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.