Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Santa's elf has been busy! Ho ho ho!

I've been baking lots of cookies lately. Some for DH and I, some to give away, plus we went to a "cookie-baking and football" party all day on Sunday. It was lots of fun - the guys pretty much sat and watched football all day and ate while the ladies baked hundreds and hundreds of cookies and then divided them up to go home. Hmm......seems like roles haven't changed all that much have they?! Here's a picture of some I made on my own - the cookies are purchased ones (Nutter Butters) and then you just do the decorating. I think they are so cute - I have seen these same cookies made into snowmen as well but I haven't tried those yet. The Santas are easy to do but time-consuming (click for closeups).

I also finished working on my mantle finally - I had splurged on some new decorations I fell in love with at a candle shop. I couldn't capture the candlelight with my photos but when they are all glowing it's really Christmas-y. The lanterns hold a mix of tealites and pillar candles - since my other half is "Mr. Fire Safety" I bought the battery-operated tealites and pillar candles they have out and they work out really well. I love the battery-operated tealites, you can use them in votives around the house and not have to worry about pets, kids, etc.

It's been rainy and chilly here lately but I'm not complaining as I see so much bad weather around the country.

P.S. 3 more days of work to go this year!! Then 15 glorious days away from the office. :)

Thursday, December 06, 2007

7 more days, but who's counting??

Well, I am! I have 7 more days of work in 2007 - yippee!! I can hardly wait. I cannot believe that Christmas is a mere 19 days away. I still have most of my shopping to do, mailing of packages etc. No doubt I will be racing around until the last minute like I usually am. I have no stitchy pictures to share today - I'm trying to finish up some Santa Claus ornmants for the PS Wreath SAL but not sure if I will get my wreath up before Christmas or not. Oh well - there's always next year right??

I did enjoy my Merry Cox class which though only like 3 weeks ago seems like months! I have not touched the project since I got home that night. I did get to meet up with an internet friend though and we had fun during the class - Laurie, maybe you've got yours done already?! I do like it and plan to get back to it after the holidays. Last Saturday I got our tree out and decorated - what a job it was. It took me 4 hours just to unpack the tree, assemble and fluff it out, and put on the lights. Then unwrap and decorate with all the ornaments. Each year I tell myself maybe I won't put it up next year but once it's up I really do enjoy it and it doesn't seem like Christmas without a tree. Here it is - not the greatest picture but it looks very pretty.

We have to remove part of our sectional sofa to fit it in so that's just another chore to store that in the garage during the Christmas season. A friend was telling me they saw a show on television about a high-end home that had a beautiful curving stairway in the foyer. They had it built around a narrow circular space with a hidden door panel. In this hidden tall space, they stored their large Christmas tree on a rolling platform - roll it out at Christmas-time, and back in when you're done. Now that's the way to do it!

I'm working on finishing up the binding on a quilt for my Mom for Christmas. Hope to have a picture in a few days as I have to get it in the mail soon to her. I've been trying to catch up on my blog reading - I've been encouraged seeing several of you posting about all your UFO's. I have so many it sometimes gives me anxiety. Lately I've had that depressing "here-it-is-the-end-of-the-year-and-I-didn't-get-as-much-done-as-I-had-planned-to" feeling so I am cheered up a bit by realizing I'm not the only one. The good thing about a new year coming is it gets me re-enthused to tackle the pile of projects and plan (like I do every year) to accomplish more in the coming year. I did make a dent in my UFO list this year but there's plenty more to do.

A special note to my sister who found my blog while cruising the internet - Hi Nancy!! Glad you are stopping by to see what I'm up to. :) Don't forget to get working on your stitching project!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Catching Up and Birthday Stash :)

I wanted to post a quick note about a beautiful exchange I received from Michelle. The theme was "Harvest Time" and she stitched this beautiful pattern called "Autumn Blessings" from Imaginating. She made it into a wonderful wallhanging - isn't this just perfect for November? She also sent me loads of goodies including a pattern from Just Nan I'd been craving (Crystal Roses), 3 wonderful hand-dyes from Weeks in autumn colors, cute towels and matching potholders for the kitchen, stickers, and a great scented candle. Thank you so much Michelle - I just love all of it and feel so fortunate to have received it! The wallhanging is hanging in my family room and looks great.

Below is the piece I stitched that went to my exchange partner Terry. It's called Pumpkin Flower Sampler from Bent Creek - an oldie but goodie. I tried to come up with something slightly different so I finished it ornament-style and added a curly wire hanger. One of the things I love about these little projects is the chance to use up some of my quilting stash. Every little bit helps! This stitched up quick and I really enjoyed making it.

I also used my birthday month discounts recently and loaded up on several items from my wish list you can see below. I am so excited to be getting some new stash and to cross so many things off that have been on my list for awhile . I got Rose Sampler & Acorn Hill from LHN, Pumpkin Patch and Birdsong I from Prairie Schooler, Pink Plaid Pear from Casey Buonaugurio, the full sets of Autumn and Summer Snapperlands from Bent Creek, all four of the Bitty Buttons animals from Victoria Sampler, Letters I & J from M Designs (someday I'm making a sampler with DH's and my initials), the new Bianca scissors from Gingher, the Lighthouse Sampler from By the Bay Needlearts, and 4 Mill Hill kits for houses in their Christmas Village series. You get all the specialty buttons and beads along with the pattern and perforated paper. I will be substituting fabric but I think they are so cute, they remind of the Dickens Village houses.

Now I must get back to stitching - I am frantically trying to finish up the pre-stitching for my Merry Cox class this Friday night. As luck would have it, I'm extremely busy at work this week and having to squeeze in work in the evenings as well as the stitching. I can't wait until next week when things hopefully slow down!! Thanks for visiting and as always, it's so fun to read comments that you have taken the time to leave. :-)


Monday, October 22, 2007

Trick or Treat!

Since the recipient (Suzanne at http://myrestlesshands.blogspot.com/) has received it, I can now share what I made for the SBEBB Halloween exchange. This was a cute kit from The Sweetheart Tree titled "Trick or Treat". I made it into a flatfold with some Halloween fabric I had on hand and made matching cording out of DMC. I really think I'll stitch another one for myself - it was a fun stitch! :)

Now I'm working on my Autumn Exchange which is due to be mailed by Nov 1st. Busy busy busy!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Look what wonderful things I received!

Yesterday I received this lovely package in the mail all the way from Lima, Peru. Carla stitched this treat bag for me as part of the SBEBB Halloween exchange. Isn't it great? I love the colors in it and she did a fantastic job of putting it all together. And no, that's not all! I received a beautiful cut of Silkweaver's linen, 4 pretty packs of ribbons in Halloween colors, yummy chocolates, some cute Halloween decorations to put on my mantle, and a new pattern from Blue Ribbon Designs called "Halloween Story Sampler". I am just thrilled with everything. Thank you so much Carla! I will so enjoy displaying this in my house. My friends at work are jealous. :)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Peddling as fast as I can!

That's what I feel like lately, trying to meet all my deadlines for this month. I did finish off my Halloween exchange piece and am waiting for the recipient to get it before I can post a picture of it. I hope she likes it! I got it mailed the day before the deadline at least.

This past weekend I made 6 mesh project bags for some quilting friends. Our little quilting group is hosting an autumn luncheon for another small quilting group we met at a retreat this year and we wanted to give them each something. We are filling the bags with fun things and quilting notions. I think they turned out nice - I have materials all set aside to make several for myself as I want to store all my WIPs in them. These are fun and easy to make if you don't mind a little sewing. The pattern is "Zip It!" from Nancy Ota. They sell these in my LNS but they are
$25 each which is not unreasonable but I can make my own for about $4 apiece. These were hard to photo as the camera picks up all the light going through the mesh. But you get the idea. :)

Last night I started on my Autumn themed stitching exchange. It is due out by Nov 1 and I STILL have not started the pre-stitching for my Merry Cox class on Nov 9!! I hope to get started on it this week. I can't believe I left it until now but didn't think I'd be that busy in October. Lesson learned!

I had a nice birthday last week. DH bought me flowers and a new flat-panel TV for my sewing room. I had an older one in there so we gave that away and the new one is really nice. I mostly watch movies and they look great on it. DH is enjoying his new job that he started last week and finally has gone and purchased himself a new big-screen TV that he has wanted for years. Men and their electronics! We actually have 7 TV's in our house - it really is crazy in my opinion but I guess he thinks the same about my stash! I finally bought a pair of the Gingher "Julia" scissors on eBay which I'd been wanting. I am still looking for "Amanda". That will conclude the out-of-production ones that I can afford - some of the older ones are far more than I want to spend on them.

I hope all of you are enjoying fall activities. Pumpkins stands are all over and so much cute stuff in the stores for Halloween - it is hard not to go crazy buying more stuff to store!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Can’t believe it's October already! I’ve been doing more quilting lately. I finished Chapter 1 of our book quilt last night. We are a group of 9 ladies reading the book “Like Water For Chocolate” by Laura Esquivel and doing a story quilt from the book. Each chapter in the book will have a section of the quilt that relates to it. Sometimes it’s the name of the block that expresses something in the story, or it may be pictoral or symbolic. Each member of our group will design a chapter in the book.

The story takes place in turn of the century Mexico. It is a short love story about a girl named Tita and her family. Tita loves to cook and throughout the book her emotions are magically transported into the food she prepares for her family. (and at times affecting them when they eat it) In Chapter 1 we introduce the main characters. The block labeled #1 will be repeated in various places throughout the quilt to provide unity. The main character, a young girl names Tita, crochets to ease her mind when she is troubled. The interlocking pattern of fabric represents her crocheting. Block #2 represents domineering mother Mama Elena in the story – hence the arrow patterns pointing inward and outward from the center. Mama Elena treats her daughter Tita rather like poor Cinderella. Tita does most of the cooking for the family and her life has little freedom. Tita is closest to the family housekeeper named Nacha. Nacha has taught Tita how to cook and gives her the motherly love she doesn't get from Mama Elena. In block #3 we have 3 matching patchwork squares that represent Mama Elena’s 3 daughters – Tita (the youngest), Gertrudis, and Rosaura. Mama Elena rules the house with an iron fist – she informs her youngest daughter Tita that she must honor a traditional Mexican custom that the youngest daughter may not marry, but must stay home to take care of her mother. In those days you never went against your parents wishes, so Tita is understandably heartbroken as she and a young man named Pedro are in love. Block #4 is called “Solitude” and represents Tita’s loneliness and despair that she can never marry Pedro and have a family of her own. I did this block in blue to represent Tita’s mood. Block #5 represents Pedro, and the name of this block is “Bachelor’s Puzzle”. Note that the Bachelor’s Puzzle block ironically forms a ring! This is very fitting for Pedro who is in anguish that he cannot marry Tita. Block #6 has an appliqued heart to represent the love that Tita and Pedro share. I also added in some embroidery to this section as I want to include small blocks of embroidery work in my quilt. My friend had actually designed a small block here with some tears appliqued on it to represent crying but I wanted to do embroidery instead so I made a substition.

Tonite my group meets again and we will receive our assignment for Chapter 2 of the quilt. I’ll have a month before our next meeting to sew up that section and add it to the chapter 1 section. My own chapter that I will design won't be due until sometime next year as I have chapter 9.

I visited my LNS on Saturday and had fun catching up with all the new things. I finished paying for my Merry Cox class in November and picked up some linen, fibers and several Halloween patterns. Most of what I bought is pictured below. I cannot resist cute Halloween stuff! I also jotted down a few more patterns the store was out of stock on to add to my wish list. I want to go in this month and do an order because I’ll get my birthday discount - hooray!! I had 2 Loose Feathers sitting at the shop waiting for me to pick up as I hadn’t been to the shop in awhile. I am so far behind in stitching my Loose Feathers it’s just pitiful. Well, maybe someday! Last night I started my Halloween exchange for the SBEBB board – yes I’m late starting! It’s due to be mailed by Oct 10 so I have to go full speed ahead to get it stitched and finished on time. Luckily my DH is going fishing this weekend so I will be able to stitch all weekend mostly. :)

Also, I’ve “met” another local stitcher named Teejay online. Teejay has organized a meeting place for us this Sunday to meet and stitch. It will be fun to meet you in person Teejay! We’re trying to get a group of Phoenix stitchers together so if any of you live in our metro area and want to join us let me know!

Thanks for stopping by and I do appreciate the time taken to leave comments or emails. I hope everyone has a tremendous autumn - this is my favorite time of year although it doesn't get too "autumnal" in Phoenix until winter time.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

I'm up to date with blog reading!

Now no one post anything else for a day or two! It's taken me 3 days of reading off and on to catch up with all the ones I have listed in Google reader. You people are way too productive! :)

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Another day, another stitch.........

I only had 2 signups for my PIF challenge - Ruth and Sherry. I am so glad to have you on board! I have left comments on your blogs to please send me your snail mail address and I will start thinking on what to stitch for you. Should be fun! If anyone else still wants to get in just let me know. Next up on my list is getting my Halloween exchange done and my pre-stitching for a Merry Cox class in November at my LNS. I don't know where the time goes. This weekend I got started on my second list of UFO's this year. In January I promised myself I would make 2007 "the year of the UFO". I decided to tackle 10 things at a time. I finished my first list of 10 and now starting my second list. I've added the list to my blog instead of just keeping it in Word. The list is a mix of unfinished quilts, stitching, and miscellaneous things I've started and not finished. My goal eventually is to get down to having only a few outstanding projects but I've still got a long way to go.

This weekend I worked on machine-quilting an old quilting project I last worked on about 5 years ago (pictured below) . Five years! How pitiful is that?? It's a quilt in all patriotic fabrics - some friends and I pooled all our patriotic fabrics and we all made similar quilts. The blocks were easy and fun and I got so carried away making blocks that I had enough for 3 quilts. Two of the quilts I finished and gave away to friends and the third (mine) never got done. Isn't that the way it goes so often - we get our gifts done but not our own projects. I'm hoping to finish it up this week and be able to scratch another one off the list. Having so many UFO's was starting to stress me out and I couldn't enjoy starting new ones with so much left undone and making me feel guilty.

I'm certainly getting anxious for a stash binge. I've been pretty good all summer while my DH was out of work. He's working now and I'm looking forward to my birthday discount next month and a self-indulgent trip to the LNS!

P.S. the book I had been searching for is "Race the Wild Wind" by Amelia Elizabeth Walden. Probably no one else has ever heard of it but it sure was bugging me. There's nothing like a mystery solved!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Back from vacation!

Well I'm back from 5 days on beautiful Coronado Island near San Diego. We had a wonderful trip - went to the San Diego Zoo, Sea World, ate breakfast every morning with a view of the ocean, walked the beach every evening and ate many wonderful meals. All in all, it was just great. Here are a few pictures from our trip. I really enjoyed seeing the panda bears for my first time.

I also have to share a little story today because I'm so thrilled. Have any of you ever tried to find a favorite book from childhood? It’s amazing to me that sometimes you can recall books you read as a child or teenager so clearly yet you forget a book you read a month ago. Well I had such a book I read when I was probably about 15 or 16. It’s not that the book was so tremendous – it was a typical teenage story about a young girl conquering her lack of self-confidence and dealing with the usual adolescent issues of popularity and high school. For some reason, all the details of the story stayed with me but I haven’t been able to recall the title or author of the book in the past 30+ years. It was driving me crazy! Years ago I even made my sister go to my hometown public library and search the shelves in the young adult section because I thought I had a glimmer of the author’s name. That proved fruitless.

Then a couple months ago I ran across a website run by a woman in Ohio who specializes in selling used books for children and juveniles. It’s called Loganberry Books. She got so many requests asking for information about childhood books that she started a “book stumper” service. For $2 you can send in your request and she posts it to see if she or any of her customers can identify the book. I sent my query in trying not to get my hopes up but I got an answer shortly with the name of the book and the author. The person had the book and checked out all the details I had provided about the story so I know the answer is correct. I am absolutely thrilled! There are used copies available very cheap on Amazon and other places. Some of you booklovers may understand how I feel. I told my husband how excited I was but as he’s not a reader I suspect he just thinks I’m kooky. :) On days like this, I am thankful for the power of the internet!! It’s like a piece of unfinished business I can now lay to rest.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Looking for Pay It Forward signups!

I forgot to post about my PIF challenge last week. I have signed up for Patti's (Tapestry of Dreams) PIF challenge group. I haven't been involved in a PIF before and I thought it would be fun because I love making gifts for people. For those of you who might not know already, usually a PIF agreement is for making gifts for 5 other people. Therefore, once you're chosen, I agree to send you a stitched gift sometime in the next year. I don't really think it will take me that long, however, that is the general rule. You in turn, agree to "pay it forward" by yourself making 5 gifts for some other stitchers of your choosing. I realize many of you have already been in PIF challenges, so if you don't feel like you want to commit for 5 gifts for others, I think 2 or 3 is just fine. I think it's a fun way to get to know more stitchers and be involved in the online stitching community. I'm looking for 5 people that I will stitch for and will agree to pay it forward for some other stitchers. Please leave a comment on this post if you're interested. If I get more than 5 people interested, I will draw names. Remember, your stitched PIF gift can be something small like a scissor fob, just something fun to share with another stitcher.

This weekend I finished my second Prairie Schooler Christmas ornament. Six more to go for my grapevine wreath!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

3 day weekend and lots of pictures!

I have been a busy bee lately. I finally finished my bee-themed exchange gift and mailed it off to the recipient. I can't show you yet until I know she's received it but I was happy with it, after a few bumps in the road along the way! I changed my mind twice about what I was making so it took me longer than I thought. I do enjoy making exchange gifts and always want them to be something I would be happy to receive myself.

I received this wonderful package from Cathy B last weekend. Isn't it great? Cathy had my name for the "What's the Buzz" exchange on the SBEBB board. She stitched this fob from Shepherd's Bush and included all sorts of fun items as well. I love the bee fabric she sent and also she included a cute hanging bee ornament I already have displayed in my sewing room. Since I have been accumulating more scissors lately I am excited to get a new fob! Thank you so much Cathy, I love all the things you sent. There's just something so exciting about receiving a package in the mail and especially when it's something stitched. :)

I finished up some more of my Shepherd's Bush monthly series pictured at the bottom of this post. I started these a few years ago but only got 2 months completed and a start on the third before falling to the UFO-syndrome. I'm determined to finish these this year! I am now done with 7 of the 12. I am using an old frame I have at home to size them and do all the mounting of the pieces on foam core. I do want to get a new frame made so that I can rotate the piece out each month. There's no way I'm going to pay for 12 framing jobs and I've no place to put them all up anyway. It's likely I'll end up with a white frame since each month uses a different color linen. It's been fun as I can use up some of the 28-ct linen odds & ends I have and get to stitch on some fun colors instead of just neutrals for a change. It's amazing how happy I get when I get to stitch on pink linen! I love pink but have none really in my house. My plan is to someday redecorate my sewing room in pink but that's a task for the future.

Oh happy day, a 3-day weekend is here! I'm so thankful. I hope all of you enjoy the Labor Day weekend and plan some fun activities. I am planning on spending some time with a quilting friend on Sunday to show her how to do some finishing techniques for cross-stitch. Making cording and things like that. Vonna if you are reading this, I gave her the link to your easel tutorial and she was so pleased with it. We're going to be making one on Sunday. Then I need to catch up with the Prairie Schooler Wreath SAL and a multitude of other things. DH and I will spend time with the dogs and generally relaxing, we're not doing any traveling this weekend. Both of our dogs swim well and enjoy playing in the pool.

I so enjoy blogging and hearing from all of you stitchers out there. Thank you for stopping by and have a safe and fun holiday!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

New blog look

Well I was getting real tired of my old blog look so I fiddled around today and created a new scheme. Maybe the 'cool' colors will help me stay cool - I am so tired of being hot! In a few weeks we are off to San Diego for 5 days and I can't wait. We haven't been there in about 6 years and looking forward to visiting the Zoo, Sea World, and cooling off at the beach.

I went through a whole stack of old Cross Stitch & Country Crafts magazines recently. I tore out a few patterns I wanted to keep and tossed the rest in the recycle bin. Mind you, this is the second time I've had to do this - I got rid of my own years ago. Then a couple years ago I started collecting the annual stocking patterns through eBay. I was forced most times to buy a lot of 5 or 6 magazines to get the issues I wanted so I accumulated this whole stack of old magazines. It was fun looking back at how patterns have changed - so much of the 80's was ducks and country style in blue and pinks. CS&CC used to print a stitching cartoon in each issue. I cut them out and I plan to upload a few now and then. If some of you haven't seen them you'll appreciate them as only an obsessed stitcher can. :) There was no copyright on them in the magazine and they are about 20-25 years old so I'm thinking it will be okay.

Monday, August 13, 2007

A beautiful gift!

I want to share the beautiful scissor fob I received from a fellow stitcher I recently met on the phone. I shared an extra pattern and some fabric with her and she sent me this wonderful gift. Laurie I hope you're reading this because I lost your email address! I love the colors - pink is my favorite color and I have made several pink and green quilts so you made an excellent choice. In fact, won't it look good with my Gingher Jamie scissors?? :) Thank you so much!!

I'm almost ready to start on a group quilting project. I picked up some cute fabric and the charm collection from Moda's "Chez Moi" collection. (plus a really cute bag pattern!) The large flowered print is going to be my border fabric and the colors will be chocolate brown, pinks, lime greens, aquas and yellows. My picture was taken at night and the colors look a bit orangey but really they are quite pretty in person.

This little book is a romantic story about a turn of the century family in Mexico and it's all about a young girl thwarted in love. She takes her passion and puts it into her cooking instead. We watched the movie made from the story at our meeting last week. It's rather an odd little book, so far I'm not that impressed but I did like the movie alright. Each of us in our group are taking a chapter of the book and designing a section of the quilt to go with the story. We make copies of our design for everyone in the group, and then each of us sews their own quilt using their own fabric choices. We did something similar a few years ago using a set of 3 books about a pioneering family that quilted called "The Trail of Thread". Here is a picture of that quilt which is hanging in my sewing room.

The motifs and names of the blocks in the quilt relate to the story in the books. What I really like about this quilt is I can remember pieces of the story when I look at the quilt and I know which of my friends designed each section. It's a nice remembrance. I will post progress on this new quilt as we go along. We get our Chapter 1 assignment next month.

As far as stitching goes, I am working on an exchange gift right now. I am behind schedule so I need to step up the pace. I'm kind of designing it as I go so I hope it turns out alright!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Weekend Progress

Well it only took me 20 years and a mangled finger to finish my Christmas stocking! I used to subscribe to Cross Stitch & Country Crafts Magazine back in the 80's when they started their annual Christmas stocking editions. I put this one aside as I always wanted to stitch it for myself. I started it about 2.5 years ago and finished the stitching this past January. I finally did the finishing work this weekend on it. YEAH! It's finally done! Unfortunately the sewing machine and my finger had a collision - I'm kicking myself as I have been sewing for over 30 years and though I've nicked my finger a few times, this one was pretty bad. The needle hit my finger as I was sewing a tricky part and I jerked away creating quite a bad tear. Luckily for me, my doctor's office is about 3 blocks away and they have limited Saturday hours for urgent care. They fixed up my finger with some epoxy type of glue and special bandages. Luckily it's not my stitching hand so I can still stitch although typing is a bit awkward. I'll be back to normal in about 5 days. I was a bit reflective as I photographed the finished stocking. The theme of this stocking (Stitcher's Studio) fits me so well as I stitch, sew, quilt, knit a bit etc. I still own my Grandmother's Singer Featherweight, and I learned to sew on my mother's Featherweight. When I first saw this pattern and planned to stitch it I was single and living in Chicago. Now I am married, living in Arizona, and my life is very different than I could ever have imagined back then. So here is the finished product, plus a picture of my stocking and DH's (which I finished 2 years ago), and the mangled finger ha ha.

I also finished up my first Prairie Schooler Santa ornament for my grapevine wreath and am nearing a finish of a small Shepherd's Bush piece.

I watched several episodes of "The Deadliest Catch on the Discovery channel, plus 2 movies - A Tale of Two Cities and GWTW. All in all, I had a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Yes, 2 posts in one week!

Ha - yes it's unusual for sure for me to post 2 times in one week, not because I don't want to but finding the time is always an issue. I wanted to post a picture of the exchange piece I stitched for Carol S in New Hampshire even though it's cross posted on Carol's blog and the SBEBB board. Carol likes bunnies (like me) so I stitched "Happy Bunny Bunny Day" by the Trilogy for her. I did my very first flat fold using Judy Odell's little booklet. It turned out pretty good although I wasn't sure how to attach the tassels to the cording. Of course, as things go, today I found a link to Judy's site that shows how to do it! Doesn't it just figure? Anyway, I think it turned out cute and I'm glad Carol liked it.

I also got a small start on my first Prairie Schooler ornament for the PS Wreath SAL. My pattern is about 20 years old (one of my first PS patterns) and I had to substitute some of the colors called for because they seemed dull compared to the pattern photo. Maybe DMC shades have changed some over the years, or perhaps the color palette from the 80's was just more muted. I wanted a brighter look. I will post a picture as soon as I get my first one done.

I have a guilty little secret - DH is taking his dad on a trip back to Chicago & Wisconsin tomorrow for a week to visit relatives. This means I can stitch to my heart's content in the evenings and this weekend, while watching my favorite movies! No cleaning, no cooking, no sports on TV constantly. :) It's nice to have some quiet time to myself. I'll miss him after a few days but I get so much done when I can get some extended time in my sewing room without a lot of interruptions. Woohoo!! I'm already planning out all the things I hope to get done. I probably won't get to them all but I'm going to start making a list here to motivate myself.

  1. Finishing on Christmas stocking (I have procastinated terribly on this and it probably won't take more than 2 hours)

  2. Finish Shepherd's Bush July monthly

  3. Finish first Prairie Schooler wreath ornament

  4. Put in a few hours on English Sampler

  5. Put in a few hours on Plymouth Sampler

  6. Remove the seat covers from my dining room chair seats in preparation to recover them

  7. Work on blog and online photo album which I've been meaning to do for months

Okay now I'll see how much I actually can do!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Exchange received from BeckySC!

I received the most wonderful exchange from Becky this week. She is so creative! She lined a wooden box inside and stitched a cute bunny picture from Homespun Elegance which she mounted perfectly on the lid. It is just perfection! She also treated me to several stitching accessories you can see in the pictures - a needle threader, needle holder, chatelaine with scissor holder, embroidery scissors, and a thread cutter. And no, it doesn't stop there! I also received a cute journal and a new kit from Sweetheart Tree called "B is for Bunny". This exchange was all about creatures and the recipient could choose what they wanted. Bunnies have always been a favorite of mine, I have bunnies I've collected around my house so this is perfect for me. I also love boxes and have them all over my sewing room. I think I will be storing my collection of Gingher embroidery scissors in this beautiful box. Thank you Becky! You really made my day. Below are some photographs I took this morning outside - I actually had to darken them a bit as the sun is so bright today.

I will be posting a picture of what I stitched for my exchange partner after she receives it. It had to travel a ways so probably not until the end of the week at least. This is my first exchange with SBEBB and I am really enjoying it. It was so much fun to come home to presents!

I have not posted any progress on my projects lately , hope to get some stitching time in tomorrow. I have joined an SAL for Prairie Schooler ornaments and must go through my linen stash this weekend and get set up for that. This should be fun. Visit or join our SAL on the Prairie School Wreath SAL!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

June update

Where has the last month gone to? I have wanted to update my blog but just didn’t have time. It takes a surprisingly amount of time to take pictures, edit them, and get it all loaded up. I have been working on a few exchanges so can’t post those yet and things have just been really busy for me at work and home. My DH got laid off 2 weeks ago and so that has been the main concern at my house. He is looking for a job and networking. This has never happened to either one of us before so it does take some adjusting. You have good days and then some days when you feel down. Since our income has taken a hit, I have been staying away from the LNS to minimize temptation. I just add things to my wish list for the future. I’m sure he will get a job alright but it just may take some months. We will just have to stay positive. Anyway, it’s not like I don’t have anything to work on, right?!

I did have a small finish today. This is "The Crab Is In" by Waxing Moon. I had to stitch it as soon as I saw it - my husband's pet name for me is "Crabby" and I have several crab items - earrings, paperweights, etc. I made this with a hanger and I have it on the doorknob to my sewing room. It was fun to stitch - I changed the colors slightly and used Crescent Colors "Crab Cakes" for the crab. I had a piece of fabric with crabs on it I used for the backing. The only trouble is I wasn't able to match the crab color exactly for the trim and Crescent Colors come in cut strands so you can't really make cording from it. The pattern came with 2 Fimo crab buttons but I found these 2 online and used them instead because I liked them better. The Crab is definitely in her sewing room today!!

I've been making slow but steady progress on my English Sampler pictured below. I’m still on track to finish this before yearend. I really do love this piece. Most of what is left is whitework or drawn thread work. I hope my lacis comes out okay - this is my first time doing it and it's been so long since I took the class for this sampler I'm not sure if I remember all the instructions. :)

I also received a round robin back that had been traveling almost a year. It is Drawn Threads’ Sampler Gameboard. As you can see, I still have a few more rows to do on it to finish it up. Since I am going to hang mine, I had all the motifs stitched right side up instead of in “gameboard” style. I did the border (adjusting it to be able to add initials of friends who worked on it) before I sent the piece out. Now that I see it almost done, it bothers me that the alphabet at the bottom is upside down. I may have to redo that – hate to frog it but when something bugs me like that I’m never happy until I fix it! Anyway, I think it’s going to be really cute when it’s all done and I’m so happy to see how far it’s come since I started it.

I’ve also been working on finishing up the monthly series from Shepherds Bush that was published in 2003. How can it be 4 years ago already?? I started that series and had bought all the patterns but then the effort fell by the wayside after the March piece. So I have picked it up again and am now on June. Even though each piece is small, it takes longer than you think with so many color changes. And you can’t jump around too much or you end up making counting mistakes. Then I’ll have to mount them all and that also takes time. My plan is to get a frame that I can rotate each month’s piece in and out of to save on framing costs once I get them all done.

There are a few of us on the Legacy board who are working on Brenda Keyes samplers. I really love her patterns. I started the Plymouth Sampler a couple of months ago but haven’t worked on it much. I chose 40-ct Lakeside linen and I’m having a hard time stitching on it even with my Daylight magnifier. My stitching seems crowded even though I am using just 1 strand of Needlepoint Silks. It’s kind of frustrating me but I love the pattern so want to keep going.

I keep finding more and more blogs to read too, it’s just amazing to me all the wonderful things I see. I try to take time to comment but I’m behind on a lot of entries. I want to thank all of you for inspiring me, teaching me new techniques, leaving comments, and contributing to the online stitching community. I really do enjoy it. I have decided I need to try to learn French – at least enough to be able to partially decipher the wonderful French blogs I see. I am amazed at the things the French stitchers do! I also just today found the Finishing Techniques blog – if you haven’t been there yet you need to bookmark it – lots of wonderful information.

According to the calendar it’s officially summer now although we’ve had summer here in Arizona for a month already. It is really hot this week – about 112 - and very, very dry. The humidity is only 10%. My skin is getting itchy so I need to keep reminding myself to drink more water. I love Arizona but summer is not my favorite time of the year! The heat sometimes just saps your energy. My DH and I are going up to Colorado for 5 days before July 4th to see some relatives. It should be fun and a break from the heat. I’ll be visiting Fort Collins and Breckenridge. If anyone knows of any shops there do let me know because I wouldn’t want to miss any!