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Monday, October 31, 2016

Trick or Treat!

The talented Jo of Serendipitous Stitching is hosting a Trick or Treat blog hop today.  Unfortunately I already showed off my seasonal cross stitching earlier in the month, so all I have is this unfinished Prairie Schooler witch from the 2013 Just Cross Stitch Halloween issue:

But that's not very exciting, so here's a design I finished years ago, "Too Many Treats" by Birds of a Feather:
I don't normally cross stitch such large designs, but I couldn't resist this guy.  This evening my kids will be joining the cat with an over-filled stomach -- one year my middle son got mad at me because I made him stop eating candy, then got mad at me for having let him eat the candy when it upset his stomach, then got mad at me a third time for not letting him eat more once he started feeling better. Fun times.

And now, my assigned letter:


For the next letter, visit Fireflies and Cats in the Garden.  Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Another Swirly Pumpkin

I decided not to carve a pumpkin this year; instead I painted the stem copper (I will save it once the pumpkin decays) and added swirls to the body.  Because I have not cut into it, I'm hoping it'll last through Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Halloween Quilting

This wonderful design is from Jedi Craft Girl, although I ended up sketching my own tree.  And for several uninteresting reasons, I also made it a bit smaller.

I was determined to get this up over the mantle by the middle of the month, so that meant machine quilting, never my forte.  After quilting around the tree and cat, I opted to stipple-quilt the background.  On the one hand, it does a great job of making the moon, tree, and cat pop and it adds a lovely texture.  On the other hand, I suck at it, which is frustrating.  Some of it simply has to do with practice -- this part, done towards the beginning, is not great:
The stitches run from tiny to enormous, and there are weird lines and cross-overs where I lost control of the rhythm. But other sections are much better:

But then there is my inability to properly baste a quilt, which leads to unsightly puckering:

And then there is this lovely spot on the back in a corner, the result of trying to rush through before my kids came home, and discovered too late to fix:
Bad for quilting, but kind of a neat effect
Finished is better than perfect, and it's not like I'd ever submit this for judging, but it is still disappointing.  Some things I do very, very well, and others ... not so much.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan

What a delightful fantasy this book turned out to be! Nina is a librarian who loses her job due to budget cuts.  Impulsively, she buys a large truck, fills it with books rescued from the library, and moves up to a quaint little town in Scotland to drive around selling books to people with no libraries and no book stores.  She falls in love with the land, helps a troubled teen, meets a couple of potential love interests, and wins over the locals by selecting the perfect book for each one.  By the end of the novel, I began seriously consider looking into permit laws and regulations in NYC (it would certainly solve the rent-is-too-damned-high problem for bookstores here.)

The story is told from Nina's perspective, but every once in a while Colgan would shift to another (minor) character, and give us a couple of paragraphs from that perspective.  It broadened the world of the novel for me, showing that there are other stories -- difficulties, heartbreaks, happily-ever-afters -- going on off stage.  Colgan is a smart, engaging writer, and I look forward to reading other works of hers.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Halloween Woolwork

The pattern is Betz White's "Autumn Sampler." I used linen fabric, wool felt, and Caron Collection's Watercolours thread.  It is temporarily in my quilting hoop; I haven't decided yet whether to make that permanent.


This was a lot of fun to stitch!  I'm looking forward to making some of White's ornaments, too.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Halloween Cross-Stitching

A swirly pumpkin, from the 2016 Halloween issue of Just Cross Stitch, designed by Angela Pullen:
It's part of a whole series, nine total, but as tempted as I am to make them all it probably won't happen.

A stitchy witch by M Designs, from the 2012 Halloween issue:

"Haunted House," a free design by the Snowflower Diaries (stitched last year, finished today):

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Tempting Treasures

The August issue of Bead & Button had a lovely set of earrings designed by Bonnie Riconda, "Tempting treasures wire frame earrings."  The wirework was as basic as can be and clearly explained, yet I still managed to screw it up, resulting in some, uh, textured frames.  I chose coral, ruby, amber, amethyst, and dyed turquoise beads.  For fun, I arranged the beads differently in each earring.
The color is better
The clarity is better