Blackbird Designs Feed

Sunday Things.

Hard to believe another week has gone by.  Has it been as rough for you as for me?  I don't even know why it was so exhausting, but it was.  Happy Hour on Thursday night with some of the greatest people in the world, my band staff friends, was much needed by that point (and to think i initially didn't even want to go out!).  Angry Orchard (hard cider is gluten free!!!!!) is my new best friend.  It doesn't top my signature drink - Captain Morgan & diet Coke - but it is a very close second.

Stitchers - have you seen the Market previews?!?!  Is there anything you're DYING to have????  For me, this companion piece to Yuletide Welcome by Plum Street Samplers is a MUST in my house.  I need to make sure I get my order in to my LNS stat.  

I'm always one to change things up with my stitching - I saw this finish of Halloween Rules by Lizzie Kate and it's so fun!!  I LOVE the different colors on the border!!!  The fabric is an awesome overdyed, and is perfectly spooky!  Also - the bell pull with gravestones?!  Love.

I don't know if you've seen any of the work by Rensel Studios, but OH.MY.GOD.  My friend, Catherine, showed me some of their blog posts (after which I immediately began following their blog), and seriously.  No words.  Santa's Magic by Miribilia has been in my stash for a long time, and seeing it framed by them made me want to go start stitching it right freaking now.  Also, I'm not usually big on mermaids, but Miribilia's mermaids are gorgeous.  Add the framing magic of Rensel Studios?  I can't even.  

Weekends just aren't complete without a little stitching.  I started Blackbird Designs' In Full Glory...


Confederate Grey is my new fabric's such a great neutral.  

Happy Sunday, friends!


Halloween Eve | Cross Stitch

I know I keep saying it, but I just can't believe it's fall already.  Yesterday was the official first day of autumn, and I celebrated by burning my Autumn Wreath candle all day (yes, all day. i'm obsessed with that candle.), and finally, finally finishing the framing for one of my favorite Halloween pieces: Halloween Eve.


Pretty cool, right????  OMG.  I'm serious - this was one of my favorite pieces to stitch, a close second to my Quaker Christmas II.  The patchwork pumpkin is pretty damn cool.

The frame is by Priscilla's Pocket - each one of their frames is hand finished, which is perfect for this piece to give it that rustic feel.

Here's the bottom corner detail ~~

I mean, you can see the brushstrokes and everything.  LOVE.

I just lovelovelove this frame.  It's so unique and fits this piece perfectly.

If you have this graph in your stash, you probably noticed something different about the entire top of this piece - I cut out the sampler portion of it, and used the letters to stitch my initials instead.  I talked about all the changes I made and other fun stuff in this post here, and you can find the info on my fabric choice on my Fabric & Floss page. 

Now I just gotta find a place to hang this.  Decisions, decisions.....

Happy Monday!  Create something beautiful today!! 



Rose Garden | Cross Stitch

Oh, my friends.  It has been entirely too long.  I didn't realize how long it'd been since I sat down and posted something until I looked at my most recent post - 1 April.  Almost a month ago!!!

It's just been a couple of those kinds of weeks, ya know?

But I'm back, and with a faboo little cross stitch finish for you all.

It's funny how tastes change over the years - I used to have zero interest in the more primitive designs, yet as I stitch and the years go by, I find myself drawn more to those kinds of patterns.  Not all of them, but some of the designers catch my eye.  Blackbird Designs is one of them.

You may remember the piece I did by them - Halloween Eve - which I changed slighly and it turned out super cool.  This one is a "small", and I changed this one, too, but not quite as drastically as Halloween Eve.

It's called "Rose Garden" - I did the finish work on it this afternoon.

The original graph was stitched on a light fabric with pink fibers, but I chose to do the complete opposite for this.  You know, spice things up a bit.  The fabric I used is 40 ct. Brandied Apple by Silkweaver, and I used Crescent Colors Lambswool for the stitching.  Since the thread had a slight pinkish hue to it, it actually worked way better than I thought for this fabric.  I won't get into how I have a full fat half of that fabric, and only used about 5" of it for this project.  


Moving on.

A little sideview so you can see how the year is to be stitched in - it's part of the graph, so you just insert the year, and move on with the border! Easy peasy!  The fabric in the background is what I used for the backing fabric for the piece. 

For the edges, I tacked down Crescent Colors overdyed chenille - I've had a couple packs of this lying around here, and finally had the perfect project to use this one on! The color is Toasted Marshmallow, and again, perfect!

This is a glimpse of the other side, where you stitch your initials.  Like the year, the initials are graphed, so you just choose yours, stitch, and finish the border!  Love it.

That's it for today, peeps!  I hope you all have a wonderful Monday, and I do hope to have something to post later in the week, so I don't end up going 3 full weeks again before sharing with you all.  I really need to get back into the swing of things with my posts!!

Much love ~~~


A New Blackbird Designs WIP | Cross Stitch

So, as most of you know, I've been working on some pretty gihugic pieces lately - my sis's wedding gift, and Quaker Christmas II.  

Since I stiched up that little coffee beaded piece wayyyy quicker than I thought, I clearly needed a small piece that would take me a little teeny bit longer to finish, but not quite an entire year, like the other biggies I'm working on.

Enter: Blackbird Designs' "Rose Garden".

 The original graph calls for a light fabric with a pink fiber...but, as you should know by now, I'm all about switching that up.  Since this is a one color pattern, it was really easy to make whatever change I wanted.

As you can see from the pic, I did the complete opposite of the graph instructions.  I mean, why the hell not?   Change it up - make it your own - that's what you need to do with some of these patterns.  If you don't like what the picture is telling you, change it!!!

I'm stitching this bad boy on 40 ct. Brandied Apple from Silkweaver using Shaker Threads Lambswool.  The color variation in the thread is just enough to be noticeable, but not overwhelming, and the overall color blends soooo nicely with this fabric.  

I've had this fabric around for a while, not knowing quite what to use it for, but this is working out perfectly!

What do you guys think?  I'm not big on pink fabric, but this one is growing on me, especially for this piece.

Much love ~~~



"Halloween Eve" - no longer a WIP!!

Hello all!!!!
It's been way too long since I've sat down here at my trusty computer and written about something I've created!  I feel like this entire month has been a giant whirlwind!!  It's weird...even though my birthday is in early July, I always feel like once my birthday is here and gone, the next thing I know, it's Christmas!!
Speaking of Christmas...I've already started on my Christmas cards for this year.  A note about them, in case you don't know: each one I make is completely unique.  I don't make a set of the same card, then send them out.  Nope.  I made each one completely different from the other, so when you receive one of those spiffy cards in the mail this December, know that it was handmade and picked especially for you :-)  
I wonder how many people will be requesting to get on my Christmas card list now.  HA!
Ok so.  The title of this here post is about "Halloween Eve", so I guess I better get to it.
I'll start off by showing you the overall pic of the total stitched piece....
This piece was SO much fun to stitch!!  If you never do another Halloween piece again, DO THIS ONE.  It's awesome.  Just awesome.
Now.  Some of you may have seen the graph for this in the store or online and are thinking to yourself, "Hold up.  Wait a minute.  Don't stop.  Get it. Get it.  There's a sampler portion of this piece....right?"
Right.  You're not that crazy.  I might be, but you're not.  I've said it before, I'll say it again.  I'm not exactly what you'd call a fan of samplers.
So, I took the entire top portion of this piece and chopped it off.  Not literally, but figuratively, if you will.  But what I did do, which I think turned out better than I expected, is take the alphabet and use it to put my initials in place of the "Y" and "Z" from the original graph instead.
Like so -- 
If you haven't seen the original graph, go here so you know what I chopped outta this bad boy.
Since I chopped out the alphabet, I had some dead space up there with the dead plant and my I threw in some of those little 4-square star sparkly doo-dads in there to eat up all that linen.  I just put them in at random - no rhyme or reason for where I placed them. Swear.
Now.  In all honesty, this is the BEST part of this piece --
THAT PUMPKIN.  TO.DIE.FOR.  Also - it takes FORRREVERRRRRRRRR to stitch on 40 count.  I about lost my mind filling in those teeny tiny itty bitty squares. BUT.  SO worth it.
Oh yeah - before I forget - I stitched this on 40 count Cider by Silkweaver Fabrics.  Not too dark, not too light, but perfect for a fall/Halloween piece.
Also note - I made a change from the original graph as to how my initials went into the stitched piece and how the year was stitched in.  As you've already seen, I stitched my initials in at the top.  Totally new and different for me - usually I do it super duper small down in the right-hand corner so it's not so prominent in the piece.  For the year, instead of putting it between the cat and the house, I decided to stitch it long and skinny down the outside of the house, right by the border.  Not so obvious, but when this thing comes up for auction in 100 years (HAHA), they'll know precisely how when I stitched it and that it is clearly worth eleventy billion dollars and will make one of my great-great-nieces very rich.  ;-)
Here's a shot of the middle, so you can see the raven on top of the pumpkin.  Not as cool as that crazy cat, but still pretty awesome --
For those of you wondering just how big this sucker is...I wont's kinda big.  Jusssst so you have an idea.....I took this pic ---
Yes, folks.  That's 11.5 in high.  To recap:  I eliminated the entire alphabet on top of that dead plant, AND this is on 40 count fabric.  I shrank this bad boy, and it's STILL 11.5 in high.  Something to keep in mind when you do this piece - it's no joke large and in charge.
Pretty cool, huh?  I love how this turned out and can't wait to head to my LNS to pick out a rustic frame for it!!  PS....if you haven't already, head to their site and search under "New Stitched Models" and look for my "Skeleton Crew" piece!!!  It's there and in living color for everyone to see!  If you buy the graph from them, you can check the boxes that give you the fabric and color changes I made!  Those ladies are AWESOME and I cannot thank them enough for having my piece on their site!!
Sadly, that's all the fun I can pack into this post.  I have some MUCH needed vacation time coming up this week, and I CANNOT wait to share with you what I'll be doing!!!!!!!!  
Until then, go forth and be crafty :-)
Much love ~~~
J :-)

Happy Monday!

It dawned on me the other day, that with all the stitching I've been doing since I was laid up for 3 days, I never posted any WIP pictures.
Well, not to here, anyway.  Those of you who follow me on Instagram have seen my WIPs, and since I was posting pics there, the light bulb never went off in my brain that none of you have seen my stitchy progress.
Tuesday night I ended up in the ER with SEVERE stomach pains (like, I can't stand up without being in excruciating pain and the only comfortable place for me to be is in bed in the fetal position...which I ultimately decided was not a good thing...).
So...this was my Tuesday night.  I'll spare you the details here, but know that all is well and I'm feeling MUCH better :-) (and yes, that is a book i shoved into my purse since i figured i wouldn't be leaving the ER in any hurry, and if i got a bed, i'd need reading material.  i also shoved my iphone charger in my purse, just in case. gotta be prepared. are you with me? excrutiating pain, and i was worried about having reading material while i'm in the hospital.  i have serious issues.)
Needless to say, I was out of work the remainder of the week.  What does one do when they're home recovering, but no longer sick enough to be laying in bed all day?
Besides my sister's wedding gift, I'm stitching the Blackbird Designs "Halloween Eve" which is turning out WAY cool.
I love love love the way this pumpkin is turning out, and the cat?!  Awesome!
Here's the raven on top of the pumpkin before I finished the pumpkin outline --
I apologize - I thought I had a better pic of the raven -- this one seems dark.  The Sable CC that's used to fill in the body of the raven is much lighter than this pic is showing.
For the record...filling in a pumpkin on 40 count takes FOR.EV.ER.  Just throwing that out there......
Cool, though, right?!  I love it.  There was a time when I wouldn't even look at Blackbird Designs.  I think I've mentioned before, however, that lately my tastes have changed, which has opened my eyes to some pretty great designers.  I'm loving this pattern, and I hope you're enjoying seeing the progress!!  I've listed the fabric color in my Fabric & Fibers Changes page, so click on over to see what I chose.  I'm pretty sure it's Cider from Silkweaver....but go there and make sure I know what I'm doing.  Right now, I'm even too lazy to check.  HA!  
As always, if there's something you see that I use in my projects, you want to use it in your own but don't have a LNS, call the girls at The Strawberry Sampler.  They will help you with whatever you need.  Seriously.  And they do online orders.  Tell them I sent you :-)
Anyways kids, that's my WIP for the week.  Stay tuned for more insanity as wedding pics come pouring in and I fire up my Cricut to make mini albums for the girls :-)
Until then....go forth and be crafty :-)
Much love ~~~
J :-)

Memorial Day Goodies

Hellooooo!!!!  I hope you're all having a wonderful long holiday weekend!!!  I know it's been much-needed time off for me.  It's been a great weekend so far, and HOT here in the Philly area, but you will hear no complaints from me about that!!  I LOVE summer.  LOVE IT.  My body doesn't hurt like a 95-year-old woman because my muscles stay nice and loose, and it's just a general awesome time of year.
I want to take a moment and thank all those who have served and who continue to serve this great country of ours.  It is because of them that we have the freedoms we have, to include the freedom to write and share ideas in a forum like this.  Without them, I could never even attempt to spread creativity and receive such inspiration from others.  To the men and women of our armed forces, THANK YOU.  
(for those of you who've been following me for a while will recognize this as something i've posted previously under my older blog.  and no, i haven't gotten it framed yet.  i will.  swear.)
Ok -- now onto what I did this weekend!!
 Friday.  I spent the day doing a few things around the house, and then I went out for some much needed drinks with my bestie.  This week was pure hell, and that Captain Morgan and diet coke was just what the doctor ordered.
Sadly, no crafting occurred on this day.
Saturday.  Another day filled with chores, to include planting a few things in my garden (one by one i keep adding to the plants & flowers, so hopefully soon i'll be able to share with you the fruits of my labor! i plan on spending the fall doing some serious canning! now, i just need a canning pot....)  Saturday was also met with alcoholic drinks with great friends.  We met up at one of the local, very popular sports bars in the Philly area (i swear their goal is to take over the entire east coast...), and just have a blasty blast. (i would like to mention a small gripe with the 96 tvs that are in this bar - would it have really killed you to have left the maryland/duke lax game on just one little measly tv in my line of sight???  really????? uggggh.)
Sadly, no crafting occurred on Saturday, either.
Sunday. Now, Sunday was a day spent doing something everyone hopes that someday they'll be able to do: rip up your disgusting basement carpet because your cat completely ruined it.  Well, after a mishap with my washing machine during the week which got the rug soaked on the one side (note to self: double-check the basin sink EVERY TIME to make sure a rogue washcloth does not get stuck in the drain while the washer is running. ahem.), I decided just to rip up part of the carpet in the basement, since it's already been destroyed.   Now, I will advise those of you who need to do this in your lifetime to be very wary of where your fingers are when you have that sharp box cutter in your hands.  I'll spare you the details, but I'll tell you that I did not lose an ounce of blood, but I'll need those Asian ladies at the nail place on Friday to work their magic since I'll be getting a mani/pedi for my sis's wedding.  Owwie.
Sunday ALSO included making a brand spankin-new shower curtain!!!  Whoop whoop!!!  I've only had the fabric in my bin for almost a year waiting for this project, and I decided since I was injured, what better way to spend the day than working with more sharp objects?!  Pins and sewing machine needles!! Yes!!!!
Ok so here is the "before" of my bathroom -
Now, my tiles on both the floor and walls are a pale pale grey with a marbled look to them.  The radiator cover and the top decorative tile on the walls are both black.  The rug is like a minty-sea green, to match the shower curtain.

Both were perfectly fine for my apartment, but for my house, I definitely needed something a little more updated.  I couldn't find anything I liked, however, so naturally, I decided to make something.  No pattern necessary -- the old shower curtain was my guide. (yes, i am that awesome.) And...did you notice??  Original crystal doorknobs.  Be jealous.
Any guesses as to what color I chose to go with that awesome grey & black motif already there??
You got it!!!
Now, I know this is really dark, but the fabric itself is super dark, and speckled with black, so it was tough to get a clear picture of it.  BUT, I think it's super amazing, and I can't wait to make curtains and get hand towels!!!  I went to Targeeeeee on Sunday to pick up a new bath rug, which is black since they didn't have any purple (none.  no purple at all.  they should be ashamed.), but it's super soft and plush and I love it anyway.  I'll need to get funky purple hand towels since the rug is plain.
(i don't know why this pic is tinted, but trust - the rug is black, and my shower curtain is really that awesome purple from the above pic)
Awesome, amiright?!  Love it!!!  
Along with this amazing sewing job I did (if i do say so myself), which - side note - whoever invented the automatic button hole maker for sewing machines is a GENIUS and i hope that person is living in the lap of luxury for the patent or idea or whatever.  good work, sir/ma'am. good work -  I have been able to do some updating on my "Halloween Eve" piece for you all to see.
I haven't been able to do much, but what I've done has definitely added some color!  I love those leaves!  I can't wait for you all to see the rest of this stitched -- it looks so awesome on the graph sample pic, so it'll look a bajillion times better once I have it stitched in person :-)
Lastly, I've had this poster lying around for a while now, and I recently got the frame for it, but let them both lounge around my computer room for the past 2 months or so.  Well, yesterday I decided enough is enough, and I put the poster in the frame.
I don't know what it is about this "Keep Calm and Carry On" themed stuff that's so popular now, but I absolutely can't get enough of it.  I'm suddenly obsessed with everything British for funky decor purposes.  I haven't quite decided where this will end up hanging, but for now, it's proudly displayed in my hallway.
That's all I have for the moment, peeps!!  I hope to spend today doing many crafty things, and I hope you all find time to BBQ and make at least one little crafty thing!! 
Much love ~~~~
J :-)


Halloween?? Already??

Yes, folks.  It's about that time.  That time when you realize summer is quickly approaching and it's time to start your Halloween stitching.
No?  Just me?  Huh.  I guess I am crazier than I originally thought.
Well, you're over it now, and it's time for me to share one of my new favorite graphs:  Halloween Eve.  This is a Blackbird Design, and it's faaaabulous.  I had to take a break from my super-secret-on-the-down-low-biggest-project-ever for my own sanity, and so I got out my Halloween Eve to continue putting in a few stitches here and there. I'm stitching this on 40 count Cider from Silkweaver Fabrics.  I am completely and totally obsessed with this amazing neutral fabric.  I love it.  A lot a lot.
I've had this in my stash for a while now, and I love how it's turning out.  If you clicked on the above link for the graph, you can see that the entire top of this graph is a sampler.  Well.....I'm not too keen on I just eliminated the alphabet at the top, and started with that awesome pot with branches & leaves coming out.  Perfect fall pot of dying flowers, right?  Soooo spooky Halloweeny ;-)
Anyhooter.  To the left of the dying plant, is the end of the alphabet, and where I decided I'm going to put my initials (using the already provided alphabet that I'm not using...) instead of YZ.  Confused yet?  Good.  Me, too.  Here's hoping I can pull it together by the time I'm done stitching this bad boy.
Those leaves are done with Gentle Art Simply Shaker Autumn Leaves.  LOVE this fiber.  L.O.V.E.  It's absolutely perfect for anything fall.  Especially leaves.
I'm also slightly obsessed with the font used for the words "Halloween Eve".  Only slightly.
Ok maybe more than slightly.  I may have to create my own Halloween design using this font.  After I graph my Irish baby blessing and send it to the distributors.  In all my spare time.  
Alright kids.  That's all I have for today.  It's been beyond insane at work, so I haven't had much downtime once I get home to sit and do crafty things, but I do hope you enjoy this Blackbird Design as much as I do!!
My sister's bachelorette party is this weekend, which should be a blasty-blast, and I hope to have some super-cute pics to share with you all from the beginning of the evening.  Before all hell breaks loose.  HA.
Go forth and be crafty on this glorious May day :-)
Much Love
~~~ J