Mar 31, 2008

JBW Dog is finished!

Here he is in all his glory! JBW's "French Country Dog" is finished. He and I will be taking a trip to Hobby Lobby tomorrow to pick out paint for his frame. I'll try to match the green tones in the floss. And the picture is crooked, my stitching isn't. I just LOOOOVE stitching with silk floss. NPI silk is my favorite, mainly because it is colorfast. I wash everything I stitch and prefer not to have to worry about lack of colorfastness. If I was a millionaire, I'd have the whole line of NPI silk in my stash.

HoH's got a ribbon, too!

I'm hard-of-hearing (HoH), and I use hearing aids in a hearing world. Recently, I came across a website for personalized ribbons or bracelets (think pink ribbon for breast cancer and yellow "Live Strong" bracelets). Click here for website. There's a ribbon/bracelet for just about everything out there, and those with hearing loss have one, too! Our colors are gold and silver and includes Hearing Impairments, Hearing Disorders, Meniere's Disease, and Tinnitus (ringing in the ears). Cool! And yeah, I know. I promised to post a picture of my finished JBW "French Country Dog." I got it finished last night and didn't like the positioning of the word "Dog." So I'm frogging and restitching. Hopefully, I'll post later today.

Mar 30, 2008

Tightwaddery and framing

My local Hobby Lobby sells off their "orphan" frames twice a year. These are custom frames that were refused by a customer or slightly damaged. When they hit 80-90% off, I buy the ones I think I'll use - the bigger, the better.
The bigger the frame, the more linear feet I can get out of it. Once, I drove home with three door-sized frames in the back of Old Faithful (my '88 Chevy pickup with 223,000+ miles on it). I spent $37.00 and ended up with about 54 linear feet.
DH cuts them down to the correct size for me. Last year, I spent a total of $100.00 and ended up with 250 linear feet of frame . If I had paid full price, it would have cost me $1200.00. Another tightwad triumph!
Now, some of you are saying, "My DH is not at all handy, nor does he work with power saws." Be aware that many frame shops (not places like Hobby Lobby or Michael's who do not have the tools to cut frame stock on location) are happy to cut down a frame for you for a nominal fee. I was tipped off about this service and about Hobby Lobby's orphan frame clearance by the guy who owns the frame shop that cuts glass and mats for me.

Mar 29, 2008

DH has been busy

My DH spent the afternoon making four frames for me. He enjoys woodworking and is very gleeful when he gets to use his compound miter saw (with laser guide). Stay tuned for pictures as I get the projects stretched, mounted and framed during the coming week. I have Pippi and Beau to frame, along with a deer project for my deer-hunting DH. The fourth frame is for the JBW Dog that I am currently stitching. Look for a picture on Monday. After going into apoplectic sticker shock at frame shops, I taught myself how to frame my work. I read up on it on the Internet and in the library, and talked to professional framers. It's not as hard as it looks, it's just tedious, especially if you're a perfectionist like I am. I still have a local frame shop cut my glass and mats (if I use mats), but I do all the rest myself. I bought the proper tools for framing online. Believe me, having the right tools really helps and makes the job easier.

Mar 28, 2008

What's next?

I should stitch on DH's "Bandanna Stocking," but I need a small project to use to demonstrate stretching, mounting, and framing at the next IH35 Stitchtogether on April 5th. Recently, JBW came out with an addition to the "French Country" series; she added a Dog to go along with the Cat. The Cat was a quick and fun stitch, and the Dog should be, too. Here's what he looks like: I've already stitched the Cat, so now I'll stitch the Dog. I flipped the Dog pattern to face in the opposite direction. When I get him finished, they'll hang on the wall facing each other. The Cat was stitched with 28 count opalescent limited-edition blue Jazyln from Silkweaver, with Silk N Colors Blue Seas. The Dog will be stitched on 28 count opalescent Jazlyn, color Crystal Spring, from Picture This Plus, with NPI Northern Lights silk in Sea Green. DH made the Cat's frame and I painted it. We'll do the same for the Dog.

Mar 27, 2008

A Tightwad Triumph

I'm a card-carrying tightwad. I do things like make and follow a budget, use a price book, pantry shop, and other strategies basic to tightwadding. So when I find a great bargain in an unexpected place, I just have to tell someone about it. I've been looking to buy a couple more of those 8" x 8" Pyrex dishes. DH and I hate cooking on Sunday night, so I've been making a casserole during the week and freezing half of it for Sunday. I have two of these dishes already, but wanted two more so I could stockpile the freezer, and/or make two different casseroles at one time. My Wal-Mart quit carrying Pyrex, and I'm not big on Anchor Hocking. Target has the dish for $6.49. The Kroger near me had it for $6.99. I last bought one at Wal-Mart for $3.79. So today when I was in Kroger, I happened to go down the "Target and Wal-Mart wannabee housewares aisle." Normally, I avoid this aisle as it makes my trip through the store longer and I don't buy housewares at my grocery store. But lo and behold, Kroger had my Pyrex dish on sale (with my Kroger Plus Card) for $3.49! So I bought two of them. A tightwad triumph!!

Mar 26, 2008

"Summer" is finished!

I finished the "Summer" panel (from PS Book #123) on my bellpull last night. This is stitched on 16 count Aida banding with DMC. I'll put this project away for awhile - I'll probably finish it this year though. I count it as a finish because I did complete the "Summer" panel. Nitpicking, yeah, but I'm okay with it.

Mar 25, 2008

Bobs and Bobbins

I'm one of those stitchers that stores my DMC and Anchor floss on flat plastic bobbins. I use the generic Hobby Lobby brand because I like the tighter slits on them. The DMC bobbins have larger slits that allow the floss to come out too easily. Yeah, I'm picky. But my specialty floss (silks, over-dyeds, etc.) is stored on EZ-Bobs. These are cool little bobbins that are round and self-cover the floss to keep it clean. They interconnect together for storage. If I didn't already have two sets of DMC wound on flat bobbins (and I wasn't such a tightwad), I'd consider storing all my floss on these. The cheapest place on the Internet I've found to buy them is 3 Stitches in Spring, TX. They sell them for 25 cents each (click here). (They are usually 35 to 50 cents in stores.) I just love these Bobs! I should get the "Summer" panel on my bellpull done tonight, and I'll post a picture tomorrow.

Mar 24, 2008

Done but not Finished

I have no idea how I'm going to finish these two projects I did last year. They're still languishing in a drawer. I've thought of finishing them as pillows, but I'm not one for having lots of pillows lying about. They're too big for stand ups. An oval frame won't work either. I'm thinking of having DH make matching rustic wood frames, hinging them together side-by-side, and then displaying them on a table top - kind of like those gold metal hinged frames you find for photos.
This is "Beau Leggy in the Desert" and "Calamity Pippi and the Horse She Rode in On" by Ink Circles (click and scroll down to bottom of page). Done on 28 count Misty Blue Quaker linen with DMC, they were both a very fun stitch. I love the quirkiness of these two designs!

Mar 20, 2008

My IH35 Stitchtogether WIP

Once a month I make the two-hour drive to Austin, TX for the IH35 Stitchtogether. A group of us meet in the conference room of a public library and spend half the day stitching, eating, trading, eating, enabling, eating, and yakking. It's a fun time with a great group of gals.
Our name comes from Interstate Highway 35 which runs north and south through Austin. Anyone living along IH35 is welcome. Actually, anyone living in Texas is welcome if they want to make the drive!
As I find it hard to listen, stitch, count, and concentrate all at the same time, I usually take a very easy project with me to work on. It has to be something with very little counting or color changes. So I usually take this Quaker Mystery Sampler. I downloaded it off a Belgian website two years ago. It was published in six parts and was meant to be done as a stitchalong. With only one color and with most of the motifs being easy to stitch from visually (instead of counting), it's the perfect project to take with me.
I don't know when I'll get it finished as I only stitch on it once a month!

Mar 19, 2008

Frog invasion

Yesterday I settled in for a few hours of stitching and was promptly visited by the frog. Have you ever noticed how some patterns cause you to frog more than others? Or, you'll have one section or motif on a pattern that you frog repeatedly? ARRGH!
I was visited by the Repeating Frog (yes, there are different species of stitching frogs). I was trying to stitch a small, white park bench on my current WIP (PS 123 "Summer"). I frogged it FOUR TIMES! I apparently lacked eyes to see or a brain to count accurately. But I finally kicked the frog's little green butt out the door and got it done.
The Repeating Frog evidently didn't read the sign on my floss box. This was stitched for me by a stitching friend (Thanks, Mel!). When she gave it to me, she wearily pointed out that even though she had carefully charted the "FROGS ALLOWED" part, it ended up off-center due to an Off By That Much! Frog visit. She left it as a tribute to froggish ingenuity.

Mar 18, 2008

A place to store my fabrics

Like most stitchers, I had my fabrics crammed in a plastic box, all folded together regardless of type or color. There had to be a better way! What could I use to hold my fabrics that protected them from light and dust (and dog hair), but also allowed them to lay flat?
I came up with a five-drawer blueprint flat file. These handy-dandy files are made for (duh) blueprints, but hold fabrics beautifully. I can lay a fat quarter out nice and flat in a drawer. The flat files come in several sizes and also in a ten-drawer model. Mine is the smallest at 40"w x 28"d x 16" h. It is made of metal like any file cabinet. You can order a stand for it, but DH is going to incorporate mine into a custom-built wall cabinet. Eventually.
You can find these at larger high-end office supply stores. I ended up getting mine online (Global Industrial) as it was cheaper for me to do it this way (even though shipping was over $100.00) than order it in through a local store. They can be found used, but I didn't have much luck with it as I don't live in a large metropolis.

Mar 17, 2008

How my mouth got me in trouble...

I told my mother-in-law that I would stitch something for her. She likes large paintings of flowers, with a more oriental flair. My only stipulation was that I had to like the pattern, too. I also told her that if it was a large pattern, it could take me a couple of years to stitch it. She was fine with all of that, so off we went into cyberspace, checking out cross-stitch patterns.
She ended up liking "Wild Things" from a painting by Sachi sold by the Cross Stitch Pattern Gallery (CSPG). It was in their Limited-Edition Gallery (and is no longer there and no longer available). The pattern is 270w x 196h with 54 colors. It is solid-stitched and will contain 52,920 stitches when finished! ACK! What was I thinking?!
Luckily, I like it, too. I started it on 1-24-08 and had two pages done by 3-3-08. I'm planning to stitch one or two pages at a time and then stop and do a smaller project in between. It's been a fun stitch, so far. This is the upper left corner in case you can't tell. :-)

What I'm stitching on now

I like a lot of the Prairie Schooler patterns. Currently, I'm stitching on "Summer," one of four seasonal panels from Book 123. Here is the front cover of the book:
I'm stitching all four seasons on 16 count ivory Aida tapestry banding. Here is "Summer" as of 3-14-08:
I've already completed "Autumn" and "Winter." After I finish "Summer," I'll put this project away for a bit.

Succumbing to the masses

Baa. Moo. I'm joining the teeming herd of the blogging. I decided to join in for several reasons: 1) I'm a cross-stitcher and this will give me a place to display my work, 2) I have a cute dog and I can post her picture here, and 3) I can write about pretty much whatever I want to whenever I want to. Warning: Non-cross-stitch related writings will be allowed to run rampant.