Sunday, March 15, 2009

You all are going to have to forgive me, 'cause today I'm going
to be insufferably proud of myself. I can't help it. I'm gonna
spend a good portion of this blog bragging. I'm just letting you
know ahead of time.

I have not one but two finishes to tell you about. My first
finishes for this year! And not only did I finish these two
projects, but I also framed them myself as well!!! Really!!
I have proof! I have pictures!!

I've never tried my hand at framing anything by myself
before. I did frame three of my stitching pieces with the
help of a friend a year ago, but she did most of the work
and it was with matting and a special cutting machine for
that, and sticky matting board (which I'll never use ever,
ever again!) and things got really complicated. The results
were fine for a first attempt, but not spectacular.

Funnily enough, it was exactly one year ago this weekend
that we had that day of framing, and here I am one year
later doing my own thing, and mighty proud of it. I think
I've warned you about that already.

So here's my first finish: My Needle's Work by Little
House Needlework stitched with Crescent Colours
threads on 28 count fabric.

And finish number two: November Window by Prairie
Schooler, stitched with DMC threads on 28 count

DH took me to Michaels yesterday to pick up a few
things and at that time I had it in mind to pick up a
couple of frames, and some materials to try and
frame these two pieces. I picked out two frames that
struck my fancy, and a sheet of foam core and two
packages of artists canvas panels which were the
right sizes for these two finishes and the picture

Once home I set up the ironing board and gathered
my materials and set to work. Now I am not a
patient person. I can't fuss and fiddle with something
for long periods of time until it's absolutely perfect.
I want to whip the project together in no time, and
it better be perfect at once, or else! But it did take me
time to do what had to be done and in some ways I
was rather surprised at how well it went.

I used the lacing method for framing and expected
that part of the process to be the most fiddly and
frustrating. However I was pleasantly surprised
by how relatively easy it turned out to be, even for
me with my ten huge thumbs (on each hand).
I did refer to a bit of on line instruction before
tackling this project and used tutorials supplied
by several stitchers and/or stitching sites. I need
to do more research however so that next time I can
do an even better, more perfect job.

Being the genius that I am I decided to work on the
bigger piece first, instead of the smaller, easier to
handle one. It took a couple of tries before I got the
lacing done correctly but I like this method a lot better
then using that awful tacky mounting board. Easier to
adjust your fabric when needed and it doesn't pull and
fray your threads.

Things I need to work on: I am not mathematically
inclined and picking out picture frames that would fit
my stitching didn't quite turn out as well as I would
have liked for my smaller PS piece. The bottom boarder
does not show because the frame's opening is too small.
Fortunately the boarder is not fancy, just a plain straight
line, so that's not too big of a deal.

Picture frames may not be the best choice for framing
stitching because the fabric and the board are so thick
it makes putting the back of the frame on very difficult,
if not impossible. I had to resort to the handy woman's
secret weapon...duct tape, to secure the backs of the
picture frames onto the frames. You can't see it from
the front so I'm not too concerned about that. Live and

Patience Judy, patience. Take the time to get the
piece centered properly and the border even. If you
get too frustrated go and make yourself a cup of tea
and relax. Don't plow ahead and regret it later.

I could go on and on (and often do) but basically
the point of this whole exercise is that I made the
attempt, I did pretty good for the first time, and I
learned a lot. And I'm pumped! I want to do this
again. But first I need to collect some more picture
frames. And pick up one or two more things to
make the process easier. Any comments, suggestions
or favourite sites for tutorials on this process would
be gratefully accepted.

While at Michaels I found hoops to replace my old
and fondly remembered hoop that I mentioned in
my previous post. Thank you all so much for your
offers of hoops from your own stashes, and for
information on where to find these hoops, and
offers to pick them up for me. You guys are
awesome!!! I took my old hoop to work last
Monday and used it during my breaks. But when
I picked it up to pack it in my carrying case at
days end it shattered into multiple pieces and
that was the end of that. So I'm very happy to
have these two new hoops and look forward to
many long and happy years stitching with them.

I also got a bit of stash from Stitching Bits and Bobs
last week, including the lovely Threadworx threads
that are shown in the picture with the new hoops.
The two Kit and Bixby charts were in the clearance
sale and the Lizzie Kate charts are another set of
seasonal designs that I love to collect. Please note
my wonderful assistant Rupert, the Vanna White
of catdom, who is graciously offering his services
to present these charts to you.

And I have a new start to show you. Well, of course.
I have had Prairie Schooler's chart Prairie Birds on
my mind ever since I got it, and I decided to stitch
at least four of the birds on this piece of lovely, soft
variegated 28 count Jobelan fabric.

Here's the chart. I'm starting with the Hummingbird,
and will be doing the Cardinals, and the Juncos and
then I'm not too sure. I may have to stitch a companion
to these four because I really do love all of the birds
featured in this design. Oh, don't you love a new
start??? I don't want to put this down.

My reading for this week was a new to me author.
I was drawn to Kate Morton's book when I found
it mentioned on several book blogging sites and
decided to add it to my collection. I have a friend
named Kate Morton too, so that is another reason
(albeit a kooky one) I noticed and got this book.

The story takes place during the early years of the
twentieth century and begins with the reminisces of
98 year old Grace who resides in a nursing home and
is nearing the end of her long and eventful life. She
is haunted by the years that she spent serving as a
young house maid at the manor house called Riverton.
She was fourteen years old when she was hired for the
position, working in the same place where her mother
worked before her. The Hartford family are an old,
respected family and young Grace is drawn to and
fascinated by the Hartford children, David, Hannah
and Emmeline.

But Grace's memories of Riverton and the Hartford
family are tempered with secrets and a tragedy
which tore the family apart, and her feelings of
guilt relating to her own part in those events. When
a film maker visits her, eager to interview her and
hear her reminisces about life at Riverton and the
Hartford sisters, Graces begins to face her past and
the events that led to the suicide of a famous young
poet in the presence of the two sisters, and the
consequences of that night.

This story might start out a little slowly for some,
as the author spends time introducing her
characters, their histories and detailing life at
Riverton, both upstairs and downstairs. But as
the story progresses and hints are given as to
future events and the fates of the main characters
I found myself caught up in the narrative and
eager to find out the truth of what really happened
on a summer's night in 1924 at Riverton. This is
a great read and I enjoyed it thoroughly. I'll be
checking out the other two books that this author
has published as well.


The weather here has been absolutely spectacular
this weekend. Sunshine in abundance, and the
temperatures have been around 9 Celsius. Can
Spring be too far off now??? Only six days or so.
DH is planning on getting the old car out and
taking her for a little spin around the block this
afternoon, just to shake off the cobwebs of Winter
and I plan to join them. Laundry is well on it's
way to being done and we'll see if I can muster up
some enthusiasm for housework ... or not.


DH and I went to the pub (Copper Kettle) for
dinner and to celebrate St Patrick's Day last night.
He had a pint of Guiness and a bowl of lamb stew,
while I had liver and onions, and a lovely piece of
apple cake with hot custard for dessert. Yum!!!
There's a new second hand book store opened in
Glen Williams, across from the pub. The owner
and her husband were in the pub having dinner
when we got there and we talked books for a bit.
Guess I'll have to get over there and check the
place out soon.

And on that note I'd best be finishing this epic
(not another one!!!) post and getting on with the
rest of this day.

Hope you are all well and having wonderful
weekends of your own. Thanks so much for
dropping by and leaving comments. I enjoy
them so much and love visiting your blogs
for inspiration and for fun. Happy stitching!

May love and laughter light your days,
and warm your heart and home.
May good and faithful friends be yours,
wherever you may roam.
May peace and plenty bless your world
with joy that long endures.
May all life's passing seasons
bring the best to you and yours!



staci said...

Judy, your framed finishes look did an absolutely wonderful job! Brag away!!!

I'm so glad you found your cross stitch hoops...and remember my offer still stands because I don't use the ones I've got at all :) {{hugs}}

Diane said...

Great job of framing! The good thing about lacing is that if you come across the "perfect" frame for the Prairie Schooler piece it will be a lot easier to re-do than with the sticky mounting board.

Mylene said...

Great finishes and you framed them both perfectly. Well done!

Judy S. said...

Nice stitching and nice framing, Judy! I love that Prairie Schooler bird pattern and might have to find it. I've been collecting their Santas for years. Lizzie Kate is another favorite of mine. I need to check out your latest author for my pile.....

Anonymous said...

Those are two beautiful finishes. I love the needleworker. It is on my wish List for sure. Thanks for aking the time to visit my blog.. Your messages are also suc a treat to receive and I look forward to receiving them

Cindy F. said...

Judy, I am exactly the same way...I don't like fiddling..want it done fast and right the first time! I have patience for the stitching,,but not much else:)
You did an amazing job framing!! I'm so proud of you:) I haven't dared to attempt it, but just think of how much money we can save! You should brag...those are worth bragging about!
So glad you found your hoops! and your got some wonderful stash!!
Pretty new start. I love all the birdie designs on that leaflet too!
Have a wonderful week:)

Rowyn said...

Great framing, your finishes look wonderful.

I'm looking forward to seeing your Prairie Birds progress.

mainely stitching said...

Hey, Judy, great job! Wow, those look terrific! I'll need to go back to doing more of my own framing this year. I'll let the pro handle the oddly-shaped ones, but I've really got to look harder for more off-the-shelf ones.

I'm also glad you found your wonderful hoops and that you're enjoying some nicer weather. We've had some mild temps, but it's GRAY, GRAY, GRAY. Though Annemarie assures me that is a problem unique to Gouda. Down in her end, the weather's glorious. I'm convinced that either Niek or I is actually The Rain God(des). LOL.

Maggie said...

You did a good job on your framing, congrats.

I have seen your current read in the shops and was thinking of buying but am still on my Bill Bryson fest at the moment, sounds good though so perhaps in a few weeks i will treat myself.

he weather in the UK has been good the last few days too and looks set to stay that way for the coming week...bring on the sun lol

Suzanne said...

Great job with the framing and a nice stash haul. I love the PS Prairie Birds and hope to stitch a little more of it some time.

Gina E. said...

Well done with the framing, Judy! I am a cheapskate, and buy frames from thrift shops for my finished pieces - even when I'm giving them away as gifts! But I always confess to the recipient, and suggest if they want to reframe it, I won't be offended.
I'm glad you mentioned that Kate Morton book. I recently read one of her other books, and couldn't put it down. I'll be on the lookout for this one now!

Vonna said...

YAY!!! Both finished are just exceptionally LOVELY! GORGEOUS ;)
I absolutely love them both....

samplerlover said...

Hi Judy,
Well, what can I can. You did a really good job with the framing. Well done. I have been framing mine for years. It just cost too much to get them done properly. Although the ones that I gave to my Mum when she was alive were all framed professionally. She was a person (my Sister is as well) where everything had to be perfect. I'm not quite so. With a husband and 3 sons everything can't be perfect sometimes.
I usually use the board that comes with the frame to lace my work onto and then I use the picture that comes with the frame as the cover on the back. I usually stick it down with duct tape. Usually works for quite a while. I found that it is easier to find a rectangular frame than a square one. If I need a square one I go to one of those shops that sell decorator frames that you can hang straight away on your wall. I just adapt it to my needs. Pretty simple really and a lot cheaper , if you get the drift.
Haven't been blogging etc. for over a week as my DH has been quite ill with a really bad dose of the flu which gave him a severe throat infection. He sounded like the Godfather (still does). Also been having hard drive problems with the computer. It had to be sent away to be fixed. Came back this morning, but they didn't bring back a vitial piece for it to go. The fellow who bought it back didn't know that it had travelled down to them. So it is in the mail.
That is a really good book you are reading. I read that one last year or whenever it was. She reminds me of my favourite writer Daphne du Maurier.
Well you will be pleased to know that as of last week all the fires in Victoria are now out. A lot of the people have now been able to return to the houses or whatever is left of them. There is one town though where they aren't allowed as it is still a crime scene. It was simply terrible.
The weather is getting coolerhere. My Japanese maples outside are just starting to change colour. It will be really lovely up here in a few weeks with all the trees changing colour.
If you like travelling via the computer, type in Mt Wilson is a little bit further up the mountain than Katoomba. It is famous for it's beautiful gardens that are open at certain times of the year. The other place is Leura which is my favourite place and is the town next to Katoomba. It has all these wonderful shops where the credit card can have a serious workout. Unfortunately it is always very hard to find parking as it is always full of tourists and tourist buses.
Hope your back is a lot better. I had the same problem on Sunday. I bent over to pick something up from the floor. Spent all Sunday sitting on a hot water bottle and taking Neurafen. - Sandra.

Kathy A. said...

Wonderful framing job there girl. Great first attempt.
Glad you found your hoops.
Liver and onions - guess what I had for dinner tonight! Yummy
Is it really warming up at home? We are starting to plan our trip home in another 4 weeks.

Lelia said...

I still have that book on my reading list --- and I have that exact prairie schooler pattern (with the birds) Good going on the frames -- I'm not brave enough!!!!!

Pumpkin said...

FABULOUS Judy!!!! No wonder you are proud :o) Those frames couldn't be more appropriate for the pieces. Great job!

So that's the PS pattern! You're stitching them all together. I like that :o)