This website is about making your life more creative with ideas for papercrafting, painting, beading and some cross stitch charts, some that are free and some that are for sale through distributors or your favorite needlework shop.

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About Counted Cross Stitch

For many people, cross stitch is relaxing. It is easy to make it into a little kit that you can take with you and pull out to work on while you wait for appointments, or while on vacation. I have emergency kits in my car dash, briefcase, and almost every room in the house. I like to create patterns that are easy to complete so the beginner can feel the satisfaction of accomplishment.

It seems that counted cross stitch is a somewhat dying art. A big part of why I am publishing designs is to revive interest in this important part of our history. More history lessons later.

Cloth:

There are so many fabrics to work on. Linen is beautiful and comes in almost every color you can think of. Wichelt has so many beautiful fabrics and are always coming out with more. If you are a beginner, working with Aida is easier. Perforated paper is also easy and fun. It is especially good to work on if you are going to combine stitching with papercrafting.

Threads: DMC thread from France is the most available, and just about every chart has at least a DMC conversion. They have a wide selection of colors. I absolutely love hand overdyed threads from a wonderful company in Ohio called The Gentle Art. The subtle variation in color makes the coolest shading. They are always creating amazing new colors. Krenick thread makes different sizes of thread. Many of them are sparkly and add life to stitchery projects.

About Papercrafting

When making cards and tags, I glue bottom pieces first and work up. If I use brads, I always have the backs covered up, even if it means gluing a cutout or ribbon on the back if I cannot disguise it any other way.

Scissors and glue are your two most important tools. Following are my opinions on the most efficient way to papercraft. However, I am not an expert, just a person who likes to make things. I am always still learning.

Scissors:

The smaller the scissors the better. My very favorite brand is Cutter Bee. I also have a Provo Craft set which is wonderful. Besides having lavender handles, they cut very well. Sadly for me, the Vancouver airport is enjoying one of my pairs of scissors at this time. An Exacto blade is also essential for cutting. Since I use one so much, I have one with a padded handle.

Rulers:

I am in love with my EK Success clear ruler with a metal edge. It has many grids and I cut with it at the same time that I measure. Judi Kins also has a ruler with high visibility grids that are also clear with a metal edge. I have both a six inch and a twelve inch ruler.

Glue:

When making cards I like to use acid free Tacky glue and toothpicks because that provides the strongest adhesive. For glittering, the glue I use is Zig Memory System Glue. I recently discovered an awesome glue pen called Quickie Glue from Sakura. I go through it so fast I need one the size of those fat pencils I used to write with in Kindergarten. For gluing ribbon, I use double-sided, extra sticky, acid free tape. If you use glue, it will discolor your ribbon. I also use glue dots, especially for attaching metal or buttons.

Hole Punches:

I use Crop-a-dile to punch holes and attach large eyelets. It is great, so great I used it to death recently. I also have a 3M set with the hammer and setting tools, which I use for smaller eyelets.

Paper:

I prefer textured paper, like Bazil, American Crafts and DCWV. If I could afford it, that would be all I used. I also like Quickutz Quickstripz which is textured paper with adhesive backs. They are great for cutting out alphabets. As you can see, my examples use a lot of regular card stock, but you can make any card look elegant by replacing regular card stock with the textured paper. I use regular card stock for Cricut and Silhouette because it cuts better than textured card stock since it is thinner in most cases.

Scavenging (Conservation, Sustainability, Saving the World): I have always saved and reused things. I have always had ideas for a second life for most things. Like a magpie, I kept any trinkets, but instead of making a nest I would use them in a craft project. This habit of saving things and collecting what others may feel is worthless never went away and goes into my papercrafting. I will let you know when I scavenge something. Here are ways you can build up your scavenge collection.

  1. When I do gardening, somehow I end up with tiny sticks on my shirt and in my hair. I pluck them off and use them in cards.

  2. When I get junk mail, some of it has really good paper, even vellum. I keep the good paper to use in paper crafting.

  3. When people send out wedding invitations, the paper is usually awesome. Tell your friends if they do not keep their invitations, give them to you. Some of my best paper has been wedding invitation paper.

  4. Ribbon comes on everything. I never throw a ribbon away. At parties, when the gift opener tries to throw ribbon away, I discreetly sneak it and put it in my purse or pocket.

  5. When I get a new product, especially perfume, I use the box cardboard, and often the heavy clear plastic that comes on items. They make great windows for cards and boxes where the front is open.

  6. Old charms are a great addition to cards.

  7. Keep all your circles from punches. If you have corner shapers that cut things out, keep them also.

  8. Keep small strips of paper. They can make cool additions to cards.

  9. Some clothing comes with very thick, durable cardboard tags. You can use these by using them as a base for a tag.

Glitter:

For many years I used Gick glitter and loved it. Lately I have not found it so I use Martha Stewart's glitter. Doodlebug glitter is beautiful but I have not gotten any yet. To glitter, you need to make sure you have enough glue, evenly spread then shake on. Tap the bottom of your piece to spread the glitter around and shake the excess off onto paper. Make a spout and but excess back into your bottle.

Cutouts -- Cutting Systems: As you can see, I have several cutting systems. I will tell you a little about each.

  1. Sizzix - The first cutting system I got was the Sizzix Sidekick. I like it because it is little. I am on my second machine because I killed off my first one. I like Sizzix very much. Later I got the Big Kick, which I have abused a lot but it is still working, having cranked itself probably well over 10,000 times. I used it the most, but I used it to cut out Sizzix, Quickutz and Cuddle Cuts. If I were on a desert island, I would want the Big Kick to accompany me. I could cut out leaves, you know. And I could harvest sticks from my hair.

  2. Quickutz (Lifestyle crafts) - As you can see, I probably use Quickutz the most. They have many charming dies and alphabets. A rule of mine, which baffles my husband, is that I will not throw away a paper scrap unless I cannot cut out an "I" on the Metro Skinni Mini alphabet, which is as small as the tip of your fingernail. Hey, other than my empty shampoo bottles, I don't want anyone to accuse me of filling the landfills. And I feel a little badly when I throw a shampoo bottle away. However, I don't feel badly enough to quit washing my hair.

I have the Quickutz squeeze tool, in fact, three of them. They are good if you are strong, but I find using them gives you a certain amount of waste that you can avoid if you use the Big Kick, Epic 6 or Revolution. I have an Epic 6 but it doesn't balance well so I only use it for long things. The Revolution is good but I do not own one.

  1. Provo Craft - I have some of their dies, and recently got a CuddleBug cutting system. Their dies are adorable. I have always loved Provo Craft, from the days when they did mostly decorative painting. (Disclaimer: They probably do not remember, but about 15 years ago I was a contributing artist on a book they published on painted tins. Look at my published work at the end if you care to know the specifics. I think they are nice because of this and other things.) They make Cuttle Cuts.

  2. Silhouette - You can download the shapes onto your computer, and cut them the size that you want them. They have thousands of designs too, so you can find just about anything you want. I still have a lot to figure out about this system and what it can do. I find that alot of thing can go wrong with this system, and it takes some effort to hook it up and open the program.

  3. Punches - Punches are easy and some of them are great. EK Success has cute little punches. Fiskers has punches and corner rounders, which I use a lot. Martha Stewart has some beautiful corner rounders but to date I only have a few of them. Sizzix has some paddle punches, which you can cut out by hammering them.

About Me right

I am a person who loves to create things. I have since I can remember. I began my life with crafts, drawing on the walls, making doll clothes, making my own paper dolls, making things with bark, twigs and moss. I also fell in love with colors, officially in kindergarten when I was coloring in a Cinderella coloring book using Maroon. A few years ago I really understood the beauty of goldenrod for the first time. (I know that sounds goofy. It does not make good dinner table talk. It goes like this. Host: "What's new with your family." Me: "I don't know but I recently fell in love with goldenrod for the first time." Uncomfortable silence for two hours, followed by the host faking his own death until I leave.)

I began taking decorative painting lessons when I was 12, and painted with oil, acrylics and watercolor for fun since then. Having done counted cross stitch since about 16 when my sister taught me how, I began designing my own pieces about 15 years ago. My most recent adventure has been in beading. I am a beginner but I love the feel and look of the beads. I like making Christmas ornaments and letting the light shine through the back.

My day job (and my major purpose in life, as far as I know) is as a psychotherapist. I believe that part of healing and wholeness is creativity. Everyone needs to have some place in their life where they create. Many of my projects are very easy so you are not too discouraged if you are a beginner. At any rate, CREATE! Make stuff! Have fun! Do it with friends!

My card making designs are relatively simple. I think it is because when I was young and a craft project was in front of me I went rabid and maniacally stuck everything I could get my hands on to my project. Did you know you can get 4,000 macaronis on a plate? It looked like the Dollar store exploded. So, maybe my minimalist bent is to compensate for this.

One thing we humans need to have good mental health is time with others--playing. Paper crafting is playing. Cross stitching with others is playing. Painting with others is playing. About four times a year I have a "stamp camp" for my friends where we make cards and tags. Somehow it got renamed "tramp camp" but that's ok (maybe because of my scavenging, at least I hope so). We have fun. Sometimes our husbands or boyfriends come over and have fun making things also. I have even had large groups of people learn to make cards and tags. One of our local rotary clubs spent an evening making cards for our troops in Operation Write Home.

Stitching is especially fun with friends. Here is a dear friend, helping me stitch a table runner for an upcoming magazine article.

Another friend of mine says, "You know if Frony hates you. She sends you a store bought card." Making cards and tags is an act of love. Today I look at the news and see so many people acting out hate. I want, for my part, to act out love. Making something for someone is an act of love. If I can foster that for others by offering these designs, I am very happy.

If you want to see more Frony Ritter Designs

Here is a list (not complete because I know I forgot a few) of my published work. If you are interested you can buy back issues of magazines and books on the internet somewhere.

Painting:

Magazines:

  • "Art Pouches," The Decorative Painted, Issue I, 2003, pages 77-79.
  • "Butterfly Basket Purse," Let's Paint, Vol XIII, 1995, page 27.
  • " Wreath of Forest Roses," The Decorative Painter, Issue 2, Vol. XX, 1992, Cover Piece.

Books:

  • Eggs for All Seasons, Vol III, Viking Folk Art, 1997.
  • Keepsake Tins Volume I, Provo Craft, 1994, one of six contributing artists.
  • Frosty Christmas Memories, The Artist's Club, 1994.
  • Eggs for All Seasons, Vol II, Viking Folk Art, 1994.
  • Check Mates, The Artist's Club, 1994.
  • "Eggs"etera, The Artist's Club, 1994.
  • Easter Eggs: A Classic Collection Returns, The Artist's Club, 1994.
  • Eggs for All Seasons, Vol I, Viking Folk Art, 1992.
  • A Victorian Painted Garden, Frony's Publishing, 1991.
  • Easter Eggs: A Classic Collection of Spring Designs, 1990.
  • Paint 'N Foil, Frony's Publishing, 1989.
  • Spring Flowers, Frony's Publishing, 1988.

Counted Cross Stitch:

  • "Luck O'the Irish", Just Cross Stitch, April 2017.
  • "Good Luck Always", Just Cross Stitch, April 2017.
  • "Celtic Pincushion", Just Cross Stitch, February 2017.
  • "Valentine Sentiments", Just Cross Stitch, February 2017.
  • "Christmas Coin Purse", Just Cross Stitch, December 2016.
  • "Baby's First Christmas", Just Cross Stitch 2016, Special Holiday Issue.
  • "Halloween Magic", Just Cross Stitch, 2016 Halloween Special Collector's Issue.
  • "Accessorize", Just Cross Stitch, 2016 Halloween Special Collector's Issue.
  • "Nuts for You", Just Cross Stitch, 2016 October Issue.
  • "Love Always", Just Cross Stitch, 2016 October Issue.
  • "Snowman Sled", Just Cross Stitch 2015 Special Holiday Issue.
  • "Witching you were Here", Just Cross Stitch, Halloween Issue, 2015.
  • "Autumn Nights", Just Cross Stitch, Halloween Issue, 2015.
  • "Christmas Bell", Just Cross Stitch, Christmas Issue, 2014.
  • "Cauldrons", Just Cross Stitch, Fall Issue, 2014.
  • "Spider Sampler", Just Cross Stitch Halloween Issue, 2014.
  • "Under the Sea" Pocket Necklace, Crafts 'n Things Weekly, July 17, 2013.
  • "Baby Tag" Jill Oxton's Cross Stitch and Beading, Issue 88, March 2013
  • "Floral Sachets", Crafts N Things, April 2012, Pages 64-66.
  • "Mini Christmas Pockets", Crafts N Things, December 2011, pages 44-45.
  • "Happy Halloween Bags" , Crafts N Things, October 2011, pages 42-43.
  • "Thanksgiving Sampler", The Cross Stitcher, October 2009, cover piece.
  • "Patriotic Pockets", The Cross Stitcher, August 2009, pages 38-39.
  • "Chick Pocket", The Cross Stitcher, April 2009, pages 28-29.
  • "Love and Joy Stocking Ornaments", The Cross Stitcher, December 2008, pages 32-33.
  • "Apple Pouch", Cross Stitch & Beading, Issue 74, April 2008, page 39.
  • "Three Crosses" Egg, Cross Stitch & Beading, Issue 71, July 2007, page 42.
  • "Chapel" Egg, Cross Stitch & Beading, Issue 71, July 2007, page 43.
  • "Rabbit" Egg, Cross Stitch & Beading, Issue 69, January 2007, page 28.
  • "Chicks" Egg, Cross Stitch & Beading, Issue 69, January 2007, page 49.
  • "Madonna and Child", The Cross Stitcher, December 2006.
  • "Love You Tree", Cross Stitch & Beading, Issue 68, October 2006, page 51.
  • "Cardinals Decorating Snowman", The Cross Stitcher, August 2003, page 14.