Monday, July 13, 2015


OK, so I bought a home. As I said before, a small modest home and it mine - all mine. Sometimes my mind races with things I want to do to decorate it. I moved in on January 1, 2014 so I have been here for 1 and a half years. After several moves and living in an apartment for several years I didn't have much in the way of decorative items. I go to the thrift store, usually once a week, and I have been gathering things along the way. Sometimes a find will change the whole way I look at a room. I have to take a picture of the red chair I found.

Today, I want to talk about curtains. I am not a sewer with experience but I do have my sewing machine set up and I have a dedicated area for it. My daughter doesn't like it but she is forced to share the basement with my craft area. I started with curtains for my bathroom which I don't have pictures of. They were made out of a sheet and they are orange. Now I have an orange bathroom! It is a bright and cheerful color to wake up to. Also, because I didn't line them, in the afternoon through a west facing window it gives the whole room a golden glow.

Next I did curtains for my kitchen.

Kitchen Curtains

My kitchen definitely has a retro 1950's look with those black gingham with red cherries curtains. The window that you are looking at is quite large. There is a second window over the sink that is smaller and also has these same curtains.

The gingham made it easy to follow straight lines and get a consistent hem so they were a good project for the beginning sewer that I am. Since the curtains are for my home, I wanted to take my time and personalize them. To that end, I crocheted a lace border on the valences and made matching ties. People at my work thought I was nuts because I brought them to work for me and crocheted during my lunch.

Since my kitchen was curtained, I decided to tackle my bedroom. I made white cotton sheers and covered them with a royal blue frame.

The opposite corner also has a window.

Not too bad for a beginner! I kind of wish that I had made fancier middles, but I still have some of the fabric and I might just tackle them.

I have to laugh at the memory of my husband watching me lay the fabric down the hallway. I put masking tape at the beginning point and the ending point so that I could cut the fabric the correct length. He thought I was nuts!

You can't see it in the pictures, but I would like to comment about the hems. I hemmed all of the pieces by hand.  I used the blind hem stitch. I have used the ladder stitch for quite a few finishes of projects that I have done through StitchMap. Blind hem stitch was a natural progression. For those of you who sew, you will understand that I am so proud that I was able to pickup just one or two threads while I was hemming. It felt like quite an accomplishment! 

Cross Stitch Shoes

I have started the third piece in the set I am making for my daughter. I think she was 8 or 9 years old when I started the set. Even though it was cross stitch, I was sure I could get them done in time for her teenage years. Well that didn't happen, she is now 17.  I did get the first two  completed and I have started the third.
Shoes 1

This set is from a different designer and it looks like the individual elements are bit larger and the colors are a bit softer. I am glad of this. It is more in the color ranges that I gravitate to.  I still have several other projects going at the same time, so I don't expect this one to get completed quickly. It is a start!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Butterflies in Chains

I have previously written about a pillow case project I had started. The pattern contained  butterflies and flowers. The pattern was stamped on the pillow case as cross stitch. I love cross stitch but not as a surface embroidery stitch, so I had the wonderful idea that I was going to do the entire project in chain stitch or some derivative of chain stitch.  You can see the beginning post  and an update.

Well they are done!
Butterflies in Chains

There is a little glare on this picture, but it works.

I owe a debt of thanks to Mary Corbet of Needle N Thread. I have written about her and her blog before. No doubt, it is one of my most favorite blogs. She does not know me, but I am still proud of her contributions to the needle arts!

I could not have stayed true to my original intention without her blog. First, she speaks about using chain stitch as a filler stitch which I had never heard of.  Not too long after I had started the pillow cases, she wrote an article about the Hungarian Braid Stitch. I decided that would be my first derivative and the outside scalloped borders were done using that stitch. Next I worked the pink flowers in Detached Chain Stitch. I was thinking about using her tip about Daisy Flowers in Two Colors but decided to try out the Oyster Stitch instead.

You can't see it now, but my next step was to outline the end butterflies in Cable Chain Stitch. I took it out, however, because I had used a dark blue color that just didn't work with the other colors. The project languished as other priorities too place, but I had not forgotten it. I might take a while, but I am proud that I usually finish the projects I start. 

The project came to the forefront again after I purchased Mary's e-book Stitch Sampler Alphabet: Decorative Initials in a Variety of Stitches!. That is how the outer butterflies came to be laced and the next outer butterflies were whipped. I had forgotten about her article on Lacing and Whipping Embroidery Stitches! I also utilized her idea about putting a straight stitch in the middle of my detached chain stitch flowers. It really plumped them and added a lot of definition.

There is still a lot of other information about the chain stitch on her blog. Starting a new thread and Chain Stitch Tip:Circles are just a couple. I will say it again, I could not have stayed true to my original intention without her blog!