Monday, April 26, 2010

Spring Fling Retreat - Part II

Thank you for your visit and your kind comments! I realized after publishing that last post that I failed to post the middle section of finishes. Here it is for you to enjoy.

"Spring's Promise" on the left again, next to it, a box finish "Trix or Treat" from the book of the same name. Behind it is "Autumn Bouquet" and in front on the right is "Quaker Garden" another Loose Feathers design.

Now on to part two of the retreat....

After the stitchers got settled in at their tables the guests of honor arrived. If you ever have the opportunity to take a class from Barb and Alma of Blackbird Designs - just do it! They are amazing ladies - so friendly and personable. They brought all kinds of treasures with them.

Please, click on the photos to enlarge them. You will likely recognize many of these stitched items from their books, primarily from Honeysuckle Manor.

Barb and Alma talked about "Cross Stitch Beyond Framing" and referred to many of the items they brought with, how and where they got their inspiration for the piece and some thoughts on finishing. They also shared many funny, personal stores which made you love them even more!

Here's a picture of Alma holding the Anniversaries of the Heart series stitched on one piece of linen. (Yes, we got a sneak peak at the next release, #4.)

Barb brought along the original "Honeysuckle Manor", stitched by Louisa Bell which was the inspiration for Barb's "Hannah Lovina Joslin's Honeysuckle Manor." What a treasure! (Alma is holding "Hannah Lovina" but it is blocked by a stitching lamp!)

Here's a great picture of Barb and Alma. Barb must have been telling a really funny story!

It was such an enjoyable evening; so fun to here all of their stories. But the evening had to end because they had a really exciting project in store for us on be continued...

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Great Friends, Great Food, Great Stitching

What a great weekend this has been. I just returned from 2 1/2 days of stitching bliss. The weekend was the first-ever retreat organized by Stitchville, my LNS, and they did not disappoint any of us. The guests of honor were none other than Barb and Alma of Blackbird Designs! It might take me a couple of posts to tell you everything that we did; so bear with me. I promise it will all be worth the wait!

I was excited to attend this retreat; my friend Joan (Stitching Squad) and Judy from Alexandria (no blog) were going to be there. Joan picked me up on Friday; it didn't take too long to load up the car. We each had one or two bags of stitching stash, two lights, and a suitcase. My mother happened to be at my house and asked, "Why do you need two lights?" We told her that one was for the classroom and the other was for our hotel room - what if we wanted to stitch into the wee hours of the morning in our jammies?

Joan stitched a special gift to celebrate the weekend - she stitched a blackbird and made a necklace with it. She made one for herself and also for Barb and Alma. I was honored to receive one too! Thanks Joan - what a special treat.

Check-in for the retreat didn't start until 4pm, so we did like any good stitchers would do and dropped in to pick up a few things that we just had to have at Stitchville. Of course, we weren't the only ones with that idea, Judy was there when we arrived! We encountered at least one other retreat bound stitcher before leaving the store.

Destination: Chaska - the Oak Ridge Hotel & Conference Center. All I can say is, what a great place for a retreat. The guest rooms were very comfortable. The classroom was spacious with comfortable chairs, tables, and more than adequate lighting. The setting was beautiful (too bad it rained this weekend.) The meals were the best I've ever had at a retreat. All were served buffet style, but there were many food options and it was all delicious!

Deb, the owner of Stitchville, didn't miss a single detail. There were gifts waiting in our room - a small potted pansy, a candle, and some chocolates -- ah, but that was just the beginning.

Stitchers started gathering from near and far in the classroom. There were about 30 or so stitchers attending this retreat. While many of them were from Minnesota, there were also stitchers there from North Dakota, Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, and even one came all the way from Maine (hi Deborah!) Here's what we found at each place setting at the tables in the classroom:

Here's a picture of Judy holding the fabric covered magnet board; we know that her favorite thing though was that cute flower pot pincushion!

One of the best parts about the retreat was the display of Blackbird Designs finishes that were brought by all the stitchers attending the retreat.

In the photo above you will see a framed Loose Feathers "It's Berry Time." Check out the "Flowers for Sarah" needleroll - this was made by Kathy from Illinois. The flatfolds and the stockings on the table were stitched by Judy.

This is one of my favorite framed pieces that someone brought to display. Does anyone know which book this might be from? I don't think it is a Loose Feathers design. Sadly, I forgot to ask about it while I was there.

Here's another beauty - I'm not sure who stitched this one either, but it is the very first Loose Feathers design and it is called "Spring's Promise." Let me just say that it was stunning!

Some additional pieces - you might recognize the pillow on the left in the back. This is the one I finished using my grandmother's crocheted lace. For more details go to this post.

The framed piece in the front on this post is Joan's; it's called "Summer Basket" and it is a Loose Feathers from last year. In front of it is Joan's Sarah Tobias pincushion. In the back on the right is the birth sampler I stitched to honor my mother's sister that died as a baby. It's called "Special Delivery." You can read more about why I stitched this sampler here and here.

Last but not least, here is one of my all-time favorite designs from the Joyeux Noel book. It's called "Tis the Season." I'm not sure who stitched this one, but they did a beautiful job on it.

I should have tried to take more close up shots. Later in the weekend someone brought a stitched "Strawberry Garden." Wish I had remembered to grab a photo of that one. All of the pieces were beautiful. It was so much fun to see the collection of finishes.

That's all for now -- check back later for more pictures and more details on the projects we worked on!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Another Fob?

Just when you thought there couldn't be anymore....another fob finished last night. It feels sooooo good to stitch and finish some of these kits that have been in my stash for a long time!

This is the Glad Tidings fob from Shepherd's Bush; the kit might still might be available as I don't think it was a limited edition. It came out in 2008 (I think) and was made to go with the Premax scissors pictured below.

Glad Tidings Fob
Shepherd's Bush (kit)

And just in case you haven't seen enough fobs, here's my collection of Shepherd's Bush fobs. The second fob on the right was stitched a year or two ago (modeled with Gingher Glory); the one on the end was a gift from Jill - Purple Peacock; it's the 2007 Shepherd's Bush fob.

Enjoy what's left of your weekend! Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

One Fob, Two Fob, Red Fob, Blue Fob

What do you think about this collection of spring colored fobs? I stitched these a few weeks ago and shared them with some new friends on Thursday! More fobs to come - stay tuned!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Fob Frenzy

And just when you thought there couldn't possibly be any more fobs in my future...yes, I finished another one. These stitch up so quickly and are an easy finish. I'm asking myself why they sat in my stash for so long!

"Life is Great in 2008"
Shepherd's Bush Fob Kit

Believe it or not, I still have one or two more of these kits in my stash. Since I'm on a roll, I may as well keep going, don't you think?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Pillow Finish

Happy Sunday! I know you will recognize this pattern, just about everyone online stitched it back when Barb and Alma of Blackbird Designs made it available on their blog! I finally got around to finishing it. The name I stitched in the sampler is my maternal grandmother's maiden name and 1906 is the year she came to America.

The lace (which is kind of hard to see in this photo) is some lace that my grandmother had crocheted. It was made for a pillowcase, but my mother had removed it from the pillow case a long time ago. The lace was also white - that is until I got hold of it! A little bit of coffee and it now looks like really old lace (it is old lace!) After stitching it all together it still needed something more so I added the buttons -- they are kind of old looking too.

What do you think?

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Another Fobulous Finish

Happy Saturday! It's a beautiful day here in Minnesota. After spending my morning running errands, the washer and dryer are busy grinding away and I decided to sit down and finish another fob that I stitched during the week. I'm working real hard at trying to stitch and finish some things from my stash; this particular design should have been stitched last year. Ah well, I think the phrase "better late than never" applies here!

Shepherd's Bush 2009 Fob
"All is Fine in 2009"
Fabric and Fibers in Kit

And here they are together - the 2010 fob modeled with Gingher Elena and the 2009 fob modeled with Gingher Roberta!

Hope you are enjoying a lovely day no matter where you are! Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, April 05, 2010

Lazy About Posting...

Hello Friends. Thought I better check in here or you might think I've fallen off the face of the earth. I haven't by the way. Life continues to be busy and when I only have time for one extra thing in the evening I will almost always choose stitching over blogging (or anything else for that matter!) Although some evenings I am so tired that I just "veg out" but you don't want to hear about that -- you want to see the stitching!

I don't have too much to share; I've been working on some secret little gifties that aren't quite finished yet. I do have a finish though - over the weekend I stitched and finished the 2010 Shepherd's Bush fob. I am just thrilled with how it turned out! I was worried about the ribbon finishing, but it went together so quickly and easily! Here it is (modeled on the beautiful Gingher Elena scissors):

Shepherd's Bush 2010 Scissor Fob (kit)
"Find your Zen in 2010"

Speaking of Shepherd's Bush - is anyone out there going to their retreat? I would love to go, but this won't be my year - maybe 2012.

I also have some framing to share with you; this is the last of it now for awhile. Don't get me wrong, I still have a drawer full of stuff that needs to be framed, but will need to save some more $$ to fund the framing costs!

Home of a Needleworker. LHN - stitched in 2007
Thread Gathering, LHN - stitched in 2008

I hope you had a wonderful Easter weekend! We had a small gathering of family members and enjoyed a delicious ham with some cheesy potatoes, asparagus, and a fruit salad. After dinner we played cards - have you heard of the game "Hand and Foot?" It involves several decks of cards; we played for a few hours. It was a good way for all generations to enjoy their afternoon together!

Too bad the weekend had to end -- just a four day work week for me this week. On Thursday my DD and I are traveling to her chosen college to schedule her classes for next year.

Wishing you a wonderful week filled with sunshine and stitching!