Sunday, October 25, 2020

I've Been Framed

Hi, stitching friends!

Boy, do I have a lot to show you today. Now, before you say, "Wow, Meg, you've been really busy," keep in mind that I stitched these over the past year. I placed a couple of big orders from Franken Frames and framed these a couple of months ago. I've been waiting for Halloween to get closer to show you, and I've been waiting for my dear hubby to help me with the hanging hardware on the back. That is the one part of the framing process that I do NOT enjoy one bit.

Thanks to my crabapple tree in the backyard, which sacrificed some of its lovely fall foliage for my photo shoot.

First up is Lizzie Kate's 2019 Halloween Mystery Sampler. Last year I showed you the drum I made from the bonus chart that came with this sampler. You can see that post here. I finished the sampler soon after that, but it has been in my "box of shame," a.k.a. unfinished finishes, since then.

Lizzie Kate Halloween Mystery Sampler 2019
Lizzie Kate 2019 Halloween Mystery Sampler
Stitched on 32-count Fog by Picture This Plus
with called-for overdyed threads
Frame from Franken Frames

I love everything about this sampler: the colors and the scared look on the moon at the top and the skinny little black house on the bottom.

Tall, skinny pieces like this are great when you have limited wall space. They fit in the most unexpected places. I hung this one on the narrow bit of wall between my bedroom door and the linen closet. It goes great there, and I see it every time I go into my bedroom.

Have you ever stitched a mystery sampler? What was it? Did you enjoy the process?

Next up is one that I've seen a lot of people stitching this year, Halloween Quaker by Lila's Studio. 

Halloween Quaker by Lila's Studio
Halloween Quaker by Lila's Studio
Stitched on 40-count Murky by Picture This Plus
with called-for overdyed threads
Frame from Franken Frames

Honestly, I would not have picked this chart up myself, but I'm glad I did. Last winter when we were on our annual Oregon Coast trip and driving from Portland to Depoe Bay, my husband and I stopped at Starlight Stitchery in Corvallis. While I browsed, I told him if he saw anything he liked to show me. He picked out this chart.

And I really wasn't sure about the fabric. It called for Murky by Picture This Plus. Since I don't have a local needlework shop, I order almost everything online. When this fabric came in the mail, my first thought was "Yuck!" But that was apparently just me, because everybody else who saw it - my husband, my son, my mom - were like, "Ooh... that's neat!" I do like it with the stitch, and I'm glad I went against my instincts (which were to send it back and get something else!). It really is perfect for this stitch.

My favorite "motif" was the little row of houses with their bright yellow and orange glowing windows.

Halloween Quaker by Lila's Studio

There is a lot of black and variations of black in this sampler, so getting through the whole thing was hard. I had to take "color breaks" once in a while and stitch other things that made me happy. But I think the end result is quite striking. The few pops of color in it really POP. When I got about 75% done, I just plowed through to the end. I was ready to be done with it and move on to other things.

Halloween Quaker by Lila's Studio

I love the spiderweb and the spiders, but they gave me FITS. A word of advice: if you stitch this sampler, go to the Lila's Studio website and download the corrected chart for this motif. I found out (too late, after a lot of stitching that I didn't want to have to frog out) that there were errors in the printed chart I bought. I almost put the whole stitch away for a very long time. I was that frustrated. I'm glad I persisted.

The cats motif is another favorite.

Halloween Quaker by Lila's Studio

The designer has a photo on the cover of the chart of the cats motif stitched on orange linen and finished into a biscornu. It would also make an adorable Halloween ornament.

And finally, my favorite of the three stitches I'm showing you today: When Skeletons Dance by The Drawn Thread.

When Skeletons Dance by The Drawn Thread
When Skeletons Dance by The Drawn Thread
Stitched on 32-count linen
with called-for overdyed threads
Frame from Franken Frames

I went through my notes and I apparently didn't write down what fabric I stitched this on, but I know it was 32 count.

Those of you with a good eye for color can probably tell I ran out of floss at one point in the house and in the moon. When I got additional floss, the dye lot was very different than what I started with! I was very frustrated and worried about it, but I went with it, and I have to say, I like the result. The house looks old and neglected with peeling, fading paint. And I think that's how the moon really looks through layers of atmosphere and thin clouds. So all my worry was for nothing.

When Skeletons Dance by The Drawn Thread

 The ghosts in the windows say, "Boo!

And I love this jolly skeleton.

When Skeletons Dance by The Drawn Thread

He doesn't seem phased at all by the creepy spiders.

When Skeletons Dance by The Drawn Thread

And these spiders are SUPER creepy. The one in the crow's mouth at the top of the house uses a fat black seed bead, and the others use 4mm black buttons. (I could not find black buttons so I used a black Sharpie to "paint" some pastel buttons black.) The effect of using beads and buttons for the spider bodies is truly terrifying. These spiders look (and feel) REAL!

When Skeletons Dance by The Drawn Thread

I don't like spiders, but these are cool. At least these don't bite.

What are your plans for Halloween? Do you celebrate Halloween? I know it's not everybody's cup of tea.

We like it because we have lots of young families with kids in our neighborhood, so in "normal" years we get loads of trick-or-treaters. This year is different, though. With Covid cases soaring in our county, the health department is advising that no one trick-or-treat. I hate to say it, but this year we are probably going to turn off our porch lights and pretend no one is home. It has got to be really hard on the little ones.

Hopefully families with young children can find safe ways to have fun and enjoy the holiday. I'm lucky that my son and his girlfriend are old enough that I could just buy a bag of candy and say, "Here you go." They'd be happy with that.

I hope you all stay safe and healthy, and remember: This, too, shall pass. They just never say when.

Thursday, October 22, 2020


Hi, stitching friends!

The wind has been blowing all day here, and the leaves from our maple tree are scattered all over the yard, the driveway, the sidewalk and, unfortunately, the neighbors' yards.

Autumn is here. We have a chance of snow tonight. While autumn is my favorite time of year, I realize that I have it easy. I get to enjoy it from inside, while my son and my husband are outside raking, winterizing and mowing, hoping it's the last time for the season. They say their favorite time of year is winter because there's no yard work.

So while I get to stay inside where it's warm, I've been doing lots of Halloween stitching and finishing. Halloween and fall stitching are my favorite.

Halloweenies by Plum Street Samplers

I stitched "Halloweenies" by Plum Street Samplers for my niece and finished it into a flatfold. She loved it. She has two wiener dogs, Alfonse and Hodgi, so I've been stitching the "weenie" series by Plum Street for her.

Halloweenies by Plum Street Samplers

I stitched Halloweenies on 40-count "1776" by Colour & Cotton. The cording is a combination of three DMC colors I thought coordinated well with the backing fabric. 

I used a fall fabric with gold sparkles for the backing.

Halloween tree

Last year I bought a spooky, glittery Halloween tree to display Halloween smalls. I think my next Halloween stitching project needs to be a tree skirt for it - something to hide the battery boxes for the ghost and pumpkin lights.

Boo by Lizzie Kate

Robin in Virginia sent me the pattern for Lizzie Kate's "Boo!" I stitched it on 32-count Brash by Picture This Plus, substituting threads I had on hand for some of the called-for colors I was missing. I finished it into a flat-mount ornament with black pom pom trim and some orange and white cording from Stampin' Up.

I used a fun yellow printed fabric from my stash for the back.

'Tis Halloween

I stitched three stockings from Blackbird Designs' 'Tis Halloween booklet: Jack O'Lantern, Trick or Treat, and Haunted House. When I hung them on the Halloween tree, my son said, "Cool! Stockings? It's like Christmas, but it's Halloween!"

"Yes, it's the 'nightmare' before Christmas!" I said.

Pumpkin stocking by Blackbird Designs

Trick or Treat stocking by Blackbird Designs

Haunted House stocking by Blackbird Designs

They were so much fun to stitch, and they were easy to finish. I just sewed the stitched piece, some muslin fabric and the backing fabric together, right sides facing, then turned them right-side out, tucked in the tops and either stitched or used a scrap of ironed-on interfacing to secure the top of the stocking inside. I threaded some black seed beads to make hangers.

For the backing fabric, I ordered a super cute fat quarter pack of Halloween fabrics from Simple Stitches Fabric Shop. Thanks, Arlene, for the recommendation!

A beautiful and thoughtful gift

Sandy in Florida sent me a wonderful gift, this handmade cross, after reading the post "i thank you God for most this amazing. The cross is made from horseshoe nails and jewelry wire. Isn't it beautiful? Sandy also sent the story behind it: "Ron's cross ministry: Shalimar man races health to craft 5,000 necklaces." It's an interesting and heartwarming story. The crosses are never to be sold, only to be given away. 

Sandy wrote me a letter to go with it, and I have to tell you, I have made such good friends through this blog. I thank God for you for taking the time to read and for reaching out to say hello. Thank you for thinking of me, Sandy.

My next post will be right around the corner. I have MORE Halloween stitching to show you.

I'm off to make a pot of chili. It is definitely a chili kind of night! I make my mom's recipe. It's so simple: sautéed onions and browned ground beef, a couple 14.5 oz cans of diced tomatoes, a can of condensed tomato soup, two 14.5 oz cans of beans (I use Madras Lentils from Costco), seasoned with chili powder and ground cumin to taste. So simple and so good.

Until next time, be well and stay warm!