GtPGKogPYT4p61R1biicqBXsUzo" /> Google+ Arts & Crafts with Authors: Counted Cross-Stitch with Michelle Miles + giveaway | I Smell Sheep

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Arts & Crafts with Authors: Counted Cross-Stitch with Michelle Miles + giveaway

Arts & Crafts with Authors: Counted Cross-Stitch with Michelle Miles
Hello! First, a thank you for hosting me today! I’m excited to be here and really excited to talk about one of my favorite things: cross-stitching.

I’ve been writing for over 10 years, but I’ve been cross-stitching for nearly 20. Wow. That…makes me feel old. When I was young and single and poor, I took up cross-stitching because it was a relatively inexpensive hobby. I taught myself how to do the counted.

What is counted cross-stitch, you ask?

From Wikipedia:
Cross-stitch is a popular form of counted-thread embroidery in which X-shaped stitches in a tiled, raster-like pattern are used to form a picture. The stitcher counts the threads on a piece of evenweave fabric (such as linen) in each direction so that the stitches are of uniform size and appearance.

Easy, right? Well, it can be. And sometimes it’s super hard depending on how adventurous you are with your fabric. I’ve stitched on everything from linen to Aida cloth to perforated paper. (Linen is the absolute hardest.) I’ve ripped out whole rows of stitches when discovering a mistake. I’ve ripped out whole sections. I’ve started over completely. And then there are the projects that are so fun and so easy, I can do them without really thinking.

Every year for Christmas my very large family has a White Elephant gift exchange (there is something like 30 of us now – it’s insane). This year I decided to stitch gifts for my White Elephant (they are also getting a full set of my books in paperback whether they want them or not. HA!). I hope that means the gift will be in high demand. ;) Anyway, back in the day when I started stitching there were cross-stitch stores. Places like Garden Ridge (now At Home) and Michael’s used to carry tons of patterns and kits. Now not so much. So I buy everything I stitch from I LOVE this website. It’s a crafters haven. They have more than just cross-stitch stuff – check it out of you’re a stamper!

This year, I’m making Santa faces. They are SO CUTE. These are the Mill Hill Bead Charmed Santas. There are lots of beads in addition to the stitching. For these projects, the face and the hat are stitched on two different pieces of perforated paper. To start, you find the center on the back of the material. I use a ruler and a pencil and draw from corner to corner to find the exact center. Then flip over and start the first row!
I do all the stitching first. Here’s a progress photo.
And here’s what it looks like when all the stitches are complete.
The beads are really small. The eye of the needle I use is UBER small. It’s really hard to thread the needle and usually takes me a try or two before I get it. But check out the beads! They are so pretty once it’s done. The mustache is made with a bead loop using 13 beads. Isn’t that cute?
Oh, and I can’t tell you how many times I stabbed myself with that needle. It’s really sharp. I even drew blood a couple of times. But it’s all worth it.

Next, I start the hat, which starts the same way as the face. I start in the center and work my way out, doing all the stitches first. Here’s the completed hat.
Then, once both pieces are done, I carefully cut out the face and the hat leaving one stitch just outside the design. It’s easy but the first time I did it made me very nervous.

Once the cutting is done, I then attach the hat to the top of Santa’s head by either stitching it or using craft glue. I’ve found that craft glue is much easier than stitching but for this particular one, I ended up stitching the hat to the head using the flesh colored thread. I attach a hanger and the little charm on the end of his hat and TADA! It’s done.
They are really cute and fun to make. Do you have stitching questions? Ask away! I’ve done everything from hardanger to beads to French knots (which I’m terrible at!).

As a bonus, here’s one I did for Halloween. I’m partial to black cats (I have one).
By the way, it turns out my inexpensive hobby wasn’t so inexpensive after all. I think I have every color of DMC floss in captivity, bobbins, floss boxes, patterns and more material than I know what to do with.
by Michelle Miles
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Publisher: Michelle Miles
ISBN: 9781311162441
Number of pages: 280 pages
Word Count: 89,810
Cover Artist: Erin Dameron-Hill
Will the knight of Princess Allanna's heart be able to save her from a dark lord's evil plan?

By the king’s order, Princess Allanna is betrothed to Lord-Regent Marath, an Elven noble with an evil agenda who’s manipulated his way into royal favor. Marrying him will be a fate worse than death, especially when Allanna yearns for the sexy and irresistible Sir Drake—the knight who holds her heart. A knight she is forbidden to love. She flees her family to be with Drake, giving up everything she knows for him.

Enraged at her defiance, Marath summons a mage to kidnap and kill Allanna. Drake, determined to protect the woman he loves, will stop at nothing to see her safe. Their desire for one another burns hot and nothing can keep the two lovers apart. Nothing but Marath’s evil plan to do away with the Fae and separate Drake and Allanna forever.

His mouth moved to her throat. Her skin burst into flame as he made his way around to her earlobe and nibbled. This was what she dreamed of, what she wanted. Now that it was finally happening, her mind exploded with more possibilities. Little pinpricks of light pierced her vision as her eyes fluttered closed. Heat flooded her body and pulsed dampness between her legs, making her feel things she never expected.

And, oh gods, she loved the velvety feel of his mouth.

“Sir Drake…”

“Aye?” His breath wafted over her skin, sending heated chills over her.

“I…came to…to…” Oh gods, she couldn’t think. Her mind wouldn’t form the words. She knew what she wanted to say but how to say it was another matter. And her tongue swelled into a thick, useless muscle.

“To?” His eyes glinted almost as though he knew what she wanted to say.

Oh, bollocks. “To kiss you back.”

She swept her tongue over his lower lip then sucked it gently between her teeth. He groaned again. His body felt good under her hands, the way his chest curved and the sprinkling of coarse hair. The tips of her fingers trailed down his corded abs to the edge of the waistband of his breeches and halted. She couldn’t go forward even though she wanted to. Fear clasped her, made her stop. She knew what she wanted to do yet she couldn’t force her hand to move.

Breaking the kiss, she dropped her head to his chest, inhaling the deep, masculine scent of him. A woodsy scent. Something that was inherent to him. Mayhap because he was human. She didn’t know.

He stroked her hair as he held her and then dropped a kiss on the top of her head. It was then she remembered his wound and bolted upright.

“Did I hurt you?” Her gaze landed on the bandage on his side. She was relieved to see there was no blood.

He chuckled. “No, princess. You didn’t. You couldn’t.”

“I meant your…your wound. Is it better?”

“Almost healed like Turin said.”

“That’s good.” Her gaze flickered over him and she blushed when she saw the hardened length between his legs. The length she had stopped herself from running her fingertips over.

“I came to check on you,” she said. “I’m glad you’re better.”

“Is that the only reason you came?”

Could he read that on her face? Was she so transparent? She bit her lip again.

“Ah, you really shouldn’t do that.”

“Do what?”

“That.” His gaze fixed on her lips.

“Why?” She blinked.

“Because I like it too much.”

A smile tugged at the corner of her mouth. Her confidence soared. “You like it?”

“Aye, I do.”

“And what would happen if I did it again?”

“You really shouldn’t do it again.”

“Shouldn’t I?” She did it again.

He reached for her and dragged her to him. “Are you trying to torture me?” He said it against her mouth, his breath mingling with hers.

“No. Am I?”

“You are.”

“Should I apologize?”


“Do you intend to do something about it?”

He growled.

“Is that an aye?” She grinned, enjoying teasing him.


“Do you want to deny me again?”

“I will not take what does not belong to me.”

“I do belong to you, Drake,” she whispered. “I’ve already given you my heart. Isn’t that enough?”

She could see the flash of pain in his eyes before he regained his composure. “I wish it were, princess.”

“What more do you require of me?” she asked.

“I require marriage vows. You are too precious to me. I would not ruin your innocence.”

“Oh, Drake. It wouldn’t be ruining my innocence. I give myself to you freely.” She pressed her hands against his chest, slid them upward to his shoulders. “I’m prepared to love you. Here. Now.”


“Please don’t deny me again.”

A moment of indecision flashed through his eyes and then he pulled her tight against him before he pushed her to the mattress. His body pressed against hers. Her breath caught in her throat as she looked up at him, into those deeply penetrating eyes. Was he going to forget all that he was? Would he make love to her here? Oh gods, she wanted him.

“I do not deny my feelings for you,” he said.


“You are still chaste. And I’m still a knight.”


“I’m still a knight but by Saint Mary you drive me mad.”


“You challenge my honor with every flutter of your lashes.”


“And with every flutter, I find you harder to resist.”

His mouth covered any retort she had. She was conscious of every touch. Every movement. He leaned on his good side, kissing her. His hands slipped over the curve of her body, over her small breasts and flat abdomen. Flames followed by a warming shiver swept over her.

About the Author:
Michelle Miles grew up in North Central Texas in a rodeo town but was far more interested in nerdy things like Star Trek and Star Wars. She started writing fan fiction in high school. When being an archeologist like Indiana Jones or a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader didn't work out, she decided writing was her gig and has wanted to write her own stories ever since.

Her love of romance started when she picked up Victoria Holt and Daphne du Maurier and was immediately smitten with the genre. But she also found another love in the fantasies of Patricia A. McKillip and Anne McCaffrey. Since she couldn’t decide which genre to pick—and because she’s a true Gemini—she decided it would be super fun to write contemporary and fantasy romance. She is a member of Romance Writers of America and has served on the board of several chapters as president and treasurer.

In her spare time, she enjoys listening to music, reading, cross-stitching and watching movies. A Native Texan, she loves castles, dragons, fairies and elves and is an avid Game of Thrones fan. She can be found online at Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Goodreads.

Tour giveaway
3 digital copies of the book in winner’s preferred format 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. i also have stocked quite a bit of material but let's be honest there is always a new colors or a new design too hard to resist

    1. Hi Miki! I have a huge amount of crafting stuff all stuffed in a closet. I need a whole room. LOL And you're right - I, too, have a hard time resisting shiny new projects :)

  2. That's neat! I have a character that works cross stitch, but for myself, I knit, but still as a learner. I haven't started my Christmas projects yet. I have a Halloween one to get off the needles first!

    1. My sister and SIL knit and are CRAZY about it! I love making gifts for Christmas. People LOVE them :)

  3. I don't sit still well. So, I cross stitch and crochet. My cross-stitch tends to be a little more subversive, though. I have a Silence of the Lambs quote cross-stitch hanging in the guest bathroom. "It rubs the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again." :-D

    1. lol! That is a perfect quote for the guest bathroom! I think we would get along well.

    2. LOL Mandy! That's so much! I have black kitties in my bathroom. LOL

  4. I'm a crochet & knitting crafter myself but my daughter has recently taken up the art of cross stitching and is very good at it.

    1. I really enjoy it! It's a great way for me to unwind. Except when I stab myself or tangle the floss :)

  5. The content of this article is really helpful.