Aug 22, 2016

Have Paint, Will Travel

In my last post, I shared my photographic checks. Thank you all for the compliments. They are really cool, aren't they?  I've had several inquiries as to where I got them.  I ordered mine from Artistic Checks www.artisticchecks.com.  One caveat... Look for a coupon code to get them really inexpensively.  Normally, they are $20.95 + shipping!

ARTISTIC ENDEAVORS
A while ago, I picked up a set of Loew Cornell watercolor pencils and a new adult coloring book called Magical Garden by Cra-Z-Art.  I really like the pencils. They cover and blend really well and are not too expensive.


Two weeks ago, I started a 6-week watercolor workshop taught by a local artist.  This week, we had to come up with ideas what we'd like to paint for our "masterpiece".  These were my choices.

The instructor critiqued our choices.  He really liked all of them except for the hot air balloon. He said the sky didn't have interesting detail in it.  I chose the autumn river scene.  It will be very difficult, but I will give it my best!

 
One of the supplies recommended for class was an 18x24" thin board for drawing and painting on.  Ahh... a DIY project!  I bought an inexpensive piece of Masonite and cut it to size.  A bit of primer and quite a few coats of polycrylic makes for a nice waterproof painting surface.
 
 
On my own, I've been doing some fun things with my watercolor paints.  I've created color cards so I know what the paints look like on paper.
 
 
I also did a mixing exercise with the Reeves watercolors using primary colors: red, blue, yellow to make secondary and tertiary colors.
 


CRUISE NIGHT 2016
When I was a teenager, entertainment on a Friday night was cruising around the square downtown.  From that, Cruise Night was born.  At first, it was a bunch of people with cool cars, trucks, and motorcycles that drove around the square.  There was a beer tent with music.  Decades later, it has turned into a huge event featuring car shows, music/entertainment, and competitions.  This year, my brothers and nephew decided to take their cars and enter the burnout contest.  My oldest brother placed 3rd out of about 20-25 cars in the competition.  Pretty cool bragging rights, if you're into cars!

video

My brother in his 1969 Pontiac GTO convertible.  He restored and painted it himself.
 
Photo from 2008
 
video

My nephew entered his 1973 Chevy Nova - He created a lot of smoke, which is one of the factors they're judged on.  He didn't place, though.  Not bad for his first time!

video

My youngest brother entered his 1968 Pontiac GTO.  Both my brothers vamped up the motor the day before.  He had a hard time keeping it on the pad, and the facilitators shut him down early.


Photo from 2014 - My nephew in his Nova next to my brother's GTO.
FREEBIE




Road Trip by Ursula Michael
Get the freebie HERE.
 

Jul 25, 2016

Did Ya Know?

Did you know today is National Thread the Needle Day?  Me either!  What better reason to thread that needle and get a few stitches in?


I challenged my followers on facebook to post a photo of their threaded needle.  How about posting on your blog, your threaded needle.  Here's mine:


THEATRE
Braving lightning, wind, and sheets of torrential rain, I made the trek to community threatre to see Sugar.   Based on the film “Some Like It Hot” (starring Marilyn Monroe), SUGAR chronicles the zany lives of two musicians, of the prohibition era, who witness a gangster slaying. In an effort to hide from the gangsters, they disguise themselves as women and join an all-female orchestra. Comedy unfolds as they try to integrate with the women and avoid "dirty old men".  Memorable musical numbers include Penniless Bums, The Beauty That Drives Men Mad, We Could Be Close, Doin’ It for Sugar, What Do You Give (To a Man Who Has Everything?), Beautiful Through and Through and November Song. 

For the most part, the play was entertaining, but it wasn't one of the better ones I've seen.  I didn't particularly care for the over-exaggerated gangster scenes.  In an attempt to make it seem humorous, it was over done and I didn't think it was that funny.  On the upside, it was impressive that most of the cast were from an area high school.

PHOTOGRAPHY
Long time readers know my other hobby is photography.  Recently, I found a new way to "display" my photographic talents.  I've shared the following scenic views in my past blogs:

Do any of them look famlliar?
 
Okay, okay... so what's the big deal?  (Yes, I can hear you tap-tap-tapping your fingers on the desk as I prolong the suspense, LOL)  Well... two years ago I opened a new bank account and just recently I *finally* used up all the starter checks and had to order new ones.  I searched and searched and searched for a company that sold checks at a reasonable cost with no shipping costs.  Gotta love coupon codes!  Just so happened that the company I chose not only had a big variety of check designs to choose from, they also allowed you to upload YOUR OWN photos to be printed on the checks.  How cool is that?!!
 
Behold....
my photos above turned into check designs!

I only ordered a box of 200, but I'm sure that will hold me over for years...  All for $6.95!  I was so excited to get my checks... Who knew?!!

STITCHY STUFF
Needle flying, I whipped up the Snow Foxy Sled Ornament. These sled ornaments are so fun (and quick!) to stitch up.  This makes three finishes in July!

Linked to Stitching Lotus Smalls SAL

Snow Foxy is a freebie chart I received with the purchase of the Snow Friends chart when I was at the PALS retreat in 2013. The design is stitched on 14ct brown perforated paper with DMC threads and attached to the sled with tacky glue.

As I contemplated what stitch project to do next, I realized I hadn't worked on Eight Immortals since 2014! ::hangs head in shame:: Hard to believe that I'm down to three... whoops... four WIPs.


• Elegance of the Orient

Decisions, decisions... What to work on? Since I really do like Eight Immortals (lovely colors, easy-to-stitch), I pulled it out and made some progress. Look... She has an entire face and more hair!

Linked to SuperMom Stitchery Party #68

Until next time....
 

Jul 18, 2016

Family, Finds, and Another Finish

FAMILY
My family had some sad news last week. My cousin had a heart attack and after being on life support for three days, the decision was made to let her go.  She was only in her mid 40's (a few younger than me.) and leaves behind a husband and two adult children. Even though we weren't close as adults, she and her siblings grew up with me and mine. We are all saddened by the circumstances and another family loss.

Last week was also the second anniversary of my Dad's passing. So many images of his last months still pass through my mind.  He showed a strength like no one I've known.  He wasn't the easiest guy to have as a Dad, but he taught us many things and had a quirky sense of humor when he let it show. We still miss him terribly.

TREASURE HUNTING
A couple of weeks ago, I went thrift store shopping to find a frame for Words 2016. While browsing, I came across a Keurig brewer for $30! It looked like it had been hardly used... No scratches, watermarks, or lime build-up. I plugged it in to see if it worked (i.e. could power up) and took it home.


The thrift store offers a 3-day return policy on electric items if they don't work. With that in mind, I attempted to brew something! No instruction manual came with it, so I had to wing it. (I did find a PDF of the manual online and downloaded it) When "Prime" showed up on the screen, I Google'd it and found that this was a common error message. I'm guessing this is why it ended up at the thrift store. Being the resourceful gal that I am, I turned to YouTube.  I watched three videos trying all the suggestions... the Keurig would NOT brew. Ugh. I watched another video and BOOM! It worked. I brewed coffee, tea, and hot chocolate just to make sure I really did resolve the problem. It's been working like a champ since. Thank you, YouTube!!

STITCHY STUFF
I did find a frame for Words 2016, but it's about 2" too large. I'm going to take it apart and cut it to the right size. It's on hold right now because my power compound mitre saw is at my parents' house being used for trim work. I may take the frame out there and cut it then bring it back home to reassemble.

I've had another finish! Here's what the original design looks like:


I'm not sure how I want to finish-finish mine yet, but it sure looks pretty. I've changed the colors to be more cheery and match the fabric.


Linked To: SuperMom Stitchery Party

Started: 3/14/2016 ~ Finished: 7/17/2016
Design: Promise Me
Designer: Lizzie Kate
Fabric: 28ct Luguna "Iris" by Hand-Dyed Fabrics by Stephanie
Fibers: DMC, GAST, WDW, and Carries Creations threads

Jul 6, 2016

Freebie, Finish, and App Review


FREEBIE
What screams warm weather and summer more than flip flops?  NevaSirenda at DeviantArt created this cute bookmark.  This design is simple enough that you could swap out colors you prefer. Perfect for summer reading!


Click HERE to download the chart.


FINISH
I have a finish!  This was a stitch-along hosted by Palko in Hungary.

Design: Words 2016 SAL*
Designer: Palko
Fabric:  32ct Dusty Rose Evenweave
Fibers:  DMC
Started: January 22 ~ Finished: July 5, 2016
Other SAL projects can be seen HERE.

*I created the border using a portion the chart,
Argentina.

XSTITCH APP REVIEW

Words SAL is the first project I started and finished using the Xstitch app by PerformTec Ltd on my smartphone and tablet.  It's very easy to use.

Designed by cross stitchers for cross stitchers, it has three modules:  journal, inventory, and shopping list. There is also a search feature for when you need to look up a particular item or project. Price for the app is $2.99 -- well worth it, in my opinion. 

You can use the journal module to categorize and track all your projects, add photos, document the start and finish dates, and keep detailed project notes. It also allows you to keep track of a wishlist.  We all know how important that is! With the tap of a finger, the status of a project can be changed from Wishlist to Kitted to Started to Finished and moves to the correct journal "chapter". As I progressed on the Words SAL, I updated the project photo. That way I had the latest WIP photo in my journal.  I only have three WIPs in my app so far, but I could see how this would be handy for those who have a TON of WIPs.  (Yes, you know who you are!)  Something I'd like to see with this app is the ability to print out the journal. 

(Click to Photo to Enlarge)
Just a note on the Journal Details page:  Below Linen Notes, there is also a Project Notes section.  I use it for any details I want to remember such as who/what the project was made for, embellishments and unique supplies I used, etc.

This is a screenshot of the finishes I have entered in the app.
You can keep track of your charts, threads, and fabric with the inventory module.  The app comes loaded with hundreds of chart designers and over 6,000 thread selections to enable you to quickly add information.  The app-masters (Is that such a thing?) will also take suggestions for adding new designers and threads.  I wish there was an option to add threads to inventory that are not mainstream (i.e. Carrie's Creations, Six Strand Sweets, etc.). 

The homepage can be customized by adding a photo of your choice.  I have Japanese Garden on my homepage ::big grin::  The only issue I have is that when I access the app on my smartphone, the "Journal Entries" text wraps around and is overwritten by the "Charts and Kits" text line.  This only happens on my smartphone. It's fine on my tablets.


Photos of your WIPs and Finishes can be uploaded free of charge.  If you want to add photos of your inventory charts, these are not free. You can purchase credits to upload the photos. Photo credits can be bought in increments of for 99c, 50 for $1.99, or 100 for $2.99. The credits aren't re-usable (i.e. If you use a credit for a chart then get rid of the chart, you can't re-use the credit for a different chart photo.) For me, this is a downfall since I have lots of charts and kits I'd like to inventory.

Edited: Thanks to Nancy in MI and Pam in SC, I have learned a work-around to adding photos with my charts and kits without having to pay for the credits.  I add them to the "kitted" section of the journal. When I get the urge to start a new project (C'mon now... you KNOW you do it, too!), I can scroll through the "kitted" section and see what strikes my fancy.  I rarely kit up projects ahead of time, but when I do I can note the supplies in the project notes. Then when I get ready to stitch, all I need to do is change the status to "started".

Floss can be added to the shopping list from the floss inventory module by simply tapping the shopping basket next to the individual floss items.  Items can also be added to the shopping list manually.  I haven't used this part of the app, but it seems pretty easy.

X-Stitch uses cloud technology so you have the ability to securely access your data from all your IOS and Android devices. I like the fact that I can log in to my tablet or smartphone and be able to access the app without having to manually sync the data.  I have the app on an iPad, an android tablet, and smartphone... the data syncs to all of them.  Very convenient!

Have you tried the app? What are your thoughts?