Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Done with time to spare!

All finished with plenty of time to spare!  I'm super happy with how they turned out.  Two boxes have a green base coat and two have a red base.  All four have different trims and all the linens are different.  I lined all of them with a hand made marbled paper in green.  I also went to a glass artist and made a glass ornament to put in each box.  :-)  I'm confident that my family will love it.  I'm sad however, two of my siblings are saying they are done with our tradition.  We've done this for over 20 years and it's been a lot of fun.  We decided we would take a vote on Wednesday but I'm pretty sure I'll loose but we did agree to circle back in a year and take another vote 

I had a question last week regarding the waxing of the paper mache boxes.  I follow the steps from a box that Blackbird Designs did in 2006 called Secret Garden (it was a Loose Feathers).  I take a paper mache box and paint it with two coats of a base acrylic paint then give it a third (and maybe fourth) coat of the top color.  After it's all dry I buff off enough of the top color so the base color shows through.  It also gives it a nice smooth finish.  The I wax it all with brown shoe wax and buff it until is shines.  I use Kiwi Wax.  You can see in the photo below, it totally enhances the final look of the box. 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

New start

I started on one of the new Shepherd's Bush kits this week.  This one is Goodness and Grace.  It's a good start for only a couple of train rides this week.  I'm still working on getting my boxes completed for Christmas - I should be totally finished by the end of the weekend.  I have all my supplies in hand and it's going well.  The boxes are painted and tonight I'll stain and wax them.  I'll post photos when they are complete.

Friday, December 12, 2014

All done! Blackbird's Winter Delivery Finis

Blackbird Designs - Blackbird Delivery
Recommended floss
Silkweaver's 32 count Solo

I just finished up my fourth Blackbird's Winter Delivery.  I've ordered the hand marbled paper for the interior and I'm hoping it comes in the mail today.  I'll get the boxes painted and waxed and I'd love to have the boxes completed by the end of the weekend.  Yeah!  I'm going to finish in plenty of time and I won't have to stress about anything but getting them wrapped in pretty Christmas paper. 

Have a great weekend!

Monday, December 08, 2014

Three down! Blackbird's Winter Delivery finis

Blackbird's Winter Delivery
Blackbird Designs
Recommended Floss
R&R 32 count linen
Number three is in the books!  Now that I'm close to having four finished, it seems unlikely that I will stitch one for myself.  Very bored with this design.  :-)  So far this is my favorite but the last one will be up there also as I found a Silkweavers Solo that I loved and really like how it is turning out. 
I picked up the paper mache boxes from Hobby Lobby over the weekend and will start to paint those this week.  I should be done by the end of the weekend!  That is if I go with fabric for the interior rather than paper as I haven't purchased the paper yet.  I'm leaning toward just doing it in fabric so I can be done. 

Here are the three completed deliveries. 

And number four on the Silkweavers 32 count solo.  Love it.

Have a great week and thanks for stopping by!

Friday, December 05, 2014

a slight delay

I was hoping to have number three done a couple of days ago.  However I was sidelined by a case of food poisoning the entire long weekend.  I went to lunch with a friend on Friday and by dinnertime was down until Monday.  :-(  Bummer.  I'm hoping to get this one finished up by the end of the weekend - if would be great to get these four done by mid-December.  Then I can breath and move onto something that I really want to be working on. 

Friday, November 28, 2014

two down and three to go - Blackbird's Winter Delivery finis


Blackbird's Winter Delivery - Blackbird Designs
32 count Silkweaver's Linen
Recommended Gentle Arts Floss

I finished up Winter Delivery number two today.  And I've already started number three.  I hope to have that one finished by mid-next week.  I have to go out and buy the paper mache boxes, sure hope I can fine some with Christmas crafting in full swing.  :-)
Here are the first two together. 

Have a great weekend!

Monday, November 24, 2014

One down... Blackbird's Winter Delivery finis

Blackbird's Winter Delivery
32 count Silkweaver Linen
Recommended Gentle Arts Floss

I finished up my first Winter Delivery last night.  I'm stitching five of these before Christmas.  YIKES!  Am I ever running behind.  I started stitching this one in July with a plan of doing one a month.  That would still give me plenty of time for the finishing work.  As a refresher, it's my year to make something for all my brothers, sister and parents for Christmas.  But the count of five does include one for me (I want one too!).  Now I have to do one a week.  :-)  And in true fashion to my personality, now it's a job and no longer a pleasure and I have SO MANY other things I want to be working on right now it's torcher to work on it.  I want to be finishing my stumpwork project or getting a few more lessons completed on my Drawn Thread Sampler (more on that later).  In fact I promised myself that I would work on it at least an hour every day starting last Monday.  Didn't pick it up until Thursday.  :-(  I know I can get at least three done before the week of December 22nd but now the fun has been sucked out. 
Here is number two - I'm stitching this one on a really pretty Silkweaver's green.  But of course I take crappy photos and you can't see it's a piney color.  Each one will be on a different background and since I'm just winging the personalization, each will be a little different.  I'm thinking of making the little snowflakes on each one a little different also. 

I'm going to make each one the top of a little 5" x 5" x 5" paper mache box.  I still need to order the hand made papers from Hollander's.  I want to line each one with hand made marbled paper.  I'd also like to put something in it.  Any suggestions?  I could go buy an hand blown glass ornament (thinking a bird) or candle or something like that.  I wish I had time to make something but I really am out of time. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Floral Glove Finis

I finished up my Floral Glove today!  I had no idea when I started this project it would not take months but years.  :-)  I guess that is the way it turns out sometime.  I'm pleased with the overall look of it but I do see room for improvement in my goldwork.  I'm looking for a class as we speak. 
Here is the inside.  There is a needle holder, three little pockets for tools and a pair of scissors fits in between the two pieces in the ultrasuede.  Love it. 
I spent the last two days attending a Jane Nicholas stumpwork class.  What it ever amazing!  Jane is a wonderful teacher and I learned so much.  I actually made a lot of progress on my piece and I hope to finish it up in the next couple of weeks.  This was an important step in being able to complete my casket and it really helped my confidence a lot. 
I didn't mean for three months to go by between posts.  I was really on a role with stitching and posting but then I really had to get down to business with my eighteen costumes I agreed to do before my families Halloween cruise.  And here are photos of some.  I'll post more in the days to come as they are scattered all over the place as well as some are still in hard copy and need to be scanned. 
I did nine pirates.  These were my favorites and we'll be able to use them for every Disney cruise we go on.  Only the three kids will need to be replaced every year - the adults will just get upgrades and I feel like it.

The evil queen turned out to be my favorite costume.  People stopped my nephews wife in the halls to be photographed with her is was so good.  I think my Elsa was one of the better ones there.  There were dozens of little girls dressed up like Anna and Elsa. 

Of course we had our own Elsa.  Here she is with Cruella and Mary Poppins (my niece, great niece and sister).

I'll post the group photos as soon as I have them.  It was a blast and so worth the hundreds of hours I put into them since June. 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Stitching complete

 I've finished up the stitching on my floral glove.  Do I ever need some classes on goldwork.  It's a hot mess.  :-)  But now I know it's not the piece of cake I thought it would be so I'll go find some books and in person classes on it.  I would like to get really good at it as I love it.  I'm already working on the finishing and I would love to make some progress here but I have a pretty full weekend with quilting a quilt that I need to give away next Friday - nothing like waiting to the last minute. 

Here is the first part of the Cruella DeVille costume that I'm making for one of my great nieces.  Next for this one a black and white cocktail style dress. 

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 14, 2014


So close to finishing up the stitching on my floral glove.  It's been harder than I thought it would be.  In theory, it's just couching but getting it just right is more difficult.  I really need to take an in person gold work class.  Thistle Threads still offers an online course but I really want in person.  And I already send them so much $$ a month for my stumpwork, I can't bare sending more!  LOL!

I'm still planning on getting this puppy done by tomorrow night.  Then (gasp) I can start the finishing! 

Here is my progress on my third panel for my Etui - not as much as I've been hoping for but I haven't had many train rides over the past two weeks and this is my current train project.  I ordered the Shepherd's Bush Shepherd's Fold pieces and I was really hoping to finish this before the pull of that makes me put this aside.  :-)  We'll see how strong I am.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Fun at the Faire

 I totally had a blast at the Renaissance Faire on Saturday.  And I even managed to get some stitching and quilting done.  I have started on the medal work on my floral glove.  And I'm officially finished with Part 3.  Only one more stitching section to go and the I get to start finishing this one.  It's going to go fast now and only couching of medal threads and more of the medal overlays.  I can actually see myself finishing the stitching by the weekend if I keep at it at night. 
 Here is my start of my first Amy Mitten casket toys.  This will be a needle case when it's complete.  Amy's instructions are so complete and I'm going to learn and practice many skills that I need for a successful casket.  I'm getting happy with how my long and short stitches are progressing.  I still have room for improvement but I'm so much better than my first attempts. 
 I also managed to complete month six of my Civil War Tribute quilt (four 12 inch blocks).  To be honest, I really rushed this as my heart wasn't in it and the seems are so wonky it's embarrassing.  I'm not going to start month seven because it will be more of the same attitude.  Just because it's not my favorite right now, doesn't mean that I can rush to get it over with - way to much money is invested not to do my best work.  I'll go back to my Hampton Ridge BOM for the time being.  But in any case, I still have seven Halloween costumes and several more pirate outfits to get done before October 31st.  I really won't have time to quilt!
Here I am at the Ren Faire with my friend Susie.  We had so much fun!  And I loved dressing up in my corset and new skirt.  Susie of course looked divine in her red harem girl outfit but then she looks good in a paper bag.  :-)

Friday, August 08, 2014

Quilting too!

 As you can see, I'm still over the place with regards to current projects.  Here is my floral glove progress.  I've started couching other things!  :-)  I'm hoping by the end of the weekend, I'm actually laying some of the medal threads.  Way cool.  :-)

 In between Halloween costumes and pirate costumes, I decided I needed to get some piecing done.  These are the four 12" blocks of month five for the Civil War Tribute quilt I started four or so years ago.  It was a block of the month quilt that will fit my king size bed.  The sad part is, I no longer really like it.  It's a little too civil war for my tastes now with it's super muddy colors and lots of pink.  But I'm going to finish it - it was way too much money in fabric not to.  Over $250 I think with the backing fabric.  And to add a little insult to injury, I think this one is too big for my machine quilter.  I can handle up to 90" and I'm pretty sure this one finishes off more than that.  So I have to send it out.  But I'm pushing on regardless.  I'm about half way with month six even as I write this post - I wish that were half way but I still have the biggest piecing months ahead - month seven is eight 12 " blocks and month nine is the center medallion and it's huge with a ton of set in seams if I'm not mistaken.  I'm also going to try to find time for the Hampton Ridge BOM also.  I only did the first three months and I have seven months sitting on my quilting table.  I think they are sending me month ten this week - I was determined to stay current with this one too.  HA!  Fat chance of that happening.  I haven't purchased any quilting stuff in over a year (except for Hampton Ridge) thank goodness.  In addition to these two quilts, I think I have about 10 or so quilt tops totally ready to be cut out and pieced. 
Here is Halloween costume #1 - Elsa!  My great niece Claire is dying to be her and this one turned out so sparkly.  I still think I might find a way to add sequin or crystal snowflakes to the overlay.  And a crown of course.  Claire can't be a snow princess without a crown. 

Next up a series of villains.  My nephew Larry, his wife Shelley and their daughter Morgan all want to be Disney villains.  So bring on Gaston, the Evil Queen from Snow White and Cruella DeVil.  Then Claire's brother is going to be Kristoff from Frozen and no idea yet what their parents (my niece and her husband) want to be.  My sister keeps saying she doesn't want to be anything but I'll try to talk her into something.  Or she would be the only person not in costume.  I think she would be great as a queen of some sort also.  I'll do mine last (Merida).  Then bring on the pirates!  :-)  It's a good think I like working on costumes or I'd be feeling overwhelmed.  :-)

Have a great weekend!  Renaissance Faire for me.  :-)  I can't wait. 

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Lots of projects

 I went from working on nothing to what seems like tons!  Here is my progress on my floral glove project.  I started the gold couching.  I'm happy with how I'm getting it on but it's slow.  I'm sure I'll get faster as I get experience.  I also received my casket toys in the mail last week from Amy Mitten.  Wow the quality is amazing.  I've done all the prework and I'm ready to start stitching.  And I really want to start stitching but I told myself I have to get a little more work done on my glove first. 
 For the train I picked up again my Petit Sampling Etui.  This one is the panel designed by Praiseworthy Stitches.  I'm sure it will go fast like the others have. 
Here is my finished Renaissance Faire costume.  I LOVE how it turned out and the fit is perfect.  I love it when a plan comes together.  I'm now working on a couple more costumes.  I'm going on a Disney cruise over Halloween and we all need costumes for the costume party.  I'm going to be Merida from Brave and I'm working on a Elsa and Kristoff from Frozen for one of the great nieces and great nephew and Cruella Deville for the other great niece.  Plus a couple more pirate outfits for pirate night.  :-)  I really love to sew costumes. 

Chris - the Grand Marquior was a free chart.  I'm not sure if it's still available anywhere but I still have the files - just email me and I'll forward them to you. 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Grand Marquior Finis

Grand Marquior by Isabelle Haccourt Vautier
35 count Havana by Weeks Dye Works
HDF Imperialosity and BeWooded

Wow, I started this piece on February 5, 2009.  No idea it would take me five years to complete.  :-)  Here is the detail of the last release from 2010 which was U, W, X and Z. 

Those of you who have been reading my blog for a couple of years will perhaps remember that my family has a tradition of the four kids making each other plus the parents a gift for Christmas.  The last time around I made counted needlepoint designs that the following year my brother made a wooden box for.  Well my year came around again and it's my job to make four gifts (and one for me of course).  It's almost August and I haven't even really given any thought to it. I had thought that maybe it would be a good year to make more stained glass hangings.  I did that around 15 years ago and everyone really like them but it's super expensive and I'd rather not spend a huge amount of money this year not to mention they can be very time consuming to make with all the steps.  So I spent the evening going through my stash looking for ideas.  And found something!  I'm going to stitch everyone a BBD piece called Winter Delivery and make it into a box.  It's a small piece - only 5" x 5" when complete so it will be totally doable in the time I have left for the year.  I'll make each one on a different color linen (already prepared five) and make each box a little different.  They are small and hopefully won't put a ton of pressure on my other projects. I'm converting it into Belle Soie silks so it will be a little longer before I can start as I have to buy the fibers.  But I really like the idea and I'm hoping to won't lead to a slow down of work like my last go around did.  As I look back on the last couple of years, it was the needlepoint projects that really started to slow me down.  I really hate "HAVE TO" projects and it totally removes whatever desire I have to stitch.  :-(

This is where I left off on my costume over the weekend.  I've started to put the boning in the corset.  It takes forever and I have a really crappy pair of wire cutters.  I need to go buy another one this weekend.  But you can see how pretty it looks when the stays are in place (right side of the front is complete).  I'll have the entire costume finished this weekend.  I might be going to the Renaissance Faire with friends on the 9th (or later in the month, we haven't decided yet) so I really have to complete it just in case. 

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Last Block

I'm down to the last block of a six year journey for this piece.  The plan had been to complete each section of nine blocks as it was released.  That lasted for the first three releases.  Then the new house and other things intervened and I got sidetracked.  But no matter, it's almost completed.  As much as I like French inspired designs, this is the first one I'll ever complete.  I have one more French style WIP in my stash but a dozen or so charts.  The plan is to finish this in the next couple of days.  So the next photo of it will be the finis!  Yeah!

I did a little shopping over the weekend.  Amy Mitten makes the most delightful little do-dads for the caskets.  She calls them Casket Keepsakes and they are online classes.  She has released four now and I've just been looking at them to this point.  But Saturday I pulled the plug on the first release which is called Winter.  It's two little designs, one a thread winder holder and the other a needle holder.  The directions are amazingly complete and I can't wait to get started on them and I should have the supplies in hand by the weekend.  I actually should be able to do some of it on the train because they are small in hand pieces.  That would be awesome. 

Most of my space time over the past week has been working on my new pirate / wench costume.  I actually think the corset is going to work and I even have to take it in a tad.  The medal stays I ordered should be in today or tomorrow and then I'll know for sure how much altering it really needs.  Then I can start on the skirt.  I picked up the silk fabric and have already cut it out.  It's going to look so cute!  I'm also planning on making a second costume for the cruise in October because in addition to pirate night, there is going to be a Halloween costume party!  Our cruise leaves on the 31st so it will be perfect.  We all plan to be a Disney character and I'm going to be Merida from Brave this time around.  I have the Medieval dress pattern already and I picked out the clearance fabric now I just need to wait for a good sale.  :-)

Have a great week!  And thanks for stopping by.  Hopefully there will be a midweek update because I won't be able to wait an entire week to show of the Marquior.  :-)  I love the feeling of having a huge project finished.  hmmm....  but what to start on next?  Something new?  Or get back to something else?  I just don't know at this point...  :-)

Monday, July 21, 2014

perfert weekend

I've had a great week of stitching.  I stitched on the train and even some at home at night.  That's the habit I want most to get back into - stitching at night rather than just rotting in front of the tv.  Talk about a waste of time.  I don't feel nearly as bad when I have something in my lap that I'm working on.  :-) 

I made good progress on my IsaV Marquior.  Here is the close up of the nine blocks of part five completed. 

This photo is pretty close to what the color looks like in real life.  In this photo, only six blocks to go.  But I really only have four to go to got so much finished over the past week.  :-)  I didn't take an updated photo after the weekend of stitching.  I might actually finish this puppy in July!  Yeah!
I also worked on my Floral Glove for a couple of hours yesterday.  I'm officially finished with Lesson One and almost have Lesson Two complete.  I can see improvement in my stitching from when I first started this piece.  My outline stitching (which you can't see) is much more even and I'm loving how my long and short stitching turned out.  I only have to finish up the silk flower in the middle of the piece.  Then it's onto the medal threads.  That will be an adventure. 
I'm having a hard time loving my current setup with my Needlepoint System 3 stand with my stitching.  No matter what I do I just can't get comfortable and end up hunched up all over the piece I'm working on.  I really think I need a different stand.  Ugh. 
And in true Margie fashion I went into the rabbit hole in the past week.  Several years ago I made a pirate costume for a trip to Disney World that I took with my family.  We all wanted to dress up as Disney characters for the Trick or Treat night in the Magic Kingdom.  I ended up dressing as Elizabeth Swan from Pirates of the Caribbean.  I love how it turned out and was planning on wearing it again this Halloween when we all go on a Disney cruise for that Trick or Treat night.  I'm also going to the local Renaissance Faire in a couple of weeks with friends and we are all planning on dressing up for that.  So I found all the pieces in storage and got them out so I can wash and iron them.  Now I have gained a few pounds (apparently more than a few) because when I tried it all on, nothing fit.  Not even close.  :-(  So I needed to make new stuff.  I always wanted a "real" Renaissance style dress so I thought this would be a good time to start working on a couple of pieces for it.  And here is what I did over the weekend.  It's a Renaissance style corset.  It's boned with medal stays and even has a wooden busk down the front.  I sure hope this fits ok.  I'm rather busty and you won't be able to really get a good feel for the fit until all the stays are in and that means it will be almost totally complete by then.  I can't even add up in the head all the $$ I've sunk into it but I'm having a blast putting it all together.  I already bought a new white shift from eBay for much less money than I could have made it and I found a beautiful gold silk for the overskirt in the discount rack at Joanne Fabrics.  So it looks like I'm making a wench costume that can double as a pirate costume for Disney.  If this corset doesn't work ok I'll still have time to make a much more conventional one. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

I can feel the end

I can really feel I'm getting close to finishing up this piece.  Only three blocks to go and I'm finished with the fifth set of nine.  And because I have already completed three blocks of the sixth and final section, I'll only have six to go there.  I can smell it.  :-) 

I broke down and purchased the released parts Shepherd's Bush pieces for Shepherd's Fold.  I'm hoping that will be my next start.  Hopefully it won't come too fast.  Next week or even the week after would be perfect.  And I'm still waiting for my supplies to come for the drawn thread class.  I have to admit, that's kinda irritating.  I understand running out of supplies.  But it irks me that the class as started and I have nothing to work on.  I was so looking forward to it.  Oh well, patience grasshopper, patience.  :-)

Monday, July 07, 2014

great weekend!

The weather was perfect here in Northern Illinois - so perfect I sat outside more than planned playing with the dogs and putting around the yard rather than sitting inside stitching.  Isabelle had a so-so 4th.  I stuck to my plan and she did ok with the fireworks and wasn't as frantic has she has been in the past.  I received a comment asking if I had ever tried a Thunder Shirt on her and yes, we own one.  It worked great the first year and for thunder for the rest of the year.  But she is a smart girl, now she knows what it means when I pull it out and gets frantic because she knows what's coming so I don't pull it out anymore. 
I finally finished up the prework portion of Scott Lee!  I've been plugging away at this Jean Hilton needlepoint for several years now but the worst is now behind me.  While is there some counting left, it's nothing like the first six steps of prework.  Each step should fly by now that I'm in the meat of it.  Of course that is until I start the 100's of Jessicas!  That stitch really eats the time away.
I've almost managed to finish the first lesson of my Floral Glove.  Five years after receiving it?  :-)  It's funny how this one seems easy compared to what I have ahead and all the apprehension I had over this piece just went away (the reason it got tucked away in the first place).  I see an improvement in my long and short stitching as I progress so I'm really glad I decided to finish this before starting on my mirror frame. 
As for stitching plans for the next week or so, I'm going to continue on my Grand Marquior in the train, finish Lesson One and Two of my Floral Glove and I'm hoping to pick up my Scott Lee now and again.  I really love counted needlepoint.  My drawn thread class is supposed to start tomorrow but I don't have any supplies yet.  So many people joined the class there wasn't enough supplies to go around and they are coming from France so it will be a while longer.  That's not really a bad thing I suppose but I would love to work on some of the prework for it.  I'm planning on doing both samplers at the same time so it will take a while to get through it all and it's not something I can do on the train so it has to be at night at home and that cuts into my oversized work which is all my at home projects right now.