23 October 2017

Homemade Thread Winder

I don't have much use for thread winders. I don't--or didn't--even own one. I keep my DMC on bobbins and I keep all my other (cotton) threads in baggies. I hardly ever stitch with silk, but I had to buy a skein for Playing with Jax. I've found that while cotton skeins behave themselves very nicely, skeins of silk, when freed from their pretty little twist, end up a mess.  I needed a thread winder. So I made one. Couldn't be easier.

Cookie cutter, paper, mat board, and Multi Medium Matte. (If you don't know what this is, you can read about the joys of MMM here in this post.

Trace around the cookie cutter on both the paper and a piece of mat board. Cut them out and glue them together using the Multi Medium Matte.

When that has dried completely (I let it sit overnight), seal it with another coat of MMM.

Allow it to dry completely. Here you can see the finished, sealed texture.

And here's the finished thread winder. 

Use your favorite cookie cutter and your prettiest paper. The possibilities are endless! How about a gingerbread man thread winder and a skein of holiday thread? Pretty cute little stocking stuffer for your favorite stitching buddy. 




20 October 2017

Playing with Jax Update: Forest Pumpkin

A while back, in this post, I talked about stitching CEC's Playing with Jax using the alternative center pumpkin "Forest Pumpkin" that was offered as a freebie around the time Playing with Jax was published. I scoured the interwebs for a picture of it stitched, but couldn't find one. I don't understand why, because I think it's really pretty. Here it is:

I'm stitching on 28 ct. Carmel Macchiato from Hand Dyed Fabrics by Stephanie. I've only made a couple of small color changes to this pumpkin: 1) DMC 3042 instead of 927, and 2) DMC 3011 instead of 3022. The main change I made was in how I stitched the leaves that called for Silk 'N Colors Autumn Bouquet (#983). 

I've mentioned before that when stitching with hand dyed threads, I'm not a big fan of the "cross-each-stitch-as-you-go rule" (though I do use it occasionally). Here's an example of why. The leaf on the right is stitched following this "rule" and the leaf on the left is stitched using the "mismatched" method I described in this post. (Please pardon the lighting of this shot; I was stitching at night and snapped a quick picture before frogging and re-stitching the leaf on the right.)

If you like the stripey, rainbow-look of the leaf on the right, then absolutely cross each stitch as you go. Do what makes you happy with your stitching. That's what I did! I like the look of the mismatched method for lots of things, and I think it's especially good for things like trees, leaves, and animal fur. In this shot you should be able to see the "four-color" stitches that this method produces. It creates a nice wash of color, with lots of texture.

One more shot I thought I'd share. There's always a lot of discussion among stitchers about photographs of needlework not being correct color-wise. If you've never tried to get true color photographs of needlework, let me tell you, it's not easy. If you look at the four pictures in this post, the fabric looks different in each picture. Pictures 1, 3, and 4 were taken in exactly the same spot by a window, and they all look different. The other problem? Picture 3 is the best representation of the thread colors, but picture 4 is the best representation of the fabric color. See the difficulty? Now imagine trying to get all the colors of both threads and fabric adjusted so they're all true on a computer monitor, and then getting that picture printed correctly for a chart, which is a totally different color process. 

I had intended to start this project at the beginning of October, but I'm about two weeks behind. Busy times at the Wonderful household, but more on that later. One hint: "unsupervised." 

12 October 2017

Stitcher's Memo Board

I've mentioned before that I am a list-maker. A writer-down-of-things. At any given time, I have at least half a dozen stitching-related things on my mind: things to stitch, changes to make, related projects to develop and make, etc. I usually jot these ideas down on paper, but a couple of weeks ago I decided I needed a memo board for my sewing room. I thought about a plain old white board. Not cute enough. I could decorate it. Nah. Still just a white board. Then I thought of using a picture frame and writing on the glass with dry erase marker. Then I thought of putting linen behind the glass to make it more "stitchy." Then I was off and running. (This is why I have to write stuff down; once I get an idea, my brain sort of takes off without me.)

This is a super simple project that takes minutes to make. You only need a few things:

*picture frame of whatever size would be most useful to you (I chose an 8x10)
*a scrap of linen or Aida
*1/8" foam core
*craft knife
*pins
*ribbon (optional)
*dry erase marker (it wipes off easily with tissue)

I chose a neutral-colored, rather plain frame and a plain, natural linen. You could use a fancier frame and your favorite color of linen. 

Use the glass as a template to cut the foam core, then cut the foam core out, just inside the pencil line of two perpendicular sides, as described in this post. Pin the fabric to the foam core.

Pop it in the frame. That's it. Or...

...pin on a couple of lengths of seasonal ribbon to dress it up a bit! This is why I chose such a neutral frame and fabric.


And here's my October memo board!


10 October 2017

Sunday Mystery Sampler is FINISHED!


Finally! I finished it! I haven't worked on this since January, but I was determined to get it done over this past holiday weekend. If you're new around here and want to catch up on the saga of this sampler, just click on the Sunday Mystery Sampler label. For a quick re-cap: I was breezing along on this Plum Street Samplers freebie (available here) until I got to the Eighth Day, when I decided to go my own way. I did my own thing on days 8, 9, 10, and 12, and it took me a while to decide what I wanted on days 10 and 12, thus the delay in finishing it. Once I had 10 and 12 charted, I decided I wanted more symmetry on day 9, so I did a partial redesign on what I had originally stitched.

"Lords a-leaping" always reminds me of Highland dancing, so I chose to use some thistles to represent that idea in the block for the Tenth Day. The blossoms are Caron Wildfowers in Iris.



This sampler is stitched with Caron Wildflowers (border is DMC 938) on 28 ct. Natural/Brown Undyed linen from Wichelt. All of my color choices for the blocks stitched as designed by PSS are in the posts showing the finishes of those blocks.

28 September 2017

Color Work

I'm getting my fall project ready to go. I'll be stitching CEC's Playing with Jax, but I'll be using the alternative "Forest Pumpkin" as the center instead of the Jack-0-lantern. CEC offered the Forest Pumpkin chart as a freebie when Playing with Jax was released, but I've never seen it stitched, either as the center of Playing with Jax or by itself.

This is the silk for the leaves on Forest Pumpkin. 

I love the colors in this silk, so I decided to adjust the colors in the main chart to bring them a bit more in line with the silk. Here are the original colors, followed by my adjustments.


I substituted muted greens for all of the blues, toned down the bright berry colors, and pushed the lighter greys to beiges. 

We'll see how this works out. I plan to start it at the beginning of October.

26 September 2017

Chocolate Chip Cookies

A while back, I posted a recipe for Chocolate Chip Biscuits using a product called Carbquick, a baking mix similar to Bisquick but much lower in carbs. That recipe is in this post. I've been experimenting with other adaptations of Bisquick recipes and have another one to share. 

Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 c. butter, softened
3/4 c. Splenda Brown Sugar Blend
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
2 c. Carbquick
1 c. semisweet chocolate chips (you could use sugar-free, if you like the taste)

Heat oven to 350. Beat butter and brown sugar until fluffy, add vanilla and egg and beat well. Add Carbquick and beat on low speed until well combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop by tablespoonfuls, 2" apart, onto parchment paper lined baking sheets. Bake 8-10 minutes or until edges are set and golden. Cool on sheets for 2 minutes, then remove to racks to cool completely. Yield: 2 dozen +


The original recipe using Bisquick is here.

Carbquick is available on Amazon.

24 September 2017

Autumn Basket and Pumpkin Kittens






I made this years ago and showed it back then, but I thought I'd share it again. Easy and fun to make. I don't have any instructions to share as I just eyeballed it from a picture I saw in a magazine.



To see my other seasonal baskets, just click on the label below this post.

22 September 2017

Posting pictures on the 123 Stitch message board using Flickr

This tutorial may not be of use to most of y'all, but I'm posting it here so that I have a quick and easy way to help people who want to post photos of their needlework on the 123 Stitch message board. I'm only providing a tutorial for Flickr, as that's what I use. Perhaps another blogger will post a tutorial for other photo hosting sites.


How To Post Photos

After signing up for an account, go to your "Camera Roll" page (circled in red). This is what the page will look like (minus my photos, of course).


Once on your Camera Roll page, you can drag and drop photos directly from your computer to the page. Open your picture file, grab your picture and drag it over this page. You'll see a message that says, "Let go! We'll take it from here." Release the photo. In the upper right of the screen (circled in red), you'll see "1 new photo has been uploaded."

Click on "Photostream" (circled in purple, on the left of the screen, just above the pictures).

Here's your new photo. Click on it.

The top of the page will look like this. Note the little arrow on the lower right, circled in red. We'll come back to that in a minute.

Scroll down a bit and you'll see the bottom half of the page. To share a photo on a message board, the privacy setting on the photo must be changed from "private" to "public" (circled in red). Change the setting of your photo to "public". 

Scroll back up and click on that little arrow. You'll see this box. The "embed" code will be highlighted. Copy that code and paste it into your post on the message board. You'll see the code, but you won't see the picture until you post the message.

19 September 2017

New needle minders!

Gearing up for Christmas stitching... gotta have new needle minders!

These are new button packs from my favorite online button shop, Shelly's Buttons and More.

I am often asked about making needle minders, and I assure you, nothing could be easier. This is all you need: 
1) neodymium magnets--I get mine from Amazon. I get the combo packs of three different sizes: 6, 8, and 10 mm.
2) super glue--Use your favorite; I use Loctite Ultragel Control. It's thick so it doesn't run everywhere, and it comes in a bottle designed for easy control. (I always let the glue set overnight before using the second magnet.)
3) button shank remover--If you're using plastic buttons for anything, you need one of these. Available at Shelly's.

15 September 2017

POW/MIA Day

I took this at my Chick-fil-A earlier this week.

More about the symbolism of the table is here.

More about POW/MIA Day is here.

12 September 2017

Christmas Finishes

I've been hard at work (play?) at the finishing table! Here's LHN's Season's Greetings.

For a quick tutorial on how to make templates for unusual shapes, see this post, and this one for a couple more details.


And here's an ornament from the 2016 Just Cross Stitch Christmas Ornament issue.


I made a little tree using a cinnamon stick and a few snippets of evergreen trim from Hobby Lobby.