Sunday, January 31, 2010

Have You Met Kelsi and Emily Yet?

I don’t often wander from posting about my stitching life, but I joined an Etsy team, Collaborators in Cahoots, a few months ago.  It’s been a terrific experience and I’ve learned a lot from many of the people on the team. It’s a small team compared to most Etsy teams.  We have around twenty members, give or take a few.  Check out all of them!  As you might guess, the primary purpose of Etsy teams is to promote each other’s Etsy shops, but we also network and share tips and even become friends without ever meeting face to face.  I’d like to introduce a couple of those folks to you.
Kelsi is a multi-talented, funny, smart, and clever (which is different from smart) person.  And I’m pretty sure she’s not afraid of anything!  She comes up with some really inventive ways to attract customers.  Some of her tweets just make you giggle.  And I’m way too old to giggle.
Kelsi’s shop, called Kelsilove, is full of creative things.  She recycles all sorts of things into jewelry.  She knits scarves and scarflettes and coffee cup coziesShe sews and paints and  takes wonderfully, interesting photos. Did I mention she’s still in high school?  And she’s headed to University of Nevada, Reno next fall. 
And you can follow her blog, just for fun.

Then there is Emily.  Another creative, smart, and outgoing woman.  Emily’s shop is called NothingbutString, but she does some incredible things with “string”!  She says “whether it's beading, crocheting, knitting or sewing, it all has one thing in common, the thread that holds it all together.”

Emily’s main focus is Irish crochet, which is a form of lace.
Irish Crochet Lace is made with a very fine crochet hook and fine crochet cotton or linen thread.
She makes all sorts of jewelry, from rings to necklaces to braceletsShe even embellishes purses with Irish crochet.  She recently added crocheted bowls to her inventory. 
Isn’t this beaded kimono amazing? 

Emily doesn’t have a blog, but you can follow her on Twitter.

So, now you’ve met two of my CIC buddies. I hope you’ll take a good look at their wonderful shops.  Then stop by the Collaborators2 shop and see what the rest of the team is doing.

Friday, January 29, 2010

I Wish I Could Stitch All Day

Who knew that working on two projects at once could be so fun? I finished block 3 of SoHRH Wed night.

So I returned to Pigalle. After a little frog stitching (and swearing) I decided that even though I love working with the various overdyed flosses that I chose for this piece I really need to do a lot the navy ground work stitching. It makes it a lot easier to fill in the fun colors. (Translation: less frog stitching.) I'm still anxious about how my color changes will work, but so far I am very pleased.

I'm having so much fun with it I don't want to do anything else. But apparently I should. My shoulder is sore...couldn't be too much stitching, could it? My house is a wreck. I have about two dozen new items for the Etsy shop that I need to photograph and list. And Lester is nagging me to go for a walk. So I'm off to brave the cold and the wind. At least I know I'll have several hours tonight to stitch.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

No, I'm not dead yet!

I haven't been abducted by aliens either. I've just been away visiting my mom for several days. I don't get a lot of my normal stuff done when I'm away from home. Even though I have my laptop with me, I don't think you want pictures of me balancing her checkbook or all of us sitting around in our jammies being silly. So to spare you from that, I neglect my blog.

I don't get tons of stitching done when I'm there either, despite the fact that my wonderful husband replaced one of the bulbs in a livingrooom lamp with a daylight bulb! He takes such good care of me. However, I did get some late night (after dark in Mom's mind) stitching done on Shores of Hawk Run Hollow. (I'd abbreviate it to SoHRH, but I'm hoping there are new readers and they might not understand.) Block 3 is almost done. The only thing left is to fill in the water at the bottom and in the bird bath. Then I'll decide whether or not to continue on to another block or go back to Pigalle.

I've also been really working hard on my Etsy shop, making new scissor fobs and counting pins. My book thongs and shepherd's crook bookmarks were a big hit for Christmas gifts, so I'll be adding more of those. The new stitch markers for crochet have been very popular too. I just have so much fun laying out the beads and combining shapes and colors and textures. If you haven't visited lately, please stop by. You might find something you just can't live without. Or you might get an idea for a custom set of counting pins and a fob. I love doing special orders.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I Could Get Used to This

I'm starting to like having two projects going at once. (Does the phrase "pod person" mean anything to you?) It's a little scary.

Not only was Sunday SoHRH day, but so was Monday. I spent the morning stitching with my EGA alumni group. (Our chapter is defunct, but we still get together to stitch.) And since I FINISHED block 9 (which is really the 8th figure it out) Sunday night with a big happy dance, I decided extending the border on block 3 was the way to go. Statistically speaking, I had a better chance of avoiding frog stitching if all I did was long rows of black x's.

So last night I started working on block 3. Mostly white, which always seems hideous when you are stitching it, but turns out great when washed and ironed. There was some frog stitching there because Jack Bauer was once again in the midst of choas and I got distracted. That man really needs to get a life.

So my big dilemma is what to work on tonight. Guess I'll have to wait and see what mood I'm in. How weird is that?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

I Love the Playoffs!

During the NFL playoffs you can pretty much depend on some good games which translates to lots of stitching time. Each game this weekend involves a team I like (or love...Go Colts!) so I'm making massive progress.

Yesterday was Pigalle day. When I compare the pics from Thursday, it doesn't look like I've done as much as I thought, until you look closely at all the little individual stitches added for detail. I'm really happy with my color choices, finally. It may not have the same visual effect as the originals, but I love the cool blue tones so much more. And that's what counts right? Plus I'm having so much fun. Obligatory stitching or stitching on a deadline can diminish the enjoyment of the process sometimes, even if you like what you are stitching. So I'm especially happy to be working on two projects that I really love and am stitching just for that reason.

Speaking of two is SoHRH day. As soon as I do something productive like Swiffer up Lester hair (man, that dog sheds!), I'm spending the afternoon watching the Vikings smash the Cowboys. The evening will hopefully bring the Chargers beating the Jets. If you're a fan of either Dallas or NY, don't send me hate mail. Us old farts have to stick together and Bret (at 40 yrs. old) is amazing. And Philip Rivers is a NCSU alum. Say no more.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Red Plum is it!

I know you've all been holding your breath waiting for me to finalize the colors for my version of "Pigalle". Well, you can breathe again. I replaced GAST Black Raspberry Jam with GAST Red Plum. Did a couple of hours of stitching last night and I think it's good. Now I can just keep stitching. Lots of football and college basketball on this weekend, so I should make some progress.

My SoHRH is coming along too, but I forgot to take a picture of it this a.m. I worked on it while I was trying to find the right colors for "Pigalle". Maybe I'll get more done on it this weekend too.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

It Pays to have lots of WIPs

Rule No. 68: Always have a WIP for backup. (See Rule No. 67)

I was making great progress on "Pigalle" until I came to a spot where the Black Raspberry Jam GAST was called for. It looks very blah and I will once again be making some adjustments. Hence, the implementation of Rule No. 68.

Now, most of you know I'm a one-project-at-a-time girl and working on multiple projects makes my brain hurts. Well, either all of you right-brained stitchers with big piles of WIPs are sending those brain waves my way or menopause is really screwing me up. It occurred to me a couple of years ago that my unusual bouts of indecision might be hormonally induced, but now I'm convinced.

Anyway... I have put "Pigalle" down until I can come up with an acceptable substitute for Black Raspberry Jam. I've been working on SoHRH the last couple of nights and have made reasonable strides forward. And my brain is not taxed by all that creative stuff like color blending, contrast, etc. This is one of those things that makes you appreciate those geniuses that designs needlework. It's a lot of hard work.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Saga Continues

Rule no. 67: Never make a color choice at night under a flourescent lamp. (Don't ask about 1-66, I just make 'em up as I go...unlike Agent Gibbs.)

I stitched part of the "C" with GAST Celery and part with Avacado. Then I worked all that navy stuff. Looked at it for a while and was very pleased. In fact, I was having so much fun I didn't want to go to bed. But I decided the Celery was too pale, so I frogged it and finished the "C" and the innards of the top navy motif with Avacado.

I got up this morning and headed down to take a photo and thought "hmmm...maybe the Avacaodo is too dark. Maybe I need something brighter, more lively." This is why I don't design.

I'm going to leave the Avacado for a while and see how I feel in a couple of days. Right now I just want to stitch!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Wishy-Washy Me

Remember my good news/bad news situation wrt to "Pigalle"? My personalized version with blues and purples just didn't look right. So I went back to my stash and found some warm reds (just not orangy reds) that I could use. But I wasn't really excited about them.

Well, Julie left a comment suggesting that perhaps the problem was the Gold Leaf and maybe I should try a green. What a genius! I originally thought about a blue-green, but when I laid the colors out on what I had already stitched, I realized Julie was right. A goldish green was a better choice. So I have narrowed it down to two Sampler Threads: Celery and Avacado. I'm going to rip out the Gold Leaf "C" and experiment a little with both greens and see which I like better. It's so hard to tell how they're going to stitch up when you are looking at the full skein. Anyway, thanks so much, Julie, for taking the time to comment. You really helped me out.

So now I'm back to my original changes, if that makes any sense at all. In case you can't read the labels, here are my colors. Oh, and by the way, instead of black as the main contrast color, I chose DMC 939, an almost black navy blue.
Black Raspberry Jam
Briar Rose
Celery or Avacado

Dutch Iris

Friday, January 8, 2010

Winter at My House

Okay, there is no snow and not likely to be any time soon. (We had snow about 9 years ago.) But it is cold and windy and I'm a weather wimp, so that's good enough to keep me inside and stitching. Actually, I've been so busy trying to catch up with my scissor fobs and pins and stitch markers that I've only been stitching at night while watching TV.

I've hesitated to post pics because there's not much to show. This is what Shores of Hawk Run Hollow (SoHRH) looked like when I put it away Oct 1st. (Remember the Christmas Panic?) So I pulled it out as soon as I finished my tree skirt piece. But all I've done is some more border and a little of Block 8. Not very exciting, but at least I'm stitching.

Now for the shock of the decade! I started a new project without finishing SoHRH! Do not panic, the world is not coming to an end, Hell has not frozen over...but it's awfully close. It's Spinster Stitcher's fault. I was reading about her "stitch whatever you want" attitude and I caved. I pulled out "Pigalle" by Long Dog Samplers. That's the good news.

The bad news is that I have to do some frog stitching. Sometime last fall I decided to change most of the colors because I'm just not into orangy reds. So I spent I don't know how many hours playing with it until I had chosen some blue and purple hues to go with one of the original reds that I did like. So I started it last night and after a couple of hours I realized it just wasn't going to work. So I trucked off to the stash room and started playing again. I now have reverted to warm reds...just not the ones listed in the chart. I'll show them to you after I make some progress. Here's what it looked like when I made the big decision.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

I hate being sick

I apologize for the lack of posts lately, but I've caught the cold that everybody else has had and that I thought I had avoided. I feel like crap and have nothing interesting to say. I can't even churn up enough energy to stitch more than a few minutes at a time. So there you have it. Hopefully, I'll be back to normal soon...if I can get that elephant off my chest.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

The Bunce Family Tree Skirt Story

For those of you who have heard this story before, just skip to the bottom for the picture of this year's addition. For the rest of you, here's the story...

When I graduated from college in 1978, I took a job with The Boeing Co. in Seattle, WA writing software for military aircraft. That's about 3000 miles from NC where I grew up. My mother cried and told people I had moved to the "upper left hand corner". (She's right-brained and extremely directionally challenged.) In those early days, I cross stitched on my lunch hour and in the evenings for mental health therapy. (It was a stressful job.) Back then I stitched about forty Christmas ornaments each year as gifts. (I'm down to about 25/year now.) But I never had time to stitch those lovely Christmas scenes that I collected.

I met a wonderful man and four years later we were married. That was 1982. His family was also a couple of thousand miles away. We didn't spend many of those early Christmases with either of our families. So I decided we should create our own Christmas traditions.

Since Boeing closes shop between Christmas and New Year's I decided to take that week and stitch (or start) one of the larger Christmas designs that I'd never had time to do before. I made a large (approximately six feet in diameter) tree skirt out of heavy red felt and trimmed it with one inch wide grosgrain ribbon. When I finished the Christmas cross stitch, including the year, I appliqued (fancy term for sewed it on with some trim) it onto the tree skirt. Voila, a tradition was born.

I have done a new one every year since. There are twenty-eight now. Some have meaning like the patriotic one in 2001 and the puppies in 1986. That was the year we started having dog children. Some are ones that my husband chose (from a select few that I allowed him to look at) and some are designs I just wanted to stitch because I liked them. All are precious and I love looking at them and remembering the time I spent stitching them. I can see the changes in my life, the growth of my needlework abilities and interests, and most of all, the love in my life.

Now, my tree skirt is full...or it will be once I attach this year's piece. What I'm going to do next year is still a mystery, but have no fear I will come up with something.