Friday, March 21, 2014

A Flat Finish It Friday!

I'm going to walk you through the basic steps of a flat finished ornament. This is Joyeux Noel - the 1st in my Family Tree Series - it was designed for the French branch of my family. This original set was shipped off to them and I managed to take some photos during the finishing process of the 2nd set that I had stitched. Lots of pics! 
I gathered my supplies: cleaned & pressed stitched pieces, backing fabric, ribbons, cotton batting, mat board, acid free double sided tape, and lacing thread along with the other basics (needle, scissors, & whatnot)  

I trim my stitched piece to a more manageable size. Here I was going to show 1/4" all around the ornament plus include 1" for turning & lacing. You may need to trim a bit more off later but it's better to be a little conservative...hard to add that fabric back later! I like to use my quilting ruler on my quilting mat with a rotary cutter - nice clean edges!

I cut mat boards to the desired size for the front & back of the ornament. I place a small bit of double sided acid free tape on the boards & attach cotton batting. The tape helps to stabilize the batting - it won't move around when you are centering your fabrics.

I like to place 2 layers of thin batting on the front side (under the stitching) & 1 layer on the back side (under cotton fabric).

I used to lace the back fabric but have recently switched to holding it in place with the acid free double sided tape. I am not patient enough for glue although that would work too. Tape opposite sides - be sure to adjust fabric that has patterns or straight lines. Tape remaining sides & attach fabric - (you may have to trim out your corners a bit in case you have a thicker or stiff cotton)
Now to lace your stitching. I do a side to side scooping motion with a heavy duty cotton/poly thread. After you lace the 1st two sides, be sure to check the front & make necessary adjustments to stitching. Once you turn & lace the other direction - you are locked into place. Again, I usually trim out my corners a bit -they get pretty packed!
A word about the side to side scooping motion: the needle goes through the linen - in & out on the same side running parallel to the edge. This way you won't get stretching marks on the front where you really pull your stitches tight. (even our needlework can get stretch marks!!!)
Now that front & back are taped or laced you want to attach them together. First, I opted to include a little ribbon for my hanger. That is being held in place with the double sided tape again. You don't have to use ribbon - you may wish to use your cording for the hanger.
You will notice that I stretched my cotton & linen in 2 different directions - this also helps the "bulk" factor when stitching them together - you won't get fat corners. (This means I folded vertical sides on one first & horizontal sides on the other first)
I lace the front to the back using a color coordinating thread. After is down to the fun part! trim, cording, buttons, bells, and all the doodads! I chose a simple black cording & a fun bow for the bottom. (attaching the cording will be a lesson for another day!)
You may have already received the May issue of Cross Stitch & Needlework magazine. The 3rd installment of my series is in it & once again, I am giving you some DMC alternatives. Yours won't look exactly like mine, but pretty darn close.
Thanks for all of the great feedback on this series. I was a little nervous when the editors approached me about doing such a long series but it has been a lot of fun! As I write this, I have turned in all but the last 2 - October & November. I know it sounds kind of weird, but I will be a little emotional when they are all complete!
April: blanc, 519, 703, 741, 319, 3746, 3832
May: 554, 369, 367, 3802, 3713, 961, 722, 433, 437
Have an awesome weekend! I will be painting my son's room. His was the 1st room we did when we moved in 10 years ago & now we are updating a bit in hopes to sell and maybe build after the college years!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Winner Winner!

Thank you to all who left comments on my last blog post and a huge thanks to Adornit for offering up their selection of Chamberry prints as a great prize! I have a winner...but first a few updates! (Would you really read on if I blew the surprise right now?)

It's been busy...heck, it's always busy! Last weekend I was able to sneak away for a short time to attend my annual retreat in Gretna NE. It's not a fancy place, but when I started going 17 years ago - it was heaven on earth. Time away from all the home activities - few even had cell phones in those days. My husband always knows - the 3rd weekend in March come heck or high water, I was Gretna bound. The women that I meet up with every year are wonderful & supportive & it's been so much fun to watch our families grow through the years.

I stopped through Omaha on the way home (I did have to leave a little early this year to go watch Chris play in a tennis meet) & dropped off some models at For The Love of awesome little shop. Judi was my very first "auto" customer & I was happy to lend her some models for awhile. Stop in if you are in the neighborhood...she does mail order too!

I've been catching up on some finishing work & working on a few retreat pieces. Like everyone else, I'm hoping Mother Nature decides that we have had enough winter and are ready for Spring.

Here is a sneak peak of a newly completed project!

This is a current WIP! Look familiar? The bag that I have been using for a model of "Love My Stitching" was stitched by Karen (sewmuch2luv) and I think she would probably like it back! I haven't stitched on evenweave for awhile, I forgot how much fun it is! 
That's what's new with me. The winner of the Adornit fabric bundle and chartpack of Gather Friends Close is Darla! I will be emailing you for your address! Contests are fun - keep following for more!
Have a wonderful day,

Friday, March 7, 2014

Gather Friends Close

Why do I design? I was asked that in an interview not too long ago and it was really difficult to come up with an answer that sounded plausible. I think I just need to. It's my way of expressing myself...telling my story (whether you want to listen to it or not!)

Speaking of stories - there is ALWAYS a story behind every design I release. Sometimes there is even more than one story as in the case of Gather Friends Close. I'll keep it short:

1. I'm a finisher. We've established that. I like to design projects that focus on fun finishes.

2. I like words - have you ever seen a design of mine without words. (Yes, I know the Counted Canvas designs do not have words in them...for now)

3. I became obsessed with the whole "describe your day, life, weekend, etc... in 3 words" idea.

4. I love color. Brights, pastels, soft, sharp, you name it.

5. I just had to have another bullet point...also obsessed with things in odd numbers.

I had been brewing this idea for a series of cushions. I've seen pictures all over the internet of fun small pillow finishes and I thought - 'wow, what if there was a set of cushions that were made to go together and would fill a basket to adorn your house?'

Yes, I really thought 'adorn your house' and magically I found myself in the Adornit booth at the Houston Quilt market (I was working with my friends at Just Another Button Co. at the time). I peeked around at their fabric lines and fell in love with Chamberry...soft but colorful, retro but hip and oh had words on it too! I was in love.

I plunked down my VISA and purchased 9 bolts of fabric (I have such new-found respect for quilt shop owners!).

Then came the design & those 3 words. They finally came at Christmas when I gathered with my stitching friends at my house for our annual "no-exchange Christmas potluck" party. As we were cleaning up, my husband said, "you know it's so nice the way you can gather with your close friends"...see what happened there?

Visit We are cross-blogging today! Give them a follow - lots of fun to see & do on both their blog and website! Great project ideas! 
Here is Part 1 of Gather Friends Close. Each chartpack comes with the designs, hand-dyed rick rack, button & Chamberry fabric to finish the cushions!
I took all 9 motifs & made them into a sampler as well. One-third of the sampler will be released in each chartpack. Here is a close up of how I incorporated the Dames of the Needle/From the Cauldron rick rack & JABC button into the design.
A peek ahead to Part 2 and another close up of rick rack & button.
You can see some close up bits of Adornit's Chamberry fabric.
Adornit is graciously giving you an opportunity to have your own little bundle of fabrics from the Chamberry line! These are the fabrics from the line that I chose for the series. To sweeten the deal, I will also send you a Gather Friends Close Part 1 chartpack.
Please leave a comment on this blog post. If you like...let me know your 3-words that inspire you! Comments will be accepted through next Friday midnight (3/14). The winner will be chosen by random number generator! 
Enjoy the Stitch,



Thursday, February 27, 2014

I don't do "off" well!

Before I begin - let me say...I still have "Made With Love Charms". Read more about it from my February 6th post. Keep sending them...I'm even having the local stitchers send the SASE! I've gotten well over 100 responses so far & it's been terrific reading the little notes (not necessary, but nice!) and seeing what states I'm hearing from - I think FL is in the lead at this point!

and now I move on...

I promised myself a few days "off" after the flurry of market subsided. I rediscovered something about myself...I don't do "off". I schedule, I make lists, I cross off lists, I have appts, meetings, and events. When left to my own devices - aka, sitting and model stitching while watching a movie (even though this is technically work) - I feel guilt. If, however, I was sitting on a warm beach somewhere with a little umbrella in my drink, there would be no guilt. Enough said.

What about market? Market was GREAT! I packed up my models, charts & husband - drove 13+ hours, avoided major snowfalls and had a blast at my first solo market outing. (I've been to many markets on both the buying and selling side of life.)

A quick pictorial for you!

Just an ordinary hotel room to start with!

Upon registering, you receive your sign (here's your sign) - the first...and easiest thing to put up!

Then the banners go up with the inevitable questions...did I bring the zip-ties? are these zip-ties long enough? how do I make the #*$@ zip-ties work? Some random zip-tie expert comes along and helps you out. It's all good.

If you do it right, you ordered enough tables and brought along enough "stuff" (easels, baskets, tape, thumbtacks, etc... - after one quick trip to JoAnn's, we were solid). 

By Friday evening, I had enough done to put sneak peeks in the front window for the Early Bird Shoppers.

I participated in a fun "Scavenger-like" event with 9 other designers where shops had to get our signatures and note what kind of candy we brought to get into a drawing. Here is our Grand Prize winner being given her gift certificate by Elvis & Cupid...oh wait, that's really Matt & Dave Stott of Norden Crafts, Ltd.
The week after market is just as busy as the weeks leading up to it. I sold out of most of the charts I brought, so orders went out immediately (after a quick trip to the printer & re-ordering of buttons during the car ride home!) Distributors get their shipments & even a Trunk Show had to be packed up. My brain needs a serious break before it all starts over for the next show!
Designers get asked a lot - "do you stitch other designs?". I have said before that I always seem to have some Halloween stitching going. I'm making slow progress on this one, but it should be done by next Fall. It is nice to stitch sometimes without thinking about the color or placement of a stitch.

Next post I promise will be a Finish it Friday! I took pictures as I was doing some ornament finishing with a post in mind.
Enjoy the stitch,

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Happy Anniversary

Last year, my dearest & I celebrated our 25th Anniversary. I surprised him by designing a special piece that I finished & presented to him that special day. We spent the entire day together just doing simple things on a Wednesday...something we never get to do since we go in different weekday/workday directions.

I had such a great time with the piece & an overwhelming response to the complimentary design, it's going to be an annual event. (Hey...I'll never need to think what to get him for a gift!)

So, Happy 26th sweetie, here you go:

26 years & my heart still leaps up (insert sappy music here...)! Surrounding my token are a few objects I keep on display tucked here & there. The shoes...they were Bill's when he was a babe. The blue china are the few remaining pieces from a childhhood set of mine...the one's that survived! The brass VPI belt buckle - it was actually a gift from a friend. VPI - the old name for the university where Bill & I met (Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University became VA Tech - good move!)
I attached this fun little "Made With Love" charm & I would like to give you the opportunity to have one for your cushion! Here's the deal:
Send me a self-addressed stamped envelope & I will send you one! That's it! No following, no liking (of course that is pretty much the only way you will ever hear about my complimentary designs).
Here's the fine print: Please just request 1 charm. Live outside the US? - no problem. Make sure there is enough postage on the SASE & it should get to you. I will not be responsible for lost mail & when the charms are gone, I will post a notice. I will send until the charms are gone, but I will not return any SASE's - look for the post saying we're done! Let's keep this fun - a teeny tiny treat for you. (seriously teeny, 3/8"x1/2").
Use it on this piece or something else (really, I'm not coming to everyone's house to check!)
SASE to Hands On Design, 2400 Apache Dr., Sioux City, IA 51104
Enjoy the stitch!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Tis the Season of...

how would you finish that sentence?? could be the season of love...the season of snow...the season of bone chilling temps!

Right now, it's the season of Market Prep!

This is what I think (hope) my house looks like!

This is what my house really looks like!

Boxes & "to go to Nashville" piles everywhere! Whew!

I wanted to take a teeny break to let you know about something coming up this week! Last year, my husband & I celebrated our 25th anniversary. I designed a sweet little piece that got scooped up by lots of stitchers! I will post this year's gift to you (& my dearest) next Thursday! Check back in!

In the meantime, here's a reminder of last year's design & a better link to print out your own version (having a website now makes that sooooo much easier!)

                                                         Click here for a printable pdf.

Before I forget...thanks to everyone who stopped by as part of the Grow Your Blog party! I found lots of new blogs to follow! Thanks again to Vicki for organizing the party!

Winner, Winner! The random number was 8...Beth @ E. Lizard Breath Speaks - you are my winner. I will be in touch!

Have a great weekend!


Friday, January 24, 2014

Welcome to the Grow Your Blog Party!

Last year I packed up my 6 followers & went to the party...the Grow Your Blog party! It was so much fun, I thought I would go again. I've added quite a few followers & I love all of the comments & emails I get after each post! I feel like I have all of these new friends.

They say we are supposed to introduce ourselves at the party. You can pretty much read my little bio to the left under my picture and understand who I am. I keep my blog as a diary of what is going on in my it with my design business, my finishing business, or my family.

Recently I celebrated my 1 year Blogiversary! I took some time to read back through my posts. What fun to remember some, markets, life changing moments.

I intend to keep doing the same thing, including a fun feature I started last year - Finish it Friday: a post about some finishing tips for various types of cross-stitch projects. I often include a complimentary pattern!

As I type this - I am packing to head out to my Winter Stitching Getaway - I rent a conference room at a local hotel. Cater meals in & 14-15 stitchers & quilters gather to have a warm retreat in the middle of a cold winter!

Here I am all packed for retreat! Oh, I still need to pack a few clothes...but I got the important stuff ready to go!

I wasn't sure what to take pictures of for this blog post...I mean all of my stitching and current projects are packed! So, I took a shot of my mantle...mostly because I usually forget to put the Valentine's decorations out in time to really enjoy them (I usually think about it on Feb 15th!).
This year I made a point to display these things just as I was taking Christmas down. Plus...
that leads me to my little giveaway! Leave a comment on this blog post - no need to "follow me" but it sure would be nice to get to know you better. If you are on Facebook - you can "like" me at Hands On Design - I keep that spot pretty active with pictures and posts!
After the party is over - I will select a winner by random number generator - so be sure to leave a email address where I can contact you! I will send you a few goodies - a made-with-love pincushion and a sweet little booklet for your thoughts covered with original artwork from Michelle Palmer (you HAVE TO check out her Etsy shop)...I'll add some extra goodies as well!
Have fun at the party - I plan to get out & blog hop as well and enjoy myself his weekend at the Getaway!
Happy Stitches!