Saturday, September 24, 2011

They're Creepy and They're Kooky

Mysterious and spooky,

They're altogether ooky, the Halloweenie Family. Dr. Acula and W. Herr Wolfe were reunited with their fellow Halloweenies this week following their return from a visit with Marlene in San Francisco. They are as handsome as their fellow characters. I have a wonderful sense of accomplishment when I look at my Halloween mantle this year. I don't think that I have a favorite character because each one is unique in its own way. As each character arrived, I learned new techniques and stitched with threads I had never used before. I have to thank again Kelly Clark for her incredible canvases, Amy Bunger for her detailed stitch guides that really brought these characters to life, Jill at Amy's Golden Strand for organizing the canvas and thread shipments each month, and Peggy and Robin who started Needlepoint Study Hall to help those of us in the Home Study group with techniques and moral support. It was a wonderful stitching experience in every way!

How do you like my witches' stockings and boots hanging above the fireplace? Maybe the Great Pumpkin will fill them with some goodies on Halloween? I found the stockings at Pier One and they aren't actually meant to be used as I have done. At Pier One they are shown on the front legs of a chair. So the chair looks like it is wearing stockings and witches' boots. It's a cute idea but I like my use for them much better. If you need some cute Halloween decorations, Pier One is a great place to start. I was tempted by just about everything they had.

I'm still working on my Halloween tree and will show that to you next week. My tree is crying out for the Creepy Characters ornaments from NeedleDeeva. I hope to start on those soon but it may be another week or so before Amy's is able to send them to me.

No sooner had Marlene sent my last two Halloweenies back to me, I turned around and sent her more pieces to finish for me. I sent her the three Heritage Series ornaments, the witches' hats ornament, the Noel canvas, and the "boo" canvas. I'll wait for her to call me to discuss my finishing options for Noel and "boo". I'm not sure what to do with either of them.

I had hoped to finish Keep Calm and Carry On this week but ran short of the Kreinik braid I am using for the diamond crosses. Jill at Amy's kindly got my emergency order out to me and the threads arrived yesterday - just in time for stitching this weekend.

I may have my threads with which to stitch this weekend but I don't have the energy for stitching. Some sort of nasty virus settled in with me on Thursday and I have done nothing but cough and ache all over for the last two days. As of this afternoon it still isn't showing any signs of going away. I'm just hoping for a few hours of quality, cough-free sleep tonight.

Hope you have a wonderful weekend and accomplish a great deal of stitching! Take care -

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Boo! To You

The last black bead was added to "boo" last night bringing this canvas into the completed projects category. Thanks to the SyFy Channel's James Bond double header last night, I got in a straight 5 1/2 hours of stitching time. I can't tell you how many times I have watched Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace but I never get tired of watching either one. It's nice to check another project off the list but I will miss "boo" because it was such an easy little project to pick up and stitch a little and put it back down. I'm debating this afternoon as to whether or not I will include this canvas in with some others that I am sending to Marlene to finish.  I am planning to send my three Kelly Clark Heritage Series ornaments and the Witches' Hats ornament out to Marlene this week. "boo'" just might go with them although I will probably not get it back in time for Halloween this year. Speaking of which, Marlene called this week to let me know that Sarcoph A. Gus and W. Herr Wolfe are on their way back home just in time to join their other Halloweenie friends for the Halloween holiday season. Perhaps when I post on the blog next week I'll be able to show you their photos.

Another project nearing completion is Keep Calm and Carry On. I finished the lettering this week and last night experimented with a couple of threads for the diamond cross fillers in the background. I tried a lovely lavender Petite Very Velvet but it was just a little flat looking and didn't add any interest to the background. Next I tried a silvery lavender Kreinik braid and that was just what was needed - a little silver sparkle. It is subtle but effective. I'll be working on the diamond crosses this afternoon and evening during the football games. Maybe I'll have another finished project to show you next week. Fingers crossed!

I'm waiting to hear from the girls at Pocket Full of Stitches about Melissa Shirley's Bottle Bouquets class that starts in October. I had a difficult time trying to capture a photo of the canvas to show you but you can read about it on the POS blog. I've always loved this canvas by Mary Lake Thompson and look forward to the class. This will be a long term project of about 8 or 9 months from what I understand.

Jill from Amy's emailed me last week to say that the Melissa Shirley Christmas Banner home study had been moved back one month to November. I can't wait for that one to start either!

This is the last week of summer and I can't say that I'm sorry to see summer go away. It has been one long, hot, dry season! The cool weather the last few days has been such a relief. Now if we could just get some rain. My Japanese magnolia is already dropping leaves and it isn't because of the approaching autumn; it's because of the lack of rain around here.

Hope your first week of autumn is a lovely one! Enjoy your stitching!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Carry On - September 11, 2011

This morning's lead editorial in my local newspaper, The Augusta Chronicle, is entitled "Keep Calm and Carry On". It references the poster printed in Britain during World War II aimed at boosting the morale and steeling the resolve of the British people in the face of the possibility of invasion by the Germans.   It is a fitting saying for many events in life. None more so than the events of this day ten years ago. But, as the editorialist went on to say, keeping calm doesn't mean doing nothing. It doesn't mean forgetting what happened on that beautiful September morning in 2001. It means moving forward and carrying on with building a United States that would make those who died that day proud of the country for which they gave their lives.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

A Little Help for My Friend

Last week my cyber stitching friend, Diane, commented that she is stitching along with me on Kelly Clark's Witches' Hats apple and also on &more's "boo". She was trying to figure out how to bead the bow accents on the apple and asked if I would take some pictures of how I tackled that part of the canvas. Diane, it's really very easy - as you will see.

I gathered all of my materials together - beads, wire, and a little double sided tape for the beads. I was unable to find the black 28 gauge artists wire that was suggested so I had to go with a dark copper wire of the same gauge. The color didn't matter too much in the end as none of it showed. I cut about a 10" length of wire as Amy told us to do. The next step is to bring a length of wire from behind the canvas up to the front.

Bring one end of the wire up from the back on one side of the base of the bow knot and the other end of the wire up from the back and on the other side of the base of the bow knot. The wire is thin so it's a little difficult to see in the photo, but I think you'll get the idea. After both ends of the wire are on the front of the canvas just slide them back and forth until you have an even length on each side of the knot. Then comes the easy part - just add your beads in any pattern you choose.

Once you have added the appropriate number of beads for each piece of wire, you take the end of the wire on each side and sink it into the top part of the knot. After checking that you have added enough beads (or perhaps need to take away a few beads), you will want to secure the wired beads on the back of the canvas by twisting the wire together.

The other pieces of beaded wire are handled just the same way. For the upper areas of the bow, I brought the wires up from underneath the outside edges of the bow and sank them on the inner areas of the bow near the knot.

Twist the wires together on the back side of the canvas just as you did with the knot wires. Once I finished all of the beading, I took a piece of black beading thread and tacked down the wires so that I had them secured to the canvas and had the wire shaped like I wanted it. The picture below was before I tacked down the wires.

Diane, I hope this helped you. I can't guarantee that this is exactly the method that Amy had in mind in her stitch guide but I got the job done and I am pleased with the results. I appreciate Robin taking the time to remind me of the photos of the apple canvas in the March issue of Amy's newsletter.  The beaded wire really adds a wonderful finishing touch to this fun Halloween canvas. I'm sorry to finish it! But, I know where I can get more when I want them!

I completed the two white stripes on "boo" that have the jack-o-lantern darning pattern. What a great pattern, don't you think?

I photographed "boo" Saturday morning, but last night while I watched the Georgia-Boise State game, I almost completed the orange stripe on the end. I'll use a Fyre Works coppery color to stitch the strap stitches over the Scotch stitches.

Continuing with the Halloween theme, I can't remember if I told you last week that Dr. Acula and W.Herr Wolfe have safely arrived in San Francisco for their visit with Marlene. Hopefully they will come home in time for the gathering of the the Halloweenie family in October. I think there's a good chance that they will.

It's a quiet Labor Day weekend around my house. Perfect for some concentrated stitching I think. Hope your holiday weekend is everything you want it to be!