Party Eggs

These eggs were fun to make. I am a member of a ladies’ choir unit and we enjoy having a couple of parties each year. Theme and location vary but the fun never does- we always have fun! Anyhow, the eggs were simple to make, though a little time-consuming.

Raw eggs, ribbon, silk flowers, hot glue, pen & paper. That’s all. There are likely tutorials online for blowing the yolk & white out of the eggs but the process is really pretty easy.

You poke a small hole in the narrow end of the egg and a larger hole in the wide end of the egg, and literally blow from the small end to force the insides out. Get more eggs than you need to end up with to account for a few disasters along the way.

Rinse the eggs and let dry. Then using hot glue, attach the ribbon loops and the silk flowers.

The pen & paper is for making the “fortunes” that you stuff inside each egg. You can cut slips of paper and hand write quotes, silly fortunes, or whatever theme you wish; or you can type it up on your computer, print them out and cut the paper into strips. I liked having the strips the entire width of the sheet of paper- it allowed for enough paper to curl inside to keep the paper in the egg, and still have a bit of “tail” poking out so people could retrieve their saying easier.

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Palm Tree

This is the project that started my stitching obsession. It was a kit I bought at Joann Fabric, in their clearance bin for $3. We had been in the process of trying to sell our small house so we could buy a home with a bit more space that would suit the needs of a family with boys better. This meant that all of my hobby supplies were packed away in boxes in a storage unit so our house would look more “staged” for potential buyers. And THAT meant I had nothing to occupy my hands with in the evenings. An online friend of mine had shared some photos of needlework pieces she had stitched. Lovely things that weren’t tiny cute Disney characters or simplistic flowers. I thought “hmm, it isn’t just Precious Moments birth announcements?” and went to the store.

My theory behind buying the palm tree kit was that it was only $3 so if I didn’t like working cross stitch I wouldn’t be out that much money. And the kit was pretty small, so I wouldn’t be out that much time either.

Turned out I loved it. So I stitched this piece and then the “Reading Room” piece and then went to the afore-blogged Ben Franklins and bought the kit for Frederick the Literate.

Rose Pillowcase

I have a few pieces in my craft stash that belonged to relatives who’ve passed on. This set of rose pillowcases is one of those projects. I have not worked on this at all in the past five years, so I’m not quite sure if I want to categorize it as a “work in progress”… probably shouldn’t. The cloth is a 100% cotton, and the design was already stamped on the cases. I decided to use colors that would go well with other linens and decor in our bedroom. So the roses are blue and the foliage is green. I get bored with chain and satin stitch pretty quickly which is probably one reason I set it aside. Not needing to count or to keep track of a paper pattern would make this a very portable “on the go” project. I think I’ll pull it out and start a “go bag” of projects.

Endings (musings on closing of a shop)

(I still sometimes forget that shop is closed. I fell out of the habit of blogging spring of ’08, so I will have to look through my files to see if I took any photos of needlework and other craft projects I have worked on, or completed, these past few years. Updating “from scratch” is more time-consuming and tricky than some clever copy/paste of old archives. sigh.)

Feb 29, 2008
Our local Ben Franklins craft store is closing. What a horrible headline to great a person when they are pre-coffee and just waking up and logging on to read the newspaper.

Starting Monday they’ll be marking merchandise with sale prices, and it will be closed for good in May. I have a lot of fond memories of shopping there over the years, from embroidery patterns and tea towels, to silk flowers, fabric and art supplies, and in more recent years the threads and flosses and yarns and scrapbooking. When they started carrying Melissa & Doug products, they also set up a small train table with wooden trains for children to play with while parents shopped. My kids call Ben Franklins ‘the Train Store’.

I live within a reasonable walking distance from Ben Franklins. They have a nice variety of things I use, or others in the family use. They are one of the only stores in town that has Caron products (limited selection, but still! they have it!) for sale. (No one locally, alas, has silk floss.) I really like shopping at Ben Franklins, where most of the people are familiar faces that have worked there for years, who know what is in their store, and are very helpful.

To say I am disappointed is an understatement. I mean, this is the store we bought silk flowers from to create the floral arrangements for our wedding!!! And I remember my mom & I once filled a couple of very large bags full of bits and pieces of silk flowers and leaves from their “things fell apart so all these bits and pieces are discounted tons” bin. We had a lot of fun over the years with those flowers, from making wreaths to decorating hats, and a lot of other things. I’m going to have to make sure I stop over there before their doors close, so I can get enough craft paint to finish my insane mural I’m painting in the kids’ room. And there were a couple of inexpensive framing projects we’ve been putting off, but maybe those ought to get taken care of too, while we can still buy the stuff from a small business.

The impersonal nature of the big box stores can NEVER match the smaller businesses. Ben Franklins may be a franchise, but it isn’t at all the same at those Stores Which Shall Not Be Named, which more resemble a cavernous warehouse than a friendly shop.

new stash

(Auspicious Argosy is indeed kitted and awaiting my needle. I have, alas, several other large WIPs ahead of it…)

Oct 25, 2007
My chart for Frederick the Literate found a new home with Outi, and in exchange she sent me the PINN chart ‘Auspicious Argosy’. Thanks Outi! I am wanting to start stitching it already. … The problem is that I have a lot of Medieval Court left, as well as over half of Egyptian Sampler. I also started Fish City (even though with only a small inch or so completed, it hardly counts as being “in progress”).

I am also nearly finished with the scissor fob companion piece to my Lorri Birmingham needlecase that I made ages ago. And I’m making an applique-ish? quilt block for the Robert Jordan memorial quilt project. And Solarium Sublime’s Virtual RR#1 begins Nov 1st. (As does NaNoWriMo..)

This doesn’t even touch on the projects for which I have charts, fabric and floss gathered.

But, consider this from the back of the booklet:

Through most of Chinese history, the Chinese have concentrated largely on land commerce and exploration. Until 1403 in Ming dynasty the maritime expansion of commerce had begun, Chinese emperor was interested to expand trade with other countries and had a taste for import exotic goods. It was at this time that China first received embassies from major countries such as Europe. This also begun of greatest time of Chinese commercial era the voyage ship came to be symbol of prosperity and was initiated in the old trading days in Asia. Chinese said that the voyage ship represents the arrival of good fortune as on board there was always gold and money then became known as treasure ship. Most business used voyage ships as a logo to state that their luck had finally arrived. In meaning of Feng Shui, ancient Chinese art of living, the voyage ship embodies wood, water and wind elements which when combined it is said to be most auspicious as they represent health and prosperity.

The Chinese calligraphy written in the design means ‘business success’ which for implies to progression of steady business and best for business good wishes. Come cross stitching Auspicious Argosy and place it at home or workplace, this great symbol of good fortune.

And the image is lovely as well. Actually, I liked it first for the image, and the symbols behind it only increased my wish to stitch this.

See? How, when looking at this, can one resist beginning?

Needle Guardian

Sept 12, 2007

I loved this piece! As always, with a Teresa Wentzler. 🙂 I came up with my own finishing method, and it turned out well. Not as perfectly as I would wish for, but better than I’d hoped. The first page has a place for needles and a pocket for holding needle packets. The second page has another place for needles and a scissor pocket with ribbon to hold it inside the keeper. I put on a bead dangle, and ribbon, to keep the keeper closed.

I enjoyed this one enough that I would possibly stitch it again in the future.

The Bittersweet Season

Sept 12, 2007
To appease my need for stitching, without breaking out Egyptian Sampler, I’m working on ‘The Bittersweet Season’ from Heartstrings. It’s cute, it’s not difficult, and my reasoning is that of course I have to work on it now because it needs to be done in time for Halloween. Clever rationale, eh?

Oct 11, 2007
I finally got the rest of the beads sewn onto The Bittersweet Season. I like how this piece turned out for the most part. If I were to do anything differently, I would have used 3 strands of the ‘Black Crow’ floss, and 2 strands of the black #4 braid, to stitch the cat. I think the result looks a bit thin or sparse or something. Too much of the background shows through for my taste. And I might have used 1 strand of black braid and 1 strand of gold or silver or iridescent color, just so the stripe effect actually would show up. It’s there, but I have to tilt the piece “just so” for the light to catch the sparkle. Kind of irritating, but oh well.

All in all, I like this. I got to use a couple of new-to-me stitches, and stitch a piece in a genre of patterns I haven’t really done much with before now. The colors are nice (I like orange, but in small doses) and Halloween is one of my favorite times of year. I’m going to finish it as a hanging, I just have to find the perfect bit of twig/ stick/ branch first.
Apologies for the slight tilt, I was trying to fit the whole thing on my scanner. I almost did it, just a smidge snipped off the top star and the bottom row of stitches.

stash, tasty stash

Aug 17, 2007
While I was out of town visiting a good friend, we found a cross stitch shop in her town. A *real* cross stitch shop. As in a shop that is devoted to cross stitch, not a shop that just sort of happens to carry some charts and some DMC and maybe a few other things.

I may have gone a little wild, but I did keep my purchases within my “in hopes I find stash” limit I’d brought with me. 🙂

They carry the gold John James needles which I love, so I tossed a package of those in my pile. I can get them locally, on random occasions. (The store I found them at seems to re-stock them at infrequent intervals) I bought a nice size piece of a creamy/antique white shade of lugana (28ct). I could have bought more charts, but then I would have had to look locally or online for fabric when I have time to stitch them. I bought charts, and the floss and embellishments needed to stitch them. I can’t get Weeks Dye Works or The Gentle Art locally, and having to deal with online ordering later seemed silly when the threads were right there. I feel a little giddy all over again just thinking about it. heh. So what charts did I succumb to?

Lorri Birmingham Designs ‘Spring Needle Roll’ – it’s a kit, and it was the bee hive and little bee charms that did me in. I looked briefly online for it, and didn’t come across it, so I think it may be an older design. (a clearance sale sticker is another clue, lol)

Lizzie Kate ‘Wanted! – Santa ’02’ – I loved the saying on it “Wanted! Jolly Man Bearing Gifts.”

Two JBW French Country Designs- Rooster and Love.

Heartstrings ‘The Bittersweet Season’ – The photo on the chart doesn’t do it justice. The shop had a stitched model displayed, and it’s ridiculously cute without being too sweet.

I now have stash to keep me stitching for years to come, well, assuming I get the cloth and floss for all the charts I have in my drawer already. hmmmmmm.

Before we left on our trip, I picked up a copy of Cross Stitcher (issue 189). There are quite a few projects in it that I like and want to stitch eventually. And the issue came with a handy travel project bag.

And, finally, yesterday I received my shipment of fibers and beads that I need to complete the TW Needle Guardian I’m busy stitching. I’d love to say I’ll have a finish by Monday, but seem to have stressed a necessary hand a bit. Nothing a little ibuprofen won’t fix 😉 I will say that the Dinky Dyes silk floss is *gorgeous*. Worth having to wait two weeks.

I think any crafter experiences a similar Stash Sickness. It doesn’t seem to matter what your preferred artistic outlet is, we gather and store and gather some more, and perhaps part of it is the instant gratification of the acquiring process. Have to wait two weeks for some floss? Well, let’s just go get a magazine! Nearing the end of one project (nevermind that there are several others in progress)? Get supplies for several more! See a great bargain on something you might eventually possibly maybe want to do? Grab it before it’s gone! A sickness I tell you.

a finish and a WIP

I have a few things to share this evening. 🙂 The first one is a biscornu, my first ever. I realized after finishing it that it probably really should have had more stuffing inside. I also forgot to scan the two pieces of needlework before I stitched them together. oops.

Anyhow, the patterns came from My Aunt’s Attic. I used 28 ct antique white evenweave. The light side is stitched with Needle Necessities #119, and the more colorful side is stitched with Waterlilies #74 Storm Clouds, and Simply Shaker Butternut Squash. I was aiming for a more French blue, (should have realized that with a name like “Storm Clouds” the color was likely to be more gray than blue), but I still am pleased with the result.

My other piece to share this evening is a WIP. I’m stitching Needle Guardian by Teresa Wentzler (yay for Patterns Online! I’ve been wanting this one since I saw pics of it in someone’s blog who had attended the workshop.) It is also stitched on 28 ct antique white evenweave. I have some more lettering I can do, as well as the nun stitch border, but I’m almost out of things I can do until my order of Dinky Dyes, Kreinik and Mill Hill beads comes in. I thought about substituting things I have in my stash, and decided against it. For one thing, I looked online and couldn’t really find any variegated floss that had a similar colorway to the Dinky Dyes “Airlie”. I know that any TW stitched with her supply list turns out lovely. I’m not so sure what would happen if I replaced willy-nilly.

For anyone who intends to stitch this, if you’re as impatient as I am, you might want to order your floss *before* you start stitching it. It took me a while to find an online needlework shop that carries it which I was willing to do business with. And even so, they have to order it because they don’t have it in stock. I only found a few shops that said they had it in stock, usually just one skein. I wanted two skeins, in the same dye lot. I think I might want to stitch another one of these needlecases, and I didn’t want to have to twiddle my thumbs waiting for floss again. 🙂 I didn’t scan this, but when I finish it I’ll be sure to do a scan instead of just snapping a photo.

Rummage sales

(still have the charts, still haven’t kitted them up. I would have to develop a sudden desire to stitch people or angels in order to do so.)

July 14, 2007
I have a summertime hobby of going to yard sales (garage, rummage, etc). I almost never find good craft supplies, but I always look. Today I had the excellent fortune to find some bits of evenweave fabric. And… 6 charts.

In my glee and excitement over getting them for ten cents each (less than a dollar total) I forgot to ask the lady if she’d be interested in ever getting together for stitching chat. See, not only did I find charts, but I found *awesome* charts. Four of Rebecca Waldron’s Waldrop’s angels (Tudor, Victorian, Snow and Florentine), and two Lavender & Lace patterns (Celtic Christmas and Celtic Spring).

The L&L charts have pencil marks where she’d kept track of what she’d stitched, but the charts are still usable (and I might even be able to use an eraser lightly to clean it up so *I* can mark areas off as I go as well).

When one’s stash budget is limited, anything like this is a treasure trove indeed. When I actually get my current BAPs finished, I’ll be hard pressed to decide which one to start next.

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