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!

    Friday, November 04, 2011

    What Did I Stitch On?

    These pictures aren't the greatest, after all, it is fall in Minnesota and we will see very little sunlight from now until spring! Okay, that's a bit exaggerated, but it is difficult to find natural light in the early morning. Since these are just progress pics, you'll have to deal with it!

    I did work a little bit on Jenny Bean's Christmas Sampler. Keep in mind, this is one of my crazy challenge pieces so a little bit was already stitched (the box and about four words!)

    I also spent a little more time working on the retreat class piece from Shakespeare's Peddler. I had started the vine on the right while in Virginia Beach, but hadn't made much progress.

    Last night I felt like doing a little bit of Hardanger so I started this pink doily.

    That's all I've got! I'm running behind this morning and need to get moving. Have a great day. Happy Friday!

    Thursday, November 03, 2011

    Couple More Things from Virginia

    After I hit "Publish Post" yesterday, I thought of a couple more things I wanted to share with you.

    First of all, I want you to see this cute acorn scissor fob that we received as a gift at the retreat. Pat (of R&R) stitched them (about 100 of them!) and some of the shop employees helped with the finishing. The picture doesn't really do it justice; it's really cute!

    And, while in Virginia Beach, I received a gift from Pam in Iowa (some of you may know her as "PJStitcher" - she doesn't have her own blog, but she comments on a lot of blogs.) Pam and I met last year at the Silver Needle retreat; then in November she came to Minneapolis for a weekend and I met her at Stitchville for some stash enhancing. Check out this scissor casket that she made for me!

    Pam always says that she isn't very good at finishing, but she did a great job with this project. It might be hard to see in the picture, but the witch has a needle in her hand! On the left, stuck to the witch scissors, is a needleminder with a ghost on it. It's pretty cool! Thanks Pam!

    I had to take a picture of the gift bag that she used. It was a simple brown paper lunch bag, but it had a sampler pattern stamped on the outside!

    I'm having trouble settling on which project to stitch on right now; too many choices! Should I work on Jenny Bean Christmas Sampler (and knock off another Crazy Challenge piece?) Or should I work on one of the projects from the retreat? What I really should do is work on some Christmas ornaments! Well, stay tuned...I'll report later this weekend on what I decided.

    Happy Stitching!

    Wednesday, November 02, 2011

    Dyeing to Stitch Wrap Up

    As the saying goes, "all good things must come to an end." Unfortunately, our weekend of fun did come to an end and on Sunday it was time to come home.

    After our class ended on Saturday we made a quick trip back to Dyeing to Stitch. I had to take one more look at all of those beautiful stitched samplers on their walls. On the way back to the hotel we stopped to take some pictures of the sea and of this statue of Neptune. Trust me, it was very cold outside when we took these pictures. Brrr! Those surfers are crazy!

    On Saturday afternoon we had some time to visit with Ann Robbins; what a delightful lady she is! We talked about samplers and the proper way to press linen. She also shared with us how the dyeing process is done. It was quite interesting to talk with her.

    There was a banquet on Saturday night to wrap up the retreat. For some reason, I didn't take very many pictures, only this one, of new friends that we made at our table.

    We had lots of food, delicious desserts, and great conversation. Of course there were many lovely doorprizes. One stitcher won the frame and Jill Rensel mat to go with the Shepherd's Bush project. Can you imagine? Wow! At the end of the evening we each received a parting gift --- a Nantucket basket from Olde Colonial! Our project from Friday night (the padded basket bottom) is a perfect fit for this basket!)

    As I mentioned in an earlier post, there were approximately 90 stitchers from all over the U.S. at this retreat. In addition to my Minnesota traveling companions, there were a handful of other stitchers who I already knew; it was good to see them again. It was also fun running into stitchers who would say "I read your blog all the time!" And, there were many new friendships made during the retreat (a big shout out to Maureen and her mother Barbara, and to Cathy, Polly, and Vickie - see you next April at Stitchville!) Connecting and chatting with other stitchers from other parts of the country is really the most fun of all!

    Before I sign off, I promised to share with you the little project that we did with Teri from Shepherd's Bush. Teri's project was super simple and it only took 15 minutes! We each made a felt flower scissor fob! The petals were already cut for us and all we had to do was assemble and stitch the parts together. Isn't it cute?

    The stitched design with the fob is a retreat exclusive from Shakespeare's Peddler; it will be a needlebook once I have time to do the finishing. A nice reminder of my weekend "By the Sea."

    Tuesday, November 01, 2011

    Dyeing to Tell You More...

    ...about our stitching extravaganza! Take a look at the view from the balcony on Friday. You can see that the view has changed. The sky is cloudy and grey looking and the waves are choppy. Notice that battleship in the distance? There is a naval station located in Norfolk. Twice during my visit I saw navy ships either coming in or going out to sea; plus countless times each day we could hear fighter jets flying overhead. It was amazing to see those too - no pictures though. Felt safe...and proud of our U.S. military.

    On Friday morning, Pat and Ann (our hostesses) had arranged for us to tour the old Cavalier Hotel located across the street from the newer version which we were staying at.

    The "old" Cavalier Hotel is an historic property; it first opened in 1927 and it is a grand old lady! We were able to tour the public spaces. Since it was off-season, the hotel is closed for renovations - great care is being taken to preseve this old girl! Some interesting stories -- in 1927 Adolph Coors (founder of Coors Brewery) plunged to his death from the sixth floor; the U.S. Navy occupied the hotel during WWII and used it as a training facility; several U.S. Presidents have stayed at the Cavalier; and the hotel is rumored to have ghosts. Today the hotel is used for weddings and large parties; the hotel rooms may be rented during the peak season.

    This painting offers a glimpse of the old and new hotels on a hot summer day!

    Back to stitching! On Friday afternoon we had our first class; since I was in Track A, my class was with Teri and Tina from Shepherd's Bush (they are rock stars in my world!) The two of them are very funny and shared stories as they helped us prepare our project for stitching. The project is unbelievable! Their season was "spring" and they designed the following amazing sampler for us entitled "Her World":

    They also designed two additional pieces which complemented the sampler, a scissor fob and a pincushion; we could purchase these exclusive kits in the Dyeing to Stitch shop onsite.

    Our class was held in a room on the 11th floor of the hotel, overlooking the ocean. The wind was howling the entire time (a storm was brewing). There were so many amazing things to see -- approximately 25 or so surfers were out in the ocean trying to "catch a wave", further out we could see dolphins, and every so often, a flock of pelicans would fly by. Yes, pelicans!

    We spent our class time sorting threads and then stitched three of the bands at the top of the sampler. Teri also had a fun project for us at the end of class. I need to take a picture of it and will share it in my next post.

    Here are Teri and Tina with their beautiful sampler:

    Friday night's event was with a "surprise" teacher - Pam from Olde Colonial designs stopped by. She showed us how easy it is to make padded bottoms for our baskets and how the design can be modified to fit any basket. We thought this class was a bit odd, but it all made sense at our closing event on Saturday night. Sorry, no pictures from Friday night - I think I was too busy with the project!

    By Saturday morning the wind and the waves were really tearing up the shoreline (keep in mind that to our north, they were getting snow!)

    Saturday morning's class was with Theresa Venette from Shakespeare's Peddler. I knew Theresa from when her shop used to be in Fargo, but I had never taken a class from her. We enjoyed her stories and it was fun to hear about how some of her designs have come to be. Theresa's "season" was winter. She designed a beach/sea theme and explained how challenging it is to combine winter and the sea! I think her sampler is pretty cute:

    My two partners in crime, posing for me in the back of the classroom:

    We worked on the patches in class and Theresa providing good instruction on how to attach these to our sampler when we are ready. Here is Theresa with her sampler:

    One last photo of the sea...see all of those black dots? Those are surfers waiting for huge waves to roll in!

    I think this post is long enough! I'll share a few more photos and stories with you tomorrow...enjoy your day!