Thursday, December 23, 2010

25 Days of Christmas Stitchalong: Square 11

Here's my next square: Christmas lights.  Although I intend to keep on stitching over the holidays, this will probably be my last post until the new year.  I wish all of you a joyous Christmas and New Year!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

25 Days of Christmas Stitchalong: Days 9 and 10

 Here are my next squares!  Above is square 10: a present.  On this one I used felt for the body of the present and then stitched on top of it.  I hadn't used felt before in a project like this -- I've used lace, but never felt.  And let me tell you: I LOVE it!  I think there will be more felt on this sampler!

Below is square 9: a snowflake. Even though I live in the sub-tropics, one can always dream of a white Christmas!

Finally, I've been thinking that maaaaybe I was a bit over-zealous when I decided to do "25 Days of Christmas."  Perhaps 12 Days of Christmas would have been more realistic.  I'm already a bit behind, and I don't want that to stress me out or add more things that I have to do during the holidays.  So, I'm going to do as many squares as I can, and finish the rest after Christmas if I have to.

So, if you're behind, too, or if you haven't even started, just think of it as 12 Days of Christmas.  Or better yet, don't think of Christmas as the deadline.  Just stitch when you can, and have fun.

Happy Stitching!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

25 Days of Christmas Stitchalong: Days 7 and 8

Square 7 -- Christmas Holly, Square 8 -- mug with marshmallow (on top of hot chocolate).  I'm trying to keep up with a square a day, but it's hard not to fall behind with so much Christmas craziness going on.  Happy Stitching!

Monday, December 6, 2010

25 Days of Christmas Stitchalong: Days 5 and 6

Here are my latest squares: 5 is holiday love, and 6 is festive polka dots (a.k.a. it's-really-late-and-I-need-a-cheat-square).  Is anyone out there stitching?  If so, I'd love to see your work!  Happy Monday!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

25 Days of Christmas Stitchalong: Day 4

Square 4 is supposed to be a vintage indent ornament.  [Sigh.]  Not sure what it is, really, but again, I'm trying not to over-think/over-work this project.  I'm looking forward to seeing what the rest of you are working on!  Happy stitching!

Friday, December 3, 2010

25 Days of Christmas Stitchalong: Day 3

Here's my third square.  I was hoping for a peppermint lollipop -- not sure that's what this is, but oh well!  Hopefully you get the idea!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

25 Days of Christmas Stitchalong: Day 2

Here's my second square: a Christmas bell.  I was pretty excited about this square when I sketched it, but the execution was harder than I imagined.  I'm actually not thrilled with how it turned out; I thought about ripping it all out and re-doing it but then I decided not to.  This is supposed to be a fun an festive project!  So, I'm not going to worry about making it all perfect.  Hope you're enjoying your stitching!  :)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

25 Days of Christmas Stitchalong: Day 1

Hooray!  December is finally here!  Here is my first square: Fa la la, with a couple of Christmas ornaments.  I found some metallic thread, and even though it is kind of hard to work with compared to cotton thread, I love the way it looks.  I think I'm going to use it a lot in this sampler.

Well, now that December has arrived, the stitchalong can "officially" begin.  I can't wait to see your squares!

Remember, it's not too late to join the fun!  The more the merrier!

Happy stitching.  :)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Sketching Out a Plan

Here's what I worked on over the weekend.  I'm not sure that I'll keep to this plan exactly (who knows when inspiration will strike?) but I do like the fact that I've got a few ideas down on paper before I begin.  Now I'm itching to start my first square! 

How's your project coming along?  If you're out there lurking, I hope you'll join in on the stitching fun!  (Just leave a comment and I'll add you to the blogroll.)  Also, be sure to join our Flickr group so you can share pictures of your squares!

Happy Thanksgiving!  Hope you have a lovely holiday!

Monday, November 15, 2010

More Inspiration: Vintage Embroidery Transfer Patterns

Recently, I've started collecting these wonderful vintage embroidery transfer patterns.  I haven't actually tried to transfer them onto anything, but I love looking at them for ideas and inspiration.  A few days ago I went through my stack of patterns looking for anything Christmas.  Here are a few pics of what I found.

I hope this gives you some more ideas for your stitchalong (if you need ideas, that is!).  As always, if you want to join in on the fun, just leave a comment here and I'll add you to the blogroll.

One last thing for this Monday morning: I'm having a lace giveaway on my other blog: Dishy Vintage.  Go check it out and leave a comment if you'd like to enter!

Happy Stitching!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Off to the Races!

I stitched the grid last night!  Woo hoo!  I'm excited to get this project started!  I went back and forth about whether to stitch the whole grid first.  When I did the 39 Squares sampler, I stitched the outline of each square as I went along, with whatever color seemed right at the time.

I liked the overall effect of that, because even though there were three different colors for the grid, when it was all done it just seemed to work. But this time, I decided to do the whole thing green. 

You can see that some of my stitches are better than others!  :)   Well, now that the grid is done I'm going to spend some time sketching ideas for my squares!  How's your project coming along?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Eye Candy Inspiration

So, now you've got your grid -- how are you going to fill it?  Here are a few pictures of some things that are inspiring me lately.  You can pull ideas for your squares from so many different places!  I've been looking at some of my favorite vintage Christmas cards and Christmas wrapping paper.  I think the vintage ornaments in the pic above are going to make an appearance on my sampler!

I just love those little angels, but I'm terrible at stitching faces and actual body parts.  So, maybe just wings?

And how about these little angels, gathering up stars!?  So cute!  Why don't they make wrapping paper like this anymore?

I hope this gave you some inspiration!  I can't wait to see everyone's ideas! 

It's not too late to join the stitchalong!  Just leave a comment here with your blog address [if you want to be added to the blogroll].  Also, please feel free to join the Flickr group and start posting your pics! 

Happy stitching, everyone!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Drawing a Grid

Ready to get started?  I know I am!  Since I've decided to do a 5 x 5 grid, I wanted to start by getting my grid on my fabric. (A word about the fabric: you can of course stitch on anything you like!  I'm stitching on a linen fabric that I bought in a package at Hobby Lobby on the needlecraft aisle.  I love this linen -- everything seems to look good on it and it is easy to work with -- but it was expensive, around $24 I think.  The good news is that the piece in the package is huge, enough for several projects!  But it you're headed to HL to look for this linen, bring a coupon!)

For those of you who haven't done this before, here is a very simple little trick that I learned from Amy Powers when I did her 39 Squares Project.  Now, I'm sure the experts out there are cringing at the simple method I'm about to show you, AND about the fact that I'm using pencil.  But hey, this is supposed to be fun, not perfect, and I've discovered that pencil actually works great for me.  So, the moral of the story is: do what works for you and have fun!

All you need to make your grid is a ruler (a 1-inch wide ruler if you want 1-inch squares) and a pencil.  Using the ruler as a straightedge, sketch the top line of your grid.  Then simply draw another line along the bottom of the ruler, and now you have your first 1-inch row.

After you've drawn 6 lines (to make 5 rows), turn your ruler the other way and repeat, to create your vertical columns. 

Don't be afraid of the pencil -- you can always erase a stray mark (just be sure to use a white eraser, and not a pink one).

In the end, you will have your 5 x 5 grid (or whatever size you choose) of little 1-inch squares!

I'm pretty excited about this little grid because it seems so do-able! It's a nice, small, manageable size.

So, there you have it. I hope this helped those of you who hadn't done a grid like this before. 

Now I need to decide whether I'm going to stitch all the outlines first, or do one square at a time..... Hmmm.... still not sure.  I'll be back soon with a stitching update and with some fun vintage items for inspiration!

Happy Stitching!

Friday, November 5, 2010

New Project, New Supplies!

I'm pretty new to stitching.  When I was younger I did some cross stitch from time to time, but I had never done any other type of stitching until I joined Amy Powers' 39 Squares Stitchalong last spring.  That was when I discovered perle cotton embroidery floss: and a love affair began.

I'm not sure why I love perle cotton so much more than regular embroidery floss -- it's probably because it's so easy to work with for an amateur stitcher like me. But I also love how thick it is -- it makes great French knots -- and gives everything a cool dimension that I enjoy.  The only downside to it as far as I can tell is that it does not come in nearly as many colors as regular floss. 

Anyway, in addition to not being an expert at stitching, and I am also not a particularly organized stitcher either! (Most of my thread rides around with me in a gallon zip lock bag.)  So, I probably have enough thread to do this holiday stitchalong and several other projects, too.  But did that stop me from going to Michael's for new thread?  Of course not!

My color palette for Christmas has been evolving the last few years, as my decor focuses much more on vintage Christmas.  I used to decorate in very traditional reds, golds, and greens, but now my house is covered in pastel colors and silver tinsel!  In keeping with that, this card reproduced from vintage wrapping paper is a really good jumping off point for the palette I'd like to use in the stitchalong:

I took it with me when I went shopping, and grabbed a bunch of thread to match!  So fun!

Tomorrow I will show you an easy way to make a grid for your 5 x 5 sampler (if that's what you decide to do.)  I think I've decided to do the grid and not a design, just to keep things simple and manageable (and because I loved the way my sampler came out for the 39 Squares project).

I've set up a Flickr group for the stitchalong!  You can find it here.  Please feel free to join the group, and to start posting pics of your stitching at any time!  I can't wait to see everyone's work!  :)  And again, if you'd like to join in the fun, just leave me a comment here with your blog address, and please swipe a button to spread the word.

Happy Friday! 
[And go Horned Frogs!!]

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Need some Inspiration?

If you haven't seen this gem already, you must go check out Amy Powers' new Christmas edition of Inspired Ideas!  It's chock full of incredible projects to inspire your holiday crafting! 

There are two projects in particular that I think you'll love: a small Christmas sampler (great for some stitchalong inspiration if you need some), and very clever felt sampler Christmas trees (I am SO making some of those this year)!!

In other news, I hope you'll consider joining the holiday stitchalong!  If you're interested, just leave a comment here -- and please leave your blog address if you want me to add you to the blog roll!  Also, I'd love it if you would grab a button (the code is over there to the right) and help me spread the word!  The more the merrier!  :)

Monday, November 1, 2010

25 Days of Christmas Stitchalong!

Even though I didn't get an overwhelming response to my poll, I couldn't get the idea of this stitchalong out of my mind, so I decided to go for it!  I'll be doing a 25 Days of Christmas stitching project of some kind (not sure yet if it will be a Christmas design or a 5 x 5 sampler grid), and I'd love for you to join in!

What I plan to do is spend November planning, sketching, and maybe doing a bit of stitching just to get ahead a bit, and then come December 1, I plan to post one square (or part of the design, whatever I end up doing) each day until Christmas Day.  That way, I think I can get this smaller-scale project done without adding to the crazy Christmas rush!

If you'd like to join in on the fun, please leave a comment here or on my Dishy Vintage blog and give me your blog address so that I can add it the blog roll I will have here on this blog.  If after a couple of days you don't see your blog listed, please just drop me another comment as  reminder.  Also, I'd love it if you would grab a button and add it to your blog to spread the word.  The code for the blog button is right over there to the right -------------->.  The more the merrier, really!  It's so fun to log on every morning and see what everyone has stitched.

Once we get rolling, I'll set up a Flickr group as well where people can post their stitching pics.

So, I hope you'll join me for some holiday stitching!


Friday, October 29, 2010

Big Announcement, Coming Up Right After this Commercial Break!

Well, I've made a decision about whether to host a holiday stitchalong.  But just like those frustrating reality shows that make you wait until after the commercial break to find out the big news (yes, I'm talking to you, Biggest Loser!), I'll be making the big announcement on Monday, November 1.   Not to give too much away (ha) but you might want to get those stitching supplies ready to go!

Hope you'll check back Monday!

Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

More Little Dresses, All in a Row

Still turning out little dresses around here.  I'm enjoying these little ivory dresses, but I think they need a little color or bling or something.  So.... still pondering how to finish them.

I have come up with an idea of what to do with them when they are done.  Stay tuned and I'll keep you posted. 

Hope you're having fun with your stitching!   :)

Monday, October 11, 2010

At it Again

I got out the stitching stuff last night after a very long hiatus, and decided to make some little dresses.  Here's what I've done so far:

I just love combining stitching with all the little lace bits and pieces that I have around here.  This little dress still needs something to jazz it up a bit; I'm still pondering that.  I'm not sure what I'm going to do with these dresses, but they are fun to create!  I'm hoping to get a few more made tonight.
Thanks to those of you who commented either here or on my other blog about the idea of a Christmas stitchalong.  I didn't get too many responses, but I'm leaning towards doing it because it seems fun to me, and maybe others will come along for the ride once I get started.  So, stay tuned for more information about that after Halloween.

Happy stitching!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Important Poll -- Your Expert Stitching Opinions Needed!

Hi stitching friends!  I've been gone for quite awhile -- not only from this blog, but from my stitching as well.  My counting my blessings project is still kind of floundering, but I do miss my stitching.

I've been tossing around an idea for a few weeks now, and I wanted to get your opinions.  I've been thinking of hosting a Christmas or holiday-themed stitch-a-long.  Something small and defined (like 25 days/squares).  I know that the holidays are such a busy time, already so packed with projects and a million things to do.  But the idea of stitching a bit each night during the holidays appeals to me.

So, the question is: does it appeal to you?  I'd like to get an idea whether anyone would be interested in another collaborative stitching project before I spend time trying to organize it.  (By the way, I contacted Amy Powers and asked her if she was planning to do a holiday stitching project.  She said she did not have one planned, and gave me her blessing to go ahead.)  So, I'd love to hear your opinions, thoughts, ideas, comments!  Please leave a comment here or on my other blog, Dishy Vintage.

Thanks, and happy stitching!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Squares 18 & 19: Books

At long last, I finally completed my "books" squares.  As you may recall from this post, I tried to do this square several times and had to keep ripping it out, in total frustration.  Last night I went back to it, and pushed through to finish.  I can't say that I love it, but I'm glad that it's done.

I love books, love to read, and I always have.  I was the kid who was constantly lugging around 10 pound Stephen King hardback books with me everywhere I went.  I'm happy to say that my oldest daughter is a voracious reader (and we're crossing our fingers that our youngest will be, too). 

I've read a lot of books this summer, but here are a few of my favorites, if you're looking for a good read:

The Passage, by Justin Cronin: Huge book (I swear it weighs 20 pounds).  Basically, an end-of-the-world vampire book written by a literary author.  So, exactly my cup of tea.  Read it in 2 days -- still thinking about it.  It's scary, compelling, thrilling.  Highly recommend!!

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane, by  Katherine Howe: Salem witch trials meet modern day Harvard historian.  Not a perfect book, but it captured my imagination and had a touch of magic that I enjoyed.  Great summer read.

61 Hours, by Lee Child: the latest in the Jack Reacher thriller series.  Couldn't put it down -- love all of the books in this series.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, by Steig Larsson: I was probably the last person on the planet to read this book.  Took me awhile to get into it, but then I was hooked.  I'm looking forward to reading the sequel.

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, by Alan Bradley: wonderful classic mystery, set in England in the 1950's, but with a twist: the heroine/sleuth is a young girl who loves chemistry and is obsessed with poisons.  I loved this, and the sequel is on my bedside table!

And if that's not enough, a few more of my all-time favorites:
The Forgotten Garden, by Kate Morton
The Stand, by Stephen King (unabridged, of course)
The Thirteenth Tale, by Diane Setterfield
Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell (we read this last year for my bookclub, and I have to tell you, we were all just astonished by this novel -- amazing in so many ways!  Even if you've seen the movie a million times, like I had, I urge you to go get this book.  You'll be glad you did!)

Well, that's just a little taste of my bookshelf!  Hope you're having fun stitching and that you've read some lovely books lately!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Square 17: Mickey. And, a Decision

I dashed outside in between tropical downpours to take a quick picture of my next square.  (I think it's going to be a long hurricane season, y'all, but I digress.) So, here it is: a big pink Mickey head.  Oddly enough, this square, along with a few comments on my last post, helped lead me to make a big decision: I've decided to revise this project, from here going forward.  Here's why:

I've been wanting to stitch this silly Mickey Mouse head for over a month now.  But every time I sat down to do it I thought: Is Mickey Mouse a blessing?  Sure, going to Disney World is a blessing, family fun is a blessing, etc., but is it really worthy of a blessing square?  Do I have anything profound to say about it?  Is Mickey too shallow for a square? Round and round like this I went -- and nothing got stitched.

After mulling it over a bit, I've decided that for me, having every square represent a blessing is just too much pressure.  It was taking the fun out of the project for me.  I think that's why I hadn't been enjoying it as much (or working on it as consistently) as the 39 Squares project.  For 39 Squares, I just stitched whatever I felt like stitching on that particular day.  Sometimes it had meaning, but sometimes it was just a flower.  You know what I mean?  It was fun, creative, relaxing, even therapeutic.  That's what I missed when that project ended. 

Now, this isn't to say that some of my squares won't still pertain to blessings.  I have a lot of blessings in my life, and I'd like to incorporate them into this project when I can.  (Not to mention the fact that I have a central design that says "BLESSINGS.")  I just think that from now on, I'm going to free myself to stitch whatever I feel like, even if it has no deeper meaning or I have nothing in particular to say about it. 

So, given all of that, I give you: the big pink Mickey head.

Happy Stitching!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Square 16: Spirituality

Each of us experiences spirituality differently; for some, a spiritual life is more important than for others.  I'm not a very demonstrably spiritual person -- to be honest, I can get uncomfortable with that pretty quickly.   But I'm grateful for a quiet, abiding spirituality; one that comforts in the difficult moments.

For this square, I stitched a remnant of antique lace onto the square, and then attached a small vintage holy medal.  I love the tiny shape and blue color of the medal.  I like how this square came together.

In an effort to get this project rolling again, I think I'm going to free myself to do more "assembling" of squares, to help spark my creativity when I can't think of a complete stitched square.  As I said in the beginning, 100 squares is a LOT! 

How is your stitching coming along?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

S is for Sandy Beaches

Hello!  I've been AWOL for quite awhile now -- sorry about that!  We were gone for two weeks in June on a fantastic Disney vacation that included lots of time on amazing sandy beaches in the Bahamas.  Here's an example:

I still can't believe that I was actually there -- it is just so beautiful!

Since we've returned, I've been having a hard time getting back into the swing of my normal routine.  My needlework has suffered.  I'm hoping to get back to the project soon.  But for today, the first "s" in "Blessings" stands for sandy beaches.  What a blessing to take a vacation like that with my family!

I hope you're having a wonderful summer, and still stitching along!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

E is for Enduring


lasting; permanent: a poet of enduring greatness.
I meant for this next letter to stand for enduring, because that is a fitting way to describe my love for my husband -- lasting, and permanent.  There are other words as well -- expanding, evolving, ever after....  But for today, enduring is a good one, and it fits.
I've fallen way behind on my stitching; hoping to catch up a bit in the next few days, but we'll see.  I've been caught up in the whirlwind of the last days of school.  I can't believe that my babies will be in 5th grade and 1st grade next year!   Where does the time go???

I've also been tres busy trying to get ready for our upcoming vacation.  I'll tell you more about that later, but for now this little hint: it involves my favorite mouse.

Hope your stitching is coming along well!  Hooray for summer!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Central Design Revealed: the May Pole

I've completed almost half of my central design, and I thought it was time to elicit some feedback.  When I started planning for this project, I knew I wanted some sort of central design that said "blessings," but I wasn't sure what it should be.  I did some sketches -- none of which I liked very much -- and then I was struck with this idea to do a may pole, with ribbons coming down that would spell the word "blessings."  Here's what it looks like at this point:

I like the way it's coming together, though to be honest, I'm still not really sure that it "works."  I mean, can you tell that it's a may pole?  Does it look weird with those letters at the end of the ribbons? 

Regardless, I guess I'm committed to the design at this point -- way too much stitching done to change the plan now!  :)