Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I Promised to Share

It's not like I haven't been stitching.  I just couldn't share some of it with you because they were gifts. Hopefully, I'll get my organized life back soon and have more stitching time. 

My beautiful great-niece, Miri, was born in September.  So my sister-in-law stitched a lovely needlepoint piece for her and I framed it. The white washed vintage style frame really fit the style of the piece, I think.

Then I decided I needed to stitch a birth sampler for her, so I used one of my favorite ones with a few minor color adjustments. "Heirloom Baby Sampler" by Heart in Hand from 1995. And yes, it is still available. Just as your local needlework shop to order it from Hoffman. The verse is especially sweet. "It is not a slight thing when they, who are so fresh from God, love us."

And, of course, you've seen Shores of Hawk Run Hollow unframed. Well, I did manage to get it framed in time to give it to my husband for Christmas. It's pretty nice, if I do say so myself.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas Makes Me FAT!

This weekend has been dedicated to baking and some last minute stitching!!! And it's not the stitching that makes me fat. I love to bake but I don't do it very often because I can't afford the calories. But at Christmas I really enjoy making up "goodie" plates for the mail carrier, the fab folks at our vet's office, my hairdresser aka "The Miracle Worker", just to mention a few. And I get a real kick out of  certain people requesting seconds! I don't bake a lot of cookies, but I have some wonderful treats that I make every year. Here's a real quickie that no one will ever suspect is so easy. Enjoy!

Poor Man's Toffee
1 sleeve of saltines
2 sticks of butter (1 cup)
1/2 cup suger
1 large (12 oz) bag of semi sweet chocolate chips.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Melt butter and sugar in a small sauce pan. Line a jelly roll pan with aluminum foil. Lay saltines on foil in a single layer. Spread melted butter/sugar over saltines. Bake for exactly 15 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle chocolate chips over top. Return to oven for 2 minutes. Remove from oven and spread chocolate. Cool. Break into pieces.

Here are a few more ornaments that I've stitched. You'll have to wait til after Christmas to see the non-ornament things I've stitched recently. You just never know who's reading my blog.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I Feel SOOOO Productive!

I finished some more ornaments and just wanted to share them.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Handmade Ornaments from Some of My Friends

Not only do I stitch ornaments, I BUY handmade ornaments! I just love them. Here are three that I bought this year from some wonderful artisans on Etsy. And all of them are hanging on my tree this year! Treat yourself to some too. You can't go wrong with handmade!

The stained glass Moravian star is from LAGlass . I was particularly thrilled to find these because I am Moravian and this is a traditional Christmas symbol of our Christian denomination.

The precious quilted ice skate ornament is made by TheQuiltedHouse. She has lovely quilted items including more skates and stocking ornaments.

The gorgeous fabric pine cone ornament is just one of several colors created by WhimsicalWinston. And I know from personal experience that all of them are stunning! Not that I'm giving away any secrets or anything.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

I've been in a finishing frenzy, which is not to say that I'm a great finisher, but I can't give ornaments with ragged edges and no hanger. So I do what I can to make 'em look pretty on the tree. Here are a few more that my family and friends will recieve this year.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Busy, Busy, Busy

I know, you don't even recognize me anymore. I apologize, dear Blog, for neglecting you. But you see, so many people want stitch markers and scissor fobs and counting pins for cross stitch and needlepoint, that I've been chained to my workbench.  I feel a little like one of the elves, but not as cute.  And when I'm not working on needlework bling or bookmarks I'm stitching away on ornaments for my family and friends.

For those of you who think you might be getting one this year, it might be one of these! ...or it might not be. :)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Fall is Here!

The weather in southeastern NC has finally cooled off a bit. Yes, we had a week of rain, but frankly, I welcomed it. It allowed me to get some stitching done without feeling guilty for not being outside. I have to rationalize stitching during the day, you know.  Plus we were 16 inches behind in annual rainfall. Although we really didn't need to get it all back in 3 days!  Fortunately, living on sand means it drains pretty quickly.

I know I have neglected my blog lately. But I have been stitching. I've been doing semi small projects, not to be confused with the eternal, hopefully soon to be done Shores of Hawk Run Hollow!

I finished "Acorn Hill" and it will be on it's way to someone soon.
 And I picked up this little gem from La D Da just because.  Sometimes you have to do that to reestablish your love of stitching. Not that I ever quit loving to stitch, but there are so many projects I feel I have to do that working on something just for the heck of it is a nice break.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Framing Makes a World of Difference!

Here are a couple more pieces that I stitched but just got around to framing. The first is "Quaker Samplings II" by With My Needle. So much fun to do and if I wasn't such a selfish witch, I'd give it to someone. Oh, wait. I gave away Quaker Samplings I! I think I'll keep this one.

And "Grace Mason Sampler" by Of Female Worth is one of my all-time favorite pieces. I loved every minute...okay, I only tolerated the days stitching over one thread on 40 count...and I am definitely keeping this one. In fact, it's hanging on my living room wall right now.

Now I'm in the mood to start another big project, but I can't. The Christmas Panic of 2010 has ensued. I'm starting on ornaments and I still have one more block + on Shores of Hawk Run Hollow to finish for you-know-who's Christmas present.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Stitching Friends are the BEST!

Today's show-and-tell includes some amazing stitched pieces that I received this year for my birthday. Now don't get excited and send me all sorts of birthday wishes because it was six months ago! I'm just now getting around to framing these beauties. I want to share them with you and since you can't all stop by my house to ooh and aah over them, these pictures will have to do. (Plus I won't have to check your pockets when you leave.)

MG 1838 is a reproduction by Wild Heart Designs. My friend, Laura, is an amazing stitcher and everything she does is just perfect. I have examples of her work all over my walls! 

And my friend, Karen, who apparently requires only about three hours of sleep a night, stitched this precious little sampler for me. Her stitching is perfect...I'm repeating myself, but it's true.

I am truly blessed to know these ladies.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Busy! Busy! Busy!

I've been a framing fool this week. Although it took a lot longer than I thought it would. I'm not used to framing about a dozen things at once. Assembling frames, cutting foam core, pinning, fitting, taking pics...whew! I'm pooped. I'm not going to post them all at once, so keep checking back. Most are my work. A couple are gifts from some of my VERY good know, the generous stitching friends that we share so much with.

I'll start with four Christmas ornament designs from K. Elaine Kramer Designs. These designs are not ornaments, but pictures of ornaments. They are stitched on 22 count Janina and are about 5"x8". I stitched these in late 2008 and early 2009 right before I opened my Etsy shop

Since then, they have been languishing in my done pile while I decided how to finish them. I finally decided on frames only.

The hardanger and metallics and beads don't show up very well, but you can zoom in, I think.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Love it When They're Framed

You'd think after almost forty years of stitching, I wouldn't be surprised any more by the splendiciousness (new word, so much more descriptive than "splendor") that a frame adds to a piece of needlework. I finished "Quaker Diamonds" some time ago, but I just now found the time to frame it. So I'm sharing it again. Enjoy. (More to come later this week. I'm on a framing binge.)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Back in the Swing of Things

I am finally able to spend some time on something other than getting ready for the Oak Island Craft Show. Actually, I've spent the week since the show recuperating and reorganizing. It was fun, sold some stuff, and had a great time visiting with Elaine, of FigTreeBoutique. We shared a booth and a lot of laughs. Now I'm packing up an order for Tracey of Threaded Needle Designs to take to the TNNA needlework market in St. Charles, MO later this month. Check out her beading designs. I recently used Tracey's "Tumbling Blocks" design on a custom order needlecase!  I'm very excited about Tracey being my new distributor. Hopefully, lots of new shops will be carrying TJBdesigns needlework accessories very soon!

And now I also have some time to stitch! Woohoo! My mental health is dependent on it, you know. I put "Shores of Hawk Run Hollow" on the back burner for a short time to work on "Acorn Hill" by Little House Needleworks. I had almost none of the recommended floss colors, so I decided to color outside the lines by choosing some from my extensive stash. Most of the time we buy a chart because we like the colors and how they are incorporated in the design. But we all know that the photo on the cover doesn't always accurately represent the colors. So I didn't even try to find out what the recommended colors really looked like. I chose ones that matched the cover photo. And I'm pleased at what I've come up with. (The colors in the photo of my stitched piece came out a little lighter than they really are.)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Stitching Time is Sooooo Wonderful

I've been making an effort to stitch every night this week. Having houseguests, as fun as it is, really puts a crimp in my stitching time. Since I finished Abigail's Wisdom, I'm back on Shores of Hawk Run Hollow. Block 10, the ship in a bottle, is done and I started on Block 11 last night. Letters are soooo easy and they go so quickly.

During the day I am spending all my time getting ready for the Oak Island craft show. I started spreading the finished things out on the dining room table so I could get a feel for any gaps in the inventory. I like to have color coordinated sets of fobs, counting pins and laying tools. Plus when, possible I coordinate some stitch markers for knitting and crochet with some fobs too. 

I have a few bookmarks ready, but not nearly enough! I haven't even started on extra laying tools yet! So I may not come up for air for the next week or so!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Another One Bites the Dust

As predicted, I finished Abigail's Wisdom on Sunday. This picture really doesn't do it justice, but I can't seem to get a better one.  Apparently the verse was taken from some writings of Abigail Adams to her husband, John, while he was helping to write the US Constitution. She was a an intelligent and well read woman, ahead of her time in her progressive attitudes.

So, now I'm back to Shores of Hawk Run Hollow and enjoying the ease of the ship in a bottle block.

Friday, August 6, 2010

It's Official!

Yes, hang a banner. It's official. I'm old.

Today we adopted a 3 year old Pug named Otis. I met him last December when he was rescued last  from life in a basement that included 2 trips a day outside. The lovely lady from my town that took him in knew that she was not equipped to care for such an active young dog long term. Her husband is in failing health and she, herself, does not get around easily. So even though he was in a loving home with another dog and a cat to play with there was no exercise for Otis. And if you know anything about pugs, they are pretty active dogs, especially when they are young, and need daily exercise to avoid weight gain...kinda like me. He has gained a few pounds since December. But he's sooooo cute! And sooooo happy.

Now Lester, the WonderPug is ten. His amputation at age 4 has probably aged him a little quicker than normal, but he is young at heart. He's been an only child for almost 18 months. I haven't noticed extreme grieving, but I have wondered if he missed having another dog around. So we have been contemplating adopting another dog for a little while.  As much as I love puppies, I decided I am not prepared to take on the training involved. 

So now we get to the explanation for the banner. OMG! Otis arrived about 11:00 a.m. It is now 8:00 p.m. This is the first time he has closed his eyes since he got here and he's been laying in the same spot for 7 minutes...a record for the day. He has played with every dog toy in the house, including some I haven't seen out of the toy box in at least five years! He's faster than lightening going up the stairs, something else I haven't seen in at least five years. I am exhausted! Maybe a puppy that sleeps three hours out of every four would have been easier.

Otis is adapting amazingly well. He has not whined (except when he couldn't get a toy out of the bottom of the box). He hasn't had a single accident in the house. He and Lester seem to get along.  Lester has been the alpha dog since he was about a year old. Earl deferred to him even though Earl was 2 years older. Molly, the Yorkie, Otis has been living with is also an alpha dog, which is pretty funny when you try to picture it. Anyway, this hierarchy is apparently not going to be a problem for either Lester or Otis. Lester doesn't like to run on the hard wood floors much anymore...kinda slippery for a 3 legged dog, but he played with Otis some today and showed no aggression. Dinner went smoothly. And now, both are down for the count...I hope.

I'm sure you'll hear more about Otis and Lester in the days to come. 

Monday, August 2, 2010

Abigail's Wisdom

This is the kit that I took with me on our trip and barely got started before we got home. LOL But since we've been home I've been stitching every night and really enjoying it. I've decided to give this "Abigail's Wisdom" sampler to my mom for her birthday. She expects one now! I used some Chestnut 32 cnt linen that I had in my stash and I was a little worried that it was too dark, but the silks in the kit are brighter than I expected and I think it's working out nicely. Even though the alphabet and verse are tent stitch over one, it goes quite quickly. I should have it done by the weekend, if not sooner. Then I plan to go back to Shores of Hawk Run Hollow ... we'll see.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Quaker Diamonds is DONE!

Actually, I finished it last week right before we left on a fun little road trip to celebrate our 28th wedding anniversary! I planned to post this while we were away, but I just never got around to it.  Anyway, I finished re-stitching the letters fairly quickly and pulled out Shores of Hawk Run Hollow to work on the last three blocks, but didn't get much done there either. LOL

Then I realized that July is almost over and I haven't started thinking about my Christmas stitching yet! So, the Christmas Panic has officially begun. I'll try not to whine about it too much, but I really have to get busy.

But I have another project to take care of first. I have to beef up my inventory of needlework bling.  My friend Elaine from FigtreeBoutique on Etsy has convinced me to give a local craft fair a shot. She has quite a bit of experience doing them and is sure that there are lots of knitter, stitchers, and crocheters attending craft shows. So we'll be hawking our wares the Saturday of Labor Day weekend at the Oak Island Craft Fair. If you're in the area, stop by and say "hi".

Monday, July 19, 2010

Just a Short Break from Quaker Diamonds

Well, I finished Quaker Diamonds...sort of. I spent several evenings "proofing", that is, looking for all the little individual stitches that I'd missed the first time around. Finally, I pronounced it done, did the "happy dance" (which you do NOT want to witness for fear of wetting your pants from laughing so hard). Then I realized that I had stitched about two thirds of the alphabet in ...wait for it... the wrong color! Shoot me now. I knew it was one of the dark colors and I just picked up the wrong one. Sooooo, I'm frog stitching and re-doing them in the correct blue-black. C'est la vie.

In the meantime, I needed to stitch a little something for my sister, B., for her birthday next week. So I picked up one of the many heart designs from Sweetheart Tree which I have had in my stash for at least 18 years! They make great little gifts. It probably took me almost as long to assemble as it did to stitch. But it's cute and she loves blueberries.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

How Much Longer Can It Take!!!?

I look at the big picture and I feel like I'm getting sooooo close, but there are so many little motifs to complete! And frankly, as much as I love this piece, I'm ready to move on. I'm not used to working so slowly. Hopefully, you'll see something different here by the first of August.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Do You Love Bargello?

Most people think of Bargello as a family of stitches for canvas work, but lots of designers use it in their samplers on linen. And I became fascinated with it several years ago. You may remember the needlebooks I made for gifts for my stitch group last Christmas. So many patterns and variations allow you to indulge your creativity. Anyway, I discovered. this site dedicated to bargello and wanted to share it with you. Enjoy. You should probably bookmark it because you'll be coming back time and time again.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Just Chillin' and Stitchin'

Oh, I do so love to be at home in my stitching nest just enjoying whatever project I'm working on. And that happens to be Quaker Diamonds ... STILL. But I am getting closer. It's amazing how much progress one can make when you actually have time to stitch. Unfortunately, my shoulder is acting up a little so I haven't been able to stitch for hours on end like I used to. But it's still so wonderful to see the piece take shape.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Oh boy! I found another stitching blog to follow! Eat*Stitch*Love

And the bonus is she's having a Christmas in July GIVEAWAY! 

Check it out!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

I am an American

On the eve of American Independence Day, I am so grateful for the gift of freedom. Freedom to pray, to disagree with our leaders, to read whatever catches my fancy, to speak out in favor of something politically controversial, to go where I want, to live where I choose, to befriend whomever I like, to work at something I love, to write a silly blog about my hobby. It's all important. Remember that when someone tries to take it away. Thank God for those who were, and those who still are, willing to die to protect the freedom we enjoy.

Like most Americans, I take it for granted and probably don't appreciate it as I should. Which is why holidays like the Fourth of July are so important and special. I still get chills every single time I hear the Star Spangled Banner. My heart gives a little jump when I see our service men and women in uniform. As corny as it sounds, I love to see the stars and stripes waving in the breeze.

So I say it with pride. I am an American.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Hot and Muggy is All Right With Me

Happy Sunday to you. It's a glorioius day...if you like heat and humidity.  I promised my husband 17 years ago I would not complain about summer in the south ever again, having lived in the Pacific NW where summer is defined by three consecutive days of sunshine and 80 degrees. However, the older I get the harder it is to keep that promise.  Who am I kidding! I complain EVERY summer. But I admit it's not summer without the heat and humidity. And I will always be glad to be living back in the South. Don't get me wrong. Washington state is a beautiful place, but NC is home.  In a job interview my senior year in college I was asked if I was willing to relocate. I replied I was. Then he asked where I wanted to be in ten years. I thought he was referring to career objectives.  He wasn't. He explained that in his vast experience most people want to move back to within 100 miles of where they grew up within ten years. I lasted thirteen, but I now understand.

So, even though it's hot and muggy outside, I can still stitch without dripping all over my work.  And I really should find out the name of the genius who invented air conditioning so I can pray for him to be blessed every day. Here's my latest on Quaker Diamonds.