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.

case1

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.

case2

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:

2017halloween

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.

greenaida

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.

M53373_HelloSpring_300

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.

godsofegypt

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:

egyptxs

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.

sphinx

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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mermaid

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


What a Find!

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Yesterday while out for a walk we spotted a garage sale where everything was free. There wasn’t much left, as it had probably been quite picked over before we got there. But imagine my surprise when I found a box full of cross stitch goodies! There were a couple dozen leaflets from back in the 1980s, some folded up pieces of Aida, and even a finished, framed piece. I could tell by looking at it that it was a Stoney Creek design. Of course, I grabbed anything cross stitch related and went home to check out my new treasures. The framed piece was taped to a piece of cardboard and then put in a cheap frame with a broken piece of glass. I removed the stitched piece and will wash it, and then I will reframe it and hang it in my shop. I did a quick search on Google for “Stoney Creek cross stitch teddy wheelbarrow” and found the book it came from – Teddy Treasures, Book 158.

Another finished piece came from the booklet Something Special in Plaids and Monograms by T&N Designs Inc, Book 4. Copyright 1982! Ironically, it is a finished pillow cover with the name James, which is my husband’s name! But the date, 1991, means nothing to me. I have no idea what I will do with this. I am not sure if it was meant to commemorate the birth of a child, or to represent a last name.

james

There was a barely started piece from the book Country Barnyard which I think I will just cut up and save the smaller unstitched parts for other projects. It is not my style, so I won’t bother finishing it. But the Aida is in good shape and should be fine after a quick washing.

There was another barely started piece, a sampler, which I actually would finish and frame, but the chart was just a photocopy and I actually don’t think it is all there. The top of the piece is the end of the alphabet, and no top border design. I have no idea what the piece is called, and could not find it when searching Google. I think I will post a picture of it on Facebook and see if anyone knows what it is.

sampler

The last piece has a good amount done on it and I can tell it was stitched on Smoketone Aida. It is a sampler with an alphabet, some waves, and lightning. At first I could not find anything like it in Google, and then I decided to search for a Noah’s Ark sampler. It turns out that not only do the waves and lightning represent Noah’s Ark, but that the pattern was with the leaflets I got! It is the cover piece from Cross Stitch & Country Crafts magazine, Jan/Feb 1987. The magazine is in such bad shape, I didn’t even realize the pattern was there all along until I saw the images on Google. At first I thought I might finish this one, but now that I know what it is, I doubt that I will. It is a huge project and I just don’t have time to work on something like this. It is also done on fabric much darker than the magazine sample, and the pastel colors kind of get lost. I think I will probably cut the excess fabric off of this one, too.

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I don’t know the woman who owned these charts or stitched pieces, or why someone was giving them away for free at a yard sale. I do know that they had belonged to a woman named Julie Ziegler. I found a birthday card with her name on the envelope, and inside it was signed Jeremy, Jessica, and Travis (her children, I presume). The card came with “birthday coupons” for things like breakfast in bed and a day of housecleaning. None of them had ever been used. There was also a photocopied recipe with her name at the top. Perhaps she died, or just couldn’t see well enough to stitch anymore. Maybe her children had no idea what the items were. But I feel good knowing that at least one of her pieces will be “rescued” and put back up on the wall.

Also included in this set of goodies was a couple of small kits and a Dimensions stocking kit. It has been opened, but all of the materials are there and are in good shape. I don’t care for the design, and I don’t need to stitch another stocking anyway, but this will be a nice piece of fabric to add to my stash.

 

XXX
Carrie


Goodies in the Mail!

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It’s always a great day when The World of Cross Stitching arrives. But this month has a great free gift – a thread cutter pendant! Now this is something I can really use. No more lost scissors!

freecutter

There’s also a great free design of a rose included this month. I love these bonus designs – they are printed nice and big, and on thick shiny cardstock. My magazines tend to get ripped up when I stitch from them, but these freebies are printed on a nice long lasting quality paper.

XXX
Carrie


Pyramids Update

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I haven’t had much time for stitching lately but I did manage to get in a bit of work on The Pyramids since I started it way back in May. The purple started to drive me crazy after a while, but now I have moved on to the pyramids themselves. I am loving how this is turning out.

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XXX
Carrie


Step One: The Sky

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I have started on John Clayton’s “The Pyramids”, which I am excited about. Here is 4 days worth of stitching. So far it is just two shades of periwinkle. I can’t wait to get the sky done and get started on the pyramids! This is a nice easy project to work on in the evenings while watching TV.

pyramids1

XXX
Carrie


His Name Is Jesus

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Done at last! I thought this would be a quick stitch but with kids, work, volunteering at school, physical therapy and exercise, it just didn’t happen. I finally finished this today. It needs to be washed and ironed, and then I am going to check out Hobby Lobby for a frame and mats, and will do the actual framing myself.

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I did change the word “saviour” to “savior”, to be more American.

This pattern can be found here, for free: http://www.joyfulexpressions.us/HTML/FreePatterns.html

Now for my next project… I think I need to get my little hedgehog pincushion put together. And that deer in the woods is not getting finished just sitting in a drawer. That might need to be a summer project, though, as the counting and similar colors are horrible. I desperately want to start on John Clayton’s pyramids. And it should be an easier project, with huge blocks of one color and extremely small amounts of backstitch. Time to look through my stash again and see what other treasures I have set aside that I forgot about!

XXX
Carrie




A Must-Stitch

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A couple of days ago I received an issue of The World of Cross Stitching in the mail, and it had this adorable Furry Tales St. Patrick’s Day mouse in it. Because I get the magazines a couple of months after they come out in the UK, that doesn’t leave much time for stitching this little cutie. One week, to be precise! I started working on her last night and will have to stitch all weekend to get it stitched and framed in time. I have just recently found out who my Irish ancestors were through ancestry.com, so I have never really celebrated St. Patrick’s Day before, apart from maybe wearing green. This year I will actually be able to say that I am Irish!

To protect Lucie Heaton’s copyright, I have blurred out the chart, as there is never a photo of the finished project in the Furry Tales section of the magazine. But I will post a photo of my finished stitch so you can really see what this cutie looks like!

furrytales

XXX
Carrie


Fun times!

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I love how this is turning out! What a fun and easy pattern for a change. A Summer Ball is a gorgeous chart, but requires so much counting. The deer in the woods has so many similar colors and the fabric is impossible to keep tight in my frame. But this is a nice relaxing project and I can’t wait to see what it looks like when it is finished. I think it would look good in a silver frame with two shades of purple matting.

jesus2

XXX
Carrie