Wednesday, June 29, 2016

A couple of questions on finishing...


Hi Vonna,

When making a cube how do you attach the cording? Do you sew it on like you do the pillow ornament? or do you glue it on?


Sue C.

On a cube, I lay a light line of glue right along the edge of the complimenting material on the sides of the cube...all the way around the "face" of the stitched piece. I begin with one end of the cording at the BOTTOM MIDDLE  of the cube, pressing the cording into the glue line all the way around. I also pin it as I go with straight pins along the cording about every 1-2 inches. I just push the pins through the cording and into the styrofoam. This adds additional integrity and holding power for the cording all the way around the "face" of the stitched piece until I meet in the bottom middle and end off by sewing the end of the cording with matching thread, cutting the cording, placing a dot of glue on the cord ends and pressing the edges of both cords together to make a seamless transition. Secure bottom ends with pins as well. 
Thank you Sue C. for your question! 

Dear Vonna,
You are a very talented lady. I love all of your stitching and finishes. My question for you is how do you come up with ideas on how you see a piece being finished? Do you search the internet for ideas? Do you keep a notebook of your finishes and refer to it? 

Thank you, 

No Carolyn, I don't keep a notebook or search the internet for ideas or inspiration. While I'm stitching my own projects, I think of what my use for them will be. I have these questions (literally) running through my head while I'm stitching or looking at designs to stitch.
Is it large? How much time is it taking me to stitch it? What do I want it to be? How do I decorate my home? Is it seasonal? Is it useful? Does it have a purpose? 
For example: Small Seasonal things, I rarely frame, most of these type of seasonal stitches will be ornaments, flatfolds, wall hangings, etc. These are things that are in and out of storage and that are not out all year round. 
Small Pillows that I tuck into bowls, shelves, hang from door knobs, may be out all year long and I use them as little extra details for my home decorations
Large projects that take much time, I frame. 
I don't look on the internet for inspiration, but of course if you are on Blogs, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, you can't help but be inspired by other stitchers...and they may influence what I stitch, but the finishing is usually my own creation.  I can see details of how I want things to look, in my mind's eye and I rely on my own creativity for my finishes. Not to say that I am not inspired to stitch or finish in a manner that is similar to things I have seen somewhere, but I have come up with ideas for finishing just by sitting and dreaming: examples of things I have come up with over the years are: tag ornaments, the embroidery hoop boxes, twig frames, mounted ornaments, recently I had an idea about finishing a Mill Hill ornament by making a "tag" using scrapbook papers .... all of these things I came up with by dreaming, tried it out and it worked. Anyone can have creative finishes, you just need to spend a little time dreaming to become inspired to try! I feel like some of my "best" creations came from trial and error and my dreams, of course!
Thank you for your question, Carolyn!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Ask Vonna....Washing your project....

Ladybeans writes, "Dear Vonna, love your blog! You are so helpful to us stitchers. I do have a question that comes up frequently with my stitching friends..'Do you wash all of your pieces after you finish stitching them?' Thank you!"

Hello Ladybeans, thank you for your kind words and question! Here is my personal answer to your question: I do not typically wash my projects after I get done stitching them. Here is the reasons why:

*I don't stitch in hand. I stitch always with a Q-snap (or my smalls on stretcher bars) and typically on my floor stand. (You can read all about my floor stand at this link: Needlework System 4 )

*I don't wear (when I am stitching) hand lotions 

*I don't eat when stitching

*If I take my projects out and about, they are always carried in my project envelopes (link to making your own project envelope on my YouChannel: HERE ) They are also stored in my project envelopes in between stitching sessions (or if loaded on my floor stand covered with a light, old bed sheet that I've cut down and sewn to cover my stitching work and stand in between working sessions. 

*I stitch two handed and my hands rarely touch my linen and if I do it is my fingertips only

*I typically use hand-dyed fabrics on most of my projects and a large number of my projects are stitched using over-dye cottons/silks, both of these products do not lend well to washing/soaking.

*If I do see visible dirt or smudge on my piece, I spot clean. My personal solution of choice that I use is: Dawn liquid detergent diluted with water in a small squirt bottle. My ratio is roughly: 1-2 drop of Dawn to 1 oz. of water. Dawn dissolves grease and it is safe/gentle. (they use it on wildlife exposed to oil spills!)  I don't squirt it all over, AND definitely not on red/dark threads...but I merely lightly blot using the end of a soft cloth damp or cotton q-tip with the Dawn solution on the spot of dirt/grime. OR I take a Q-tip soaked in the solution and "pretreat" the area for about 5-10 minutes and then begin to gently blot with a cloth damp with the solution. Once the grime is gone, I then hold a cloth under the piece and I use a new cloth soaked in water only and blot, blot, blot to remove any of the solution left on the piece. I do this likely 3 times with different areas of the water soaked cloth until it is free of the Dawn solution. One time recently my hands must have been dirty and I was stitching SNOW and my snow looked like a garbage truck had driven through it. I gently used this process of blotting the stitched area and it came out perfect- sparkling white like fresh fallen snow!  Just take time/care and go SLOW. 

*BLOOD...sometimes I do prick my finger and won't know it and blood will end up on my stitching. Being I work in the healthcare field, I am familiar with blood ending up on clothing at some point or another. Don't freak out! You can get it out (even if it is dried) Take a small container (like a small medicine cup from cough medicine) fill half with lukewarm tap water and the other half with hydrogen peroxide and dip a q-tip in the solution and blot, blot, blot the area with this. The blood will begin to fizz and foam (and that's good!) Once done, blot, blot, blot with damp cloth and the blood will disappear. 

Now then...if you feel the need to wash your stitching things as I know not everyone has a floor stand and washing is a fine thing to do. So, if you need to wash, there is no harm in it. Probably better to wash in these circumstances than not. . . I have links here to some of the most trusted stitching sites personally known by me and share them with you to make your own decisions. 

There you go! I leave you with your research and your own decision making about washing your own projects. (Or buying a floor stand like mine! HA HA HA!)

Hugs in stitches, 
Vonna xxxx

Monday, June 06, 2016

Graduation and other things stitchy....

~ Greetings and Warm Welcome Friends ~
On Saturday, May 28, 2016....It happened!

One day she was still my baby...
and the next she was an adult. 

Here are some photos that I took at a local Limestone Cutting House (Woolery Mill) that is just about 1/2 mile from our home. It's very industrial and I believe adds interest to the background of a photo. People come from miles around to take their pictures here and it is literally in my backyard. :)
On a side note: Our limestone is in a lot of federal buildings in DC and also the Empire State Building....yep, all right here from good ol' Indiana...quarried and skillfully sculpted by artisans.

Katie Cap 8x10

Katie Column 8x10

Katie Standing best 8x10

and...a whole lot of this happened for her Open House Celebration on Sunday, May 29, 2016 at our home. 
2016 Scrolls


Grad hats

Katie Grad Girls

I also made 100 cupcakes with homemade buttercream icing in her 4 favorite flavors: Carrot, Red Velvet, Vanilla and Chocolate. We also had, Homemade cream cheese mints along with mixed nuts, berry fruit salad and fresh cut pineapple. For drinks I had wee bottles of milk (you know milk and cookies), bottled water and soda. It was a fabulous day! Lots and lots and lots of people came to show their support of my beautiful girl and offer their sincere congratulations. We couldn't have been more proud!

Katie is going to attend Indiana University ~ Purdue University of Indianapolis (IUPUI).
She has already been accepted into the Purdue School of Engineering on the IUPUI campus. 
She is majoring in Electrical Engineering.
 (just like her talk about his chest being all puffed up!)
She will be approximately 1 hour from us, so it will be OK...that's what I keep telling myself.
She's ready to fly....

My girl graduated with Honors...
she earned a 4.3 gpa and many other academic awards
(Principals Elite Academic Honor Diploma, Indiana Scholar Athlete, National Honor Society Scholar...there are more, but you get the idea)

with pride. 

This week on Thursday and Friday she will go off to Orientation at IUPUI.
The end of July will see us moving her up there for the year (She's taking "bridge" classes early to get the hang of campus life and such before all the students return)

So the hubbub continues.... :)

On to all things stitchy....

I finished Country Cottage Needleworks, darling design entitled: "Stitching Time"
I did a few changes...
made the girl chubby to fit me, also gave her blond hair but most notable is I changed the color scheme from light cottage colors to darker color palette to fit my home. It is stitched on 32 ct. Mocha using DMC in my own colors as described.
I love how it turned out!
CCN Stitching Time

I finished the next row of...
Summer House Stitche Workes "Calico Sampler"
Again I have switched it all up changing the colors from Gentle Arts to Classic Colorworks cottons, I'm stitching it on 32 ct Wichelt Amber and I'm doing all of the letters in the same color rather than having them different colors. 
Loving this one too!

SHSW_Calico Sampler

Since I'm nuts about Floss Tube on YouTube and have watched hundreds of videos of people doing Mill Hill Kits, I finished this one:

Mill Hill Holiday Sled

I've also been working on:
"All Creatures Great and Small" by Barbara Ana Designs

Barbara Ana _ All Creatures Great and Small

and lastly...
last year I bought into the "Serenity Harbor" by By the Bay Designs. I got the patterns every week and I was excited to start but life kept getting in the way. 
First I had problems with finding the Fabric Flair fabric that was being made specifically for the piece. Then finally when I got it, it was out of stock...long story short I finally got a piece and STUNK. I was not happy with the color, at all, I felt like photos I had seen of it were much prettier, more mottled than my piece appeared. So I was a little disgusted and put it on the back burner. 

I kept looking at many finishes of this sampler and it spoke to my heart like the very first day I saw the design. It reminds me of St. Augustine. I think the reason it reminds me of St. Augustine is because of the lighthouse and church in it, not to mention the water and the pelicans flying overhead in the sampler. But when I think of Serenity, St. Augustine is my place. After many years of going there for our family vacations and visiting there as a holds lots of special memories.

Since this year we will not be vacationing there...

I decided on the week in June that we typically travel to St. Augustine for our yearly vacation, I will begin to stitch this design. In memory of our fun that we have. In order to do that...
I had to have some fabric that suited me. 
I bought some liquid rit in Pearl Gray, cut a piece of 35 ct. linen and went to town. 
is what I wanted for my piece. 
First try, nailed it!

fabric for Serenity Harbor

I've also been finishing...

MW_Bunny Fobs MW_Christmas MW_St. Patrick's Day PG_JBW Snowman DJ_Quaker Box Topper MW_Believe MW_HoD January Chalk MW_JBW Ornaments MW_LHN Season's Greetings MW_Lizzie Kate Summer Exclusive MW_New Year MW_Peace HIH MW_WTNT Word Play BJ_Heart pillow

So that does it...
until next time. I've got lots of work to get done :)
Believe me.

So in an effort to switch things up, because I think sometimes people get stuck in a rut seeing the same 'ol same 'ol and skip over my endings. 
I'm going to switch things up. 

I tell my kids this almost every day: 

Treat others how you wish to be treated.
You never know what others are dealing with...treat them kindly.
No one likes a know it all.
Stand for something you believe in, don't be a doormat.
Say what you mean, then do what you say.

Love in stitches,
Vonna xxxx