Thursday, December 31, 2009

That's It.

Okay, all you stitchy bloggers (or bloggy stitchers) with your 963,523,298 finishes in 2009 are KILLING me. I can't decide if I'm jealous of all you've accomplished or depressed because my in-basket is crumbling under the weight of projects I want to start. Seeing all those beautiful pieces of needlework is ruining my anal retentive, left-brained, one-project-at-a-time methodology. (or maybe menopause did that.) Anyway, my blog reading break is over. I'm going to stitch.

Gotta Start the New Year Right

Well, in order to justify the stitching marathon that I'm planning for the next 36 hours I bit the bullet and cleaned up my guest room. Now, I can hear you saying in a quizzical voice "big deal". Well, it is. Because apparently, the well organized, anal retentive version of me has been abducted.

My guest room is where all my fabrics reside in the dresser drawers, sorted by stitch count and all my fibers are sorted by brand and stored in various cabinets in the well designed closet. Until about an hour ago it looked like the Stitching Stash Monster barfed all over the room. And you should have seen it before I finished and distributed all the ornaments. There was twisted cord EVERYWHERE!
All the stash enhancements from the last 4 months, all the fibers and charts used for all the gazillion Christmas things I stitched, mailing receipts from all the packages I mailed, and various and sundry other pieces of trash have accumulated on the bed and dresser...thankfully, not on the floor because Lester the WonderPug has been roaming around lately. (He apparently has a fiber deficiency because he loves to eat paper.) But, I digress.

I have sorted 13 different brands of threads, sorted through about 20 charts and returned them to their nice little cubbyholes (sorted by designer and/or style), thrown out trash, AND started my 2010 stitching list. I am ready to go! So read it and weep. I'm outta here!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I'm Baaaack

I am so impressed with all of you who managed to blog (some multiple times!) over the past week. I barely found time to check my email and Etsy shop. I'm still behind on my blog reading, but I'm working on it.

DH, Lester the WonderPug, and I went to visit my mom and sisters for several days over Christmas. We had a great time, ate too much, and didn't get much sleep. The last is primarily because Lester snores like a revved up monster truck. At home he sleeps an entire floor away from our bedroom and I can still hear him snoring sometimes. At Mom's he sleeps in the same room with us. OMG, you would not believe the noise that comes out of his facial orifices. I finally got used to it on the third night, but woke up when he didn't snore because I was worried he was dead! But I digress.

My sister, B., sometimes behaves as if she has more $ than sense. Actually, she has a lot of trouble making choices so when she went to the bead store by herself she became a preferred customer on her first visit! And I got a whopping great Christmas present! I can't wait to start playing around with all these gorgeous beads.

And while we were away a package arrived from my friend, Karen. You might remember that I stitched a band sampler for her birthday in October. Well, I have no idea when she finds time to stitch given all her responsibilites, but this is what she sent me for my birthday. Isn't is gorgeous!? (We don't worry about when the birthday actually occurs. In fact, we prefer to ignore them completely except for the stitching!)

I've found a little bit of time to stitch over the past couple of days. I've been working on my annual tree skirt addition. That story and pictures coming soon.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from the beach!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Happy Birthday, Laura

I'm so happy you like the sampler. And I'm doubly glad the mailman actually delivered it today. I was a smidge concerned. I finished it about 11:00 p.m. Friday night, pin mounted it Saturday morning and had it in the mail by 11:00 a.m. Saturday. Whew! Talk about taking it down to the wire.

For those of you who have listened to me talk about the sampler I couldn't show you because Laura reads my blog it is. "Quaker Hornbook" by Examplars From the Heart. Stitched on 40 count (can't remember the color...something hand-dyed), with Vicky Clayton silks.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Elegance of White

Okay, it's ecru. Gimme a break. I think I showed you my hardanger tree while it was being stitched. Well, I finally assembled it and I have to say I'm pretty proud of it. Especially since I am the all-time worst bow-tyer in the history of bow tying. I may even do a second one for myself.

I used this lovely gold and cream fabric on the back and a piece of trim that I found in a tiny little craft store. If I could tat (another thing on my list of things to learn) I would have tatted a lacy edgy for it.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

It's snowing!

Not really. However, it did get so cold last night that I had to abandon my vigil at the mailbox. Fortunately, my gorgeous snowflake from Belinda at Blue Ribbon Designs arrived safely today. Woohoo! Isn't it gorgeous? It's already hanging on my tree. Thank you so much, Belinda, and your trusty random number generator.

On another cheery note, the Christmas Panic has been officially reduced to The Christmas To-Do List. I've finished all my ornies, framed my mom's Christmas present, wrapped almost everything, mailed everything that has to be mailed. I just have to create a couple of fobs. One to replace the stethoscope bling my sister gave to one of her patients and one for a purpose to be specified later (big secret). There's some baking and delivery of baked goods to be done, some cooking and laundry and cleaning...scratch that... I'm sure I'll think of more, but for right now I'm feeling pretty good. Oh wait, I have to finish Laura's birthday present so I can mail it tomorrow.

In case you were wondering, Mom's sampler is an adaptation of "Exampler" from Joanne Harvey of The Exemplarary. By adaptation, I mean I stopped when I got to a band that looked like it might be the end. It was either that or pull my hair out. And frankly, my hair is my only redeeming feature and I'm not willing to part with it without a really good reason. This wasn't even close. There were about 18 inches of stitching left to do, including a verse. I love the piece, but between you and me, I couldn't take working on 26 count for another minute. Especially with two strands of pre-cut 18" pieces of floss. So I adapted. And I don't feel a bit guilty. My motto is "If it isn't fun, why are you stitching it?"

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


This year's ornaments are DONE! I cannot tell you how relieved I am. Some of them have even been mailed already! (Thank goodness for Click 'n' Ship.) As much as I whine about getting them all done, I really do enjoy stitching them (not finishing) and deciding who gets what. And, of course, the oohs and aahs are an added bonus. My mom is always good for a "this is the prettiest one yet". But that's what moms do. There are a few more pics on my camera. I'll try to remember to post them later.

I am back to working on Laura's birthday present. (I heard that sigh of relief, L.) It has to be in the mail by Friday, so I'll be sitting on my duff and stitching for the rest of the week. Speaking of which, my husband looked at me last night as we were watching TV and said, "Are you back in your happy place?" I guess that s*!@-eating grin on my face gave me away!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Still Handmade

I knit some fun things this year for my mom and sisters. Only one of my sisters lives in a place where the weather is really cold so I knit this cowl for her. This yarn is so wonderful! The picture, of course, doesn't do it justice, but it is really a very pretty raspberry color and will look beautiful next to a black coat. Hope she enjoys it.

Here are the two necklaces I made using glass pendants which most craft stores sell. I knit I-cord using pearl cotton #5 and complimentary Kreinik #8 braid. I think they turned out pretty well. I'm the only non-jewelry freak in my family, so when I get the urge to do something like this there is always someone to give it to.

Joy, Joy, Joy

Here's the precious ornament Faye gave me the day we stitched together after Thanksgiving. It was such a wonderful surprise and now it's hanging on my tree. Another memory and another friendship to treasure. Thanks so much, Faye.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

My Tree is No Longer Naked!

Yeah! I finally got around to decorating my Christmas tree. I had some help from my husband (he's not vertically challenged like I am) and some interest from Lester, the WonderPug. I really do enjoy it because most of my ornaments are handmade and bring back a lot of memories of the people who made them and our enduring friendships. Some of them are relics from the early years of our marriage (27+ years!) and remind me of all the wonderful Christmases we've shared. I have lots of stitched ornaments, knitted ones, wooden ones, crocheted ones, needlepoint ones, painted ones, glass ones, and lots of pug ornaments.

My tree skirt is a result of living so far from our families when we were first married. We didn't have any traditions of our own, so I used my love of stitching to create our first Christmas tradition. I made a huge (approx. 6 ft. in diameter) skirt from very heavy red felt and trimmed the edge in green grosgrain ribbon. Back then I stitched a lot of ornaments for gifts, but didn't have time to stitch some of the larger Christmas pictures that I love so much. So I decided that I would stitch one each year in the week between Christmas and New Year's Day when Boeing was shut down for the holidays. Then I appliqued it onto the red felt skirt with the year incorporated into the stitched piece. Some have meaning like the one with the puppies that I did the year we got our first dogs and the Americana Santa from 2001. A lot of them are just pieces I liked and wanted to stitch. One year I didn't finish the piece until February, but I have never failed to add one each year. Well, I have space for only one more picture on this tree skirt and then I'll have to come up with another idea, but I'm not giving up the annual stitched Christmas picture. It's almost like an anniversary.

All in all, the tree is always the focal point of my Christmas decorations because of all the memories.

And, on a less serious note, Lester apparently wasn't as interested in the tree as he was in kissing me. That's me on the floor, Lester on my stomach watching my husband take pictures.

Friday, December 11, 2009

What was I thinking?

I've taken about a dozen pictures of my finished ornies and this is the ONLY one that came out (and it's not my best effort). I hope this is not a sign of things to come today. (See list item #6) I'll try to get some more later, but since I worked at Angelwing the last two days I have a zillion things to do today. (See list below with little change from original posting of said list.) I'm beginning to not like my list. I feel a Linda Blair Exorcist moment coming on.

And have I mentioned how much I love stitching, but hate finishing?

Christmas Panic To-do list

1. shopping - 100% DONE
2. stitching - pieces chosen and taken off the wall for sisters laying on wrapping table, one STILL to frame for Mom
3. knitting - one cowl DONE(and very pretty, I must say), 2 necklaces left assemble
4. finishing - 9 ornies finished and still too many to count and one hardanger Christmas tree (haven't even thought about it yet)
5. decorating - STILL naked tree standing in living room
6. baking - not started - next task, as soon as I post this
7. wrapping - STILL not started
8. selling - still shipping orders (yeah!) and still adding new things to Etsy because there is still time to ship for Christmas. But you better hurry!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Busy as a little bee

Sorry about the lack of postings lately, but as you can probably guess, I'm up to my eyeballs in the Christmas Panic to-do list.

1. shopping - 95% done
2. stitching - taking things off the wall for sisters, one to frame for Mom
3. knitting - one cowl left to do, 2 necklaces left assemble
4. finishing - too many ornies to count and one hardanger Christmas tree (thank God for the friend who found the candlestick and painted it for me.)
5. decorating - naked tree standing in living room
6. baking - not started
7. wrapping - not started
8. selling - still shipping orders (yeah!) and still adding new things to Etsy

Oh, and let me not forget the December birthday present still being stitched. At least, I'm enjoying that!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Beautiful Snowflakes

If you don't follow Blue Ribbons Designs blog, you really need to see this recent post. Belinda has a wonderful Christmas tradition and she's sharing it with somebody new this year. Check it out! What a wonderful giveaway. Actually, I shouldn't tell anyone about it because I want those snowflakes. So just admire them and don't comment. I don't need the extra competition.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Happy Birthday to Mama

I just love stitching on a deadline. Mama's birthday is next Tuesday. I have to get this thing in the mail tomorrow. I'm shocked I remembered to take a picture before I wrapped it and boxed it up. But here it is. And I don't have to worry that she'll see it here because she doesn't read my blog even though my auto-signature on my email has a link. Pretty sure she doesn't know what a blog is!

My mama loves everything I stitch so it's not much of a challenge to find just the right thing for her. But she really loves samplers (thank goodness) so I whipped out this "Snow Flower Accent" from Periwinkle Promises. I've probably stitched more of Barbara Rokosnik's work than any other designer. I did nineteen in one year so my LNS could have it's own little PP trunk show. (Barbara's trunk show was booked up for about 2 years!) But I digress... These little accents are supposed to be pillows with little tassels on the corners, but they make great mini framed pieces. It comes out about 4" x 5". I had some scrap pieces of this moulding so I was able to frame it without ordering more or going to the frame shop. And to top it off, I have an extra piece of fabric (the back of the intended pillow) and enough silk left over to do it again...assuming no frog stitching. And when was the last time that happened?

So, now I go back to the birthday present I can't show you because Laura does read my blog.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Giveaway You Don't Want to Miss!

One of my favorite bloggers, Jennifer, is having the most amazing give-away.

check it out at
Feathers In the Nest

Not only will you want to enter the give-away, but you will also become a lifetime follower of her blog. She does amazing needlework and is a very caring person.

Thanks, Jennifer.

Just a couple more...

I stitched this purple stocking this week. I think I'm done with stockings. Getting a little tired of them.
My Saturday stitchathon with Faye produced this cute little reindeer peeking aroudn the tree. It's from this year's Just Cross Stitch Ornament Issue.
Off to work on a couple more.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Saturday stitchathon

Today I spend most of the day stitching with my friend, Faye, aka "Carolina Stitcher". She came up for the day to stitch with me. And I don't have to frog stitch any of it! We did show and tell on all the ornies we've done. (She's finished some of hers, mine are all laying on the guest bed waiting to be assembled.) A turkey sandwich for lunch and we were right back in our chairs with needle and thread. We had a great time watching the Wolfpack beat Carolina and yakking and stitching.

I really know how to pick 'em. Turns out all my "bestest" friends don't want to shop or go to the beach when the come to visit. They just want to sit and stitch. Can it get any better than that.

Thanks for a fun day, Faye. See you soon.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Stash Enhancement

Facebook is evil. I am tempted every day by something new that one of my many friends "shares". In today's mail I received my most recent fall from grace...a fat quarter of 40 count hand-dyed linen by Lauren at Sassy's Fabbys. Snickerdoodle is the color and it was the color of the week this week. It's a classic example of a linen perfect for reproduction and antique style samplers. Check out all her wonderful fabrics and then try to tell me you weren't tempted.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


It's been a week since I posted and it feels like a year! We went to visit my mom for several days and have an early Thanksgiving. We had a nice visit, but I'm glad to be home. I'm such a homebody. I like sleeping in my own bed, drinking my own coffee, watching my zillion TV shows WITHOUT commericals. (I love my DVR.) PLUS, while I was away, I got another wholesale order from Nordic Needle, so I have three dozen sets of counting pins to make! And I have an order for fobs and stitch markers to coordinate with a line of knitting bags my LNS is carrying now. And to those of you who have been Christmas shopping at TJBDesigns, I thank you.

But the main reason I'm glad to be home is that I have so much stitching left to do in a short 5 weeks. I'm still stitching ornies and I have to finish about 26 of them! That's the really tedious part. I'll be in a cord twisting tizzy. Thank goodness I have the old electric hair braider to make it go faster. I can't believe I used to used a pencil to twist cord. That's like watching TV without a remote!

Anyway, I have finished a couple more ornies, including the pink angel I showed you only a start of.

I'll try to keep up with the blog a little better, but don't hold me to least for the next few weeks. I really need to catch up on my blog reading too.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Needlebooks are DONE!

Woohoo! My needlebooks are done. I've stitched, twisted cord, matched lining, searched my entire inventory for the right button, made buttonhole loops and sewn in the wool felt needle pages. And after all that...I don't hate them. Usually, by the time I'm finished with a project like this I'm tempted to throw them in the fireplace. But this was fun...for the most part.

Of course, playing with the colors was the best part, but I enjoyed searching through my various reference books for interesting bargello patterns too. It was time consuming and a bit of arithmetic was required to figure out the size of various pattern repeats, but I think that's fun too. My nephew, who is not a big fan of math, would say "you're evil". There wasn't nearly as much frog stitching as I anticipated, but that is probably because I took the time to do the math.

Now I can get back to the 29 ornies on this year's agenda!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Just Something I Found Uplifting

Last week I made a few "Honor our Veterans" posts in various places with all sincerity, but today I read this story in Nordic Needle's weekly newsletter. I felt the need to share it because the National Anthem still gives me goose bumps...and I'm proud of that.

The Music Stopped

(For those who are unaware: At all military base theaters, the National Anthem is played before the movie begins.)

This is written from a Chaplain in Iraq :

I recently attended a showing of 'Superman 3' here at LSA Anaconda. We have a large auditorium we use for movies, as well as memorial services and other large gatherings. As is the custom at all military bases, we stood to attention when the National Anthem began before the main feature. All was going well until three-quarters of the way through The National Anthem, the music stopped.

Now, what would happen if this occurred with 1,000 18-22 year-olds back in the States? I imagine there would be hoots, catcalls, laughter, a few rude comments, and everyone would sit down and yell for the movie to begin. Of course, that is, if they had stood for the National Anthem in the first place.

Here in Iraq , 1,000 Soldiers continued to stand at attention, eyes fixed forward. The music started again and the Soldiers continued to quietly stand at attention. But again, at the same point, the music stopped. What would you expect 1000 Soldiers standing at attention to do ?? Frankly, I expected some laughter, and everyone would eventually sit down and wait for the movie to start.

But No!!... You could have heard a pin drop, while every Soldier continued to stand at attention. Suddenly, there was a lone voice from the front of the auditorium, then a dozen voices, and soon the room was filled with the voices of a thousand soldiers, finishing where the recording left off: "And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air, gave proof through the night that our flag was still there. Oh, say does that Star Spangled Banner yet wave, o'er the land of the free, and the home of the brave."

It was the most inspiring moment I have had in Iraq and I wanted you to know what kind of Soldiers are serving you. Remember them as they fight for us!

Pass this along as a reminder to others to be ever in prayer for all our soldiers serving us here at home and abroad. Many have already paid the ultimate price.

Written by Chaplain Jim Higgins LSA Anaconda is at the Ballad Airport in Iraq , north of Baghdad

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Another Ornie done!

I've been working on the Angel ornaments that I showed you from Twisted Oaks Designs. They're fun and pretty easy. The blackwork does take some concentration because it's easy to get lost, but it's so gorgeous.

I just realized that I did the green one on 32 count apparently, because the cabachon used for the face doesn't fit. Oops. I'll have to think of something. And I'm not real thrilled with the Algerian eyes in metallic. Hard to be consistent. Oh, and I haven't put the beads on yet. (Did I mention that the beads and 3 cabachons come with the chart?)

And I've started the pink one, but obviously not much is done yet.

I'll probably do more once I figure out an alternative to the cabachon for the face. Any suggestions? I really love these sweet ladies.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Another great stitching blog giveaway

You have to check out this amazing end-of-the-year GIVEAWAY at Hooked on Stitches blog.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Whew! One more finish

So, I took the day off from Etsy...well, I quit before stitch and watch football and NASCAR. And it was a very productive endeavor. I finished the hardanger Christmas tree, Philip Rivers, QB of the San Diego Chargers and NCSU alum, led a last minute drive to beat the NY Giants, and Mark Martin finished fourth in Texas and picked up a lot of points on chase leader, Jimmie Johnson. Now I know most of you don't give a fat rat's ass about Philip Rivers or Mark Martin, but it made a great afternoon for me. And finishing the Christmas tree made a small dent in the mountain of stuff I still have to do in the next six weeks.

And I even managed to get about halfway thru one of those angel ornaments. I'm on a roll! Unfortunately, tomorrow real life intervenes. I'll be cleaning, grocery shopping, doing laundry, and finishing a custom order scissor fob. (That part is good.) So I'll be back to stitching after supper only. What a life!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Christmas Panic Continues

Only ten ornies left to stitch and about two dozen to finish! Those of you who read my blog and receive one of these little jewels every year may quit reading now. But even if you continue, you'll never know which ornament you're getting until arrives in the mail...or in your pile of goodies under the tree. So, in those immortal na ni boo boo. (Loses something in the typed translation, so sing it to yourself. But if there is anyone else in the room be prepared for strange looks.)

I was looking for some new ones to stitch (in a hurry) and found these hardanger angels from Twisted Oak that I added to my stash some time ago. I promptly filed the chartpack with all my other Christmas patterns like the good, right-brained, anal retentive freak that I am. They definitely fit the parenthetical criteria because hardanger has few, if any, color changes and the geometric nature of hardanger makes it easy to follow the pattern.

Of course, I have to do something different with them (I have a contrary nature, as my grandmother used to say), so I'm doing them in the three colors you see here. Unfortunately, there are beads, but I'll suffer through. Ironic, isn't it, that my Etsy shop is all about beads, but incorporating them in my stitching projects makes me want to scream. Okay, I admit it, I'm a little weird.
Hopefully, my finishing will be somewhat close the models. Not my forte. But you should see the ones I stitched for my family 30 years ago! Scary.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Woefully Shameless Plug

Here it is, my woefully shameless plug. If you are thinking of giving a gift to a needleworking friend, please take a walk through my Etsy shop. It's like giving jewelry, but it's functional too! Beaded scissor fobs with handmade tassels...some even have matching counting pins for needlepoint and/or cross stitch.

Everybody needs a beaded needle threader.

And for the knitters and crocheters (is that a word?) on your list, I have beaded row and stitch markers.