Friday, November 09, 2018

My "Hanging Around" Mill Hill #MH14-1306 Cross-Stitch Picture



As you know I love to cross-stitch and I love cross-stitching kits with the word "Joy" in them due to the fact it was my beloved mother's name.    So, when I saw the "Hanging Around" kit I knew I would buy it and make it.

The Hanging Around #MH14-1306  pattern uses full cross-stitch and straight stitch highlighting as well as beads of various sizes for emphasis and depth. The Mill Hill patterns usually call for certain areas of the perforated paper to be left untouched like the background or border. In this case they were leaving sections of the brown perforated paper border untouched.

In embroidering the cross-stitch I decided to once again utilize the rectangular wood frame jig that my darling husband built for me that I could tape the edges of my perforated paper to. The wood frame jig is a rectangular embroidery hoop of sorts, but without bending the perforated  paper. He had made it out of 1/2" x 1" pine wood strips with an adjustable center strip that I used for this 5.25 x 5.25 square design.

I had learned from previous mistakes that I needed to draw diagonal lines to locate the exact center of the perforated paper as in previous perforated paper cross-stitch picture I have done the picture was slightly off center by a few holes which caused a problem with inserting the needles in the holes along one of the edges of my frame. So, I lightly drew a diagonal line across each corner with a pencil to get the center point of the perforated paper.

A lot of the cross-stitch 5.25" by 5.25" pictures I have made were finished in small 6 1/2" by 6 1/2" shadowbox frames with 5" by 5" openings that I had gotten at Michaels when they went on sale one year.  I used up all the shadowbox frames I had gotten that year and have been looking for them ever since and haven't found them again.

So, I decided to buy some 8" by 8" hand painted wood frames that Mill Hill created for their cross-stitch pictures.  This frame is bare bones.  There's no glass or plastic cover and there's nothing on the back to hold the picture into the frame.  They do, however, provide a thin 6" by 6" cardboard back and wood dowel for inserting in the holes in the back to allow for the frame to stand on it's own.  Of course, if you're going to hang this on the wall you'd just add a picture hanger to the back.

The directions did not include any instruction for finishing the back.  I decided to finish mine with 1/4" thick self sticking art needle-craft mounting foam.  I used an 8" by 10" by Pres-On sheet that I cut 6" by 6"with an X-acto knife to fit my picture.  Since the depth of the back of the frame for inserting the picture is 1/4" deep the 1/4" foam was a perfect fit for inserting it as well as the cardboard backing that came with the frame.

The pattern called for a red colored wooden frame. I  tested it with a red frame and a green frame and decided to go with the red wood frame.

After adhering my cross-stitch picture to the 6" by 6" adhesive foam board that I bought I inserted it into the back of the frame and then inserted the 6" by 6" cardboard that came with the frame over it.  I taped the back of the cardboard with masking tape to hold it.

The wood frame is 8" by 8" so to totally finish the back I cut a piece of thick decorative paper 8" by 8" to entirely cover the back.  I rubbed purple color disappearing glue stick all over the back and then pasted my 8" by 8" decorative paper sheet on the back.  I signed by name and dated it and was done with finishing the back.  I used a pencil to stab the decorative paper I had glued to the back so I could insert the dowel into it so the picture would stand on it's own.



The pattern also called for the border of the perforated paper to be left untouched like the picture shown above. However, I don't like seeing the perforated sections of the paper for the border as I think it makes the cross-stitch picture look unfinished and opted instead to finish the border with white embroidery floss sewn as a half cross-stitch using two strands of the floss.

The pattern had a green decorative line border around the picture with the area between the border and the frame left untouched and showing the brown perforated paper.  I decide to finish this with fours strands of the white DMC embroidery floss sewn in a half cross-stitch.


Sometimes you make mistakes while cross-stitching which, when caught quickly, can be ripped out and re-done.  I have that happen many, many times, as I'm sure you all have as well.  This time I made a mistake with the tree ornament beads and confused two of the symbols.  Instead of using the grasshopper beads I used the rainbow beads in error.  The rainbow beads were supposed to be used in the Santa boots.  I didn't want to rip out all the rainbow beads I used on the tree and decided to leave them alone and put some of my own black seed beads on the boots instead.  They both look fine so all was well.

The pattern only called for outlining parts of the tree the ornaments were hanging on.  I thought the ornaments could use some outline highlighting to really make them stand.  So I added the following:

1)  Two strands of blue floss sewn as a back-stitch along along the sides of the blue square package ornament and blue light.
2) Two strands of gold floss sewn as a back-stitch along along the sides gold and purple ornament and gold light.
3) Two strands of dark green floss sewn as a back-stitch along the sides of the tree ornament trees to add depth and dimension.
4) Two strands of the red floss sewn as a back-stitch along along the sides of the Santa suit.



While the end results of this design were wonderful some things in the kit and in the instructions could be improved upon so I'd like to offer the following constructive suggestions:

The cross-stitch chart was in black and white as was the floss color code and symbol key. Both were easy to read and very clear. While I had no problem with the chart and keys I did have a problem with the way the DMC floss was presented. All of the floss was tied together in one big knot so you had to separate the floss pieces yourself, sort them, and try to interpret which color belonged to which floss # and symbol key on the color chart.

If you only have a few colors to deal with this isn't a problem. However, if you have several different colors to choose from that are close in color then interpreting the chart can be tricky. You may assign the wrong color to the wrong symbol if the colors are too closely aligned. The key code chart should have contained the number of strands that were included in the kit so you would know how many strands you had for the different floss colors.

As I have done with other cross-stitch kits I've completed I had to design my own thread color sorter and symbol key. I took a piece of thin cardboard and cut a 1" x 12" long rectangular piece out to use as a thread sorter. I then punched holes in my cardboard strip in which to tie each of the different colors. Just above the hole I wrote the DMC floss # and just below the hole I added the respective cross-stitch symbol. I then inserted the floss threads that went with that # and symbol through the hole and tied them in a loose knot. This kit could be much improved if a thread sorter with respective #'s and symbols was provided.

The beads are so very easy to lose so I'm always happy to see that more than enough beads have been included within the kits that I've bought.  I usually pour the beads into a small cardboard box that I can easily use to obtain them.  However, the box is lightweight and, inevitably, I end up spilling the beads all over the place.  This time I finally solved that problem with refrigerator magnets.

I have a small rectangular metal board that I use in my lap for holding the cross-stitch picture while I'm working on it.  Small magnet strips hold the paper picture in place to the metal board.  I usually put my little cardboard box on that in my lap while doing the beading and thought I could use some small refrigerator magnets to hold the box to the metal board so I couldn't inadvertently spill the beads.  Worked like a charm.  Problem solved.  Yippee!

The beads were contained within two small ziploc bags which was fine. The chart had footnote symbols to help distinguish which beads were within which bag.

My results with the totally finished background, border and frame is shown below:


Despite the relatively small issues I had encountered with the kit I was happy with the way my "Hanging Around"  picture turned out.  It's going to look great with my other cross-stitch pictures at Christmas.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

My "Book Seller" Mill Hill #MH14-2305 Winter Cross-Stitch Kit



Of all the cross-stitch pictures I have done I don't have a lot of winter seasonal pictures.  I wanted to change that for my winter season decorations on my fireplace mantels.  So, when I saw the Book Seller Mill Hill #MH14-2305 cross-stitch I knew I would buy it.  Not only does it suit my winter home decorating needs but it's about books and a bookstore, which I also love.

The Book Seller Mill Hill #MH14-2305 pattern uses full cross-stitch and straight stitch highlighting as well as beads of various sizes for emphasis and depth. The Mill Hill patterns usually call for certain areas of the perforated paper to be left untouched like the background or border. In this case they were leaving sections of the brown perforated paper border untouched.

In embroidering the cross-stitch I decided to once again utilize the rectangular wood frame jig that my darling husband built for me that I could tape the edges of my perforated paper to. The wood frame jig is a rectangular embroidery hoop of sorts, but without bending the perforated  paper. He had made it out of 1/2" x 1" pine wood strips with an adjustable center strip that I used for this 5.25 x 5.25 square design.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

My Snow Days - Mill Hill Cross-stitch Kit


Given that I hate snow you might be wondering why I'm cross-stitching a snow picture.  Well, the simple answer is I needed to for my winter decorations that I display on my fireplace mantels over the various seasons.  I have a ton of  Christmas and now Spring & Summer cross-stitch  pictures, but not a lot of winter ones.  So, when I saw the little "doggie" button that was included in this kit I knew I would buy it and make it.

The Snow Day #MH14-9302 pattern uses full cross-stitch and straight stitch highlighting as well as beads of various sizes for emphasis and depth. The Mill Hill patterns usually call for certain areas of the perforated paper to be left untouched like the background or border. In this case they were leaving sections of the brown perforated paper border untouched.

In embroidering the cross-stitch I decided to once again utilize the rectangular wood frame jig that my darling husband built for me that I could tape the edges of my perforated paper to. The wood frame jig is a rectangular embroidery hoop of sorts, but without bending the perforated  paper. He had made it out of 1/2" x 1" pine wood strips with an adjustable center strip that I used for this 5.25 x 5.25 square design.

Sunday, October 07, 2018

Is Fall Your Creative Season, Too!


When it comes to the Fall Season I definitely get a feeling.  It's a feeling that comes upon me like clockwork. Like some internal drive. Some innate driving force. For sure, it's something!

By now I'm sure you must be wondering what I'm talking about.

Well, I'm talking about my "creativity drive" and the Fall season. There's just something about this season that drives my creativity?  And, it drives me not just a little, but a whole lot.

Every year around the end of August I can start to feel it. This urge to create that starts to show itself.

It starts slowly and builds gradually until it reaches a full-blown crescendo in November. But, I can feel it starting and I know that I won't have any control over it, once again.  You can't fight it, so why not enjoy it.

Every year it just takes over my body. And, then I just have to either sew, create floral arrangements or craft something.  Due to all the different types of crafts I've learned over the years the media could be anything: from mixed media, to paper-clay sculpting, painting, sewing, paper crafts, stamping, etc. You just never know.


Or, I have to design patterns and sew some more dolls. Like I need any more dolls! But, that's a subject for another article!

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

My "Christmas Wishes" Dimensions Gold Collection Cross-Stitch Picture



Like a lot of cross-stitch kits I see I fell in love with the "Christmas Wishes" Dimensions cross-stitch picture the minute I saw it.  It was just too cute to resist.  I keep telling myself that.  In reality I don't think I've ever found a cross-stitch kit that I haven't loved.....haha  "Christmas Wishes"  was just delightful so I knew I'd buy it and add it to my other winter season cross-stitch decorations on my fireplace mantle.

Like the other Dimensions Gold Collection Petites kits I had bought the kit included the pattern, pre-sorted cotton thread, 18 count white cotton Aida, needle and instructions.

The "Christmas Wishes" pattern uses full counted cross-stitch, half cross-stitch, french knots and outline stitching for emphasis and depth and this detailing really makes the picture stand out. It also varies the number of threads used with the various stitches to add to the depth emphasis. The design of this cross-stitch gives the finished picture a 3 dimensional aspect with the half cross stitch, french knots and outlining being used for artistic effect.


The pattern came with starting and working order instructions as well as samples of the various stitches required, color coded keys (with code #'s, lengths, color names, and cross-stitch symbols) and a chart with color coded symbols. The colors and symbols on the keys and chart were easy to read and follow. The pattern did not include instructions for finishing the piece.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

For The Love Of Mixed Media Witches


If you've been following me all these years you know that I absolutely LOVE Halloween and all the wonderful creatures that can be made like witches, ghosts, goblins, Dracula, Frankenstein, jack-o-lanterns, bats, spiders and spider webs, skeletons, mummies, and so much more. There's so much for crafters to work with surrounding Halloween - what's not to love.

You can make all sorts of Halloween creatures out of cloth, wood, cloth and wood, paper, clay, needle-craft, etc. I love them all but have a fondness for witches.

Several years ago, when I was doing a little cleaning of my craft area, I found some 3/4" wood shelf sitter shapes that my husband had cut out for me a years before.  I had intended to make a painted figure of some sort out of them.

Well, in looking at the wood I thought they might make perfect mixed media shelf sitter witches with paper-clay faces and collage outfits.   So, I decided to make two of them, which are shown below.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

My Mixed Media Shelf Sitter Scarecrow Dolls - Meet Harold and Hank


For me I just LOVE the fall decorating season.  One of my reasons is because I just love scarecrows and have made many, many over the years.  So, when I got a chance to make some paper-clay and wood mixed media shelf sitter scarecrows I jumped right in and made two.

Harold, pictured on the left, and Hank, pictured on the right are a pair of scarecrows that are a little apprehensive as to what they are supposed to do in the field.  They know they're there to scare the crows, but are unsure as to how to do it.  After all they don't want to be mean.

Both Harold and Hank are 4" x 5 1/2" x 3/4" mixed media Victorian scarecrow wood dolls with paper-clay painted faces with brushed brown cheeks.  Their sides and back are sponge painted and their outfits are a multi-layer embellished paper collage with paper center band and black raised dots.  Paper patches add charm to their collage outfits.  Their wild raffia hair is barely controlled under their straw hat.    An orange bow is tied under their necks.

Harold is sitting on my family room fireplace mantle.  He's seems so pleased with himself there.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

My Sunday Night Mill Hill Winter Holiday Cross-Stitch Ornament



It's the beginning of the Fall and my thoughts always turn to the upcoming holiday season and crafts I'd like to make to add to my already overflowing seasonal and holiday home decorations collection.  I like to think you can never have enough decorations, but that might be wishful thinking.  In reality you definitely can have to many and I am slowly approaching that.   I'll just have to swap them out from year to year.....haha

I tend to be drawn to cross-stitch kits that feature the word "Joy", which was my mother's name, or churches, especially those that remind me of the one my mother attended for so many years.  My mother loved to sing and sang in the church choir for several decades. So, when I saw the "Sunday Night" Mill Hill #MH18-1834 kit, which looks exactly like the church my mother attended,  I knew I would buy it.

The "Sunday  Night" ornament kit contained the presorted thread, 14 count perforated paper, needles (stitching and beading), beads and instructions.  It also included a magnet and instructions for adhering the magnet to the back of the ornament.  The pattern uses full counted cross-stitch, beads and outline stitching for emphasis and depth.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Gotta Love The Fall, Scarecrows and Pumpkins


I just LOVE the Fall season.  If you've been following my blog for awhile you know that the Fall, by far, is my favorite season for crafting.  The reasons have to do with scarecrows, pumpkins, witches, ghosts, goblins, Frankensteins, pilgrims, etc. that can all be created for the September through November home decorating season.  If you'd like to see the products available for my scarecrow creations, including their e-patterns and fabric designs, just click on the dolls name or craft below:

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

My Haunted Mansion - Mill Hill Cross-stitch # MH14-1204


Halloween is one of my favorite holidays for crafting and decorating.  I love decorating my home with all sorts of Halloween creatures and pictures.  I don't have a lot of Halloween cross-stitch pictures so when I saw the Haunted Mansion Mill Hill #MH14-1204 cross-stitch kit I wasn't surprised that I was drawn to.  Haunted mansion, ghosts, Frankenstein, cross-stitch - what's not to love!

The Haunted Mansion Mill Hill #MH14-1204 pattern uses full cross-stitch and straight stitch highlighting as well as beads of various sizes for emphasis and depth. The Mill Hill patterns usually call for certain areas of the perforated paper to be left untouched like the background or border. In this case they were leaving sections of the light blue perforated paper border untouched.

In embroidering the cross-stitch I decided to once again utilize the rectangular wood frame jig that my darling husband built for me that I could tape the edges of my perforated paper to. The wood frame jig is a rectangular embroidery hoop of sorts, but without bending the perforated  paper. He had made it out of 1/2" x 1" pine wood strips with an adjustable center strip that I used for this 5.25 x 5.25 square design.

Monday, September 10, 2018

My Moonlit Treaters Mill Hill Cross-Stitch Picture



As you know I love the Fall, Halloween, and Thanksgiving season.   So, when I saw the Moonlit Treaters Mill Hill #MH14-1724 cross-stitch kit I wasn't surprised that I was drawn to.  Halloween, ghosts,witches, and Dracula - what's not to love!

The  Moonlit Treaters Mill Hill pattern uses full cross-stitch and straight stitch highlighting as well as beads of various sizes for emphasis and depth. The Mill Hill patterns usually call for certain areas of the perforated paper to be left untouched like the background or border. In this case they were leaving sections of the dark blue perforated paper border untouched.

Personally, I don't like the dark blue perforated paper as I find it hard to count the holes and follow along as to where you are on your cross-stitch.    Since I always finish the background of all my cross-stitch pictures I decided to stitch my picture on the lighter brown colored side of the perforated paper. 

In embroidering the cross-stitch I decided to once again utilize the rectangular wood frame jig that my darling husband built for me that I could tape the edges of my perforated paper to. The wood frame jig is a rectangular embroidery hoop of sorts, but without bending the perforated  paper. He had made it out of 1/2" x 1" pine wood strips with an adjustable center strip that I used for this 5.25 x 5.25 square design.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Recent Designs I Entered In Spoonflower Design Challenges




I just love designing custom fabric designs.  Over the last few months I decided to enter some of my fabric designs into the Spoonflower Design Challenges and entered 10 into their contests.  I didn't win any but I definitely had fun designing them.

I hope you like my designs.


Friday, August 17, 2018

A Kiss For A Snowman - Dimensions Cross-Stitch Kit



I fell in love with the "A Kiss For A Snowman" Dimensions cross-stitch picture the minute I saw it.  Totally adorable and so very cheery.  It  created such a wonderful happy aspect to it that I knew I'd buy it and add it to my other winter season cross-stitch decorations on my fireplace mantle.

Like the other Dimensions Gold Collection Petites kits I had bought the kit included the pattern, pre-sorted cotton thread, 18 count white cotton Aida, needle and instructions.

The "A Kiss For A Snowman" pattern uses full counted cross-stitch, half cross-stitch, french knots and outline stitching for emphasis and depth and this detailing really makes the picture stand out. It also varies the number of threads used with the various stitches to add to the depth emphasis. The design of this cross-stitch gives the finished picture a 3 dimensional aspect with the half cross stitch, french knots and outlining being used for artistic effect.

The pattern came with starting and working order instructions as well as samples of the various stitches required, color coded keys (with code #'s, lengths, color names, and cross-stitch symbols) and a chart with color coded symbols.  The kit came with instructions for finishing the back of the picture.


Saturday, August 11, 2018

Let It Snow - Mill Hill Sticks Cross-Stitch Ornament



As you know from my previous post it's the middle of the summer and sweltering here.  More heat and humidity than I would like.  Yet, I'm making Christmas ornaments.  Maybe the coldness of my craft project will have an effect on Mother Nature.  I doubt it, but one can be hopeful.

This time the ornaments that I'm working on  are a pair of 3" by 3" Christmas stocking ornaments by Mill Hill - Sticks line.

The "Let It Snow" ornament kit contained the presorted thread, 14 count perforated paper, needles (stitching and beading), beads and instructions. The pattern uses full counted cross-stitch and outline stitching for emphasis and depth.


Friday, August 10, 2018

Joy - Mill Hill Sticks Cross-Stitch Ornament



It's the middle of the summer and sweltering here.  More heat and humidity than I would like.  So, you're probably wondering why I'm showing you two Christmas cross-stitch ornaments I just finished.  Well, when I'm making ornaments for the Christmas holiday season I like to start early. They are a pair of 3" by 3" stocking ornaments by Mill Hill - Sticks line.

I just love to cross-stitch small ornaments with the word "joy" in them because my mother's name was Joy and when I look at them I think of her.

The "Joy" ornament kit contained the presorted thread, 14 count perforated paper, needles (stitching and beading), beads and instructions.  The pattern uses full counted cross-stitch and outline stitching for emphasis and depth.