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    One of the cross-stitch I had bought for creating this winter was a little different than some of the others I had completed.  Usually I'm drawn to cross-stitch pictures of houses.  This one was a picture of a red cardinal sitting on the limb of a birch tree surrounded by other birch trees and large snowflakes.   It was really pretty so I decided to try it.

    Like the other Mill Hill  - Buttons & Beads Series patterns I had bought the Winter Woods kit included the pattern, embroidery thread, perforated paper, beads, red cardinal button, 2 needles and instructions.

    The Winter Woods  pattern uses full counted cross-stitch and outline stitching as well as beads and buttons for emphasis and depth. The pattern also calls for certain areas of the perforated paper to be left untouched as the background.  In this case they were leaving sections of the blue perforated paper background untouched.


    I, once again, decided to frame my finished cross-stitch picture in a 5" by 5" white shadow box frame that is 1 1/2" deep and can stand on it's own (like the picture at the top of this post) or with its back picture stand (like the picture above) as I've been really happy with the way all my other cross-stitch shadowbox pictures have come out.


    I also decided to once again utilize the rectangular wood frame jig that my darling husband built for me (pictured above) that I could tape the edges of my perforated paper to. The wood frame jig is a rectangular embroidery hoop of sorts, but without bending the perforated  paper. He had made it out of 1/2" x 1" pine wood strips with an adjustable center strip that I used for this 5 x 5 square design.

    I had learned from previous mistakes that I needed to draw diagonal lines to locate the exact center of the perforated paper as in the last perforated paper cross-stitch picture I had done was slightly off center by a few holes which caused a problem with inserting the needles in the holes along one of the edges of my frame. So, I drew a diagonal line across each corner to get the center point of the perforated paper.

    I had also run into a slight problem with one of the perforated paper cross-stitch pictures I had previously created with the beads along the edge causing a problem when framing so this time I also drew squares on the perforated paper to show me where the 5" x 5" square was. Plus, I knew I wanted to square my picture so I needed to know where to end my stitching.

    While the end results of this design were wonderful some things in the kit and in the instructions could be improved upon so I'd like to offer the following constructive suggestions:

    The cross-stitch chart was in black and white as was the floss color code and symbol key. Both were easy to read and very clear. While I had no problem with the chart and keys I did have a problem with the way the DMC floss was presented. All of the floss was tied together in one big knot so you had to separate the floss pieces yourself, sort them, and try to interpret which color belonged to which floss # and symbol key on the color chart.  If you only have a few colors to deal with this isn't a problem. However, if you have several different colors of say beige to choose from that are close in color then interpreting the chart can be tricky. You may assign the wrong color to the wrong symbol if the colors are too closely aligned.

    As I have done with other cross-stitch kits I've completed I had to design my own thread color sorter and symbol key. I took a piece of thin cardboard and cut a 1" x 9" long rectangular piece out to use as a thread sorter. I then punched 9 holes in my cardboard strip in which to tie each of the different colors. Just above the hole I wrote the DMC floss # and just below the hole I added the respective cross-stitch symbol. I then inserted the floss threads that went with that # and symbol through the hole and tied them in a loose knot. This kit could be much improved if a thread sorter with respective #'s and symbols was provided.

    This time I had no problem with the beads as there were only two types being used and they were easy to distinguish from each other.  Also, I had my handy needle threader now so threading the needle wasn't an issue any longer.

    The pattern called for certain areas of the perforated paper to be left untouched as the background like the picture shown below:


    However, I don't like seeing the different perforated sections in the background and opted instead to finish all of the background with a blue DMC embroidery floss color that closely matched the color of the blue perforated paper.   And, once again, I had decided to square the edges of my picture.

    As I was going along I decided to add more white single thread straight stitch emphasis lines than the pattern had called for with the snowflakes and under the snow patches on the branches.  I also decided to add more gray and beige double thread straight stitches and running stitches along the sides of the trees and below more of the tree branches for more dimension than the pattern had called for.   My results with the totally finished background, square edges, and added emphasis are shown below:

    .

    Both hubby and I were unhappy with the quality of the red cardinal button.  From a distance it looks fine but, close up, its' quality could be improved upon.

    Despite the relatively small issues I had encountered with the kit I was thrilled with the way my Winter Woods  turned out. There is a lot going on in a very small cross-stitch picture and it is amazing to see all the details.

    It took me 29  hours to complete this picture including the framing. As always, my comments are meant to be constructive to enable future purchasers to benefit from my experience and to enhance their ability to create a wonderful little cross-stitch design.

    If you'd like make one of your own please click the link below:





    Posted by Linda Walsh Originals- "Doll Patterns for Grown-up Girls!"
    Linda Walsh Originals E-Patterns - "Instant Download E-Patterns for Grown-up Girls!"
    Linda Walsh Originals Dolls - "Handmade Dolls & Crafts for Grown-up Girls!"

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    Despicable Me2 is coming this summer and the Minions are taking over! They are pretty darn cute and hilarious … though these new batch of toys seem pretty spendy … it’s cheaper to collect diecasts (unless it’s a 4-pack)  but I guess that’s the price of progress and plastic … Nice job on the packaging [...]

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    Toy Garden and Toywiz Malaysia is proud to bring you the coolest USB Flash Drives this year, based on the Marvel’s incoming blockbuster movie Iron Man 3 (2013)!! Infothink continues to amaze us with their special collectible designs of the Marvel Iron Man and Avengers! This time there will be 6 different designs ranging from [...]

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    Happy Proto Monday. Today we’re bring you a 360 degree look (animated GIFs ftw!) at the final sculpt for Buff Monster’s upcoming mini Ice Scream Dude (unofficial name) sofubi. Buff’s work with NYC sculptor Kate Chilko to bring the lil’ dude to life began with his initial sketch. This detailed...


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    set database: LEGO 76008 iron man vs the mandarin: ultimate showdown
    image courtesy of Grogall
    image courtesy of smythstoys










    set number: 76008
    set name: iron man vs the mandarin: ultimate showdown
    theme: superheroesmarveliron man
    year: 2013
    pieces: 91
    prices: us$13
    minifigs: 5
    new superheroes theme set.
    come with an armorer car.
    the car has a rotatable dual flame flick missiles.
    minifigs included an iron man minifig with heart breaker armor and the mandarin minifig.
    included a comic book.
    great playability.
    overall design is great.
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    Episode FIFTY-NINE of the AFB Podcast is live at iTunes and is now available for direct downloadDownload and subscribe to the podcast at iTunes now! 

    Join Ben, John and Adam for Episode Fifty-Nine of the Action Figure Blues Podcast! The AFB Podcast is a weekly look at action figures, statues and other collectibles from the worlds of comic books and pop culture.

    This week Adam takes a look at the SH Figuarts Perfect Cell Action Figure as our Toy of the Week, and then the crew discusses "Terrible Toyhood Traumas" - and re-live some of the mishaps and misfortunes that befell some of their childhood toys. You may not look at some of our hosts the same again!

    If you can't use iTunes, you can download Episode Fifty-Nine here now! Click on the link to listen, or right click to save the file! The podcast will always be available from the “Podcast” tab here - but if you can subscribe and give us positive ratings at iTunes, that will help us greatly! The AFB Podcast is also on Stitcher Radio!

    NOTE: There is no enhanced podcast this week. sorry!

    Have a listen, and please give us some feedback at podcast@actionfigureblues.com - we might even read out your feedback on the next show!

    Happy listening!










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    Revell Power Lords – Adam Power by Ed Speir IV Submit your Flickr photos to Poe Ghostal’s Pic of the Day!

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    Mattel has graciously supplied a Micro Drifter Design & Drift Speedway track set along with 2 packs of Micro Drifters as a free giveaway! There is only one requirement – the winner has to actually open the track and micro drifters, test it out and write us a review! Contest starts right now and ends [...]

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    With Iron Man 3 soon to hit theaters, Hot Toys is proud to present the sixth-scale Iron Man Mark XLII limited edition collectible figure from Iron Man 3. Apart of the MMS Diecast Series, the movie-accurate Mark XLII is highly detailed and fully deployed, specially crafted based on the image of Robert Downey Jr. as [...]

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    The sun is shining! And for once, it’s not shining on blinding white snow! Get your kiddos ready for all of those beautiful rays with a new bonnet from Urban Baby Bonnets. If Birdie wasn’t such a stinker about hats, she’d still have one of these for her 4 year old head. I remember a [...]

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    The advent of the Star Wars Black 6″ Series got me thinking about how I prefer the 6″ scale for (human) action figures. It’s a strong preference, and yet, the more I thought about it, the more I wasn’t sure how my preference came about. It’s interesting, because there wasn’t really such thing as a [...]

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    LEGO Mini Figure series 10 … (LEGO Minifigure FaceBook page). With Gold Man CHASE! Someone must’ve asked for it, right? Psst, if it’s made of real gold, buy the blind bag package that weighs 50 lbs. You can also buy thought bubbles for your LEGO dudes (and dudettes now).     Tweet This Post

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    The Disarticulators/H.U.S.T.L.E Post-Con Sale will take place at the Man-E-Toys store today (Monday April 8th 2013) at 9PM London Time (4PM ET). Included in the release, are: H.U.S.T.L.E Artist Series: Wave 1 “ToyCon Edition $15.00 each The Royal Fail: LETTERS ‘AVE IT! Created by Lunartik and cast by Tru:Tek 25 signed and numbered pieces $35.00 [...]

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    Thanks to Toonzone we have a preview of next week's all new episode of "Rebellion", the Transformers Prime Beast Hunters cartoon. The Decepticons are in for the fight of their lives when their long-standing fortress comes under the unexpected attack of the vengeful Autobots, who are being led to an anticipated victory by a new and courageous member of Team Prime. Watch the below for the show that will air on the Hub next Friday April 12th at 7:30 PM ET now.

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    Just out from IDW is the latest look at Transformers Regeneration One #90 prview of the comic book that will be out in comic shops and available online this Wednesday April 10, 2013. As Scorponoks Dark Reign comes ever closer to spreading right across Cybertron, Grimlock launches a desperate counterstrike, in the face of almost innumerable odds. Does the Dinobot commander really have one last ace up his sleeve, or does his plan amount to a glorious"but doomed"last stand? Read the preview now below.

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    Thanks to YouTube member Optibotimus who has posted a video review for the Transformers Prime Beast Hunters wave 3 Deluxe class Dreadwing action figure. This is scalled down version of the previously released toy, Get the scoop on how this little fellow measures up now in the Transformers Prime: Beast Hunters Dreadwing video review.

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    Thanks to Simon Furman who updated his blow with a summary / preview of the the script for the next Transformers: ReGeneration comic book that will be out this week. Get the insights from Furman who discusses his post-script musings on the issue, avoiding anything too spoilery but of course it contains a certain amount of stuff you may or may not want to read at this stage, so you have been warned. Read the full story now at simonfurman.wordpress.com.

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    Custom Iron Man Armors From Hot Toys Iron Man Suit Up at Hysan Place The Hot Toys Iron Man Suit Up Exhibition has been going on for about 3 days now and Hot Toys has posted a few images from the...

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  • 04/08/13--08:46: Paul Pham's Numina Nimbus
  • The latest Numina went live last week and sold out in about a minute.  She is an edition of 50 and cost $700. Paul's dolls are gaining popularity with every new release.

    Here is the description from Paul's site: 
    Pale skintone, blue-grey eyes with stormy charcoal shadow and matte nude lips. Long loosely curled strawberry blonde wig by Ilaria. Sky blue silk satin trench, lined in pale silver silk habotai with metallic sequin/beading detail at shoulders and pockets, belted with a pieced "leather" obi. Underneath is a soft pink chiffon and metallic lace slip dress. Completing the look, a pair of dark grey thigh high "suede" wedge boots.






     Photos by Paul Pham.

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    VIRGINIA BEACH, Va., April 8, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- KETTLER® USA has introduced 20 new licensed ride-on toys and pedal tractors for kids. Tractors, loaders, excavators, diggers and backhoes with insignias ...

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