October 30, 2010

My Finishes Blog

A few friends and I started a blog, Fantastic Finishes, a few years ago with the intention of showcasing our finishes all in one spot. However, over the years, life got in the way, and even though a few of us are still fast friends, the blog's upkeep has been neglected.

I haven't been happy with the layout of my Finishes Album in Picasa. Don't get me wrong, it fine for viewing everything in a grid at a glance, and can easily be enlarged, but that white background is oh.... soooo boring. ;) I find such pleasure in looking at larger pictures on blogs and google and marveling at the talent of the designer and stitcher and that got me thinking...

Why not start a personal Finishes blog? It'll be an off shoot of this blog, and linked through the Finishes tab at the top. I'd fashion it for the pictures doing most of the talking with me boring you reminiscing on my thought processes for each project! What do you guys think?

It's taking awhile and is harder than I thought, but I think it's going to be fun!

October 28, 2010

Could Not Resist...

... taking a picture of the completed X's in the inner center of Taj Mahal. The colors have come together beautifully! :D I love how adding the purple variegated in the 4 corners have pulled all different shades of blues together.

I just have the outer border to go and the specialty stitches to add, and the 'inner sanctum' (minus beads) will be done!

October 25, 2010

Taj Mahal Garden - Quick Update

I didn't get to stitch as much as I'd have liked this weekend and as a result, I didn't get as much done on the Taj Mahal center as I've planned. There are quite a few colors hidden amidst all that blue, and it's unfortunate that they're kind of overpowered right now. Hopefully, once the other colors are stitched, everything will pop.


October 21, 2010

New Bead Holder

DH has been saying for awhile now that we should find me a better way to store beads when I'm stitching. I had a little tray that would sit next to my scroll stand, that while sufficient, would move around when I shift.

After dinner last night, we stopped in to HomeGoods for a look-see, and he found these crystal tea light holders and they were perfect!! Nice and deep, and yet wide enough for me to pick the beads up easily. Most importantly, they are heavy, which means that I can shift around to my heart's content and not worry about these tipping over! I can't wait to use them when I start beading Taj.


What do you guys use for your beads when you're stitching?

October 20, 2010

Taj Mahal Garden - A New Start!!!

Have I mention before that I hate new starts? LOL!!!

I love the planning stages..... the decision about the fabric–linen or evenweave, light or dark, the endless hours doing fabric layovers in Photoshop, then holding the fabric in my eager hands; feeling the silks and playing with the kreiniks and beads, making sure the drooling is contained; perusing the chart, and studying all the little symbols (LOL! I'm a nut, yes I know); the anticipation of what it's going to look like when it's finished and up on the wall. You guys know what I mean, right?

Then, dun-dun-dun... The Start. Looking at a huge expanse of empty fabric, forlorn and totally devoid of stitches; looking over at the chart, with all those tiny squares and tinier symbols; and thinking "holy moly, this is going to take forever!!"

Those first few stitches, all the time spend counting and recounting to make sure each stitch is in the right place, so I don't have to commit amphibian-murder *giggle*, take forever. But as the layers start to build, the anticipation creeps back in, slowly but surely, till excitement is back in full bloom. And the finish is back in sight! If I squint really hard whilst looking through a telescope. ;)

October 19, 2010

I Present... Sabrina!

She's done, she's done!! Isn't she gorgeous, as she daintily rests against the fence, gazing out into whatever seems to hold her so spellbound?

She was fun to stitch and boy, there was a heck of a lot of beads that went into her dress.I was tempted to count as I beaded , but who am I kidding?! I probably used about 3.5 packs of the petite black beads, there were so many of those suckers, but they do add a lot of intricacies to the lacy effect of her dress. The gold and teal beads sparkle beautifully when the light hits.

The Particulars:
Sabrina by Mirabilia
Fabric: Ancient, 32ct hand-dyed linen by Picture This Plus
Stitched 2 over 2
Floss: DMC, Kreinik
Beads: Mill Hill
Finished: Oct. 18th, 2010




Some close up shots of the beading on her dress. The flower bead didn't come out well in the photo, but IRL, it's a gorgeous bright green sparkle.



October 18, 2010

Another Harebrained Idea

On the Chatelaine Yuku Board, they started a "WIP 'Kill' Contest." The idea is to stitch on a WIP, whatever stage it might be in and cheer each other on to a finish by January 31st, 2011.

Well.... how could I not participate? Of course, since I'm not a rotater, the wee, small detail about my not actually having a Chatelaine WIP at the moment might have been a deterrent, but wait... we have till Oct. 31st to post a picture of our WIP!!!

So, I've just printed out both versions of the Taj Mahal Mandala chart and double-sided taped everything together. (Hubby walked into the room while I was doing that and literally LOL'ed at the excitement in my face.) All the instructions are printed, the fabbie needs to be pressed and then scrolled up.

Sabrina will be finished tonight and then it's Taj allllll way the way!

I'm so excited I could scream!!

So Close Yet So Far

A few close friends and me had decided to SAL this weekend. Just a "let's stitch together, no matter what it is, and know we're doing this together" kinda thing. I haven't checked in with the others, but Brenda sent me her 1st Corinthians WIP by My Big Toe Designs and it looks awesome!!!

As for me, well, I didn't stitch as much as I'd have liked. Somehow between chores and cooking and cleaning, the weekend blazed by. I really need to rally for those permanent 3-day weekends. Wanna join me? *grin*

Anyway, there are a LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOT of beading in Sabrina's skirt. All those petite black beads are everywhere, and I actually found a few sticking on my butt last night from being dropped onto the couch!!!!! HAHAHA!!


If all goes well, she'll be done tonight. I'm anticipating another few hundred beads? OH!! When I was stitching Japanese Garden, I found the perfect padding for working with beads on my scroll frame. 2 layers of thin batting!!! It's awesome

Thanks for checking in. I so enjoy reading your comments. :D

October 17, 2010

Japanese Garden Mandala - Revisited

My cousin (the one for whom Sabrina is stitched for) mentioned the other day that a better picture was needed of my Japanese Garden Mandala. So yesterday,we finally took it out into the sunlight for a picture that would do it justice.

The thing with the Martina's Chatelaines is that pictures never do them justice. Am I right? There are so many beautiful details and hidden gems in these babies, that even seeing them in real life, you'd miss things. More so in a picture.

But for what it's worth, here's a new pic.


For Japanese Garden, I went in with a concrete idea of a simple, clean black frame, no frills, no fuss, something very zen and asian, while hubby took on a more 'let's see how it goes' outlook. Well, that idea quickly went out the door as everything we tried was too stark, no matter the mat(s) we tried them with.

So after 2 hours, (I kid you not!!!, thank goodness Terry, the framer at Michael's has become a friend), we were, all three of us, happy with the result: a frame of burnished gold with flecks of patina green that is reminiscent of distressed bamboo, a simple mat that is an exact match in color for the beads in the water under the bridge, as well as the darker teal of the satin stitches surrounding the lantern corners, and an inner accent of burnished gold and black.

Ten days later, we got it home, and noticed the green patina is also an exact match for with the mat!! :D

October 16, 2010

Sabrina - Stitching's Done!!

Yipppeeeee!! All the stitching is done, done, DONE!!! How exquisite is she? :D Color-wise, this picture pretty close to IRL. I am so pleased with how the blue-gray of her skirt and the fabric and the golden brown of her hair and fabric play off each other!!


I really should have unscrolled her and taken a moment to enjoy this milestone and snap a picture of the entire piece before beading, but the sparkly little things were too tempting, and I hopped right into it. Here's a sneak peak to whet your appetites. ;)

October 14, 2010

Boredom...

... mind numbing, bone crushing boredom! How do I hate thee, let me count the ways.

I'm very seldom bored, in fact, more often than not I wish that I had another 10 hours to my day, most of which will be allotted to stitching (of course! *grin*) and then some to sleeping, and others to working out, reading, and puttering around.

But today, today... the minutes, nay, the seconds are craaaawwwwwliiiiiing by. There is no end is sight *hits back of hand against my forehead* and I'm still stuck here sitting on my chair, waiting to pack up and go home while the clock mocks at me. I can hear it laughing maniacally, "Nyah-hahahahahaha, you could be stitching, or cooking dinner, mwa-hahahahaha, tooooooo bad!"

Blasted thing!!

Oh, did I mentioned that I started out today thinking that it was Friday?!!!!!!

Sabrina Has A Face!

Hellooooooo, gorgeous!!

October 12, 2010

Bonnet House

With the weather turning pleasant, we spent the better half of the early afternoon on Saturday at Bonnet House Museum and Gardens, one of the many vacation homes of two well-known American artists, Frederic Clay and Evelyn Fortune Bartlett.

The guided tour was super informative about the rich and amazing history of this place. Back in its heyday, the family visited every year end and would lounge, entertain, and spend afternoon playing games in one of the many spots on this 35 acre estate.

This is their courtyard, where they spent many an afternoon or evening, and we were told that they usually had their meals out here. In was built in the center of the estate with the house encircling it.



After the tour, we spent time wandering the grounds, and were fortunate enough to get up close and personal with the pair of swans-in-residence at feeding time.



I would so love to live in a place with a private lake with this view. I read that Martha Stewart flew some of her magazine editors down for the day to tour this place. Ah... the lifestyle of the rich and famous.


October 11, 2010

Roses for Sabrina

It sure was a nice change stitching her gloves and roses. The reds and pinks pop so wonderfully against the neutrals of her dress. I'm not a stitching snob, and I'm perfectly happy with DMC, silks, linens, aida, jobelan... whatever it might be. But I have to say, there is soooo much pleasure stitching with silks and Waterlilies has to be one of my favorites.

I want to say Sabrina is almost there, since she's only missing her head and small back, but then I'm reminded of the massive amount of beading still to be done. Small matter, since I'm falling more and more in love with her as I near completion.

October 6, 2010

Two Orchids, A Fountain, and A Frog....

.... walked onto a balcony.

"What a lovely view," thought the orchids. "Look at that trellis! It's the perfect place to reside and enjoy the sun during the day."

Happily they settled in, soaking up the rays, relaxing in the breeze, basking in the glow of being pampered and doted upon.




"What's this?" thought the fish to his fountain. "An empty corner? Just for us???"

Doing a quick 360 to make sure no one is going to sneak up and steal it from right under them, they quickly set up shop, making beautiful music gurgling splashes into the water and rocks.



The frog looked around and scoffed at his companions. "What a dump! Who wants to lay out here all day, do nothing, and show off?"

Off he hopped to wandered around, and happened to peered through the french door. "What's that I see? Someone stitching?? She looks contented... maybe too much so," he thought gleefully and set about to distract her.

Many a small and precise stitch later, the stitcher realized to her horror that the frog* had somehow found a way in and all the love and care she put into her piece over the last hour amounted to nothing!

Now, this stitcher, as kind and genteel a soul as she is ;), wouldn't have minded if the frog had stayed out in the balcony with his pals. She wouldn't have minded his ugly face, his slimy body, nor his annoying croak* out there. But as things stood.....

Here lies Mr. Frog... who shouldn't have stuck his nose where it didn't belong!

*In the world of stitching, 'frog' or 'frogging' refers to when stitches have to be unstitched or ripped out, resulting in a "Rip-it... rip-it" sound.

October 4, 2010

Sabrina - All Dressed Up

Imagine this....
A display in one of those funky stores... held up with invisible strings and arranged in a weirdly artistic way.

One would look at it and think... where's the head???? Isn't there supposed to be a mannequin at least? Why are there holes in her dress??? WEIRD!!!

Which probably explains why there's a discreet "In Progress" sign next to it. :)

October 3, 2010

Orchids - My Other Passion

When I was growing up, my dad used to have our front porch filled with orchids. I remember all the different sizes of clay pots stacked neatly in rows, waiting for him to decide when and how to repot his gorgeous orchids. To this day, when I see orchids I think of my dad, and when we moved into our condo a couple of years ago, I told him that the first thing we have to do when my parents visited is to go buy orchids for our balcony. Two phaelonopsis and a dendrobium later, my little orchid garden has begun!! These are the phals in bloom earlier this year:



Of course, it's impossible to stop at just three. ;) And numerous additions later, we found ourselves planning for a trellis on the middle column wall on the balcony. The trellis shopping was the easy part, and once hubby decided on the best way to hang them up, we went shopping. :D

Yesterday afternoon, we went to Mickey's Orchids and came home with two of their hybrids of Lady of the Night (brassavola nodosa). These babies are so fragrant at night.

My second BC. Hippodami, the first one was a birthday gift from Peggy, and resides on the patio table.
I'm not sure if this is BC. Ann Hamilton or BC. Memoria Stu Hamilton. Will have to wait for the flower to bloom in the next couple of day.

TA-DAH! The trellis. :D I'm hoping the oncidium on the bottom left will start to spike again soon.  The two smaller pots on the top left are actually keikis (babies) I've repotted from the original dendrobium. I'm hoping the 'ladies' will be happy here as they will get lots of afternoon sun in the winter months.

Hummingbird Sparkly Garden Mandala

Oh happy (2 ago) day!!!! All the mooning and lusting over Chatelaine's Hummingbird Sparkly Garden is over! I now have the chart in my eager little hands, thanks to Novia. This design has been the subject of many a discussion and she's been asking me since June if I would like it for a birthday gift. Well, I think the girl got tired of my indecision and told me last Thursday that she sent me Paypal money and "go get the chart!!" *giggle* Who am I to say no to one of my closest friends? ;)

So now begins the process of picking a fabric... no easy feat, as I can't see in my mind's eye what I would like for the background. When Martina first showed the design, she laid it over a white background, and I fell absolutely in love with the daintiness of the design.

Then, when she finished the design, it was showcased over black and wow! was it ever stunning.

However, I still find myself loving the lacy effect of the swirls and how serene the design looks on the white background. For more depth, maybe a light subtle green.... or pink.... or lilac. Although those background colors might detract from the beauty and subtlety of the floss and bling. Yup, it's not going to be an easy decision... these things never are for me, so it's probably a good thing that Taj Mahal Garden is next in line. :D