To chase away the winter blues here is a free pattern to stitch, using bright colors to cheer you up. Research either does or should show that bright colors help reduce depression. The pattern is available on FronyRitterDesigns.com under free patterns.
Here is my version of conversation hearts, cross stitched on perforated paper with Mill Hill beads added. These patterns are available in the February 2017 issue of Just Cross Stitch.
I realized I dated myself with the sayings on the hearts. So I devised a scheme to find out what decade a person was born in by giving them a drawing of a heart and have them write in sayings to make them conversation hearts. Here is the answer key:
2010–BFF, Tweet Me
2000–Chill Out, Text Me
1990s–Cool Dude, Fax Me
1960s–Far Out, Groovy
1950s–Hep Cat, Heart Throb
1900–Be Mine, Kiss Me
And, of course conversation hearts were much more serious in the past. You are unlikely to have anyone provide these answers but they are still part of the answer key.
Russian Revolution–Luv Lenin
French Revolution–Let them eat candy hearts
Shakespearean Times–Get thee to a nunnery
Ancient Greece–Be my Adonis
Ancient Egypt– ;-,,’
This design can be found in the 2016 Christmas Ornament Issue of Just Cross Stitch. I added Mill Hill beads to the piece to sparkle it up. I also added an easy recipe for peppermint chocolate cupcakes with buttercream frosting, marshmallow filling and an infusion of Peppermint Bark Liqueur from Eastside Distilling in Portland, guaranteed to provide you with lots of pleasure and unwanted pounds.
This year I learned there was a name for leftover bits of stitching floss. They are called “orts”. I had coined the word “flivers” by joining the words “floss” and “slivers” and used that term until I was enlightened. My husband, when he finds threads on the floor or his clothes, or in his soda, calls them “sniblets”. (Unlike mine, his word doesn’t make sense.) There is even a needlework store in Florida called Needle Orts.
I loved my ort colors from my recent chart, Stay Cool My Friend, so I kept them and made paper. Here’s how.
1. I cut my orts into small pieces.
2. I tore scrap paper into shreds.
3. I let in soak in water for an hour or so.
4. My husband, suspecting what I was up to, hid the blender because he remembers when I fried the blender with paper pulp. In the days when a floppy disk was a frisbee grandma made of polyester and a memory stick was a prop used in New Age group therapy, I had to print out copies of my thesis every time I changed it. I both wanted to avoid wasting the piles of paper and use the recycled paper to make Thank You cards to my professors who endured the paper Avalanche I foisted on them (and because they let me cross stitch during class). So this time I used a mortar and pestle.
5. Grind paper to pulp, mix in orts. Some people add a little white glue. If you want your paper to be less porous add a little cornstarch.
6. Spread onto a screen and flatten with a sponge or hand.
7. Let water seep out and let dry.
8. Pop out of screen and admire.
9. Use to make cards and tags and stay cool my friend and repurpose your orts.
When Stephanie from Hand Dyed Fabrics from Stephanie handed me this cool linen called “Jell-O shots”, my brain said Popsicle. Then all things summer materialized along with the Popsicles. I then stitched it on Pink Lady Aida from Wichelt and added Mill Hill beads, and I also stitched the Popsicles on perforated paper to make wine charms. Because I need a need cap and want to say “I’m cool” to the world, I stitched it on a blue cap using waste canvas. My husband said wearing that could be false advertising. That may be true, but is there a confection that says, “I’m a grouchy curmudgeon”? I don’t think so.
Option 1. Throw away scraps of cross stitch fabric and perforated paper. Option 2. Save all scraps and think of a way to justify hoarding. I chose option two and made a booklet of twenty small designs, which can be used to create magnets, wine charms, jewelry, ornaments, cards, tags and more. The booklet will be available the first week of April. However, you can get it now if you buy it from one of the stores listed on the home page of www.fronyritterdesigns.com. How did they get early copies? They came to visit Frony Ritter Designs at the Nashville Needlework market last weekend, said hello, and picked them up there.
I am so eager for Saint Patrick’s Day that I am having a second party to celebrate this day. I made favor boxes that I filled with Sees’s shamrock chocolate. Because I believe in chocolate I also made Irish Car Bomb cupcakes. And of course, it is an excuse to display counted cross stitch.
The newest design in the Spring Series of counted cross stitch is inspired by the 1874 hymn by Robert Lowry. When I was a child the most fascinating hymn sung at Easter time was He Arose. The tone was gloomy and morose as people sang, “dead in the tomb he lay….” Their tone actually matched how many of them looked and acted at church. Suddenly mania breaks out when the tempo and mood of the song changes to say, “up from the grave he arose”. The song reenacts what seems like a play that moves from despondency to joy. The song got stuck in my head as I designed and stitched and re stitched it.
I also remembered the times this song spontaneously busted out of nowhere in a crowd–and no, I never started it. Walking with friends through a cemetery at University in the middle of the night we found ourselves singing this loud enough (to wake the dead). A few years ago one fall evening some friends and I were walking in Montpelier, Vermont. Two young men walking in front of us were singing this song. We joined in and when the song was over we just silently went to our various destinations. And several times this song broke out while putting together puzzles with friends on a cold evening.
This hymn, which graphically depicts the greatest mystery in Christianity, has triggered many hours of pondering, especially since I began working on this project and the song got embedded in my head.
I was showing my cousin Karen, Greek goddess of cheerfulness, appreciating good humor and beading, my beaded version of two of the fall designs. She suggested that I frame them. So I sewed them onto white silk, painted some raw pine frames black and framed them. Conversion from DMC to Delica beads is on the website, fronyritterdesigns.com.