14 August 2017

Stash Update!

It was a big mail week! Robin in Virginia sent these gorgeous threads; notice what a perfect fox color that Cinnamon thread is! Thank you, Robin!

Holly in Pennsylvania sent these two wonderful books by Gladys Taber. We share a mutual love for dear Gladys, and I have to say, if you've never read her, you're missing a treat. She writes of her home, her garden, her dogs, the seasons--all with a quiet, friendly, conversational voice. If you're feeling overwhelmed by the 21st century world, you could probably do with a visit to Stillmeadow. Thank you, Holly!

Big news! My order from the Picture This Plus Christmas in July sale has already arrived! I was stunned. Last year I waited until October! Whatever the wait, it's always worth it. Top to bottom (all 28 ct. Cashel linen): Dawn, Icon, Oaken, Valor.

I assumed I would have to wait months for my PTP fabric, so I justified ordering all of this. Oops. Top two are Wichelt 32 ct. Petit Point linen in natural/brown and natural/red. Remaining three, top to bottom, are 28 ct. hand-dyed Jobelan in Twilight Mist, Clay, and Antique Copper.

This is a kit I ordered from Sew & So in the UK. Isn't it cute?

And here's a little something I picked up at my LNS. I love this sentiment. I interpret it as a gentle reminder to be willing to put away the devices, look away from the screens, and just be present in the moment.

Speaking of being present in the moment, here's my beautiful girl just a few minutes ago.

Happy Stitching!

08 August 2017

Oh, the miles these paws have seen!

Tiger Lily may be world-famous, but long before she waddled into our lives as a six-week-old rescue, I had dogs. From my late teens through my twenties, I had two beautiful red Chows. For a while now, I've been thinking about them a lot. Remembering them. Missing them. I've often thought about stitching something as a tribute to them, but none of the designs I had seen were quite right. And then I found this one. It was absolutely perfect.

This is "Oh, the Miles" by Goodflora Stitchwort (Etsy). When I saw it, it just tugged at my heart. A joyful dog, running as hard as he can run...

...leash left far behind...

...scattering birds and flowers, trailing muddy paw prints, and catching twigs in his coat.

And that beautiful sentiment: "Oh, the miles these paws have seen!" That simple sentence captures the life of a happy, well-loved dog. It's bittersweet. Beloved dogs, long-since gone, but oh! What a life we had. 

I stitched this design as a tribute to the dogs no longer with me, but it would work just as well as a celebration of a still-present friend. The chart is keyed for DMC, but I converted it to hand-dyed threads. I stuck pretty closely with the original colors, except for the blue and the green, which I brightened up a bit. Here are my choices:

738-->CC Chai
3045-->CC Straw Hat
931-->CC Morning Glory
580-->GAST Mistletoe
3790-->GAST Maple Syrup
3787-->CC Hickory Sticks
3799-->GAST Soot
***dog's eye is a Smyrna cross in Hickory Sticks
***dog's nose is a Smyrna cross in Soot

If you've got a pupper around the house, give 'em an extra cuddle from me.

05 August 2017

Saturday Sampler: Downpour Edition

What a weird weather week! We had heavy thunderstorms nearly every afternoon. We were also treated to this gorgeous double rainbow. The picture doesn't do it justice. It was the most vivid rainbow I've ever seen, and so large I couldn't fit it in the shot.

Summer downpour

Teeny tiny biscuits (I'm still tweaking this recipe, but Mr. Wonderful devoured eight of these last night.)

Happy Saturday Stitching!

01 August 2017

How to Make Your Own Display Stands

A few days ago, I was thinking about tiny easels, as one does. I got an idea about how to make very simple, inexpensive display stands for flat-finished smalls, and I cleaned up my sewing room just so I could make some! 

These little stands take just minutes to make, and I would have gone on making them if I hadn't had to fold laundry and do other responsible things. Here's how you do it:

If you're making a stand for a regular-sized small finish, these two sizes of craft sticks will do. They're from JoAnn Fabrics and are the mini jumbo (bag of 50) and the mini (bag of 150) size. You'll also need some long beads of some sort. I used wooden ones, but any of this 
size and shape will do. You just need beads long enough to accommodate the width of your finished piece. For a larger stand, just size everything up. (The mini jumbo sticks are like regular popsicle sticks, but wider. The wider width works well for embellishments.)

Hot glue a few beads to a mini jumbo craft stick. Make sure to glue them along the lower edge.

Use another craft stick to make sure the beads are even.

Glue another stick to the beads. ***Make sure the beads are glued to the center of the second stick. This will give your stand a slight backward lean.

This picture is of my prototype, where the beads were glued to the bottom edge of both craft sticks. It worked, but I wasn't happy with it so I took it apart and re-glued the second stick as described above. So on yours, the beads should be glued to the middle of front stick. Add a couple of the mini sticks to the back to support the finished piece.

Add a couple more mini sticks and that's it!

Since stitchers like to examine the back of things, here's the back. These Halloween and Thanksgiving finishes are pretty large and these little stands hold them just fine; they're very stable.

To decorate the front, cover the craft stick with ribbon/trim/fabric before you glue it to the beads, but wait to add embellishments until after you've completed the stand. Glue them on to the upright stand. The purpose of this is to make sure the embellishments are even with the bottom of the stand and not below it, which might make it sit unevenly.

As you can see, there's really no end of possibilities with these little stands. Once I had it figured out, I could make one of these--including the embellishment--in less than 10 minutes. They can be made to match specific finishes; the stand holding the Halloween piece is decorated with the same trim used on the finish, and a fuzzy black cat from JoAnn's. The wooden leaves on the Thanksgiving stand are from Hobby Lobby, and the snowflake, deer, and fall buttons (I removed the shanks) are from various craft stores. 

All of these finishes are freebies I've previously blogged, but here are the links again:

Noel freebie

Thanksgiving freebie

Haunted Tea Party freebie

31 July 2017

Gifts from Stitchers

I'll never lose the wonder and pleasure at receiving beautiful things from stitchers I've never met, who send them just because they enjoy my blog and they're sweet!

This beautiful fox chart arrived from Mary Ann in Ohio. I've photographed it against a piece of PTP crystal Da Vinci that has been in my stash forever! I've been saving it for something special, and I think this fox chart is the right project. I'm going for a northern lights look!

Also from Mary Ann, some lovely fox jewelry and a pretty little fox thimble. I have plans to make a needle minder set from the pair of earrings. Thank you, Mary Ann!

More fox goodies from Cheryl in Pennsylvania! A gorgeous fox book and a charming little fox mug, which is now sitting on my work table, holding my work scissors. Thank you, Cheryl!

And finally, a kit from Linda in Texas, who graciously sent it along after she finished stitching hers. Mr. Wonderful is from Houston, so this is much-appreciated! Thank you, Linda!

I am blessed by such kindness and generosity. Thank you to all who visit, comment, and share their love of stitching here.

29 July 2017

Saturday Sampler: Fresh Air Edition

I have a summery finish! This sweet freebie--which is available here--has been in my stash for a while, and so has the honeycomb fabric. I finally got them together!

Fabric: 28 ct. Berkshire Hive from Fabric Flair
My thread choices (Classic Colorworks):

bee skep: Bramble Bush, Sassy Brass
bees: Blackbird, Queen Bee, DMC B5200
flowers: Plum Paisley, Purple Aster
vines: Weeping Willow
border: Bramble Bush
"BEE": Purple Aster

Note: the top wing of the bee on the right is slightly different from the others. If you want them all to be symmetrical, add another row of four stitches to the top wing.

We had torrential rain and a cold front yesterday, and today is glorious. It's the end of July and it's 64 degrees. I have all the windows open. My absolute favorite smell in the whole world is the smell of fresh air wafting through the house. Unless we'll freeze or swelter, I have the windows open, and it's a rare treat to be able to open them in the middle of the summer. Tiger Lily is enjoying the fresh air.


Upcoming projects!

Fresh air, a finish, snacks, a new project, a happy kitty... what could be better? Happy Saturday!

20 July 2017

Big news, y'all!

I've decided on the theme for my 4th annual Christmas Open House here on the ol' blog! No, I'm not going to tell you. No, I'm not going to give you hints. Does Santa give hints? No! 

If you're a newish follower and haven't checked out my past Christmas Open Houses, just click on the labels on the right sidebar to see what all the fuss is about. I look forward to doing this every year, and I'm really excited about this year. You may think it's nuts to get going on this in July, but I will need all of the next four months to put together something fun for all of us! Because I have to adult and I can't just play in my sewing room. Someone should do something about that. 

Stay tuned... it'll be here before you know it! 

15 July 2017

Saturday Sampler: Mid-Summer Edition

Goodies in the mail from Rita in Texas: gorgeous Bluebonnet fabric, and two beautiful little charms. These will be perfect for future Texas finishes! Thank you, Rita!

I love green. Look at all the different shades in this single fern.

Spot the deer?

I decided I wanted to fit in one (maybe two?) more summery-ish projects before I turned my attention to Christmas stitching. I start thinking about Christmas every year in July. I've been playing in my stash for the last couple of days, trying to decide what my next few projects will be, and besides this one, they're all Christmas-y. I also need to get serious and make decisions about what fabric I'll be getting during the annual PTP Christmas in July sale, which is only 10 days away! Anyway, speaking of fabric, I've had this piece of Fabric Flair Berkshire Hive in my stash for a while, and I'm really looking forward to seeing how this project will look on it. I went to my LNS yesterday to choose threads. What a blessing it is to have an LNS close by and be able to see and compare colors. 

One of my favorite parts of stitching: pretty fabric awaiting the first stitch!