Thursday, August 27

Throwba... Oh wait, I have a "finish!"

I've been neglecting this blog again, but then again, I've been neglecting a lot.  I blame it on the nice weather.  There are so many things that can get done outside right now.

But I finally(!) finished the next installment of the RR I'm working on.   I've said before that I'm one of the stalled spots, but it looks like I will un-jam, soon!

I already have charted out my next bit for the next RR (I was actually halfway done with it when I realized how much I hated the colors - oops!).

In the meantime, I finished Lynne's RR - she included books with blackwork and Assissi designs to choose from if we were "stuck", and I found something PERFECT, but the shop owner/designer was "on vacation" (on Etsy), and as long as I procrastinated, they still haven't come back, so I went back to the googling-board and found and adorable Blackwork Wine Bottle piece by Cotton Season on Etsy.

The cobalt blue is ThreadGatherer's SNC Texas BlueBonnet... because Texas, and it's the color of the local meadery's bottles (I tend to mead it up much more in the winter, when I warm up their Spiced Apple and chase away the chills from me bones).

The green is Bejeweled from Crescent Colours, and has a lot of variation to it.  It reminds me of the prettier green bottles that some of the red wines (my usual go to) come in.

The red is Vikki Clayton Dragon's Blood, so that it actually looks like the red wine that lives in that green bottle.

And the aqua is DMC (3766? Gah, it's written somewhere) because I didn't have an overdye/silk/whatever that was the right color to represent Vinho Verde, which is the bulk of the white wines I drink.

Because the pattern was a little tall, I chopped off the stem of the glass and everything at that level.  I actually was super happy with that idea, because I use stemless wineglasses at home, so it continues to be more "me."  I added another row just to keep the relative dimensions right.    I shortened the necks of the bottles (except the Vinho's) to also help keep the proportions straight.

Blackwork Design by CottonSeason Finished 08-26-2015
I have a hard time with blackwork, for some reason, and I spent a lot of time frogging.  Once I could figure out a good pattern (like working the green in vertical rows, or working the circles in rows in the blue bottle), I did a lot better, but it did take me a bit to get rolling.  I'm very happy with the outcome, though :)

And of course, when I went looking for this pattern in Etsy, I run across an adorable Blackwork pattern of wine glasses I think I need.  Hah!

And just for fun, I'm throwing some pictures in of what I'm really working on right now - the Murphy bed I want to put in my lady cave.   Essentially, I will be building the bed & the cabinet as separate pieces, taking them back apart (well, some of it anyway) and staining it, putting the components back together, and then assembling the two pieces together in place.   So far I'm *almost* done with the bed.  I have to put the panels on the bottom of the bedframe (the panels will face you when the bed is closed) and then start staining that.   While those are staining/drying/whatevering, I'll assemble the cabinet (The part that the bedframe folds into) so I can stain that.   With the limited space of a one car garage, I'm trying to do this in serial so that I'm not bumping into myself constantly.

This is my set up before I really get started.
I cheated and had the lumber place cut my wood for me ;)
My requisite "I work better when lubricated with alcohol"
Though, really, I was too hot and busy to actually drink anything.
The frame all done.  It just needs the plywood/veneer face panels put on.

And Mona being ladylike... just because.

Thursday, August 6

Late Late-July WIPocalypse

Oooh!  I haven't had one of these for a while... but I have progress!

Last WIPocalypse (March!), this was Celtic Ferret:

I had just started filling in the gold in the neck and had done a bit of the brown in the fore-arm.

And here he is now:

I took him with me to a GTG and pretty much just worked on him because it was mindless and I wouldn't mess anything up while I was talking, laughing, or engaging in any other shenanigans.
I finished all of the arm cream and brown, the rear leg brown, and got a lot done with the fill in.  I'm pretty confident I'll be able to finish him this year.   He's been my go-to easy stitch whenever I don't feel up to a challenge (which seems to be all the time these days ;) )

And here is the before for Thanksgiving Fairy by Mirabilia (technically not part of WIPocalypse, but really should be):

I finished the outlines in the other colors and just need to fill out the lightest purples, get the beading in and I'll start moving up the dress to the head... I always seem to do these fairies the same - below waist then above waist/head then wings.
(and I won't go into how much I hate the change to google photos editing, oh well).

Since that was my first WIPocalypse since March(!), I'll get caught up with the other months' questions, too.

April: Which specialty stitches do you love doing on projects? Which do you dread?

I love specialty stitches in general.  I actually adore french knots, which everyone seems to hate.  The only stitch I really hate is backstitching.  I think I'm not alone in that one.

May: I would like to know if you look for LNS’s when you travel. What is the favorite shop you’ve ever found?

Yes.  Always.   I've even been poking about the DC area (though I don't consider that "travel"), and I'm threatening to go to one in SC next time I need to go down to Charlotte.   So far my favorite is Stitcher's Paradise in Las Vegas.  They're SO well stocked, really nice, and have a fantastic fabric room.  I love those ladies!

June: Do you find yourself more productive with stitching in summer or winter?

Definitely in the winter.   When it's cold I don't seem to have as many activities going on, and I'm not doing as many house projects.  Just sitting on the couch, bingewatching TV or movies and hanging out.  The holidays help, too!

July: Reality or Fantasy. Which do you prefer to stitch? Figures or Abstract?

Fantasy.  Abstract.  I love bugs and fairies and (nevermind the Mirabilias), for the most part, non-human subjects or patterns (samplers, mandalas, etc.)

July 31 – Topic: What makes you pick up a long-abandoned UFO rather than beginning a new piece? 

Honestly, it's looking at pictures, especially online, especially other bloggers.   I think that's why I've made my own blog so image heavy.  I like looking at things that I'd like to get back to - seeing progress by others is a HUGE, HUGE motivator, and just looking at mine, the progress in the past, where I'd like to go, and what made me fall in love with it in the first place.   Although I adore having readers and commenters, I have this blog for me, to keep me going and keep me motivated and see my progress.  

Thursday, July 30

#TBT - Shroomhilde

Shroomhilde is a design by Terrence "Terry" Nolan of Dimples Designs fame.   While I adore his WeeBeasties (which I should probably get around to posting), he also had a few other small series.    This one was part of the Shrooms, of which I think there were four (Magic of Mother's Love, Mushroom Tabernacle Choir and The Bride and the Shroom).   I thought they were all adorable, but Shroomhilde was the only one that spoke to me enough to stitch.

And if I recall correctly, I really did enjoy stitching her.    There are a lot of silks involved, and more than a few beads, and it was just fun.

A lot of the time I was stitching her, I had Kill the Wabbit running through my head, keeping myself pretty entertained.

The border was stitched in Waterlilies, if I recall correctly, with kreinik back stitching, and was very pleasant to stitch on that 32ct Platinum Linen (not the kreiniks... never the kreiniks!).

The Valkyrie horns on her shoom cap kept cracking me up.  I loved the spear and the shield.  I love the gill ruffles around her neck.  Seriously, the detail on this is just too fun.

A close up of some of the silks and backstitched kreinik.  I do remember not being very enthused about all of that backstitching with metallics.   But it was too pretty to not incorporate.

Confession:  I did not realize that she was wearing armor/a breastplate at first.   To be honest, at first glance I thought her bosom was actually paws.   I had a few people laugh at me pretty well over that, but I still don't feel all that embarrassed about it.

The beads!  So cute. I liked how the beads accented this piece, but did not overwhelm it.  Sometimes they can do that, but this was just right - from the ridges in her stalk to the swirl in the background.   It does go very well with the piece overall.

Hrm.  I think I know what piece I'd like to have framed next now.

She was finished on June 21, 2002.  I know I picked her up at a stitching show, though I can't remember which one. I know I didn't stitch on her there, but in my favorite apartment where I lived in Houston.  She was pretty quick, lots of fun, and I still adore her.

Wednesday, July 29

#WIPWednesday - I have a WIPWednesday!

It's not much, really, but it's better than nothing!

We are part of four households that host a game night on Tuesdays.  Last Tuesday was our night to host, but I went home early with a migraine (I think it was weather related, because coincidentally I could not get a hold of my supervisor to tell her that I was going home early with a migraine, because she had already gone home early with a migraine).

I had crashed out and woken up at 6:15ish (people start showing up at 6:30), and I was trying to get tea, drugs, etc downstairs before people showed up for game night, letting my partner give out my excuses (I'm a coward, but it feels weird to say "hi, I'm up and about, but I don't want to game with you guys").

I wasn't quite ready to crash back out, and one of the very few things I can do with a migraine is stitch (if the light's right).   I wanted to work on Thanksgiving Fairy, but realized she was downstairs.  And I definitely didn't want to go downstairs and say "yeah, sorry, I have a migraine, and I can't play with you guys, but I'm totally going to work on crafts," so I needed to start/work on something else.

So I grabbed Desert Sunset II, because it's small, took no brain power, and was kitted up already.
It's an older design by Fireside Originals, and this is what it'll look like finished:

But here's where we are  now:

It came as a partial kit - there are three different custom overdyes in it for use in the sky when blended with DMC/Anchor.  No name brands, no getting extras if I run out, so luckily I hadn't lost any of the threads and hopefully I will have some left overs for when I pass the pattern along so the next stitcher can color match at some level.    I started at the top left of the design, because I'll put Sunset I on there as well.

It calls for Feather Blue (? something like that) aida, which is what I did Desert Sunrise with back in the day; this is the closest evenweave I could find, and while definitely greyer, it should work fine.  I want to keep the size consistent so that I can have all 3 framed together.

Tuesday, July 28

Future's Vision - framed! And a tale of framers.

So first off, I got Future's Vision framed.  It's one of my favorite pieces and it's already up on the wall in the lady cave.   I decided to test out a new framer (more about that later), but here it is...

I totally forgot the non-glare glass, so I had to go with extreme angles because there's a nice big window with a lot of light that was reflecting all over the place.  The mats are the colors from the sky and the star, and the frame has a lot of red which brings out the colors in the bricks.

I definitely loved this frame for this piece.

When we were trying out the colors of the mats, I told the framer that I wanted it over the edge of the design, up to the backstitched outline to the whole frame of the piece.  He said he didn't recommend it, and we looked at mats with more space around the piece, and then he framed it up to the edge anyway.  Which.  Ok, I think the yellow should have been a little brighter then, but whatever, I'm still OK with the color.

I'm mostly happy with it.
And this guy advertised on his website that he frames needlework, and when I was chatting with him, apparently it had been his proverbial bread and butter through the 80s and 90s, tapering off in the last 10 years or so.  So he obviously must know what he's doing right?

Which is why it kinda caught me by surprise to find out that he did most of the pieces dry-mounted.

Wait.  What?  I even asked him about lacing/pinning, etc.  No, he dry-mounts small pieces and tapes larger ones.

So I'll never be back there.

Since Nick (the guy that I had frame my other pieces last year) is retiring/has retired, I figured I'd look into local framers.   This guy, well, he was someone I found while googling, specifically looking for needlework framers, and when a Groupon showed up for his shop, I figured it would be a good time to go ahead and try him out.   So at least I got it at a "discount", but I still think he was pricey for what I got.

I have used two other framers in the area, but not for my needlework.  I have plenty of smaller pieces to try out, and they did a great job with some of my other stuff, but now I'll have to put them to the cross-stitch test.

I've heard several stitchers (online) use one of the local framers.  They're a small chain (SC, NC, VA, I think?) and I've liked the several things of mine they've framed.   They've done two small prints and the photo of my grandparents' wedding.  They were even nice enough to use the original mat that the photo came with:

The other framer is a guy that owns a franchise?  He's really nice, and he's actually an artist, so he's really good with color while letting me express my own ideas if I have something I really want.   He's done two prints (one of them several feet long), and my other grandparents' wedding photo (the original tinted). 

He is REALLY good at preservation work (old letters, photos - he's shown me the stuff he's done), so I kinda want to take my stitching to him, wholesale, but I have to test run him.  I'm sure he'd be more amenable to actually learning the correct way to frame needlework since he's an actual artist.  But, the downside is that he's expensive.  

So, yay for getting something framed.   Boo for having something not framed well (boo to myself for not asking better questions first).  I'm not going to take it apart, it's not like it was the best piece in the world and I doubt it's going to become any sort of heirloom anyway.  I'm happy enough with it for me (I still have a couple of early things framed on sticky mat).

Soon I'll have something test run at the Expensive-but-I-love-him framer.  Maybe even my Immaculate Hart.

Too bad the French Knot is out of business, I really liked the framing they did for me.  They closed before I had a chance to take any needlework to them...

framed by The French Knot

Monday, July 20


So I did no stitching this weekend.  I drove to Ikea, which is about a 2 hour drive (each way), and I figured that if I left at around 9, I'd be back by 2... only I didn't get back til 5, because there were a couple of pitstops (one of which was dress shopping for an upcoming wedding!)

So without a TUSAL, IHSW, or WIPocalypse update this month, let me present to you the (mostly finished) LadyCave.

I'm too lazy to gif, so here are a series of updates, I thought about making an animated thing, but lazed out.

Of COURSE I didn't clean before taking a picture, I wanted the afters to look as awesome as possible! Here it is as the spare room/craft room/guest bedroom/"OMG, look at all of that crap" Room!

First I painted with the "Thunder" paint that I've fallen in love with. It's a Greige that is very color changy, depending on the light.  Sometimes it's a blue toned grey, other times it's beigey, and sometimes it gets so light you cannot distinguish it from the white trim or ceiling!

The point of no return :)

Day 1: Ready for the floors

The end of the first day; I was so tired from running up and down the stairs I basically just sat in the closet and stayed there for probably an hour.  I had boxes of flooring upstairs and down, with the saws downstairs in the garage.  I would measure, run downstairs, cut the planks and then bring them upstairs, and continue with the full length boxes that were upstairs.  It got rather tiring after a while.

 Finished the second day.   I did not get a picture of the shoe molding I also put in (white like the trim, I very much dislike the wood colored shoe, because it looks like the floors are creeping up the walls to me!).

So next was the furniture.  I had a desk that I really liked from Ikea, because I love their expedit line, but the desk was too large, so the desktop portion is now a table that sits above Mona's crate, and the expedit unit is used in the closet for clothing storage.  I decided to go with 2 Kallaxes (the new expedit) and I would use the Kallax as one desk end support and adjustable legs on the the other.

I had extra Capita legs, so I mounted the 2x2 using that to have extra space underneath:

The curtains are mounted really high and move easily (I wanted to have plenty of curtains to darken the room for guests, and I have the desk forward enough and the cords oriented that they won't get in the way of free movement) and they're bright mulberry colored (Ikea called them "lilac"), which pops nicely with the room colors (I'll have to get a better shot).

The table/desk in the middle of the room needs to go, I just hate to let that glass go.   And of course, I'm not quite done with the room yet.  Hopefully everything will have a home (or as an anti-clutter keynote speaker I heard earlier this year says "everything will have an address").

The mattress is my placeholder for my murphy bed.   The table/TV in the corner are just living there until I figure out where they'll be permanently, all of my art and stuff is not hung yet, and all of my genealogy stuff is in bins next to the desk (on the other side of the steelcase chair that I need to refinish/reupholster).  You can see my laptop on the desk in front of the window - I can see the bird feeders from there!

Shelves will eventually go on the wall where the TV is sitting.  I don't want to install them until I figure out exactly where the Murphy bed is going.  Since it needs to be attached to wall studs, I don't want to kill myself getting the shelves up only to have to take them down again.  The shelves will hold my work binders (from classes, development training, regulations, etc.) and probably some of my genealogy books and binders, freeing up the Kallax slotsWhen the room is done, I'll start the Genealogy Do-Over and spend time on that.  But I'm so excited! A nice LadyCave and multipurpose room!  I have a friend staying over the weekend after next, so I'll have to make up the bed on the floor, but I should be getting the wood to start building the bed next week. Huzzah!

Here's a shot of the closet (so far).  Not everything is in there yet, but most of it is.  I have an old Expedit that I use in there that holds a lot of crafting stuff - magazines, fabrics, WIPs.   Next to it is my filing cabinet with most of my patterns, on top of that is a stack of organizers (usually used for nuts/bolts/etc) that I have labelled all of my DMC in.  My new specialty fibre box is on top of it, and I have one of those hanging clothes organizers for my pre-cut fabrics.  On top of the shelf is where my kits/fabric/etc are.  I'll probably re-arrange that, but for now it's keeping everyone out of the way.

I had bought the shoe organizers back when I was renting a room (when I first got to NC) because there was no closet storage, and now I use them to hold fabric or other crafting stuff (empty storage bags, knitting needles, etc - the one on the right is actually holding gloves, ear muffs, etc).   They're so useful I've never gotten rid of them.

And here's a shot of my thread organizer.   I need to get another one - once I added in more stuff, I'm out of space.  I'm thinking of separating out my silks and Rainbow Gallery cards into another bin.

I didn't do them alphabetically, but in the order of my frequency of use.

And, because I didn't do like the Twisted Stitcher did - giving each file card a letter, I left a lot of empty spaces between cards so I wouldn't have to re-do them if I buy a new thread or three now and again.

Organization and progress!  By the time Summer is done I'll have the room complete, and I'll be ready to get to work on my studies (I'm planning on going back to grad-school in the spring) and genealogy and other good stuff.

Having a room where I can quietly practice yoga is my favorite part, but having a room where I can do anything I want in peace is super nice, too.

Thursday, July 16

#TBT - Sue Hillis

I thought I'd throw in the three pieces I did when I started stitching again in NC.  I did these in late 2010.   I really liked these and I need to get them displayed.

When I first arrived in NC in 2009, I went to a get together started at the Lazy Daizy, a cross stitch shop in Raleigh.  I met with a few stitchers I had met online through the years (and ones I had met in real life, before hand, too!).  We also went to the French Knot, which was a needlepoint/framing place closer to the Arena.   I picked up a few charts, got a few threads for some pieces I fully intended on stitching, ate some lunch, and had good times.

I picked up a few little Sue Hillis charts - I love her post-stitches series.    One was "Burnt to Perfection", which is part of her pirate series (which I'm in the process of getting all of, because they're so freakin' cute), and the other was Wine a Bit.  I finally got around to them over the holidays in 2010.

Burnt to Perfection - I did this one as charted, and I stitched it on 25 ct ivory evenweave.   It think it was some of the last dregs of the 25ct I initially bought in 1996 when I purchased everything for TW's Castle Sampler (the start went badly, so it's been slowly gobbled up over time).

Finished 1/1/2011 - Happy New Year!
I really want to get this framed (with glass) to hang over the stove.  I know the charm is a little gas grill, but hey, you don't need open flames to make something... toasty.

Wine a Bit was started as a gift, which I then decided to keep for myself (haha!), and it was stitched not-quite-as-charted.  I subbed red and green overdyes from my stash for all of the red & green floss (as in, I used one red overdye instead of the however-many threads called for, ditto for the green).  I'm rather happy with how it came out, especially in the lettering.

 I have an entire wall decorated with wine labels (and wine labels decorated through out the house in other areas, too), but I was thinking of making this one into a flat-fold to put on my wine rack.   I'm not going to lie - every time I look at this, I get fixated at  how well my initials came out.

Both of these were really fun to stitch, and they always remind me of what a nice welcome I got here in NC.

Hopefully the next time I post, it will be with the next RR installment!   I had to cancel my plans for tomorrow night (well, rather the event filled up before I could sign up), and I think I need a break from the LadyCave, so stitching to a movie sounds kinda nice - of course, that could turn into playing Assassin's Creed pretty easily.   The LadyCave is coming along and I can't wait to get it a bit more organized to share pictures, I'm pretty close to the end of the second game.  I'm getting closer to finishing LadyCave, but I spent Saturday at a friends' place, helping the wife put in flooring and stuff so we could surprise the hubby with a new office when he came back from an out of town trip (total success!).

For this weekend, other than LadyCave work (driving the 4+ hour round trip to Ikea) and relaxing, I will hopefully have lots of stitching time.  It's getting a bit toasty out there, so I don't really want to do anything strenuous (I think driving to Ikea would be it).   Next weekend I'm at the beach for a wedding, and the following weekend, my best friend is in town for the Mead Festival!   Although, since LadyCave is also the guest bedroom, maybe I should work on that!