Friday, December 20, 2013

Getting ready for Christmas and some finishes..........

I've been running around non-stop trying to get ready for Christmas. Can't believe we are less than a week away already!  Traveling for work 3 of the last 4 weeks really put a kink in getting any shopping done and decorating the house. Here it is Dec 20th and I have not even got out most of my Christmas cross-stitch pieces.   I did get my Christmas trees up the day after Thanksgiving before I had to head out of town to Minneapolis for a few weeks.    Since I got back I've been trying to do a bit of shopping each night.  I'm almost done now and packages that needed to get mailed are winging their way across the country.

It was tough for this desert-climate girl to get used to below-zero temperatures and snow in Minnesota but I made it through. I don't mind the snow too much but the bitter cold and having to warm up the car, scrape the windshield and all - no, I didn't enjoy that!  I was glad to get home to sunny and warm Arizona.  (It's actually raining today but it's been beautiful all week until today) 

While I was in Minneapolis I did get to see some relatives and I made a quick visit to Stitchville USA before catching my plane home. They moved to a new location since my visit about a year ago - what fun it was to see it all - so overwhelming! I've never seen a shop with such a fantastic linen and fabric selection - I picked up a few colored linens but didn't get too carried away this time. 

I do have a few finishes to share that I've gotten done in the past month or two.   Just didn't have time to post about it. Here is Halloween Rules - I had fun stitching this one, it was my TV project. I plan to send it off to Jill Rensel to have her do her framing magic sometime after the holidays.   I look forward to hanging it up next autumn.

Lizzie-Kate's 'Halloween Rules'
stitched on 32-ct Zweigart 'Stormy Night' linen with recommended overdyed floss
I also finished up this little holiday project below - couldn't get the color of the linen quite right in the photo of the whole piece but it was fun stitching in just one color for a change.  At first I thought I might make a cube out of it but I think it's too wide (16") for that so I will get it framed instead.

Imaginating Designs -  'Winter Silhouette'
Stitched on 36-ct Lakeside Linen 'Midnight' with DMC white
My favorite part - the little church in the pines (this shows the linen color more accurately)
I've been seeing a lot of other finishes of LHN Needleworker out there on blogs in recent months and mine is finally done too.  I just loved stitching this piece even though I made a mistake which I left in. (can you find it??)  It still looks good to me though. 
Little House Needleworks - 'Needleworker'
stitched on 36-ct Lakeside Linens 'Vintage Basketweave' with recommended flosses
Here's a photo of our mantel...I made these stars that spell out "JOY" back in November when I went to a quilting retreat.  The pattern for them made each of the pillows about 11" wide but I reduced the size and made them smaller.  They are done with wool applique blanket-stitched onto the fabric starts.  I added twisted cording to give it a little more personality.


Finally, here's some finishing work I did about 6 weeks ago for a stitching friend....a pincushion, a Christmas ornament and the lovely "Beggar's Night" from Threadwork Primitives. I love them all and was happy to work on them!

Hope all of you enjoy your holiday time with family and friends! 

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Technology rant.....

I'm sorry but I just have to vent tonite......I'm ready to throw my laptop, iPad and smart phone out the frigid window!!  I don't know what my problem is but lately nothing seems to be working right for me and I'm very frustrated.  I've been spending at least 10 hrs a day working which is frustrating in itself as we are installing a large new business computer system at work and there are so many problems we are overwhelmed.  So my patience is already stretched thin.  I know lots of bloggers use Blogpress and I downloaded it some time ago to my iPad and iPhone.    I spent time putting a post together a day or two ago in my hotel room (I'm on business travel for 2 weeks).  Took some photos and got everything posted and when my post was published the photos weren't clickable.  The photos had been loaded to Picasa which is where Blogger stores our blog photos, but when you clicked on the pictures all you got were errors.  I ended up deleting my post.   Grrrrrrrr

Tonite I wanted to catch up on reading some of your blog posts as I'm very behind.  I notice that the checkmark to mark things as read in Feedly is gone darn it.  It could be because my husband updated my iPad recently but I'm not happy as I see nowhere to mark posts as read.   So I pulled up my blog on my work laptop figuring I'll just read some posts from the sidebar links I have on my blog.  We'll the version of my blog that I'm seeing on my laptop has a different order of blog feeds than what I see on my phone and iPad.  ???  What the heck is going on here....I have refreshed to make sure I'm pulling the latest versions and not pulling from the cached memory but it's still screwy.  Maybe I'm just getting too old and cranky to keep up with technology....I'm feeling like "Maxine" you see on Hallmark fact I'd post an image of her if I thought it would work!

Sorry for being such a sourpuss, guess I'll go watch some boring TV instead while I'm here freezing in cold & snowy's currently about 3 degrees!   Someone please tell me I'm not the only one who has these sorts of issues.......

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Project bags for sale on my blog

I finally had time today to get these posted on a separate tab on my blog  - you can click on the tab right under the header photo.  I made a couple of these for myself and really liked them to store my way-too-many projects in progress.  Then I made a few for a stitching friend and I got the idea that this would be a way for me to use up a bit of my quilting fabric stash.  I have way too much fabric!  So I've made several and thought I'd offer them for sale if anyone is interested.  I've sewn since I was 8 or 9 years old so they're well-made.  

My husband went off to help a friend with some work at his cabin this weekend so I'm enjoying some extra "me" time.  I've got China Beach season one loaded up on the DVD player...been waiting years for it to come out so I'm happy to finally get to enjoy viewing it again.   I'm hoping to maybe get a stitching finish in by the end of the weekend.   Hope your weekend includes some time in the stitching chair too!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Now where did I leave off??

Well once again my poor blog has been neglected for awhile.  Life has just been a whirlwind the last few months - I've had a family reunion out of state, work travel and a vacation to Disneyland to celebrate my birthday, been sick with a bout of bronchitis and generally just trying to make it through the days.   I've got more work travel coming up in November so there's not much rest in sight for awhile.

I'm trying to get a few blogs read each day - apologies that I've not been able to visit and comment as much as I'd like to.   I find that all the seemingly unending bad news is stressing's bad enough with the government shut-down, health care insurance concerns, and constant calamities we have to read about....but there have been 2 sudden deaths of people I knew at work in recent weeks, and we found out a friend of ours had passed away in August and we didn't even know he had been ill.   These things have all been on a mind a lot lately especially when I look at all the work stress my husband and I go through.  I'm trying to just focus on the important things in life and letting of some of the other worries go.    I know that many of you are struggling with your own personal concerns and I'm noticing again a lot of my favorite bloggers have been missing for awhile.  Siobhan over at Notes from Blue Hen Hollow, Katrina from The Needle's Promise, Amy's blog from Down Sunshine Lane, Margie over at Three Cool Pugs & Me, Teri at Chocolates for Breakfast, and so many others I miss reading.  I did finally remove about 15 blogs from my reading list that haven't been updated in over a year.  It's always sad when someone "falls off the grid".  I hope you all are alright and still stitching  and that you just have been too busy to post.  We miss you!  Did everyone go to Instagram or Facebook and not tell me?  I still like reading stitching blogs even with all the other social media available.   I think we're all just struggling with not enough time to keep up with everything.

There hasn't been a lot of time for stitching but I'm trying to get a few moments in as I can. I took some projects with me on my work trip but we worked so many hours that it was late at night before I'd have 15 minutes to relax and then I'd be too tired to stitch most of the time.  I did start on LHN's Needleworker and enjoying it.  I've always wanted to complete a grouping of stitching-related pieces for my sewing room someday so this will fit right in.  Here's my progress so far - I'm stitching it on 36-ct Lakeside Linen Vintage Basketweave - this linen has a hint of rusty red in some areas and goes well with the floss colors.  I  didn't want my piece quite as big as the chart called for so I switched to using 36-ct instead of 32-ct linen. Pardon the wrinkles.......

I'm still working away on Winter Silhouette from my last post and also started one of my With Thy Needle & Thread projects - the valentine box sampler which has been on my list for a long time to do.  I found the colors called for a bit too muted for me so switched them out for brighter flosses.  My camera broke and I'm using an old one I have but I'm having trouble working with it...time to look at getting a new camera I guess. I've always struggled with taking decent digital photos...someday when I have time I'd love to take a class so I can improve but this is all I've got for now!

I spent 2 weeks in South Bend, Indiana for work recently.  Although I spent 15 years of my life in Chicago and its suburbs, I'd never really been to "Michiana" as they call the northern Indiana/southern Michigan area.   I was working a lot but I had a weekend in-between the two weeks on my own and I drove up to a little town on Lake Michigan to stay.  I enjoyed visiting the lakefront, seeing awesome vacation homes along the shore and wading in Lake Michigan.  We were forced out of our hotel in South Bend anyway because the whole town and surrounding area hotels were booked up with rabid Notre Dame football fans for a home game that weekend.  I did get to go wander around the campus one day and was glad to get the opportunity.  It's a beautiful university that's for sure.

My feet in Lake Michigan...

Notre Dame campus......

I visited neighboring town Mishawaka, home of the famous Spinster Stitcher.   I passed a PetsMart store there and couldn't help wondering if that might be where Stewey gets his dog biscuits!     The best part of my trip was I got to visit 2 great stores and buy lots of stash!   I've ordered from website before but never knew it was based in South Bend.  I was searching on my phone for quilt shops I might be able to visit while I was there and up popped Ericas - what a great place it is!  It's mostly quilting supplies but they do have a small cross-stitch section and knitting, embroidery and other crafting supplies.   I got some great patterns for some bags, packets of gorgeous wools and some trinkets.  Then I visited House of Stitches LNS in LaPorte, Indiana which was only about 20 minutes away.  Oh what heaven!!  I've heard of this shop for years and years and finally got to visit it.  I think the ladies working there probably were wondering if I would ever leave because I spent about an hour and a half there ogling everything and pulling patterns and linens and asking about this and that. 

A few snaps of the shop.........

There happened to be 3 other ladies visiting the shop from out of town and all of us were having a great time shopping.  It's a fantastic shop and I spent a bundle of money as you can see.    Even though I have a LNS where I live, it's so much fun to visit another shop and see different stitching models and products.  House of Stitches has a wonderful selection of linen - the most I've ever seen, and it's just an amazing place.  I highly recommend it if you ever get the chance to go.  Here's my new stash spread out on the table.........

I stopped in a little antique store down the street from House of Stitches...I'm always on the lookout for vintage sewing notions as I want to do a shadowbox display someday for my sewing room.  Well I found some old button cards for a dollar each and look closely at the top item - these are some sort of devices to hold your bra straps in place I think but look at the brand name - "La Jeanne" - couldn't be more perfect for me!

You know, at first I felt kind of guilty about buying all this stash. I have more stash than I'll ever get stitched in this lifetime and I certainly don't "need" anything....but that's okay!  I'm going to enjoy just having it even if I never stitch it.  I've worked full-time in a stressful profession for over 35 years and my stitching and quilting hobbies are my only real vices (well...not counting Diet Coke and nice soaps from Crabtree & Evelyn....)   I have no kids to send to college and if nothing else, some day someone will get some bargains on eBay or at the local thrift shops when I'm gone or too old to see to stitch!    In the meantime I'm going to enjoy my greed and revel in my stash.  I'm doing my bit to keep this industry going!

Coming soon.....

I've been working on sewing some project bags and hopefully in the upcoming weeks I'll have them up for sale on my blog. I like making bags and things and what I like about these new ones I've done is they have a clear vinyl front so you can easily see what's in them.   If they don't sell I guess then I'll have some gifts to give away to friends this Christmas!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Honoring the memory of Cathey from Pumpkin Patch & Co

I never knew Cathey in person but was a follower of her blog for a few years.  It breaks my heart that she could not beat the return of cancer but she fought it with everything she had.  Cathey leaves her husband and her little boy who was only 18 months old when she passed away yesterday.   It's a sad, sad day.


Friday, September 27, 2013

Pumpkins for Cathey!

For Cathey our sister in the stitchers blogging community - we pray for you and want to show you we care!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

August update......

First off a very big thank you for all the nice comments about my Pride & Prejudice sampler - I truly appreciate them all!   For those of you that suggested I chart and sell this pattern, I appreciate the thoughts but 75% of this sampler is put together from published charts by designers so that would be plagiarism LOL.   I want to backstitch my name along the bottom and hopefully get it off to the framer sometime this month.

I want to say a belated thank-you to dear Heidi over at  Heidi and I have followed each other's blogs for some years and we did a private "Christmas in July" ornament exchange this year.    Heidi has already blogged on my gift to her (you can see it here )but I'm just now getting some photos up of her remarkable gifts to me.  I just LOVE the ornament she made - I think the silhouette of Santa who looks very Dutch-like and is stitched on both sides of the hanging ornament - how cool is that?  I love the little hanging snowflake and beads at the bottom and the colors and trims remind of the Moda French General fabrics.   Heidi also made a gorgeous scissor fob for the scissors she included - the fob has a Dutch shoe bead which I  treasure!     I've been enjoying the Dutch tea Heidi also sent me - am I lucky or what?  Thank you again Heidi!  I'm so glad we did this little exchange together.   :-)

Christmas ornament exchange from Heidi


I made a new start on "Quaker Christmas" by Bygone Stitches but I didn't like my materials so I decided not to continue.    Instead I've been working along with Halloween Rules (4 more rules to go!) and a new little project called "Winter Silhouette".   I saw this worked up as shop model and loved it.  It only uses one color of thread so is easy stitching.  It's a short but wide design and I've got about one-third of it done.  I think a lot of these little motifs would be cute stitched as ornaments.

"Winter Silhouette" stitched with DMC White
 on 36-ct Lakeside Linens "Midnight" linen

I also finished this lovely LHN ornament for a friend.   She bought one of these great wooden stands from Bloom Woodworks and I put a little sleeve on the back of the ornament to hold it onto the stand.  This was such a fun finish to do - I want to do some for myself now!  These stands are very nicely made and reasonably priced.  It gives you another great option for displaying your work!  

LHN's "Saltbox Village"

I got an urge to clean up my sewing room/stitching room/home office so I spent a lot of the weekend sorting through stuff and reorganizing a bit.  I threw out a few things like too many empty boxes I was keeping and scraps of is so hard to use up fabric!  You make quilts and you generate heaps of scraps.... I decided it was time to let some of it go.   I was able to make a little more space and my little world is back in order. 

Heaps of stuff everywhere.......
too much stash!
I see I have some new followers - welcome!  I will try to get out and make sure your blogs are on my very long reading list!

Friday, August 02, 2013

It only took me 5 years....Pride & Prejudice sampler finish! (photo heavy)

I'm happy dancing because I finally finished this project a week ago!!   I started it back in 2008 when Vonna from The Twisted Stitcher started a blog titled "Me Myself & I" for doing 'neighborhood' samplers.  Those were popular at the time with many people doing round robins to build their 'neighborhoods' and the blog was encouragement for people doing one by themselves. I decided to do a Jane Austen "Pride & Prejudice" neighborhood as it's one of my favorite movies.   I pulled patterns from my stash, bought some (mostly from the Stitching Parlor "Pride & Prejudice" series) and started planning my sampler.  At times I got really tired of it and put it away for months at a time.    In January I saw an article online mentioning that 2013 is the 200th anniversary of the Pride & Prejudice novel - I had no idea about that.  It turned out to be a good motivator for me to finally finish this piece up this year so I could put those dates on it.  (If anyone has any questions about the patterns I used, there is a separate page on my blog here that lists them.)

My goal was to make my sampler resemble venues used for the A&E 1995 Pride & Prejudice  mini-series with Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth - it's my favorite of the many versions made of this wonderful novel.  I searched out the filming sites online and other photos so you can see my inspiration for each part of the sampler.   It was hard to get the colors right in my photos.   I adjusted some of them - the sampler was stitched on cream 36-ct Edinborough linen even though it appears grayish in some photos.  Without further it is!

First off a photo of the completed sampler:

The lovely Bennet sisters on location while filming...Lydia, Lizzy, Jane, Mary & Kitty:

Longbourn, home of the Bennets:


Netherfield Hall - the country home Mr. Bingley rents and where he starts his romance with Jane Bennet, and where Lizzy meets Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy:


What a military camp back in the Georgian era looked like -

And our P&P British Regiment camped at Meryton...with the infamous Mr. Wickham:

Here we are at Rosings Park where Darcy's aunt and cousin live:

And where the Bennets' cousin Mr. Collins has his parish church with his new wife Charlotte. 


Charlotte and her Mr. Collins.   Mr Collins' hobby was bee-keeping. 

We have the incredible Pemberley, ancestral home of the Darcy family.

The House
The Grounds

And finally Mr. Darcy and Lizzy, living happily ever after!


I'm so thrilled to get this project off my UFO list!  Thanks for visiting friends and readers!