Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Creating A Cross Stitch Art Gallery

I have two walls in my house that are perfect for hanging up my cross stitch projects. They're perfect because they follow the staircase leading from the main floor to my second floor (so lots of wall space) and there are no windows (meaning no pesky direct sunlight to ruin the colours on the cross stitched pieces). So, I have purposely left those walls blank, just waiting for me to finish framing my cross stitch projects and hang them up.

Well, last week I finished framing two cross stitch projects. I put each one in a shadow box and hung them in a straight line. The cross stitch pieces look amazing in their frames and best of all, it looks like I have my very own art gallery in my house! I've decided that when I finish my current cross stitch project, I'll also frame it in a shadow box and hang it up on the other side. Then I'll really feel like I'm in an art gallery when I walk up the stairs.

In the past, I've used traditional picture frames for my cross stitch projects. But I always found that they were a bit of a pain. The frame never quite had enough room, especially if I had the cross stitching on a mounting board. But the shadow boxes had lots of room! Plus, the frame doesn't need to be fancy to have your work really stand out. With nothing else to distract people, the cross stitching is now the focus – just as it should be!

Please visit my website, Beautiful Creations, for more ideas on Framing Cross Stitch – where I show you ideas such as shadow boxes, hoops, pillows and much more!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Book Review of "Knits Three Ways"

Today's blog is a book review of "Knits Three Ways" by Melissa Matthay. This book takes 12 different patterns and does 3 variations for each pattern, to give you a total of 36 new and exciting designs. I love the fact that it shows you how a pattern can be modified to give a totally different look to the finished item, just by changing the yarn, the type of stitches used and/or the length of the item.

The book starts off with a note from the author, explaining how she came up with the idea for the book and what you will find in it. The next six pages are dedicated to teaching you how to design your own sweaters. If nothing else, it will give you the confidence to modify patterns so that you will end up with the sweater of your dreams.

The rest of the book contains twelve patterns, with three variations on each pattern. Even then, for each variation, the author explains how you can take elements from the other variations. For example, if you liked the neckline from one variation and the sleeves from the other variation, she’ll explain how to combine those elements into the pattern you're looking at.

Myself, I will be trying out the v-neck cardigan, using the "Tracy" variation. I almost passed this pattern over, until I realized that it was the yarn I didn't like. The pattern is what I have been searching for – a simple cardigan. Now I have the confidence to change the yarn type and go for it!

Visit Beautiful Creations for more knitting and crochet books with exciting and bold patterns. Happy knitting!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Having Fun in a Power Outage

Last night we had the worst thunderstorm in years. I was sitting on my porch and watched as this dark cloud quickly moved my way. As soon as the dark cloud reached my house, it went from sprinkling rain to gusting winds and heavy rains in less than a minute. The resulting lightning storm was amazing to watch, with new lightning strikes almost every minute. Along with the wind, rain and lightning, the power went out.

The storm produced such strong winds that they knocked down several hydro poles on a nearby street, plunging several blocks into darkness. Of course, not knowing the cause of the power outage, my neighbours and I prepared to wait it out. My neighbours invited my husband and I to come over for a visit. So, we sat in the living room with only candles on the table and shelves to light the room. We talked for a bit, laughed and had a good visit.

The highlight of the evening however, was our neighbour's five year old daughter entertaining us with her dance routine. Her mom shone a flashlight on her, as if it was the spotlight on a stage and introduced her to the "crowd". I provided the music and we all watched her dance. At the end of every dance routine, we all clapped and shouted "Bravo"!

It was a fun evening and all because of a thunderstorm. I'm just hoping that the next time we get together, it's not because of a power outage!