Friday, September 28, 2018

Event season is upon us...everyone is too busy for words....

Mary is not only manning the front desk, but she's also housekeeping as well, when our 2 final housekeepers are overwhelmed, taking care of the office...etc, etc, etc.  Sara is going nuts ordering, mail orders, shop schedules, etc,  now that we've lost so much of our shop help and of course taking shifts while fitting in food prep on items that can be done early and frozen.  The men are busy staying out off our way, and helping out when we need them and what am I doing to help?  I'm staying home so I'm not in anyone's way.  I have been feverishly trying to get models stitched and finished along with a few other fun items I love making.  But it is a mad house all over.   My dining room table isn't even visible as I have cutting mats, ribbons, fabric, craft supplies strew across it....honestly even I can't wait to put all this stuff back where it should go.  Now I'll show you some of what I've been working on.   First of all I finished Erica Michael's, "Scary Berry" done on linen (I used PTP Helix).  Many of you have seen the adorable 40 ct. gauze Scary Berry Stasi Buhrman stitched which is seriously detailed, a lot more than the linen one and while I love it...I didn't have the stamina or time to get it done before the events.  My hope is that Stasi gets hers finished and brings it with her for show and tell,  because if I had the time to choose I would have chosen the gauze piece because of the detail, however, that being said, I do love all the berries and will enjoy seeing mine now that's it together.  Linda put cute BOO charms on the top of hers, but I didn't have those so I put a black ribbon on the top to hang my berry and I brought the ribbon through a small pumpkin I had, just to give it that little extra (shown on top of the berry in the second picture.  Can't wait to do another one.  Looking at the second picture I noticed it looks like an ice cream cone with a little pumpkin on top instead of a cherry.  Or maybe not!

 



The next picture is "The Cat and the Moon" by Brenda Gervais.  I started this on 40 count Italian linen (40 ct. is what was the suggested linen) however after 15 minutes of stitching on the Italian linen, which seems really dense to me, I said the hell with it and was struggling to figure out what I could do with it if I stitched on a larger count.  I was thinking a tart pan, ornament and then it hit me.  I decided to use 20 count linen and stitch over 1...so much easier and it comes out the same size.  Since it was over one, I used 2 strands of the floss called for and had it finished in no time.  Love it!  I was a little concerned about the finishing of this however.  So I started gathering supplies.  I knew I wouldn't use crepe paper but felt I could use ribbon or fabric, and then saw someone else on Facebook used ribbon so off to Michaels I went.  They had all their Halloween merchandise out and 40% off so it was a win for me.  It took me forever to pick a ribbon and wasn't sure I would like it until I put it on the pot.  While she called for a peat pot to be used, but I walked into my laundry room and was searching for something (I didn't find that), but looked up and saw a 3" clay pot from who knows where, I simply can't force myself to throw stuff away because I am certain I will use it someday....and this proves my point (that's my story and I'm sticking to it.)  When I finally sat down to finish, I started with the double stick tape on the inside of the pot.  I  gathered the ribbon by pulling on the wired edge on one side and it worked perfectly.  So wire on the bottom which I left alone and gathered the fabric on the top on the wire.  The double stick tape didn't work and I was too lazy to get the hot glue gun so I used the thick white glue that was already in the dining room.  Worked fine.  Then I got out Brenda's directions and realized I had cut the fabric short on part of the circle of fabric....why God do I do this just about everytime.  I never learn.  She gathered the linen after stuffing the piece and used a rubber band around the bottom which wouldn't show as it would be inside the pot.  I gathered the bottom and used my carpet thread wrapped around the bottom and then stuffed it in the pot.  At first it was just to see how much smaller I needed to make it....but after looking at it I said, DONE!!  So it's just stuck in there.  The only thing about my finishing is I can never get all the creases out of this type of finish. If I gather around a matboard circle I cut, I can get a perfect finish, but if no matboard is used directly under the stitched piece, it's a crap shoot.  And the matboard on this piece has quite a bit of polyfil on top so it can be used as a pin cushion.   But I love the piece, think the finish is cute and believe it or not, I can enjoy it without stressing too much over the creases.  So the second picture gives you the view from the side and the clay pot.  I did not make a handle, because I think it's so cute without it and although I was in Home Depot, I decided my version doesn't need the handle.  I topped it off with a couple of specialty pins. a Jack-O-Lantern and a pumpkin, which you can see on the top right corner of the picture and I've shown them at the end of this blog for a good look.  



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The next project was  already stitched but I wasn't able to put it together until I painted the spool. This is the Hands on Design "Wild Salt Air:"  I showed the tray, etc. in my last blog .  As is often the case with my do-it- myself projects, this didn't go well.  I purchased two different blues which were the only 2 at Michaels that I thought would come close.  Neither of them did!    Sara suggested I just take navy and white, mix them and go with that, but that would not have worked because the blue of the tray actually has gray in it I think.  So I decided to take midnight blue, add it to a little white to get a gray and then add that to the blue.  I gathered my paints and when I went to add the white it was just a solid mass, but not hard yet.  So I dug a blob out, got some warm water and started the process of slowly getting it liquid enough to add it to the midnight blue and then added in the lightest blue.  Finally it was close enough I could finish the spool.  While I'm certain I could have done better, I wasn't able to get to Michaels and of course I was ready to finish the project come hell or high water.  Project done....close enough.  White paint on my list for my next Michael's run.



After finishing the Cat and the Moon pin cushion, I thought about pins for it.  Every pin cushion needs fabulous pins to anchor it.  I happy to have just made a couple of pins using small jack-o-lanterns and pumpkins and deemed them perfect for this piece.  Yeah!  


And now I must move on to finish more projects.  I'm almost done with another Heartstring Samplery  piece, Festive Fobs-Beekeeper Edition.  Can't wait to show you and I picked up the latest Halloween Short Stack from Hands on Design....oh, yes I'm very busy in anticipation of our events.  Today I'm going in to the shop to see the stitchers from The Tangles Group who are having their own retreat this week in Ocean City right down the boardwalk from us (so they can walk here anytime they feel like it).  So Vera will be in the house today....we welcome all the stitchers and love to see what they are all working on.  I'll be busy meeting and greeting during the day and working feverishly on stitching for the Delaware Guild who has their retreat next weekend at the hotel and the weekend after that is our Fall Retreat here so I don't have a minute to lose.  Have a great weekend and I hope you area able to put needle to linen or aida too.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

To my southern friends, stitchers and shop owners,

I have been thinking of you for days, praying that you come through the devastation of Florence and emerge on the other side of it victorious, a little wet perhaps, but moving forward, getting the clean up behind you and opening the doors to a new week of sunshine.  You have a lot of friends praying for you and cheering you on as your get your homes and businesses put back in working order.  So keep you head up and know we are there in spirit if not in person wishing you the best. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Well another fabulous weekend with Jackie DuPlessis

A huge Thank You to all the stitchers and Jackie DuPlessis for the fabulous weekend we had at Salty Yarns.  It's always exciting for us when events are coming up.  There is such a flurry of activity with Mary getting the rooms and apartments ready (with a real lack of workers as most of the foreign staff have returned to their home countries), so Mary has to help housekeeping and of course Sara has been on high alert for a month getting supplies for goodie bags, making sure the shop is fully supplied and the men....well they are on stand by in case we need them.  And then there I am, home stitching like there is no tomorrow and finishing to get new models in the shop.  Friday finally arrived, with temperatures in the 90's making it hard to breath and function, but the stitchers started arriving in high spirits because they knew Jackie was going to be teaching them fabulous new projects.  While I was told to stay home, I wasn't needed (this was just a tad hurtful, since I have been at every event working we have ever done) Shiela Fitzhugh and Bud were here all week (she was not an attendee for the event) and she sent me a text asking if I  was going to be at the hotel at all as she wanted to see me and show me what she had been working on.  She always does such beautiful work and large projects...I wouldn't want to miss seeing what she had completed,  so I told Sara I would be there on Friday but not to work just to see Shiela and then I'd go home.  So Shiela and I rocked on the front porch and I wish you could have seen her projects, well as a matter of fact I'll take a picture of 2 of them because she left them for us to display in the shop.  Thank you Shiela..you are a gem.  But the project I'm most fascinated by is her Heaven and Earth Nativity.  Over one on 25 ct., the detail on this piece is unimaginable.    I seriously don't know how she deals with the constant color changes.  Forget parking the threads you would never be able to untangle it from the back to stitch.  This is a masterpiece if ever there was one.  I started a Santa a few years ago and gave up after about 1 day.  It's making me rethink that and I plan to tackle it again this winter.  Anyway, Shiela informed me that Sara told her she wished I would show up so that the stitchers could see me as they were asking for me. (Thanks ladies...otherwise I'd be sitting home all weekend wondering what you were doing.)  So I came up Saturday and Sunday.....stayed out of the shop so I wasn't bothering anyone and chatted with the stitchers.  I love to see what others are working on and hearing their stories.  I didn't get a bit of stitching done at all during the entire weekend.  Anyway, Thanks to one and all who came to support the shop.  we  love you all!  Now, for my show and tell....first thanks to Cathy, Hands on Design, for deciding to do a general release of Wild Salt Air (formerly an exclusive called Dream of the Sea.)  The original kit came with an aqua scalloped tray that is no longer being made but Sara researched this and found they still made the scalloped trays in other colors and there was a light blue and a white one which would go with it.  So here is my finish using the light blue tray....it is missing the spool because I have to paint it to match the tray, but the stitching is done so now it's just finishing before it joins the rest of the project.



Sorry this is so dark but you still can see it a little


Front of the piece and the stitched pin cushion.  She does give you directions for making the wool pumpkin shown on the chartpak, but I haven't made it yet.  I also did a fob with the flower you see in the center of the vase, but I haven't actually assembled it yet.  


This is the back, obviously, and while there is still blank space it doesn't seem to bother me plus it would have been hard to do a design in that space for me.  I am so use to transferring her designs to 18 or 20 count over 2 to make pillows and banners it was strange at first to be working on 28 over 1, but I loved it and will now start on Summer in Baltimore. 
And the final show and tell which I had ready for Jackie DuPlessis weekend were  3 of the Stranded Jacks, a nautical set of Halloween ornaments from Plum Street Sampler (actually released in 2012 but I just got around to it).  
I found the mini fall milk can at Michael's and had an excuse to assemble the ornaments on dowels.  Such a cute way to use an ornament if you don't have a  year round tree.  I had seen a Halloween mini milk can just like this but decided I had spent enough at Michael's but when they went to 70% I decided I could afford it and went back.  By then the Halloween was gone but the fall was still there so I went for it.  The ornaments were stitched on 36 ct. Weeks Confederate Grey using the suggested fibers.  Since I've already done 8 of these types ornaments for Noah's Ark Christmas by Plum Street I can whip them up quickly, thank God!  So that's my show and tell for now.  I'm busy working on more fall for the Delaware Guild retreat.  I'll keep you posted.  Hope those of you who are in the path of the hurricane stay safe inside and have lights to stitch.  I've made sure I've got batteries in my clip on lights so I'm covered and hopefully we are all safe and this bugger just knocks itself out.  Now back to stitching for the Delaware Valley Sampler Guild.  I think I have enough time to do a few more smalls.  Fingers ctossed!  Have a great week, and for those of you anywhere near the path of Florence, keep your head down, stay inside, I'll be praying we all stay safe while she swings by.  Don't forget batteries for you clip on stitching lights.  
  

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Wow, I almost thought I was retired...

I'm back at work after working only 3 days in the past 2 weeks.  Apparently I've become so confused on what day it was because I thought Sunday was Monday and idiot that I am I thought my phone and my computer were wrong when both informed me it was Sunday  I then send a text to Sara who confirmed it was Sunday and I had yet another day off.  OMG, it was like I'd been given a snow day, even though the last thing I needed was another day off.    So I thought I'd be ready for work when I came in on Tuesday, but I found I really wasn't ready to deal with people yet.  First of all, we are asked at least 10 times a shift about renting a bike and that requires a long answer so by the 10th person I'm personally exhausted with the subject but certainly can't say leave me the hell along please...even the please doesn't help the situation.  So I grin, smile, get through it and as soon as they are out the door text Sara with a few choice words.  And even as I type this I feel guilty because there is no way for visitors to Ocean City to know that bikes aren't allowed on the boardwalk after 11 a.m. so it's perfectly normal to ask and since I'm in front of the bikes that Greg leaves out all day and night as advertising, obviously they are going to come in here.  But God give me strength to get through the 10 bike questions today because I'm less than excited to hear the questions any more.  I've been stitching non-stop but only have one thing to show this week.     Hands on Designs latest short stack, "Live Within Your Harvest" turned from this



to this.  


These short stacks are really fun to stitch, took a couple of nights to stitch and one night to finish.  I stuff mine with lizard litter to begin with for weight and then stuff the remainder with polyfil.  I forgot to check supplies when I picked up the chart but was lucky to have  all but one of the fibers.  So I did substitute since I didn't want to go to the shop to get just one fiber- I replaced the French lilac with Gentle Arts Red Plum.  As for stitching I kept true to the designers vision....almost.  I couldn't help myself when it came to the girl's hair.  I did satin stitch on the back of the head and added a braid down her back.  I do believe I made it just a tad too long, but I couldn't help myself and didn't want to cut it because once I start trimming it could end up too short.  But just pleased to be finished.   So far there have been 3 short stacks and I've stitched them all...now waiting for another.  I do believe I will be stitching every one of them.  While I did finish 3 of the Plum Street ornaments from "Stranded Jacks", I have yet to assemble them...hopefully Thursday if Izi doesn't visit.  And of course I've already picked my next three projects. 


 The first thing I'm working on  is "Autumn in Baltimore"by Brenda Gervais.  While I do a lot of her pieces on 16/18 ct. linen, I'm actually stitching this on the suggested linen, 28 ct. over one and I am loving this piece.  I'm a little concerned about the finishing, but I'm willing to give it a try. She has actually encased a papier mache box with fabric and stitching.  At first I thought it was the same box used on her "Here a Peep There a Peep" which is a small oval box, but Sara informed me that it's a little bit bigger than that, but still small at 5", so this is going to be so darn cute I can't wait to finish it.  

 Up after that is Erica Michael's, "Scary Berry"



Thread and linen are all ready to go as well as is the final pick for stitching,  Brenda Gervais, "The Cat & the Moon".  I have everything ready to go with this but I'm thinking of using one of the Rusty Bucket instead of her peat pot and it's just a tad bigger so instead of using 40 ct., I'm thinking of 36 ct.  But I could change my mind before I actually put needle and thread to linen.  Obviously I'm getting the autumn displays ready to go up in September, which is sooo close.  

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Oh, my no matter how much  I stitch my "to do" pile just gets higher and higher.  But I'm having the time of my life.  We had a surprise visit from a designer yesterday, so thrilled to be working to meet her,  which is always unexpected and exciting.  Lila Umstead was vacationing with her family at one of the beaches in Delaware and took a trip down to see us.  Designers are our rock stars so it was exciting to speak with her and have a visit.  Her "Halloween Quaker" design is one of our number one designs this year.  While I have it in my stash (no surprise) I haven't started it yet, but perhaps this will motivate me to get on it.  Her "Siena" arrived here last week, I think, and it's an underwater mermaid that is a must.  Her treasure trunk is filled with threads, etc.  She's one of us.  This is a beautiful design and of course has been added to my stash.  Well, I need to get some work done, so I'll end here.  Have a wonderful weekend, hopefully you will have a chance to work  on your projects.











Sunday, August 12, 2018

This was a fun one from start to finish

I love Blackberry Lane Designs because of the detail they give each piece.  Lots of color changes, but in the end it is always worth it.  "Relaxing at the Beach" was so cute and the stitch was really fun.  Of course, after it was done I wish I had done a couple of things differently, but I had already redone one side when I decided to replace the flags (after I had stitched them) on the banner at the top with ones I cute out instead.  At first I cute them out of ribbon but didn't  have the colors I wanted and God forbid I should go buy some....so I used scrapbook paper instead.  I also used satin stitch on the boogie board and the front flamingo and the red bucket.  I used a #8 perle coton for the bucket handle.  Marie has included 2 charts in the chart pack.  One has the sign and one doesn't.  I really wanted to use the directional sign so I could put Ocean City on it and used Beach on one, Home on one , the date and my initials on others.  For a final bit of tweaking things, I added a seagull button to the sign post, because in Ocean City there are seagulls sitting on all posts normally.  Then I handed it over to Sara and Vernon.  When Sara sent me a picture of the sign we used for inspiratiion for the final product, I knew we could never freehand the lettering, so I went to Michaels and purchased the 
air machine 2 (God forbide I order it from our supplier at a much lower cost, because it would have delayed the finish by a couple of weeks and I could be dead by then) so to do this lettering I spent a little under $300 at Michaels.  What we do and spend for our art.  I embarrassed to say I've lost the vinyl for the lettering already, during a clean up at home (this is why I should just never clean)...so now I have to get more.   But I love the machine so I'll be doing them for any of these signs people want.  Of course Vernon doesn't want to ever put the letters on another one so we are trying to figure that part out now.  

Anyway, I hope Marie doesn't mind the changes I made.   It wasn't a change in design, simply a change in the stitches used.  I did stitch it on Picture This Plus Helix in the count Marie used and used the colors she called for.  Perfect design and too much fun to stitch.  And now I'm moving on to Fall.  And of course I saw the new Brenda Gervais pieces and I've pulled all 4 as possibles.  But there are always the Halloween pieces from Blackberry Lane that I have to stitch.  Good golly, it's a good thing I've got 5 days off this week.  Yes, it's almost like I'm retired.  Whoopee!  So I'm going to work on finishing on the challenge piece which is fully stitched...and a fall piece I finished last night and start a few new pieces.  Fun, Fun, Fun....having a grand old time.  Have a great week...hope you get some stitching in. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

It's getting exciting....

Yes, Sara, Vernon and myself are working on the completion of the "relaxing at the beach" piece from Blackberry Lane Design.  I finished the stitching and Sara found a sign we are replicating and Vernon has now starting the making of the sign.  I love it when a plan comes together.  Of course, that wasn't the only thing I was working on...I finished the Festive Fobs-Seaside Edition, and also did the  finishing so it is not taken it's place of residence in the shop....

I stitched it on 32 ct. PTP Helix linen using 1 ply of suggested fibers and then just finished it into a pillow pin cushion as per Sara's request.  I then stitched the little whale in the bottle for a scissor fob and attached a pair of the micro silver scissors.  As I told you before, I used a small silver fish bead to fill in an empty space beside the alphabet.  Now as you already know, this design was for 10 smalls, needle books, fobs, etc.  But I love how this little mini sampler worked out and love the tiny fob.  However, yesterday while I was patting myself on the back, I noticed I forgot to put the water spout over the whale on the fob.  So now I have to try to do that with the fob already constructed....oh, crap!  So I stopped patting myself on the back, hit my self in the head and just said, what an idiot I am.   Because I finished both projects I was doing for the August theme, I began to look around for my next project and thought I would just finish my challenge piece, I Dream of the Sea by Hands on Design.  I purchased it originally as a special kit sold exclusively by another shop.  But then Cathy announced she was releasing the chart for sale in a week or so,  so now I can get it done and it can be a shop sample.  I only have one side of the pincushion left to do,  the rest of the pieces are done, so this will be a win win for me.  And since it is our challenge piece for October that makes this a double win....although I still have to do the finishing UGH!  While the turquoise tray is no longer being sold, Sara and I are ordering a light blue and hoping that the tray we've seen  in a reddish color is the right color so we're ordering it as well to take the other trays place.  This is such a wonderful design by Cathy so we're trying to stay true to the original idea.  Anyway, I'm having so much fun stitching these special pieces and finding different ways to finish them.  It gets my creative juices flowing.  Have a great stitchy week.  It's been hotter than hell down here, in the 90's with the humidity factored in...thank God for a/c.  So stay in, keep the water flowing and keep stitching.  Winter is coming!

Sunday, July 29, 2018

An almost finish............

For the past 3 days I stopped work on the camper and stitched Heartstring Samplery's Festive Little Fobs, Seaside Edition.  I mean really, this was a must for our theme for August, beach, ocean, etc., and I wanted to do it in a different way than shown.  I fiddled with the idea of doing them over 2 on 20 ct. linen and make it into a pillow, but just couldn't nail that down.  Then I thought....over one on 32 ct. and stitch it altogether, just as she shows it on the chart.  The result is so cute, but created another problem...how to finish it.

As I had to work in the office yesterday, I brought it with me to get Sara's opinion on finishing.  She stared at it for several minutes with each of us giving our opinions and then she said, I can't see it as anything other than a pincushion.  Since my brain is barely working these days I decided I would just go with that, but....of course I'll add more to the pincushion ....I'll stitch a fob, perhaps a spool, oh who know's what I'll come up with, but first I'll make this into a pincushion....I was thinking boxed, but Sara said, just a plain pincushion Mom (with eyes rolling) so at this point I'm not too sure which I'm going to do but it will be some kind of pin cushion for sure.  Now I'm going to look at the other Festive Fob patterns and develop more projects using the entire chart as a mini sampler.  So cute.  I used the colors recommended, except around the bottle as it blended in too much with the fabric, as you can see on the ships sail.  I changed it to WDW dolphin because it was sitting next to me (you didn't actually think I'd get up and look through a lot of greys did you?  As usual, my thing is to look at what's around me and pick something that will work out of it- the last resort I force myself to get up and go to the stitching room.  Unlike a lot of you I am obviously not as neat and tidy.  Wish I were, but I've got threads sitting on my coffee table, under the coffee table, in project bags surrounding my sofa....I don't know how it all ended up here instead of in the stitching room.  Anyway, because of that I seldom get up, just search around beside me.  I did add the fish bead because I don't like empty spaces and there was one beside the alphabet.  I did have to get up to search my bead container and couldn't believe my luck in finding the silver fish bead.    I'm so thrilled when my habit of always adding to my bead and charm collection works out.  Now it's back to the camper.  I can't believe it's almost August.   And I still have a drum, Beach Dreams, from Praiseworthy Stitches that I want to start and finish for display....I think I'm running out of time, but I'm determined.  I'm off until Friday....whoohoo....semi retirement at last (at lease for this week)...talk to you next week.