Monday, 27 June 2011

Brimming with ideas

I've got so many ideas and so little time.

And to make things worse, I didn't get to do any stitching on my sil's present while I was away because I accidentally left the USB with the chart on it at home. I was going to take a small kit with me too, but decided not to in order to get the present fiinished. I was stuck reading my book and had serious stitching withdrawal. I bought a cross stitching mag to help relieve the tension. LOL but it didn't have a free kit, just a Joan Elliott fairy to drool over.

On the way down to Kiama we stopped in at Penrith and I dropped into the bead shop to drool over the pretties. I've bought some things to embellish designs in the future. I can't wait.

Saturday, 25 June 2011


I'm off to Kiama for the weekend for our anniversary (18 years).
Se eyou when I get back.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Hand Dying

Firstly, thankyou to my watchers for sticking with me. And thanks for the comments. It's really nice to get some interaction.

Yesterday I was thinking about hand dyed linen and wondered if anyone out there hand dyes, or do you prefer to buy the fabric already hand dyed by those specialist companies? Or do you just buy your linen in a flat colour?

I also got about 4 lovely hours to stitch yesterday. I wish it had been more, but life is just so hectic at the moment. I can't wait for the end of next week when I can slow down a little for the school holidays.

Not much to write about today ... sorry.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

More Progress

Sorry I haven't posted much lately. It was reports time at school which means more after hours work. But it's all done now.

I've made progress on the 'L' for Lisa.
This photo is quite drak as I took it early this morning with my flash. I'm actually quite happy with the colours now. As I come down to the bottom of the 'L' the colours lighten considerably and make give an overall impression of blending colours.

I must say I 'll glad when it's done. I've used three strands in 18 count aida which I've now decided is too thick (and pretty cumberson to work with). But I aint starting again or unpicking!!!

When it's finished I plan to work on some smaller pieces for magazines to keep the cheques coming in. There is a good chance I'll be leaving teaching next year to focus on my designing full time. I've been quite stressed by teaching this year. So doing smaller projects for more magazines should give my husband a sense of ease with a steady flow of income.

Though the larger projects will always be my first love and I'll certainly be working on them in between the 'bread and butter' stuff.

Until next time,
happy stitching.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Feeling Great

I had a phone call today from Embroidery and Cross Stitch this morning saying they would like to publish the article I wrote about a local craft exhibition. It's really exciting to think that my writing is also worthy of the magazine, and it gives me another way to contribute to the magazine.

I've worked quite a lot on the WIP for my sister in law today (when not doing house work).
I did a bit more research on the lettering and thought I should show you the site that it came from.
The game is called 'Elder Scrolls'
Here's where i got them from, and you can see the entire alphabet there.

As I work on the letter I am glad it is turning out a good colour. And I'm being inspired to design my own fancy alphabet to make a sampler or two.

Tomorrow I have to work on school reports so i'm not sure I'll get much stitching done ... we'll see.

But tonight I'm riding high on good news.

Monday, 13 June 2011

New Work WIP

I finished the fairy for WOCS and started the present for my sister in law.
I'm a little worried at how dark it is turning out. But I started at the top and it's darker at the top, so I hope it will turn out OK.

I've stitched so much today that my wrists are sore. :)

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Preview/ Detail

I just can't resist showing you some more of my newest design. It's called 'Shhh'. The fairy is saying 'Shh, don't tell the grown ups (you've seen a fairy)'.

First, let me tell you al little back story about the design.
I took the photo of my daughter Annalese dressed as a fairy when she was 5 (she's is now 11) and posted it in my deviant art stock account for stock artists to have fun playing with.
The photo was spotted by David Asch who writes photoshopping cheat books and he asked if he could manipulate the photo and use it on the cover of his next book. I happily agreed and a year later the book arrived for me in the post.

I liked his manipulation of the photo so much that I asked his permission to turn it into a cross stitch, and David was more than happy to agree.

Once I'd made the chart and shown it to David, I showed the editor of World of Cross Stitch a simulation. She said that after one minor change she would find it a spot in the magazine (but not until 2012 as they're list for this year is already full).

Now I've stitched the design for Hannah to approve.

Of course I have to be careful with copyright, but I'm going to show you a detail shot of the fairies face.

In the design she is sitting on a bright red, spotty mushroom and has gorgeous purple butterfly wings.

I hope you think she's a pretty as I do. But she looks even better on the lovely dyed background sitting on the striking mushroom.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Nearly finished

Hey ... I've nearly finished my fairy cross stitch.
It's been more than 40 hours in the making. That's not the longest one I've done by far. But it's always good when you get to the end of a project you've been working on for a while.

I had to go and buy three more thread colours to finish it. I seem to be always in the craft shop lately. Even though I have at least 75% of the colours I still end up designing with colours I don't have. :) And then of course I run out of colours I use often, like skin tones.

Well, not much else to talk about lately. So I guess I'll write again later.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Chart for Sister-in-law

My sister in law's 40th birthday is coming up in a few weeks and I wanted to design something smallish that I could complete in time.

I found this cool letter 'L' online
Her name starts with 'L' so I'll turn it into a chart and stitch that for her. I think the letter comes from a video game ... must be graphics for the instructions or something. I didn't look at the site all that carefully. But I won't be releasing the chart for sale, it's just a gift for my SIL so it should be OK.

I'm struggling to find time to stitch and design at the moment as my daughter has been home sick, and school is winding up for reporting to parents (very time intensive). So I hope I can get it done in time.

The editor from World of Cross Stitch also contacted me yesterday by email to ask how the adjustments she's asked for were coming. Luckily I've nearly finished stitching that piece and I was able to tell her I will show it to her next week. I had hoped to put it aside for a while to get the monogram present done in time, but I'll have to finish it first.

Busy, busy, busy. Who knew the life of a cross stitch designer could be hectic. LOL

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Flesh Tones

Have you ever noticed the wide range of flesh tones used by designers in cross stitching charts?
I think it's wonderful that we have such a range of colours available to us.

A few years ago I bought my first cross stitching magazine in nearly 10 years because of the Cicely Mary Barker fairy on the cover. I'm very gald I did buy it as it has sparked my love of cross stitching and designing once more. The designer of the fairy used the 3770s as flesh tones. I use them sometimes myself.

Though lately I have discovered 543 is a great skin tone with not too much pink. I used to use a lot of 819, but now I use it more for blushes in the cheeks.

Joan Elliott seems to like 951 and 945 for her pale flesh tones and they certainly give a ethereal glow to her fantasy characters.

Have you noticed they are all very pale anglo skins?
I dont' have my hands on the Native American series that Joan Elliott created, so I can't comment on those colours. But I do wonder to myself if we are a little narrow in our selection.

Or maybe that's just what I like to buy?
Perhaps it's me that's narrow in my selection?

Well in any case, I may look for some models with darker skin to use in my next design. That will certainly prove a challenge choosing colours for flesh tones.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Free Rose Card Pattern

Time for a free pattern to keep you interested and to say thankyou for following my blog. :)
Stitch this feminine rose card

I finished off the card with two strips of ribbon and a thin strip of decorative paper plus some sequins.

I'd love to see a photo if you stitch it.


Saturday, 4 June 2011

All Our Yesterdays

Book Review

All Our Yesterdays
Faye Whittaker for DMC
David and Charles publications 2007

I was extremely lucky to pick up this book at a bargain price. I saw it on the shelf for $7.99 and when i went to pay for it they told me it had been reduced to $3.99. I couldn't believe my luck.

When I first heard about this book I went searching for images of the patterns online. I thought the historic costumes were quite nice, but didn't think I would bother stitching any of them. Getting my hand on the book has changed my mind. There are some wonderful large pieces depicting the victorian seaside holiday. but it is the littl epieces that have taken my fancy. The girl with sunhat t her back on page 64 is adorable and so is the girl sailing a little boat on page 78.

All the patterns have very strong colour pallettes with red and royal blue being prominent. These striking colours seem to add to the victorian feel of the images.

the charts use only full stitches, so it is ideal for someone just starting out (or like me, who doesn't enjoy fractional stitches. And while backstitching is used to outline some major areas, the designs are not reliant on backstitch to form the picture.

I'm very much lookign forward to stitching one of the designs from this book.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

This and That

I still can't post comments. Blogger seems to be having some real issues.

So thankyou Rhona for the lovely comment on my WIP. I don't have a due date for it, just asap. It should be done in the next week.

Welcome follower number 9.

Today I'm off to the library again. This time it's to be chaffeur to my son who's goign to the movies. It's a pupil free day at his school.

Last night I was talking to my brother. He's an aspiring writter and working really hard at his craft. Everytime I get on the phone he asks me about my writing. When I told him I'd pretty much given it up to pursue my designing career (where I AM actually earning some money), my husband seemed a bit shocked. He asked me why I hadn't sent my stuff to the publisher who was interested. I commented that it was a very small publisher and I would probably make less than $100. And he said 'but you've done all the work, why not finish it off?'. I felt really guilty after that.

It makes me wonder if I'll ever 'make it' in any field on my own. I do procrastinate with the admin work,  or the last few steps. I just recently sent in 5 designs in one go. Some of them had been finished for quite a few months, but I hadn't written instructions or made them up into projects. I will be paid for them, but I could have already been paid for them.

I have improved over the last few years though. Five years ago I was terrible at finishing anything and hopped from one project to another. Now at least I make myself finish one chart before starting a new one. And I delayed sending designs in due to confidence. The first design sat finished for three years before I found courage to send it to publishers.

So perhaps the little changes I make day by day will be enough.

I'll work on that paperwork problem. I'll set aside some time each day to get it done.

And I might as well sned off the publishing agreement for my books today. Like my husband said, 90% of the work is already done.

Wish me luck.