Monday, October 21, 2019

Ivy: Week 1... And the kitten is framed!

It's been a whole week with this little lady and here is how she's looking so far:

I just love her! She's stitched up very quickly so far, but I think the skirt is going to take a lot longer.  But that's ok, because the main reason I love this design is actually the gorgeous drop and sweep of that skirt: it just looks heavy, and I love heavy skirts. Is that a weird thing to love?

I was also able to find a frame for Whiskers & Wings, and here it is all framed and ready to be hung up:

I wanted a wooden frame, because in my imagination the kitten lives in a wooden cottage. And I wanted it to look old-ish, so I got this distressed wood frame. I'm very happy with the result! I'm going to hang it up next to my craft cabinet, and at some stage I'd like to stitch up Morning Lake by Dimensions as a sort of companion piece, because I do feel like that's where the kitten lives:

Fall is well and truly here now: the temperatures have dropped (although I suppose that means nothing to all of you living further north than I am... It is still around 20ÂșC in the sun!), and there'll be snow up in the mountains soon. My favorite fall recipes have also appeared on the table: carrot soup, bacon-fried rice, salmon casserole... yum!

I hope everyone's having a good week, and until next time... Happy stitching! :)

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Ivy and the art of simplicity

It's time to start a new project! And what stitcher doesn't love this part? I know I do. So, meet Ivy, my new project:

I've had my eye on her for a very long time, as she is my favorite of all Nora Corbett's pixies. The reason I hadn't stitched her yet was because I was waiting for the perfect fabric, something beautiful and hand-dyed. But after thinking about it for many months, wondering which fabric to get and how, and trying some dyeing experiments of my own, the other day I just snapped and decided that what I really wanted to do was just stitch this piece to my heart's content.

So I took the advice of that famous quote: do what you can, with what you have, where you are. 

I cut a piece of this lovely creamy aida that I had on hand, which I think goes very well with the threads:

I started stitching away... and I'm really enjoying it! I think I sometimes get sucked down the rabbit hole of Pinterest and Flosstube and I want all the things, but it's good to remember that our hobbies should be relaxing and fun, otherwise there is no point to them. 

After Ivy, I would like to make Nora Corbett's Lilly as a companion piece:

And maybe even another pixie or two, we'll see how it goes. By the way, here is a picture of how Ivy is looking so far, a couple of hours in:

I already love her. I hope you're all doing great, and as always, happy stitching :)

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Whiskers & Wings: Finished!

You guys. I have finished it!!

Isn't it lovely? Isn't it the cutest, sweetest little stitch you ever did see? (Overexcited crafter over here!) That being said, this one took sweat, tears, and absolute grit to finish. Much as I enjoyed this piece, this last week was gruelling, because just look at all that gray! There is so much of it. But I pulled through it and here we are, two months and a week later, finished. So satisfying!

Of course, part of finishing a project is washing & ironing it, which is precisely what happened on this lazy Sunday of mine:

And now all I have to do is frame it! I can't wait. I'm thinking of a wooden frame, to make it look cozy. It certainly fits the design. But we'll see what I can find. 

Now I'm off to start on my new project, which I will write about next time. Until then, I'll leave you with some closeups of this lovely project which some of you have lived through with me, and bid it a sweet farewell until framing time: 

French knots for the eye shine

French knots for the seeds
The cardinal in all his back-stitched glory

And finally, since we're on the subject of cats... Here are a couple of shots from my own fur babies having a cuddly nap together: 

I hope you're all having a great time this weekend, until next time, happy stitching! :)

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Whiskers and Wings: Week 8

Well will you look at that, it's nearly finished!

I can't believe we've come this far! It seems like only a couple of weeks ago that I made the first stitch up in the top left corner, and now here we are. All three birds are at the bottom: chikadee, sparrow, and cardinal. I'm extremely pleased with how it's turning out, and hope to have it finished up by the end of this week. 

As this project ends, I have of course been thinking about my next one. I'll make a separate post all about it, as I've been racking my brains out about colors, fabric etc. But for now I'll leave you with some pictures of the stitching in my current WIP, which I'm particularly happy with. Almost a year and a half after having started cross stitching, I can see the progress I've made when it comes to even stitching and having a clean back:

As for the back, I remember that my first couple of projects were a knotted mess. I'm not saying my stitching is perfect now by any means, but I have come a long way:

I have been actively trying to get better at backs, and have carefully studied the backs of projects that people have put up in places like Reddit, where they explained that what they do is think of the back the whole time that they're stitching. Over the last few months that's what I've been doing, carefully choosing where to go down or up with the needle so that the back would be as neat as possible, and it's nice to see my efforts have paid off. It's nice to feel proud of something even if it's a "little" thing, don't you think?

How is everyone doing? I hope you're all well and have plenty of projects to keep you busy. I'll post about my next project this week if I can, and if not, I'll hopefully see you with a finished project at the end of the week! Until then, happy stitching :)

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Whiskers & Wings: Week 7

Saturday night update! I'm late in posting this so I'm not sure if this constitutes week 7 or 8, but for the sake of consistency, let's say it's week 7. Here's the project so far:

More snow has appeared, and two more birds! Another chickadee and a beautiful cardinal that just pops with that brilliant red, doesn't he? Again, I feel like the picture doesn't do the project justice, because when I see it in real life it seems to have such depth with all the light and shadow going on. My plan now is to add the third bird, and then fill in all the rest of the snow. I'm hoping to be done in a week or two, and I'm so excited! I really am enjoying this project.

Not much news over here. Work & lesson plan during the week, and during the weekends... sunbathing on the beach! The water is getting a bit cold now, but we still managed to get some snorkeling done this morning, which is great. The tourists have gone now so the beaches are a lot emptier, and the water is starting to get that crystal clarity that means the cold weather will be here soon. 

Also, I've finished this book: 

And it was amazing. It really resonated with me, as someone who moved to the US as a child, and had to learn a new culture/language. The author evidently knows what that experience is like, the good and the bad, and the way she handled the everyday details of it just blew my mind. Highly recommended read for anyone interested in the topic.

And that's me done. I hope you're all having a good week, I'll leave you with a few close-ups of the project so far, and as always, happy stitching :)

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Whiskers and Wings: Week 6

I'm extremely proud to present a fully stitched and backstitched kitten at the window:

Isn't he just something else? I love the part the project is at now, with the window and kitten fully finished, and the play of shadow and light on the snow. I find that there is a lot of depth and feeling in this project, and I'm really surprised at how much I'm enjoying it! Also -and this is just a detail- but don't you just love that bit of ice sticking to the window on the bottom right corner, through which you can see a bit more of the kitten? I think details like these are what make certain pieces pop!

I was very tired today as I stitched this, so I curled up on the sofa and put on a nice cozy movie: Safe Haven. Nothing special, but I do tend to gravitate to small-town-by-the-sea stories when I'm tired or just in need of some comfort entertainment. The weather's been pretty bad too, with the worst rainfall this part of Spain has seen in... well, ever, so it's been nice to have some time at home to curl up with some stitching.

I hope you're all doing well, here's a closeup of the kitten's face as he looks at the chickadees, and as always... Happy stitching :)

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Whiskers and Wings: Week 5

Well, if these haven't been the busiest couple of weeks, I don't know what! September has rolled around and we have been busy, busy, busy with back-to-school. It's all been lesson planning in this house and training and meeting our new students, and this weekend we've just both collapsed and spent a nice staycation at home, watching movies, lazing around the place with the cats, and taking walks. It's been fun! It's also given me a chance to finally catch up with my cross-stitching, and here is where Whiskers and Wings is at so far:

Cute, right? Just look at those two chickadees! I'm nearly done with the snow around them and then I'll backstitch them, they're really going to pop out and I can't wait. As usual with my projects, this one's taking way longer than anticipated and is looking far more beautiful than I could have imagined. There's a lot of depth to it, although I'm not sure if it comes out in the picture. The colors are quite rich in real life!

Also in cross stitching news, I don't know if you've seen this lacing tutorial by Meg at Live to Stitch, but wow! It's amazing. She goes into so much detail on it, I think it's the best tutorial I've seen on the subject and I am definitely going to use it next time I frame a project.  

I hope you're all doing all right, I'll leave you with some WIP pictures, and as always happy stitching :D