Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Alphabet Girl

I completed the stitching on this embroidery a while ago, but haven't finished into anything yet. I need to concentrate on finishing this and some other languishing embroideries!

This was fun to stitch, but I had a really hard time getting her facial features and hair to my liking. I got the pattern last winter from Follow the White Bunny (here), but this pattern no longer seems to be available.
Thanks for the feedback on the frames! Your votes were a pretty even split! I ended up sending the heart in the black frame to my newly-engaged niece for a little surprise. My daughter preferred the gold frame, so I kept that one for us. I think the opening in both frames is 2 inches by 3 inches, so either heart is one of those fun little things you can set anywhere. That's my favorite kind of decorating, to have random bits of whimsy here and there. I try to stop before the look crosses the line to cluttered. This is why I am forever swapping decorations out for the seasons. I can't stop making things, so I need to rotate my stuff. My husband says museums don't display everything at once, so I don't need to, either. Ha.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Two hearts, two frames

I saw a little cross stitch heart on flickr that I absolutely loved, so I decided to make my own. I stitched it twice and framed it two different ways.

Which frame do you like best? I can't decide.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Gingham heart

"Needlework is the art that tells the truth about the real life of people in their time and place. The great arts...are the work of a few unique persons...Needlework is anonymous; the people create it. Each piece is the work of a woman who is thinking only of making for her child, her friend, her home or herself a bit of beauty that pleases her." --Rose Wilder Lane, Woman's Day Book of American Needlework.

Heart was stitched on Christmas Day while we drove to visit my family, but instead of making it into a Christmas ornament (which was my original intention), I framed it in the hoop to be a winter/Valentines' Day decoration.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

All You Need is Love

I went through my back log of cross stitch patterns a week ago with the intention of working on all the Christmas patterns I've collected over the years. Instead, I found several small Valentine's themed patterns I had completely forgotten about, so I started those.

Here is the first.

It's a free pattern from The Drawn Thread, titled All You Need is Love. Direct link to the pattern here, but if that doesn't work for some reason, here is a link to list of all their free patterns.

I'm not fully satisfied with how mine turned out. The pattern calls for Gloriana Silk threads, which I do not have, so I substituted DMC (substitutions listed below). I also used a 28 ct linen. An evenweave, or a tighter weave (the pattern calls for 32 ct), would have resulted in better-looking satin stitch (all of the leaves, plus a few of the hearts). I do like the water-color effect of the undefined edges, but I think I would prefer a cleaner, sharper look. In any case, it was fun to do, and I am pleased with it, even if I do think it could look better. Now I need to come up with a way to finish it! It's little, about 2 inches by 3 inches. I love little cross-stitches like this. They are quick to stitch up and can go just about anywhere.

Oh, and silly me, I went looking for more free cross stitch patterns last night and felt my heart skip a beat when I saw this one at Tom Pudding Designs. Red, white, and Scandinavian? Yes, please.

In random news, the dying maple in front of my house was cut down yesterday. So sad. We knew it was coming. It had been looking sickly for several years. It's on city property, so I called the city to come trim dead branches a while ago, which they did, but then more branches died, and when I called again, they told me it would need to come down. It has had the painted mark of doom on it for almost a year now, and I was hoping they'd forgotten about it, but yesterday they pulled up, unannounced, all noisy and hard-hatted, with chain saws and a big chipper. In less than 20 minutes they had that poor tree cut down and fed through the chipper.

When my children were toddlers they liked to be lifted to sit on the lowest branch of the tree, and when my daughter grew older, she would find lots of cicada shells on the trunk every summer. Last year the tree harbored a hummingbird nest, which hung at the end of a very thin branch, right over the middle of the street. We marveled at how tiny it was, and at how it must weigh nothing to be able to hang on that thin branch. Once my son hit a ball, which soared (unintentionally) right into the bottom of the nest. The nest swung up, and the hummingbird shot out of it so fast! I could almost see the indignation on his face as he hovered over his home, assessing the danger. Eventually, to our great relief, he decided it was okay to settle back into bed. Sigh. I hate losing a tree.

Fortunately there are still lots of nice old trees in the neighborhood. This time of year we have a flock of crows that hangs around all day. They are a raucous bunch, and frankly, they give me the creeps. They seem so sinister. For some reason yesterday afternoon they gathered in the trees near to my now-gone tree and screamed their heads off. I don't know if it was just a coincidence, or if they truly were discussing why a tree had just disappeared! I am currently reading The Dark is Rising, by Susan Cooper, in which rooks lend to the eerie mood right in the first chapter. The way those rooks are behaving, you just know something is up! It's hard not to think about that when I have these crows over my own head. I will just have to concentrate on stitching to keep my mind off the crows, I suppose!

(My DMC substitutions for All You Need is Love: Elizabethan Green--987; Poinsettia--814; Antique Pink--761 (wish I had picked something with a bit more oomph!); Forest--895; Raspberry Parfait--600; Rosewood--777; Desert Rose--760)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Into 2011

Last year I started a 365 project, to post one photo a day on Flickr. I made it to 100, and then I didn't take a picture for weeks! I am not going to attempt a 365 project again, but I did give myself a new project to photograph my yard on the first day of each month this year. I am interested to chronicle how things change from one month to the next.

Our yard is pretty tiny. We don't have sweeping views or rolling terrain. We do have quite a few flower beds packed into it, though. I took these photos on January 1. All of the snow had melted the day before when we had a warm (mid 40s F temperatures) and rainy day.

There is not much going on out there right now!

Inside the house things are looking a bit sad, too. All the Christmas stuff is put away. I still have out some winter decorations, but I haven't rearranged anything yet to fill in the gaps where the Christmas things were, so things feel half-done. I need to get to work on that.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

A mosaic of what my daughter and I made this year. I made most of it, but she gets credit for the porcupine pillow, the kitty, and one of the beaded hearts.

This year I think I'd like to take charge of my excessive back log of cross stitch patterns. I have at least 5 (maybe more!) Christmas patterns in my to-do stack. The year of 2011 might be all Christmas, all the time for me. That could be kind of fun. I would definitely feel a sense of accomplishment to clear out that back log!

Wishing a very Happy New Year to all who stop by this space. Thanks for reading!