Feb 1, 2016

Good Things Come In Three's

Last year, I did the Monthly SAL designed by Palko, a Hungarian stitcher.  For the 2016 SAL, she compiled a sampler called Words.  Here's my floss toss:

If the fabric and colors look familiar, they should.  I used the same fabric and all the colors except the red for Purple Garden back in 2011.  I also used the fabric for Petal Pincushion in 2014.  I'm thinking about swapping the red for a dark mauve.  I'll decide once I get more into the design.  Without further adieu, here's Part 1:

I added the border, which came from Fleurs et Papillons that I did in 2012.
A couple weeks ago, I stitched up my first two finishes of 2016.  I was finally able to finish them into flatfolds.  So adorable! First up...

Design: Life's A Stitch
Designer: Joan Elliott
Book: A Woman's World in Cross Stitch
Fabric: 28ct Pale Yellow Opalescent Linen
Threads: DMC  
Next up...

Design: Loved Snowman
Designer: Michelle Mouratides @ Little Rabbit Stitching
Fabric: Silkweaver "Shimmering Romance"
28ct Opalescent Cashel Linen
Fibers: DMC
Embellishments: Snowflake buttons
If anyone wants to attempt a flatfold finish, I have a tutorial on my left sidebar.  No sewing is required (and I'm available for questions!).

Oh shoot!  Since I got my lamp fixed, I stitched on JG.  I forgot to take a photo.  Stay tuned for next time. :)

Jan 31, 2016

Lamp Repair - A Tutorial

From what I've researched and heard from other people, the concrete base crumbling is a common problem with floor lamps.

Seeing as I've had my lamp for about seven years, I'd say it held up pretty well.  As readers may recall, the base of my lamp fell out a few weeks ago. 

So, I set about figuring out if it could be repaired.  I ordered a 10lb. bucket of vinyl concrete patch and went to work.  It was around $8 with free shipping to the store.

 Before doing any repairs on electrical appliances, always unplug from the electrical source. In the case of my lamp, I also removed the bulb.
I removed the remaining concrete from the base of the lamp and set to work.
I made a template by tracing the base of the lamp onto a piece of cardboard.  I used a cereal box, but any thin cardboard would work.
Using a hole punch, I marked spots where I wanted anchors to be placed in the bottom of the lamp.  I then traced the template onto a scrap piece of 3/8" paneling.
Using a jigsaw, multi-tool, and drill, I cut out the new base for the lamp. 
I marked the front of the piece with an "F" so that I knew which end was which.
I turned the lamp upside down and placed it in a clamping workbench.  I got mine really inexpensively a few years ago... I think I paid $15.  It comes in handy!  If you don't have one, you could always find a corner to prop the lamp up in.
The nice thing about my little workbench is that is has notches to keep round pieces in place.
The little workbench also folds up for easy storage.
There were two screw sockets that held the previous concrete piece in the base.  I put some new screws in the sockets.
Next, I measured the depth of the base and created a form out of another piece of thin cardboard to surround the electrical components of the lamp.
Then, I made sure the lamp was level clamped into the workbench.
Following the manufacturer's instructions, I mixed up the vinyl concrete and put it into the base of the lamp using a paint stick.  A trowel would work fine, too.  (Or, any small utensil)
See the holes in the concrete?  I placed the wood base on top and used a skewer to make the holes.  I pushed small anchors into the holes.
After the concrete cured, I pulled out the cardboard form.  Since I wanted the concrete to have a bit more anchorage in the base, I made a smaller form and filled the end around where some previous concrete was. I was careful not to get the small wiring in the concrete.
The wood base was then attached using the screws and anchors.  I should've used flathead screws.  Since I didn't have the right size, I used the round headed ones I had on hand.
I have wood floors, so attached felt pads to the bottom of the base so the screws wouldn't scratch if I moved the lamp around.
I was really disappointed when I plugged the lamp in and it didn't work.  I thought, "All that work and now it won't light up!"  Turns out, I hadn't pushed the light bulb in the socket far enough, LOL.  It works fine! 
I think the lamp is more stable now than it was before the original concrete fell out.  I'll be curious to see how long the repair lasts.
Cost of repair:
• $5 for vinyl concrete.  I bought a 10 lb. bucket and only used half.
• $2 for felt pads
• The rest of the scrap wood, anchors, screws, and cardboard I had came from my stash.
Satisfaction from DIY = Priceless!
~ Not to mention the cost savings from not having to buy a new stitching lamp :) ~

Jan 17, 2016

Baby, It's COLD Outside!

I knew it couldn't last.  Wishful thinking that the "warm" winter weather would stick around.  Mother Nature had other plans.

This morning, the temperature was -4F.  The winds have been brutal all weekend, making this morning feel like it was -22F. 

Can you say BRRRRRR?!?  Any amount of time outside results in brain freeze.  Literally.

Colder weather, more stitching.  Sounds good, right?  Right.  I've had a couple of finishes since the beginning of the year.

Life's A Stitch from the book, "A Woman's World in Cross Stitch" by Joan Elliott. I stitched it on 28ct Silkweaver pale yellow opalescent linen with DMC threads and changed the black backstitching to coordinating threads for each motif. I also changed the border color and bead color.

This is what the original design looks like:

My second finish was stitched on a leftover piece of Silkweaver 28ct opalescent linen called Shimmering Romance.  I used DMC threads and added coordinating backstitch.

Designer: Little Rabbit Miniatures
I added the arm on the left and closed up the bottom of the snowman.  Also added the snowflake buttons.  My plan is to use the background fabric and make it into a flatfold.
I've also been working on Japanese Garden.  Can I get a big "Woo Hoo!"?  I haven't  worked on it since I attended the Hoosier Retreat last March. 
::hangs head in shame::
Here's what it looked like the last time I worked on JG
Eight hours over the course of several days,
progress made!
I would've worked on it more, but a slight catastrophe issue arose.  I went to move my daylight stitching lamp and the concrete bottom fell out.

After doing some research, I'm going to attempt to repair it.  Stay tuned for the results.
Until next time...

Jan 1, 2016

Last Finish Squeaked In

As 2015 came to a close, I finished up the year long SAL created by Palko. She has a 2016 SAL planned, too!

Without further adieu, here's my version of the December Monthly SAL:

Each month stitchers were provided with the chart and we were to choose our own colors. So much fun!

Until next time...

Dec 28, 2015

End of Year Catch Up

Our first snowfall of winter occurred on November 23rd. Ten inches of heavy, heavy (Did I mention "HEAVY"?) snow fell. Starting out, I was able to clear the backyard with the snowblower.

While trying to clear the driveway, I fell backward into the snow. Landed on my rear end and jammed my knee into a screw on the snowblower. It's almost healed. I can't believe how long it's taking!

Then the shear pin broke on one of the augers. Since I couldn't get out of the driveway, I couldn't go get another one. This meant shoveling by hand... for the rest of the day! Because of this, I'm now suffering from tendonitis in my elbow. Thankfully, a passerby offered to help me clear out the remaining third by the street. Who says there aren't good samaritans?

Once I was able to get out, I went out to get new shear pins and promptly repaired the snowblower.

Up until today, my area only saw one other snowfall... a light dusting. Today... oh today... brought sleet and freezing rain. All day! Most of us at work left early. There's about 3" of sleet on my driveway. I don't know how I'm going to get it cleared.

December 14th marked the 90-day anniversary at my "new" job. So far, it's been going pretty well. I have three project managers I work under. One is in another state so I've never met him. A second is very good at explaining in depth everything I need to know... and then some. The third forgets that I'm new and doesn't take the time to explain unless I ask for clarification on how things should be done. The first month was spent training in other offices near Chicago. I went to a seminar in near Chicago to learn the basics of construction industry accounting. The trainers gave out candy for anyone who answered questions.

At the back of the training room, this sign covered a good two-thirds of the wall. I really liked it. It's so true!

A couple weeks ago, I became a great auntie for the third time. Let me introduce you to Annyia Rose. She is so tiny and adorable.

You may or may not know about the adult coloring craze that's been going on the past several years. I decided to download a coloring page and dig out my art supplies from years past. I started this floral design a few days ago.

I'm really enjoying working on this. I've used cheapo Rose Art and Cra-Z-Art colored pencils since they're what I had. On each flower, 13-15 colors were used.

I participated in one Christmas ornament exchange this year. The person I sent to was not the person I received from. You may recall from a while back, the flat snowman ornament I did. It went to Jenn in TX.
Design: Heads Up
Designer: Cherrywood Design Studio
Cherrywood Design Studio
Magazine: 2012 Just Cross Stitch Ornament issue
Fabric: 28ct White Linen
Fibers: DMC
Embellishments: Handmade cording,
DMC memory thread arms, fabric scarf

I received the cutest ornament from Char in PA. Thank you, Char!

I also participated in a card exchange. Marina in Canada sent me an adorable angel ornament. Thank you, Marina!

I really wasn't in the mood to decorate for Christmas this year so all I can show is the many cards I received from friends and family.

For Christmas dinner, I made Italian Roasted Chicken, Roasted Mixed Vegetables, and Mashed Potatoes with Mushroom Gravy.  It was soooooo delish!

In my next post, I will be showing my two finishes.  Stay tuned!