Sunday, September 04, 2016

Finished Object: Rose Arbour by Mirabilia

This was one of my first Mirabilia purchases along with Rose of Sharon. I love the dresses in these designs! I also love how the beading is minimal compared to some of the other designs, such as Sabrina. I  know that some stitchers love the bling, but I find too much takes away from the stitching.

I searched and searched the internet for errata on this pattern, because I think the roses in her right hand had the wrong symbol in them. After finding nothing, I went with my gut (something I wouldn't have done when I first started stitching--stick with the pattern! The designer is right!). If I'm going to spend all this time on a project, I'm going to make it the way I want to see it!

I also spent the money to get both Rose of Sharon and Rose Arbour professionally framed. I found this great place in Liberty, SC, which is affordable and high-quality. I just about cried when I picked them up!

Finished Object: Serial Bowl Collection, Lesson 1 by Plum Street Samplers

Plum Street Samplers is one of my favorite designers for primitive designs and smalls. Many of the designs can be finished quickly (depending on stitch speed and available time) and uniquely. Some of the recent finishes have been pillows, and this one is the first design in what is called The Serial Bowl Collection.

Serial Bowl Collection of Sampler Lessons: Lesson One was released at the Nashville Market back in March 2015. From start to finish stitch completion took about six weeks, not including finishing. I was working on some other projects at that time, too.

I used 32 count taupe Lugana. I can't follow directions and used two threads over two instead of one thread over two, so the threads that came with the kit were not enough to finish the project. In place of those threads I replaced similar over-dyed cottons that were good matches for the design. These included threads from The Gentle Art and Week's Dye Works.

GA Barn Door --> Week's Red Pear
GA Cherry Cobbler --> GA Cranberry
GA Cinnamon Toast --> Week's Cinnabar
GA Sunkissed -->  GA Lambswool
GA Timber --> GA Molasses (trees only)


The finishing directions instructed that the chenille be attached using glue. I ended up sewing the pillow together first, then hand-stitched the chenille around the edges. I also created my own pillow insert. 

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Who Are the Cylons in Outlander?

When I moved into my current house, I decided to forego a giant cable package and bought a ROKU box instead. I haven't regretted the decision, as I've been able to catch shows that I can't watch on the box via other means.  Honestly, I haven't missed cable. Most of what I had watched was pure trash, like the Real Housewives shows, or I watched the same shows repeatedly. Now I've been catching up--and adding to--my list on Netflix and haven't looked back.

I've also taken advantage of free previews from Showtime and Starz. I binged two seasons of Penny Dreadful and am currently making my way through Outlander. I had attempted reading the book and it hadn't drawn me in like it had much of the fandom. I figured binging would be quicker than trudging through a book that I was marginally interested in, because with watching TV I could also work on my many crafting projects.

As I watched the first few episodes, I realized that the narration was not only the problem I had with the book but with the show as well. Claire narrates a lot. Most of her narration is heavy with her feelings, with how she needed to return back to 1945 from 1743, as if the action did not make these things obvious at all.

Really, who would want to stay in 1743? I understand that 1945 is no joy, but at least the clean-up from WW2 has started. 1945 has electricity, running water, and more comfortable clothes. 1743 has none of those things and corsets. Corsets! I do not envy Claire her task. Get back to 1945, girl! And stop that infernal narration!
(The real Moore is third from the right; the random Moore is the far right.)
Enough of the plot. When I was watching the opening credits in one episode, I noticed a name--Ronald D. Moore. Where had I heard that name before? That's right! Portlandia! In the Season 2 episode "One Moore Episode," the main characters hunt down Ronald D. Moore to write one more episode of Battlestar Galactica after they finished binge watching the show. It's the same guy! Except they find a random Ronald D. Moore and hijinks ensue.

I started thinking about Battlestar Galactica. I was surprised that I liked it because I am so picky about science fiction. But then I noticed something interesting, something the shows had in common.

It's The Last Supper Layout! One has sexy space people and robot assassins, the other has powdered wigs on Scots and murderous Sassenachs! Red dress front and center! Lots of side-eye in both posters! Suspicion....

So, who are the Cylons in Outlander? The English? Definitely Black Jack Randall. Claire? Possibly. It could explain her time travel.  I'll probably have more ideas as I watch more episodes.

Saturday, December 05, 2015

Finished Object: Route 66 by Little House Needleworks

Little House Needleworks has a variety of different types of patterns, though Diane does have a certain style that can be seen in all patterns regardless of topic. I'm usually drawn to her houses and samplers, but I did like the "Route 66" pattern when I saw it! I loved the vintage car and trailer that harkened back to the days before Interstates.

I finished the design into a pillow. I used Route 66 fabric for the piping around the pillow and a blue travel motif fabric for the back. Both were from previous projects I had finished.

For this pattern I used Newport Antique White/Khaki Linen on 28 count. I liked the fabric because it reminded me of a picnic table cloth, but then a fellow stitcher pointed out that it looked like the grid on a map. What an even better idea!

I only converted two colors.
DMC 597 --> Gentle Arts Tutti Frutti
DMC 603 --> Classic Colorworks Pink Champagne

I did make other changes in design elements due to the fabric. Most notable is the change in border from cream to yellow. I did this to mimic the lines seen on two-lane highways. I also finished the United States with full cross-stitches instead of the half the pattern suggests. With 28-ct fabric, too much white was showing through.

I finished the design into a pillow. I used Route 66 fabric for the piping around the pillow and a blue travel motif fabric for the back. Both were from previous projects I had finished.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Finished Object: Pin Money Pocket 2015 Limited Edition by Summer House Stitche Workes

Samplers and projects inspired by the 18th century are among my favorite patterns. I love the look of antique-inspired stitching accessories, especially if I can have a hand in creating them. I bought this lovely pattern from my LNS after the Nashville Needlework Market showcased this Limited Edition for 2015! If there is one lesson I learned from stitching is it would be to buy a pattern I like when I first see it because it may not be there the next time! (I've had several disappointments over the past year because of that!) 

This project came will all of the supplies needed, and each kit was slightly different. The ribbon and fabric for the exterior varied according to the kit, but each were perfect for the 18th-century inspired pattern. 

Minimal sewing was required to finish this project. If you can sew a pillow, then this is an easy project! 

Photo of Exterior

Photo of Interior

Monday, January 19, 2015

"Around the World in 80 Days" by Little House Needleworks

I did make some changes in the speciality threads, substituting what I had in my supply that was similar or using a different color to show better on the fabric.  Instead of Crescent Colours Desert Mesquite, I used Poblano Pepper. My dye lot of Desert Mesquite was too close to Weeks Dye Works Juniper to have any contrast with the grass. The dye lot I had was much different than what was shown on the model. Instead of Crescent Colours Eggshell, I used Weeks Dye Works Parchment. Instead of Crescent Colours Manor Red, I used Weeks Dye Works Brick.

This pattern also had quite a bit of errata, probably the most I've ever had in one pattern. Luckily the corrections can be found on Little House Needlework's website.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Life Changes

I was a bit embarrassed when I came back to this blog and realized I hadn't posted in nearly 18 months. Those months have been chaotic and unsure at moments, but wonderful and uplifting at others. Regardless, I've made some major life changes that I've been quite happy with.

I made a decision nearly three years ago to change the course I was headed on. I had a wake-up call in the form of two very dear friends who called me on my BS right before Christmas break. I went home, spent time with my family, but more importantly spent time with myself, rethinking my priorities. For a long time I let my job as a high school teacher in a low-income area define my worth as a person. I'd go months without seeing my family who lived three hours away, on the other side of the state. I was unhappy and isolated. I received very little validation from my job and much criticism on little things I wasn't doing right (like submitting lesson plans five minutes late). I took out my anger on those closest to me, and they were finally fed up with me.

Of course, once I made the decision to move, that wasn't the end of the matter. I still had a house to sell in a market that wasn't the best, and I am a Planner. I am not spontaneous. I think too much. So, I decided that I was going to move in 18 months--finish out the remainder of that school year and one more so I could pack and sell the house, save some money. Even with that decision made, I still had fights with depression. It would take another moment, in my home-town Cracker Barrel, to realize that just making the decision wasn't going to be enough, that I'd need help, and I made the decision to find a therapist to help me set my mind back on the path forward.

I won't say that the last year at that particular job was easy, because being a high school teacher is never easy. I went about writing a resume, applying for jobs, and networking online to find a social studies position closer to family all while trying to sell an unsellable house. Not signing a contract that year was a load off my shoulders in regard to one job, but it was also scary. I had never been unemployed in my entire adult life. I spent ten years at that school, collected some wonderful memories (I don't want to appear that it was all miserable, because it wasn't), made some wonderful friends, and learned a lot about people and my profession.

So, in August of 2013, which was my last post here, I was at a crossroads. My house had not sold. Despite interviews, I did not have a job. I was disheartened, especially after an interview where, ten minutes in, I realize that the principal had already picked his candidate and I was just there to fill in numbers. (The clue was that he didn't want to talk about my teaching philosophy, but my time spent in England. Did I go to soccer games?) My friends were going back to work, and I was not. I had a house, but in the wrong town.

Finally, my dad calls and asks when I'm moving up, forcing my hand. (Someone had to.) I moved most of my belongings to my brother's house, where for a month I did nothing but cross-stitch and watch television. I visited friends I hadn't seen in a long time. I spent time with my family, especially my niece and nephew. I applied for substitute teaching jobs, thinking that would get my feet in the door. Eventually I landed in a long-term teaching position in a middle school, which could have turned into a permanent position if only I had been English certified. At the end of that job, I ended up interviewing in another district for the position I currently hold.

The last three years have been full of ups and downs, but I feel like I've finally landed on my feet. I have a job (albeit teaching eighth-grade varsity--9th grade), I have a new house, and things are looking up.

I hope to post more, especially my many finished projects from 2014.

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Finished Object: Sarah Ann Wilcox Sampler

Lately I've been motivated to finish some cross-stitch projects before I begin any new ones. I'm not always successful, but after two years, I finally finished this one!

Yes, two years! Two years ago I last posted my progress here after five weeks on the Sarah Ann Wilcox reproduction sampler. This is the finished project: