Friday, September 28, 2012

Friday Progress Photos, Card Making Fun

Hello out there!  So I don't really have progress photos because I finished the two cross stitch projects I had been successively working on.  However I am still trying to complete all of the finishing on them and I plan to add pics of that when I am done.

This week I hosted a monthly get together of ladies who like to craft and share some wine.  I am thankful that I got to host because now I am enjoying the fruits of my labor of a nice clean house!  Also it got me back in touch with an old favorite craft of Stamping and Card Marking!

Here are the 4 cards I designed for the demo activity part of the night.

I used mostly Stampin Up stamps and punches, and the Owl card was made using the Hoot 'n Holler Cricut Cartridge.  I came up with the Christmas theme for the cards mostly so I could start thinking ahead about Christmas and the Holidays this year.

Here are some of the beautiful, creative variations made last night!

And here is the Owl image I cut to show off what the Cricut can do to those who had never seen one in action!  It is from the October 31st Cartridge.

And the best result of the night besides the great company was that my little girl finally slept ALL NIGHT LONG!!!  She hasn't done that in 4 months and I was unbelievably grateful for the extra sleep last night!

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

I Met an Astronaut!

Ok this week hasn't been too much to share craft-wise in my life.  I am trying like mad to clean my house since I am hosting a monthly Womens Craft Group at my house.  I will be doing a short greeting card class for a few of the ladies in attendance so I have to find time to get all the parts and pieces ready before Thursday night.  Oh yeah and on Monday I met Astronaut Rex Walheim !  I got to go to an event where he was giving a presentation and then he gave out an autographed picture and then saw a teeny tiny flag that he took into space on USA's last mission from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.  It meant a little more to me since we visited KSC in January 2011. 

Here are a few of my photos from our visit...

The launch pad.

The newspaper headline from the moon landing in Danish.

A pretty mural at the Visitor Center...can you find the Norwegian flag :) ?

Friday, September 21, 2012

Friday Progress Photos and Finishes! Yes there is a s on the end as in Plural...

Well I have some real progress to show you this week...two project finishes!!

The first is that I finished the stitching on the Owl Growth Chart!  I still have to figure out how I am going to finish it so I can hang it up but the hard part is done!  I finished it on Tuesday so it only took about 3 months total to stitch.  I'll write more on the specifics later but I just had to share the good news.

Also I had another project finish!

This one was mostly finished but I picked it up again and finally finished stitching it!  But I'm not quite done with this one either since there is some finishing that I have to do since it is a bell pull wall hanging piece.  More details on this to follow...

Also I think I finally can see how obsessed I am with Owls ;).  I promise the next project I work on won't have an owl on it...well it might not...actually the more I think about it I can't promise that!

Oh and I am super excited to have my first real follower!  Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

African Fabrics

In my last post I mentioned the cool shoes I saw in Portugal covered in African Fabric.  When I lived in the DRC (Democratic Republic of the Congo AKA Zaire) one of my favorite things to do there was go to fabric shopping.  There were really two ways to do this.  The first was to drive to one of a handful of shops, or you could visit a booth out in the open air to make your selection like the one below.

I usually went to the shops just because it was easier, you didn't get approached by people for money, jobs etc, and it was also a bit safer (walking anywhere was not recommended, we could only travel by vehicle).  The only time I went to one of these booths was with my good friend T.  We stopped in the area they called "The Beach" where there are quite a few stalls set up like this one.  I loved buying fabric there because A) I am crafty and B) it was one of the very few items that weren't ridiculously expensive (the going rate for a pint of Hagen-Daas was $25US).  The fabric was a great deal as it was 100% cotton about 4 feet wide and you could get a pagne of 6 yards for $10.  

The only sad thing is that it is technically not made in Africa...its all made in China for the African market.  There was a factory in Kinshasa that made it but then the price of labor and demands got too high and then sadly all the jobs were sent to China I was told by a local man who was my friend's driver.

Well anyways this trip with T started off easy.  I started checking out the merchandise selecting my top suggestions and T was doing the same.  The Vendeuse or saleswoman in French the official language of the DRC was doing a good job of trying to up sell and get us to buy more and more fabric.  Then something caught my attention over T's shoulder.  Two men were speaking the local language frantically and with anger and then started to square up with their fists as though they were going to start to box.  I grabbed T and moved her out of the way as I was sort of mesmorized.  I couldn't tell if they were joking or were really going to come to blows with each other!  We both quickly paid for what we had selected and got back into our vehicle.  T even mentioned that she would have bought more but the Vendeuse didn't say anything to the men to quit or move on because they were scaring away her customers, probably because it is an extremely male dominated culture (A wife has to get "marital permission" to travel from her husband without him!).  I have many more stories and images to share from my time in the DRC but I thought I would give you a teaser until I can load some more pics from our laptop.   

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


Last May I got to go on a work trip to Lisbon, Portugal!  It was my first time in mainland Europe outside of transiting through an airport.  It was a great trip to say the least.  I got to see a few of the sites even though I was in training 9-5 everyday.  Also in May it was nice and warm when the temperatures in Oslo were still a bit cool.  One of the highlights was also getting to see a friend who I knew from Congo.

Here are the artsy/crafty pics from my trip.

I spotted these African shoes right away at the Aldo shoe store at Colombo Mall!

When you take a closer look at them you will notice that they are made out of African fabric.  I recognize the prints from the fabric sellers I used to frequent in Kinshasa!  I'll share more about all the glorious African fabric I bought while we lived in Africa later.

Here is a picture of a sculpture I liked at St. George's Castle that was located on the grounds.

So many of the buildings were covered in ceramic tiles.  I have never seen this done before as an external finish...

Here is a close up of the details on the ceramic tiles.

Here is the typical "European", old world image of laundry hanging out to dry...

...and the cool trolleys seen from the back window of a bus.

If you ever get the chance to visit Lisbon I would highly recommend it!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Second Finish of 2012

Here is my second cross-stitch project finish for 2012!  It is small measuring in at 7"w x 5"h.  This is the Owl Mini Birth Record from Dimensions Needlecrafts.  This was a perfect gift from a crafty friend that arrived just after the birth of my daughter.  For most of my pregnancy I had been searching for a Birth Announcement type design with owls but I couldn't find the perfect one, until I was sent this one!  Later I found the companion growth chart and I am currently rushing to try and finish it. 

I changed the design up a bit.  I decided to change the "Mama" owl to teal since that is my favorite color, and made the "Baby" pink and teal for my sweet little girl.  I also changed the border and writing colors and added her whole name and the time of her arrival into this world.  The last changes I made was in the leaves and tree trunk.  They were supposed to have bright yellow as the third accent color but I wanted them to blend in a bit more so I used one strand of teal and one strand of the dark green.  The same goes for the bark.  I didn't like the way the yellow green highlighted the tree trunk.  I wanted it to look more natural so I used the blue accent color from the leaves backstitching to highlight the tree limb.

I think one of the reasons why I enjoyed stitching this piece so much was because the 14 count Aida was a light blue cotton color.  The colored background made it easier on my eyes instead of the usual bright white that I almost always end up stitching on.  This was a pretty quick finish for me, it only took about a month to stitch.  It should have been much shorter but I was in the thick of my new role as a new Mom so I could only work on it when my newborn was sleeping, and we weren't entertaining visitors who were eager to meet her.

Please note that I really did finish this though it does not look complete.  I used a retouching editing feature to remove some of my daughters personal information.  I was impressed by how easy and good that tool was at erasing things...almost makes me want to use it to edit out some of the mistakes on past projects that only I can see ;).

 Also I had this framed by Wheaton's Framing and Art Gallery just before I returned to Norway and received it in the mail shortly after.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Friday Progress Photos & Cooler in Oslo

Here is my latest progress on Owl Growth Chart by Dimensions. 
I am so close to finishing it I can almost taste it!

This is the only snafu I ran into yesterday.  It almost worked for me to have enough floss to change the border from orange to teal...almost.  This is how far I made it.  Luckily I have a color that is as close as I think you can get in my stash.  I hope you can't notice it, but at least it is in a place where it shouldn't be too noticeable.  Now all I have left is to add the Names and Numbers on the left side making this project a real growth chart!

I love that little worm.  He is so cute and he reminds me of the worm on Sesame Street when I was a little kid in the 80s!  Does anyone remember if that character had a name or was he/she just Wormie?

I threw in a close up pic of the "Daddy" and Baby Owl just for the heck of it below.

On a non-stitching note I am so happy they finally turned on our heaters at my apartment building!  I know all my friends back in the US can't relate as it is currently still nice and in the 70s or 80s F, but here in Oslo at night it has been down to 4 degrees Celsius!!!  I don't know the exact translation into Fahrenheit but water freezes at 0 Celsius so just think about that.  Anyways I am so happy that it is nice and warm inside now and I don't have to worry that my little girl is way too cold.  I guess I never noticed how quickly Fall hits here in Norway because last year I was pregnant and always warm...oh well ha det sommer and hooray for heat on in September!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Kunsthåndverksmarkedet Oslo Year 1

Last August was the first time that I visited the annual Kunsthåndverksmarkedet (Oslo Handmade Market).  I wasn't sure quite to expect but the sun was shining and it was such a beautiful day!  Since it was my first time visiting this event the vendors and items seemed to go on forever, and it was definitely a bigger event with a larger crowd compared to this year.

Here is a nice spot to eat your freshly made waffle with jam or sweet Norwegian brown cheese and enjoy the summer day...

This is the view looking the other way.  The waffle booth is center in the background, with the Cathedral tower dominating the skyline.

Scandinavia is well known for handmade glass works, and this vendor was no exception!  I ended up buying a pink version of the abstract face drinking glass like the orange one below.

The same Artist made all of these colorful votive holders and now looking at them I regret not buying one for my collection.

This booth had very bright and colorful clothing that was whispering to me to take its photo.

Here is the banner outside of the Cathedral advertising the market just behind.

Here is a picture of Panduro Hobby, the local hobby shop chain with two locations in Oslo.  Its on the right just before Burger King.  This is on Karl Johan's Gate the major shopping/pedestrian only street in Oslo.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

First Cross Stitch Project Finish of 2012!

This project reminds me that I DO actually finish projects once in a while!  And this one was completed in a short period of time.  I have had this kit since I got married (over five years ago!).  My mom was going to make it for me but she ended up giving it to me a few years back figuring that I would probably complete it before she would.  It was a relatively easy stitch since there isn't any background to work on.  I started this project during the last week of December when I went to a city in Eastern Europe and wasn't sure how safe it would be for me to walk around.  So I brought this project to work on in case I would be stuck in my hotel room.  Luckily it was safe and I could explore a little bit so I didn't get much done while there, the bulk of this though I stitched while I was back in the US very pregnant and waiting to have my baby.  I finished it in March 2012 so it only took me 3 months to start and finish!  That is the earliest that I have ever finished a project of this size.

Here are some photos of its progression...

Here is a close up of the beading.  This is the first time I have ever added beads to a cross stitch project.

 Here is the finished piece all framed by my favorite framing company in the whole world Wheaton's Framing and Art Gallery and ready to be mailed back to us in Norway!

Project Details:
Two Hearts One Love
Distributed by Janlynn
Designed by Stoney Creek Collection
Stitching Finished Size: 14" x 12"

This last image is one of the many beautiful sunrises I captured while staying at my "Downtown" hotel where I stitched the bulk of this piece back in Michigan.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Friday Progress Photos

I am still working on the Owl Growth Chart by Dimensions.  I think you can see the progress I've made this week.

I decided to shorten the grass design up a bit from the original chart.  I know it won't be as balanced as the designer intended but I am trying to fit my daughters full name into the design which means putting our last name in the space between the grass and the Owl's swing.

The grass area is about half way done, but the rest should fly by since I don't have to do any counting or charting.  I've done that a lot with this project, working ahead with only doing 1/2 of the stitch and then following in its wake.  Once the grass area is done, I still have a worm, the name letters, and then all of the numbers and growth measurement lines to add as well as finish the other half of the border, but then I will be done stitching it!  I'm not quite sure how to finish it once that is done but I am hoping to finally be finished with the stitching in a few weeks.  We'll see if I can finish that quickly but hopefully you can hold me to my goal...

Oh I finally figured out how to add followers to this blog (I really am still just a beginner at blogging) so I would appreciate your support as a follower :)

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Cricut Project #2

I finally purchased my very own Cricut cutting machine and wow does it make some cool cuts!  It is still so new to me but I get so excited hearing the motor buzz and seeing how fast it makes intricate cut out shapes appear like magic on paper and card stock.  I had been thinking about making big letters to decorate my little girl's room for awhile.  At first I thought I would try to cut them really big in the 12 x 24 size, but eventually I settled on making them "fit to Page size" on a 12" x 12" page.  I picked up the card stock locally at Panduro Hobby , carved some time to work on the project...

And voila, here is the finished product!

For these letters I used the Ole Mexican/South American/Spanish themed cartridge, and I very happy with the finished result!

 I still have to attach this to the wall in my little one's room but that is a bigger project that will involve more cut out shapes to complete the decor...I'll show that off once it is finished.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Kunsthåndverksmarkedet Oslo Year 2

At the end of August, I visited the Oslo Handmade Art Market (Kunsthåndverksmarkedet) with some of my crafty friends.  We went last year and unfortunately the artwork and items did not meet my expectations.  Last year there were many more vendors, and I don't know why but this time most of the items there seemed so bland.  Nothing creative really stood out at me.  I think part of the problem though is my mind is mixing up the Christmas craft show at the Folk Museum with this one.  That one was HUGE and had so many cool items that I braved the cold to see and buy.

Here are a few photos I took from this years event.

The event takes place at the Oslo Domkirken (Cathedral) and it is a very beautiful location to host a show like this.

A good friend of mine is a basket weaver so we had to stop to check out the beautiful hand-woven pieces!

Last year I was so tempted to buy one of these beautiful felt burn out dresses.  I almost convinced myself to buy one but then I did the math translation and they cost the equivalent of $500.  Which was way to much for me to pay for a dress when I was pregnant, but they still are gorgeous pieces.

And I had to sneak in this pic of a random owl I found guarding a window of one of the inner workshops.

Here is the link to the website where you can find out more about the market if you read Norwegian.   Even though I felt like this outing was a bust, afterwards I walked to the Glas Maganiset department store down in their basement where they have crafting supplies for sale to tempt myself.  I was good and didn't buy anything so on my way back to the bus stop I went in the Norwegian Hobby chain Panduro and picked up some card stock for a Cricut project I am working on.  I will show you the results later.

I'll post the pictures from the year before soon to see show you the difference that I experienced from this year to last.