Thursday, September 30, 2010

Finally, here's the surprise Thank You gift

Remember when I said awhile back that I was working on a surprise gift, and couldn't reveal anything until the gift was given?

Well, I gave it away, yesterday, so here it is!...More......

It says, "Thanks from the bottom of our [hearts], Star and Mario," and shows a heart speeding across a pale cream background towards the gift and thanks receiver. (I also took this photo AFTER having blocked it...for once!...then framed it...remember, don't use the glass, as it squishes the needlepoint, in fact, you should put a bit of batting behind it in the frame, so it puffs out nicely.)

Here's the design I did in StitchPainter, then turned into a BMP for you. When stitching, I elongated the "tail" of the heart a bit. Note, too, that in my designs the colors are often brighter than I really intend to use, so that I can SEE the tiny squares of color when stitching from the diagram.

Just substitute your own names for ours, and don't forget to add your initials and the date.

It took months and months to design then stitch then block then frame. I always hope that my gifts are appreciated, but, if not, that's O.K., too. I try to make them small enough, so that they can be put away conveniently (worked on an 18-point canvas, this one turns out to be about 8" x 10" / 20 cm x 25 cm ca.), and, anyway, during the stitching process I have the possibility with each stitch to feel closer to the destined recipient, so it's just as much a gift for me, as it is for them.

The next Thank You gift already has reached the first stitching stages.

Stay tuned!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Milan Monday (08): Art Nouveau grill

Another Milan Monday, already. Time sure flies. This time, it's a "rare" French-influenced Art Nouveau grill...More......

I uploaded it into my StitchPainter program, and created a BMP image of the design just for you. If you use 18-count canvas, it should be just right for a pillow about 16" x 18" (for you metric system folk, that's about 40 cm x 45 cm).

(I remember about 25 years ago there was a lot of noise in the States about finally going over to the really much easier metric system, over a 10-15 year period of adaptation. Everyone was too lazy, and so we're still stuck with the old-fashioned and much more difficult measuring method. Too bad for us.)

If you want more info about the grill, see my blog on Milan:


Saturday, September 25, 2010

Food fight! (04): cupcakes and coffee

Rain, rain, go away, come again another day...

Milan's women's readywear fashion week and rain, an almost unbreakable duo. The fashion week--important for Italy's and Milan's economies--started "blessed" with rain (the Italians say, 'Rained on bride, lucky bride' to console themselves), had a few gorgeous days, and now is back under those pesky cold drops, so a cup of hot coffee and a couple of muffins seemed just the right thing.

I uploaded this free clipart image (skinnier in the original) into my StitchPainter program calculated for a 4" x 6" image with 18-inch canvas, then turned it into a BMP image, just for you!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Milan Monday (07): a lion's headed door knocker

Antique doors and door knockers are fun. I always keep my peepers open for just such an occasion: a beautiful lion-headed knocker....More......

I pasted the image into StitchPainter, and gridded it for you. It's so big, it would make a great cushion, I think. If you want to know more about the photo and where the knocker is in Milan, you can go to my blog on Milan:

The gridded full-size image was too big for Blogger, so I've uploaded a simple photo into this blog to give you a preview.

The full-size gridded image, in the form of a BMP file, is available on my Google site created just for such a purpose. Here's the (unfortunately long) address (copy and paste into your browser):

or go to

and click on the Ars acupicturae stellae folder.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Wreath and bow [Milan Monday (06), ahem...on Tuesday]

How did that happen? I was so looking forward to posting my "Milan Monday" message, and thought to do it in the evening, relaxing, enjoying your company, after work. The "after work" part happened, and the (somewhat) relaxing part happened, but the "Milan Monday" part flew out of my head until this morning. Well, it's probably still Monday in some part of the world....More......

Do you need to honor someone, or two people, whose initials are "C-S" (or "S-C")? Here is a wreath and bow design with the intertwined initials all ready for you. If your initials are others, then you can substitute these with your own.

As usual, you can see my original photo with info on my blog dedicated to Milan:

I uploaded my photo into the StitchPainter program, gridded the design, and then transformed it into a BMP image just for you.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Food Fight! (03): pomegranate, sliced open

The food fight continues with this pomegranate, sliced open....More......

Though not a clipart image, the colored drawing is so crisp and precise that it, too, lent itself easily to adaption in StitchPainter to a needlepoint design.

I'll be adding images and diagrams of whole pomegranates, too.

(P.S., Here today, and gone tomorrow...when I save inspiring images from the internet, I include an abbreviated form of the web address, so I can find it, again, and so I can credit my source. This time...sigh...I apparently was so excited to find exactly what I was looking for that I forgot to do it, and my online search for the image just turned up nothing. So...if this image--originally with scientific labels pointing to the parts of the fruit--is yours, please comment below, adding the online address where I can verify the pertinence, and I'll happily credit you. Sorry!)

Sunday, September 5, 2010

AMOR (Milan Monday 05)

AMOR ("love" in Latin)

This photo was snapped in honor of a very special person to share with you on Milan Monday, September 6, 2010, though I have to post it, today, instead, as Monday will be very busy.

The diagram was created by uploading my cropped photo into StitchPainter, then turning the file into a BMP image for you.

For more on the building, see the post on my Milan blog:

Friday, September 3, 2010

Food fight! (02): Coffee pot

The recent cupcake pattern made from a free clipart image inspired me to do more on a food-inspired theme, so you can mix and match the patterns for your own kitchen.

This image, imported into StitchPainter without alterations, came from a free clipart image available on the Microsoft web site.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Save yourself work: create a series of grids. This one's for a circular cushion 16 inches in diameter

A number of posts back, I promised that some big works for you were in progress. The book reviews were some of them. Now, here is the final preparatory step for another. I'm not going to spoil the surprise, and tell you what it will be, but I can share this stage with you, because I think you'll find it useful....More......

The design, created with my StitchPainter program, is for a round cushion 16" in diameter (about 40 cm., give or take, for you metric system people). It has 292 x 292 rows of 18-point stitches because each side has two rows added for the stitching seam; remember, if you stitch on larger whole canvas, the design will be the same, but the overall size will be bigger.

You'll note that the exterior "circles" are not quite circular. That was done on purpose to keep the design more lively. Pulling the shapes into a perfect circle made the design go "dead." Perfection is not always the right answer (keep this in mind when eases the conscience, and may save you from unpicking and restitching, if the deviance from the pattern is minimal, and doesn't hurt the final outcome).

When you plan a large project, such as this 16" diameter cushion, keep saving the preparatory stages, so that you can use them, again, for other projects. I have saved the plain grid for myself, should I need it for a square cushion, and here, too, is the circular cushion grid with just the most basic of the circles delimited in dark gray.

The dark gray color represents the areas to be stitched for the design.

The green color represents the areas to be stitched for the seam (and so you can use mixed tag ends of colors because you'll be careful, when sewing, to put them all inside the seam).

The yellow indicates the grid, and is just to help in the creation of the design, and is not to be stitched.

When planning your needlepoint, if you don't use a frame for stitching, you'll need at least one to one and a half inches (about 3 cm. for you metric system folks) of extra canvas at each of the four extreme points of the diagram. If you use a frame, you'll need more, depending on how the canvas is attached to your frame for stitching.

The gridded design is too large for Blogger. It wouldn't even let me upload it in a "small" version, so I've had to create a mock version without the stitch-by-stitch grid, so you can see what I'm talking about, at least. For the real (and fully gridded) design, go to, which I've created for just such occasions.

Just preparing the grid has taken a number of evenings of work. Even if StitchPainter allows one to draw these simple geometric lines and shapes, easily, the whole design has to be checked and double checked for those "sticky" points (moving towards the left for right handed people; moving towards the right for left handed stitches). On this, see my:
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