Saturday, December 31, 2011

Final Post for 2011

Wow. I can't believe that it is December 31! Where does the time go? Tomorrow we start writing 2012. The New Year always seems to rejuvenate me; I make grand plans to do various things better in the new year and sometimes I succeed, sometimes not - but then there's always a new year to re-set and start over again!

From a stitching perspective, I get excited about digging in my stash and making plans. Of course, I'm always going to "buy less" and "stitch more" but that never happens! I keep reminding myself that for me, stitching is therapy; it's my escape from the problems of the day, my way of letting my creativity shine, a way to relax-even if only for a few minutes. It's pretty amazing when you think about it -- we take a blank canvas (one that's mottled with a very fine count works best for me!) and we change it. We add color and texture with the fibers and the stitches that we add. When it is all finished we have a beautiful stitched piece that holds special memories for us. It might remind us of that special person that we thought of while stitching the piece with their initials carefully incorporated in a corner. Or, it might remind us of a special event, past or present; maybe we remember exactly where we were when we were stitching the sampler and who we were with... Some of my stitched pieces remind of special friends, people that I have met in person and/or through this blog; they all hold a special place in my heart.

2011 was a successful stitching year; if I counted correctly, I had about 30 finishes or so. That CRAZY Crazy Challenge for 2011 was a huge motivator for me. Going into it, I didn't expect to finish all 15 projects, but I also never thought I would finish 12 (and I did!) Needless to say, I'm happy with my results!

Here are some of my favorite finishes from this year:

Blackbird Designs Peacock Pinkeep -- as my regular readers know, there's always something from BBD in my WIP basket; I love all of their designs; in fact, I stitched eight of their designs last year. I was excited to stitch and finish this one in 2011!

The Drawn Thread's Game Board Sampler would probably still be languishing in the UFO pile if it weren't for the Crazy Challenge. I had to take a short vacation from stitching houses after stitching this one! Lelia (Stitches of Life) and I started this project on New Year's Day back in 2006 or 2007...I'm glad mine is finished.

Another Blackbird Designs project! And another project that had been languishing in my stash for a long time. This one holds special memories; it reminds me of my trip in 2007 to the Hands to Work Retreat in Virginia. I hadn't been blogging long and stitching retreats were kind of new to me. Oh how I wish I could do that one again! It was such great fun. The design is the Flowers for Sarah needleroll.

I love this Chessie and Me piece - Scarlett Pomegranate's Christmas Sampler. I was determined to finish the over one stitching by myself. And I did!

Quaker Stitches from Jeanette Douglas; proof that the designer knows best! I fretted over the light colored fiber in the medallion top center and bottom right. There's also some in the center of the piece. Bought like 3 or 4 different skeins of Belle Soie silk each time thinking that color would work better. In the end, I used the color that Jeanette had charted. What a silly girl I am! I had the good fortune of meeting Jeanette at the Stitchville retreat last April!

(Hope you are not bored, I'm kind of enjoying this trip down memory lane...)

This one is at the top of my favorite list. I love BOAF. Included the initials for all the special people (and pets) in my immediate family. Birds of a Feather Happy Hearts...

LHN Friendship Squares - this is one of the coolest things I did all year. Each member of the Friday night stitch group stitched a square. We added our initials and swapped squares and then made these little boxes. Love it!

Quaker Medallion Sampler - Enjoyed working on this sampler from C Street Samplerworks; I've got another one of her designs started (and plan to finish it in 2012!)

The last one I will include here, is the piece I finished in Virgina Beach at the Dyeing to Stitch retreat (another fun weekend with stitching friends). I was so close and so determined to finishing this one that I kept on stitching right during the opening reception - at one point I had to stand up, which I did but I kept right on stitching! In my room later that night I started my happy dance only to realize that I had missed a part and had to sit back down and continue stitching! Ha! I should have a picture of this framed, but I can't find it, so here are the unframed photos of Jenny Bean's Halloween Sampler from Shakespeare's Peddler.

Many happy memories...looking forward to making more in 2012!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Ready to Move on to a New Year!

Our tree by day...

Happy Day After Christmas! How was your holiday? Ours was event-filled, but all worked out for the best. We were hosting dinner on Sunday for one of my brothers and his family, but it must not have been meant to be. My daughter woke up during the night with the flu and we had to quickly figure out "Plan B." We packed up the food and gifts and took Christmas dinner to my brother's house! My DH stayed home with my daughter, my mom went with me. It all worked out and we had a lovely day. By the time we got home last night, my daughter was feeling a little better and we were able to open our gifts to each other. Most of the family then watched the football game; I went to bed - I was tired out!

Our tree by night...

I'm looking forward to 2012 and a new year of stitching! You remember that I have pulled out a number of small projects from my stash. I'm hoping to get those stitched and finished in 2012. I haven't made any other plans or "resolutions" as of yet, but I'm anxious to spend some quality time in my stitching chair real soon!

Enjoy your week! Happy Stitching!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Dear stitching/blogging friends, I wish you much joy during this season of peace! Merry Christmas!

(Received this BOAF ornament in the mail today from Marie at Creative Thread. Thanks Marie!)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

All Tuckered Out...

I'm feeling a bit like my friend Maggie here!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Lots of Merry!

A few more ornament finishes tonight. If you've followed my blog for a long time you saw a whole basket of these last year. I had some fabric left and decided to stitch up a few more. This design is from Miss Crescent's Crowne and it is in the 2010 JCS Ornament Issue!

That's all I've got!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Busy Weekend!

This is going to be a quick post...I've got a million things to do yet! It's been a busy weekend. It started out grrrrreat! (Think Tony the Tiger...) On the second Saturday of each month a group of us gather together at Stitchville for Sip N Stitch. A little stitching, some stashing (the new Blackbird Designs sampler "Christmas Garden" had just come in!) We also enjoyed a delicious egg bake and an almond coffee cake...heaven. But as I've said numerous times before on this blog, all good things must come to an end....

Once I got home, I started cleaning like a maniac (imagine a house with two dogs that hasn't been cleaned for two weeks!) My DH and DD started pulling out Christmas decorations -- holy chaos Batman! The tree was dead...over two thirds of the lights on our artificial tree were matter what we did, we couldn't get them to light up....sooo off to Target to buy a new tree. Alright, I'll save you from all of the other we continue with the lower level family room. Oy vey!

Let's talk about happier times like birthdays and stitching! I have a couple more gifts to show you. The Blackbird book in the photo below was a gift from Joan (I love any book by Blackbird Designs!), the kleenex holder, key fob (both made from Blackbird fabric) and the tea were from Wendy Jo, and the little notebook and scissors were from Diana. Thanks ladies for remembering my birthday and making it a special day!

I continue to work on that finishing I started the Friday after Thanksgiving. What do you think of these Christmas angel ornaments? I ruched the ribbon on one of them and did a beaded edge on the other two. I'm kind of liking the beaded edge the best, but I think both finishes are pretty.

Well...gotta run..washing machine is calling me!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Stitchville Retreat April 2012

I spent my morning stitching with friends at Stitchville's monthly Sip N Stitch gathering. We have the best time stitching and stashing and chatting. And Deb makes the most delicious egg dishes and pastries. I look forward to going every month!

When I was there today I found out that there are still openings (only six!) for the retreat this spring. Thea Dueck is coming and we are going to do a wonderful project - Thea's Victorian Pincushion. Here is the picture copied from the Stitchville website:

The retreat had filled up earlier this fall, but Thea agreed to add a few more spots. So, if you are interested, don't delay. We've always had a great time at these retreats - it's a great facility, the stitching/classroom is comfortable, and the meals are delicious! Please go to the Stitchville website for all the details (from the home page click on Spring Fling Retreat 2012).

My little disclaimer -- I'm not affiliated with the shop in anyway, just a very satisfied customer who has thoroughly enjoyed both of their first two retreats!

Hope you will come - would love to see you there!

Monday, December 05, 2011

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree!

O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum,
wie treu sind deine Blätter!

Love this little German carol. Wish I were able to say that our Christmas tree is up and decorated and that the house is ready for the holidays...but I can't say that yet. Hopefully we will get this job done next weekend.

I've been making trees of a different kind these days - Hardanger trees! I joined the Nordic Needle Hardanger ornament of the month club this year and the ornament for October was a Christmas tree. While helping my mother this weekend at her boutique, I discovered that I can whip up one of these trees in an hour or two. I really like the beading detail (can you see those little red beads?) Well, I've made four of these trees already and I'll be making more!

The boutique was a huge success; my mom sold most of her tatting. She had a great time visiting with lots of different people - some come and buy her tatting year after year, some are just curious to find out what she's doing!

My daughter assisted at the boutique; the three of us had great fun - three generations spending the two days together. (However, only two generations in the photo - I'm not a fan of having my picture taken!)

My mom is having surgery on her right shoulder (rotator cuff) next Tuesday, so if you don't mind keeping her in your thoughts and prayers, I'd appreciate it!

That's all I've got for you. Hope your week is off to a good start. Happy Stitching!

Friday, December 02, 2011

Please Pass the Cupcakes!

I'm not a big fan of cooking or baking; hey I'd rather be stitching! But recently, I've been cooking up some cupcakes.

As many of you know, my mom tats. A few months ago I was trying to think of a way to incorporate her tatting into some type of needlework accessory. I saw a pincushion that had been done in wool and adorned with crocheted medallions and that sparked an idea. The finished pincushions are very different from what I originally came up with, but that's okay - I like them!

I've done these two ways now - you may recall a picture of the designers at the Dyeing to Stitch retreat holding their tatted pincushions for a photo. Those were done in tart tins and were quite cute (if I may say so myself!)

For this batch, I used some old zinc mason jar lids. The lids have lots of character to them (some have dates written on them; I noticed one of them had the year "1952" written on it - I wonder if the woman had canned pickles or peaches that year?) They are embellished with some trim I found at a local quilting shop.

My mom tatted motifs in various colors - she likes the thread called "Lizbeth" (a tatters version of WDW, CC, or GAST!) We found some wool colors that made the thread colors pop (thanks Roseanne) and voila!

Cute huh?

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Back to Stitching

Sincere thanks to everyone who sent birthday wishes yesterday. I don't know why this particular birthday bothered me so much, but now I'm past it. It's a new month and pretty soon we'll be celebrating a new year! I have some stitchy pictures that I am excited to share with you!

First of all, a birthday gift that touched my heart. My friend Judy stitched this for me and did some special personalization. Judy and I first met at a Nordic Needle retreat in 2005. We both attended their retreat again in 2007. Shortly after that 2007 retreat Judy reached out to me via email and we started talking "stitching" and we've been good friends ever since. Of course, it helps that our tastes in stitching are similar - we both like to do Hardanger and we both love Blackbird Designs and many other designers. We've enjoyed several other retreats since then, like the Stitchville retreats and more recently, Dyeing to Stitch. We try to see each other once a month at Stitchville's monthly Sip N Stitch gatherings. I could go on and on..anyway, thanks Judy for your friendship! Judy stitched this Shepherd's Bush design for me -"Friends" and included our initials, plus "NN" for Nordic Needle and "2005" the year of our first retreat. It's finished in a cute little wedge and sits on a shelf in my stitching/computer room. Love it! Thanks again Judy!

JoAnn's called on Monday to say that the rest of my framing was done. Hooray! I picked up these two pieces from them.

Poppy Maye Russell
Heartstring Samplery
35ct WDW Cappuccino linen
WDW fibers

Jenny Bean's Halloween Sampler
Shakespeare's Peddler
36ct LL Pearled Barley
GAST Limited Edition Threadpack

I have to be honest with you; when I first started stitching Jenny Bean, I wasn't liking her very much. I don't stitch very many Halloween designs and I'm not a big fan of stitching graveyards or tombstones, but I loved the linen and I liked the thread colors and the more I stitched the more I liked this piece. Now that she's framed, I love her! I guess it just took a little longer for the two of us to bond!

Wish I had more to share, but there hasn't been a lot of time for stitching lately! Thanks for stopping by. Happy Stitching!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Half a Century...

It sounds "ancient" when put that way doesn't it? I'm feeling particularly "old" this morning as I have reached one of those milestones in life. Don't worry, I'm only going to fret about it today. Tomorrow will be a new day!

Now that I am officially old, I feel like I should be able to pass along some sage advice, but I have none. The only thing that comes to mind are the lyrics from an old Bob Dylan (a fellow Minnesotan, don'tcha know) song. And so today, to mark the occasion of my 50th birthday, this is my wish for you:

May God bless and keep you always,
May your wishes all come true,
May you always do for others,
And let others do for you.

May you build a ladder to the stars,
And climb on every rung,
And may you stay forever young.

May you grow up to be righteous,
May you grow up to be true,
And may you always know the truth,
And see the lights surrounding you.

May you always be courageous,
Stand upright and be strong,
And may you stay forever young.

Forever young, forever young,
May you stay forever young.

May your hands always be busy,
May your feet always be swift,
May you have a strong foundation,
When the winds of changes shift.

May your heart always be joyful,
May your song always be sung,
And may you stay forever young.

Forever young, forever young,
May you stay forever young.

If you are interested, there's a great version of this song on YouTube; it's performed by Clifton Murray of The Canadian Tenors. If I wasn't so old, I would know how to include the link here! LOL. Google it - Clifton Murray - "Forever Young" at Treasure Island.

Have a great day. Come back for some stitching pictures tomorrow!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Some Progress Made...

Where did the weekend go? I spent a good deal of time cooking for my family - we had soup on Saturday (made with the bones and leftover meat from the turkey) and yesterday we had beef stew with bread dumplings (one of our cold weather favorites!) The family was happy.

Remember all those ornaments and other finishing projects that I prepped on Friday? I managed to finish four ornaments (only four - yikes!) Here they are:

This is an old Sheepish Designs chart (OOP). I used colors that I had seen on Karen V's (My Favorite Things) blog last year (CC Ye Old Gold and GAST Maple Syrup).

"Merry" is in the 2010 Just Cross Stitch ornament magazine. It is a design from Miss Crescent's Crowne. You might recall that I stitched a whole bunch of these last year. I still had fabric left and they are quick to stitch, and not everyone on my giving list received one, soooooo.....I made a few more! These just need the wire hanger added now.

Three more angel ornaments to finish and six more merry ornaments...I better get going!

Have a great week!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Friday's Finishing Frenzy

No Black Friday shopping for me! I don't like navigating lines or crowds, so I stayed home and enjoyed a quiet day and got some finishing going. Here's a picture of the various projects that I worked on. Some of the projects are finished or close to finished; others still need to be completed.

I made a couple more pincushions with my mother's tatting. She wants to include these in the boutique that she will be selling at next weekend. I also put some of her tatting in those plastic coasters that you can find at Michael's or JoAnn's.

I also had some hardanger that just needed to be pressed and hangers added to the ornaments.

Remember this ornament from last year? I still had some of the fabric and finishing supplies left so I stitched up a few more -- these aren't finished yet, but at least they are mounted on the mat board.

More cross stitch ornaments mounted on mat board and waiting for ribbon and beads.

I'll post photos of the finished product once I have some of these finishes finished!

Hope you are having a nice weekend. Happy Stitching!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Some Framing...

JoAnn's had some really good framing coupons recently and so I took a few pieces in to be framed. Here are the three I picked up yesterday; two more coming in a week or so.

This is a design from The Drawn Thread. I stitched it a couple of years ago and used some buttons that I found at a quilting store. The original design calls for various shapes and sizes of white buttons. This is going to be a Christmas gift for someone special.

The Button Tree
The Drawn Thread
linen and fibers from stash

Next up, one of my BBD Loose Feather finishes from earlier this year. I love the colors in this design and I think the frame nicely compliments those colors.

Sunflower House
Blackbird Designs Loose Feathers #9
28ct Friendship Blue
GAST Fibers

And, just in time for the Holidays, one of my very favorite Blackbird pieces!

Tis the Season
Blackbird Designs
36ct Pear Lakeside Linens
CC Belle Soie

The pictures don't really do these pieces justice! Now I need to find the appropriate place to display them.

Today is a holiday for me - an extended weekend due to the Thanksgiving holiday here in the U.S. While many are out participating in the shopping frenzy trying to take advantage of the Black Friday deals, I am planning to stay home and enjoy the peacefulness of my home, listen to some Christmas music and work on finishing various needlework pieces!

Happy Stitching!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving all!

...Will be back later this weekend with some stitchy posts...

Saturday, November 12, 2011

A Late Night Finish (well, almost)

Almost...because I have to stitch the alphabet band yet! You see this is going to be the top of the box, and a stitched alphabet band goes along the rim of the box lid. Don't worry, I'll have that alphabet band stitched in no time! I'm hoping to then do the finishing of the box on the weekend after Thanksgiving.

Autumn Song
Blackbird Designs - Loose Feathers #27
28ct Korty's Special Blend (R&R)
WDW Fibers

I loved stitching with these fiber colors!

Need to head to bed now. Hope you enjoy your day tomorrow and that you find some time for stitching!

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Stash Busting in 2012

Doot doot doo doot doo doot...doo doo doo doo doo doot...doot doot doo doot doo doot...Stash Busters!

Okay, I need to figure out how to add music to my blog! My theme song for 2012 is going to be Stash Busters! (Come on, you know the tune - hum the "Ghost Busters" song and just insert "Stash Busters!) Now I've got this song stuck in my head.

Okay, so as you know, I spent a good part of the weekend, cleaning through my stash. It's kind of out of control! I separated my stuff into three piles:

  • Small kitted projects (fobs, needlebooks, pincushions, etc.) that won't take too much effort to stitch and finish.

  • WIPs and UFOs - I had a number of these that weren't even included on my WIP list! They are now all accounted for.

  • Larger kitted projects

  • I just function better and accomplish more when I have a plan. My plans are always flexible and I don't stress out if things don't go as planned. It always helps me if I write it down. I know it's early for New Year's Resolutions, but I just can't help myself! So here's part one of my "Stash Busting in 2012" plan:

    Stash Busting in 2012: Challenge #1: Reduce the number of "kitted smalls" in my stash by stitching 2 to 3 small projects per month!

    I counted a total of 34 small kitted projects in my stash. Yikes! But you all know me well enough. When I put my mind to it and get those turbo needles working, I can get a lot done in a short period of time. That's my challenge and I'm going to stick to it!

    Now I need to think about those wips and other kitted projects and come up with a plan to reduce those piles.

    Does anyone want to join me for some Stash Busting in 2012?

    Happy Hump Day! Keep on stitching!

    Sunday, November 06, 2011

    Playing in My Stash

    Trying to get it organized and thinking about what my stitching "plan" is going to be for 2012!

    Saturday, November 05, 2011

    Buying Books

    It's all Robert's fault really...I have to blame someone. Several weeks ago I was reading Robert's post regarding his finished Mary Allen sampler. (It's gorgeous, you should really have a look at it!) I kept paging down through his blog and came across a finish for this sampler: Dorothy Preston - and I thought, "I just might have to take a look at that sampler more closely!" So, I went searching for Sampler & Antique Needlework Volume 1 and I found it.

    I enjoyed the book so much that I decided to see if there was a Volume 2 and there was! Volume 2 is just as lovely as Volume 1. I haven't searched for any subsequent volumes...does anyone know, are there more?

    Then, one day recently I happened to be searching on eBay for my usually things like Gingher scissors and Mary Garry patterns and I entered a search for this Hardanger book by Jill Carter. My friend Judy has been looking for this for some time. Another friend has a copy and we all like the book very much. Believe it or not, I happened across the book and it was "for purchase" not "for bidding". I snatched it up right away! (I will need to keep looking for a copy for my friend Judy...)

    So then, while in Virginia Beach, Ann R (of R&R) shared that Pat R (of R&R) had published a book on American samplers. Some of the stories she told us were quite interesting, so when I got home I went on a search for this book and picked up a copy quite reasonably! I'm enjoying the stories in it very much!

    I really don't have time for stitching because I am too busy reading all of these needlework books!

    Today, my best friend from high school and I were meeting for lunch to celebrate her birthday which was in October. We stopped at a craft boutique before lunch. I saw this small chest of drawers and commented how much I liked it and how I thought it might work well for storing floss...she bought it for me! Early birthday/Christmas present...I'm now trying to figure out where I would like to place it in my stitching room...and do I want to store floss in it or should I put my scissors collection in it? Decisions, decisions....

    Hope you are having a great weekend!