Sunday, May 21, 2017

Strolling through London ~ relaxing weekend stitching ♡

Pattern: Afternoon in London
Fabric: 32ct water lily linen by Wichelt
Threads: recommended DMC
Start: 5/14/2017

Good evening, everyone! It's been a rainy couple of days, which is great for binge watching period dramas and cross stitching.

I'm currently stitching on the British Museum motif. I was joking with my friend Kristina that the amount of time I've spent stitching on that motif, I could have been at least half way through the actual museum's collection.

Makes me wish I could take a vacation to England right now. But sadly whatever vacation plans I had in my mind are gone now that I have a temporary assistant for a year.

I haven't even worked with her yet and I think I'm going to have issues. I was talking to her on Friday about a list that needed to be researched and she asked me how to research.............................

My mouth dropped open, you literally. Luckily we were in the library and she had the lights down so she couldn't see my facial expression. I'm glad she didn't see it because it took a lot for me to shut my mouth and calmly answer her question in a decent tone of voice that wasn't panic stricken.

Apparently she had been in a legal office for 18 years since leaving our field, but correct me if I'm wrong, but don't legal offices have to research too?!

Needless to say at this point I am relishing any down time I have at work or at home to read, cross stitch, or crochet because it will do wonders for my sanity.

Any happy thoughts you can send me would be most appreciated!!!

Until next time >___<

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Potions Happy Dance ♡

Good morning, everyone! It's happy dance time ;) I can't dance to save my life. If there was a character that reminded me of my dancing, it would be Carlton from Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. No rhythm whatsoever. LOL

I received the skein of thread I needed for my Potions design in the mail on Monday (no screaming from my side of the blogging world so you know the skein mostly matched the other skeins I had used previously) and was able to finish the last two rows last night.

And yes, I actually figured out the queen stitch, which now that I look at it, it reminds me of peppercorns or some other sort of dried spice. I really don't care for how it looks, but perhaps it looks better on non-linen fabrics and with more than one thread.

This design will go in my 'to frame' pile. I'm thinking maybe an ornate or old-fashion looking black frame since it is a Halloween design.

I have given up trying to get an accurate photograph of the linen color :)

Now on to stitching on CCN's London design!!!

Until next time ^___^

Monday, May 15, 2017

Spring Girl Embroidery and 1st Attempt at Sashiko Embroidery

Good morning, everyone! I hope you had a wonderful weekend. My weekend was full of stress-induced house cleaning and then relaxing with some embroidery.

Stress-induced cleaning, you ask? Well, my supervisor informed me on Friday, 10 minutes to five o'clock that we would be getting a new person in our office. Not someone we hired or approved, but that would be transferring departments to ours even though she hasn't been in our field since the 80s. So I am happy, no, not really. If anything it makes me stressed out because now in addition to everything else at work, I have to play babysitter until our new person can figure out what we need from her.

Who knows, maybe I'm stressing for no reason. I'll keep my fingers crossed that she'll work out. 

So with stress comes cleaning bathrooms, vacuuming, laundry.....not that I wouldn't do those normally, but I hadn't planned on doing all that, but my brain needed to keep busy instead of worrying.....just leave the worry for my brain when I try to go to sleep at night! LOL

After all that cleaning, I sat down to continue working on Tamar Nahir-Yanai's Spring Girl kit.

Start/Finish: 5/11-13/2017
Threads: included DMC and an additional purple color

What I found amusing about this Spring Girl kit is that the illustration on the package didn't match the stamped fabric inside. The individual flowers weren't supposed to be part of the design so I had to go through my thread stash and find a color that would work with the others. I ended up choosing a purple color.

If I'm not mistaken, Hobby Lobby only has one more embroidery design of hers that I haven't stitched yet. I'll probably pick it up in the future. I was hoping they would carry the Winter Fairy design, but I haven't seen could be that they only had it on the shelves during Christmas. I thought maybe I could just order it through her Etsy shop, but since that design is carried through DMC, she can't sell it in her shop to customers in the US. Sadness! I'll have to see if I can find it on DMC's website, etc.

Start/Finish: 5/14-15/2017

After finishing the Spring Girl, I pulled out a sashiko kit that I bought a few months ago. Having seen some lovely sashiko videos and stitching online, I really wanted to try it out. I ended up buying a kit, needles, and a needle pusher ring through Etsy.

No surprise that I chose a bunny design, right? Right! LOL I looked through a bunch of kits on Etsy and really liked this kit. You could get it in white or in what they called 'retro' colors. I went with the retro color version because why not. It is fun, funky, and the colors really pop against the indigo fabric.

So my initial thoughts on sashiko:

1. You wouldn't think the running stitches would be so relaxing, but oddly, they are relaxing. I stitched up this design while watching the first two seasons of When Calls the Heart.

2. I like the ease of stitching, but I didn't care for the dye used on the fabric. It is suppose to wash away when you wash the fabric, but that also means that if you mess up a stitch and pull it out, the stitch line is fainter than before so it hard to tell where to put your needle.

3. I hadn't realized how hard and awkward it is to stitch without a hoop. It took me a while to get used to stitching without a hoop. I'm still not entirely comfortable, but you can't stitch sashiko designs with a hoop as you are constantly moving the fabric back and forth through your needle.

4. I need lots of practice. My stitching wasn't the best. It was hard to keep a good tension in parts of the design and you can tell the stitches are loose in sections. I am hoping to tack the design to a bit of canvas so hopefully that will stretch out the stitches a bit.

5. I have no idea how to stitch without using knots on the back. The kit and the Etsy seller sent a beginner guide to sashiko, but I still haven't figured out how to do the reverse backstitch method of my fabric has knots, which isn't a problem since I plan on stretching it, but if I was framing the design or making it into a flat finish, those knots would be noticeable from the front.

6. The fabric in the Olympus kit is thin and stretchy. I wonder if all Olympus fabrics are the same?!

All in all, I quite like it. Definitely a form of stitching that doesn't require much thought. I like that it is relaxing and that you can stitch and watch a TV program without worrying about stitch counts, etc.

I'll have to see if I can find some more kits on Etsy to try. And take time to practice that reverse backstitch start.

My next stitching project is CCN's London design. I started a little bit of the Big Ben portion last night. I should be getting my thread for the Potions design in the mail today so I can finish that design this week :)

Anywho, I hope you guys have a wonderful work week. Wish me luck with a new assistant.

Until next time ^____^

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Potions ~ Almost complete, but out of thread?!?!

As you can tell from the title of this post, I ran out of thread for the Potions pattern and with only two more rows to go, the Queen stitch row and the cross stitched row at the bottom. Gosh, darn close to completion.

I was hoping I could pick up the DMC alternative color that was listed in the pattern and use that, but guess what color it called for? Gray.......yep, gray. Now I'm pretty sure that aubergine and gray aren't the same color unless I have an eye ailment that I am unaware of. How in world can a designer say that gray is the alternative color to variegated purple!??! Boggles my mind.

So I had to go online and buy another skein of thread, which is quite sad because 1) it is expensive and 2) I only needed a little bit of thread to complete my project. I guess I could use the rest of the thread on future Halloween projects......

I am hoping that the thread matches the previous dye lot, otherwise I might just scream and you'll probably hear me screaming from wherever you are in the world as I open that package and realize it doesn't match.

With Potions on hold for the moment, I plan on pulling out another project in my stash. I think maybe an embroidery project this time. I have another Tamar Nahir-Yanai kit that I purchased at Hobby Lobby. I need to iron it tonight so I can start on it tomorrow.

I hope you guys are having a great week so far!

Until next time ^___^

April Recap

Good morning! Here's my recap for the month of April.

1. Facing Two Ways by Baroness Shidzue Ishimoto
2. Cry Wolf  by Patricia Briggs
3. Hunting Grounds by Patricia Briggs
4. Beauty and the Wolf by Bridget Essex
5. Family of Convenience by Victoria Austin
6. Her Motherhood Wish by Keli Gwyn
7. Iron Kissed by Patricia Briggs
8. Bone Crossed by Patricia Briggs
9. The Sweet Life in Paris by David Lebovitz
10. Silver Borne by Patricia Briggs

1. Octopus amigurumi
2. 3 kitty sushi amigurumi
3. Ewok amigurumi

It seems like a lot more reading than crafting, but I was working on two dolls from Yuri on Ice!, but hadn't finished the details on them until this month.

One of my friend Amanda's favorite authors is Patricia Briggs so I thought I'd give the books a go. Luckily, my local library had all of the books in the series (except for one, which someone had lost!?!) so I have a mini pile of books at home that I have been steadily making my way through. I have three more books to go and I'll be caught up..........which isn't a good thing because then I have to wait until a new book comes out sometime in the future since she just put out a new book last month. Ugh.......

My plans for May are finishing up details on my remaining amigurumi. My sister has been telling me to make more, but I'm crocheted 'out' so I think I'll stop for the moment. I plan on picking up my cross stitch/embroidery projects more. I am almost finished with Potions. I haven't decided what I want to stitch on next....cross stitch or embroidery.....hmmm.....decisions, decisions.

Until next time ^____^

Monday, April 17, 2017

Friday Frolics - Potions slowly brewing away!

Here is Potions over two Friday Frolic periods :)

I was 'bad' and stitched on it yesterday as well since it was a holiday. I am slowly making my way down the pattern. I am currently working on the specialty stitches, I have one more row.....the Queen stitch!?!?!? NOOOOOO!!!! LOL

Just gotta keep calm and exhale....I can do this stitch! (fingers crossed)

Until next time ^____^

New Orleans Antiquing and Dessert at Sucre!

We didn't get out of NOMA until after 2pm so we made our way to Magazine Street for lunch/dinner and dessert. After having an okay meal at Jack's, we went by an antique store to browse. You know me, I had to take a few pictures of the various embroidery/cross stitch items on display.

Late 20th century cross stitch sampler

A Oriental themed vest made from needlepoint?!

Cross stitched tea towels

Stumpworked Boston fern with a creepy doll

Victorian motto sampler

Needlepoint and beaded box

Whoever made this..............? It boggles the mind. It must have taken forever!!! A needlepoint base and a beaded floral scene on top?!?!?! Egads.........

After drooling over the antiques, we stopped by Sucre. No trip to New Orleans if complete without a stop by Sucre.

I had their fraise dessert which had a strawberry gelee, vanilla sponge, and mousse! They decorated the plate with strawberry preserves. Delicious.

I got one of their newer flavors of macarons, jasmine tea. I wish I could have bought an entire box full of them, but I exhibited self control for once :)

Can't wait to see what Sucre will offer the next time we are in town!

Until next time ^___^

New Orleans Museum of Art - Seduction in Venice and Orientalism Exhibitions

It's been a while since I've stopped by NOMA for an exhibition. I think the last exhibition I saw there was several years ago. It was the Madeline Albright brooch/pin exhibition. Time has definitely flown by since then.

Kristina and I had planned to come by the museum in the fall of last year for the Orientalism exhibition, but never made it out to New Orleans. I'm glad we didn't because it gave us a chance to see another exhibition, A Life of Seduction: Venice in the 1700s.

The exhibition featured paintings by Joseph Heintz the Younger and other Venetian artists that depicted Venice as a cityscape and as the location for Carnival, a celebration that lasted from October until the spring.

While I enjoyed the paintings of the city and celebrations, my favorites were the clothing.

A boy's dress

Mourning Gown

This gown in addition to the embroidered vests below was my favorite item in the exhibition. I can't imagine how long it would have taken a team of seamstresses to quilt this gown. The gown was modeled after the French style of dress during that time period as the entire world looked to France for fashion.

Women's high heeled clogs

These clogs were worn by women to protect their clothes from getting dirty or wet when traveling around the city. Apparently this style of shoe wasn't new in the 1700s. The Romans used something similar as well. I wouldn't want to be the woman who had to wear these shoes. They look uncomfortable.

Men's Suit

Close up of embroidery on the coat

Embroidered vests

The Orientalism exhibition while interesting was a small room of paintings, drawings, photographs, objects, and furniture. We were disappointed with the size of the exhibition so seeing the Venetian exhibition made up for it.

Our favorite piece in the exhibition was a beautiful cabinet holding various American ceramics decorated in Oriental themes. Can I have one? Looks like I'll need to win the lottery to buy one :)

Overall, we had a great time at the museum. They have changed their permanent galleries upstairs and have a lot of African, Oceanic, and Native American material on view. If you have time to stop by and see the museum before Venetian exhibition closes, please do!!

Until next time ^___^

Accents, Inc - Cross stitch shop in Metairie, LA

Good morning everyone! Kristina and I took a trip to New Orleans on Saturday to see several exhibitions at the New Orleans Museum of Art. As luck would have it, the museum didn't open until noon because of a race that was going on in the park surrounding the museum so we decided to stop by a cross stitch shop in Metairie, LA called Accents, Inc.

We had a lot of fun looking through the patterns and various fabrics in the shop. It has been a long time since either of us has been to a cross stitch shop because the one we had in town closed along with the ones in Pensacola and Foley......we are in a wasteland for cross stitch shops unless you drive up to Dothan or Montgomery.

Like all cross stitch shops, it was decorated in framed and finished cross stitch projects. I had to take a few pictures of the different finishes :)

I think my favorite finishes were the standing egg and acorn and the cute Halloween tree pictured above. I love how they finished the cross stitch in tiny muffin tins.

Surprisingly, I didn't buy much......partly because I knew I was buying fabric for two projects, which is always pricey. So I came away with two colors of 32ct linen in light mocha and water lily. The light mocha will be for Willow Hill Samplings' Cinderella and water lily will be for CCN London.

My camera doesn't capture the correct color on the fabrics. They are both paler than they appear. I was hoping to get a sand colored Belfast for the Cinderella design, but when the lady pulled it out for me, it was a lambswool..........and you know I hate working on that type of linen....too scratchy and coarse for my taste. So I chose the light mocha instead even though it wasn't as dark as the sand color.

While going through their many patterns, I found Jardin Prive's Eiffel Quaker. I have been eyeing it for a while now and decided to go ahead and get it instead of ordering it online.

Kristina came away with some Aida cloth, some beading needles, and a Mill Hill cross stitch and bead kit :)

We really enjoyed our time at the shop. The ladies that own it are friendly and are happy to help out if you have questions. That friendliness has definitely helped them to stay open for over 30 years. I hope they decide to keep it open as long as possible. You can't beat a brick and mortar store, especially when it comes to cross stitch........sometimes you need to see the real thing before buying :)

So if you are taking a trip to New Orleans, make a side trip to Metairie for some cross stitch goodies. For those of you who like plantation, historic house patterns, or state themes, they have a nice selection of them of Louisiana and New Orleans.

Until next time ^___^

Monday, April 3, 2017

Friday Frolic - Potions ♡

Another Friday Frolic come and gone. I've finished the middle part of the on to the top part of the pattern, all the specialty stitches, and the bottom part of the design :) I'm thinking I might have this finished by some time in May. Fingers crossed!

I hope you guys have a great week! (If you are in Mobile, be careful in this crazy weather!)

Until next time ^___^