My family is a family of crafters. We're sewers, painters, woodworkers, knitters, crafters, designers, etc. and we all learned as small children. If you love to craft with kids I hope you find these tutorials, patterns, video's, and how-to's helpful.
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When I look at different cross-stitch or needlework kits I might like to do I'm always drawn to pictures or ornaments that have the word "joy" in them or have "doggies" in them. The ones with "joy" always remind me of my beloved mother as that was her name and the "doggies" remind me of my beloved cairn terrier.
So, when I saw the Country Welcome - Button & Beads Mill Hill Cross-stitch Kit with the little "doggie" in it I knew I wanted to make it. The dog button doesn't look anything like a cairn terrier but it's a "doggie" nonetheless.
The Country Welcome Beaded Counted Cross Stitch Kit Mill Hill Buttons & Beads Autumn Series MH14-7206 pattern uses full counted cross-stitch and straight stitch highlighting as well as beads of various sizes for emphasis and depth. The pattern also calls for certain areas of the perforated paper to be left untouched as the background. In this case they were leaving sections of the brown perforated paper background untouched.
A lot of the cross-stitch 5" by 5" pictures I have made were finished in small 6 1/2" by 6 1/2" shadowbox frames with 5" by 5" openings that I had gotten at Michaels when they went on sale on year. I used up all the shadowbox frames I had gotten that year and have been looking for them ever since and haven't found them again.
So, when I saw that Michaels had small 6' by 6" shadowbox frames on sale again I bought a few figuring they'd work okay. I thought they would be like the previous frames I had bought by they actually were bigger. They were 7 1/2" by 7 1/2" shadowbox frames with a 5 1/2" opening. I didn't realize when I had bought these that a lot more of the cross-stitch picture would be showing.
I also decided to once again utilize the rectangular wood frame jig that my darling husband built for me that I could tape the edges of my perforated paper to. The wood frame jig is a rectangular embroidery hoop of sorts, but without bending the perforated paper. He had made it out of 1/2" x 1" pine wood strips with an adjustable center strip that I used for this 5 x 5 square design.
I had learned from previous mistakes that I needed to draw diagonal lines to locate the exact center of the perforated paper as in the last perforated paper cross-stitch picture I had done was slightly off center by a few holes which caused a problem with inserting the needles in the holes along one of the edges of my frame. So, I lightly drew a diagonal line across each corner with a pencil to get the center point of the perforated paper.
The pattern called for a white/gold wooden frame and certain areas of the perforated paper to be left untouched as the background like the picture shown below:
However, I don't like seeing the different perforated sections in the background and since a lot more of it would be exposed with this frame I opted instead to finish the ground with a medium gray DMC embroidery floss and the rest of the background with a light brown DMC embroidery floss color sewn as a half cross-stitch using two strands of the floss.
I had decided to square the edges of my picture and also decided to add as many rows of the light brown and medium gray floss around all the edges to make sure the perforated paper would not be visible once my cross stitch picture was inserted into the wooden frame.
However, this time, when I measured the picture and frame I realized that I would need to add a lot more of the brown floss and medium gray around the edges as a lot more of the picture would be showing. Instead of using the brown floss and medium gray floss I decided to use ecru colored .25m floss sewn as one half cross-stitch that would make the picture look like it was matted..
While the end results of this design were wonderful some things in the kit and in the instructions could be improved upon so I'd like to offer the following constructive suggestions:
The cross-stitch chart was in black and white as was the floss color code and symbol key. Both were easy to read and very clear. While I had no problem with the chart and keys I did have a problem with the way the DMC floss was presented. All of the floss was tied together in one big knot so you had to separate the floss pieces yourself, sort them, and try to interpret which color belonged to which floss # and symbol key on the color chart.
If you only have a few colors to deal with this isn't a problem. However, if you have several different colors to choose from that are close in color then interpreting the chart can be tricky. You may assign the wrong color to the wrong symbol if the colors are too closely aligned like ecru and light beige. The key code chart should have contained the number of strands that were included in the kit so I would know how many strands I had for the different floss colors.
As I have done with other cross-stitch kits I've completed I had to design my own thread color sorter and symbol key. I took a piece of thin cardboard and cut a 1" x 9" long rectangular piece out to use as a thread sorter. I then punched holes in my cardboard strip in which to tie each of the different colors. Just above the hole I wrote the DMC floss # and just below the hole I added the respective cross-stitch symbol. I then inserted the floss threads that went with that # and symbol through the hole and tied them in a loose knot. This kit could be much improved if a thread sorter with respective #'s and symbols was provided.
The beads were contained within three small ziploc bags which was fine. The chart had footnote symbols to help distinguish which beads were within which bag.
The kit included a dog button that was to be sewn at the bottom of the picture. The button was okay except it was glued to a small piece of cardboard which did not easily come off and the glue used had hardened and extended over the sides of the button. I cut it with scissors and managed to make it presentable enough to use in my picture. I have found over time that the buttons used in the Mill Hill cross-stitch kits are usually of poor quality and the worst parts of the kits. Sometimes I use them sometimes I don't.
The wooden frame came with a 6" x 6" cardboard mounting board for the picture but had no back so I decided to cut a 6" x 6" white foam adhesive board to use to glue my picture to.
My results with the totally finished background, square edges, and frame is shown below:
Despite the relatively small issues I had encountered with the kit I was happy with the way my Country Welcome turned out.
It took me 26 hours to complete this picture including the framing. As always, my comments are meant to be constructive to enable future purchasers to benefit from my experience and to enhance their ability to create a wonderful little cross-stitch design.
I'm also a big fan of websites that offer 24/7 online classes that never expire. I have been buying Craftsy's
online classes when they go on sale for quite some time. They have so many wonderful classes to choose from.
However, I have a problem with them. My problem has always been lack of time and incentive. For Artful Gathering
you are given a specific time period to take their class which, as a result, forces me to take them during that specific period of time. For Craftsy
you can take them 24/7 without any expiration date. As a result I keep putting them off.
Despite this when I see a wonderful Craftsy class
that I might be interested in that is on sale I tend to purchase it. Since I never do anything in moderation you know I've bought a lot of them. I'm hoping over the spring and summer I can start some of the classes I've purchased.
Here's what I chose:
Crazy Quilts with Allie AllerClass Description -
Work with fancy fabrics like velvet and silk and play with hand-embroidered seam treatments to create richly textured, sumptuous blocks.
Heirloom Sewing with Susan StewartClass Description -
Replicate the look of vintage heirloom sewing with your home machine! Discover techniques for shaping and stitching lace trim, entredeux, pintucks and more.
Re-Piecing the Past: Civil War Blocks Then & NowClass Description -
Learn Kaye England's precise piecing methods and make 12 traditional blocks, inspired by the stories of strong women of the Civil War era.
Stumpwork: Raised Embroidery EssentialsClass Description -
Add gorgeous dimension to any embroidery project! Expand your needlework repertoire by learning how to create stunning, nature-inspired stumpwork designs.
Stupendous Stitching: Adventures in Surface DesignClass Description -
Set your sewing machine and imagination free in this fun exploration of embroidery designs, decorative sewing machine stitches, couching and binding.
Bead Embroidery: Beyond the Basics with Myra WoodClass Description -
Enhance any project with eye-catching beaded embroidery! Learn techniques for dimensional designs, elegant beaded fringe, embellished accessories and more.
Goldwork Embroidery with Lucy BarterClass Description -
Create elegant goldwork embroidery that catches light and captivates! Learn time-honored techniques for working with metallic threads, chips, spangles and more.
Bead Embroidery with Myra WoodClass Description -
Embroider with beads for eye-catching results! Create sparkling flowers, leaves and other stunning embellishments by hand.
Embroidering With RibbonClass Description -
Create stunning stitches and sophisticated ribbonwork with easy embroidery techniques!
Design It, Stitch It: Hand Embroidery with Jessica MarquezClass Description -
Learn how to hand embroider over 25 types of stitches with decorative flair!
Fusible Appliqué Secrets with Margie UlleryClass Description -
Achieve amazing appliqué projects, fast! Learn fun, versatile fusible web techniques youll use again and again.
Hand Appliqué Made Easy with Mimi Dietrich
Class Description -
Make your appliqué more portable and your projects more personalized. Learn essential hand-appliqué techniques, and bring playful imagery to life alongside Mimi Dietrich.
Embroidering Texture & Dimension by Hand with Sue SpargoClass Description -
Get creative with textured stitches that complement embroidery, appliqué, and more!
Stitch It With Wool: Crewel Embroidery with Kristin NicholasClass Description -
Build on basic stitches to create exquisite crewel embroidery that blossoms with color and texture!
Hand-Stitched Collage Quilts with Laura WasilowskiClass Description -
Step away from your sewing machine and cut straight (or wonky) to the fun of creating fused art quilts with hand-stitched embellishments. Laura Wasilowski will show you how!
Painted Pictorial Quilts with Annette KennedyClass Description -
Brushstroke by brushstroke, Annette Kennedy shows you how to use paint to bring your quilted landscapes to life with depth and richness.
10 Marvelous Mixed Media Techniques with Bonnie CuttsClass Description -
Bring new energy and interest to your work. Learn inspiring mixed media techniques for working with a variety of acrylic paints, mediums and dry materials.
40 Techniques Every Stamper Should Know with Carrie AveryClass Description -
Make the most of your stamping supplies! Learn trendy techniques, create incredible designs and get answers to all your stamp-related questions.
Inventive Ink: Colorful Mixed Media Effects with Marjie KemperClass Description -
Brighten up your paper crafts with a rainbow of mixed media techniques! Learn how to use Distress Inks, stains and sprays to banish boring paper for good.
Mix & Match Clutch Bag Techniques with Janelle MacKayClass Description -
Sew an assortment of chic, custom clutch bags by mixing and matching pattern pieces. Learn how to create professional-quality accessories for any occasion.
Sew Sturdy: The Ultimate Travel Bag with Annie UnreinClass Description -
Don't lug your luggage; love your luggage! Make a beautiful travel bag with durable structure, designer touches and professional construction details.
I'm hoping that this week I can start watching the video's for some of these classes. The problem is which to pick first. I'll let you know what I think so stay tuned.
As a pattern designer I'm always on the look out for great websites to sell my e-patterns and have been a big fan of Craftsy
since January 2012. In fact, I sell some of my e-patterns there. If you'd like to see my e-patterns shop at Craftsy please click here.
I love taking online arts & crafts classes. In fact, I could spend 24/7 just doing this. Unfortunately there are thousands of amazing e-classes out there and only so many hours in the day. So, I have to resort to choosing a few at a time.
In 2012 I discovered the Artful Gathering
online classes and fell in love with so many of them. They offer online art retreats that are taught in the Spring and Summer. They are taught by some of he most unbelievable artists whose creativity is beyond measure.
According to Artful Gathering
is as follows: Our mission is to provide a haven for inspirational self expression and artistic commercial free instruction via online guided video education and virtual social interaction for the art community.
Artful Gathering unites world wide instructors and students in order to facilitate inclusion and access to authentic creative environments and practical learning conditions.
We strive to bridge the gap between the financial and geographical barriers of brick and mortar gatherings and the application of cutting edge technology dedicating our professional leadership toward enriching lives.
So far I've taken 10 Artful Gathering e-classes and can hardly wait to take classes this spring and summer.
I've seen a preview of what's being offered and can tell you it's going to be hard to decide. For sure, decide I will.
Here's some of the Artful Gathering online classes I've taken followed by my finished pieces:
My Romantic Journey On Canvas Online Class at Artful Gathering by Debby Anderson
It's only a couple of weeks for Session one to begin and I can hardly wait.
On the wall in my kitchen I've been displaying different holiday and seasonal wreaths that hubby and I have made over the years. They're a combination grapevine wreath, silk floral, and painted woodcrafts that I've made from other designers patterns that I've bought over the years.
While I was perusing the web I saw an intriguing cross-stitch picture that was a seasonal wreath. I fell in love with it and decided I should buy this cross-stitch kit as it would make a beautiful picture for my kitchen wall. Best of all, I wouldn't have to change it out with the seasonals or holidays.
All of the cross-stitch pictures I've bought and made were counted cross-stitch kits. Truth be told there are a lot of them, which I've posted about here and reviewed on my The Book and Crafts Review Corner
blog. This time I would be working on a stamped cross-stitch picture.
Like the other Dimensions kits I had bought the kit included the pattern, pre-sorted cotton thread, printed white cotton fabric, needle and instructions.
The "A Season For Everything" pattern uses full stamped cross-stitch, satin stitching, french knots and backstitch outline stitching for emphasis and depth and this detailing really makes the picture stand out. The design of this cross-stitch gives the finished picture a 3 dimensional aspect with the satin stitching, french knots and outlining being used for artistic effect.
The pattern came with starting and working order instructions as well as samples of the various stitches required, color coded keys (with code #'s, lengths, color names, and cross-stitch symbols) and a chart with color coded symbols. However, the kit did not come with instructions for finishing the back of the picture.
While I was very pleased with the end results of this design I had a lot of problems with the kit, stamped fabric, embroidery floss, and the instructions that can be improved upon to make this a better kit.
There were 27 flosses listed on the color chart. However, there were actually 29 different floss colors in the kit. The brown #15476 and blue #17150 blue were not on the chart.
The key included instructions for which color floss to use for the satin stitching and cross-stitching. Each season had a large color chart that was large enough and easy to follow. Each chart included additional instructions for the highlighting stitches. However, the colors on these instructions were sometimes shown as simple colors which left it up to you to decide which brown, red, or green, etc. floss to use. They should have included the embroidery floss# with these instructions.
As was the case with previous Dimensions kits the thread sorter was poorly designed. The embroidery threads were glued to foam backed 7" by 1 1/4" strips of cardboard that had a picture of the color of the thread and it's number. In order to get to the threads you had to separate the foam back from the cardboard strip. Very quickly the threads separated from their section and then you no longer knew what the thread number was to tie to your symbols & legends.
As I have done with other cross-stitch kits I've completed I had to alter the thread sorter to suit my needs. I pulled the thread sorter apart to get rid of the foam and then punched holes in the cardboard strip just above each color and color #. I inserted the floss threads that went with that color and color # through the hole and tied them in a loose knot. I then added color coded symbols with colored pens beneath each color so I would know what symbols went with what color.
Short of changing the thread sorter all together to make things even easier for the user the color symbol should at the very least have been shown on the thread sorter strip of cardboard as well. That way you would only need to use the thread sorter strip of cardboard to follow your chart.
I ironed the cotton fabric and then attached it to a 17" by 17" Q-Snap Frame and started my needlework. Everything was going smoothly until I ran into a few discrepancies between the printed color chart and the stamped fabric. There were printed sections of the stamped fabric that were not on the color chart. The instructions said, "On the chart, symbols for partial cross-stitches are not shown. Determine the color to use from the surrounding stitches or package label.
" So, I was expecting that. However there were more discrepancies than that where I had to determine what to do.
I don't think enough embroidery floss was included for some of the colors of this kit. Before the highlighting I ran out of the white and gold floss and came close to running out of 3 other floss colors.
As with every cross-stitch kit I've finished I varied from the instructions to either highlight more of the picture or add stitching that was not in the instructions.
After stretching the fabric on the frame I noticed that the double lines for the pre-printed black border with the stretching did not always come out straight. I thought this would be a problem for the final stretching of a 14" by 14" picture and opted instead to backstitch an appropriate color for each season using 6 strands of embroidery floss.
Here's what I altered per season:
For the Fall season the instructions only called for satin stitching on the red apples, mailbox flag, church steeple and yellow flowers. Everything else was to be cross-stitched. I decided to add grey satin stitching to the bridge and church roofs to make them stand out more. I also doubled the highlighting back stitch on the leaves, bridge, roofs, fence and mailbox. I added an additional outline for the road on the right side and added french knots for several different colors along the left side of the fence and around the apple barrel. I changed the pre-printed black border to a rust brown colored 6 strand floss back stitched border.
For the Winter season the instructions only called for satin stitching on the parts of the snowflakes. Everything else was to be cross-stitched. I decided to add white satin stitching to the cabin roof to make it stand out more. I also doubled the highlighting white back stitch on the leaves, black backstitching on the fence, dark brown on the branches and white stitching along the road. The tree was to be outlined with one dark brown thread. I opted to double the brown thread for the branches and use a combination of black and brown threads in several sections of the trunk to highlight the tree more. I changed the pre-printed black border to a light snow blue/white colored 6 strand floss back stitched border.
For the Summer season the instructions only called for satin stitching in the boat, sail boat masts, windows,blue flowers, purple flowers, doors and chimney. Everything else was to be cross-stitched. I decided to add red satin stitching to the house roof and combination black/gray lighthouse steeple roof to make them stand out more. I also doubled the highlighting red back stitch on the red flowers, black and gray backstitching on the boat and oars. I changed the pre-printed black border to a white colored 6 strand floss back stitched border.
For the Spring season the instructions only called for satin stitching on the doors, windows, and yellow flowers. Everything else was to be cross-stitched. I decided to add black and gray satin stitching to the barn roof to make it stand out more. I also doubled the highlighting black back stitch on the branches, red outline stitches on the tree flowers and brown highlighting stitching along the road. To make the distance between the barn and back fields I added a smaller brown fence in the back fields that was back stitched using two strands of a dark brown floss. I added more white french knots surrounding the yellow daisies and more lazy daisy loops to the tulip flower cluster, In order to break up the double border on the right side I added white french knots for the flowers to extend past the border. I changed the pre-printed black border to a green colored 6 strand floss back stitched border.
The kit did not come with instructions for finishing the back of the picture. I decided to mount my picture on a self-stick mounting board and use a natural oak wood frame with a non-glare acrylic cover and foamcore backing. I also decided not to surround my picture with a single or double mat as it would make the frame way too big for the wall space where I would be hanging my picture. So I kept the unmatted picture 14" by 14" which was 16" by 16" with the natural oak frame.
I tend to favor 1/4" foam backed adhesive mounting boards for the cross-stitch pictures I'm inserting into my picture frames. So, initially I stretched and mounted my picture on a 14" by 14" foam backed adhesive 1/4" mounting board, taped the four corners to square them and then taped the remaining vertical and horizontal sides with masking tape. However, when I added this to the frame the foam was too thick to add the finished foamcore back and the foam made the words "To Everything There Is A Season" puffy and not flat. I didn't like the way this looked so I used a thin self-stick mounting board instead which flattened the wording and allowed me to use the foamcore backing that came with the frame.
It took me 110 hours to complete this beautiful picture including the framing. Despite the problems I encountered with the kit I love the way my "A Season For Everything" Dimensions cross-stitch picture turned out. It's absolutely beautiful and the looks wonderful on my kitchen wall. Plus, I never have to change this out with the holidays and season again. Now where should I put my holiday and seasonal wreaths? Hmmmmmm......
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