Thursday, July 27, 2017

Have Your Cake

and display it, too. In my case, it will be displayed in our guest room. For now, it's on a bedside table resting in a plate stand.

This is the last of the pieces I've stitched thus far from the 2006 Cross-stitch Calendar. Now that these are framed, I feel I have the latitude to begin another in the series. I don't like getting too far ahead of myself.

I sure do like the finished products. I found this antique-white wood frame for three dollars at a thrift store. It came with glass and a quite pretty handcrafted handmade paper and pressed flower piece in the shape of a heart. I'm sure I'll find a use for that in my future, too.

This chart used some Smyrna cross stitches in the border, and a little backstitching for definition of the cake layers, as well as for the word "Love." For embellishments, I found the little heart beads in my stash and added them to the cake in a playful up and down pattern.

Once again, I added a label to the back for a complete finish.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Luau Aftermath

After I took the Luau selfie a couple days ago, I neglected to put the props away. I found them like this when I walked out to the dining room this morning. The flamingos are glowing!

[click for larger image]

I knew the light was fleeting, so I didn't even have time to grab my "big girl" camera. I had my phone in my hand, so used that camera to capture this pretty still life moment.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Embroidery and Pearls

At the end of last year I went on an embroidery-on-paper jag. I used the finished pieces for Christmas cards. I think I stitched about 30 pieces. I kept just this one for myself. I loved everything about it. The colors go with my home decor. And then pearls. I can rarely resist pearls.

I couldn't quite decide what to do with it, though. Until this week. I decided it was so pretty that it needed to be displayed. So I cut it from a rectangle into a square, mounted it with double-sided tape to a piece of scrapbook paper, and framed it in one of my thrift-store finds. This black frame is in pristine condition. Plus, it's a bit too big for my 2006 Cross-stitch Calendar pieces.

I realize the background color choice is bold. It does mimic one of the pinks in the center of the design, so it works on that level. I may or may not keep it. However, I've had the framed piece on my mantle for a few days, and it's growing on me. So for now, it stays.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Fabric Frame

Today I did the finishing work on the Strawberry Quilt Block. I completed the stitching in February of this year.

I was attempting to make a frame much like the one I purchased for Just Nan's Rose Lady (finished in 2008). I used that frame as a guide for the one I sewed myself.

I learned quite a bit while constructing this frame, making several mistakes along the way that I can improve upon if I attempt this method again. For example, after the first hour, I learned that velvet is not the most ideal fabric for this project. I learned to use cotton, and to give myself lots of extra fabric, then cut off the excess instead of getting by with "just enough." I learned how to use mat board to stiffen the fabric frame, and how to create an easel. I also have some ideas on how to improve attaching the cord to the frame next to the stitchery.

Most of the mistakes can be seen close up if you know what you're looking for. From a distance, my Strawberry Quilt Block looks fine. The reforming-perfectionist part of me is trying to keep from making another frame for this project, incorporating the changes.

I'm always learning something new and finding ways to improve my skills. It's part of the joy - and frustration - of being an artist.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Pumpkin Patch

Here's another of the finished pieces from the 2006 Cross-Stitch Calendar. I stitched it up this month. This one features cross-stitch, satin stitch, and backstitch. I did change up the colors slightly from the chart, giving the pumpkin a two-toned effect along with the stitch variance. 

Like the other charts in this series, it called for an embellishment - a leaf charm. The problem was that the charm looked a lot more like an oak leaf than a pumpkin leaf. Plus, the placement seemed odd to me, like it was floating in mid air. So I filled the space where the leaf would have been placed with a few more of the green dots in the background. 

The mat on this one is one of my favorites. Simple and whimsical. Again, I found this frame at a thrift shop. If I remember correctly, it cost about $1.50 and it was brand new! It came with the original mat, glass, and photo. It was fortuitous that the color of the wood frame matches the colors of the pumpkin so well. I finished the framing with a label on the backing board.

I have one more in this series ready to frame. I promised myself that I'd complete that task before starting on another chart.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Bee Trio

I tried a little something different as decoration in our home's entryway. I added a trio of art pieces that are related to each other, but in a couple different mediums. Two are needlework pieces, and one is a photo I took.

First up? One of the finished pieces from that 2006 Cross-Stitch Calendar I've been working on. This was the first design I completed -- all the way back in 2006 (before I started this blog!) It's primarily cross-stitch. The beehive is satin stitch and there are some Smyrna crosses in the border. The bees are buttons I found in a fabric department. The frame was a bit too big for the mat, so I added the black border with construction paper.

Next, I framed Bumblebutt, a photo I took this Spring when the bees were having a heyday in my grape hyacinth patch. I purchased this gold-tone frame at Dollar Tree. I don't often print and frame my photographs, so this is a nice little treat.

Finally, this week I framed Secret Flower Bed by The Trilogy which I stitched in April of this year. This is all cross-stitch with some mini button embellishments. The linen, chart, and buttons came as a kit. I found this frame with the double mat at a thrift shop for under $3.00.

Along with the rabbit, bird, and ladybug, this garden has a couple bees in it, keeping the flowers pollinated.

I'm planning to make more themed vignettes for our home. We playfully call our guest room the love nest. There, I have a number of art pieces that are heart-themed, including stitchery, a poster, cards, art glass, and a painted pallet. But you know me. I have lots more heart-shaped crafts to add there.