Monday, June 4, 2012

Week 23 Beauty and the Beast

I really hope I haven't hit a wall.

I have not had quite as much motivation to stitch lately, which is really weird. I saved all of the characters for last for the sole purpose of NOT losing motivation towards the end. I think what I have run into is that stitching Belle with the pearl filament added is a little bit of a nightmare. Add to it all of the fractional stitches involved and how much confetti there is in her dress, and I didn't make much progress this week. I didn't even finish Belle... I'm kind of ashamed, but I know I needed to post my progress anyway. Maybe this will motivate me to stitch like a mad, crazy woman this week and get a ton done...

Anyway, here is my progress for the week. And even with all of my complaining, I do love how the sparkly thread is turning out. The picture doesn't do it justice at all, and as hard as it is I am happy I made the choice to stitch her sparkly. :)

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Week 22 Beauty and the Beast

I have stitched the first of the characters in this piece! I think it's funny that they are all off to the one side, but it made it so I get to stitch them all last. Mrs. Potts and Chip are done being stitched (except backstitch, of course, so they look funny). They were probably the most difficult part so far to stitch, between the tweeded threads, the amount of colors in such a small space, and the number of fractional stitches. I barely got in my 2000 stitches this week to keep on track for the fair, but I had a couple of off days that I didn't feel like doing anything at all. No house work, no stitching, nothing. I feel like I'm better now, so hopefully I stay that way.

Anyway, here are pictures from this week:

Again, they look a little weird right now, but they will get better :)

Also, thank you for all of the nice comments. I'm excited that I have followers and that people actually read this! :)

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Week 21 Beauty and the Beast and IHSW

So, I know that it's not the end of the weekend, but I wanted to go ahead and post my progress from this last week on Beauty and the Beast so I can get to the next part. :)
I did somewhere around 3000 stitches this week (maybe a little more?), and that is AWESOME! If I can keep this up, I will have it done no problem in time for the fair. The trick is keeping it up... If nothing else, I have allowed myself a little leeway.
I finished the second overpass and all of the water for the waterfalls, I stitched the stairway, and some more greenery below the castle. And what is that I see an outline of? It's Belle! So, so excited that the characters will start to come into play. I won't stitch her this next week though, because I have a question:

I have quite a bit of the 'pearly' filament that makes the rainbow and the sunset all sparkly, and there are only a couple of other spots that need it. I am thinking about also stitching Belle's dress with the sparkly thread - what do you think? Let me know, and I will hopefully be able to stitch Belle during week 23. I am hoping to see Mrs. Potts and Chip this week though!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

We All Make Mistakes, and It's Okay!

Only one picture today, and it's not of my own work. It's the picture of the Beauty and the Beast cross stitch that is on the front of the kit. Here it is:

I have been referring to the cover of the kit over and over and over and over while I work, as I'm sure everyone does when they work on a piece. "Are they sure this is the color that should go there? Are those two little stitches going to stand out or disappear?" etc. etc. etc. Anyway, in going over this picture meticulously as I have been working, I have found mistakes! Most of them just a stitch here or there, but some of them I was a little surprised about. For instance, where the river curves in the background by the town, there is a green bush on the right side of the river. There should be french knot flowers there! Now, the symbols for those french knots would be very easy to miss, so I can understand it. 

Then one or two of the red roofs on the castle aren't the right height. No biggie :)

And the cuff on the Beast's sleeve should have some scrolly designs on it in the yellow thread used to backstitch his coattails. 

I have also noticed some difference in colors from the picture to what I stitch. Most of the differences are that a color is just a tad too light or too dark so it makes some of the shading not as obvious, but one in particular bothered me for a long time. Do you see the grey color around the sunset? It is also used at the base of the rainbow, and in the kit it is definitely not grey. It's more of a dark grey-pink color. At first I was really frustrated that it was so off, and I thought maybe I didn't have the right color. I wrote to the manufacturer and asked for more of that color of thread to double check, and they sent me the same color again. I decided to go ahead and go with it. You know what? It looks fine.

And I also noticed that even though there are mistakes in the cover picture, it still is beautiful. I never would have noticed the mistakes if I wasn't obsessively poring over it all the time, matching it to my work to make sure I did it right. It might sound nit-picky to point out the mistakes, but I think it's encouraging. It helps me to remember that it's okay to make mistakes. Obviously we try not to, but it's not the end of the world if you realize that it's not perfect. Even though we follow a pattern, the chances of two kits being done 100% exactly alike isn't very likely. It's neat to know that you have your own one-of-a-kind piece. 

Well, I had better get back to it. I've got laundry to do today and practice for a wedding I'm playing in soon, so if I'm going to get all that done and stitch as well, I had better get off the computer :)

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Week 20 Beauty and the Beast

First of all, Happy Birthday to my husband today! Our dog's birthday is also today, and Happy Mother's Day to any moms out there! It's a good day :)

For Beauty and the Beast, I hit 2 big milestones this week: I finished an entire page! Lol obviously I have done more than a page worth of stitching, but now I have a completed page except for backstitch and french knots! I also.... wait for it... finished the castle!!! It has been this giant silhouette in the sky for-e-ver and I treated myself to something special this week and stitched it. I love, love, love how it looks. See for yourself:

I have also decided that my personal deadline for this project is the end of July. If I can finish it by or before then, I can enter it in the County Fair! I have never entered anything into a fair, and I thought it would be fun and give me something concrete to work towards. I am currently on pace to finish by then, but I will try to step it up to guarantee it, and maybe even be able to get it framed. Wish me luck!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

A Little Disney Obsessed, I Guess

So I wanted to do a post about my past cross-stitch projects. As I was looking through them, I realized that I am maybe a little bit of a Disney fanatic... I didn't realize that all of the projects that I have finished (except two, which unfortunately I don't have pictures of as I gave them away as gifts) are Disney, and the Princesses at that. Ha ha, ha, ha, ha... (nervous laughter)

So anyway, I had tried one or two projects as a kid for cross-stitching, and I didn't quite keep interest in either one of them so neither of them got finished, and I have no idea what happened to them. One was a unicorn and the other was a hot air balloon, both kits from Hobby Lobby, I'm pretty sure they were done on like 11 count fabric with big blocks of color.

Then, in high school, for Christmas in 2003 my older sister and I had the same idea for each other for Christmas gifts - she gave me a pattern book and some aida fabric and the floss for one project, and I did the same for her. I gave her a Precious Moments pattern book, and she gave me, wait for it, a Disney Princess book :) My first attempt from this book was Belle (my favorite Disney Princess), but she ended up being a little buck-toothed and I didn't have enough fabric to finish the pattern. I didn't realize you needed extra all the way around, and had just cut the fabric to the stitch count. Oops! After that was this one of Snow White:

I remember working on her while my then-boyfriend-now-husband played a game called Illusions of Gaia, for the Super Nintendo we had just found stored at my parents house. I think her lips look a little botox-ish, but other than that I really like how she turned out. 

Then I graduated high school and went to college, and decided to take my hobby with me. I worked on Cinderella a lot during orchestra rehearsals. It turns out that only about 50% of orchestra music (or less) has harp in it, so I had a lot of down-time. :)

She's so pretty :)

I'm not sure exactly when I stitched Jasmine (my second favorite Disney Princess). I was a goof and didn't put a date on it :(

I'm really happy with how she turned out, too. All three of those patterns are from the book my sister gave me :)

Then stitching took a 6 year backseat to everything else. I got married, finished school, started working a little bit, got pregnant, and stopped working. I did pretty good staying busy for a long time as a stay-at-home-mom, but then I got the house organized. Lol it's amazing how much more time you have if you put in the investment to get stuff organized. I feel like I do less housework now than before my little Sarah was born (and she is fully mobile, so she does make a mess!), and our house is 10x cleaner. Anyway, between that and my husband taking a job from 6pm to 6am, then him having to sleep during the day, I started to get really bored. What should I do? I know! I will start cross-stitching again!

I wanted to do a picture of Ariel, but I didn't like any of the pictures in the pattern book. I ended up making my own pattern, and I really, really like how she came out. The backstitch makes all the difference in the world!

I also worked up a pattern of Mulan, but I haven't stitched it up yet. This Ariel picture was really the one that got me started again, and of course when I was at Hobby Lobby one day I saw the Disney Kinkade kits. I fell in love with both Beauty and the Beast and the Snow White kits. They are much more difficult than anything I have done so far, but I feel like I have made good progress with Beauty and the Beast.

At one point I made a pattern with my younger sister's name, all done in these pretty musical letters with a pretty rose border around the outside, but I gave it to her and I don't have a picture of it. I also made a simple one that was about fishing for my dad, but I never got a picture of that one, either. Those are all of the pieces I have finished, and of course I have several UFOs that may never get done. One is a kit that I messed up sorting the colors and didn't realize it until I was halfway through, One is a couple of snowmen holding up a sign that says "Happy Winter", and a couple that I started and just couldn't bring myself to finish. I think I have to be really in love with a pattern to want to put the work into it, because let's face it, cross stitching is a lot of hours of work! Anyway, I hope you enjoy my older projects, and if I ever get Mulan stitched, I'll be sure to put her up here :)

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Week 19 Beauty and the Beast

I did not get much done this week. I finished the flowery bush at the bottom, and did some more work on the first overpass. Things were crazy busy this week with me working nights and my nephew's birthday party and my grandma coming into town, etc. etc. etc. Next week might not be much better, but I only work 2 nights instead of 5, so we shall see. Anyway, here are pictures:

And a close-up

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Week 18 Beauty and the Beast

I am through 18 weeks of stitching on this, and I'm still going strong! (Knock on wood...) I was able to get way more done this week than I thought I would. I'm not quite sure how that happened... Next week I'm not sure if I will get as much, because my husband will be working during the day and I will be working at night. I finished the green on the hillside and started on the first overpass. I also got some of the pool-things done. I'm not exactly sure what they are, but they look neat :) I love this more and more and more as I stitch it. Here are pictures of my progress from this week:

I have also run into a tiny setback. I have come across a symbol on the pattern that is not on the key, so I don't know what color to stitch. I am going to be writing an email to the manufacturer tonight to see if they can help me, but in the meantime if anyone knows what the symbol is, let me know! It is under the first overpass, here is what it looks like:

The case of the missing symbol! :)
Disney Dreams Beauty and the Beast Falling in Love

They got back to me very quickly and I have the answer! It is one strand of 6263 (Medium Grey) and one strand of 6297 (Medium Grey Pink). I also asked in the email about the purple dashed lines as the backstitch symbol on the overpasses because that was not in the key, either. She said that is stitched in 1 strand of 6237 (Dark Yellow Grey). Now, on with the show! :)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Week 17 Beauty and the Beast

I was so close to how much I wanted to get done this week. I have less than 100 stitches to completely finish the water up until the first overpass, but alas, there is housework to be done before my piano students come over tomorrow. I played harp in the pit orchestra for a local production of Camelot this last week, so that took up 5 evenings. All of the stitching I did was during the day, mostly while my little girl was sleeping :) Anyway, here are my pictures for the week, an overall and a close up (sorry the overall is a little blurry):

Don't expect too much from me this next couple of weeks. I will still post, but my Mon-Fri 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. will be taken up by my new part-time job. It should only go for a few weeks, as it's scoring tests and school will be out for the summer soon, but I gotta do what I can to help out right now. *Sigh* Why does being a grown-up suck sometimes, what with money and bills, etc. etc. etc... Oh well, life goes on :)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Week 16 Beauty and the Beast

16 weeks. Wow that seems like a long time, and yet I most likely have at least that much more to go, probably more. I gotta say, if you are looking at fun value per dollar, cross stitch is the best value! Lol these kits cost about $42 before a coupon (which come on, Hobby Lobby and JoAnn's always have coupons), and this is providing entertainment for hundreds of hours. Add to that the fact that this was a Christmas gift so I didn't even have to pay for it at all, and it's a way better value than going out to a movie! Lol now I just have to not buy more stuff until the stuff I have is done... Hmmm... :)
Here are my pictures for this week, I got the gate and the bridge stitched, and the other side of the river. :)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Inspirational to Me

I am totally inspired when I see the work other people do, especially if it is on a similar project to the one I'm working on. I look online all the time to see if other people are posting WIP pictures of any of the Disney Dreams kits, so here are some projects I have found so far:

Here is a link to, where someone is working on Beauty and the Beast. She is doing an amazing job, and I love that she is doing backstitch as she goes along. It gives so much definition, and it really gives me something to look forward to. Here are a couple of her most recent progress photos:

I love how the flying machine turns out!

Here is a link to another forum thread for someone working on Beauty and the Beast as well. She started in the middle and worked in a different direction, so it's really super fun to see this picture. I haven't done almost any of what she has!

Yay!!! Seriously, looking at this makes me want to stop typing and just go work on it. 

The Tomboy Princess is also working on this piece. She has made some great progress, too. 

Ambitious Stitches is working on Cinderella, and it is really pretty!

And last time I talked about CraftySasha starting The Lion King. Last I knew she hadn't been able to do much more on it because there was a little confusion with some of the thread colors, but I think she got it worked out now :) 

Anyway, like I said it is totally inspiring to me to look at the work other people are doing. I hope everyone is able to keep posting and keep working on their pieces - they are soooo pretty!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Week 15 Beauty and the Beast

Fifteen weeks have gone by since Christmas Day when I started this pattern, and I am so close to being halfway done. I figured out that I have just over 30,000 stitches finished on this out of about 63,000. I suppose that is an average of about 2,000 stitches per week, and I think I wasn't going quite that fast at the beginning. Maybe I'm getting faster? :) Wouldn't that be nice...
"Little town, it's a quiet village. Every day, like the one before. Little town, full of little people, waking up tooo saaaaaayyyyy... Bonjour!"

I got the town base-stitched this week! I love the little columns of smoke coming up from the chimneys. I was also able to finish the balcony and all the flowers on it. That was a lot of confetti! Here is a close-up and an overall picture of my progress this week:

Also, even though I have all of 2 followers right now and one of them is Sasha, a fellow stitcher has started the Disney Dreams Lion King project, and will be posting stuff on her blog. We all like encouragement when working on a big project! 

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Week 14 Beauty and the Beast

I have been working on this pattern for 14 weeks now - I suppose that's not too crazy long, but I know I am still a long ways away from finishing. Mark my words though, I WILL finish this. :) I am still super motivated and having so much fun. It's bad when the weather is as nice as it has been and I would still rather be inside stitching! Don't get me wrong, I have spent lots of time outside, and I have the sunburn to prove it.
Anywho, I have reached the bottom! I am so excited about that. I was hoping to complete the whole bottom corner but what is left has lots of thread changes, so that will have to wait for next week's update. I also hope to have the town base-stitched. We shall see :)

Also, here is a close-up picture of the left side that I have been working on for the last few weeks. I need to figure out a better way to take these pictures - my camera just isn't doing what I want it to.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Future Ideas

I think that probably as cross-stitchers, it is universal that we are always looking for the next project that we will work on. I know some people have tons and tons of projects lined up - typically more than they could ever really get done in a single lifetime. I am trying to limit myself to projects that I feel very passionate about doing, otherwise I think they might not get done. My eyes are still big, don't get me wrong. I have also found while looking at other peoples' blogs and pictures, that there are some gorgeous patterns out there. For instance, Chatelaine Designs incorporates lots of specialty stitches and beads into their patterns. I think this Fairy Garden pattern would be amazing, and it might be one that I save up for. The kit is around $240 with the pattern! Eeeek! But soooo pretty...

There is another company called Mirabilia that does beautiful work as well. They also incorporate lots of bead work into their patterns. Take a look at some of these:

And to get a closer look and a better idea of some of the beadwork, check out this blog. She has some beautiful pieces!

Of course, I already bought the Snow White piece that matches the Beauty and the Beast one I am working on. I just love Disney, what can I say? And these two were the ones that I felt looked like they were done the best. 

I have also heard a lot about Heaven and Earth Designs, and they have a lot of beautiful pieces as well. The only problem is that they are sooooo massive, that I feel like I would have to be over-the-top in love with a piece to get it done. I did find this piece called Minerva's Melody that I put on my wishlist, because she is playing the harp. I play both the harp and the piano, but have had a very difficult time finding a cross stitch design that has a decent harp in it. I really like the colors in this one, too.

And finally (for now anyway), I just found this pattern yesterday. My daughter is almost 15 months old, but I never made a birth announcement for her. Do you think it's too late? Her name is Sarah, which means "Princess", and I thought this was fitting. So cute! And I think it would stitch up relatively quickly. I wish it came as just a pattern, but the kit for around $15 I think I can manage. (Especially if I order from Joann's online and use a coupon...)  :)

Well, for now, this is my 'wishlist' of pieces to work on in the future. This doesn't include other pieces that I already have the patterns and materials for, or other unfinished projects that I already have started. See what I mean by my big eyes? :)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Week 13 Beauty and the Beast

I was able to do a lot of stitching this week! We had a lazy day this week where we just hung out at home and didn't do much of anything. I stitched, my husband played some Zelda, and we both watched as Sarah toddled all over and played. She has just really figured out the 'being mobile' thing and is quite content just walking around, picking stuff up, and moving it all over the house. So cute :) Then we had one or two nights that we didn't go out anywhere, so after Sarah was asleep it was stitching time for mommy!
I am still working down the left side. It's a little weird, I know, but I am kind of going where the colors go. Does that make sense? Not sure... Anyway, this week I was able to get the path that leads to the village, the Rose base-stitched (again, I am saving all of the back stitch for the end),  and most of the table that the Rose sits on. The table is lots of finicky partial stitches, but I really like the overall look - kind of knotted, twisted wood. Here's a picture!

I'm so happy with the progress on this so far! Oh, and a couple of little things I have decided - I will probably add some of the sparkly thread to the rose and the rose case. Also, I am thinking of doing a boullion rose (sp?) for the rose instead of just backstitching. Here is a link to the video on how to make them. I will have to make it super small so it fits right, but I think it will add something really neat. :)

Also, I am posting this from my in-laws' house, so I was able to take a picture of Count the Stars. Not much to report, but you can see what I've done so far. 

Yay special! :) Lol ok well, until next week. Or sooner if I think of anything else to post :)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

My WIPs (As of March 2012)

So I have found a way to kind of cheat a little bit with my cross stitching... Okay, it's not really cheating, but whatever it is, it works for me. Since Beauty and the Beast will take soooooo long to finish (I'm thinking probably 9 months total? Don't quote me on that...) I feel like I need other projects going on at the same time so that it doesn't get old. Every time I have multiple projects though, none of them ever seem to get done. I get too distracted with this one, then this one, then this one, and oh, it won't be a big deal to start one more, etc. etc. So I decided first of all, that the projects I do from now on, I have to be really excited about. And I also found a way to have 3 projects going so that they all get attention.

First, of course is Beauty and the Beast. This one stays at home with me and doesn't leave the house. I'm afraid of losing thread colors or transporting it in the car and having it get dirty, so I figured it's best just to leave it at home. I never showed what it should look like when it's done, either. Here is a picture:
It's MCG Textiles/Candamar Designs. Of course, SO PRETTY, right? No wonder I want to stitch this. Anyway.

So my husband and my daughter and I all go to his parents' house a lot and my parents' house a lot. We all live in the same town with our siblings and their kids, so we get to see family all the time. However, a lot of the time we see them is spent just hanging out not doing much, so I figured I could cross stitch in the down time. At my in-law's house, I have just a little petite kit that I got years ago that I figured would be a good one to work on over there. It is going pretty quickly, and I figure it will be nice to have something that I can finish sooner to keep the motivation going. It's called "Count the Stars" by Dimensions.
You will probably find that I like celestial/fantasy/fairy tale stuff a lot. Who cares if I'm 25? Not me!

The piece I have that I am working on at my parents' house is actually a free pattern (which was awesome!). It's a Hogwarts Crest by littlemojo and the pattern is located here. It is actually a decent size design, 250x280, so it will take a while. I'm having fun with the bold outline though, and I decided to do all of the outline before I color it in. I'm a total Harry Potter nerd, so this is perfect :)
There are a couple of changes I have seen made by others who have done this pattern. Mostly they say to move the blue that is behind Hufflepuff to behind Ravenclaw and then find a yellow to go for Hufflepuff. 

Unfortunately because these are projects that I keep elsewhere, I don't have any WIP pictures of them. Hopefully it won't be too long until I can show you a finish for Count the Stars, and I will try to get a WIP for the Hogwarts Crest at some point. 

Well, those are all of the projects I am currently working on. I have plans for what to work on after these are done, but I will save those for another day. :)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Week 12 Beauty and the Beast

It has been another week, which now makes 12 weeks of Beauty and the Beast. I feel like it is going a little slower now because there are more confetti stitches in this part, but I'm still enjoying it. The stitches on the left side have now reached to just below the halfway point (yay!). Lots of stuff going on right now with trying to help my husband find a job since he was laid off and chasing my 14 month old Sarah around the house, but I am still finding time here and there to stitch :) Here is a picky-ture:

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Starting Just For Fun Jen

So this is exactly what it's going to be - just for fun. For the moment, I will probably be posting lots of cross-stitching stuff because that is what I am interested in. In the future, it could be a list of books I want to read, or other crafts I want to do, etc. etc. etc. but for now, cross stitching it is. :)
I'm not totally sure why I got back into cross stitching, but one day I just decided it sounded like fun. Of course, then I started looking at what patterns are out there and found out that Thomas Kinkade and Disney have put out a set of 6 patterns in the "Disney Dreams Collection", and it was love at first sight. I asked for the one called "Beauty and the Beast Falling in Love" for Christmas, and bought the one based on Snow White a little after Christmas. I haven't started Snow White yet, but I have been working on Beauty and the Beast since Christmas day. I have pictures of my progress every week since then, but to get you up to speed today I will only post weeks 1, 4, 8, and 11 (which is this week).

One Week Progress:

Four Week Progress:

Eight Week Progress:

And where I am now, 11 weeks into it:

So far, I have done right about 20,000 stitches out of over 63,000, and that doesn't include backstitching or french knot flowers. There are hundreds of french knot flowers in this pattern.

No matter, I am thoroughly enjoying myself, and I hope to post pictures every week. Happy stitching!