Monday, December 22, 2008
But I am ready for Christmas - I may bake a few cookies tomorrow but my shopping and wrapping is done which is unusual for me. Usually I am running out at the last minute trying to finish.
I finished up the 2nd of the 3 Prairie Schooler angel ornaments today. That leaves one more to do and I will try to get it done before yearend. These were on my UFO list for this year so I'm anxious to cross them off the list if I can. I'll be doing the finishing work to match the first one I made a few years ago. But that won't take long if I can just finish the stitching.
I wish you all happy holidays and a wonderful 2009 with lots of happiness, good health and time to do what you enjoy. Thanks to all who have stopped by my blog this year!
Monday, December 15, 2008
I was really busy last week getting ready for my Christmas luncheon last Saturday. Cooking, cleaning, making little table gifts, ironing tablecloths, putting the last of the Christmas decorations out - whew! I had the ladies from my quilting group over (9 of us) and some members of another quilting group we've got to know - 13 people in all. Everything turned out really well. I had DH take the doggies over to "grandpa's house" so we could have a nice peaceful time without the dogs barking, jumping on people, etc. The lunch buffet turned out well, we had a gift exchange, show & tell and just a generally great time.
One of the ladies from another group we've met rescued some old quilt blocks she found at an antique store that was going out of business. She made them into a quilt top and didn't it turned out lovely? The blocks were paper-pieced in the 1930's and the papers were cut from old newspapers and magazines from that time. Our friend has rescued several old quilts and quilt blocks she's found - isn't it nice to think that someone's hard work didn't go to waste. You wish that the original quilter who made the blocks could know that someone finally finished them into a real quilt. I always wonder if some day my UFO's will end up in a store or garage sale - scary thought!
This photo below is of a scrap quilt made from nine-patch blocks that our "sister group" exchanged. My group is doing the same thing -we've been exchanging nine-patch blocks every month for a year but we each still don't have enough to make into a quilt. It takes a lot of these little blocks to make something but isn't it lovely when it's done? I love scrappy quilts!
Just yesterday I finished up this little project below.
It's for a dear coworker of mine whose birthday was last week. She's a committed quilter and crafter like me and we've been friends for many years. I saw this sold as a kit and just had to make it for her. If you notice, it has a tape measure around the cake and the candles are made to look like spools of thread. Perfect for a quilter! She's coming over this week and we're both taking the day off to have a sew day at my house. It should be fun. She's also going to help me make her famous caramel recipe - I've tried it 3 times on my own and just can't get it right. Making candies can be tricky - I can cook most things but for some reason this just has me stymied. And I just LOVE good caramels! I'll let you know how they turn out this time - I'm feeling that finally this is going to be successful.
I don't have much stitchy news today. I haven't had time to stitch in over a week - I'm having withdrawal I think. I want to get back to my PS angel ornaments. You know, it was nice having my quilting friends over who were all amazed at all the cross-stitch I have up in my house. It makes a difference when visitors know how much work it is and can appreciate it. Have a great day friends!
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
I wanted to show a photograph of my Prairie Schooler ornament wreath. I already blogged about the ornaments themselves awhile back but I found a wreath on sale at TJ Maxx and thought it would work well for the ornaments since it has a natural look to it. Well it turned out to be harder than I thought to put the ornaments on it – ugh! I had to trim down the pinecones & things to make some flat places for the ornaments to hang, then figure out some way to tie them on. I had 8 ornaments but it looked too crowded so 2 went on the tree instead. Well here it is anyway after the frustration and I think it looks nice in the family room.
My SBEBB Christmas ornament exchange partner Rosa Tom in Iceland received the ornament I sent her today so I can now post a photo of it. I really enjoyed making this one. I added some sparkly glitter to the snow part. It's from JCS Best of Christmas Ornaments book.
I'm also happy to present my Quaker Garden back from the framer! I struggled picking the right frame as the colors in this piece are not really the norm, but I think it looks really nice. I'm just so glad to have it up on the wall finally! I stitched this on Lakeside Vintage Pear with Gloriana 100 silks. I love those silks! The regular Gloriana silks to me are a bit fuzzy but the 100 series has a real tight twist and are a joy to stitch with. I love them but there aren't too many colors available.
I've been on a bit of spending spree lately it seems. I ordered about $20 worth of Vicki Clayton silks to try out some colors. I need to cut down on my expenses for some of the projects I have planned and her prices are so good. Aren't they just luscious? Not sure how I'll use these yet but they were colors I thought I would have a need for.
I finally made a decision on linen for my Pride & Prejudice neighborhood. My LNS didn't have a piece large enough in the count I wanted, and I was tempted to order some different linens online but hated to buy something I've never tried for such a big piece. I went through my stash and decided I would do Vintage Lentil from Lakeside. I already have a piece of it in a different count so I know sort of what it will look like. So as soon as my big piece of 36-ct Vintage Lentil comes in I can start basting or begin the border (which I haven't yet decided on).
Hope you are getting all your holiday tasks done and still fitting in some time for stitching!
Monday, December 01, 2008
I did get to the LNS this weekend and spent about an hour and a half there. Once I get in the place I seem to lose all organized thoughts and become overwhelmed! I have to make sure and take a list with me otherwise I will come home without what I went there to get. I spent time picking out linen and threads for the Beatrix Potter SAL on Hazel’s blog. I got a big piece of Lakeside Linen’s Vintage Maritime White in 36-ct. I fell in love with a Waterlilies thread called “Chili” and then I found 3 coordinating colors in Needlepoint Silk. The NP silks look a little bright in the picture but they really match the Waterlilies thread just perfectly in real life. I can’t wait to start this piece!
I spent all Saturday evening planning out my Pride and Prejudice neighborhood sampler. I think I’m almost there! I taped together 12 sheets of graph paper, then cut out the basic motifs in the same size paper so I could play with the placement of houses and buildings, and people. I plan to make this sampler 320 stitches wide by 300 stitches high. I photocopied the major things I want to include (personal use only!), then I'll fill in as I go with trees, flowers, and animals. Since every designer uses a different size graph to print their charts, you kind of have to plan the sampler using graph paper that is all the same size. I still have one corner to work on – mostly because I’m going to have to do some drawing/designing of my own on that section – couldn’t find just the right charts to use. It may not not look like much from the photo but it’s my “blueprint” for making my sampler come to life. I’m anxious to get started! I still need to find the right linen before January 1. I’m thinking of ordering some linen from Sassy’s – never tried them but they look pretty. I’m tired of the same old thing and want to try some new colors. Anyone have any favorites? I haven’t seen just the right blue, would like a very pale sky blue but thinking maybe I better play it safe and get a neutral like Sugared Coffee, Creamy Cocoa, or Tan Marble. It is so hard to pick out colors on the computer! You really need to see them in person so I am just not sure what to do.
Monday, November 24, 2008
Thanksgiving week already – where has 2008 gone? It always seems that the hours from now until the end of the year just fly by as we try to fit 25 hours into every day. I just wanted to stop for a moment before the mad rush of Christmas and take stock of what I have to be thankful for. It's easy to forget with the economic chaos and seemingly constant rush of bad news from the media.
1. I have a job and a paycheck. Sure it makes me crazy at times but I get paid well, have good benefits, and my job has gotten better in the last 2 years. There were a few years where it was really the pits but I feel much better than I used to about it. Not to mention I can work from home when I want to, and I have some wonderful co-workers that help me get through the rough patches.
2. I have a dear husband and 2 doggies who love me - even when I’m crabby! I have 2 brothers, a sister, and my mom who all put up with me. I was raised by hard-working parents who taught us all to do what’s right in life, even when you don’t want to. All of my siblings and I are on good terms and that's more than a lot of people can say.
3. I am in reasonably good health – need to lose weight and exercise more but things could be a lot worse. I lost 3 friends this year who were in my age group. One had battled breast cancer for 10 years but the other 2 were complete shocks to me. It really makes you think about your life.
4. I love my home. When I lay down each night I am thankful that I have a comfy & warm bed, I have plenty to eat (too much really), and when I put my head down on my pillow, I feel safe and secure. Every night I think about all the people in this world who live in poverty and misery and don't have a safe and comfortable place to sleep. It’s very humbling. When I find myself thinking I “need” this or that for the house I try remind myself that I used to live in a studio apt in Chicago with a lot less. It seems at times that all we do is consume and find new ways to spend money. Bigger TV’s, nicer cars, etc. It’s easy to get caught up in it all and forget the basics.
5. I’m never bored with life or myself. I have so many interests. Not only my hobbies like stitching and quilting, but I will never get time to read all the wonderful books I’d like to. I always wanted to learn French (and now so I can read their blogs!), take some history classes, travel more, learn about photography, take piano lessons, study graphic arts, take a watercolor class, I could go on and on. There’s so much to do and never enough time! I’m sure some of you know people who don’t have hobbies – I do and I find it just plain strange!
For all my blogging friends, hope you have a wonderful holiday season whether you are with family , friends, or by yourself. The internet has opened up so much to us – no matter what your interests are, you can find someone in the world who shares it. We can “meet” people from far away that we would never otherwise know. I definitely feel withdrawal if I’m without my computer for very long! Since I started joining bulletin boards and online groups almost 10 years ago I have learned SO much from other stitchers, quilters, and hobbyists. I am truly thankful that we can share with each other.
And speaking of sharing and friends from afar, I received this wonderful Christmas ornament for the SBEBB exchange. It’s from Alison in Australia. Isn’t it just WONDERFUL? She is so creative using the little hanger and the clothespins. I just love it! I have seen Alison's work for years especially on the Shepherd's Bush bulletin board. Alison also included some extra goodies – I already ate the Cadbury's chocolate so it’s not in the picture ha ha. I am just finishing up my own ornament for the exchange and will send it winging across the Atlantic tomorrow. Alison is way ahead of me that’s for sure!
Thursday, November 20, 2008
I have been working on my "start list" for guilt-free January. I'm so looking forward to some new starts after slaving away most of this year on my UFO list. I've been watching the mailbox every day for some sky-blue linen I ordered to use in an ornament exchange. I need to get stitching on it ASAP but I guess it's my own fault for not having ordered it earlier. Why is it that no matter how much fabric stash you have, you don't have the right color & count for a new project? It sure seems that way most of the time. Hurry up Mr. Mailman!!
Anyway, here's what I have so far on my January start list:
- Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice neighborhood - being done as part of Vonna's Me, Myself & I blog group. I have been working hard to identify patterns for my buildings and other key elements. I found lots of good info on the internet about the British sites used in filming the movie and then I tried to match house patterns to those, etc. As soon as the rest of my patterns come in I can start figuring out a layout of sorts.
- Beatrix Potter Quaker SAL - Hazel set this group up for next year and I'm so glad as the pattern has been in my stash since it came out.
- Quaker Christmas from Bygone Stitches
- New quilt to hang in my sewing room - I have at least 3 that I want to make but not sure which one will win out for first start. Since I repainted my sewing room about 6 months ago I don't have any quilts hanging because what I had didn't look good with the new colors.
These are just the big things. I am searching out linens and just ordered some Vicki Clayton silks to see if I can find some of the colors I need. Silks have gotten so expensive I am trying to economize some on my projects. I have so-o-o-o many things I want to stitch! I keep my pattern inventory in a little database and I did a report and found I have over 400 patterns! How is this possible? It doesn't seem like it (really!) and some of them are books with multiple items in them. And yet I want to stitch them all! If I was to calculate out how long it would take to stitch all those based on my finishing history, I think I would have to live to be as old as Methuselah! I have to take the Scarlett O'Hara approach - "I'll think about that tomorrow". :)
I picked up a small pre-lit Christmas tree at Costco this week. I just couldn't face putting up the big artificial tree (not a pre-lit) we have this year, it is so much work. We have to move some of our sectional from the family room into the garage, and it takes at least 2 or 3 evenings to get it all done. Not to mention having to crawl on my stomach on our tile floor under the big tree trying to put on the treeskirt, and getting my arms all scratched up from fluffing out the branches and putting on the lights. I'm feeling too old for all that this year I guess. This new little tree is in a decorative pot and just 6' tall but it will be a lot less work. The hard part is going to be deciding which of my ornaments will get to 'come out' this year as I have way too many to fit on this little tree. I just have to have some kind of tree though or it doesn't feel like Christmas to me.
Well the 18-lb Butterball is in the freezer and I have already done part of my Thanksgiving grocery shopping. I think there will only be 4 of us but hubby wants lots of leftovers so I got a big turkey. DH cooks our turkey out on the gas grill and I do the rest. I'm off to the drycleaners with the tablecloth today - I'm getting smarter about what I can and cannot get done. Some years I have worked so hard that by the time dinner comes I am just exhausted.
Thanks to all who stop by - I so appreciate it and love having this opportunity to share our needlework passion.
Sunday, November 02, 2008
I'm concentrating now on finishing up my Sampler Gameboard. I'm stitching the last row of houses and then I have to complete the left border. Haven't had too much stitching time this week as we were in the midst of getting new kitchen countertops. Wahoo! We came upon a real good sale on some granite and decided to finally replace our old countertops which were tile. Tile is such a pain with the grout and all. Anyway, guess you could say we're doing our best to keep the economy afloat! I had emptied all of the lower cabinets and spent yesterday cleaning, putting down shelf liner and putting everything back. It's nice to have them all ship-shape and clean and I sorted through and got rid of a few things along the way. There's so much odd kitchen stuff you have to keep for the few times you use it - I have a lot of holiday items etc. They take up a lot of room but you can't get rid of it all either. So Monday the workers will finish the backsplash and then we can sit back and enjoy it.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
One corner closeup below.....
I also dropped off 2 other pieces to be framed so since I've been spending so much lately I really held off from buying stash. I just picked up one pattern from Little House Needleworks called "Peppermint Lane". I love little pink houses so I couldn't resist it.
DH is off fishing this weekend so yesterday I did some errands and spent the afternoon sewing wtih my quilting buddies. I worked on some applique and again on my Just Nan "Autumn" piece. I have only one more band to go on this, then add the beads and I'll be done! This is my oldest UFO so you can imagine how psyched I'll be when it's done.
Keep on stitchin'!
Thursday, October 23, 2008
And here is the exchange I received from Suzanne - isn't it cute? It's my very first pinkeep to call my own. I'd love to have a basketful like some of you but I guess it's going to be awhile especially with my slow stitching.
I have been trying to put some thought into my neighborhood I'll be starting in January. I decided to do a Jane Austen neighborhood but I'm running into a few issues. Some of the house patterns I hoped to include are just too large so I'm going to have to swap out for smaller house patterns and I think I will just focus just on "Pride & Prejudice". Otherwise I'll end up with something so huge I'd never afford to frame it. I'm realizing I have no desire to be a designer - I'd rather stitch anytime and let someone else do that part!
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
I also picked up a little frame I had made for set of 12 Shepherd's Bush charts by month. I finally finished the last one of these up earlier this year and was having trouble finding a moulding I liked that would work with many different colors of linen. I finally found one and had a frame made like a photo frame you buy - with turnbuttons in the back so I can swap out the stitched piece each month, and with both horizontal and vertical hangers as the stitched pieces include some of both direction. I'm happy with how it turned out and October is now up on the wall to enjoy. Here's also a picture of November - I won't bore you with all 12 of them!
We finally are getting cooler mornings and evenings. Yeah! Summer is on its last legs and I won't be sorry to see it go. I'm ready for pumpkins, fall leaves, and Halloween! I always look forward to seeing The Great Pumpkin with Charlie Brown - "I got a rock......". :)
I'm participating in the "Let's Stitch" blog and this week will try to put a little time in on my oldest UFO. This is "Autumn Haze" by Just Nan. This is one of a set of 4 seasons she designed. I took a class and finished up "Winter" in 1992. I think I started "Autumn" in 1993 or 1994! Yes it's sad but true. It's also on my UFO list to complete this year hopefully. I actually like Just Nan's older designs better than her new ones, and I have the "Summer" and "Spring" patterns to complete the series. Considering I'm worked on this one for 14 years, I figure I'll finish the set of 4 by 2032. Good grief!! At that point they'll probably be considered antiques.
That's all for today........
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Hope you all had a good weekend. I spent most of mine doing "spring cleaning" with DH. That might sound odd to some of you but here once the worst of summer is gone, we feel reborn like other parts of the country do in the spring. Everything gets so dirty during summer with the ceiling fans going constantly and the house shut up. I still feel like I have dust in my nose from all the dusting but it's a good feeling to have everything ship-shape. Also, I have family coming to visit this week and that was added incentive to get it done. Maybe they need to visit more often so I'll be inspired to clean!
Stitched a little tonite on my fall exchange but can't share any pics of it yet. When I picked up my framed piece at the LNS a few days ago I picked up the newest Prairie Schooler charts, the latest Loose Feathers chart that was waiting for me, and "The Daughters of Longbourne" by the Stitching Parlor. That's going to be part of the new neighborhood I'm planning. It's a wonderful chart and as luck would have it, a stitcher that was at the shop for "open stitching" and she was working on hers which was about 80% done - it was just beautiful! I'm still trying to figure out the easiest way to plan this neighborhood by mixing together pieces from several different patterns. I was hoping to get some stitching software that would let me scan in the patterns I want to use, then cut and paste pieces of those into a new design, however, I don't think most of the software I've seen really does that, or at least not well. Seems like the software packages available are designed more for scanning in photographs and then turning those into cross-stitch. That's not really what I want to do. So I may have to do my designing the old-fashioned way and just start cutting and taping graph paper etc together.
Cheerio for now........
Sunday, September 07, 2008
I also finished up LHN's "Sampler Lady". This was a fun stitch and went along real quickly. I need to make sure I get it framed soon so it doesn't sit forever like some of my pieces. I dropped off a few things to be framed on Aug 2nd and anxiously awaiting them to be done.
I'm so excited to join Vonna's neighborhood sampler SAL! I have a neighborhood I started over a year ago that I may pick up and continue with, or I might start something new. Officially the rules are you can't stitch anything but the border before Jan 1st, but since mine was a UFO it's okay to start on it again if I wait until Jan 1st. Here's a picture of it so far - I think I may have to just give in and do two - this one and a new one!
Well I have to go get ready to meet some friends for dinner. It's been a busy weekend with a birthday party on Saturday night, football party today to start off the season and dinner tonite out with friends. Not much time for stitching but hopefully this week I can get started on my Fall House exchange. I have kitted everything up but not started the stitching yet.
P.S. The Bears just won - GO BEARS!!
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
I've decided I don't like using overdyed threads on big areas of stitching - I don't like the striated effect you get. I had to go back and frog some of the blue blouse as it appeared there was a light streak all across her chest. I like overdyes for leaves, lettering, and things like that, just not large areas. I'm going to do the skirt in a solid DMC to avoid any issues. This is a fun stitch and it's moving along pretty quickly, at least for me.
I'm just about done with my Merry Cox project. I only have the cloth bag left to make. I debated about even making it, because I'll probably never use it but I have all the kit pieces so might as well. I hope to have pics of my finish after this weekend.
Saturday, August 02, 2008
Now I want to thank Sherry for nominating me for the KreativBlogger Award. Thanks very much Sherry! It’s nice to know someone out there is reading my blog now and then and I’m not talking to myself! I love reading blogs and there are so many I read and enjoy that it is very hard to just pick 5 to nominate but here they are. This is a nice way to get to know and visit blogs you may not have on your list.
Wendy - Home At Work
Chris – Chris Cross Corner
Cathy B – Needle & Thread
Here are the rules:
1 The winner may put the logo on her blog.
2 Put a link in your blog post to the person you got the award from.
3 Nominate 5 other blogs.
4 Put links to the nominated blogs.
5 Leave a message for your nominees.
I recently made a purchase at the online Fat Quarter Christmas shop. If you like to buy quilting fabric (or just browse) it’s a great website with very quick service. I saw this Christmas line by Moda and just had to have it. It’s called S’mores. I bought a 40-piece “layer cake” sampler pack (10” squares) and some yardage as well for a quilt. I just love the cheery colors and the S’mores motifs. Now to find a pattern that will work for the fabrics. I don’t know where I’ll find the time to make it but when has that mattered before when buying stash?!
DH and I just got back recently from a 4-day trip to San Francisco with another couple. We had a great time and I’ve posted a couple photos at the end of this post. We took a limousine wine tour of Napa Valley – stopping at 5 different wineries and having an outdoor lunch at one of them. We toured Alcatraz, visited Chinatown, and drove up to Muir Woods to see the giant redwoods. It was wonderfully cool and breezy – I loved the weather and what a nice break it was from our summer heat here in the desert. We have a lot going on in the next few months – I’m going on a trip to Durango Colorado next week for 4 days. There’ll be 5 of us – all girlfriends of mine from work that I’ve known for 12 to 15 years. We’ve been through thick and thin over the years - especially with the crazy place we’re employed at (which shall remain unnamed to protect the innocent). We’re renting a minivan for the drive up to Colorado and then renting a condo. It’ll be a fun “girls getaway”.
My focus this weekend is working on the finishing for the Merry Cox class project from last November. Yes, it’s been sitting since then my friends. The stitching is all done but I still have some assembly to do. I picked up a couple of stash items today - Needlework Shop by Country Cottage, Quaker Christmas from ByGone Stitches, Strawberry House from LHN and a handmade threadholder/ruler with the name of my LNS on it.
Jail Cell at Alcatraz!