Sunday, March 30, 2008

My Wee Bird Scissor Fob

I have a new "first" to share - my first scissor fob. I love this little bird - I think of him as my bluebird of happiness. His finishing was not without drama. It was really hard to pick up the backstitches in an even way, and his edges don't bear close scrutiny. And the floss I was using for the edges broke on two corners while I was going around. Is floss the best thing to use? It was a double strand but didn't seem that strong. I have seen perle cotton mentioned but am not sure if I should use this, or if so, what size. Any advice?

Freebie (no longer available)

Now for my next project (Gingerbread Cottage is still poking along but I'm trying to spice up my stitching with other things too). I'm going to attempt my first needleroll for the Monthly Finishing Challenge. I found a chart I like and bought the floss today at A.C. Moore after church (I also bought one of those Olfa cutting mats with a 50% off coupon -I needed it, right?) There are some good instructions for how to make them on Focus on Finishing, but one thing I'm not sure of is how much material to leave at the edges of the design. I know I have to have enough to make the French seam down the side but I'm not sure if there is a standard. Does anyone have some tips? Thank goodness for this community of more experienced stitchers - who knows where I'd be without you?

Note to self: now that you are a member of the Monthly Finishing Challenge blog, remember that your own blog is listed second on the Blogger dashboard, not first. Do not publish your personal blog posts to a group blog!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Button, Button Who's Got the Button?

Thanks to Carol's excellent suggestion I now have a finished pinkeep that looks like the buttons are sewed on. Thank you so much, Carol, and all of you who helped me decide what to do. I like the pinkeep a lot better with the buttons, and the ecru thread I used for the "sewing" adds an extra little touch that breaks up the color just enough. I've emailed Becky to see if I can join the Monthly Finishing Challenge, even though the next challenge is a needleroll, which I find rather daunting. But if I don't try things I'll never learn, right?

As I was uploading the picture I just got a request from DS - he wants me to make him a pinkeep with a picture of R2-D2 on it. Now where am I going to find a chart for that? ;--)

Friday, March 28, 2008

Pinkeep with Buttons

Thanks to a very smart idea from Harmien, I placed the buttons on the pinkeep corners and took a picture. I think I like how it looks - it makes the monochromatic theme more interesting. Should I get out my tacky glue?

Opin(keep)ions please!

I made my second pinkeep out of my JBW Designs French Country Apple, but I had a problem along the way. I glued the batting to the cardboard but didn't let it dry long enough before I stretched the stitched piece over the batting. The glue went through it and then through the stitching, so in three of four corners you can see and feel some glue residue. It's not awful but it's definitely noticeable. Here's what it looks like (my apologies for not getting the cording bow to scan in a very good place):

JBW Designs French Country Apple
28 count cashel
DMC floss

The brownish spots in the corners are where the glue is. I had an idea for how to disguise it but would love some opinions. I looked for some apple-shaped buttons but couldn't find anything that fit, soI bought some burgundy buttons and I thought I could put one in each corner and glue them down. Would that look weird? I can't decide whether to do it or not. Maybe I should just live with it as is? You all helped Kim decide about the pink ribbon on her gorgeous first pinkeep, so I'm hoping you can help me as well.

Here's the back of the pinkeep (I really love this fabric):

I've been considering joining the Monthly Finishing Challenge, even though all I've finished so far are pinkeeps, but I'd like to resolve my glue dilemma first and make it look better. I'm kind of nervous to make the commitment to this but it sure would make me try harder to conquer my fear of finishing! My scissor fob backstitching is finished and I got the ribbon for the loop to attach it. That's next on my agenda.

Now I have a scissors question - are Gingher's the best embroidery scissors to buy? So many people seem to have them but they are quite expensive and my little cheapo from Joann's seems to work okay. Maybe I'm just afraid to start another addiction!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

An Amazing RAK

I was flabbergasted today to receive the most wonderful gift from Staci! She sent me a beautiful floss ring tag that looks just like the one she made for her tutorial, in fact it's the same one. I can't tell you how surprised and moved I was when I opened the package (which also contained a whole bunch of great freebie charts). Never had I imagined that I would be privileged to be the recipient of another stitcher's work. My stitching is so slow and basic that I've never been able to envision myself participating in exchanges; it's all I can do to finish something for myself, let alone anyone else, though it's a someday far-off goal to try. Today has been a very gloomy and cold day here and I've been working on our taxes, so to find this in my mailbox just made the sun shine all over me! Staci I can't tell you how much your random act of kindness means to me. I am honored to have become your friend.

Here's the gorgeous floss ring tag she sent me:



In use

Staci has also been encouraging me about my current projects. I haven't gotten very far with Gingerbread Cottage since I finished the house; I've just managed to do one tree. I decided to use DMC Light Effects for the snow on the tree; somehow all the white in the chart didn't look right and I thought some sparkle might liven it up. Now I'm trying to figure out where else to use Light Effects and where to stick to the white floss. But I've found that right now the project isn't holding my interest the way I'd hoped. Maybe the end of winter just isn't the best time to be doing such a project when I am yearning for spring.

So when Staci suggested I do something with a bit more chance of quick gratification, I decided to try my first scissor fob. I saw a post on the Christmas Ornaments SAL blog and fell in love with this wee bird. He seemed like the perfect motif for a fob. I stitched him mostly while watching American Idol last night. I'm about to start the backstitching, something that's not my forte, but I'm determined to get this thing done. I want to put my initials on the back; does anyone have any links for alphabets that they like?

Thank you to everyone who commiserated with me on my eBay fiasco. I haven't left negative feedback for the seller because she hasn't left me any yet, and I'm afraid she will post something critical if I do so (eBay's policy of not allowing sellers to post negative comments doesn't become active for a few months yet). I contacted eBay to ask how I could avoid negative feedback if I asked for a refund, and they were less than helpful, saying that even if I got such feedback I could do a reply and people would see my response. I am very leery of wrecking my 100% feedback score, so I'm going to wait awhile and see if she leaves feedback (though I bet she won't). Sally, your idea of contacting Mirabilia is a good one. I'll bet they would be very interested in knowing that this kind of thing is going on.

Now I'm off to tackle the backstitching - another round of American Idol is coming up!

Monday, March 10, 2008

eBay Live and Learn

I have been wanting the Mirabilia chart "Mermaids of the Deep Blue" despite the fact that it's way beyond my capabilities to stitch, and usually I haven't particularly taken to stitched designs of people. There is something about this pattern that just grabbed me. I figured it could go into my stash and someday maybe I would be able to drum up the courage to try it. So imagine my pleasant surprise when I found a kit on eBay that included the chart and the floss for it, for a very reasonable price with Buy It Now. I was a little bit surprised about the floss and even wrote to the seller to make sure it was there, which she said it was. The picture looked right, and I checked and all the feedback was positive. So I bought it. No doubt you are already shaking your heads at what is coming next. What I received was a Chinese knockoff of the pattern, with cheap floss. I went back and looked at the listing and saw that the name Mirabilia was nowhere to be found. I'd been had, and have no one to blame but myself. I looked again at the feedback and although it was 100% postive I found two neutral ratings that warned about Chinese fakes - I hadn't seen that before. Though I am sorry I am out the money I am even sorrier that I unknowingly contributeed to fakes being sold. I'm not quite sure what to do now. The seller didn't falsely advertise because she didn't say Mirabilia, but I certainly won't use what she sent, nor will I pass it on to anyone else. I guess I will just chalk this up to a dumb mistake, and be much more careful next time.

In happier news, Kathy blessed me with a Best Blogging Buddies award - Kathy I am so honored and grateful. You have been such a great supporter and this means so much to me. I will pass on the award to others very soon.

I just arrived back home after spending a weekend with my sister at a "women's wellness weekend" that was held at a YMCA camp in New Jersey. We spent two days partaking of lots of activities ranging from quilting and scrapbooking (no cross stitch, alas) to archery and hip hop dancing, with lots of all-female cameraderie. It was great fun and very relaxing. I got a little bit of stitching done on the first tree for Gingerbread Cottage, though I realized after awhile that I had been stitching half crosses and then back again with overdyed floss rather than making my Xs as I went. Fortunately there is not a lot of color variation in this floss so I think I didn't do much harm. There's so much to remember with this stitching art!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Cottage Constructed

The cottage that gives this design its name is finished, snow and all. However, I think I have to frog the pink and white stitching to the left of the door. I stitched it all going upwards and the stitches look so uneven compared to the right side, which was stitched going down. I'm trying to live with it for awhile to see if I stop seeing the flaws , but so far they really stand out to me. I haven't been railroading this piece and I think it may have been a mistake.

I wasn't sure the brown checkerboard for the roof was going to stand out, but I like how it looks. This really is a pretty little design. Though I kind of wish I was stitching something springy. It seems a little odd to be working on snow when March is coming in like a lamb here - I hope the lion doesn't show up anytime soon!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Look who's blogging!

Guess who finally has a blog? Staci! Here it is: Snippets and Stash. As many of us know, Staci is a frequent blog commenter who always has such nice things to say, but we've never been able to reciprocate because she didn't have a blog. Well, she's taken the plunge and her blog looks wonderful. Go check it out for yourselves - welcome Staci!