Monday, September 22, 2014

OMG, I've never been busier....


Mercy stitchers, I barely have time to change my underwear...which is going to be impossible if my washer doesn't get here soon.  As you may remember my dryer had a complete failure in the summer, probably early July.  But I'm old school (I'm so old I use to help my mother do hotel towels in a wringer washer back in the 60's, now who remembers those), anyway, when presented with the loss of a dryer I just said, "no problem, I'll go old school."  I just didn't want to deal with delivery, etc., in the summer.  So I'd do a load and because my next door neighbor has taken over my small backyard with his crap, I have no where to hang anything except in the house.  So I put a wooden drying rack on my enclosed front porch and I'd hang slacks and shirts on the shower rod to dry and everything else went on the wooden rack.  This worked fine, except I had to iron everything, but still it was just going to be temporary so I said, what the heck.  I can handle anything.  But around the first of September my washing machine died.  Oh, no, I'm not so old school I'm beating my clothes on a rock in the ocean so I started the search.  Since I'm 66 I figure any large appliance, car, whatever is going to be the last I ever have to buy before checking out.  So I started the process of reading reviews of name brand machines.  And if you have done that lately you know that everything is absolute crap.  Lasts barely long enough to get the new smell off of it.  I just can't see spending $1000 on a washing machine that will break within 5 years.  I don't want low flow (sorry I need water to wash), don't want computer chips which keep failing, I want a machine that fills with water and then agitates to clean what I put in it.  So I kept searching and came across reviews for Speed Queen.  Just about everyone said the same thing...great machines, no bells or whistles, but does the job and lasts.  So I search and order from who knows where.  And the wait began.  They were suppose to delivery today, but here I sit at 4:01 p.m. and still no sign, meanwhile I haven't done a wash since the first of September...yes, that was over 2 weeks ago.  I'm pulling on clothes I haven't worn in years, at this point I don't give a damn if anything matches.  Thank God I'm an underwear hoarder because I still have a weeks supply, but I can't go out in my underwear.  I swear if I have to haul my over 2 weeks of laundry to the hotel someone will pay.  The girls even offered to come get it, but that isn't the point is it?  Then starting the day after Labor Day, we started homeschooling Michael, the 13 year old grandson.  He lost focus last year and while his grades were still alright, we felt he needed a little more focus and hands on teaching.  Since I am not allowed to do it alone, Sara and I are doing it together.  Another ridiculous rule by the schoolboard.  Honestly, what sense does that make.  While Sara also went through college, what if she was a high school drop out, would she be the best person to be his teacher or would a person who went through college.  Common sense people, the people who are in charge need to get some.  Anyway, I'm allowed to help, so that's how we are handling it.  But I'm all in this and I'm doing lesson plans, homework (I have to make sure I can do what I'm telling him he has to do), so I'm working 4-5 hrs a day in prep work and then we work with Michael from 9:00 to 1:30.  So it's concentrated learning, but we can move quicker because it's just one student.  So far it's working well, but it is really kicking me in the ass.  And the lack of stitching is driving me crazy.  I'm so far behind I almost feel like giving up.  Thankfully my skate park duties are slowing down.  So last week I was home 2 nights and Saturday....whoppee!  With it getting darker on the nights I take Solomon and Michael now (its part of his phys.ed) we also get home around 7:30 instead of 9:00.  Anyway, that's why I haven't blogged in a while or worked on the web site or done anything else except homework and skateboard sitting.  Now as you can see I've finished stitching the pieces for the wooden tote.  You see thread dangling because I still have to add a pumpkin button to the Boo piece which is going to be a needlebook.  The tiny pumpkin piece is the front of the fob and of course the long piece  goes on the tote.  These designs are all on one Shepherd's Bush chart, "Halloween Trifles"....fabulous.  I'll show you this finished as soon as we get the black Weeks wool which is going to back it.  Can't wait.  Then many of you have probably started part 2 in the "Something Wicked" by SamSarah Designs, or perhaps have finished it.  I did start one of the sunflowers and I have just begun the banner, but I just haven't had the time because I needed a gift so of course, that takes precedent.  In the meantime, new kits are arriving in the mail...can't wait to start them, and the charts coming into the shop are fabulous...oh, my when will I find the time.  There must be a school holiday coming soon....Anyway, I wanted to touch base so you know I'm fine, just having trouble organizing my time.  I hope to get this straightened out soon.  And we're getting ready for the Delaware Valley Sampler Guild Retreat and then Stitcher's Jamboree.  Oh, boy....I'm exhausted just thinking about it, but looking forward to seeing you all again.  Have a great week.  Hope you are finding time to stitch


Friday, September 12, 2014

Wonderful Stitching Weekend....


Our stitchers started to arrive on Thursday last week for the Jackie DuPlessis weekend but the airlines kept Amy Wilson wondering if she was ever going to arrive.  She was due in on Thursday, but due to glitches with the airlines she didn't get here until Friday.  Thankfully she arrived with a smile on her face and a shopping bag filled to the brim with some of her finished stitching.  Debbie Liming was the last to arrive, due to her daughter's wedding which took place on Saturday.  Determined not to miss a class she arrived on Sunday around noon.  So Sunday, the last day of classes everyone was here and in place.  We also had our glitches, like a reception that never took place.  When Mary sent out the confirmations she said there would be a reception on Friday night, but due to my homeschooling Michael I'm not working in the shop at all anymore and by this time of year we are down to a skeleton crew with workers going ba to school, etc.  Therefore, Sara was working the shop until closing so there was no way for us to do the reception.  Thankfully, everyone understood and didn't mind us having a small reception in the shop on Saturday night.  So all in all, everything went well.  The weather cooperated by not storming, however, we had the hottest Saturday of the summer...91 degrees at the skatepark (let's face it, I live there at this point).  But Sunday it dropped to 71 and a breeze kicked up so it wckas really pleasant.  Of course after that the the storm was suppose to roll in and we were definitely suppose to get wet.  But that's O.K. because that would take me off park duty after school....whoppee!!!  Back to stitching.  With park duty and homeschooling, my stitching time is really down.  By the time I'm out of the park after homeschooling it's around 7:30-8:00 p.m. and to tell you the truth all I want to do is sleep, so I try to pick up my stitching I only get a few stitches in.  But I did manage to finish one of the designs of the new Shepherd's Bush, "Halloween Trifles" chart.  There are actually three charts, Halloween, Boo & Eek.  Since I intend to make another carrier (Like the Gathering of sheep, by Chessie & Me that was attached to the wooden carrier tote) I will be stitching all 3 designs on this chart (when does that ever happen?).  So I've started Eek which will be the scissor fob and Boo will be a needlebook.  So cute.   Fun stitch.  But nothing compared to the stitching brought for show and tell by Amy Wilson.  OMG...unbelievable.  She brought the "Mermaids Needlework Treasures" by Amy Mitten...I've loved this piece since I saw it so for me to get to see it in person and finished...unbelievable.  That for me was the crowning glory, although it was almost a tie with Hampton Court which everyone here had watched being built stitch by stitch by Amy over the course of several weeks.  Stunning, simply Stunning.  She also brought the Jackie DuPlessis piano, which is unbelievable.  Really, every piece she pulled out of that bag was gorgeous.  Project after project we were able to pick up and really look at it closely.  Both the stitching and the finishing were flawless.  It just makes you want to stitch faster and better.  And since it rained 2 nights this week, no skatepark,  I was able to get in some stitch time after school....so I was actually able to get all three designs done on the chart.  But I'll show you the complete finished set another day, but the picture here is of the one design that I'll be putting on the front of the carrier.  This is bike week here in Ocean City so the town in full to overflowing with the bikers.  This year is going to be a challenge for them as we've had the most rain we've had all summer this week and it's raining right now and it's suppose to rain tomorrow so I'm not sure what that means for their riding...not much fun in the rain, but I'm hoping they get some ride time in since that's what they are in town for.  Anyway, I'll try to check in with you tomorrow...after all it's the weekend, although that means I'm usually babysitting or park sitting, but I'll try.  Have a great weekend.

Friday, August 29, 2014


A finish at last....I finally finished "The Gathering Sheep" which is the kit from the Chessie & Me Club.  I had already shown you the tote and fob, but I decided to add to the needlebook and hadn't finished that until 3:00 a.m. this morning.  I got home around 8:30 p.m. from my skatepark duties last night and I don't understand why, but I was too exhausted to stitch.  I mean it's not as if I was doing the skating, but apparently sitting in the car, and walking out to the bleachers to watch once, is just too exhausting for me and I wanted to finish the book I was reading so I didn't even stitch while sitting in the car.  Hence the 3:00 a.m. finish.  I love the inside though and it turned out perfect for me.  The way it  was suppose to be done was with nothing inside, just the black weeks wool stitched to the front.  But it was just too plain for me so I came up with the needle pages and a pocket, all nun stitched and then attached to the wool (2nd picture).   I made a flap on the pocket and stitched a lamb over one taken from the cover and the year finished and my initials.  The first picture is the front of the needlebook and the right picture is the back of the book.  Love it!  One project done, unfortunately for me though, Shepherds Bush new pieces came in yesterday so this morning since  I had to work for Sara an hour while she did battle with PNC, I added 4 more kits to my ever growing stash.  I had to add the Autumn Box since the Winter Box and Summer Box are already at the framers.  When I pick those up I want to drop off Autumn and Spring so the collection will be complete.  Thankfully those pieces only take one night and school starts soon so hopefully my skatepark duties are coming to an end.  The skaters  are great fun to watch, especially Solomon who works hard to accomplish each trick he sees the older guys do.  And you see this skinny little 7 year old flying around the park, dropping in from an 8 ft. ledge, well it's pretty amazing and the older kids encourage him and cheer him on.  You hear so much about mean kids, but let me tell you that is not the case at a skatepark.  No one makes fun of the kids just learning, or the fat kid standing there....they are welcoming and encouraging to one and all. Color me shocked!    Anyway, as the season slowly ebbs down, we're gearing up for our Jackie Duplessis class next weekend and then it's on to the Delaware Sampler Guild retreat and our Jamboree in October...where did the summer go?  Fall is always such a nice time to stitch though, either inside by the fire or outside in the sun with cooler temps.  Yes, it's always the season for stitching.  Have a wonderful day and I'll be checking back with you.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

New finish.....means another start....oh my!


 
New day-more stitching, and also more skatepark duty so I'm not getting as much stitching done as I thought I should....but still I'm stitching so it's all good here.  I was done with the stitching on the Chessie &  Me Club piece, and as you can see I got the carrier finished and the scissor fob, but couldn't get the needlebook done because I just felt it was missing something.  So I've been making up extra pieces to stitch to the inside of the needlebook and while they are completely done, as of last night, I still have to put it together.  Hopefully that will take place today.    But I love the carrier and fob.  We carry the carrier's in the shop and I'm going to try using some of the Blue Ribbon Design charts, like "Autumn Sampler to make another set.  This is one of the designs which can be stitched whole as a sampler or you can take the design apart to be used for needlebooks, fobs, etc.  I'm excited once I latch onto an idea and I've used her designs before for things similar to this so I know I can do it.  YEAH!!!!  The other picture shows a present that showed up on my door last week.  It was a complete surprise and I feel remiss that I haven't  shown it before, but between 7 hours a day at the skate park and Izi-sitting...well, I'm usually home and ready to do something around 8:45pm  and by then I'm done, a couple of stitches and then napping.   But Solomon and Izi are in school next week so I won't have to do as much park sitting or Izi sitting, but I have taken on another job which will require quite a bit of my time, but I'll probably talk about it later.  Back to my new strawberry.  It was sent to me by Greg McCord as a birthday gift  I just love it and have added it to my collection of strawberries (so far I have 2..that's still a collection isn't it?)  It was beautifully made, stuffed well, and I love the little lace topper.  Thanks so much Greg....I love it.  And Greg, we miss you down here.  I ask for you whenever I see the girls so they sometimes give me info and other times haven't seen you so perhaps you can give us updates through e-mail or facebook.  Anyway, the summer is coming to an end which always brings mixed emotions down here.  While we're excited to have cooler temperatures (not snow, but fall temps in the low 70's and 60's), and no more night hours, we do miss the excitement of summer.  Fall and winter are so laid back down here.   I told you in the last blog that I started the over one by Blackberry Designs...haven't worked on it since.  And had the nerve to start a new series...."Frosty Forest" by Country Cottage....there are 12 designs total and the entire series can be stitched as one piece which Sara liked a lot, so of course I had her cut the fabric and then I hunted for the fibers in my bins and I started it last night in between the final nun stitches on the Gathering Sheep piece.  Since that stitching is done, I needed another over 2 start.  It's easier to stitch at the skateboard park.   Anyway, as you all know the industry just had a market in St. Charles (I think).  We can't leave the businesses in the summer so we didn't get to go....darn it!  But of course the new charts and needlework accessories are arriving in the shop daily....this is the most fun of all...opening boxes and discovering the treasures.  And, of course, there is always something in those boxes I have to have.  I'm trying to choose wisely, but you know how that goes.  It's a good thing I only work a couple of days a week or I'd bring home everything, but as it is I tend to forget to check all the nooks and crannies and don't see everything when I'm there.  Jenn Ryan has been in a couple of times and she showed me a picture of the new Lone Elm Halloween piece which has the skeleton walking the dog which is also just a skeleton....so funny..you know I'll have to have that.  Sara is gearing up for the Jackie DuPlessis class happening in about a week...or a little more than a week.  Thank God there was no pre-stitch or I'd be further behind on my stitching than I am now.  And many have reported in on the Jamboree pre-stitch.  Things are going well for many of the stitchers and their pre-stitch is finished in plenty of time.  For those of you who haven't finished....just keep plugging along you still have a little over a month to keep stitching.  I've got to end here to finish my Gathering Sheep needlebook.  Hope I have it to show tomorrow.  Have a great day.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Loving the new mystery sampler.....fun stitch!


Love the new SamSarah Designs "Something Wicked" mystery sampler.  At first I wasn't sure I would be stitching this one, but when I saw the line drawing, I was hooked.  It was the harvest moon that did it for me, and I simply couldn't wait to start this piece so while I should have been putting the finishing stitches on my many projects in the works I threw all caution to the wind and just thought I'd put a few stitches in but in the end, I couldn't stop stitching it, so   last week I finished the first chart and am now waiting to receive the next section.  I have never been so thrilled with an overdye as I was with the Honeysuckle used in the moon.  The varigation is perfect and the coloring is what you see in pictures of the moon with gas clouds and what not.  And the way the branches are stitched and then wrapped....perfection.  The branches, when stitched that way, sit on top of the fabric and are rounded as opposed to flat backstitch and are more realistic.  Because of this wrapping I'm now stitching a lot of my backstitches this way.  I'm going to the framers today and because I like to take multiple projects to be framed I quickly stitched Shepherds Bush's "Summer Box" and "Winter Box."  Summer Box has a flag pole on it and I wrapped it as it's perfect.  I never realized how much better things that are round would look with this wrapped backstitch until now.  Give it a try and see what you think.  Anyway, I'm driving myself nuts with all the projects I've got in the works.  I think I told you "Gathering of Sheep" is finished and now on to the construction, which shouldn't be that hard, but oh, this is so not in my wheel house.  I love to stitch but finishing....well it's making me a nervous wreck, but I shall proceed with caution and pray for the best.  To make matters worse, I actually had the nerve to start a new project this morning.  It's Blackberry Lane's "Witches Night Out" and I've taken on the challenge of the large banner.  The good thing is....it uses only black...the bad thing....it's another over one.  And I have to do it over one because I love the banner holder it uses.  The top piece is a witches hat and the bottom part of the holder are the witches feet...so cute.  I really don't even think I'll have this done before Halloween this year, I've decided to just work on it a little bit, hopefully each day, and not stress about getting it done in my usual timeline.  In fact my time line has been shot in the foot this year.  In the past I put a 5 week deadline on any project.  No matter how large, 5 weeks was all I had.  On larger projects that was stressful at times, but I always made it.  Now I've been working or not working,  in some cases just opening the zippered pouch and closing it daily, but some have been sitting here for months.  Of course in the last month I've been on skakepark duty and this past week on Izi detail.  The good news....I finally tried out the DVD player that came in the dashboard of my new car and it works beautifully, unfortunately I kept forgetting the DVD's so I haven't actually used it because... since I figured it out I've been on Izi duty at my house.  Last night was spent putting nerf bullets in 4 guns and letting Izi fire them at the T.V.  When he thankfully got tired of that....I then had to pick most of the bullets up as Izi pointed them out to me.  I figure I can call that my exercise for the day.  Then it was time to settle down and watch Lego movies on his I Pad....and finally at about 8:30 Mary showed up to collect him.  I put in about 20 stitches on one of my projects and was too exhausted to do anything else but watch T.V.  I was disappointed in myself...missed a golden opportunity to stitch except everything is over one...I've got to start an over 2 project for these tired nights.    Love being a grandmother, but it's exhausting.  Talk to you soon

Monday, August 11, 2014


A finish....it's so exciting when I finish something not only because I've finished, but it means I get to pick something else for the rotation.  But first I did make a couple of changes (surprise, surprise) to "Seaside Summer Alphabet" from Little House Needleworks.  I changed one line ...Ocean City, Md. obviously wasn't part of the original design..."Seaside Summer" were the original words on the chart.  I just wanted to personalize it for our area.  And Ocean City fit right in so why not.  Remember, while the design was great....you can always add or subtract something and make it your own.  And that's exactly what I did.  Love it  Then I looked in my unfinished box and pulled out Drawn Thread's "Give Thanks" and will get it done in time for Thanksgiving.  Not much out there for that particular event, so I'm trying to boost my Thanksgiving pieces.  I like a statement for each holiday which means multiple pieces to represent the holiday.  I love this Drawn Thread piece because the stitches she uses make the finished piece look lacey in places and delicate....by using different stitches.  There are 18 different stitches used, in addition to cross stitch and she suggests NPI and Dinky Dye silks.  I loved working on this and only put it away earlier when I needed something else stitched first.  Then we got the Sam Sarah Mystery Sampler for Halloween in and I think it's going to be a winner.  Love, love, love the first part of the design.  While I can't post a picture as we don't have one, and I won't post a chart, I have posted the line drawing for the button placement, because I think it gives you a great idea of what we're going to see.  Love the big moon, and it's actually what sold me on this.   I've done a few of these mystery samplers and while I love them, I'm always leary of mystery stitching.  But I'm taking the plunge again and I'll be starting "Something Wicked" soon.  Well, it will enter the rotation soon because Shepherds Bush "The Fold" is on it's final lettering  and the Traveling Quaker Roll is down to my name stitched on so that's 2 more that will be done this week.  Yes, it's a good week for finishing.  I love it when a plan comes together.  We didn't get a lot of new designs in last week, although 2014 Prairie Schooler Santa finally arrived, thankfully since it's been on everyone's list for the last 2 months.  But with the needlework show next week I think the designers are waiting for that to put their new charts in the marketplace.  I've seen a lot of new being shown, just not delivered yet.  So we have great things just a couple of weeks away. 

Things are hectic down here as we gear up for the end of summer.  Kids will be going back to school soon so everyone is trying to get in their final days at the beach so the town is busy, busy, busy.  Betsy Cole and her niece, Sarah, have rented a couple of units at the hotel so they will be here for the week.  Always fun to have regulars here so we can discuss stitching.  I love to see what everyone is working on.  And since we get the "string buyers" in daily, to speak with stitchers who know it's DMC or Threadgathers, or whichever brand is refreshing.  Needless to say we're grateful for every buyer, but it's really nice not to have to explain everything.  The other week I had a visitor in the shop and she and her husband picked up a hand painted canvas, brought it up and started asking questions about what you used to stitch it, etc.  She finally mentioned that she had never stitched anything before which made me say, "while I realize you like the scene on the canvas, it is hand painted and is not what I would suggest for a beginner."  She misunderstood and thought I was telling her she wasn't capable.  But when I corrected her and said she could do it, I just felt that spending $150.00 for a canvas for needlepoint, which in the end she may not enjoy, was not the way to go.  Of course then I had to explain why it costs $150.00 and in the end they walked out without buying anything.  I explained that there was needlepoint that wasn't hand painted at a much lower price point, and then there's counted cross stitch which is really reasonable, but once they saw that canvas that was all they focused of.  That's why I love stitchers.  While they may be horrified at the cost of a tool, canvas, or a kit, they move on and I don't have to explain anything.  And a stitcher can usually find something they need (O.K. perhaps not need but want).  Anyway, if you need me I'll be in the shop this morning....so I'll be talking to you.
 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Excitement mounts as I close in on the finish.  I finally decided to just get it done and so I worked on the redesign on the Shepherds Fold and moved the skeps and added the fence to match the other side and I'm thrilled with it.  Of course I still have to come up with something that will fill the void on the right side over the fence, but that's a minor point at this point.  Now I have to do my lettering and the final elements and this could be done today....yeah!!!!!  Finally !  Now all I have to do is the fob and I've caught up on this one project.  I worked on the final pieces of the Traveling Quaker Roll and for some reason as I was Nun Stitching the needlebook I never held it up to look at it and when I got done on one side I realized I was off, so....another rip out.  Honestly, it's almost laughable, if it wasn't over 1 on 40 ct.  But I spent a couple of hours putting it in and then 1/2 hr tearing it out and then of course, the time it took to restitch it correctly.  Brother, it's exhausting.  Sara called me last night to ask questions about the spring clamp clothes pins I showed the other day on the blog.  Apparently we had a few people contact the shop about these.  We do not carry them, they were a gift to me from Carol Wentzel, however, I have researched the clamps (of course I threw the packaging away or this would have been a lot easier) and found them on Amazon.  If you google "Spring Clamp Clothes pin " it will bring up several items.. you are looking for Amico's 8 pcs. plastic Assorted Colors Clothespins Clothes Pegs Clips.  But I also saw the ones right under it, Angle Simple Stainless Steel Clothes pins that also look promising.   Before I purchased either one I would check anyone who sells clothes pins though because they might be in a store right in your own home town.  But if, like me, it's about instant gratification....just order one of these.  Last night I had the absolute worst  catastrophe (at least for me).  I turned on my magnifier lamp and it flickered, which I ignored, stitched for a couple of minutes when it flickered again, oh, no....and then it went off.  Crap!  Luckily I had a Dazor table lamp in the stitching room so I set it up next to my stitching chair (also known as my sofa) in the living room and I was back in business.    Now I have to remember to bring another floor lamp home from the shop.  I love a floor lamp.  The one I had was on borrowed time and I knew it.  The switch broke last year and I've been turning it on and off  by the power cord...what a pain since my phone plugs in there as well and I never remembered that when the cord was turned off my phone was not charging.  You would think after one time I'd remember that....but no....this was a lesson I had to learn repeatedly.  I'm blaming it on age.  Anyway, I'm back to stitching.  Having a great time and I hope it never ends.  I do have a question though, if people don't stitch what do they do with all that free time?  Talk to you soon.