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The Mad Stitcher

I’ve had a bit of ADHD lately with my projects.  I’ve been working on four at a time.  :oops:

Here’s the next part of the mystery sal completed:

I also started two projects.  First, Northern Expressions Needlework’s Antique Lace band sampler:

This is stitched on ruby wine linen with HDF’s examplar white chocolate silk.  Since I had to order quite a large piece of linen to get the right length, I had plenty (after I cut it in half) to use the other piece for the Coat of Arms SAL.

This one is using “Obsidian” silk from The Silk Mill.  It’s gorgeous, shiny filament silk — but as slippery as snot.  I quickly learned to use much shorter lengths than usual (for this linen count, I have to use two strands to get the coverage I like).  I feel more worn out after wrestling with the slippery silks, so I might regret my decision to use it on such a large project.  But it’s absolutely gorgeous…

I’m not sure what other colors I’ll be using in the CoA yet.  I want blacks or dark grays that look good on the deep red.  I’ve placed another order from Carrie’s Threads, and as soon as The Silk Mill is shipping again (they’re moving and won’t ship until after 10/1), I’ll order more shades of black.  I’m tentatively thinking that I’ll do each row of the sampler in a different shade of black.  That’ll allow me to explore a bit.

My other project is a small kit with lots of beads that That Man talked me into the other day.  I don’t have pictures of it yet but I’ll snag one the next time I work on it.


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Cross Stitch WiP Wednesday

I was excited to receive the next part of the Mystery SAL! Here it is all stitched up:


Since I’m having so much fun with this one, I decided to sign up for another SAL.  This one isn’t a mystery at all (you can see the glorious red band sampler if you go to the group’s homepage linked above).  The only problem is picking the materials.  I had one piece of 40ct. linen that was long enough, but it had a yellowish cast to it that I didn’t really like for this.  You KNOW I’m going to use at least red silks, maybe black too….so yellowish linen just won’t work.

So of course it was time to do a little shopping.  :lol:

I ordered some Weeks Dye Works 40ct. linen because I’ve heard great things about it.  I went with the basic “linen” color.  Now if I can just settle on which silks to use…

Decisions, decisions!  I have to hurry up and decide, though, because several pages have already been released.

I also have supplies coming for another glorious red project:  Antique Lace Band Sampler designed by Northern Expressions Needlework.  I’ll have to learn some speciality stitches for this one, and it has both beads and ribbons!  Definitely a challenge, but I can’t wait.  It’s just too pretty.

I can’t wait for all these goodies to arrive!

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Cross Stitch SAL Update

Okay, so this was supposed to be a “Wed WIP” but Wed got away from me.  I forgot that I had to actually…you know…TAKE PICTURES to make this post.  Then I couldn’t find the iron.

So here’s the 35-ct Mermaid Blue linen and light blue mystery mini spool from HDF:

It’s hard to tell in these photos, but there’s a lovely mix of soft blue and even a hint of light green in the silk thread.  (Pictures were taken on my iPhone.)

To make sure the dark material wouldn’t drive me nuts, I decided to try a small Ink Circles freebie:

Here’s Part 1 of the Mystery SAL completed!


And here’s a wider shot so you can see more of the fabric. I decided not to try and finish all the border yet to avoid making mistakes that I’ll have to frog later.



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iStitch Mystery SAL

I’m going to be starting a new cross stitch project shortly, and because it’s something new for me, I thought I’d share my progress here every week or so.

SAL = Stitch A Long.  In this case, it’s a mystery SAL – we’ve only been given a glimpse of what the finished project will look like.  There are 8 pieces, and we don’t get the NEXT piece until we finish the current one and send a picture to the designer.  Currently, there are 125 people signed up to participate, and we’ll all be stitching at the same time.  Pretty cool, huh?

What’s even more cool: each project will look very different, depending on fabric and choice of colors. I was thinking about my project tonight, and it both amused and irritated me.  It’s so reflective of my writing journey and personal struggles.

First, I want to do something different, that no one else will do.  Even though we’re all doing the same pattern.

I went through all my stash, reviewing my linen and silks, looking for unusual elements that interested me.  I found a large piece of Mermaid Blue 35 ct. linen I bought from HDF last year.  I love the subtle mottling, but it’s soooo dark.  If you’ve never worked on dark linen before, it can be really hard to find the threads.  Accidentally get off by one thread, and it can look really terrible.

But the designer’s piece is stitched in a nice blue silk, so I kept coming back to the Mermaid Blue linen — sort of an “opposite” idea with blue as the main background.  I have a mystery spool of soft light blue silk that would look gorgeous against the darker linen. It’d definitely be a challenge, and Lord knows I loooove a good challenge.  Sigh.

The first part of the pattern doesn’t come out until Sat. so I decided to do a little test stitching on that dark linen first to make sure I wouldn’t end up pulling my hair out.  I have a little freebie from Ink Circles that I ought to be able to finish in a day or two, and I’m using the mystery spool to make sure it stands out well on the dark linen.  So far, it looks nice like I hoped, but it is difficult to skip around too much — I just can’t see the threads.  These old eyes just aren’t what they used to be. 

I’ll wait until I get the first part of the pattern on Sat. and decide.  If there are lots of skips that I’m going to have to count very carefully, I’ll probably go back to my second choice, some nice Cream 40ct. linen with Paua Abalone silk from HDF.

I’m tentatively planning on posting about my stitching progress on Wednesday, similar to Nicole’s WiP Weds.

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Weekend in Review

Now that spring is here, it seems like we’re “springing”  too.  Saturday, we’d made plans to take Uncle J (That Man’s younger brother) and Aunt BB to my family’s favorite Mexican place.  We’ve been eating at this place ever since I can remember.  It was our reward place after going to the dentist.  Anytime we had to drive north to Kansas City (even last year as we were driving to a funeral) we made plans to stop for lunch or dinner at this restaurant, El Sambre’s in Clinton, MO.

My sister is alive today because of this restaurant.  When she was three, she choked on a chip.  The rest of us didn’t know — we were talking, etc. — but the owner heard her, rushed over, and gave her the heimlich. 

Anyway, we’d talked it up so much to my New Jersey SIL that she was determined to make the 1.5 hour drive north and visit my Dad on the way.  However, they ended up not being able to make it — but that didn’t stop US from going.  Oh, no.  Once we make plans to hit El Sambre, we go!

We met my sister at Dad’s place and we all drove up in our van for a delish lunch and shoe shopping in Clinton.  We spent a little time touring Dad’s current “hobby” — raising quail.  The kids got to hold one that was one day old, and petted some of the older birds carefully held in my Dad’s hands.  Of course no trip to Papa’s would be complete without petting the horses.  He has a lovely vegetable garden started already, which totally made me jealous.  I’m all ready to move to the country.  NOW.  I want chickens and a garden!!

But we dragged ourselves back to “civilization” and rushed over to our other inlaws’ (oldest brother) to see That Man’s parents.  Guess which monster inadvertently sat in dog/cat poop outside?  Yes, that would be Middle Monster.  I swear she did it just so she could change into something out of the bag of clothes her cousin had given her.

Sunday was church early and then a trip to Lowes to pick up weed and feed, etc. for the lawn.  Oh, and laundry.  Tons of laundry.  We still have 2 loads to fold and one waiting to hit the washer, plus the actual lawn work.

We also watched The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (while folding).  I have to say, I’m not a Clint Eastwood fan.  I had a hard time getting into this movie and I just didn’t really care about what happened to any of the characters until at least the last third of the movie.

We tried to watch Zombieland but the NetFlix DVD wouldn’t play for some reason — it was all speckled, even after we cleaned it (and the Western played just fine).

For the first time in a long time, I read in the car instead of writing, and finished Kim Knox’s Breaking Chance.  I took my laptop but didn’t ever get it out of the bag.  Watching the movie, I did a ton of cross-stitch, currently working on The Bramble and the Rose with Old Maid of the Heart silk from HDF.  Oh, and I bought my first Heaven and Earth Designs this weekend (yes, I am totally insane — these are MASSIVE!!):  Calling the Crows.  I just couldn’t help myself.  All that black and red, and the crows…totally made me think of Seven Crows, part of the SFR world I’m building!

I have a huge HDF order on its way, including some perforated paper.  I may try my hand at making a bookmark — and if I can get my meager art skills to cooperate, I may just do one with Maya glyphs on it!  I didn’t realize how hard it is to find cross-stitch with Maya influences.  I do plan to buy Ink Circles’ Mother Maya, but otherwise, I couldn’t find anything with the real glyphs like I wanted.  However, I do have a cross-stitch program I bought from Needleprint, so I’m going to try and design my own. 

If it doesn’t look horrible, I’ll giveaway one here on the blog.

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Handmade Gifts

I’ve totally lost my mind.  Seriously. 

I had planned to make cute little gift boxes and cinnamon ornaments for the monsters’ teachers.  I thought I had a couple of days to do so.  However, I got a note tonight that Littlest Monster’s gift needs to be taken to school TOMORROW.  *dies*  So we made a quick trip to Wal-Mart after the miserable Chiefs’ game and I bought all the supplies. 

First up, we made ornaments out of cinnamon, glue, and applesauce.  It sounded sooooo easy.  In reality, I couldn’t get my dough dry enough.  I went through 3 bottles of cinnamon and finally figured out it was easier to roll out small portions of dough at a time, liberally dusted with more cinnamon.  Since I needed them for tomorrow, I baked them in the oven at 250 degrees for at least an hour.

Meanwhile, I got the monsters started on their boxes.  I bought inexpensive brown boxes and paint.  Yes, I told you I was insane.  Monsters and PAINT?  *dies*  But they did a lovely job.  For the tops, I used small cross stitch pieces I did earlier in the year (the only smart thing in this whole evening).  The linen and silks are both from Vicki at Hand Dyed Fabrics.  The swan and flower are from Ackworth School designs that I picked up at Needleprint, and the heart was a freebie from somewhere.  I pulled out the glue gun and stuffed a little fiber fill underneath to give it a little texture, and then added a little trim.

They’re far from perfect.  The swam one came out the best — because it was the third one I did.  Hopefully the teachers will love them.  Just in case, we also stuffed the boxes with mini chocolate bars.


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Cross-Stitch Monsters

Since I’ve been struggling to focus on the writing front, I thought a creative break might help.  We worked on organizing/unpacking more things out of the garage (so we could finally get the van inside!) and I found two huge containers of cross-stitch supplies.  Suddenly I found myself very much interested in working on something.  This is huge — I haven’t started a NEW project since we moved from MN  about nine years ago (although I did finish several WIPs).

The monsters saw me dragging out all these intriguing materials, threads, beads, and twenty+ years of patterns, and all the sudden they all wanted lessons.  It’s been hilarious, frustrating, and sweet watching them learn to varying degrees.

Princess Monster doesn’t have the patience to sit and read a pattern.  She’d much rather create her own.  She can work pretty much independently.  Littlest Monster wants to try making varying stitches all over her material.  I didn’t try to get her to stay in the holes or follow any sort of pattern–she just had fun picking colors.

Middle Monster shocked me.  She picked out a pretty complicated pattern for a seven-year-old beginner (Gloria & Pat’s Endangered Young’uns–she’s making the cougars).  She sat with me all evening making tiny little squares and learning how to follow the pattern.  She stopped only because she said was starting to get a headache (and Mom needs to go to bed).  She can’t read a pattern all by herself yet, but it won’t be long in coming. 

I’ll post a picture of PM’s own designed piece once she finishes it.  For now, here’s Middle Monster proudly showing off her work, and then a picture of my short wip.  My pattern is a freebie from Ink Circles (my new favorite designer) stitched on black Aida with DMC 115 varigated red.

MM StitchesStitchery