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


Fun Finds

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Our local Humane Society just had their annual rummage sale at the county fairgrounds, where everything for sale is donated and the price you pay for your goodies is a donation as well. Last year I was lucky enough to find a HUGE box of brand new (with tags) cross stitch fabrics in all sorts of colors and counts. It was pretty much all linens, and a lot of it was hand dyed. This year I found two really large pieces of white 14 count Aida fabric and dozens of Just Cross Stitch magazines. They were all from the mid 1980s and I have sort of a collection going for these older issues. I do have the Just Cross Stitch DVDs that contain all the issues of the magazines in digital form, but there is just something about turning the pages of a real magazine. I love reading the articles about designers, and some of them are still designing today! I also love the DMC advertisements, and plan on posting a few of them here in a later blog post. It’s fun to see how many less colors there were back then, and the types of projects that were popular at the time.

XXX
Carrie


It’s Almost Halloween

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It’s almost October, and that means it is time to start thinking about Halloween stitching. If you need a new project or two, just turn to the 2018 issue of Just Cross Stitch Halloween. It is packed with scary (and cute) projects of all sizes. Here is an inside peeks of just a few of the designs you’ll find!

                

You can purchase this book at my website: http://www.crossstitchers.com/shop/store.php?&view=JCS2018H-75

XXX
Carrie


Autumn Flowers

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I have decided that my next project will be from the latest issue of Just Cross Stitch magazine, October 2017. Featured on page 15 is this lovely piece called Autumn Flowers, designed by Ladonna Snellbaker of Black Branch Needlework. I am about to raid my stash for the appropriate supplies, but I am guessing that I won’t have all the threads called for, as they are Needlepoint Inc Silks (one color) and Gloriana hand dyed silk floss (three colors). Actually, I doubt I have any of those! But no worries, I should be able to find something that matches closely, and most likely silk. Or, maybe I will find overdyed cotton floss to use. The 32 count linen might be a challenge to my eyes, as I am used to working on 28 count linen. But this chart isn’t very large and features only whole stitches (yay!) so it should work up quickly.

I can’t wait to get started!

XXX
Carrie


Done!

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I’m so excited to finally have this sugar skull finished. Things had gotten so busy that I was unable to work on it for quite a while. And then one day the internet went out and I couldn’t work, so I decided to sit down and stitch for a while. The next morning the internet was still out, so I was able to finish this guy. And then I even got right into a free cover kit that had come with the latest issue of World of Cross Stitching. It was sitting on the coffee table and was so cute, I couldn’t resist jumping in. That little hedgehog card should be finished up in one more stitching session.

For the sugar skull, I think I will try to find a wooden frame that I can paint in a bright, bold color that matches one of the colors in the design. I think I would want to do it lime green, actually!

This was a fun and quick design (when I actually had time to sit down and stitch!) and can be found in the 2016 Halloween special issue of Just Cross Stitch magazine. It was actually charted to be solid black, but I used colors of DMC Color Variations that I hand picked. You can purchase the magazine here: crossstitchers.com

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.

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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




Annie’s DVD Collection

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I have been anticipating this moment for months. I have finally received copies of the DVDs put out by Annie’s, featuring back issues of Just Cross Stitch and Sampler & Antique Needlework magazines. There are 4 DVD collections in all: Just Cross Stitch Collection 1991-2000; Just Cross Stitch Collection 2001-2010; Just Cross Stitch Christmas Ornaments Collection 1997-2013; and Sampler & Antique Needlework Quartlery Collection 2001-2010. The price of the SAN collection is $59.95, while the two JCS collections are each $49.95. The ornaments collection is only $29.95. I now have all of these DVDs available in my store at www.crossstitchers.com

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dvd4The DVDs all feature every page from every issue of the magazines. So you will get the cover, letter from the editor, all charts including their color photography, and yes, the advertisements. Of course, many of the ads will no longer be valid. Discount codes for websites will long be expired, and many of the companies listed will be out of business by now. Most likely, you won’t be able to purchase any of the materials packs from the back of the issues. But it’s fun to watch the ads evolve. In the early 90s issues no listings had website addresses. In the late 90s they started appearing more frequently but they were not your typical .com addresses of today. Remember things like http://www.geocities.com/something/somethingelse/yetanothersomething.html? And of course the latest ads nearly all feature the .com addresses we are used to.

In order to view the files on the DVDs you need to have Adobe Reader on your computer. This is available for free download if you don’t have it, but most computers will already have it installed. The files are all .pdf format. The charts are mostly in black and white, which is great for those who only have a black and white printer. In the later years, a few charts here and there do have backstitch lines in colors such as blue and red. But I noticed that not all charts have this. And I did not notice any charts on the 1991-2000 disc having color lines. Printing charts is easy. Just click the print button and choose which page(s) you want to print. Careful, if you don’t specify a page to print it will start printing the entire magazine, which is around 70 pages.

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If you have an older, slower computer you might find that the DVDs take a while to start running and then to turn each page. But any of the newer systems will not have any problem at all reading the issues. With Adobe Reader you can view each page as large as you need to, making it possible to read the articles right on your computer without printing them out. Remember, you have to have the DVD in the drive in order to read the issues. Take it out and you can longer access the content. Unless you copy the issues to your computer, that is. And doing so may speed up the process of reading compared to trying to read off of the DVD. Because I live in a household where electronics often get ruined (the kids have so far managed to kill two laptops and a backup drive) I will make a backup of the DVDs “just in case” on my cloud storage. I know that no matter how hard I try to protect these discs, they WILL eventually get stepped on, scratched up, or just plain lost. So no matter what my little terrors do to my computer, the data on these discs will be safe.

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I have included a few snapshots from the magazines. Of course, for copyright reasons, I cannot include actual charts or articles. But you can see that the covers as well as the individual project photos are in full color. The table of contents for most issues give you an idea of what’s inside that issue. And the charts are in black and white with symbols, which are easy to print. The earlier magazines are all scanned in. You can tell because often times you can see writing “through” the pages. In other words, when looking at a photograph you might be able to faintly see some type coming through from the other side of the page. It appears that the later issues are digital copies. The pages are probably the same as what the layout editors created on the computer initially. Sometimes when loading a page, you first see the background, then the “layers” all start to fall into place. This is different from just taking a back issue of the magazine and scanning it in, which would make each image “flat”. So the later the issues get, the better the quality should be. But even the issues from 1991 are plenty good enough to read and print.

Even if you have the print issues already, these DVD collections make a great addition to your stitching library. They make printing out charts a snap, if you’re the type of stitcher who likes to photocopy the charts prior to stitching so that the magazine stays in pristine condition. I am that type of stitcher! The other day while flipping through some back issues of Just Cross Stitch, I found a chart I wanted to stitch. Instead of scanning in the chart and then printing it, I simply put in my DVD and found that issue. I printed out the chart and key and I was ready to go.

I am delighted with these DVDs and can’t wait for more to come out. It would be wonderful to get older issues of both Just Cross Stitch and Sampler & Antique Needlework. Of course, these DVDs were probably a time consuming project and I would assume the publishers want to see how well these sell before going back even further.

You can purchase all 4 DVDs here: http://www.crossstitchers.com/shop/textsearch.php?term=dvd

XXX
Carrie

***Please note that this review was my own opinion. Annie’s did not ask me to review these DVDs or send me free copies. I purchased the DVDs directly from Annie’s with my wholesale account in order to sell them in my cross stitch store. My review is based upon my own personal purchase of these products***