A New Toy

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The Christmas holiday has been nice and quiet and pretty uneventful. I have spent my time catching up on much-needed sleep. Besides that, I have managed to find some nice relaxing stitching time. I am going to attempt to finish the red-headed mermaid without working on anything else. I am able to work on this even though it is very dark and dreary and cold outside, due to a wonderful new task lamp that I bought for myself (Merry Christmas to me!)

The Mighty Bright LED Task Light Table Lamp was featured in a recent issue of Just Cross Stitch magazine and it sounded exactly like what I was searching for. Of course, upon doing a search for this lamp, I found out it was sold out everywhere. The company itself didn’t have any, Amazon didn’t have any, no one had any. My guess is that it is a discontinued product. But I was determined to find one, and I eventually did find one at an online quilting shop. The MSRP was $90, but I was able to snag the lamp, a pair of stork embroidery scissors, some bobbins for my sewing machine, and several yards of pom pom trim on Cyber Monday for only $75, including shipping. I have been using the lamp for stitching, reading, even just having added light in the living room when sitting there in the evenings. What I love about this lamp in particular is that it has the ability to be used in its base or clipped onto something. I keep it in the base, and the base has cork in the bottom of the tray to hold scissors, needles, threads, etc. The lamp has three brightness settings (I always use the highest) and it can be adjusted from yellow light to white light. I love this feature! Normally white (daylight) lightbulbs really bother me. I have to make sure the light bulbs in our house are the yellow kind, or else I get really nauseous. I have no idea why, they have just always bothered me since the old incandescent bulbs went out of fashion and compact fluorescent (and then LED) bulbs were introduced. I thought for sure I would want to have this lamp set on the yellow bulb setting all the time, but I found I actually prefer the white setting. It gives a more accurate color representation for the fabric and floss. And as long as it is above me shooting straight down, it doesn’t bother me. This is easy to do with the swivel neck that can bend in any direction.

If you can find one of these lamps somewhere, I highly recommend it. I noticed that the website I purchased mine from is already sold out, and like I said I don’t think these are even being made any more. But it has sure saved my eyesight ¬†and helps with neck strain as well because I don’t have to bend over as much.

Happy New Year!

XXX
Carrie


Return to the Sea

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Now that the mandala embroidery is finished, I am back to working on the red-headed mermaid. In one evening I made a good deal of progress on the tail. Next up is the purple and pink flowing parts around the green. That will entail lots of color changes and the use of blending filament, but I look forward to working on it.

XXX
Carrie


Neon Mandala

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This project finished up so much faster than I expected, and I love it. But I am a bit disappointed at how much of the white pattern shows underneath the stitching. I wish the lines had not been put onto the fabric so thickly. But I am a perfectionist, and I doubt anyone else would scrutinize my projects the way I do. I also think I may paint the wooden hoop a bright color, perhaps neon green.

I would definitely try another embroidery project in the future, but I think I would prefer to use my own fabric and threads and transfer the design to the fabric myself. I could definitely see myself doing a sugar skull pattern!

XXX
Carrie


Wow!

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I love how this mandala is coming along. I am so glad I have started on some fun colors, as the white and yellow was making it look like I wasn’t making progress. Most of the project is stitched in backstitch, which is super fast. I modified one part that was supposed to be done in couching stitch and did it in stem stitch instead, to avoid much aggravation!

I’m not thrilled with the purple french knots. The white pattern underneath is so thick, that even using two strands of floss and wrapping the needle 4 times didn’t cover it all. My project also isn’t looking just like the one on the cover of the kit, either. The orange and pink that I am doing now are only 3 strands of floss, and on the package photo they appear to be 6 strands – just as thick as the other colors. But I have no way of knowing if I will have enough floss if I use 6 strands, so I am sticking with the 3 that they say to use. At the end of the purple is supposed to be a huge 6 strand blue french knot. But I am saving my fingers for now and will do that absolutely last!

Another problem I found is that part of the chart is colored wrong – one of the pink petals which I just completed is colored yellow on the chart but is obviously supposed to be pink, like the other 7. And there is no indication of how many strands to use for that area at all; they completely forgot to put it on the chart. So I just guessed that it should be 3 strands like the orange, and it looks OK. I wish they had had someone proof-read their chart before going to print.

I definitely think I can get this finished by Christmas, although it is not a “Christmasy” project. But this weekend I am setting aside time to finish off my gingerbread houses. I bought the foam core board and red pom pom trim (darn, they didn’t have the light green that was used in the magazine) and I should have enough silk pins to get it finished. I am just a little worried about what the back will look like. I am definitely not using glue, like the magazine suggests!

XXX
Carrie