Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year-A Year in Review

Good morning everyone I hope you had a great 2014 and I hope your 2015 is even better.  I've had some ups and downs this year but I always try to stay positive about situations.  It's rainy here today and I have to work tonight so no New Year's celebrations for me unfortunately.  Luckily I'm working with one of my favorite people so I shouldn't be bored.  I just hope it stays quiet and we don't have too many complaints since I'm working in guest services.

My Christmas ended up being good since I got to go out Christmas Eve with my husband.  We went to Busch Gardens since it was free and it was nice and quiet so there were no lines for anything.  They also had some great shows.

I didn't realize it would work but I did a series of rapid fire shots and that's what the moving photos are.  They turned out pretty cool!  One of the shows had Santa who called up all of the kids from the audience to sing a song with him it was adorable.  One little girl in particular who is sitting under the green elf was just the cutest thing I've seen.

Present wise I did well too.  I got $50 in gift cards for Michael's to support my stitching habit.  Probably will be going toward an Ott light.  I also got a new touch screen laptop which I'm writing this on right now.  My old one had a broken hinge and no battery life so it was really more of a desktop although it has a DVD drive so I'll still probably pull it out on occasion to watch movies in bed.  I still have to transfer over all of my cross stitch patterns and all my photos and videos to the new one though.  I also received some nice new clothes and a winter jacket since we're planning on moving to colder climates next year.  My hubby got a new winter jacket as well along with some new video games for his PS4 and a headset so he can talk to people while he plays.  We also got a big cash gift from his dad.  His stepmom passed away this year and it was our final gift from her.  The note his dad wrote made me tear up a bit, I didn't realize we brought her so much happiness so I'm glad I could bring her some comfort before she passed.

The good news is my mom is doing well.  She got out of the hospital right before Christmas and although she couldn't stay the night at my sister's like she was planning, they all went down Christmas Eve and spent a few hours with her before they went home.  She's also able to eat whatever she wants and is able to keep it down.  She's been scarfing down on hot fudge sundaes like they're going out of style :).

Stitching wise I think I finished a fair amount this year.  First off I started this blog and am currently at 40 followers so a big thank you to all of my readers!  I also started up my stash this year which is now more than enough for a couple years to keep me occupied.  My wind up this year is as follows:
 Finished Aurora Cabin

Started and finished 2 panels of Halloween Banners
Swirling Peacock started
Started and finished Legend of Zelda for my friend
Started and finished My Tinkerbell for hubby's friend
Started Magical World

My goal this year is to start and finish Paradise by October.  It's 42 pages and 800x202 stitches so I'm nervous about getting it done on time.  I'll be stitching on this exclusively though so I'm hoping I'll finish.  I already have the fabric dyed and gridded and I have the words charted out.  I'll be working off of two charts at the same time and I'm still trying to decide on colors for the words.  I'm thinking since there's so many colors in the pattern (100) I'll just do white letters with a black border.  It's for my cousin's wedding so it has to be gender neutral.  I was telling her about my Tinkerbell project and she said I should stitch a little something for her.  I already had this planned but I know she'll love it as she loves the beach and it's Broncos colors for her fiance.  I calculated it out and need to do a page a week to stay on track.  
Once I finish this I'm going to stitch Howling for my mom.  She loves native American design and wolves.  She also started stitching and she does blankets for her newborn grandkids but she isn't a big fan of stitching and won't do anything for herself so I decided to do something for her.
Non stitching-wise my goal for next year is to get pregnant.  I have some pretty bad fertility issues as I was diagnosed with PCOS when I was a teenager.  I won't go into much detail about it but basically I don't ovulate except like once a year.  I'll be 29 in April so really want this to be my year.  I've already started the first step which is a strict diet where I can't eat basically anything good.  I had to cut out all starches, dairy and sugars.  So my diet is basically meat and some veggies, eggs and hard cheeses.  I just discovered cheddar is considered a hard cheese so that made me happy.  Also all of the almond flour and almond milk out there means I won't be suffering as much as I thought.  I found a dairy, sugar and starch free bread recipe to try.  I just have to run to Whole Foods to get almond and coconut flour to make it since they didn't have them at my normal market.  I'm trying to cheat only once or twice a week which is where I just cheat all day and then start it again the next day which is what my endocrinologist told me to do.  My other goal next year is to move to our final location.  We've been living in Florida for about 5 years now and we both miss our families so now that hubby is graduating in May, we're finally moving back home.  The only problem is his family is in CA and mine's in CO so we're still "discussing" where we're moving.  We may just move to Vegas so we're halfway between the two ;).  My last goal is to start graduate school.  I should finish it in a year I just have to finish my exams that I need to get into the program.  I'm hoping to have these done in January.

So lots of changes in the new year and lots of nervousness. I hope to get my goals accomplished but we'll see how everything goes.  I hope you all achieve all your goals and happy New Year!  I'll be posting again tomorrow with my New Stitchy Start post.  Thanks for sticking with me I know this was long and detailed.

Until next time,
Should old acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind?  Should old acquaintance be forgot and auld lang stitch ;)

Monday, December 22, 2014

Words are Hard!

Hello blogland and Merry Christmas!  This will be my last post  until New Year's so I hope you all have a great Christmas!  Things have been slow stitching wise.  I only made a little progress on Magical World.
The reason I've had so few progress is because of a combination of the holidays, my work schedule, my mom having surgery and getting things ready for Paradise for my cousin's wedding I'm starting on the first as my piece for the new start 2015 SAL (link on the right). 

My mom ended up having to have emergency surgery to have part of her intestine removed.  They weren't sure what happened but discovered later that she ended up swallowing a tiny piece of bone which ripped a hole in it.  Luckily the surgery was successful and they didn't have to remove as much as they thought.  But she's supposed to get out of the hospital tomorrow and still isn't able to process food very well so we'll see how it goes.  And she's obviously still in a lot of pain but she's trying to use the painkillers as little as possible.

And finally getting ready for my SAL is taking forever!  I've started the grid on my fabric which I dyed several weeks ago.  I'm actually using a pen for this instead of floss because it kept getting caught in my stitching floss.  I didn't think it would take that long but I think I'm being heavy handed with it since it's my first time using it and my fabric is blue.
It's easier to see in person.  But the thing that's taking the most time is creating my quote to go on the top of my pattern.  My cousin loves beaches but since it's for her wedding I wanted to put a life quote on top with their names and wedding date so it was more meaningful.  The pattern is so big that I couldn't use any free pattern makers and didn't like the fonts they had for the pay ones so I utilized my hubby's computer/photoshop skills.  He created a grid for me (without the darkened 10th line) and used a font I liked to start the chart.  Then I uploaded it to MS Paint, added the darkened grid markers and numbered the lines so I could stitch easier later.  Then I finally had to go through and remove/add spots around the letters so there were no partial stitches in the design.  I didn't realize it would take so long but I'm finally finished so I'm all set to start on the first!  I'm going to be going back and forth between the two charts so I hope I don't confuse myself.

Sorry about the long post my next one will be before New Year's and will mostly be about Christmas since I probably won't get much stitching in with my crazy work schedule.  I work at a theme park so I'll be working both Christmas and New Year's.  Drag.  And all of my off days are taken up by my DH wanting to go to see Christmas stuff around the parks.  But our Chanukah so far has been great.  He's Jewish so we celebrate both holidays.  It ends this year on Christmas Eve.

Well that's all for now hope I didn't bore you all!

Until next time,
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!  Hope they're filled with friends, family and fun and you all get lots of stitching supplies!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A Finish!

I did it!  I beat my deadline!  Kelli if you're reading this stop!  My Tinkerbell is finished and can be shipped off tomorrow to DH's friend.  It's doing it's last bit of drying right now before we frame it but it should be there in time for Christmas. 
The words are a line from a song from the movie.  It's in pins because that's how I stretch and remove the wrinkles from my pieces so I don't flatten the stitches with an iron.  It still looks a little wrinkly but that's mostly because of where my light source is.  I may spray it again tonight and see if that helps them release more but I'll check it when it's completely dry.  This one was really tough for me.  Most of the backstitching was done inside the squares on the aida or inbetween the holes.  And by most I mean almost all of it.  And each flower had like ten stitches per petal of backstitching to make all of the curves.  What I thought took one day actually took 5.  I'm really glad this one is over.

I'm not starting my Paradise piece until the new year so I may continue on my Magical World until then.  I still have to grid Paradise though and work out the wording so we'll see.

Until next time stitchers,
Stitch long and prosper!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Christmas Advent Calendar

Hey everyone sorry about the late post.  This is day 10 of the advent calendar hosted by Jo at Serendipitous Stitching thanks Jo!  I've been at universal all day with the hubby enjoying the Christmas celebrations.  We saw grinchmas and saw the Macy's parade and enjoyed all of the Christmas lights.  We even got hot butterbeer.
It was a lot of fun and our first time seeing the parade.  It was pretty cool they had a bunch of the balloons from the thanksgiving parade as well as some of the floats.

I also got some stitching done.  
This is a present for DH's friend for Christmas.  All of the crosses are done I'm just finishing the back stitching and then I'm putting in a quote.  We got the frame for it today.

I'm not currently stitching any christmas designs but I have two that are hanging that I've finished previously.  

We're supposed to talk about our best Christmas present but I don't just have one.  My biggest gift I received last year was from my hubby.  He bought me a new car!  My old one was on its last legs and had no air conditioning.  (We live in Florida) it was horrible.  We share a car so things are still a pain but it's a nice car.  My mom gave me another of my favorite gifts which was a trip to Disneyland when I was in 8th grade.  And my best friend got to go as well.  We lived in Colorado at the time so it was a big trip.  My most meaningful gifts were when I was a child my grandparents would give us a music box and engraved ornament every year.  My grandma passed when I was 11 so anything that reminds me of her I treasure.  I no longer have the music boxes because they broke but I do have most of the ornaments.  I think my sister has the rest they got mixed up in our packing boxes.

I hope everyone has a happy holidays and merry Christmas.  Hopefully my next post will be a finish as I should be done tomorrow.  My next post may include some Hanukkah festivities since it starts in 6 days.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Fabric Dye Tutorial

Hello again everyone I had some interest in my fabric dyeing in my last post so since I had some more to do I thought I would make a tutorial for anyone interested.  I'll start off by saying I'm not a professional and use things I can find cheaply and easily at my local craft store which is Michaels (I may be a Michaels addict) :)  This will be a picture heavy post so bear with me.  An entire piece of fabric for me costs around $1.00 for dye materials and $5-$7 for fabric. 

The only way I like to dye is using the low water immersion technique which is because I like a lot of mottling in my pieces.  It is easy to do a whole piece evenly you just have to follow the directions on the package which requires a lot of stirring so the color stays even.  This time I dyed 3 pieces in 2 different colors.  I used one piece of tea dyed linen (would have preferred white but they don't carry white 28ct linen) and two pieces of white cotton evenweave.  The linen is Charles Craft and the evenweave is MCG Textiles.  When dying fabric you want to stay with natural fibers as they will give the best result.

To start off with it's recommended you wash your fabric.  I don't as I buy it new and I know they don't use any chemicals in the processing (or if they have then they still dye fine).  You want to get your fabric nice and damp.  I just run it under the faucet and wring out the excess.  Then I leave it in a ball and toss it in a double plastic grocery bag (yay recycling!).  Once it's in the ball you want to leave it that way for the rest of the dyeing process.
It's hard to see but I do have all 3 balls of fabric in there.  The reason you want a double lined bag is just in case there's a small hole you don't see in one bag.  Your next step is going to be to mix your soda ash, also called washing soda.  This is NOT the same thing as baking soda.  You can buy it in your local craft store.  This is the brand I use:
I got it for like $5 and have just opened my second pack. 
 You only need 1 tablespoon per cup of water and I use 1 cup per piece of fabric.  The soda ash helps open up the fibers so they accept the dye better.  Put on a mask while mixing up the solution because breathing soda ash can be harmful.  Once it's mixed you're fine.  You might also want to wear gloves while mixing as the soda ash can be drying to your hands.
You also want to use a spoon you aren't going to eat with and I use styrofoam cups.  You want your water to be steaming hot and I found the best way is with my Keurig.  It also helps because I know my settings so I don't have to measure :)  (If you have a Keurig Platinum the middle setting is 1 cup).  After you pour the solution over the balls of fabric, push all of the air out of the bag and let it sit in your sink for 20 minutes.  If you buy a different brand of soda ash the directions should tell you how long to let it sit.
I recommend doing this process only if you have a stainless steel sink.  You don't want to stains if you happen to drip dye through the bag.

After your 20 minutes are up you'll want to separate you'll want to separate your fabric depending on what colors you'll use.  Using gloves take out each ball of fabric and wring it out keeping it in the ball shape and put it in a separate bag for each color.  DO NOT RINSE THE FABRIC! 
I decided I was going to have the two white fabrics be a sky blue color and the linen as a deep Christmas red so I put the 2 white balls in the same bag.  Once again double line the bags so you can reduce/eliminate dripping.  Now comes the fun part mixing the dyes!

I did the red first and used quite a bit of dye powder because I wanted to make sure I didn't have pink fabric since it's for a Christmas pattern I'm stitching.  I always use about 1 1/2 cups of water for my dye.  Both of the brands I use ask for 4 tablespoons of salt for the whole pack so I use about 1 tablespoon per dye solution.  Now for the red I ended up using about 3 tablespoons of dye.  You want to have steaming hot water as well so I use the Keurig again. 
This is the dye I'm using for my red.  They don't sell this at Michaels but they do sell it at Joanns which isn't close but I had some from a previous trip.

Mix it well.  Start off by using a tablespoon and then you can test the solution to see if you like the color before you add more dye.  I like to just use a paper towel.
The left one is the first tablespoon, the right is the second spoon and the middle is the final color I chose.  After you decide on the color, pour the whole cup over the ball of fabric in the bag. 
Touch the fabric as little as possible so you get more mottling.  Scrunch the air out of the bag and close the bag so the dye doesn't dry out.  As you can see, the dye isn't going to cover the fabric which is why this is called low water immersion :).  You can also scrunch your fabric in a small container but this way is free and green :).  The reason you want to keep your fabric in a tight ball and to move it as little is possible is because this creates a resist which means they dye won't reach every bit of fabric and you will get the mottled effect.  It also means some areas will get a bit of dye and will be a lighter color.

I did the same process with the blue.
The blue I use is the Tulip brand they sell at Michaels.
For this color I only used 1 tablespoon along with the 1 tablespoon of salt.  After scrunching out the air I left them to sit in the sink for several hours while I did some stitching :)

When I came back to rinse I didn't see much difference.

The blue on the right looks darker but that's just shadow from the bag.  After you remove the balls you want to rinse out as much dye as possible.  Start washing with cold and then switch to hot to set the color.  This proved a Herculean task for the red since they dye was so saturated.  The blue had hardly any dye to rinse out.  This may also be because the linen is thinner than the cotton so it picked up more dye I may have to do some tests :).  You want to rinse they dye until the water runs clear.  I had to fill up the sink several times with the red to leach out the color.
After you get out as much color as you can, wash the fabric as you would normally.  I just use regular detergent.  I also hand wash mine in the sink because I don't have a sewing machine and I don't want it to fray too much.  I tried it once in the washing machine and lost a good 2 inches on each side due to fraying.
The water is colored because of the detergent I use not because of the dye.  I didn't get a picture but the red actually turned the water purple so I had to rinse it more until I was sure I got the color out.  After washing just rinse all the soap out and you're done!  I don't own an iron so I just keep mine wet and lay them flat to dry.

The red actually looks more red than the picture shows, not any pink at all.  Don't forget I started with tea dyed fabric with the red so that's the brown you see.  The red didn't look nearly this mottled when I first rinsed which just shows how much there was still to leach out.  I think the pieces turned out great!  I especially like the blues but that's almost always the case for me.

If you're on the fence about dyeing your fabric I say go ahead and go for it.  It's really not hard and very inexpensive. I've dyed about 10 pieces of fabric so far and have only gone through half of my soda ash and still have plenty of dye left in all of my packets.  I'd say you can probably get about 7 pieces of fabric out of each dye pack.  It's also not nearly as time consuming as I thought.  Most of the time is just sitting around waiting for it.  And if you don't like what you created there is such a thing as dye remover so you can just use that and start all over again!  Although I've never actually hated a piece I've made.  I hope I helped some of you in your decision to dye or at the very least kept you entertained.

It will be a while before I stitch on the designs these pieces are intended for but my next stitching will be on some I dyed previously.  Hope to see you there!

Can you dye with all the colors of the wind? ;)

New Stash and Stitching (and a Project finish)

Hello again and welcome to my little corner of crafting.  This will be a fairly long post and I'll have a second post up after this one so bear with me.  First off I want to post my finish.  My chair is done!  It took me about a year and was done all by hand as I wanted it to cost as little as possible I used hand tools and boy I wish I had bought a power saw.  But it turned out better than I could have hoped.  I wanted to use it as storage as well so that I could have a place for all of my crafting supplies and it has more room than I thought!  Without further ado:

Pay no mind to the lamp in the middle of the shot :)  This thing is really comfortable and big.  I only had a vague design in mind when I did it but I think the black and white looks good.  It's adjustable so it can go further back as well.  I put a lot of blood and sweat in this but no tears :)

Secondly I have some new stash.  Michaels had a coupon for Black Friday which was 40% off entire purchase which is what I used to buy the rest of the floss and fabric needed for all of the charts I have left.  Needless to say my receipt was long.

Could've been longer but I didn't buy what I wouldn't use.  I also bought some new Christmas earrings and some more fabric dye while I was there.

I spent all of last night putting it on bobbins and putting it in my floss book which is looking quite huge.

I estimate I have around 350 bobbins now.

I also have a new project I'm doing that I'm trying to have finished before Christmas as a present.  My husband's good friend loves Tinkerbell so he basically bought a kit and asked if I would stitch it for her for Christmas.  Okay asked may be a nice way of putting it lol.  It uses anchor floss and has some metallics in it as well.

The name will say Kelli but I offered to have it say Tinkerbell instead.  It's a cute pattern I think, not quite so traditional looking but it's on aida which isn't my favorite.  I almost stitched it on linen but didn't want some aida laying around that I wouldn't use.  But I've made some fair progress so far

I hope I can have it done by Christmas but we'll see.

My next post will be a tutorial on how I dye my fabric since I had some interest in my last post.  Hope to see you over there if not TTFN-Ta Ta For Now!