What a month!

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Stitching has been just about the last thing on my mind lately. I thought bad things were supposed to happen in threes, but I guess not. Actually, the whole month of March has just stunk. It seems like nothing is going right. But there are definitely three “bad things” that stand out. A week ago vehicle #1 died. Okay, not the end of the world; we still had another one to drive. For about four days, that is. Yep, vehicle #2 decided not to start right when it was time to take the kids to school in the morning. Luckily my in-laws live nearby, and they let us use their car. We dropped the kids off at school and went new car shopping. We didn’t want to buy a new car when there was still so much snow on the ground (yes, it is almost April, and yes, we still have snow). But we didn’t have much choice, so we stopped at a few dealers and found something we could both agree on. We picked up the new car on Friday, the last day of school before Spring Break. And of course, the next day our daughter gets sick with a stomach bug. So I was up all night both Saturday and Sunday nights with her. Today (Monday) she was still throwing up and had stomach pains, so we decided to take her to the doctor. Our second trip in our new car was to the doctor’s office, keeping our fingers crossed that she would keep her breakfast down the whole way (she did!). We also dropped off vehicle #2 at the shop to get the battery/alternator/whatever is the problem looked at. Now my little girl is finally sleeping, so I was able to snap a picture of what little cross stitching I have done recently.

So here is my progress on Nefertiti for the past 10 days. I know, it’s pathetic. But at least it is something. I have no idea what is up with her ears. They are actually supposed to look like that. The one on (my) right looks really weird. My daughter noticed it as well.

nefertiti2

XXX
Carrie



ORT Jars

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ortjarRecently I mentioned my ORT jar in a post, and a reader asked what that was. I thought I would write a blog post all about the wonderfulness of ORT jars.

Here is a picture of my current ORT jar. As you can see, it is nothing more than a jelly jar filled with snippets of embroidery threads. I keep this jar in my “stitching spot”, which is on the end table next to the couch. Any time I finish a kit, the threads go into this jar. If I am stitching a chart that did not come with threads, and therefore am using threads from my stash, then I wind up the leftover threads back onto the bobbins. But if a piece is deemed too short to use again, it goes into the jar.

The word “ort” is an archaic term that means scraps. But stitchers have turned this word into an all-caps abbreviation which can mean different things. I personally use “old random threads”. Others call it “odd ratty threads”. So what do you do with these threads when you have your jar filled up? Well, some people toss them to the birds to help them make nests but others think that is dangerous because the birds can choke on them. I think the chemicals and dyes used can’t be good for the birds, either. Some people start a new jar each year and then at the end of the year they put the snippets into a clear glass Christmas ornament and use a marker to write the date on it. I have to confess, this is my first ORT jar. I used to just toss the tiny little “tails” in the trash, and save any longer pieces. I have threads from every kit I have ever stitched, sitting in a box. Doing nothing. I finally decided that enough was enough; I was never going to actually use them again. And most kit threads, I find, are not very good quality anyway. So for now, they just sit in this jar.

A word of caution: don’t leave your glass jar near any windows. There was a story in the news recently about a girl who burned her house down because she had a Nutella jar on her bedroom windowsill, full of loops for a weaving loom. The glare from the sun on the glass jar started the fire. This was in Europe, where Nutella comes in glass jars and not plastic like in the US, but it can happen anywhere. Keep your jars away from the sun. Better safe than sorry!

XXX
Carrie


An exhausting day!

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Today was pizza delivery day, and now that we are home I am completely exhausted! My husband and I delivered pizzas to 13 classrooms, plus the office staff. We had to make three separate trips to the pizza place in order to pick up all of the pies (10-20 at a time)! The great thing was getting handmade cards and notes from some of the classes, and having kids stop us in the hallway to thank us for the pizza party. The kids all worked so hard to get 360 books read (actually, it was more like 410!) so they totally deserved it. And my geeky math family loved being able to celebrate Pi Day on Friday, Saturday, AND Monday! I took some video of the Pi Day celebrations at school on Friday. First we have my daughter, who is 5 and in kindergarten. She got to recite what she knew from memory and managed to do 16 digits! Then it was my son’s turn. He managed to recite 160 digits of Pi! And the best part of the assembly was when three kids got to throw pies in the faces of faculty members, whose names were drawn from a hat. You can see the videos by clicking on the links below:

5 year old recites Pi for Pi Day of the Century

160 digits of Pi for Pi Day 2015

Teachers get a pie in the face for pi day 2015

Nefertiti is coming along nicely! I can’t decide if I want to stitch her head covering next, or do her neck and shoulders. I think I might start on the head covering first just because it is full of some wonderful blue colors. Plus, it will make her more recognizable.

nefertiti3

Unfortunately, I got very little done on A Summer Ball this past week. I did not even bother to take a progress photo. If I can manage to lift a needle tonight, I think I will work on it. But It is only 5:00 and I can already hear bed calling my name…

XXX
Carrie


Pharoahs, Pi Day, and Pepperoni

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I have gotten some of the skin color done on Nefertiti’s face and… wow!

nefertiti2

I am liking how this is turning out. I think I am going to have a hard time stopping work on this one to go back to A Summer Ball. I might have to put that one on hold for a bit and try to just finish this one up.

I might not get a lot of stitching done in the next few days. Tomorrow (Saturday) is Pi Day. Actually, it is “the Pi day of the century” because the date falls on 3-14-15. My son, who is 10, is a little genius when it comes to math. He is currently in 7th grade math at school and has about 160 digits of Pi memorized. I am not a math whiz; I can honestly say he does not get it from me. The other day when I made the Dr. Seuss hats, I needed his help to determine how large the circle of fabric for the brim needed to be. I had the tall part of the hat finished, and I needed the inside of the fabric ring for the brim to have the exact same size circumference as the hat. I couldn’t just trace around it because the felt was way too flimsy and it kept falling over. So I measured the distance around the hat and then he used his Pi skills to figure out the diameter of the circle for me to cut out. And if you saw the hats, you know how well they turned out! 🙂 Since Pi Day is on a Saturday, we are celebrating it at school today. There will be an assembly and my son will get to recite as many digits as he can from memory. A few teachers are even supposed to have students throw pies in their faces! Since there is a play at the high school that they have to go over and see in the afternoon, we have to cut our Pi Day celebration a bit short. On Monday we will continue it and deliver pizzas  – complete with pepperonis arranged in the shape of the pi symbol – to each class. This is something my husband really wanted to do for the school, and I think it will be fun for the kids. Since March is reading month, we are tying that in to the celebration. In order to earn the pizza party, the kids have to read a certain number of books. There is a large “pizza” in the hallway and every time a child reads a book they get to add a piece of (paper) pepperoni with their name on it. It should be lots of fun!

XXX
Carrie


The face of Nefertiti

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I just had to jump in and start on Nefertiti! The shading is kind of scary; there is so much black in her face. But I think I need to just trust the chart and carry on. I decided to go with my jeweled needle minder for this one – it seemed very fitting!

nefertiti1

The chart is a pain to stitch from because it is on my iPad. Since it is in color, I can’t print a copy (I only have a black and white laser printer). So I think this will be a “during the week” project when I have a bit of time here and there, and A Summer Ball will be reserved for the weekends when I have more time. But I am hoping this one won’t take too long to complete. If I don’t think I can get it done by the end of the month, I am going to have to come up with another small kit from my stash in order to stay on track with one finish per month!

XXX
Carrie


Beads!

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While stocking the store I noticed that some of the Mill Hill beads I am getting in are not the same color as the last batch I received. Here are some examples.

beads1

The beads on the right were the seed beads 02048 that I had in stock, and since I was down to 2 packs I ordered more. The ones on the left were what I received. A quick Google search found that stores selling online are divided on which image to use. While the photo above is my own, I found “swatches” from various stores that look like both. For instance, here are the images that are being used on 123Stitch and Stoney Creek’s websites.

   stoneycreek02048

Hmm, they look exactly like the beads I have! But which is “correct”? Since my website shows the darker color, I guess I will sell those until they are gone and then change the swatch to the lighter color.

beads2This is not the only color this has happened with. These pink beads 62004 were the first that I noticed. I even emailed Wichelt Imports (maker of the Mill Hill beads) to see if I had gotten a bad batch. I didn’t hear back, so I wrote again a couple of weeks later. Still no response. My guess is that the dye lots can be so different at times, they don’t really care. And maybe no one else does either. Maybe I am being overly “picky”. What bothers me the most is that if someone orders a large number of packages, I won’t be able to send them beads that all look the same.

 

 

 

 

 

The last example is of three different colors for one bead type. Since I only had one pack of the bottom color (what color? It looks almost clear!) I decided to just take that one out of stock. The rest will get sold based on how many packs each person needs, I guess. I am very conscientious, when someone places an order with my store, to send them all the same dye lots on things like beads and threads. But not all stores will check when filling your order. And if you run out during a project and need to order more, chances are the dye lots will be different by then. So let these pictures serve as a warning – ALWAYS BUY PLENTY OF BEADS OR THREADS BEFORE STARTING YOUR PROJECT!

beads3

In a future post, I will talk about the color differences between dye lots in DMC floss.

XXX
Carrie


Egyptian Cross Stitch

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I am fascinated with anything dealing with ancient Egypt. I have been collecting cross stitch charts on this topic for years, but never actually got around to stitching any of them. I have had this chart kitted up for about a year, but other projects always seemed to get in the way. Now I think it is time to dig out the materials that have been waiting, and get to work on Nefertiti.

nefertiti

Nefertiti is probably the second most well known Egyptian woman, after Cleopatra. She was the “main” wife, if you will, of the Pharoah Akhenaten. Akhenaten ruled during the Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt which was around 1300 BC. His name was originally Amenhotep IV but he changed it when he decided to become pretty much the first ruler in history to believe in only one god. He no longer wanted to worship Amun (the main god at the time) and decided that only the sun god Aten was worth worshiping. Nefertiti ruled along with her husband in one of Egypt’s wealthiest times. Unfortunately, she simply vanished from history. No one really knows what happened to her. Akhenaten also lost his mother (Queen Tiye, pronounced Tee) and a daughter around the same time. After Akhenaten died, Egypt got a new ruler…

egyptxs

Tutankhamun. “King Tut” as he is called today was the son of Akhenaten and a woman who was probably Akhenaten’s sister. Yeah, I know. But in ancient Egypt the kings pretty much always married their sisters. You had to keep the royal blood lines flowing, right? This project pictured above is from a German cross stitch magazine called Burda Special (issue E732) and it is HUGE. We’re talking 25×15 inches on 14 count fabric. This is definitely a “way down the line” project for me. But it would be absolutely stunning! No designer is given for this chart, which is a shame. The gods on either side of Tutankhamun are not identified, but I am guessing the ones on the left are Atum and Hathor. On the right, the god is probably Horus. I actually have no idea who the 4th figure is. Her headdress looks like a combination of the single feather Ma’at (female) wore and the double plumed crown of Amun (male). But, this chart has definitely been on my “must stitch list” for a good two years or more now.

XXX
Carrie



Dr. Seuss Week

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Schools all over the country are celebrating Dr. Seuss’s birthday, and ours is no exception. Every day this week is a different theme, and today’s theme is “dress like your favorite Suess character”. Since my daughter already had this cute T shirt from Grandma and Grandpa, I decided to make her a Cat In The Hat hat to go with it. Normally my son doesn’t really get into this kind of thing, but he said he wanted one too. So here are the finished hats, and I am pleased to say it cost less than $2 to make both hats, thanks to two 50% off coupons from JoAnn Fabrics and the awesome math skills of my husband. I had found directions online on how to make the hats, and he figured out how much fabric I needed down to the inch. Although it took away from my cross stitching time, I had fun making these and hopefully the kids will get more use out of them in future years.

seuss

XXX
Carrie


Summer Ball Week 6

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Here is my progress after 6 weeks of stitching. I think I am about 1/10 of the way done with this project. At this rate, I will not have this done in a year, unfortunately.

 summerball6

Now that it is March, I also need to be thinking about what stash finishes I can make. I had 3 for January but only 1 for February. I would like to aim for 2 in March but I do want to keep working on Summer Ball as well. Time to start looking through my stash again!

XXX
Carrie