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The Master and The Macabre | Cross Stitch

Well, friends, it's officially fall, which means it's almost hibernation season.  It was downright windy and chilly last night, and I'm not happy about it.  The only thing good about fall is the clothes.  Well, and pumpkin spice bread.  And boots.  I wore my black boots on Friday for the first time since probably March, and it felt awesome.  

It's also time to start living in leggings and big, warm sweatshirts on weekends with a mug of mulled cider (which reminds me...I need to get more mulling spices.....).  I got a pair of leg warmers to help layer and keep me warm (don't you judge me - you know you want a pair...or five...), and oh my god do they work.  As someone who suffers from some degree of joint and muscle pain daily, these things are amazing at keeping my legs warm and from cramping.  They also may or may not make me sing, "FAME! I'M GONNA LIVE FOREVER!" to myself while I'm wearing them.

That may or may not happen.

More importantly, fall means I stitch fall things, and this one in particular was incredibly fun to stitch.

The Master and The Macabre.

The Master and The Macabre | Cricket Collection #crossstitch #needle #thread


OMG.  The fabric....just....I can't.

The Master and The Macabre | Cricket Collection #crossstitch #halloween #needle #thread

THAT INKWELL.  I want it.  I also want that raven - I'm pretty sure Poe borrowed him from Maleficent, and I love all things Maleficent (she's the best Disney villain, in my opinion), so, ergo, vis-a-vis, I love that raven and need him.

The Master and The Macabre | Cricket Collection #crossstitch #halloween #needle #thread

THIS HOUSE.  I want to stitch everything in the variegated silk that's in the roof.  I also want a door that looks like this one.  a) it's purple; 2) it has gold around the doorknob; and d) it's purple. 

The Master and The Macabre | Cricket Collection #crossstitch #halloween #needle #thread

And then, there's the moon, peering over the haunted house.  Just creepin' up there in the corner....lookin' at all his poems come to life....

The Master and The Macabre | Cricket Collection #crossstitch #halloween #needle #thread


Ok.  So, I've been promising to publish my color changes, and I make good on my promises.

I will say this - I had planned on making A LOT more changes, but as I started stitching, most of them didn't end up working out.  I think because the fabric I chose to stitch this piece on is so drastically different from the model in the picture on the graph, that the changes I wanted to make would have looked great on the suggested fabric, but not so much on this one.  

Changes are as follows:

Fabric used:  32 count Dusk by Picture This Plus

Fiber changes:
DMC 926 is changed to WDW Pewter for the lettering
DMC 3811 is changed to WDW Aqua
DMC 646 is changed to WDW Galvanized for the woman's hair (she's hanging out the window, all strung out) and in the inkwell
DMC 310/black is changed to WDW Mascara for the black in the raven, the inkwell, and the line under the house (special note about the raven: I originally planned on using CC Black Crow for the raven, because, duh, but it actually has too much blue in it.  Because this fabric is such a dark dyed blue, the Black Crow didn't show up as I stitched, so I made the switch to WDW Mascara, which has just enough of a variation to make it look like the sheen of a raven's feathers.)

Note that for all but one of my changes, I only made the change in certain areas, not every place that color is used.  

Again, the biggest reason I didn't make more drastic changes to the fibers is because the fabric I chose made most of the original colors punch you right in the face as you stitched.  No need for dramatic fibers when the fabric is stealing the show.  

It is also important to note that I used all of the Silk'n Colors called for in the graph.  If you decide that might not use the silks, I think that you could get away with the DMC alternative for all of them except two:  Desert Moss and Acorn Woods.  These are the variegated colors in the roof and in the shingles on the side of the house.  They're not variations of a solid color, they actually move between a few different colors (which you should be able to see in the pics above) as you stitch.  If you want the same effect in your roof and house, then I highly suggest you get these two silks, even if you decide not to get the others.

These color changes will be published on my Fabric and Floss page for easy reference, should you want to make the same changes in this piece as I did, and need a quick reference.  If you do, please link back or tag me in your Instagram shots (if you're on IG) so that I can see your progress!  I love seeing everything everyone does.  


Welcome September! | Cross Stitch

You guys!  September is upon us!  It's Africa hot out there....and I just choked on a cubic foot of humidity.  

But fear not - the stores are filled to the brim with pumpkins and witches and black cats and skulls, so cooler weather is on the horizon.  Well, hopefully.  At the very least, all this means that Halloween will be here before you know it.  

And then....CHRISTMAS.  Which, as you all know, is the season I live for every.single.year.

First though, let's have Halloween.  Because I do love pumpkin bread.  And pumpkin pancakes.  And pumpkin spiced anything.  And my Autumn Wreath Yankee candle....which I may or may not have been burning since 1 September....


Let's also talk about my progress on The Master and The Macabre.

It's not exactly a Halloween piece...but it's E.A. Poe, so it's haunted and it fits....


I mean, how tormented is she?!  Her hair is a hot mess, and she's reaching for someone who's not there...


And, hello!  Spooky, faded, torn curtains.  Loveloveloving these silks.  I have a greater appreciation these days for silks - yeah, they're more expensive, but look at that variation!  The rotting roof!  The curtains!  I can't.  Totally worth the extra pennies.  Or dollars.  Or my left arm.  Whatever gets me that silk thread.  


I mean, that fabric though.  I literally can't even right now.



Sleepy Hollow | Cross Stitch

“There is nothing like the silence and loneliness of night to bring dark shadows over the brightest mind.” 
― Washington IrvingThe Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Other Stories

Christmas is hands-down-without-a-doubt my favorite holiday ever, but Halloween is a close second.  The crisp air, the fallen leaves, the spooky effects.....I love it.  

When I saw the Cricket Collection piece, Sleepy Hollow, I knew I had to stitch it.  Now, the graph calls for it to be stitched in three panels so it's a 3-D piece when you're done.  No thanks.  That takes too much effort.  

So I took it and stitched it all as one giant piece.

Like so.

Cricket Collection Sleepy Hollow #crossstitch #halloween

I. Love. This.

The trees.  The fallen leaves.  

Cricket Collection Sleepy Hollow #crossstitch #halloween

The fountain.  The Headless Horseman.  Ichabod Crane.  I can't.

Cricket Collection Sleepy Hollow #crossstitch #halloween

Cricket Collection Sleepy Hollow #crossstitch #halloween 

I'm in love with these pumpkins, and THAT TREE.  I want that in front of my house.  Stat.

Now.  The roof of that house is obsenely large.  The thread used is a WDW color...which escapes me at the moment.....but know this: the designer doesn't tell you how many skeins you need - plan on getting AT LEAST 6 skeins.  You need them all from the same dye lot to have the right effect.  I got lucky, and when I went back to get more, the dye lots were pretty close.  I can see where I started with a skein from a different dye lot, but hopefully I'm the only one who notices.  Same goes for the church - that is stitched in WDW Pewter, and you need AT LEAST 5 skeins.  It's not quite as large as the roof of the house, but again, you need them from the same dye lot. 

Another thing: I stitched this on Blue Moon Java, which is what the pattern calls for.  Rumor on the street is that this is tough to get these days, if you can get it at all.  I would suggest using something wicked cool from Picture this Plus fabrics like Cauldron, Dusk, Echo, Haunted (which is what I used for Skeleton Crew), Nocturne, or whatever floats your boat.

(Please note that I do not get anything from PTP for suggesting their fabrics.  I'm a huge fan of their product, and am simply making suggestions for alternatives in the absence of Blue Moon Java.)

I absolutely loved stitching this, and the framing turned out beautifully, as usual.  Lise at my LNS does absolutely phenomenal work.  Thank you, Lise!!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! 


Sixteen Men on a Dead Man's Ship | Cross Stitch

so, i realized something today.  ok, maybe a couple things.  

a) it's october, which means HALLOWEEN. i love halloween. well.  maybe i just love candy. separate issue.

2) it's WAY too cold already for this time of year when i'm driving into work.  my dash read 46 degrees this morning, and i was in no way ok with that.

d) i never shared two of my most favorite pieces that i've done, and they're both for halloween.  one i'm sharing with you today.


i posted WIPs of this piece, but never gave you the full effect with the frame i picked.........


dude.  this frame.  i.can't.even.


remember that show? david boreanez? the other deschanel sister whose name i can't freaking remember right now? is it still on, or just reruns on tnt?

can we also talk about that fabric, because i have a special love affair with this fabric for halloween pieces.  it's called "haunted" by picture this plus, and...............i love it.  purple + blue + grey + green = halloween love affair in fabric.


and then there was this serpent. i gave him green hair and an orange tongue.  and i made the bony fish glow. can we also talk about the ghost sails?!  GAH.


and hello! the skeleton underneath the ship! when i brought this to my LNS for framing, one of the women there didn't even know that skeleton existed! he blends right in with the fabric in the model stitched for the store.


i made the moon glow.....and omg that creepy pumpkin on the mast.  and the raven! i forgot about him, all cocky on the jack-o-lantern, like, you guys don't scare me.

if you love halloween, you should definitely put this piece in your "to do" pile.  i made six serious floss changes, and a major fabric change, all of which are listed on my "floss & fabric" page in case you would like to stitch this using my color changes.

are you guys working on halloween stuff now, or are you working ahead to christmas???  curious crafty minds want to know!!


A Look Back

Hello everyone!

I have been more insanely busy this past week than I imagined I could be.  I have so many things I want to post (most especially the wedding gift I'm feverishly stitching for my sister), but I just haven't had enough time to sit here and write a post.  And I feel terrible about it. 

I also will not be posting any pics of my sister's gift until it's in her hands.  It's no fair that you guys would get to see it before her.  I will admit - this project is taking up a huge amount of my stitching time, and I haven't had time to work on much else, which explains my sporatic postings.  Normally, as most of you know, I post WIPs of all my projects...but not this one.  I beg you all to bear with me until I can have it framed, given to her, and then I'll go into gory detail about every last stitch (and the color changes I made ;-))

I do hope to have something new posted soon, but in the meantime, I found this old blog post from my previous location, and thought you might enjoy seeing it again, or, if any of you haven't seen it before, for the first time.

This post shows one of my favorite baby gifts that I've made - I did a Mill Hill project that was a collaboration with Sticks, and is called "Sleep Tight".  I absolutely love almost all of the Sticks projects, and this one is definitely one of my absolute favs.  I might have to stitch it again in the future :-)

Head on over to my old post to see how I finished it!

Much stitchy love to all ~~~


"Skeleton Crew" Update!!!

You guys you guys you guys!!!!!  GUESS THE FRIG WHAT!!!
I'm featured in  The Strawberry Sampler's newsletter for Friday the 13th!!!!!!!!
They're having a sale for Friday the 13th -- all Halloween stuff is 20% off from midnight to midnight today only.  
Now, how do I fit into all this crazy??
Remember this piece???
"Skeleton Crew" by Cricket Collection
 Well.........I took it to TSS to get framed, and it's done!!  It's all framed and done!  The framed piece can be seen HERE on their website!  And guess what else!!  If you go to their site to purchase the graph, you can check the block that says you want my color changes!!!!  HOW COOL IS THAT!!!??!!!   The fabric they have listed - Haunted by Picture This Plus - is the fabric I used!!!
If any of you loyal followers live in the Philly/Delaware County area and want to see it live and in living color, head on down to the shop - it's on loan with those lovely ladies until I bribe them with treats so Beth will let go of it head down there and pick it up in time to hang it in my living room for Halloween :-)
I LOVE YOU LADIES!!!  Thank you SO much for having my piece so prominent in your newsletter!!

Happy New Year!

Ok...I might be a day late...but you're over it.  Ha!  I don't know how it happened, but here we are in 2012 all of the sudden.  Is everyone ready for Armageddon?  I am.  I have 1400 soaps that I got at Bath and Body Works when they had one of their fab promos and stocked up.  Anyone looking to wash up after the battle of good and evil, just stop on over my house.  I also have enough cross stitch projects to keep us all occupied until the shops open up again.
I don't know about the rest of you, but I think I've started the new year pretty ok.  I finally cleared off my desk, which is a giant glass table, and now only have one computer on it and infinite amounts of space for all my Post-its, etc.  Wait, what?  Only one computer on my desk now??  Ah, yup.  Remember way back when in the summer when I was having horrific computer problems and then finally went and got myself a pretty iMac at the beginning of September???  Welp, my shell of a crashed computer has been sitting on top of my desk alongside my pretty new iMac since the day I brought it home.
BUT, I can explain.  There initially was a definite need -- I had to transfer my entire iTunes music library to my new computer.  That was fun and exciting, let me tell you.  However, the thought of losing all my music and having to manually reload all of my CDs into the new computer was daunting. I figured out how to do it pretty painlessly, and got all of my music transferred.
Then, my old computer never moved.  Weird.
So, today, I finally couldn't take it anymore, and cleaned up my desk, threw a bunch of sh-- away, and took my old computer to the 3rd floor for storage.  Since, you know, some day someone somewhere that I know will need an antiquated hard drive and a flat screen monitor to go with it.
I also finally took pics of my "Skeleton Crew" piece for you all to see!  It was brought to my attention that the link I previously provided to my LNS newsletter was no longer working, so I knew I had to get this posted asap for you all.
IMG_3869 OMG.  It is seriously one of my favorite pieces that I've done to date.  My Miribilia pieces win hands down, but this is a close third.  Second is "Sleepy Hollow".   I can't wait to have this framed and ready for Halloween this year!!  So cool.
CREEPY.  I would NOT want this thing coming at me in the water.  No  thank you and good day.
But seriously.  Totally cool piece, amiright???!?!  Like I said in my previous post, I made fiber changes in this piece, and if you want to know what I changed, hit the Floss and Fabric changes link under Pages on the left sidebar of my page.  If you need to order them and don't have a needlework shop near you, the ladies at my LNS, The Strawberry Sampler, are at the ready to help you.  Just call or email them and ask them for my changes to Skeleton Crew, and they'll get you the supplies asap. 
What am I working on now that I'm done that crazy piece??  Well, I started "Winter Wind" by Prairie Schooler, and I've got miscellaneous smalls floating around that I need to do the finish work on, including the needlebook that I finished eons ago.  I really need to spend some QT with my sewing machine sometime soon and get them all finished so I can display them. 
I think that's it for now.  I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season, and are ready to start fresh this year!  I know I am!  So much stuff I want to do and so little time!! :-)
Love and stitches ~


Time sure flies when you're having fun! This month was a serious WHIRLWIND. I can't believe Christmas is here and gone already.  I hope you all had a wonderful time with your families this Christmas season!

I realize I've been absent from this whole blogging thing...but fear not!  I'm back!  I've been SO busy with stitching/sewing gifts, baking cookies, and just trying to keep it all straight day in and day out, that I just barely had time to fit in some meals and sleep.  Blogging definitely fell off the list of things to do.

So here's what's up -- I finished "Skeleton Crew" (Cricket Collection), in amongst working on ornaments for this year.  The lovely ladies at my LNS were SO kind as to put pictures of it in their latest newsletter (click on the provided link for their shop, and click on the header for "Newsletter", and I'm almost at the bottom with my tin of cookies and the pics of my piece :-) ), and also mentioned that they have the color changes that I made.  If you call or email them for my (Jacki) changes for the Skeleton Crew piece, they will know exactly what you're talking about, and will get the supplies to you asap.  They're awesome :-)  

Unfortunately, as I'm writing this, I don't have a picture of my piece just yet, but I hope to take a pic tomorrow night to post it for you all to see.  In the meantime, if you want  to get started with my color changes (I've been posting little updates here and there for the piece, so you can get glimpses of it in my previous posts), I created a page dedicated to any floss and fabric changes I make for pieces that I do, in case you would like to do the same.  The link is on the upper left of my page.

Also, for those of you who have been looking forward to my gluten-free recipes that I would post from time to time between all of my needlework/papercrafts/sewing projects, I will no longer be posting them here.   I've created a separate blog for my gluten-free endeavors, and I hope you'll join me over there -- it's called Vanilla Bean Dreams, and the links for my most recent posts can be found on the right sidebar of this blog.  I will be making some major changes to the way I bake, but it will all still be absolutely 100% gluten-free.  I hope you'll join me on my health journey for 2012!!

That's all I have for tonight, kids.  I'll be back in the blogging game now that things will slow down for a while :-)  Thank you all for sticking with me, and here's to a new year of wonderful creations!!!

Love and stitches :-)

Just a little fall, y'all.

Good morning!  I know it's a bit dreary out there today in Philly, so I thought I'd give you a little fall-like boost for the morning.

I finished this a bit ago, and love the way it turned out.

This is "Pumpkins Three" by La-D-Da.


The model for this piece was stitched using black, but I thought a more pumpkin-y color was appropriate, so I used DMC 918 for mine.  I then took some oh-so-cute fabric with maple leaves (very fall-like, if you ask me), and created a border.  I added tabs at the top (which unfortunately you can't see in this picture), stitched quilting batting on the inside to make it a little sturdier than with just backing fabric, and made it a little wall hanging!  Ta da!  Cute, right?!


This is one of my favs -- Cricket Collection "Autumn".  I stitched this on 32 count Desert Sand (no idea who the manufacturer is), and I LOVE LOVE LOVE the color scheme for this one!!!  Makes me want to cozy in and make some mulled cider or wine right now!

Enjoy this day, no matter what you do, and be sure to pick up and do something creative! this is turning out pretty cool...

Hellooooooo everyone!!  Just a snippity snap of a post here in the wee hours of Wednesday morning.  I've been working almost non-stop on "16 Men on a Dead Man's Ship" by Cricket Collection, and, I gotta say, the color changes I made have been turning out super duper so far.

If you click on the link of the name of the graph, you'll see a picture of the stitched sample done for the graph...which includes what is, in my opinion, some of the ickiest fabric ever.  Why, WHY would you do a fanfreakingtastic spooky Halloween graph on pea soup green fabric???  Boggles my mind.  BUT, this also allows me to go, "Ah,  no." and pick my own color :-)  For those of you who've been following my progress with this project, you'll know that I picked one of the coolest colors out there for Halloween:  Haunted by Picture this Plus.  So awesome.  Comes second only to PTP's Echo.  For realz.  (for those of you who may be new to my blog, I have a slight love affair with Picture this Plus and Silkweaver fabrics.  Stay tuned for that never ending soap opera.  Well, until abc cancels it, and deems it only worthy for Internet viewers to ensure the failure and eventual forever cancellation.  I digress........)

Ok.  So.  Here's what you've all been waiting progress!



I changed the fiber for the words -- I used Weeks Dye Works "Beehive" instead of drab grey.   Way, way better.  I mean, it's Halloween!  And it's a ghost ship!  This needs to be spooky and creepy!  Not pea soup and kinda spooky.

Yes, my friends.  This is pretty awesome.  The ghost ship is floating on Weeks Dye Works "Aqua" instead of ick green.  I mean, the sea can be green, as noted by Crayola's color, Sea Green, but theirs is way prettier than the pea soup sea green chosen to go along with the ick green fabric.  

I just realized I've been slamming the designer's choice of fabric and fibers through this whole post!  I obviously think this is a really cool design, HOWEVER, since it's a Halloween piece, I think she could have made just a few slight changes to make this a truly spooky piece.  BUT, since she didn't, that means my right brain was able to jump into action and think of alternatives :-)

I mean, come on.  This is pretty daggone cool :-)

That's all I have for the moment, folks, but don't change that dial, because this week will also bring you house updates (yes, I've been doing some changes around here....check out my post from a few months back about the horrors of previous owners and how to restore the aesthetic appeal of your home), gluten-free eats, and maybe some more cross stitch or sewing awesomeness.

Thanks for checking in, everyone!  I read each and every comment, and cherish every one!  Remember to do something creative today!  :-)