April 29, 2011

Chinese Garden Mandala - Quick Update

Before I get down to the nitty-gritty... I want to welcome all my new followers. :D It's awesome to have you guys for company!!!

This was a crazy week, both at home and at work, and as a result, poor Chinese Garden was neglected again. I did hunker down and so some stitching the last couple of nights, and I'm hoping to give it lots and lots of love this weekend, as Part 2 will be released May 1st. Also, Part 2 of Spring Knotgarden will be released on the same day. :S Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.... I know I'll be in a dilemma of which Part 2 to stitch next. ;)

The little pagoda roof is sooooo cute!! I love the little squiggles on the left and right of the roof top. Just a bit more crosses to do on the roof, and I can move on to the clouds and paddy fields. :D


I hope to have something nice to show come Monday, so stay tuned!! :D

April 27, 2011

Random Afternoon Question

Oh dear.... it's been such a hectic day that I totally forgot about this...

Who is/are your favorite designers and why?

I found that no matter how my tastes have changed over the years, these designers have remain constant:

Chatelaine Designs - It is impossible not to be in awe at Martina's design. She's so versatile and well-versed in the use of colors and specialty stitches, down to the smallest detail, that it's a constant joy to discover all the hidden gems in her designs. Just when you think she's outdone herself..... BAM-MO, something more spectacular hits. :D

Teresa Wentzler - Ever since I stitched Peacock Tapestry, I've loved her work. Peacock was quite a challenge as I stitched it back when it was hand charted... ugh! and the backstitching almost killed me. I don't think if I'd ever stitch another one, though I do own the Celestial Dragon kit.

Dimensions Gold Collection - Sooooooo many beautiful things.... soooooo little time. 'Nough said? LOL!

Maia Embroidery - I've yet to stitch anything of theirs, but I will... this is a promise to myself. :)

April 25, 2011

Weekend "Crafting"

Well, this was not a good stitchy weekend. I was all gung-ho and excited about trying to see how far I can go on finishing Part 1 of Chinese Garden and I got almost nowhere, fast!

It wasn't a wasted weekend though. You see.... we bought a real honey of a TV and have talked about hanging it up on the entertainment center backing. The mount came in the middle of last week and hubby tackled it this weekend. However, because we were mounting it to another piece of wood, he had to reinforce the center panel. Thus began the first of 4 trips to Home Depot. That always happens, doesn't it?? It's never a one stop deal when you're doing home improvement.

Anyway, to not bore you guys with details.... we (and I use this term VERY loosely cos he did most of the work, hehehe) spent almost all day Saturday measuring, drilling, measuring, cutting, etc plywood to the backing. It's good thing that, unlike me, he measures twice and cuts once! LOL!!

Since you guys saw the before a few posts ago, here is the after. :D



I did give Chinese Mandala some love after Easter dinner last night. I promise this won't be the sad state of progress that it'll see. *fingers crossed* For you gaming gals out there.... don't you think the center looks like an 8-bit figure of an end level boss? LOL!!!


On a side note, I've discovered that I really dislike stitching with Edmar rayon. *makes face*

April 22, 2011

Chinese Garden Mandala - New Start

Martina (Chatelaine) has achieved the impossible... designed a chart that keep me on pins and needles for months waiting for the release date and, when the kit arrived, had me starting right away!!! The latter is akin to winning the lotto, cos goodness knows I drag my butt when it's a new start. There's so much do to, yanno.... iron the fabbie (stare at ALL that unstitch space), scroll up the fabbie (stare at ALL that unstitch space), hook up the scroll rods to the stand (stare at ALL that unstitch space), pull out the threads (stare at ALL that unstitch space).... you get my drift, LOL!!

But not with Chinese Garden Mandala, no sirrrreeee bob!! The kit arrived from europeanxs.com yesterday and of course I had to show it all around. My friend, Andi, was laughing so hard at me cos she said that I was like a kid in a candy store. Now.... let me tell you about Andi. She was the one that bought me the chart as an early birthday present and when I told her that I was expecting the kit this week, she looked at me (like only mothers of teenage boys can) and....
Her: Well, you should finish (Petal) first before you start it.
Me: Yeeeahhh..... but you know...
Her: No, I think you should wait.
Me: I don't know if I can....
Her: *nodding* You can wait
Me: Yeah... you say that now... wait till you see the stuff.
Her: *laughing* You can wait.

So, when the package arrived at work yesterday, I took it, beautifully wrapped up, into her office and opened it in front of her. Long story short....
Her: *eyes glazed* Oh wow... I love the colors.
Me: Aren't they gorgeous????!!!
Her: *eyes still glazed* I love how it's packaged...
Me: I know!!!!
Her: Wow.... this colors.... *eyes doing the vertigo thing*
Me: *smug grin*
Her: *looks up at me* You're going to start this right???
Me: Really? I shouldn't wait? *evil, delighted, smug grin*
Her: No... I think you should start it right away! And bring it in to show me!!!
Mwa-hahahahahaha!!! Sunk!! Quicker than the Titanic. ;)

Unfortunately, I had a massage session after work last night and didn't get home till after 8, and by the time we finished cooking, eating, and cleaning up, it was almost 10. But I was determined to at least get the fabric scrolled up!

So, out came the iron, in went the water (for steam),
Ironing board in attendance, fabric all laid out;
Next came the scroll rods, and let's not forget the tape....
Line everything up, twirl and dance about.
On went the scroll bars, tighten each screw,
Put on the scroll legs, they're very important too!!
Forget all that blank fabric, think of the story to be told,
When it is stitched up in a year, and displayed in full glory!

This has turned out to be a long post.... ok!! Enough words.... let's get to the good stuff, shall we? :D

Beautifully packaged kit

Floss toss

A new start!! :D

April 21, 2011

Making a Scroll

Remember the Swallows that Novia stitched for me? Instead of putting this gorgeous piece into a frame, we decided to make it into a scroll. I've done this to a few of my stitched pieces previously (Harmony's scroll can be seen HERE), and it's not difficult to do and adds that extra something to an asian inspired piece.

Before and after

I've had quite a few inquiries about how this is achieved, and thought I'd take some (not so great) pictures of the process.

Cut a 'backing' strip of fabric to sew your stitching on.
This will be almost the entire height of your finished scroll,
and the width of your stitched piece.

Cut 4 pieces of fabric: left, right, top, and bottom panels.
The side panels will be the height of your stitched piece.
The top panel is usually 2/3 the height of your stitched piece,
and the bottom panel is half the height of your stitched piece.

Pin the 2 side panels to your stitched piece,  front side together,
and machine sew them.

Once they're sewn together, open out the flaps and iron them flat.

Do the same to the top and bottom panels...

Here you see the face of the scroll, with the 4 panels sewn on
and ironed out.

I use a iron transfer web fusing to finish the sides.
First, iron a straight seam down the entire length of the scroll,
then iron the web to the
smaller edging.

Once the webbing has cooled,  peel the paper from the other side of the webbing,
fold your seam in and iron again.

The finished face.

For the top and bottom, I use a dowel rod. In this case, I left it in
its natural unpainted form.
For the top section, cut the dowel to the exact width of your scroll.
For the bottom section, cut a longer width, depending on your preference.

To hang up the scroll, you will need a string of some kind.
In the pass, I've used curtain holdbacks, ribbons, pearl strings etc.
For Sparrows, I used the handle from a paper bag. You know the ones from the mall?
(This one came from a BCBG bag.)

Use a glue gun to stick your fabric and dowel together.
Do this is small long sections, as you wrap the fabric around.

TA-DAH!!!!

April 20, 2011

Random Afternoon Question

This week's question was easy to come by, especially following the needle and thread questions of the last weeks. After all, what good is a needle and thread without an outlet, right? :)

What is your favorite fabric to stitch on?

I'm not too picky where fabric is concerned. If I'm stitching a kit, I use what's included, although sometimes those aida cloth is really stiff and rough, huh? For things I kit myself, I tend to cater the fabric to the project, ie. birth announcements and smaller, quick projects are usually stitched on aida. I find that they are a quicker stitch as a result of the hardiness of the fabric.

Mirabilias are almost always hand-dyed linen from Picture This Plus. I love the depth of their color range.

As for evenweaves, when I was stitching Japanese Garden, I discovered jobelan. Prior to that, I mostly used lugana and they worked just fine. But having tried jobelan, I doubt I'd go back to lugana. There's something about the feel and sheen of the former that make them such a pleasure to use.

April 18, 2011

Petal Fairy - A New Start

How was IHSW for you guys? I can't wait to check out your blogs. :)

I wasn't a good hermit this weekend... and didn't get as much stitching done as I'd have liked. Hubby and I spend quite a bit of time studying the fabric. We looked at both sides and picked the one that had the nicest variation. (The other side has what looks like a purple hand print on it. LOL!!!)

My biggest concern about the side we picked is the patch of purple on the left. When we were discussing this and looking at the fabric in all directions, I figured that it will match the dark purple elements in her wings and hope that they'll balance each other out. I spent a good amount of time counting every which way so that it will fit between the 2 petals of her skirt. So far it looks like it'll work out but we won't know the full outcome till it's done. :) *fingers crossed*



On another matter, I stretched out Taj Mahal last night, and taped it up in it's spot in the living room.



Alas, the poor baby won't get framed until I can find a really good discount coupon. I don't think it was too pleased with that concept as this morning, it was acting sultry and glittered at me in all sorts of ways in the daylight. ;)

April 13, 2011

Random Afternoon Question

Jumping off of last week's question about needles, let's talk about threads this week. :) After all, don't they go hand on hand? Like love and marriage & horse and carriage? Thus reminds me of the sitcom Married With Children... but I digress.

Are you specific about the thread you like to use?

I'm not particular at all. Whatever comes in the kit or I happen to have in hand works just fine. I do like stitching with silks, they're soooo soft and I sometimes find myself fondling them more than I should. LOL! I love my DMCs though, there is such a variety of colors for very little money.

April 12, 2011

IHSW - April

Hey Hermiters!!! :D It's almost that time of the month again... for us to take some time out of our busy lives and squirrel away some stitching time. It's always fun for me, when I'm stitching during these International Hermit and Stitch Weekends, to think of my stitchy friends across the country and across the lakes who are doing the same thing. :D Maybe I'll have a nice WIP to show of Petal Fairy. *giggle*

Blu, I'll probably start Hummie when Petal is finished... otherwise it's too many active WIPs at the same time for my comfort.

You see ladies, I don't count Chinese and Spring as "active WIPs" since the charts are coming out in parts. It makes me feel better this way. So technically, Petal Fairy is my ONLY project! LOL!!!!!!

April 11, 2011

A Surprise Gift & Spring Knotgarden

Thank you everyone for all your compliments and well wishes for the Taj finish! :D Ineke, this weekend I started Spring Knotgarden. ;) Veronica, Chinese Garden won't be till the end of the month as that's when the kit will arrive. More of that later....

I came in to work to a package waiting for me. I see the address of the sender and opened it with puzzlement.... and pulled out this beauty... THANK YOU, NOVI!!!!!!!

Swallows by Maia

Let me tell you about this... my darling Novi wanted me to pick something for her to stitch for me ages ago and I said I would love this for my bathroom, although I didn't think she'd be able to get to it anytime soon. You see, she has 2 beautiful boys and is studying for her medical degree and there's just not enough time in the day! Lately, she's dropped a sentence here and there about stitching something for a friend and my asking for WIP pics amounted to nothing. I chalked it up to her being too busy and ignoring me (as usual..... LOL!!!!!) and look at what she did!!!!!!!! I'm over the moon! :D :D :D

On Friday evening, I spend some quality *cough* time ironing and scrolling up 2 pieces of fabric... 1 for Spring Knotgarden and the other for Mira's Petal Fairy. :D The plan was to finish Part 1 of Spring over the weekend and then work on Petal for the rest of the time will CG. Well.... there was a slight hiccup and I almost didn't make it as I had a major frog session (damn amphibian!!!!!). You see, there are 2 very similar symbols in Part 1 and I didn't noticed till way after. So, after some deliberation with hubby, I decided to yank everything out for a re-do.

Spring Knotgarden - Floss toss

I'm happy to report that I finished Part 1 on time, minus beads. I actually didn't stitch the 4 circular areas that will lead into the flower sections. In looking at the picture, the colors there will extend outwards and I'm too lazy to start and stop all those threads. ;)

Spring Knotgarden, Pt. 1 - minus beads and circular edging.

April 8, 2011

Taj Mahal Mandala - FINISHED!!!

O Happy Day.... (O Happy Daaaaaaay)... well, it was actually night when this was finished, but you get my meaning, hehehehe. I've had so much fun with this one. The colors are so sweet and pastel-ly, with the occasion pop of bright. The crystals are really subtle in this too. Martina's expertise once again shines through in every aspect of the design, from the purples and pinks that blend into the blue, to the melding of like colors between the silks and the beads.

I wanna thank you all for cheering me on in this whole process. It adds to the joy and pleasure of stitching this piece to be able to share it with you. :D

Now, without further ado, I present to you in all it's glory.... Taj Mahal Mandala!!!!!

The Particulars:
by Chatelaine - Martina Rosenburg
Fabric: 32ct belfast Ray of Light
Materials: Silks and beads. Kit from europeanxs.com
Started: October 19, 2010
Finished: April 7th, 2011


Taj Mahal - the scrollwork is amazing!!

The center pond

Center flower. See the bling? :D

The 'pot' at the foot of the trees. I added a bead into the center of the Jessica.

Top right corner
Top left corner

Bottom left corner

Bottom right corner

Top panel flowers

Right panel flowers

Bottom panel flowers

Left panel flowers

Outer paisley

Inner paisley

April 7, 2011

Taj Mahal Sneak Peek

I have to tell you guys... this whole working thing sure puts a damper on my stitching. I know, I know, it's been this way for years and years, but I can still complain about it right? Especially when the finish is soooooo close I can taste it. ;)

I tried to plead 'beadititis' this morning to hubby but drats, he didn't fall for it!!! LOL!!!

Here are some close-ups of the center.... I tried to get the bling to show better, but no luck. :(

P/S. An update on the lost needle.... hubby's palm made friends with it this morning. ;)




April 6, 2011

Random Afternoon Question

Lost another needle last night.... everything was going along nicely when I was beading, and then the thread got looped around itself. So, after a long suffering sigh, I pulled out the thread, and wouldn't you know it, if that darn needle didn't get a life of its own and JUMPED out of my hand! Probably sneaked a 5 hour energy drink-a-ma-jig when I was at work or something.

So then, began the 'hands-and-knee-touchy-feelie' dance on the rug. No, not THAT kind of a touchy-feelie dance... ROFL!!! The poor rug is probably still in shock today from me groping around on it and digging my fingers between the fibers. ;)

Alas.... I didn't find said needle, and said no to hubby's offer to turn the couch over to look under it... so into my meager stash I went and pulled out another John James' Petite.

This brings me in a roundabout way to today's question.... What is your favorite stitching needle?

Mine is a toss-up between John James' Petite and Piecemakers 28. I love them because they allow me to use my floss up to the very last bit and I can bead with them!! Their little tips are kinda blunt so my fingers don't get prick and jabbed either. They don't corrode, last almost forever... who could ask for better stitching sidekicks? :D

April 4, 2011

TUSAL - April

Wow... the last month totally flew by and it wasn't till I was catching up on blog reading this morning that I realized that I'm a day late for my TUSAL post!! EEEK!!! Without further ado, here it is... I have little shiny 'snakes' creeping up at the top cos I started the bead work on Taj Mahal yesterday. :D



And just to tease.... here's a close up of some beading in the Taj Mahal center. :D