Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A Little Bit of This, A Little Bit of That

The Secret Garden
JBW Designs
28 count Irish linen
DMC Threads

The Secret Garden (book and movie) have always meant a lot to me. I read the book over and over as a child, and occasionally still pick it up - it never loses its magic. And my now husband and I saw the movie on our sixth date - after which we agreed not to see other people. So anything having to do with the words Secret Garden gets my attention. I bought this little design on eBay some time ago, and it was the perfect "in between projects" piece to stitch. It came with three charms (two flowers and a little bird) but I haven't been able to attach them. I tried French knots as the instructions said, but they just pulled through the linen. The other suggestion was to attach them with beads but I didn't have the right kind. So it is a charming but charmless design for now.

Oiseau (Bird) freebie found here
Belfast linen
DMC 221

I found this little bird on a wonderful French blog - there are lots of beautiful free charts there. The bird's eye is a Smyrna stitch - I do so dislike the dead looking eye a cross stitch makes. I was hoping to turn this into my first tin topper but it is just a tad too big for an Altoids tin, so I'll have to keep my eyes peeled for something suitable.
You all know how much I love The Snowman - well, I just hit the jackpot on I'd been looking for this book for ages but used copies were selling for $100 or more. Then one day I idly checked on Amazon again, and lo and behold there was a new copy that, with shipping from England, cost less than $20! I snapped it up in a heartbeat and it came today. I don't know when I'll stitch another Snowman design, but I certainly have lots to choose from now.

Meanwhile I have a new project that I'm working on for my husband's birthday in September. He pays absolutely no attention my stitching so I can work away right in front of his eyes without his having a clue!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

A Present for a Friend

Laura's House in the Woods
The Sampler Girl
WDW 30 count Parchment linen
DMC Threads

My friend Laura is a long-time fan of the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder (she's named after the author), and when I saw this pattern by The Sampler Girl I had to stitch it for her as a birthday present. As you can see, I finished it as a pillow. The verse Tanya included with the chart reads: "Remember, it is not the things you have that make you happy; it is the love and kindness and helping each other and just plain being good. " I love that sentiment!

If you are a fan of Disney and/or old movies, check out Laura's blog. She has encyclopedic knowledge of both, and her blog is always informative and fun!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Snow in June

I think I may have mentioned that I have had a soft spot in my heart for Raymond Briggs' The Snowman, ever since I saw the movie with my then toddler son. From time to time the British cross stitch magazines have a chart with a Snowman design, so I've collected a few of them, and when I came upon an advertisement for some Snowman kits made by DMC in the UK, I tracked them down (no mean feat, as they had been discontinued). The kit came with blue opalescent aida, which I decided to use despite not having stitched a thing on aida since I discovered that stitching on linen actually wasn't impossible. I must say I rather enjoyed it although I won't switch back by any means. This piece looks like it was very simple but I had to keep track of some color changes with the greens and the rust/browns, so it was good practice for when I finally take on something with major color changes, something I haven't had the nerve to do yet. It was also the first time that I had to backstitch features - his eyes and nose aren't exactly right but his expression is rather sweet, so I think it passes muster well enough. I learned one thing the hard way - when you stitch with white floss, don't hold the fabric in an area where you've used it. The Snowman's right arm (left side of the design) is not nearly as white as the rest of him. I always wash my hands before I stitch but clearly white calls for a higher standard of cleanliness. Oh well, live and learn. Here's the finished product:
The Snowman and James
DMC mini cross stitch kit
14 count opalescent aida and DMC threads

Since I finished this I've been working on a small JBW Designs piece, which is going rather slowly. It has lots of little flowers that only use a few stitches worth of color, and I'm spending most of my time threading and unthreading my needle. I'm determined to finish it but I'll be glad to move on to something else!