Friday, March 3, 2017

Linda's Review of Dimensions Cliffside Beacon Counted Cross Stitch Picture Kit



January and February afforded me plenty of time for cross-stitching due to some health issues I was experiencing.  So, I decided to complete some Spring and Summer seasonal cross-stitch picture kits that I had previously purchased.  Most of the cross-stitch pictures I have completed have been for the Fall, Halloween, Christmas and Winter seasons so I decided to buy some flower and beach themed kits.

The cross-stitch kit I just finished was a counted cross-stitch kit from Dimensions Gold Collection Petites entitled Cliffside Beacon.

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

The Cliffside Beacon 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 kit came with instructions for finishing the back of the picture.

While I was very pleased with the end results of this design there are some things in the kit and in the instructions that can be improved upon.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Linda's Review of Dimensions Bayside Cottage Counted Cross Stitch Picture Kit



January and February afforded me plenty of time for cross-stitching due to some health issues I was experiencing.  So, I decided to complete some Spring and Summer seasonal cross-stitch picture kits that I had previously purchased.  Most of the cross-stitch pictures I have completed have been for the Fall, Halloween, Christmas and Winter seasons so I decided to buy some flower and beach themed kits.

The cross-stitch kit I just finished was a counted cross-stitch kit from Dimensions Gold Collection Petites entitled Cottage Bayside.

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

The Cottage Bayside 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 kit came with instructions for finishing the back of the picture.

While I was very pleased with the end results of this design there are some things in the kit and in the instructions that can be improved upon.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Linda's Review of Joy Snow Globe Ornament Cross-Stitch Kit From Dimensions



I just love to cross-stitch small ornaments because they don't take a lot of time to complete.  I also love Christmas decorations that have the word "Joy" in them because everytime I look at them I think of my  mother whose name was "Joy."  So, when I saw the  "Joy Snow Globe Ornament Cross-Stitch Kit" from Dimensions I knew I was going to make it.

The "Joy" globe Santa ornament kit contained the presorted thread, 14 count plastic canvas, needle, and instructions.  The  pattern uses full counted cross-stitch and outline stitching for emphasis and depth.

The pattern came with starting, stitching, finishing and even cleaning instructions as well as samples of the various stitches required, and color coded keys (with code #'s, 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. 

I had no problem cross-stitching the globe ornament and then cutting the plastic canvas close to the sides of the globe. I was pleased with the way the globe ornament came out but was disappointed that the finishing instructions only contained instructions for making the cord and nothing for finishing the back of the ornament. It's was such a cute ornament to leave the back unfinished with the cross-stitch threads showing didn't seem to me to be the right way to finish this ornament.


So, I decided to finish the back of my ornament with blue felt. First I cut a piece of .25m DMC embroidery floss for the hanger and taped this to the back top of the ornament using double sided tape. Then I cut a square of blue felt to fit the back of the ornament and taped it to the back of the ornament using double sided tape. Once I was satisfied that everything was holding I cut the blue felt along the globe ornament edges.



It took me 15 hours to complete this ornament.  I was very happy with the way my Dimensions Counted Cross Stitch, Tree Ornament turned out and hope you like it too.

Monday, October 31, 2016

I've Been Playing Again! This Time With Labeley.com - An Online Label Maker


If you're a reader of my Linda's Blog and have been following me and all my blogs (yes, I do have a few! LOL LOL) you are well aware that I love to play and experiment. Especially when it comes to interactive websites.

Well, a couple of weeks ago I received an email from Ana Brady at Labeley.com (http://www.labeley.com) asking me if I'd like to try their "free online custom label creator developed by the team behind the well-known free online tool for designing and customizing labels, Labeley."

Hmmm... Free online tool for designing..... What's not to love about that?

So, given my love of playing I thought I'd try it out. Plus, she volunteered to write a "How to Create Holiday Decorations For Free With Labeley" article for me. Another plus....

While I had planned to do other things today I decided to read her how-to article and try out Labeley.

Here's what her article said:

How to Create Holiday Decorations For Free With Labeley

You must’ve noticed over the past few weeks how the nature around us has been changing its colors. Leaves on trees turned pale yellow, coral, and even bright red. The whole nature is gradually taking on warm golden, amber and scarlet hues. These changes of colors indicate that the green summer is long gone and fall rolls around. The temperature is dropping, but the holiday excitement is rising. Halloween is just around the corner, while Thanksgiving and Christmas are on their way. It’s that time of the year when you seem to be spending most of your your spare time on decorating your home for the next holiday.

Thankfully, fall with its colors and hues is probably the most inspirational season for holiday decorations. And what better way to spread the holiday spirit than to bring the warm and vivid hues of fall into your home? Let the fall inspire you with ideas to decorate your home this holiday season! You can mix elements such as fall foliage, pumpkins, pinecones, acorns and candles to decorate your fireplace or entrance or any other part of the house. Or, for more Halloween-centric appeal you can add some scary spiders or bats on the curtains, furniture etc.

One tool that can definitely come in pretty handy in these holiday decorating endeavors is Labeley. It’s a free online label maker that allows you to create all kinds of holiday stickers for decorating your gifts, creating festive centerpieces, making fun-looking place cards, preparing fun games for the youngest, decorating the holiday meals and more.


How to use Labeley for creating holiday decorations?

Visit Labeley Holidays and start designing your labels. Labeley offers several label elements you can play with. Start by choosing a shape for your label. Once you’ve done that, you will be able customize the look of the background, add a border if you need one, add some fun and colorful text, and ultimately spruce up your design with graphics. You can choose among many different illustrations for Halloween (bats, cats, spiders, ghosts, owls and more), than Thanksgiving (turkeys, pies, gravy, acorns, leaves and more), Christmas (Santa Claus, Christmas tree, gingerbread man, Rudolph the reindeer and more). Labeley also offers an extra feature to upload any image from your computer and use it in the design as a background or center element. For example, you can upload photos of your family and make fun holiday ornaments.


You can play and create as many designs as you like, save and download them on your computer, print them out and use them for any holiday craft. Should you decide to keep your designs for next year’s holidays, you can sign up for a free Labeley account where you’ll have all your labels waiting for you to modify or reuse them again as they are.

Labeley sticker maker is really simple and easy-to-use, so chances are that you’ll have numerous holiday designs prepared in just a few minutes. Give Labeley a spin and jazz up your home with fun holiday crafts!

Seemed easy enough to use so I decided to give it a try.


I started by familiarizing myself with thew different features which was very easy to do and only took a couple of minutes. It definitely was very easy to use.

Since today is Halloween I decided to create a Halloween label using a combination of my own graphics and some of their graphics. I choose a shape, added a background, added a border, and then started adding and re-sizing the graphics until I had a Halloween label I liked. The alpaca, green and rust trees, house and brown tree with spider webs in the label shown above were my graphics. The rest were theirs. After I was pleased with the layout I added the "Happy Halloween" text and then saved the image to my computer.


I like to add stickers to the back of the holiday cards that I send out each year so I decided to create labels for that purpose using one of my own graphics.


For each I started with a shape, added a background color, added a border, uploaded and re-sized my own graphics and then added my "Happy Holidays" text. It literally took seconds to do this. It was that easy.

I also love using gift labels on all my Christmas presents and am always looking for cute designs. So, I thought I'd design a "To: and From:" gift label of my own, which is shown in the picture. Once again I started with a shape, added a background pattern, uploaded and re-sized my own graphics and then added my "To: and From:" text. I love how it turned out. Of course, my imagination got the better of me as all sorts "To: and From:" label designs started filling my head.

At this point I knew it was time to stop. I was having way too much fun with this. I decided I'd wait until tomorrow to decide how many of my stickers and gift labels I was going to order.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Linda's Review Of Dimensions Christmas On The Beach Cross-Stitch Picture Kit



I don't know about all of you, but I tend to finish my cross-stitch kit projects in spurts. For me it's like reading. I'll read a whole bunch of books and then not read any for awhile. For my cross-stitch kits my bursts usually come in  the Fall and Winter months. Then I won't do any for a few months.

The cross-stitch kit I just finished was a counted cross-stitch kit from Dimensions Gold Collection Petites entitled Christmas At The Beach. I had bought this kit for sentimental reasons which you'll read about in a subsequent Linda's Blog post.

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

The Christmas At The Beach 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 included instructions for finishing the piece.

While I was very pleased with the end results of this design there are some things in the kit and in the instructions that can be improved upon.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Linda's Review Of MH14-6302 Country Church Mill Hill Buttons and Beads Cross-Stitch Kit



New England is filled with traditional old, white, steeple churches.  It's part of New England's charm and I've been wanting to do a church cross-stitch picture for quite some time. The problem was I just couldn't find the exact church scene I wanted to do as I wanted it to be similar to the church my mother attended, which was a traditional New England church.  Then I saw the "MH14-6302 Country Church Mill Hill Buttons and Beads Cross-Stitch Kit" and knew I'd found exactly what I was looking for. So I bought the kit and decided to complete it this month.

"Country Church" is a counted cross-stitch kit from Mill Hill Buttons and Beads Christmas Village Series. The kit included the pattern with a black & white symbol chart, color code, brown perforated paper, needles and instructions.

The kit creates a 6 by 6-inch cross-stitch picture using full counted cross-stitch and beaded half stitch as well as beads of various sizes for emphasis and depth. It also uses straight outlines for highlighting and emphasis. 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.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Linda's Review of Hally Levesque's Wee Winter Whimsies Online Class at Artful Gathering 2016


I've had a delightful time the past few days making the dolls for Hally Levesque's "Wee Winter Whimsies" class in Session 2 of Artful Gathering.


2016 - Hally Levesque - Wee Winter Whimsies - Primitive Folk Art Dolls for the Holidays

Once again, Hally's video's and instructions for painting the faces and characters didn't disappoint. She is an amazing instructor and provided lots of information on the painting of the shelf sitter angel dolls & angel ornaments which I appreciated as the drawing and painting of faces and characters is not my forte.


The class called for making 1 shelf sitter angel doll and 5 angel ornaments. I decided instead to make three shelf sitters and three ornaments as I'm a sucker for shelf sitter dolls. I love them.   Plus, I'm a beginner when it comes to painting faces and characters and knew that painting tiny faces and characters on tiny ornaments was going to be a challenge for me. Well, challenge it was.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Linda's Review Of Hally Levesque's "Romantic Rosabella" Class At Artful Gathering - 2016


I finally finished the art dolls that I was making based upon the Romantic Rosabella online class that I've been taking during the first session of Artful Gathering 2016.



2016 - Hally Levesque - Romantic Rosabella - A Ribbons & Roses Doll Project 

The online class was taught by Hally Levesque who is an exceptional art doll artist, photographer and a bit of a history buff. This was my 2nd class with Hally. Last year I took her Bonnets and Beaus: A Regency Doll Project Online Class and loved it. My review of that class is here.

Hally Levesque, is an amazing art doll artist that I greatly admire. She makes the most beautiful historical cloth, primitive folk art, and character original art dolls. If you would like to learn more about Hally her Creative Doll Works website is here and her blog is here.

For this class I was only going to make 2 dolls but could not decide which color I wanted the base to be so I ended up choosing seven different colors from solid color fabric my sister had given me.

I figured at least one or two of the dolls would come out nicely and was pleasantly surprised when they all did. Even though the dolls are all similar looking they all ended up having their own little personalities. To no surprise most are "Diva's" or at least they think they are.


Friday, May 27, 2016

Linda's Review Of Quiet Night Cross-Stitch Kit - Dimensions Gold Collection Petites



For some reason I decided last week that I needed to complete a 5" by 7" cross-stitch kit I had started several months ago. Ten to one I probably delayed working on it as I knew it would take me longer to finish it than the 5" by 5" kits I had been completing.

The cross-stitch kit I just finished was a counted cross-stitch kit from Dimensions Gold Collection Petites entitled Quiet Night. Like the other Dimensions Gold Collection Petites kits I had bought the kit included the pattern, pre-sorted cotton thread, 18 count navy blue cotton Aida, needle and instructions.

The Quiet Night 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. 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.

While I was very pleased with the end results of this design there are some things in the kit and in the instructions that can be improved upon.

As was the case with previous Dimensions kits the thread sorter was poorly designed. The embroidery threads were glued to two foam backed 6" 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 design my own thread color sorter and symbol key. I took a piece of thin cardboard and cut a 1" x 11" long rectangular piece out to use as a thread sorter. I then punched 23 holes in my cardboard strip in which to tie each of the different colors. Just below the hole I wrote the DMC floss # and just above the hole I added the respective color coded 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 different thread sorter with respective #'s and color coded symbols was provided.