Monday, October 31, 2011

More Silliness, For Stitchy Friends :)

This is not the post I meant to write today. But, seeing as it's officially Hallowe'en now, I have come bearing some treats instead of tricks for the three special ladies who happened, by chance, to all leave kind comments encouraging the insanity of my own Funky Finishing Fedora, which was the subject of my last post.

And so, I present: *starts flinging colourful confetti around*

Rainy Day Crafter's Funky Finishing Fedora:

RD said: My Funky Finishing Fedora would be as sparkly as it could possibly be, lol, and would be covered in sequins in shades of blue and green so that it would shimmer like the sea whenever I moved!! ;D

So I tried to capture that sort of oceanic feel with the seashells and the charms, and the "sequins" whose shine you will have to imagine, I'm afraid. Also, I have, for many years, imagined that if mermaids were really out stringing pearl necklaces on the sea rocks, that they'd have a helpful oyster or two to hold the pearls-to-be-strung in place. Hence, the Oyster Pearl Holder at the very front of the hat :)

Karen's Funky Finishing Fedora:

Karen said: My Finishing Fedora would be decked out with a huge assortment of ribbons all weaved together. There would also be tons of bows, and threads and a ruler stuck out like a feather for good measure. It would have beads tacked on randomly to make it sparkle and maybe a few strung and dangling from the brim. :)

For the sake of the embellishments, I was forced to tone down the woven ribbon background a little bit. But I know well Karen's love of all things vintage, and that inspired me to add random groups of buttons as well as beads along with the small bows. And this was also the impetus behind the Treasure Chest, the stitchy catch-all along the brim that I imagine would indeed be shaped like a little sea chest, rounded top and all, with a miniature lock at the front. Something precious and pretty to keep all of Karen's favourite flosses and sundry bits and bobs near at hand ;)

CrazyStitcher's Funky Finishing Fedora:

CS said: My Funky Finishing Fedora would include red (obviously) metallic floss and seed beads, along with other colours that I like. There would also be white and yellow roses. Having seen your Fedora, I would definitely want to include some floss bobbin 'corks'. As for the colour of the fedora itself, I'm undecided. x

I joked with CS that her Fedora would have to be be amethyst velvet, suitable for royalty, and I liked the idea so much that I ran with it :) The round embellishments are not meant to be beads but rather polished gemstone cabochons. Those are also inset in the middle of each bead strand "scallop" on the brim trim. The bedraggled butterfly is supposed to be made of the same gemstones, and therefore have a bright translucent stained-glass like look. You'll have to use your imagination there I fear! CS also loves birds, and has a hummingbird on the background of her site. So the little Bluebird of Happiness holding all her floss and tools serves to bring her luck! :)

So there you have it; three very Special Hats for three very Spectacular Ladies! I hope that these are close to what you all had in mind, in spirit, if not actual design! *stops throwing confetti about and curtsies*

I apologize for the dull colours, which are a direct result of the absence of Mr. Sun, and of the dents of erased scribbles that should not have shown up that nevertheless managed to show up where they shouldn't have been! I actually wasn't even going to post the pictures because of that when I saw what the camera had picked up (it must have had something to do with the angle?) but it's all in fun after all :)

Happy Hallowe'en! Be as spooky as you like, but be safe in doing so ;)

Vintage Cartoon Card - Don't You Love Their Expressions?!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

In Which Much Silliness Ensues....

This week has been super-hectic, a rollercoaster ride full of surprises! Thankfully, most turned out to be the good kind. As such, my Stitchy Mojo and I have not fully reconciled, but the good news is that we are working towards a sort of comprimise :)

I have started assembling supplies for a few small Christmas stitchy projects for family gifts and I have actually started working on one of them! I haven't gotten very far yet, mind, but it's something! And I really must admit that it's good to pick up my needle and floss again. I really didn't realize how much I missed stitching!

Anyway, this is all to say that I am making progress, slowly but surely, but it's not progress I can share, since my Stitchy Guru Mother and my Groovy Grandparents have been known to check in on this little site whenever it takes their fancy ;)

So, I got to thinking about the hilarious comments (thanks CS & RD!) I've gotten about my Funky Finishing Fedora, and I started wondering exactly how my hat would look. Which led to consulting The Great Google for a Virtual Hat Maker!

Sadly, the few that are out there are just for customizing logos and colours and styles for existing products. And I just couldn't see gussying up a baseball cap. No, for my Funky Finishing, nothing less than a snazzy Fedora, with a nice snappy brim, will do!

And so, when I got up this morning, full of unreasonably good cheer thanks to the unscheduled (according to the Weather Forecasts, at any rate) appearance of Mr. Sun, I idly scribbled on a piece of scrap paper, and this thing just sort of happened.

You'll have to forgive me, since I'm not an artist by any stretch of the imagination. And everything I try to draw turns out as a very wacky, and more than slightly odd, sort of cartoon. So prepare to squint, tilt your head sideways, and meet my Fedora:

Feel free to laugh! Heartily!! Even out loud if you like!!! That's the point, after all :)

Er. The first photo is my sorry attempt at "staging" the picture. I always see lovely photos around the web with carefully constructed backgrounds with all kinds of pretty props like flowers and vintage fabrics and beautiful glassware. Yeah. This is obviously not one of them! And let me tell you, I have a LOT more appreciation of the time and effort involved in those sorts of shots, because it's hideously difficult to get things to stay the hell where you put them, and so you end up spending ages just trying to keep things in place! I have come to the conclusion that some people must have a talent for it, as I've always secretly suspected, and I'm honestly not surprised in the least to find out that I am not one of those lucky folks. *rolls eyes*

The only other interesting thing of note is the obvious influence of the Australian Cork Hat (some history and instructions for making your own can be found here). While the main purpose of the Cork Hat, besides serving to mark one as an Eccentric Individual, is to keep away flies in the Australian Outback, the floss bobbin "corks" on my Fedora will readily keep my favourite colours at hand, ready to stitch on buttons or make trim with or add a last minute cross-stitch or two!

When I had everything finished, I realized that I'd neglected to add some needles in with the pins, but my excuse there is going to be that I don't usually use needles when finishing (except, of course, I do, but shhhh!). And I'm imagining the hat itself to be a natty burgundy velvet, just so you know ;) I would, of course, wear the actual thing (because I believe there is one, happily existing on another intersecting yet imaginary plane of existence nearby, along with my Stitchy Mojo, overseen by The Stitchy Karma Gods) with a slight sassy tilt, likely to the left. Also, in case you're wondering about the fake flowers at the front, it is my firm opinion that everything in this world is made better by the inclusion of flowers, fake or real or imaginary :)

So there you have it! An approximation of my very own Funky Finishing Fedora! And I say "approximation" because you know they'll be sequins and glitter and all sorts of other shiny pretties on the real thing :) So what would yours look like?!

Friday, October 14, 2011

A New Rustic Ornament! And It's Free!

Back before the big Christmas Giveaway excitement, I posted about some unfinished ornaments I had stitched a few years ago, and also about my re-doing of one of them. When I had originally stitched both ornaments, I was so pleased with them that I drew up some co-ordinating patterns in the same style, that I call "rustic", intending to make a whole series! I rediscovered those drawings recently, and still liked one of them enough to sit down and try to stitch the design. And this is the end result :)

While the two original designs were meant to be finished as square "package trim" tree ornaments, I put on my Funky Finishing Fedora and decided that I'd like make a small wall-hanging, a three-panel triptych with "Peace" on the left, "Tis The Season" in the middle, and "Joy" on the right. Originally, I had designed the pattern text to say "Noel", but reconsidered before I started to stitch. I chose "Peace" because Christmas is often said to be the Season of Peace and Joy, and because the image of a lighted candle always brings peace of the spirit and hope for the future to my mind.

After some consideration, I have decided to post up the pattern to share! This is the first time I've ever done anything like this, and I was initially very reluctant to do so, given my inexperience with graphing virtually. When I design for myself, or adjust designs to suit my needs, I do it by hand on blank graph paper.

However, I was recently inspired to download the trial version of PC Stitch Pro 9 (the newest edition), following CrazyStitcher's very helpful and thorough review of the StitchCraft software. My Stitchy Guru Mother used to have the 4th edition, and I had used that to do up the first version of this design many years ago. I was very curious to see how the new features work. Although the demo does not allow you to save your design, I took a screenshot and used it for my graph. However, I had a lot of trouble generating a legend so I made my own. I need to play around with the software a bit more before I can give a review, so look for it in the near future!

Beside working as an example of the PC Stitch graphing software, I thought this might also be a good example of how you can take inspiration from an existing cross-stitch pattern or series of patterns and then design coordinating works for yourself. Although I echoed the originals stylistically, I designed the motifs and lettering. Part of the reason that Tis The Season and Joy have be left unfinished for so long is that I always knew that they needed an extra little something.

While similar in style - the checkerboards, the patchwork elements, the lettering - the pair just didn't feel like a "set". I learned a long time ago in art class that if you put two of anything together, the eye will always be drawn to the small differences between them, resulting in a feeling of tension and discord. However, if you balance the two elements with a third, the similarities will become more apparent and they will "match" harmoniously. With the addition of Peace, this project finally feels just right to me, and the message I wanted them to convey finally feels complete ;)

Here is the pattern, in .jpeg image format. It's designed to fit on one piece of paper:

For some reason, the text looks a little bit blurry here, I think because it's been downsized to fit the post. I've also made this image publicly available in a special Picasa Web Album, so if you have trouble downloading this image please try for the larger size available there. If neither method works (!), then please don't hesitate to e-mail me and I'll send it directly. My address is at the top of my sidebar.

Please note that this design is for personal use only. If you like it, I'd love if you shared it, but please put up a link to this post rather than reposting the pattern on your own site. And if you do stitch it, I'd greatly appreciate it if you'd let me know :)

Like the two patterns that inspired this design, Peace is a simple and quick stitch. The limited colour palette means that you can make colour substitutions very easily, and I encourage you to do so. I stitched mine to match the others, on 14 count Charles Craft Aida in "Oatmeal", a light fabric with darker fibres woven in. I choose this originally, over the beige suggested, to enchance the rustic look.

As you can see, I repeated the checkerboard motif, but in red and green. Although it looks darker in the photograph, my stitching uses the original colour from the other patterns, which is actually a dark coral, but Christmas Red will give you a similiar - and more seasonal - look. I also used one strand of white pearl cottton #8 for the candle, since I had substituted it for the white in the other designs. The backstitching is all done in my all-time favourite, 3371, which I substituted in Tis The Season and Joy for the grays and beiges suggested. The lighter blue on the patchworked glass ball ornament is not backstitched, as it's meant to suggest shine and roundness.

Once again, my buttons came to me serendipitously! I didn't sit down and choose them when I designed the colours, preferring to stitch it first, like I did with Tis The Season and Joy. And I'm really pleased with the way this button trio turned out - I went for colour and texture this time, which is a little bright but I think fits well with the spirit of the design. The light blue and yellow buttons are odd ones from my Great-Grandmother's trusty button tin, and the coral one was part of a four-piece set from my Mother's button collection. Usually I don't like to break up sets, but the colour was so spot on that I made an allowance! All three are plastic.

And as the final step in The Rustic Ornament saga, I decided to fix something that's been bothering me a long time. You may have noticed on Tis The Season that the pearly white button was square and had four holes unlike the rest of the buttons which were round and had two holes. So after some furious rummaging, The Stitchy Karma Gods and The Button Box Karma Gods again brought me just what I needed :)

Here is Tis The Season before:

And here it is in all its new finery:

The yellow button had to go, because it was too light when put against the floss used in the other two designs. The new green and white pearl buttons are both odd ones. The coral one, the only button I kept, was originally from my Grandmother's button basket, as is the new green one. I love how both of them shift from the light to dark colours, echoing the floss perfectly! It turned out that we had plenty of white pearly buttons, but only this one happened to have the same shape and finish, and it's an odd one from my own button tins. So, there are buttons from four generations spread out across these three works, which I think is really neat ;)

This is the placement I'm thinking of, with holiday fabric between and surrounding the squares. My finishing idea is a little ambitious, but I'm looking forward to uniting these three designs and being able to display them - finally, after so many years! - together this Christmas holiday. And I sincerely hope that Peace will be a welcome addition to your own festive decor this year, should you choose to stitch it :)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Christmas Giveaway Winner!!!


I am astounded and immensely grateful for all the interest and support!

Now, on to the good stuff: I added up all the entries, excluding only those few that had no contact information at all (e-mail OR blog address), and numbered them all in the order in which they were received. I then went to website, to the free Integer Generator, and put in the number range, and got a randomly picked number back. This is the first time I've ever had cause to use this service, but I can see why it's so popular amongst bloggers, of all kinds, for picking Giveaway winners!

Here's a screenshot and a close-up of the winning number:

And eligible entry 22 is: *cue the drum roll please LOL*:

Monique initially had some trouble entering, so she e-mailed her information for me, and I posted her comment for her, as I also did for the few other people who had trouble. Monique, I'll be sending you an e-mail to get your mailing address shortly. I hope that these stitchy goodies will find a happy home with you this Christmas :)

For everyone else who entered - thank you for your support! I really wish I could send you all a little stitchy something Please come back to visit next year, for the Second Annual Eglantine Stitchery Christmas Giveway! As far as I know now, it will run on the same dates, but in a new year: September 21st, 2012 to October 12th 2012! Just in time to avoid the prophesized end of the world in December 2012 :)


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!

Best Wishes For A Wonderful Weekend!

Sorry for the lack of posting recently, but I'm taking the long weekend off to spend some quality time with my needle and floss :) Yes, indeedly, my Stitchy Mojo has meandered back home, and has one foot through the front door. I'm hoping that the proffering of new projects and shiny threads will entice it all the way back inside, to settle down and settle in for the coming Winter (brr! is it ever cold outside today) and quit its Stitchy roaming ways. Hey, a girl can dream, right? *wink*

I just want to send out a HUGE Thank You! to everyone who has entered my Christmas Giveaway, and to those of you who have posted about the Giveaway on your own blogs! The surprisingly large number of entries I've received is mostly due to your generosity in helping me to spread the word, and I can't thank you enough. And I'd like to add a big heart-felt Welcome! to all my new Followers too :)

The Thanksgiving holiday, to me, is a time to reflect back on the events of the past year, and to appreciate the gifts, both large and small, that we've been given, in the everyday ordinary course of our lives. I have many wonderful blessings to be thankful for this year, and the great stitchy friendships I've been lucky enough to develop with certain special people, and all the wonderful stitchers and stitchy bloggers I'm continuing to meet, are certainly up at the top of my list ;) Thank you all for your support of Eglantine Stitchery, and - wherever you are - may the coming new year bring many good things to you and yours!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

A New Take On An Old "Joy" :)

As you might recall from my last post, I wasn't satisfied with the buttons that I had chosen for my Rustic Joy Ornament. My reasons for chosing the ones I did is lost somewhere in the distant misty fogs of the past, but it was clear to me after reading the many kind responses to that post that Change was needed!

So, after an evening spent rummaging furiously through my button cans and my Stitchy Guru Mother's considerable button stash, I finally unearthed the perfect ones from my Great-Grandmother's button tin :) I knew that they were the right ones, because when I put them against the work, they just felt like they belonged.

And, come to think of it, I believe that the little white button - the only one that I was happy with! - that I had stitched on there originally came from GG's button tin, too, so now it has been reunited with its friends and so will be lonely no more ;)

Here is Joy, as it was:

And here is Joy, with the new buttons:

And here is Joy, with the new buttons, and a major omission remedied:

You see, when I added the new buttons the other night, I was very pleased with them. I put Joy away, feeling very happy that it was finally finished.

Only, when I took it out to photograph it this morning, I realized that there was still something missing. I am almost ashamed to say that I had never noticed that I had forgotten to put in the backstitching on the star! And this is remarkable, because this patchwork-like outline stitching (along with the buttons!) is what had attracted me to these works in the first place! *shakes head at silly stupid self*

Anyway, I am very pleased with the final result! Both of the buttons I added are white plastic, from the 1950's or 1960's, and are odd ones. I'm always happy when I'm able to find new homes for single solitary buttons that have lost their fellows :) Part of what I loved about the little white button was its interesting texture, so I kept the colour and material the same and focused on the texture instead.

So what do you think? I'm very interested to find out :)

For those of you who might be looking for pictures of button tins (yes, I'm looking at you Karen, lol!) I'm afraid that's going to have to wait a little while. For one thing, it's going to be a very loooong post. For another, I have yet to take the pictures, and am hoping to lure Mr. Sun out from behind all these dreary rain clouds so that I might better capture the sparkle and the finishes in the photos :)

In other good news, I had to pick up my needle and thread in order to remedy my mistake with the star, so I am hoping that this is a sign that my missing Stitchy Mojo is nearing home again and will be returning shortly! *fingers crossed*

And never fear - the Mint Green button and the Black and Silver button are now back in my odd button stash, waiting for another project to come their way ;)