Monday, December 27, 2010

Developing Patterns for Needlepoint

While working on this project and getting more and more addicted to it, I realized that many people don't know why we designers charge such high prices for some of it - it takes a long time and a lot of thought and effort to get it right!

As the ideas keep coming and I keep working, I'm getting excited about the possibilities here with these conical shapes. I think this form, rather than the painted canvas version, started with some Murano blown glass trees I saw in the catalog from The Art Institute of Chicago. These images kind of "implant" in the brain.

Anyway - playing around today with the poster board cone and the white paper, I decided I needed to do something with "tinsel" swags going in a continuous diagonal line around the tree. The first photo shows a squiggly freehand line I drew. I had tried several things that didn't work, but we won't go into that now.

Bear in mind I was sitting up on my bed, watching a movie on the DVD player, so the line isn't perfect. Opening these things out is sometimes the fun part, as it's a big surprise.

It occurred to me that the curved lines appear to have their ends on a straight line, which would be great for making sure they connect at the right place on the back. So - out came the green marker and the straight edge - and Voila!!

Now to put it onto canvas with this as a guide. Obviously, the canvas will be oriented with the point at the top, and it will only require running a fingernail across to get the marks in the correct places on the edges. (I'll show it on Freebies, etc. when I get it drawn correctly)

Next, I decided to be clever and see what I could do with using my diagonal laces and trims of two years ago - so first I drew a series of straight lines parallel to the edges of the tree, as the laces were worked on the 45 degree angle of the canvas.. I didn't measure or anything, as this is just an experiment.

I couldn't believe what it looked like on the back when I put it onto the poster board cone!!

You can see that the lines are drawn straight and parallel to the edges. Again, I didn't measure anything - just random straight lines made with my plastic ruler.

Looking at this also gives me another idea - using my laces that are stitched on the horizontal and vertical. It can be done with a bit more time playing with paper and scissors.

I won't stitch one in lace unless I come up with something different, as this lace binge lasted quite a while - I first did that in the early 70's, and then again about 12 years ago. I'm all laced out and drained dry, but still love it! (However, I'm working on replicating Bavarian lace in needlepoint for another "ethnic doll" I have planned.)

I'm showing the diagonal laces for anyone who missed them, as they were made in May, 1998. The diagonal "rollie" shows how well they translate for something like this. I went on to do mini-stockings with "jeweled" chains - all kinds of fun and glittery things. I have put the booklet of these at a discount price on Freebies, etc. for anyone who wants to try it.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Needlepoint Topiaries: Ignorance was Bliss!

I wasn't thinking when I put the first topiary trees on canvas so long ago - as I was still doing everything in basketweave, and saw no problem with doing it so oriented. It also conserved canvas, as the bottom is very wide, and to put the top of the cone at the top of the canvas used more than doing it the way the photo shows.

I've been looking at it, and realize I would have difficulty stitching it, even in basketweave, as I want things upright for some reason. The first tree I stitched was sent to my mother, as she had announced that she was not going to put up a tree for Christmas that year - so I sent her my funny looking little needlepoint topiary.

I had just begun to design again, so was not acquainted with or aware of a lot of decorative stitches and novelty threads, so stitched it in baskeweave with Caron's Watercolours. The resulting diagonal stripes were not pretty. I did put little "jewels" of different colors on it with bump stitches of different sizes, and outlined them with Kreinik gold metallic braid.

Now that my ignorance of these things has somewhat been cured, and my stash of novelty threads is outrageous, I've had a lot of difficulty with the project of resurrecting the little trees. I have to be sure the background stitches lie correctly - no diagonally oriented ones would work. It was much easier when I was completely ignorant and unaware.

I decided to just practice on this first one, and am using DMC floss with Nobuko stitch - needle shaded. I stitched a very light green line in tent stitch where I'll put surface embellishement in the form of a swag of silk ribbon flowers or something spectacular - I had to have the line showing so it will be horizontal and also meet where it should when the cone is closed and finished.

In the first photo, I have stitched down to the first division for the needle blending - where I will begin using 1 ply of the darker shade and 3 of the lighter.

The second picture shows continuing Nobuko background in the second group of shades. The work then needs to be turned upside down in order to continue Nobuko to fill in the space and keep it lined up as it should be. It stops where the light green line is, as that is the place for the horizontal swag or whatever will be put there on top of the background stitching later.

ADDENDUM/NOTE: Rather than remove this post and start over, I am leaving it almost as it was - to show where I erred in judgment. I should NEVER make a blog post late at night when my reasoning/thinking is impaired. My brain wires short circuit after about 7 p.m.

Anyway, what I did here with the lines for the needle blending and the lines for the swags isn't good, and makes some really ugly looking places in the Nobuko stitch background.

Therefore, as the "swag" lines - the blue ones which I stitched in light green, should also be used as the shading lines, as it works nicely for this.

Any irregularities will be covered with surface embellishment, and it also divides the space into four sections, which is adequate - my wish is to have the tree lighter at the top and darker at the bottom, so it doesn't really matter. By doing it this way, there will be NO need to turn it upside down to fill in spaces.

If this "needle blending" technique is new to you, visit The Cape Stitcher for Anne Stradal's explanations when she uses it for skies on her beautiful lighthouses.

It's very important to keep this background stitch going properly - so you can see by the lower left arrow where I started the next row. It's actually quite simple if you understand the structure of this stitch.

The 1 and 3 ply combo will continue down to the black line, and then change to 2 and 2 plies of each shade. If it's ghastly looking, I'll trash it and start something else. It has occurred to me that these things needn't be all Christmas trees - nor do they have to be green. I can see seasonal table centerpieces with little forests of them. I have put the pattern over on Freebies, etc. for you, as well as a tutorial on how to design your own.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Drawing the Topiary Template - getting started

When this idea first popped into my head a number of years ago, I had no idea how I would make a conical 3-D tree in needlepoint, so went to a craft store and purchased three styrofoam cones - three different heights, as I had visualized a nice little forest of trees on the mantel or dining table. To save a lot of time here, I'll just say it didn't work.

The paper pattern models I made with them were way to skinny. Then - and again, skipping a lot of other failed experiments - I decided to just make a simple cone with poster board, using a compass and tape. To my surprise, a 90 degree angle worked best, and the proportions were wonderful for a needlepoint topiary tree!

I'm showing in this first picture the method one might use if one's compass is buried at the bottom of an unknown box in the garage - it's my trusty tape measure. I measured down from the corner 7 inches, and then, using the tape measure, just made intermittent dots, along which I cut the poster board. Neatness is not a great factor here..

Then I found the compass and it's extension arm, and did the same thing on a piece of white paper - but made more definite lines - neater, etc., and included two more concentric circles, as this willl aid in the pattern making to make any swags or other lines meet where they should when the cone is formed with the canvas. I cut the paper model very carefully and neatly along the bottom.

You can see the penciled lines that are partial concentric circles out flat on the pattern, but then are just lines that go straight around the cone when it's put together. (with a little bit of tape)

In the next photo, I just lightly sketched some ornaments to demonstrate the reason for doing this on a curve drawn when the pattern is out flat - the swag appears as it should, and also meets at the same place on the back (the arrows show) When drawing it onto canvas, this will assure you that the pattern meets.

To do this, I had placed the paper cone over the poster board cone for the stiffness, which allowed me to draw the ornaments, etc. with ease. The paper will later be un-taped and flattened for use as the pattern when drawing it onto the canvas.

The sketched ornaments and swags are just for demonstration - too messy to be a real pattern, but it gets the idea across, I believe.
With the paper cone opened out flat again, you can clearly see how the process works. The arrows point to where I left an overlap to make the drawing easier where the swags and concentric circles meet. That space will not be left on the canvas drawing.

I have decided to do the rest of this tutorial and show actual patterns on the Freebies, etc. blog, and then show the stitching and decorating and whatever will be done here on this one. You can let your imagination to wild on these, using the stitches and techniques you've learned, and getting into your own stash of wonderful threads!

I have so many of these things now whirling around in my head - I can see holiday/festive mantles or table tops - or dining tables set with centerpieces of little trees of varying heights and different colors - they needn't just be for Christmas!! Ideas for enhancements and surface embellishments are almost unlimited!!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

A Tree for All Seasons: Conical Topiaries!

I was digging into boxes again today, and reached the bottom of one I hadn't seen in a few years - and found more "stuff." I had forgotten about this - dated 1998 - and thought it might be entertaining to do them again, as I have learned so much about stitches, and found so many wonderful novelty threads I wasn't aware of when I originally did them in 1996.
The little corner closeup is another design of the same thing. These went to the cash/carry market in Phoenix in 1997, and I sold quite a few of them. There was a shop in Marietta, Georgia who ordered lots and lots over a period of time, but I never got to see any of them stitched - I had no computer back then.
I'll finish this later, as I must go eat something and make some tea and try to get my brain wires going again - they get kind of short circuited when I have neglected to eat.!!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Elegant Chickens!!

The chickens have now decided I'm no threat to their health and well being, so I was able to get kind of semi-close to them today for picture taking. I've been told that if I would take their favorite bowl full of something called "chicken scratch" out to them, we would have an instant bonding for a close and loving relationship. I'll try that after this present cold front passes..

This first photo is the view from my bedroom window - the "cottage" thing is my SIL's retreat - where he goes when he is not in favor with his wife - the doghouse, I think it's called.

It's also his woodworking shop, but I think he needs to intall a bathroom and efficiency kitchen and let me live in it and use it for a studio, as it has a vaulted ceiling and a skylight. Anyway, You can see the chickens back in the corner, which is what sent me running for my camera and the trip outside.
The closeup shot of three girls is showing "Pillow," who is the largest - and so named by the little boys because she is all white and very fluffy. Then "Betsy," who is not large at all, but is definitely the head chicken of this bunch. (the white one with the black tail.) This has been very amusing to watch, as she definitely establishes herself in the "pecking order." The dark one is "Henrietta."

This seems like a lot of trivia about nothing - but watching these feathered ladies has been one of the greatest stress relief things I've had in a very long time - it makes me smile!! Also, it has relaxed me enough, I think, to begin drawing and painting and stitching again. That feels good.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Awesome Numbers!

I don't usually do this, but had to this time - I rarely look at my neo-counter any more, but started it about 2 1/2 years ago, as I remember. It was one of the first ones I found, in addition to what we called the "red dot map."

For some reason, (probably creative avoidance) I looked at it a little while ago, and saw the numbers at 55550. What an awesome number!! I remember when I installed that one too - another great new "gadget." It was glorious fun watching the international flags pop up one by one, and comparing them also with friends who were doing the same. Just thought it was worth a mention.

Maybe I was thinking about the brand new blog now going on - a shop owner in Vero Beach, Fla. has just begun one, and I was thinking back to how much fun it was in the beginning to watch those visible stat counters. Now most of us have them that are "behind the scenes."

Anyway, now that Mary Agnes has figured out how to post pictures, which she did a lot quicker than I did in the beginning, do go visit her blog Needle Nicely. This is a rug by Lee that she has showing now, and I'm sure there will be lots more to see once she's up and running with this thing and her store!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Icing and Sprinkles (Beads and DMC stuff)

When I was ready to start the icing around the green part of the cookie, I discovered that I didn't have the right green in my stash in perle cotton, so decided to go ahead and use floss. That wouldn't do in stem stitch, so I used chain stitch instead - and it worked beautifully! It was also very easy to turn corners, whereas stem stitch wasn't.

After the usual trial and error part (learning experience) I found that six plies were perfect. This is just a fantasy, after all - not a real cookie.
The entertaining part of this, as with most of these little ornament shapes, is the trial and error part - what will work and what won't. I had originally thought to use #5 perle cotton, but the French knot blobs disappeared.

I switched to #3, and by trying out a few different "wraps" etc., I finally got what I wanted. Every little spot of icing is made with two wraps only - some tight, and some very loose, as the one with the arrow. One wrap wasn't enough, and three wraps made them stand out too far off the surface. Amazing!

Next - the "sprinkles." I started using beads with needlepoint almost 15 years ago, and as I had nobody to show me how, I worked it out myself - so it's an easy easy thing to do this way. The photo shows all that's required for this project - the little medicine bottle caps to hold them, the beads, the long, skinny beading needle, and a wire needle threader. You can see that one came from The NeedleWorks here in Austin - (mail order is quickly attended by these ladies).

These last a lot longer than the little metal one that comes with the beading needles. ( I order my needles through Bead Buddies - link on my side bar.) The other needle lying there is the chenille needle I use for surface embellishment - in this case, icing. When putting the beads onto the surface, I had to constantly remind myself that they would fall randomly when sprinkled over the surface, so I took care not to put them in any kind of order. I didn't have the green or the white ones in size 11, which would have been better, but did have the clear #250's in that size. I used the background color floss to apply them, and just dipped into whichever cap I wanted to for creating an effect of sugar sprinkles. These are all Sundance beads - three different ones.

This won't be difficult to finish - and, although it has bordered on being boring, I have already thought of others I might try, which involve pots of gold (PVV and Kreinik metallics) and bargello rainbows. As I have said, these small pieces are great for practicing and developing new skills and techniques, and stash threads can always be used.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Choosing Colors! Kristina again

If you haven't looked this week, be sure to go to Kristina Klarin's new blog and see her photos and color "smears." I really like this new format of hers (formerly Kris' Color Stripes), as she shows with her paint blotches the colors in proportion to their importance in the photograph - which is a lot more help than just equal sized stripes, or in our case, just pulling out skeins of threads.

This is a wonderful way to put together a color scheme for a project in needlepoint - or anything else. Be sure to click on "color files" on the left side to see the swatches alone.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Kimberly's Card: Elegant Simplicity

As always, I'm enchanted with Kim Smith's artwork! I received this card in the mail this afternoon, and had to show it here. She is not only very talented with her needle and thread and designing for needlepoint, but does the most beautiful of graphic art - whimsical, elegant, simple.

I treat myself to a new small picture to frame from time to time, and never tire of looking at her artwork. I love the Santa on this card, carefully placing his simple ornament on the simple little tree - so different from all the rest of the "stuff" out there. What an imagination this lady has! She does this in addition to working full time at The NeedleWorks here in Austin. Wow!

To see more of Kim's art, go to A Kimberly Design - her blog.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Icing with DMC Memory Thread: A Festive Shamrock Cookie

This is how it looks now - the first Shamrock cookie. There will be more swirls, and these are not tacked down yet, as I will have to move them around a bit to decide how much and where to put them.

As always, with a new project, it didn't go exactly as I thought it would. I had assumed that it would be a simple thing to push the end of the Memory Thread down through a hole to the back, shape the coils, and then put the end to the back. That did not work, due to the fact that the M.T. is very soft and very bendable. A learning experience! That worked when I was making coral with it, but not for this.

Instead, I cut short lengths, approximately 6" long, and then shaped the coils, using needle nosed pliers. The M.T., as it comes off the spindle, needs to be smoothed out by running it between the thumb and something hard and smooth.
I'm showing this mostly in pictures, as it's easier to explain. There was more error than trial going on here, but as always, I enjoy a challenge!!

Memory Thread is delightfully easy to work with, and has many possibilities - one just has to keep trying different things with it.

I haven't couched it down yet, and decided the best thing to do here is to place these coils where they look best - following the photo I found when I "searched" Shamrock cookies. Then I will place them on a tracing of the pattern so I'll know where they need to go - and stitch them down one at a time onto the surface of the cookie.

The last photo shows the coil after I twisted it to go in two different directions. This was easier, I found, than trying to make the "S" shape as it appears on the cookie - I tried it both ways.

One great thing about surface embellishment is that if mistakes are made - it's very very easy to take it off, as long as one is careful not to damage the surface of the background stitching.

This Irish cookie thing seems a bit boring, but simple and boring are all I've been capable of the last few weeks.

Now, I've started to envision uses for them, and have also looked at more pictures, and can see a St. Patrick's Day table - or any festive occasion in March, with these cookies just lying scattered around on the tablecloth as decorative accents - what fun!! I have now figured out how to do a rainbow with a pot o' gold beneath it!!

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Decorating the Cookie: DMC Frosting

The missing bag finally surfaced - at the very bottom of a large box, after I swore I had put it into a bag to carry with me in the car a few blocks.

Anyway, back to the Shamrocks. This is, I'm sure, old stuff to many people, but embroidery stitches are still a bit clumsy for me - especially on the surface of stitched needlepoint. I won't show the whole cookie again, as it is a few posts back, complete with explanation of threads.

For the frosting outline, which would be done with a pastry tube on the real thing, I used white DMC #5 perle cotton. The picture of the plate of cookies I adapted from didn't have this, but as the PVV "cookie dough" has more loft than the Vineyard Silk icing, it was necessary. Actually, size #3 would have been better for this purpose, but not only would the small chenille needle (size 22) be harder to thread, the #3 would overpower the look of the Memory Thread I intend to use.

I think I have mentioned that the chenille needle is essential for embellishing on top of stitched needlepoint, as a tapestry needle makes for slow progress and sore fingers.

Stem stitch was begun at the top with one short stitch, and then progressed around the shape. The trick here was to get nice, smooth curves where they were a bit sharp - this just takes some playing and practice. By looking at the little diagram of stem stitch, you can see what is going on with the icing and how it's done.

In the deep inner curve in this picture, you can see the little short stitch I made in order to turn the corner smoothly. I have to remind myself that this is "frosting" and wouldn't be perfect on the real thing. I'll finish the outline in a little while during a movie, and tomorrow will begin the Memory Thread swirls.
I think the dust is settling from this move, and creative avoidance must cease, as I have now found my tracing paper and paint brushes - no more excuses.. I already have something more interesting and challenging brewing in my head. The weather is cool now, so the energy level is up.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

A Fancy Chicken

Everyone shows off their pets at one time or another on their blogs, so I decided to share my daughter's latest, as I am once again residing in her house to be waited upon hand and foot and well fed. (She has a different version of this)

Anyway, as she and the little boys explained, these are not "eating chickens" but are "fancy chickens." They aren't used to me yet, so I only have this one photo, which Jennifer had to take, as they ran from me.

Chickens are delightful creatures - not like I remember as a child when my grandmother had them for eggs and for frying. (those were nasty chickens). This picture is "Fanny" - like my grandmother (Frances Henrietta). OR the character Leslie Caron played in the movie with Maurice Chevalier.

All five chickens are different, and they all have names. A dog across the fence ate Audrey before her wings were clipped, so she was replaced by "Betsy."

My SIL is an architect, so designed and built the lovely chicken house for them. The yard is enormous, so this is against the back fence with lots of space between the house and the coop.

Jake (age 7) decided we need more chickens so as to name them for Biblical ladies. He likes "Miriam," and I like Rebecca. My daughter suggested maybe "Jezebel." We could do the five women of valor in the old Testament, (Bathsheba is one of these) and then the "bad ladies," as I believe there were several. That's a whole flock of chickens, so Jennifer said NO.

Anyway, these chickens made short work of interference by the three family cats. The dog - Godzilla - is a big, lazy yellow lab, who ignores them.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Origin and Progress of a Species - My Blog and Others

Anne Stradal announced, along with her new post today, that her blog is now two years old.

(The Cape Stitcher) Amazing. I decided to go back to my own origins and see when I started mine. I had no idea what I was doing, but mercifully, I had "met" Allison Aller, who graciously pointed out the errors of my ways and helped me along.

Mine began on September 13, 2006. YIKES I had no idea how to do it. I didn't even separate it into paragraphs. I had already fallen under the spell of the art crazy quilters, and had stitched this small stocking for my older daughter, Marie. Four years later, I'm still mesmerized by this style, and continue to attempt to replicate those gorgeous things in needlepoint - the embellishment being almost instant gratification.

Originally, I didn't intend for it to be a totally needlepoint blog, and wanted to use a lot of the crafts I do, including my pottery - but gradually it became more needlepoint oriented.

Incidentally, these were taken from the first page of blog posts way back then - the one that shows Sept. 2006. You can click on that on the archives and see it from the beginning.

The next photo (taken with my first ancient second hand digital camera) is of two greeting cards I had used to make transparencies - the way we did it before the craft stores started selling something they called "transfer medium" and making it more expensive and complicated than it need be.

This was done with simple polymer medium. It was very enjoyable, and elegant decorative items were produced. I liked putting these onto candles, as when they were lighted, the light glowed through the picture.

I also put them onto glass vases (on the inside) and then backed them with gold leaf - gorgeous vases for dried plant material.

Today I was crusing around the blogs as I do each morning, and found that Kris of Kris' Color Stripes has changed her format, and is doing her colors a different way. They are perfectly beautiful the way she presents them, and easier to use, I think, to create our own color schemes for needlework.

Be sure to go see her HERE, and click on "colour files" on the left side bar to see what she will present every Monday. This is her very first one on the new blog, and I look forward to many more.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Needlepoint Now (We've come a long way!)

I'm still in the process of going through boxes in the garage, trying to find things from the big move - and dug out my Madeline's needlework bag I had given her several years ago. As she was the daughter of two lawyers, she actually had a will at the age of 13, and left me this lovely bag and its contents.

Now that it's been a little over two years since we lost her, I could go through it without shattering into pieces - and found the very first issue of Needlepoint Now that I wrote my article for. It was May/June of 2007. Funny thing - Carole Lake was my neighbor, but we never had time to meet for coffee at the neighborhood coffee place for a good giggle and gossip session.

Anyway, writing for this magazine has been a life-line that has held me together, as I told Elizabeth Bozievich not long ago - it's what has kept me going for the last few years, as it came at a time when great stress and crisis were beginning, and I was just recovering from a near fatal episode of heart disease - things like a son going to Iraq, and my children deciding I needed to move out of my house and into my daughter's guest quarters to be sure I had proper care. (I was not nice about that one!!)

To back up a bit, I think I was primed and ready for it when Joyce Lukomski asked me to do it, as I had spent recovery time playing with my new toy - the computer my son gave me. I was given two or three months time left on this planet, but put off exiting, as I found the art crazy quilters, and the wonderful world of blogs, and new inspiration for needlepoint design just everywhere I looked, as well as wonderful friends I never knew were "out there." - so had to put it off a while. (That was 4 1/2 years ago).

Then just when I was facing the big move 3 1/2 years ago, Joyce contacted me - and it has given me a continuity of purpose and the next deadline to meet, and the next project to work on - something organized and necessary on which to focus!! I'm ever so grateful this opportunity came along.

I lost my beloved granddaughter two years ago, and without the article to think about, I would probably by this time have fallen into a heap of useless rubble on the floor.

I was in my replications of crazy quilts phase in this first article, and Allison Aller, who had become my dearest internet friend (Allie's in Stitches) pieced a special square for me to use - but in the final proofing, the un-embellished one was shown. Oh well. It's a beauty even without embroidery.

I didn't realize until tonight, looking through the magazine, that Liz Morrow (Lizart) had a nice spread in that one. At the time, I had no idea who she was - this one is called "Flowers of Color," which surprises me, as Liz is normally thought of as the best of the bargello ladies. I do enjoy communicating with her by e-mail. (Love this internet thing)

The ads are different in the 2007 issue from the way it looks in this current issue - I think ornament designs are more plentiful and more vibrant, or something. (Elizabeth is doing a great job, as is the "ad lady" Sarah!)

Also, I was amused by this Kreinik ad, as it touts the "gourmet" metallics as the newest thing. How far they've come now with the Holographic series - and gourmet, yummy as it is, is old hat.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Nutcracker Suite and Other Fine Things!

Self indulgence is a good thing sometimes, and as I have had to make yet another change of address this week, I have been wallowing in self pity and decided to cruise the internet and place a few orders. Even a good move can be traumatic (this one was), as now I can't find anything and feel kind of disconnected.

I cannot find the little bag of the current needlepoint project, along with my thread clippers and needles - major stress!! It was to be for a new blog post. I have also not found the box containing my paints and brushes - withdrawal going on here. However, I have been looking at my favorite blogs again, and will direct you to wonderful things.

First, the contents of my mail box today. Quite a mood elevator, as it all arrived at the same time!! The soap is from Seventh Sojourn. (The link is under "good stuff" on my side bar as "Wonderful Soap") Here you can see Almond Kiss and Luxurious Lavendar.

There also was an "Angel" with a wonderful scent, but my daughter saw it and snagged it before I could make a picture. These soaps are not only delightful in scent, but are soooo good for the skin, and keep my hands from turning needles black.

The tea is Winter Dreams from Tea Embassy - also on the side bar under Good Stuff. It's a delicious loose tea I enjoy in the evening while I read. The Netflix is a movie I've never seen - don't know how I missed it, but expect it to be good - The Notebook.

Next, if you haven't already been watching, do go to The Cape Stitcher and see the development of the wonderful Nutcracker Suite ornaments Anne Stradal is stitching. Hers are different from what one usually sees "out there," as they are based on her years of experience with both attending from early childhood and dancing this great ballet - and passing along the Christmas tradition to her sons (now grown.) The text is as delightful as the characters! This one is "Coffe."

Allie Aller is now beginning a "house portrait" that she loves doing, and is just now almost ready to begin the embellishment - well worth watching at Allie's in Stitches. If you click to enlarge on her site, you can see how small it is compared to the other objects shown - the threads, etc.

Another blog I look at daily is Lisa Daria's "one painting per day." Her work is amazing and quite happy looking - it makes me smile.

The colors in this one are fabulous - one could certainly develop a grand color scheme from it for needlepoint! I may entertain myself tomorrow by trying to pull threads from my stash to match.

Sharon B. (PINTANGLE) is moving along with her Wednesday project, but it's already Thursday in Australia, so you'll have to scroll down a bit - the embroidery is gorgeous on this and worth checking each week. I look at her blog daily, as there is always something of inspiration and interest there.

Now I'm off to make some tea, watch a movie, and relax - tomorrow should be a fine day for energy to return, as we are finally getting a cold front in Austin tonight. I'm tired of heat and humidity!