Saturday, October 31, 2009


The nights are getting cooler,

A chill is in the air...

Spooky ghosts will soon appear,

Scaredy Cats, BEWARE!

From Me to You: here's a big BOO! to all of you Stitchers out there....and of course,

Friday, October 30, 2009

Ghosties and Goblins and Ghouls, Oh My!

Katie Lou and I are having a tough time deciding on her costume for tomorrow's Halloween festivities.

Here are the options:

My favorite - HOBO DOG
("Hey Buddy....can you spare me a bone?...chicken's my favorite...
although them ribs you got are smellin' might good too...and I wouldn't say no to a hunk of that cornbread...")

("Golly, I'm just the sweetest little could you think I'd EVER do anything bad? would never enter my mind...honest...")

("Have I told you the story how my Grandpappy and Grandmammy trotted West under the covered wagons?...They bit some Injins on the way...and scared away them pesky ky-oats too...yessir they surely did...")

("Oui, Oui, I have just had ze little stroll on the Chomps Elaysay....But of course I have a little bit of ze french dog in me. Pourquoi? Mon Dieu - because J'ADORE LES FRENCH FRIES!!!)

or Katie's favorite - FETCHIN' DOG
("Just throw it, throw it, throw it all ready!!! Come ON, forget the candy...I just wanna PLAY!")


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A NEW Abstraction!

Well, I'm pleased to report that I've finished yet ANOTHER old project that I've had languishing in the back of my design pile. It's MALACHITE MAZE, the next in the abstract Impressionist Collection. I'm soooooooo happy to have finished this green beauty at last!

My inspiration for this piece was a hunk of real malachite, that I used to match all the green threads. I also thought that bargello patterns would echo the actual malachite rings, so I used two bargello patterns in the overall design. The focal point of the design is the central box with a four-way bargello pattern (something I've always wanted to try and this was the perfect use for it)....

The rest of the patterns are composed of easy stitches - just combined in interesting ways, using a variety of threads. As with my other abstracts, the patterns are worked in "thick and thin" areas - the outer areas are done with the thicker #5 pearl cotton threads, and the inner areas are worked in the same patterns, but with thin threads. This effect gives the piece some interesting texture and dimension, and I am always intrigued by the play of light and dark, thick and thin threads.

It has been awhile since I've done one of my abstracts, so it took me a bit of concentation to focus on the design.... But once I got back into my "green groove," I whizzed through this design in no time at all, AND enjoyed the process! (I was soooo relieved to see it finally finished after all this time - WOO HOO!)

And, for all you stitchers who might like to try this design in a different color, I do give you a list of the types of threads you need to pull if you want to change the colors.

If you are interested in MALACHITE MAZE, please visit my website and click on the IMPRESSIONIST COLLECTION page for more information.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Tricks or Treats?

A friend of mine gave me this cute, glittery sign that I hang on my office door this time of year:

Every time I look at it, I think, "Gee, that would look cute as a stitched project."
So this year, I sat down at the computer, picked out a nice fat font, scanned it into the cross-stitch software, then loaded it onto my website for a Halloween freebie pattern for all you stitchers. Here's the pattern. (You can find a printable version on my FREE PATTERN page on my website or you can hit the PRINT PREVIEW button on this page - under FILE - and then enlarge the page and print it directly from here):

The design count, including the border space around the letters, is 74 x 54.
The design size on 18 ct. canvas would be 4" x 3".

I'm not listing any threads for this little pattern, because I can easily think of a dozen or so fun combinations. Soooo, you'll just have to use your own creativity to pull the threads for this out of your own Halloweeny stash.

Try stitching the black outline in black Fuzzy Stuff, for a scratchy, witchy look... or maybe use a fun black metallic ribbon with orange and purple glints in it... And filling all those letters can be a real hoot! Use a variegated Halloweeny thread thruout, or perhaps stitch each letter in a different color....maybe a different metallic ... or HEY! how about some glow-in-the-dark colors?!?

And here's the one I stitched (it just took me two evenings) using all Ribbon Floss thread (BLACK: 148-202; PURPLE: 148-40; ORANGE: 148-035; GREEN: 148-056). Instead of framing it, I just wrapped it around a piece of mat board, so I can hang it from a door nob or drawer nob or maybe I'll just prop it up somewhere on a shelf...

Well, anyway, this is a fun and easy treat for all you Halloween lovers out there! ENJOY!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Friday Flowers: Chrysanthemums

I have resisted buying flowers this summer. What's the point, when it gets so hot you have to water every day and they wilt anyway? So I was really, really good this year until now. It's officially Autumn and suddenly I'm craving the smell of chrysanthemums. Just. Had. To. Have. Some.

So I got three blooming pots, intending to transplant them into larger pots,

and then I got some pumpkins at Granny's Pumpkin Patch

and when I made a grouping beside my front steps, everything looked so nice, I thought I'd just keep them this way.

So There.... I'm done. (And I can still enjoy looking and smelling them everyday.)

Have a beautiful October weekend...
(I hope you're all stitching on Halloween projects!)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A Few Impulse Buys...ahem

Last weekend I attended a needlework auction put on by the Mt. Tam Canvas Workers ANG group. They hold this fun event every two years (which gives them time to accumulate lots of yummy stuff). Anyway, the ANG ladies spend lots of time gathering, sorting, and pricing all the items - some go into the "live auction" event, and others go onto the "silent auction" table.

When I arrived, I checked out the silent auction items. There is an assortment of projects, some just canvases, some with threads, and some already started but donated by their owners. On each item there's a minimum bid, and then space for any interested stitcher to write their bid and their name. Not until the end of the meeting, when bidding is closed, do you know if you've won the item/s you bidded on. Anyway, I always enjoy finding an unexpected canvas or two, so it's very fun to splurge with a bid or two! (The Home on the Range canvas above just made me grin - but apparently no one else, so I won it with a very low bid.)

The MAIN EVENT is the live auction, where all sorts of canvases are held up for stitchers to vie for in a lively bidding war. There were so many lovely canvases (some complete with stretcher bars, threads and stitch guides) that it was hard to decide what to bid on. Each canvas has a minimum bid on it, so the bidder has some idea of the retail cost. There were several fantastic Pat Thode Santa canvases (but the bidding went beyond my budget, so I didn't win any of those)... But I did bid on and win a couple of interesting canvases that were total impulse buys. And I'm tickled pink with them! (One of them is a Sandra Gilmore canvas of pink hydrangeas in a watering can; you can just see a peek of the pink checked background in the photo above.)

They also had a few piles of assorted threads - and silk ribbons, as shown above. I bought some (not knowing what I'd use them for), but after I won the pink hydrangea canvas, I got to thinking maybe I'll try some silk ribbon flowers on top of the tent-stitched canvas....who knows! We'll just have to see how playful I get with that canvas...

By the end of the meeting, practically every stitcher had bid on something, and as they were leaving, everyone was pleased as punch to have snagged a bargain or two.I think I can safely say that a fun time was had by ALL the stitchers in attendance!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Post Script to Monday's Posting

If you're having trouble getting to Barbara Elmore's blogsite, STITCHPOGRAPHY,
you'll have to "google" it from your main internet page. Barbara's URL is a long one and it doesn't seem to recognize my link. RATS. But please perservere and visit her blog for lots of intriguing stitching inspiration.

Monday, October 19, 2009

A Few New Blog Treats

Every so often, when I have a bit of free computer time, I go looking to see if I can find some more stitchery blogs to add to my list over on the righthand side there. One can never have enough creative inspiration and stitching motivation, right?!?

So here are a few more blogs for you to check out:

by designer Barbara Elmore. I am soooo tickled to see that Barbara has made the plunge into blogging. Barbara and I have become BBDF (Best Blogging Designer Friends) ever since meeting at a TNNA show in Long Beach, lo these many years ago. When she couldn't decide whether to start a blog, I urged her to give it a go.... (Rather selfishly actually, because I, for one, wanted to hear her thoughts and creative processes for creating her wildly colorful and fun canvases.)

So please hurry over to her blog and check out her postings. Barbara is really the Diva of Dimensional Stitching, and if you want to see what I mean, just go read her postings about adding dimension to your canvas...and then hop over to her website where you'll see her fabulous canvases. AND YOU MUST SEE HER NEW SERIES OF NEEDLEPOINT SHOES! REALLY, REALLY, REALLY.(I'm rather gaga over her May shoes, in particular...)

, by Jan Fitzpatrick is a geometric stitcher's paradise. You can watch her create geometric pieces step-by-step, based on her collection and love of Moroccan rugs and designs. Lots of terrific inspiration here for counted canvas lovers!

NEEDLEART & OTHER MUSINGS is another stitcher's blogging adventure in the land of canvas and thread....something we can ALL relate to, I have no doubt.

RITTENHOUSE NEEDLEPOINT is a fun blog to visit because it's like stepping into a hip stitchery shop from the comfort of your home. Lots of neato new canvases and products are showcased here, and now and then photos of the trendy shop in Philadelphia, PA. And they're also sharing photos and information about different types of stitches that are fun to look at and definitely get the ol' creative juices flowing....

And speaking of boundless creativity, check out FREEBIES, ETC.! where the designer who brings you POSSIBILITIES, ETC.! has another blog about the nitty gritty of creating canvases. If you're itching to get out your paintbrushes and pens and dabble on canvas, this is the blogsite for you!

I'll end this post on a serene note, by directing you to a bit of stitching surrounded by lovely photography. For a special treat, please look at ALLTHEBEAUTIFULTHINGS. It will surely make you sigh a bit in appreciation of such lovely photos....(and you'll probably start thinking to yourself,"Why can't I take photographs of my work like that?")

Friday, October 16, 2009

Friday Flowers: Raindrops

Raindrops on roses...

on hydrangeas...

on anemones...

on fuchsias....

These are a few of my favorite things!

Happy Friday... and I hope you have
a stitch-filled weekend!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Rainy Day Blues

Katie has the rainy day blues......

'cuz she hates the raindrops getting on her coat,
hates that we can't go out and play fetch,
hates that I'm happily stitching away and can't be bothered,
and especially hates that the squirrels won't come out and play.

What's a dog to do but sleep, and dream,
and wait for sunny days again...

Just a Little Nuts

I'm a big fan of PRAIRIE SCHOOLER designs. I love just about every single design they've published, and as you might guess, have quite a few of their patterns. (I'm guessing you have a lot of them, too!)

Recently, I needed a small portable project to take in my project bag. I chose the latest fall series from PRAIRIE SCHOOLER, called "Fall Fields".

And per my love of all things miniature, I decided to work them on lt. caramel 24 ct. Congress Cloth so they would fit in the lovely little frames I have with small 2" x 2" openings. Here's the first one I've finished - the squirrel:

As you might have noticed by comparing with the leaflet above, the original pattern is rectangular in size, but my frame opening was square. So I thought I'd slightly enlarge the stitched area by adding more nuts in the lower left corner, to make it more squareish in appearance. I also added a simple backstitched outline around the image, to take up more of the frame space and give it a faux matted look.

Now that I have the squirrel done, I've started on the pheasant. These little designs are so fast and easy to work up, I'll probably do most (if not all) of them this fall. And I was pleasantly surprised to see that it only took two afternoons to finish the squirrel and also start on the pheasant.

And no, I'm not stitching these in full cross stitches. I prefer to use half cross stitches (or Tent or Basketweave Stitches) with 2 ply of DMC floss when I work on the finer 24 ct. Congress Cloth. It works up much faster than regular cross stitch, and I especially enjoy the quick results.

I really can't wait to get more of these little gems stitched... I'm definitely planning on having a turkey for Thanksgiving!

Monday, October 12, 2009

In Your Stash: variegated threads

While re-organizing my stash of threads last week, I got to thinking about the various types of variegated threads I consider crucial to have on hand.

My first choice to always have on hand is green variegated threads, because they are sooooo handy for creating complex and dappled greenery, such as bushes, trees, grass, and leaves.

Monochromatic or more mixed in colors, greens are invaluable for creating the illusion of depth in a canvas. It's really a very simple "shortcut" to creating a sophisticated look in your project. Here's a variegated tree from one of my house designs, to show you what I mean:

Another necessary variegated thread color is brown - or rather all sorts of browns and greys and rusts. Why change thread colors for individual bricks in a walkway or chimney when you can let the variegated thread do the color changing for you? (Hey, save your concentration for those really challenging projects, and let the thread do the color-changing work when you are stitching lots of tedious bricks or stones or shingles.)

Here's a walkway done with variegated browns and greys just like stones:

Oooooohhhh, and here's another MUST HAVE color: yellow!

You know...for all those glowing windows inside your houses... whether you use bright yellows or softer oranges, they really add a cheerful and cozy look to a stitched house. Don't you agree?

And how about all those Santas you stitch every year? Have you tried a variegated red for your santa's coat? And there are soooo many different reds - bright, dark, victorian, dull - it all depends on the look and feel you want your santa to convey...

And then there are variegated oranges you'll need for all those pumpkins you stitch.... and purples for witches cloaks.... and pinks for little girls' dresses..... blues for skies..... whites for santas beards.... You see how variegated threads can change your stitching life?!

So, next time you're in your Local Stitchery Store, take a look at all the variegated thread, and maybe grab a skein or two or three or more just to have in your stash.... (Trust me, you'll find a use for them sometime, somehow, somewhere -- I promise...)

Friday, October 9, 2009

Friday Flowers: A Golden Glow

I've pulled a bouquet of flowers that have a special golden glow, in celebration of the arrival of Autumn..... Enjoy!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

My Organizational Crusade Continues

These buddies are two of my frame weights. I made them from little stuffed animals I had laying around. I cut them open, emptied their tummies of poly beads and refilled them with buckshot (bought in WalMart's hunting and fishing department.) They make me smile every time I look at them and use them. Cute, huh?

They're watching me with wrapt attention, because I was dancing around, and patting myself on the back for cleverly creating another stitching corner in my tiny house. It was supposed to be part of the kitchen area, but because it was too small for a full dining table, it was really just a catch-all space. I had an AHA! moment one day, and decided to turn it into another stitching area. Again, I placed a few of my 4'x6' metal grids against the wall, so now I can hang and rearrange various and sundry WIP projects and other neato stitchy stuff. Here it is:

And here's my current "meditation canvas" - the one I stare at to think about what threads and stitches to use on it:

Whew. After my heady organizational whirlwind this weekend, I'm pooped (and more than a little stiff). I think I need to sit down and do a bit of stitching. .(I think I deserve it, don't you?)

Katie and I will just sit quietly and watch the squirrels outside rearranging their nut stash yet again.

Ta ta for now. Gotta go stitch something....

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

This is Sooooo Your Fault! (continued)

As the squirrels outside are racing around stashing their nuts, I'm inside my house, too wired to sit calmly and stitch. Instead, I'm on an ORGANIZATION MISSION and I've decided to rearrange more of my threads. Hey, why not tackle the metallic thread mess next?

I have a lot of Rainbow Gallery metallics that I use constantly in my designs. They are on loose binder rings, which are convenient, but when they're all tangled up in a drawer they're not fun to wrestle with and I curse a lot when I pull them out of their plastic drawers. Sooooo, I decided to untangle them and hang them up instead. Brilliant! (Oooohh...they're really pretty to look at, aren't they?)

And here's what they're hanging on:

I took a few of the 2'x6' grid panels I have (the ones I assembled for my booths at the shows I used to attend) and set them up in my tiny office. I spent the rest of the afternoon happily rearranging threads on my new thread display. I'm now one happy (and well organized) designer. Woo Hoo!

[ASIDE TO CONI J.: I place the blame for my manic organizational frenzy squarely on your shoulders, you stitchy diva, you.... You and your matching wood hangers for your canvases...and your baskets of seasonal projects.... and all your twirly thread holders. IT'S. ALL. YOUR. FAULT... totally. I mean it. ahem....]

As for me, I'm off to the store to get more metal rings to organize more of my threads. Hey, who knew this thread organizing could be soooo addicting!