Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Tips & Techniques - Bobbins vs. Stitchbows

I see a lot of questions going around the various online cross stitch groups & forums about how people store their floss/thread/fibers/cotton (whatever you may call it in your part of the world).  I thought I would give my opinion this week and the number one reason behind it.

You'll see below is a picture of some floss on a DMC Stitchbow holder (on the left) and some floss on a cardboard bobbin (on the right).  These are both DMC floss that I have pulled at random from my stash.  Each color is nearing the end of the skein.  You can see with the stitchbow that the floss is still straight & free of kinks whereas the green floss that has been stored on a bobbin is all kinked up, and typically causes me to deal with more knots than my floss that is stored on a stitchbow.  That in itself is my #1 reason for switching all my floss over to stitchbow holders.  I've been converting over the past 3 years or so, so I've been able to spread the cost out over time.

If you decide to convert to stitchbows you'll need 3 things to make it work.  First you'll need the stitchbow holders themselves, you'll need the pages to put them in, and you'll need a binder to keep them in.  The holders & pages are available at most major craft stores (Hobby Lobby, JoAnn's, etc.) as well as many online stores.  As far as the binder, you can get any 3-ring type that is available at your local dollar store, office supply store, etc.  I've picked mine up at various places and none of the colors match, but I don't really mind.  

Here's a picture of what it will all look like in a binder.  No, the numeric labels don't come with the pages, I did those myself with my label maker (my Dad would be so proud, lol!)

Monday, July 30, 2012

Money Monday - July 30, 2012

Because I all of my fans & customers so much, I thought I would give you a special Money Monday from my own shop.  

Use coupon code FAB40 in my shop and you'll get a 40% discount on your entire purchase (excludes shipping charges). This coupon code will be valid for 40 hours only and will be deactivated Wednesday morning at 12:30am EST.   Do you notice a "40" theme going here?  LOL!

The discount is good on anything in my shop...patterns, fabrics, greeting cards, gift items, etc.

Don't delay, because the coupon code won't last long!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Amazing Quilts

Quilting is one form of needlework I've never had any desire to learn, but I just love looking at other people's works of art.

Each year JoAnn's does a quilt contest with awesome prizes.  The first place winner receives $5,000 cash!!!

They have recently announced the winners from the 2011 contest, so I thought I'd share a couple of them with my fabulous readers!

 This is the 1st place quilt and winner of $5,000!

This is the 2nd place quilt and winner of $2,500

There are many other quilts you can look at, these just happen to be my 2 favorite.  If you'd like to see the others, just click here.  Enjoy!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Pattern of the Week - July 28, 2012

I promised several weeks ago that not all of my posts would be cross stitch related, that I would expand them to cover all types of needlework.  This week I'm featuring an embroidery pattern from my friend Jen over at SewJenaissance.

Halloween will be right around the corner and I think Jen has done a fantastic job of combining jack-o-lanterns with matryoshka dolls.  You can get the pattern here and at $5.00 (regular price) it's quite a bargain.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Going for the Gold

I'm so excited to watch the opening ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics from London, England tonight!!!  Will you be watching?

The first time I can recall really taking an interest in the Olympics was 1984 when the summer games were held in Los Angeles, CA.  Since then it has become my tradition to watch the televised opening ceremonies for both the summer and winter games.   It amazes me how every 2 years the host city can manage to out perform the previous ceremony.

I really don't have a preference between the summer and winter games, as there are sports from each that I enjoy.  For the summer I'll definitely be watching Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte in the men's swimming, the diving, gymnastics and I guess whatever they televise on the few channels I get on my TV.  I can say though if they're televising the weightlifting & boxing I'll probably pass on watching those.

And as a stitching addict, you just know I had to stitch something that was inspired by the Olympics.  I had so many grand ideas, but with so many other projects in the works, I decided to stick with something small and did this little double decker bus.  I'd so love to be able to make it to London some day and catch a ride on one.  :) 

 (click the picture to go to Etsy listing)

And since we'll all be watching London for the next few weeks, I think it's only fitting I sign off with a proper greeting...

Cheerio Chaps!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

High Fashion Needlework?

Could it be true?  Are fashion designers actually embracing the art form we consider our passion?  Well according to this phenomenal blog post by Susan Elliott over at Plays With Needles, it certainly is.  I have no clue where she found all the photos in her post, but they are truly amazing and need to be seen by all that love needlework.  

The photo below is just a sample of what she included in her post.  Just click on the picture of the beautiful Kiera Knightley and you'll see her post in entirety.


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - July 25, 2012

Photo Courtesy of Life With Dogs

And I know this is supposed to be a "Wordless Wednesday", but I just have to say Happy 20th Birthday to my favorite military person...my son!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Tips & Techniques - Working with Metallic Threads

I love working with metallic threads in my needlework projects.   They can add that little punch a project needs or be the entire project itself. If you've never worked with them, it can be intimidating.  I've found there are a couple of important tips when working with metallics.
  1. You want to make sure you're working with a good quality thread.  The thinner (and usually cheaper) threads tend to fray and break easier.  I personally prefer Kreinik threads.  They cost a little more than some other brands, but I find it's well worth it.
  2. Using a medium like beeswax or Thread Heaven works well in "lubricating" the thread so it will slide through the needle and the fabric smoothly.  Again, my personal preference is beeswax, but only because I've never tried Thread Heaven.  The beeswax will typically come in a package like this and is available at your LNS (local needlework shop) or you can buy them online at sites such as 123stitch.com  If you're using the beeswax all you have to do is run your strand of thread over the wax prior to threading your needle.

Just remember, it's like any other technique or medium you use.  The more you use it, the more you'll get used to it, and never be afraid to try something new.

Before I leave you for today, I thought I'd share a piece I stitched entirely in metallics.  :)

Monday, July 23, 2012

Money Monday - July 23, 2012

Today I'm sharing some savings from one of my favorite craft stores...Hobby Lobby!

You can sign up on their website to receive a weekly email with their sales flyer.  Each week there is a coupon, usually for 40% off any regularly priced item.  The coupon can be printed, used online, or if you have a smartphone you can show them the current coupon right on your phone without the hassle of having to print.

If you've never been to your local Hobby Lobby, I highly recommend it.  Not only do they have a fantastic selection of craft items, but they also have some home decor and party supplies.  

Lucky for me there is one right around the corner from my office that I literally have to drive by 10x/week (on the way to & from work).  I'm a regular customer in there, normally several times per week and many of the employees know me by name, lol!

Happy shopping!!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

My First Piece

Do you remember your first piece of needlework?  Do you still have it or is it long gone?

I still have my first piece I ever made.  Granted, I had to pull it out of a box in my closet to take a picture for this post, but I still have it.  :)

It is a small needlepoint pillow, measuring about 5 inches square, that I stitched when I was about 6-years-old, so about 35 years ago.  I remember sitting with my dad at the table designing it.  We had the piece of canvas and quilting markers.  He colored off the design on the canvas for me as I told him where I wanted the colors and what shapes I wanted them to be. If I remember correctly, the colors of yarn I had to choose from were what my mom had leftover from a previous project(s).

I remember being so proud of it when I was finished.  Now I look at it and chuckle thinking how elementary it looks and all the mistakes I made, lol!  It's all OK though, because this one little piece is what started my passion for stitching that has stuck with me through the years and continues to grow as I age.

Feel free to share what your first piece was in the comments section.  I'd love to hear about them!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Pattern of the Week - July 21, 2012

I've never stitched a Mill Hill kit yet, but I think this Hawaiian Santa is rather appropriate right now.  I mean we are setting record high temps every where across the U.S. and I think Santa has the right idea...a little surf, sun and of course a cold cocktail!

You can purchase the ornament kit through 123Stitch and as an added bonus...it's on sale during their Christmas in July sale.!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Freebie Friday - July 20, 2012

This week's free pattern is actually an entire series of patterns brought to us by Vermillion Stitchery.  It's the 2009 Doorway Series.

I have them all downloaded and included in my ever-growing stash of patterns I want to stitch.  They would be great stitched together in one large piece, or as a group of individual pieces.  If you're interested in patterns, simply click the photo and you'll be taken to the website.

Happy Stitching!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Giveaway Gets Bigger!

On Sunday I did a post about how you could win one of my hand-stitched pieces.  Well today, I have even more good news....we have a 2nd item that will be included in the giveaway!

This gorgeous Reflexology Glass Pendant Necklace, made by my good friend Emma over at Sovereign Sea Designs, will also be included in the giveaway.  I think it's rather fitting for the event as with all the walking and biking we'll be doing we could certainly use anything to help our bodies relax and recover.

If you're not sure what you have to do to enter, it's pretty simple.  Make a donation in any amount to the fundraiser my son and I are doing, with the proceeds benefiting ActiveHeroes.org and the National Fallen Firefighters Fund, and you will be entered into the drawing for these 2 items.  And you never know, there may just be more items that get included in the giveaway before I do the drawing on September 12th.

Thank you for your continued support! *smooch*

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Tips & Techniques - Railroading

Even though I've been stitching for 30+ years, I'm still learning new things on a regular basis.  There have been many times I've seen ladies in my cross stitch groups on Facebook refer to "railroading".  I myself had never heard the term (I haven't had too many classes and am mostly self-taught), so I was always curious what it was, but didn't want to seem dumb and ask.

Thankfully in issue #164 (June 2012) of Cross Stitch Crazy magazine, they had an excellent diagram and explanation of railroading.  I've included a scan of the picture from their magazine that will show the technique.

I've started using this technique since I saw the example in the magazine and have to say I'm really happy with the way my stitches look.  It slowed me down a little bit at first, but now that I've been doing it for the past 2 months, I'm stitching just about as fast as I always was.

Do you have any experience with the railroading technique you'd like to share?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Money Monday - July 16, 2012

There are so many sales to be found if you search around the web.  I try really hard to support small & local businesses (especially considering I am a small business), but sometimes the deals are just so good you can't help but pass them up.

This week I'm featuring the Cross Stitch & Needlework Bargain Corner from Herrschners.  At the time I'm writing this post they have 430+ items priced as low as $.97!!!

Here are the categories where they currently have bargains available:
  • Kits
  • Needlework Thread
  • Accessories & Tools
  • Fabric & Canvas
  • Books & Leaflets
  • Table Linens
  • Bedroom Decor
  • Embellishments & Embellishment Packs
  • Frames
  • Gifts for the Stitcher (maybe a little early xmas shopping for yourself?  LOL!)

If you have a moment and some spare money for a little "stash enhancement" do pop over and check out the deals.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Do You Want to Win?

If you follow my page on Facebook, by now you have probably seen that my son and I are walking & biking to raise funds for a charity.  The charity is something that is near & dear to our hearts...ActiveHeroes.org.

For this particular event, they have teamed up to not only raise funds for their own organization, but also for the National Fallen Firefighters Fund. The purpose of the event is to preferably run, but in our case walk & bike, as much as you can before 9/11 and raise as much money by that date also.  The funds will then be split 50/50 between the two charities.

I think most of you know that last year my son went into the U.S. Army and was injured in a training accident.  What I haven't posted about is the fact the injury was bad enough that he was given an Honorable Medical Discharge with a 20% permanent disability.  Due to the injury, he can't run, but walking short distances (by short I mean like a mile at a time, not the 4 & 5 mile walks I do) and biking was & still is part of his physical therapy for it.  By helping with this charity he feels like he's still there doing something to help his brothers & sisters in arms.

 Zach & Kelly at Zach's Swearing In Ceremony for the U.S. Army

So you're probably asking yourself right about now, "where does the winning come in?".  Well, let me tell you.
For every person that makes a donation to our page, by either clicking on the photo of me & Zach above or using the link on the right side of this page, you will be entered into a drawing to receive a FREE finished cross stitch from me!!

The piece you will receive will be an Americana Heart Flag, similar to the photo shown below, only your piece will be stitched on a light tan fabric and will be nicely "framed" in a hoop and ready to hang on your wall.  I thought it would be a very symbolic piece that shows your heart is with those that protect your country, whether it be from acts of terrorism, or the men & women that battle every day tragedy of a house fire that can take our loved ones from us so unexpectedly. 

I have already started stitching the piece the winner will receive and will post a picture as soon as it's done.  The drawing for the winner will be done & announced on September 12, 2012.  All names will be taken from the list provided by my charity page of the donors and I will use a random number generator to determine the winner.  All will be done in a "fair & square" manner with pics posted of the list, number generator, etc.

Remember, every single dollar that people donate add up to something large.  So if you can find it in your hearts to give something, we would truly appreciate it.  (Why am I starting to feel like Jerry Lewis doing the MDA Telethon?  LOL!)

Thank you and HOOAH!  (It's an Army thing, lol!)


Saturday, July 14, 2012

Pattern of the Week - July 14, 2012

I am in total awe of Maxine Gadd and her designs!  If I had time I would stitch tons & tons of them.  Now granted, most of them would take me a couple of years each, but what does that really matter, lol!

It was difficult to pick just one of her patterns to feature this week, but I decided on Kats Eye because green is my favorite color, plus she is just stunning!  You can get the pattern through Mystic Stitch

Do you have a favorite Maxine Gadd design?  If so, please feel free to share.  :)

Friday, July 13, 2012

Freebie Friday - July 13, 2012

Today I'm sharing a link to a cute Freebie from Heaven and Earth Designs called "You Make My Heart Melt".  So cute you've just got to stitch it!   

While you're there on Michelle's site, if you're not fond of this one, be sure to check out the other freebies she has available.  I'm sure you'll find one that calls out to you.

And for the record, I'm stitching my very first HAED piece. It is Chakra Fae by Linda Ravenscroft. You can see pictures of it in my WIP Facebook album.  It will be 206,000+ stitches when I'm done, so it will take me forever, lol!

Happy Stitching!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Customer Loyalty Program

Did you know we have a Customer Loyalty Program????  :)

Editor's Note:  This program was discontinued in February 2013 as it was becoming too hard to implement over multiple selling venues.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

I've Missed You!

Yes, I’ve missed YOU and I’ve missed blogging!

I’ve decided I’ll be reinstating my blog, and have been working hard behind the scenes to update it and create new & exciting content that will be shared on an almost daily basis.  Here’s a sampling of what you can look forward to:
  • Money Monday – it will vary each week, but will center around saving you $$.  It may be a list of sites that are running current sales, where to find a good coupon or just even a tip on how to make better use of your needlework supplies.
  • Tips & Techniques Tuesday – needlework tips from a variety of publications & fellow stitchers.
  • Wordless Wednesday – I think the title says it all!
  • Featured Friday and/or Freebie Friday (it will vary by week) – Do you have a shop or blog that is needlework related and you want to be featured?  If so, contact me at Stitchnmomma@hotmail.com for more details
  • Pattern of the Week – You’ll get to see what *I* am in love with from other designers.  Yes, I know, some of you may think I’m crazy for featuring other shops & designers, but it really is all about my passion for stitching!
  • Plus much, much more!
I hope you're all as excited as I am and I look forward to reading your comments and interacting with you once again!  <3