Saturday, September 29, 2012

September WIPocalypse update

Good morning from stormy North Carolina!  In order to make up for last month's lack of progress, I have two finishes to share today.  First up is 'Black'd Skie' by The Primitive Needle.  Here's where I was at the start of 2012:
And here it is finished (if slightly cattywampus in the photo):
This was actually pretty quick stitching once I got back into it.  I stitched it with my own selection of fibers, mostly Belle Soie silks, but a few others thrown in as well.  I don't think I came terribly close to the original, so if you don't like the colors, blame it on me, not the designer.  I switched the colors because I wanted to use overdyes, but I had no clue where to find the brand of fibers that she actually called for.  It is stitched on 40 count 'Gravestone' linen from Stitches and Spice.  I love their fabrics.  I should really try to acquire more of them.  They are a joy to stitch on.

I also finished up an ornament designed by Blackberry Lane that was in last year's JCS Halloween issue.  I actually did all the over one stitching last year.  But by the time I picked out the fabric for finishing, Halloween was long over so I put the piece aside til this year.
Please excuse the hair on the piece.  It seems Scout was helping me photograph this ornament more than I realized.   I didn't even see how furry the back was until I was editing this photo:
Sigh.  My life is covered in fur!

In other news, I put my package in the mail for DixieSampler's Haunted Halloween exchange earlier this week.  As soon as I hear that the recipient has gotten it, I'll post photos.  Meanwhile, I am looking forward to receiving a package myself.  I also have one more Halloween ornament that needs to have the trim attached and then it will be finished.  After that, I'm not sure what I'll stitch on.  I really need to get back to my BAP challenge piece, but it's so tempting to start a new Halloween design instead!  Only time will tell which urge will win out!  And, oh dear, I guess I need to consider what WIPocalypse-worthy item I'll pick up next as well.  There are no more outstanding Halloween pieces, unless you count pieces selected but not one single stitched yet placed.

I am also working to get things ready for entry into the NC State Fair displays.  I'll be dropping some stitching and scrapbooking off towards the end of this coming week... but I don't have all my scrapbooking pages finished!  They'll get done.  Eventually.  : )  I am also planning to decorate the house for Halloween this weekend.  The husband thinks I should wait til it is actually October.  I disagree.  I will post decor photos later this week.

Til next time, stay dry and stay creative!

Monday, September 24, 2012

It's time to start the wedding album!

Yes, I've made two shower albums, and although I have decided to make another mini-album documenting activities from the day before the wedding, I don't have the budget for acquiring the perfect album yet.  So, I am taking the plunge and starting on the wedding album itself.  There are somewhere around 800 photos to sort through and organize.  The mind boggles.  I have decided not to try to plan the whole thing out ahead of time, as my head might explode.  Instead, I'll take one little bit at a time.  So, I started with a simple page showcasing the invitation:
This page is sporting some seriously old Rusty Pickle paper.  Ah, what a fun paper company that was!

One more page has been finished.  I used a ton of Websters Pages for this one, which is about the way I felt waking up the morning of my wedding:
I had some issues with the title, I started by adding a light layer of gesso to the paper, thinking that would make the letters stand out.  When that wasn't enough, I went back and outlined the letters with black ink.  Someone small and furry distracted me mid-trace, so I didn't do a perfect job.
I cut the wedding dress, the scalloped paper, and the heart out of spare bits of paper, and then added a few pearls to the dress to give it a little more bling.
It was a fun page to make!

It seems that any time I'm working on an album, I end up with way more photos than I actually use in the album.  Some people might be able to choose what they want to scrap ahead of time and order only those pictures, but I just don't seem to be able to work that way.  So what do I do with the leftover photos?  They are perfectly good images, and it seems crazy to throw them away.  But shoving them all together into a large bucket (which is what I had been doing) gets a little nutso too.  You can't see any of the pictures, and should I for some reason want one of them, it takes forever to dig through everything.  The other day, I found these 200 image albums at AC Moore for only $1 apiece.  I grabbed a few, and I think I'll end up going back for a few more.  I'm going to stick labels on the sides so I know what's in each one, and hopefully this will make for a more organized photo collection.  And look, I found albums with birdcages on the front!

On the stitching front, I have been working a bit on 'Black'd Skie', but I don' t have a photo tonight.  I'll have to share later this week.  I've also been working on a couple of Halloween ornaments.  Photos will go up when I finish them.  I have finished gather goodies for my Halloween exchange, and I plan on making a trip to the post office later in the week.

I have started going through my stash looking for supplies to make some of the cute ornaments I've selected from this year's JCS ornament issue.  This turned out to be a bit more frustrating than I'd expected it to be.  For starters, I found a rather large handful of stitched, but not finished, ornaments.  I thought I'd done away with that problem last year, but sadly, I have not!  I also got a little frustrated by these two skeins of thread:
I won't name the company, but THESE TWO SKEINS OF THREAD ARE SUPPOSED TO BE THE SAME COLOR!!!  And dude, they aren't even close.  I purchased them a couple of years apart, but still, that is a crazy color difference.  I guess I'll just put them both with the rest of the fibers for the project and decide which one I like best.

Okay, that's enough complaining for one night.  I guess I'm blessed that my biggest worry this evening is nonmatching dye lots.  So I leave you with miss Spike, who is celebrating the cooler weather by snuggling on our bed now that there is a nice cozy blanket thrown across it.
Til next time, have a crafty moment or two!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

It's a frameup!

As mentioned in my last post, I spent most of yesterday hanging out with Mom at her house.  While Dad was busy framing the four pieces I pinned a couple of weeks ago, I spent some time checking out the new goodies Mom had picked up at the Baltimore market (and no, I didn't realize there was a Baltimore market until she announced she was going... I think it's a newer market).  I got to see some beautiful new overdyed cottons from Weeks and Sampler Threads, and some delicious looking silks elizabethan silks, but I've forgotten who they were from!  Horn books, new linen fabrics, there were so many lovely things to admire.

I showed her some of my newest finishes, including this little guy from the 2010 JCS Halloween issue:
I've been wanting to stitch this piece since I first saw, but only just got supplies and time all together for stitching and finishing.  I used a piece of black (or dark gray) flannel for the back.  You can see the slight pattern in the fabric in this overexposed photo:
Once show and tell was over, we settled down to business, discussing design options for our Cabinets of Curiosities.  I have just about decided that I will be primarily relying on panel designs that are being provided to us, while Mom is much more ambititous.  She's trying to come up with designs for a North Carolina themed casket.  Next month's lesson is finally going to have us actually putting needle to thread for the first time (so excited), and we had some prework to do in tracing the image we will be stitching onto a piece of linen:
Please believe me when I tell you that tracing onto such dark linen and lining it up so that it's square on the fabric is easier said than done.  Can't wait to see what our next lesson brings!

I was also able to pick up an issue of this year's JCS Christmas Ornament issue while at Mom's.  I loved so many more ornaments in this issue than I have in recent years.  As you can see, I've picked out quite a few that I'd like to stitch up this year... wonder how many I'll actually get around to stitching!
Now on to the framed pieces.  I took these photos before the glass was added to the frames.d  This first one was my first stitching finish for this year, Jenni Bean's Creation Sampler:
 Here's Janet Gibson in her uber-ornate frame:
 I finished the North Wind last year, and had some issues finding a frame to fit it, as the recommended frame did NOT work at all:
 And finally, a piece that I finished years ago, and that has never been shared on this blog.  Winter in the Park is a Chatelaine Mystery design, the first Chatelaine design I ever bought, and the only one that I've actually finished.  It's hard to see the sparkly gorgeousness of this piece in this photo.  It's much prettier in person.
That's about it for today.  I will leave you with an image of what I found clogging up my sink last night while I was getting ready for bed:
Silly Lucky!  Til next time, have a creative day, everyone!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

September TUSAL and a trip to Atlanta

Good evening!  This month's TUSAL update had to be relocated due to inclement weather.  Here it is:

If you want to read more about the TUSAL (or maybe even join in), check out Daffycat's blog here .

I did not get much stitching or scrapping done since my last posting.  On Wednesday, I joined my husband in Atlanta, where he had been all week for a business trip.  He spent some time in this beautiful city while he was in school, so we ended up meeting with several of his former classmates, churchmates, and professors while we were in town.  We also go the chance to explore the Georgia Aquarium.  What a wonderful place! Both of us really enjoyed our time there.  Some of the tanks were just huge, and full of so many beautiful fish.  It was hard to get many great pictures, but I did get a few decent ones, including this one of a cool little starfish:
 Some of these tanks were HUGE!  I think you can get some sense of the scale by noting the full grown man in the bottom corner:
 We got to watch them feeding the sea otters, who were very cute:
 And the South African penguins were lovely as well:
Although I don't have a picture of it, one of the funniest things we saw involved an employee in scuba gear working in one of the tanks.  He kicked a small shark lurking at the bottom of the tank (not on purpose) and suddenly, the little guy was biting him on the knee.  It must not have hurt much, because he just looked at us and pointed down at his knee to make sure we were watching what was happening.  Funny (since neither seemed to be the worse for the wear).

I also visited the Atlanta History Center, where I toured this gorgeous early 20th century home called Swan House:
Is it just me, or does this front door make anyone else think of the TARDIS?
I know.  It's mostly because it's such a pretty shade of blue.

Even after we got back home, I didn't get much stitching done.  The weekend just seemed to stay busy.  Later this week, I'm planning a visit to Mom and Dad's where I hope to deliver some pinned pieces for framing, pick up a copy of the JCS Christmas issue, and work with Mom on our Cabinet of Curiosities course projects.  So I hope to have another update later in the week.  Til then, I hope everyone has a wonderful, creative week.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Seasonal Stitching

Greetings, friends!  Have you been enjoying this fresh, fall weather?  I know I have!  I had all the windows in the house open all day yesterday, and I'm planning to do the same today.  It's so nice to feel the gentle breezes and hear the wind moving through the trees.  Back in Lumberton, leaving the windows open could be a pleasure, but also meant I had to deal with the loud sounds of traffic rushing by as I lived on one the main roads going through downtown.  It's so much more tranquil here at the new home.

I went to the wedding of a college friend over the weekend, and, in addition to getting to see how beautiful and happy she was, I got to spend lots of time with other sorority sisters.  Needless to say, not much stitching got done over the weekend.  But there was plenty of stitching late last week and during the first half of this week, so I have two projects to share with you today.

I have decided to devote most, if not all, of this month to working on Halloween and fall related stitching projects.  I continued to work on finishing the exchange project I mentioned in my last blog.  I was almost finished, when I saw a small problem and had to quit.  The background: when leaving the church after the wedding on Saturday, I managed to smash my hand against the opening mechanism of one of the doors.  In fact, I drove the knuckle of my thumb into the metal, and made a nasty little gash.  Fact: it is very hard for a wound to scab up if you are constantly pulling the wound back open through regular movement of the thumb joint.  I hadn't really thought too much of it til yesterday as I was tightly gripping fabric with said thumb in order to bind the fabric together.  My knuckle looked rather... oozy.  So I had to quit doing things that forced my thumb to bend quite so far.  Regular stitching is okay, thank goodness, but no finishing for a while.  (do you get the feeling I am rather accident prone?)  So I guess my exchange piece will have to sit to the side for the next week or so.  I hope this stupid thing heals soon.  I can't hold a pen very well either.

Anyway, on to the things I can show you.   I finished up a pin pillow (before the injury) using a cute little freebie pattern from Primitvebettys .  It is stitched on a piece of 36 count Picture This Plus fabric.  I was being a little experimental with the ribbon trim.  Each place where the ribbon touches the pillow is marked with a mourning pin, and I stuck two more into the pillow itself.  I think it looks okay, do you?

I have also been working on The Primitive Needle's "Black'd Skie."  I started this piece less September after my grandmother died unexpectedly.  I wanted something suitably mournful to work on during that time, and this piece certainly fit the bill.  I put aside in November, and returned to it at the start of this month.  I still miss my grandmother so very much, and I find that she has been on my mind even more as the anniversary of her death has come and gone.  So many things have happened that I wish I could have shared with her: my engagement, my wedding, my first attempts at growing vegetables, all immediately come to mind.  (with a little shake) I've been kind of surprised at how quickly I was able to move on this piece this week and last.  Here's where I was when I put this away last year:

I finished the third block in the lefthand column:

And also finished the second block on the right:

Only one block and the upper and lower band left to go!  However, I am thinking that I will set this aside for another week or so and work on some ornaments from the past few JCS Halloween issues (stitching only, of course) for a little while.

I also found time this weekend to attend an event at the Durham Library featuring Margaret Maron as a speaker.  If you don't know how Ms. Maron is, you are missing out.   She is a wonderful mystery writer who sets her novels in various locations in North Carolina.  Her heroine, Deborah Knotts, is a district court judge.  I haven't read all of her books (I situation I plan to quickly remedy), but I've enjoyed each one that I have read.  There are several more events related to her novels going on at the public library this month, and I hope to attend most of them.  Next Sunday, we're going to be talking about bootlegging (and in case you didn't know, bootlegging is responsible for that sport so near and dear to many southerners' hearts, automobile racing).  So if you're in the mood for a little mystery, check out 'The Bootlegger's Daughter', or one Margaret Maron's other wonderful books.
Til next time, I hope everyone has a wonderful, creative time!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Aloha album, part two

Well, it has certainly been a rather interesting day around here.  I was starting to straighten up a bit as we will be having a guest staying over this weekend.  I was cleaning out the boot tray, which sits in our breakfast nook, when I noticed that the cover on one of the outlets looked like it was coming off.   Upon closer inspection, I discovered that this rather soft plastic covering was warping away from the wall, the plugs themselves felt a bit warm, and there was moisture running down the wall from under the cover.  Yikes!  THe outlet is directly under a window, so I can only assume that there is some sort of leak on the interior of that wall (wish I'd found this a week ago before our new home warranty ran out).  I think the problem has been going on for a while because I noticed what looked like a drip mark beneath the outlet 3 weeks ago, but I thought I'd splashed something out of the boot tray and just cleaned it up.  Anyway, the electricity to the outlet has been turned off (after many tries to find the fuse that belongs to said outlet), and I'm now waiting for hubby to pull the thing apart and decide what comes next.

Enough with the homeowner drama, though.  It's time for the rest of my shower album.
 This was another two sided insert tucked into a pocket.

 In this next pocket page, I tucked some papers that we used for playing games at the shower behind the photo insert.  As you can see, the photo is labeled 'prizes.'  Since the prize is a rather silly one, I will leave it discreetly hidden inside the little pocket!

 This was one of several funny stories about some of the wedding gifts we received.  I had registered for this pretty glass pitcher at Belks.  For whatever reason, the fact that someone had purchased said pitcher was never reflected in my registry, no matter how many different times it was scanned in.  So I received two pitchers at this shower.  And a week later, I received two more.  There's no telling how many pitchers we would have ended up with if I hadn't finally just deleted it from my registry completely!  But I love them, and ended up keeping two of the four.  They've been used a couple of times already, and are sure to be filled with much sweet tea in the future.

 One cool thing that some of the guests did was write down a short story about a favorite memory of me on the back of a card enclosed in their invites.  I tucked those cards inside the last pocket in the album.

The inside back cover was used to display one last photo:
And there you have it.  Wonderful memories of a wonderful party in a wonderful little album.  
I leave you with a snapshot of my most foolish cat, loving on my broken toe, which was (thankfully) safely protected by this ugly black boot.
Til next time, stay safe and be crafty!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Aloha mini album

Good evening everyone, and welcome to my new followers.  Wow!  I am getting pretty close to 100.  I'm going to have to think of a nice giveaway if I ever do reach triple digits.  Hmmm.

In the stitching department, I have no photos to share.  But I have been busy.  I stitched something for a Halloween exchange I'm participating in, now I just need to do the finishing.  I have also selected and ordered frames for 4 pieces.  This morning I pinned to pieces to their boards, and adjusted the pinning on one side of a third piece that my dad had so sweetly started for me.  One more piece to pin (and it's a huge one) and then I'll head back over to Mom and Dad's sometime in the next couple of weeks so that Dad can finish the framing.  I've decided to enter one piece in this year's state fair.  That is, I'm going to enter if I successfully managed to properly complete my entry form.  I'm pretty sure I did, but sorting through all those online instructions and picking categories can be a bit daunting.  I have pulled out a piece I started last September to work on for the rest of the week, so I'll post photos of it next week, most likely.

In the scrapping department, I finished a mini album documenting the Aloha themed bridal shower that was thrown for me back in March.  I'm super excited about this little album.  It might not be anything fancy, but it was so much fun to put together.  I don't do a lot of mini albums, so this was a wonderful break from my usual 12x12 layouts.
I got the album itself from Farmhouse Paper Company, which is a new company.  It's the cutest little thing, with little pockets and inserts as well as several chipboard pages.  I love the variety of the inside pages.  And all of the paper is from Graphic 45's Tropical Travelogue line.  The front cover was made using parts of two of the invitations.  I found out long after I had glued them down that my sister somehow ended up with no invitations, while I had two (which is kind of funny since she never mailed one to me), but it's too late to give her one now!
I used every bit of available space to include images from the party (except the backside of the back cover), because there were so many I wanted to keep.
Hmm, pretend the image above has been rotated 90 degrees.  I made several of my embellishments stand up off the page with foam tape or pop dots.  And of course, there's lots of inking on every page!
Using the 6 tabbed pages, I divided the album into 6 sections: Food, Friends, Family, Games, Gifts, an Memories.  The front tab was covered with blue crackle paint, while the back side of the tabs were either inked or covered in white crackle paint.  I used a tiny crystal swirl on every tab except for 'Memories,' which was too long for the crystals to fit.
The food and drinks were delicious.  However, my hostesses definitely had a mischeivous side.  They snuck Spam sandwiches onto my plate (Spam is very popular in Hawaii, our honeymoon destination and the inspiration for the shower theme).  And they also spiked my punch with rum.  I am very fond of rum, but I thought it was a little wicked of them as I was rather sick with a cold or some such at the time of the shower and already feeling floaty enough as it was.
I know most of you are just skimming through these images and aren't really interested in the method behind my madness, but if you happen to make an album and add some images that only fit sideways, make sure that you turn them all the same direction so that the viewer only has to tilt the album one direction in order to look at the sideways photos.  Here, all of my vertical photos are laid out so that their bottoms are on the left hand side of the page.

See what I mean about the little pockets and inserts?  My photos showing the door prizes and room decorations can be tucked neatly inside of the little map image (this came in very handy later on in the album as I will explain later).
You can't tell we're related, can you?  : )

One of my friends gave me a sheet of Jolee's stickers as part of my gift.  I used most of the sheet in this album, and my favorite sticker was the lei.  I cut a portion of it off an added it around my neck.  Then I used the three leftover flowers to add a lei to Melissa's neck as well so that all three of us would be sporting flowers.

I really am so very fortunate to have such wonderful friends from so many areas of my life.  

Okay, that's half the album, and a ton of photos!  I'll post the second half of the album by the end of the week.  I am thinking that the next thing I will tackle scrapwise are the photos from our rehearsal and rehearsal dinner.  I am seriously tempted to make another mini album for those photos.  Of course, I'd want to find another Farmhouse album.  Wonder how hard that will be.  Til next time, I hope everyone has a little time to be creative!