Monday, December 2, 2019

Finally, the end of the series....12/02/2019

Year of Celebration-December is done.  While the stitching was completed last night, I did the finishing this morning.  So today I celebrate as I have finished the 12 part series, a first for me, and the final sample for the shop for 2019, or is it?   Well, at least in my mind I can concentrate on Christmas.  December was stitched on 38 ct. PTP Doubloon.   I did substitute on this one.  I used the Liberty as charted and Envy as charted but I changed the lettering to Onyx and the gold to Whiskey both by Weeks Dye Works.  The bells I attached in place of the stitched bells (you know I have to have dimension of some kind on almost every project.  Then the package was also changed to one color and the ribbon is a 1/16" white ribbon as is the bow.  I think the rest was done as charted.  Then I finished it using Christmas plaid scrapbook paper with a red ribbon hanger, and #321 DMC pearl cotton cording.  Thank you Cathy for such a fun series.  While finishing always challenges me, when I work on a series it gets easier and easier as I progress through another attempt at finishing a stitched piece, so by the time the 12th month was done the finishing was a breeze...or almost a breeze.  But as with the Apothecary Series-9th one, the 12th one on Year of Celebration became a challenge to stitch.  I made several mistakes on each, or I didn't like a color after stitching it so decided to take it out and replace it, so they both took longer than they should.  But I was determined in both cases to get them done and I'm so glad I did.

                                       Year of Celebration-December-Hands on Design

Sunday, December 1, 2019

It's back to work for me...........

Hopefully, everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday filled with family, friends and great things to eat.  I know I did.  I had 2 Thanksgiving dinners, first with Sara's family on Thursday (Mary and her family were in Baltimore with Brian's family), and then we repeated the dinner on Saturday with Mary and her family.  So needless to say, I've been stuffed all weekend.  And of course, Friday marked my return to the working world.  It was beautiful weather here in O.C., sunny skies and temperatures in the high to mid-'40s.  So plenty of visitors in town and we got a share of those in the shop.  Saturday we got a visit from our Stacy Stinson who stopped by to pick up a couple of models she lets us use every year and then picks them up to display at her house for Christmas and then brings them back after Christmas.  Thanks, Stacy, we appreciate it.  She was also picking up supplies for some new pieces, and I got a sneak peek.  So that was exciting as I love to see what people have done, are doing, or thinking about doing.  She picked up a sled at Hobby Lobby last year that is going to be so cute with a Heart in Hand Santa on it.  Got me thinking I've got to get a sled as well.  A great display piece.  She came at a good time as I needed a bit of inspiration.  Because I spent 2 days cooking for Thanksgiving and then the exhaustion from 2 days of cooking, I barely touched my stitching.  But now I think it's the piece I'm working on that is causing the delay.  It's my final Year of Celebration piece-December, which should have been an easy 2-day stitch and it's still not done 5 days after first starting it.  I didn't have one of the colors so I substituted, which I do a lot with no problem, but when I got in the shop on Friday I pulled the missing color, liked it better than the color I used, so of course, I ripped out the old color and put in the new.  That's sort of how this piece is going.  It's really frustrating because it should be in the shop today, but it's not done.  However, because it's raining Sara told me to stay home so today is the day I'm going to finish the stitching and finishing so I can take it with me tomorrow when I go to work.  Then I can move forward with something new.  The one problem I've dealt with all weekend was my cell phone died, and I do mean died Friday morning.  I've had issues with the battery for some months, but as long as it was plugged in it was fine, so I just made sure it was always plugged in.  I was due for an upgrade 2 years ago and didn't do it, so I knew it was on borrowed time so I figured I'd get one the next time I was in Salisbury.  I didn't make it to Salisbury in time.  This had me panicking starting Friday over my lack of phone since I don't have a landline. And to be honest, while I hate phones generally, I use mine to keep notes, to let me know the time, weather, etc., to say nothing of communication with family and friends, so losing the use of it was distracting.  Plus it disconnected me from the girls...which I panic over.  In fact, Mary came down and checked to see if the phone was backed up in the cloud and I ordered a new phone while she was here and it will be delivered on one more day and I'm back to being connected...Thank God!  I'll be thankful for that.  Anyway, aside from my phone issue, we had a great weekend in the shop.  I did my usual work on the website between customers and in adding product to the web site I was able to snatch a couple of charts without Sara realizing I was doing it...yea!!!  Always fun to add stash to an already exploding at home stash.  I know no bounds when it comes to that.  So I feel good about my working, as I didn't just sit there like a lump.  I would take my stitching out each day and it would just sit there until I put it back in the tote to take it home each day.  It was also good to get back in the stores, even though they have moved everything around so I can't find a thing which makes me feel and look uninformed but I'm starting to get use to that feeling already.  Thankfully I'm usually in Sea Trader so that makes it easier on me.  My opening line after Hello, is "I normally don't work in this shop so you'll have to excuse me if I have to go find an answer to your question."  Fair warning is always a good thing.  Well, I'm going to get back to my stitching and hopefully have a finish to show you tomorrow.  Have a great night and I hope you have managed to put your needle into action.  Talk to you tomorrow with a finished project...fingers crossed.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Santa's Tree Farm finally finished

Well, this certainly took a lot longer than necessary.  I should have stitched it on 40 ct. like the other series of Brendas that were shown on the top of the same paper mache box, but of course, I just had to wing it.  Never wing it....a lot more work and mistakes go into winging it.  In trying to get the same elements in this piece I moved elements around a little and I forgot about the snowflakes.  Fortunately, I think it's alright,  I did stitch extra deer and left off one large snowflake, but the important thing's finished.  I stitched it on 36 ct. PTP linen, and used the recommended threads.  And, of course, attached it to the approx. 3" x 5" paper mache box.  I painted the box black first and then covered it with the Christmas plaid scrapbook paper, after which I glued the stitched piece to the top and box finished.  

 Now on to cooking for Thanksgiving.  We do Thanksgiving at Sara's house and Christmas at my house, but I like to pitch in with the cooking for Thanksgiving just to lighten Sara's load.   Therefore my mission for the next 3 days is grocery shopping and cooking.  Today I start with the cookies, since I have those ingredients.  Not much stitching will be going on here for the next 4 days...UGH!  On the plus side, there will be food.  Not sure I'll get back to blog again before Thanksgiving so I want to wish everyone a really wonderful Thanksgiving, filled with friends, family, food and a little stitching should you be able to fit it in.  If you are traveling, be careful so that you reach your destination safely.  If you come to Ocean City, I hope we will see you in Salty Yarns.  We will be here each day, Friday thru Monday from 10-4 p.m.

Thursday, November 21, 2019 doesn't fit!

WTH...I've been thinking Santa's Tree Farm wouldn't fit on the paper mache box, but kept putting the box lid on top and it seemed like it might until tonight.  I got the Santa done and everything to the right of him, and I can see that the 2 trees to the left as well as the 2 reindeer won't fit.  Crap!  After damning myself for not paying attention to my inner voice, I checked to see what I could do to still use the piece.  I first thought I'd just purchase a bigger oval box, but after the panic eased I realized I could still use the same box, just by adding the reindeer into the already completed right side where there are spaces large enough to do it and I could even add a small tree I think.  First I'm going with that plan and if that doesn't work I can always put it in a tray or purchase a larger oval box.  I hate it when a plan doesn't come together.   On the brighter side, Sara stopped by yesterday afternoon to bring her shopping from the Attic as well as her Merry Cox class pieces and charts so I could drool over it.  (She spent last week in Arizona and attending 3 classes at the Attic.)   And included with that was a gift for me....

I love her.  I can't wait to dress a few thoughts running around my head, especially after seeing Jackie DuPlessis' peddler doll.  She was a real distraction for me last night as I tackled Santa's Tree Farm, but today I'm calmer and ready to get back to the work at hand.  But Thank You, Sara, for thinking of me and especially bringing me the Merry Cox doll.  But after Christmas, I might just get on this.  Meanwhile, Sara had to purchase a small piece of luggage in Arizona because she didn't have enough room in her suitcase for all the stash she purchased and her class stash.  She is going to be really busy trying to get all her purchases fact I'll bet some of it never sees the light of day again, but she was thrilled and she purchased some lovely sampler patterns from The Attic that will be treasured if she can get to them.  If she can't she's got more stash to look at and enjoy.   And she was inspired by Jean from The Attic to purchase and start stitching on the higher count linens, so she brought back several of those..on my, 46 and above....I can't see it let alone stitch it.  Oh, how I wish I had access to those back in the day.  Anyway, I'd say Sara's week in Arizona was a trip that will live on in her memory bank as one of the best week's she's ever had.  But I'm glad to have her home.  I really don't sleep well when my children aren't at home each night.  Although last night everyone was at home and I woke myself up from a dead sleep as my heart was pounding and racing so much it sounded like someone was hammering.  When I got up and did some deep breathing to calm my heart down and get it back into a normal rhythum, I realized the hammering I heard was my heart, so of course, I was up for the rest of the night thinking about that.  Like I have time for that.  I have stitching which needs to get done.  So I'm going to get back to it....hope you are finding time to get some stitching done as well.  Have a great weekend.  

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

I'm officially done trying to find the pedestal frame for now....

Monday  I worked in Salty Yarn...well working is an activity I did very little of and shopping for my personal stash is much more accurate.  Anyway, as I was grabbing as much as I could, without Sara's eyeball following me around and the constant nagging, "like you don't have enough already, or did you take it out of inventory, or worse, please don't take that as we only have a couple left in stock."  Yes, there was no one to monitor me and I shopped, stole, call it whatever you want but I did it all day, charts, fabric, fibers, yes I was drunk on stitching supplies.  One of the things I snagged was a round box for my Brenda Gervais, Holiday Hoopla-Christmas.

 I love these Hoopla's and yet have not used a hoop for framing yet.  These boxes come in three different colors, Antique White, Black, and a Pecan color.  They were originally for many of the Shepherd's Bush round designs from a few years ago.  I stitched about 6 of those...loved it and the finish was fast so these are "go-to's" for me when it's a 3" round piece.  I opted for the white because I was thinking snow, but seeing now I think I'm going to switch it out for either black or pecan or maybe not.  I'll try all three and see which is better, or perhaps I'll find the pedestal frame during the Great clean up of 2019.   I stitched this on 32 ct. Vintage Blue Whisper linen. I did use Mill Hill black beads for his eyes, buttons, and mouth.    It's the perfect color for snowmen even though it doesn't pop as much as I'd like in the picture,  it does look better in person.  Anyway, I'm pleased to have it finished and now it's ready to go to the shop.  I used the recommended threads, almost..I didn't have the Ruby Slipper so I substituted GA Schoolhouse Red.  But in my binge yesterday I picked up a skein, or two, of Ruby Slipper and it is very similar to the Schoolhouse Red.  So now I'm moving on and have been working on another Brenda Gervais, "Santa's Tree Farm."   I already know how I'm going to finish this (half the problem with finishing is not knowing what to do with a piece), so I should have rushed through this, but I didn't have a couple of the recommended floss colors so I dragged my feet.  I don't have a problem substituting fibers if I don't have the ones called for, but in this case, I was having an issue with the greens.   So yesterday in my burglary of Salty Yarns I got the correct greens so I'm  back in business.  I'm on my second go-round with this as I started stitching it over 1 on 36 ct thinking it would fit on the 3 x 5 papier mache box.  But I had trouble stitching one of the elements as I couldn't get it to look right so I re-examined the chart and discovered I should have been stitching over 2...darn it.  So I started it again and of course, it's going much faster so I should have it done by the weekend...yea!  It looks so much bigger than the box lid, but I keep measuring it and I think it's going to fit....I'm making sure it does cause I'm not starting over.  As I said earlier, with Sara gone I was called into work.    Meanwhile, Vickie was working Sea Trader and informed me about what a great weekend they had and they had several stitchers come from out of town.  I was shocked because the weather was not great and I had given some thought to closing.  Thank God I didn't.  Monday was cloudy at times but the temperature was in the high 40's, but we barely saw anyone, hence my shopping extravaganza.  While I would have loved to see stitchers, imagine being alone in a needlework store for 6 hours and being told you can grab as much as you want before going home.   Needlework is my drug of choice and I love to binge on it.  Yes, there are moments I wonder what the hell I was thinking when I look at some of what I grabbed days later, but at that moment I was flying high.   I was like a kid in a candy store.   I'm proud to say at the end of the day I did relinquish a couple of patterns and put them back (but only because I think I took them home once before.) So I'm stitching like crazy, cleaning not like crazy but trying to set goals each day and see progress being made.  Must get back to my stitching.  Have a great day and I hope you find time to stitch.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Stitching like crazy as Christmas looms ever closer............

I keep thinking it's only November, haven't had Thanksgiving yet so I shouldn't panic over Christmas yet.  But, I can feel that I'm getting nervous about it.   As I said before, I've begun the clean up of the house, my recipes are sitting on the table waiting to become dinner (over a month away-this should be fine, and I'm excited.  But I always get nervous about the stitching I need to get done.  So that's the panic I'm feeling, plus I'm going back to work 4 days a week and that gives me less time at home working on stuff.  But, today was a good day.  This week I completed the stitching on a couple of pieces, Erica Michael's "St. Nick's Berry", and  Brenda Gervias, "Holiday Hoopla-Christmas".  At first, I brought home the linen berry but decided I really wanted the detail shown on the silk berry so I took back the linen and brought home the silk.  Then I decided I didn't have the patience right now to do the gauze berry, so I changed the project to 28 ct linen, (this way I don't have to stitch the background like you do on silk gauze), and I still have all the detail that is on the silk version of these berries, and stitching over 1 on 28 ct. still keeps it smaller than the linen.  The stitching went smoothly, once I figured out where to start on the linen, and although I usually change things a bit on projects, I tried to stay with Linda's vision.  I almost made it too, but in the end, I decided to add some dimension by satin stitching the hat cuff and the beard.  The mustache was done laying threads across his mouth (which I added by just putting a line of red between the beard and mustache), and securing them in the center and then clipping the two ends of the mustache until they were sized correctly for his face.  Other than that, I added beads for the holly berries to each set of holly leaves.  That was all I did.  This design is fabulous.  I love Linda's berries and have almost all of them in my stash.  And now that I've decided to use 28 ct. for some of them, I'll be able to get a few of these done now.  I still struggle with the finishing of the berries, but with all of the finishing I do now each year I'm getting much better so I just grit my teeth and pray for the best. Today was no different.  I started first thing this morning getting my finishing supplies together.  I interfaced the berry, as I use lizard litter for stuffing, and then stitched up the back seam (easiest part to do).  It's nice to have the easy part to get you started and then on to the stuffing and gathering of the top...also pretty easy.  In fact, I think the hardest part is just getting started and figuring out how to finish the top.  Linda does hers differently depending on the project, so I tend to do the same thing.  However, as it's a strawberry, I only finish with leaves.  This time I started with a circle cut of WDW wool to put over the top to cover the gathered top.  Then I cut leaves to use, this time I decided to use the shape of the holly leaf.  I then attached the holly leaves to the red circle, which covered it and then cut a small red circle which I sewed to the center to cover where the leaves come together.  Finally,  while initially, I had planned on using a fancy bead I purchased for this project, it just didn't work for me.  Too fancy for this piece.  Soooo, I got one of the bead caps I keep on hand, ran pearl cotton through for a hanger, sewed the bead cap to the center red wool circle and the ornament is now finished.  Fabulous.  You will see on the picture I stuck a red pin through each leaf...I'm trying to train the wool to sit a certain way.  Hope you enjoy my finish.  I recommend everyone who hasn't done a berry...try one.  And they really aren't that hard to put together either.

I also finished Brenda Gervais', Holiday Hoopla-Christmas, however, I can't find what I did with the pedestal frame so I can't complete the finish until I find it or chose another way to finish it.  Again I stuck with Brenda's recommendations, although linen was Vintage Blue Whisper and I added red berries to the holly leaf branch and black beads for eyes, teeth, and buttons.  Easy stitch so a delight to do.  I've only missed one Holiday Hoopla and that's Thanksgiving.  Sara didn't bring it to me so I'm hoping to remember it tomorrow as I work in the shop.  Exciting!

Anyway, that's what I've been up to since I last blogged.  I hope you have been able to put a needle in linen or Aida this weekend.  If not, better get to it, after all, Christmas is about 6 weeks away.  Have a great week.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

We had snow....for about 3 minutes at most...........................

Other than that, we've had a day of rain.  Sara and Vernon left at 4:00 a.m. to fly to Arizona for classes at the Attic (Sara not Vernon)this weekend,  so Mary and I are left here to hold down the fort.  Mary's holding it down since I refuse to go into the hotel at this point.  I just have a couple more weeks of retirement and then I'm back 4 days a week.  Since I had some Merry Cox kits Sara was unaware of, I thought I should let her know what I had so she wouldn't buy any of them, should they still be available.  This meant I needed to start cleaning out the stitching room to find them.  At this point, this room is a dumping site for all things Scrapbooking, and stitching.  I usually do a clean up at Christmas but needed to start earlier this year and I've found things I forgot I ever had.  So I'm going to spend the next few days showing you what I have done in the past which became buried.  Just looked outside and it's snowing again...mercy!  I'm sure it will be over before I end this blog, and there is so much water on the ground it will only melt anyway, but it's nice to see.   Now as I was saying, before Sara was born, over 40 years ago, I saw patterns in Family Circle or Good Housekeeping for crochet baby booties.  At the time I don't think I even crocheted, but just wanted to do something for the baby I was carrying, so I got the recommended crochet cotton and began the task.  As I progressed I got more and more excited and I had 4 booties and 1 sandal done by the time she was here.  I carried them to the hospital with me along with a gown to take her home in.  I remember so well the nurse bringing her into me dressed in the white gown with little rosebuds, but her feet were bare.  When I looked at the nurse she said, "I'm so sorry but none of the booties fit her."  I have to say I knew Sara was a large baby at the time.  Everyone commented on what a big baby she was, 9 lbs. 15 oz.  Back then most babies were between 7-8 lbs.  I can't tell you how disappointed I was but also thrilled that she was finally here.  I packed the booties away and waited.  6 years later my Mary came along, out came the booties only to be told this way that baby's feet will fit in those...she was 10 lbs. 12 oz.  Damn..that was it for me.  I put the booties away and forgot about them.  But today stuck underneath a pile of DMC floss was a small gold box and inside that box were the baby booties.  As I look at them I wonder where I found the patience to do these.  They are less than 3" long and so tiny.  Today I knit, rarely crochet and never with cotton, always with yarn.  So these I will hold onto and pray one of my grandsons produced a sweet baby girl who is small enough to wear them.  Of course by then God only knows where I will stick them and forgot where they are.  Anyway, I have to get back to cleaning up...I hope you are having more fun than I am and have a wonderful stitchy night.