Wednesday, January 25, 2012

meet Sarah and a giveaway

I first saw Sarah Hatton McPhail's sampler during a visit to Colonial Williamsburg several years ago. We were touring the textile conservation building, and Sarah's sampler was hanging on the wall in one of the work rooms, alongside a second sampler with similar composition, and a black and white drawing of the same scene. I think she was on loan from another museum for an upcoming exhibit, but I'm not sure. I loved the tranquil river scene that makes up the bulk of this piece. Flash forward a year (or 3), and Marguerite of The Essamplaire was offering a reproduction of this sampler at Jeanine's Gathering of Embroiderers . I HAD to have it!

It has taken me thee years (I think it's only been three years), but she's finally finished! Without further ado, I proudly present to you Miss Sarah Hatton McPhail:

Happy dance! Happy dance!

As you've probably guessed from the fact that I have finished Sarah, I have also finished my model stitching. I don't have photos of them yet, but I hope to be able to show you what I stitched on sometime in the next couple of weeks.

I finished Sarah yesterday morning, and decided to spend the evening after work sorting through my stitching stash. I have to admit, I was a bit depressed when I finished. So many pieces that I've just never gotten around to finishing! And so many things that I know I will never stitch. I even found ziploc bags with patterns I'd finished, and all the threads for said patterns as well. Why did I do that? I mean, it's not like I plan on restitching a project as big as The Shores of Hawk Run Hollow, so why aren't all those fibers reintegrated into my fiber stash? The world will never know.

I found about 10 mostly stitched, or stitched but unfinished, ornaments. I know this is partly due to the fact that, until about a year ago, I considered myself completely incapable of putting an ornament or pillow together myself. Which meant I had to rely upon the good nature of my mom. She helped some, but since she has plenty of stitching and assembling to do for herself, there has always been more to do than there has been time. Last night, I took one of these old ornaments that is completely stitched and finished it into a pillow ornament. Look at this poor thing, it's been waiting for assembly for TEN YEARS!!! (oh the shame of it all)

This ornament is all over one and comes from a kit by Maureen Appleton. I have 4 more of her kits sitting in my stash. One is nearly as close to completion as this one was. I think I put it away because it calls for blending filament, and I don't like stitching with such temperamental stuff. I have added it to my WIPocalypse list. To the bottom of the list, that is.

Which brings me to the giveaway portion of this post. I have got to do something about all these charts! I could just take them to my mom's EGA group and let them sort it out, but then I thought it might be kind of fun to have my first giveaway here on my blog. If there isn't any interest, then I'll go back to the original EGA plan. I have divided my purged stash into 5 packages, and I will be giving away each package to one interested person (assuming there is such a person). There are kits, a little bit of fabric, and lots of charts (some gently used, some never been used). Here are the groups:

Group 1: The Theresa Wentzler Package. Includes charts, a couple of kits, and a magazine with a Theresa pattern inside:

Group 2: The Fantasy Package. Includes a Disney kit, dragons, mermaids, pirates, and a couple of Christmas ornament patterns.

Group 3: The Sampler Package. Includes a Quaker Christmas, a reproduction sampler, and an ornament with enough fabric to stitch it up.

Group 4: The Celtic Package. Includes a few Celtic patterns, the entire "Crabby All Year" set of patterns, and a couple of pieces of fabric of various sizes.

Group 5: The Nature Package. Includes a couple of bits of linen, and several patterns with animals.

Basically, what you see is what you get. Soooo, is anyone interested? If you are, here are
1. You must be (or become) a follower of this blog.
2. Leave a comment on this post only indicating which Package or Packages you would be interested in winning.
3. For a bonus entry, post about this giveaway on your blog, and come back here and leave a comment telling me that you have shared along with a link to your blog.

You have until midnight EST on February 13 to enter. Sometime shortly after that, I will randomly select a winner for each of the packages. If I pull your name for more than one package, then you can pick which package you want to receive, and I'll do a redraw for whichever package you did not choose.

I hope that is all clear, and I hope some of you are interested. Thanks in advance for helping me find a new home for these items.

Monday, January 23, 2012

TUSAL, BAP Challenge, and a birdcage

I've seen Totally Useless Stitchalong (TUSAL) posts on many blogs over this past year. And this year, I'm joining the madness. So here's my first TUSAL update:

Hmm, I should have taken a photo where you can see all the pretty, bright colors from my model stitching. Oh well. There are several projects' orts stuck in that little jar. If you want to learn more about the TUSAL, or join in the fun, head on over to
Daffycat's blog . There are tons of people playing along, all over blog world!

In other stitching news, both my threads and my fabric for my BAP arrived over the weekend. (BAP stands for Big A** Project) As I was checking my thread list versus the actual threads, I came to a horrible realization... there was a second page of the magazine where additional fibers are listed. Quelle Horreur! Now I must place yet another order for NPI silks. Sigh. At least I have the ones I need to get started! This poor project seems a bit doomed at this point, but I will press on. Here's a photo of the pattern I'm stitching, and the fabric and threads that I have thus far:

I put about 20 stitches in the fabric over the weekend, but it doesn't look like anything, so I"m not going to try to take a progress photo. I selected this piece to participate in BeckyBee's BAP Challenge this year. The idea is to stitch one really big project from start to finish during the calendar year. Who knows if I'll make it, but I'm certainly going to try!

I finished the model that I was working on for Mom this weekend. She and Dad drove over to Durham and met Alton and I at "our" house (soon to be plain old our house, giggle). She picked up the model, and dropped off another. She is doing a series of small designs that can be either framed or finished as a pillow. The one I'm working on is actually an engagement pillow (bet you can't guess whose engagement the pillow celebrates!). I'll probably finish the stitching tonight or tomorrow, but since I don't think I have the finishing supplies she'll want to use, it probably won't get finished until sometime next week. I wonder how long it will be before I can claim the model as my own personal property? I will have photos to show you what I've been working on soon, but not yet.

The other thing I've been working on is, of course, the wedding. I have chatted with the dj, and addressed what seems like a million invitations. It wasn't a million. It was probably closer to 50. But it felt like a lot. THere are still more invites to go, but the bulk of them are done. I also worked on some decorations for the reception. This is a work in progress, but it gives you an idea of where I'm headed.

What do you think, adorable or hideous?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The answer is no, but I did get some scrapping done!

I came so close to finishing, but poor Sarah has gone back into her folder for the time being. But she's verrrry close to being done:

Just a day or two of stitching on her after I'm done with my model work and she'll be ready to go to the framer's!

Not only did I get a brand spanking, never been stitched by another, project this weekend, I also got fibers that I ordered for a couple of spring-themed smalls I want to start soonish. Here are the new fibers alongside the projects they go with:

I'm not positive that I will start both of these projects this year, given the fact that I have a lot going on this spring. But at least I have the fibers for whenever I do want to start them! I also found out today that the NPI silks and fabric that I need to start my BAP challenge piece are on their way to me. I know I won't be starting on that until after I finish both the model and Sarah, but I'm still excited. I've been waiting to get the materials for this sampler for a loooong time. More on that later.

In wedding news, there's been a wee bit of drama. I went to pick up my dress on Saturday, and they had sent the right dress in the wrong color! You can imagine how distressful I found this information to be. The ladies at the store were very nice, and assured me that things would turn out okay. I now know that the correct dress will be shipped out on Friday. Let's just hope that this is the worst problem that I have during this whirlwind time. After the dress fiasco, Mom and I and my friend Susan went scouting for table decorations. And we came up with some pretty great stuff. Assembly required of course. I'm going to play with some of what we got over the next couple of days, hopefully. I did finish my own guest book. I have so many little albums floating around that it just didn't make sense to me to buy a pre-made book for all our guests to sign in on. I took a PinkPaislee 6x6 album, covered the chipboard pages with some Websters Pages paper, and covered the front of the album with some prima products, Glimmer Mist, and ribbons. I don't think it looks too bad.

And just to keep me in a sparkly, "I'm in love" kind of mood, here's a bit of bling that will be showing up on the big day:

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Will I or won't I?

Will I or won't I finish Sarah this week, that is. I was going to post a progress photo Wednesday evening. But with such a damp, gloomy day, it was impossible to take a decent photograph. So instead, I devoted some serious time to stitching on her. And guess what? I am finished with all the cross stitches!!! That means that all that is left is the back stitching and stem stitching. So exciting. I don't think it's super likely, but I'm going to push very hard to finish all of that between now and Saturday.

Why would I set such a goal? Well, turns out it is model stitching time. I had actually thought that I wasn't going to be needed this year, but it appears that I was wrong. So, if Sarah isn't done by Saturday, it could be quite a while before I get back to her. It is always a treat to get to work on one of mom's designs, both because she creates such pretty pieces, and because I like to know that I'm helping her out. But, unlike my personal stitching, I have to work straight through on whatever she gives me in order to meet her deadlines. There is no putting it off because another bit I'm working on is nearly done, or is really interesting me at the moment.

So, all scrapping is set aside, and I'm hoping to spend an excessive amount of time with Sarah tomorrow evening.

In other news, I went to my friend Gayla's favorite hairdresser after work today to play. I really liked what he did... I actually look like I have a full head of hair! I would show you photos of what we did, but Alton reads this blog from time to time, and I don't want him to see what I might be doing with my hair for the big day ahead of time. However, when I go back next week to experiment with adding a little color to my hair, I do plan on sharing photos of that!

And so I will end this sadly photo-less post. I hope everyone is having a happy, crafty week.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

WIPocalypse, January check-in

Time for the first update on my WIPocalypse progress. Yay! I have two finishes to share. Of course, they are the two finishes I mentioned in my last post. But this time I have pictures.

First up, I have Jenni Bean's Creation Sampler. I looked back at last year's posts, and it turns out I never posted a progress photo of this piece. No matter, here she is in all her finished glory:

I love how this piece turned out, so please believe me when I say that she looks much better in person. I used the fabric and fibers called for in the pattern. Most of what I finished was in the very bottom part of the sampler: the waves, lower writing, and several of the spot motifs. Here's a closeup:

I also finished Waiting for the Harvest by Blackbird Designs into a pin pillow. The actual stitching was done back in October. Since I have a bad habit of stitching stuff up and neglecting to finish it, part of my goal for this year is to finish all the smalls that I stitch. One down, many to go. Here's the front:

And here's the fabric I used for the backing:

Since I finished the pin pillow, I've been working on the Sarah Hatton McPhail Sampler. I got this piece in a class at Jeanine's 3 years ago. It is time for her to be finished! My last progress photo was from February of last year:

And here's where I'm at as of Sunday morning:

Now, not all of this progress was made this year. I picked this piece up in August and made some progress. I put it down again when my grandmother died, and didn't bother to take a photo of what I'd done. This month, I made my first dent in the massive amount of back stitching this piece requires:

And I did most of the pink in the flowers this month:

For the rest of this month, I plan to continue working on Sarah's sampler, and try to finish another pin pillow. I hope everyone else is having as good a time with their stitching or their scrapping as I am right now.

I have started boxing up all my books in preparation for the big move in April. I'm trying to be somewhat merciless in my culling, but I have so many books that I am too fond of to part with! Boxes and boxes of books will be making their way to either Alton's house, or to a donation box over this next week.

Til next time!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

I'm joining the WIPocalypse (and I'm getting married too!)

I've noticed that several of the people whose blogs I follow on a regular basis have decided to join Measi's 2012 WIPocalypse . I wasn't going to participate, but then...

New Year's Day arrived and I discovered that I did not have all the materials together to begin the new project I most wanted to start. I moved on to a backup project, but no joy. Soooo, I picked up Jenni Bean's Creation Sampler, which I had begun in the first half of 2011... AND I FINISHED THE WHOLE THING BY JANUARY 3!!! And that got me thinking that I should really make a point of trying to finish some of these beautiful pieces that are sitting around my apartment, half done. So there it is. I'm committed or I should be committed, whichever way you like to see it. Here's the list I drew up last night (which is in no way a realistic list, nor will all these WIP's deter from starting several other projects throughout the year):

1. Jenni Bean's Creation Sampler - Shakespeare's Peddler
2. Sarah Hatton McPhail Sampler - The Essamplaire
3. Sarah Johnson 1793 - The Essamplaire
4. Anne Maria Clarke - The Essamplaire
5. Sous le Soleil de la Lune - Reflets de Soie
6. Rachel Mauger Reproduction - my personal collection
7. Peapod Purse - Catherine Theron
8. Tulip Slip - Thistle Threads
9. 3 Halloween ornies from JCS issues
10. 1 Christmas ornie from JCS issue

I'm counting Jenni Bean since I picked it back up and finished it this year! One down, 9 plus to go. I'll post photos on January 9 or somewhere thereabouts.

In other (and honestly, more exciting news), on December 18, 2011, my dear, sweet Alton asked me to be his wife. I am so happy about this! We kept things under wraps for a couple of weeks so that I could tell several people in person. We've been dating for quite a while, so we're not wasting any time getting this show on the road. The wedding will be in early spring, and I have been very, very busy over the Christmas holidays. I will probably be very, very obnoxiously happy over the coming months!

In two weeks, we have:
1. selected and received the engagement ring and wedding rings
2. picked a date and venue for the ceremony and reception
3. picked an officiant (the pastor who put Alton and I on the ministry team which brought us together)
4. bought the dress (and I just found out today that it has arrived at the store!)
5. bought my sister's bridesmaid's dress
6. selected the invitations
7. found a photographer
8. found a dj (I think, this part has to be perfected)
9. found someone to make the wedding cake
10. made a few honeymoon-related decisions
11. acquired the materials we need for pre-marital counseling
12. there are probably, possibly other things that have also been accomplished that I'm forgetting
13. there are only a couple of hundred things left to do!

So I'm out of here. Finding time for scrapping and stitching might be limited over the next few months, OR, I might need lots and lots of creative time to keep me sane! Only time will tell.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year, 2012!

I hope everyone had a great New Year's weekend. I'm settling in for a relaxing evening of stitching, and I plan on thoroughly enjoying my last day of vacation tomorrow. Looking forward to some huge changes in the coming year! More about that on Tuesday. Til then, happy creating everyone.