Friday, February 16, 2018

A Variety Of Craftiness

For the past couple of months I haven't been too crafty. I do pick up my stitching on some evenings, but getting things done in the craft room has not happened. Working some extra hours, and working different times has thrown my routine off completely. I guess I'm one of those people who thrives on routine!

I did do some sewing for a gift at Christmas. I made this project bag for my group's December stitch day. As I mentioned in the past, we exchange gifts at each stitch day, and I thought that someone would really like this.
I used the Twisted Stitcher's project envelope instructions for this, and love the way it turned out. Because of a weird early snow, we had to postpone our special Christmas extravaganza stitch day until January. And that suited us just fine!
I opted for a magnetic snap for the closure for this one. You can get them very inexpensively at Amazon.
The snap shows on the outside of the project envelope so I needed something pretty to cover it. I looked around at Joann's and didn't find anything, but when I looked through my own jewelry making supplies, I found this! I think it's a connector of some sort, but it worked out perfectly because I could sew it right over the snap.
Don't you just love the lining fabric? You can't see it here, but it's sparkly!

Meanwhile, other people have been crafty! Here's another edition of Other People's Creations.
In case you're not familiar with this feature of my blog, I'll explain. Occasionally I like to show what other crafters are doing. They are mainly friends of mine and I do have some talented friends!

Let's start with some knitting. My daughter in law, Stephanie, always amazes me with her knitting skills. She was working on this sweater when she and Matt visited for Christmas, and recently sent me this photo of her completed project.
Wow, right? Not only is it something that can be worn, it's incredibly detailed. I haven't mastered knitting, so this to me is wonderful. As are these socks.
See, I told you she is amazing. I'd say she has a gift for knitting.

My sister, Sheila, crafted a beautiful gift for each of us at stitch day.
She made these rose ornaments out of polymer clay. Again, this photo doesn't show the real beauty of this flower. They're luminous and kind of iridescent, as well as very detailed. What a lovely gift to receive!

And all of us Sisters In Stitches were lucky to receive another wonderful handmade gift.
Thea presented us with these sweet pin cushions. She used deep red velvet fabric and a pretty button to crown the top.
This pin cushion is very solid as it's filled with a combination of emery and crushed walnut shells.

How lucky are we to receive handmade gifts? As crafters/sewers/stitchers, we all know what goes into handmade items, so it's pretty special to be gifted with something that someone made.

I hope you enjoyed seeing the craftiness of my friends and family, as well as my own! Please stop by again. I still need to find a good balance of work and working on my own creative projects. So hopefully, I'll get back to more regular posts. Watch for my Wipocalypse post coming at the end of the month for my stitching progress! Until then, have a great week!

Saturday, February 3, 2018

January WIPocalypse

It's a little late; so what else is new? I've got a good excuse though. I've been working extra hours and it's cutting into my stitching/blog posting/crafting time. But what are you gonna do?

This year I am once again participating in the WIPocalypse, a cross stitch project rotation SAL organized by Melissa at her blog, Measi's Musings. I found this SAL so helpful last year for staying on course with all of my cross stitch projects that I knew I wanted to join in the fun again.

I have managed to get some stitching in however, and have even done a bit of project rotation. A bit. You'll see.

Some stitches were placed into a new project, Country Cottage Needleworks' Forest Snowfall.
This is a very pretty chart, and I started it with all of the intentions of being in the Priscilla and Chelsea SAL, but I'm pretty sure that 98% of the stitchers participating are completely finished with theirs. That's fine. I'll get into why later. But I have to say that I LOVE this fabric. It's 28-count Jobelan in Winter Wishes by Fabrics by Stephanie. Stitching on this fabric is like stitching on butter. Seriously.

Next, I got started on the Frosty Forest series, also by Country Cottage Needleworks. So cute.
This one is being stitched on 32-count Belfast Linen in pearl gray. The color is nice, but linen is not my favorite thing to stitch on. It's stiff and scratchy. I keep thinking that I should put this in a Rolaframe instead of using a hoop. But that takes energy.

I made some progress on Christmas Sentiments by Stoney Creek.
Oh, now I see a place on the left tree that I missed. I am still enjoying stitching this chart. 

And finally, I started on my Linen and Thread Mystery Sampler (2017). 
That's a pretty good start, but that January section is big. I'm sticking with it though and am very pleased with myself for my color selection. 

The needle minders are new to my collection and are from SewMuch2Luv on Etsy. Aren't they adorable?

And that is all that I've accomplished this month. You know, I should be very happy with what I've done considering all of my complaining about my reduced stitching time!

Question of the month: What SALs are you participating in this year? And if you are participating in the Olympic stitching challenge (see Measi's Musings January Check-In for info.), what challenge are you accepting? What are your goals?  
The WIPocalypse is the only SAL I'll be participating in this year. I've decided that I'm not a traditional SAL kind of stitcher. I stitch very slowly and will never be able to keep up with anyone else. I do like to hear about SALs though because I have found some very cute things to put on my stitching wish list. But anything that has an ending date is not for me. I do like the idea of the Olympic challenge however, but haven't decided which I'd like to do. I will be watching the Olympics and I will be stitching, so I'll probably choose one of them (most likely the Rotation Relay) and see what happens.

As always, thank you for visiting my blog today. I hope to get more stitching in before I check in at the end of February and I even think I may have a new start before then! Do I need that? Ha ha ha! No, but I want to stitch all the things!

Monday, January 15, 2018

Winter Time Three Tier Tray

The three tier tray has been transformed for the winter season. Everything is looking especially snowy, icy, and silvery.
Making a return appearance are the sweet little deer, a few pine cones, and some evergreen trees that adorned the Christmas version of the tray.
I added some tiny winter-themed stitched pieces in frames. Don't you love the tiny doll-house size bunnies?
Each tray is lined with "Christmas tree snow". That's what the package said. To me, it looks like a cross between felt and batting. Underneath the "snow" is a great place to hide some battery operated lights.
The little light-up house was an after Christmas find at Joann's. A white ceramic flower pot holds silver jingle bells. The snowflakes on the outside of the trays are felt and were cut from a spool of them.
Crystal and silvery picks filled in spaces. The whole thing looks especially pretty lit up at night.
And there you have it! The three tier tray in all its winter glory! Inspiration came from Priscilla at Priscilla's Blog, as well as other tray decorators on Pinterest and Instagram. What will be next? I think probably an Easter-themed one. I do have a lot of little Easter things that will be perfect for this tray. I'll probably keep the winter theme going until about the end of January.

So what do you think? I haven't done much winter decorating in the past, but I think this is pretty cute. It brightens up a space in what can be some very dreary months.

Thanks for visiting today! Please come back again to see what I'm up to. I appreciate comments and please consider subscribing. Have a great week!

Sunday, January 7, 2018

January WIPocalypse - A Fresh New Year!

I'm back with my 2018 kickoff WIPocalypse post. I participated in the 2017 WIPocalypse with good results. At least, I think they are. You can see my 2017 finishes HERE. I felt more motivated to stitch, but at the same time not rushed or feeling that I was in a race with anyone. Please check out the Measi's Musings blog for more information about the WIPocalypse. And I'd like to thank Melissa for organizing this.

I'm Cathy, and I've been stitching since about 1980. Yeah, a long time, right? Cross stitch has come a long way since then with so many choices of charts, fabrics, and fibers. I really never totally stopped stitching since then, just slowed down a few times. I am now stitching more than I ever have, and am also finding the finishing process just as fun and interesting as the stitching part!

Last year brought a new stitchy challenge for me - I joined the Flosstube community. For those of you who aren't familiar with Flosstube, it's a community of stitchers on YouTube. Just go to YouTube and search for "Flosstube" and you'll have a lot of fun and informative videos to choose from. On Flosstube, I'm CraftyCat Stitcher. I hope to put up my first 2018 video soon.

I have a few WIPs going on that I'd like to either finish or make progress on this year. The first is "Tulip's Praise" by Gracewood Stitches.
I'm stitching this on 18-count white evenweave, although I don't know exactly the name of the fabric. I have maybe a quarter of it completed, but the fabric is rolled up into the RolaFrame so that it's not visible at the moment. I don't know if I'll finish this in 2018, but I plan to make some progress on it.

Next is "Rainbow Row" by Barbara & Cheryl. This is a major project for me. It's huge and calls for about 60 colors. I'm using all DMC and stitching it on 32 count antique white Jobelan, 2 over 2.
I'm working on it one page at a time, and am liking it. It's very detailed and will be amazing once finished. Again, I have serious doubts about finishing this one this year, but will keep on enjoying stitching it.

"Christmas Sentiments" by Stoney Creek is one that I will definitely complete during 2018.
It's being stitched on 28-count lambswool Jobelan, 2 over 2. The threads are a combination of Weeks Dye Works, Threadworx, and DMC Perle cotton. There is also some beading on it. My hope is to have this all framed and ready to hang next Christmas.

Let's go on to my Thanksgiving project, "Be Ye Thankful" by the Cricket Collection.
I started this project at some point maybe a few years ago, but forgot about it. I have no idea why. Then this year, I found it in my craft room closet and resumed stitching it. I would love to have this completed this year! The fabric is 28-count, but I'm not sure of the name. I'm using all DMC, 2 over 2.

This little Mill Hill kit, "Scaredy Cats", is one that I started just before Halloween this year.
Mill Hill kits are a fun departure from my normal "fabric-based" projects. I have a little way to go before I can start the beading process.

My last WIP is "Light Upon The Lawn" by Blackbird Designs. I love the color combination in this one.
I'm stitching it on 28-count fabric that I tea and coffee dyed myself. After dyeing it, I noticed that the fabric "relaxed" so that the stitches were larger than they would normally be on 28-count fabric! So I went to plan B and started stitching 2 over 1 with good results.

That's it for the current WIPs. I'll definitely be adding at least three more projects in the next month or so. I've had Country Cottage Needleworks "Frosty Forest" kitted up for a few years now.
I'll be stitching them all on one piece of 32-count pearl gray linen and using all DMC. I've seen photos of this completed and it's so adorable. I'm looking forward to getting started.

"Forest Snowfall" by Country Cottage Needleworks was meant to be stitched as a SAL, but I think I will still be stitching this when all of the other SAL participants are finished! In case you are interested, the SAL is organized by Priscilla & Chelsea on Flosstube. You can find a link to their videos HERE. #pcforestsnowfall

 Just look at those colors, and that cute chart!! It will be stitched on 28-count "Winter Wishes" jobelan by Fabrics By Stephanie.

And last but not least, I am going to start another BIG project soon. It's Linen & Threads 2017 Mystery Sampler. Yes, it's the 2017 one.
It took me a long time to choose a color combination after I decided not to do it all in one color. Did I mention that is project is HUGE? I'll be stitching it along with Holly & Anita from the Flosstube channel of the same name.

Let's add to all of these the remainder of the Joyful World series by the Snowflower Diaries. I have.....let's see....9 of them left to stitch. I also want to stitch a coffee pattern to go with the tea one that I stitched for my kitchen. And that new Farmhouse Series by Little House Needleworks that's coming out this year. Yep, I've signed up for the auto-ship on that one. I'm sure that there are more that I haven't mentioned or discovered yet!

Have I bitten off more than I can chew? I don't think so because I don't really have any deadlines on any of my stitching projects. In fact, I'm pretty happy with this lineup. Throughout the year, I'll be updating you right here on my blog with all of the progress I've made.

In the meantime, please visit my Flosstube channel, CraftyCat Stitcher, and subscribe if you like my videos! You can also find me on Instagram under the name craftycat_stitcher.

Thanks for stopping by. Please come back and visit my blog and consider subscribing. Have a wonderful stitchy month.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

December 2017 WIPocalypse

I still have time to get this final WIPocalypse post for 2017 in before the next one, which is tomorrow.  The question of the month asks us to recap our stitching accomplishments for the year. I watched some Flosstube videos where we were treated to amazing lists of finishes done in 2017. At one point, I thought to myself, "I didn't really have much in the way of finishes". But after looking through my photos, I saw that I did have some accomplishments! Yay!

These are in no particular order. I finished three of the Snowflower Diaries Joyful Series. January was first. It was stitched one over one on 25 count Norden Pearl linen.
Next came June. Stitched on the same fabric as January.
I'm interchanging them in the same frame for each month. After that one, I completed November.
That's pretty good for me. I do plan to stitch the rest, so maybe 2018 will see three more of these. I have bought some different 25 count fabrics to try out for the remaining ones.

Another finish for me was Kaleidoscope by Sheena Rogers Designs.
I love the way this turned out but haven't FFO'd it yet. I just don't know if it should be framed or made into a little pillow, or what. Finishing this will be a goal for 2018.

The next idea came from a fellow Flosstuber, Michelle at Bendy Stitchy. She had stitched a cute little cakes chart and then used a trivet as a frame. What a great idea for the kitchen! I found an adorable chart from Zindagi Designs on Etsy called But First Tea. And I found a teapot trivet on Ebay for the frame. I had to make the design fit into the frame, so it was another one over one on 25 count fabric for this one.
It now hangs in my kitchen, and will hopefully soon be joined by a coffee-themed one. Yes, I did find a coffeepot trivet!

I joined my first ever stitchalong to make an ornament from the Just Cross Stitch 2017 Ornament Issue. I chose "Snow Much Fun At The North Pole" by Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery.
I also had some finished stitching that needed to be FFO'd. I had completed Little House Needleworks' Cardinal Winter a while back, so it needed to be finished into an ornament.
I used Vonna's (The Twisted Stitcher) Youtube tutorial to finish this one, right down to the cording and bow. This became a gift for my son and daughter-in-law, Matt and Stephanie. I plan to use this method again, hopefully this year.

Earlier in the year, I came across a completely-stitched Just Nan project that only needed to be made into something. I decided to make it into a pin cushion.
I was happy to gift this one to my friend Suzanne.

Lastly, I found a stitched ornament from the 1997 Christmas ornament issue of Just Cross Stitch. It's Nutmeg Santa by Schoolhouse Samplings and it became a completed ornament in 2017.
So this one only took 20 years to be fully completed! I do love it though.

And those are my finishes for 2017. A lot more than I thought I had. It seems like right now I'm working on bigger projects, so I don't know what lies ahead in the finishing department for 2018. It will be interesting to see.

The WIPocalypse is hosted by Melissa at Measi's Musings. Do you want to join in? Just go to her blog HERE to find out more about the 2018 WIPocalypse.

Next up will be my plans for 2018!

Sunday, December 10, 2017

The Christmas Three-Tier Tray

It all started when a little ad popped up on Facebook. You know how it does that? Ads from different stores and websites show up on your newsfeed, all with the purpose of tempting you with their wares. This particular one was from Pottery Barn and it was their three-tier tray all dolled up with Christmasy goodness. It had Santa mugs, candy canes, sprigs of greenery, and festive fabric. Simply adorable. The first thing I thought is "I have Santa mugs!". Well, two of them. One big and one tiny.

I admit that I became a bit obsessed with this three-tier tray thing. It's not much to look at on its own, especially since it's made of galvanized metal. But oh, the possibilities! Off I went in search of an affordable version of it and found it on Ebay. Easy enough to assemble, it took all of a few minutes. Then I left it in my craft room so that I could ponder how I would make my creation a thing of joy and wonder! Here's what I came up with.
First, I wrapped each tier with some mini holly strands which I already had. More things I didn't need to buy: the Santa mugs, bottle brush trees, pine cones, tiny candy canes, a Santa polar bear, tiny Santa salt and pepper shakers, and some little figures I owned since I was a child.
I bought both reindeer at Joann's. I will also use these for my winter tray.
The little ceramic basket was a thrift store find! I did purchase the Christmas fabric and berry picks and the evergreen picks.
Another purchase I made was the larger size candy canes and the all white Santa mug. It found those at a local antique store. The white mug used to be painted, but almost all of the paint is gone. I did like the look of the paint-free Santa!
The whole thing just makes me happy.
It has a place of honor on the sofa table.

So here I was thinking that I was pretty clever doing this, all with just a little idea from a Pottery Barn ad. But nooooooo! It seems that the three-tier tray is a thing. Yes, I Googled three-tier tray and so many different photos of them came up! Well, at least I can say that I didn't copy any of them. I even found out that one of my favorite Flosstubers and blogger, Priscillas2000 (that's her blog name), decorates her tray seasonally. So no particular originality for me, but I do get points for creating a cute little scenario.

I already have plans to use my three-tier tray for winter decorating to cheer up the place during those bleak winter months. But there are still several weeks to enjoy my Christmas-themed creation.

So what do you think? Can you imagine the different things you could put into the tray for different times of the year? If this is something you'd like to do, just Google "three-tier tray" and "three-tier tray decorating", and you'll not only find different sources for the tray itself, but also wonderful decorating ideas! Have fun! I hope you enjoyed this little tour!

Sunday, November 26, 2017

WIPocalypse For November

I haven't updated my blog since the last WIPocalypse, but at least I'm posting for this SAL on the correct day. That counts for something, right? It's just been a busy fall from the start. My goal is to spend more time stitching and crafting, starting.......well, maybe after Christmas.

Stitching is something I've been doing pretty often, but my rotation is not rotating. I seem to be stuck on my Thanksgiving WIP and my Christmas WIP. Understandably so, considering the time of the year. My main problem is that I keep seeing new charts and new potential projects. They're everywhere! I can't escape them! I've also joined the Stitch Maynia group on Facebook. Talk about enabling! I've seen so many gorgeous things there and have gotten numerous ideas for what to stitch next. So. Is that a problem?

I am enjoying stitching "Be Ye Thankful" by the Cricket Collection.
I know. I really should be farther along with this. But in my defense, there's a little confetti and more little confetti-like things in this chart that make it adorable but at the same time slows me down a bit. That's all right because I am liking the way this is turning out. I am very confident that I'll have this done for next Thanksgiving!

My current Christmas chart is another one that I like a lot. It's "Christmas Sentiments" by Stoney Creek.
I love everything about this - the design, the colors, the threads. And the last step will be some beading to add a little sparkle. This is another one that I know will be done for next Christmas. As in Christmas of 2018. I'm stitching it on 28-count Jobelan in lambswool.

I completed "Snow Much Fun At The North Pole" by Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery and actually finished it into an ornament. Loved stitching this and had fun creating the ornament!

And now for the forgotten WIP (actually a finish) from a long-ago decade. Yes, stitchy friends, I finished stitching this in 1997.
It was packed away in my "finished stitching" box, which is where projects that are finished but not fully finished (FFO'd) are stored. I showed this on a recent Flosstube video that I did and someone commented that it would be cool if I fully finished it in 2017. So that's exactly what I did. The pattern is "Nutmeg Santa" by Schoolroom Samplings from the Just Cross Stitch 1997 Ornament Issue. It only took 20 years. That cracks me up for some reason.

I feel a new start coming on. I'm joining the Linen & Thread Mystery Sampler SAL with Holly & Anita on Flosstube. The sampler was started in January, 2017 and a new section of the chart was released each month. It's a free chart and is gorgeous. It's going to be a huge project, but I'm almost ready to go. I've chosen the colors for mine, and believe me, it wasn't easy to do!
To find out more about this stitch along, go to Holly & Anita's channel on Youtube (linked above) and watch their video #2 and #3. They're calling it their #haajourney. I'll be stitching mine on 32-count Jobelan in antique white.

For more information about the WIPocalypse SAL, please see the Measi's Musings blog. You'll find info about the 2018 WIPocalypse as well.

Question of the month: What finishing style have you never tried but would love to do?  My answer is very much affected by my Flosstube viewing. I would love to finish my stitching in the style of Priscilla & Chelsea, who are fellow Flosstubers and who do the most amazing and creative finishing. If you've never seen them, and want to get some new finishing ideas, go and visit their channel, simply called Priscilla & Chelsea. Seriously. You will not be disappointed.

All right, friends. On to December. I just saw that the next WIPocalypse check-in is on December 31st. That puts it all into perspective, doesn't it? Yikes. Where did this year go? Next month we will also recap our stitching endeavors for the year.

I hope you all had a happy Thanksgiving, and hope that you'll take the time to come back and visit.