May 16, 2015

Fabric Cheat Sheet

Since I love making spreadsheets with Microsoft Works, I enjoyed making this simple table in order to make stitching prep time quicker and easier.  Do you remember the old multiplication cheat tables inside of folders.  I have made one for fabric.  All I did was insert a few formulas into the first row and then "copied" the rest with a drag of the mouse;  the software does all of the calculating (I tested a few to be sure they were correct), very simple.

I have never seen one online anywhere (although 123stitch has a fabric calculator).  I thought this handy tool would be neat to have.  No more calculating what size fabric you need for a project.  Just choose the design count in the 1st column that is closest to what your design is (always round up, not down) and choose your fabric count and what margins you prefer and find where they meet on the table (graph).

You can also use this information in reverse: measure your fabric and determine what design count will fit on it.

This is just my way of saying thank you to all of my readers.  Especially those of you who leave me such uplifting comments.

Be sure to print this out so you will always have it.

May 15, 2015

At The Met Framed

I was thrilled to get this piece framed this week but it is probably the last one by my usual framer here in Phoenix (Nick's Frameshop) because he is retiring.  Not only are his prices lower than I have seen in other frameshops but I had been getting a loyalty discount of 25%. This one only cost $157 to have framed (which is still a lot of money but less than this would cost anywhere else).  I don't believe I will see prices like that again.

Since I won't be able to complete any of my larger pieces before he retires in July of this year and I am not prepared to spend a bundle getting many of my smaller "portfolio" finishes framed (though it is tempting), this will most likely be the last piece I have framed until I am ready to cough up some real dough.

Most every piece that I have had framed has been done by Nick's Frameshop.

This one was framed with 3 mats.  The top one is black suede, the middle one is a silver metallic and the bottom one is a tan/gold/brown marble and of course you can see the dome cut to it. The frame itself is black with a gold trim towards the inside border.

I am also still working on Sea Flora.  I am getting close to a finish with only her tail fin left.

May 3, 2015

A Good Beading

Every now and then, I need a good beading.

I am getting the brilliant colored branch worked on tonight and it is packed with beads.  I do love adding the beads but it is time consuming so I didn't get as much stitching completed as usual.

On 28 count, the vertical columns of beads don't fit so I am converting them by putting a horizontal half stitch of just floss after every 2 beads.  For this reason I am using floss that matches the beads to attach them with which is a good idea anyway.  I matched mh 02096 with dmc 741 and mh 03056 to dmc 3721.

I am using beading needles which are sharp and difficult to thread but necessary for adding beads.  Since I like my beads to be well secured and parallel to the other stitches rather than diagonal, I put a regular cross stitch going through the bead for each half of the stitch.

For easy access, I use a small craft/pill container's lid with double sided tape to hold the beads in while I stitch. I never have to worry about spilling the tiny beads. This conveniently sits on the bottom rod of my scroll frame while I stitch the beads on.

I am also adding the Kreinik.  #4 Kreinik braid is pretty easy to work with, it has minimal fraying.  It is difficult to thread though so having a larger than usual needle and a needle threader are useful.

Apr 30, 2015

Sea Flora Started

I have a nice little start on Sea Flora by Nora Corbett.  This is being stitched on 28 count opalescent lugana by Polstitches fabric (2 over 2).

I really do love stitching Nora's designs.  Her smaller mermaid series has a lot of cute ones so I plan to stitch a few more.

The needleminder is "homemade"; assembled at home, purchased at Michael's Craft Store.

Need to know about this design:
The stitch count on the package has a typo; it reads 100 x 112.  The actual count is 100 x 212.
Also, be prepared to enlarge the chart.

Apr 25, 2015

Sea Flora Prep Night

I have been stitching on Venetian Mask for 2 weeks now and I am ready for something new.

I chose Sea Flora because I think this design is lovely and graceful and I just love the colors.

Preparing for a new project has many steps. I have already chosen my fabric, it is going to be a Polstitches opalescent lugana, the color is called "friendship".  This part was tricky because the design measures a little over 15 inches tall on 28 count fabric over 2. With a fat quarter I wanted to cut the fabric in half which is what I did (a fat quarter is roughly 18 x 26).  Polstitches gives a generous width of 18 1/2 - 19 inches  which became my length after the cut so even though that only leaves me with a little less than 2 inches on 2 of the margins I decided to go for it. (Note: there is an error on the package for the stitch count; it states 100 x 112 but it is actually 100 x 212).

 This piece will probably go in the portfolio when completed.

I pulled all of the flosses that are needed and I had them all.  I pulled out the mill hill beads I had and made an order to 123stitch for the beads and kreinik that I didn't have.

Now I have to get my fabric on the scroll rods which is a small process of which I added an extra step of stitching a running thread along the margins that will go parallel to the rods so it will be easier to get the fabric straight when taping it.

Here is my progress on Venetian Mask.  She is coming along very nicely but will take a slumber for a while until I get to missing her and want to see her again.

Apr 11, 2015


Nora's Hummingbird was a quick and enjoyable stitch.  I stitched this piece on 28 count opalescent lugana by Under the Seas Fabric.
Here he is with his mates:

As you can see, these are safely displayed in the portfolio.  I may get them framed someday as a set but not anytime soon.  I still have Yellowbird to stitch up someday.

Apr 10, 2015

Progress Report

In case anyone was wondering what I have been up to, the following is my progress report for the last month.  I completed 2 smaller pieces.  Flying Colors by Just Nan on Sunny Dyes opalescent lugana.  Even though it seems a smaller design should be quicker and easier, it really isn't.  The change of colors gets tedious and because it is small I tend to stitch less which is o.k. because sometimes stitching for hours and hours on end gets old.

This next piece is Blackbird Inn by Little House Needleworks stitched on 32 count white jobelyn.

These were both added to one of my portfolios. 

Next up is Lady with Lilac Flower, no progress has been made since the last time I posted about this piece.  This is 4 days worth of stitching.

This next piece is my beginning on Venetian Mask, it is 2 days worth of progress. 

Lastly, I am about a day away from finishing Nora's Hummingbird.  I just have the border left to complete which I am altering a tad.  This is stitched on Under the Seas opalescent lugana.

Mar 13, 2015

Leopard Cub Completed

This piece was started in August of 2014; I worked on it for 1 week then put it aside.  I didn't know when or if I would get back to it but on Feb. 17 I had the motivation to pick it back up again; finished it yesterday (March 12).

This is a Dimensions Gold Petite and cost only $7.85 for the kit at Michael's after the coupon.  I swapped out the aida fabric with 32 count ivory lugana.

This was an enjoyable stitch for the most part.  I didn't care for the little bit of confetti stitching it entailed but I muddled through it. (My hubby keeps mistakenly calling it spaghetti stitching but he knows it is not a good thing, lol).  I don't think I would have the wherewithal to do a full size Dimensions kit (though I did one once that took 4 months (see Mother Earth)) or a HAED type of pattern.

This is going to be an addition to my 8 x 11 portfolio and as you can see it is all ready to be inserted.

Mar 3, 2015

Walls of Elegance

This is what a home of an obsessed stitcher looks like.  Most of these pieces have been being rotated over the last 1 1/2 years which meant most sat in the closet.  I finally decided that I couldn't allow them to be so neglected.  It was a challenge to find a tasteful way of displaying so many pieces without it overtaking but I decided it must be done because I still adore all of these.  These represent most of my stitching from 2008 through 2013.  I still have a few in the closet but these are my favorites.  These first 3 photos are from my living room.

These next ones are in my bedroom.
My dining room:

And lastly the hallway.  I do not have any in the bathrooms and there is no space in my kitchen.
Looking to the left.

Looking to the right

Feb 21, 2015

More Portfolio Books

I have put together two more portfolio books; technically one is a scrapbook. The first one is an 8 x 8 inch scrapbook (I don't think the portfolio books come in this size). The second one is an 8 1/2 x 11 inch portfolio book by Itoya (fyi, not all portfolio binders are the same, some have flimsy paper/pages in them). The one I chose has sturdy cardstock in the sleeves and has 10 sleeves (20 pages), this normally cost $32.99 at Micheal's but as you know there are always 40% off coupons floating around. I also bought some colorful cardstock paper (acid free) that I inserted into the sleeves for a brighter portfolio (8 1/2 x 11 inch stack $4.99).

Most of the pieces I put into these books were stitched prior to 2009 and had been in sudberry boxes or frames of some sort. They eventually were removed from those items and stored away.

In preparation for putting my pieces nicely into the portfolios, I simply ironed a measured seam (anywhere from 1/8 inch to 1 inch -- although I did not get every edge perfectly straight) around each one and pinned the corners back with tiny applique pins for a better display in the pages. I doubt I will ever decorate the pages but it is real nice to be able to simply flip through pages to see the works I have created over the years.

I still have many pages available in all 3 of my portfolio books which has given me a new enthusiasm to stitch and now I have even more freedom in my choice of project because I do not have to be concerned about my home decor style and whether it will fit in or not.

The main thing I love about this idea is that there is no need to be giving my stitched items away and I am glad that I have not sold or given away very many pieces over the years while these were put away because I still love seeing them.


Feb 16, 2015

A Big Finish

I did it!  My first big Mirabilia finish since August 2013.  This one took 6 1/2 weeks to finish and I worked on it almost everyday.

When I first saw this design, the day it was released - Oct. 15, 2014 (because us Mirabilia fans are always anxious to see the new release(s) immediately), I fell in love with it and knew I had to stitch this up.

I got to tell you though that doing a large project that takes many weeks is not my favorite thing.

As usual, I changed many things:

Sash:  Dmc 3712 and 610 -- dmc 760
           the waterlily changes are posted on week 2 and week 3's posts.

embroidery on dress: 
beads on leaves:   mill hill 42010 & 0210
stems:  rainbow gallery petite treasure braid pb203 & pb47
bead strings along the very bottom: mill hill 02022 & 42010
mill hill treasure: 12006
bead squares @ bottom: mill hill 02082
backstitching: pb65

Now I will go celebrate.

Feb 5, 2015

My First Portfolio

I can't believe after all of the years I have been stitching that I haven't thought of this until now.  My husband gave me the idea to check into artist's portfolio books when I recently was discussing what I could do with all of my finishes wasting away in a bin.  I was explaining that I wanted to turn my finishes into a book so I can easily look through the pages anytime.

Many years ago I started scrapbooking smaller finishes.  I spent a fortune on scrapbooking supplies and that was fun but I think I like this better and now my finishes can be enjoyed just by opening up the book and flipping through the pages.

This book has pages that are 14 x 17 and my mid sized pieces fit pretty good after folding one edge of the fabric a little bit.

This one I bought at Michael's and cost $64 but I used a 50% off coupon.  It has 22 sleeves and I have already filled 13 of them, most from my 2014 finishes.

After going through my boxes of old finishes, I found 5 more pieces to add.