Sunday, December 30, 2012

WIPocalypse - the year end wrap up

Well, here we are.  The year will be over in a little over 24 hours, and it is time to take stock of what I have accomplished in relations to the WIPocalypse challenge (next year's signup and an explanation of the whole challenge can be found here.)

My original list looked like this:
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

The final list for the year looks like this:
1. Jenni Bean's Creation Sampler - finished Jan 2012
2. Sarah Hatton McPhail Sampler - finished Feb 2012
3. Sarah Johnson 1793 - finished Feb 2012
4. Anne Maria Clarke - not even touched
5- Sous le Soleil de la Lune - finished Aug 2012
6. Rachel Mauger Reproduction - some additional charting done
7. Peapod Purse - not even touched
8. Tulip Slip - abandoned as a horrible idea to begin with (for me, not for everyone else.  It's pretty if you do it right)
9. 3 Halloween ornies from JCS issues - one finished Nov 2012 (and I'm not sure this was correctly described.  2 of the finishes listed below may have been part of what I inteded to finish, so all may have been done)
10. 1 Christmas ornie from JCS issue 2011 - finished Dec 2012, additionally, one other started

not on the original list, but still progress made:
Waiting for Harvest - finishing completed
2002 Heart's Content Christmas Ornament - finishing completed
Janet Gibson reproduction sampler - stitching completed
Black'd Skie - stitching completed
3 Homespun Elegance ornaments - finishing completed
1- Ink Circles ornament - stitching and finishing completed
Boughs of Holly - stitching completed, finishing still to be done
Wicked freebie pattern - finishing completed

pieces actually put into frames:
Sarah Hatton McPhail, Quaker Christmas, Jenni Bean Creation Sampler, Janet Gibson, The North Wind, Winter in the Park,  Sarah Bateman sampler, Elisabeth Ramsay sampler, Spot the Cat, Shores of Hawk Run Hollow, Sarah Johnson sampler, Salem Sisters, Mary Ann Henderson sampler

Overall, I'm pretty happy with the amount of old stitching projects that got finished this year.  Way more was finished than was begun and left unfinished, so that's progress too!

I hope everyone else is happy with their final WIPocalypse results as well.  Now to make a list of things that I'd like to finish over the next year!  Stay crafty, and stay safe over the coming holiday.

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Final Ort Report of 2012 and a quick jaunt to NYC

What happens when you put off going upstairs to get the camera all day long?  You end up taking not-so-great photos of your ort jar long after the sun has set.  Since it was too late to take a photo in my usual spot, I decided to get a little festive and take my last pic under the tree.  Two of the cats supervised the process:
I think I'm going to get one of those clear glass (or plastic) ornaments and fill it with all the orts.  Then I can start all over again next year!

As I mentioned in my last post, my mom, sister, and I took a road trip to New York City over the second half of last week.  Mom hadn't been to NYC since the 60's, and I hadn't been at Christmas time in several years, so just seeing the city all decked out her holiday brightness was a treat.

We caught a matinee showing of the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular.  Words cannot express how thrilled I was to see the Rockettes performing in that famous location.  And the nativity, complete with live animals, was stunningly beautiful.

After the show let out, we hoofed it across town to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  There, we joined several other women who are taking Trish's Cabinet of Curiosity online course.  They had generously allowed Mom and I to join them even though we don't live in the area.  Once inside the Ratti Textile Center (located inside the Met), we saw about 20 exquisite antique needlework and beadwork pieces from the museum's collection laid out before us.  No glass between us and those lovely ladies.  We could photograph to our heart's content.  They would turn things around for us.  In a word, heaven.  There were two caskets available for observation, although we weren't able to see either opened up and pulled apart.  I wish I could show you all the pretty, pretty photos I took.  Sadly, this craptastic photo is all I can share:

Catch me in person in a few weeks and I might have some more interesting photos to share.  ; )

We finished our day with a stroll through Times Square, and dinner at Bubba Gump's.  I know, I know, chain restaurant in NYC.  But we don't have such things here in North Carolina.  And Mom really likes the food there.  We made friends with some funny British guys while waiting for our table, much to the amusement of the restaurant employees.  They kept asking Mom if she had a Dolly Parton cd.  Made me wonder if there is some sort of joke about the lady that we're just not aware of.

The next morning, we visited the 9/11 Memorial.  Beautiful and heartbreaking all at once.  I visited NYC for the first time in 2010, and spent time in one of the towers.  The next time I came, there was nothing but a big hole in the ground, and some damage to surrounding buildings was still visible.  Now, there is still lots of construction going on.  And the memorial:

We wandered around the financial area, saw the Statue of Liberty, shopped at Macy's, and finally, ended the day at Tinsel Trading.  Wow.  What an amazing place to shop.  Here's a few photos to give you the general idea.

Although it isn't exactly the kind of cabinet our course is covering, we still got a laugh out of this window decoration.

I bought some glass glitter and vintage ephemera for scrapbooking, and some gorgeous trims for edging some of my stitched ornaments and pillows.  Mom went nuts over the giant wall of trims.  Can you tell how much fun she's having?

And there you have our whirlwind trip to New York City.  Throw in one night at Foxwoods Casino, followed by an all night drive back to North Carolina, and I've covered it all.  We had a blast, but we were completely worn out.

I hope to post again with my final WIPocalypse update over the weekend.  But just in case that doesn't happen, Merry Christmas to my fellow Christians, and Happy Holidays to everyone else.  May the final days of 2012 find you safe and warm with someone you love.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

More holiday stitching

Posting two days in a row!  That hasn't happened in a very long time.  First, I wanted to say thank you for all the kind comments about my decorating efforts.  You are too kind.  I'm back today to share a few more stitching finishes from this month.

First up, an ornament which I stitched last year, but which I had yet to put into finished form.  It's another Homespun Elegance ornament... I love her ornament designs!

It's backed with a fabric from Blackbird Designs Blueberry Crumbcake line:

Next up, this ornament had about 12 stitches in the border before this year.  The design is by Ink Circles, Celtic Beasties, and I stitched it with the called for fibers on Silkweaver linen (cookie dough, I think).  I stitched it up one day last week and backed it with some pretty Weeks Dye Works green felt.

I also stitched up "Christmastide" by Pineberry Lane.  I'd had my eye on this pattern since it was released last year, and finally broke down and bought it in October.  It was a really quick stitch.  Of course, I probably won't get it framed til next Christmas, but that's okay, it will be waiting for me when the time rolls around.  Stitched on 40 count 'cauldron' linen by Picture This Plus, here's my wrinkled, unironed finish:

Finally, I gave the winner of my '100 Followers' giveaway her prize this past weekend.  Kim (Miss Pants) just happens to be a member of the Piedmont Sampler Guild (as am I) and we met on Saturday at Mimi's Cafe for our holiday breakfast.  Admist all the fun and sharing, I was able to pass along a small pin pillow I stitched for her, along with a couple of other small items.

I asked everyone to tell me their favorite months in the year, and one of the months Kim mentioned was September.  I just love the peacock on this pattern, so September is what I went for.  The pattern is by my mom, Cherished Stitches.  It's part of her Birds of a Feather series.

Speaking of Mom, she has shared a free Christmas ornament pattern on her blog.  She is still taking baby steps into the world of blogging, so she doesn't post very often.  But her ornament is really cute!  The photo on her post really doesn't do it any justice.  If you'd like to grab the chart, go to her blog here.

Well, that's it for today.  Tomorrow, I head to New York City for a chance to explore some of the Met's collection of antique embroidery.  Don't know if I'll be able to take any photos, but I sure hope so!  I'll share more about the trip when I return.  Til then, have a crafty day!

Monday, December 10, 2012

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Yes, we finally have all the Christmas decorations and lights up, inside and out.  It took a little while because of illness, injury, and weather, but we are now ready for the season!  I thought I'd share a little of our holiday look with you today.  First up, of course, is the foyer.  I've swapped out the old metal ornament stand for a 3 ft fake tree.  I thought I would have more room for my hand stitched ornament collection.  I think I was wrong.  It's already almost completely full!
To the right of the tree, you can see my newly framed Quaker Christmas sampler.  I finished it in '09, but just got it framed this past weekend.
Here's a closer view:
During most of the year, this spot on the wall is occupied with a papyrus art piece that we picked up on our travels to Egypt, but over Thanksgiving, this Shepherd's Bush piece hung there:

I know, it doesn't go with the Christmas decor theme of this post, but I wanted to share anyway.

Moving on to the living room, we have the world's most crooked, but stable, Christmas tree:
This photo doesn't show how crooked the tree really is.  Try as I might, I could not get the darned thing to stand straight.  So I gave up and decorated away.  I love each and every ornament on this tree.  So many fun memories are attached to each one.

I had a lot of fun decorating the mantel this year.  As of 2 nights ago, the kitties have been having a lot of fun removing balls from the mantel.  This may not end well for some of my decorations.  Sigh.

And finally, here is the dining room:

One of the samplers that usually hangs here has been replaced with Celtic Christmas, which I don't think I've ever shared before:

In other news, there's been plenty of stitching and finishing going on.  I will try to get another quick post up before the end of the week to share those.  Meanwhile I leave you with three of my favorite 'decorations.'

She knows she's not supposed to be up there, but that never stops her!

I have to say, Lucky looks rather squished.  But he didn't complain when Scout jumped onto the couch and joined us, so I guess he enjoyed the snuggle.

Til next time, happy creating, everyone!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A Scarlet Letter Year

Many of you have probably already heard about Nicola of "Stitching by a Cornish Shore" blog and her fabulous plans for her birthday year.  If you have not, well, she has invited her fellow stitchers and bloggers to join her for a year of stitching samplers from one of her favorite companies, The Scarlet Letter.  There will be prizes along the way, and just some general fun and sharing as the year goes by.  I have, of course, decided to join in.

I have stitched a couple of Scarlet Letter pieces over the years, and have long admired the many beautiful patterns that she has available.  My chosen pattern for this stitchalong will be "Coraggio," pictured here as seen on the Scarlet Letter website:
I do not yet have the fabric or the threads for this pretty piece.  I will do some stash digging for the fabric soon.  Hopefully I'll have something on hand that will work.  As for the threads, she calls for au ver a soie silks.  Those can be rather challenging for me to come by, so I am reluctantly leaning towards stitching it in DMC instead.  I'm just not sure yet.

If the stitchalong sounds appealing to you, head over to the stitchalong blog.  It's gonna be a fun year!