Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Last Page Finish for 2015, Winter Hat Owl, pages 13 and 17

This is a 2 page finish, even though page 17 was just a partial, IT STILL COUNTS! 
This was 8160 stitches, started Dec 2 and finished Dec 27.   It would have been done a lot sooner, but Christmas, and then visiting with my sister, who I kitted up to do her first HaED, an owl.

This makes 20 HaED page finishes for 2015!  Frankly, I'm surprised I still have fingers left. I'm not crazy enough to try and beat that for 2016, but I do make the goal of finishing 2 projects next year, possibly 3.

Wish me luck.

Happy New Year to all of my stitching kindreds.  May your New Year be filled with free time galore, and ample opportunity to stitch.

~Rai Rai

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Adrift, Page 22/42 is Complete

Started Nov 3 and finished Dec 1, this page took nearly a month. 

7315 stitches.

I'm back to Winter Hat Owl, the last 8 pages, with 4 of them being very small partials, so the end is in sight.  I can't wait, and I've lined up my next project, which I will unveil in good time. 

I have to say, I really enjoyed reading all of your favourite accessories to stitch with.  Mine have become such a daily part of my stitching life, that I don't really think about them much, in short, I fear I take them for granted.  So I thought I'd give you a top 10 list of favourite accessories of mine.

1. My stand.  It's a K's creation, and I can easily snap my q-snap into it and work away.  I know it looks a bit steampunkish, but I love it.

2. My Mighty Bright Magnifier. (the only photos of have of it have the cockatoo - sorry)  It's the only thing that saves my eyes from certain blindness brought on by HaED patterns.

3. My ipad.   (sorry, no photo)  But using it with Goodreader has been the best thing ever.  I make far fewer mistakes and the fact I can zoom that baby in so I'm only focusing on a 10x10 grid is helpful. 
If you haven't converted to .pdf patterns, I highly recommend it.

4. My Q-Snaps.  I'm convinced this is the best invention since sliced bread.  My sad little favourite hoop has been semi retired.  I now mix and match my sizes. I have put the 11x11 with the 8x8 to make a sort of landscape style Q-Snap.  It works for me!

5. My floss case.  I bought this around 1992 in Nova Scotia.  Note the great big section in the middle that gives me scads of room for scissors and other necessities?  I've never found this particular style of case again.  I almost handle this with white gloves, that's how precious this is to me.  A friend found one in a dollar store, but when she went back they were sold out, with no recollection of ever having them in stock.  If ever any of you see one like this, I'd appreciate a heads up.

6. My Scissors.  It's no secret I have a bit of an addiction when it comes to Gingher designer scissors.  I can't help myself, they are just so darn beautiful!  I've since collected a total of 5 that I rotate with every page.

7. My needle minders.  I'm starting to get out of control with this addiction.  I've even taken to making my own using old costume jewellery.

8. My needle threaders.  Most useful accessory when it comes to threading Krenick and other tricky threads.

9. Wax for when your threads just won't stop knotting. 

10.  My Tacky Bob, which comes in dead handy for beading.  Sadly, I don't have much use for it anymore, but I still pull it out and use it when I want to make some scissor fobs. (For those that don't know, a Tacky Bob looks like a cd cover, with sticky flypaper-esque paper on the inside that you can throw beads on and they won't end up all over the floor/couch/lap)

Honourable mention!
My SnagNab It. Handy, handy, handy little tool for grabbing wayward threads that aren't sitting neatly.

That's it! That's my top 10 accessory list.  I need every single one of these things on my list.  Stitching without them would simply be barbaric!

If you do a top 10 list on your own blog, please link to it in the comments.  I love, love, love seeing your favourites!

Happy stitching, everyone!

~Rai Rai

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Winter Hat Owl, Page 12 is Complete

Started October 26 and finished November 3, this has got to be a new stitching record for me!
(Ok, technically it was a partial page, but it was 6270 stitches, so close to a full page.

Only 4 full pages and 4 partials to go and I will be done.

So I survived Halloween, and so did the cats.  Since the black one is a darter who will run out of the door whenever we open it, he had to be locked in the bathroom.  So we put him in there with food and his litter box and in protest he knocked all of the knickknacks off of the shelf and pooped in the tub.  And in 3 hours we got less than 20 kids.  I have a lot of candy left over. 

I loved hearing about how your other half supports/tolerates your hobby.  There are some good men out there! 

So I have another question for you.  What is your favorite stitching accessory/tool that you love?  It might not be something you use every day, but it's something that you can't do without? 

Mine would have to be the Snag Nab It!  What did I do without this item?   For those who don't know, its' a great little tool that is a needle with a fuzzy end that grabs those threads that are not laying nice and snug and pulls them through.  http://www.123stitch.com/item/Dritz-Snag-Nab-It/DRITZ-618
I don't use this often, but boy does it come in handy!

Anyone care to share their must have accessory?  I'd love to hear it!

I'm off to stitch Adrift.  It's almost all tail this page, so I won't be as fast, but I hope to have something to show off to you in a month or so!

Happy stitching!

~Rai Rai

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Adrift, Page 21 is Complete

Started October 8 and finished Oct 26.  Lots of water and hair with just a peek-a-boo of the tail, so a quick stitch overall.   The next page will be nearly all tail.  It's surprising how much I look forward to working on that.
So this is page 21 complete. Would you believe I still have 15 more pages to do?  *wibbles*

I have all ready purchased my next project, that I anticipate starting some time in the new year, as there are only 5 more pages of the Owl left to do.  I anticipate I will be working on Adrift for the better part of another year - just enough time for me to start saving up for framing her!  After what will be a 3 year project, I will be sparing no expense on framing!

So, I was stitching with my usual group of girls on this past Sunday, and an elderly gentleman came into the store.  He must have spent a good 45 minutes in there, on the phone with his wife, picking up various things and explaining to her in detail what they were ask asking if she would like one.  He pulled threads, picked up various patterns, discussed in detail the difference between the benefits of Aida versus linen, and then spent the longest time of all at the accessories shelf, picking up various things.  He then exchanged a few cheeky barbs with the stitch-n-bitch ladies before he went on his way.  But he sparked a healthy debate on what makes a good man - to which we all heartily agreed he was one!   But just curious now, does your partner support your stitching addiction?  I'm lucky because my hubby doesn't bat an eye when I come home with a $300 frame I bought with my Christmas money, nor does he complain when I ask him to dart into the local stitching store in order to pick me up one colour I'm low on.  He's even been known to feign interest when express frustration on shipping costs when I find something I want.  In short, he's a good one.

Well, it's nearly Halloween, and it's a struggle keeping my kitty cats in.  One is all black and I do worry for him during this time of the year.  He's a darter when you open the door, he's out, so on Halloween night we oppress him by locking him in the bathroom while the kidlets come to the door.

                                                 (This is the face of the oppressed)

And on that note, I hear him scratching at the door.  I hope you all have a happy Halloween and happy stitching.

~Rai Rai

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Winter Hat Owl Page 11 is Complete

Started Sept 10 and finished Oct 7.  7315 stitches.  68% done!!

This is the last full page of owl.  The next is straight background, which should be an incredibly fast stitch, and then just partial owl and lots of background.  Just 9 more pages after this, and 4 of them partials, so really, just 5 more pages and I'm done.

The urge to just stitch on, now that the end is in sight is so, so strong, but I dutifully took him out of the Q-snaps and put him away, because I know if I don't pull out Adrift (who still has so much left on her to do) I will lost my mojo for her and not want to stitch her.  And that just simply cannot happen.

So here he is, two angry little eyes glaring out at you, complaining that his feet, once stitched, will be cold!

I'm so in love with this little guy, I can't adequately express it.  I just want to kiss his tiny little beak and do up his hat.

Next up, Adrift - this time with tail!   Stay tuned!

~ Rai Rai

Friday, 11 September 2015

Adrift, Page 20 is Complete

Page 20 is officially a wrap.  Started Aug 23 and finished Sept 10, it was a pretty quick stitch, with not much detail.  Just a whole lotta water and a li'l bit of hair.

The next page I should get a peek-a-boo view of the tail again.  I can't believe I'm only half way done, 58%.   These patterns are so large that you do a page, 7315 stitches to be exact, and the percentage only goes up by 2%.   But onward, next page update will be 60% complete.  I may celebrate that with a glass of wine - or 5.

I'm already back working on the Winter Hat Owl.   It's already 300 stitches in.  AND, I've managed to start not one, but two friends on a Heaven and Earth pattern.  (Bad Rai.  Bad, bad Rai.  It's not nice to enable people with stitching addictions.)  This next page of the owl will probably take me an entire month to stitch. It's pretty confetti heavy.  But the colors are pretty fabulous.

I'll see you in a month!  Happy stitching!
~Rai Rai

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Winter Hat Owl, Page 10 is Complete.

Started July 18 and finished August 21.  The colors of this page were so much fun to work with, and to say I was into stitching this page is an understatement.  The only thing that got in my way was work.  Work and copious amounts of it, otherwise I would have had this angry little eye glaring at you all much sooner.

Here's a closeup.

He's adorable, and I absolutely love him!  It was so hard to put him down in order to go to work.  It's times like these I wish I was a kept lady!

Back to Adrift for a page, but it's mostly water, and looks to be a pretty fast stitch, then I can get back to the other glaring eye. 

I think when he's done, it's going to be hard to keep a hold of him. My sister is already making all sorts of noises that he will compliment her wall much better than mine, and to be fair, she has an owl collection that rivals none, and he would make a perfect accompaniment.  But I haven't yet made my mind up. Right now the only decision I'm capable of is deciding if I want a latte or an iced latte. 

Decisions, decisions!

I hope to see you soon with an update on Adrift.

~Rai Rai

Friday, 17 July 2015

Adrift, page 19 is complete!

The month of July shall be known in my memory as the month that I worked much and stitched little. This page seemed to take me forever to complete.  I started on June 23 and finished July 16 - a total of 7600 stitches.

Honestly, the monochrome color is hard to stay interested in, and I know that the 2nd half of this project is all water and tail.  I actually had the very strong urge to start another project, but I am firm when I told myself that I couldn't start any new projects until I had a finish.  So I will have to grit my teeth and persevere.  I know when this is done, the water will have all been worth it, and to my benefit, there isn't much confetti when it comes to the water.   It's just relatively easy, but boring colors.   First world problems, indeed!

Now I am off to work on my little owl, who, by the end of this page, will have one very stern eye glaring at me!

I will hopefully have an update for you somewhere toward mid to late August.

See you all then!

~Rai Rai

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Winter Hat Owl Page 9 Complete

Started June 6, and finished June 22.  This is my 11th HaED page finish this year. 
7600 stitches. 

That tiny bit of the hat was 62 colours!    62!!!   The next page will see all sorts of goodies appear. An eye, and quite a few chest feathers!   I'm so looking forward to the splashes of colour I will get to work with.   But I have a feeling this next page is going to take me a while to complete. 

July will be a whirlwind for me.  I'm working crazy hours, which seriously cuts into my stitching time!  (As does picking the perfectly ripe cherries on my tree's, but I'm not complaining about THAT interruption! And for the record, I wish you all lived closer so I could unload some cherries on you, I seriously have way too many!)  

This little page finish is almost like an intolerable peek-a-boo, isn't it?  I want more, more MOAR!!! But alas, it is time to pick up Adrift once again.  I'm not sure when I'll be back with another page finish for Adrift, but hopefully it won't be too long.

~Rai Rai

Saturday, 6 June 2015

Adrift, Pages 17 and 18 are Done!

Started May 14 and finished June 5, I am now officially at the halfway mark! 

I am delighted at how beautiful she is turning out to be, and I also feel a little daunted that I am only half way there!  Miles and miles to go before I complete. 

I am now 52% done. 

I wish I had more to say at this point, but I am merely content to just sit back and admire her.

~Rai Rai

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Scissor Fobs and a Needle Minder

So, these are not the greatest quality, because I only have my phone, and it's not the best for taking super closeups, and trust me when I say, these are much prettier in real life.  But here are the fobs and the needle minder I recently made.

First up is the needle minder.  I found the most beautiful bead that was originally part of a bracelet.  The owner of the store broke the bracelet up and sold me the bead, as she is getting rid of her bead stock.  I used a bit of hot glue and glued a magnet to the back.   24 hours later (just to make sure it was truly dry) I now have a one-of-a-kind needle minder.

These are my favourite scissors.  They are Leah from the Gingher Designer series.  I know it's hard to see the detail, but they are the most beautiful purple roses with green leaves.  For the fob I used a lavender glass seed bead, purple swarovski crystals and a leaf green bead.  The centre is a swarovski ball and the end is a bobbin that I threaded some purple DMC thread on.

 Here's a closer look.

This is a terrible picture and I do apologize.  These are my Ginger Designer "Julia" scissors.  I used a smoky moonstone bead, a smoky glass bluish/greenish bead, glass periwinkle seed beds and ceramic blue bead for the middle.  The end bead is a fresh water pearl set in silver.

A better look, although the pearl doesn't really show up very well.

These are my Ashleys.  I used a pale pink pearl seed bead, swarovski purple, the same green beads I used for my Leah's, and the end bead is a pale pink rose.

A closeup of the rose.

These are my Charlene's. These were the first Gingher scissors I ever collected. 
The fob is swarovski amethyst and light purple, with a smoky rose bead in the middle.  The end is a swarovski heart.

These are my Alyssa's, which are tiny peacock feathers.   I used blue and clear seed beads, and blue and white swarovski crystal beads.  The end bead is a palm tree a friend whom I met on a cruise to the Caribbean gave me.

I really enjoy making fobs, and I've made them for all of my friends in my stitching circle.  Although they do run a tad on the expensive side to make, the crystals really catch the light and make for a stunning outcome.

And that's it.   I do think my Gingher collecting is at it's end, so my Visa (and my husband) can relax.  But who knows. Gingher puts out 2 new designs a year, and down the road there may be a pattern that I simply must have.  And of course, it will have to have its own fob!

Perhaps I had better not put the Visa away just yet....

~Rai Rai

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Page 8 of Winter Hat Owl is Complete

Started May 7 and finished May 14, this is definitely the fasted HaED page finish I've ever had.  To be honest, my wrists are a bit sore, but I wanted to finish this page because I'm scheduled to work the next 3 nights, where I don't get a chance to stitch at all.  It would have killed me being so close to a page finish and not being able to pick it back up until Sunday.

This piece is now 50% done!   

The grey part of hat hat was my nemesis! Pure confetti madness which slowed me down to the point where I wanted to scream and fling it into the fire - if I had a fireplace, that is.  Instead I had to be content to using unpardonable language and copious amounts of it, which, on one occasion, scared the cat. 

I have been busy creating fobs for some Ginger designer scissors I received for Christmas, as well as a needle minder, but I can't seem to get a photo of them that do them justice.   If I can get a good photo, I will post it between my next update of Adrift, which should be in a little over a month because it will be a full page and a partial - which means a row finish.

Stay tuned.  Wonderful things will be coming down the pike!

~Rai Rai

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Adrift, Page 16 Complete

The good and bad thing about transitioning from day shifts to night shifts is the all night stitch-fests I get to do.  Of course the downside is looking at the beautiful day that today promises to be and know that I will be missing it because I will be sleeping all day.

But back to the all night stitch fests.  Last night I finished page 16 of Adrift.  More of that beautiful tail.  I managed to finish this relatively quickly, starting the page April 19 and finishing May 7.  And I am very, very nearly at a milestone.  This page finish brings me up to 49% done! Nearly half-way!

I should have an update of Winter Hat Owl really soon.  It's just a page of blue, and not even a full page, at that.  I managed to get 100 + stitches in after I finished my page of Adrift, so I'm well on my way.

Well, it's been a long night and the sun is shining, which means it's bed time for me.

Happy stitching everyone, and I will see you all soon.

~Rai Rai

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Winter Hat Owl Page 7 Complete

Started March 17th, and finished April 18th.  7315 stitches in total.

I'm not going to lie, I found the grey area of the hat to be arduous, finicky and endless confetti.  It seems like such a small amount, but man, did it ever slow me down.  I originally started cross country, but had to resort to doing a line at a time.  I'm glad this page is over!  The next page is all blue, so it will be a fast stitch.

But first, back to Adrift and her beautiful tail. 

I don't know if I've ever mentioned this before, but I like to color what I've done - especially HaED's. It keeps things organized and helps me see at a glance what I have stitched and where I am.  I used to use pencil, then I graduated to Frixion highlighters, which are erasable, for those times we make a little mistake here and there.  Well, thanks to Ebay, I've managed to get my hands on a set of their pens.   Frixion .07.

To say these pens are awesome, is an understatement!  And so many pretty colors.  These should do me for years.    (Or until the end of Adrift - whichever comes first! ha ha)

In any case, I thought I'd through a shout out to these. I highly recommend them!

That's about all that's new in my little corner of the blogging world.  Hopefully I've have an update within a month. 

~Rai Rai

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Adrift, Page 15 Complete

Finally, the tail!   And what a tail it's going to be.  The colors are so vibrant and pretty.

I started this page on Feb 18 and finished Mar 17.

It's almost hard for me to put this away in favor of Winter Hat Owl. The urge to continue with her tail is so strong, but take a break I must.  I find, for me personally, it's better to stay a little hungry for a pattern, and to always look forward to working on it, than to be bored of it.   Plus, the rich, loud colors of the Owl are calling me to come and play. 

On a personal note, I got the change to meet a lady whose blog I follow.  The lovely Evalina.  (If you haven't checked out her blog, you must )  I invited her to our weekly stitch-n-bitch at our local store, the Stitchers Muse, and she was kind enough to join us.  It was a real treat meeting her. I hope she becomes a regular face at our table!

For anyone wondering about my stand that I posted in my last update, I've since found out it's a K's Creation stand.  From  what I can tell, they are very like a Lowry stand.   I love it and I find it hard to believe that I stitched for as many years without it. 

Well, that's about it for this update.  Hopefully it won't be a full month before I have an update for you. 

Happy stitching!

~Rai Rai

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Winter Hat Owl Page 6

 Page started Feb 6 and finished Feb 18th.

I finally got to the owl, or his hat, anyway.  Oh my gosh, so much confetti in the hat! I literally had to go line by line and park my threads.  It seemed so slow and arduous!  I actually timed myself and I was averaging a row every 40 minutes.  To say if felt like I wasn't getting anything done was an understatement!   But I persevered, and I finished it last night. 

The colors are so rich and beautiful and I'm loving the dark blues and the rich reds.  

But now it's time to put this little man down and pick up Adrift once again.

I have a date with her tail, and boy, I can hardly wait!

~Rai Rai

Friday, 6 February 2015

Adrift, Page 14 Completed!

Page 14 is done, done, done!   My next page, I get to start the tail!!!  I'm so excited! (But judging from the confetti in the pattern, I may yet live to regret that excitement.)

Finishing this page, I got to learn first hand the TRUE meaning of frustration.  I was probably within 100 stitches of a page finish with no work scheduled for a week, and then I got called in.  (I work 12 hour shifts, so when I'm working, my life consists of working, eating and sleeping, and no stitching time whatsoever).   So I got called in to work a shift.. then another... and another. Being so close to a page finish and having to wait 4 days before I could pick it up again!   TORTURE! 

Anybody following this blog work with stands?  I got a little bit of money for Christmas, and bought one, that I don't know the name of.   It's not like the standard Hearthside stands that we usually see. This one looks more industrial, with a metal base (which is what I needed above all, because I have a wood loving Cockatoo, who would have made short work of my new expensive stand) 

It's hard to describe, so here is a photo of it.  I prefer to work with Q-Snaps, so this fits perfectly into the frame, and holds nice and snug while I learn how to stitch with both hands (omg, so much faster)
It took me a few days to get used to it, and at first I thought I'd made a huge mistake and that it was more awkward and uncomfortable, but then I spent some time adjusting to my comfort level and really giving it a chance, and now I'm convinced it was the best purchase I've ever made.

It's not the prettiest stand, but it's perfect for me!  And being that it's small (as far as stands go) I can fit my light AND my magnifier beside it.  I now have an extremely busy little stitching corner, but it's mine all mine and I love it!

Hopefully I should have a nice page of Winter Hat Owl to show off in a few weeks, this time with Owl! 

Happy stitching, everyone!

~Rai Rai

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Winter Hat Owl Progress, aka Blue, Blue and Blue

I just finished page 5 of Winter Hat Owl a couple of days ago, and I thought you might like to see the progress.   The next page I actually get to start the hat.  But until then, MOAR BLUE!

That being said, I'm already 32% done this project.   I'm surprised by the amount of confetti in the actual owl.  I guess I never really looked at the pattern that closely.   Oh well, at least it's beautiful, vibrant bright colors - the antithesis of Adrift. 

Enjoy. I'm already well into my next page of Adrift, and I should have an update for you in a few weeks time.

~Rai Rai

Monday, 5 January 2015

Adrift, Page 13 is Complete

First page finish of the year! 

I'm getting so close to being able to start working on her tail, I'm so excited.  I thought it would make an appearance in the next page, but I think I have to wait one more page before it makes it's first peek-a-boo appearance.

I'm off to work on a page of the Winter Hat Owl.   Only one more page of nothing but background and I start to work on the actual owl itself.  

So excited! 

Rai Rai