Wednesday, March 4


So there's not much in the way of stitching this week (or probably next), because other "works in progress" are taking place about ye olde humble abode.

So this is my WIP Wednesday.

From this:

To this - all opened up to the right, framed in and ready to mud/paint/etc.

The rest of the drywall is actually up, I just need to finish the mudding (which I've discovered I'm terrible at, but closet, so I don't think it really matters).   The closet was expanded from 2 1/2 x 3' to 6 1/2' x 3'.  FOUR EXTRA FEET.  I will never understand why they didn't initially expand the closet more (it's under the stairs, there was nothing there).   I'm glad that I'll have a space to hide my craft stuff in when company is over (right now that tends to be behind the "reading chair" in the corner).  And we could have expanded the closet further (I initially only wanted to put in a little niche about 18" deep), but I have a wine rack that I'll be sticking up against that short wall, and it's the perfect height there (so bottles don't fall out of the back).   We even wired in a closet light (LED!) with a switch - so fancy!

Most of our furniture is in the garage (I have to park in the driveway!?! Oh the humanity!) in preparation for new flooring over the weekend (aka: why I wanted to expand the closet now:  So the flooring is consistent).  And I have nefarious plans for the guest bedroom (if I can get away with it, think craft room cum yoga studio... think murphy bed!!!).

I'm also toying with the idea of marking some of the home renovation posts as private (with a password), just because I do worry about privacy, though I do my best to keep everything pretty tame (not much personal showing).   But there are plenty of weirdos out there, I know, I have had to deal with a stalker in the past.  If I go that route, I'll make sure to mention it before I do, and share the password with any interested blog friends.

What I am looking forward to is writing up a post showing off some of my organization.  I've put all/most of my finished pieces in portfolio albums, inspired by a friend who was inspired by this blog post.   I have 5x7, 8x10, 11x14 and 18x24.  

I also have the awesome BONUS!  of having a groupon pop up for the local framer I would like to try out for my cross stitch.  Hopefully it means the beginning of a long and beautiful relationship ;)

And, I just read Twisted Stitcher's way of storing specialty threads which I'm going to adapt.  I don't have as many as she does;  they currently are few enough to live in a single photo box.   I downloaded an app to start cataloging threads, and I can catalog and organize at the same time.  I'm thinking of color coding the thread manufacturer and then alphabetizing them from there (the only shame there is that I have oodles of the standard green pendaflexes and could cheap out on it, which means maybe just using colored tabs?).   Currently, each manufacturer is on a jumbo binder ring and the threads are already alphabetized, so switching systems won't take too long, but I really like the idea of not having to dig through the box.

I'm so excited for all of the changes, but also pretty exhausted over all of these changes.

Saturday, February 28

D.E.S.I.G.N. February - Cloudsfactory

As it's 2AM here, it's technically March, but I'll just roll back the publication by a couple of hours, because it's still February on the West coast! hah

I am featuring Cloudsfactory this month, because I'm enjoying their 2015 Mystery so much, and they're fairly new to me.

I started seeing the adorable egg-shaped characters in some on the Facebook cross stitch groups I joined.    The first ones I noticed were the Harry Potter designs that people had stitched or were working their way through - particularly a really humungo pattern with most of the notable characters.

And then I saw some other cute ones - Star Wars, Sherlock, other pop culture and geek references, so I decided to check them out.

And they have a lot of adorable charts.   I know the little eggs aren't everyone's cup of tea, but they are cute, and I have already added the Star Trek series characters to my wish list (TOS and TNG will, of course! be first).  But even better, they have one of my favorite movies represented - Young Frankenstein!

There's definitely tons to like from a geek like me.   Final Fantasy!  Seriously, I think I spent a day on the site just adding things to my wish list  (Game of Thrones!  Smurfs!  Metallica!  Cthulhu! Babylon 5!   All the things! ) ;)

They do have more than just the sci-fi/fantasy geekery, there are pieces that represent different countries and cultures, sports teams, Disney princesses, scientists, just a ton of fun things.

Cloudsfactory produced a fantasy creatures calendar mystery for 2014, so towards the end of December I was seeing a few of those finished, and the fun, geeky pieces really appealed to me, even if they aren't something I would normally stitch.

I can see them making fun little gifts for people, and, well, they are just so damn cute.

I am SO looking forward to the next installment of the Zodiac sampler, which should be released tomorrow.   One more step closer to Aries, too!

So there's a fun "new to me" designer that I just discovered a few months ago.    I know these aren't everyone's cup of tea, but I love how whimsical and easy they are.   There are plenty of non-egg patterns, though these definitely make up the bulk of the catalog.  They're sweet  and even give me a chance to make gifts for people that won't cost me nearly the labor something major might, and I won't have to worry about spending 100 hours making something I don't like nor care about (especially for my all of my unfortunate Dr. Who fan friends - :P )

Friday, February 27

Throwback Thursday - The Sorcerer and Sorceress

I know it's a day late, but yesterday was a snow day, which means uber hard work, because not a lot of employees made it in, so we worked our tails off (I sweat through my clothes - ew!)

But I'm here with my TBT!

Two pieces, because they complement each other; they are oldies, but goodies!.

The first one is The Sorcerer, a small kit by Dimensions that I stitch in 1999.   I framed it using a sticky board (I didn't know how bad they were at the time, but hey, it's not like this is an heirloom piece, so I don't mind!) and a frame from Michaels.   Oddly, it's a non-glare glass, so it is slightly mottled, but it's nice for taking a a face-on picture.

This piece has hung in every place I've lived since 1999.  The apartments, the duplex, the houses, the townhomes.  Every single one.

I used all kit materials, and I had fun with the french knots.   I remember sitting on the floor pillow that my grandma made for me, in my little efficiency apartment in Houston.   I was working my first "adult/real world" job with MD Anderson and spend a lot of time either on my computer with the TWBB, on mIRC, or just sitting on the floor (or in the papasan) stitching.    It was a special (if poor ;) ) time.

A couple of years later, I saw the Sorceress kit at Michaels, too, and decided to finish it as a companion piece for the Sorcerer.    It has always hung above/below/besides the Sorcerer, though I was bummed that I couldn't find the same frame.   I don't feel the need to reframe them to match, though.

Unfortunately, it's nice and shiny glass, so harder to get a direct picture of.   I used all kit materials again, and she was finished 3/6/2001, after I started keeping a diary for my cross stitch pieces.   By this time, I was still at MD Anderson, but in a nicer apartment with an actual hand-me-down couch! I actually used my floss storage system for end tables.

As a total aside,  I was crazy jealous of the framing (SoCal) Debbie did of the finished pieces last year that she was giving to a friend.

So that's this week's TBT.  
Here's a shot of what I was driving through to get to work yesterday - it's a lot better now (except for the ice), but a lot of trees are still snapping and coming down.  I hope my friends get power back today.  I'm in North Carolina - I'm not supposed to be dealing with this! (if the state of the foliage is any indication, we shouldn't have to deal with this very often!)  I'm looking forward to tomorrow - no matter what the state of the roads or weather, I don't have to go anywhere if I don't want to!

Wednesday, February 25


No Mira updated this time around, but I got a few lengths in on Ferret Knot.

Monday, February 23

TUSAL & IHSW - February edition!


Two SALs in one weekend!   And I did stitch for almost the entire weekend (except for the part where we did leave the house to pick up the flooring, because it looked like Sunday would be the nicest day for quite a while.   But what a super productive stitchy (if not anything else) weekend :)

As I mentioned, I had finished the frame for the CloudsFactory mystery sampler.

At least I was smart enough to mark the first circle.
My camera phone (because I'm perpetually too lazy to bother with a real camera) is having a heck of a time getting the colors on this right.  It really doesn't want to pick up the pink, and it always makes the fabric look lighter than it really is (usually making it look like denim).   Of course, if I bothered to take a picture in daylight, that might help, but I won't stress it until I am going for a completed pic.

Next, after a few DS9 episodes, I had the January installment, Capricorn, done -

See what I mean about the fabric?  Always different in just about every picture.   The camera also seems to want to autocorrect in favor of making the whites blinding, too, which I can find with the limited editing picasa-web gives me, but whatever, not worth fussing over, I think.  Feh.

I think this is going to be the cutest sampler.  A representation of the zodiac "critter" will be in the outer ring, in all of it's CloudsFactory adorableness, the constellation representing the sign in the  middle, and the symbol will be in the foundation frame.   It looks like planets will take up the center.   Along with the actual goaty-capricorn, pansies, which are the sign's flower is also in there.  So cute.  I am definitely happy I decided to go ahead with this mystery.

I watched OH play Ni No Kuni (while listening to Graham Joyce's Some Kind of Fairy Tale), and finished Aquarius (with his orchids), too (what?  caught up on a mystery!  wonders!)

I love that "nebula" like motif to the right of Aquarius - The outer ring is stitched in "Bethlehem" which might be my new favorite overdye. We have a choice of stitching the large stars as Algerian or Smyrnas and I've chosen Smyrnas.   While I ordinarily love eyelets, I was not feeling them for this piece.

 I did a little counting and design spit-balling for my RR.  I've already got the pattern that's probably going to be my inspiration.   So I did, in fact, hit that goal/plan, too.

And then, instead of worrying about FS or ES (I'm starting to think it'll be ES next), I fell back into Celtic Ferret Knot and filling it in.   I did not use the colors called for (DMC, and not very pretty DMC at that), and one of these days I'll pull the original colors to show off what I changed them from.  I used the picture as a guide when I bought the overdyes for the pattern I decided I wanted to use.   I am very pleased with how this piece is coming out, and I have a feeling I'll just keep this one out and finish it up first.

This is the part where I decided I was super happy.   The brown/tan/cream are more subtle with the overdye, and the gold shows off the variation more, I love the effect.

I'm using GAST Oatmeal (off white), Lambswool (cream/tan) and Dark Chocolate for the browns and WDW Whiskey for the gold.

And this is where I ended last night, with a shot of the cover model for reference.

It's actually kind of fun - just loading up the needles (I do three at a time) and stitching away without having to refer to the pattern.   There are a couple of charting errors I've caught as I fill in, and I'll fix them (the wrong symbol, I think - it doesn't appear in the cover model and it "makes sense" - just spots where a symbol is in place where I think it should be black/outlining).   I'm glad I finished the bit of tail in his mouth - when it was all black and white it kept looking like a tongue hanging out, so I feel a bit better not having to glance twice at the piece.

Here's my juice jar ort container for the month - On one hand, I want to cut some of my bottles and make an awesome TUSAL container, on the other, I'm kind of enamored of the convenient scissor holder the opening to the bottle gives me.

Friday, February 20

IHSW Weekend

Earlier this week, after seeing the temps for the week (our highs are lower than our historic lows?!) and dealing with the ice and driving in and out of work ("adverse weather" ugh), I declared I would not leave the house for the weekend.

Which works out rather nicely as it's the third weekend for the month and there fore IHSW weekend.   Add an annoying bonus cold (?what? why?!), and I definitely don't want to be around too many people.

My goals plans (other than to clean out a bunch of stuff from downstairs in prep for redoing the floors) are pretty simple:   
  • get caught up on the CloudsFactory Zodiac mystery (so finish the frame after frogging the two circles that are incorrectly placed, got it on Wed, woot!) and stitch up Aquarius and Capricorn
  • design/stitch my bands for the RR
  • Get more done on either FS or ES
Plans, schmlans.   I keep making these goals and disregarding it - the FS "race" (I still have a month!), and others.  I'm just a stitcher who shouldn't try as hard to regulate what I think I want to stitch and just roll with my screaming rotation.

I have been binge watching DS9.  I watched it when it first came out, but never when it was being repeated/in syndication like I did TNG, so most of the episodes are "new" to me again and fun.  I am halfway through season 3.    These episodes are so short (even for network TV) that I'm plowing through them pretty quickly, so I'll probably keep that up as I'm buried under blankets, forcing myself to believe it's not winter.

Thursday, February 19

Throwback Thursday - Water Dragon

This particular post isn't quite as much of a throwback as the last one.   I actually finished Water Dragon a few years ago - in March of 2011 - but started it when I was in college in the 90s.   It's an older kit from Janlynn, but still pretty widely available.   I remember walking through Michaels and seeing this kit and buying it right away.

I thought it would be a fast and easy stitch (and it would have been), but it's on aida,which I don't like stitching on, and I found the lack of extra width in the fabric rather annoying.   I actually put it away for several years with a needle still in it, and the needle rusted (!).    It's in an unstitched area in the design that actually shows, so when I saw that, I got annoyed with it and put it away for a while longer.  In the finished piece, you can see the faint spots above the trees on the left.

Finally, a few years ago, I got disgusted with myself for not finishing it (even though this is admittedly not quite my style any more) and went ahead and knocked it out.   So it's finished and sitting in an album.   I can still clearly see the two rust spots, and I've heard that I can use a couple of cleaners safely on cross stitch (this is all DMC and aida, so not something I'm terribly worried about), so it's just a matter of actually doing it if I ever want to finish or frame this piece.

Water Dragon by Janlynn:

Started in 1996 or 1997, Finished March 19, 2011

And here's a fun little progression album:
Water Dragon by Janlynn