Monday, May 28, 2012

Move Over, Monet

This past Saturday, Sheila and I visited Just For Giggles in Milton, Ga.  Just For Giggles is a create your own art place, where local artists lead you step-by-step to paint a picture all by yourself!  Sheila and I looked over all of the different painting classes offered and agreed on the American Flag class.  When we arrived, we were instructed to put on a smock and told what paint we needed to put on our palettes.  Our class was small, but I don't think class size makes much of a difference unless you need a lot of help with the painting process or have a lot of questions.  Painting was easy with the instructor telling us how much of what colors we needed and exactly where to place it on the canvas.

I'm not the most artistically inclined when it comes to free-hand painting or drawing.  Ask anyone I play Draw Something with.  They'll tell you if they're not laughing too hard.  I was glad we chose the flag project because it was very linear and geometric.  If I was painting a dog, for example, I would have been less sure that it would have turned out looking like an actual dog.  But maybe I have to try something like that next time.  If you look at the Just For Giggles website, there are numerous photos of people with their completed paintings and all of them look wonderful!  Surely all of those people are not professional artists!  So maybe there's hope for me.

It was interesting to see how everybody's paintings looked slightly different.  You can see the slight differences between Sheila's painting and mine. 

We'll definitely be going back.  There are so many pretty works of art to choose from, who knows what I'll bring home next!  OK, so I have nothing on Claude Monet, but that doesn't mean I can't have fun pretending to be a painter!

Sunday, May 20, 2012


Here it is, May's new moon, and time for TUSAL!  You can find more about TUSAL on Daffycat's blog.  Can't actually believe we're so far into May, my favorite month of the year.  I've been enjoying my stitching time on Val's Stuff's Kitty Kalendar and all the while adding to the ort jar.
Mr. Peanut seems pleased with my progress this month.  There would have been more orts, but yesterday was Saturday Stitch Day with my stitch group and I left all of mine in the ort holders at The Stitch Store

Friday, May 18, 2012

Crafting In Unchartered Territories

This week Sheila and I attempted a new crafting technique -- making pendants using Ice Resin.  You've seen those pretty necklace pendants made from a metal bezel and some kind of decorative element to fit into the bezel, covered with a clear glass-like top.  Well, guess what -- they're surprisingly easy and fun to make! 

Bezels with paper glued in, one without.
Sheila ordered the supplies online, but I know that you can at least get the bezels at craft stores.  The creative part comes in when you have to decide what to put inside your pendant.  I will admit that I didn't do much to contribute to this portion of the creativity.  Sheila printed some tiny designs which fit the bezels and then sealed them with Mod Podge.  From there we trimmed them to size, glued them in and then added whatever else we thought would be marvelous.  On hand were glitter, glass chips and beads. 
Sheila adds tiny glass chips.

Sheila's finishes
Finished pendants ready for drying.
Next came the mixing of the two-part resin.  Very easy, just requires accurate measuring and thorough mixing.  And even though we opened windows for good ventilation, there wasn't a strong chemical smell.  Putting the resin into the bezels was very easy.  We just drizzled it in with the wooden sticks provided in the kit.  And if you ever consider doing this, just remember that a little goes a LONG way!  It's also important to dry these as level as you can.  It takes three days to cure, so sometime this weekend our pendants will be ready to wear!

All in all, a very fun project.  We'll do more for sure because we have a lot of the resin left.  Even though the resin seems pricey at first, you'll soon see how many little pendants you can make with just these two little bottles.  Not bad at all.  And now that we know the process, we're thinking about what to use in them next time. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Another Blog Hop Question

I am really enjoying these Blog Hops sponsored by Loretta at Stitching The Night Away.  This week we're asked if we use a stitching stand.  From what I've seen, the age old question asked many times by stitchers to other stitchers is:  Do you use a hoop, Q-Snaps, scroll bars or stitch in-hand?  And what I've learned is that there is no right or wrong answer to that question.  In my stitch group alone, there are several Q-Snap users, a few who stitch in-hand and a couple of hoop fans.

I've never tried to stitch using a floor stand for a couple of reasons.  I like my stitching to be portable, so I can pack it in my bag and go to our Stitch Day.  Secondly, my arms are kind of short, making using scroll bars or Q-Snaps very uncomfortable.  I've tried both and don't like the way I have to bend my wrist to use these.  Also, a floor stand would provide my cats with too much entertainment.  As in, "Let's see who can knock this down first!".  Then there would be evil cat laughs involved.

I'm a hoop girl through and through.  I just love them.  And no, they don't leave permanent ring marks in the fabric.  I especially like the Darice spring tension ones and own many in different sizes.

That said, I think floor stands are works of art themselves, so nicely crafted.  Several years ago, Mark and I were house hunting.  We looked at a house of a stitcher -- beautifully stitched pieces on every wall!  I think I looked at the stitching more than the house!  The house had a sunroom and that was where the owner did her stitching because there was a floor stand there with her current WIP in it.  That sunroom with the floor stand in it was, to me, the picture of serenity. 

But who knows, maybe some day I'll change my mind.  I just might need to try one of these out to see if it actually does suit me.  Until then it's me and my hoops.

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Friday, May 11, 2012

A Bit Of Stitching And Some Blooms

This week I got some good stitching time in.  I declared last Sunday a stitching day for me as I hadn't had one of those in a while.  The result was the completion of the July and August cats in the Kitty Kalendar.  Now that I'm into the last row, I feel like I'm really accomplishing something.  And it's turning out so cute and colorful.  Those Weeks Dye Works threads are really doing their job!  Love working with them!

More charts are tempting me.  Country Cottage Needleworks posted pictures of some beautiful new charts this week:  July Cottage and Star Spangled Garden.  These just caught my eye.  OK, add these to the mental list of Charts I Must Have.

In my last post, I showed you the result of my PC Stitch creativeness.  I recently installed the newest version, PC Stitch 10.   The color list now shows up on the left side of the screen and seems more.....bold?  I guess that's a good way to describe it.  You'll find all of the major brands of floss, metallics and beads listed.  I was also very happy that my saved items were transferred right into the new PC Stitch version.  Looking forward to doing some more designing!

Our gardens continue to thrive.  The veggie garden is pretty experimental.  We've been here for almost three years and this is the first time we're planting veggies.  So I'll keep you posted on that.  Our "plants of the week" are the hydrangea and the gardenia, both in beautiful bloom.  Funny thing about the hydrangea.  My friend Suzanne gave it to us for a housewarming gift and the flowers were blue in color.  Year two, it didn't bloom at all.  Last year it had an unfortunate accident with some lumber.  Fence builders, I'm looking at you.  This year it's substantially bigger and healthier and just look at the color!  Green with pinky-purply edges!  So pretty!  What did we do to make it do that?  If you know, please tell me. 

I'm not sure what this weekend holds for me, but I hope to get a little stitching in.  Maybe I'll make that a part of my Mother's Day.  Speaking of which, I wish all moms out there a very Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 4, 2012

An Attempt At Designing

My friend Patty welcomed her first grandchild into the world last year.  She asked me to look for a baby birth announcement chart with scottie dogs in it, as the baby's room's theme included these cute little doggies.  She'd stitched birth announcements for her sons and wanted to continue the tradition for her grandchildren. I did a search and came up with nothing, so I asked her if she'd like me to put one together for her.  I found a scottie dog freebie on the blog, Cross Stitch Addict and a pretty flower from a Sam Hawkins book. Using PC Stitch, I combined these with my own border and lettering, and here it is!
Patty will get this color chart and also one done in symbols for easier stitching, especially on those dogs which are solid black.  I hope she enjoys stitching it, and likes the completed project.  It's my gift to her and I loved doing it!

This project helped me to learn more about the intricacies of PC Stitch.  There's a lot to learn.  I had to consult Sheila a couple of times.  Another piece of advice for those using PC Stitch:  Save your work - often!   I'm also inspired to try my hand at more designs.  I know that I included other peoples' designs (totally legally) for the creation of this chart, but now I'd like to design one that is all mine.  I'll add this to my list of things to do!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Stitching Blahs? Who, Me?

Loretta at Stitching The Night Away asked us stitching bloggers to talk about the subject of stitching blahs.  That's an easy subject to write about because it does happen, and I'm pretty sure it's very common among us stitchers.

Even though this is my favorite hobby, there are times when I just don't feel like picking up a needle.  Many times it's because I'm tired, like when I get home from work.  But lately I've figured out that getting my stitching stuff out when I get home (and don't have any other pressing matters) kind of refreshes me.  Maybe it's a little decompressing time.  I just have to remember this -- that it's possible that what I think is a "stitching blah" time is actually the time I really need to stitch!

I have gotten a little burned out with stitching when I was a one-project-at-a-time stitcher.  I was fine doing the one project thing for a while, but it was easy to get, dare I say, bored with one project.  We all know about the wealth of beautiful projects out there, and the internet is a great place to be enabled.  So I solved my one-project blahs by becoming a three-project stitcher.  Work on one for a while, and then pull out another!  Wow, it's like starting a new stitching project!  This is especially true if the charts, fabrics and floss colors vary a lot.  I'm currently thinking about four projects at a time.  I'm such a daredevil.

Three cats live in my house.  They're all fascinated by things like ribbon, cords, rubber bands, and floss.  One of my cats ate approximately 16 feet of ribbon last year.  (Yes, he lived to tell about it, and is the picture of health). Don't ask me how we figured out it was 16 feet.  I have to take precautions not to leave any of the above items out in the open.  Therefore, sometimes I don't want to get all of my stitching supplies out if I don't have a lot of time to stitch because then I'd just have to put it all safely away soon after.  This could be considered kind of a "blah".  I always feel like I have to have a good block of stitching time or I don't stitch at all.  Which can lead to long periods of no stitching whatsoever.  I think I just have to get it into my head that even 15 minutes of stitching is pretty wonderful. 

There are lots of great ways to get out of a stitching slump.  Join or start a stitch group and get together at least once a month.  Read stitchers' blogs (like this one).  Check out designers websites.  Go to stitching message boards.  See what other people are stitching and soon you'll be getting out the fabric and floss!

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