Friday, January 31, 2014

Christmas Cards!

In January 2013 I decided that I would make one Christmas card each week.  By the time December rolled around, I would have lots of handmade cards to mail.  That SO didn't happen.  Oh, I mailed out quite a few handmade cards but 95% of them were made beginning in late November.

So this year what have I done?  Once again I plan on making Christmas cards throughout the year. My goal is four each month; and (drumroll, please) I have accomplished that for January, 2014! 

Take a lookie......

Why not join me in this endeavor?  Anyone interested?  

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Weekly Progress Report - What I'm Stitching

First up a photo of the large cross-stitch project that I'm working on.  If you compare this week's photo with the one I posted last week, you'll notice that we now have two pumpkins on the wagon.

I also started stitching my second ornament for the month....well, actually, as you'll see in the photos below, I started stitching TWO ornament projects.  My goal is to complete two ornaments each month so if I manage to finish both of these in the next 5 days, I'll be ahead by one!  Here goes......

This one, Christmas Tree, is by The Prairie Schooler.  I'm stitching it on linen using DMC.

And finally, Snow Birds, by Country Cottage Needleworks which I am stitching on 32 count linen using DMC.

I really wanted to keep stitching on this last night in order to give the poor bird some legs and an eye but I was exhausted...and if you are a stitcher, you probably know that stitching while one is exhausted usually results in errors which results in taking out stitches.  I've learned by experience and did not give in last night.  This little birdie will have to wait a few more hours for his legs and eye!

The Christmas ornament patterns can be found in the 2013 Just CrossStitch annual ornament issue.

Monday, January 20, 2014

A Valentine for Judy

Last year about this time, a friend asked if I would stitch a valentine design for her.  Here is how the piece looked when I got through with the cross-stitch.

The designer of the pattern is Isobel Argante of The Primitive Hare.  (You really need to take a look at her blog to see the gorgeous patterns that she designs.)

Okay so I finished the I had to finish it into a "postcard".  There was a lot of time involved in cross-stitching the piece and that made me a little nervous about the finishing process.  What if I messed up?  So I did what I usually do when it comes to finishing a project.....I procrastinated.  The cross-stitch was finished in October and just last week I finally got my nerve up to finish the project.  I prepared myself by reviewing a few websites dedicated to finishing techniques.  

My first step was to cut out the front and back of the stitched "postcard".  

Each of the pieces have a backstitched border.  The backsides of the above pieces were matched up with wrong sides facing each other.  I aligned the backstitches from the two pieces and connected them using a whip stitch.  Not sure what a whip stitch is?  I slipped my needle upward, under the backstitch on the bottom piece, then under the backstitch on the top piece....."whipping" them together.  After whip stitching two sides, I inserted a piece of mounting board covered with thin batting on each side of the mounting board.  Then I continued whip stitching around the two remaining sides.  

After all four sides had been whip stitched, the project was finally done!  I breathed a sign of relief.  

And yes, I do have photos of the finished Valentine Postcard.

Pattern:  Small Valentines by The Primitive Hare
Fabric:  30 count linen
Thread:  DMC 

Saturday, January 18, 2014

End of Week Progress Report

Just a quick post to share my stitching update for the week.

I finished stitching a Christmas ornament.  My goal is to do two ornaments each month so I'm halfway there.  I finished stitching this one this morning.  I still have to "finish" it out as an actual ornament.  I think I am going to focus on the cross-stitch part and do the finishing part later in the year.

Pattern:  Merry Christmas by Glory Bee Stitch
Floss used: DMC
Fabric:  25 count evenweave

And here is a picture of the progress on the Harvest Delivery piece......didn't get much done but every little bit gets me closer to a finish.

I have two excuses for not getting much done on this piece.....1) lots of stuff going on this week and 2) I spent some of my stitching time working on finishing a piece that I started last year.  More about that project (and photos) in a future blog.

Time to get my craft on and pick out another Christmas ornament pattern to start!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Pinned It.......Did It! "Hello, You"

My bestest crafting buddy, Cheryl, has recently been posting a few "Pinned It, Did It" blog posts.  You can see one of them here.  I have pinned many recipe and craft ideas but most of them just sit on my pin boards.

Recently a friend loaned me one of her Stampin' Up stamp sets, Regarding Dahlias, so I could make some birthday cards for her.  After I finished making her cards, I took advantage of having a "new" stamp set and decided to make a few cards for me.  ;o)

I found a cute card on Splitcoast Stampers using the Regarding Dahlias stamp set (actually I found quite a few cute ideas on Splitcoast Stampers using that stamp set) and pinned it to one of my Pinterest boards.  Since I will be returning this stamp set to my friend in a few days, I knew that I needed to act on the pinned card idea.  

Take a look at the completed card.....isn't it quite cute?

Supplies used:  
Stampin Up - cardstock (Gumball Green, Summer Starfruit), square and scalloped square punch, stamp pad (Gumball Green, Summer Starfruit), Regarding Dahlias stamp set, pearl embellishment
my stash - white cardstock
Fiskars - flower punch

And since I was on a crafting roll, I decided to make a cute envie to mail it in.  Lookie at the outside...

And how cute is the inside flap????

Supplies used:
Stampin Up - envelope punch board
Webster's Pages - cardstock, Everyday Poetry collection

The envie will require 20 cents additional postage since it is square but what is 20 cents compared to the priceless opportunity of sending snail mail to friends???  

Saturday, January 11, 2014

End Of Week Progress Report

This is what the stitching progress report looked like last week.

Here is the progress I made this week......

I think the Christmas piece will be completed in the next 2 or 3 days!  Time to get your craft on!!!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Just when you think you've seen it all.........


See the samples of handmade paper in the photo above?  I received them along with a nice note from a friend, Nicole,who lives in Ethiopia.  

Nicole recently visited Chiang Mai, Thailand and found this unique paper there.   As a fellow papercrafter, she knew that I would be thrilled with this gift.  The handmade paper???  It's made from elephant poo ;o) - seems Chiang Mai is the location of an elephant sanctuary.   Did I mention that Nicole has an unusual sense of humor??  That's one reason why she's my friend.

Oh, the postage stamp carries on with the elephant theme......

I must admit that this isn't the first time I've received recycled poo as a gift.  A year or two ago a friend visited the Virgin Islands and brought me a souvenir......a bookmark made from recycled donkey poo.  Just in case you would like more information on recycled poo products, take a look here.

What about you????  Did you get something interesting in the mail today?

Saturday, January 4, 2014

End of the Week Progress Report

One of my resolutions for 2014 is to do more cross-stitching.  I enjoy cross-stitching but in the past few years I have focused more on paper crafts instead of needle crafts.  My goal is to stitch two Christmas ornaments each month and also to have an ongoing larger project.  I plan on doing a blog post each Saturday to show my progress (or lack of progress) each week.

I started two new projects on January 1 and while I have not had an entire week to work on them, I still wanted to do this "progress report" blog post.  Here is a photo of my current stitching projects.

The piece on the right, Merry Christmas, is the Christmas ornament that I am working on.  It is a Glory Bee design from the Just Cross-Stitch 2013 Annual Ornament Issue (more about that below).   I'm stitching it on 25 count evenweave.  The piece on the left (the ongoing larger project) Harvest Delivery, is a fairly new design from Plum Street Samplers.  I am stitching it on 32 count linen.  

Each year Just Cross-Stitch magazine publishes an annual ornament issue.  Here is the front cover of the 2013 issue.  It contains 76 ornament projects from snowmen and santas to peace and joy sentiments. 

Happy stitching!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Keep Calm & Read A Book

Reading is a favorite pasttime of mine.  I set a goal in early 2013 to read 50 books during the year.  I didn't quite make it (I read 46) but I had fun trying to reach my goal.

For 2014, I have set my goal at 50 again.  I am usually reading anywhere from 4-7 books at one time....not simultaneously, of course ;o) - and when I finish one of those books, I immediately start a new one.  In an attempt to focus on finishing the books I was reading, and come closer to reaching my 2013 goal, I have only started 1 or 2 new books during the last two months.  

It is now a new year and I only have two books on my "currently-reading" list.  You know what that means????  Time to visit the library!  Not the local Public Library but the Gabbard Library.  Wanna see?



love visiting libraries (both public and private) and I love picking out books to read.  So, I'm off to the library........I think I'll "check out" four or five!  

I'll end this post with a quote by C. S. Lewis, "You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me."