Friday, December 28, 2012

Let's celebrate!

The old year, a hard one for many, is ending, and the new one--offering hope and a clean slate--is about to start.

Let's celebrate with an image that you can use throughout the year for your joyous occasions!

(Thank you, Microsoft, for the free clipart image that I uploaded into StitchPainter for stitchers' personal non-commercial stitching fun!)

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A door monster from via Brera to scare away the bad spirits for 2013

Whew! That was quite a stretch of intense, but intensely satisfying, work, wasn't it?

Here's a scary door Gorgon monster from...More...... ...via Brera in Milan to frighten away the bad spirits from your Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year.

It would make a great rectangular pillow, or--if you're ambitious and ready to confront it in all its unaltered glory--a chair back, or fire screen. (As usual, if you find the design too complex, print it, use a felt-tipped pen to outline the main areas, and use only 3 or 4 hues to achieve a great effect. It's easy, and will help you realize how you, too, can do your own's so much more fun!)

I uploaded the image, which I snapped only a few days ago, into Stitchpainter. A bit of fussing with the positioning and size, and voila'!

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to you all! Enjoy!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Bayeux (Non-) Tapestry

Hello! Still running with work, here, do hope to spend more time with you, soon. In the meantime, this article on the so-called Bayeux Tapestry caught my eye, and I thought it would interest you, too.

Eh?...More...... Just in case you've not heard of it, it's not even a (woven) tapestry. It's really an enormous embroidered account of the Norman (i.e., northern French) conquest of England in 1066.

Recent studies not just of the front, but more importantly of the back--where it's possible to disentangle the Gordian knot about what was done first and, to a certain extent, by whom--have convinced the examining scholars that it was done, not by nuns as previously thought, but by professionals.

The stitches are exactly the same that we still use, today.


Want to read the article? Go here.

Bye for now!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

For whomever you voted

For whomever you voted, whereever you voted and whenever you voted...

Thanks for voting.

Best and warm wishes for the next four years.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

A cushion for your naps

Hello! I think about you often, and keep trying to cut a snippet of time out of my hectic schedule to whip something up for you. This morning I succeeded!...More...... Here's a pattern for a cushion based on an architectural decoration I snapped in via Coni Zugna in Milan. It shouldn't be too complicated, but if you'd like it even more simple, print it out, take your Sharpie, and trace around the three (or four) basic areas of light, medium and dark.

To create this I imported my photo directly into Stitch Painter. If you have the program, you can print at this point, but to share it with you, I transformed it into a BMP, and uploaded it for your personal non-commercial stitching pleasure.


P.S., We're coming up on the T-Day and Christmas season...if you didn't needlepoint my designs last year, search through this web site to find them easily (see the labels), and try them this year!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Back-to-school bookish apple and worm

I miss working on my needlepoint, so, despite the mountains of work waiting for me even on a Sunday, I couldn't resist whipping up this back-to-school pattern for you. Thanks to the Microsoft free clip art, I found this cute apple and worm (MC900438366) to which I added the glasses for a fall touch for your personal non-commercial stitching pleasure.


Sunday, September 9, 2012

Contemplating a new project...

Back from the holidays, and contemplating a new project. It will be a gift.

How about you?

In the meantime, here's a question mark pattern for your personal non-commercial stitching pleasure that I created with StitchPainter out of an image I found on the web site. Always like to give credit where credit is due!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Time to get sewing new clothes!

Like to sew, or know someone who does?

Here's a cute sewing-themed pattern I created in StitchPainter for your personal non-commercial stitching fun out of the freebie Microsoft graphic MC900233820. Thanks, Microsoft, as usual!


Monday, August 27, 2012

September's just around the corner...give me a ring!

Phones will be ringing once again...summer's almost over--boo hoo!--and it's back to work and school for us.

Here's a chipper red telephone I found on a Facebook page then imported into StitchPainter for your personal non-commercial stitching fun.


Monday, August 20, 2012

It's still summer, but are you thinking of all you have to do in the fall?

If you're already making "To Do" lists for the fall, here's just what you need!

A pencil and paper note set to needlepoint or cross-stitch.

I imported the freebie MC900232958 image into StitchPainter, then turned it into a bmp to share with you for your personal, non-commercial stitching pleasure.


Monday, August 13, 2012

Want to give someone a gold star?

Want to give someone a gold star? Well, here is a great one from imported into StitchPainter and created for your personal, non-commercial stitching fun.


Monday, August 6, 2012

More summer time stitching fun...balloons!

Images created with simple strong graphics are more easily translated into needlepoint designs, even with the marvelous "StitchPainter" program, which I used to create this happy bunch of balloons out of an unknown balloon image (but it looks like one of the Microsoft freebies) for your personal, non-commercial stitching pleasure.


Sunday, July 29, 2012

Want to needlepoint or cross-stitch on the beach? How about doing a beach chair?!

Summer's here, already, and it's sooooooo hot.

...More...... I'm not much of a sunbathing fan, but the cool breezes coming off the ocean sure do sound enticing.

If you're at the sea, or a lake, and want to do some needlepoint or cross-stitch, what could be better than a beach chair?

I captured this image from the freebies on the Microsoft web site, n. 900335754 (thanks, Microsoft!), and uploaded it into StitchPainter to create this free design for your personal, non-commercial stitching pleasure.


Owen Jones' principles: n. 37, the last

Owen Jones' last principle, n. 37, sounds a bit self-serving, but no less true for it:

PROPOSITION 37: No improvement can take place in the Art of the present generation until all classes, Artists, Manufacturers, and the Public, are better educated in Art, and the existence of general principles is more fully recognized.

Ponder the profound truth of that comment coming out strong and clear for manufacturers to be cultured, for the buying public to learn what good taste is and for artists to be production-wise. Each side has to take the other into account, if products are to be of good design.

Think this isn't still necessary?...More...... Think, again...each time my towel or bathrobe falls to the floor because of the beautiful, modern, but highly unpractical so-called hook, I curse designers who pay more attention to what the product looks like than making sure it actually does what it's supposed to do. Ditto for when I lived in a house without any closet space...literally...and not even a place to hide a broom, though there would have been, had the architect been thinking practically instead of about how nice that door looked centered on the wall.

It also makes me think, positively, of the work of Susan Lazear, a teacher of textiles and clothing in San Diego and the inventor of my favorite embroidery program, StitchPainter, whom I had the privilege and fun of meeting during her trip with students to Milan a few months back. Interested in her work? Here's her blog about creativity:

Susan's computer program company, Cochenille, has not just StitchPainter, but also a very popular program called Garment Designer, for designing your own clothes and accessories patterns, as well as a stock of patterns available. (As usual, I get no kickbacks of any kinds from talking about my favorite products!)


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Happy Birthday to me! (to my blog, anyway)

Hello there! Were you wondering where I was? I'm here, just workin' like a dawg, but couldn't miss sharing the joy of my blog's second anniversary with you.

To celebrate, here's an adorable little gargoyle-like stone decoration on Via Boscovich in Milan.

Want to know more about it? See my blog dedicated to Milan, "My Milan (Italy)":

Enjoy! (confetti thrown here!)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Happy Birthday, Rome! (April 21)

Happy Birthday, Rome! Legend has it that Rome was founded by Romulus (one of these two cute twins) on the 21st of April in 753 B.C. The origin of the little twins in this sculpture is indisputed: they were added in the Renaissance. The origin of the wolf is another story...More......

It traditionally was dated to the Etruscan period (some Etruscans perhaps were the last kings of Rome before the Republic was founded in 510 B.C.), but long boiling disputes burst into fairly recent carbon-dating (probably on remnants of the sculpture's core left after the bronze was poured into the mold) that seems to date it to the Middle Ages, perhaps from the 7th and 8th centuries A.D. (that's the Carolingian period, she said ponderously). Interested in the diatribe? You can see a few words from 2008 (!) about the dating of the sculpture on:

Just who were Romulus and Remus? For starters, here's a snippet from the Encyclopedia Britannica online:

Why did I say "Carolingian" so ponderously? For more info about the importance of ancient Rome to Charlemagne, try (Though dating to the beginning of the 20th century, this encyclopedia is considered by many scholars to be more thorough and accurate than the more recent version. Though its Catholic origins tend to peep through, forewarned is forearmed.)

For the rest of us, it's just an occasion to celebrate Rome and to share a fun needlepoint design, which I created uploading a freely available Wikipedia image into my StitchPainter program, then turning it into a BMP for your personal non-commercial pleasure on my blog.

If the design is too complicated for you, just simplify it by picking out at least three major groups (dark, medium, light) for the shapes and proportions. Print out the design, and have at it with a felt-tipped pen! You'll do just fine!


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A(nother) baby gift

What's been happenin' needle-wise around these parts?

Had promised a new mother-to-be friend a keepsake for her first baby.

Promising's the easy and quick part....More......

Deciding what to do, making a gazillion sketches, being enamored of the latest when done, but somehow dissatisfied the day after, going through the cycle again and again, finding the perfect frame, having to reduce the design even more because the aperture is quite small, and so it went for months.

Thank goodness a baby is in gestation for 9 months because, I swear, that's almost as long as it took me to do this project, as little as it is (the diameter is no more than about 3 inches across).

I started out with something much more elaborate and flowery, though shied away from designs too baby-ish in nature...I wanted this to be a keepsake she could keep out and enjoy forever (nothing pretentious about me, nope! nope!). Settled on a monogram: GM.

The small space available for the stitching helped me focus on making the design ever more clean, especially since I wanted a good balance between the more elaborate frame and it. (Keep the frame/final form in mind when designing your projects!)

The mom and baby (Hi! I. and G.!) are coming into the office, tomorrow, to say "hello," so I finally can spill the beans.

That's what I've been up to, amidst this whirlwind of work.

How about you?

Thursday, February 16, 2012


You might as well get your needlepoint out, and stay at home if you can, if you live in Italy.

Tomorrow, there'll be a nation-wide strike of the regional train services all throughout the country.

So here's a cheery train in an evocative setting to brighten your day.

(Thanks, Microsoft, for the free clip art, n. MC900198033!)


Friday, January 27, 2012

Photoless Friday: Owen's next to last exhortation

Owen's next to the last bit of design advice:

PROPOSITION 36: The principles discoverable in the works of the past belong to us; not so the results. It is taking the end for the means.


I know I was....More......

Looking at the works commended in his Grammar of Ornament, which takes examples from countries all over the world and all across the ages, I wouldn't have expected this.

No mere copying-and-pasting design elements for our Owen, however. No historical pastiches, and they were plentiful during his day, no Neo-Gothic, no Neo-Renaissance, no Neo-Classicism, no Neo-Orientalism, no! no! no!

Then again, maybe I should have expected it.

It rings true to his exhortation about studying nature:

adopt the principles, abhore superficial copying.

If you think about it, it doesn't just cut one way.

Like a two-edged sword, for those loving modernism the implied exhortation is just as strong:

don't turn your nose up at works of the past just because they are "old"; they, too, should be studied in order to distill and profit from their accomplishments.

The farsightedness and continued usefulness of his advice continues to astound me.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Photoless Friday: Owen Jones countdown

Only a few more of Owen Jones' precious design principles still left to ponder.

PROPOSITION 35: Imitations, such as the graining of woods, and of the various coloured marbles, [are] allowable only, when the employment of the thing imitated would not have been inconsistent.


It's easier to understand if you take out the double negative:

PROPOSITION 35: Imitations, such as the graining of woods, and of the various coloured marbles, [are] allowable only, when the employment of the thing imitated would have been consistent.

In other words, in Jones' opinion, artists and architects should use materials, or their imitations, only where they make logical sense.

Today, I think most artists and architects would be more eager to "push the envelope" than this might seem to encourage, but, for all his seemingly hard and fast rules, Jones encouraged keeping true to the principles, not the surface details, of nature.

If we want structure of any kind to seem sturdy, then the materials, or their representations, must seem able to support the "weight" in whatever form it is.

It also means that the contrary is true. If we want to encourage a sense of disorientation, or incapacity, or..., or..., or..., then the structure will be out of materials, or their representations, that do not seem to support the weight.

Klee's twittering machines just sprung to mind.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Milan Monday: a beautiful capital from via Manzoni

Looking for a classicizing capital to top off something in a design, or just make a lovely horizontal pillow, or decoration? Well, here you go!...More......

I developed today's design--free for your personal non-commercial stitching pleasure--out of my own photo of a façade on via Manzoni in Milan. I captured the detail of my photo that I wanted, then I uploaded it into the handy StitchPainter program, forcing the size and shape that I wanted (you CAN do this, but you also can let the photo upload as it will).

The capital has the ancient Greek (handed down through the Renaissance) ionic order scroll curls gussied up with a 19th century taste for decoration.

For more info about the building, and a picture of the whole façade, see my post in my "My Milan (Italy)" blog:


Friday, January 13, 2012

Photoless Friday (a handful of Owen Jones)

Photoless Friday...yeah! For the first time in quite awhile. I'm wanting to be done with this list, though, as interesting as it is and as helpful as it will be, of Owen Jones' design principles, and get to the designing together with you, so here are...More......

...a handful of them all about separating foreground from background:

"PROPOSITION 29: When ornaments in a colour are on a ground of a contasting colour, the ornament should be separated from the ground by an edging of lighter colour; as a red flower on a green ground should have an edging of lighter red.

PROPOSITION 30: When ornaments in a colour are on a gold ground, the ornaments should be separated from the ground by an edging of a darker colour.

PROPOSITION 31: Gold ornaments on any coloured ground should be outlined with black.

PROPOSITION 32: Ornaments of any colour may be separated from grounds of any other colour by edgings of white, gold, or black.

PROPOSITION 33: Ornaments in any color, or in gold, may be used on white or black grounds, without outline or edging.

PROPOSITION 34: In 'self-tints,' tones, or shades of the same colour, a light tint on a dark ground may be used without outline; but a dark ornament on a light ground requires to be outlined with a still darker tint."


Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year

What better way to start the New Year than with something cheery and more meaningful than it might seem.

If you work on an 18-point canvas, the design is sized for a 14"x14" pillow.

Add your own borders, or look up some ideas on my blog by clicking on "borders."

I did the writing with the Bradley Hand ITC font in Paint with the black-and-white feature turned on (reduces edge smudging), copied-and-pasted it into a StitchPainter file, then turned it into a bmp to share with you for your personal non-commercial stitching pleasure.

Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year!
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