Posts Tagged With: Once Upon a Time

And They All Lived Happily Ever After

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Once Upon a Time:

Huzzahs all around!

Huzzahs all around!

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Categories: Completed Projects | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

January WIPocalypse

What a week. Or maybe I should just say what a month instead. You know how just about everything stopped everywhere over the holidays? Yeah, no, I worked through them. And I was putting in a crazy number of extra hours to meet a deadline. I’m exhausted, and I did something weird to my elbow. Time to burn a few vacation days.

It’s tough to stitch when you’re this worn out (and when your elbow is messed up). I had to frog and stitch the same little section three times in a row the other day. The last few nights I’ve just stared at my stitching in a vague stupor before putting it down without a single stitch and going to sleep instead.

So let’s talk about WIPocalypse. January’s topic is: Introduce yourself, your projects, and any goals you have for the year!

Me. I’m a 20-something from California who works too much and spends the rest of her time waiting on two cats hand and foot. Their lives pretty much revolve around sleeping, eating, pooping, and sitting in boxes.

Right now I’m focusing on Once Upon a Time from Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery. I started this one back at the beginning of 2014, and it’s time to finish it. My goal is to finish before the next Frosted Pumpkin pattern comes out on the 15th. This weekend would sure be great. I have made some progress since I last posted about it, so I haven’t been completely useless.

So close, yet so far.

So close, yet so far.

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Cinderelly and the Pumpkin

Happy new year (plus a few days)!

Oh how I wanted to finish this project before the end of December. Shockingly, that didn’t happen. The new goal is to finish this before the Story Time Sampler is released later this month. That much I can do, assuming I don’t waste the weekends between now and then.

Let’s check in with Once Upon a Time, where Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother has bippity-boppity-booed the pumpkin carriage into existence.

October in January? Just roll with it.

October in January? Just roll with it.

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September WIPocalypse

How about that, I’m posting on time for once.

Since my last post, I finished the first part of the Something Wicked mystery sampler. Still holding off on pictures until the entire thing is finished per Patti’s request. Part 2 is on order, but of course I ordered it with another pattern that was out of stock, so I’m still waiting on that one. But that’s okay; I have plenty of other things to work on in the meantime.

I’m catching up on Once Upon a Time. Here’s my August block:

I admit I'm completely blanking on the title of this story, even though it was totally the summer theater project one year when I was in elementary school.

I admit I’m completely blanking on the title of this story, even though it was totally the summer theater project one year when I was in elementary school.

I changed up the colors on the cat. The original pattern is orange, but I figured there are enough cats running around this place that I might as well use one of them as a model. Here’s the cat in question wearing a bow tie:

I'll have a vodka mahrtini. Shaken, not shtirred.

I’ll have a vodka mahrtini. Shaken, not shtirred.

For everything else I’ve stitched since my last WIPocalypse update, please click over to my post from a few days ago.

September topic is: Who is your favourite person to stitch for, or do you prefer to keep your stitching yourself?

I just stitch for myself. I used to stitch gifts, but no one was very appreciative. Back in the early days before I could gauge how long a project would take, I gave someone a birthday gift six weeks after the fact because it took me way longer to finish than I expected. They were irritated that I had “forgotten” their birthday and thought I had only just then remembered. I stopped giving stitched gifts a few years after that. I was making smaller, more manageable pieces as gifts, but then people were responding like I’d just thrown something together because they were small. Maybe it would be different if I gave gifts to other stitchers, but there aren’t that many in my life. I had planned to make a gift for someone earlier this year (first time in about 6 years) but changed my mind. I think that one could have gone 50/50, but it would have been about a 30-hour project and I’ve just been burned too many times in the past. Every now and again I see a pattern and think, “Oh, so and so would love that!” but I don’t go along with it.

Oh! Also of note is that I’ve added an Instagram account. Check out @live.long.and.stitch for some of my smaller updates.

Categories: WIP | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Still Here, Still Stitching

Clearly, I’ve been out of the loop for a bit, though I’ve still been stitching. A second round of work travel, a few night shifts, and a scratched cornea left me rather distracted. Meanwhile, my brother has convinced me to run a half-marathon in a few months, and I’m learning parkour. With what little free time I have left, it’s pretty much blog or stitch, and I chose to stitch. (Because otherwise there wouldn’t be much to blog about, am I right?)

But whatever. I’m here now, and I have updates. April or May or whenever was a while ago. Now that I’m uploading all the pictures, it occurs to me I might not want to cram all of this into one post, but if I don’t I’ll just give up and figure I can write this thing another day. Not sure if we’re in a rut or a vicious cycle, but I’m not going to analyze it too closely. I’m also going to tackle some of the WIPocalypse questions I missed, but for now let’s talk about the stitching progress.

Finishes first. Hold onto your hats.

May Calendar Girl - Completed 5/10

May Calendar Girl – Completed 5/10

Here’s the May Calendar Girl from Little House Needleworks. I have the rest of them, but I second guessed myself as to how I want to finish them. They’ll sit for a minute until I figure it out. Since I already have 3 finished, I’ll most likely keep stitching each one separately just so I don’t have to redo them. I have enough other pieces languishing in the stash that I’m not really in a hurry. They’re cute, but I just don’t know what I want to do with them.

Colonial Dry Goods

Colonial Dry Goods

I really like this one, and I had my eye on it for a while. This is Colonial Dry Goods, also by Little House Needleworks, finished 5/23. Fun fact, that blue is actually green. At least, it’s called green, which really threw me for a loop. The left side looks a little weird because I don’t stitch on a hoop and haven’t stretched it out for framing yet. I’ve been waiting until I have more things to frame because I’m cheap and don’t like to pay for shipping. It happens. The lettering at the top is a Classic Colorworks floss called Rod and Reel, and it’s one of the best overdyed flosses I’ve used. Everything else is just variation within the same color, which is subtle. This one is a little more in your face.

Sugar is Sweet - 6/8/14

Sugar is Sweet – 6/8/14

The picture doesn’t do this one justice. The lighting in my kitchen really messed with the various shades of pink. Maybe it’s just me, but in this picture the pinks look a little purple when in reality they are definitely pink.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. This is Sugar Is Sweet by the Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery. I could have sworn they said they were doing either 4 or 5 alphabet samplers this year with a similar layout, but so far there’s only been one other than this. Oh well. The ribbon is just wrapped around the outer part of the hoop. The fabric isn’t mounted in the hoop very well. There’s no glue involved, just a drawstring type situation in the back, so I’ll probably take it down and fix the mount at some point.

A Full Heart - 7/11

A Full Heart – 7/11

This is A Full Heart, the first part of the 2014 Shepherd’s Fold by Shepherd’s Bush. This is the first pattern of theirs I’ve done, and I admit it was harder than I expected. I’m still not sure why. The beads and specialty stitches weren’t particularly hard, and it’s only 32 ct fabric. Maybe the silk was throwing me for a loop. I don’t know. I love looking at this piece now that’s it’s finished and I would certainly do it again if I went back in time, but it was a relief when I reached the end.

A Full Heart mounted on the shaker box

A Full Heart mounted on the shaker box

This piece was designed as a box topper for a sewing box. Yes, I splurged and got the box. Up until now my notions have been a little out of control (and would often turn up in strange places), so it’s definitely handy to have the box.

My Home - 7/27

My Home – 7/27

Here’s My Home, a scissor fob and the second part of the Shepherd’s Fold. I admit I don’t know the purpose of a fob. The stitching wasn’t a problem, but the finishing was surprisingly difficult. I followed the instructions in the kit, but it just kept looking worse and worse until I finally took it apart and tried again. The “correct” way was to sew it wrong side out, flip it the right way, stuff it, finish closing it, then attach the ribbon. Mine looked just awful. I ended up making a backstitch border around both sides and sewing the backstitches together, looping on the ribbon and beads as I went.

Here's the reverse side of the same piece.

Here’s the reverse side of the same piece.

That’s my last finish, so let’s move on to some of the more… long range projects I’m working on. Here are a bunch of blocks for Once Upon a Time:


Jack and the Bean Stalk


The Princess and the Pea



I’m two months behind. These blocks go pretty quickly, so that’s not so bad.

Here's what the whole thing looks like right now.

Here’s what the whole thing looks like right now.

And then there’s the Magical Creatures Calendar:

Not Merlin. "Thaddeus."

Not Merlin. “Thaddeus.”

Some dragons for good measure.

Some dragons for good measure.

And a mermaid who is not named Ariel but has a Disneyfied sense of fashion.

And a mermaid who is not named Ariel but has a Disneyfied sense of fashion.

Honestly? This makes me pretty uncomfortable. Cloudsfactory is expanding into more original designs, but a lot of her patterns use trademarked characters. I bought this one because at first it had original characters and I figured it would stay that way, but the wizard and mermaid who look like Disney but with different names in the pattern… I’ll finish stitching this pattern, but that will probably be it for me for Cloudsfactory unless the company fully shifts away from trademarked characters.

Now how about something new?

Mysterious Halloween Town

Mysterious Halloween Town

This is the Mysterious Halloween Town from Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery. It’s being released this fall in four parts. This is 1-3, with part 4 coming out later in September. I love that variegated purple on the bakery. The individual parts of this were fairly quick to stitch. Part 4 will go along the bottom.

I’m working on the SamSarah mystery sampler, but since they’ve asked folks not to post pictures until it’s over, I’ll hold off for now. I’m almost finished with the first part (for those who are doing the same pattern, I haven’t finished filling in that bit on the left, but everything else is done). The designer has sent out part 2, but the shop I’m using hasn’t gotten it yet.

Finally, here’s this:

Fun Every Day - Tuesday

Fun Every Day – Tuesday

This is the first tag for the Fun Every Day perpetual calendar SamSarah put out a while back. I’m going to have to start over. The perforated paper is driving me nuts; I usually use the sewing method on linen, so this is just too slow for me. I’ve ordered a large enough piece of linen that I can stitch all the tags in hand, then trim them to size and glue them to the paper tags. I do so hate to redo things, but perforated paper takes like three extra motions per stitch. Not cool.

I’ve done some work on Quilty Stitches, but I can’t remember what I last posted about or how far I am right now, nor do I have any pictures of it handy. I guess we’ll come back to that one.

Let’s look at some of the WIPocalypse questions I missed.

May: What designs or themes do you really wish you could find?  What do you think is missing among stitching designs?

This one is a little hard for me to answer. I don’t generally look for specific themes, and it’s a little hard to pin down why something appeals to me. I tend to look at Americana and nautical first, but I generally choose pieces because I like the color scheme or the layout. A Full Heart doesn’t strike me as something I would like, but I do. I can’t explain it. So I don’t know what I wish I could find, because I have a hard time searching for something specific. I just kind of see things in passing and know I like them.

June: Have you ever been to a stitch gathering such as a retreat or a festival? If so, tell us about it!


July: It’s halfway to Christmas.  Do you start your holiday stitching this early?  If so, what do you hope to accomplish this year?

I haven’t done any Christmas stitching yet. I certainly wasn’t doing any in July. Then again, I’m doing two Halloween patterns this year, which is not usual for me, so if I weren’t doing those I would probably start Christmas patterns. I have two so far this season; one is ready to go once I reach a stopping point with some of the Halloween stuff, and the other is waiting on fabric.

August:  Tell us about your oldest and newest WIPs,

Newest is the SamSarah Halloween sampler. I just started that September 3. The oldest one I’m actively working on is Once Upon a Time, which goes back to late December, but the oldest thing gathering dust (not really, it’s in a bag to protect it from dust) is a blanket on which I once thought I could stitch the Super Mario World overworld map. That’s been around since early 2010 (or maybe late 2009? I really can’t remember). I’m a little more realistic about things these days, so much as I would love to see that one finished, I bet I never get back to it. There are just too many other fun patterns out there that are more manageable. (More sane?)

Categories: WIP | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Some progress, and a new stitch-a-long

First of all, I’m pleased to note that, after a late start, I’ve finished the January block of Once Upon a Time. Even better, I finished it before the February block came out!

January's theme was Snow White. Don't yet know February's block, but the hint was that it's very green. My money is on Jack and the Beanstalk.

January’s theme was Snow White. Don’t yet know February’s block, but the hint was that it’s very green. My money is on Jack and the Beanstalk. Not sure what’s going on with the left side of Snow’s mouth; the backstitch slid between the two threads underneath. Also, the entire time I was stitching the dwarves, I had the song from the Hobbit about blunting the knives and bending the forks stuck in my head.

A few things to note: The fabric is Crystal Doubloon from Picture This Plus, hence all the sparklies. Yay, sparklies! Next, take a look at the word “January” and the blackberry corner portion of the border. See how the color changes? In this picture it’s more noticeable in “January,” but in person the blending on the blackberry portion is really nifty, which was mostly random chance. These two sections were stitched with over-dyed floss from Weeks Dye Works, so there’s a natural and randomly spaced gradation in the thread. To really make the gradation pop, you need to stitch using the English method, where you stitch each X individually. I predominantly use the Danish method, where you’ll do a row of half stitches in one direction before going back in the other direction (here’s a better explanation of the difference, pictures and everything). In general, I don’t like the English method. For me, it takes longer, and it uses more floss. WDW is pricy floss. Kills me that you have to use more of it to get the full effect.

Also, I had some assistance when I was taking that picture.

Also, I had some assistance when I was taking that picture.

The February block will be released in just a few hours! In the meantime, I had some time to kill so I moved on to another project. Little Miss Shabby is a quilting blog but is running a cross stitch “sampler along” called Quilty Stitches. The pattern is based on quilt blocks, with a new block released every two weeks and sixteen total blocks. I’m using a different color scheme, with deeper blues, greens, and reds. I’m using 28-count evenweave, I think in mushroom. I really like my color palette against the mushroom background, so I’m not going to fill in the white portion of the blocks. Instead I’m going to find a darker brown that compliments the mushroom and use that to fill in the border between blocks. Here’s an index of all the relevant Quilty Stitches pages.

The first block was posted January 20, but I didn’t have materials until a few days ago. At any rate, here ya go:


My color palette is, on average, deeper and darker than the “official” palette.

The pattern is pretty straightforward. It includes full cross stitch and quarter cross stitch. I don’t like quarter stitch just because my brain likes to shut down while I’m stitching, and when I use linen or evenweave sometimes quarter stitches throw my count off. I also have a tendency to put the quarter stitch in the complete wrong direction. If you’re using aida, for each quarter stitch you’ll need to pierce the little square between stitches; I prefer to do that with a sharper needle than the tapestry needles I usually use. Then again, I avoid aida like the plague because I’m a fabric snob, so it doesn’t come up much. Another thing for beginners to consider, usually you start a pattern in the center, but unless you rearrange all of the blocks of this pattern you’ll need to start in the top left corner. The pattern is about 10×10 inches. To find my starting point, I folded the fabric in half twice to find the center, then measured over and up about five inches (when I say “measured” and “five inches,” I mean I folded a piece of letter paper in half and used that to eyeball 5.5 inches over and up). I called that the top left corner of the pattern, then counted down four stitches and right three stitches for my starting point (leftmost green stitch in the top row, starting in the left bottom corner of the stitch).

Final note for newbies is that the chart does not look like most other cross stitch charts (grid filled with little symbols). It might be easier to print off the chart and color in the different blocks.

A few months ago, when I fussing about how so many cross stitch patterns are either overly cutesy or photos run through cross stitch software, I got the idea in my head that I really wanted to stitch something based on quilt blocks. Of course, I’m not a quilter, and I couldn’t figure out how to build the patterns on my own. And then I found this! Woohoo!

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Mail Call

Good news, everyone! (Raise your hand if you mentally read that in Professor Farnsworth’s voice.)

After weeks and weeks of waiting, first because I was moving and had no mailing address, next because these things take time, I finally got a packet in the mail from the fabulous folks over at Picture This Plus! PTP specializes in hand-dyed cross stitch fabric, and they are amazing. Go ahead, pop over there and click through some of the fabric thumbnails. I can wait.

Fun, amiright? There are so many colors I would love to buy, but I have no idea what I would do with them.

I got three cuts of fabric today, one in Crystal Doubloon and two in Sand. The Doubloon is for the Pumpkins’ Once Upon a Time sampler, I think as 32-count Belfast linen (I would check the tag, but there a beast asleep in my lap). The two cuts in Sand (28-count Cashel) are for the secret mystery gift I’m making for a friend and for a pattern I drew up myself last November.

I’ve gotten a fair amount of crafty mail in the last week or so:

So much fun!

So much fun!

The gold fabric is the doubloon, and the khaki is the sand. In addition, I also got the floss for Once Upon a Time and Clouds Factory’s Magical Creatures sampler. The Once Upon a Time floss is a mix of Weeks Dye Works and Cosmo. This will be the first time I’ve used hand-dyed floss; to get the full effect, you have to use a different technique. We’ll see how it goes (I mean, it will be fine, just a little slow). I’ve used Cosmo before and much prefer it to DMC, but I haven’t decided if I like it enough to keep paying extra for it. On a good day, the price doubles. I’m using DMC and Sullivan’s for Magical Creatures, DMC so I can compare it to eh Cosmo in my other projects and Sullivan’s because one of my floss sources recommended it over the DMC. It costs about the same as the DMC.

Only thing I’m missing is the fabric for Magical Creatures. I actually ordered two different cuts of linen, but I haven’t decided which one I’m going to use. One should be here in a few days, but the other probably won’t turn up for two weeks or so. Eh, there are plenty of other projects to work on until it gets here.

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