Tuesday, March 30, 2010


....I bought a wedding dress today!

Friday, March 26, 2010


There's a lot of new folks stopping by the blog today so hello and welcome to you :-)

Just an FYI - I will be having some giveaways (stash reduction!) over the next couple weeks that will be open to ONLY the followers of the blog (hi all!).   New folks are more than welcome to sign on as followers so you can sign up for some of the giveaways as they're announced.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Mermaid of Atlantis - Finished!!

I had the pictures posted yesterday but was too wiped out to add some commentary.  Thank goodness for the "edit" feature.

The particulars:  The design is "Mermaid of Atlantis" by Mirabilia.   Done on Picture This Plus 32 count Fathom lugana. 

She's a smaller design, especially when compared to Mirabilia's many "grand ladies" - just 7 1/2 inches by 15 3/4 inches.   However, with three Waterlilies, five Kreiniks, and seven packs of beads....there's no lack of detail or bling.   Warning: kitting up was quite pricey with all those extras!   Factor in the hand dyed fabric (even though it was technically a leftover from another project) and she's not-so-little LOL

I'm not sure how well it comes through on the photo of the fish, but the surrounding beads (the ones that look like bubbles) are all one color.  I attached them using Waterlilies Bermuda Reef (which shows up in the tail as well) since there are scattered stitches of that color;  because the beads there are light in color, it gave them a nifty varigated effect that I really like.   I'm still trying to figure out what it is she is holding - the pattern refers to it as "treasure" and it's vaguely seaweedy/floral in nature LOL   Ah well.  It's pretty, nonetheless.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Land of Not-Quite-Finished-Projects Part 6: Fairies

So these are the projects that I truly do not know what to do with them.     
When I started work on them, I had a misfire on a Mirabilia (it's just not a good idea to do your first Mirabilia as your first 32 count linen project LOL) and I think I was looking for something easier with the same feel to them.  Meh.  Not quite.  

I think the problem is that compared to the Miras, they're childish.  If there's any more nieces (or more likely, grand nieces) in the family, I could do something with them, or perhaps to a friends' child.   Anyway, they're just not my cup of tea anymore so I won't bother framing or the like.

Obviously, I put quite a bit of work into them once upon a time so I hate to get rid of them or give them away to someone who won't appreciate them.   No worries;  they've been packed away for a couple of years so there's no hurry to find them a new home.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Beading Box

This is the bead box I was waiting for so I could start in on the beading for Mermaid of Atlantis.  Nothing fancy, but the sections lock individually(and firmly) and there's a slope along the bottom rather than being squared off, so I'm really partial to using it to lay out my beads on a project. 

I put the beads out in numerical order and snip the number off the package to drop into each compartment so I can keep track of them. 

It wasn't expensive - maybe a dollar, but I haven't seen them around since I got this over a year ago. 

And of course, the other thing I needed were beading needles, which also got moved up this weekend.

Objects in the Camera are Brighter than They Appear...

Here's today's update on Midsummer Night's Fairy.  I've gotten her wings and skirt done and got started on the other side of the branch.  By the end of the day it should be obvious that she's sitting rather than clinging on for dear life LOL

I'm always a little disappointed by how the pictures I take look as compared to the actual embroidered piece.  That's not actually a bad thing, otherwise we'd probably all save ourselves a lot of time and just hang framed pictures rather do the actual embroideries LOL  For example, on the picture, it appears as if her wings blend in with the fabric but if you see the actual embroider, she really pops against the background color (Misty Blue belfast linen). 

It just makes it a little harder to take what I feel is an accurate picture of the piece, even though I tweak the colors (ahh love digital photography) to make it more "true".

Since she's a Night fairy, I wanted her on a background that would emphasize that feeling with kind of a moonlight color, hence the blue with undertones of grey (rather than a brighter blue).   Eventually I want to do Titania as a companion piece on a "daylight" kind of background that has a distinct daylight feel to it, perhaps a pale yellow or the like.  (I know, more projects, right?)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Fireside Stitchery

I was out and about yesterday, and came across Fireside Stichery, a needlepoint shop in Frazer, PA.  I couldn't resist stopping in to see what they had to offer.

They had an outstandingly impressive selection of threads/fibers/beads that show up regularly in my stitching - Kreiniks, Waterlillies, Mill Hill beads.  They also carry all of the Anchor flosses, so that will be convenient when I want to work on a Silver Lining pattern as many of the newer ones combine Anchor and DMC floss.  There was a huge selection of silk flosses that I've certainly heard of, but have not yet had the opportunity to see in person. 

I didn't get anything this time, but I'm sure I'll head back with a small shopping list to complete some of the projects I need to finish kitting up. 

Friday, March 19, 2010

Tart Tatin

While most of the time I eat low carb, there are those occasions that just call for something a special.   I'm also the designated family baker.  The fiance and I are having my folks over to dinner tomorrow night for the first time, so I'm making coq au vin and a tart tatin with creme anglaise. 

A tart tatin is just a simple apple tart.  Traditionally it's made in a cast iron pan but if you don't have one, it's still doable.  The creme anglaise is a custard sauce, so basically this is a dressed up version of apple pie with ice cream.

Creme Anglaise

1 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream
4 egg yolks
1 split vanilla bean or 2 teaspoons good quality vanilla extract
1/3 cup sugar

Fill a large bowl halfway with ice cubes and a little water (not much!!); set aside. 

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring the milk, sugar and vanilla bean to a simmer over a medium low heat.  Whisk the egg yolks in a medium sized bowl until they lighten in color, 2-3 minutes.  Once the milk comes to a simmer, take off the stove. 

Here's the fun part - you have to incorporate the hot milk/sugar/vanilla mix into the egg yolks without scrambling them.  While whisking the yolks, drizzle a little of the milk in at a time until it's all incorporated.  Pour the mix back into the saucepan and add the remainder of the cream.   Put the medium size bowl into the ice bath and put a fine sieve into it.  Continue to stir the custard over the stove until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon.   Pour through the sieve back into the medium bowl on top of the ice bath, making sure there's no water from the ice bath slopping over into the top bowl.  Remove the seive (which should have caught any lumps that might be in the custard).   Let the custard cool over the ice bath, stirring occasionally.   When cool, pour into a container and cover; refrigerate for several hours. 

If you wanted to, you could also serve this custard warm.  Skip the ice bath, but make sure you seive.

You can also flavor the custard with a couple of tablespoons of liquor, cinnamon, other flavors of extract - it's a really versatile sauce that's great with any kind of fruit pie, crumble, betty, cobbler, or just over fresh fruit.

Tart Tatin

4-5 apples that cook well, such as golden delicious, peeled, cored, and sliced
6 tablespoons butter
1/2 - 1 cup of sugar (how much sugar depends on how tart/sweet the apples are)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons brandy or rum
1 sheet of puff pastry, thawed in the refrigerator

Set a 9 inch glass pie pan out and spray with cooking spray.  Preheat the oven to 400 F.

In a heavy skillet, melt the butter over a medium heat.   Add the apples and stir occasionally until the apples start releasing their juices.  Add the brandy, sugar and cinnamon and continue to stir occasionally until apples are cooked but not mushy.  Using a slotted spoon, remove the apples to the pie pan and spread into an even layer, leaving as much cooking liquid in the pan as possible.  Continue cooking the pan liquid until reduced to a thick syrup.   Pour the syrup evenly over the apples. 

Unfold the puff pastry and push down on top of the apples.  Trim excess off with a knife.   Bake at 400 F for about 20-25 minutes until the pastry is golden brown. 

Let the tart cool for about 10-15 minutes.   Run a sharp knife around the top of the puff pastry to make sure it's not sticking to the pie plan.  Place a large plate with has a little of a lip around it (to catch the juices) on top of the pie pan and carefully flip the pan over so the tart comes out on the plate.  If any of the apples stick to the pan, just replace them on top of the tart.  

Cut into wedges and serve with a spoonful of creme anglaise on top. 

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Could be that another finish is looming on the horizon, which would be great! (Then I could start MORE projects...yay!)

I'm working on the skirt area right now to have a break from working with Kreiniks, then it will be back to the wings to try to finish those up.  I realized that I had my first Midsummer Night's post nearly a year ago, so it's about time to get her finished up.   That's the great thing about blogging - it's really making me accountable for my projects so that they don't become UFO's LOL

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Land of Not-Quite-Finished-Projects Part 5: Samplers

Ahhh samplers...you just can't stitch without seeing patterns for samplers everywhere - every magazine, needlework shop, stitching group.  Any antique shop that you go into has at least a couple hanging on the walls.  Originally designed as a way to teach different needlework techniques and motifs to young girls as well as the alphabet and numbers, samplers have been around for hundreds of years.  It's no surprise they are still popular today.

I don't do a lot of samplers myself but I still find myself drawn to some of them.  For example, the Chatelaine Mandalas, like Knotgarden, are a type of sampler, and I'm looking forward to starting Long Dog Sampler's Scarlet Ribands.

It should be no surprise that there's a stack of samplers in my "Not Quite Finished" pile either.

This one is from 1996, when I was going through a Celtic design phase (there's more Celtic themed stitching but that will be in another post).  I know I found the design in a magazine, but am not sure which one - it's long gone at this point.   I still really like this design and might have a go at framing it myself sometime.

From 1997;  no idea where I found the pattern.  Not surprisingly we see a rose/floral theme here, which is consistent with my general tastes.

From 1998.  I seem to remember this being from a very popular designer but couldn't tell you who. It's a bit primitive for my tastes now, so I don't know that I'd do anything with it at this point.

And finally, four individual pieces that are a "set"  - not exactly a sampler per se but it's got the same feel.   No date on these but they're done on aida, so probably pre-1998 at least. 

Parmesan Crusted Chicken with Dijon Cheese Sauce

I was looking around for something to make chicken breast more interesting, and came across this recipe.  I tweaked it a little to suit my own tastes.

Parmesan Crusted Chicken:

2 chicken breasts cutlets, pounded into an even thickness
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon dried sage
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

Mix the parmesan with the sage and thyme.   Line baking sheet with parchment paper or foil and give a spritz of cooking spray.  Dip the chicken cutlets in the melted butter, and then into the parmesan cheese.  Bake at 425 until the chicken is cooked through and the parmesan is browned. 

Dijon Cheese Sauce: 

3 oz grated montery jack cheese
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup mayo
1 teaspoon grainy dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon dried sage
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
fresh ground pepper to taste

In a medium microwaveable bowl, stir the cheese and heavy cream together.  Microwave for about 1 1/2 minutes, until cheese is melted.  Whisk in the mayonnaise, dijon, herbs and pepper to taste.   The sauce will appear a little lumpy but whisk until it is smooth and thick.   Microwave for another minute and then whisk again.
Serve the chicken with the dijon sauce and a side of broccoli and cauliflower.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

On a Budget? It doesn't have to be all starches and processed foods.

Normally I don't post much about this on my blog, but I'll make an exception. 

So, I eat low carb, and have been for nearly a year now.  This means that, except for rare occasions, I do not eat:  flour or other grains, sugar in any form, or other high starch foods like potatoes or corn.  I mostly eat whole, unprocessed, fresh foods like fresh vegetables, chicken, fish, beef, some dairy, some fruit, some nuts & seeds.  There are a wide variety of reasons I eat like this but the bottom line is that I've lost nearly 40 lbs (and am still losing), it keeps my blood sugars on a nice even keel, it's cleared up several health issues I had, and I feel fantastic.  If you're interested at all in low carb, I'd encourage you to put aside whatever you think you know and read authors like Robert Atkins, Michael and Mary Dan Eades, Mary Enig and Gary Taubes with an open mind.   You might be surprised at what you learn.

Ok, now that is out of the way....

I read this article the other day:  Money College: How to eat on less than $35 a week and it really irritated me.  The menu it suggests is appallingly bad.  High fat, high carbs, high salt, loaded with processed foods, very few veggies, very little nutritional value. Bologna/hot dogs/chopped ham as your primary sources of protein?  Not one fresh vegetable?  Come on!  If it followed the food pyramid or some other health guidelines, I could respect it even if I didn't agree with it.  It does not - it's simply all filler food with little regard for nutrition, no matter how you cut it.

I wanted to show a comparative low carb menu with salads and veggies and non-processed proteins (other than the tuna) that was still under $35 a week.   Costs listed may vary by geographic location.  I based the prices on a combination of prices listed on the original article (butter, mustard, ground beef) and prices I paid myself for groceries last week and this week.   Like the original article, it does rely on buying things like store brand mayo and tuna, and catching things like ground beef and tuna on sale.

The suggested meals are a little repetitive because I just wanted to show a rebuttal example menu and keep it simple.  It's also realistic - if you buy chicken parts cheap, it's usually in a large "family pack".  When you cut out "convenience" foods, you create your own conveniences by cooking extras and eating the leftovers for another meal.  For example, I never roast just one piece of chicken - I cook 3-4 and it reappears in meals later during the week in some form.

So, here goes: 

The shopping list:

1 lb butter: 1.89
32 oz jar mayo 1.49
Bottle yellow mustard .69
8 oz bottle salad dressing (2 carb or less per serving) 1.29
2 dozen large eggs 3.98
Family pack chicken leg quarters (6 pieces)/ 79 cents per pound: 5.00
2 lbs 80/20 ground beef/1.99 per pound 3.98
4 cans chunk light tuna 2.00
3 8-oz blocks cheese 4.50
3 lbs assorted lettuces 5.00
1 lb tomatoes 1.50
Bag shredded cabbage 1.00
1/2 lb yellow onions .40
2-1 lb bags plain frozen veggies (cauliflower, broccoli, green beans, etc) 2.00

The Menu:

Breakfast daily: 2 eggs, 1 oz cheese, cooked any way (fried, scrambled, omelet, etc) in butter

Day 1:
Lunch: Tuna salad wrap (1 can tuna with mayo wrapped in lettuce leaves)
Dinner: Roasted chicken leg quarter with skin, cooked veggies, side salad w/ dressing
Snack: 2 oz cheese

Day 2:
Lunch: Roasted chicken leg quarter with skin; salad w/ dressing
Dinner: Crackslaw: 8 oz ground beef cooked with onion, cabbage
Snack: 2 oz cheese

Day 3:
Lunch: Tuna melt: 1 can tuna with mayo on top of tomato slices; top with 1 oz cheese and put under broiler until cheese is melted
Dinner: 3 egg omelet with cheese and veggies; small side salad with dressing
Snack: deviled egg (1 hard boiled egg with mayo/mustard)

Day 4:
Lunch: Roasted chicken leg quarter with skin; cole slaw (cabbage, mayo)
Dinner: 8 oz hamburger with cheese; cooked veggie with butter; side salad w/ dressing
Snack: deviled egg

Day 5:
Lunch: Tuna salad wrap (1 can tuna with mayo wrapped in lettuce leaves)
Dinner: Crackslaw: 8 oz ground beef cooked with onion, cabbage
Snack: 2 oz cheese

Day 6:
Lunch: 8 oz hamburger with cheese; cole slaw (cabbage, mayo)
Dinner: Tuna melt; side salad w/ dressing
Snack: deviled egg

Day 7:
Lunch: Roasted chicken leg quarter with skin; side salad w/ dressing
Dinner: 3 egg omelet with cheese and veggies
Snack: deviled egg

You blow through all the eggs, beef & tuna; by my calculations you should have leftover at the end of the week 2 chicken leg quarters, 1/2 a block of cheese, mayo, mustard, 2 sticks of butter and about 1/2 a bag of frozen veggies.

So yes, you CAN eat low carb, get in your veggies in AND do it cheaply. Cereal and pasta are NOT necessary.

Ahhh...that's better!

So with the Mermaid of Atlantis finish on hold for now, I'm back working on Midsummer Night's Fairy.  This is a "before" picture;  I have to say, the whole gaping mouth thing has been freaking me out when I look at this picture LOL  It's very blow-up-doll-esq.  Obviously that needs to be taken care of ASAP  LOL

So the first thing I did yesterday is finish her face off.  I still need to backstitch the lips, but don't have that thread color in her "kit".   I'll either scavange some from another kit or pick up the floss later this week.    But she's not giving me that apocolypse look anymore so it's all good for right now LOL

I also made some good progress on her wings, which are done entirely in Kreinik metallics.  Ugh.  NOT my favorite thread to work with but it does give a really lovely effect.   I tried Thread Heaven for the first time with this project, and it's been a huge help.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Just for Fun...

....So I've come to the conclusion that I enjoy planning future projects almost as much as I enjoy stitching current ones.   I'm always looking to "what's next" in the pipeline.  If you look at the links on the side of the blog, there's "Boudoir Projects" with links to what the finished project will will like of all the ones I'm working on and ones that I have kitted and want to start soon.  There is also the "Boudoir Wish List" of projects I would love to do:  I may or may not have the pattern and I might even be in some stage of kitting it up. 

Whenever I get close to finishing a project, the urge to get started on something new is always really strong...lol....not that it's never not there.  (Yes.  I am a cross stitch junkie.  I'm ok with that.)

Right now, I'm trying to finish up a couple of projects since I somehow ended up with seven large in-progress projects.  Mermaid of Atlantis is nearly finished;  of the other projects I have in progress, Meeting on the Turret Stairs and Midsummer Night's Fairy are probably closest to being completed.   Although I liked my experiment last year with working on one project every week then moving on to the next, I would really like to finish some of the "in progresses" so I can start adding in some of the kitted projects up.

Beyond those?  Grand plans, always grand plans. 

There's always a long list of Mirabilias and Silver Linings that I want to do.   They're by far my favorite designers and I will always have a couple of them going.   I have several Miras in some stage of kitting:  Garden Verses, The Kiss, Christmas Elegance, and Queen Mermaid, and two SL's - Broadway and Purple Perfection.   Beyond that, more Miras are calling to me:  Venetian Opulence, Rose Celebration, Rose of Sharon, Enchanted Mermaid are probably up next to be kitted.  Others I would love to do include Sabrina, Bluebeard's Princess, Lady of the Mist, White Christmas, Petal and Bliss as a pair, Lilly of the Woods, Titania, Queen of Peace, Adia, Deepest Love, Christmas Flourishes, Stone Roses, English Roses, My Lady's Garden.....and the list goes on and on.  Some of the patterns I have, but not all.  I wouldn't even know where to start with Silver Linings LOL  I haven't done nearly as many of them as I have Miras, but they stitch up faster in general.  I love the botanical feel of his designs, the details, the fact that he features my favorite two flowers so often (roses and irises).  It would probably be easier to list the ones that I do NOT care for LOL  ah well.

There's the Chatelaine series plan - I'm already working on Knotgarden, and I definately will be doing Alhambra Garden and Watergarden.  There will be at least one more of the garden mandala series added to that, but as the designer keeps adding new ones, well...we'll have to wait and see which one that will be :-)

I will, someday, tackle Flower Power.  It's a huge project - to do it on 28 count fabric (necessary because the bugs and the hummingbirds are done over one) requires a full yard of fabric.   Since I stitch with a hand held Qsnap frame, doing it as one piece is problematic - lots of excess fabric to hold back.   The other issue is where to hang it when it's framed  - again, it's a huge piece and will weigh a ton.  (ok ok I *know* that I rarely worry about where a piece will go or how it fits in when I stitch it....) Because of this, I've been tossing around the idea of splitting the whole design into three panels - the flowers will just be "cut" at the third mark so they will overlap onto the next panel, and if I need to move the bugs & birds around to fit better, then that's fine.  I'd frame each piece to match then I'd have the option of hanging them as a series or individually.

I've also always loved the Celtic series from Lavender and Lace.  I always loved Noel; and of course there's the four seasonals now as well.  Of course, I have the four seasonals done from Mirabilia and am working on Royal Holiday....do I really need two sets of seasonals?  And really, what does need have to do with it?

I've come to the obvious conclusion:  I need to hit a big lottery.  A BIG one.  I can't work because I need to spend the time stitching, I need to be able to afford all the supplies AND all the framing, plus I'll need to buy a huge house in which to hang it all.

Off to buy a lottery ticket.....enjoy your weekend and make sure you dream a little about something beautiful.

Naked Mermaid

Well...naked in that she has no beading as yet!  So I have as much done as I can at this point - all the beading needs to go on (6 packets of Mill Hills) and I'm actually short once color of floss for backstitching.  Gets me every time when there's a color of backstitching not used elsewhere - I never remember to add those colors onto my floss list.   I'll pick that up this week, and I should get my beadbox and beading needles next weekend (the folks are coming to visit and bringing up more of my stuff). 

So Atlantis is getting packed away for a week or so.  Irritating, isn't it, to get this close to a finish but not be able to have it done??

Friday, March 12, 2010


Just missing a few beads.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Scrollwork Close Up

Getting close!

I decided I probably do have enough of the Espresso Waterlilies to do the border, so we're going with that.

What I do NOT have is my bead box - it wasn't in the last batch of moved stuff, and I wasn't able to find a replacement.  Grrrrr.  If I get the stitching done soon (which I should be able to do), she may have to be put away until I have the proper equipment to bead. 

I'll post a picture of it, but it's just a 95 cent box I got from Walmart.   It's got 14 individually locking compartments and it's perfect to work out of when beading a Mira or other large project.  Unfortunately they don't seem to carry it anymore (but then, the craft section of my local Wally World is usually a trashed mess).

But even if I didn't move ALL of my cross stitch stuff as yet, I did bring all of my "in progress" project boxes, so never fear, I have plenty of other things to work on.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Land of Not-Quite-Finished Projects Part 4: Mill Hills

A couple of assorted Mill Hill kits that I've finished stitching.    At some point I'll probably make them into door pillows.   A "door pillow" is just a piece of cross stitch sewn into a small pillow with a ribbon hanger at the top, to hang over a doorknob for decoration.  It's a cute & simple project to do.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Cruising Along on Mermaid of Atlantis

It really seems like I'm smoking through her, but the progress on Mermaid of Atlantis is somewhat deceptive because she's a petite thing compared to say, the Queens.   No worries - I'll take it!

That said - the Mermaid is finished stitching, except for the backstitching and beading, which is fairly exciting!   I still need to do the borders.   I started the scrollwork at the bottom, then there's the shell/fish motifs and the frame.

I am going to be working on her solidly until she's complete now.  I'm jonesing for a big finish, plus I'd love to start one of the new projects I have lined up.

The only think I'm concerned with is that I'm starting to run low on one of the Waterlilies (Espresso), which is supposed to be used for the outside border.   I may use Umbria instead (one of the other Waterlilies used on MoA) since I seem to have a lot of that left and it would still look really nice. 

There's not a ton of backstitching but there's a LOT of beads to go on yet.

If you enjoy Chatelaine Designs...

Have a peek at this link: 

Chatelaine Gallery

Sunday, March 07, 2010

The Land of Not-Quite-Finished Projects Part 3: Rose Work

I really love roses, so it's no surprise they show up in my needlework fairly regularly. I believe these are all from "The Ultimate Book of Roses", one of those jumbo leaflet type things with lots of designs. Only one of these is dated - 1999 - but they're all from about the same time period. I originally had in mind to do a bunch of pillow tops for my bed; obviously they got stitched but never made into pillows LOL Such is life.

This "Welcome" is a bit small to frame for an entryway (but could in theory be put OVER a doorway); it was intended for a roll pillow. And another rose pillow top:
There are actually two of these spray of roses. I had two narrow windows in my bedroom of my one apartment and had hung lace panels up for curtains. These were intended to be sewn up as drawbacks for those lace curtains, which I still think would be very pretty. The design is just perfect for that use.
And this is the big rose: it's about 10 x 8 inches so it's quite a large, detailed piece.
I still really love this - probably not to frame but I'll use it for something at some point.

It's interesting how we evolve as stitchers. Not long after doing these, I discovered Silver Lining; although these are pretty, they really do not compare.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Warning: Enabling Ahead

 Mystic Stitch is having a buy 2 patterns get 2 patterns free sale. It doesn't say how long the sale is running.

Artecy Cross Stitch will be putting their chart and membership prices up in April. A lifetime membership is currently $20 and lets you download any chart on the site. I like them for fine art reproductions like Meeting on the Turret Stairs.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

The Land of Not-Quite-Finished Projects Part 2: Vintage

These are a few Anne Powell designs that I did around 1999 or 2000. Unfortunately I don't think many, if any, of her designs are available anymore. I still have a couple patterns in stash that I haven't done.

As I previously mentioned, I'm a fan of all things Victorian, and these remind me of the simple but pretty mottos of that era. I generally prefer "Victorian elaborate" over "vintage simple" but I've always been fond of these designs. "Good Night and Pleasant Dreams" was intended as a top for a throw pillow to put in a guest bedroom. Obviously I was planning well ahead because when I stitched it, I had a one bedroom apartment LOL. It's a nice shape to do a roll pillow style. I love florals (as you may have guessed) so I really like the simple roses in this. It's stitched on 28 count lugana with 3 threads of floss over 2.

I think I might prefer to frame this rather than make it into a pillow now. I think this would be really pretty on linen stitched in hand dyed silks and using beads instead of the single stitches. Yes, it's crossed my mind to redo it in this way. I originally intended this piece to be framed, but I'm not sure what I want to do with it now. Again, the single stitches would really lend themselves to being replaced with beads.

If you know anywhere that Anne Powell designs might be available, I'd love to see if there are new ones available. Most if not all of her available designs are these simple but pretty vintage mottos; about 10 years ago, there were probably 15 or 20 available. Hoffman's only has one available, and her website appears to be gone.

My Christmas Stocking

I stitched this in 2001 or 2002 and my mom finished it off for me. The pattern is from a Better Homes and Gardens cross stitch stocking book.  I love Victoriana so it was totally appropriate for me.

What was nice about the pattern was that it had two options - the top of the stocking is the same, but you could either do stripes to finish it off (which I obviously did) or you could stitch the whole stocking with various Victorian motifs. I wasn't thrilled with stitching on black so I ended up doing just the top area.

It's stitched on black 16 count Aida, lined in black moire fabric and backed on black velvet.

I'm going to have to work with the fiance to see which stocking pattern he wants so I can make one for him as well. The plan is to let him pick whatever pattern he wants, but I may "influence" him towards certain ones ;-) You know how that goes!

Monday, March 01, 2010

Fish Tails...

Just a quickie update....Mermaid of Atlantis has grown a tail and the crest is completed except for the beading.
Because I use Qsnap frames to stitch, I wait until everything is done and then do the beadwork. If a piece is small enough (like MoA), I'll just switch to a larger Qsnap set up; for large projects, I'll use the dreaded scroll frame.