Tuesday, April 15, 2014

WIPocalypse April Check-In

Greetings, fellow stitchers!  Hard to believe that it's time already for the April WIPocalypse update!  But April means spring time, and that is definitely a good thing.  So, first things first -- my progress for the past month on WIPS.

I did not work at all last month on Tyler's Lion, my historical sampler.  No reason, I just got sidetracked by other things.  Such as my new start.  I loved the finished Albero Felice so much that I decided to start what will be a companion piece by the same designer, Alessandra Adelaide (AAN).  She has a couple dozen fantastic, stylized tree designs, and I fell in love with this one:

I chose this one for the design, but also because some of the colors are the same ones used in Albero Felice.  Since I plan to frame them similarly and hang them as companion pieces, I figured the similar colors would tie the pieces together.  Anyway, here is my start on this one, which I'm stitching on 32 ct. antique white Belfast linen:

I actually could have worked a lot more on this one, but one of the reasons that I started it is that I am going to Dallas to see my sister in a week or so, and I wanted a piece to take with me that wasn't super small like an ornament, but that was simple enough that I could work on it without having to intensely concentrate on each stitch.

Next up is Liza's Bouquet.  This piece was my primary focus for the month.  I'm not sure why, I just couldn't seem to stop working on it!  I just love stitching this design, it is so bright and colorful.  So here is where I am on this one as of yesterday:

And here's a close up of one of the super colorful areas:

Ok, so that's my stitching progress for the month.  April's discussion topic is how do we organize our stash?  Hmmm.  This one is kind of tough for me.  I have two stashes.  The reason is that I took a multi-year hiatus from stitching when my arthritis got bad, and I've only returned to this hobby in the last year.  So I have stash from "before," which is mostly still packed away in boxes in the basement, and then I have "current" stash, which is a few patterns and fabrics that I've purchased lately.  And I really have not organized my "new" stash at all!  I have some projects put together and they are in a basket below my stitching table, but other than that, things are in disarray.  I do have all of my floss organized on bobbins in the plastic boxes, so at least I can easily find threads that I need.   I'll be anxious to read everyone else's updates and see all of your organizational tips -- maybe I can work some magic on all of my stash!

Until May, then, happy stitching! 

Friday, April 11, 2014

DIY Puzzles

Here is a great idea for a party activity, or a fun twist on a greeting card -- do-it-yourself puzzles.  Did you know that you can buy blank puzzles that you can decorate yourself?  Yep, you can, and you can even get them in various sizes.  You can find these in some party stores, but you can also buy them on Amazon.  That's where I got the ones I recently made.

At my office, we celebrate Pi Day (see this post if you want more information), and I'm usually in charge of the activities.  I needed something that would be fun and that wouldn't take too long.  I decided to make puzzles stamped with random numbers, to be put together by teams of two.  This was a contest, so the first team to finish their puzzle won a prize.  Because these were adults, I chose puzzles roughly 81/2 x 11 in size, with 63 pieces in each. But, as I said, you can buy the blanks smaller or larger, and with more or fewer pieces.  For instance, you might want small puzzles with just a few large pieces to put in goody bags for a kid's birthday party.

You can decorate the blanks any way you choose.  They can be painted, stamped, or colored with markers, colored pencils, crayons, or pretty much anything else you can think of.  For mine, I left the background white (I actually wish now that I had painted the background a color first -- the puzzles would have been more attractive).  Then I got out various number stamp sets I own, along with a few different colors of ink pads.  I needed my puzzles to be all the same, so I set up the blanks on my kitchen table and stamped them assembly line fashion.  Here's a picture of the puzzles in process:

And here is a close-up of one of the puzzles -- you can see where the pieces will eventually snap apart:

I should mention that the one thing you can't do with these puzzles is run them through a printer -- the blanks are made of thin cardboard material, NOT cardstock.  Because they are cardboard, they are pretty much like a "real" puzzle that you would buy, just a little thinner.  And the pieces come apart pretty easily when you are done decorating.

I just packaged mine in plastic bags to tote to my office, but you could do a cuter presentation, as well.  If the puzzle is to be a greeting card, you could slip the pieces in an envelope or small box.  The possibilities are endless.

Cost:  For the size that I bought, the blank puzzles ran a little less than a dollar each, but I did have to buy a dozen.  You may be able to buy blanks individually at a party store.