Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

Welcome, 2010! May this new year be the start of many lovely things for all of my friends!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas thoughts

These past few weeks before the holidays I've entertained myself by perusing other folk's stitching blogs. While I was looking for ornament ideas and admiring all of the fabulous trees and decorations that people created in their own homes, I realized something very surprising – I haven't a single ornament that I stitched myself on my own tree! All of the ones I have made over the years I have gifted out to others. So I decided that next year I would choose a design and do one just for me! :)

My own Christmas tree is decorated with a variety of things that I have collected over time, and changes very little from year to year. I could never seem to stick to just one "theme" for a tree, and so have amassed inexpensive old-fashioned glass ornaments, wind-up musical boxes shaped like instruments, simple wooden toys that evoke childhood memories, a heap of santas and snowmen of every variety and manufacture, and even some tiny sparkly jeweled shoes! Not to mention all the lovely package and floral decorations that were just too pretty to throw away that now nestle happily within the branches, adding glamour and glitz to the greenery.

But I think my favorite decoration is still the "walnut". This little item, inexpertly painted red to look like a strawberry and adorned with a green felt "leaf" and a simple twine hanging loop, was made long ago in an elementary school art class by one of my sister's kids. I had always thought that my nephew made it, but during her visit last month my niece claimed all of the artistic credit. :) Regardless of its origin it has always represented family to me more than any other bauble. It is the first thing I place on my tree each year – right at the top next to where the star will go, and the last thing I take off the tree when it's time to take everything down. Once all of the other ornaments are safely wrapped in tissue and packed into their compartments I make sure to place the walnut on the very top before the decorations box is sealed. That way each year when I open the box I once more remember what Christmas is all about for me. :)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

"Be Merry" Ornament

I just finished this tiny hanging ornament for my dear niece. For gift-giving I popped it into a small premade paper-covered box from the crafts store, which I enhanced with an added scrapbook sticker that says "forever joyful" – which is how I think of her. :)

Val's Stuff "Be Merry"
Just Cross Stitch Christmas Ornaments 2007 magazine
25-ct. Dublin Linen Light Blue, DMC floss (substituted for Weeks Dye Works)
Stitch count: 40W x 35H
Start 12/18/09 - finish 12/21/09

Sunday, December 20, 2009

"Merry Kitty Klaus" completed

Finished the kitty ornament last evening as a stuffed pillow hanging, backed with a piece of dark red printed cotton and using some silky green cording for the hanging loop. And made a tiny white pom pom out of floss for the hat.

Val's Stuff "A Merry Kitty Klaus"
Just Cross Stitch Christmas Ornaments 2007 magazine
18-ct. Oatmeal Fiddlers Cloth, DMC floss as charted (mostly)
Stitch count: 48W x 49H
Start 12/10/09 - finish 12/19/09

Monday, December 14, 2009

Inching along

<-- I'm only a little bit farther along on the Merry Kitty Klaus ornament. Real life job has kept me busier this week, and earning dollars outweighs stitching for pleasure every time! One good thing, since this ornament is being given in person I don't have to worry about finishing and mailing it early.

The pattern calls for Wisper floss (a fuzzy blend of mohair and nylon thread) for the "fur" on the Santa hat – which is actually something I'd never heard of before this chart! – but I am skipping that bit. It is possible that I have a tiny jingle bell somewhere in my sewing basket for the tip of the hat, and, if not, I will use a homemade pom pom instead – if I have time to make one!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Found my stork scissors!

I am a happy camper once again – I found my favorite embroidery scissors hidden away in the deepest recesses of my couch yesterday! I had to turn the furniture over and rip some of the dust cover off to get at them, but it was all worthwhile. And now see how pretty they look wearing their new handmade beaded scissors fob? :) I am going to give these babies a good sharpen and then take very good care of them from now on, I promise!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Fa la la

Sympathetic Threads blog has gone all Christmasy for the holidays. :)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Merry Kitty Klaus

Last evening I started working on a new ornament for gifting. I had a little scrap of 18-count fabric that I wanted to use up, so I dug out my teensiest embroidery hoop which, as Goldilocks would say, was "just right"!

I got this "Merry Kitty Klaus" chart by Valerie Danish of Val's Stuff from the Just Cross Stitch Christmas Ornaments 2007 magazine that big sis lent to me recently. It should be a quick and easy stitch over just a few nights.

Monday, December 7, 2009

New beaded scissors fob

Made a little present for my big sis for Christmas. While she was here I asked her to select the beads and colors she liked so I could make her an item and she suggested that I make a scissors fob once she saw the one I'd made for myself. I was happy to oblige. There will also be a little something else in her package, but I haven't finished that yet. ;) I hope to get things done and mailed in time for the holiday! At this rate it may be a race to the finish.

Still working on my Mary Wigham reproduction sampler, as my hands permit me. Even though I love working on it because of all the different motifs my progress has been very slow. Too few hours in the day for these things! I've been sticking mostly to the color palette provided, but have occasionally made changes here and there. I've also collected many of the images that other stitchers have provided to Needleprint so that I can compare their revisions and see what I should like to incorporate into my own version. For example, I have already decided to use my own family's initials on the piece, but as I intend to stitch those last it may be many months before I get to that point. :)

Side note: I STILL haven't found that favorite pair of embroidery scissors that I lost a month ago! I may yet break down and get myself a pair of 4-inch Gingher scissors if they never reappear.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Punch needle goodies

Big sis came to visit this week and brought me some needlework goodies that I can't wait to use! Not only did she hand me her spare punch needle tool, but she also gave me the cute all-in-one kit shown here containing cotton thread, printed fabric and easy beginner instructions. Now I can finally try some punch needle embroidery, which I've long wanted to learn how to do.

Sis also presented me with a mini basket full of a marvelous selection of colorful cross stitch fabrics in various counts, and shared her stack of cross stitch magazines focusing on Christmas ornaments with me. So I now have lots of inspiration for holiday needlework. :)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Lizzie Kate "Welcome Friends"

Now that my friend finally has her birthday gift I can post a full photo of it here! I am really proud of this little Lizzie Kate project because it was an experiment in my ability to recreate something from a photo instead of using a real chart. ;)

Lizzie Kate "Welcome Friends"
18-ct. Oatmeal Fiddlers Cloth, my choice of DMC floss
Stitch count: 81W x 40H
Start 10/1/09 - finish 10/14/09

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Back to work

I've gone back to stitching on the Mary Wigham sampler when I can. My hands have been bothering me a bit again this week – too much time using the mouse and trackpad aggravate my CTS just as much as needlework does – so I have to juggle the time I spend with each. But it is fun to see the different Quaker motifs emerging.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

A wish fulfilled

"Strawberry Garden" by Blackbird Designs is mine as of 10/22/09 :) With the help of a very kind online acquaintance I was recently able to purchase this beautiful OOP Loose Feathers chart. That my search to secure this design is finally over makes me very happy. :)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Itsy bitsy project

I just completed and framed this small project, but as it is a gift for a friend who sometimes stops by here I could only post a tiny photo hint of the finished snippet. ;) It was a quick and enjoyable stitch, and I hope she will like it.

You'll notice that it has my favorite thing (BEES) in it. :D

Saturday, October 3, 2009

A lovely afternoon

Another trip to the Village of the Arts in Bradenton today to see my friend Vicki Rollo's beautiful shop Heart's Desire and to visit some of the stores that have re-opened now that autumn is upon us.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Small newzzz

Started a new small project as a gift for a friend recently. Can't show pictures here because she reads this blog sometimes! :) But it has a beehive in the design, so that makes me very happy.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Life's a Stitch

Finished my tiny pincushion today and it's all wrapped up and ready to go out in the mail tomorrow. :) Hope it gets where it's going in time.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Baby steps

Well, I'm sure that all six of you who read my blog :D will be delighted to know that I am back working on something again. I'm actually only finishing a previously-stitched project as a small pincushion, so nothing major, but hey, that counts, right? It needs to go out in the mail for someone's birthday soon, so I better get crackin'!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Truth be told

I haven't stitched a single stitch for over a month, and thus have barely updated here. Mostly I'd been preparing for my recent Chicago trip and have had other concerns on my mind unconducive to pondering linen and floss. And on the occasions when my thoughts did turn to stitching my hands were not cooperating.

I hope I do better now that it is September.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Art Institute of Chicago

While I was on vacation in Chicago last week I paid a brief visit to the Art Institute. Although I didn't have much time to wander I did snap a few pics of some of the highlights and other things I found interesting. I hope to go back some day and spend far more time exploring the Windy City. :)

Monday, August 17, 2009

A few earrings for fun

Made these simple earrings this weekend. The ones on the right are for my niece, and are a copy of one of my own favorite pairs.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Did a little beading this weekend

I now have a new scissors fob ready for when my stork embroidery scissors magically show up again. If indeed they ever do! Sort of a case of shutting the barn door after the horse has escaped, but I live in hope. :)

Friday, August 14, 2009

I've lost my stork scissors

They've been missing for about three weeks now. This is not the end of the world, I know. I have plenty of other regular scissors lying around the house (some might say too many, there's a pair in practically every room), which all usable and perfectly capable of snipping strands of cotton floss. And I'm sure my scissors will show up eventually, hiding between the couch cushions or tucked away in a craft box where I probably placed them momentarily and then just forgot about them. I just miss them. Stitching is not the same without them.

And of course I keep thinking that if I'd attached a simple scissors fob to them I wouldn't be suffering this loss in the first place. *smacks self upside the head*

Perhaps I should go and make a beaded fob right now in the hopes that the scissors will magically return to see what all the fuss is about.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Decisions, decisions

Can't decide whether or not to break down and purchase this lovely little cross-stitch chart called "My Hearth & Home" from With Thy Needle and Thread. The sweet design really appeals to me, but I have so many other charts waiting to be done...and I swore I wasn't going to spend any money on new charts for a bit.

Oh, the agony...

Monday, August 3, 2009

I love postcards!

I got a lovely postcard from Hastings, East Sussex today where sis is currently vacationing, and I thought I would share a photo of how I display my favorite vintage Florida postcards. These hang in my front hallway.

I am not an avid collector, I just pick up the occasional card here and there when I see one I like. I guess it's the graphic designer in me! I do enjoy finding vintage cards from places I have actually visited or lived.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Happiness is Cross Stitching Anniversary Giveaway

It's always a delightful surprise to me when someone announces a giveaway on their blog! Lynn at Happiness is Cross-Stitching is giving away some very pretty things to celebrate the first anniversary of her blog. When I read about such generous people I wonder if I will manage to make it to a year of blogging myself. :)

Here is a picture of Lynn's first place prize which includes: a Box decorated with her own cross stitch design (the free pattern will be available to download when she return from her holidays); Coffee pot and cup; Rose pins; Heart shaped ornament with Swarovski crystal trim; Scissor fob with Swarovski crystals stitched 1 over 1. What an amazing assortment of goodies!


Stumbled across the fascinating Unearthed website today, a unique mix of one-of-a-kind finds of all sorts: architectural, vintage and industrial objects for home, office and garden. It's an excellent place for a browse and a peep into the past, both near and far.

I had no clue what this item was until I read its description: apparently it's a late-1800s Convent Door Brass Peep Hole! See if any of Unearthed's currently available nicely refurbished items can surprise you!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

I have had no time for stitching this week

...and that feels kind of sad. The few times I've sat down and picked up a project it was so rainy or gloomy out that there was insufficient light to work, and I just had to put it back down. Also been spending a lot of time on the computer for my day job and by evening I don't often feel like continuing to work with my hands for long periods of time.

I guess we all go through stages where even our hobbies become chores temporarily. I always think it's better to stop for a while rather than work on a project when I don't really feel in the mood.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Real life is getting in the way again

I've not had much time for stitching this week and my hands have been acting up, so I am hoping next week will be better. Anyway, here's a pic of me and my mom from this weekend.

Unlike a lot of other stitchers' family histories, my mother's never been very interested in the crafty side of life. In fact, she loves to joke about my affinity for "arts and crap". *rolls eyes* Ho, ho, mom's such a card. As a matter of fact, she did a lot of tatting back in the 1940s, making collars and cuffs to embellish her dresses. I think she had quite enough of "use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without" in her day, and doesn't really understand the point of stitching for pleasure.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Mary Wigham progress

Not a lot of progress this weekend, but I offer an amusing aside. We are supposed to be recreating this heirloom sampler exactly as it was stitched 220 years ago, flaws and all, yet I find myself fighting an uncontrollable desire to correct the pattern, and losing! Forgive me, Mary Wigham, but I want your medallions to be as perfect as possible and I can't control my inner neat freak. :) Besides, it's fun seeing if I can get all the various arrangements to fit correctly in the end. I can imagine that adjustments were made by the original stitchers as they went along, so in a sense I feel I am doing the same thing, thus making this sampler a little bit my own as well.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

"It's the challenge that's the fun"

I didn't have time to tour the Lunder Conservation Center at the Smithsonian American Art Museum during my last Washington, DC visit, but I will definitely make it a top priority next time. There are some really cool treatment videos from their various labs on the website, here is just one from the Paintings Lab.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Mary Wigham begins

It's true I've just started stitching on the Mary Wigham sampler – you can see I've only completed about an inch square! LOL But I think it will be a fun project for me, I know I will enjoy working the individual medallions in solitary colors. I've chosen 40-count Lambswool Linen to stitch on and am using the DMC colors as charted.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Art is everywhere you go!

While enjoying the Village of the Arts Artwalk on July 3rd I commented to my companion that some of the artwork at Divine Excess looked similar to folk art pieces I had seen at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in DC (one of my favorite places in the world, btw). And, sure enough, I found several pieces by one of the featured artists at Divine Excess (Mr. Imagination) on the SAAM site!

I was also highly impressed by several of the other artists displayed at at Divine Excess, including the amusing assemblage figures of Melissa Menzer. You can see some of her delightful artwork here. :-)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Starting Mary Wigham

I am very pleased to have started stitching on the Ackworth School "Mary Wigham" sampler today. Situated near Pontefract in Yorkshire in the North of England, Ackworth School was built to be a foundling hospital, but in 1779 a school was founded there by Sir John Fothergill. Mary Wigham was a girl from the region who attended Ackworth between 1788-1791. Her piece is important for the history of the samplers as it is the first known with medallions.

Mary Wigham worked her sampler in 1790 – almost 220 years ago! Her sampler is under the care and conservation of the School, and Needleprint is releasing a section of the chart every week via download so that needleworkers everywhere will be able to complete Mary's breath-taking sampler for themselves. Six of the nine sections have been released thus far, but I am only just starting it today, so I look forward to happy stitching for many weeks to come!

Home of a Needleworker finish

Finally completed my own "Home of a Needleworker" this weekend. The birdie is a plump little chap now, as I frogged and restitched him so that he would fit and balance better, and I added a couple of bumblebees "just because". I'll have to set this aside until I can make a frame for it, but I'm pleased to have finished at last. :-)

Little House Needleworks "Home of a Needleworker"
22-ct. Off-white Aida, DMC floss as charted
Stitch count: 193W x 97H
Start 6/21/09 - finish 07/11/o09

Friday, July 10, 2009

July Stitch-A-Long (SAL)

Joined the July SAL on Facebook just for the heck of it, and in hopes that participating will motivate me to finish my sampler which is almost, but not quite done. I only have a little bit more to do and then I can start on my next project! So, barring any additional CTS problems I hope to get some serious stitching done this weekend.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Taking a little break

Still haven't finished Home of a Needleworker yet. Promised myself to finish this past weekend, but despite my best efforts (or perhaps because of them!) my carpal tunnel problems kicked in a somewhat and I had to give my hands a rest yesterday. As soon as I get back to normal I hope to finish up this little project. It has taken me rather longer than I thought it would to stitch, but I have enjoyed every minute.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Village of the Arts Friday ArtWalk

Some photos from yesterday's ArtWalk in Bradenton, FL. The first shows my friend Vicki Rollo in her beautiful Heart's Desire shop with encaustic mixed media artist Carolyn Campeau. Vicki is a fabulous jewelry designer whose work incorporates semi-precious stones, freshwater pearls, Bali silver and beads from around the world. Her shop also carries a marvlous assortment of women's fashions and accessories, ceramics, paintings, fused glass, and metalwork from local and national artists.

My friend Sandy and I visited several shops in the Village and I took snaps of some of the various eclectic shops in the Village, including Clay in the Garden's artist Jo-Ellen Gorris, who sculpts whimsical three-dimensional clay characters (those are her ceramic chess pieces and her very friendly kitties!), and Bits & Pieces quilt shop owner/artist Linda Bronkema. And the colorful animal-adorned bricks were lining the the walkways of the very funky and fun Divine Excess shop.