New blog style, new images!

I have been writing this blog since October 2009, and ever since I started, I’ve kept the same theme and header picture, of a stumpwork handbag on black silk….up until now.

This week Google, in their infinite wisdom, have decided that websites and blogs will not be found as easily as before in searches (even if their content is exactly what you’re searching for), if the website or blog isn’t ‘mobile friendly’ – i.e. ‘responsive’. I call it ‘squashable’ – that is, the web page re-arranges itself to fit on whatever device you are viewing it on.

So, with the deadline looming, I decided to upgrade my blog’s theme, and choose one that would tick all the boxes, as the old one wasn’t upgradable. Not as easy as you might think, these days. It seems that blog themes with a good-looking font and the ability to display large images (as I like to have) aren’t as easy to find now. However, the theme I’ve chosen (called Twenty Twelve) does what I want.

I’ve also chosen to change the image at the top of the blog, to feature various miniature needlepoint items that all feature as part of my range of kits on my website www.janetgranger.co.uk  (which has been ‘mobile friendly’ for weeks, now!). This is the new header image:

cropped-blog-header-2015-april-misty-lake.jpg

It’s a lovely image, and I do like it, but whenever I look at it, I do have mixed feelings, as, when my husband and I were taking the picture, we left the spotlights turned on while we went to look at the image on the computer in another room. Unfortunately, the spotlights fell off their stand onto the carpet face down, and burned a hole in the carpet, which was only a month old….NOT good.

Along with the new blog theme, I have added a widget to the right sidebar which will take you directly to my website when you click on it, so that you can see the whole range of miniature needlepoint kits and charts, many free tutorials, and dozens of inspirational photos taken by my talented customers, of mini stitching which they have done. It looks like this:

widget website pics 20 April 2015

Let me know what you think of the new theme, and if it’s working OK on whatever device you view my blog on.

 

 

 

 

Carolyn Pearce Home Sweet Home workbox 14: stitching the emery block

It’s been a while since I’ve been able to spend some time on the ‘smalls’ from the Carolyn Pearce Home Sweet Home workbox, which I am making from her book. The piece I am working on at the moment is the tiny little emery block.

Emery powder has been used for centuries to clean tarnished needles. If your needle is starting to feel ‘sticky’, it could probably do with being cleaned using emery powder. The traditional shape for a holder of the powder is that of a strawberry. I used to have one of those even when I was very small – I’m not sure I even knew what it was for, but I liked poking my needles in and out of the strawberry anyway!

Block 1

This emery block takes very little time to embroider, as it measures just over an inch by an inch and a half, by 3/8 inches deep. This is the reverse side:

Block 2

I was quite happy with how the flowers turned out, but I think that my bee looks more like a vine weevil with wings, to me! I think the metallic thread that I chose, in a gunmetal grey, wasn’t quite right. But I do like the way that the stitches are quite raised when completed, so it’s an interesting piece to look at. You can see this clearly if you look at the embroidery sideways on:

Block 3

 

Now I need to work out how to assemble the emery block. I don’t really like the suggested assembly instructions in the book, so I need to work out my own way of doing it.

Autumn Quakers by Rosewood Manor : 1

When I’m travelling, I often take some stitching with me. But that brings its own problems. It usually means that I have to take small projects, so that I won’t need my floor frame. Recently, this cross stitch sampler by Rosewood Manor has caught my eye. Although it’s larger than my usual kind of ‘portable project’, it’s working out OK to do on the move, as each motif is a small one, so it’s easy to pick it up and put it down when time allows.

Autumn1

It’s quite large when finished, but isn’t it beautiful? Above is the image from the front of the chart booklet. Below is the colour key, with bits of each thread stuck alongside, to make it easier for me to find each shade of thread.

Autumn 2

I bought the chart booklet from Arts and Designs of Dumfries, Scotland. I found it impossible to buy the Valdani threads which are recommended to stitch it in the UK, though. They are lovely three-strand overdyed threads, which are claimed to be colourfast (haven’t tested that yet – I’m just hoping!). The selection of 12 colours needed for this project are available in one cute little box. I got them from Stitch and Frog in  the USA, in the end.

Autumn 3

I’ve only managed a small corner so far, but I’m pleased with how it’s turning out.

A tour round the miniature Thorne Rooms from the Art Institute of Chicago

I just couldn’t resist posting this video on my blog this week – I came across this recently, and it reminded me of the impression the Thorne Rooms have had on my designing of miniature embroidery over the years.

The 68 roomboxes are displayed in the Art Institue of Chicago, and are of the highest standard. They were collected together by Mrs. James Ward Thorne, who was a wealthy American in the 1930s. She loved miniature things, and commissioned many artisans of the time to make very careful replicas of furniture and accessories, to demonstrate various historical periods, both European and American, all in miniature. They took eight years to complete.

When I was in my twenties I remember buying a small paperback, showing a selection of the rooms in colour. It really inspired me to have a go too, and that’s partly how my miniature needlepoint kit business got going.

Lovely, isn’t it?

The Art Institute’s website has a good page showing each of the rooms, too, which you can click on to see the rooms in more detail.