Fall Is In The Air!

 

Falling LeavesI live in an area where we have a definite change of seasons. We have a cold winter – well, not as cold as some, and usually only a little snow, but it’s cold enough for a coat sometimes. We have a hot summer – usually, although this summer we missed most of the days over 100 degrees. We have glorious spring with beautiful budding out and flowers – and thunderstorms and tornadoes, can’t forget to mention those. But we also have a wonderful fall, with a nip in the air, blustery winds, and beautiful fall color in changing leaves.

Laurel Park in our town is rimmed with trees that just burst with color in the fall – gold, orange and even scarlet. It’s absolutely glorious! I can drive down just about street in my town and see one tree after another, trying to outdo each other with their display. It’s a needlework designer’s dream – how to capture all this color?

Well, I tried! Falling Leaves is a little project of just leaf stitches, stitched with vibrant fall colors. I’ve seen all of these colors in the fall just in my town – no need to take a fall foliage viewing trip! When I pulled the threads and was showing them to someone, the red-orange was questioned, but we have several trees in our town that explode into just this color – I wish you all could see it!

Falling Leaves is also very quick to stitch. I stitched it in about 3 days, and wrote the instructions at the same time, so I know it can be done in time for your fall decorating. And, the finishing couldn’t be easier. Just pop it into the darling tray from Patches ‘n Planks, or a wooden tray or box from another purveyor, and you’re done!

I chose only DMC cotton flosses, DMC #8 pearl cottons and 1 DMC Color Variations for this project on 18 ct. white canvas, all of which should be readily available at your local needlework shop. This design joins Tricky Treats, Lovey Dovey, Hippity Hoppity, Wave The Flag and Ho! Ho! Ho! in the line up of seasonal and holiday tray designs; you can see those designs on the website.

Enjoy the turn of seasons as summer gives way to fall! Dig out those sweaters and boots, rake the leaves into a pile, and enjoy some time outside before it gets too cold!

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Only 106 Days to Christmas!

Ho! Ho! Ho!

Ho! Ho! Ho!

But who’s counting? Probably even more pressing for stitchers – finishing deadlines are looming large on the calendar! Perhaps some of you have favorite finishers and their holiday deadline has already passed! Oh no!

Finishing, and easy finishing, is one of the reasons I developed the tray series that features seasonal and holiday colors. As soon as you finish stitching, you can pop it in the tray – easy peasy finishing you can do yourself. I know because I have finished every one of the designs myself, and if I can do it, you can do it.

Ho! Ho! Ho! features traditional red, white, green and gold colors, designed to go with your other holiday decorating. I chose textured stitches for two of the corners, and satin stitches for the other two corners, with waffle stitches running through the center. As an added bonus, any of the corners can be stitched by itself as an ornament!

Many years ago I began stitching projects that were interchangeable for the seasons, or that could share one frame and be switched out. It’s an economical way to display projects, and keep a fresh look for holidays and seasons. And I’m sure we’ve all heard the saying, “stitch when you’re young and poor, frame when you’re old and rich!” Many times finishing our pieces is one of the costliest parts of our hobby.

That’s why I love these little projects that stitch up fast, and share the same tray. I got my tray from Patches n’ Planks, but there are other trays and boxes that will suit the 6″ x 6″ square design. And I can just see this little tray filled with holiday goodies or candies, or holding holiday cards, small ornaments. Although it would be a shame to cover up the design! You could also do your own finishing to create a stand-up, or even in a small frame in an easel.

I hope you enjoy Ho! Ho! Ho! It’s never too early to start planning for the holidays, and maybe this will spur your stitching efforts. I won’t start humming holiday songs, just yet!

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Color Inspiration

Last week I promised I’d start catching up, so I’m going to work a little backwards and start with the most recent first. We’ve just returned from a trade show, and trade shows always mean new designs. “Radiance” was our big release from the show, so I’ll start with that one. Next post I’ll fill you in on the other new releases.

Usually when I design I start with the design and add the color later, after the design is completed. This time I started with the color inspiration, and designed with that color inspiration in mind. The colors were very bold, taken from one of my favorite dresses:

Dress corrected

 

Wowzer! I love these colors, but knew that the design would require some careful handling or the design would look muddled. Orange, fuchsia, purple and bright green normally do not reside happily together!

So I decided that the best way to handle all these vivid colors would be to assign them to quadrants, and keep them separated, to allow each color to shine in its own light. I bordered the colors with black, because my dress is bordered with black and I liked the way the black set off the colors. I toyed with the idea of black canvas, but gave that up early on.

As I began laying out the design elements, I started with an 8 pointed star in the center that the design “radiated” from. That’s the only place where the colors are mixed, in the center. I used a lot of optical blending of the floss colors, to get some fine shading in the limited palette. And, I played with the sword Amadeus that divided the quadrants to provide the color separation, one of the first elements that I knew for sure would be in the design.

This design reflects a lot of my love for bright vivid colors. And, it also employs a lot of Jean Hilton stitches – crescents, walnetos, Jessicas, sword Amadeus, and other stitches that are loopy and lots of fun to stitch. “Radiance” developed because I loved the colors in one of my dresses, and I hope you enjoy the colors as well.

Radiance

Radiance

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Where has Debbie been?

Radiance

Radiance

If you’ve been trying to follow my blog, and wondering where in the world has Debbie been, I apologize for the great passage of time between my last post and this one! Over the next few days and weeks I’ll be posting quite a bit to try to catch up on the goings on in DebBee’s Designs, but for now here’s a brief overview:

I’ve been to Ukraine! I’ll have a couple of posts with pictures from my trip, but for now just a couple of words. We went to Ukraine for 10 days at the end of April with a group of 80 people from Arkansas, to sing 8 concerts in Kiev and Zhytomir in West Ukraine. There was cross stitch EVERYWHERE! We met beautiful people, saw beautiful sights, and loved our time there. So much to process after I got home, that I had trouble getting back into work, and have been playing catch up ever since.

I’ve been in East Texas several times. Like many of you, I have parents that need some care. They live independently but need a little help now and then. At the end of May, my mom fell and broke her right wrist and left elbow – major trouble! So the siblings and I mobilized to provide help for daily care until we could get home health aid enlisted. So while I was taking care of my parents, business took a back seat.

I’ve been in Pennsylvania for our annual Needle Arts Mystery Retreat. I’ll share more about that later as well, pictures of our project, how I developed the theme for my part of the project and all the good stuff! Plus some hints about next year, and of course invitations to join us!

And, I’ve been home taking care of grandchildren. My daughter and her husband have been in India on a mission trip, and we took care of our 4 year old Emily and 6 year old Skylar for 2 weeks. Plus we’ve had our granddog Buddy for 6 weeks while they were on other mission trips and youth camps. Those of you with grandchildren and children at home know that setting your own schedule while tending to little ones is not always possible!

Finally, I’m just back from the fall trade show in St. Charles, MO, where we showed 3 new designs. Despite all the travel, and house guests, and upheaval, I managed to get 3 new designs ready for the trade show. I’ll show more of our new designs and of course tell a little more about the designs in future posts. For now enjoy a picture of Radiance, shown at the top of the page.

Be watching for more information later, too much to share in one catch-up post!

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Living On Line

The past week has been one that most of us who live in the cyber age dread – connectivity problems, dying computers and “upgrades”. I use the term “upgrade” loosely, because it was an upgrade in our internet service that started a cascade of problems that ended with me getting a new computer. Our local internet company promised us new whizbang faster internet speed and upgraded HD television service, so we said yes (who wouldn’t?!). The problem was they came out when husband/tech guru/maintainer of the home network was out of town.

They came out to install on Monday, 2 men and multiple calls back to the home office. They came again on Tuesday, 2 different men and multiple calls again to the home office. Panicked phone calls from me to the office after they left, because not only was I not on-line, my computer was crashing. Granted, my computer was 5 years old. I saw a definite cause and effect between their installation of the new service, removal of my computer from our secure home network and firewall, and the subsequent crashing of my computer. They did not.

Anyway, husband got home, after several anxious hours of text messages, phone calls, desperate attempts to rescue my computer or at least keep it alive long enough to transfer the files off it. And 1 relatively sleepless night on my part. My whole business, after all, is on my computer.

We bought a new computer, husband restored the home network and reinstalled my computer behind the firewall, all of our computers now talk to each other again and to the printers (most important!). He also transferred all of the files off of the old computer and onto the new computer, and insured that all of the graphing software, diagramming software and etc. will work – key for a designer, because no one is making new graphing software or updating the old software any longer (no market in it). And it all works!

So that led me to think about my graphing software, and I promise I’ll write a blog post about it next time. I get asked all the time about it. I’ve always listed which programs I use inside every chart I produce, on the Resources page. But I’ll write about it in more detail in my next blog post. In the meantime, I’m happily clicking away on my new laptop, with a Windows 8.1 OS. So far so good! And all’s right with my little world once again.

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