Saturday, August 24, 2019

Linda's Review of Dimensions "Jingle Bell Ornaments" Cross-Stitch KIt


Now I know this won't come as any surprise to any of you but I was immediately drawn to the "joy" ornament in the "Jingle Bell Ornaments" kit by Dimensions.  As you know, I just can't resist any ornament with my Mom's name one it.  But, when I looked at the "Jingle Bell Ornaments" kit by Dimensions further I thought how pretty they were and how wonderful they would look on my pencil Christmas tree.

They looked pretty simple and easy to me.  Based on previous experience I knew they would take a while to do due to the black highlighting and due to the embellishments so I was prepared for that.


The black floss highlighting for each ornament transforms them from a pretty ornament to a beautiful ornament.  The highlighting really makes them stand-out and is well worth the extra time it takes to finish each ornament.  It's quite amazing to see them in person.  What adds to the length of time is the black highlighting is done one stitch at a time.

The "Jingle Bell Ornaments" ornament kit contained the presorted thread, #14 plastic canvas, linked chain, jingle bells, needle and instructions.  The pattern uses full counted cross-stitch and outline stitching for emphasis and depth.

I have worked with the #14 plastic canvas before without a problem. Generally, it is flexible enough to just hold it in your hands but also rigid enough to allow you to cross-stitch it without any problem. However, I found with this kit and the size of the ornaments, in particular, that the 14-count plastic canvas was just too big to hold in my hands and cross-stitch at the same time.  I had to cut the canvas.


The chart was 13 3/4" by 10 1/4" and had five ornaments of different sizes. The intent was to cross-stitch the plastic canvas from the left to the right.   However, I don't like doing that as you have to cut your threads when you cut the ornaments out at the end and then you have to glue the loose ends to the back of the canvas.  So, I decided to cut the plastic canvas into five pieces beforehand as it would make it easier to cross-stitch each of the ornaments and there would be no messy and time consuming gluing of the loose thread ends.

Unlike the previous ornaments I had done which were the same size each of these ornaments was a different size.  So, I had to count along the plastic canvas and mark where the ornament sides were before I could cut the plastic canvas.

The pattern came with starting, stitching and finishing instructions as well as a sample of the stitches required and a color chart with color coded symbols.  The symbols on the keys and chart were basically easy to read and follow.

As was the case with previous Dimensions kits the thread sorter was poorly designed. The embroidery threads were glued to two foam backed strips of cardboard that had a picture of the color of the thread and it's number. In order to get to the individual threads you had to separate threads from the foam back. 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.

Instead of designing my own thread sorter this time I decided to punch a whole at the top of each color on the thread sorter and cut one strand of 6 threads for that color as needed, tying the extra cut threads to the hole I had punched above that color.  That way I wouldn't have a problem identifying my threads with the chart.   Just below the hole I added the respective color coded cross-stitch symbol. This kit could be much improved if a different thread sorter with respective #'s and color coded symbols was provided.

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.


The instructions called for leaving certain sections of the plastic canvas bare in the areas where the hanger would be places or where you were to insert the chain links.  I don't like leaving any area of the plastic canvas bare as I think it makes the ornament look unfinished so I decided to cross-stitch those sections with 2 strands of the white floss.

Instead of following the directions for finishing these ornaments with the hangers, jingle bells, and chain links, which I found very confusing, I opted instead to tack the jingle bells and chain links to the front of the ornaments with the floss and to finish the backs with felt.


Once I had finished cross-stitching my ornaments I cut the plastic canvas close to the sides of the ornaments according to the finishing instructions.  I don't like leaving the ornaments with the back threads showing so I always opt to finish the back of my ornaments with felt.  This time I decided to use blue felt.

I rubbed Glue Stic on the back of my ornaments and then glued a rectangle piece of blue felt to the back.  Once the felt was glued on I cut the blue felt in the same shape as the ornament and then stitched the plastic canvas to the blue felt along the sides of each ornament with two strands of blue embroidery floss. Instead of following the instructions for creating cording  I created a hanger for the top of each ornament that didn't have a chain hanger with two strands of the blue embroidery floss.


I was happy with the way my "Jingle Bell Ornaments" came out and know they're going to look wonderful on my pencil tree.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Linda's Review of "Beyond The Imaginarium - A Compendium Of Holiday Merriment" Class By Mary Jane Chadbourne



If you follow my Linda's Blog you know that I love taking online arts & crafts classes and could, literally,  spend 24/7 just doing this.  So, for sure I was looking forward to taking two classes at Artful Gathering this year: Artful Gathering 2019 Session 1 "Leonardo Loves Zia" Class taught by Christina Zinnia Galliher and Artful Gathering 2019 Session 2 "Beyond the Imaginarium: A Compendium of Holiday Merriment" Class taught by Mary Jane Chadbourne.


In 2012 I discovered the Artful Gathering online classes and fell in love with them. They offer online art retreats that are available in the Spring and Summer each year that are are taught by some of the most unbelievable and creative artists I have ever encountered and whose creativity is always beyond measure.


In Session 2 of Artful Gathering I decided to take "Beyond the Imaginarium: A Compendium of Holiday Merriment" Class which was being taught by Mary Jane Chadbourne.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Linda's Review of The Artful Gathering "Leonardo Loves Zia" Class By Christina Zinnia Galliher


If you follow my Linda's Blog you know that I love taking online arts & crafts classes and could, literally,  spend 24/7 just doing this.  So, for sure I was looking forward to taking two classes at Artful Gathering this year.


In 2012 I discovered the Artful Gathering online classes and fell in love with them. They offer online art retreats that are available in the Spring and Summer each year that are are taught by some of the most unbelievable and creative artists I have ever encountered and whose creativity is beyond measure.

Artful Gathering was established in 2009 by Christina Zinnia Galliher, who is an exceptional artist in her own right.   For the first time this year I decided to take one of Christina's Zinnia's classes,  "Leonardo Loves Zia" and could hardly wait.  

Friday, June 14, 2019

Linda's Review of "Snowman and Friends" Dimensions Gold Petites Collection Cross-Stitch Kit



It seems a little crazy at the start of the summer to be posting about a winter cross-stitch picture I just finished.  You might wonder why I didn't post this in the winter.   Well, there's a really good reason for that.  I started this back on the Fall of 2018 and finally just finished it in June.  Everyone who cross-stitches knows that WIP sometimes take months or years to complete....lol.


I was looking for more cross-stitch winter seasonal pictures to display during the winter season and was drawn to the picture in the Dimensions Gold Collection Petites "Snowman & Friends" picture when I saw it.  So, I decided to buy the kit and add it to my other winter cross-stitch decorations on my fireplace mantle.

Like the other Dimensions Gold Collection Petites kits I had bought the kit included the pattern, pre-sorted cotton thread, 18 count white cotton Aida, needle and instructions.

The "Snowman & Friends" pattern uses full counted cross-stitch, french knots and outline stitching for emphasis and depth and this detailing really makes the picture stand out. It also varies the number of threads used with the various stitches to add to the depth emphasis. The design of this cross-stitch gives the finished picture a 3 dimensional aspect with the cross stitch, french knots and outlining being used for artistic effect.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Linda's Review Of "Stained Glass" Ornaments Kit by Design Works Crafts


When I first looked at the "Stained Glass" ornaments kit by Design Works Crafts I thought how pretty and how wonderful they would look on my pencil Christmas tree. They looked pretty simple and easy to me.  Turns out looks can be deceptive.   It took me much longer than I first thought to finish the six ornaments in this kit.


What I didn't know before I bought the kit was that there was a lot of black floss highlighting for each ornament that transformed them from a pretty ornament to a beautiful ornament.  The highlighting really makes them stand-out and is well worth the extra time it takes to finish each ornament.  It's quite amazing to see them in person.  What added to the length of time was the black highlighting is done one stitch at a time.

The "Stained Glass" ornament kit contained the color cotton floss, #14 plastic canvas, needle and instructions.  The pattern uses full counted cross-stitch and outline stitching for emphasis and depth.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Linda's Review of Dimensions Gold Collection "The Stockings Were Hung...." Cross-Stitch Kit



I don't think I've ever found a cross-stitch kit that I haven't loved - especially those regarding the Christmas holiday season.  I was drawn to the colorful fireplace stocking display picture in the Dimensions Gold Collection "The Stockings Were Hung...." the minute I saw it.  So, I decided to buy the kit and add it to my other Christmas cross-stitch decorations on my fireplace mantle.

Like the other Dimensions Gold Collection Petites kits I had bought the kit included the pattern, pre-sorted cotton thread, 18 count white cotton Aida, needle and instructions.

The "The Stockings Were Hung..." pattern uses full counted cross-stitch, french knots and outline stitching for emphasis and depth and this detailing really makes the picture stand out. It also varies the number of threads used with the various stitches to add to the depth emphasis. The design of this cross-stitch gives the finished picture a 3 dimensional aspect with the cross stitch, 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 and instructions for creating them, color coded keys (with code #'s, lengths, color names, and cross-stitch symbols) and a chart with color coded symbols. The colors and symbols on the keys and chart were easy to read and follow.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Linda's Review of "Hanging Around" Mill Hill #MH14-1306 Cross-Stitch Kit



As you know I love to cross-stitch and I love cross-stitching kits with the word "Joy" in them due to the fact it was my beloved mother's name.    So, when I saw the "Hanging Around" kit I knew I would buy it and make it.

The Hanging Around #MH14-1306  pattern uses full cross-stitch and straight stitch highlighting as well as beads of various sizes for emphasis and depth. The Mill Hill patterns usually call for certain areas of the perforated paper to be left untouched like the background or border. In this case they were leaving sections of the brown perforated paper border untouched.

In embroidering the cross-stitch I 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 5.25 x 5.25 square design.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Linda's Review of "Book Seller" Mill Hill #MH14-2305 Winter Cross-Stitch Kit



Of all the cross-stitch pictures I have done I don't have a lot of winter seasonal pictures.  I wanted to change that for my winter season decorations on my fireplace mantels.  So, when I saw the Book Seller Mill Hill #MH14-2305 cross-stitch I knew I would buy it.  Not only does it suit my winter home decorating needs but it's about books and a bookstore, which I also love.

The Book Seller Mill Hill #MH14-2305 pattern uses full cross-stitch and straight stitch highlighting as well as beads of various sizes for emphasis and depth. The Mill Hill patterns usually call for certain areas of the perforated paper to be left untouched like the background or border. In this case they were leaving sections of the brown perforated paper border untouched.

In embroidering the cross-stitch I 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 5.25 x 5.25 square design.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Linda's Review of "My Snow Days" - Mill Hill Cross-stitch Kit


Given that I hate snow you might be wondering why I'm cross-stitching a snow picture.  Well, the simple answer is I needed to for my winter decorations that I display on my fireplace mantels over the various seasons.  I have a ton of  Christmas and now Spring & Summer cross-stitch  pictures, but not a lot of winter ones.  So, when I saw the little "doggie" button that was included in this kit I knew I would buy it and make it.

The Snow Day #MH14-9302 pattern uses full cross-stitch and straight stitch highlighting as well as beads of various sizes for emphasis and depth. The Mill Hill patterns usually call for certain areas of the perforated paper to be left untouched like the background or border. In this case they were leaving sections of the brown perforated paper border untouched.

In embroidering the cross-stitch I 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 5.25 x 5.25 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 previous perforated paper cross-stitch picture I have done the picture 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.

A lot of the cross-stitch 5.25" by 5.25" 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 one 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.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Linda's Review of "Christmas Wishes" Dimensions Gold Collection Cross-Stitch Picture



Like a lot of cross-stitch kits I see I fell in love with the "Christmas Wishes" Dimensions cross-stitch picture the minute I saw it.  It was just too cute to resist.  I keep telling myself that.  In reality I don't think I've ever found a cross-stitch kit that I haven't loved.....haha  "Christmas Wishes"  was just delightful so I knew I'd buy it and add it to my other winter season cross-stitch decorations on my fireplace mantle.

Like the other Dimensions Gold Collection Petites kits I had bought the kit included the pattern, pre-sorted cotton thread, 18 count white cotton Aida, needle and instructions.

The "Christmas Wishes" pattern uses full counted cross-stitch, half cross-stitch, french knots and outline stitching for emphasis and depth and this detailing really makes the picture stand out. It also varies the number of threads used with the various stitches to add to the depth emphasis. The design of this cross-stitch gives the finished picture a 3 dimensional aspect with the half cross stitch, 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. The colors and symbols on the keys and chart were easy to read and follow. The pattern did not include instructions for finishing the piece.