Sunday, November 26, 2006

Forging ahead on my stocking

I know several online stitchers started new projects over the holiday weekend but I am persevering on my forlorn Christmas stocking that I started over 2 years ago! My husband's has been done for 2 years now but mine kept dragging on. I am determined to finish it in time for Christmas this year. I am getting close to the top where the cuff starts but then of course there is all the backstitching and the finishing work. Wish me luck! This is from the old Cross Stitch & Country Crafts magazine and was originally published in the mid-80's I believe. I always planned on stitching it someday for myself as it really fits me. I also quilt and sew, have my grandmother's Singer Featherweight machine and all so I just had to stitch it. Here is my progress so far - you can click on the photo for a larger image:

I'm having a wonderful 5-day weekend. I had Friday off work and am taking Monday off to go visit a friend in Sedona who retired last year there. We worked together for 10 years and I'm driving up with another friend from work to see her new retirement home and spend the day. It should be fun - Sedona is a beautiful place to spend some time. I have Fridays off for the rest of the year using up my last days of vacation time and I'm really looking forward to those 3-day weekends!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Thanksgiving finish

I just finished this piece by Homespun Elegance on Tuesday night and temporarily put it in the frame tonite so I could display it for Thanksgiving tomorrow. I will do a better stretching/mounting after November but this is good enough for now. (click on photo to see a larger version)

This was a fun and quick stitch that only took me a week (for me that is really good!) I found this lovely frame at my LNS when I bought the pattern last week. This is called "Delivering Plenty" and the great thing is that there are 5 or 6 other "delivering" patterns that I can stitch and swap in and out of the frame for other seasons and holidays. I like being able to swap pieces out and it saves on the framing costs especially for small seasonal pieces. I have to make this short tonite as I still have some chores to do getting ready for tomorrow's guests. I like to have my table all set up the night before and that is the last thing I want to do tonite. I prepared most of the dishes this afternoon and just have to bake everything while DH cooks the turkey out on the grill. Hope all of you enjoy a lovely Thanksgiving shared with family or friends! I'm especially thankful for all the wonderful designers and products that make stitching so enjoyable, and the online community of stitchers to share with. :-)

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Secret Garden Box Finished!

Yeah! I finally got this done while DH was out of town this weekend. I had a bit of trouble with my box - I painted per the instructions (substituting blue for the red paint) but when I started to sand it down after the top coat of camel, it started turning green - the blue paint underneath with the yellow-ish camel on top made it green. I didn't like that too much so I decided to paint on another coat of blue and make my box a weathered blue look. I also changed the top a bit and mounted the needlework like a panel instead of stretching it over the lid of the box, then I added a cording around it. I had intended to make my cording out of the varigated Needle Necessities I used to stitch the piece, but Needle Necessities floss is pre-cut into lengths that prevent you making cording out of it. Luckily I had some perle cotton that worked out fine. Here are 3 views of the box - click on them to enlarge the photos.

Yesterday I visited my LNS to pick up the latest BBD Loose Feathers design. Of course I did some shopping while I was there, I couldn't help myself! My LNS had a trunk show from Homespun Elegance, one of my favorite designers. Lovely lovely things for sure. I did see a really cute Thanksgiving stitch and I bought it - it's called "Delivering Plenty". Thanksgiving is one holiday where there aren't all that many cross-stitch designs available. I really like this one and I'm going to stitch like crazy to see if I can get it done in time for the holiday. I picked up a gorgeous frame while shopping as well so I can stretch and frame it myself temporarily for the holiday. Here's a picture of the pattern:

My LNS also had a smaller trunk show for Erica Michaels Designs - they do a lot of punchneedle and miniature knotted patterns. Now up to this point, I have successfully avoided punchneedle and knotted designs - I can't really add any more hobbies to my life. But some of these pieces were out of this world! They had a little round autumn-themed 'rug' that was to die for. Then I saw this miniature knotted ornament and it was all over - I could scan the pattern but the picture on it just does not do the piece justice. It reminded me of petit point in the amount of detail that showed. The 4" round ornament has a sand castle, waves, and ocean with a turtle, mermaid, etc. I was smitten. It's called "Seaside Roundabout" by Erica Michaels. You can do the pattern either in punchneedle or the miniature knotted version which I want to do. I've never done this before so I may have to do some practicing. I know doing french knots was never my favorite so even though the pattern has you do colonial knots it's still going to be a challenge.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

My foray into paper arts

My friends and I had our card-making class tonite. It was a lot of fun - held at a "Recollections" store if you've ever been to one. It's a chain of stores and they sell scrapbooking and paper arts supplies. What a great place! My first time in the store and they have a huge classroom where you can take all sorts of classes. We paid $20 each and it was about a 2-hr class. You got all the supplies to make 5 autumnal cards. Very easy and a fun group outing. I felt like I was reliving my childhood again - cutting and pasting! I've always had the 'craft' bug ever since I can remember. As a child, I had a big bulletin board in my room that my dad had made with a nice wooden frame, and I decorated it every month in a seasonal or holiday theme. I made potholders, did woodburning, made puppets, sewed doll and troll clothes, learned to crochet from my mom and grandmother, knitted a little and embroidered dish towels, made popsicle houses, corn husk dolls and all sorts of odd little things. Does anyone remember making Christmas trees by folding Readers Digest magazines or making trees with toothpicks stuck into styrofoam balls? You stacked the balls all together in a tree shape and then used spray flocking and glitter to decorate. I remember using pink flocking spray to make pink Christmas trees. I'm showing my age but I can remember they used to do crafts on the Captain Kangeroo show and I was always asking my mom for some sort of supplies I needed to make something. So I guess it's not surprising I became addicted to stitching and quilting. :)Anyway, here's a picture of the cards I made tonite. I'll send them to some family members for Thanksgiving. Making cards is a lot of fun but the only trouble is most people keep them a few days and throw them away so I don't think I'd do it all the time.

I also picked up some scrapbook paper. I want to make a small scrapbook of all my quilting and stitching projects. I'd like the pages to have a coordinated look to them color-wise without too much 'frou frou'. Now just to find the time to do it!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Back again..........

Wow, can't believe it's November already. I haven't blogged in awhile. I had to spend some time out of town in October and things are just starting to get back to "normal". I am still working on the finishing for my Secret Garden box although the stitching part is done. Hope to post the completed box in a few days. Today while watching the Bears-Miami game I worked on finishing a Halloween paper banner I started a few weeks ago. I'm in a group of 9 quilters and we meet once a month. We don't always do quilting - some of the ladies are into paper arts so in October we all did Halloween banners. At least my banner came out good which I can't say for my Chicago Bears!! You can see on the mantle my Thanksgiving figures I bought this week on eBay - I think they're cute and plan to use them as part of my table decor for the holiday.

I only had a little to do finish mine up but now it is going into storage until next Halloween. It was fun - I got to play with all the tools etc but didn't have to buy them so that's always fun. This Tuesday we are meeting for November at a scrapbooking store. This could be dangerous! I have avoided scrapbooking because I can't handle another hobby! We are taking a class where you make cards so it should be fun. We like to do different things once in a while and since we all live in different areas of our metropolitan scene, we sometimes try to meet in the middle somewhere to cut down on all the driving.

I also made some quilted cards today. Somehow, I found a link to the Craft Apple blog on someone else's blog and that's how I found these. (if you want to see the instructions, view this wonderful blog and check the October archives - I can't remember now whose blog I first saw them on, but I sure enjoyed making them. Since I'm a quilter, I have no shortage of fabric to use! I used pieces from the charm pack of Moda's "Chocolat" by Three Sisters. I made about 10 cards that will be fun to use.

I recently picked up 3 quilts I had quilted. Now I am working on putting on the bindings and will be posting those as I complete them. I am forcing myself to get back to working on my unfinished Christmas stocking. I started it like 2 years ago but haven't finished it yet. It's from the old Cross Stitch & Country Crafts magazine. I really should get this done so I can hang it up for Christmas this year. I think I'm about 70% done with the stitching,but here's what it will look like:

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Finally! A Happy Dance!

(click to link to larger version)

I put the last stitches in Carriage House Sampling's "Wild Roses" tonite. This was my New Year's Day start this year. I had originally planned to have it done in June,well I missed that by a long shot but at least it didn't carry over until 2007. I really loved this project - at one point I got a water spot on my linen somehow and had to wash the piece. Because I used R&R linen I lost a bit of the color (it was 36-ct Abcedarian) but it still came out looking good. I like using NPI silks for just that reason - if you need to they can be washed and hold up great. This piece is very long - 26". It will go into the "framing" pile and probably won't get framed until after Christmas. The pattern is modified somewhat from the original - the model stitcher at my LNS did a modification of it and you could obtain her changes as long as you bought the original chart from the store. The letters down the sides read "Bless the Beasts and the Children" which I think is nice instead of just random letters. I'm already planning to hang this piece in my living room when framed - I have mottled yellow walls and brown leather furniture so I think it will fit in well.

This is about the most fun I've had all week finishing this! I've had a stressful 2 weeks at work and working overtime on some problems. In fact I was finishing this in-between monitoring my work email account tonite. Nothing like stitching to perk you up! Now I just have to resist starting a new project because I really need to finish my Christmas stocking that has been a WIP/UFO for 2 years!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Yeah - it's October!

I am so happy it is finally October. Not only is it my birthday month, but it's my favorite month in the year. I love all things autumnal and especially Halloween. Also, it's when summer finally ends here in the desert southwest. Soon we say goodby to temperatures in the triple digits and settle down to a beautiful winter!

I haven't had any time to update my blog in awhile. My DH and I had to take an emergency trip out of state because my father is very ill. He is 83 and been in poor health for a few years now, but it has been stressful. On top of that I've been extremely busy at work and it just seems I can't get caught up with anything lately. I did take my Secret Garden with me when I was out of town and got a little bit done while traveling. It is an easy stitch and hope to have it finished soon so I can make the little box that goes with it. Here are 2 pictures of it - one with the fabric I'll be using to line the box, and another photo closeup - not the greatest photo but the best I could do in a hurry today.

I picked up a few things at my LNS a few days ago. I had some patterns that they had been keeping for me - the latest Loose Feathers design and I finally got my copy of Flea Market Souvenir from Blackbird Designs. Somehow they sold the first shipment out and I didn't get one. My 2006 JCS ornnament issue was in and I succumbed to buying Little House Needlework's "Watermelon" kit. I had seen pictures of it but when I saw the model,well, I just couldn't resist. The model at my LNS was done on 40-ct with a wide frame and it was SO cute! So I picked up some 40-ct Newcastle linen in Summer Khaki and hope to get started on that soon. Here's a photo from my little stash trip - try not to look at my messy cutting table - my sewing room is overflowing with projects lately.

I'm not a big ornament stitcher. I stitched several Prairie Schooler ones back about 15 years ago (has it been that long??). I'd like to stitch some more but they just aren't at the top of my list it seems. That said, I have started buying some of the annual JCS ornament issues and I did buy the 10-yr anniversary one in case I wanted to stitch some of them. Mostly I like sparkly, traditional glass-blown ornaments on my tree. They are getting harder to find though every year, and if you do find any, they are usually very high priced. I don't like the Ladko ornaments because they're too darn big - I think 8" ornaments look too big on a tree unless it's like a 25-foot one. Most houses don't have trees that big. I guess I should try to fit in some ornament stitching over the next year, now that I have improved my finishing skills a bit it's not so daunting to do the finishing.

I need to find more time to update my blog. My DH and I are heading out to take my father-in-law out to dinner in thanks for coming over and staying with our dogs while we had to rush out of town. At least I don't have to cook tonite! Then I have some work I need to do in preparation for work tomorrow - nothing quite like having to face work on a Sunday night. Ugh. I did however finish up a Shepherd's Bush RR today will mail it out tomorrow. At least that's one more thing off of my 'to do' list.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Retreat update

Well I'm back from my quilting retreat. Had a great time but it was tiring too. We stay at a rustic church camp and have to take all our bedding as well as our sewing machines and all the things that go with it. It's amazing that I had a whole carfull of things to take just for 3 days but you add up one sewing machine, cutting mats, rulers, all sorts of miscellanous notions, several projects, a chair cushion, small cooler (must have my Diet Coke), bedding, clothes, etc and it adds up fast. I took several projects to work on and got a lot done. I don't do much sleeping when I go there - for two reasons. One, I try to get as much sewing in as possible so I pretty much sew from 8:00 am to midnight with meal breaks, and two, the beds (if you can call them that) are lousy! I also stuck to my budget and I did not go in to town and visit the local quilt shops like I usually do when we go on these retreats. I actually came home with more money than when I left because I sold 2 things at our silent auction and the maker gets 60% of the proceeds. My finished table runner won Judges Choice in our silent auction, and I also made and sold some plaid towels with autumn appliques on them. The raffle quilt from my earlier entries made over $300 for our group in ticket sales.

I did one new project, a Halloween quilt pictured below (click on the pictures to see full-size). I really loved making it. The pictures don't do the fabrics justice - in fact I think all of the projects pictured here look better in person. I probably shouldn't take the photos at night but that's usually when I have time to blog. Other than the Halloween quilt which took all of one day and a little bit more to do, I worked on quilting UFO's some of which I have posted pictures here.

Two different Christmas wall hangings, a primitive stitchery that now needs a frame, some other embroidery work, and making quilt bindings for 3 quilts that are presently with a longarm quilter waiting their turn to be quilted. When I get them back then my binding will be all ready to sew on. All in all it was a very successful trip. A couple of my friends and I have decided though it may be our last camp. We've been going in the spring and fall for almost 10 years with this quilting guild, and as we've gotten older the beds are harder and we're getting to the point where we want to go a nice hotel with decent beds, maid service, etc! We want to get a small group together and book a retreat at a hotel where we can sew in a conference room for a couple of days. As you stitchers know, there's just something more fun about hanging with your friends for a few days and doing what you love. I find it inspires me with new energy to get back to working on those projects again. Also, nobody appreciates your work like other quilters or stitchers!

Now it's back to stitching for awhile after my quilting break the last few weeks. I have a Shepherd's Bush RR to work on (Queen Bee) and my Secret Garden by BBD. I can't wait to get started. I also need to catch up on my online boards I visit, when you are gone for a few days it's funny how you feel out of touch.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Have a great holiday weekend everyone!

I'm still at work but anxious to get out of here for my 3-day weekend! Hope to get some stitching done, spend time in the pool and with our dogs and generally take it easy. We are going to a birthday party for my husband and a friend on Saturday night, my DH's birthday was 2 weeks ago but just now celebrating it with our friends. It is hard to get 4 couples to agree on a date.

I was just checking my home email account - in the past few weeks the amount of spam I have been getting has like tripled! It is really getting annoying. Because my DH has us all set up with a lot of security and spam filters, almost all of it goes into my junk file automatically, but I still take a quick scan down the list to make sure I don't miss a message from a friend or something. I just wish the powers that be could do something about it - one day I got like 147 spam emails! My DH says it because I visit lots of "kooky" bulletin boards and sites - but I can't give up my online stitching community! What is really sad is the people who are victims of this junk. Frequently my FIL who is 80 will call my DH and ask about this or that email he got telling him to do something. The older people are more trusting I guess - I don't open anything from anybody unless I recognize the person or the subject. Well that is my rant for today. :)

For those who work I hope you have Monday off and enjoy the long weekend! Celebrate your "labor day" with a labor of love like stitching!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Quilting & bed woes....

Well it's been awhile since I blogged - the last time I tried to leave a post it was so slow I gave it up and then I got very busy with work and too many other things to mention. I finished the fall raffle quilt for my quilt group - we have a retreat every fall and we auction off a quilt to make money. Our theme this time was "Falling Leaves" so I made this quilt out of many different leaf fabrics. It started out as a different pattern that wasn't working out too well so it evolved into a simple Flying Geese pattern. I had someone do the quilting on it and although you can 't see it up close it's really lovely with a pattern of maple leaves all over it in a varigated golden thread. Hopefully it makes a few hundred dollars for our quilt group. I also have been working on a table runner for our little silent auction which is pictured here - it's not finished quite yet, it still has to be quilted and the binding edge put on. I like this tablerunner pattern and I also cut out another one out of all apple-themed fabrics. My quilting goes in spurts it seems.

Tonite I got back to working on my Wild Roses sampler by CHS. I finished the last row of rose bushes - yeah!!! That's 21 rose bushes in total - after the first 4 or 5 you have the pattern memorized and don't need to refer very often to the pattern. After a while I just kind of did my own color choosing as I pleased. I still have the lower-case alphabet to stitch at the bottom and add my name and I'll be done!

We got a new mattress about a week ago and it's been a rough week for me. I have a bulging disc in my back and was having trouble with our old mattress which was causing me to have to sleep in the guest room at times where we had a newer mattress. I decided to get a Tempur-pedic hoping it would help my back pain. It felt fine in the store (of course) but the first few nights I felt like I was being tortured! It feels like you are sleeping on a brick. I guess it takes some time to break it in. I have a couple of friends who have them and love them. By midweek I was pretty depressed as these mattresses are very expensive. We can exchange it for something else after 30 days so I will see how it feels by then. After day 3 I put one of those foam egg-crate pads on it and that has helped. But I have had a lot of back and leg pain this week and having to take my pain pills. That makes me pretty grouchy. Hopefully I'll start to feel better soon, they say sometimes it takes awhile to get used to a new bed.

I got the special paper mache boxes I ordered from Hobby Lobby online. This is for the Blackbird Designs "Secret Garden". I had to buy a set of 3 in graduated sizes to get the correct one but they weren't too expensive and they were shipped very promptly. They're actually very sturdy and well-made. "Secret Garden" is my next stitching project. I'm using a piece of off-white Lugana and some Needle Necessities from my stash - yes it's true I am actually using some things I already have and didn't buy new. I had 3 or 4 skeins of this blue Needle Necessities to make something else then changed my mind so this is a good opportunity to use some of it up. I also bought all the supplies to antique the box that the stitching will be mounted on. Next week of course is Labor Day with a 3-day weekend for me and the following weekend I go to my quilting retreat. I can't wait - we always have a lot of fun on these weekends and it will be COOLER there. We get very excited if it rains as we live in the desert here in Phoenix. Rain is a big deal around here.

Here are a few pictures of things I plan to work on soon - I love this Reindeer quilt and I have a bunch of towels I want to do fusible applique on for gifts. These are all patterns from the Nancy Halvorson "Art to Heart" books which I really like.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Making Plans

Well I decided the other day that this weekend I would go through my stash and dig out things that need finishing work and also small quick projects I can do. I've had the Cricket Collection carrots stitched for like 2 years now and never finished them into ornaments. I also have some more of the Shepherds Bush 2003 monthlies to stretch and mount. I'm doing those myself as I can't afford to have them all done professionally. I plan to get one frame with turnbuttons on the back so I can change out the stitched piece each month. Rather pitiful that I only have like 5 of the months done so far! I also want to make my Blackbird Designs "Winter Delivery" into an ornament style hanger. I have a lot of other small things like some miniature pictures, a Trail Creek ornament, some small Bent Creek patterns and things of that nature. I think I just can't face my BAP's right now so need some finishes that don't take forever.

I organized a happy hour after work tomorrow for a good friend of mine that I have worked with for 10 years - she's retiring and moving to Texas. Over the past few years most of my work friends have scattered to the four winds due to people retiring, quitting, and getting reorganized into other areas of the company. We all started there together about 10 years ago when they did a major hiring to form a new division. I work for a large company that shall remain nameless, but we always seem to be in turmoil of one kind or another. The one thing that keeps you going at work is the cameraderie you share with your coworkers, so it's a shame when they take that away from you. Although I work in Information Technology I have advanced to the point where basically I feel like an email jockey. Not to mention the rest of my time is spent in online meetings with people all over the place. It's a strange way to make a living that's for sure. Our company is probably going to announce some layoffs this fall again, this will be the 4th or 5th time I've been through layoffs in the ten years I've worked there. After a while it doesn't even phase you anymore.

Well, enough about work. Tomorrow is Friday and then the glorious weekend with more time to stitch! I'm heading to my LNS on Saturday morning to pick up the JCS anniversary ornament book that I had reserved, the village market freebies that came out (my LNS has them on a CD), and hopefully my BBD Flea Market Find pattern I've been waiting for. There are also a few odds and ends I need but trying to get out of there without a major bill this time. I'm very fortunate in that my LNS is Attic Needlework which is a fabulous shop!! I never seem to get out of there in less than 2 hours because there is so much to look at and dream of stitching.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Quaker Garden finished!

I finally finished this on Sunday night. I was one of the stragglers but glad I made it - thanks Karen for organizing this SAL! Here is my finished piece on Lakeside Linen's Vintage Pear with Gloriana Luminescence silk threads.

There's a moratorium on framing at my house for awhile since DH and I recently purchased some artwork for the house. Framing my Quaker Garden is going to have to wait a few months but that's okay, I'm glad to have finished something and now moving back to my Wild Roses by CHS.

We were chatting on one of the Legacy forums about what is on our wish lists. Here are a few of the top items I'm waiting to purchase - several of them are not new. I keep a running list and just keeping doing a lot more adding it seems that subtracting!

Midsummer Night Designs - Memorial Sampler (I want to stitch this in memory of our dog that died a couple of years ago. We read this poem when we scattered his ashes.)
Examplar Dames – True Wisdom
Ronnie Rowe – Williamsburg 1776 - If you've never seen her designs they look like ink drawings, they are gorgeous when worked on small counts
Shepherds Bush - America the Beautiful
Moira Blackburn - Keep Me sampler
Theron Traditions - Needles & Pins sampler. I love the verse on this one. :)

"Needles and Pins, Needles and Pins,
When a woman marries
Her troubles begin".

Monday, July 31, 2006

Round Robins and other updates

Thanks Jean for your comments - I'm glad to know I'm not the only one have to cut & paste pictures where I want them to be.

I've been pretty busy at work this week filling in for my boss who's on vacation. Not too much time for stitching. I did finish my part on a round robin I'm in with some online friends. This is "St. Peter's Fair" by Shepherds Bush and belongs to my friend Jane B in Maryland. Here is a picture of it so far.

It's really a lovely pattern, one that I did in a round robin a year or two ago and have framed in my hallway. I'm mailing this piece off tomorrow to the next person. I did get in some work on BBD Quaker Garden tonite- I am getting anxious to finish it now that I am getting close.

I saw the new Prairie Schooler patterns online and I love them all - more stash to add to the "must have" list, darn it! I especially like this year's annual Santa with the old treadle sewing machine. I have a quilting friend that has an antique treadle machine in her sewing room and she loves the primitive style. I'm thinking I'd really like to make one into an ornament-style hanging decoration for Christmas. Here's a link to the new designs if you haven't seen them yet and there's a new freebie on the site as well:

I went out this weekend looking for the paper mache box to use for the BBD Secret Garden pattern - looked at Michaels, Joanns and Walmart and couldn't find it. Sigh, it's so frustrating. I got all the other supplies, I've decided to use materials from my stash and I'm going to stitch it in an overdyed blue. So I will have to keep looking for a box unfortunately. There just aren't that many craft stores around anymore, one of my favorite ones closed last year and we don't have Hobby Lobby in Arizona - sure wish we did. I go there when I visit my parents back in Illinois but it's a long way to go for a cardboard box! :)

Monday, July 24, 2006

Blogger annoyances

Maybe one of you has had these problems, or I must be operating under a spell or something! Every now and then parts of my post end up being in italics even though I have NOT selected it, nor can I see it tagged as italics when I look at the HTML code. I also get frustrated posting pictures - I can upload them and click on them to make them links (so you can view a larger version), but if you try to move them around to make room for text in between, the links get lost. What is happening?? In order to get around this I have to go into "Edit HTML" mode and cut and paste the code for the pictures to where I want it. Also, why is it when you upload a picture it automatically goes to the top of your post instead of where your cursor was for instance in the middle of your post? If anyone knows the answers to these mysteries I would sure appreciate it!

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Back to being hot!

I haven’t updated my blog in awhile – I went away for 4 days to take some quilting lessons in Flagstaff this week. Had a great time – I stayed with a friend at her cabin which is just lovely, filled with antiques and COOL! I was able to sleep with the windows open and a cold breeze coming in! Since I’ve been back in Phoenix we have had temperatures up to 118 degrees, so we are all getting a bit cranky. I had a headache from the heat today so I haven’t done too much stitching. I’m still working on my Quaker Garden and on the last large motif so I hope to get done this week sometime.

While I was gone I received my biscornu package in the mail from Pam in Quebec! It was so exciting – she stitched it in pink and it’s just lovely! Here is a picture of it – thank you so much Pam!! She also included some other special gifts, some hand-dyed floss that must be Canadian because I haven’t heard of it, and a journal and some pretty stationary. Isn’t it great getting stitching presents in the mail? I really want to make some more biscornus for myself. Also, since my exchange partner has already received the one I made, I will post a picture of it as well. It’s a Just Nan pattern called “Beach Roses”. I was nervous it wouldn’t turn out but I thought it looked pretty good for my first biscornu. I hope to make some more.

I took 2 quilting classes while I was gone – one was an applique class with Elly Sienkewicz, it was really fun getting to see her work in person as she’s so well known in the quilting world. She is a really nice lady and had lots of good tips for us about ink transfer and specialty applique. Unfortunately, the block I started in class I made a mistake on and accidentally cut off a piece of the applique so I trashed it. I only had about 2 hours of work in on it anyway so I decided to start over. I guess that’s the way it goes sometimes – at least I wasn’t near the end instead of the beginning! The other class I took was by John Flynn called Pickle Dish. This pattern is very similar to a double wedding ring quilt. It was hard – I spent the entire day and got ONE block done! I had decided I wasn’t going to make a whole quilt, that I would just learn his technique and make a pillow or something and I am really glad I made that decision! I still have to add 2 more arc sections on to this and then I plan to applique it to a background and make a little pillow out of it. I still would like to make a whole Pickle Dish quilt someday but when I have more time. It takes a lot of time and concentration to make this quilt accurately even with John’s innovative techniques.

Yesterday I decided to straighten out my linen closet. I ran across some old linens I have and thought it might be fun to post a couple of pictures. This is an apron my grandmother made me when I was 7. Not only do I love it because she made it (and pink of course my favorite color), but she was embroidering it during the Mercury 7 spaceship launch and she embroidered the capsule onto the apron, then she inked the date and details around it. Mercury 7 was the first manned orbit in space and John Glenn’s famous flight. It was a national event at the time. (Yes you can tell that if I was 7 in 1962 I’ve been around awhile!!)

The other picture here is a guest towel I made in 7th grade Home Economics class! We called it “huck toweling” at the time although now I see it referred to as Swedish Weaving. Let’s see, I figure this towel to be approximately 37 years old! It’s scary how quickly the time passes. I remember not liking taking the sewing classes very much – mostly because I already knew how to sew and I would get frustrated sitting and listening to the teacher go through everything a couple of times. My mom taught me to sew fairly young so by junior high school I could already sew dresses and skirts etc. Making an apron and the types of things we did in school were sort of boring. It shows how times have changed though – I don’t even know if schools teach Home Economics anymore and if they do, I’ll be they’re not making aprons!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Stitching Room & thinking back

I thought I'd post a link to pictures of my stitching/sewing room. I posted it on one of the Legacy forums some months ago but here it is again. It serves as my sometimes office as I telecommute one day a week, then it's my quilting, stitching, and stash room the rest of the time. I love having my own computer and printer near me thanks to my husband who sets everything up and is my own personal "Tech Support" guru. We both work in Information Technology and we have 4 computers at home - yes it's a bit ridiculous sometimes but we do use them all for various purposes. I have one corner in my room set up with the computer on one side and a sewing machine table on the other in a "U" shape - I have a chair on wheels so it works out very nice. This is where I do 90% of my stitching - I use my Daylight lamp most of the time because my eyesight isn't that great and I require magnification for anything 32-ct and higher. So I find it's just easier to stitch sitting at my sewing table where I have everything handy. My sewing machine lowers under the table on a little hydraulic lift and then you can just use the top as a flat surface which is nice to work on. The other cabinets I have in my room used to be in our den at our old house, when we moved to this house a few years ago the den came with some built-in cabinets. I inherited these and they work out great. The only thing is I'm running out of room because I have too much stuff! I'm sure many of you have the same problem. Here's a link to pictures:

I'm wondering if many of you have your first piece that you cross-stitched anymore? Lately I have been wishing I did. Back around 1981 I was working part-time in a Minnesota Fabrics store in Chicago. I don't think that chain of stores is even in business anymore, but back then the employees made the models in the store - the store provided the materials and after they had displayed it for a couple of months you could take it home and keep it. I volunteered to do a cross-stitch project - I had embroidered and done stamped cross-stitch as a child so

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Quaker Garden - halfway done!

I reached the halfway point tonite, here's the latest progress. I hope to finish this up in the next 2 weeks which for me, will be pretty quick. I'm not generally a very fast stitcher, mostly because I have way too many stitching and quilting projects going on. It's hard for me to stay focused sometimes. Maybe I would be better off as a "one project at a time" person but so far I haven't been disciplined enough to do that. I'm debating about my next focus piece. I need to keep working on my French Alphabet Sampler but I am really itching to start something new. Here's just a few of the projects I have already kitted up in bags:

Milady's Needle - Strawberry Ruler
Blackbird Designs - With My Needle, Truly Thine, Springs Promise
Carriage House Samplings - Americana
With My Needle - Emblem of Love
Victoria Sampler - Winter Garden
Bent Creek - Winter & Spring Snapperlands
Bent Creek - Winter Row
Little House Needleworks - The Bookshelf
The Cricket Collection - Ghost Ship

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Quaker Garden - first progress report

Here's a picture of what I've stitched so far on Quaker Garden. I had a visit by the frogs tonite so I didn't get make much progress today unfortunately. I am using Lakeside Linens' Vintage Pear in 38 ct, with Gloriana Luminescence silks for most of it. The white is AVAS 100/3 because they didn't have a white shade at my LNS in the Luminescence. I love stitching with these threads - they have a tight twist and you have to let the thread unwind now and then but they are very smooth and not fuzzy the way a lot of silks are. I am loving working on this project.

Thanks for the kind comments I've received so far, I"m glad some of you have stopped by to "visit" me!

I am looking forward to seeing the new movie "Dead Man's Chest" with Johnny Depp. Hope to see it next week sometime. It's got to be good if JD is in it! I think I'll watch the original "Pirates of the Caribbean" this weekend just to get in the mood. :-) It should be good to stitch by.

I also need to go through my quilting stash this weekend. I am going up to Flagstaff Arizona later this month to take 3 days of quilt classes. I can't wait - 3 days away from the heat of Phoenix, up in the cool pines of the north country. I'm staying with a friend at her "cabin" - can't wait to see it as she and her husband have been building it for a couple of years now. It's really more of a small second home and no doubt gorgeous - my friend has a lot of antiques and is one of those people who have a talent for decorating. I am taking an applique class one day with Elly Sienkiewicz (the queen of applique) and another class with John Flynn called "Pickle Dish". I promised myself I would work from my stash and not buy more fabric so I'm going to be stressing about that to find something that will work! There are 2 ladies that hold this event every summer called "Quilt Camp in the Pines. It's wonderful - I used to go every year but I haven't gone in awhile. It's a good time - like a stitching retreat only quilting instead. It's held on the campus of Northern Arizona University and lasts about a week. I am just going for 3 days this time. Two classes is more than enough for me as now I will have another couple of projects to complete!!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Independence Day celebration!

Happy 4th of July everyone! I finally finished up an old UFO this morning. I had laid it aside when I accidentally made a mistake cutting out the stitched needlebook. I got disgusted and hadn't worked on it in a long time. I was able to change how the needlebook was finished to salvage it as I didn't have any more matching linen from the kit, then I finished up putting the cording on the scissor fob. I had to substitute the beads from what was in the kit - there was no way on earth the cording was going to fit through the gold bead supplied in the kit - after an hour of frustration I changed it out to something I had that worked. I am so glad to get this done as it was at the top of my "UFO" list. :) It is Hillside Samplings Stitching Chair Necessaire - I changed the colors from rose/blue to purples and gold. It is done in DMC and was an SAL on the Legacy board about 2 years ago I think. (where did that time go?!?)

I'm stitching on my Quaker Garden this afternoon and will post a picture tonite or tomorrow. I am really enjoying it so far.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Our pets

Thought I'd post a couple pictures of our "kids". This is Abby - we adopted her from a shelter about 6 months ago - she's approximately 2 years old we think. She's very affectionate and we're so glad we got her - she'd already been at the county shelter 2 months so she really needed a home soon!

This is Buster, a tricolor Sheltie. We've had him since he was a 8 weeks old - he's now 3. He's a great athlete, full of energy, and Abby's best friend. Without our dogs life would be very quiet around our house!

Friday, June 30, 2006

Quaker Garden SAL

Here are my supplies to start the Quaker Garden SAL this weekend. Karen from the U.K. is leading us. I love this pattern - can't wait to start. I am using 36-ct Vintage Pear by Lakeside Linens and Gloriana Luminescence threads. I had a piece of the 40-ct in this color but it was very brown with very little green in it so I bought this piece the other night to use instead. This will be my first time using the Luminescence silks - they feel wonderful so will see how they stitch. They are expensive though! About twice as much as regular silk skeins. At least this is a small project so I only needed 5 of them.

I also finished my biscornu for the Legacy exchange last night. I really like it and plan to make a duplicate of it for myself. I don't want to post a picture of it until after my exchange partner receives it in a couple of weeks. This was my first biscornu and the finishing went better than I thought it would.

We had a major wind storm here in Phoenix tonite but sadly, no rain! The east coast is getting too much and we need it so badly. It's supposed to be 109 tomorrow - another hot one. A good day to spend in the pool! We aren't going away for the holiday weekend, plan to just relax around home and I hope to get a lot of stitching in.

Monday, June 26, 2006

A few works-in-progress

Here are a few of my WIP's - the first one is my House & Garden Sampler which I am doing myself, not as a round robin. It's going to take awhile and I haven't worked on it lately.

This is "Wild Roses" by Carriage House Samplings. I was supposed to finish this in June but didn't get there.

Here's my French Alphabet Sampler, page 1. I am on page 3 now.

Starting out!

Well I have given in to the blogging bug. I should be spending more time stitching and less time on the computer and I would get more done, but part of the fun of stitching is sharing it with others. I really enjoy connecting with other stitchers via the web.

I love primitive style designs but I don’t limit myself to them. Some of my favorite cross-stitch designers are Carriage House Samplings, Chessie & Me, Bent Creek, Prairie Schooler, Little House Needleworks, The Drawn Thread, Shepherd’s Bush, Birds of a Feather, Sheepish Designs, and Homespun Elegance. I love Blackbird Designs – not only the stitching designs but the quilting and rug-hooking books too – can’t get enough! Then there’s all the wonderful French designers that I also am collecting - Rouge au Rhin, Bleu de Chine, and Long Dog to name a few. The past few years I started getting into samplers and Quaker designs (who can resist??) and a few of my favorites are Brenda Keyes (The Sampler Company), Darlene O’Steen (The Needle’s Prayse), and Moira Blackburn. I tend to like modern sampler interpretations rather than strict historical reproductions but of course there are exceptions. I also have about 10 Gail Wilson primitive doll kits stored in a box – I really need to get started on these, I love them all but they do take a considerable amount of time to complete. Maybe someday I will have a wall full of samplers, and my quilts and completed dolls on display!