Monday, March 30, 2009

So many projects, so little time

Well, you just never know how many ways your creations will be used. My sister told me she wanted one of my scissor fobs to hang on her tennis bag! I'll be tossing in a few business cards too. She has a lot of tennis friends. It could be whole new trend. Then she said, "I want one without a tassel for my stethoscope"! She loves the bling.
So I spent most of today working on the biz. First, I shipped an order for counting pins that came in over the weekend. Then I worked on new photos, new business card design, product tags for my counting/marking pins, and at least one new listing.

Now I can do some stitching on "Quaker Samplings II". It's coming along nicely. I love working on 40 count linen, mostly because I work with only one strand of floss which eliminates time consuming railroading. Unfortunately, so far I can't see any of the variegation in the Midnight Waterlilies. Hopefully, some of the more densely stitched motifs show more color variation.

But the best part of today was the surprise in the mail. My friend, Laura, sent me this gorgeous sampler for my birthday. It's "Sampler 101" by Sampler Cove and it is amazing. We have a whole group of friends bonded by needlework and we stitch for each other's birthdays. Laura and I have similar tastes so there is a never ending list of pieces from which to choose. But we have also have a list of samplers we want to stitch for ourselves, so those are off limits as gifts. Like I would ever turn down a stitched gift. Besides, we get to visit the pieces we give each other every time we get together. Some of us don't even see each other for years at a time, but we still share this passion for stitching, especially samplers, that keeps us together. Everyone should have friends like this.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

New Counting pins for Needlepoint

It's been a busy week. I've been working on beaded counting pins for needlepoint canvas. They are larger and longer than the ones for fabric (pictured here). Hopefully, I'll have pics early next week and get them listed on Etsy. I'd do it sooner, but I'm going to visit my mom this weekend. She's determined to celebrate my birthday even though I keep telling her I'm not having them anymore.

I'm making progress on my Quaker Samplings II. I love working with Waterlilies. "Midnight" doesn't have a lot of color variation, but it's a very rich deep blue. I'm stitching it on 40 count Navy Bean linen.

But now that I've chosen all my fibers for "Grace Mason" I'm anxious to start it. A couple of years ago I developed a thing for Scottish samplers. I just love those illuminated alphabets with all the curly things. Anyway, I'm taking both pieces with me this weekend. Hopefully, I'll get some stitching done. Since my husband does the driving, my best chance is in the car.

I've also recently joined Stitcher's Showcase,, a site where stitchers can showcase their projects. Check it out. There are a lot of talented people sharing some great stuff there. I've also spent a lot of time checking out stitching groups on Facebook. WOW! That a big pool of talented people with varied interests. You can spend a lot of time looking at what other people have stitched. I'm going to have to start budgeting my on-line time to make sure I find time to stitch! Keep up the good work everyone. It's inspiring.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Exampler adaptation is DONE!

Yeah for me! I did it. I added a geometric band where the first line of the verse should be and I CUT IT OFF! For an anal retentive, finish-every-project person like me this is a big deal. But I decided to practice what I preach..."if you aren't enjoying it, don't do it." And I think it is very nice without the extra 10 or 12 inches of bands. Who'll ever know? So, now I can move on to another of my zillion planned projects.

I started Quaker Samplings II on 40 count linen (a color I can't remember) in Midnight Waterlilies. I love blue. I did QS I for a friend's birthday a couple of years ago on the same linen in a red Waterlilies (name of color I can't remember either). Do you see a trend here? Maybe I need to start doing memory games or something. Anyway, it's gorgeous and I decided I needed one.

I also kitted "Grace Mason" from Of Female Worth. That's another one I've had in my stash for a while. Love the colors, but I'm using cotton hand dyeds (GAST and WDW) instead of the Gumnut Stars. I'm sure they are wonderful, but I don't have them and I'm determined to substitute from my stash when possible.

So, now I'm off to stitch and watch some basketball. (I use the TV like a radio and sports, which I love, are great stitching TV.)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Keeping Busy making scissor fobs

Since Earl got sick, I've kind of neglected my beaded scissor fobs. So, after I walked Lester, I spent a couple of hours working on photos of some fobs I'm ready to list on Etsy and updating some already listed. This photography thing is not my favorite thing to do, but it's the most important part of selling on-line. And frankly, I have much more respect for all those wonderful cross-stitch designers now. It's really hard to get good pictures of color.

Anyway, I finished "Posey from A Friend" by Sheepish Designs Wednesday night and I'm back the UFO. All I have to do now is take out the first line of the verse and replace it with some kind of geometric band, similar to the ones at the top. Then I'll cut it off and have a piece of 26 cnt (yck) linen big enough for another sampler. Can't imagine what I would ever use it for, but I can't throw it away. Actually, it is a good count for teaching the "over two threads" technique.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

I've had better days...

Well, I've had better days. Over the weekend Earl has progressively gotten sicker and weaker. We went to the vet school and unfortunately, he was diagnosed with primary liver cancer which has spread to his spleen and possibly his lungs. So I brought him home and Tuesday we made the decision to put him to sleep. I've never been so sure of a decision in my life. I know he's waiting with my dad and my other dogs for us at the Rainbow bridge.

So. hopefully tomorrow I'll be able to post something a little happier. I really need to stitch.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

I'm featured in an Etsy Treasury!

I am so excited! Aurorafedora chose my Rose Porcelain and lime green beaded scissor fob for her Treasury on Etsy. You can see her treasury here: Treasuries are hand picked featured items from Etsy members. Some are just favorites and some are theme based.
If you are not familiar with Etsy please visit and explore. It's a huge collection of on-line shops for handmade items, vintage, and supplies for crafters. You can find an amazing assortment of wonderful artisans there and lots of ways to shop. As you can see from the sidebar, I have a shop called TJBdesigns where I sell beaded needlework gadgets like scissor fobs, counting/marking pins, and stitch markers for knitting. I'd love to hear your opinion.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Off track already

Well, as soon as I bite the bullet and start a blog about stitching, I get side-tracked. My 10 year old pug, Earl, quit eating almost three weeks ago. Our vet, Dr. King, has done every test he can think of and consulted four other vets and consulted the NC State University vet school. So Monday, Earl (on the left) and I are headed to Raleigh to the vet school to try and figure out what the heck is going on.

Now, you may ask, what does this have to do with stitching? Well, a lot actually. I can't concentrate on much, so I need a project that requires little thought. I also need to make sure I have something to work on while Earl is having his tests Monday.

I've been so busy over the last couple of months getting my Etsy shop going and building up my inventory of scissor fobs, etc. that I haven't even thought about starting a new sampler. I did a couple of bargello ornaments right after Christmas, but nothing big. So, I picked up a UFO to work on. The fact that it was a UFO should have clued me in, but I'm stubborn. It's unusual for me not to finish a project, but after working on it for several hours, I remembered that I really didn't like it. So I've decided to take the advice I've given others so many times..."if it's not fun, don't do it." Why waste time on something you don't enjoy? I've decided to finish the big band, take out the first line of the verse and put in a small band similar to those at the top and call it "DONE". I'll frame it and give it to someone or donate to a fund raiser or something.

Now I just have to find something new to work on. But even the concentration required to put a project together is beyond me today. Maybe tomorrow or Sunday I can get a grip. It's not like I don't have enough choices! I've owned two needlework shops and each time I sold one I hoarded enough stuff to last me for about 300 years. It's like I thought I'd never find another shop! Who knew we'd be buying needlework stuff on-line?! And, of course, I've found many shops, brick and mortar and on-line, to tempt me.

I may be out of touch for a few days next week. Wish us luck.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Welcome to my stitching life


Welcome to my ramblings about what keeps me sane...stitching! Ooh, "ramblings" implies something less than sanity. Oh well. I use needlework like an anti-depressant. It calms me, most of the time, and helps the logical left side of my brain shift over to the creative right side. Which, believe me, is not an easy thing to do and frankly, the left brained part is what makes counted thread work so enjoyable for me. Hence, my love of band samplers and hardanger and drawn thread. I love the logic and symmetry of it.

I've been stitching for over 30 years. As a teenager, I taught myself counted cross stitch in order to make a gift for my parents. I found that it allowed me to create something beautiful using my natural, logic oriented skills. I was thrilled. I was hooked! All through high school and college I used stitching as a stress relief mechanism without even know it. Then when I went to work in the real world, it became even more important. I stitched during my lunch hours and most evenings. Then when I got out of the software biz, I not only shifted gears, I changed cars! I opened a cross stitch shop! Boy, if I had known how little I really knew, I would never have done it. Ignorance truly is bliss.

It was a great experience and I made a lot of friends and learned a lot. I learned that I love to teach needlework. I learned that most people learn to stitch on their own and once they are exposed to the vast expanse of patterns, materials and techniques of needlework their lives change forever. Sounds a little pretentious, doesn't it? Sorry, I don't mean to, but so many of us use it like Prozac or a therapy session without even knowing it. I think it's important that we not devalue our stitching. It serves an important purpose in our hectic lives. Some people shop for therapy, some people work out, we stitch. Let's celebrate that and make time for it.

I hope to continue to expose people to more needlework options. As I figure all this blogging stuff out (my 15 year old nephew will probably be my mentor), I'll be posting all sorts of stuff about my stitching and beading life. (And probably some stuff about my dogs.) Please share your opinions and projects and questions and comments.