Friday, July 31, 2015

July WIPocalypse

 Well it is WIPocalypse time, hosted by Measi@Measi'sMusings. The question of the month is:

What makes you pick up a long-abandoned UFO rather than beginning a new piece?

Well, first I must admit that I have no self control when it comes to starting new pieces. The more time I spend rolling in my stash, the more likely I am to start a new kit. So the first step is to stay out of my stash and off the internet, because there's always something new to buy and work on. Budgeting crafty money also helps prevent new starts. The second is that I drop a project when it gets boring or frustrating - and so I typically pick it back up a few months later when it is no longer boring. (I have a friend who is disciplined enough to finish each project before she starts another one. Extra brownie points to her!) If it is still frustrating when I get back to it, it will probably never get completed because I believe that working on projects I don't like is a waste of valuable crafty time. I have no set rotation and work on what I am interested in at the time. I've heard some people refer to this as a "Screaming Rotation" - whichever project screams the loudest gets worked on.

I do have a couple small updates. I finally took Library Kittens back to work with me and was able to get a little done this week on my lunch breaks. Most of the progress you see happened a few months ago but some tiny bits happened this week.


As of 07/31/2015
Rather than carry Library Kittens back and forth, I'm just going to leave it in my desk so that it is handy when I have time at lunch (i.e., not using my lunch break to run errands).

Although I haven't touched Fall Fairy since last weekend, here she is again. I was able to get quite a bit done over the weekend. Page one is filling in nicely and starting to bleed over into the other pages.


As of 7/31/2015
 On my way home today, I stopped to buy a frame for Butterfly Profusion, which is at an awkward 11x11 finished size. There are no mass manufactured frames in 14 x 14. The best option was 12 x 12 but there aren't any mats to fit. I asked the lady there how much it would cost to just have a custom built frame and I would do the stretching and framing myself and it was MORE expensive to frame it myself than pay them for the framing also.

Long story short, I walked out without a frame and with no intention of paying ten times (and that's at 65% off!!!!) what the kit initially cost. My next option is to call some local needlework shops and see if they can recommend a good framer in the area. I would rather have some someone who specializes in stitchery do the framing or do it myself if I can purchase an affordable frame.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Here Be Dragons

Today was Fairy Garden making day. Astrid and I started with a pile of dollar store finds (marbles, rocks, moss), four plants she picked out at the garden center, and a selection of her own little miniatures and trinkets.

By the time she finished, she had created a beautiful and very personalized fairy garden. I was also told that this was "the best craft idea you've had yet Auntie 'Nay" so I'm going to count that as a win.

There is a fairy cottage, a wishing well, a river and a pond complete with ducklings, a dragon with his treasure horde, cats, lizards, a mushroom, butterflies, and various other "easter egg" type surprises, including a small packet of saltine crackers "in case the fairies get hungry" and a bottle of bubbles for them to play with.

She even made a sign for the dragon (I think this is her favorite feature of the garden.)

But I think my favorite is the little cottage we made. Its constructed of a plastic container, covered in fabric, with a moss roof, bark door, and decorated with flowers. She also asked me to paint a cobweb on it with the hot glue gun.

The whole thing is quite delicate and I will have to figure out a way to get it home safely. Most items are just placed in the garden and a light breeze would knock them sideways. There really isn't a way to hot glue gun the cottage to the dirt.

There might be more of these in the future, as my own interest is piqued and I have spent some time browsing this adorable book on how to build fairy furniture from found objects.

"Fairy House" by Mike & Debbie Schramer
It is chock full of creative ideas and a really interesting read.

It's a Finish!

My second turtle trot project is completed!

"Butterfly Profusion" by Dimensions. Completed on 07/24/2015
I was very excited to finish and didn't put it down until completed. I was up late last night finishing. I am really looking forward to getting it framed and hung up.

Rather than start a new one, I was good and pulled Fall Fairy back out for my nice quiet Saturday morning stitching. I'd like to keep this one out until I finish the page.

My niece and I are supposed to make fairy gardens this weekend. I've never made one before and so I am not quite sure how it is going to work out but I guarantee it will be an adventure.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

From Waffle Fry to Medic Flag

Its been a little quiet on the crafty front due to issues with both of my machines. Ms. Parker's tension issues have finally been resolved tonight by installing a new bobbin case, so I was able to *gasp* Finish a Project! Remember the belt flag that started as a waffle fry? I may not have posted a picture of it, so here is Gen 1 of Baline Medic belt flag.

After several iterations and some fussing with the pattern, I have a final draft. Let's call this Gen 3, shall we?

I consider it a vast improvement over the original.

Kaylee is also having tension issues, so I ordered a new bobbin case for her as well. I also may have resolved my freestanding lace issue by purchasing heavy duty water soluble stabilizer, but it hasn't been tested yet because I promptly misplaced it as soon as I got home yesterday. The lack of organization in my sewing room is driving me up a wall, which brings us to what I was fiddling around with while my sewing machines were out of commission.

I have drafted this at least twice in the past couple of weeks during meetings at work and last night I was able to put it on graphing paper. It is wall hanging stabilizer storage for my embroidery stabilizers, because as I have unfortunately discovered, every project needs a new type of stabilizer. 

It is a rough draft but now I have some idea where to start. I think I will make it out of duck cloth, so I should have enough on hand. I would like to reinforce the back with cardboard, which will be an adventure, and use grommets and command hooks to hang it under my embroidery shelf. It is designed to hold three types of precuts and six rolls of stabilizer. I am considering adding a third rod if it will fit to hold the heat and bond lite that I keep misplacing.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Advice Needed!

I have been attempting to get this project stitched out on my embroidery machine for about a week now.

Fierce Dragon (Lace) by Urban Threads
It is still missing one of the wings because every time I try to stitch it, I get a birds nest underneath the stitching, my embroidery machine jams up, and then there is crying and screaming (from both me and the machine).

I have tried everything from a new needle to fresh wound bobbin, two layers of stabilizer instead of one, rethreading, adjusting the tension, and cleaning the machine of all lint particles. Last night and tonight I decided that I just wasn't going to deal with it and I didn't even bother. Any other ideas that my brilliant readers have that could help would be most welcome. I have an embroidery project for someone else that has been sitting for seven months because I can't count on my machine to be reliable enough to attempt to stitch it.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Embroidery Machine Play

Now that Ragnarok is over, I decided to settle in and do a few new things with the embroidery machine. The first thing I wanted to do was make myself and Maeve medic belt flags.

My first attempt looked more like a waffle fry than a red cross.

The next two were better. I like the gold, but it doesn't really specify "Medic."

Then my brain kicked into gear and I realized that I had software for this. Why on earth was I stitching out every color scheme?

Now we're talking. I haven't really decided which one to go with, but it will probably be the silver crosses or the all red and white one. I like the silver option, because it relates to our House Heraldry (which is also the reason for the Jerusalem Cross instead of the standard red cross). I also learned a few nifty things that my software does, such as aligning various elements and how to change the background to view the embroidery on different colors.

After playing around with that for a while, I felt brave enough to attempt to embroider a knit t-shirt. I rounded up my supplies, watched a couple tutorials, found a old t-shirt I didn't care about and discovered that I had purchased the wrong type of water soluble stabilizer for a topper. Oops.

But it was exactly the RIGHT type of water soluble stabilizer to experiment with free standing lace... and voila! Meet my little mini 3D patriotic butterfly, carefully stitched while I worked on one of my quilts.

This one will go into the stockpile of accents and accessories that will make it onto my crazy quilt some day. I expect that I will have several more of these to show before too long - it is just too much fun to make them!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

WIP Wednesday

It's Wednesday and time for a WIP Update.

Camp Nano: Going well at 4295 words out of my 30,000 word goal. So far there have been two days without writing and today I only wrote ~200 words on my lunch break. I'm also trying to step up my reading of urban fantasy novels. I've made it through two, one that I liked and one that I didn't. Lessons learned both ways.

Cross stitch projects: I heard back from Dimensions and they will be sending my threads out soon, meaning I *might* be able to finish Butterfly Profusion this month. In the meantime, I put The Might Samurai on my frame for those TV nights.

Not much new to see here yet, just a little bit of the trees on the left were added this week.

Quilts: Kona sunset was squared up and the border fabric ironed. I didn't cut and stitch the borders yet and here is why:

When I ordered the stonehenge fabric for Jack's quilt, I overpaid on shipping and the Etsy seller sent me that charm pack to refund the extra shipping. Pretty awesome, yes? It's full of a rainbow of colors and I know EXACTLY what quilt I'm going to make with it.

Only instead of all low volume backgrounds, I'm going to use whites, grays, and blacks, with the whites closest to the colors and fading to blacks. That means that I need to get the current quilt off of my design floor, where it had been since early May.

I blame Ragnarok for making this project long term and saying prayers of thanks for a wonderful husband who doesn't mind it when I leave a quilt on the floor for days months.

What are you working on this week? Linking up to WIP Wednesday@ Freshly Pieced and Let's Bee Social@Sew Fresh Quilts

Monday, July 6, 2015


Today, the loot I ordered for Jack's medallion quilt came in the mail.

Gray gradations from black to white and copper gradations from very pale yellow to dark brown. All in Northcott Stonehenge fabrics. I ***LOVE*** stonehenge fabrics and would work with only those and batiks if I could afford to do so. Squee! If they ever come out with a complete set like Fossil Fern did I would happily buy them all.

I'm hoping to achieve something of a 3D effect with these fabrics.

The arrival of such exciting loot sent me scurrying to my computer to research quilts and now my head is so bursting with ideas.

Celtic Medallion I by Scarlet Rose
8 inch quilt block pattern by Creative Quilt Kits
Venetian Tile Inspiration from The Floor of Venice
Baltimore Allbum Applique
Gosh, the possibilities are endless. I've mentally drafted the center medallion of the quilt at least in part. It will be the Baline Cross, set in celtic knots, and I'm pretty sure I can work in some embroidered Akron dragons as cornerstones. MUST NOT START NEW QUILT....

Sunday, July 5, 2015

YOTA & July WIPocalypse

The Great Ragnarok Cleanup continues. I had family over for Independence Day yesterday, so things moved a little bit faster this year than last. The house is now functional again and I'm hoping to spend some time during the rest of the month taking care of some dejunking and organizing projects that are is desperate need of attention. 

True to my plan, I've stuck to only a few projects so far this month. Most notably, I've made it as far as I can on Butterfly Profusion. I am short in two colors of thread, the green for the leaves and the yellow for the last of the final butterfly wing.

I've submitted a request to Dimensions for the missing threads, and in the meantime, I'll move onto the other projects on my list.

I've worked on my Nano Novel four out of five days so far. It isn't coming along quickly, but it is coming along. I am currently sitting pretty at 2064 words. Smiles!

Linking up to YOTA@Pulltheotherthread and WIPocalypse@Measi'sMusings.

As for the WIPocalypse Question: "Reality or Fantasy. Which do you prefer to stitch? Figures or Abstract? "

I prefer fantasy, as I'm sure you can tell from my current projects and my stash. I also seem to prefer figures, although I do dearly love Aimee Stewart's scenery art, such as The Jade Gates, Journey's End, Foxglove Ball, and The Magic Grotto. If the Jade Gates is ever made into a cross stitch pattern, it will be the next one I purchase. Number One on my wishlist right now is Guardian Angel by LA Williams.
Guardian Angel b LA Williams

 I'm waiting to buy it until I request a larger size. Right now it is being sold as 400 X 280 stitches and super sized, and I would really prefer to stitch it somewhere in between.