Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Final Finish of 2013

This is it!  The year will be over in less than 24 hours, and I have one last finish to share with you.  The stitching on this pillow was done over a year ago, but I was kind of daunted by the idea of hand-sewing a real-sized pillow.  (I don't own a sewing machine, and frankly don't care for them.  I think my mother's warnings to me about not sticking my hands near her machine has translated into a lifetime dislike)  Anyway, I finally set to the task a few days ago.  It's a 14 inch square pillow:

And here's the fabric I chose for the back:

Please disregard any tails or paws in the corners of my photos.  They are always somewhere nearby.

I have finished all the stitching for my new designs, and have moved on to helping Mom with some of her model stitching.  There's still a lot for me to do in the next month and a half, including building a website, eek!  But the thing I'm most looking forward to (and most scared of), is sharing my work with you as we get closer to Nashville Market.  And of course, I couldn't do a launch without a giveaway.  So keep an eye out for that!

I hope all of you have a wonderful, safe New Year's celebration.  I'll be joining a friend or two to watch my college team play in a bowl game, then ringing the new year in with my darling husband.  Cheers!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Merry Christmas

I hope that everyone had a wonderful day yesterday, whether, like me, you were celebrating the birth of Jesus, or just enjoying a day off and maybe some time with your loved ones.  I have taken a break from model stitching this week to work on finishing some Christmas ornaments.  These poor items have been sitting around all year.  They were stitched, but never got any further than that.  I have finished two so far, and hope to have another 2 (okay, at least one) finished by the time Saturday rolls around.

Here's one designed by Homespun Elegance:

And the second one isn't actually an ornament.  Technically it's a pincushion, from a kit by Shepherd's Bush.  So it has no business sitting in the tree.  Not that that stopped me:

It's early.  The house is quiet.  I am about to head into the living room to enjoy some undisturbed stitching time.  Merry Christmas to me!  Til next time, stay safe, and stay crafty.

Friday, December 20, 2013

This one's for the birds

Hello all!  I'm diverging a bit from my normal subject matter to share some photos of all the different kinds of birds that have been visiting my little birdseed snowman these past few days.  He's kind of a hit.

The first birds to visit the feeder were titmice and carolina chickadees:

Isn't my little snowman cute?  Of course, two days later, he's not looking quite so shapely.  But the brown-headed nuthatches don't seem to mind:

Neither do the carolina wrens (I think I've id'ed this bird correctly.  Feel free to tell me if you know otherwise):

The northern mockingbirds have even shown up, and I rarely see them at the regular birdfeeder:

The wild canaries are back after a few months' vacation, but they have their own special feeder and could care less about the snowman.  This guy is barely yellow right now, but in the summer, they are a brilliant yellow, and a treat to watch:

I've seen plenty of cardinals around the yard, but right now they seem to be boycotting the snowman.  Regardless, the cats and I are enjoying the wildlife show that our little Frosty is bringing to the window!

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Pocahontas jacket and Ebay treasures

Hello strangers!  I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season.  I know my family certainly is.  There are parties and gatherings every time you turn around, it seems.  But I wanted to take a few minutes to share with you about an exciting new project going on at Jamestown Settlement next year.

About a week ago, a friend shared a link to a blog post about plans to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the wedding of Pocahontas and John Rolfe.  As part of the celebration, Preservation Virginia's Historic Jamestowne will create an embroidered waistcoat inspired by an article in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.  The waistcoat will be worn as part of Pocahontas's wedding attire during the commemoration on April 5, 2014.

The project is reminiscent of the Plimoth Jacket project from a few years ago, only it is much closer to home (for me), so there's a much greater chance that I will be able to more actively participate.  Yippee!  In case anyone else reading this hasn't already heard about the project and is interested in participating, you shoul contact

Julie Zellers-Frederick
Volunteer Coordinator

She will send you a small sample to complete, demonstrating the stitch types present in the original garment.  All skill levels are welcome.  The project is done in collaboration with the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation and their Costume Design Center.

I received my package in the middle of last week and sat down with it yesterday morning. It didn't take more than a few hours to stitch, and here's what my sample looks like:

The stitches required, chain and seed, are not stitches that I use very often, but hopefully they will find my efforts acceptable and I will make my way to Williamsburg for some intensive stitching time early next year.  Even if I don't make, I'm excited about the very idea of this hand-embroidered jacket and I hope they are able to pull it off.

In other news, I somehow found myself browsing through the samplers offered up on ebay the other day.  One thing led to another, and two tattered little treasures have made their way home to me.  If all goes well with my design release in February, you will be seeing reproductions of these two before too long.  One of them is an Adam and Eve sampler with lots of crazy colors in it:

The second one is very faded, and I the picture I took of it is a fairly sorry one.  But I think this sampler is going to be gorgeous once it's restitched:

Finally, I leave you a taste of one of the two reproductions I'll be releasing in February.  As you can see, it's an Adam and Eve sampler, and I am in love with the big blue and gold flower you can see here:

Til next time, stay safe, stay warm, and stay crafty!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Cabinet of Curiosities Update

It seems I have not updated my progress in the Cabinet of Curiosities course for quite some time.  Allow me to remedy that this morning.  The course has officially ended, but of course I have not yet managed to read all the materials.  I have, however, finished several of the stitching projects.  First up is a little butterfly pincushion.  It is worked using silk thread on a lower count linen fabric.  The oddest bit of it for me was tracing the pattern onto the fabric rather than counting out where to place my stitches.  I finished it using some gold braid I had originally purchased for another project.

My second project is a scissors case.  This one was a bit beyond my skills, to be honest, because it required use of a sewing machine when working with the microsuede.  Thank goodness for Mom and her willingness to work with me on projects like this!  I love how the gold stitching looks, but I do NOT love stitching with gold thread.  I think I am probably too impatient.

And finally, I have a satin pincushion project.  I loved the pretty, shiny white silk when I first saw it, but I was afraid that I would hate the experience of stitching on it.  Much to my delight, I discovered that it was quite a pleasure to work on, and I did not find dealing with waste canvas (which is how you keep those stitches nice and even) to be so very challenging.

I have allowed my ambition to persuade me that I can and will finish a double casket with reasonable speed. Rumor has it that said casket will be arriving at my house sometime near the end of this year.  I can't wait!  I have mostly decided how the big stitched panels will look.  I hope to stitch two panels on silk satin, and I am thinking I will stitch one panel almost entirely in queen stitches.  The next step in this progress will working on a small trinket box.  Meanwhile, I'm stitching away on my Adam and Eve reproduction.  It's coming along well, I think.  Can't wait to share it with y'all in a month or two!

Til next time, stay crafty, my friends.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Mountain views

So much for frequent posting, huh?  Anyways, I'm back this evening, on a sugar high, and completely delighted by all the adorableness that has visited my front porch this evening.  I wanted to share with you about a trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains that my husband and I took earlier this month.

I headed to Asheville to attend a legal conference at the Grove Park Inn.  The inn is on the National Register of Historic Places, and it was quite a lovely place to spend a little time.  I even brought some mood reading: Stephen King's "The Shining."  Alton was not able to join me until later in the weekend, so I had a little free time to myself on Friday afternoon.  And I decided to spend it exploring the area for a couple of hours.  I headed out to Flat Rock, NC.  The weather was beautiful, and I thoroughly enjoyed the drive out.

My first stop was St. John's in the Wilderness Episcopal Church.  Built in the 19th century, this church was the summer church for well-to-do Americans who left their winter homes for the cooler NC mountains in the summer season.  I wasn't able to go inside the church, but the outside is certainly pretty.  Surrounded by shady trees and a cemetery, it was a pleasant, relaxing place to walk around.  And of course, I'm always fond of pretty graveyards.   This one had lovely moss-covered tombstones to admire:

From the church, I drove on to the Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site.  I can't BEGIN to tell you how happy I was that the government shutdown ended two days before this planned visit!  Mr. Sandburg certainly picked a beautiful location for his home.  For some reason, I didn't prep a photo of the actual house for this post, but here's a shot of the nice steep walk I took to get up to the house:

I was able to tour the house, which was almost wall-to-wall bookshelves.  I think Alton and I would have fit right in in that home.  Mrs. Sandberg raised prize-winning dairy goats, and the site still has an active goat farm:

I petted a few goats, and laughed at the children who were playing with the animals in the yard.  It was a pleasant way to spend a few hours.

By Saturday afternoon, Alton was with me to enjoy my free time with me.  We took a drive south on the Blue Ridge Parkway.  Although the leaves were not at their peak of fall color, the views were still pretty enough:

We stopped at quite a few lookouts as we drove along, taking in the changing views.  We also took a hike down to Graveyard Falls, which are only a short, steep hike from the road:

And this might have been the highlight of the trip for me: at one of our first pulloffs, this little fella was running around, begging for food from the tourists.  Look how he posed for me!

He reminds me of my cat Tigger, because he would approach you, but then suddenly run away after he decided he'd ventured too close.  What a funny little groundhog!

In closing, I leave you with a photo of the view from our hotel room high atop the Indigo on the edge of downtown Asheville.  The windows in our room stretched from floor to ceiling across an entire wall of our suite.  Not too shabby for a room we got using bonus points, huh?

I'm still stitching away, mostly on my designs.  I hope that all of you are finding enough time to be creative too.  Stay crafty, my friends!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

St Charles Needlework Market

Hello everyone!  So I say I'm going to post more regularly, and then I go about two weeks without a new post.  Well, at least I have a decent excuse (or two).  Here's the first excuse: my computer has been otherwise occupied:

She even managed to turn the computer on, access the internet, and try to print a blank Word document!  As I am typing this post, silly Princess is trying yet again to climb onto the keyboard.  I guess it is pleasantly warm on her tummy.  Sigh.

My other, even better, excuse is that I have been at the St Charles needlework market for the past 5 days or so, helping Mom with her room, and checking out all the other great releases as well.  It was a very busy show, and lots of shopping and buying was done.  I am glad that I can finally show you what most of my summer stitching time has been devoted to.  Here are the new releases from Cherished Stitches:

Autumn Whimsies is a limited edition kit that includes everything you need to make this sweet little pillow except the stuffing.  It was Mom's best-seller at the show and it is sold out!  In fact, it sold out the first night, and she ordered supplies to make another 6 dozen, and she's sold out again!  So if you like it, better get in touch with your favorite needlework shops quick and see if they have one available.

 Next up are 9 of the Fairest Flowers series.  Only the three in the center front are brand new.  There is a pattern for each month of the year (with three months still to come), and each flower is one that you would find in a 17th century English garden.  Such interesting uses they had for these plants!  Did you know that thistle can cure baldness?

There were three new Halloween releases as well: a sweetly grim little pot of flowers, a biscornu kit, and the ironwork-inspired "tis time."

And finally, the Quaker family tree, which I think is my favorite of all the new releases.  It comes with suggestions on how to modify the chart to suit your own family, as well as lots of graph paper for drawing out all the names you want to stitch.  I just love how this one looks!  There was one other new release that I don't have a picture of.  It's called "Fall Tribute" and has a cute pair of squirrels on it.  It's one of the ones on which I did the model stitching, so I'm bummed I didn't get a photo.  Of all the releases you see above, I put thread to fabric on all of them except the LE kit, the biscornu, and the smaller Halloween piece.  Now you know how busy I've been in the stitching department!

I do have some other stitch-related news to share.  I am going to try my own hand at designing!  I have already been working (in a very on again/off again style) on reproducing some of my antique samplers.  Now I'm trying to be more consistent with my efforts.  Next year, at the Nashville market, I will be joining Mom and presenting designs of my own.  At this point, I think there will be two reproduction samplers (Rachel Mauger and an Adam & Eve sampler that I don't think I've shared on this blog) and several smaller patterns of my own design that are inspired by my antique sampler collection.  February seems so far away, but really close, all at the same time!  I will share more as we get a lot closer to market.  I guess only time will tell whether this is a great idea, or a very foolish one.

Next time, I will share a little about the pit stops we took on the loooong drive from North Carolina to Missouri.  Til then, stay crafty my friends!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

I'm baaaaack!!!

Hello, old friends!  Yes, I know.  It's been a very, very long time since I posted.  Life has kept me very busy.  And there just hadn't been time for blogging in all that craziness.  But I am here now, and I hope to go back to regular updates on my stitching, scrapping and traveling.

There is so much stitching that has been done since that last, long ago update.  Most of it, though, has been model stitching for Mom.  I hope to share some of that in a week or two during/after the show at St Charles.  Meanwhile, here are three pieces that I not only finished, but managed to get framed as well.  First up is Penny America by Tree of Life Samplings:
I stitched this using Weeks threads on a piece of Picture This Plus fabric.  I've forgotten the name of the color, but it has a lovely distressed tone to it.

Next is Christmastide by Pineberry Lane.  This one is stitched on a piece of Cauldron linen by PTP, either 36 or 40 count:

And finally, I have Feast of Friendship by Blackbird Designs.  This one is stitched on an old piece of 30 count R&R fabric, using the called for threads.  I'm really happy with how it turned out:

This past weekend, Mom and I headed up to Cherokee, NC, to listen to the Trace Adkins concert.  We played a few games at the casino, and then spent our Sunday morning visiting the Mountain Farm Museum inside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  Did you know that the GSM Nat'l Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site?  Apparently, there is an amazingly diverse collection of flora and fauna in the region.  It is certainly a beautiful place to spend your time.  The area around the farm museum was beautiful, and the weather was just cool enough that you weren't uncomfortable walking around.  I liked the gourd birdhouses:

Don't you feel calmer just looking at this sweet little farmstead?

Of course, Mom being Mom, she hunted down the most important building right away...

So thankful we don't have to use those things anymore!  The farm is right next to a beautiful shady bit of the Oconoluftee River.  You could walk right up to the river's edge and dip your toes in, if you were so inclined:

 The sound of the water rolling softly over the rocks made me feel peaceful and happy.  I hope to visit again soon... and maybe spend a few days in this mountain wonderland.

That's about it for today.  I promise not to be such a stranger in the future.  Til next time, stay safe, and stay creative!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

I played all day (with scrapbook paper)

This past weekend, my sister and I participated in an all day scrapbooking event given by Shelby of Embellish IT! in Charlotte, NC.  The weekend started with a bang as we had to move up our original travel plans to avoid the sleet and freezing rain that were forecast for Friday afternoon.  We didn't exactly miss it, we drove through it early Friday morning.  It was not fun, but we made it to the hotel in Charlotte iwthout incident.  We spent the rest of the afternoon/evening relaxing in the hotel (plus a nice dinner at the Cheesecake Factory with our aunt who also came to the event) and were ready bright and early the next morning for a full day of scrapbooking.  

I had not scrapbooked in several months.  Between the discomfort of standing on broken toes, and just a lack of motivation, I simply haven't felt like creating with paper.  Happily, this weekend really seems to have broken through my loss of scrap mojo.  I finished about 14 pages for our honeymoon album!  I won't share all of them today, just a few.  I used a lot of Basic Grey's "Soleil" line for these pages.  The bright, sunny colors were perfect for a tropical trip.

This first layout will be the beginning of the album.  I won't repeat my story about the leis, which is what the journaling covers:

I loved those pretty flowers.  Personally, I think we should wear leis on a more regular basis.  Next up, a layout showing off two of my favorite photos from Oahu.  The statue in the vertical photo is of Duke Kahanamoku, who considered to be the father of modern surfing.  We hung our leis on his arms on the day that we left Oahu.

Next, we have a two page layout covering our visit to Pearl Harbor.  I used a postcard and our admission tickets as part of the decorations for this page.  

This next layout covers our visit to 'Iolani Palace in downtown Honolulu.  We couldn't take pictures inside the palace, so there's just the one outside photo for the layout.  I did include our tickets, which are reproductions of invitations to a royal ball at the palace.  The main reason that I wanted to visit the palace was to see Queen Liliuokalani's crazy quilt.  She made it while held prisoner in her palace by the United States.  It is a beautiful work of art.  

A closeup of the admission tickets:

Finally, here's a layout that I made using one of our class kits from that weekend.  The colors and layout of photographs was perfect to capture the walk Alton and I took through Honolulu's Chinatown in the afternoon after our visit to the palace.

I have to say that the entire day was very enjoyable and relaxing.  Shelby is a fun instructor, and the fact that we were all sitting in one room for so long, not rushing from class to class, made things feel much calmer than they normally do at a convention.  Shelby has said that she intends to return to Charlotte for another "Play all Day" event in the future.  I really hope she does, because I definitely want to do that again!

I'll share more of the layouts in the near future.  Til then, I hope everyone has a wonderful, creative day!

Monday, January 28, 2013

January 2013 WIPocalypse update

Yes, even though we are no longer 'in fear' of the end of the Mayan calendar, the WIPocalypse stichalong goes on.  If you want to know more about it, or you think you might want to join in, check out Measi's blog, here.

For this first month, we are supposed to set goals for which unfinished projects we'd like to complete this year.  So here's my somewhat lazy list:

1- everything on last year's list that wasn't complete (told you it was a lazy list)
2- Coraggio by Scarlet Letter
3- Giraffa sampler
4- Feast of Friendship by Blackbird Designs
5- 12 Christmas-related pieces (one for each month)

And now for this month's progress... I finished the stitching and 'finishing' on the Sugarplum ornament from Heart's Content.  I thought about attaching a hanger, but then decided that I was just going to hook a metal ornament hook through some of the lace:

I have also done a little more stitching on Coraggio:

Of course the over-one alphabet is slow going!  Recently, I've been working on a model for market in March.  I'll share photos of it (I hope) closer to release time.  I'm thinking that I will actually be going to market this year.  Whee!

So that's it on the stitching front.  Between now and the next update, I plan to continue working on Coraggio and finish another Christmas piece.  I was thinking that I would stitch up the large pillow I finished at the end of last year, but I might finish a Little House ornament that I stitched last year instead in fitting with the monthly theme.  We'll see what kind of mood I'm in when the time comes to choose.  ; )

In a day or two, once the sun is bright enough for me to get some decent pictures, I'll share some scrapbooking that I did over the weekend.  Yes, for the first time in a very long while, I actually scrapbooked!!!

Til then, stay safe, stay warm, and stay creative!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

TUSAL and some other progress

Good morning everyone!  I'm overdue for my first ort report of 2013.  I slipped outside early on this foggy morning and took a quick photo of my freshly emptied ort jar.  The threads from this month are all from Coraggio:
If you'd like to learn more about the TUSAL, or maybe even join in yourself, check it out here on Daffycat's blog.

As I mentioned, the only thing I've worked on so far this year has been "Coraggio" by Scarlet Letter.  I've been plugging away at the top band and the over one alphabet... that over one is S L O W.  Still no word on the back ordered threads.  I'll have to put this down soon if I don't get them.  But anyway, here's where I am as of this morning:

When I went out to get the paper this morning, I noticed that the crocuses (crocii?) have started popping up in the front yard:

I love these fresh, pretty little flowers.  And I'm happy to see that the bulbs seem to have divided quite nicely since last spring.  BUT, I know that a nasty freeze will come along before too long and I will probably not see the daffodils or many of the other crocuses this year.  Sigh.  That's the life of a garden, I suppose.

I think that on Monday morning I will set to work on the Christmas ornament I mentioned in my last post.  Turns out there is a little more work to do on it than I realized.  There are supposed to be lots of eyelets in varying threads all over it.  I'm trying to convince myself to add them.  But part of me doesn't really want to.  Who will win?  Lazy robin or perfectionist robin?  Tune it later to find out!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A New Year's Start

Happy New Year!  I'm calling this my New Year's start, but I actually started a couple of days early.  I was unable to resist the stitchy goodness of my newest project.  So with 3 days of stitching under my belt, here's Coraggio as of this afternoon:

I'm enjoying it so far, but of course, the threads that are on back order are all over the place!  Hopefully, they will arrive before I run out of alphabet or the top band.  If not, I may be in big trouble.  And I still haven't decided what to do about the one unavailable color yet.

I've been thinking about what I want to accomplish stitching-wise this year.  I haven't firmed up everything yet, but I know I want to finish my Giraffa sampler this year.  I want to finish Coraggio, too.  Beyond that, the only certain goal I've set for myself is to try and finish at least one Christmas project each month.  There were just too many that didn't get done in 2012.  One month isn't enough time to make a real dent in the pile of unfinished or unstarted projects.  So I figure if I do at least one each month, I should be able to make real progress on the backlog.  This month, I intend to do the finishing on this piece designed by Maureen Appleton of The Heart's Content:

I couldn't even tell you how long this poor ornament has sat around in this unfinished stage.  Sigh.  The other thing I certainly want to continue working on is my Cabinet of Curiosities projects.  I am 2 (no, it's 3 now) months behind on my reading.  Only one project has been stitched, and none have been finished.  Gotta do something about that, too.  Oh, speaking of the cabinet, check out one of Mom's Christmas gifts to me:
Nice, huh?  I'm confident they will all be put to good use when I finally get around to stitching the panels for my cabinet.  Now I'm off to see if the wooden frame is available yet, and how much it's gonna set me back.  Hubby and I are probably due for a serious conversation here in the near future.  ; )

Hope you have a happy, crafty week everyone!