About Joy

Rabid stitcher and mother of a preschooler and kindergardener - both with Autism. Stitching is like going to war....with string!

I started playing with string when I was 16 and my mom bought me a Learn-A-Craft kit of a frog (because I love frogs). I discovered that cross stitching is a wonderful hobby when you go to college in the middle of nowhere Minnesota. Now that I'm married with two children, I stitch when I get a chance. Just finished my masters in teaching and hoping to get my first teaching job.

Visit Joy's Blog: http://gadgetsjoyfulpage.blogspot.com/

Stitching the Family: Ornaments and other Smalls

If stitching a sampler for a family event is just too much work for you, consider stitching something smaller.  Perhaps something ornament-sized.  You may not be able to stitch as many details on it, however, they can be just as effective.  They also take much less time.

Substituting Ornaments for Samplers

When you don’t feel like making a whole sampler for an upcoming wedding, birth or other event (or you simply don’t have the time), an ornament can be just as effective.  I have seen many people hang them on the wall year round instead of just having them on the Christmas tree.  As space is limited, you may have to plan on using two pieces of stitching fabric (one for front and one for the back) so you can have the design on one side and the details on the other.

Not sure what to stitch? Here are some ideas:

Weddings/Anniversaries

  • Whitework or hardanger
  • Two people looking romantic (I’ve seen some with snowmen in love)
  • Hearts
  • Churches
  • Houses

Births

  • Rocking horses or other toys
  • Creche/Nativity scene

Death/Memorial

  • Candles
  • Inspirational sayings/Bible verses
  • Clouds/Rainbows

Graduation

  • Owls
  • Cap/Gown/Diploma

Family Tree

  • Identical designs with a different person stitched on each one.

This is no means a comprehensive list.  Feel free to add ideas in the comments!  We all learn from each other in the stitching community.

The Ornament Per Year Approach

A few years ago when I was first laid off, I came up with this insane idea to make my daughters an ornament for each Christmas until they were 18.  It wasn’t terribly insane for my biological daughters because they were 1 and 2 at the time.  What was insane was that I decided to also make ornaments for my stepdaughter who was 15 at the time….starting with when she was born (to be fair, her mother is a poor excuse for a mother so I’ve basically become her mother and I wanted to show her some love that she never really got from her biological mother). I’m happy to report that it only took me two years to get all caught up with her ornaments (started Jan 2013, caught up June 2015).  My little ones are still missing an ornament each, but I’m hoping to get all caught up this year.

When I couldn’t find any “baby’s first Christmas” ornaments that I liked, I got creative.  Each girl has a nativity scene of the holy family, because since we are Christians and that is what Christmas means to us.

Here’s the front

Then I put the “deets” on the back.

I also created a baptism ornament for each of them (we baptize infants in my church).

I couldn’t find a design so I designed this myself. The “deets” are on the back 😉 If you can’t tell, I like the frayed Aida look when doing double sided ornaments.

We also like to have fun with Christmas, so I try to match the ornaments to my daughters’ interests.

My youngest (who is Autistic) loves Pooh. She kept going up to the tree and pointing at this ornament and saying “Pooh” (which was significant because she was mostly nonverbal at the time).

My older daughter (who is also Autistic) is slightly obsessed with her stuffed orange kitty cat. So I made her one on an ornament. She also enjoys pointing out her name (Z-O-E-dook! – where the dook is her accent).

I also decorated a wood box to keep the ornaments in.  My stepdaughter is the only one who has a completed box.

I hope I’ve given you some good sampler alternative ideas.  Happy stitching!

Stitching the Family: Modifications!

[The title of this post comes from the extremely funny Pixar short “Tokyo Mater” where Mater gets “modifications.”  What can I say, I have two small children and all I get to watch is Disney and Sprout.]

So, you want to stitch something nice for an upcoming birth or wedding but you can’t find anything you like in a traditional sampler.  What do you do?  Fortunately, for you, there are options!

Personalized “pictures”

When I got married, there wasn’t time to stitch a sampler because we eloped.  After we got married, I just couldn’t find anything I liked in my stash.  And then I found this:

It was a kit by Dimensions.

It isn’t a sampler per se.  It’s more of a picture of a bride and groom with room for personalization at the bottom (it came with the alphabet).  And it’s only 5×7 so I was able to frame it myself without much problem.  It’s simple, yet effective.  My husband loved it.  And it’s hanging in our dining room. [Read more…]

Stitching the Family: Samplers

Many stitchers use stitching to commemorate events in the family.  One of the most popular ways to do this is with samplers.

Samplers have been around since humanity has been doing the needle arts.  Many stitchers think of alphabet, motif, and border samplers when they hear the word “sampler,” but according to Wikipedia, a sampler is merely a demonstration of a stitcher’s skills.  That is a pretty loose definition.  For the sake of this article, let’s separate our cross stitch into “pictures” and “samplers.”  A bird “picture” would be a general cross stitched picture of a bird and a bird “sampler” would have motifs of birds with an alphabet and/or borders and/or specialty stitches.

Behold! The Sampler!


[Read more…]

A Little Gridding Goes A Long Way

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away (like back in 2013), I guest blogged a few times over here about my adventures in stitching.  Then, in Summer of 2013, I started a Masters of Arts degree in teaching and most of my spare time for blogging and stitching in general went down the tubes.  I am happy to say that I completed my degree in five semesters and walked across the stage with my velvet hood back on December 13.  A week later, my teaching certificate showed up.  But, since it’s mid-year and teaching jobs are in short supply, I am back to being a stay-at-home-mom with some extra time for blogging and stitching.

So, what has changed in two years?  Well, in my original interview with Loretta, I talked about how I enjoyed stitching smaller pieces.  Well, due to my mid-life stitching crisis, if you look at my current list of WIPs, you will see that I’m currently working away on a myriad of rather large pieces.  How my tastes have changed.

Anyway, I want to return to one of my favorite posts that I wrote for this blog: How to create a UFO in 13 easy steps.  In this post, I chronicled how a piece that I had started years ago (before I was married, in fact, and I’m coming up on my 6th anniversary) had tragically turned into a UFO.

A short time later, I blogged about how I had discovered gridding.  At the time, I had gridded two different pieces: an HAED (that’s “Heaven and Earth Designs” piece) and Snow White Discovers the Cottage, a kit of the Kinkade piece by the same name.  Both of those pieces were extremely large, solidly stitched and had lots of color changes, so gridding the piece made total sense.  To be honest, gridding a piece is kind of tedious and it can take an hour to grid one page of a piece (ok, it takes ME an hour since I have a 4 and 5 year old running around while I’m trying to work).  I only grid when I have to.

Then, I look a good look at Do Not Meddle (that would be the UFO).  It is not solidly stitched in the slightest but it caused me headaches even after I isolated and fixed the mistake.

To be honest, I think it’s the multiple shades of green that make this piece difficult, coupled with the irregular shape. The words were so easy. The dragons – HARD!

After trying (unsuccessfully) to start the dragon on the left side, I broke down and gridded the first page.  And to my surprise, it made things so much easier.  Instead of having to guess where I was from the current stitching (which is difficult because the shades of green are incredibly close together), I just use the grid lines as a reference point and go from there.  I got some work in today and here’s what it looks like.

You can barely see the grid threads because they’re beige but they show up just fine in person.

The moral of the story?

Is gridding tedious?  – Yep!

Can gridding prevent you from tearing your hair out and banishing a worthy piece to the bottom of your stitching basket? – Well, in this case, YES!

Stitching in Epic Proportions

 

A few months ago, when I first started guest blogging here, I talked about how I prefer to stitch smaller projects.  It’s mostly because they don’t take forever to finish and also are less expensive to finish.  But occasionally, one has to stitch something truly epic.  And I mean EPIC!  Lord of the Rings kind of EPIC.  My goal for this year was to stitch a bunch of ornaments, however, I too have been bitten by the EPIC stitching bug.  [Read more…]

How to create a UFO in 13 Easy Steps

If you’ve been stitching for awhile, you probably have at least one UFO stashed away somewhere.  And no, I’m not talking about little green men or your Star Trek figurine collection.  In stitching terms, a UFO is an “unfinished object” or basically, something that you’ve stopped stitching on for some reason.

I don’t have a lot of UFOs.  I think it’s because I try to keep my projects small.  I’ve also tried in the past two years to finish up the UFOs I have.  I was cleaning my crafty area and I discovered a UFO.  Most UFOs start out with the best of intentions and somehow end up degenerating into something worthy of abandonment.

Today for your enjoyment:  How to create a UFO:   [Read more…]

Cross Stitching Mid Life Crisis

Right before Christmas, I celebrated my 28th birthday.  And I’m coming up on my 4 year wedding anniversary in February.  Taking a little time for reflection, I realize that all the changes in my life and changes in taste are seeping into my cross stitching.  I find it a bit odd.

This whole revelation started about a year ago when I was updating my “Future Projects Album” that I have on my blog.  I took pictures of the pieces that I wanted to do and compiled it into one large album for easy reference (it hasn’t been updated in awhile so some of the new pieces I have aren’t on there, fyi, as my laptop battery is toast and I haven’t had much computing time lately).  I realized that some of the pieces on there I wouldn’t have touched with a ten foot pole even a year prior.  I’ve seen some other signs outside the stitching world like being excited that my mother-in-law got me a year’s subscription to Family Circle.

Perhaps it will help if I give you some examples.  [Read more…]

Finishing Your Cross Stitching on a Budget Part III: Avoid the Frame!

So you think framing is scary.  Or you’ve run out of wall space for frames so you’re looking for alternatives.  In any case, I like small stuff that I don’t have to frame.  I’ll drool over large pretty pieces but I never seem to start any of them because I like things that I can stitch quickly and finish without framing in just a few hours.

[Read more…]

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