Busy, busy!

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The past few weeks have been hectic, as always. End of the year field trips, the last day of school, dentist appointments galore, and basketball camp has meant pretty much no stitching time. Then yesterday while I was quickly scrolling through Facebook, a stitcher asked the question of “what would your ideal stitching stash include”? Because I have been stitching for over 3 decades and have become quite a hoarder collector of stitching supplies, as well as owning my own store, I don’t really need any material goods. The one thing I need to be truly stitch happy is… time. I can’t recall the last time I picked up a needle. According to this blog post, it was about a month ago. I decided that needed to change. So yesterday and today I have made myself find time to work on my sugar skull project. I haven’t abandoned my work altogether; we still need clean dishes to eat off of and clean clothes to wear. The bills need to get paid and customers need to be kept happy. But who cares if the laundry is clean and folded, but still sitting in the basket? So what if there are a few crumbs on the kitchen floor? Is it the end of the world if dominoes and board game pieces and Go Fish cards are laying on the living room floor? Just giving up a few chores means I can sit and stitch for 30 minutes, and it is a WONDERFUL 30 minutes! Mom is calmer, happier, and more relaxed. I haven’t snapped a photo of the progress I’ve made on my project, because let’s face it – that is work. But these two days of stitching have really gotten me thinking about how I need to be selfish and take some “me time” every day. Or even a few days a week. Hopefully my kids will see that a happy mom is a better mom, and will allow me to get in my stitch fix whenever I need it.

XXX
Carrie


The mouth!

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I love how this is turning out. I just wish maybe I had used a higher count fabric, like 16 or even 18. It seems like there is an awful lot of white space, and I have a feeling that when this is done it is going to be huge. I hope the effect will be noticeable without having to stand several feet back.

XXX
Carrie



What’s Next?

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I have been thinking about what project I should start next. I want to stitch the mermaid, but I can’t seem to find the right fabric. If it is the right type and count, then the color is all wrong. If the color is perfect, the piece of fabric isn’t big enough for that project. I don’t want to buy any new fabric since my stash is so huge, so for now I think I will move on to something else. I really want to work on the sugar skull from the 2016 Just Cross Stitch Halloween issue. I thought I had the perfect fabric and floss for that, but I am worried that it won’t be enough floss (I only have one skein). So instead I have decided to stitch it on white fabric, and use lots of different shades of DMC Color Variations. Last night my daughter and I sat down to color together – her with an adult coloring book (those pages take FOREVER!) and me with the skull pattern. I used colored pencils to color in each area with different shades of purple, pink, teal, yellow, and green. Then I got out the whole set of CV floss and tried to pick which colors I like best. I think these shades will look nice on white fabric, and I will keep the lime green fabric and over-dyed silk floss that I had picked out, for something else.

XXX
Carrie


First Finish of 2017

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I am so excited to be done with this project, and to have my first finish for 2017. The last year or so has been really rough, between all of the things on my schedule along with not physically being well enough to cross stitch. So here it is, at long last, my Pyramids by John Clayton.

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Currently this project is sitting in some dish soap and lukewarm water. After I dry and iron it, I will probably need to have a custom frame made, as I don’t think I have anything on hand that will fit something this long and narrow.

XXX
Carrie



Happy Mother’s Day!

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I spent most of my Mother’s Day cross stitching, with the intent of finishing the Pyramids at last. Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be. Hopefully I will get time tomorrow to finish it up. My son especially was really delighted with how it is coming along, and is already asking what my next project is going to be. That’s a good question!

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XXX
Carrie



Upcycling

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A while back I found that I had a bunch of these cute, colorful cases laying around that had previously held dental wax – the kind you get from the orthodontist to help with the pain of braces. First my son received them, and then when I got braces I acquired a lot of them as well. When the wax was gone, I just couldn’t bring myself to throw these out or even recycle them. They were just too darn cute, and I knew they had to be good for something. Then a burst of inspiration hit. Why not turn them into needle cases? I am always losing needles in the couch or on the floor, much to the dismay of my husband, who is wondering which family member will have to be rushed to the ER for a needle in the foot. Although I do have a couple of needle cases, they are never around when I need them. But I had a LOT of these empty cases, which meant I could keep them all over in the areas where I stitch. So I dug around in my craft supplies and found just what I was looking for – a roll of sticky backed magnetic strip. I simply cut the magnetic strip to the correct length, peeled off the backing, and stuck it down in place. Two pieces, side by side, were the perfect size for covering the whole case bottom. The needles stick to the magnets just perfectly, and the cases are cute and convenient.

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One of these needles definitely looks like it has passed its useful life!

If I want to, I can even use a Sharpie to write on the outside of the case which size needle is inside.

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If someone you know has braces, they probably have a load of these cases of wax laying around, and I’m sure they would send them your way when they are empty for you to make some needle cases of your own. Happy crafting!

XXX
Carrie


Just Cross Stitch Halloween 2017

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I just received an email from my sales rep at Annie’s, letting me know the 2017 issue of Just Cross Stitch Halloween will be out soon. So far only the cover photo has been released:

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As soon as I receive more photos I will post them here. Hearing this news, I decided to get out my copy of the 2016 issue and take a look at it again. When it came out, I had other things going on so I didn’t do much more than glance at it. Now, looking through it again, I found a project I really MUST stitch! It is a sugar skull and was designed by Breanne Jackson.

sugarskull

As soon as I saw this design, I knew exactly what fabric I wanted to use. I have had a piece of Aida in my stash for a few years, not knowing what it should be used for. It is a gorgeous lime green, and it needed just the right project. Now I just needed to find the prefect floss for it. The pattern calls for all black, but that’s not my style. I love colors! I got out my bin of silk floss and found something perfect. It’s called Ada’s Rainbow and it is from Gloriana. I have only used silk one other time, and never on Aida, so this should be interesting.

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I think the bright colors will really pop on this fabric, and I think they would make a wonderful sugar skull. I can’t wait to get started, but I am feeling guilty about all of the projects I have lined up. There’s the red haired mermaid, the bright butterflies, the primitive pincushions, and of course at least a dozen Egyptian designs. It’s already been a month since I received the magazine that had the mermaid in it, and I have made very little progress on my pyramids. Oh, why can’t there be more hours in the day?

XXX
Carrie


Primitive Pincushions

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The June issue of Just Cross Stitch magazine arrived, and it has several great projects in it. One of them that I was immediately drawn to is this set of pincushions by Nicoletta Farrauto of Nikyscreations.

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I especially love the one on the bottom, with the two girls. The pattern is quite easy, and I think the whole thing could be worked up in a weekend. It also would be a great way to use up small scraps of linen, and I love the fact that it uses regular old DMC floss. I have the full line of colors, but this would be so easy to adapt to whatever little bits of floss you have leftover from another project. My husband is always agonizing over my lost needles, so I think this would not only look good sitting on the end table where I keep my supplies while I stitch, but it would be functional too. I do have a magnetic needle minder, but one of these pincushions would be great for when you are working on a larger project and have lots of needles threaded, ready to go.

You can visit the Nikyscreations blog at http://niky-nikyscreations.blogspot.com

XXX
Carrie

 


DMC floss price increase

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Sadly, the rumors going around online are true. DMC is indeed raising the MSRP of their 6 strand embroidery floss, from 77 cents to 87 cents per skein. The change took effect on April 6, 2017. I have waited until today to raise the price on my website, from 44 to 47 cents. I hated to do it, but since my price went up I had to pass along the increase to my customers. But stay tuned; I plan to offer special discount coupon codes to readers of my blog in the near future. And, my price is still lower than many online retailers, who went up to 52 cents per skein. You can view the full selection of threads that we carry at http://www.crossstitchers.com/floss.htm

DMC-Logo-0001

XXX
Carrie


Cross Stitch – a Dying Art?

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I am so bummed about all of the cross stitching magazines that have ceased publication recently. First, Cross Country Stitching published their last magazine in December 2013. Then Sampler and Antique Needlework Quarterly went out of business with the release of their Fall 2015 issue. Their sister magazine, Just Cross Stitch, has since published some articles and samplers in their issues, but it is just not the same. Cross Stitch and Needlework magazine, which has seen many name changes and publication changes over the years, first went to a quarterly format and then decided to cease altogether at the end of 2016. In exchange for the remainder of my subscription, I was given a gift certificate to Herrschners, which I am not sure what I will use on. (When you own a needlework store, you sort of have access to everything that every other store sells!) Most recently, the British magazine Cross Stitch Collection went out of business after the February 2017 issue. This came about a year or so after being bought out by another publishing company, and I just don’t think the new publishers cared much about the fate of it. It was a wonderful magazine, full of great patterns and articles, and it will be sadly missed. Since it is a British magazine, and therefore quite expensive to get in the States, I subscribed to it through Zinio (a digital magazine platform). I will treasure my back issue collection, and luckily I was given the remainder of my issues for that magazine in a different title (Cross Stitch Gold, which I was also subscribing to on Zinio). Back in 2011, Stoney Creek Collection changed to a quarterly format but they are still going strong. I believe Just Cross Stitch is the only other American magazine still in publication. I am hoping that our beloved hobby is not dying out. At least I have a stash of patterns to last me several lifetimes!

XXX
Carrie


Gods of Egypt

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I am so excited! After months (years?) of searching for the missing portion of the Gods of Egypt chart from New Stitches magazine, I found the digital copy online! You can purchase this chart (and many others) from stitchdirect.com. The chart will be in pdf format and you will be given a link to download it about a day after you purchase it.

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This will be a large endeavor, but it actually looks pretty easy to stitch. Mary Hickmott’s New Stitches magazine was known for their full cross stitch only charts, with no half or quarter stitches and a lot of the time there is minimal backstitching. But this does utilize metallic threads, which will be a challenge. I can’t wait to dive in! Now I need to decide, after I finish the Pyramids, do I start this or the mermaid? Or the butterflies? I also need to finish the deer in the woods, A Summer Ball, and put my little hedgehog pincushion together. Oh, why can’t there be more hours in the day?!

XXX
Carrie



More stash finds

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While going through my stitchy supplies I found a kit that I had forgotten I had ordered off of Amazon around Christmas time. I had been interested in this chart for about 2 years, after having seen it in a British magazine as a “subscriber gift”. But the advertisement never mentioned what it was called, or where you could purchase it. Finally I decided to do a little sleuthing with Google images, and after a while I found it! I was really happy to see that Amazon had it for only $11 including shipping, whereas other stores were charging up to $27 just for the kit. Yikes! I had Amazon gift cards saved up, so it ended up not costing me a dime. The kit is by DMC and it is called Butterfly Garden. The kit is number BK1545 and the designer is one of my favorites, Susan Bates! Normally I see her designs in the British magazines and she is affiliated with Anchor, so this was kind of surprising. I did not know who the designer was until after I bought the kit, but now I am not surprised that I was drawn to it and couldn’t stop thinking about it for a couple of years.

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I just love the bright colors of this, and it would look so great by my computer to keep the dreariness of my location away. Yes, even in April it is gray, cold, and not very nice looking outside. Once the snow is completely gone, the bugs will be out and the trees outside my window will be nothing but shades of green. So, I could definitely use a bit of a color pick-me-up! I’m not sure if I will start on this right away after finishing the Pyramids, or if I will work on another WIP or start on the mermaid. Choices, choices!

XXX
Carrie


Egypt!

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Well, this doesn’t look like much but it is progress. I am sort of working all over the place now – if the kids are occupied and the house is quiet, I work on areas with lots of counting. If I am watching TV I do areas of large blocks of color. Interestingly, I am listening to a new course I got called The History of Ancient Egypt by The Great Courses. It is presented by Dr. Bob Brier, a professor and Egyptologist who is really fun to learn from. I also just bought another course of his, which teaches you how to read hieroglyphs, but I definitely won’t be studying that while trying to stitch!

Yesterday I went through my collection of Egyptian patterns and have made a list of things I want to stitch. I have two patterns from Dennis Art Needlework which unfortunately don’t have photos to go with them – they are simply black and white charts (with full stitches only, no backstitch). One is called Mask of Tutankamen (I realize this is spelled wrong) and the other is of Nefertiti. I have already stitched a different pattern of Nefertiti, but this is more of a sideways portrait. I did a Google search and found these, which do appear to be the same as the charts I have:

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Then of course there is the huge sampler featuring Tut in the middle, which I have already mentioned in a different post that I want to stitch some day:

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I also desperately want to find issue #221 of New Stitches magazine so I can find the third portion of the Gods of Egypt chart.

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A chart I didn’t even realize I had was by Stoney Creek from their book Landmarks Around the World. There is a chart of the Sphinx in this book, which I would love to stitch. It is not a terribly large pattern, but the drab colors look kind of daunting.

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Mary Hickmott’s New Stitches magazine also has an issue (number 81, from way back in 1999!) with a sampler of different world landmarks in it, including the Pyramids. I would love to stitch this one even though it is kind of similar to what I am stitching now. I just can’t get enough of Egypt! This chart is called Dawn of the New Millennium and features all sorts of world marvels such as Stonehenge and Monument Valley, but I am only interested in the pyramids. If you are interested in this issue, I do have copies left in my store: http://www.crossstitchers.com/shop/store.php?&view=NS81-135

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And finally (well, this is not all of my Egyptian patterns, just the ones I REALLY want to stitch!) there is an Egyptian Sampler from Anchor that was in issue 241 of The World of Cross Stitching.

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Yes, that is a LOT of stitching to be done!

XXX
Carrie


Ariel!

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Okay, she isn’t exactly Ariel, but she is a mermaid with red hair. And she’s gorgeous! I just received the latest issue of Cross Stitch Gold magazine in the mail (well, the latest for the US, anyway) and it said that this beauty would be in the next issue. Of course, this happens to be one of the issues I won’t be getting because of their horrible subscription deal for US stitchers. The magazine is published 9 times a year, but only in Britain. US subscribers get 6 issues per year. This means that you get two issues in a row, then miss one issue, then get two more issue, miss one, and so on. Of course, being the addicted stitcher that I am (especially when it comes to my British mags) I have to have those missing issues. How do I solve this? By getting a digital subscription through Zinio, when they have their 5 issues for $5 deal going on. Since you can stack subscriptions, I re-subscribe any time they do this offer (2-3 times per year) to ensure that I never lose an issue. Yes, I do get issues digitally that I also get in the mail. I prefer to read the hard copies, BUT if I want to stitch a pattern it sure is nice to have the digital copy to print out the chart instead of having to scan it in. I simply cannot stitch something without destroying the heck out of the copy with either highlighters or colored pencils. So this way I don’t ruin my mags. Anywho, the DAY AFTER receiving a copy of Gold in the mail, the next issue came out on Zinio. And there she was, just wanting to be stitched! I have the pattern printed out and ready to go and have selected the fabric and beads. But I will not be starting this until the Pyramids are finished. I know I should work on A Summer Ball and the deer in the woods, but I have a feeling I won’t be able to stay away from this mermaid for long!

XXX
Carrie


Half way done!

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I have reached the halfway point for the Pyramids. I had to take the scroll frame out of the stand so that I could get access to more fabric. It kind of looks like a papyrus scroll! Counting today there are 8 days left of Spring Break. I am determined to make the most of this time and get in some serious stitching.

XXX
Carrie



Hello again

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I cannot believe that it has been exactly six months since I last posted on this blog. So much has happened in that space of time… listing a vacation home, getting an offer two days later, driving 1200 miles to pack up all of our belongings and move them back home, volunteering countless hours in the school library, chauffeuring the kids to religious education classes twice a week, enduring physical therapy, surviving the Christmas season, and helping my daughter make videos for her YouTube channel. Last weekend my 7 year old participated in Jump Rope For Heart through the American Heart Association. This weekend she starts basketball (how is it that she is even big enough for that?). Needless to say, I have done no cross stitching in the last 6 months. None. As in, not one stitch. Time is always an issue in this household, but for the last year my neck pain has been so severe that looking down to do any kind of needlework would have been impossible. Reading is not so bad; I can hold a book out in front of me and not injure myself. So I have been spending every spare moment with the Chronicles of Narnia, Jules Verne, Lady Hardcastle, and Artemis Fowl. Reading is my second love (or is it tied for first?) so I have not been too disappointed that I haven’t been able to pick up a needle. But I have decided that I definitely need to spend more time on this blog, so I’m hoping this is the first of many posts to come for 2017.

XXX
Carrie