Monday, July 21, 2014

To the Queen

To the Queen by JBW Designs
Stitched 2 over 2 on 32 ct. Antique White with Recommended threads

 I've had this chart in my stash for a while.  I picked it up on sale at my LNS becasue the moment I saw it, I knew it was destined to be for my friend Kim.  I met Kim YEARS ago at work, and we ended up in facing cubes.  Since Kim has a long standing fondness for the color pink and queens, this is utterly perfect for her.

The original chart calls for a tiny crown charm, but I substituted a K for Kim instead.  I debated whether or not to use the glass (normally I'd frame it without since I wasn't using a mat) but I didn't want the charm to tarnish, so I went ahead and put the glass back in.  I gave it to her last weekend, and she LOVED it.  She's a bit of a stitcher herself, though she hasn't done it in years (she crochets more now), so she knew the work that went into it and appreciated it all the more.

And no, my framing isn't quite as wonky as it appears in the photo.  I swear I do this all the time - I never notice how weird my framing looks in the photo for an item I've already gifted until I go and write the blog post about it!
Friday, July 18, 2014

The Return of the Fair & Square Exchange

After an extended hiatus, the Fair and Square exchange is back, and the latest round was a Patriotic theme. I was paired up with Rebecca (no blog... yet!) who is new to the exchange, and these are the lovely squares she stitched for me.

 Land that I Love by Lizzie*Kate

This is a "Now and Then" version of the chart.  The one Rebecca stitched is the updated version, so she included the chart so I could stitch the older version of it as well.  Thank you so much, Rebecca!

This is what I stitched for Rebecca... 

(city blanked out intentionally)

I took a slightly more colorful approach than the original, and use some metallic threads for the fireworks.  I also added in an extra star where the snap was charted in.

Rebecca mentioned she's been following my blog and was excited to be paired up with me.  I can totally relate - I've been paired up with fellow stitchers I've followed and it's so nice to "meet" and get to know them.  Hopefully Rebecca will start a blog soon, too!
Sunday, July 13, 2014

Need some help

Okay stitchers, I need some help tracking down a freebie pattern that I saw a few days ago and can't seem to find again.

It's a bee, possibly a queen bee (with a crown) stitched on a coffee or tea stained fabric.  It was offered as a freebie, I think as part of a monthly series but I cannot for the life of me recall the name of the designer or any of the other charts in the series.

Does this sound the least bit familiar to anyone???

UPDATED:  Found it!  It's Litha: Summer Solstice by The Primitive Hare
Thursday, June 19, 2014

A joint project from the early years

Things have been MUCH busier around here than I anticipated. Little Dude is done with preschool for the summer, so most of my time has been consumed by entertaining a 4 year old. Trips to the library and the park, fun activities, playing trains - the days are just loaded. I'm still stitching most evenings, but I know I haven't been posting as frequently as I was for a while there.  My ultimate goal is to post at least once a week.  We'll see how that goes. 

I did go through our stitching drawer a while back and found some pieces I haven't shared on the blog.  There's a couple more of these posts in my draft pile, but here's something from way back.

The Sorcerer and The Sorceress by Dimensions
Stitched from a kit

These two pieces are from our early years of stitching.  Mr. Sweet Pea did the sorcerer, and I did the sorceress (why yes I did change her hair color to a slightly redder shade).  I don't even know if these kits are still available, but we bought these in the craft store.

Our tastes have changed since then, but these have sentimental value.  They were among our very first stitching pieces and there was a time when we both enjoyed fantasy literature on a regular basis.  They're still in the finished unfinished drawer, but perhaps some day they will be able to cast a spell and free themselves.
Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Return of the F&S Exchange

Fellow Stitchers....  It's BAAAACK!!!!

Head over to the Fair & Square Exchange Blog and get signed up for the next round, a Patriotic theme.  International members should sign up too - we can all be patriotic about whatever country we call home.

If you're not already a member, you can read the rules and make a letter of application to Jill.
Wednesday, June 4, 2014

French Country Bunny Ornament

So it may have taken me a few years, but I did get another F&S piece finished up!  This one probably shouldn't have taken me so long since the cardboard for the inside has been cut to shape and covered with the batting for ages now.  But I struggled with getting the shape of the bunny done neatly, so it ended up in a drawer for quite a while out of frustration.  I don't know that I would do a shaped finish like this again - I might go with an easier to manage oval instead.

It actually made it to our tree this past Christmas, and I forgot to put it on the blog, though I did share the finished picture with the original stitcher!

This was my very first F&S Exchange with Michele.  (It's JBW Designs French Country Bunny)

Monday, June 2, 2014

10th Anniversary Piece

I Will Love You by Annie Beez Folk Art
Stitched 2 over 2 on 25 ct. mystery linen with recommended threads

I finished up my anniversary piece for Mr. SweetPea. (We celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary in April).  As I mentioned before, I went to my LNS about 2 weeks before our anniversary to figure out what I was going to stitch for this milestone.  Because I enjoy waiting till the last minute....

Nothing was really doing it for me, until I spotted this one and remembered I had purchased it a few years ago and it was sitting in my stash.  I think I probably even bought it intending to stitch it for an anniversary.  So I picked up the fabric I needed, going a little larger than the recommended 32 count because I wanted to frame this finish.

For the most part, this was a super easy stitch, except for all those damn little confetti stitch stars.  I love how the look on the front, but they were kind of a pain in the butt to stitch.  I considered using seed beads but decided to stitch as designed.  Eventually I'll get this framed and hung on the wall.  Maybe even before our 20th anniversary.

And if you must have it RIGHT NOW, you can check out Annie's Etsy Shop for an instant download.
Friday, May 30, 2014

Two more cubes

Since I was on a finishing streak with some of my F&S exchanges, I started thinking about what to do with the rest of them.  I came up with a "seasonal theme", planning to make two squares for each season.  The squares from Robin made up my first spring one, but the second set of squares I pulled out for a spring cube is just a little off in size from the square pieces of styrofoam.  Back to the drawing board on that one, I suppose. But I did find two more that would work for a seasonal theme.

In fact, it works out particularly well for the winter squares from Renee because the design for the front is a rectangle and the back is a square.  I was going to make an ornament, but couldn't figure out how to make it work, so back to the drawer it went.  That was until I started making up the last set of cubes and came up with the idea of adding a snowflake embellishment.

I dug through my stash of crafty bits - if there's ribbon or sequins or some other embellishment I think I can use for finishing, I put it in with my crafting materials until I have a need for it.  These snowflake sequins came from inside a snowglobe Christmas card, and I was going to sew them on before pinning the fabric to the cube until I figured out it would be much easier just pin them.  Once again, the wide dark blue satin ribbon makes an appearance.  I may change it up a little if I find a snowflake embellished ribbon when the Christmas craft materials come out (which should be any day now, right?  LOL)

We have so many ornaments for the tree that this will be a nice addition to the other decorations.  I decorate our mantle and the dividing wall between our kitchen and family room, so I will be able to tuck this piece in the greenery in either place.

And here's the one I did with the squares from Shelley P.

I ended up using the same fabric I used on another no-sew cube (also from a F&S Exchange from Nicky).  That cube lives on the shelf in Little Dude's room.  I had planned on using the one from Shelley as part of my "summer pair" for my living room, but when I was photographing the two cubes together, Little Dude asked if he could have the "really cool pirate one!" for his room.  Looks like I'll have to find something else.

You know, as I went back through my blog looking for posts on the original squares, I happened to notice that I have a one track mind when it comes to finishing these squares.  I see them and almost immediately think, "Oh!  No sew cube!"  I think I need to do a little branching out!
Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Another craft project

When I was looking for ideas for a nautical nursery for Little Dude, I found loads of ideas, including many I could do myself.  I even made hand painted closet dividers.

One of the items I found was this sailboat tissue box cover.  I think it was originally on the Land of Nod, but you can find it at this boutique now.  It is very cute.  It's also $44, which is a bit much.

So I decided to make my own and then promptly got sidetracked by other things.  Little Dude survived with a plain square tissue box in his room.  The idea lingered though, and on a whim one day, I picked up a plain wooden tissue box cover at the craft store (using a coupon, of course) and some unpainted wooden shapes.  Since  the nautical theme remains in Little Dude's room, I chose two sailboats and an anchor for three of the sides, and as a nod to his most favorite thing in the world, a wooden seahorse for the fourth side.  (Little Dude has the Fisher Price Soothe and Glow Seahorse.  His name is Keith and he goes everywhere with him.)

I let Little Dude choose the base paint color, a pretty blue called Calypso.  I gave everything a good sanding and a wipe down - I find you get a much nicer finish on even the inexpensive craft wood if you sand it.

I also use a pre-painting primer, which also helps create a smoother finish.  I learned my lesson about details with the closet dividers and decided to something much simpler for this project.  The tissue box cover got a few coats of the blue, and I painted the wooden shapes a simple plain  white.  Then I used Minwax Polycrylic in a satin finish to seal both the box and the wooden shapes.  I've used this on several wood projects and I really like it.  After it dried for a few days, I used a hot glue gun and some heavy books to attach the wooden shapes to the sides of the tissue box.

 It's a little different than the inspiration one, but I love the brighter blue (it adds a pop of color to Little Dude's room) and I think the simpler design will end up being more versatile.
Wednesday, May 21, 2014

A pair of no-sew cubes

I did a little finishing work earlier in the week.   I've had one of my Fair & Square pieces designated for a no-sew cube for a while now, and when I received Robin's exchange, I knew I was going to do that as a no-sew cube as well, so I picked up what I needed over the weekend to finish both of them.

This is how the squares from Robin turned out.  I used the squares for the front and back (you can see the back in the post I linked to), and a pale green wide satin ribbon to cover the seams.  I used a skinnier striped ribbon as an accent, and finished it with a tulip pin made with some glass beads I have in my stash.  (The tulip flower is the same one I used for Dianne's scissor fob.)

I also finished up one I had received in 2012 in an exchange with Pokua in Australia.  (Pokua's blog hasn't been updated in quite a while).  These are the squares that Pokua stitched for me, a Debbie Draper design.  She stitched it in Debbie's memory, as Debbie had passed away a few weeks prior. 

The ones I stitched for Pokua can be found here.

This cube will be a companion to another F&S exchange I finished in the same manner, the blue one in this post, stitched by Jeannie C (no blog).  I'll put the two of them in my living room cabinet.

So the blue one might have taken me almost two years, but at least I got Robin's done and it's STILL SPRING.  YAY!!  Now I will have to go through my Fair & Square exchange stash to see if there are any other seasonal pieces I can do like this.  They work nicely on the shelves in our living room and it's a different way to display finished needlework.

If you're interested in doing your own, here's a few resources
Just a note - these use fabric to cover the seams on the sides, which I've done, but it seems I prefer to use a wide satin ribbon in a coordinating color.  Sometimes I add a second skinnier ribbon, and sometimes I just leave the satin ribbon plain.  (And if you look at the one I did with Marie's squares, I used a wired ribbon which made doing the loops on top a little bit easier.)