Tuesday, October 27, 2015

A Giant Sigh Of Relief

Thank you all for your prayers and kind words.  I'm glad to report that Amber came through the surgery very well and her prognosis is great.  She's healing and doing a bit better than anticipated.  You'll all be able to hear the giant WHOOP of joy when she is finally able to return to us.

Friday, October 23, 2015

I've thrown a kink into the works!

Hi everybody, Amber here!  I  want to let everyone know that I've suddenly had to leave work in a lurch.  Over the past four or five months I've had strange health issues (fatigue, abdominal distention and more *fun* stuff) resulting in an exploratory laparoscopy.  My gynecologist thought she would be excising  an endometrioma from my right ovary, but when she got in there she was surprised to find a good sized appendiceal mass and mucus running amok in my abdomen.  I've been referred to a fantastic surgeon who will be performing an open surgery to remove the offending tissues on Monday, October 26th.  My recovery time will likely be substantial, so all the weight of work is going to fall squarely on Jill for a while.  Be kind to her (she has been working herself to the bone and producing incredible things) and patient with me and we'll try to get back to our creative teamwork as soon as possible. We love you all!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

How to stretch a cross stitch for matting

We're often asked by DIYers how to stretch a cross stitch before assembling into a mat and frame kit.  Here is our photo tutorial detailing our process.  If it gets too tedious or difficult for you, please know that we will be happy to stretch your piece for you if you ship it to our shop.

 When you purchase a mat set for a Shepherd's Bush cross stitch design it will come with the mat(s) and a piece of white, acid-free foam board the same size as the mat set.

The first step in the stretching process is to determine how big of an opening to cut into your foam board.  To get started, measure the mat margin on the mat set – this one measures 2 7/8”.  The mat needs to cover the fabric as well as the foam board.
We know that the mat is 2 7/8", so our foam board frame needs to have an opening that will hide underneath that 2 7/8" exposure.  We will measure in 2” from each edge of the foam board and mark the board  with pencil– extending and overlapping the lines at the corners by about 1/4”.  To check that you've done this step correctly, place the mat over the foam board and confirm that your pencil lines are hidden by the mat.

Using a straight edge and a razor knife, cut the marked area from the middle of the foam core leaving the window intact. Cut just a little beyond the corner (follow your overlapped pencil marks) to free the foam center.

Pop the center piece out and visually center your stitched design on the smaller inner foam board piece.  

Stretch the cross stitch design from the centers outward, and pin with straight pins (we recommend stainless steel) around the perimeter of the board following the grain of the fabric. You may need to make adjustments, but you can pull the pin out  and try again if it isn’t tight or straight enough.

This is how it should look once all the stretching has been completed.  You will be leaving the pins in the piece so make sure you push them all the way into the foam edge.

Now you can pop the outer foam board frame back onto the piece – concealing all the straight pins.  Make the front of the cross stitch sit flush in the foam board frame.

 The final step is placing the mat set onto the design.  Double sided tape works well.  We recommend taping the mat to the outer foam core frame so no adhesive comes in contact with your fabric.

We hope it worked out well for you.  Happy Stitching!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Amber on Fire

Some days I wish I could just sit back and watch Amber embellish mats.  She has done some of the most glorious embellishments in the last two weeks that I am absolutely breathless in anticipation of the next design.

When this cross stitch came in, we were delighted and a little nervous about finishing it.  It is literally a once in a lifetime experience getting the opportunity to frame such a magnificent piece of stitching.  To give you a better idea of the magnitude of this piece, the finished size is 43 3/8 inches by 29 inches.  The problem with framing a piece like this lies in how to design a framing package that suits the design without detracting from it in any way.  Well, in this case, I think Randy (yes, a gentleman stitched this) chose a color combination and frame that allowed the stitching to sing.  The frame is highly ornamental, but by keeping the mats in close color harmony, you see the cross stitch first and then delight in the finish.  Job well done, Randy and Amber.

Next on our list of amazing pieces is a lovely needlepoint stitched by our dear friend Nancy.  (we will happily frame needlepoint, however we don't block them.)  Amber and I absolutely relish the chance to just let our creative brains go wild.  This piece allowed us that opportunity, as it lends itself to wild abandon.

And two more pieces that left me breathless when we were finally finished... Christie has done it again, and again. This chandelier is scrumptious.

 I've framed the Grandmother Fairy several times, but I've never been happier with the finished piece.

And finally, a mat set that we are sending overseas to Leslie.  I hope she thinks to send us a photo of the final product as we would love to see what frame she chooses.

If you haven't seen you piece here today, please don't feel slighted.  The pieces I've posted are the ones that I remembered off the top of my head.  I have many hundreds of really handsome finishes in my "hasn't been posted yet" file.  Someday, when I'm not so occupied by cutting mats, chopping and building frames, cutting glass, answering phones, sending e-mails, and feeding hungry dogs, I'll post some more.  

Stay tuned. 

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Amber speaks...a little.

Hi everybody!  I'm not inspirational like Jill, but I am tickled to show you what we've been up to.  Look at these pretties:

Jannie M's Ma Petite Robe Noire

Carolyn B's Peony Bunka

Christie N's HAED Sea Turtle

Clarice K's Birds of a Feather

Joyce K's Mermaid Needlepoint

Carolyn O's St. Francis of Assisi

Michelle B's Wizard and Dragon

Stasha's  Fire Fairy

Friday, February 27, 2015

Framing posters instead of cross stitch

Last week we finished up some of my favorite pieces.  Most of them are posters of delightful illustrations by artists Eric Carle and Mary Engelbright.  The last was a magical book of postage stamps depicting Harry Potter and friends.  We had so much fun finishing these pieces we're feeling a little guilty!

I hope you enjoy these as much as we did!

Friday, January 30, 2015

I heart you

20 years ago, when I made the decision to become a framer, I had no idea what beautiful, kind, and just downright amazing people I would meet.  I cant' decide if it's cause or effect...Does needlework create such loving people or do beautiful people just have a natural affinity for needlework?  

This week, we've been enjoying the most beautiful "Thank you" bouquet I've ever laid my eyes on.  I know for certain, though, that the family who sent them far surpass the beauty of any bouquet on earth.  (I won't mention names because I happen to know that they are very private people and I would cause them distress by mentioning names.  You know who you are.  Know that you are loved and appreciated every minute of every day.

When I started this blog, I had intended to make it a scrapbook of the framing we finished every week.  My intentions got derailed somehow and here I am with an enormous file of pieces that I should have posted but somehow I got caught up in the "doing" but not the "showing".  So, here now are a couple of pieces we finished last week and a whole bunch that I've pulled from the "hasn't been posted yet" file - to celebrate the season.

I heart you.