very like something I already have (and have not yet stitched).  I've tried tracking my time, and setting goals like, "I will stitch at least x number of hours per day/week/whatever"...but my motivation for such projects usually fizzles out after the novelty wears off.  I've tried assorted "Finish your UFO" kinds of things, too, but I lose interest.  Feeling like I HAVE to stitch on something makes me REALLY not want to, you know?  I will say that the Smalls SAL has been working for me, in part because I don't need to focus on anything for too long!
As for other personal rules, regarding things like backstitching, beading, etc, I don't really have those either.  I often joke that I am a "premature beader" -- I can rarely wait until all the stitching is done to start adding sparklies.  I try to get all the stitches done around where the bead(s) are located, but not the entire piece.
Overall, I just don't stress.  My stash is huge, my UFOs are many, my crafting area is usually in some state of clutteredness that used to bother me but now feels strangely comforting...and so it goes.

We do what we do, because of who we are. If we did otherwise, we would not be ourselves.”
― Neil Gaiman, The Sandman: Book of Dreams

Friday, July 17, 2015

Finished and framed

Picked this up last night from Hobby Lobby (still not a fan of some of their corporate policies, but their framing department is the only local one I trust...).  It is a gift for one of my nieces.


The design is from an older booklet titled "A is for Always," an alphabet collection featuring the drawings of Joan Walsh Anglund.  I remember reading several children's books she illustrated, and both my mother and I thought her characters were rather charming.
The framer kept trying to use a wood/brown frame with this, but I insisted she try the green metal one.  After I left it, I started second-guessing myself, but I'm glad I didn't go back!  I think this works perfectly, and keeps the darker colors from being overpowered by a dark frame.  (Don't mind the plastic - since it has to be shipped, I didn't bother taking it out of the package.)

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Color Issues

So, because I am impetuous and stitch what and when I please, I started "Carpe Noctem" from the 2015 JCS Halloween special.

Model on left, mine on right
Now, I'm not pleased.  You see the progression of orange/brown colors in "Noctem"?  That is the "t" on the green to the right.  Is it just me, or do the colors in mine look completely wrong?  I've checked and double-checked the chart, and I've stitched it as it is charted....so maybe the key is wrong.  I think I need to frog that out and swap the colors around.  Thoughts?

Friday, July 10, 2015

Things that go "bump" in my wallet

I never learn.

Having been home with a kiddo that had a gross stomach virus, I was feeling the need to indulge in retail therapy.  And, woodencha know, the special Halloween issue of Just Cross Stitch is available online!  So click click click, I own it.
I am once again reminded of how little I like the changes to JCS.

Blah.  There are only a handful of designs I like enough to stitch, and a couple of those are reminiscent of designs from previous years.  I printed off the "Carpe Noctem" bat (although I will NOT be stitching it on a t-shirt -- what is it, 1985 again?) and the "Boo" blocks, just because for $10 I figured I should stitch something from the issue.  But ugh.  There is just too much that I do not like - and I shouldn't be surprised, with design names like "Spooky Hollow Quilts," "Halloween Bouquet," "Victorian Halloween," and a couple others that just aren't my style.  It felt like everything was one extreme or another - tons of backstitching and shading to create not-quite-realistic weirdness, or way too primitive for my tastes.  Also, I'm not a big fan of the turn toward "bright and bold" colors that designers seem to be using lately.  Even that blue owl on the cover is a little too freaky for me.

Of course, I'm totally fine with a "to each their own" attitude, and I do hope others find things they like here!

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Up Next

...Family Treasure III.  Sadly, I was only able to grab a blurry picture with my cell phone this morning...
And again with the color changes!  Eeesh.  I worked on this for about an hour last night, and it seemed like all I did was cut threads and change needles.  Two stitches of green here, two over there, switch to red, then to pink, lather, rinse, repeat.  Ah well.  I'm always thrilled with the finished product, so I suppose I should stop grumbling about the process.  As I'm working on this, I find myself wondering if the fabric is just a wee bit too light?  Hmm.  It is not the fabric called for in the instructions, but it was what was available to me at the time (and affordable).  The white gets a bit lost, but I think part of that is a shortcoming of the photographer.  In person, I've added beads to the white border, so that adds some dimension.

I also started my small for the month - Heather challenged us all to do something Christmas-y, so I pulled Cedar Hill's "Santa's Helper" from my stash.
But of course, mine will look almost nothing like this model pic!  I was missing one or 2 of the DMC colors called for (and how THAT is even possible, I don't know), so I swapped in some hand-dyeds.  I'm also using blue linen from my "unknown count/color" bin.  When I'm done, I may put the pattern up for grabs here if anyone wants it, so keep watching this space if you are interested.