Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Still here and still stitching

I've spent the past 3 months changing my diet and getting back to stitching after my cousin, Ellen, asked if I would create a wedding sampler for her son and her nurse daughter, both getting married this summer. I responded with what I thought were samplers they would both enjoy and fit their personalities -- or what I thought of as their personalities.

For Kaley and Kyle, I chose a sandy subject, not just because they were married at the beach in North Carolina, but because Kaley seems beachy to me.

The fact that they were married at the beach fit in with my vision of their wedding day and I wasn't too far off. In the picture from the wedding day you should know that, yes, Kaley is sort, but she is not wearing her high-heeled sandals in the photo and, yes, Kyle does rather tower over our petite nurse-princess.

For Johnny and Caitlin (standing to the left of the beaming bride) I chose a more traditional theme and neither Johnny nor Caitlin have provided me with a picture of the stitchery. Caitlin was beautiful and very bride-like, but I didn't snatch a photo of their special day, May 22, 2017, because I couldn't choose from so many.

Now I'm finishing up Kelsey's wedding sampler (daughter of Mike who is Ellen's older brother -- only older brother -- only brother) but I am so far pleased with how it is going. No, Mike didn't ask me for a sampler. I decided that on my own since I was still in the wedding sampler mood. Kelsey and Jason were married by the Justice of the Peace at the Delaware city hall with only their grandmother (my Aunt Lois) in attendance. The rest of the family were on vacation in OBX (short for Outer Banks, NC) and I didn't see that Mike, her father, was in evidence either. A small civil ceremony rather more like an elopement where no one eloped. Kelsey, ex-Army soldier, married her man and quickly merged their households and children with dispatch and style. I hope she will enjoy a belated and unlooked for gift to commemorate their union.

In the meantime, I was caught off guard by my grandson, Jordan's high school graduation and am stitching him a graduation sampler to hang on his -- or his Mom's -- wall for posterity . . . if I can finish it before he graduates college where I am sure he will cherish the thought and forgive the delay.

That is all. Disperse.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Framing the Geisha

No, I didn't commit a crime and frame a geisha. I wouldn't do that. But I am definitely the kind of person willing and able to frame the geisha I stitched and finished this year. It turned out pretty, although I'm not at all happy with the framing part. Too much mat, not enough fabric. It is lashed to the backing, but I would have preferred thinner mats had I but known they would take up so much space. I'll leave it for now, but the next time I buy a frame for a 5 x 7, I'll use one of my fabrics and not the kit fabric so I will end up with thinner mats and more space to lash the fabric to the frame. It makes such a difference.

And now for the reveal.

It turned out nicely, but not nicely enough. I think a lighter green top mat (and also thinner) with the gold bamboo frame next time. In the meantime, it will hang above my bed with all the ladies with fans will eventually reside. This is a Dimensions Gold kit, the 5 x 7 version, but a very nice kit.

Don't forget to click on the picture to make it bigger. It is quite beautiful. I even managed the bullion stitches that make up the hair ornament above her ear. The gold is pretty too in the back stitching details, subtle but not too subtle. 

Happy stitching. And may all your framing turn out the way you want them.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

It's Coming Back

As I sat pondering the other cross stitch projects in my fabric bucket (the kind that makes neat all the junk one has collected) I decided to go back to something I started last year before I moved up here from Colorado Springs. It wasn't hard to find. I dug through the bin and pulled out the bag that holds my winter white tree skirt. I had intended to use it last year, but the move and pawing through bins and boxes wasn't high on my list, and there were so many other projects to start -- and finish.

There is a rhythm to cross stitching and I had been out of the rhythm for almost a year. It took some doing -- and some untangling of floss -- and now I'm getting back into the rhythm. I will finish my tree skirt this year.

As it looked last year.  I had done more work on it since this was taken last March. It is a very big project, bigger than the swan.

At any rate, I should have been done by now since there is about a half section to stitch yet. Aside from a leaf on the lower edge, not much has changed. I just got started.

It looks a bit fuzzy to me, but then everything looks fuzzy to me these days. As you can see there have been changes. Quite a few changes. But it is moving along. The leaf I stitched last night, or at least began to stitch, is below the needle. Hopefully, I will finish this in the next month, maybe within the next couple of weeks, and then the real chore begins - cutting, binding, stuffing, sewing, and getting it ready to put under the tree this year. I am determined that this will happen THIS YEAR. Cross your fingers. I can't stitch with my fingers crossed.

That is all. Disperse.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The End At Last

It took me about 6 months to finish this project and it is finally done. I will add that I didn't work on it every day of the past 6 months, sometimes setting it aside to work on other projects, sometimes a month at a time, but I did start about 6 months ago.

The best part about this is that it turned out good . . . even if I did have to rip out several sections because I mistook the color for one symbol for another (the symbols were very much alike) and because I got off count a time or 500 (okay, not really 500 times, but it seemed like it at times). It is finally done and I am quite proud of it.

The finished piece is hanging on the back of my rather large desk chair and needs to be washed, ironed (on the back only and with a pressing cloth), mounted, and framed. I'd say it's about 18 x 26 or possibly 30 inches in size.


The finished swan. You can almost see the Joadoor signature at the bottom.

 As always, click on the pictures to get the full view. I'll post more pictures when it is framed and ready to hang . . . and maybe after it is hung. 

A better idea of the size. That is part of the window in the background, as well as my desk, and the chair. The swan is quite large.

Now what I need to do is design a black swan facing this swan in the same size as a match.

The triangles inside the rectangle is the signature of Joadoor, who is actually two Dutch artists whose names combined become Joadoor. I did a leopard/cheetah seen a year or so ago on this blog (search back through the archives), which was my introduction to Joadoor's art work. I do enjoy the style and the workmanship, and especially the backgrounds for each piece of Joadoor's work.

At any rate, I am done with this one, except for the necessary steps to frame it and hang it on the living room wall. There's something about swans that has always pleased me. Maybe it was Hans Christian Anderson's story, The Ugly Duckling, or maybe it is the supreme calm and grace of the birds when flying or gliding on water that speaks to me. Whatever it is, this is one piece I will look forward to seeing whenever I go into the living room.

If not a black swan, maybe a crane about the same size as a companion piece. I wonder....

That is all. Disperse.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

It arrived!

I did something different with one of my cross stitch projects. I ordered a frame and mats cut to exact size online. I knew I'd have to put the frame together, but how hard could it be if my Middle Eastern beauty had the right look on the wall?

The disassembled frame arrived yesterday evening and I set about reading directions, getting my handy dandy screwdrivers, and put it together. It was a puzzle with all the parts and pieces, and there was still the finished cross stitch to get ready for framing. It was quite the ordeal, but once I figured out how the frame went together, the rest was a matter of carefully stretching the fabric across the acid-free foam core and lashing it into place so that the face at the center of the fabric would center perfectly beneath the mats, mats that were cut to my specifications.

It worked.

I chose a brushed metal silver frame and 2 mats: Caribbean blue and silver foil. I can't stop looking at it as it hangs on the wall beside my bed. It's beautiful and the mats set off the cross stitch so well.

 This is what I began with, minus my signature, which is the year in which it was finished. I stitched that just before framing with the dark blue-green and a twist of silver metallic thread in the corner.

 This is what I ended up with. Isn't she beautiful?

The only backstitching here was putting lashes around the expressive eyes and the pearls that hang over her forehead. Those were a real challenge to stitch too. Not because there was so much but because of all the changes and colors that make up the jewels. It was worth the effort.

I remember when Beanie would finish the stitching on one of her cross stitch projects and she'd come to me to do the backstitching. She hated the fussy, and often tedious, backstitching. As I stitched I explained that the backstitching, as onerous as it can be, brings the work to life.  Since I've moved away she has had to do her own backstitching, but she does see what I meant all those years ago.

Hoity-Toity never frames her cross stitch, but she does cross stitch. She has a thing for women in hats, something she may have gotten from me since I used to have a collection of paintings, prints, and posters of women in hats, often with their faces hidden by the hats. I even found a silhouette of a turn of the century woman in a hat I found at a barn sale and Mom bought me a ceramic mask of a Victorian woman in a hat looking over her gaudily clad shoulder out into the room. It hangs in my living room now next to the bookcase by the doors onto the back deck. It just seemed right to hang there. I also have ceramic masks of all kinds hanging in my room and the hallway, and soon in the laundry room. There is one mask Mom sent me that is kind of creepy. That's why it's going in the laundry room where it can scare spiders and intruders coming through the laundry room door.

I have to finish the backstitching on the 5 x 7 Japanese geisha I finished in January (yes, I sometimes put off the backstitching too), buy the perfect frame and maybe even mat it, and it will hang in the Jack bedroom. For some reason I see that room as my Japanese/Oreintal/Asian room with fabric floor and table lamps and black lacquered furniture. It's still in my head right now because the room is still filled with boxes of cross stitch supplies, stationery, and books, as well as framed pictures. It is emptier by about 5 framed pictures, awards, and my Extra Class amateur radio operator license. I brought them into my bedroom to hang on the walls here.

Now all I need to do is find the right pieces to stitch and hang on the wall over my bed. I see a huge painted paper fan flanked by women with fans, Asian and Spanish and Moorish and whatever. Still haven't figured our where to hang the Indian beauties since the Jill bedroom will have princesses and fairy tale characters in cross stitch on the walls. That is where my grandchildren (mostly the granddaughters) will sleep when they visit. There is still a very long -- and bare -- hallway to populate with pictures of family and friends and maybe the odd cross stitch pieces framed by me. I can handle assembling the frames and choosing the mats. After all, the $50 that went for my Middle Eastern lady was money well spent, and a whole lot cheaper than the often $200 or more I spent for framing other, and often larger, cross stitch pieces. Live and learn -- and, in my case, spend a little less to get wonderful results.

That is all. Disperse. Go stitch your own masterpiece -- and don't forget the backstitching.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Relaxing stitching

I've been fairly busy with the new house, but I have taken the time to relax. My favorite way to relax is to cross stitch. Joadoor's Swan and Lanarte's Eastern Beauty. I do think of her as an Arab beauty since she is obviously Middle Eastern and the Middle East reminds me of Arabs. I would daresay a Persian Beauty. I'm also working on 2 smaller pieces, Dimensions Gold Geisha and Lanarte called Arabian Woman, another of Lanarte's Cultures Collection. I would love to own and stitch them all. They are quite fascinating and prove Marco Polo's point when he told Kubla Khan that every country on the world boasts women who are beautiful in their own way when asked which country had the most beautiful women.

At any rate, here is the nearly completed Eastern Beauty from Lanarte and it is a haunting piece. I'll post the finished piece once I've stitched all the remaining bits and bobs and added the metallic silver threads. Don't forget to click on the picture to make it bigger.

Happy stitching.

Monday, November 17, 2014

25 Days of Christmas

Go and win at <a="http://victorianmottosamplershoppe.blogspot.com/2014/11/25-days-of-christmas-your-favorite.html?showComment=1416257000873#c4247527097329991682zzzzzzzzz">Victorian Motto Sampler Shoppe</a> if that is your thing. If nothing else, a chance to win the fabric and floss to make your projects special is perfect for Xmas.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Tireless Tree Skirt

I've been recuperating from my nasty fall and have only recently been able to work on the tree skirt. I have managed some progress.

It continues to amaze me just how big this thing actually is. Working on each section hasn't given me any real idea of its size, but I'm sure how big it is now since I unrolled it and tried to take a picture. I think next time I'll hang it on the wall to get the fullest view. For now, here is where I am. 

This is the lower part of the tree skirt with the addition.

Here is what I've managed so far. From about the last quarter of the bow in the center to the right is all new. I'm almost done with the latest section.

This is more than a yard of fabric (45 x 45) and the finished piece will be 40" x 40", so it is a considerably large tree skirt that will require at least a 6-foot tree. Better start saving now so I can afford it, although finding a place to put it will be yet another challenge. Maybe I can get rid of the furniture and place it in the center of the living room. Too early to say.

Happy stitching.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Sampler Giveaway

Nancy over at Victorian Motto Sampler Shoppe is giving away a free sampler chart of your choice. Some come with Nancy's own overdyed floss and some without that have DMC choices.

Enter for a chance to get a free sampler. All you need to do is follow and comment. Spread the word.

Monday, February 24, 2014

February Update

This has been a bad couple of weeks for me, so I'm making myself feel better by sharing what I'd accomplished before all the disaster hit my house -- and me.

I finished the last section on the left side of the tree skirt and began work on the right half. I didn't get very far, but it's a beginning. I also finished one smaller piece from Sweetheart Tree and go down to the crunch without the beads on another Sweetheart Tree piece. I'd say Sweetheart Tree is my favorite designer of smaller pieces -- so far.

Now for the tree skirt unveiling. Click on the pictures to make them bigger and see the slide show.

This is everything up to now, without the back stitching and beads. It is beginning to look like something at last. Stitched on 14-count white Aida with provided thread, silver braid, iridescent blue blending filament, and blue, white, and lavender beads.

Close-up of last part of left half of design. The tips of the ribbon got cut off when I cut the section, but they are there. I guarantee that . . . and they're also visible in the above photo.

The little bit I managed before the disaster. Like I said before, it's a beginning and that is where everything starts.

I have a thing for dragonflies so I decided on Dragonfly Dreams by Sweetheart Tree. I have trouble with the Algerian stitch that goes on the inside border. I couldn't seem to get it even or make it look quite right, so I'd been practicing just a line of Algerians on a scrap of cloth, working on them until they look good enough to put into the actual piece. There are beads, beads, beads to add, but I'll get to them eventually.

Stitched on 28 count Platinum Belfast Linen using #SV-CP375 Lavender Cats-Eye Luminescent Bead (included), DMC floss and Mill Hill Antique Seed Beads. Stitch count 56wx56h.

The last one from Sweetheart Tree is Spring Fantasy. I love the delicate colors and the hint of spring that this evokes. It too should have a line of Algerian stitches around the inside border, but (as you can see by the holes that will disappear with washing and ironing) I couldn't get them to look right so I finished the beading and back stitching. I imagine that once I get the stitch down, I will revisit this and add the Algerians. Otherwise, this is as finished as it gets before framing. Can't decide on a card or a box for treasures for this one. That remains to be seen.

Stitched on 28 Ct. Confederate Gray linen with DMC floss, Mill Hill beads, 2.5mm White pearls and a pink cat's eye heart treasure. 47H x 47W

Oh, the disaster. Well, I took a nasty fall that left me with a fractured ankle, 2 broken toes (still black and beginning to look reddish-purple in a couple spots, but mostly black), and a badly sprained wrist. It has taken me quite a while to get this all down since I can only type one-handed with the slow assist of a couple fingers on the right hand. Yes, you read that right. My right hand is in a brace and I'm off work and can't stitch and can't find my Kindle. I know it's around here somewhere, and I will find it, but until I do, there are still lots of books to prop up on a pillow on my lap and read. Good thing I use my left hand for turning pages.

Happy stitching.