Thursday, June 28, 2018

Linda's Review of Snow Globe Mill Hill Cross-stitch Kit #MH14-1734



I love snow-globes and have several of my own that I take out and display during the Christmas holiday season.  So, when I saw the Snow Globe Mill Hill #MH14-1734 cross-stitch kit I wasn't surprised that I was drawn to.  Snow globe, cross-stitch - what's not to love!

The Snow Globe Mill Hill #MH14-1734 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 light blue 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 previously and have been looking for them ever since and hadn't been able to find that size again.

I did, however, find some 7" x 7" by 1 1/2" shadow  box frames with a 5 1/2" x 5 1/2" opening at Michaels last year and bought a few white ones and black ones when they were on sale.  I was hoping to use one of the white ones with this project.

The directions did not include any instruction for finishing the back.  I decided to finish mine with thin adhesive press-board paper.  I used an 8" by 10" Pres-On sheet that I cut 6" by 6"with kitchen scissors to fit my picture.  The shadow box came with a padded velvet sheet glued to the rigid back of the shadow box frame which was about 1/8" thick.  My cross-stitch picture glued to the thin adhesive press-board paper was about 1/8" thick so I knew this would be a good fit.

After adhering my cross-stitch picture to the 6" by 6" thin adhesive press-board paper I inserted it into the back of the frame and then inserted the 6" by 6" rigid back that came with the frame over it. The shadow box frame came with 8 metal clips to hold the rigid back inside the frame which I secured.  The press-board fit perfectly and was the right depth for the shadow box frame.

The pattern called for a blue colored wooden frame and for the border of the perforated paper to be left untouched like the picture shown below:

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Linda's Review of Best Friend Santa - Mill Hill Jim Shore #JS20-5106



It definitely isn't any where near the holiday season so I'm sure you're wondering why I'm showing you a Christmas cross-stitch ornament I just finished.  Well, I started this after last Christmas and just finished it the other day.  It's a 3 1/2" by 5" ornament so it only takes a few hours to make but I only had a chance to work on it for a few minutes here or there.  As a result, it took months to finish.

I just love to cross-stitch small ornaments especially when they contain images of dogs.  I also love cross-stitching small ornaments because they don't take a lot of time to complete.So, when I saw the "My Best Friend Santa" cross-stitch ornament from Dimensions I knew I was going to make it.

The "My Best Friend Santa" ornament kit contained the presorted thread, 14 count perforated paper, needles (stitching and beading), beads and instructions.  The  pattern uses full counted cross-stitch and outline stitching for emphasis and depth.

The pattern came with starting, stitching and back finishing instructions as well as samples of the various stitches required, beading instructions and color code chart (with code #'s, color names, and cross-stitch symbols) and a black and white chart with black and white coded symbols.  For the most part the colors and symbols on the keys and chart were easy to read and follow.  However, the symbols behind the highlighted lines were hard to read at times.  


A JS20-5106 Correction sheet for two of the key symbols that were wrong was included in the kit.  The medium salmon symbol was wrong and the white symbol was wrong in the code chart.

I had no problem cross-stitching the Santa ornament and then cutting the perforated paper close to the sides of the Santa figure. This kit did come with instructions for finishing the back and I opted to finish mine with red felt which I glued to the back with an Avery disappearing color glue stick.  
I trimmed the edges so the felt was aligned with the perforated paper.  

Instead of adding a floss hanger according to the instructions I opted to sew two strands of floss to the top of the ornament, securing the edge of the ornament with an additional stitch and then tying the ends at the top in a large knot. 


Unfortunately I can't tell you how many hours it took me to complete this ornament as I've been working on it little by little over the last few months and didn't keep track of it. 


I was very happy with the way my Dimensions Counted Cross Stitch, Santa and best friend Ornament turned out and hope you like it too.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Linda's Review of Wolf - Dimensions Counted Cross-Stitch Kit



During the Fall season I usually get the urge to make some cross-stitch gifts for the holidays.  This year I decided to make a wolf counted cross-stitch picture for one of my teenage grandsons for Christmas.  I needed something masculine and thought a wolf might be nice.

I looked at a lot of different wolf pictures and decided I liked the Wolf counted cross-stitch kit from Dimensions.

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

The Wolf 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 cross stitch, 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.

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.

I was very happy with the color coded chart as it was quite large at 13" by 9" and very easy to read.

As was the case with previous Dimensions kits the thread sorter was poorly designed. The embroidery threads were glued to foam backed 4" 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 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 the 18 count white cotton Aida to. The wood frame jig is a rectangular embroidery hoop of sorts and can accommodate a 5" by 5" cross-stitch picture kit or 5" by 7" cross-stitch picture kit. He had made it out of 1/2" x 1" pine wood strips with an adjustable center strip that I use for the 5 x 5 square designs.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Linda's Review of Be Thankful - Mill Hill Cross-stitch Picture #MH14-7202



Since Fall is one of my favorite seasons for decorating I am naturally drawn to Fall cross-stitch kits. Such is the case with the Be Thankful cross-stitch kit by Mill Hill - MH14-7202.

The Be Thankful Beaded Counted Cross Stitch Kit Mill Hill Buttons & Beads Autumn Series MH14-7202 pattern uses full and half counted 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 the border. In this case they were leaving sections of the brown perforated paper background and 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.

So, I decided to buy some 8" by 8" hand painted wood frames that Mill Hill created for their cross-stitch pictures.  This frame is bare bones.  There's no glass or plastic cover and there's nothing on the back to hold the picture into the frame.  They do, however, provide a thin 6" by 6" cardboard back and wood dowel for inserting in the holes in the back to allow for the frame to stand on it's own.  Of course, if you're going to hang this on the wall you'd just add a picture hanger to the back.

The directions did not include any instruction for finishing the back.  I decided to finish mine with 1/4" thick self sticking art needle-craft mounting foam.  I used an 8" by 10" by Pres-On sheet that I cut 6" by 6"with an X-acto knife to fit my picture.  Since the depth of the back of the frame for inserting the picture is 1/4" deep the 1/4" foam was a perfect fit for inserting it as well as the cardboard backing that came with the frame.

After adhering my cross-stitch picture to the 6" by 6" adhesive foam board that I bought I inserted it into the back of the frame and then inserted the 6" by 6" cardboard that came with the frame over it.  I taped the back of the cardboard with masking tape to hold it.

The antique white wood frame is 8" by 8" so to totally finish the back I cut a piece of thick decorative paper 8" by 8" to entirely cover the back.  I rubbed purple color disappearing glue stick all over the back and then pasted my 8" by 8" decorative paper sheet on the back.  I signed by name and dated it and was done with finishing the back.  I used a pencil to stab the decorative paper I had glued to the back so I could insert the dowel into it so the picture would stand on it's own.

The pattern called for a antique white colored wooden frame and for the border and certain sections of the background of the perforated paper to be left untouched like the picture shown below:

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Linda's Review of Country Quilts - Mill Hill Cross-stitch Picture #MH14-1621




Since Fall is one of my favorite seasons for decorating I am naturally drawn to Fall cross-stitch kits. Such is the case with the Country Quilts cross-stitch kit by Mill Hill - MH14-1621.

The Country Quilts Beaded Counted Cross Stitch Kit Mill Hill Buttons & Beads Autumn Series MH14-1621 pattern uses full and half counted 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 the 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.

So, I decided to buy some 8" by 8" hand painted wood frames that Mill Hill created for their cross-stitch pictures.  This frame is bare bones.  There's no glass or plastic cover and there's nothing on the back to hold the picture into the frame.  They do, however, provide a thin 6" by 6" cardboard back and wood dowel for inserting in the holes in the back to allow for the frame to stand on it's own.  Of course, if you're going to hang this on the wall you'd just add a picture hanger to the back.

The directions did not include any instruction for finishing the back.  I decided to finish mine with 1/4" thick self sticking art needle-craft mounting foam.  I used an 8" by 10" by Pres-On sheet that I cut 6" by 6"with an X-acto knife to fit my picture.  Since the depth of the back of the frame for inserting the picture is 1/4" deep the 1/4" foam was a perfect fit for inserting it as well as the cardboard backing that came with the frame.

After adhering my cross-stitch picture to the 6" by 6" adhesive foam board that I bought I inserted it into the back of the frame and then inserted the 6" by 6" cardboard that came with the frame over it.  I taped the back of the cardboard with masking tape to hold it.

The green wood frame I chose to use is 8" by 8" so to totally finish the back I cut a piece of thick decorative paper 8" by 8" to entirely cover the back.  I rubbed purple color disappearing glue stick all over the back and then pasted my 8" by 8" decorative paper sheet on the back.  I signed by name and dated it and was done with finishing the back.  I used a pencil to stab the decorative paper I had glued to the back so I could insert the dowel into it so the picture would stand on it's own.

The pattern called for a rust colored wooden frame and for the border of the perforated paper to be left untouched like the picture shown below:

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Linda's Review of Tassels & Tiaras: A Winged Wonders Doll Projects Artful Gathering Class By Hally Levesque



As you all know I love taking online arts & crafts classes. I literally could spend 24/7 just doing that.


I have been taking online classes at Artful Gathering since 2012 and have loved every one of the eleven classes I've taken.  Each year the selection gets better and better making it almost impossible to decide which class to take. So far I've taken crazy quilting, mixed media art dolls, needle felting, cloth art dolls and paper-clay art doll making classes.

I have to admit I'm a little partial to any classes being offered for doll making and have taken several of those.  Four have them have been taught by Hally Levesque who is an exceptional art doll artist and instructor who has a passion for historic, primitive, and mixed media art dolls.

Hally's classes are always filled with historical tidbits, multiple projects, and very detailed instructions on the making of each of the class projects.

The class I took in Session One this year was the 11th class I've taken at Artful Gathering and, once again, it didn't disappoint.  It was another of Hally's art doll classes and was for making 3 different kinds of 1900 - 1920 art deco or art nouveau tassel half art dolls.

Hally's classes are always filled with historical tidbits and this class was dedicated to some of the more famous women of the 1900's like Mata Hari, Lillian, Gish and Theda Vamp.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Linda's Review of Country Welcome Beaded Counted Cross Stitch Kit Mill Hill Buttons & Beads Autumn Series MH14-7206




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.