Wednesday, November 10, 2010

It's always in the last place you look...

I made it a mission to find my camera this morning, and of course, I did.   I remembered taking it out of my purse and putting it aside so I could put the husband's camera in there, and for some reason I remembered doing that in the kitchen.  Nope.  It flashed on me that I may have done it in the car, so off to the glove compartment and there it was.   Doh!

Because really....what's an update without a picture?

Here she is:

Yes.   That IS in fact some of her hair being filled in...woot!

So what's left on her?   Primarily just her head and the white fur cuff along the bottom.   There's a few little areas to fill in like the scrollwork on her skirt and other areas where I need to add the (currently) missing Kreinik.   Off to the store.

The original model of Royal Holiday is done on Chestnut belfast, which is quite a bit darker than the Cream belfast that I chose for my version.    The Chestnut background really made the fur trim on her cloak pop, which the Cream does not do, so I'm going to add some backstitching in there to compensate I think - there isn't any on the pattern.

Almost there!

I will mention....the front page of my blog gets a little visually boring to me when I'm working on fiinishing a project.   All RH, all the time LOL....at least when I'm rotating projects, it's very interesting with lots of different pictures.  

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Update overdue...

I know, I know....I'm overdue for an update on Royal, which I assure you I have been diligently working on.   Small problem though...I seem to have misplaced my camera!  Doh!   I know I was going to take it to a wedding about 10 days ago, then opted to bring the husband's (SO not used to calling him that yet!) instead as his is better than mine.    I put it somewhere safe since we were on our way out the door...I just as yet have not discovered where that actually is.

I've been working my way up her "back" area, filling in holly sprigs and white trim.   This is where the Dreaded Wisper Floss is supposed to come in...but as I absolutely loathe working with it, I've opted to use plain white DMC floss instead.   I actually opted to skip the Wisper on ALL of the previous Queens as well so Royal will fit right in.  

I also did an inventory of the bling to make sure I had what I need to finish....for some reason, I've got doubles of all the beads, and I don't have one of the metallics.  How did THAT happen?  I'll have to make a run to the local needlepoint store, as they generally have Kreiniks in stock.   I would have done some of the metallic stitching except, of course, what I needed is what is missing.  Grrr.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A goal met on Royal Holiday!

With everything going on, I've still managed to fit in some stitching.    Really, when you're stressed out and busy, is there ANYTHING better or more therapeutic than fitting in an hour of stitching at the end of a stressful day?   Out of all the chaos comes something beautiful and calming.

I'm participating in a contest of sorts over on the Mirabilia Stitchers yuku board and my goal was to finish all the red of Royal Holiday's cloak for the contest.   Normally, that's a fairly mild goal for me, given there were about 6 weeks of stitching time in the contest, but with everything going on (see last post LOL), I thought it was reasonable.   Well, with two weeks to spare, I reached my goal - quite impressed with that, really.  I didn't think I'd fit as much stithching in as I did.

I'm going to still continue working on Royal until she's done, as I want to get that all important 2010 finish date on her.   I'm currently working on the "sash" of ribbons falling down from her waist.   After that, I need to go back and fill in some of the scrollwork on her skirt and finish up all the white/gray of her cloak.    After that it's onwards and upwards to give her a head!

Nifty little tidbit - although I'll be changing my last name, my "sig" of SMW will get to stay the same for my needlework projects.  

Sorry I've been AWOL for a couple weeks....I have been busy!

As you know, I don't talk much about my personal life on here.  I'm just not one to "put it all out there" as it were....privacy and all that :-)   However, I will share a little here.  

I married the love of my life a little over a week and a half ago!  After much stress and planning, we had an absolutely gorgeous wedding on a beautiful fall day....everything was just perfect.    Yes, there were a few glitches here and there, but honestly, in the big picture of things - they were no big deal.   We had some gorgeous locations for the ceremony and reception so we didn't do a lot of decorating per se, but we did have a fall theme, which included loads of potted mums everywhere, caramel & chocolate dipped apples for favors, some things in the menu that were seasonal (mini sweet potato tarts for passed appetizers, roasted butternut squash soup), beautiful flowers in fall colors (reds, oranges, yellows).     We took a couple of the mums home from the ceremony (pictured above) and will plant them in the garden.   I absolutely loved loved loved my dress;  I also wore a brooch that my grandmother wore on her wedding day.

Back to our regularly scheduled life :-)

Saturday, October 09, 2010

So hopefully...

...I can get Royal Holiday finished in the next month or so.    I've been working on her a bit this week, but have been fairly busy as we're counting down to "the event".  Ahem.

Anyway, I'm working on getting the red on her cloak done: 

Still a fair amount to go and as is often the case with Miras, headless.  But every couple stitches gets you a little farther, right?

Once Royal Holiday is completed, I will feel free to start the Celtic Ladies series...one at a time and that series will get done when it gets done  They're not huge so if I can finish one a year, that'll suite me.   But never fear - I am not QUITE done with Mirabilia Queens...there's still Queen of Liberty and Queen of Peace kicking around.  I don't have any immediate plans to do them but I expect I will at some point.  And as always, I'd welcome a new Queen from Mirabilia any time Nora chooses ;-)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A new long term project!

I've been rolling around the idea of doing Lavender & Lace's Celtic Ladies for a lot of years now...I've always liked them but with Mirabilia's Seasonal Queens in progress for ten years, I didn't really want to take on yet another large set until those were done. 

I finally finished the four seasonal Mirabilia Queens last year, and I'm going to work on wrapping up Royal Holiday before the end of the year.   In the future, I may do Queen of Liberty and Queen of Peace but no rush.  

So, as you might have guessed from the last post, I've decided to commit to doing all five of the Celtic ladies.   It may take another ten years to get these ladies done (ack!) but I'll work on them at and a time, and they'll be finished when they're finished.  

I still need to get the patterns for Autumn, Summer and Winter.  I bought Celtic Christmas a couple months ago (I'm still surprised that I didn't have the pattern before that).  I just ordered Celtic Spring a couple days ago because I needed to order Kreiniks for Queen Mermaid (and I always add a pattern on).

I am definately doing the orange/green conversion for Autumn, and I'm inclined to start that one first.     I am doing Christmas "as is" for the pattern, and probably Spring and Summer as well, as I really like them.   Winter....lol....well I think is a candidate for some tweaking.  I'll keep my eyes open to see if there's a conversion around that I like better than the current pattern, but obviously there's plenty of time because I may not start it until 2015 at this rate LOL.

I've joined up with another blog as well, the Celtic Ladies SAL.   Lots of wonderful stitchers over there who are also working on one or more of these ladies.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

That time of the year...

Now that fall is officially here and the weather is getting cooler, I start thinking about what projects I want to wrap up before the end of the year.

I seem to be able to average completing four large projects a year, which is pretty good I think.  So far this year, I've had three, so there's no pressure to rush.   Feasibly, with three months left, I could finish just about any of the projects I have started....so which ones do I really want to try?

Since my other three projects that I completed were all Miras...it might be nice to finish up something that's not.    Closest to being completed would be my Chatelaine, Knotgarden.  Lots of specialty stitches there that will take up some time, as well as beading, etc.   I could also finish Broadway, my Silver Lining rose, although I haven't done a ton of that.    I'm not worried about rushing through Scarlet Ribands, as it's an easy stitch - the size of it is what is taking the time with that. 

Mira-wise...obviously Royal Holiday is the closest to getting finished as the other three have only had about a week or so worth of work on them so far.   

So...some thinking to do!

Queen Mermaid

A finish always calls for a new start, doesn't it?

And so I got started on Queen Mermaid (yes, another Mirabilia) this week.   The fabric is Sterling Silver cashel linen from Silweaver, which has a lovely blue-silver tone to it, perfect for mermaids.   She's the first start of a Mirabilia since I decided to switch over to 28 count fabrics for anything that has a lot of beading on it.   I prefer stitching on 32 count fabric for sure, but I think when it comes to getting all the beads on, I'll be happier with that decision - I hate having to struggle to make them fit or leave out rows of them because they just won't. 

Mirabilia mermaids just seem to stitch up very quickly, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.  They tend to be a bit smaller than the Grand Ladies that I like - for the most part, they comfortably fit on fat quarter size fabrics.    I need to order the bling for her as I'll need the metallics sooner rather than later.  She has lots of beads and treasures as well (of course!).

I'll probably continue stitching her over the weekend simply because I'm really enjoying myself.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

And at last....Sleeping Beauty

And she is, at last, complete.

The particulars:   The design is Sleeping Beauty by Mirabilia;  the fabric is "Fathom" by Picture This Plus, 32 count lugana done over 2.    Started May 2009;  completed September 17, 2010.

Backstory:   Back in the mid-90's, I originally fell in love with this design and decided to try it.  I'd never done any linen or over 2 stitching at all or anything this large.  I made the mistake of starting on the area of the design that I've recently dubbed The Green Monster and predictably, ended up quitting after a couple days.   Put her away.

Re-bought all the supplies in early 2009 (after spending 10+ years exclusively stitching over 2 and on linen, and after having completed several Mirabilias) and got her started again.    She is the first piece that I decided to use hand dyed fabric.

Last winter I was going through about six tubs of assorted crafty things before I moved and found the original Sleeping Beauty...lol..poor thing!  It was quite a mess and I know why I quit.  

The nickname of The Green Monster came about because the pale green draped area of her skirt was a pain to do!   Blends, white, greens, lots of confetti stitching to get the shading effect AND leaving the open swirls for future beading.  I ended up stitching one 10x10 square of the pattern at a time because it was the most effective way to move through the pattern.   And of course...it also ended up delaying the finish by a week because the pattern indicates you only need one packet of the pale blue beads.  Itended up requiring almost four full packets of beads, which I had to order online.

But the Green Monster was eventually tamed - put the last beads on about an hour ago.  

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Shhh.....stalking the mailman for my extra beads for Sleeping Beauty...

Thursday, September 09, 2010

The Green Monster strikes again....

Well, it seems the Green Monster isn't quite finished causing me problems LOL  

Normally, Mirabilia patterns are quite good about listing when you need extra skeins of floss (although I usually use more - I'm terribly wasteful with floss when I stitch I think) and extra beads (which have been accurate on the other ten Miras that I've stitched).

Alas, not so with Sleeping Beauty.   The Green Monster has chewed it's way through the entire packet of beads it called for, and isn't even a third of the way beaded.   Doh!   I did have one more packet of beads in my stash, but that won't be enough.  There also aren't enough of the medium blue beads, although the disparity isn't nearly as great.

I don't think this picture shows really well on here where the beads run out - I'm working on the bottom swoop of the Green Monster, and that's about as far as I got with the one bead pack - everything above that still needs to be beaded.   I stopped after that because I can guestimate from there how many more I need and started with the blue beads at the top to confirm that I need more of those as well (and I will). 

I'll be away this weekend so no work on her for a couple days.   I'll probably wait until I get back to order replacement beads (or just try one of the local needlework stores). 

So the grand finish will have to be put off for a little bit...but it's coming!

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

....still beading the Green Monster....

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Beading The Green Monster tonight.

Well hello there...

And finally....a face.

Beading today, and then she's complete.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Filling in the blanks

Now that the right hand side of Sleeping Beauty is finished, I'm working my way up the left hand side, filling in all the areas I skipped over when I was working there last.

If there's a large area of white on a piece that I know is going to take me a long time, I usually leave it closer to the end so that it doesn't pick up any dirt over the months (years) it takes me to finish it.  Ugh.  I'm going to have white floss nightmares tonight I think.   I also did (surprise) some more roses, leaving me with a grand total of one more bunch of them over her currently non-exisitent elbo.

I did get a little floss yesterday at Joann's - silly store put a limit on the number of skeins to 32.     I mean seriously.  32?   I almost never buy that few, unless I'm just picking up a couple of colors needed for a project that I'm working on.   Fortunately I was only getting about 50, so I just went through line twice LOL  Can you imagine if it was one of my floss blow outs when I buy 200+ at one shot? 

I got a fat half of fabric from a fellow stitcher (mostly) through trade that I thought might work well for Chatelaine's Watergarden.  Now, I'm not going to be starting that until I finish with my current Chatelaine, Knotgarden.    I thought it would look good on a blue background, and you know I like more muted colors than bright ones.  Since I got the fabric, I wanted to do a floss drop to see how well that color would work.

So here's the floss drop.  Although it works really well with most of the Watergarden colors, I think it washes out the bright blues (on the left) that are one of the reasons I really like Watergarden in the first place.  There's also a lot of bright blue beading as well.

I have plenty of time to decide whether or not I'll stick with this fabric or maybe just use an antique white.  Either way, I like the fabric itself (a solid cashel) so if I don't use it for this project, I'll surely use it for another.

Friday, September 03, 2010


Joann Fabric has DMC embroidery floss buy 3-get 1 free Friday through Monday this weekend.

Michaels has a bunch of coupons here;  some are good all week while some are only good Sunday and Monday.

Have a great Labor Day!

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Everything's coming up roses...

.....and finally, a (nearly) completed frame.   I still have some greens to fill in one the upper right hand corner, but all the flowers are finished.  Whew!  Don't ask to look at the back in that section LOL

I had a few nervous moments where I thought that the one side of the frame wasn't going to match up with the other, but no, turns out I made a small mistake that was easily frogged.  

I was hoping to get the entire corner finished over the weekend, but that proved to be a little too ambitious.  I should be able to finish up this corner in the next day or two, and move back to the left side of piece and fill in all the areas that I missed there, including even more roses...ack!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Sleeping Beauty gets a Blue Ribbon

....or at least the bottom of her skirt does.  

I'm making good progress up the left border this week, and shoudl be moving on to the urn today or tomorrow.  

It looks like the border SHOULD line up correctly with the top border...yay!   I'm always a little nervous about that.   Still, I'm not going to be daring and start working my way down instead of up - I suspect that would be courting disaster LOL

I'm so excited to be this close to finishing her....it's been a long, long journey to get here.

And since I just keep showing "teaser" partial pictures, here's a full picture of where she's at now: 

If I had to guess, I'd say I could be beading in maybe two weeks.   Yay!   After I finish the top right hand corner (hopefully maybe this weekend?), I need to go back and finish her hair and face, fill in a bunch of white in the draping that the left, and add a couple more sprays of roses.  Although there's extensive beading, it's fairly straight forward with only three colors of beads.

Let the countdown begin!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Turning a corner....


I like how the spray of roses looks against The Green Monster.  

I'm working my way up the left side of the pattern now.   I've completed out to the top left corner but still have to do all the detailing there (ribbons, roses, little purple things) as yet.

Hopefully it'll all meet up in one line LOL   I'm sure it'll be fine (that, or I'll just tweak the pattern and you won't be able to tell - not that I've ever done THAT before ;-)).

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The last of the stash has arrived...

I know.  You were worried ;-)

My sterling silver from Silkweaver arrived yesterday.   As for the color variations on it, it is VERY subtle...so much so that when I first saw it, I wasn't sure if it was hand dyed at all LOL    Honestly, it's not that different from the confederate gray I recently got (although twice as expensive).   All in all though it's true to the color sample on Silkweaver's website and I think it will do nicely for the it's intended projects.

As always, I was compelled to do a floss toss, although it's a great neutral fabric that you could put just about anything on and have it look good.  The blue undertones in the grey make it a really nice alternative for mermaids to using a blue.   

Here's Queen Mermaid.   I think it's a better choice than the Amsterdam blue I was originally going to do her on.  My fat quarter of blue has been returned to stash and I'll pair it up with something else another time.  

There's a lot of bling on Queen Mermaid (which I haven't yet gotten) so I chose a cashel (28 count) instead of my usual belfast (32 count) so that it's not such a struggle to get the Mill Hills to sit straight on.   I am also considering switching over to using Delicata beads in the future, which are slightly smaller than Mill Hills and sit better on 32 count over 2 fabrics like my beloved belfast. 

She'll be the next in line for a Mirabilia start...can't wait!   I think she'll actually work up very quickly, as mermaids seem to do.

And here's her companion, Deepest Love.   There's more blues in the coloring than in Queen Mermaid (which has a lot of greens) which is another reason the gray background works well for both of them.   She has some beading but not quite as much as Queen Mermaid;  again, added bling is on the wish list but I haven't gotten it yet.   

I consider a project ready to start when I have pattern, fabric & floss...I can always buy the beads/metallics later.   So if you're keeping count, that's three Mira mermaids I have ready to go now.  Ack! 

The model for Deepest Love is actually on the Amsterdam Blue I nixed for Queen Mermaid, but I think she'll look lovely on the gray.

I'm not sure when I'll fit in doing Deepest Love, but I figured if I wanted to do her on the same fabric as Queen Mermaid, I needed to buy the fabric at the same time, especially as it's a hand-dyed.  

I'm really happy that I decided to do these two as "companion" pieces.   Having the same fabric really pulls them together I think, and eventually (when I hit the lottery and can catch up on my framing) I'll have them framed in the same frame, same size.   I may not ever hang them together but I like having that as an option.

So I performed surgery very carefully and split my fat half of fabric into two fat quarters and have packed away these lovely fish for now. 

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Green Monster is done!

With all this plotting and planning and stashing, yes, I have actually squeezed in some stitching.  

And as is appropriate with so much planning for new projects, I'm pushing to get Sleeping Beauty finished.   There's still quite a bit to do, but I'm slowly but steadily working through it.   Of significance, I FINALLY finished the green monster, aka her skirt, yesterday!

This was the ONLY time working on any Mirabilia where I had to go back and work 10x10 grid squares on the pattern.   As I've mentioned before, there is not only the shading between darker greens into white, but also leaving the swirls open for beading.   Argh!   It was a complicated process to be sure, but it's finally done.

As you can see, I'm working on adding more roses, of which there are plenty still to go.   I will probably work my way out to the right border and finish that first, then work my way back and fill in areas that I have done some of the work but not completed (lots of that!).  

Floss Drop

Alrighty....here's the floss drop for Rose Celebration on the Charm.   Unfortunately I'm missing three colors for the skirt because the store I went to was out of a lot of colors.   Well, not a lot , but a lot of the ones I needed LOL so same difference. 

In comparison to the skirt colors (the ones separated off to the left), the fabric actually has a lot of blue/purple in it.   That's a good thing, because there's also some purple detailing in the piece, and means that the pinks of the skirt won't get lost into the background.  

Additionally, GoldenAngelWorks left me a comment on my last post showing someone else's Rose Celebration, also done on a pink background.   There's a picture here of it framed.  While it's a different fabric, it really gives me a better idea of the potential once it's stitched.

I'm going to pick up the rest of the floss colors today, and make a decision, but I'm feeling a lot more comfortable about my original choice.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

I wonder if my mailman knows he's being stalked?

Which is what always happens when I've ordered some cross stitch things and they haven't all quite gotten here yet....

I'm still waiting on my Silkweaver fabric, but that should be here any day now since they said it was shipping last week.    Since that was the "kick off" of my little fabric buying spree and it's the last one to show up, it's inciting some mailman-stalking-behavior on my part LOL.

Meanwhile, I did get some other goodies.

Heidi from Mirabilia Stitchers was doing a little de-stashing and I bought some fat quarters of cashel linen from her for a really good price.   They were colors that I'm very familiar with - confederate grey and waterlilly - and also are very neutral so there's so many things I could use them for.  

Although they won't be used anytime soon, I'm already plotting potential pieces for them.  Size-wise, they're ideal for fairies and mermaids - designs that are just a bit smaller in scope.  

Although I haven't decided yet (and won't for a while), the confederate grey has a few contenders, such as Christmas Flourishes, Lilly of the Woods, Woodland Fairy, and Cottage Garden Fairy.  The waterlillies is perfect for a mermaid - maybe Bluebeard's Princess Mirabila.    Titania would work great on either one of them.  

I got my order in from Picture This Plus yesterday, and have a bit of a dilemma.   I ordered a piece of Mercedes for Enchanted Mermaid, and I think that will be perfect.

There is a particularly dark spot on the fabric and I think if I position it right, I can get her lighter tail to be stitched over that spot, which I think will look really good. 

You'll notice the floss there - Michael's had a 25% off sale on Sunday night only, so I picked up floss for Deepest Love and Enchanted.  I made the mistake of NOT getting floss for Rose Celebration (which was on my list) simply because I had someone waiting for me, and you know how long it takes to both pick out floss and get it rung up....one....skein....at....a....time.

That was a mistake, because now that I got the fabric in for Rose Celebration....I think I might have made a mistake.

It's just SO pink!!!  I knew it was going to be pink but I don't think I realized it was going to be that PINK, you know?  There's also a fair amount of pink in the design.

I have a week to decide if I want to keep it or send the fabric back and exchange it for something that will work better.  I'm going to go ahead and get the floss of her so I can get a better idea of how the colors will work.   If I send the Charm back, I'm leaning towards more beige-y brown backgrounds, like Heritage.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Making much of time

I wanted to work on an easier piece as sort of a "palette cleanser" this week, so I pulled Scarlet Ribands out.

I have to say, working with one color definately simplifies things, doesn't it?  It's a large pattern though so it's going to take a fair amount of time....I'm only about 2/3 done of page 3 of 12 pages...ack!   I think this will end up being a two-year + project.

Anyway.  I wanted to work on something simpler this week because I'm pulling Sleeping Beauty back out and I'm going to push to get her finished.  Yay!

Coconut-Lemon Hand Scrub

Confession time.   While I've never really been one to wear a lot of makeup, I've always loved lovely scented body products like shower gels, lotions, scrubs, etc.   And while I maybe don't buy the most expensive products, I always have plenty of them around.

Lately, I've become more and more interested in making some of these products myself, because I think there are ways to make better products for less money per use (although the initial purchase of some of the ingredients is more expensive).   I thought I'd share with you my latest creation.     It was inspired from a couple of different "recipes" I found on the web, and I'm sorry but I didn't save the links to give them credit.

Some of the ingredients you might not be familiar with, but they are reasonably available.  

I've been using extra virgin coconut oil for a while now;  it's a fantastically healthy oil to eat, and it's also good for your skin.   Using it straight is a bit messy though, so expect to see it show up as an ingredient in other things as I experiment more.   You can get coconut oil (make sure to get the extra virgin/expellor pressed rather than regular, especially if you're going to consume it) at a health food store or with the organic/healthy type products in a regular grocery store.   I order larger containers like this online because even with the shipping, it's less expensive than multiple small jars.

The other ingredient is sweet almond oil which is also a great skin moisturizer.   I also ordered this online from Netrition, but it's available in a lot of places.    I've seen it in a few health food stores.   You could also substitute jojoba oil, extra virgin olive oil, or even just all coconut oil in place of the almond oil if you wanted. 

Otherwise, the ingredients are easy to find.

For the scrub, mix 1 1/2 cups of epsom salts with the zest of one lemon, juice of one lemon, 3 tablespoons of coconut oil (when liquid;  warm slightly if solid), and 3 tablespoons of sweet almond oil.   

That's it...just that simple.    If I had a little lemon essential oil, I would have added a drop or two of that to boost the lemon aroma as it's subtle.    Lemon is used because it can help strengthen nails as well as acts as an astringent/anti-bacterial/antifungal.   And of course, it just smells lovely and fresh.

To use, just scoop out a generous tablespoon of the scrub and work into your hands, elbos, heels, wherever needs a little TLC.    Rinse with warm water and pat dry.

Your hands may feel a little greasy after using this if you're used to commercial products, but give it about 15 minutes or so and your skin will feel wonderfully soft and smooth.


Saturday, August 07, 2010

Introducing Garden Verses

Obviously working on three Mirabilia projects at once isn't enough, particularly when one is so close to being finished.   And so, I indulged a little bit (ok a lot) and started on a new one this past week.

With my love of the Queens, it's no surprise that Garden Verses is a favorite as well.  She's #4 of the Mirabilias (there's over 100 Miras now), so quite an old design, relatively speaking.   Like most of the older Miras, there's not so much bling on her - no beading at all and just some gold blending filament.

The colors are rich and royal with purples and burgandies, which is why I consider her at least a first cousin of the Queens.  

I had a good couple of days working on her this week so here's where I got:

I usually start in the middle of the pattern so this is her lap area.  The fabric is Apricot belfast (closest DMC color is 948 to give you an idea) which I'm also doing The Kiss on.  Because of her size, Garden Verses needed a fat half of the fabric;  there was enough leftover that I could squeeze The Kiss on, and the fabric color works for them as well.  

So if you remember in the previous post, I was trying to get as much of the golden-yellow-brown skirt done as possible on Royal.   This is why - Garden Verses has an identical color palette for the main dress.   For that matter, there are quite a few Mirabilias that use these colors for the dress.   Of Miras that I've done, Fairy Idyll, Autumn Queen and The Dreamer all feature dresses in this floss color range;   now Royal and Garden both are wearing the same colors.   For future Mira projects that I'm doing, Rose Celebration, Venetian Opulence, and Rose of Sharon also have tawny yellow dresses (I will be changing the color of Rose of Sharon's dress though).  

You would think that all these ladies would check with each other to make sure they're not all wearing the same thing, wouldn't you?   Apparently not.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Royal Holiday

It's Royal Holiday's turn this week!

I have to do a "before" and "after" picture of Royal because I'm actually quite surprised that I got so much done.

Here she is at the end of the last time she was in rotation:

And while I don't feel I worked on her an inordinate amount this week, I was focusing on getting as much of that golden brown skirt done as possible.  It was actually very easy stitching with no confetti, not a ton of color changes, etc.  

And here she is:

I know, right?  I did feel a need to take a break from all the browns and do some of the red of the cloak, but I got almost all of the brown skirt completed.    An extra hour or two will complete that, plus some time working on filling in the swirl pattern with the metallics.    They will have to wait for the next rotation.

And there's a reason why I wanted to get most of the skirt done, but you'll have to check back in a few days to find out....mwahahaha...

Monday, July 26, 2010

And just like that....

The PtP sale is over....doh!

Warning....reading this post may result in spending money....

SALE!!!  Yeah, it's my favorite word too.

Picture This Plus is having a Christmas in July sale on their hand dyed fabrics. Add the fabric to your cart and you get at 25% discount taken off....wooo hooo!

(Don't ask.  Blew the non-existent budget.)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Two Gates, Twelve Urns, Six Pages down....

And I think I can officially (finally!) call half way done on Knotgarden.

I have also made a decision to use the variegated silks for the specialty stitches (none of which have been completed).  I think it'll add a little extra pop, so I've added them to my (very long) shopping list.  I have all the beads tucked away for this project but obviously, I'm not close to getting any kind of beading done.    It's only JUST going to fit on my largest scroll frame to bead...ack!   I'll make it work.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Sneak Peek....

My upcoming....ahem...."project" in October.....

(With my well-documented Mira addiction, you *knew* it would be something grand, right?)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Adieu to Sleeping Beauty

No updated picture, since I haven't made much progress since I posted a picture the other day.  I packed her up yesterday and I'm working on Chatelaine's Knotgarden this week.

Next time Sleeping Beauty comes up in rotation, I'll work on her until she's finished.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

So Naughty.....


Back in the last round of kitting up Mirabilias, I had a piece of Amsterdam Blue linen that I wanted to use up, and decided to do Queen Mermaid on it.    After I got the floss...I was a bit "meh" about the floss drop on the dark grey-blue fabric.   

I think it could have worked, but the Amsterdam Blue just wasn't bringing anything to the table to make Queen Mermaid pop. 

I obviously wasn't in a hurry to start the project (having so many going and a bunch of other Miras also kitted) so I just sat on the project, occasionally thinking about what to do.    I was ok reconsidering the fabric because I already had the piece;  I don't feel like I'm "wasting" it as it will just go back into storage where it's been the last 2 years.

Anyway....I go play on the Mirabilia Fabric Viewer fairly regularly, and after playing around quite a bit, I have really grown to like the idea of doing Queen Mermaid on a pearly gray background.   Of course, there are a lot of options there, in both solid and hand dyed.   You know me - I don't especially like a busy background, so I prefer either solids or just a subtle design.   Since solids are a lot less expensive than hand dyeds, there's that to consider as well.

I jumped into a conversation on a Mira discussion board about the fabric for Queen Mermaid, and it was suggested that she's a great companion for Mira's Deepest Love, because they both form either side of a circle, like so: 

In fact, someone rather ambitious has done both mermaids on one piece of fabric here.....isn't it fantastic?

So of course, now I'm sold on doing them both (although I will do them as 2 separate pieces), which means that I also want to do them on the same color of fabric....which means that I not only have to buy a new piece of fabric for Queen Mermaid but also for Deepest Love...have I mentioned that my budget is really tight right now?  LOL   Fortunately, I already have the pattern for Deepest Love.

Anyway....I've been jonesing to get started on Queen Mermaid the last couple weeks, especially with Sleeping Beauty drawing to an end.   I narrowed my fabric choices down to Zweigart's Pearl Gray (a solid) and Silkweaver's Sterling Silver.   Both pieces are heavily beaded and as difficult as it was to get all the beads on Midsummer Night's Fairy on 32 count fabric, I had decided to start using 28 count fabric for heavily beaded works when possible.

I've been playing around all morning with sizing so I can buy the smallest piece of fabric possible (and therefore spend the least), and if I do them on 28 count and deal with there only being about a 2 1/2 inch margin on either side (there will be a larger margin top and bottom)...I can get both pieces on a fat half of linen.  YAY!  I really try not to have extra pieces of un-assigned fabric in my stash;  it's both the storage and the cost of having something that is not being used.   Obviously it's a good savings if you can make a pre-sized cut of fabric work for you rather than buying a bigger piece and wasting a bunch of it. 

So the winner?

Silkweaver's Sterling Silver.  I broke down and ordered a fat half this morning. 

I think they will be beautiful on this fabric.    I know a lot of people really like the brightly colored hand dyed fabrics, but they're just not my speed for the most part.   This has got a lovely subtle shading, like Fathom from Picture This Plus, which I did both Mermaid of Atlantis and Sleeping Beauty on.  I got a fat half there and squeezed as much onto it design-wise that I could, and that worked out well. 

So yes...I was naughty.  I didn't really need this but sometimes, you just have to!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Still Going...

Yes, yes...I'm still working on Sleeping Beauty.  I just haven't felt like changing projects as yet, and she's growing nicely now.  I still have a lot of areas that I haven't completed and need to go back and fill in, and there are plenty more roses to do.  

I'm currently working to finish off the bottom of the green swirly part of the bedding.   I'll be glad when that's done.

I got the roses across the top finished, but there are a lot more scattered around that need to be completed.   You can also see where the top border on the right is starting to curve down, so that gives a better idea of final dimensions.

I will putting her away on Friday to move along to the next piece, but next time around that she's in rotation, I'll be finishing her.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Coming along nicely...

Sleeping Beauty is coming along nicely.  I am invoking executive privilege and will continue to work on Sleeping Beauty for an additional week. I wanted to get some more of the pesky roses done as there are quite a few, and I don't want to leave it all until the end. They're pesky because while beautiful, there's a lot of confetti-like stitching in them.  I wanted to get some work done on the top border this week and just didn't get to it.

I did get most of the green swirly swag of the skirt done and am currently working on the upper part where it's blue and white shaded.   You can't see the blue stitching too well on this picture so I took a close up.  This is going to look spectacular when it's beaded.

I have to say, I am tempted to keep working on her until she's finished at this point.  Not only do I have lots of other Miras crying to be started, but I just love this design and it's been fun to work on.   We'll see how I feel about it next Friday LOL   Knotgarden is up next and I really want to work on that as well.  

Friday, June 18, 2010


I had hoped to get the first page of Broadway completed this week, but won't quite make it.  This is the only page of the patter that is just about completely stitched, so the subsequent pages will go along quite a bit more quickly.  

I'm still pleased with the progress....love the colors!  It never quite comes through in a picture as it does in person.  I love how the petals swirl around the center.  I don't quite see it as I'm stitching because I'm working on 10x10 blocks but it's always a surprise when I step back and see what all those little X's form.  

I could almost just finish this one page and have it framed as is....so gorgeous!

Strawberry Sampler

I was in the neighborhood of Strawberry Sampler this week, so I stopped in for a look around.  I've been there before, but it's been probably two or three years.  

I think I'm destined to be disappointed in cross stitch stores because my tastes are very specific.   I miss Countryside Stitchery which used to be open in Newtown, PA - always tons and tons of patterns, and that's what I'm really interested in if I'm not shopping for materials for a specific project.  

And honestly....patterns are where it's at for me - it's the ONLY thing I collect, and I'm specific about the ones that I want.   Right now, it's mostly Silver Lining ones, some old Mirabilias that I don't already have, and a few others.   But there's no pressure because I won't be kitting up anything new soon.

They did have a couple Long Dog Samplers which were nice to see, but they're very pricey for "recreational shopping".  I picked up Celtic Christmas, which I'm surprised that I don't have - it's a piece I've long enjoyed and I'm not ashamed to admit that somewhere in the back of my mind, I'd like to do the four Celtic seasonal pieces. 

So, I think that if there's some specific threads/materials you want or you're looking for stitching goodies other than patterns...might be worth a trip.   I'm probably too roped into my specific tastes and it's easier for me to shop online.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Cat and Mouse

Yay for quick service!  

I ordered my extra floss from HDF last Sunday and had them on Thursday.   Not surprisingly, it's a different dye lot than those I already have but since I ordered them six months apart it's to be expected.   They look identical to me but I will still blend them when I stitch, because it tends to be more obvious if there is any kind of color difference then.

Despite my feelings that after stitched, there's not a huge visual difference between silks and regular DMC....the silks certainly do feel fantastic.  

And of course, working on Scarlet Ribands all this week.  I didn't quite get the second page finished, but I'm working on the partial motifs that overlap from page 2 to page 3.  The partials at the bottom of the page are complete.

I thought I might get bored working on a piece that only has one floss color, but I actually like the simplicity of it.  At this stage, it's not quite as spectacular as some of the other pieces that I'm working on (like Broadway, which is coming up in rotation next) but it's really interesting in a subtle kind of way.

The details are just really great.  For example, there's this little cat and moust detail, although the cat isn't quite finished as it overlaps to another page.   I do just enough on the overlap section that I won't have any problem picking up where I was working previously when I get to the next page.   Other than the historic appeal of red work, there's just a lot going on. 

Sunday, June 06, 2010

One page down....

....eleven more to go.   This is page one completed.  The pattern pages are printed with a shaded overlap to each page, which is really nice since I prefer work on one page at a time.   It's easy to see where the overlaps are. 

I thought last time that I worked on Scarlet Ribands that I hadn't ordered enough silks to complete the project, and I definately think that's the case.  I finished the first complete page of the pattern, which used three full skeins of silk (Hand Dyed Fibers' 1147 OMG Red).  

In theory then, it should take me about 36 skeins to finish all twelve pages of the design.   I didn't have nearly that many, so I ordered the balance of the threads this morning with two extra skeins.   I hope there's no problems with the color lots being too different since it's been a couple months since I ordered the first batch.   If there's a difference, I'll just have to do some blending - not a big deal.

This is the first project that I've ever tried to do in all silk floss as opposed to DMC with some silk highlights (usually Waterlilies).  I like working with the silks - there's a great feel to them.  I'm not sure that I think there's a huge difference in appearance from DMC though other than the silks have slight color variations in them.   Because this design is one color on one background, I thought that it would be nice to try a different floss for it, and I am pleased with how it looks so far.   And of course - there's always that factor that I *know* it's done in silks and not cotton that is nice.  (Sort of the opposite of when there's a mistake that no one else sees,but you do and it drives you nuts because the piece is framed and it's a little late to do anything about it).

HDF's are definately quite affordable for silk floss.   Perhaps in the future, I might use HDF in a Mirabilia by doing the dress in silks and the rest in DMC.  It would be interesting to see the contrast of silks and the cotton flosses in a piece like that.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Roses, Roses

Nora does love her roses, which is good because I do too.  I didn't have a lot of time to work on The Kiss during the week, but I got a littl more done.   And with that, she's packed up and has to wait a little while before she goes back in rotation.

Busy week for me, but hopefully should have some good news on the job front soon. 

Up next:  back to working on Scarlet Ribands by Long Dog Samplers.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Kiss on the Half Shell

The future-in-laws are over this weekend and it's turned into one of those "let's sit around and watch racing all weekend" kind of things.   I'd like "equal time" at some point and have a Jane Austen movie marathon, but I don't think that's likely to happen LOL

Anyway.   I opted to shamelessly indulge myself in a stitching marathon instead.  The object of my affection? 

I think I've done about 25-30 hours over the last couple days, and the long weekend isn't over yet.  Mwahahahaha!

With the head tilt and the flowing hair (and her current lack of clothing) she totally reminds me of classic "Venus on the Half Shell" pose...aka Boticelli's The Birth of Venus.  Right, I know the head tilt is the opposite way but without checking the original artwork, you don't really remember that.

Anyway....another day of stitching today!  I want to finish off the sky and get started on some of the flowers or her dress.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

My Mirabilia Obsession

Yes, Kathy, another Mirabilia!

And yes...I am obsessed with Mirabilia.   When it comes to stitching, there's Mirabilia, and then there's everything else.   I like a lot of the "everything else" to be sure, particularly Silver Lining.  But they're still "everything else".

I first found Mirabilia in the mid-1990's, and it's been all about them since (although I did take a several-year break from doing a lot of stitching - a dark age, to be sure.)  They were a little above my skill level then; now they're easy and comfortable for me to work on.   If there's a project (one of the "others") that I'm having trouble with or my stitching mojo is a little off....then it's a Mirabilia that I want to work on to get me back.

I'm definately an "old school big Mira" fan...the alphabet fairies and pixie series are just not my cup of tea.   Give me big, bold, and elegant every time.  

I generally plan Mira's in blocks of four.   Sleeping Beauty and Royal Holiday are part of the last block that also included Midsummer Night's Fairy and Mermaid of Atlantis.  The new "block" is The Kiss, Garden Verses, Queen Mermaid and Christmas Elegance.   They are mostly kitted up (but obviously still tweaking as I'm going to get new fabric for QM).  I still need a few bangles for some of them.

Next block of four?   It's still subject to change, but will most likely be:  Rose of Sharon, Venetian Opulence, Rose Celebration, and Enchanted Mermaid.   I also have a few that are tentative after that....Titania, Stone Roses, Christmas Flourishes, Queen of Freedom or Queen of Peace, Deepest Love, My Lady's Garden, etc....there will always be more to do :-)

False start....

It was supposed to be Wood Warblers I this week on rotation.   Warblers is part of one of my "grand plan" large projects - it's actually a series of two rather large bellpulls from Crossed Wings Collection and includes some lovely songbirds, foliage and flowers that change for every bird, some over-1 stitching, etc.   I had to buy a full yard of linen for them (28 count because of the over-1 areas) and split lengthwise to have two 18x55 pieces;  since there were a lot of overlapping colors I built one large box of floss for both of them to share (and all of them wouldn't fit in one box).    When they're both finish, I will get some fancy schmancy bellpull hardware and a yard of fabulous (probably floral) tapestry fabric to finish them off.   I envision them being hung on either side of the front door or perhaps on either side of the picture window in the dining room.

Just couldn't get into working on it this week for some reason.

I did finish the first bird and surrounding flora though, so that's one down, eight more to go for this bellpull. I also did all the backstitching because I want to finish one bird completely before I move on. There's just too much backstitching in the overall piece to leave it to the end and then do it all at once.

The bird's eye is over one, and I'll be honest, it looks a little flat to me.   Having had pet birds on and off all my life, their eyes are small and black - if you look very close, you can see some color variation, but they're definitely not pale blue/white as this one appears.  Grumble, grumble.  Unfortunately because it IS over one and multiple colors, it's nearly impossible to frog and fix this bird's.   But I'll adjust the others.

So, what did I work on instead of Warblers this week?   Funny you should ask....

 The Kiss!  Yes, it's another Mirabilia.   I actually didn't have a lot of stitching time this week but with the holiday weekend here (and being subjugated to lots of car racing on television this weekend), I should get a fair amount done.  I am going to get in another day or two working on Warblers.

I had picked up some of the bling for The Kiss a couple weeks ago.   The pattern calls for #8 Kreinik which frankly I hate to work with.   Fortunately I found a needlepoint store not too far from me that stocks (!!!) a huge amount of Kreiniks, so I went through and matched up good substitutes - some exact, one or two very close - in #4 Kreiniks.   I also got most of the beads;  I know I'm short a couple packets but obviously am not in dire need of getting them anytime soon.

The Kiss is one of the more petite Mirabilias, and is unusual in that almost all of the background is filled in.  As you can see, I've been working on the blue skies.  Most of the background fabric will be covered.   I wish I had a little bit more room on the right and left hand sides of the fabric but there's just a 3 inch margin on either side of the design since the fabric is a "leftover" piece from another project (Garden Verses which is not yet started).  I might have to downsize to an 8 x 11 Qsnap frame to work on it a little easier.   The fabric is a 32 count belfast linen in apricot.   It's more orange-y than the picture shows but it's a nice color.

I've also had a little fun this week playing with some future Mira projects.   First of all, the Amsterdam Blue that I was going to do Queen Mermaid on is history - I was never 100% about that as a background color and I've decided to nix it.  Already had the fabric, so it will just go back into stash until it has a home.  Instead, I am going to get another fabric for her.  I don't really want to do another blue background, and I really like the look of her on a grey fabric.   The current frontrunner of fabric options is Pearl Grey Zweigart belfast linen.  If I can find a shaded hand dyed grey, I may consider that.

Also, a fellow stitcher on one of the Mirabilia Yuku boards pointed out that when you hang Queen Mermaid side to side with Deepest Love, the curves of their bodies is complimentary and they make a great pair.  Definately something to think about!  When I get around to ordering fabric for Queen Mermaid, I will get enough to also do Deepest Love if I chose to do them as a pair.

I'm also still tweaking my Rose of Sharon conversion.   I know I want to do her on cream belfast, and am changing her dress to lavender (or possibly rose pinks) and the ruffle to cream.   I'm getting down the colors for both conversions right now, and will decide when it's time to start kitting her up.  RoS is a ways off though...obviously lots of projects to get finished (and started) before I get to her.