Lazy Sunday

Tomorrow morning I’m off to school again to start a new semester, so today is all about soaking up those last precious drops of summer vacation. I’m mostly soaking them up indoors in the comfort of my air conditioning, however, as we’re under official “excessive heat warning” in my area. Luckily, I stumbled upon this delicious treat while grocery shopping today:

Pineapple soda is such a great blast from the past. So I’m sitting here sipping my soda and browsing through Instagram and thought I’d share a few of my most recent favorites. The Instagram community is so full of awesome stitchery! Enjoy. 🙂

I could go on for days linking up beautiful artwork, but for now I’m going to pick up my own hoop and get stitching so that I’ll have something of my own to show you tomorrow! Happy Sunday, everyone. 🙂


Button Button’s Orange Peel Quilt-Along

I am a very newbie quilter, as clearly demonstrated in this little piece of work. But I do love the idea of quilting, and I love the finished products. I’m a quilt/blanket junkie from wayy back. My favorite pastime, in fact, is huddling in the fetal position beneath a good, warm quilt, trying to curl my body into as small a space as possible. I’m lucky enough to have quilts passed down to me through several generations of family: I have quilts made by my great-grandmother, my grandmother, my aunt, and my mom. So I kind of have to make quilts, right? I mean, future generations of cranky, likely clinically depressed offspring are depending on me to line their secluded hobbit caves with love! I cannot let them down!

So in the service of continued practice and learning and honing those skillz, I’m joining Julie from Button Button and her lovely Orange Peel Quilt-Along. (You might know Julie as one of the creative masterminds behind Little Dorrit & Co. Their embroidery patterns are sweet and most are based on literature, which of course I adore.)

This particular quilt-along appeals to me for several reasons: 1) it’s totally laid back, chill, no pressure, 2) I’ve admired her work from afar for quite some time now, 3) the mini-quilt she’s already made in this style is beautiful and inspiring, 4) it involves applique, which I’d love to do more of, 5) it involves hand-stitching, which I’m so down with, 6) (and not least) when she found out that several people were interested in quilting along with her, Julie responded on her blog with “That’s so damn awesome!” I love girls who swear when talking about crafting. I just do. Those are MY PEOPLE.

So today, I’ve been digging up fabrics and trying to make some decisions. Ugh. Decisions.

This is probably the most difficult part for me. I am NOT GOOD at choosing fabrics; I’m really not. I have a really hard time visualizing the finished project and deciding whether the individual fabrics are going to work well together.

I’m thinking maybe…

fabric choices

And that’s not a great picture, but it was the best I could do at the moment. I don’t know. I’m agonizing. Not enough contrast? Too few low volumes? I DON’T KNOW. Talk me through this, people. Seriously. What do you think?

Oh, and be sure to check out Button Button and all of her awesomeness and join in the quilt-along, because it’s going to be great.

Peace, out.


Work I Admire Wednesday: Sambalou32

I have a major craft crush on Samantha Louise, an embroidery artist from the UK. She uses free motion machine embroidery to create stunning pieces of artwork.

I discovered her on Instagram, and quickly found myself hearting practically every picture she posted. I love her work so much. Naturally, I was crazy excited when she launched her own website earlier this month. If I could stop being poor for five minutes, I’d own a piece of her artwork for my bedroom wall.

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Stripy socks

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I only recently started scouring Instagram for other embroidery artists, and I have to say, that place showcases a wealth of talent. Simply search #embroidery, #embroideryart, and the like, and you’ll find a wide array of contemporary stitchers sharing their work.

If the piece I’m admiring most on Sambalou’s website is still available when I get paid this week, then it’s so mine. I’ll gladly cut back on the groceries for one of those beauties. 😉

Meanwhile, work continues on Maya Angelou and rainbow granny squares. I’m hoping to have the Maya Angelou portrait piece finished by Friday, but that might be wishful thinking. We shall see. I already know what shero I’m planning to stitch up next, and I’m anxious to get her started. I have a habit of getting ahead of myself.

Wednesday: Work I Admire:

I just stumbled into a wealth of inspiration and information at

(And then I read that sentence back and realized it sounds super spammy. But this post is not spam, I assure you, and they’re not paying me anything to promote their website. I honestly just found it and wanted to share.)

Start here, with this post featuring 10 contemporary embroidery artists, and then I dare you to try not to fall down the rabbit hole admiring all of the stitchy amazingness that is available throughout the site.

These artists’ work make my little stitchy fumblings look paltry.

I mailed a commissioned piece off to its owner this morning; can’t wait for her to receive it so that I can post it here. In the meantime, I’m just fooling about with pieces of felt and leftover floss, playing and adding to this silly piece:


What are you working on? 


I discovered Hey Paul Studios sometime ago, but this week was the first attempt I’ve made at following along with the #hastystitch inspiration challenge. It’s a really cool concept: each month, Hey Paul Studios posts a list of around four words that stitchers can use “as a springboard for creativity.” (I also love that description.) The list generally includes a couple of descriptive words and the names of a couple of different types of stitches. You can then post whatever you make to Instagram with the tag #hastystitch.

I’m going to commit to this challenge for the rest of the year, at least, because it’s such a great, low pressure way to learn new stitches and play around.

I grabbed a piece of felt–the color was my interpretation of  “lake”–and set to work at the oyster stitch, which is one I’d never tried before. I googled “oyster stitch,” and discovered that it is basically a rosette stitch inside of a lazy daisy stitch. Okay. Cool. I’ve done laisy daisies, no big deal. I’ve never attempted a rosette stitch. But how hard can it be, right?

Now this is the point at which I must give you a piece of advice that hopefully will save you much frustration. When trying to learn a new stitch, do not do random googling, do not search YouTube, do not pass Go, do not do ANYTHING before you have gone straight to the master herself, Mary Corbet. Mary Corbet’s stitch tutorials are by far the best on the web. Her clear instructions will not lead you astray.

For whatever reason, I had forgotten this bit of wisdom and just started reading a random explanation of the oyster stitch and then I tried to follow it even though it didn’t really make sense in my mind yet. Apparently, I was being hasty. See? Because “hasty”…nevermind. (I apologize. I’ve been missing the captive audience that is my classroom since school let out for the summer in early May. Generally, my students bear the brunt of my lame humor.)

oyster stitch practice

At some point, I decided that since the oyster stitch is really just a rosette stitch inside of a lazy daisy, it might behoove me to first learn the rosette stitch. Okay, so the rosette stitch starts with a twisted chain stitch…

oyster steps


Yes, looking good. Then you take your needle up through the right “leg” of the twisted chain stitch…

oyster process 2


And then you sprinkle some magic pixie unicorn dust glitter and do the hokey pokey, and…

oyster finish.jpg

Yeahhh, that’s not quite right either.

By this point, though, I was three episodes in to Season Two of House, I was pretty convinced I had vicariously contracted Cushing’s disease, or Lupus, or some sort of rare fungus, and Pritts had fallen asleep on the couch. It was time to give up. Only then did I remember the goddess whom we call Mary Corbet, navigate to her site, watch her video on the oyster stitch, and realize it would probably be easier to work on aida, at least until I get the hang of it.

So please let my inane flailings in stitchery serve as a lesson to you: Check out Hey Paul Studios, and then get yourself over to Mary Corbet to get schooled in exotic stitches before you start mucking about all willy-nilly! You’ll thank me; I promise. 😉

I’ll check back in with my new and improved oyster stitches when I get a chance. I’m giving myself the rest of June to sort them out.

&Stitches Swap

My first blog post on Existitchialism was to show off the hoop I made for my &Stitches swap partner Liz (a.k.a. The Stitchsmith) in New Zealand. Today I’d like to share the lovely hoop I received from her.

swap hoop

She included a letter explaining the background of the piece, and this hoop is full of symbolism: “Aotearoa” was the name the Maori people gave to New Zealand, as its three islands resembled a long white cloud in the sea. She has stitched up the map of her country using a wool yarn produced there from their famous merino sheep. Isn’t that a beautiful chain stitch?

swap hoop 2

The curly lines are meant to suggest the koru fern, New Zealand flora that symbolizes new life and new beginnings. (In a strange coincidence, both Liz and I were busy moving during the swap, so the koru fern was indicative of her chosen “place”–her home of New Zealand, and also of both our current situations. How cool is that?

She has put so much thought into every part of the design, the materials used, including the colors of the piece, as black and white are New Zealand’s national colors.

I love the way Liz finished the back of the hoop as well. I’ve tried many different ways of finishing the backs of my hoops, and still haven’t found a method that suits me.  This is quite cute, though, and I like how the label can be seen in the center of the gathered fabric.

swap hoop 4

swap hoop 3
Needless to say, this hoop is getting a place of honor on the wall of my new home. Big thanks to the &Stitches blog for coordinating a great swap! 🙂


This is a crummy commercial.

I’m certainly not the first person to think of cross stitching QR codes. There’s a great how-to at this blog, if you’d like to read about how to make your own. Unfortunately, I didn’t find that link until AFTER I had mine completely stitched up, but the process is really a pretty easy one.

Pritts and I were taking an evening walk on Sunday, and I don’t remember how the subject of QR codes even came up, but I thought it would be really funny to use one to stitch up some inane saying as a joke. If you’re a fan of A Christmas Story, you might also find it funny, and If you’ve never seen the movie, it probably won’t make any sense at all. lol

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#crossstitch #qrcode #crummycommercial

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I happen to LOVE A Christmas Story, and I quote and reference it all year long, not just in December. I’m one of those people who is pretty much constantly using dialogue from films in everyday conversation. Anything from The Emperor’s New Groove to Super Troopers is likely to come out of my mouth at any given moment, even if I know the person I’m talking to has never seen the movie and won’t get the reference, because dammit, I think I’m hilarious, and cracking myself up is what counts.

Now that I think about it, our Sunday evening walk was to get pie from a local greasy spoon diner, and I did the “I’ll have what she’s having” line when someone at a table across the room started laughing hysterically. Pritts suggested I may need to dust that joke off a bit, but again, I amused myself, and that’s what’s important, right? 😉

But back to QR codes: the really cool thing about these is that you can have them link to pretty much anything you want–YouTube clips, URLs, simple text, photos, anything you can think of. There are some great possibilities. Here’s a pretty cute example of a Christmas gift via QR code: sunbright gift.

And if you have trouble figuring out how to make a pattern, or if you just don’t want to mess with it, Acts of Craftiness (whose awesome work I recently discovered on Instagram) will design the pattern for you. These really are great pieces for beginners, as the patterns are easy to follow and relatively quick to stitch up.

If, by chance, you share my dumb sense of humor and would like to stitch up the QR code I designed, you can download that pattern for free from Craftsy. Just click HERE. 🙂