Friday, August 31, 2012

Freebie Friday - August 31, 2012

It's my last day of work at my office job before I start my staycation and I'm in a "playful" mood, so I thought today would be a good day to feature these "Playful Pups" from Cross Stitchers Club.

If you're not familiar with Cross Stitchers Club, it is a website that offers free downloads every day of the week, but on a limited basis.  Each pattern is free for usually 5 days and after that you need to have points to download them.  Points can be earned in several ways.  Either way, I suggest bookmarking the site and quickly checking back on a daily basis to see what they have available. 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Sweet Surprise

I came home from work yesterday and had a surprise.  Well, sort of a surprise as I had already been alerted to be looking for a package.

This is part of what I received in the package:
OMG!!!  I'm hooked!!!  For anyone that really knows me, you know I have one true addiction (outside of cross stitch) and that's chocolate.  And dark chocolate is my favorite!!  Not only did I have a bag of these delectable little pieces of heaven, but the entire box was full of misc. French chocolates, bon bons and biscuits (or as we call them here the The States...cookies!).  It was my birthday gift from a friend of mine that recently went to France to visit her parents on the way to start a new job in the Middle East that has since fallen through.   The job change is bad news for her, but good news for me because that means I'll get more French goodies in the future.  And no, I'm not that heartless of a friend that I'm only worried about chocolate.  She's actually changed career fields, is staying in France and is happier then she's been in years!  :)

Sorry, I digressed.  Now back to the chocolate.  I don't know what ANY of it is because all the packaging is in French.  I haven't decided yet if I'm going to google all of them before I open them, or just dig in and be surprised.  What I do know is I'm going to have to crank up my workouts to battle all the extra calories I'll be eating, lol!

With that, I'm off to have a chocolate w/my cup of tea before getting ready for work.  Mmmmmmm!!!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


Looking at all of my blog stats I realized today is my 200th blog post!  I wanted to take a moment to thank each & everyone of my readers for being here.  Without you there'd be no reason for me to blog. :)

From all the lovely statistical information Blogger gives me I know 10% + of my followers, plus various random people, read my posts on a daily basis.  Hopefully that means I'm writing and sharing information that you want to see and find helpful.  I'm always welcome to your comments and feedback, so if there's something specific you want to learn, see more of, or even less of, please let me know.

Happy Stitching!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Money Monday - August 27, 2012

Calling all DMC floss users!!!

Do I have a bargain for you today!  Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores is having a HUGE sale on DMC floss this weekend (Friday, Aug. 31 - Monday, Sept. 3).  

This is how big the bargain is....

4 for $1.00!!!
That's only $.25/each vs. their normal daily price of $.39/each
The only downside...limit!!!

Any guesses where I'll be this weekend?  LOL!


Sunday, August 26, 2012

A long overdue finish!

I was so thrilled this week to finally finish a piece I've been stitching off & on for the past 2-1/2 years!!  It's been so long I had to go back on my thumb drive and see when I originally created the pattern (3/15/2010 to be exact for this "smaller" version).  I call it the "Electric Owl" because of all the electric blues in it (DMC #995 and #996).

I'm using this as my entry for the Etsy NEAT (Needle Arts Team) July/August Creative Challenge, which had a theme of "The Forest".  Our deadline was 8/22 and I finished on 8/23, but the blog post hasn't been put up yet for us to reveal our items (as of the time I'm typing this post on Saturday afternoon), so I really should be showing it to you yet, but I'm a very impatient person and just can't wait to show this to everyone!!!  My friend says it was a stretch on the theme, but I told her owls live in the forest so I could use it, LOL!

I stitched the piece on 14 count vinyl aida and am using it as an insert in a mouse pad.   The listing for the mouse pad will be active in my Etsy shop as soon as our team blog post goes up where I can enter it.  Keep your eye on my newsletter and/or shop as I just might release this as a pattern.

I first started this piece back in 2008 on 14 count black aida.  It's been sitting in one of my stitching baskets only about 5% done (if even that much) since then.  It was going to be HUGE.  Something like 14" high by 21" wide.  I planned to hang it on my living room wall and I figured it would be one of those pieces that when people saw it they would either love it or hate it, but no in between.  I'll be scrapping stitching it on black as it's too difficult to see all the black & navy blues.  Instead I will stitch it slightly smaller on 18 count white aida and give it to Zach.  He's been waiting years for me to finish it for him.  I figure considering he doesn't have his own place to hang it yet I still have time to go, lol!

Anyways, enough of my rambling.  I'm sure you can tell I'm excited to have it done and thank you so much for letting me share it with you.

Happy Stitching!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Pattern of the Week - August 25, 2012

My choice for Pattern of the Week this week was a pretty simple one.  I am by no means a fan of Christmas and have an internal battle each year to put on my cheesy smile and act like I enjoy the holiday.  So when I saw 123 Stitch release this Sue Hillis Designs chart this week it was a no-brainer for me!  I mean isn't that black stocking & hat the cutest thing you've seen!!!  And yes, this has already been added to my wishlist over at 123 Stitch!  Just click the picture and you'll be taken to where you can purchase it...on sale too!!!  :)

Friday, August 24, 2012

Freebie Friday - August 24, 2012

For today's freebie, I'll be offering the next 6 customers a FREE GIFT with their purchase of $25.00 or more (before shipping) from my Etsy shop.  Each gift is unique, is stitching related, and has a retail value of $7.00 or more.

Will you be getting one of these free gifts?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Team MetalFoot Giveaway Update

We're down to less than 3 weeks before the end of our fundraiser and we're still way off from our goal. *insert sad face here*

I finally was able to get the 5" hoop that I needed to "frame" the cross stitched piece I did.

So here's the skinny on how you can get the items were giving away...
  • Make a donation in any dollar amount to before midnight on September 11th and you're automatically entered into the drawing
  • On September 12th I will compile the list of names, less my family members, that have donated to our fundraiser.  All those names will be assigned a number in order by their date of donation.
  • I will use a random number generator to pick the winner from those names.  Simple as that!

The hand-stitched Americana Flag Heart would normally retail in my Etsy shop for $20 and the pendant necklace from Sovereign Sea Designs would retail for $12-15.

If you don't remember what we're raising funds for, all the other details are here.  You can also find our team page on Facebook here which has updates on the number of miles we've been doing (we're into the HUNDREDS now).

A huge THANK YOU to everyone that has donated so far, and of course to those that will find it in their hearts to donate before 9/11/12.


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Life After the "Back to School" Years

I was driving to work this morning and saw kids standing outside waiting for the school bus (it's the first day of school for many districts in my area).  I realized this is the first August since 1997 that I haven't had to go shopping for school supplies, new shoes & clothes, etc.

Am I sad about that?  No!

Am I happy about that?  Not really.

Am I feeling old?  Yes!  LOL!

(CORRECTION - OMG!  I AM getting old!!  I was reminded by my friend today at lunch that this ISN'T the first year of no back to school for was last year!  I'm so off on my years & time.  It was August 30th of last year that Zach left for basic training.  *sigh* I guess my memory will only get worse from here.  They're right when they say it's all down hill after 40!  LOL!)

I guess this is just another phase in being a parent.  They grow up, finish school, move out of the house (sometimes they come back) and get on with being an adult.  Instead of helping with homework I'm now giving advice on car repairs, paycheck budgeting, etc.  Either way, I cherish every day as a parent to a super awesome son and look forward to all the new phases in parenting.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Money Monday - August 20, 2012

Today's money savings deal I'm bringing to you comes from my friend Karen over at Purple Cats Corner on Etsy.

Now through August 25th, 2012 (this Saturday) she is offering BUY ONE GET ONE FREE on all of her prints.  Just tell her in the notes to seller at checkout which print you'd like for free.

This is just one of twelve super cute prints she has available in her shop. Granted, I am a little partial to this one since it is one of my current WIPs that I'll be turning into a cross stitch pattern and will be available in my shop in the future.

Happy shopping!  :)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Jazzed Up Desk Accessories

Recently I saw a photo (Facebook? Twitter? Pinterest?  Who knows.  Too many social media outlets, lol!) of where someone had taken yarn and cross stitched on some wire mesh office accessories.  I thought it was pretty neat, but didn't like the "chunky" look of the yarn they had used.  I immediately decided this was something I needed to try, but with regular floss!

So this past week I made a trip to the office supply store on my way home from work to take a look around at what they might have.  I settled on two different paper clip bowls, a smaller and a larger one.  I was in need of a break from the various orders & pattern models I've been stitching and decided these would be something "mindless" I could work on quickly.  I was right.  Each one of them took me a total of about 4 hours of stitching time; which included picking colors of floss, deciding on the pattern, etc.

I've included a few pictures below of the finished pieces, including one picture that shows various uses for the bowls.  Now to just decide if I keep them or sell them?  Hmmm...

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Pattern of the Week - August 18, 2012

Here it is, the middle of August and Fall will be here sooner than we think.  It also means right now is the perfect time to be canning and/or freezing all those wonderful fruits and veggies that have spent the summer growing.  I've seen some of my friends posting pictures of their jams and jellies on their Facebook pages and personal blogs and they've made me think of this cute Jam Jars cross stitch pattern designed by my friend Gail over at Cross Stitch Cards.  It's a simple pattern that's easy to stitch with great colors in it.  Just click the photo and it will take you to her shop where you can learn more about it.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Freebie Friday - August 17, 2012

As I'm sure most of you have figured out by now, there are tons & tons of places on the internet to get FREE cross stitch patterns.  One of my favorites is my friend Loretta's site Stitching the Night Away.  

Loretta actually has an all encompassing site that not only includes patterns, but sources where you can find supplies, a blog, tutorials, etc.

My current favorite from her section of free patterns is this cutie.  Just click on him and you'll go directly to the section on the Stitching the Night Away site where you can find the free patterns.  While you're there, be sure to check out the rest of her site.  And feel free to tell her I sent you. :)


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Sand Sculpting...Art for Big Kids!

I think just about every person at one point in their life attempts to build a sand castle.  Mine never turned out so well.  I mean how hard can it be to take a bucket of sand and make it stay in the same shape as the upside down bucket, if you can get it to come out of the bucket the right way?  Evidently it's pretty hard for some of us as mine were either too wet and slid back down into the sand or were too dry and blew over.  

I'm amazed by the talent & skill some sand artists have that produces awe inspiring, massive sand sculptures.  One of the items on my "bucket list" is to make it to one of those amazing sand sculpture festivals they have around the world (downside of living in N.E. Ohio...we have nothing that cool going on!).  Until I strike it rich in the lottery, I'll be forced to look at pictures of them online.  

I've found a great article through that has photos of 88 fantastic sculptures.  I've included some of them here for you to ooh and aah over.  If you'd like to see more of them, just click here and you'll go to the photo gallery of them.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Tips & Techniques - What Size Needle Should You Use?

Have you ever found yourself in your LNS (local needlework shop) staring at the selection of needles and wondering what size you should use?  Yeah, I'll admit I've been there.  Personally I prefer a larger numbered needle, which is actually smaller, regardless of what count fabric I'm stitching on.

I have found an awesome explanation of to what size needle you should use for what count fabric, along with some explanations of the different types of needles over at Cross Stitch Needleshop.  If you're interested in learning more, just click here.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Money Monday - August 13, 2012

Do you own a small business?  

Do you have an upcoming sale you'd like to have featured here or some other money saving feature that would benefit my readers?  

Just send an email to with details and a link to your shop, and I'll be more than happy to feature you.  Your shop doesn't even have to be cross stitch related. 

The fine print:
I reserve the right to refuse any shop that is in poor taste or would be considered offensive by my readers.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

My Latest Addiction

As a lot of stitchers do, I like to have the TV on while I'm stitching.  Sometimes I watch & stitch and sometimes I just listen while I stitch.  

One of the downsides of scaling back my cable programming (and bill!) is the limited choices available when you only have around 15 channels.  One night a few weeks ago I was dealing with that exact dilemma; nothing on TV I wanted to watch, no DVDs in the house that I hadn't already seen several times, and nothing too appealing to choose from on Netflix.  I was typing everything I could think of into the search feature on Netflix and everything I wanted to watch was coming up a big goose egg.  As I was sitting there going through my memory banks of possible choices to look for I remembered there is this show on PBS (at least here in the States) that people are just raving over...Downton Abbey.  I typed it into the search and there it was, 7 episodes from Season 1.  I decided I'd give it a go and see what I thought.

The beginning of the show starts with Laura Linney welcoming you to Masterpiece Theater.  I remember my mom watching Masterpiece Theater shows when I was a kid and they were soooooo boring.  I instantly said to my dog, "This isn't going to be good."  Well, with nothing else available I took a deep breath and started watching.  I was instantly hooked after the 1st episode!!!

They put together a great cast for it, which includes one of my favorites, Dame Maggie Smith.  She is a hoot and a half!  She has some of the best one-liners, and always has the best facial expressions to go with them.

My favorite so far inspired this piece..."What is a weekend?"  I feel like that every Monday morning when I have to go back to work and I wonder where the weekend went and what it really is.  Unfortunately, that's not the way that she meant it.  You can see the video clip here where she asks the question.

So the bad news is, Netflix only has the first season available.  I've been very impatiently waiting my turn for the Season 2 DVDs that are on reserve at my local library, and then Season 3 doesn't start until January 6th.  What am I going to do until then???  Arrgghh!!!  LOL!

Also, as I was perusing Etsy before I stitched my weekend piece (wanted to make sure no one else had done it), I found a couple of other cross stitch lovers that seem to be as enamored with the show as I am.

This one is a design of the manor house / estate they live in, with all the household staff.

Cross stitch pattern available from Cottage Nest Interiors

And this one is another quote from the Dowager Countess (Dame Maggie Smith's character)

Cross stitch pattern available from Book Pilgrim

I guess I'll have to be a little more patient while I'm waiting for those DVDs and keep stitching away.
P.S.  I've already been asked by one person to sell the pattern for my "What is a weekend" in my shop.  I'm trying to judge interest in it before I print the patterns.  If you'd like one, drop me a comment and let me know.  :)

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Pattern of the Week - August 11, 2012

I thought for this week's pattern I'd feature one that has been on my wishlist for over 1 year now.  

I'm totally and completely in awe of the blackwork designing talents of Elizabeth Almond at Blackwork Journey!!!

She has 24 pages of blackwork charts (not counting all the pages of free ones!)  As I was scrolling through the pages of charts last year after I came across her site via a Google search, I found this beauty....Celtic Autumn.  

There are actually 4 separate patterns, one for each season.  I love them all!!  I can see them stitched side by side in a row and framed on my living room wall.  My only problem...I never seem to set aside stitching time for ME.  Y'all know everything I stitch is either a gift or goes in my shop.  

Heck, I have a birthday coming up in less than 1 month and my mom asked what I wanted for my gift.  Maybe I should direct her to the website (well, technically my dad since my mom doesn't use the computer) and tell her I want the patterns for all 4 seasons.  If I actually have the patterns instead of just looking at them online I might be more apt to stitch them.

Either way, please take a moment to check out Elizabeth's shop as I'm sure you'll be just as enamored with with designs as I am.

Happy stitching!


Friday, August 10, 2012

A Break From Our Normally Scheduled Friday Programing

OK, so I know it's Friday and I usually do a Freebie Friday post.  Today I just couldn't.  And why you may ask.  Well, do you know what today is?  No?  OK, I'll tell you.


I mean really, who can resist the ooey, gooey goodness of toasted marshmallow and chocolate smashed in between two crispy graham crackers! *wipes drool* 

Now that I have everyone else drooling, who's going to be making smores tonight????

Thursday, August 9, 2012

And the winner is....

I must say, with the number of views that last Friday's "Freebie Friday" post received that I'm disappointed only 5 people wanted to enter to win the free patterns.  I guess that's a good thing though for those that did enter, as it increased their chances of winning.

I took all the entries and numbered them in sequential order based upon the time of their comments (1 thru 5).

So without further ado, the winner is....

Gail from California!  Congrats Gail!  I'll make arrangements with you for shipping information and will get those charts in the mail to you ASAP!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Tips & Techniques - How to Create a Hoop "Frame"

Do you like to "frame" your stitched pieces using a hoop, but don't like the messy looking back like this?  Yeah, me neither, and for the record, this piece has a ton of confetti stitching in it.

Well today I'm going to show you how I "frame" my pieces.  I've seen quite a few tutorials over the years with several different techniques, none of which I was quite happy with.  It took me a while, but this one just sort of smacked me upside the head one night and I've been using it ever since.

The supply list is pretty simple...your ironed finished piece, an ironed piece of cotton fabric (I like using plain white behind my light colored pieces), your hoop, non-toxic tacky glue (or another similar glue), fabric scissors and embroidery scissors.  Oh, and most importantly, you'll need a clean work surface as you'll be working part of the time with your piece face down.

Step 1:  Put the fabric behind your stitched piece and place it over the bottom portion of the hoop.  As you can see in the photo, I placed center marks on my fabric (and also on the bottom portion of the hoop) because I wanted to make sure it was centered as well as I could get it.

Step 2:  After you've put on the top portion of the hoop, stretched your piece so it's smooth, and screwed the clamp tightly, turn the piece over and make sure your cotton back is also smooth.  If it's not, just loosen the screw some so you can stretch the cotton fabric and then tighten it back up.  I would also take this time to check your piece from the front to make sure the backing fabric you chose doesn't show through. 

Step 3:  Use your fabric scissors to trim off the extra fabric (both pieces)

Step 4:  Use your embroidery scissors to trim the fabric as close to the hoop as you can get it so that it will be smooth.

Step 5:  Use your non-toxic glue and run a small strip of it all the way around the hoop.  Get it all over the fabric and down in any gaps there might be.  I usually smooth mine out with my finger.  The glue will dry clear and will basically "seal" the fabric to the hoop so it won't come out.  I typically put a light second coat on after the first coat has dried.

When you're done you'll have a nice "framed" piece like this that doesn't show all your stitching on the back.  If you're using a dark colored fabric to stitch on, I would use a dark colored cotton fabric to back it with so that it doesn't show through any of the holes.

This concludes my first ever tutorial.  I hope you found the directions simple to follow and you've learned something new from it.  Feel free to leave any feedback in the comments.  :)

Monday, August 6, 2012

Money Monday - August 6, 2012

Today's money savings post will take us to another one of my favorite sites (yes, I do have to shop somewhere other than Stitchnmomma to get my supplies, lol!)...Nordic Needle. 

Their sale section currently has 1,500+ items ranging in price from $.50 to $79.99!  They have everything from fibers to fabrics, and clothing to kits. 

I think this pattern is really cute, especially with Fall and Halloween right around the corner.  If you're in a shopping mood, I suggest checking them out.  Just click the photo and you'll go right to their sale section.


Sunday, August 5, 2012


I mean really, who in their right mind doesn't like cake?  LOL!

I love eating cake and the artistic side of me is completely amazed with what bakers, cake sculptors, whatever you want to call them can do with fondant & frosting.

One of my favorite websites is Cake Wrecks.  Monday through Saturday they feature the "terrible" cakes (and cupcakes) we all know exist.  On Sunday, the day I like best on their site, they do a feature they call Sunday Sweets.  This is where they feature all the beautiful, gorgeous, to-die-for cakes that cost an absolute fortune, but as so well worth it!

This is my favorite cake, well it's technically cupcakes, from today's post. It's an amazing cupcake bouquet from Mimi's Cakes & Bakes. If you'd like to drool over more of her glorious creations, just click the photo.  Oh, and don't forget your napkin, lol!  :)

Now, who wants cake?

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Pattern of the Week - August 4, 2012

I have been in love with Barbara & Cheryl charts since I was a teenager and first started cross stitching, many, many moons ago.  Over the years I have collected them, but have yet to stitch one, and now have more than 1/2 of the charts they've designed.  

Being a "Yankee" from the North (if you consider Ohio being in the North), there's something about the Southern charm of their charts that appeals to me.  I can picture myself strolling the streets of Charleston, SC or New Orleans, LA peeking through iron gates, sitting on the large front porches, etc.  

This week I'm choosing their pattern "A Change of Pace" as my pattern of the week.  It's one of my favorites, and of course is in my extensive stash.  If you're interested in this pattern, or seeing what else Barbara & Cheryl design, just click the picture and you'll go to where it can be purchased...and on sale to boot!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Freebie Friday - August 3, 2012

For today's Freebie Friday I'll be giving away 2 original Joan Elliot cross stitch charts.  One is "Magic Dragon" and the other is "Love's Promise".  

As stated, these are both original charts, so there's no copyright violations going on, as that's something as a designer I would never do.

If you're interested in winning these charts, leave a comment below (all comments must be left on this blog post.  Comments left on Facebook or Twitter won't count) and be sure I know how to contact you in case you're the winner.

The deadline to enter is Wednesday, August 8th and the winner will be announced on Thursday, August 9th.

Good luck!  :)