Monday, December 31, 2012

A Stitchy New Year's Eve

After a fun and, as usual, chaotic, Christmas with my family, I'm happy to be home again.  Yes, I'm a homebody and proud of it.  Lester and Otis have settled down and all is right with the world.  I've even managed to start my New Year's Resolution to stitch more, a little early!

Don't ever be fooled into thinking that just because a project is small that it will be a quick stitch! This little Button and Beaded kit from Mill Hill has seemingly taken forever! But I finished it this afternoon while screaming at the TV.  I love watching the bowl games, but my NCSU Wolfpack turned the ball over almost as many times as I dropped a  bead. It was miserable...for all of us.  But I finished this little piece and can now move on.

After almost twenty years, I'm finally going to stitch one of my all-time favorite samplers.  "Virtue Outshines the Stars" by The Needle's Prayse is a class example of Darleen O'Steen's amazing work.  It's charted for DMC, but I'm converting it to silks which will delay the start just a little, but I'll enjoy it so much more. It's full of Queen stitches, so I'll have to forego my favored 40 count linen for 36 count. 
In the meantime, I'll be stitching this little beauty.  A good friend of mine has had her house on the market for over a year and it has recently sold. So she'll be moving away very soon. :(  I decided this little sampler would be just perfect for her.
Tomorrow the Christmas decorations come down and my tree skirt gets packed away for another year, but tonight I stitch!  I am such a party animal!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas 
and a new year full of fabulous stitching!

This photo is the covered bridge at Old Salem in my hometown of Winston-Salem, N.C., decorated with the traditional illuminated Moravian Stars.  

You can learn more about the Moravian star here.

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Tradition Continues

When my husband and I first married, we lived thousands of miles from our families and rarely spent the holidays with them. So I endeavored to create some traditions of our own.  I had already been cross stitching ornaments for family and friends for several years, but I rarely had time to stitch the larger Christmas designs that I love so much.
At the time, I was working full time (and then some) for Boeing.  Boeing closed the plants down for the week between Christmas and New Year's Day, so we had the whole week off.  And that's when I would indulge myself by stitching one of those larger Christmas designs.  But instead of framing them, I created a very personal tree skirt. I started with heavy duty red felt, trimmed in green grosgrain ribbon.  Every year I crudely appliqued my stitched piece, with the year included somewhere on the design, on the tree skirt.  Sometimes the chosen design had some significance. Other years, it was just something I wanted to stitch. I even let my husband choose his favorite (among my preselected choices, lol).  They are randomly placed and of various sizes and shapes.

Last year I realized there was no more space for the larger designs and I was prepared to abandon a thirty year tradition!  Then, while searching for ornament designs to stitch, I had an epiphany.  The Prairie Schooler "Christmas Alphabet" provides a way to continue the tradition. So I stitched the "R" design, which is my husband's initial. This year I'm stitching the "T".  Since we have no children, my husband suggested that the upcoming years should be our dog's initials. That gets us through 2017.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Stitching for Fun

The Christmas deadline stitching is done and now, what little stitching time I have, is for FUN! Woohoo!  I bought this Mill Hill button and beaded kit last year and never got around to it. Last week a computer-free friend asked me to order three frames for some of these kits, so I ordered the frame for this one at the same time.  And logically, since I have the frame, I should stitch the piece.  I have to admit to more frogging than I normally fall prey to, but perhaps that's because I rarely stitch pictures these days. Most of my samplers don't involve this much 'confetti' stitching.  Now I'm wondering if my love of samplers may be, in part, based on my increasing inability to count!  Whatever....

Can you see the cardinal and the trees? The mailbox and ribbons are not recognizable yet. I know this because my husband thought the ribbons (the red area near the bottom) might be a face!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Christmas Ornaments 2012

 I promised ornament pics and here they are!  All are stitched on perforated paper with Watercolors from The Caron Collection.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Stitching for Friends

Well, I think I'm going to make it.  Christmas stitching is completed! I even managed to get ornies done even though I was sure that wasn't even within the realm of possibility. Okay, so I stitched some really easy ones, but the 30+ year streak is unbroken! More importantly, I won't be disowned.  Those pics are forthcoming.

The other stitching deadline was my stitch group Christmas party.  Last Wednesday night we had dinner at our favorite Italian restaurant with our favorite waiter and yummy food and drink.  The best part was, of course, the sharing of stories and laughs with my extended family.  I try to make something for them every year.  I've made scissor fobs (which is what started my Etsy shop), beaded needlecases, needlebooks... This year I made pin pillows. 

You've seen a few of them as I was working on them, but here's the whole bunch. All Periwinkle Promises Designs and so fun to stitch. Although I have to admit, making those itsy bitsy tassels, was slight aggravating. They make the tassels on my scissor fobs look gargantuan!

Rumor has it that at least a couple of them won't be used, just displayed. I guess that's their prerogative, but a few pins aren't going to hurt anything.  But I hope they're enjoyed in any case.

Monday, November 26, 2012

TJBdesigns Today's Shout Out

I'm honored to be featured in the On Fire for Handmade teams Shout Out.  What a fabulous and supportive team!

TJB Designs Today's Shout Out

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Lists Are Good...I Think

Do not even think of reminding me how many days are left 'til Christmas!  Shopping is not a problem, thanks to the internet.  But stitching time is in short supply and I may have to give up sleep. And believe me, you do not want that. I am not nice when sleep deprived.

However progress is being made, thanks to my secret weapon, who shall remain nameless. Look at what I managed to accomplish since my last post.  Tassels and assembly are next on the list. 
I'm really big on lists. I have three different lists going now for Thanksgiving, plus the usual grocery list, errands list, household to-do list, Etsy to-do list...  Then there's the obligatory Christmas list.  The stitching list has sub-lists:
1. To-do
2. Gifts
   a.  birthdays
   b. Christmas
   c.  other
3. ornaments
4. WIPs (this one is short because as you can probably tell, I'm pretty anal retentive...I hear you laughing.)
5. Completed (yearly)

Perhaps I should spend less time making lists and more time stitching. hmmm....

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Glorious Fall Day at the Beach

It's a glorious fall day here in coastal NC. After a few unseasonably cold days, we're back to almost 70 degrees and getting warmer for the next couple of days. The sun is shining and the yachts are cruising down the Intracoastal Waterway on their way to Florida for a few months. There's a steady stream of them starting in early October every year.

And football is in the air.  Okay, football is on TV and I'm stitching another Periwinkle Promises sampler accent pin pillow. Queen Anne's Lace is done and Greensleeves will be done by the end of the weekend.
I love these little sampler accents, but I'm already thinking about my first big sampler for 2013. I have several candidates on the list, but it's really hard to choose.

In the meantime, I'm busy filling Christmas orders for scissor fobs and bookmarks and counting pins.  I've received some lovely feedback lately and it always thrills me when people tell me how much they love their fob or what a big difference the counting pins have made in keeping the 'frog' away.

"In reference to my recent purchase of scissor fobs, I am totally in love with them. I purchased them as gifts and the recipients LOVE them! How fun is that! I came across your items by accident actually, I merely googled scissor fobs. I knew there had to be some out there, but, had no idea I would find something so fabulous! THANK YOU."

"I just received your beautiful scissor fob and am so pleased with your creativity and fine work. My friend will love it for her birthday! Thank you for a fast delivery, too. I look forward to keeping up with your shop."

"Absolutely LOVE these Crochet Stitch Markers!! I used them today and they are the perfect shape and weight! No snagging on my yarn and so lovely to look at while I'm working! Who says crochet markers have to be boring?!!"

Sunday, November 4, 2012

No More Borders

Have I mentioned that I hate borders?  As usual, about 11:30 last night I realized why that frog was sitting on the couch next to me waiting to be noticed.  Grrrrr. And there were beads involved in this late night fiasco! Bigger grrrrrr. I had to rip out the top line of the border.  The error was made about two hours earlier, but I was in 'one more stitch' mode and trying to finish the border before bed. So I didn't find the problem until the corners didn't meet. Hate it when that happens. This is the major reason that I enjoy band samplers so much...NO BORDERS!  So I frogged and restitched the top of the border before I hit the sack.  The fact that we were turning the clocks back helped me rationalize staying up until it was done.
I'm sure the rest of this little Periwinkle Promises Sampler Accent - "Queen Anne's Lace" will go much more quickly. It has to, I'm under the gun. I finished the "Crocus" Sampler Accent a couple of weeks ago, but forgot to post it. Probably because of ...THE BORDER! It's double running and I was surrounded by frogs while working that one. But the first band is queen stitch, so I found my happy place pretty quickly. Most of you are groaning, I know, but I love queen stitches.

I've been working on ornaments for the family, but none are photo ready yet. It's amazing how some metallic perforated paper can jazz up a simple design.

I can't believe it's already November! I have so much stitching to do and I'm up to my eyeballs in book thongs and stitch markers for knitting and crochet. They make great gifts and I'm trying to stock up.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Thistle Too

Now that Thistle Too is done, I'm taking a Periwinkle Promises break and working on some hardanger Christmas ornaments.  They're easy and they require no finishing beyond attaching a hanger and washing/ironing.  Maybe I'll have enough done by Christmas to avoid being disowned.
Over the last few months, I started making beaded eyeglass leashes.  Most of us, as we get a little older, need a little magnification to stitch. So we buy those adorable little reading glasses to make us feel a little less frumpy about needing them.  And you don't want to lose them, so you need a pretty eyeglass chain to keep them handy.  

In the meantime, I continue to add new fobs and counting pins to my shop. 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Thanks so much!

I am honored to see my Turquoise laying tool/sewing stiletto featured in this fabulous collection of turquoise! Finally made it!: Tasty Turquoise #Etsy:

Linda, of UniquelyYourDesigns, found all sorts of wonderful items to share. This is just a sampling of the great handmade items you'll want to check out for great gift ideas. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

So Many Samplers, So Little Time

I am on a roll! Have I said that before? "Cranberry Delight Sampler Accent" by Periwinkle Promises is done and I've moved on to "Thistle Too Sampler Accent".
Despite the fact that I have lots of ornies to stitch, my 2013 project list is forming in my mind. I'm sure there will be a Sampler Cove piece, probably a Blue Ribbon piece, maybe something from Long Dog... who really knows. But I definitely plan to do more stitching.

In the meantime, I'm making more laying tools and scissor fobs galore! If you're trying to think of something special to give your best stitching buddy, I hope you'll consider TJBdesigns.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

My friend, Traci, at DeanDesigns, is having a fabulous giveaway! If you love to bead check it out!
Dean Designs

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

PP Binge

Do you have a designer that you just can't ignore?  Barbara Rakosnik of Periwinkle Promises is one of my all time favs. I just love the way she combines stitches and colors in her samplers.  The little Accent Samplers are such fun pieces to do when you just need a sampler stitch fix.  And you cannot go wrong with her instructions. Her stitch diagrams and written instructions are so clear that you can try a brand new stitch and get it right the first time!

The Thistle Celebration pulled me out of my stitching slump recently and then I just couldn't help myself. I pulled out one of the few Sampler Accents that I haven't stitched yet. "Cornflower Sampler Accent" is a little 4" by 5" sampler to be made into a pin pillow with tassels on the corners.  I cannot begin to tell you how many of these I've stitched.  Two nights of stitching bliss! 

 So I started the Cranberry Delight Accent last night. I'll probably stitch several more before I move on.

Oooohh, Creepy!

Do you love to stitch for Halloween? I know lots of people do so here's a cute little Halloween freebie from Stitching The Night Away.  And so that it remains a free chart, it is sponsored by TJBdesigns.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Good Mojo

When my stitching mojo kicks in, it's lethal! The Thistle Celebration piece was so fun I finished it in a week! I loved every minute of it...okay, except for the 3 frogging episodes I had.  Now what?
I should be working on ornaments, but I just can't get psyched up for it. At the very least I should be in the Christmas Panic. (Yes, it's capitalized because it's REAL and usually starts in June!)  I've done 25-30 every year for the last 30 years for family and friends, but the string may be broken. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

It's Like Christmas in the Bead Cave

I hate getting surprise phone calls, especially late at night. You know what I mean. But I LOVE surprise packages in the mail! 

I participate in a bead exchange on one of my Etsy teams and today I received an envelope full of beautiful beads. My friend, Cynthia, of CLeasBeadwork, is so generous and talented. She learned beadwork from her grandmother and continues the tradition with very nature-inspired creations. 

So I didn't even sit down in the bead chair in the bead cave before I ripped open the envelope and found such a bounty of beautiful beads.  Apparently everyone knows my favorite color is blue because there are several different envelopes of blue beads. Here's a sampling of my new stash.  Now I get to create lots of new fobs and counting pins and stitch markers and eyeglass leashes...

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

THIS is What I Love to Do!

The Thistle Celebration by Periwinkle Promises is sooooo much fun to stitch. I just love Barbara Rakosnik's use of stitches and color in her designs.  Even though I've frogged a bit already, I'm really enjoying this piece.  The only problem I'm having is that the colors are so close that I have to be extremely careful not to mix them up.
Thistle Celebration 09-18-12
I only had one miscount on the Holbein band, which I thought was pretty impressive. I usually get lost and have to do a lot of frogging, but no this time. And I didn't even use Barbara's very explicit diagram.  I've decided that figuring out Holbein motifs without a chart is my way of staving off dementia.  It's definitely a puzzle.

As you can see, I've just started the large satin stitch band. The satin stitch motifs are divided by bands of diagonal cross stitch. What a relief! At first I thought it was Diagonal Montenegrin which taxes my brain considerably. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Finally...a New Finish!

I'm not going to bother apologizing or make excuses for not posting in almost three months...eeek! But I hope to be a little more consistent, at least for a while. I will say that the Etsy shop has been keeping me pretty busy and I haven't had as much time to stitch. However, I finally finished "Bagatelle" by Whispered by the Wind on Sunday. I can't believe how long it took me considering it is only about 6.5 inches square...of course, that's on 40 count linen. For those who want the gory details, it is stitched on Lakeside Linen 40 count Strawflower, with Caron Collection Waterlilies (silk) Olive and Geranium. (1 strand) It's a beautiful piece and I have no idea what I'm going to do with it. It just called to me.
Now I'm moving on to the Thistle Celebration by Periwinkle Promises. I can always count on some fun stitches in Barbara Rakosnik's designs.