Thursday, April 20, 2017

My Country Welcome - Button & Beads Mill Hill Cross-stitch Kit




When I look at different cross-stitch or needlework kits I might like to do I'm always drawn to pictures or ornaments that have the word "joy" in them or have "doggies" in them.  The ones with "joy" always remind me of my beloved mother as that was her name and the "doggies" remind me of my beloved cairn terrier.

So, when I saw the Country Welcome - Button & Beads Mill Hill Cross-stitch Kit with the little "doggie" in it I knew I wanted to make it.  The dog button doesn't look anything like a cairn terrier but it's a "doggie" nonetheless.

The Country Welcome Beaded Counted Cross Stitch Kit Mill Hill Buttons & Beads Autumn Series MH14-7206 pattern uses full counted cross-stitch and straight stitch highlighting as well as beads of various sizes for emphasis and depth. The pattern also calls for certain areas of the perforated paper to be left untouched as the background. In this case they were leaving sections of the brown perforated paper background untouched.

A lot of the cross-stitch 5" by 5" 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 on 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, when I saw that Michaels had small 6' by 6" shadowbox frames on sale again I bought a few figuring they'd work okay.  I thought they would be like the previous frames I had bought by they actually were bigger.  They were 7 1/2" by 7 1/2" shadowbox frames with a 5 1/2" opening. I didn't realize when I had bought these that a lot more of the cross-stitch picture would be showing.

I also 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 x 5 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 the last perforated paper cross-stitch picture I had done 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.

The pattern called for a white/gold wooden frame and certain areas of the perforated paper to be left untouched as the background like the picture shown below:

Monday, April 17, 2017

More Online Classes - Craftsy



I'm also a big fan of websites that offer 24/7 online classes that never expire.  I have been buying Craftsy's online classes when they go on sale for quite some time.  They have so many wonderful classes to choose from.

However, I have a problem with them.  My problem has always been lack of time and incentive. For Artful Gathering you are given a specific time period to take their class which, as a result, forces me to take them during that specific period of time. For Craftsy you can take them 24/7 without any expiration date.  As a result I keep putting them off.

Despite this when I see a wonderful Craftsy class that I might be interested in that is on sale I tend to purchase it.  Since I never do anything in moderation you know I've bought a lot of them.  I'm hoping over the spring and summer I can start some of the classes I've purchased.

Here's what I chose:


Crazy Quilts with Allie Aller

Class Description Work with fancy fabrics like velvet and silk and play with hand-embroidered seam treatments to create richly textured, sumptuous blocks.

Heirloom Sewing with Susan Stewart

Class Description Replicate the look of vintage heirloom sewing with your home machine! Discover techniques for shaping and stitching lace trim, entredeux, pintucks and more.

Re-Piecing the Past: Civil War Blocks Then & Now
Re-Piecing the Past: Civil War Blocks Then & Now

Class Description - Learn Kaye England's precise piecing methods and make 12 traditional blocks, inspired by the stories of strong women of the Civil War era.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

I Just Love Online E-Classes - Artful Gathering - It's Only A Couple Of Weeks Away



I love taking online arts & crafts classes. In fact, I could spend 24/7 just doing this. Unfortunately there are thousands of amazing e-classes out there and only so many hours in the day. So, I have to resort to choosing a few at a time.

In 2012 I discovered the Artful Gathering online classes and fell in love with so many of them. They offer online art retreats that are taught in the Spring and Summer. They are taught by some of he most unbelievable artists whose creativity is beyond measure.

According to Artful Gathering  their mission is as follows: Our mission is to provide a haven for inspirational self expression and artistic commercial free instruction via online guided video education and virtual social interaction for the art community.

Artful Gathering unites world wide instructors and students in order to facilitate inclusion and access to authentic creative environments and practical learning conditions.

We strive to bridge the gap between the financial and geographical barriers of brick and mortar gatherings and the application of cutting edge technology dedicating our professional leadership toward enriching lives.

So far I've taken 10 Artful Gathering e-classes and can hardly wait to take classes this spring and summer.


I've seen a preview of what's being offered and can tell you it's going to be hard to decide.  For sure, decide I will.

Here's some of the  Artful Gathering online classes I've taken followed by my finished pieces:

Saturday, April 08, 2017

My First Stamped Cross-stitch Project - "A Season For Everything" Dimensions Cross-stitch Picture and Kit


On the wall in my kitchen I've been displaying different holiday and seasonal wreaths that hubby and I have made over the years.  They're a combination grapevine wreath, silk floral, and painted woodcrafts that I've made from other designers patterns that I've bought over the years.

While I was perusing the web I saw an intriguing cross-stitch picture that was a seasonal wreath.  I fell in love with it and decided I should buy this cross-stitch kit as it would make a beautiful picture for my kitchen wall.  Best of all, I wouldn't have to change it out with the seasonals or holidays.

All of the cross-stitch pictures I've bought and made were counted cross-stitch kits. Truth be told there are a lot of them, which I've posted about here and reviewed on my The Book and Crafts Review Corner blog.  This time I would be working on a stamped cross-stitch picture.

Like the other Dimensions kits I had bought the kit included the pattern, pre-sorted cotton thread, printed white cotton fabric, needle and instructions.

The "A Season For Everything" pattern uses full stamped cross-stitch, satin stitching, french knots and backstitch outline stitching for emphasis and depth and this detailing really makes the picture stand out. The design of this cross-stitch gives the finished picture a 3 dimensional aspect with the satin stitching, 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.  However, the kit did not come with instructions for finishing the back of the picture.

While I was very pleased with the end results of this design I had a lot of problems with the kit, stamped fabric, embroidery floss, and the instructions that can be improved upon to make this a better kit.

There were 27 flosses listed on the color chart.  However, there were actually 29 different floss colors in the kit.  The brown #15476 and blue #17150 blue were not on the chart.

Friday, April 07, 2017

Gotta Love Beautifully Hand-Dyed Alpaca Roving Multi Color Blender Packs



I can hardly wait to use this hand dyed alpaca roving that I got from Rock Garden Alpacas.  Look at all the beautiful colors.  I can imagine all sorts of needle felted fairies, flowers or pictures.  Can't you?

I have to admit I'm a little biased when it comes to this alpaca roving.  My sister and her husband are the owners of Rock Garden Alpacas.  My sister processes her alpaca roving and creates amazing natural roving packs, hand dyed multi-colored roving packs (like those shown above), handspun alpaca yarn, and handspun and hand dyed alpaca yarn.  If you'd like to learn ore about my sister's alpaca farm please click here.  If you'd like to learn more about her alpaca fiber products please click here for her blog or click here for her RockGardenAlpacas Etsy shop.


Here's what Deb had to say about her alpaca roving:

Hand dyed and natural color mill processed alpaca roving for all your felting projects. BIG "Blender" pack includes 24 assorted colors that have been hand dyed, using professional acid based dyes. Roving was braided together and then hand dyed a single color. When the braid was undone this created varying shades of the color throughout the roving - Fantastic for blending color into your projects. The braided rovings were left in the dye pot until all dye was exhausted and then rinsed a minimum of 3 times to reduce bleed thru. Amounts of roving supplied for each color vary. Also included in the BIG "Blender" Pack are 8 natural colors - lesser amounts are supplied of each of these rovings. This pack contains 32 colors equaling 3+ ounces in fiber weight.

This hand packaged and assembled package of alpaca roving comes from prime blanket fleece of various alpacas with different grades of fiber; perfect for all your needle felting or wet felting projects. As stated above all fibers have been rinsed at least a minimum of 3 times to remove any possible excess dye; however, please test as you may experience a small amount of bleed when you wash or wet the fiber for the first time; especially darker color dyes.

All products are processed and stored in pet free/smoke free environments.

Deb's hand-dyed alpaca roving multi colored blender packs can be purchased on her Etsy shop here.

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Making Progress and My "Beacon At Rocky Point" Cross-stitch Picture and Kit



I like to showcase my little (i.e. 5" by 5" or 5" by 7") cross-stitch pictures in shadow boxes or frames on my family room fireplace mantel.  I arrange them by season or holiday.  For the most part I have plenty of Christmas cross-stitch pictures.  I have several Halloween and Fall pictures.  Only a few for the Winter season and until finishing my 2 recent beach scenes I only had one for the Spring and Summer seasons. So, I decided to complete another Summer seasonal cross-stitch picture kit that I had previously purchased.

The cross-stitch kit I just finished was a counted cross-stitch kit from Dimensions Gold Collection Petites entitled "Beacon At Rocky Point."

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 "Beacon At Rocky Point" 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.

While I was very pleased with the end results of this design there are some things in the kit and in the instructions that can be improved upon.

Unlike the problem I had with the "Cliffside Beacon" cross-stitch color chart that was way too small and difficult to read this color chart was large enough and easy to follow.